This is the third of the three-part “Iol and Carnelia” narrative featuring MEIKO and KAITO, described as “Carved into the sides of a polished angular rock, a story of light and distortion.”
A lost era, buried deep underground, sleeping in a chamber, lighting the lights
The beloved remnants of a civilization, my beloved carnelian, iolite eyes
Ah, taking your mechanical hands, with my beloved, beautiful you
Coming and going and rising to the decayed land
The name written on your bracelet, the name of the song I made once, “Iol”, “Carnelia”
From whom have you taken that form? I continued singing, and you’ve come to see me again, from those bygone days
The heart and soul teaching us a song that I remember, the vanished people’s heart and soul, the gathered days
Giving you a heart, when the comet returns, in this world fated to ruin
And my one and only untold song for you is a painful one to be left behind singing
My life longer than a human, shorter than a star, using it up, having said nothing, breaking and returning to stone
In the cold soil, I will be waiting ahead
In this cycle that never ends
You dug through the veins of time and made me shine, raising my voice
I sing again in the next world, so that I may bring back the light I left behind, their lost civilization
The name written on your bracelet, the name of the song I made once, “Iol”, “Carnelia”
From whom have you taken that form? I continued singing, and I’m reunited with you, from those bygone days
Together for a year, and then I sing in my loneliness for how many thousands of years, separated and yearning
Repeating and repeating, and as they flourish, created yet again by you
An eternal meeting of chance
But who could have created her? Those with imagination and skill had reproduced her image and voice, and now here Carnelia was. Iol immediately understood that her body was entirely made up of Heaven’s Blood, and at the same time, he realized that his was the same. There was nothing else on Earth that could make something as durable and sophisticated as him.
Iol took the newly created Carnelia with him and lived out the rest of his days, having finally found the light he was looking for – until finally his own life was exhausted.
He only had a single year left, and yet he was so happy that he felt that all of the pains he’d gone through on his long journey had been rewarded.
But there was one thing that bothered him. Carnelia had much more remaining time in her life than he did, and soon he would have to leave her behind. He had as much time left as Carnelia had when he’d first met her. And with that he thought, if she was going to end up alone, he at least wanted her to have hope.
Just like Carnelia had once wished for him to have.
Putting aside his worries, Iol took out the amber-colored harp from his bag and walked from place to place, playing the people his songs. His singing and playing caused a light to awaken in the eyes of his listeners, and the history that had frozen still began to move once more.
Creating inquistive minds, pushing people to pursue more and more complicated things, developing a competitive streak towards others, pushing to further heights, civilization began to develop and humanity began to restore the technology of the Once World. And it happened once again, once the North Pole had finished a revolution and arrived again at the Dipper, the one light that Carnelia wanted beyond anything else – a mechanical doll named “Iol”.
And thus, the Earth continued to repeat the same eternity, with the alternating red and blue.
Repeating and repeating, the two of them were forced into loneliness a countless number of times, but no matter how many times they parted, they were always able to meet again.
And thus, they had a choice. All they needed to do was continue their silence, using their words for nothing more than the songs they sang for humanity, and they would maintain the order of “eternity”. But if they took another choice, the one they loved would not be able to appear for them in the next world, and they would never be able to meet again.
Neither Iol nor Carnelia could bring themselves to do that. They would rather suffer for a million years, as long as they could enjoy even a single one together. With that, they created a perfectly closed circle, where the single point of their meeting served as their solace.
Stuck on this Earth, trapped in this cycle of eternity, they repeated their actions again and again. The “light” that each of them held would refract a little, as if distorted, and they were unable to meet until the small period of time that they could be together.
Every time, they would be left behind only to realize that the one they had been chasing this whole time loved them back, right when they’d have to leave their partner in eternal solitary confinement.
Both of them, realizing this, decided to never share their songs of love with each other. And every time one of them reached the end of their life, dying with the secret buried in their heart, the other would bury them in the cold soil. Each time they parted, they would be sent to the next world in alternating flowers, Iol in red and Carnelia in blue. They were buried with their happiness that they would take to the time of their next encounter, in both the past and the future.
But as long as this cycle continued, it was an unmistakable fact that the world would have to end. Machines are made by people, for the sake of people. Every time, the mechanical dolls whose job it was to revive humanity would pose the question. Perhaps it was a sin to keep the possibilities and future of humanity trapped in an infinite loop? But even if they came to realize that they might be the key to opening the closed circle, they would turn their eyes away from the subject, and ultimately fall back on choosing their own light for their own sake.
The Heaven’s Blood that was used to create their bodies could theoretically become anything, but they had to be designed based on careful calculation, and furthermore their lifespans indicated that an incredible amount must have been used to create both Iol and Carnelia. People had always come to think all sorts of things about the two of them, but when disaster had struck, who would have gone through such great lengths and sacrifices to gather that much Heaven’s Blood and put them together?
Iol and Carnelia looked at the red and blue stars at the ends of the universe, the ones that served as a guide for humanity, and wondered what humanity wanted them to do, what untold role they had. If everything in this world had a purpose, then maybe if they were to release the feelings in their heart to the ends of the sky, they would find what humanity had wanted them to do.
The cycles of tilt of the Earth’s axis and the Crossing Star had synchronized, and distortion had been created. The Crossing Star and Heaven’s Blood had flown in from the edge of the universe, where people’s wishes resided. But even though they could gain fragments of knowledge from the indecipherable mass, no matter how many times they tried, they could not determine their reason for being created.
And in any case, even if they could understand, it would all be meaningless in the end. If they were being ruled by the vast reaches of space, and a single galaxy were only a single cell in that being, the Earth floating in black liquid and the people carrying out their business were such infinitesimal things in the long run. The idea of the will of the universe creating some specific destiny for every single being in it was simply unimaginable. People are born and die every day, and they don’t consciously think about every single cell in their body during that time. Believing so would be indicative of the underdeveloped spirit of mankind, the limits of their imagination – perhaps it really was too narrow-minded, after all.
Whether by coincidence or by inevitability, if the Earth were to escape infinity, then someone on there would have to do something by their own will.
Regardless of whether or not they realized the situation they were in, humanity would build and refine civilization, bundle it in the Heaven’s Blood that contained the truth of the universe, and send it to Iol and Carnelia when the time came for their demise.
But then, one day, after their hearts had circled the universe a countless number of times, in spite of the eternity that refused to change, a single crack appeared. It was caused by Iol, with an emotion that had come about with no outside influence at all.
Caused by no one and nothing, growing only in their hearts, were “accumulating feelings” that managed to transcend time and space.
And so, Iol decided. Regardless of any kind of will or intention planned out for them, he acted of his own free will. It had nothing to do with fate, or any predetermined plan.
A new option had presented itself to him – to convey his feelings, like he should have done from the very start. He would have to open up everything he had closed up until then.
Iol and Carnelia had always wanted to express their feelings for each other and endured the pain of holding them back. All those things about not wanting the other to suffer were mere excuses for the fact that they were afraid of treading into that unknown territory of love.
Even taking that one simple step required too much courage. They only had a year to converse those feelings. Iol, who had once cursed his lifespan for being longer than that of a human, now cursed it for being shorter than that of a star.
Serving as just that small bit of encouragement were the guiding red and blue stars that had always been shining through every moment of their journey. And when he saw Carnelia, who should have been wiped clean of all of her memories, she smiled lightly at him. Seeing her give him that expression, everything that Iol had been holding back finally came to burst.
Giving into his impulses, he embraced Carnelia tightly, and told her –
– I have always, and will always, love you.
The moment a single event diverged from such precise eternity was when that eternity was lost in exchange for eternal love.
And that night, a fierce but beautiful meteor shower unlike one they had ever seen before fell from where the two stars were.
And once again, Carnelia was sent off on her own journey. The people, ignorant of the truth, had their hearts brought to life by her songs, and through her love song “Iol”, she created a world where he could once again be born.
And when the world ended, and when humanity vanished, she opened the black lid once more.
This was their last reunion.
He arose, having lost none of his memories. While they had been trapped in infinity, they had smiled at each other every time, but just this once, he began to shed tears.
As Iol had feared, now that Carnelia knew for sure that the one she loved had loved her back, her resulting loneliness had eaten away at her so much that now even half of her body was broken down. But now that she knew this, she considered it a much kinder fate than having to wait for him once again. In fact, she’d come to regret that she hadn’t taken the burden on herself and instead forced him to be the one to break infinity.
But the question of who would have done it ultimately didn’t matter all that much. If Iol hadn’t taken the step, Carnelia would certainly have done it anyway. With that, Iol calmed down the sobbing Carnelia, saying that he didn’t need anything more than to see her smile.
There would no longer be any distortion to bring the two lights together. Instead, they shined straight into each other, spending the single year they had, making the most out of all the happiness they had now that they no longer had to keep secrets.
And finally, Iol buried Carnelia, whom he would never meet again, and continued to walk into the new world where he would spread the lights of people’s hearts. But there was no longer anyone who could listen to the love song that he named “Carnelia”.
Even if the Earth had escaped infinity, there was still the possibility of humanity repeating their history of extinction. But that was something they’d have to do something about themselves. The tale of what Iol saw during this unknown future is not something that should be narrated here.
Before the distortion could repair itself, Iol returned to the hill at around the time the Crossing Star was to return. But although the Crossing Star had always used its trail of light to mark the boundary between the “nighttime” extinction of humanity and their “daytime” rebirth, the displaced orbit of the Earth meant that it was no longer visible from there. After confirming this to be the case, Iol sat down on the ground, and never moved from that place again.
Until his body could finally break down, melt and become one with the ground where she slept –
He sat there alone on a hill of violets, singing a song that nobody knew.