Aldrich tapped his chest, where his Phylactery was.
In response, the Chrysalis and Valera materialized in a shower of white particles.
"Explore time yet?" said the Chrysalis. She looked around at Fler'Gan's lab in wonder. "So many toys…"
"These are not toys, child," said Fler'Gan. "These are fine instruments of alchemy. You would do well to know the distinction."
"Squid face!" Chrysalis pointed at Fler'Gan's mouth tendrils.
"…I truly do not deal well with youth," muttered Fler'Gan.
"Can you bring out the person you've been keeping in the room?" said Aldrich. "The one you've been putting to sleep?"
"Mhm. Okay." The Chrysalis closed her eyes and concentrated. She then clapped her hands, and with that, the Editor materialized in a flash of white. He fell to the floor of the cargo space with a thump, still snoring in deep sleep.
The Editor was still dressed up in tattered grey suit from attending Aldrich's 'party'. The last real survivor, though, soon, he would lose that privilege.
"He's all yours," said Aldrich.
"Many thanks, O Elder." Fler'Gan's finger tendrils trembled in sheer excitement as he raised the Editor up with telekinetic force. "Ah, I do hope that this specimen will be the breakthrough necessary for me to finally merge the magic of our realm and the powers of this one together."
"I hope so too."
"Father, what's going to happen to him?" The Chrysalis cocked her head at the Editor Alter floating in the air. "Will squid face make friends with him?"
"No, child, I will thoroughly break apart-," began Fler'Gan before both Aldrich and Valera stared at him with judging eyes, stopping him from going on about how he was going to dissect and brutalize the Editor.
"I get it," said the Chrysalis. "He's a bad guy. You're going to get rid of him."
Aldrich blinked in surprise. He knew that if the Chrysalis represented the pure side of his soul, then murder and torture were all going to be hard things to swallow for her. For any child, really.
As a result, Aldrich kept her away in the Boundary. He could sense that unless she actively made the effort, she did not know what was going on outside, so he used the Boundary as a time out space to stop her from hearing the more unsavory things he dealt with.
Valera had kept the Chrysalis occupied in the Boundary, playing with her with hide and seek. That kept the Chrysalis from trying to hear Aldrich's conversations.
But it seemed as if the Chrysalis was fine with it all. On second thought, Aldrich recalled that she had seen the Butcher in his eternal torment in the basement. She had not had a strong reaction then as well.
"Are you…okay with that?" asked Aldrich.
"Mhm." The Chrysalis nodded. "I want to help lots and lots of people, but I also know bad things happen to bad people."
? ???a ??????
Aldrich felt a sense of deja vu. Bad things happen to bad people. This was exactly what he had said when he was a kid. What he had believed.
And it was because that belief, belief in some sort of karmic justice, had been shattered with his parents' deaths that he in large part turned into who he was today.
"I just don't know. Was he a bad person?" The Chrysalis asked Aldrich.
"Yeah. He was," said Aldrich.
"Okay. I trust father the most. So I don't feel too bad then." The Chrysalis nodded, swishing her crystalline white tail from side to side.
"Hm." Aldrich felt strongly then what should have been obvious. The Chrysalis was not human. She never had been. Even if she approximated a human's soul, fundamentally, she was not one.
As a variant, the Chrysalis's instincts meant she could take life and death in stride. Every animal knew how to kill or be killed. He could tell now that her instincts were strong enough that if she had to fight and kill, she would.
Especially when it came to 'bad guys'.
Basically, if she saw bad guys dying or suffering, if she had to even take one down, then that was simply the way things were.
"Explore time!" The Chrysalis tugged at Aldrich's pant leg. She smiled sweetly. "Enough thinking, let's go!"
"Let's go," Aldrich nodded, beholding the Chrysalis's smile. He did not mind her indifference to death when it came to bad guys. He himself found it difficult to care much at all considering his status now as a Lich.
Rather, he found it convenient. Less need to tiptoe around the Chrysalis's innocence, at least when it came to the rather morbid topic of killing.
"Perhaps the Death Lord was indeed right," said Valera as they all left the truck. She looked down at the Chrysalis happily skipping along across the dry desert brown earth. "Perhaps she is far stronger than we think."
"I think so too," confirmed Aldrich.
"I'm strong!" said the Chrysalis, confident. Her eyes were wide as she looked around at the nomad compound all around her. The early dawn sun modestly shone its rays through veils of clouds, dimly lighting trucks and motorcycles and cars that the Chrysalis wondered at.
There were a few nomads here and there moving about, some smiling and waving hello to the Chrysalis, with her waving back with enthusiasm whenever she could.
By now, Aldrich noticed, he was known enough that the nomads did not care that he wore a suit. That none of them showed any hostility to him probably also indicated that he was generally well received among them.
"Where are we going?" asked the Chrysalis after she was done waving another round of hellos.
? ?? ??-?? ???. ??? "A place to get you a name," said Aldrich. He stopped in front of the towering wheel structure of the Wanyudo. Aside from Desmond, the other nomad chiefs had not left just yet, though they were prepping to do so very soon.
Z was still here, and that meant she could create a CID for the Chrysalis. Which was also an opportunity to give her a proper name.