"Raziel?" Harahel speaks up, not really aloud, but in a way that is certainly more than just a thought. Speaking in such a manner is difficult to comprehend, and Harahel doesn't even know if it qualifies as speech. Thinking about it is confusing, and confusing thoughts are still something Harahel has to avoid to prevent their mind from jamming, so they're relieved when Raziel turns their attention to them, after a short delay that communicates their split attention.

"Yes, Harahel?"

"Do you have an inner world? Could you develop one, because of the way you have grown as a law? Or do you need a soul for an inner world, as many of its definitions imply?"

Another delay, this one longer, as Raziel ponders the question. Harahel can feel their gears turning in slow thought. The metaphorical gears, of course. Raziel doesn't have gears. Most of the people Harahel's met who have said their gears are turning have no gears, not even in their head, which has been disappointing. And now Harahel's using the expression, and they don't have gears either. What have they become?

Raziel eventually responds, slowly and thoughtfully. "I think, given time, I could develop an inner world. I have no soul, yes, but on my journeys with Jophiel," they say her name with venom, still, "we encountered many beings without souls. And some of them had fully developed inner worlds. Some had evolved past their souls after having developed and mastered their inner worlds, but others had not. Most were the former, but not all. So I believe I could develop an inner world. Perhaps I already have, but it manifests in such a way that it encompasses my normal functions."

They continue. "And, on that subject, I believe the mainstream definition of an inner world is inaccurate, for that reason. It can be a spiritual structure, but I would say it is more accurate to say it is an abstracted structure of some sort."

Harahel nods, but the answer has only brought up more questions. "Beings without souls but still inner worlds? What were they like?"

"You have met one," Raziel responds instantly, this time. "Mastema. She has no soul, which you have observed for yourself, but she certainly has an inner world. Me and Jophiel confirmed such ourselves, but we never witnessed it in full. Our hypothesis was that her extreme skill in ending life stemmed from her inner world."

"Ah... Mastema, huh..." Harahel nervously runs a hand through their hair, the thought of death sending such a tremor of anxiety through their soul. "That is... daunting." They are ashamed to admit they had never given the idea of Mastema's inner world that much thought before now. Certainly, they had mused over the possibility before, but it had always felt like something that they should not have been thinking about. Partly because it is obvious. Mastema has everything, is everything. But to have it confirmed...

Raziel's response is a grim "Yes, it is." They are silent for a few moments. "The inner worlds of other soulless beings were rarely abnormal in any way worth noting - they are just people, after all. Those that were obviously stemmed from other sources. Abnormal people with abnormal worlds, you understand? Mastema is a very good example of this. Inner worlds based around murder and destruction are much rarer than you would think. She was one of only 169 soulless beings with such a 'Killer'-type world, out of approximately nine hundred million that Jophiel researched. Out of all the quadrillions of beings that Jophiel examined, there were not even a hundred million killers."

Harahel is at a temporary loss as they process the extraordinarily low fraction. "What? How are they that rare?"

"Let me answer your question with one of my own. You have witnessed the inner worlds of avowed killers such as Beelzebub and Uriel. Are they completely based around killing?"

Harahel thinks it over but sees the answer quickly. "No. Both of their inner worlds are based around... containing others. They cause pain more than they do death."

"Yes. Even the proudest murderer may not have an inner world completely tailored towards killing. They can and do use them to kill, yes, but you can use anything to kill, can you not? Anyone can kill with just their two hands if they try hard enough, but they are not weapons. Anyone can plot out a murder, but their brain is not a weapon. You can kill with a chair, a rock, the very air around you. They are tools used in pursuit of a goal - means to an end. This is what killing is to those like Uriel and Beelzebub. They kill in search of something, in service to a goal. For pleasure, for control, for some dogmatic genocidal obsession. Their inner worlds reflect this.

"But for Mastema, killing is not a means to an end. Killing IS the end. For her, it is all there is. From what I have observed, she derives no pleasure from the act. There are few people who function like that, people who, for all intents and purposes, kill for nothing. Mastema has an agenda and beliefs, yes, but... that simplistic goal of killing for its own sake seems to lie at her core. I do not know why, but it seems to be the case."

"So every killer you witnessed killed with no purpose?"

"I did not say that, even if that can be applied to some. Many of those I witnessed only temporarily assumed such an inner world. Most commonly, those that are consumed with revenge develop killer-type inner worlds until the deed is done, and then diversify or return to their starting point... or they keep on killing. That is certainly more purposeful than Mastema, and closer in a broad sense to Uriel and Beelzebub's, but in the end, killing is still the... end." Raziel stops for a second to process their repetitive phrasing. Harahel can't tell if they're pleased or irritated with themself. "I would say, at least. This is not objective - there can be no objective truth when it comes to matters of emotion. Objectively, however, their inner worlds functioned differently and were unarguably weapons."

"Understood. You studied them for so long as to see their inner worlds change like that? Doesn't such an evolution take years?"

"Generally speaking, yes. But Jophiel had a vested interest in these killers, because of the answer we came to regarding Mastema. It is only natural that we watched these people for some time. Jophiel even arranged for their vengeance to bear fruit in some cases, when the odds were so highly stacked against them." A pause. "Not exactly a proper experiment, but... she was curious. Her... emotions have always affected the process. Which is fine. Until she cast me away." Bitterness rears its head in their voice once more, and Harahel drops all the questions, knowing that now is the time for comfort.

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.