Subject 2 was the title given to the fake Albedo that appears in Genshin Impact’s 2.3 update. From the moment that it was introduced, Dragonspine has always been a chilling place full of mystery. While it may seem like Durin’s grave, he wasn’t the only entity resting in the depths of the mountain.
Today, we’ll be covering all the information that has been made available about Subject 2, who he was and what became of him.
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The Perfect Son and the Failure
During the Shadows Amidst Snowstorms event, Albedo reveals many secrets about himself and his creator, the biggest being that he isn’t really a human. Created by the use of alchemy, Albedo is a homunculus, brought to life by the alchemis Rhinedottir, also known as Gold.
After successfully creating the dragon Durin, Rhinedottir started on her new project which was the creation of an artificial human. This is how Albedo came into being. However, before his birth, there were many others that were deemed as failures. Subject 2 was one such failed product and since he was unable to fulfil his purpose, he was fed to Durin.
But while he was in the dragon’s stomach, Subject 2 somehow managed to survive. Then, many years after Durin’s death, he escaped into Dragonspine. By doing so, he found Albedo, Rhinedottir’s perfect creation who had somehow managed to infiltrate humans.
Unlike Subject 2, Albedo could live among humans without being detected. He could pretend to be one of them and fulfil Rhinedottir’s wish.
This is where the cycle of envy began.
Durin’s attack on Mondstadt happened a very long time ago, to the point that many people believe it to be a story sung by Bards. In Vol. 9 of Diary of the Roald the Adventurer we get the following paragraph:
“When the storm died down a little, I looked up and caught a view of the peak, towering there silently against the dark sky, encircled by giant jagged rocks and yet secluded among them in the center. The bards’ songs tell of an ancient, evil dragon who lies buried there in the mountain stream — I wonder if it, too, yearns for the celestial heights even as it gazes up with its rotting and blinded eyes?“
The chances are that the disturbance in Dragonspine, more specifically the events of Chalk Prince and the Dragon awakened Subject 2. While he did not die, he was most likely, resting along with Durin’s many remains.
Once awakened, he found Albedo and took his form. Then, he arrived in Mondstadt. How do we know this? It’s because the Albedo we see in Mondstadt in the beginning of the Shadows Amidst Snowstorms event doesn’t have a star mark on his neck. According to Albedo, that is a sign of his imperfection, something that Subject 2 instinctively got rid of.
The Third Albedo
When we meet Albedo in Dragonspine, the first thing we find is that his alchemy notes have been stolen. Following the thief’s footprints, we eventually part ways with Albedo and when we see him again, there’s something strange about him. This is because the Albedo that we meet before rescuing Bennett is Subject 2.
We know that it’s him because, at the same time, there’s another Albedo who lures Joel towards a rather dangerous side of Dragonspine. He is, thankfully, saved by Eula though.
Now, where did the third Albedo come from?
After stealing the alchemy notes, the first thing Subject 2 did was create another Albedo. Though, he could not do this the same way that Rhinedottir had. This is why he experimented upon a Whopperflower using alchemy and Durin’s residual power. This led to the creation of the Albedo who could use the Cryo element.
This is the in-game description of Whopperflowers:
A bizarre mimetic plant monster that harnesses the elements in combat.
These plants lurk under the surface and ambush unsuspecting prey. With the passage of years, sufficient nutrition, and the right environment, it could even take root somewhere and grow into a giant tree that sways and spews elemental power…
But what was the point of making another Albedo? The answer seems rather simple. Despite taking on the shape of a human being, the Whopperflower could not defy its basic nature. This is why it tried to hurt Joel and then the group.
Why Create Another Albedo?
Subject 2 made the decision to create another Albedo for one simple reason. He wanted the Fellflower (the name given to the third Albedo) to eliminate Albedo.
Aggressive by nature, the Fellflower would not stop until it got what it wanted. It even went to the extreme of causing an avalanche that would have killed not only Albedo but anyone who knew about the presence of an impostor. As Albedo explains in the cutscene once the event is over, that if he was in Subject 2’s place, he would have done the same.
He would have gotten rid of the successful experiment (Albedo) and anyone who knew his secret. In this cause, the traveller. Then, finally, he would have taken the successful experiment’s place.
What Happened to Subject 2?
We see Subject 2 for the last time when the cutscene at the end of the event begins.
As Albedo walks with a sword in his hand, Subject 2 watches him from a hilltop. After this, we don’t know if Subject 2 survived or not. His ending was most likely left open on purpose to give Mihoyo the chance to use this character again in the future. However, there are some interesting theories about him. Some of them are as follows:
- Understanding Subject 2’s desire to be human, Albedo helps him take the shape of Joserf, Joel’s father who disappeared in Dragonspine.
- Albedo and Subject 2 decided to live in harmony with Subject 2 occasionally taking his place.
- Subject 2 was finally killed by Albedo off-screen.
None of these theories can be confirmed at the moment. We will only know what became of Subject 2 if Mihoyo ever chooses to revisit his story.