Legend of Regios:Volume1 Prologue
Already, he could not remember the motivation behind the betrayal. He had already killed his colleague when he came to. He stared at his red-painted hands – not just blood. Numerous strands of hair and some pieces of meat stuck onto bones were stuck to his hands.
Why did it turn out this way? He had asked himself that question many times before.
He hesitated. The time to find excuses had passed. It was time to act.
He heard the tiny question through the gap in the air and moved his gaze away from his hands. He couldn't find the clue to act from the drying blood. This blood was only the source of unhappiness.
He lifted his gaze and confirmed the place he was in. It was a whitewashed room. Very dull. All kinds of machines surrounded the operation table. The source of light on the ceiling that illuminated everything made the whiteness of the room paler.
A tied-up girl lay on the operation table. Her naked, transparent body hid nothing under the strong light, but her expression held no shame.
"Why? Just why...........?"
He continued talking to himself as he looked at his fallen colleague. They were in different departments and he only knew of their faces. They worked in different departments for the same purpose. That was the relationship between them. Perhaps that explained why he wasn't as shocked as he imagined even though he was looking at the corpse with a head shattered by him. He only noticed that a feeling of being at a loss lurked in some corner of his consciousness. He used the robe the corpse was wearing to wipe his bloody hands.
"Why did you do that?"
There were three corpses. All three had their heads shattered and all three wore robes. He wiped his hands, stripped off one of the clearer white robes from a corpse and began untying the ropes bounding the girl to the operation table.
"To repay you for saving me. That's probably the reason."
The girl left the operation table. The feet linking to her small legs were naked. Unfortunately, none of the shoes of the people on the floor suited her size, and he had not the spare time to look for other shoes. He let her wear the robe. Though he couldn't hide her, it was better than running around with a naked girl.
"May I ask what we do next?"
The girl shook her long black hair and looked at him with equally black eyes. Her gaze made him swallow.
"Escape. There's no other choice," he said.
Ailen tossed away the image floating up in his brain and observed the girl's reaction. Beneath the long black hair was a small face. Dark eyes that gave people a feeling of being at a loss. Tightly closed lips and a small neck. Underneath the robe, a body that was slightly distant from the meaning of the term: gender.......
He closed his eyes and thought for a moment. What meaning did it hold for the present to keep looking at her?
"What to do?"
No response. The girl cared nothing for him. He asked again.
"Are you staying here or escaping with me?"
"I don't want to leave."
He looked at her again and saw her nodded expressionlessly.
"But I don't want to be destroyed."
"Then let's go."
He stiffened when he was about to hold her hand. The two of them stared at his hand. His left hand........ He tightly held onto his blood-stained hand. A hand that couldn't be cleaned. Wondering when he had become left-handed, he turned around and evaded the girl's gaze, evaded the operation table that he was so familiar with, moving his gaze away from them.
The time for goodbye was passed. But it seemed to have grasped hold of this timing as he pondered and reached out to press the door button.
"Right, your name. I haven't asked for it. I'm Ailen."
"......... I'm Saya."
He opened the door. The situation outside was in an emergency. The siren was ringing shrilly. The sound of numerous footsteps was closing in. They were his former colleagues who held weapons. Probably colleagues whose faces he hadn't even seen. They weren't even as close to him as the other three he had just killed.
Colleagues whose faces he knew, who had communicated with him were all gone.
The reason to stay, the reason to tolerate, the purpose here. Perhaps he had already lost it.
That was why he did this.
"Then let's go."
But he would lose the reason to stay, the reason to tolerate, the purpose to keep moving. Where was he to go now that he had lost it all?
Ailen passed through the door, putting aside the question and his feeling. He had no weapon with him. As he was being imprisoned, he was not allowed to carry a weapon.
"Anyway, I'll figure it out," he said so the girl behind him wouldn't feel uneasy. He deliberately chose to walk in the direction of the footsteps.
There must be a way. This was what he felt. His confidence did not come from his body that had undertaken many flesh-strengthening operations. Many of the guards heading for him had also undertaken the same operation.
The Alchemists had created this sealed off world. Though they were dead, the institution of current Alchemists had inherited their techniques and was maintaining the reality of this country while continuing the mad twisting of their making.
Flesh-strengthening was one of their inherited techniques. Who knew whether it was to resist the mad twisting or that it was simply for the sake of war. Either way, they had not held back and had operated on the soldiers for those two purposes.
Operations that could make the bodies of humans into super-humans.
"Ah," she replied, not at all uneasy.
Ailen stood before her. A group of guards holding guns were before them. Ignoring their warning, Ailen increased his speed.
He ran as they pulled their triggers. In a split second, numerous bullets filled his vision.
He slowly waved away the bullets with his left hand and was surprised to see the bullets conquering the passage.
(I can actually see the bullets?)
He waved them away, waving away the high speed metal with a flesh and blood body. Though the operations had strengthened his reflexive nerves and physique, it shouldn't be enough to make him see high speed bullets and deflect them with his arm.
Even he himself couldn't believe the result of his causal movements.
(Really. Just what am I now?)
He smiled mockingly at his own changes as he kept moving forward. His opponents were slightly shaken but they were still underestimating him as he was bare-handed. The guards blocked off the passage and lifted their guns. There were no other obstructions. They didn't know how to react to Ailen's action and could only fall under his fists.
Ailen beat up all the guards. His right hand hammered into a jaw and broke it. His left hand struck a body and shattered the organs.
(The right eye and left arm.........)
It appeared those two parts of his body had changed. His vision swayed left and right when he moved so sometimes he missed his target. And the strength between his left and right hand was palpable. If he attacked with his left arm, all the muscles of his entire body groan for having to support his strength.
"Seems I've to avoid combat fight."
He checked the guards' weapons while tolerating the pain of his body.
Though he knew it was useless pulling the trigger as the gun was not reacting, he still wanted to curse. The weapons given for the soldiers could only be used with the correct DNA and or the correct badge.
Perhaps Ailen's DNA file had been deleted when they found out he had betrayed them. Not that he couldn't unlock the weapon but he hadn't the time. The useless weapon was worthless, so he left the weapon of his dead colleague and kept moving forward.
"Please use them."
The voice came from behind. He turned around and saw Saya holding out two guns.
Obviously, they were the guards' weapons. The body of the gun was too long and the gun barrel was unfamiliar to him.
"Are these yours.........?"
They definitely weren't the guards' weapons. They didn't have the brand name and manufacturing number. The only answer was that they were the girl's but where was she hiding them? She was naked beneath the white robe.
"Since I decided to follow you, everything belongs to you."
It was hard to acknowledge her answer but it was true that he couldn't ignore the weapons in her hands. Ailen took the guns and felt them. He confirmed their weight in his hands and kept walking.
The sound of bare feet followed.
The sound of numerous feet once more came to him from before him.
"In that case, I'll protect you. We'll escape and figure out how to survive. That's the contract between us," he said in a low voice. Power was in his voice. The time of hesitating had passed. The time for deciding had passed. He ended the goodbye ceremony. Situated in the present action, he clearly felt the ray of hope that would come after this event.
He was to protect the girl behind him and escape the facility.
"Farewell, the plan."
He said to the guards round the corner and pulled the triggers.
The tragic escape of the two began, led by the flames of the guns.
The polar lights surrounded the darkness.
"Are you all right?" she asked faintly.
"Yeah," Ailen pressed down the roughness of his voice.
Roads stretched away from where he lay. Sandwiching the roads were fertile lands. The green grass dominated this place, rippling like the surface of a sea under the night wind as it reflected the light of the night.
"At least they failed to catch up."
It had been two days since they escaped the facility. Their pursuers had only chased after them for a day. They had taken over a car of their pursuers' and changed into a new car that they stole from a farmstead, escaping on it. As the car wasn't in good condition, it broke down at dusk. Hence, the two of them could only walk and ended up in this place.
Ailen kept his pose, lying on the ground as he confirmed the way before them was still swallowed in darkness. Not that he wanted to kill himself. He was thinking he could force a passing car to stop if luck was with him.
His body had groaned one hour ago. It was a wave of sudden, intense pain.
No. The symptoms were already there. They started when he killed the guards and escaped the facility. The symptoms had stayed with him. He had worn out his nerves for overusing his right eye, and the muscles supporting his left arm had been moaning.
He had ignored it all. Only one fight ensued after the escape. After that, he had been tolerating the pain invading his body. The pain spread as time passed. And when he thought the pain was about to disappear, this happened.
Unbearable pain conquered his entire body. Ailen had fallen. It was impossible to keep moving his body around.
Even so, he had rolled to the middle of the road and lay here till now.
"Sorry. You probably want a warm bed now."
"No. I'm fine."
The expressionless countenance hadn't changed from the time when he first met her. Saya had stolen a suit of work clothes in one of the farmsteads and now wore it. Except its size didn't suit her. She had to fold up her sleeves and pants. Dust was stuck to her transparent-like face and forehead. The black hair hanging on her back must also be dirty. He thought the feeling was like water in the facility, but in here, it was like mud.
This must be difficult for a girl who was suited to be a flower in a greenhouse.
"What a waste.........."
The pain began to turn numb. Ailen spoke with a hoarse voice as he looked at the sky. The polar lights still surrounded the sky. The seven stirring colours would probably keep on surrounding the sky of this country.
"Damn the polar lights."
Because of staring hard at the seven colours, he had overused his right eye and the pain had now cut from his brain to his waist. He covered his right eye with a hand.
Only darkness remained besides the seven colours. Legend had it that stars and moon once appeared in the night sky but Ailen had not seen the real thing. He had only seen them in a movie during the New Year.
"There aren't any stars here too," Saya said, also watching the sky.
"This area was created ten years ago. It isn't connected to the universe."
Only now did she ask the obvious question.
"Why in this area of polar lights?"
"You asked me why. Uh........"
He watched the polar lights in the light sky and remembered two days ago, plus the history lessons he took when he was young.
Because of population explosion, the amount of food and resources was not enough to support human civilization......... Ailen couldn't remember much as he wasn't serious in the lessons.
However, the plan to look for new worlds in the universe ended in failure. The peace forcibly maintained completely collapsed.
It was a war for resources. A war with a shameful name. Fighting for resources also served to reduce the population. No victors emerged, as if everyone was lining up to jump into a bottomless hole made of blood and meat. The number of injured and dead continued to rise.
The organisation of Alchemists put a stop to the war. The united countries, almost having lost their power, had called in scientists from all over the world so to invent a new technique to solve this problem.
And that was the area of the polar light – the Aurora Field.
The technique to create Akukan. It was a technique to project hypothesized space in maths into Zero Territory. To create limitless earth out of nothing. In there was new land with rich underground resources, unpolluted water and fertile soil. One could obtain a new world without any effort, a world that all countries wished for.
It was a technique that didn't sit well with people who had once attempted exploiting the universe and failed. Everyone held this technique in suspicion. But they had no room for suspect and denial it once they saw the new world. Every country raised their hands to welcome this technique. Though the supplies for the demands had reached their limit, people did not hesitate to keep striving forward, knowing a hopeful future awaited them once this difficult period had passed. Akukan were born throughout the world and Aurora Fields covered the entire world.
Aurora Fields continued to increase after the end of the difficult period. The time of poverty had turned rich. Limitless increase could create limitless resources....... In the end, Aurora Fields filled all spaces.
In a split second, the world had become a locked country.
Increasing Akukan interfered with each other, creating Zetsuen spaces. Zetsuen spaces appeared in between countries and regions. It had become impossible to move between Akukan.
Only little confused ensued. Separated families represented the confusion, but problems did not appear in other areas. Self-government took over the governance of individual Akukan. No uneasiness for lack of resources. The area of the country Ailen was in had far exceeded the totally surface area of the earth. After that, Alchemists had announced the Zetsuen spaces wouldn't be a problem if everyone used the same Aurora Field. Hence the little commotion was smoothed over till now.
"There was a plan to investigate the Zetsuen space," Ailen said, having temporarily recalled his history lessons.
"To look at the other side of the world that has been separated. This planet, this world is separated from others. So what's become of the world on the other side? Something like that. The plan was made to research on the solution for mutants. People who didn't fear death were recruited to enter the Zetsuen space of the Aurora Field."
"Did you participate?"
"Yes. I did. I had something to confirm."
A girl floated up in his mind. He shook it away and continued speaking. "That facility was made for that purpose. We were treated to strengthen our bodies so we could adapt to the Zetsuen space. We trained and got ourselves familiar with the operation and then jumped into the space."
The polar lights floated in the night sky. The edge of the Akukan. The Zero Territory that no one could sense. The Zero Territory that no one would pierce.
That was the Zetsuen Space.
"Forcibly opening the Zetsuen Space, we jumped into the Aurora Field......... The operation ended without us understanding anything."
All his colleagues had disappeared in Zetsuen space except him.
The sound of machine came from a far distance and cut off Ailen's words. The tiny light tore open a piece of darkness of the road.
"Our luck isn't so bad."
He lifted his painful body, closed his right eye and only looked at the light with his left eye. It was a bit far. It could be a car but he couldn't discern its type.
"Only a truck driver would drive in this hour. If we could hide among the cargo........"
The small voice reached his ear. His vision shook.
He had reached his limit. He just didn't realise his nerves were numb. His feet lost their strength and he lay down on the ground. Unable to react to his suddenly falling gaze, he lost his consciousness.
He had a dream about a bug.
Roll and roll and roll. A dream about a rolling bug in his body. It entered his mouth and fell through his throat into his stomach, all the way to his intestines. It was as thick as his thumb. It reached his small intestine and suddenly lifted its black head, tearing apart its front and showing a mouth full of tiny sharp teeth.
The uneasiness brushing past his back became reality.
The bug crawled in his narrow intestine and bit the wall of the intestine. It bit, twisting its mouth. Numerous sharp teeth were tearing away the wall.
"No!" he screamed but the bug couldn't understand. It continued to tear away the wall, opening a large hole in it. Ailen understood this was a dream just by the scene but the horror of being eaten bounded him instinctively.
The bug continued chewing. He thought he could hear it.
A hole, a hole the size of his thumb. The bug put its head in it and shook its head to make the hole bigger. Its body began to move through the hole. It wanted to go outside the intestine. Was it planning to break through his body?
Could it? Could it be wanting to eat from the outside? Did it want to open holes everywhere in Ailen? From the inside so he couldn't resist? It wanted to make him into a hole, a bag in the form of a human?
"No!" he shouted shrilly.
A rough voice. Ailen sat up. He was naked from waist up. He was only wearing his pants. Sweat stuck to his entire body.
Where was he?
The heat of horror faded and his heart was quickly freezing. His shoulders heaved. His lungs expanded and shrank repeatedly for air, moving so fast that his chest hurt.
Faint light illuminated his surroundings.
He was inside a car. He could see the polar lights moving in the night sky outside the small window.
And there was the sound of dull engine.
He was lying on a bed and the curtain covering the window was half pulled back, swaying. A middle-aged man stood by the window, showing his belly button. His crazy eyes that didn't fit his body watched Ailen. Seeming muscles underneath a layer of fat in the arm held a cup with rising steam.
The man's body blocked off the scenery behind him.
"It's been a day since I picked you two up. My body isn't suited to sleeping in the sofa. If you're awake, then please move away."
"Did you pick us up?"
"I wanted to ignore you but someone was being noisy."
Ailen didn't feel any hostility from his words.
"No matter how I see it, you guys are trouble, right?"
"Aa.... Yes. Thanks."
"Humph. As I thought. Anyway, just get off. Drink this and wake up."
So the cup was for Ailen. It was filled with coffee. Ailen stood up and the man took over the bed.
Facing wordless rejection, Ailen looked around.
This must be a caravan. In the middle was a table and there was a sofa on a side. Kitchen and bathroom. The man had turned the area for cargoes into his living space. Things were neat and tidy but Ailen could still see the messiness of a man living on his own.
"Morning," Saya said expressionlessly from the sofa.
"It isn't the time to say morning," he replied.
"Where did you get the clothes?"
She wasn't wearing the work clothes but a black dress that was suited for a ball.
"It was given to me."
Could it be........ That middle-aged man? From the back came very exaggerated snoring. Ailen could judge from the inside of the caravan that this was a room used by a single man but this man actually had such a hobby.......
"........ Did he do anything strange to you?"
"Hahahahaha. That's unnecessary worry."
Suddenly came a woman's carefree laughter.
From where? There was no one about. Some space in here could hide a person, but Ailen didn't see anyone else.
A cat silently jumped onto the table. A cat with black fur and blue eyes. A blue gem the same size of its eye had been transplanted to its forehead as if the cat had three eyes.
"Meow," the cat yawned.
"I gave her that dress. Don't worry, that guy has no such hobby."
The sound came from the yawning cat.
"Can it be..........."
"Aa, not that this cat has consciousness. I'm here."
The cat's forehead. Unbelievable light was reflected in the blue gem. No, the colour changed into seven colours.
Ailen's right eye caught that image and he suddenly understood.
"Are you...... in there?"
"Yes. In a land the size of a tiny cat's forehead."
"You created Akukan in such a place?"
"It's a simple technique for me. But I no longer am obliged to announce the findings of my research so no outsiders know of it."
"Thank me. I cured your body."
"What did you say........"
"Your right eye and left arm........ right?"
The cat put its head on its front paw and revealed the truth. Unable to match the two actions, Ailen didn't know what to say. His brain could understand the signals but.........
"You've been invaded by the Zetsuen space but your changes are good. And you met me. You should be thankful for such luck."
"What did you do?"
Though he was to thank her, he couldn't just honestly thank her.
This was an Alchemist. The voice came from a real Alchemist. Not a scientist in the Alchemist organisation. This Alchemist had inherited the technique to create Akukan, allowing people to enter God's realm. The country had acknowledged them and allowed them to carry on any experiment they liked no matter how immoral it was.
Why was such an important person here?
No. This question didn't matter. This person would not have cured him normally.
"The balance of your body failed to adjust to the strength in the flesh. I only fine-tuned the balance. Well, let's leave the details later. Just think of it as if you've gained a new organ."
"In that case......... Am I still human?"
"Do you still think you're human?"
He couldn't answer the cat's question.
The man's name was Dominio. The woman in the cat was named Erumi. They were a couple.
The caravan was on automatic mode. Dominio ignored Ailen and Saya. Erumi spoke no more. Saya thought nothing of the changed atmosphere and it looked like she didn't feel uncomfortable for having to sit on the sofa for an entire day.
Only Ailen and Dominio rotated to drive. Ailen drove when Dominio lay on the bed and vice versa. They decided their job through short conversation.
But he still had to obey the direction of the automatic system. He only needed to regularly check whether the caravan was heading for the right direction.
He had time to calm down and think of the changes in his body.
Erumi had said the dimension had changed. The dimension was invading and people had become mutants.......... The Zetsuen space was interfering with the rules of this country and creating problems in it. It seemed Ailen was also caught in the problems. The operation to adjust the body so it could tolerate the Zetsuen space. Had it got anything to do with it?
At least, the scientists did not possess the technique that Erumi had. They didn't even realise the changes in Ailen's body.
"Do you still think you're human?"
That question was a heavy impact for him. He felt incredulous that he could recover so quickly from that shock.
He had given up his human identity once consenting to the operation. That was why he wasn't as shocked.
Then what had happened to his body? What operation had Erumi performed on him?
She said he had an extra organ. What did that mean? He didn't feel any different.
But the change was here.
Something had appeared on his face that was reflected in the mirror. A large scar cut through his forehead, through his right eye to his face. Since the failure of the plan, he never had the chance to look in a mirror.
And another change made him believe he was no longer human.
Saya had replied when he asked about the scar.
"You already had it when I saw you there."
Right. This meant the scar was the trace left behind by the invading space. It was a result of a rule that differed from this world's, or, what didn't exist came into existence that caused the birth of this world. Its fragility had resulted in a total collapse. The rise and fall in a split second hammered at the definite existence. The invading dimension was probably caused by those two situations.
Either way, he was no longer human.
He had given up his human identity through the operation and he had been invaded by the strange dimension.
So gaining a new organ wasn't anything shocking.
(Besides, I've promised.)
To help Saya escape and live a normal life.
If they were to live peacefully in this country, they needed citizenship. It was best to get the citizenship of the Middle Management but that was difficult. On the contrary, it was easier to obtain fake citizenship of a city.
(We need money..........)
It was hard without money whether to live a better life or to make fake citizenship.
Right. What about Ailen's citizenship? He couldn't show himself in governmental buildings. It would be bad if he became a criminal. He could only ask Dominio once they reached a city.
The cat said as Ailen pondered.
"We're about to reach the next city."
"Yes, at dusk," he confirmed with the screen and nodded.
"I've prepared your clothes. Just wear it. You can't run around in those clothes."
He was wearing the military uniform.
"You'll get exposed fast with this look."
The cat jumped down from the seat beside the driver's and led Ailen to the living space.
"When did you prepare it?"
"Inside the cat's forehead."
Meow. The cat made a noise. Just how large a space was inside the gem in that forehead.......... What a crazy thought. He shook his head. Don't think about it.
Saya was still sitting in the sofa. Clothes had been laid out on the table.
A black suit and a black cape.
"..... Such bad taste."
"This look is the most convenient considering the job I'm about to recommend for you."
"Compared to that, look at this."
The cat used its paw to hook out something amidst the clothes.
"My eye's bad."
"Very bad. Your eye is too ferocious."
The cat looked at him. The two blue eyes and the gem that changed colours seemed to pierce through Ailen.
They were looking at his right eye.