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Lied: Chapter 3 – Architect of Destiny
Story and Translation: Mitsuaki Seiji
A wide space. In the middle, a majestic and big tree that reaches the infinite roof. And looking at it in the distance, a curious girl.
Naomi walks towards the “mast of nature”. The lass glimpses a child in his 8 years leaning against the tree.
"Hey… why are you alone?", Naomi asks.
The boy, with crimson hair, doesn’t react to the approach. It’s like she wasn’t there, in body and spirit.
"Oh, sorry. It's obvious why. You... don’t have anyone else... just like me..."
A soft breeze stirs the red curls of the little loner, who raises his head to seemingly smile at Naomi's head. The boy immediately rises from the ground, an action that catches Naomi by surprise, and begins to run wildly to the horizon filled with nothing.
"Where… are you going…?"
A meaningless question, Naomi thought. He doesn’t know where he's going... or where he should go. He was just… running away. Running away from the loneliness. Just like her…
Suddenly the wind became stronger. The leaves of the tree fluttered in a single burst like Naomi's long hair, who occasionally shut her eyes to evade dust or anything that might come in. She reopened them, her eyebrows brimming with amazement. The child continued to run, against everything and everyone, against the wind and fear, against loneliness and sadness. Always... moving forward.
Out of nowhere a female figure appeared beside him, coming along in his dash. Soon after a male popped up, joining them. But it didn’t stop here. Slowly, and as he grew in height and age, more and more people crowded around him.
He… wasn’t alone anymore.
Naomi smiled faintly, glad for the man's deed, who was once merely a dinky goldfinch that wouldn’t fly even with wings. However, and until a certain stop on his course, he stalled, just like a machine that broke down and lost its purpose. The human shapes that followed him went out of sight, one by one.
The last shape to leave his side, the female that first tagged along, tried to approach the bucko to tell him something but gave up. And so he was left alone.
Naomi walked towards the male, now in his twenties, hoping to see in that mug the same smile that took him to overcome all the past adversities.
But it couldn’t be seen. Only one facet of despair exists.
Naomi wakes up from the slumber.
"This time, it was a very different dream."
The girl had similar dreams before, with people she never saw in her life, but lately they have happened more often.
“I wonder why?”, Naomi thought.
In case I haven’t introduced myself properly yet, my name is Naomi Setsuko, I am 16 years old and I study at a local school in this giant asian island called Ganeden.
I'm not a brilliant student, although my mother always said that I had the ability to do more and better.
Ah, about my parents, my mother passed away from a chronic illness 3 years ago and I didn’t get to know my father since he died when I still couldn’t speak.
With that being said, my closest relatives and my friends never made me feel alone.
Well, this last part is a lie.
Even though I look and sound very cheerful and lively, the truth is that every day for me passes slowly.
I don’t have suicidal thoughts, but I admit that I would like my life to change in an extreme way.
Or at least, I would like to find someone who would end this deep loneliness.
Naomi sighed, rolling over in bed.
She remembered Lied. How could he be after “that”…?
In the local police station two detectives, one just 17 years old and another with the age to be his father, chat freely.
"Susumu, how is school?", the old man named Tatsuo asks while sitting in his chair.
The younger one with bluish hair called Susumu is looking at some papers.
"Hm... if it's very difficult to balance both jobs, you can always take a break..."
"No, I’m okay."
The young agent worked as part-time police investigator.
"Thanks, but you don’t need to worry, Dad."
Susumu notes on the desk a recent report with only four days.
"Ah, the accident from four days ago. Two people died. The only survivor, the son, is still missing."
"Well… maybe a little", Susumu says while attentively looking at the picture of Lied, the sole survivor of the massacre.
Late afternoon. Classes are over today and crowds of students are leaving, some accompanied by friends or family.
Naomi, with her half-false smile, comes out with colleagues.
Susumu, who decided to investigate the case on his own, goes to the school, stopping at the entrance. Looks at Lied’s report photo.
"So this is his school... what a coincidence."
Curiously, Susumu also attended that same school.
The female students leaving the establishment compliment the handsome detective (some recognizing him as a student), who at the entrance asks if any of the students knows the boy in the photo.
"He's not very popular, huh... I better ask some of the teachers."
One of the girls fixes her gaze on Susumu. As he prepares to question the doorman, Naomi approaches him somewhat fearfully.
"Um... my name is Naomi and this boy... I know him."
Susumu stares at Naomi, showing his ID card.
"I’m Susumu, a detective and by chance also a student of this school. A week has passed since he disappeared. No living relatives are known, so it has been difficult to get hints that might lead us to his whereabouts..."
The direct approach was making Naomi dizzy. She regretted beginning this conversation.
"So, being the only one that knows him, I'd like to know if you have any information you can provide us."
Naomi only hears as memories from four days ago were coming to mind: the dead parents reuniting with Lied who shed the tears he had been holding for so long.
And an even more recent memory, after that day, when Naomi visited the park hoping to find Lied as usual... but he never went there again.
"I’m sorry, but I don’t know anything", Naomi lied, wanting to avoid saying the little she knew.
Susumu lamented the lack of luck.
"I see. Either way, if you find out something, please contact us."
He gave a police contact card and left without trying to question anyone else.
Naomi believed that the right thing to do, and the best way to help Lied, would be to confront the detective, but regretted it at the last minute when she realized she might be putting him in even more trouble.
Regretful, the girl was only thinking now of going home and relaxing her mind of the disorder that infests it.
As she walked home, Naomi glimpses someone familiar to her.
A boy in his 12 years, reddish hair and eyes, briefly watches her before running away.
"Wait!", Naomi screams and goes after him.
Lied has no idea how many days he slept. He felt his head hurting, maybe because of being all this time lost in sleep.
Stood up and sat on the bed of a small, unknown room. Was it the "white hooded" that brought him there after the boy fell asleep?
He noticed on the bedside table an apple, probably left by him. How ironic!
The boy was actually hungry, pretty normal after so many days without eating. But that apple didn’t only instigate hunger; it also reminded him of the golden apple he always sees in his dreams.
The image of the majestic apple brought other memories, all chronologically linked: the confrontation with the assassin, the encounter with the "mysterious woman”, the reunion with his parents and finally the white hooded and the question he had left for Lied to answer.
"I…", Lied was saying, already mentally aware of what he’s willing to do.
Decision taken, he departs to confront his destiny.
Susumu moves to the "scene of the accident", the place the lad believes to hold evidence to confirm his suspicions.
The boy noticed Naomi's irresolute expression, she was definitely hiding something from him. Later he would have to confront her again and ask.
After visiting the school, there's only one place left to investigate... Susumu moves to the "scene of the accident", the lad believes it holds evidence that confirm his suspicions.
Danger tapes to signal not to enter were seen all over the front of the house, the front door undone. Susumu knew that the place had already been reviewed and that nothing relevant was found.
"I'll have to do it this way."
Susumu places his left hand on the outer wall of the house and closes his eyes in order to concentrate. In his mind watched clear images, in slides, of the events of that afternoon.
The compartment burning, Lied confronting a man with long black hair and being raised in the air by something invisible, the smile of the second and the fainting of the first.
A figure soon after appears unexpectedly behind Susumu, surprising the detective.
"A second person wasn’t expected.", the guy said in an irreverent tone.
When Susumu turned his back he was no longer there, having reappeared inside the house.
The detective rushed inside, opening wide the door (which was already fragile).
Susumu drew the pistol his father gave him, though he’s only allowed to use it in extreme cases, and holding it with both hands pointed at the suspect.
Coincidence or not, this young man with a coat, wavy black hair and in his early twenties, was dressed in the same color pattern, gold and black, of the man he just saw in the visions.
"Who are you?!"
The mysterious sat on the steps of the house.
"What?!", Susumu exclaims as someone's shadow lurks in the door knocked over earlier by the detective.
"Looks like Zechariah was right.", says as he stares at the newcomer.
"'He will definitely return... to the place where it all happened.'", quoted the person named Zechariah…
Lied, with a bold expression and a calm tone, associates the individual quoted:
"This 'Zechariah'... is the other one?", referring to the killer...
Lied was right next to Susumu, who looked at him surprised and had, meanwhile, lowered his pistol.
The gears of fate begin to move...