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Lied: Chapter 4 – The Adam’s Apple

Story and TranslationMitsuaki Seiji

Illustration: Ana Paula Peixoto

 

In search of the truth, the two boys come face-to-face with the same individual, who holds the answers they’re looking for!

The mysterious responds vaguely to Lied. It isn’t his intention to tell him what he wants to know.

Lied, unexpectedly very serene, notices the same tattoo he saw in the eye of the "other" in the palm of this man's right hand. The two are clearly companions, united by the same symbol and supposedly by the same cause.

Susumu stares at the missing boy, associating his face with that of the photograph in the report. He’s clearly Lied, the only survivor of the double murder - the truth he just confirmed with his “vision”.

"You are...!"

Lied turns his head to Susumu. It didn’t take long for him to realize who he was, or what he was looking for.

"I see you have several questions to ask me."

The sudden approach of Lied surprises Susumu, who's still relatively confused.

"I’ll answer them, but for now…"

Lied has a determined gaze that points at the unknown man.

"Wait until I'm done here."

Susumu looks straight ahead.

To his mind comes that afternoonthe house burning, Lied’s parents in their final sigh and the boy himself being targeted by the murderer.

Susumu takes a step forward and smiles. He wouldn’t let something similar happen again.

"I don’t want to wait too long."

The two confront the same enemy. Lied understands that it is Susumu's intention to assist him, an aid to which he would be indifferent.

"Do as you wish."

The purple-eyed man closely followed their conversation. The conclusion the two took surprised him slightly, though his bored face didn’t reflect that.

"You must have already noticed, right? It isn’t our intention that you die."

The intervention captured the immediate attention of the pair.

"If so, then you wouldn’t be alive at this very moment, since you would also have died that day, isn’t it true?"

The plea is undeniable as the man named Zechariah clearly spared Lied that day, unlike his parents...

"Then…", Susumu was saying before being interrupted by Lied.

"Then... what do you want? For what reason did you leave me alive? Me... and just me?"

"A reason, huh…"

The man got up from the steps where he sat. Looked at them, his main focus being Lied.

"Destiny is reserved... for those who are chosen. And you are…", paused for a moment.

Like what happened before, when he "teleported" into the house, the man moved again at a superhuman speed, this time to stand right in front of Lied. Both eyes met.

"One of the select ones."

At that moment Susumu sensed the hostile intentions of the enemy, who had Lied as his main target. He made use in the blink of an eye of his pistol, believing for a second that he got naturally shot, so little was the distance between them. That wasn’t the case.

Somehow, the man in the black jacket avoided the bullet in an indescribable move. Soon after, and before the young detective could notice, he's gone…

Where did he go?!”, Susumu thought.

Lied seemed to be fine, but strangely didn’t move.

"Hey! What's up?! Say something!"

Susumu tried to “wake him up”, but in vain.

Just like his father taught him to do in critical moments of great tension, he took a deep breath and analyzed the situation to choose the next best step.

The suspect disappeared suddenly, leaving no tracks, and Lied was right in front of him, though in an immobilized state. Yes, Susumu's top priority, whom he was always looking for, is Lied, the missing boy. And as such, he should be his focus.

He didn’t know if the man would return, and to secure the protection of Lied and himself, it was better to ask for reinforcements.

 

...

 

A spacious and black dimension. A basket at the center. Lied looked around, naturally recognizing the place.

"This place is... from my dreams...!"

A scenario that he had witnessed several times during his dreams, mostly tenebrous.

"But why? I'm not dreaming right now..."

"That's because this place isn’t something created by your daydreams. It does exist in reality."

The one speaking is the man who until recently was confronting Lied and Susumu. And now there he was, within the space that only Lied was supposed to be able to enter.

"You...! How?!"

Apparently, the male managed to penetrate a barrier that went far beyond physics.

"This space is... your 'soul'. The physical part of the spirit."

"Soul? Spirit?"

That explanation made little or no sense to Lied, who still wondered how he'd gotten in there.

"In other words, your consciousness. Your own mind."

"My… mind…?", Lied murmured, vague about so much new information.

The man began to walk slowly to the basket in which lays the unique red apple, icon of his dreams.

"What are you going to do?!"

Before he could place his hand on the apple, it began to glow. At once small pointed roots started growing out of the basket.

Noticing the immediate reaction, the man understands... that he wasn’t allowed to touch the apple. Faced with the threat, and without hesitation, preferred not to move forward with his action.

He turned to Lied.

"As I expected, it looks like... I'm not welcome here."

 

...

 

5 minutes passed.

Susumu had been informed that his father was busy with other matters, so he couldn’t come here immediately. Having said that, the reinforcements were guaranteed to him, and that’s what matters.

Unexpectedly the man rises from “inside” Lied, levitating in a “spiritual transition”. He stops slightly in front of them.

Like the man, Lied also returns and awakens from his inertia.

T-They came back!”, Susumu thought.

The detective didn’t understand the situation. Not only Lied had begun to move again, but the individual also returned. But... from exactly where?

"Hey! Are you okay?!", Susumu asks Lied.

The mysterious fellow stared at them from the staircase. Noises from the sirens of police cars began to be heard - the signal that Susumu's reinforcements were about to arrive.

Here they are!”, the boy thought, not taking his eyes off the current situation.

Lied stepped forward.

"Who… and what… are you?"

"The name is... Varius. About what I am... yes..."

The man, who also felt the approach of third parties, ends:

"One of the chosen ones."

That said he disappeared... without a trace. After the farewell, the reinforcements arrived, relatively late. Lied would be taken into custody.

Before leaving the house, Susumu noticed the bullet of his shot pierced on the wall. It really didn’t hit its target...

 

...

 

Late afternoon. The sun was closing as the remaining students of the local Ganeden school were going home. Dogs bark, birds sing, cats meow.

And in the Town Hall building, in a closed room little used by its employees, a group of “chosen ones” make their collective appearance. Each one of them, without exception, has a role in this story to fulfill... thus fate dictated.

"Hey, wasn’t there a “cooler” place to have our meetings? This room is filled with dust! Not fun at all!", a childish voice speaks.

"If you are unhappy, then go find yourself a new place. Why did he also had to come... he will only disturb us...", a feminine and bored voice replies.

"I'm going to what?! Say it again!!"

"Now, now, you two, calm down.", a thick masculine tone of voice.

"Aaaaaaah, how much noise! YOU ALL, SHUT THE HELL UP!", a masculine and ordinary tone of voice.

In the midst of so much commotion the door of the room opens, revealing a new face.

"Oh, Varius. So, how did it go? Your 'recon'."

The man with the thickest voice asks the newcomer with a smile on his face.

"Hey! What took you so long?!", the grumpy man complains.

"I confirmed the presence of the Adam's Apple, however, as we imagined, it’s untouchable, at least for the moment."

Varius, 24 years old, reports at the same time he ignores the other mate’s complaints.

"I see. So that’s really how it is."

The owner of the thick voice, Zechariah, 36 years old, isn’t surprised by the outcome.

Varius moves to the upper left corner of the long wooden table, where he sits down and joins the rest of his companions. Finally all five were together. The same pattern of colors (yellow and black) of each one's robes made a pleasant impression.

"Tch. Untouchable? You can’t say that without really trying!"

The pissed off Martyr, 25 years old and with his left foot on the table, can’t accept the conclusion.

Usually easy to annoy, he has another one of his “attacks” - stands up and goes around to the other corner of the table. There, the man lies almost entirely on top of it.

"The apple is right in front of us. It's perfectly touchable!"

Martyr tried to persuade them, never concealing his own greed, one that shows up without him even realizing it at times.

Core, 16 years old, who has a book on the table (she reads a lot), cannot help but be bothered by his attitude, mainly because Martyr is stepping on her own book.

Since she’s a very quiet and reserved girl, Core doesn’t stress with these occasionalities. Although she can feel uneasy, Core never exposes her discontent to the others. This would be one of those times.

"Um… you’re crushing the book."

She looked at Martyr without much life.

"Bahahaha! That’s good, stomp on it!", the little devil Nemo, 12 years old, encouraged.

"Shut up, you stupid child."

"Child?! As if you were much older than me! In 4 years, I'll be the same age as you! Hahaha!", Nemo tried to replicate with his distorted logic...

Core sighs, not wanting to believe in the stupidity of that being.

"What an idiot", the girl whispers, albeit in a volume they could hear.

Next to Core, Zechariah, who was in the midst of a conversation between the men of the group, turns away to intervene in the discussion among the younger ones.

"Look, Nemo, when you're 4 years older, Core will also be 4 years older. In the end, you will always be younger than her. That's how it works.", the veteran enlightens with his gentle, mature smile.

"Eh? EEEEEEEH?!"

This info catches Nemo unprepared and saddens him. A revelation that beats him down until the end of the chapter. Martyr was getting even more ill-disposed and intolerant...

"Silence! Hey, Zechariah!"

Opportunely, Core manages to pull the book from the sole of Martyr's footwear as he moves it away. She cleans it slightly and immediately resumes her reading.

Zechariah turns his attention back to the subject.

"There’s nothing we can do for now, Martyr. It isn’t just about the issue of the 'obstruction within' Lied, the leader also told us to wait for the development of his spirit. That’s where our present work comes in: nurturing that growth. And that's all we should focus on."

Varius listened, adding nothing to Zechariah's statement. The reality infuriates but Martyr has to accept it, after all that was the order of the superior...

The blond, less tense, comes down quietly from the table and, instead of returning to his seat, leaves the room. No one says anything, the silence prevailing. The only considerable reaction was that of Varius, who fixedly continued to stare at Martyr before he left.

Martyr closes the door and leans over to it. Raises his head slightly - a convicted treacherous smile. A contained and unwavering thirst for blood resounded. For a moment, the iris of his eyes took a demonic shape, matching the look on his face.

Exactly like... a snake.

Destiny has already selected its chosen ones. And now, at this precise moment, each chosen one walks its reserved path.

What each path leads to, that’s something only time will tell. But one thing is certain... That time... has already begun to pass.