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Lied: Chapter 6 – Fortune of the Chosen
Story and Translation: Mitsuaki Seiji
Illustration: Ana Paula Peixoto
They finally meet...!
Core is carefully examining Naomi - the uniform indicated that she was also a student at the school in which Core infiltrated.
Because she doesn’t care about the others (didn’t even memorize the names of the teachers), Core can't recognize her face.
A small, significant detail caught the attention of the girl, who stared at Naomi more strangely.
"You... can see?"
"If I... can see...? Ah...!"
Now that she remembered, the other times Naomi pursued the boy and asked for guidance the people didn’t seem to know exactly who she was talking about.
So that’s what it was… It's not as if he passed by without them noticing, they were just unable to see him.
Iduma, whose cross on his chest was continually swaying, interrupted them:
"Aaaaaah... just when we finally met..."
He sighed and jumped onto a wall.
"Sorry, but if I take much longer Xanthus will be mad at me!! And then, if Xanthus gets upset he tells Didagus, and if Didagus gets irritated, it’s over for me...!"
Naomi was still trying to read Iduma's personality while Core is caught by surprise with the mention of the names.
"Xanthus and Didagus... Could you be one of them?!"
Iduma pretends not to hear Core and gets ready to leave.
"Oh, but don’t worry. We’ll see each other again… for sure."
"Wait!", Core still screamed, but didn’t feel ready for another pursuit.
"He’s gone... again…"
Naomi is disappointed that she wasn’t really able to speak to the child, but that was all.
Feelings like sorrow or regret didn’t exist; only the joy of being able to take a step forward in the life that she wants to live from now on existed. Somehow, Naomi felt like she matured throughout the day.
Core glanced at Naomi.
“So the people from here can also…”, thought as she turns her back on Naomi.
Core couldn’t stay there any longer as her comrades were waiting.
"Ah...! Where are you going...?"
Core keeps walking.
"None of your business."
"But... I still have questions to ask you!"
At that moment the blue-haired girl realized that she couldn’t just get out of there now.
Although Core’s true identity wasn’t discovered, the fact that her abilities were witnessed by another person could, in some way, compromise all the discretion. For the first time in her life, Core felt the need to have Nemo standing next to her, in the face of what she was about to do.
Backed away and started walking slowly towards Naomi. Core touched the girl’s chest with her thumb.
However… the reaction wasn’t as expected.
Both Naomi and Core suffered the same symptoms - the chest throbbed in the exact second the physical contact was made. Their heads began to spin.
In both minds, the same compilation of images passed: perfectly compiled flashes of a young girl with turquoise hair.
After reaching the "album’s end", a mental blackout temporarily collapsed them.
The two recovered superficially from the collapse. Core, shaken, withdraws, leaving Naomi alone.
"W-Wait...!", Naomi still tried to call her back, but in vain.
What… was that…?
In another distant alley, two charismatic figures exchange impressions. The eldest, in a white hood and robe, scolds the younger.
"Are you really aware of what we came here to do? Do you want to spoil everything with your silly games?"
"Eeeeeeh?! You're being unfair, Xanthus! I mean, this time I came back in time! And a little bit of "recon" doesn’t do any harm either, or does it...?"
The white hooded man named Xanthus turns his back to Iduma.
"Our target was already recognized before we even came. Iduma, don’t act recklessly again. Otherwise..."
The boy's expression worsened as he was confronted with the “possible consequence”.
"Yes, I’ll tell Didagus."
"No, please! Anything but that!"
"Then we are clear. And I still think you should wear a hood like me. A matter of discretion."
"Bahahahaha! Sorry, that’s not my style! And if it’s to be discreet, then I can just activate my spiritual form. That way no one sees me, right?"
Xanthus sighs at his argument.
"That’s a bad habit of yours."
The man moved slowly away from Iduma.
"But Xanthus, ya too have been having some fun on the sly, haven’t you? Is this also part? Of our mission, I mean...?"
Iduma’s irony hit Xanthus. So he saw him meeting Lied.
"That was me keeping a promise from long ago, which I also consider my duty. But I'm still in the middle of it... One last thing remains to be done."
Xanthus prepares to leave the alley.
Iduma, smiling, looks at his back.
"And that's what you're going to do now, isn’t it? Finish that “promise”."
Xanthus looks at Iduma sideways.
"Remember: they’re already on the move. Don’t let your guard down, Iduma."
The lad with crimson hair turns away, his confident smile intensifies.
"Worry about yourself, because with me – the great Iduma -, you don’t need to worry about."
The two leave at the same time, each going to different places to fulfill their own duties.
Susumu, almost a vagabond in the streets of Ganeden, wanders without a predefined destination.
In his head tries to gather the “pieces of the puzzle”, but he can’t arrive at a coherent ilation.
The two men clearly compatriots; the murder of Lied's foster parents; the bullet that inexplicably pierced the body of Varius and the wall of the house as well. And finally the last piece, the center of everything: Lied.
None of these pieces wanted to fit into the detective's mental puzzle.
Susumu already has investigation experience, having collaborated in the solution of many complex cases, but for the first time he cannot draw any conclusions.
Nothing… made sense.
Nevertheless he has to keep continue investigating, at stake was the truth behind the death of people and the destruction of the lives of others.
Justice had to be done, someone has to do it.
"I think you should really get some rest... from everything.", athick male voice speaks within him.
In an instant Susumu, or his mental body, is transposed into a dark scenario.
In front of him, a silhouette rises in the darkness. From the feet that can’t be seen, what seems to be chains arise.
These chains unfold and disperse before the youthful detective.
"Ah, but don’t worry. I can take care of the case for you."
Susumu lets out a smile.
"You never give up, do you?"
"Me? Give up? You're the one who needs to give up. Take a good look at yourself: on the outside you may seem perfectly fine, but the truth is that you are completely finished, to the point of collapsing at any moment."
"I appreciate your 'concern', but I already said a thousand times: I won’t rest until I fulfill my duty."
The detective glares sharply at the shadow, or the “Chains Man”, as Susumu normally calls him.
"It's difficult, it's tiring, it's painful. I can’t deny that I feel near my limit several times, or even beyond it. But you know...?"
The determination in Susumu's eyes is more than remarkable and the silhouette acknowledges such vigor.
"Nobody said it wasn’t going to be difficult, tiring and painful. And they didn’t have to say, because it’s obvious… That's the price to pay for something bigger. Fighting injustice and defending justice... For the defense of these values, I’m willing to sacrifice even my life."
The aura of the shadow becomes more intense, as if his mood had become more serious.
"“Justice”, huh...? It's ironic, that obsession with something that doesn’t exist. Neither in this nor in the other world..."
The figure delicately stares at Susumu.
"Well, no matter what I say, your vision won’t change. It didn’t change before, and won’t change now."
While looking at the boy the silhouette idealizes its younger version, as a child.
The man remembers one of the conversations he had with him.
The little Susumu, 10 years old, eagerly studies in his room when he’s interrupted again...
"Why do you try harder than you need? What you already studied is more than enough to get the best grades from the class, no, from the school."
The kid, innocent but unshakable, replies:
"Because it isn’t enough. Being the best here isn’t enough. I need to try harder... if I want to protect it."
"Justice. It’s... something very big and difficult to protect!"
The Chains Man’s voice tickens as he makes a chilling statement.
"Boy, this "justice" you speak of doesn’t exist. I can guarantee you…"
The shadow expected now a stubborn response, the kind of reply one would expect from an insistent, immature child.
"So what if it doesn’t exist? I’m just going to create it with my own strength!"
Didn’t know if he should laugh or cry at that boy's naivety.
He decided to just smile and confess... his admiration for such simple and absolute conviction.
Returning to the present…
The Chains Man’s smile opens up when he reminds Susumu of an agreement made between the two, around the same time.
"Anyway, you haven’t forgotten, have you? Of our 'agreement'."
Susumu's smiling expression widens.
"Of course not… When I come across a case that I cannot solve, even after giving my all, I’ll let you assume in that exact moment."
Before creeping back into the immense darkness, the silhouette still whispers:
"Eh... it’s good that you never forget."
This was another tragedy, just as inevitable...
Susumu returns to himself; he kept the same bold smile on his face.
He won’t fail... failure isn’t an option. As always the detective would perfectly complete his puzzles..
"Well… time to continue working."
Susumu continues with his investigation, which would make him partake in another destined meeting…
Lied, who quietly left the police station, is looking for the white hooded.
He was just passing by the school, a building that once caused him a lot of stress and boredom.
Would he go back to it? Sincerely hopes he doesn't.
Lied wondered if Susumu already realized that he escaped. If that’s the case, he needs to rush.
"Aren’t you in a hurry...? Late for the party? Or is there someone you really want to find?", a male and cheeky voice sounded through the cherry trees.
As Lied swore it was coming from the trees, the voice seemed to be echoing in his mind.
Was he finally going crazy...?
"Calm down, I'm not a figment of your imagination. Simply explaining, I’m communicating with you through your mind. I just can’t guarantee that I’m too far from you..."
It made sense.
The fact that the voice seemed to echo from the cherry trees was an indication that the emitter was near him, the receptor. The question is: exactly where?
"Who are you?! Show yourself!"
The man laughed at Lied's anxiety.
"Eh, chill. It's not like you really have someone waiting for you, so let's talk a bit."
Not long ago, Lied would have properly replied.
Now he feels like he’s able to control his emotions and cool when the situation requires. This was also an "ability" granted by the mysterious woman, or rather by the meeting of the two, which brought harmony to the spirit.
But if the man knew of their death, then that could only mean one thing.
"You are one of “them”?!"
"Haha, bingo! You do have a quick reasoning, too bad it alone wasn’t enough... to avoid their deaths!"
At once Lied began to run wildly around the place. Anyone would think he was crazy, but his action intended to locate the source of the sound.
"Hahaha, rudimentary methods won’t help you. Don’t listen, instead, feel. Come on, I know you can do it!"
He hated it, but seeing that his method wasn’t working Lied decided to follow the instruction of the man.
Don’t listen, instead, feel? How the hell was he supposed to do that?
Instinctively the lad was able to perform the task whose execution he didn’t understand a second ago. How exactly, don’t ask him. It was all by mere instinct.
Lied could feel the energy that the voice expelled and through it determine the location of the person behind the mental communication.
"Oh! See? I knew you could do it! Now... come and get me!"
He didn’t think twice — the hooded man could wait.
At full speed the teen ran towards the source of the voice.
Naomi still feels dizzy from the clash between her and Core.
She doesn’t understand what happened between the two to suffer from such a rebound. But Naomi wasn’t the only victim, the other girl seemed to be in a worse state.
And that woman she saw in the “movie of her head”... who was it?
Anyway, Naomi recognized positive changes in herself.
The lucidity with which she thought and the harmony she felt... And all thanks to the encounter with the child of her dreams.
Although she isn’t sure of who he was or what he represented to her, at least Naomi managed to meet him.
A cheerful smile formed.
That alone was already a fulfillment. A step forward towards the future.
The smile would dissipate as she watches Lied run down the street. She hasn’t seen him since that day. Incredible how so much happened since then.
What about Lied…? Perhaps his wounds healed, at least a little?
She had to ask him. Lied, too, was an important coincidence in her life.
Susumu didn’t know where to go.
The enemy faction and its members… he knew nothing about it.
Susumu only has the mental picture of the man he confronted, and in this portrait stands out the tattoo of a pyramid and an eye at its center in the man’s hand.
Despite the lack of clues that could lead him to the criminals, he still pursued the truth with his intuition.
Susumu saw a familiar figure running in the distance.
"That’s… it couldn’t be…?!"
Seeing Lied loose, Susumu regretted not worrying enough about the possibility of the boy escaping from the police station. Given his enormous conviction, it was inevitable that he would try to escape.
Oh well, not the time to cry over spilled milk.
Lied bypassed an alley, feeling the presence of the man on the opposite side.
"Yes, that’s it! What a great use of the Sensitivity!"
He's close by. Turning right into the next street…!
The fates of those three were intertwined, something not unique in history but always special to witness.
Naomi, who came from the right, and Susumu, from the left.
The detective cast his fierce glare over Lied.
"What the hell do you think you are..."
Susumu also noticed the presence of Naomi, the girl he interrogated in school.
Lied was especially amazed at Naomi's appearance. The girl was equally surprised to see the detective there as well.
"Ah...! The detective-san! If I'm not mistaken, your name is... Suzume?"
"Susumu! But that doesn’t matter, why are you two..."
The attention of the three immediately turned to what lies ahead. There, in the wall that traces the end of the alley, a man with blond hair and charismatic robes.
He rose from the shadows, showing his scornful face. Martyr couldn’t help but laugh out loud, such was the grace of kismet.