Alice in the Massacre - Chapter 45
“What kind of person was the… Archi-Alice… the ‘real’ Alice?”
When Alice asked this, Raffi stared up at her with round eyes. Then he shook his head before answering.
“You’re wrong, Alice. You guys… no, you’re not a ‘fake’. Indeed, you guys are doppelgangers of Archi-Alice, a sort of clone duplicated by the system.”
“But each of you has a ‘soul’. Those souls do not belong to Archi-Alice.” Raffi drew in a breath, then clarified. “It belongs to you.”
Alice looked at Raffi in astonishment. But she quickly tore her gaze away and studied her own hand. The heat made it seem wavering.
“Even if I am a created being…?”
“You don’t know how I feel, Raffi. I am… I am…” Alice covered her face with her hands and wrung out her words for the silent Raffi. “I should have died…”
Raffi was momentarily in silence, but eventually sucked in a breath and opened his mouth. “I’ll tell you something, Alice. This Apocrypha is on its way to an end of the ‘world’. If you have the courage to find out then.”
Alice raised her head and faced Raffi with a tear-stained face. And then she uttered a trembling voice.
“I don’t have the… courage to find out…”
“But…” The girl went on with a slight shudder. “I probably need to know that… don’t I?”
“I know it sounds harsh. Maybe if you learned the truth, you’d lose all hope. But if you don’t know, you can’t move on.”
Alice bit her teeth as she heard Raffi’s cruel assertion. A silence drifted by. Only the quiet sound of the air conditioning resonated in the room. Eventually, Alice broke her gaze away from Raffi and muttered in reply.
“Tell me… Tell me everything.”
Upon hearing her small voice, Raffi caught his breath and spoke up.
“… This world is not the real world.”
Not catching the meaning of Raffi’s words, Alice cast an emaciated expression at him.
“The official name of this place is ‘M.R.O.S.’… Mental Rescue Online System.”
“… What are you… talking about?”
The girl’s voice was dismissed and Raffi proceeded unperturbed.
“‘Outside’ this world, this is a system designed to treat people with serious mental disorders. In other words, this is a virtual reality. It’s a virtual server.”
“We are data without entities. And so are you.”
Alice laughed dryly in response to Raffi’s words.
“That’s a… lie. We are data…?”
“Because our bodies are here…? You’re here, aren’t you? S-See… you can reach out and touch it.” Alice touched Raffi. However, the black cat shook his head.
“That’s simply how you think. We’re not real beings.”
Alice halted, speechless, and Raffi continued brutally.
“In this electronic server, the consciousnesses of mentally injured people are downloaded, stored, and healed. After they are healed, they are exported to… ‘cured’ in the real world. Labyrinth is the name of the medical facility for this purpose.”
“Heal…? In this world…?”
Alice gripped the black cat by both shoulders and raised her voice loudly.
“What does this world have to do with healing!”
The girl’s scream was met closely by Raffi, who kept his complexion unchanged as he stated.
“… This world is broken. For the past five years, all contact with the outside world has been cut off. I don’t know why, either.”
“The system that was meant to heal people has transformed into a ‘cage’ that grabs your consciousness and refuses to let go. Even Jack and Philrain are both extremely sick people who are being ‘treated’ by M.R.O.S.”
“… No way…”
“The most crucial thing to note is that the majority of your past memories were erased when your consciousness was downloaded into the Labyrinth. This is because it interferes with the healing process. Therefore, they don’t know that this world is an electronic world.”
“That’s too… cruel…”
Alice muttered in a raspy voice, pulled her hand away from Raffi and lowered her head.
“A person’s consciousness is like a ‘soul’. When the soul is gone, what happens to the person? …Yes, they die. Death here is likely directly linked to death in the real world. In that sense, I can’t say for sure whether this place is fiction or reality.”
“How did… we… Nightmares, get created?”
Raffi breathed in silence at Alice’s question.
“… We are programmed life forms to heal patients. However, five years ago, something happened to the Labyrinth and the system was devastated. And most of the healing systems began to work in reverse, to ‘kill’ people. That’s what the black rain and contaminated air are all about. Even Archi-Alice was caught up in it and died. You already realized that… don’t you?”
Raffi followed up with Alice, who nodded in response to his question.
“I was killed once by one of the runaway healing systems… now called ‘Nightmare’. But at the moment of death, I overwrote my own information into this cat’s consciousness and transferred it. So my body no longer exists.”
“Then what the heck is… me? What is Alice…?”
As Alice struggled to speak, Raffi’s eyes dropped down.
“That’s…” He stammered, and then he spoke. “The Archi-Alice interfered with the program at the time of her death, creating a resentment. To purify it, our ‘vessels’ are copies of Archi-Alice information that I have duplicated.”
Alice couldn’t respond to his words.
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