Alice in the Massacre - Chapter 76
The other side of the cathode-ray tube, “Lewis,” said again to Jack, who was lost in thought and in silence.
“Choose… there is no…. time. Hurry up…”
Live or die.
Why do I have to choose that here?
What is this man who is beyond the sound of the noise, “Lewis”?
Is that me?
Where am I?
How did this happen?
What is going on?
There were so many question marks and doubts dancing around in his head. But when he attempted to articulate them, Jack instinctively kept his mouth shut.
Somehow, he felt as if he shouldn’t utter any “unnecessary words”. The presence behind the cathode-ray tube was also silenced, and for a few moments, only a deafening noise persisted in the space of the sludge.
–Let me ask you just one question.
Jack said stiflingly, after a period of silence. Lewis contemplated briefly before answering.
“… Yes. Speak up.”
–-Is the Red Queen dead?
He gave a small chuckle at Jack’s question, then went on.
“Dead. You… killed her. The data, ‘2,258D-37 type’, you.. killed the data, ‘2,852D-48 type’, the computing power… completely… deleted.”
The small chuckle gradually grew into a peal of broad laughter. Lewis continued to burst out laughing, with clapping or panting sounds.
“Brilliant… Oh, brilliant! This is the first time you ‘Dusts’ have deleted… an Original. I’m… here to reward you for your good work…”
He couldn’t hear some parts.
Jack wasn’t certain what he was referring to. However, according to what this “Lewis” entity was alluding to, he could assume that the Red Queen was dead.
Deeply relieved in his heart, Jack heaved a small sigh. His eyes, which had been in the midst of confusion, lit up again. He stared straight at the CRT TV and said to the sandstorm image.
–I have to go. To save Alice.
“I see…” Lewis replied, his voice bouncing with amusement as he carried on. “Your… data will be repaired. However, due to the law of conservation of life, your… data has been lost. Therefore, I will download the core data of the …… into the remains of the existing data of the ‘2,852D-48 type’.”
… What are you saying…?
He forced himself to swallow the words he was about to utter.
Then, with a zap… sound, something appeared for a moment on the CRT. Staring at the sand screen, his eyes widened.
What was shown on the screen was a small room with a row of insect cages and bottles on the wall shelves, like a laboratory. On a chair in front of him sat an elderly man with a smiling, creepy… Noh-like smile plastered on his face.
The man wore his gray hair in an all back bun. He grinned and reached towards Jack, making a motion to turn some knobs.
However, Jack’s gaze did not land on that “Lewis”. It halted to stare at a point.
A shelf on the wall.
What was in the bottles lining one side of it?
A human brain. Connected to a kind of cord, it was floating in some kind of liquid that was poured inside. The brain, shaped like the bishop’s head, was arranged on the shelf around Lewis.
And on the shelf in the foreground…
There were insect cages lined up there.
Within were shivering guinea pigs of various sizes and rats… with white body hair. The guinea pigs also had what looked like cords on their heads…
When Jack witnessed this, Lewis pressed the knob with a broad smile on his face.
“Good luck then.”
For some reason, only his voice could be heard clearly. A chill crept through Jack’s body.
Instinctively, he grasped the truth.
This “man” is…
No, he’s not a “God”.
This guy is the “Devil”.
Yes, I do know this guy’s name.
This guy… Lewis.
He is the “demise of the Apocrypha”.
When he came to, Jack was lying in the mud. His head was shrouded in a mist, and when he tried to relive what had transpired earlier, something drowned out his thoughts, rendering him powerless to conceive.
Where am I? This is…
He opened his eyes and closed them… No, as he tried to close them, Jack realized that he couldn’t “blink”. The space around him seemed much wider, like a camera’s field of vision.
Gradually, the “chill” became more realistic. In his wavering vision, he looked at his outstretched hand. A metallic clattering sound can be heard.
–A metallic sound?
He was in a dimly lit trench-like hollow. As he struggled to speak, Jack realized that he had no “mouth”.
I am not even breathing…?
Horrified, he jerked his gaze away from his trembling hands and backed away.
A metallic sound.
The sound of something heavy moving.
What the… hell!
In a panic, he slammed his back against the crumbling rubble. Then Jack looked up.
Far above, he could see the buzzing, shredded cables charging as they bounced around. He was at the bottom of the crumbling bedrock. A muddy stream of black water flowed in front of him.
With a stagger, Jack approached the black water. It was supposed to be quite dark, but the reflection of his “self” was crystal clear in his unblinking vision.
Jack let out an inarticulate scream.
What was reflected in the puddle before him?
It was a mass of rugged armor gleaming silvery white.
–The White Knight.
Yes, there stood the White Knight. His bright red eyes glowed behind his armor.
He covered his face with his hands. The “White Knight ” reflected in the puddle of filth also covered his face and retreated.
It couldn’t be… It couldn’t be…
The Dáinsleif in its sheath at his waist was reflected in his abnormally clear vision.
–He must have brought him back to life as the “White Knight”.
He was so horrified that his non-existent heart nearly stopped beating.
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