Alice in the Massacre - Chapter 89
When Alice was led out of the elevator by Raffi, there were already several people waiting in the place that resembled some kind of control room. Alice readjusted her eye patch and scanned her surroundings.
The people’s gazes were fraught with blatant fear. It was as if they were all staring at a monster. That fear was directed at Alice.
Perhaps they had learned of the battle at Stelcis’ shelter somehow. Obviously, those eyes were not looking at a “human”. Unperturbed, Alice stepped forward, and several of the girls… who had been waiting, presumably priestesses, made small, drawn-out noises and backed away.
Upon seeing this, Alice paused in her tracks. She exhaled slightly and looked straight ahead.
There were several priestesses and several armed men, possibly vigilantes. Although neither of them aimed their guns at Alice, they all had their fingers on the triggers of their long guns. They were ready to fire at any moment.
In the silent room, Raffi let out a hushed voice.
“I’ve brought Alice. I wish you would lower your guard.”
In the center of the control room floated a human brain submerged in culture fluid. It was encased in a vitreous capsule. As the capsule glowed several times, a woman’s voice drifted out from the speakers on the wall.
“We’ve taken care of you. The person named Iberis is also out of danger. It’s only a matter of her own vitality. Alice, I’m afraid your eye is…”
“Thank you. Thank you for taking care of Iberis.” Alice spoke quietly, and an air of unexpectedness swept over the surroundings. The priestesses exchanged glances with one another. The brain capsule of the administrative system flickered on and off, and the woman’s voice continued.
“I am the one in charge of this shelter. By your designation, that would be Number 68.”
“I see,” Alice replied calmly and quietly. And then she proceeded indifferently. “So, you know what’s going to take place here from now on, right?”
“Yes, this place will turn into a battlefield in a few hours. Am I correct?”
When the men heard Number 68’s words, their eyes widened and they gnashed their teeth. One of them, perhaps losing patience, leveled his gun at Alice. Raffi, who was standing next to her, grew pale.
“Let’s get rid of this one! Then the Nightmare will give up the place!”
The men all raised their guns to Alice at once.
“Yes! Get out of here now!”
“Don’t drag us into this!”
Alice took a glance at the administrative system as they hurled abusive remarks at her. And then, without the slightest bit of agitation, she opened her mouth in an extremely unfazed manner.
The men momentarily gasped at her bizarre attitude. It was not that they were ignoring her. She was well aware of the fact that she was being held at gunpoint. Even those around her could tell that.
But. She didn’t feel any emotion regarding it. Yes, there was no emotional reaction whatsoever in Alice. It was as if she was an inorganic object that was not a human being. The strangeness of this sprouted a strong “fear” in their hearts and caused them to stiffen.
The administrative system paused for a beat, then softly stated. “Put down your guns. Even if we drive these people out, it is an undeniable fact that Nightmare is still in pursuit of this shelter. Nightmares are predators of humans. Nothing will change the fact that they are a threat.”
“You’re right. I suppose it’s wise to take precautions.” Alice replied nonchalantly. The men were breaking out in a cold sweat, the muzzle of the gun they were pointing at had no destination, and they remained rigid.
“You guys are supposed to have some authority over the administration system. Even without explaining, you have a general idea of what’s going on, don’t you?”
When Alice said that, Number 68 continued after a pause as though she was trying to nod.
“I heard the conversation between you and ‘Lewis Carroll’ earlier. No… I think it would be better to say that I was subjected to listening to the conversation.”
“Something from the Original Nightmare is bound to strike here, that’s for certain. I don’t think this is the time to get into a long drawn-out fight.”
“… I agree. We are currently evacuating the surviving citizens. Those who can afford to fight are prepared to return fire.”
“Evacuate everyone. They’re in the way.”
When Alice mentioned this, there was tension in the room again. But as if to interrupt her, Number 68 told her.
“Iberis’ condition is very unfavorable. If we take her off the life support now, she will surely die. And…”
“Iberis is not the only immobile patient being treated at the medical facility. If the function of the shelter is destroyed, all of them will die.”
Alice looked slightly bitter and then glanced down at Raffi.
“Raffi, where is Jack?”
“He’s outside the shelter preparing for the Nightmare assault. He said he would like to finish them off without letting them in, if possible.”
“That’s for the best…” Alice said and looked at Number 68. “We will intercept the Nightmare on the ‘outside’. As for you guys…”
“Alice.” Interrupting Alice’s words, Number 68 asked. “Are you a… human?”
The question seemed to come as a surprise to Alice, and she trailed off. She thought about it for a while, and then let out a peal of lifeless laughter. It was somewhat miserable. She had the face of a girl of her age.
“I wish I could be one.”
It was too dangerous to bring Philrain outside. It had been several hours since she had left the shelter, telling her to stay close to Iberis. The sun had already set and the area was enveloped in darkness. The sky was covered with thick clouds, and not a single star was visible.
Alice, Raffi, and Jack, who had taken on the identity of the White Knight, were hunched over the top of the round dome-shaped shelter. The surrounding area was a desert. With the lights from the shelter, they could see the oddly shaped cactus-like plants growing.
“… Are you cold?” Jack, who was covering Alice in a posture with his hand on the Dáinsleif, questioned. Alice was wrapped up in Jack’s arms, embracing both her knees.
“Yeah, I’m fine.”
“Is your eye okay now? Your eyesight is…”
“I believe that Humpty Dumpty’s attack involved something that erased the data. It’s not a normal wound, so maybe this one won’t heal anymore.”
Alice stroked the scar over her eye patch.
“I’ve been asked by the administrative system. She asked me if I am a human.”
“I couldn’t answer that I’m not a human distinctly.” Hugging her knees firmly, Alice kept mumbling in a small voice. “I couldn’t answer that…”
“I see…” Jack said quietly, his armor creaking as he held Alice tenderly. “I’m here.”
“Yeah, you’re right…”
Raffi watched from a little distance away, his face distorted in anguish. But after a few seconds, the black cat’s eyes widened.
“Alice, Jack! The enemy is upon us!”
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