Chapter 5:

Daydreams of Devilish Delight, Part 3

Setting Sun Story: Beta

West Main Road. - Adam - 6:35 PM

The moon stamped upon the Eastern sky, Adam and Julian walk beside the Western Main Road. The road is lowered, pressed down below the raised stone sidewalk they travel along, and separated by a railing. Julian is sorely disappointed, and Adam is too distracted looking up at the stars to care.

“Julian, why am I the only one bothered by the sky?” Adam asks. 

Julian is too focused on his faltered vision to bash him for such an outlandish thought.

“Please, just let me wallow in peace.”

“Geez, didn’t know you cared about her that much.”

“Never get your hopes up about anything, Adam,” Julian states in defeat. Adam twitches in response, but chooses to keep his head up.

“Really though,” Adam pries. “Nobody cares. It’s always red, night and day!”

As he continues to limp, Julian looks over with bloodshot eyes.

“Yeah. You know, I actually thought about it a little. I get what you mean, but if we had it any other way, I’m sure you’d just get tired of that too. I’m telling you, just like I’ve told you every other time. It’s just not something you should dwell on,” Julian says depressingly.

Adam scrunches up his face pretending to give it thought. He takes in air through his teeth.

“Yeah… but it- doesn’t it seem unnatural to you? I mean, I’d never question why hot food burns, or how water flows, But this, this bugs me so much,” he ponders.

“What do you know? What, you think it’d be better as blue?” Julian asks, starting to laugh. “I mean, come on, doesn’t that prospect sound strange at all?”

Adam has imagined that exact sight before. As it was stated in the Savior’s Prophecy, an old book of ideologies known to the people of Baustas, but read by almost none, the sky was once a different hue. Everyday evolving into a variety of different colors... but if the entirety of the sky were taken up by the outstanding imprint of that butterfly… He smiles, almost crying.

“There used to be a whole world of color out there. It wouldn’t be impossible. Really, I could see it pretty clearly,” Adam admits.

“You’ve clearly lost it. The Chaos erupted hundreds of years ago, if that. It might even just be a legend.”

“They wouldn't lie to us like that! It had to have existed at one point!” Adam says, shoving a finger in Julian’s face.

He remains at odds with his tall friend. It’s entirely possible. Nothing’s out of reach, I could prove it, he thinks.

“I don’t know man, this kinda stuff isn’t for me,” Julian says, giving up.

Adam doesn’t stop though, inspired by the vision, his mind bursts out, describing everything he could see.

“Imagine a world, okay… where the stars are all infinite different colors, brighter and more beautiful than what we see under the atmosphere. The green of the grass, vibrant, splashing out for miles on end!” Adam exclaims.

“That’s thinkin’ pretty big, who’ve you been talking to?”

“One of the old Librarians, I brought it up one da-”

“Which one?” Julian asks in odd seriousness, killing the light nature of the walk. 

Adam feels lost. Julian digs into him time and time again over his thoughts and dreams, but this heavy handed inquisition is unheard of.

“Which… what?” Adam asks as Julian puts his hands on Adam’s shoulders, making him feel tiny.

“This librarian! If he’s saying things like this… he should have a talk with the Deacons,” He says, his mouth overflowing with out of place anger.

Adam’s voice cracks as he draws out nervous laughter.

“They’re just stories… be- besides, they’re… Deacons themselves,” He squeaks.

Julian looks deep into his eyes, as if inspecting every nook and cranny in his brain. He finds nothing but his own reflection in pupils darker than the perfectly still lake water lying in the shadow of the moon’s light.

It feels like Julian has been interrogating him for an eternity.

“If you really want to save this world, then you need to have full faith in the Deacons,” Julian finally says, still unknowingly peering into Adam’s soul. “There will be no toleration of dissent.”

“D-dissent?” Adam asks, flabbergasted at the serious tone, the corners of his mouth curling downward.

“Problematic thoughts like those will bring the savagery from outside right under our noses.”

Adam gulps down masses of pressure from his mouth.

“Uh, right. I, uh… definitely don’t… dissent?” Adam says, mentally pleading with Julian to rip his hands from him.

“Good, because if this Librarian’s implying a will against the Savior’s,” Julian says triumphantly.

There he goes again, using that label with unbridled arrogance.

“N- nobody’s implying anything! That’s just you!” Adam yells, gathering the courage to pull himself away.

Julian scowls, shrugging the whole thing off, and walking off down the street, at least trying to without his soreness making him too pathetic.

Adam isn’t sure what to make of it… things must be getting hard for him, to act so harshly.

Deciding to take a different path home, Adam slips under the railing on the sidewalk, and crosses down over to the park.

Just out of sight, sitting on a small flower, the blue butterfly is passed by Adam.

“My hesitance in finally joining up probably isn’t helping him,” Adam says to no one.

Paulcin Residence, Baustas - Adam - End of Day, 6:50 PM

Adam steps into an entryway identical to Arrabelle’s home. Though the stairs remain in the same place, the middle room is nothing more than a hall, with the dining room combined to the kitchen in the back, resulting in the head of the steps wrapping around to end parallel the entryway wall, and a flatter square-footage overall.

Below the stairs is another door, leading to the master bedroom, with the top of the steps curving outward, to the upstairs bedroom.

“Mom? I brought some stuff home!” Adam announces through the house.

Everything is dark, with the only light filtering in from the window in the kitchen. Footsteps creak the stairs as Adam’s mother, Clara, peeks through the banister. She strains her eyes to see him in the dark, and easily visible they are, as her hair, a bright dirty blonde, sweeps just above her eyebrows.

“What were you doing up there?” Adam asks.

Clara makes her way down, and ruffles a hand through his hair. She’s taller than Adam, like everybody else.

Passing him into the kitchen she looks over her shoulder.

“A little present,” she replies. Adam raises an eyebrow.

“You’ll see it when you get up there… how was today?” She asks, propping herself up on the counter.

“They let me out early.”

“Well that can’t be all!”

“Oh, right… I went with Julian to Mrs. Painny’s, got you something,” Adam remembers, walking into the kitchen behind her holding the bag forward.

“Thank you! I’m not the only one giving gifts, huh,” she says, popping off the counter to receive.

“Yeah, it was no pr- gffwhg-” Adam’s response is met with a near-life-ending smothering from his mother, as she snags the bag from his hands.

His lungs preparing to collapse by the second, Adam finally wrenches himself away, his own rebirth.

Sho? You gif any thouggt to the acahemi?” Clara asks, mouth full of sweet bread.

Adam blinks, shaking his head as he tries to take it in.

“Y- yeah. I just. Need a little more time.”

I know, tafe yo tam. But if you wan’ my advife,” She swallows, “It’ll be great for you.”

Adam didn’t need to understand half the sentence to know the routinely spoken con. If she had ever gotten out of the house, he’d be quick to believe she was in cahoots with Julian to tear away his life for a future as a soldier.

Adam pulls a chair out from the table, sitting in it backwards.

“Julian was telling me the same thing today.”

“Oh? How’s he doing?”

“He’s up to something, the weirdo,” Adam mumbles angrily.

Clara cocks her head to the side, popping a small ball of sugary pastry into her mouth. “Shomefing happn?”

Adam looks out the window, setting his head down.

“I just… I know it’s the right path. It’s what everyone goes through… but, something just feels wrong. Like I want nothing to do with it. It’s just not for me!” Adam explains.

“You’re probably just nervous.”

Adam rolls his eyes, glancing pleadingly up at his mom, who now approaches. She crouches down to his eyesight, brushing off his shoulders, and unintentionally giving a straight shot down to her… motherly cleavage.

Adam’s ears go red as he averts his eyes. He should be whipped for even reacting that way!… in his opinion.

“You’d be fine!” She says, reassuringly.

6:52 PM

Finally retiring to the top of the stairs, Adam enters his massive bedroom. Dust hangs in the air.

With his bed in the back corner far from the large window facing the Northeast, the empty space in the room allows the wall across from the door to act as a giant exhibit of Adam’s sketches. It stands tall, different drawings of buildings, weapons, armors, and other practice subjects all pinned above his desk.

Adam empties his pockets onto the desk, ripping the bunny girl from the butterfly, and with a fresh pin, plastering the insect at the dead center of it all.

(The bunny girl is saved on this day, finding herself pinned in the corner, half covered by an old image of himself, glorified at the top of the West park hill).

He falls onto his bed, at first not noticing the leather garment beneath him.

This is it, isn’t it? This will be the course of every day, until I just rip off the bandage. The torture only ends when I accept it… but if it’s this hard to give in… shouldn’t I fight it?

Adam finally feels the uneven sheet beneath him, sitting up and pulling the inconsistency out from it.

A relic from a past Adam has never known. An old ST uniform jacket- his father’s. On the shoulder is an embroidering bearing resemblance to the Savior, but scratched out with a sharp object.

He slides it up his arm. It fits nicely… his father must’ve been smaller than he thought. Standing up, he walks to the window, looking at himself in the vague reflection.

Sometimes I wish they’d all just go away. The Deacons, the soldiers, everybody. Then I could just walk out of the city, no questions asked… find what I’m looking for.

Adam gives a sad smile to himself, the jacket looks nice, but he doesn’t like the implication.

When he turns his back to the window, he notices over his shoulder, a crude and bold signature. The word PATRIOTS runs along the neckline.

All signs sadly point in one direction.