The Ethereal Scarlet
The two girls in front of me introduced themselves-
And I was supposed to do the same correspondingly, but there's just one pitfall-
"I don't know who I am."
They tilted their heads at the same time as though failing to comprehend my words.
"I-I don't remember anything." I hesitantly blurted out.
The room was filled with nothing but a still atmosphere for the next few seconds. Seemingly able to digest what I said, Asami was the first to react.
Yori remained silent, so I was unable to read her face's stiff expression. But after a moment, she spoke in a calm and clearheaded tone.
"When we rescued you, your terminal was nowhere to be found. We tried to search the database, but we couldn't find anyone that resembled you either."
"If you're saying that you have amnesia, then it'll prove difficult to create an identity out of you at the moment. After all, that means that we literally have no information about you."
The feeling of hopelessness eluded within me. While I wasn't really hopeful that I'll easily remember what I've forgotten, I was hoping that the people who saved me would at least have an idea. But now that she said they have no information on me, how am I supposed to proceed?
Yori suddenly pointed at me, specifically at the clothes I'm wearing.
"You were wearing the same uniform as us, so you must be an ether. As for what platoon, we have no idea."
I didn't really pry into the details of what I was wearing at the time since I was focused on making it out alive. However, I did observe that I was wearing a neat and different set of clothes compared to that moment.
Wait... in the first place, who changed my clothes?! It felt frightening to ask that with the two of them here, so I threw it on the backburner. It'll probably surface sooner or later...
Nevertheless, even if it was just a glimpse, it was still hope. The uniform I wore at the time had shed a tiny ray of light on who I may be. Even so, I still had no idea what they meant regarding these unfamiliar terms. Rather than prolonging my ignorance, I wanted to have all the information that would give me answers.
"What is it about 'ethers', 'ethereals', and 'Aile'? Even the 'terminal' that you mentioned earlier. I don't understand any of this." I proceeded to question them with a tight look on my face.
Rather than coming across as surprised, Yori looked a lot worried. It was like she saw a lost child.
Though, I might actually just be one as of now.
I rested my forehead on my palm to not lose sight of myself. Asami spoke shortly after seeing my pathetic figure.
"You're going to the center today, Yori, right? Why don't you take him for a short tour? Even if the chance is slim, he might remember something seeing the city."
"Hmm... that's true. Well then! Let's go!"
She started to take hop steps towards the door, but quickly turned around as if she forgot to say something.
"As for your questions, I'll be sure to answer them all once we're en route to the city. Let's go."
Her voice was relaxing to hear as she dropped a pure smile my way.
"While Yori makes preparations, you should get yourself cleaned. I'll guide you to the shower room. I did change your clothes, but you were still dirty from when we saved you one week ago."
More importantly, Asami was the one who changed my clothes?!
I felt a bit flustered on that revelation. Noticing the cast on my face, she wore an embarrassed expression herself. Her cheeks were puffed with a warm red color encircling it, and her eyes averted from me.
"W-what? It's not like anyone was gonna do it... Plus, Yori refused to do it. Don't worry! I didn't see anything!"
The way she spoke the latter half of her sentence seemed incredibly suspicious.
In any case, Asami guided me to the shower room. On the way, I observed just how gallant this place really was. It had a lot of rooms and several other facilities throughout the other areas. More than calling it a haven like Asami did earlier, this was something like a fortress or a secret base.
I took a quick shower, drenching myself with the lukewarm water coming out, all the while letting it seep to every corner of my body.
"So it has been one week since then, I see."
Seems like Asami left me a new set of clothes as well. It was neatly folded on the side. I didn't really know how this door opens or locks in the first place, so she probably went in without me noticing.
Come to think of it, I haven't thanked them properly yet. I ought to do it later.
It took me more or less ten minutes to finish showering.
"How do you open this door?"
I kept staring at the bulky door in front of me. It looked extremely heavy for me to simply push it. How does one open this in the first place? I started to walk slowly towards it when it abruptly opened up.
"Huh? What are you doing?" a blonde haired girl gawked at my lubberly upbringing.
"You even forgot how doors open?"
She was on the hallway with her back rested on the wall and right foot leaning against it.
"Whatever." she sighed in exasperation after seeing my perplexed state.
"Yori's waiting for you. Let's go."
Asami waited for me on the hallway while I was showering, it looked like. She even changed my clothes and brought me a new set. Despite how she furrowed her brows at me, and that slightly irritated tone she uses, she must be a kind person on the inside.
As we continued walking for a few meters, we finally got out of this maze of a building.
It was a sunny weather, and with the cold breeze of the wind brushing up against me, it felt peaceful.
However, I was left awestruck when I turned my head around, effectively scanning each detail of my surroundings.
Basking in the green of the trees and brown of the ground, I confirmed that I was indeed alive. It's like what happened last week just passed by as a dream.
There were unusual things, however. From where I was standing, it sensed like I was really close to the sky.
"More than that-"
My eyes widened in shock seeing the distant figures floating in the sky. No, wait, if they're on the same eye level as mine, does that mean we're on the sky as well?!
"Oh, you're here already. Let's go!"
Waving at us from a distance, her scarlet red hair kept being swayed by the wind, along with the neat dress she was wearing.
"I'll see you off here. Take care of Yori for me."
'Uhm, isn't she the one who's supposed to take care of me?' the thought immediately came to mind.
Even so, I'm not that helpless of a person. In fact, I'm incredibly grateful for their hospitability. And so, I shall behave in kind.
"Please leave it to me." I bowed at Asami.
Heading to Yori's direction, she was waiting for me inside a vehicle.
The vehicle didn't have wheels, but it was levitating from the ground instead. It had two doors on each side, along with stylish looking front and rear bumpers.
Yori opened the door from inside and let me sat beside the driver's seat.
"Hey, uhm... Ack! This is awkward. We should come up with a name for you." she scratched her head as she drove the vehicle.
"I-I'm sorry." I looked at her with an awkward expression from the side.
For some reason, I felt apologetic.
"No, no. It's not your fault. Though, I was thinking about it earlier, can I call you Kazuki for now?"
"If you insist, then please do so."
"Alright then, Kazuki."
I wonder how she came up with the name though.
We were currently traversing the sky, with the sun highlighting that fact. It felt like a fairytale fantasy, except that this was made possible by technology.
"So, what did you want to know, again?"
While her question was simple, the gravity of my answer, by any means wasn't.
"Hmm?" I could sense that she was slightly baffled.
"I want to know everything; these things you call 'Aile', the ethereals, and the overall state of this world."
"It looks like your memory loss is worse than what I initially considered. That makes things a little tricky to explain, but I don't mind giving you a story time."
While Yori's eyes were focused in front, driving this floating vehicle towards our destination, she commenced giving me the 'story time'.
"According to history books, it was approximately 700 years ago when these creatures we call ethereals appeared. They ravaged the earth and reduced the human population to a mere ten thousand. It's still unknown where they exactly came from, but we do know that they can manipulate space by creating rifts, instantly transporting them somewhere that's not too far in distance. Owed to that fact, defenses that mankind mounted were just meaningless. After all, despite that they can only teleport at a minimal range, they can easily bypass any obstacle.
Since life was deemed unsustainable in the surface, the last resort was to live in the sky. The Nishimoto family founded the ERB, or simply the Ethereal Retaliation Bureau, and are the ones responsible as to why we can live in these Ailes currently. 'Ailes', basically referring to the floating islands you can see if you look outside the window right now.
There are four sectors serving as the backbone of humanity, scattered in each cardinal direction. Where we're currently located is at the South Sector. There's a Center Aile in each sector while the smaller ones around it are the Mini Ailes.
The reason why everything can work, more importantly, is because of these Ethereal cores we possess. This Levicle, the ships we use to go to the surface, and the Ailes themselves are all powered by these ethereal cores. That also includes us, the Ethers, who are essentially the soldiers of humanity."