Scorpion Grasses or simply, Forget-me-nots
The boy sighed.
"Not much, but I did get a couple of glimpses of the platform."
"That fire was crazy! I have never seen something like it before!"
The woman hesitated for a moment, but then she explained briefly.
"Haru, that festival isn't meant to be enjoyable. It's called "The Freedom Festival". If you ask me, that's a fancy way of saying "Today nine innocent people are executed". They throw the victims into the flames and burn them alive. This is all for The Ninth Heaven."
"What is that?"
Even though it wasn't exactly a lovely topic, the boy was interested in the subject.
"The Ninth Heaven is a place far away from where not even the birds or planes can reach. There are nine of our most cherished deities who protect and look after us. Their role is to assist our one and only God. We plan a celebration in exchange for their help every year and we offer them nine sacrifices. People with grade 5 emotions are the sacrifices, which, as you can see, can be a hardship for the ones like them."
That’s incredible! Deities? So there is someone helping everyone.
"Mom you said they are innocent people, right?"
Then the boy remembered the words he heard today.
"It doesn’t make sense! How come they are innocent yet everyone hates them?"
His mother gave him a modest grin.
"Pay attention to what I'm about to say because it's important!"
The boy gives her a look full of curiosity.
"No matter who you are or where you come from if society says you're wrong, that's what everyone will believe."
"So if I don't live up to this society's expectations, I'm going to have a miserable life?"
His mother sighed.
"The term "miserable" cannot express the true consequences."
"Then what is the right word?"
"There is no word. What we people are capable of is beyond any limits! Always be cautious with people since you never know when they will betray you for their gain!"
He was too young to completely understand his mother's sayings. But they still became a rule of living for him ever since.
"There's one more thing I'd like to share with you..."
"Haru, make it quick, your father may return at any time!"
"I had a déjà vu while at the festival, and then my ears started ringing. When I thought the ringing stopped, I felt a terrible pain in my ears, and everything went silent."
"Your bodyguards informed me you fell asleep."
Haru paused for a while, but his mother's expression was genuine, so he continued.
"I heard screams, murmurs, harsh words, and sobbing in the silence. I'm sure they didn't come from the audience. I'm guessing they came from the platform's nine individuals."
His mother put on a horrified look. Could it be that he is different in a bad way? Can he hear things he’s not supposed to? What is she going to do with him? What if his father finds out? She started to tremble.
There were some noisy steps in the hall. She started to be more cautious. After a long silence she told Haru with a serious tone:
"Society does not accept this, yet everything happens for a purpose! You must keep what I told you today to yourself and never tell anyone what you told me about the déjà vu! They'll track you down! Do you get it? You have to be normal!"
"What should he be aware of?"
The father's stern voice broke the silence. Haru could tell from his mother's look that this meal was not going to end well.
Beside the man was Jun, the butler with the red wine bottle in his hand having a regretful expression on his face.
"Jun, you have not one, but two major masters!"
Even if she closed the door, the woman realized that her chat with her son was not private. What a fool she was! Did she believe that this perfect life without freedom was for her?
"From now on he only has one main master! How dare you brainwash our child, women! I bet he talked back to me today because of you! Haru go to your room right now!"
He felt scared. He had never seen his father so enraged before. What should he do?
"Are you deaf? I said go to your room now!"
His mother held tight to Haru’s hand as she started to tremble.
The words weren’t leaving his mouth. The woman was in big trouble.
The butler separated the mother and the child.
Right before the door closed the boy caught his mother staring at him like it’s the last time she is going to see him. He felt a déjà vu and his head started to hurt. Everything went silent again.
“Haru, may you be able to achieve whatever you believe is good in this life! Mommy loves you so much!”
That was his mother's voice! What is going on? Tears started to roll down his cheeks.
After that night his beloved mother never appeared at any dinner night. Her belongings, as well as pictures of her, vanished. Everyone pretended she didn't exist.
A sense of emptiness struck the heart of the poor boy that waited for his mother's return for years.
As expected, she never came back.
His father put a lot of pressure on him. He made sure that his boy will become the perfect employee at the Fellings Factory. He isolated Haru even more to reduce the chance of growing his intensity level of emotions.
Time has passed and he reached the “lucky” age of 17. He began working at the FF. The senior who was in charge of assisting him appeared to be very impressed by the boy's ability. He got a lot of potential for a beginner.
Everything goes as planned and by the end of the year, he gets promoted. He gets his own office and more people on his controlling list.
He has earned the trust of the higher-ups after another two years of working there, and they no longer watch him. That is the moment he has been anticipating. Now he can try to find the secrets of the fabric.
He aspires to discover the truth about everything and to alter the current social order. He despises himself for having to regulate the emotions of people. Yet if he fails to do his job well, his father will get angry and he may even replace him.
This place doesn’t have any written rules but there are some unspoken ones.
Everything that enters the Feeling Factory remains inside.
They don’t need traitors and they won’t hold back no matter who you are.
Know your place and role.
It makes sense because as you get promoted you have access to more information. The actual important things are known only by the government.
The more emotionless you are, the safer you will be.
This makes Haru feel uneasy. Why does it matter so much? They built a massive factory to check and regulate everyone's emotions.
The final rule is also the most intriguing one. This made the boy realize that something is going on behind everyone's back.
The building only has six floors.
Only the blind persons wouldn’t be able to know this and that’s why the boy started to wonder. Is there anything hidden below the building? Is it dangerous?
“I will find out the truth, mom! Wherever you are, watch over me while I burn this whole hell down!”