Chapter 2:

Vol. 1 ☆ Fragment 1: Welcome to the City of Light ~ An Ordinary Encounter in「Glint City」

Scarlet Finale! (Demo)


It was a lonely Saturday afternoon.

A figure traveled across a road that spread endlessly under the vast gray skies.

His name was Faith.

Faith was eighteen years old. He was considered a prodigy by those around him, and at his young age, he had already graduated from college not long ago. Yet, that didn't matter much to him.

His life was devoid of goals or dreams, but that wasn't currently a problem for him either. At the moment, he was troubled by something else.

His father had just passed away.

Of course, that would have been a big blow for anyone, but not for him. Anyone would call this cold-blooded, but he didn’t care much about his father leaving this world. Soon after that event, however, Faith was entrusted with a particular task: he was to inherit his father's company and become the new person in charge.

The task in question had come inside a simple letter.

Faith was a person that didn’t get to spend much time with his father for many reasons. This is why he was never able to make any kind of bond or connection with him in the first place. Because of this, he never knew what kind of person his father was, and he knew nothing about said company either.

Reading through the letter he received wasn't of any help.

Most of the instructions were about how to get to the company’s primary location, and there was close to no information about anything else.

A lot of questions came to Faith’s mind as he moved across the lonely road.

What does this company do? What is the company’s name? What are the procedures that have to be followed? How many employees are there? Faith didn’t have a clue and truthfully he didn’t care about the actual answers to those questions.

It’s not that he was exactly troubled about taking over the company. Faith never intended to take over in the first place. He would go there and shut down the place on the spot. It's just that having to go out of his way to travel to a place he was not familiar with was a bother, it was an inconvenience.

Then again, he knew he had nothing better to do, that's why he decided to do it anyway.

Faith’s sharp and menacing red eyes were locked on the vast road before him as he continued to accelerate.

A storm would come soon. Faith could tell by the violent wind and how dark the shade of the sky had become.

His black coat, which matched his black hair, fluttered violently across the air.

About half an hour later, he was able to see a large sign just at the end of the road.

“Welcome to Glint City – The City of Light.”

Faith’s eyes met with the unfamiliar scenery before him. Soon, he found himself surrounded by the sea of buildings that composed a large city.

The sound of two large bells resounded from atop a tower, followed by a faint and nostalgic melody. Faith assumed this was likely what played in the city to announce that it was now night time.

The boy with a black coat and deep red eyes stopped his motorcycle as he reached one of the buildings. In fact, it was the one that stood out the most. It was a skyscraper located almost by the entrance of the city, and it stood at ten floors high.

Looking at this building gave him a sense of unease. He couldn’t tell why he felt this way, but the feeling was strangely familiar and sickening.

He couldn’t shake the feeling something was off. But then something clicked. He realized that ever since he entered the city, he hadn’t seen a single person. There were many buildings, but not a single one of them had its lights on.

There were no vehicles running. There was no sound other than his own footsteps as he approached the entrance.

“It’s here, huh.”

He confirmed after glancing at the letter with the directions left by his father.

Faith shoved the paper back into the pocket of his black coat and decided to proceed.

Two large doors made of glass stood before him. Given the size of the building, they were at least twice his height.

Faith grew up apart from his father, but it was no secret to him that he had been an extremely wealthy man. For a company previously owned by someone so wealthy, Faith would have expected it to be fully operational all 24 hours of the day. Obviously, this wasn’t the case.

“This old man has some nerve.” He complained as he slid a key into a small metallic lock placed on one of the doors.

The moment he twisted the key, he could hear a cracking noise. The key had broken in his hand. He didn’t realize it before, but the key was extremely dusty and old.

What now? There was no one here. And without that key he couldn’t even enter the building.

Frustrated, he decided to follow the only remaining option he had: to force his way in.

Without hesitation, the black haired boy released a strong kick against one of the doors, completely shattering the glass apart.

Almost as if the heavens had been waiting for this moment, a torrential downpour descended over the abandoned land.

With a shrug, he casually entered the massive structure.

“Well, that’s that.”

Upon entering, he reached for a switch nearby, and the absolute darkness surrounding him faded away.

All the lights inside the facility were instantly turned on, and much to Faith’s surprise, what they revealed inside the building was… nothing.

There was nothing at all. The building was completely empty.

Faith sighed as he stared at the vast open space before his eyes. The only things waiting for him were massive piles of dust and a large stairway at the end.

The boy walked towards the stairs and started to ascend through the building. He thought that he might find something if he looked around, but the only thing that waited for him were many large and empty floors.

They were all floors filled with dust, spider webs, and broken windows. There wasn't even any kind of garbage or dirty clothes that could signal someone had been living here. The place was completely abandoned. Just for how long had it been in this state?

After making it to the final floors, he was able to notice the layouts were a little different. Many corridors connected to different rooms, almost like a labyrinth; he didn't bother to check through every single one of them as he could already guess most were empty as well.

After ascending through the stairway, soon he noticed there was a door blocking the way to the final floor. A plastic sign that read “Staff Only” hung from the top of the old, rusty entrance.

Upon closer inspection the door's lock didn't work anymore, so he was able to enter with relative ease.

“Was this place even operating at all at some point?” He crossed his arms and pondered if the old man was trying to pull a prank on him even after death.

Electricity was flickering on and off. He noticed this had started to happen in the other higher floors as well. It was likely the power of this building wasn’t strong enough to be constant through the entire location.

And finally, not too long after Faith had stepped into the highest floor, the electricity went out completely.

Faith was surrounded by absolute darkness.

There was nothing but the sound of falling rain hitting the ceiling and the windows. It was accompanied by the strong roar of lightning and howling wind.

Something felt off to him. It wasn’t only because of the building being empty and it wasn’t because of the eerie darkness surrounding him either.

He had checked the entire building thoroughly and he knew he should be the only person inside it. However, he had started to hear footsteps. They were really faint footsteps that slowly approached.

At that moment, Faith realized: someone was standing by the entrance of the room.

It took less than a second. Faith had reached for a gun inside his pocket, loaded the gun, turned around and pointed it at the figure before him.

“Um.” A sweet voice reached his ears.

He was thrown off guard for a moment.

Because of his past experiences, he expected it to be someone hired to get rid of him, or just a delinquent using the chance to rob the building. However, the voice that reached him was a really sweet and faint voice. It didn’t match his experiences or expectations at all.

The footsteps, however, started moving closer.

He could feel something pressing against his forehead.

The first thing to come into Faith’s vision was a pair of shiny, violet-colored eyes.

“Bang!” The sweet voice laughed in a teasing manner.

Now that the figure was closer, he noticed it was a young girl with long chestnut-colored hair that fell behind her back. She had made the sign of a gun with her hand and pressed it against his forehead in a playful way.

Faith wasn’t sure how to react.

The girl adjusted the light-blue scarf around her neck. As electricity flashed back for just a second, Faith noticed she also wore sunglasses on top of her head, along with a grey sweater and a pair of tight light-blue pants.

“Pointing guns at people out of the blue is really rude!” She pouted. “Oh! Or is this a new interview procedure? That’s interesting.”

She had walked into an abandoned building. She proceeded to approach him despite being surrounded by darkness. She knew he had pointed a loaded gun at her. And yet, she felt no fear.

The lonely building had been surrounded by a fierce storm. Deep inside the facility, two figures stood in the highest floor while facing each other.

After flickering a few more times, electricity had finally made it back, illuminating the room once again.

Faith slowly lowered his gun. His instincts told him there was no real danger, and yet, there was definitely something strange about this person. If this was an enemy, it was the worst possible scenario.

After all, Faith could tell, even in this nerve-wracking scenario, this girl felt no fear. In a situation like this, he decided it would be best to go straight to the point.

“Who the hell are you?”

“Hmm…” The girl with chestnut-colored hair ignored him for a few seconds. She was staring at him from the bottom of his feet to the top of his head as if examining him. Faith couldn’t help but to feel uncomfortable.

“A really unpleasant attitude, scary looking eyes…” she was whispering to herself.

The girl suddenly clapped her hands together as if realizing something.

“I was wondering who you were, but turns out it was you all along, boss!”

“?”

“Why do you look so confused?” She reached for her pocket and pulled out a white envelope. “I’m your employee now!”

She crossed her arms and spoke in a proud tone as Faith opened the envelope.

It was an invitation. Faith couldn’t bother to give too much attention to all of the contents but he understood the point. It was an invitation to become an employee of this company.

The letter had come with directions on how to reach this building just like the one he had.

The letter mentioned how you could just “charge Faith for any of your travel expenses once you are there!” And it also made a point to drive home how Faith was the one in charge of the company now.

Faith angrily crushed the letter with his hand. At that moment, he sincerely wished his father was still alive. He wished he was still alive so he could punch him in the face.

“Nope.” Faith threw away the scrapped letter, just for the girl to barely catch it in the air. “I never said I was taking this job anyway.”

“After I came all the way here?!”

“I never asked you to.”

“Oh? So all you have to do is act like the cool and mean type and problem solved? I see I see.”

He thought it’d be best to just ignore her. He decided there was no point to stay here any longer, so he started to walk towards the exit of the room.

“Nope!”

The girl rapidly stepped back and stood right at the entrance. She extended out her arms in order to block the way. Then she took a deep breath and spoke up.

“I’m becoming your employee! You aren’t going anywhere after such a disappointing response!!”

The black haired boy stared at her with a blank expression. He was not about to take her seriously even after this.

“Why do you want to work here so badly?”

“Because…” The girl looked away nervously while trying to come up with a response. “Because because!”

“Do you even know what this company does?”

“Eh…”

“I Thought so.”

“That doesn’t matter! It could just do anything, but I’d still want to work here!”

Faith scratched his head. This was precisely the kind of person he didn’t like dealing with.

“Listen, I honestly have no idea why you are so obsessed with this, but…”

“But…?”

“If you want the job so badly, let’s make a deal then.”

“Bring it on.”

Faith smiled. A smile he only showed when he knew he had already won.

“Restore this place. Clean every single floor and every single room inside the building. Get rid of all the dust, spider webs and fix the broken windows.”

“You got it! How many days do I have to-”

The girl’s words were abruptly cut off by Faith and his impossible request.

“You have until we reach midnight.”

“Isn’t that only about five hours from now?!”

“So?”

The girl shook her head and took a deep breath. She wouldn't give in so easily.

“Fine, you got it! I’ll be done even before midnight then!”

“Good luck with that~”

With this, Faith finally walked away and started to walk down the stairs.

“Wait! Where are you going?!”

“To take a look around the city, you’ll "be done even before midnight” so I’m expecting you to finish by the time I return.”

"If you are going out in this storm don’t blame me if you catch a cold.”

Faith didn’t bother to answer. He simply shrugged and walked away.

The night grew darker and the storm gradually continued to worsen. The clock now pointed at ten minutes just before midnight.

Faith slowly stepped back into the building. He took off his drenched black coat and let it down on the floor by the entrance.

Something felt strange. When he initially entered the building, there was dust everywhere. It was hard for him to give a single step forward without dust flying everywhere, and yet… this was odd.

He quickly picked up his wet coat from the floor and realized it was still clean. He glanced around and rushed through the building as fast as he could.

Clean. Clean. Clean. Clean!! Everything was clean now?!

Shock spread on his face as he checked floor after floor, room after room.

The dust had utterly vanished, the spider webs were gone, and the broken windows had been replaced.

There was only one final place to check.

He ran towards the room which had the sign “Staff Only” located on the last floor.

The instant he entered, everything felt completely different than before. Faith was immediately assaulted by a pleasant and sweet raspberry fragrance that enveloped his very being.

The room was well lit, and there was a large silver table located almost at the end of the room; there was also a large and fancy spinning chair just behind it.

Faith noticed how the chair was facing the wall instead of being placed properly. However, the chair slowly started to move. It slowly began to rotate in his direction.

As the chair finished turning around, it revealed a girl with her arms crossed and a triumphant look in her face.

“It’s not midnight yet. I guess that means I win, boss!”

“Are you... serious…?” Faith had no words.

He was convinced she wouldn’t make it in time. He was certain it was impossible. There had to be a trick, there definitely had to be a trick behind this... but how?! There was really no logical answer. But truth was, he couldn’t find any flaws in her job.

Faith sighed. Backing down on his word was something he didn’t like. Backing down on his word was unacceptable. He had decided he would shut down the company and leave this place... and yet.

“You are hired. Er… what’s your name?”

“Caroline.” She gave him a proud smile. “Caroline Malheur!”

“You are hired then, Caroline.”

“It’s my pleasur–!”

Caroline suddenly leaned forward and barely stopped just before she would hit her head against the table. She was clearly dizzy, and truth was, her body was exhausted.

“Did you have anything to eat today at all?”

Faith knew really well that the road to this city was very deserted. It didn’t help that the city itself almost felt like a ghost town.

“Hehe, oops, I completely forgot.”

(Is this person really reliable after all?)

Faith sighed.

About forty minutes later, Faith and Caroline were entering an old building with drenched clothes.

It was a location Faith had found while looking through the city earlier. It was a small place located deep in the city and it stood out as it was the only building with a faint light on.

“Welcome!” An old man who stood by himself behind the wooden counter was the one who greeted them.

Faith and Caroline sat across each other on a spot located next to a window. The windows were covered with dark blue curtains and the spot was illuminated by a light bulb that hung from the ceiling.

The place itself gave a warm and cozy feeling after being outside in the cold storm. The atmosphere was that of an old and classic coffee shop.

“How may I help you?” The man walked towards them with a notepad on his hand.

“Can I have the menu?” Faith asked.

He didn’t even bother to glance at the man.

“Burgers is all we have left; it’s been tough to get a varied menu with the little resources that are reaching the city lately.”

“Um, do you mind if I ask something?” Caroline decided to jump into the conversation.

“What is it?” The man urged her to go on.

“Is there something wrong with the city? It’s extremely empty.“

"I see, so you two are new to this place then.”

“What do you mean?”

Judging by the tone of his voice, Faith could tell he knew why the city was so deserted.

“Many of the residents have abandoned the city. It was after the “Day of the End” was officially announced. A few of them, just like me, don’t really care about that. I live for this restaurant, so I will continue to serve my customers for as long as my life allows me to.”

Faith and Caroline tried to question the man for more details about this "Day of the End,” however, he completely avoided the topic afterward.

The man walked away to prepare the food, leaving Faith and Caroline alone.

“That was weird.” Caroline sighed in disappointment. She really wanted to know more about it.

“The man is old, probably making up stuff to liven up what’s left of his life.” Faith shrugged and pulled out a small radio from the pocket of his coat.

“Mean…”

Caroline stared at the radio curiously. She had never seen a pocket-sized one like that before. It was smaller than your regular cell phone.

“It’s all probably going to be different in the morning anyway. Let’s see if we can find anything new in the meantime.”

Upon turning it on, he started to try and tune into different stations, but there was only silence.

“You know, maybe bringing that Radio with you here was a bad idea. It probably absorbed all the rainwater.”

“It’s survived worse. It’ll be fine.”

“Sure sure, it’s totally fine, and that’s why it’s totally working right now. You killed it!!”

“It’s. Going. To. Be. Fine.”

“Whatever you say, radio murderer.

“What did you just whisper under your breath?”

“Me? I didn’t say anything, must be your imagination.”

This continued for a few minutes until Faith reached the final station. A strange tune was playing, and it was similar to the one he heard when he entered the city.

In seconds, the pleasant tune was broken by the sound of static.

“I guess this is useless then-” Faith declared, but the brunette stopped him.

“Shh!” Caroline quickly reacted as she noticed something.

She could hear something else, the sound of a small voice being drowned by the static.

Soon, it reached Faith’s ears too.

“…………Stay…………a…………wa…………”

After this, the voice was gone.

“Okay, you are right. Maybe the radio isn’t dead after all.”

“See? The signal is just bad.” Faith turned off the radio.

The old man soon returned to serve their food.

He then moved back to the counter, back to eagerly wait for more customers that would probably never come.

“Whoa, this looks amazing!”

“It's okay I guess.”

Faith grabbed the burger while Caroline stared at it in admiration.

The truth was, the food itself was probably not that great, but they were hungry enough to see it as the most high-class gourmet food they had ever seen.

Both slowly moved the food closer to their mouths, but then, a loud explosion came from the window next to them.

Shattered glass flew everywhere, and part of their table broke apart.

Faith and Caroline stared at each other for a few seconds.

“Mmm, this does taste good after all!” Caroline was happy after taking a bite of her food.

“Hey, old man.” Faith turned toward the counter. He completely ignored the face of terror of the startled man. “What about our drinks?”

Faith stared at the old man for a few seconds and sighed at his lack of response.

“Hey-” Faith tried talking to him one last time, but he was interrupted by Caroline.

“Shh!” The girl with the light-blue scarf held her index finger in front of her lips and slowly moved her sight towards the broken window. “Can you hear that too?”

Faith tried to concentrate. It took him a few seconds, but he could hear it too. They were distant footsteps. It felt like the sounds of an army moving forward little by little. To make things worse, the steps gradually became louder. They were going to reach them soon.

Faith promptly stood up, threw a set of keys towards the old man’s feet and gave him a command.

“There’s a motorcycle parked outside, use that and get the hell out of here.”

“But-!” The old man was genuinely conflicted. He was scared, but he didn’t want to abandon his precious restaurant.

The black haired boy pulled out a black-and-red gun from his black coat and shot at the counter without hesitation. He showed no emotion on his face as he threatened the old man.

“Get out of here before I get rid of you myself.”

Shaking in fear, the old man grabbed the set of keys and dashed outside.

Faith clicked his tongue but was then startled as he felt something poking his right shoulder.

“So? What’s the plan now?” Caroline asked with her finger pressed against him.

She was perfectly calm even in the midst of a situation like this. She might have looked almost bored.

“We stay here.” Faith declared. “I want more information. Let’s hide and see what we get.”

“I expect extra payment for this.” Caroline was hesitant to put down her unfinished burger.

The two of them separated after this in order to hide.

Caroline walked into a room just behind the counter, most likely the kitchen, and made sure to lock the door from the inside.

It was a tiny and cold room. It had a fridge, along with some ingredients spread around a table. There weren’t too many options to use for hiding in such a small establishment.

Faith, on the other hand, had taken a more reckless option. He hid under one of the tables in the restaurant.

Everything went silent.

The only sound that continued to stand out was the many footsteps approaching closer.

“GO AWAY!” A raspy voice yelled from afar. It sounded like whoever said that was using a megaphone.

How many people were approaching? Ten? Fifty? A hundred? It was difficult to tell. Faith readied his gun, but he was fully aware he would have no chance to survive if he picked up a direct fight with them.

It just took a few minutes before the entrance door was blasted open. Faith could hear the running steps of many people entering the store at once, and he could listen to the noises of their weapons being loaded.

“Why?” “Why didn’t you leave?!” “Just leave!!” “Go away!!” “We have to purify you.” “The end is near!”

Different voices belonging to all different kinds of people started to speak at once.

Faith could notice how some of the tables in front of him were being kicked away, followed by the loud sound of gunshots. His hiding spot definitely wouldn’t last for long.

Faith closed his eyes just for a second. He had to figure out what the best course of action from here on was.

(Judging by the noises, there are at least seventeen people inside this room. At least five of them seem to be armed with guns, but chances are the others just haven’t used theirs yet. There is chance there are as many people outside or more waiting for them. They seem to carry explosives too, but they haven’t set up more like earlier so they must be limited.)

“Why won’t you understand?!” “This is for your own good.” “This city is cursed!!” “You must be cursed too!!!” “Leave!!”

Even if the yelling voices continued and even if the steps were getting closer, Faith didn’t panic. He focused on letting his thoughts run.

(Given the storm outside, they must have used some method of transportation. Yet, they still chose to walk into here. They must want to keep their backup safe. It also roughly took about six minutes between the explosion and the moment they got here.)

Faith’s time was running out. The people that had been kicking the tables away began to approach the one where he was hiding. He could also hear a gunshot fired at the table right next to him.

Faith waited, he waited for the exact moment the closest person raised their foot to kick away the table. In a second, Faith jumped, bringing up the table with him and pushing it against the nearest person.

The attacker staggered, bumping into the people behind them.

Faith wouldn’t give them a single second to react and began to shoot towards the ceiling.

All the electricity went out immediately.

This wasn’t thanks to Faith’s sudden action. Caroline didn’t hide in the kitchen because it would be safer. It was all part of their plan. That was the room that had the main electricity switch, and Faith’s specific gunshot sequence was the signal to shut it down.

What Faith needed wasn’t to win a fight, he just needed information.

Random gunshots spread through the building in the middle of the darkness. It seems like the enemy had panicked and rushed to try and take down their unknown foe.

The bullets crashed against the floor, roof, chairs, and windows. The restaurant was enveloped by total chaos.

No matter how many people there were, it was no use if they couldn’t see properly. Faith, however, was quite experienced in this kind of situation.

In the midst of chaos, the door to the restaurant’s kitchen slowly opened. A hand came from inside and quickly pulled in one of the people standing just by the entrance of the room.

Caroline who had brought one of the attackers into the room with her had already taken action. She had twisted their wrist, successfully disarming them, and held them against the floor with their arms on their back.

“Ehehe, I got you!”

Faith was just a decoy. It was clear all these people weren’t as well organized as they looked. It had been easy to trick and manipulate them. Once electricity came back, Faith was nowhere to be found.

Faith cracked his fingers after locking the door behind him.

“Now then.”

He had made it into the kitchen where Caroline and the attacker were. It would have been dangerous if the attacker screamed for help, so Faith hit them in the back of their neck and knocked them out.

There was loud knocking on the door behind them; however, the damage to the people on that side had been too significant. Faith could tell no one had died, but he could also tell the stray bullets had hit too many of their comrades, giving them no choice but to retreat.

It took about fifteen minutes before the attacker they had captured woke up. It was a young boy of short stature. He wore the same white clothes that all the other attackers wore. It seemed to be some sort of uniform.

He found himself sitting on the floor. There were two figures in front of him. One was a black haired boy who wore a black coat, and the other one was a brunette girl with a light-blue scarf.

The two of them were sitting by the kitchen while eating a pair of burgers. A glance at them would make one think they hadn’t been involved in the incident at all.

“Are you sure it was okay to use all these ingredients to make ourselves more food?” Caroline asked.

“It’s fine. I’m sure these ingredients are the least of that old man’s worries by this point.”

“But that’s exactly why it isn’t okay!” She scolded him. “He already lost a lot, and we are adding to his loses, you need to be more considerate!”

“You are on your fifth burger.”

“F-Fine then, I’ll let you off the hook for now!”

She apologized in silence to the owner before taking a bite of the burger in her hands.

The young boy, however, screamed in fear.

In seconds, he was silenced by a bullet that flew right by him.

It barely grazed his light brown hair as it collided with the wall.

“What’s your name?” Faith immediately asked giving no concern to the terror of that boy.

The boy looked around desperately trying to look for a way to escape.

He tried opening the door, but the lock wouldn’t allow it to open. The door was locked from the inside, but in his panic, the captured boy was not able to realize this.

He started to breathe heavily and was close to hyperventilating by the mere thought of being trapped and captured.

“I don’t have a reason to say anything to people like you!!”

Another gunshot flew by the captured boy.

“Just so you know, I’m not planning on wasting any more than these. You better cooperate or you are done for.” Faith yawned as he reloaded his gun.

“Now, now. Let’s calm down.” Caroline smiled at the boy. She had changed the tone of her voice into a sweet sing-song voice. “Just answer some questions for us and we can let you have a burger too~”

“I-I’m sorry! I will! I just don’t want to die!!”

“Then just answer our questions, you idiot.” Faith finally put his gun away. He had no intention to harm this person as long as he could get the information he needed.

The captured boy took a deep breath. He had come to this place with a mission, and yet, his fear had won over his sense of duty. He knew he was betraying his comrades, but his will wasn’t strong enough to put them before his own life.

“Fine, I’ll talk, I can tell you everything you want to know. But my name is something I definitely can’t give you.”

“Is there a reason you can’t give us your name?” Caroline asked as she handed a burger to the boy.

He stared at her with doubt and slowly grabbed it after a few seconds.

“It’s because I don’t have one anymore.”

“What do you mean?”

“It’s not just me, all of us, we don’t have names anymore. Our names now belong to the “Organization of Hope,” it was the only way we could purify this city before the “Day of the End.””

“Um…” Caroline scratched her head a little embarrassed. She didn’t understand a single thing he just said. “Could you please elaborate a little more?”

The captured boy hesitated for a moment, but his bright blue eyes then met with Faith’s cold glare. He took a deep breath, realizing he had no other choice.

“The “Day of the End” is coming. It’s the day this city, no, the day the world will cease to exist.”

“Is someone trying to take over and close down the city or something?” Faith crossed his arms as he listened. He’s dealt with people like that before so that wouldn’t surprise him.

“It’s nothing like that. A catastrophe is coming.”

“Catastrophe?” Caroline pondered.

“Yes, you could say it’s like a higher level of natural disaster. It is all part of an event called the “Judgment Stage.” The Judgment Stage was said to begin on Sunday, October 9th of the year 2016. It would last all the way until the Day of the End arrived. Meaning that to us, it started right when the clock reached midnight today. Everyone that chose to remain in the city by this period would be treated as cursed.”

"Stop right there.” Faith decided to interrupt. “If everyone remaining in this city right now is cursed, wouldn’t that mean that you and all those people from before are cursed too? And also, how can you prove this whole thing is real to begin with?”

“Well, I have to admit, it all started like some silly urban legend. But eventually... some of the things mentioned in the legend, such as natural disasters, a few of them did become true. After a few earthquakes and with the sudden storms lately, everyone began to accept it as real, and everyone began to fear for what was to come. Soon after, we were offered salvation by an organization named the “Organization of Hope.” The leader of this organization told us that if we joined, we would be protected from the curse. In exchange for salvation, we would lose our "names” and “identities” and would be granted the right to “purify” whoever remained in the city in the Period of Judgment.”

"What do you mean by purify?” Caroline asked, but Faith already knew too well what the true meaning was.

“The purification process consists on making the cursed people disappear. If we eliminate all of them, we might be able to cancel out the Judgment Stage and the Day of the End would never happen. To you, it might look like just killing, but to us, it was a necessary step to cleanse their souls.”

Yes, Faith already knew what it meant, yet, hearing it from the mouth of this boy, it made him boil with anger. The person speaking before him didn't feel like a person anymore. It felt as though he was talking with a brainwashed, empty casket.

The black-haired boy stood up. He pulled out his gun and pressed it against the captured boy’s forehead.

The young boy froze in the spot as his body trembled in fear for his life.

“Does a coward like you even have the guts to kill anyone?” Faith glared straight into the boy’s eyes.

“I-It’s not like we have a choice-”

“Stop giving me excuses and answer me. Have you already ended someone’s life with your own hands? Do you really have what it takes to kill someone?”

"N…No…” The boy admitted it.

“Let me tell you something.” Faith’s finger slowly moved closer to the trigger. “I do.”

The sound of a gunshot resounded.

The boy collapsed against the floor.

But his life didn't come to an end.

Faith missed on purpose by just a few millimeters, and the boy had collapsed due to shock.

“I don’t think you can hear me anymore, but know this: if you keep going around involved in ridiculous things like these, then I won’t miss again.”

The brunette glared at the black haired boy and spoke in an annoyed tone.

“You didn’t have to go that far.”

“Tch. It’s the easiest way to make him understand.”

“Hm, what about you though?” Caroline wondered. “You say you have what it takes to end someone’s life, but have you ever really done it before?”

Faith put away his gun and refused to give her a proper answer.

“Let’s leave now.”

Faith and Caroline decided to return to the company’s building. It’d be a lot safer to think things through in there.

After checking that the area outside the kitchen was clear of enemies, Faith and Caroline walked out of the restaurant. The storm outside had already let up.

“Hm.” Caroline crossed her arms.

“What is it?”

“Did you forget that old man took your bike? How do we go back now?”

“We walk.”

“Eh?! We are really deep into the city! That’s going to take two hours at least!”

“So?”

As the two continued to argue on what to do, a small red car passed by and then stopped in front of them.

“Hey kids, need a ride?” A man sitting in the driver’s seat asked as he lowered the car’s window.

“…”

Faith and Caroline both remained quiet.

“Never mind the absurdly convenient timing.” Faith slowly moved towards the car. “You look exactly like the stupid old man who runs this restaurant!”

“A-Ahaha… I don’t know what you are talking about!!” The man shook his head. “That was my brother that you met, he works here, yes!”

“Hmm…” Caroline stared at him suspiciously as well.

“I have a better idea.” Faith smirked. “How about you get the hell out of this car and hand it over to us?”

“Sure.”

Such a confident reply. Both could tell there was something wrong about all this, but after checking the car thoroughly, Faith and Caroline decided to trust the man for the time being. They also agreed to give him a ride to help him get away from there.

“Hm.” Caroline stared at the restaurant behind them, hesitating for a bit before getting into the car.

“Are you worried about that brat?” Faith could easily tell because part of him was worried too, as much as he would never admit it.

“Hm?” The old man stared at both of them curiously.

Faith sighed.

“It seems we’ll have an extra passenger.”

They returned to the store to get the boy and placed his unconscious body on the back seat of the car.

The old man felt awkward as he sat next to him, but Faith and Caroline had refused to explain the situation. He had no choice but to accept it.

“Just so we are clear.” Faith added as he started up the car. “Don’t forget I’ll be taking this car after we drop you somewhere safe along with that brat.”

“That’s certainly okay.”

The man had no complaints about it. The way he acted made Faith and Caroline keep their guard up.

Faith didn’t know why, but something about this man was starting to make him feel extremely pissed off.

In the end, Faith and Caroline reached the company’s building and slept at the top floor for the night.

Faith sat on the fancy rotating chair while lying down against the table.

Everything had been so exhausting that he woke up until it was past two in the afternoon.

Caroline wasn’t full of energy either. She was lying down on a couch in the room while half asleep as well.

“Hey.” Faith spoke once he regained some of his consciousness. “What do you think we should do now?”

“Sleep.”

Faith couldn't argue with that and lied down against the table once more.

But suddenly, a loud ringing noise made both of them jump to their feet.

It seemed like someone was outside the building, and the ringing came from a doorbell by the entrance.

“I don’t even remember there being one of these there.” Faith scratched his head annoyed.

“Oh? Me neither. Good luck with that, boss.” Caroline lied down and went back to sleep while pushing all responsibility on him.

Faith picked up his gun from the table to be safe and walked down all the way towards the entrance of the building.

A young woman with wavy hair was standing outside with a smile.

“What do you want?” Faith asked.

“Hmm~ You look a little troubled.”

“If that’s all you have to say you can go away now.”

“Aww, don’t be so rude! And here I was ready to let you in on details about the Organization of Hope.”

“You—”

“Oh, so you are interested after all~?”

“I’m guessing you are one of the few people remaining here that haven’t gone crazy yet.”

“Pretty much.” The woman shrugged. “People broke into my house at night, claiming something about having to purify me. I caught a glimpse of you dropping that old man and the kid nearby, so I decided to follow you all the way here!”

“I’m pretty sure there was no one else there when that happened.”

“Ah, details, details. That doesn’t matter. Here, have this.” The woman pulled out a small envelope from her purse and handed it over to Faith.

“What’s this?”

“Just check it out, alright? I’ll be waiting!” The woman waved and started walking away.

Faith wanted information, but he lacked the energy to push the issue further or go after her. The best option, for now, was to let her go.

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