Author note: This chapter is in a 1st person POV and is darker than usual.
The first memory I have is of a white room.
The temple was the place where they raised exorcists to be sent to combat the supernatural, or at least that’s what they told us. I held on to my ‘sister’s’ hand as I looked around the room. While she wasn’t my real sister, we were brought in at the same time and raised together so we might as well have been. The other children were playing with the various toys and books that they left for us. A man dressed in white came into the room.
We did as we were told.
“Numbers 1 through 27! Come with me.”
Each day started with training. We were led to a large room.
“Numbers 1 and 3, line up and get ready to fight.”
We did as we were told.
We took fighting stances and started moving towards each other. She swung her right fist, aiming at my lower body. I blocked her fist and countered by performing a roundhouse kick to her head. She went down.
“Good number 1. Next, number 2 and number 4, line up!”
This continued for hours. I worried about my sister, but she was actually a pretty good fighter. She had quick reflexes and somehow managed to keep winning, even against the older numbers. But this made all the others avoid her and even the ‘teachers’ looked at her like she was some kind of weird creature.
After combat training we were taken into a smaller room to learn more about the world and practice our math and language skills. I was fairly proficient at this and learned quickly. My sister on the other hand, always looked like she was being tortured.
I helped her out with her assignments and she usually managed to get through it.
After we finished our assignments, we were taught about magic. I was interested but not engrossed with these lessons, but my sister seemed to want to jump out of her seat with excitement. She kept asking the ‘teacher’ questions to the point where they had to tell her to stop.
We were then led back into the white room.
The man dressed in white then left the room. Me and my sister spent our time reading together about the things outside the temple. We learned about things like the ocean, which had long since dried up, and read fantastical stories about hero’s slaying monsters with their powerful magic and were loved by everyone.
Would we be loved like that?
It was after reading some of these books that we decided to give each other names. I named her after the magical hero of the storybook she loved the most.
She loved it.
Shaking with excitement, she told me the name she thought of.
It was…a bit strange, but it was the name she thought really hard about, so I smiled and told her I loved it. She looked confused for a second, but then smiled back.
I learned much later that the name she was actually trying to say to me was ‘Emily Galleon’, but by that point it was too late to correct it.
That was a bit annoying, but whatever.
That was how we spent our days.
We didn’t have much freedom, but I thought we could be happy.
I was wrong.
“Numbers 1-12 come with me.”
Again, we did as we were told.
We were lead by a man we had never seen before into a bright room. There was a table in the middle of the room surrounded by weird looking equipment.
“Numbers line up. Number 1 get on the table.”
I…did what I was told.
“Let’s begin the operation.”
We were forced to drink various medical serums that were made by alchemy, a combination of the drugs that were made in the city and magically enhanced drugs. They tried implanting cybernetic implants into some of us. They even tried carving magical patterns on our bones and organs. They showered us with magic spells to train our resistance and healed us up so we could do it again.
I desperately grappled with that training. No matter how painful, sad, and difficult it was, I clung to life because I thought things would be better after it was over.
I was wrong.
Our physical and magical powers increased, but our bodies were in a state were we were all on the brink of death. Half the numbers had died by then. The rest started dying out, one by one, through magical training accidents or because the experiments had destroyed their bodies.
Why…are we doing this?
Everything, was wrong. Everything I thought I knew was wrong.
We weren’t being raised to become exorcists. We were just experiments.
The temple took in all of us to experiment with new ways to make stronger exorcists. We were just their lab rats.
The terror of my body breaking.
The despair of not knowing if my sister was going to make it.
Why did we have to go through this?
Why are we doing this?
I’ll kill them.
I’ll kill them all.
I’ll kill those strange men, I’ll kill the temple’s staff, I’ll kill all the exorcists.
I’ll ‘teach’ them what we learned.
But first, I need to get stronger. I kept going to the training and lessons with my sister. The numbers were down to 6 now.
Doesn’t matter. All I need is her.
Unfortunately there was someone in my way. Frank Whinners.
I heard he gave himself that name. Pathetic.
He was stronger than me in magical and physical ability.
He also had an annoyingly self-righteous personality, so if I tried anything now, he could kill me. I had to cozy up to him and wait for an opportunity.
My sister was confused about why I was doing this, but I couldn’t let anyone catch on to my plan. I had to push her away and keep everyone’s attention away from me and her.
“I’m sorry, but it’ll be over soon, Elusia.”
I’ll kill him.
I’ll kill them all.
And then we’ll be free.
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