Chapter 11:

Artificial Sky

Violet: No. 02189

Two weeks have gone by…

I still have far more questions than answers, but I’ve adapted to this place quite well. Mr. Juurou Amano, the old man who’s the landlord of the Shrine and its surroundings, gave me a place to stay as long as I helped him and his crew with some tasks. So, I was put to take care of the garden and help to carry supplies to the shrine and the cafe.

While looking after the garden, I’ve got a lot of time to think. Think about my role here in the Amano-oka Shrine, as well as everything that was said to me by the professor, and also think about my old life in Violet.

Despite the almost undeniable evidence, I still don’t know if the information the professor gave me about Blue and Violet is completely true or not, but in the case of it being indeed the truth, then the one thing I feared the most is now a reality: I took lives that didn’t have to be stolen.

I keep telling myself that even if the reason for the war was not exactly what I thought, I was still only fighting to protect my home, that I had no other choice, but deep inside I know the truth, that despite having doubts, and not believing in everything Violet showed to me, I still chose to follow what was ordered for me to do, and in the end, I chose to go to that battlefield.

I tried to follow the professor’s request, and with the passing of days, I came to know and understand better Neo-Tokyo’s culture, and people, but it’s still very hard to grasp many aspects of their customs, like the name and honorifics concept, for example, is all around very confusing, even more, when dealing with strangers.

Another thing that baffled me is that this whole city, gigantic as it is, functions without centralized governance. In Violet, the company was responsible for organizing almost all aspects of the societal structure, but the situation is practically the opposite here. You have people who own land putting their own rules on their respective properties, and a council of elders who decide on juridical matters, but otherwise, the only true law here is: “Don’t mess with other people’s stuff”. It’s very primitive, and yet, despite the lack of official rules, I have noticed a great number of unspoken conducts that are somehow sophisticated, that you have to somehow grasp on your own, it’s more than confusing, it’s contradictory.

Because of all this freedom, many people just do whatever they want, so crime and inequality still exist here, but despite that, the people from this place are so… lively? I don’t know how to put it, but this place and its people are just too different from Violet’s.

“Ren! Would you stop daydreaming and come here at once?!”

Leaning at a tree with both hands and the chin leaning on the broom I was supposed to be cleaning the floor with, I realize I was once again lost in my own mind.

“Sorry, Kaede! I promise I wasn’t slacking!!”

I run towards her and properly bow my head like I was told to do when apologizing.

“You don’t need to bow, stupid. Also, I don’t think you even know the meaning of ‘promise’ to begin with!”

“Why are you being so mean to me!?”

“I wouldn’t be mean if you weren’t so airheaded!”

“Geez, it’s difficult to believe you’re the same person who devised and successfully executed that crazy plan against that mech”

With her arms crossed and a pout on her face, Kaede gestures for Ren to follow her while guiding the way by herself.

This time she isn’t wearing her maid outfit or her casual clothes, she has the same attire and gear as when they first met. And that could only mean one thing: I would finally be able to participate in the relic hunt they talked so much about!

Following Kaede’s steps, Ren encounters himself at the professor’s office once again. He isn’t present in the room, but there’re many weapons and tools scattered on the ground.

“The professor said he analyzed the battery I was able to bring back as well as your suit”

The armor was hanging on the wall, while the battery was at the table with a rudimental paper note attached to it.

“I was able to analyze some of the internal content of this battery, and it’s as you said a formidable technology. Unfortunately, with my current knowledge, skills, and tools, I could not even dream of trying to replicate it…”

“…However, I have some good news, I managed to recharge the battery using a combination of electrical energy and tungsten that is luckily available in a large amount…”

“…Apparently to fully recharge the battery another material would be needed, but I have no idea what it is or how to obtain it, on a more positive note, it is currently at 70% charge and I was able to fully recharge your sword. While the suit itself is probably able to operate at roughly 50% of its total capacity”

After I finish reading the note, I go to the suit and take it in my hands.

“I’m impressed. This professor seems like a pushover but he’s competent. He even mended this suit”

“Well, I said to you before, didn’t I? Every member of our team is the very best in at least one thing”

This is seriously no small feat, despite not being technically an N.R.I.C.A., this skin-tight suit is Violet’s cutting-edge technology on light-weighted defensive armor.

“Speaking of him, I’ve not seen the professor in a while. You know where he is, Kaede?”

“Yeah, I don’t think I’ve told you this yet. The professor went to the surface earlier to retrieve Take-kun”

“This ‘Takekun’ is the last member of the team, right?”

Kaede answers Ren’s question with a head nod.

“Well, now I’ll let you suit up. I’ll be waiting in the corridor”


Before Ren could even put on his suit, he heard a bip sound coming from the corridor where Kaede was.

“Ren, have you finished putting on your combat clothes?”

“Not yet, why?”

“You don’t need to put them anymore”


Ren puts back his work clothes as he heads off to the exit of the office and stops by Kaede’s side.

“So, what happened?”

“I just received a message from the professor. He said Take-kun had some problems at the surface, so he doesn’t want us to go there, as it’d be too risky”

“It doesn’t make sense. If they are having problems wouldn’t it be better if we all go after them?”

Kaede exhales and puts her hand on her chin while making a worried expression.

“You’re right, however…”

“It’s not that simple. If the professor said it’s too risky, there must be a reason for that”

“We have no other choice but to trust his judgment and keep on standby if the situation changes”

“So, what do we do now?”


“We’re technically off-duty now, so what about we go to the Arcade?”

Ren raises one eyebrow upon hearing Kaede’s suggestion but ends up agreeing with the girl.

While waiting for Kaede to change her attire, Ren was surprised by the approaching of two people. One of them was someone he knew: Mayu, however, the other that was by her side was a very intimidating figure: A tall man with a frowny face and black hair with bangs covering half of his face as well as his right eye. His most prominent feature was nonetheless, his right arm. A metal arm that was fully exposed by the sleeveless t-shirt he wore.

That imposing frame approached Ren even more after a head nod from Mayu and then extended his arm in Ren’s direction:

“So, you must be the newbie”

It was a surprisingly calm and tender voice for someone of that build. Ren was taken by surprise by it and ended up hesitating to shake hands with the man.

“You don’t need to be so wary of him Ren-kun”

Mayu said with a cheerful tone as if Ren was being silly for being intimidated by someone like that person.

Still, a little unsettled, Ren extended his arm and greeted the man while annunciating his full name.

The man responded by also introducing himself with a friendly smile that seemed somehow creepy on his face despite his intentions:

“I’m Itsuki Takeshi, but you can call me Take”

Ren was expecting that this was the one the others talked about, but his presence was much more imposing in the flesh than what he anticipated.

“I-I see… but-”

“Wait! Weren’t you supposed to be with the professor!?”

The man immediately dispelled his smile and answered with a concerned face:

“Hide does things like this all the time… He helped me come back here and stayed behind to keep the bandits off my track”


“Yeah, well… it’s a long story but-”

“I was searching for relics in a ruin that was quite far from the labyrinth’s entrance”

“That’s why this mission took me so long in the first place, but the mission itself didn’t give me any problem”

“The issue was when I got near the labyrinth’s entrance, I saw a huge party of bandits. That’s when I contacted the professor and asked for help”

“Now looking back, that was probably a trap, they probably had info about my return and were after the relics”

Ren seems amazed by Take’s story but before he could continue asking more and more things about the man’s mission, Kaede came back making the group follow her en route to the Arcade. Surprisingly enough for Ren, everybody was eager for what was (in Ren’s eyes) superfluous entertainment.

Ever since Ren first came to Neo-Tokyo he only had seen the city from the top of the cliff where the Amano-oka Shrine is located. He still had not had the opportunity to see the city itself.

Looking upwards I seek for the sky; however, I can only see a man-made structure, a luminous giant dome that envelopes the whole city and adjusts its brightness accordingly to the hours on the clock.

It’s ironic, I never gave a thought about the sky during all my life in Violet. It was so natural seeing the sun and the blue sky during daytime and the moon along the dark firmament by the night, that I never really appreciated it. Thinking back, that was probably not just me, I don’t think many people back there treasured it.

All the things here are unnatural, the only exception I can think off are some trees that I see sporadically, but even those, don’t appear to be that natural either. Despite that, nobody seems fazed by it. Now that I think about it, the people here have at least one point in common with the people from Violet, and it is the ability to resign oneself to absurdity.

Perhaps, it’s me the strange one after all…