Chapter 17:



"You have now heard The Truth, Ken Jitsuo... yet, the Derangement Syndrome has yet to set in..."

The bespectacled man's words were hardly audible over the cries that spread throughout the street like a shockwave. Roy was caught in the tital wave of shrieking people, all stuck in between their desire to kill and escape each other's bloodlust.

One moment he was swept under the current and trampled, and the next he was standing and clearing a path with his umbrella and briefcase. He pushed and pulled, but despite garnering cuts and bruises all over, his makeshift sword and shield never hit anyone.

The sea of orange eyes held no trace of their once permanent smiles as they focused on him, the only one among them with eyes unlike theirs.

Inside those green eyes curtained by dripping blood, Roy's navi alerted him to each new attack from behind or beside him. They came with mostly household items like wrenches, flashlights, and carbon bottles, but used them with every bit of killing intent as a soldier.

Roy parried, avoided and disarmed, until the swarm of people turned on each other once more. One by one bodies fell, their orange eyes turned black, and those who fell them found their eyes red. The new red eyes looked around like they'd just woken up, and looked to escape.

Before long, the red eyes outnumbered the orange, and though they sought not to kill more, the only choice was to eliminate the remainder of deranged ones. And finally, a reprieve was had. The ones who'd just been innocent, ignorant citizens now sobbed with the quiet remorse of a killer brought to their senses.

Roy never once let the screen leave the corner of his eye, but now he could focus solely on Ken. Every one of his nails had been pried off, and he writhed in pain. Though, he did not do so with any bloodlust.

Because, like Roy, his eyes remained unchanged through it all. The bespectacled man ordered another man to inject him with aesthetics, but no matter how much he pumped into his arm, his eyes never even clouded. He simply bared his teeth at the bespectacled man, like prey baring fangs against its predator.

Why, Ken...

Why would you do this..

To Aesthetica...

To yourself...

Suddenly, the streets were once again filled with orange eyes as houses and businesses emptied. While Roy staggered down the street away from pursuit, the screen finally changed. Something shattered through the stained glass walls, and the man whose eyes Ken had been hacking was taken out.

"Emergency instructions to all citizens," the feminine avatar cried from every screen. "If you've been infected with Derangement Syndrome due to the unauthorized broadcast, please only attempt to kill pearl citizens if you can."


They're willing to sacrifice the elderly...

That isn't going to work, anyway!

Roy swung his briefcase behind him as he ran, blocking a shovel before the person chasing him was tackled by other orange eyes.

"Additionally, you may kill any quartz citizens, or topaz citizens if you can clearly tell they've been recently baptized."

No... Gabi!

That's anybody that looks 20 and under!

Dmitri, too.. no, they'll turn on the entire Outer District.

If they make it there. But at least there's more soldiers in the Outer District.

Gabi comes first then..

What about Mrs Baranov?

I don't know..

And Ken?

He's on his own. I'm sure he has a plan...

"Please try not to kill ruby citizens. Those with red eyes must be preserved. If you are now a red eye, your navi will have access to an encrypted terminal. Please go there for specific instructions."

I haven't seen a single soldier yet..

They may not be trying to stop this.

Or they're just protecting the elite red eyes.. like Aldheim.

Roy, doesn't it seem like they were...

Ready for this? Yeah...

A bloody trail led to the open door of the brick apartment building he was looking for. Roy burst through and followed the trail to the bedroom, where a man stood over the defenseless crying girl.

His knife had already reached its apex, and began its downward arc.