Chapter 18:



The knife bounced off the sky blue glass and clanged to a stop. Roy's desperate tackle sent the deranged man tumbling into the wall right after it, and his umbrella cracked like a bat on his head before he could reach for the knife.

"Are you okay?" Roy cried, leaning over Gabi before the man hit the floor.

"Roy..." she sobbed, pulling him onto her. "I was so scared..."

"I know," he whispered. "

"Did Ken do this?"


"Why... Does he want to send everyone to be with Ellie?"

"That might be it. I don't know what he's thinking... but Gabi, we should get out of here before someone else comes."

"Wait," she said, clinging as he tried to lift himself up. "Thank you, Roy. For coming for me. I don't know why you chose me of all people, but thank you."

Roy smiled. "I was just worried about you."

"Thank you," she sobbed. "But... my eyes. I heard The Truth, so I should be..."

Roy gently pulled away and looked into her sky blue eyes that shuddered with her twitching cheek. "It's okay. Somehow we both ended up unaffected by it."

"Really?" she muttered, her facial muscles relaxing as she blinked at him. "How?"

"I don't know," he replied, helping her to her feet. "Wait... did Ellie tell you what her navi helped her find out about The Truth?"

Her swollen eyes went wide. "Yeah, she did... The night she died. She told me, Dmitri, and Hai. I forgot about it until now."

"She was protecting all of you..."

"So everyone she told is safe..."

"Yeah… That's means... Felix! Let's go, Gabi!"

He took her hand and made for the door, but stopped in his tracks before opening it.

Roy... what about Bian?

We…Kept it from her to protect her...

So she's probably deranged...

Wait, we should still be connected... Bian, can you hear me?


You're there! Are you safe?

Yeah... it didn't affect me.

That's great. Where are you?

My office. I don't know how long I'll be safe here...

I'll come get you, okay?

Okay... Please, hurry.

"Roy, what's wrong?" Gabi asked, tugging his arm.

"Nothing, let's go." He threw the door open and stamped the wet brick before ducking into an alley, just avoiding the gaze of the orange eyes brawling on the road.

Felix, are you there?

Roy! I forgot we could talk like this!

Are you safe?

Yeah! Kinda... our office is a bloodbath though...

Can you meet me at Bian's office?

Yeah, I'll try to make it over there!

With luck, they didn't run into any more orange eyes, and when they reached the counseling office, Bian staggered into the road, followed by an orange eyed woman wielding a long shard of glass.


The deranged woman slowed her pursuit to turn at the shouting voice coming down the other side of the road.

"Come and get me!" Felix cried, waving a metal rod in the air. He let her charge like a bull, only to lunge at nothing as he deftly spun out of the way before sticking the rod out and tripping her.

She fell face first with a thud, and before she could regain herself, Felix was on top of her, pinning her arms. "Aesthetics!"

"I didn't think about that..." Roy muttered before rushing over. Bian made it there first, and dropped four drops in each of her eyes while Roy and Gabi held her eyelids open.

She went limp, and Felix rolled off of her with a huge sigh, while Bian shook the woman's shoulders, whispering "Emilia?" Before sitting on her knees.

"What now? We can't leave her to be killed now," Bian said, glancing at Roy and Gabi.

"I'll carry her," Felix said. "I decided to stop her, so it's my responsibility."

Bian nodded her head and stood up. "So where do we go? Is there anywhere safe?"

"Right now that would probably be the Outer District," Roy replied, glancing to and fro.

"Maybe for now..." Felix said as he lifted the unconscious woman's arms over his back.

"Yeah, it sounded like they were trying to herd the deranged toward the quartzes, after the pearls..." Bian said, glancing at Roy as he led them into the closest alley.

"Yeah… I'd like to check on someone before we go to the Outer District," Roy said.

"And then we can look for Dmitri?" Gabi asked, clasping her hands. "I'm sure Rocks is at the hideout, too. And Hai should be with other soldiers, so maybe we can meet up with him and find safety!"

"Yeah, good idea," Roy replied, patting her on the shoulder. "I'm worried about Dmitri too. And I want to talk to Rocks... I have a feeling he knows something about this..."

"And what about her?" Bian asked, frowning at Gabi. "She's a close friend of Ken's too, right? And she's unaffected. How do we know she didn't plan this with him?"

"She didn't," Roy said, throwing her frown back at her. "She's unaffected for the same reason Felix and I are… Wait, what about you? Did Ellie…"

"She told me about how there's more to The Truth… It was after her baptism, when you left her in my office," she said, looking down. "She's the one that had to protect me, because you were still keeping things from me…"

"I couldn't have known…" Roy replied. "I thought not telling you was for your own good. But I'm glad she told you…"

"But wait…" Felix said, wincing at her. "She told you after her baptism? Then you would have known her dose didn't clear her memory the way it's supposed to."

Roy stopped in his tracks. "That's right… You kept that from us… why?"

"She promised she would be okay, and made me promise to keep it a secret. I believed her, even though it goes against protocol. I did that because of your judgment…"

"I…" Roy muttered, looking down. "I understand. I failed her. It's not your fault."

Bian turned her back, and with a sigh, continued walking. The alleys led them to the canal, and the cabin-sized homes that surrounded it. Roy approached their destination alone, and shuddered upon seeing the door already open.

The classical piano greeted him as always, but the walls which should have been white, were stained red. The splotches in the living room thickened as their tracks led him into the kitchen, where the red was all he could see. On the table where he always looked forward to drinking a cup of home-brewed tea, there she lay.

Roy dropped to his knees, a wretched sob slicing through his breath as he held his head in his hand, the only offering he could give her.

"Mrs. Baranov… I'm— so sorry."

Roy… she's with her husband now, okay? She's free.

Ken… This is all his fault…