Where he is at, who is himself. The frustration of seemingly unable to recall something he should remember.
He felt something other than his reasoning was whispering to him that it’s 『Not enough』.
Suspicions, impatience and sense of loss, the emotions that he never experienced before he retrieved the light from the surrounding young men.
An unknown feeling told himself that he is not the original him, and at the same time, he also understood that the something he is lacking can’t be retrieved.
The light he retrieved was not all of it. However, it’s unlikely that there’re more outside the room he was in. The realization of something that he couldn’t get back any more left a hollow spot in himself.
He could understand at least that much. However, now is not the time for him to be drowning in sadness, as he shook his head. He can’t stay here.
From the memories, emotions and thoughts he regained, everything was warning him.
A self-directed question within the empty room.
Despite not knowing the purpose of those men making this place, at the very least, he could understand that he is not allowed freedom. He can tell after regaining his thoughts.
Though in the first place, for him who hadn’t been thinking of anything till yesterday never had thought of escaping at all.
「It’s about the mealtime huh……」
There’s a fixed time when the care taker brings food to himself and the other young men. The only chance he can escape is during that.
Now that the room that originally had many other young men had become empty, it’s obvious at a glance that something abnormal happened. However, at the same time, it is a chance to escape.
There’s always only one person that brings the food. If he ambushes and neutralize that person, he would be able to leave the room without any noise.
「I can only do it. 」
He didn’t have any hesitation. It was natural, considering that he has no other choice to be hesitating with.
While thinking more on his plans, he waited for the care taker to come. A period of time that was extremely long for him passed, and finally, there was the sound of someone pushing a cart from outside the room.
The sound of the door getting opened. A cart with food entered the room through the opened door, and then the caretaker followed behind.
「Arya? Did I mista―― gaahk! 」
The caretaker muttered to himself seeing the room void of the young men, but was immediately halted forcefully.
His hand stretched out from within the shadows, circling around the caretaker’s neck, and then hit into the wall.
「Kahak, y-you……! 」
While suppressing his opponent by strangling his neck, he skillfully closed the door with his foot.
The caretaker that was stuck in his arm lock threw punches into the air desperately, and kicked in his stomach.
After many times of struggling, the caretaker eventually lost his power, and finally his arm fell down.
To confirm the caretaker has stopped breathing, he investigated the pulse, and after thoroughly confirming his death, he finally released him.
Despite having just killed someone with his own hands, there were no waves in his heart that didn’t even have an ego till yesterday.
It’s not his first time killing someone. He felt like there were some that begged for their lives too.
Was it his own memories, or memories from someone else. What he could say for sure was, even if he didn’t wish for it, it’s certain that he had robbed lives with his hands.
And it’s also the truth that it’s something as common as a daily occurrence for him. Killing just one more person would not make him feel more guilty by now.
On the other hand, there was still something within himself telling that he had done something bad.
A childish emotion unthinkable for himself. Ignoring it as insignificant, he approached the caretaker’s cart.
He dipped two fingers onto the paste on the cart, and tasted it.
The not particularly delicious or bad, but strange taste induced his irritation.
Only for the sake of providing nutrients, a paste made only to swallow, that was what he and the young men were eating.
It is the last thing he would ever consider as a meal, focusing only on efficiency.
Despite so, it is his precious source of nutrients now. Even if he managed to escape or get caught after this, there’s no knowing when he will have his next meal.
He quickly finished three portions of food, and stripped the caretaker, wearing it for himself.
Luckily, everyone that came to the room wears the same coat. It was a pure white cloak that is long enough to wrap his entire body and reach his ankles.
There’s also a hood that can cover his face, it’s convenient for avoiding others’ gazes.
He pulled the corpse to a shaded place where it isn’t visible from the window of the door.
Although the sight of the young men disappearing is already enough of an abnormal event, it’s still much better than immediately discovering the corpse of the caretaker.
After completing his preparation, he listened at the door, making sure that no one was on the other side, he peeked outside from the window.
「Will I make it……? 」
He slowly opened the door suppressing his anxiety. Beyond the door, a gloomy corridor extends to both sides.
Hiding his face with the hood, he exited the room and locked the door with the keys he stolen from the caretaker.
「Right, or left. 」
He could only see this corridor from the window of the door. The best he could do is to leave it up to luck.
Since he was lacking information, it would be a gamble no matter what he does, still, he cannot falter now.
「I won’t know even if I thought. 」
As there was nothing to act as a basis, all he could do is follow his instincts.
Dispelling his hesitation immediately, he chose the right side where he thought the caretaker came from.
Only the shoes he stole from the caretaker made rubbing sounds in the empty corridor.
There were lesser people than expected, or was he just lucky. Without encountering anyone, he came to a place with multiple doors.
There wasn’t any lock on them, and peeking inside the room that was already opened, he could see shelves of books and several long tables and chairs.
The desk was occupied by tools messily, and documents that probably spilled from the desk were scattered on the floor.
It should be something he saw for the first time in his memories. Despite so, he was convinced that 「It is so」 without feeling anything out of place.
He looked left and right, trying to find if anything would be useful, and he found a stick glowing strangely at the edge of his vision.
「……This seems useful.」
After pocketing some small knives that were on the table, he searched the room for more things that might be useful.
「Is it…… this? 」
He picked up a candle stand and some candles, and a tinderbox that seemed to be used for emergency.
Somehow convinced that it is something used to make fire, he gathered items that seemed easy to burn like the books and a bottle of liquid, and lit them on fire without hesitation.
Expecting that the room filled with combustibles will burn uncontrollably, he left the place while the smoke started to rise, and continued finding the exit.
In any case, he didn’t even know how big is the building he’s in. Not just that, he had no idea whether he was below ground, or a normal building.
The corridors are quieter than he expected, there were only a total of two people he passed by after so long. And both of them wore their hoods deep, showing no interest, they were carrying experiment tools and were heading somewhere.
Not meeting many people on the way, he continued down the gloomy corridor and arrived at a room.
「There’s really no one around. 」
This room is empty as well. Although there were various more strange tools lining up in this room than the earlier one, he didn’t know what they meant at all.
However, his face was frowning for some reason. There was a sense of discomfort assaulting him.
It was at that time when he thought to leave. There was a soft cry reaching his ears.
A corner of the room. A cry of a girl came from the corner surrounded by a curtain made from a mysterious material that is not cloth.
He muttered softly. At the same time, he headed towards the source of the sound.
Normally, he would avoid contact as much as possible. Despite so, his legs moved before his thoughts, as for what he heard, it was too weak to be considered a threat, rather it was a grieving cry as if seeking help from someone.
Pushing away the mysterious curtain, he found a girl lying on a bed with a strange shape.
「Hik…… no! 」
The girl about the age of fifteen expressed rejection. The black pupils exuded fear for him who was wearing a white coat, the undergrown and thin body was shivering.
She tried to escape somehow from him by twisting but, with her four limbs and her abdomen fastened to the bed with leather belts, she had no way of accomplishing anything.
Only her free head was shaking left and right, and her black hair followed along.
「Stop……, go away 」
The girl’s face distorted. Her nose was red, and pleading words came from her mouth.
「I did everything already……, please let me go home……」
「……Who are you? 」
The eyes full of tears seemed confused. Her words indicated her confusion, and the girl became quiet as if time stopped.
「Do you know where is this? 」
「What……? Why……? 」
The girl was confused by what he asked.
「I’m not going to do anything to you. I’m wearing this to fool their eyes. 」
Saying so, he took off his white hood and showed his face.
Although he didn’t know why, the girl who saw his face seemed to calm down.
「Hatefully, my memories are vague. I don’t know why I was caught here. Do you know anything? 」
「……I don’t know. I was here by the time I knew too……. Even if you ask, I want to know too……」
As he was disappointed that he got nothing useful, suddenly, he noticed something as he listened to the entrance.
Shutting the girl up, he listened to voices that came from outside the room.
「The fire is still going! Isn’t it some flammable chemical that ignited!? 」
「Which idiot!? That’s why chemicals must be managed properly! 」
While clearly irritated, there were people running busily, and the voices distanced.
It seems like the fire he made a while back had successfully garnered attention as he wanted.
「I lit some place on fire just now. They probably discovered that. 」
「Isn’t it better to have a distraction if I’m escaping? ……So, what about you? 」
「About me? 」
「You have two choices. One is to come with me and escape this place. Of course, there’s nothing guaranteeing escaping alive. You might die, and if you get caught, there might be even worse treatment. The other is to stay here. Personally I wouldn’t recommend so, but that’s up to you to decide. 」
「Are you…… escaping? 」
「Of course. I was only waiting death to come as an experiment guinea pig. If I were to die, be it as a human at the very least. 」
With his little memory, he could understand that the treatment to himself and the other young men were not humane in the least.
Sometimes, there were more of them, and sometimes, some of them disappeared, thinking about how they lived so far, it’s easy to imagine that he and the others were being used as a consumable.
「Experiment…… guinea pig……」
The girl showed some hesitation at his answer but, there’s not much time to waste in this situation.
His and the girl’s gaze locked, and a silence while they seemingly tried to grasp the other’s mind. With a firm expression, the girl spoke.
「……Please bring me. 」
「Got it. 」
As he got her answer, he took out one of the small knives hidden in his pocket, and sliced open the leather belt that restrained her.
「But don’t misunderstand. I’m not bringing you. You are following on your own legs on your own will. 」
After saying so to the girl that got freedom back in her arms and legs, he looked around the room for anything useful.
Finding a white cloak similar to the one he was wearing hanging at the door, he threw it to the girl.
「Sorry but I don’t have the room to be a saint helping you now. I won’t hesitate to dump you if you are being slow. 」
The girl who received the cloak showed a face of resolve without saying anything.
Locking gaze with him, she nodded firmly, in her black pupils there was the strong resolve of someone determined.