Even while showering in blood, he stood at the same spot for a while. He isn’t so innocent to feel anything from killing the man.
In the first place, it was a situation of 『Kill or be killed』, it was none other than the pursuers who taught him that.
It’s just that the man is unfortunately on the killed side now.
What do people say about that normally again.
「What goes around comes around……, I suppose? 」
He didn’t know how he knew that but he muttered so nonetheless.
「In any case, better wash this blood off. 」
Leaving aside killing one of the pursuers, he recalled that he was still drenched in the enemy’s blood.
Dragging the man’s corpse into a bush suitably, he walked towards the small spring that he saw before they found the cave.
「So it will be fine until dawn……? 」
The man said that he was 『Alone』.
If so, even if the man didn’t return for a while, there probably won’t be any search party immediately. Though it doesn’t mean he can let his guard down.
If the man by himself was able to reach them, it meant that they are not far from the pursuers. It’s better to assume that the pursuers will have the upper hand if they waited for dawn.
「It’s better to move earlier huh. 」
Arriving at the spring where he recalled, he washed away the blood splashed onto himself and his clothes. The moonlight shining between the leaves illuminated him who stood up after rehydrating and heading back to the cave.
The spring water turned the depression in the ground into a makeshift pond, making it the precious source of water for any wild life here. The moon was visible on the surface of the water that was slightly wavering.
As he looked over at the water surface without any particular intentions, it reflected the face of the young men. It was at that time, his eyes widened.
It was a mutter without meaning. The surprise of seeing a face that he was familiar with. Touching his own nose, the image on the water surface similarly touched its nose.
It’s natural. The image on the water surface was reflecting himself after all.
It was the same face as all the other young men in the same room before he regained his own will.
「My…… face. 」
He was confused by the fact that his face was the same as all the other young men.
「Is this, me……? 」
The people that he thought was just his roommates. He thought that it was strange for all of them to have the same face.
However, thinking they were the strange ones, he finally came to realize for the first time that he’s not an exception. With the truth now revealed, he was shocked.
「They, were…… me…… ?」
A new drop of water that landed on the water surface rippled. His face and the moon visible on the surface rippled as well.
However, even if the surface did not ripple, the image of his face was still shaking. He was trembling by the time he noticed.
After regaining his will, he followed on his own survival instincts and escaped. And albeit a little too late, the question without any answer assaulted him.
「Who…… am I? 」
Despite having a clear ego now, his memories is vague. The memory before he regained himself is still full of haze.
Killed many times, chopped many times, self-destructed as ordered, the memories of dying emerged without any connection between the front and back.
Which of it is his earliest memory, he himself isn’t clear. On one hand, it felt like all of them were his own memories, and on the other, it felt like all of them were someone else’s.
The boundary of his self-awareness was so vague like in a dream. And the memory that indicates the cause of that could not be found.
Despite regaining his ego, the sense of loss of something critical was still there. He looked at the face reflected on the surface.
He lifted his bangs with one hand. There were words written on his forehead. Was it burned in, or was it carved in with some other method.
He was confident for some reason that the digit on his forehead would not disappear even if he washed it. Recalling back, the other young men too had similar words engraved on their forehead.
Although never reading them, he was aware that every one of them had different engravings. Despite having the same appearance, the engravings were different.
Just that fact alone is enough to tighten his heart in despair.
「Am I………… not a person? 」
He thought that the engravings were reminiscent of man-made tools. At the same time, a discomfort expanded thinking that his whole existence is something undesired. He dropped to his knees.
With all four limbs on the ground, his disgust was enough to stimulate his gastric juice to reverse its flow. Despite so, he forcefully swallowed it back down, before exhaling while sweating uncomfortably. The acidity burned the back of his throat.
「Ha…… haa…… haa………」
Heat was behind his eyeballs, he felt nauseating.
「What…… am I……!? 」
There was no one to answer his question, and his yell was covered by the sound of the spring water. For quite some time, he sat quietly beside the spring water.
Even if he wanted to know who he is, with his vague memories, he could never know. Feeling like his own existence is an unknown monster, the discomfort and fear enveloped him.
Eventually, as if given up, he stood back up swaying, and returned to the cave where the girl was waiting. Considerable time had passed since he left the cave.
The girl had already laid on the ground, and was in a slumber.
There was a soft voice pleading for help from her. Something glimmered at the edge of her shut eyes. He muttered after sitting down a little distance away from the girl.
In his memories, there were no parents. He knew what are parents. Despite knowing, there was no such existence in his memories.
Memories of being a child, memories of his family, memories of his hometown――. Despite knowing them as a knowledge, there was not even a fragment of memory regarding them.
「Was there none from the beginning……? 」
It was a scary thought. However, it was also strangely convincing. He thought he lost his memories because he couldn’t recall the past at first.
If so, he thought that it might be possible that he recall them eventually. But there was something in him that kept insisting that 『It isn’t like that』.
It was because the existence of the young men in that room. Having the same face except for the words engraved on their forehead, strange existence that he could assimilate with despite not knowing why.
Regaining his awareness, he could now realize how absurd it actually was. Exactly because of that, he understood that he is not normal, and can deduce that the reason why he cannot recall the past is not a simple reason like memory loss.
「A number engraved just to identify individuals……」
Moving as instructed, a guinea pig that wouldn’t complain even when wounded. It could not be a person, only a 『Thing』.
「If so……, isn’t it just like dolls mass-produced from a mold or something. 」
He doesn’t want to think that he is just a thing. However, the memories he had, the number that is engraved on his forehead, all of them didn’t allow him to deny it.
He looked over at the forehead of the girl that was sleeping. There was no number engraved on her forehead seen through her bangs.
From what she was saying in her sleep, she has memories of her mother. Memories as a child, memories of her hometown, she has them.
The girl is undoubtedly a person.