Chapter one: The Bombs Light up the Blue Sky, and…

16 Nov

Nanowrimo + school have been killing me slowly, but here it is!

Might be editing it later because I have many essays to work on, but it’s here ^^;

Elson Hill, outskirts

A dazzling day.

The time was morning – not just morning, but one that gave out rays of dazzling radiance.

Elson Hill.

It was a small town near Chicago.

A town that would have just recently appeared on a detailed map, and which, on a general map, would not even be present.

But because of certain reasons, this small town hidden by Chicago had suddenly become well known to the world.

Even though it had not yet taken on any special signification in the wider world – for the town, this reason had a great importance.

Although the town was full of farmland, buildings were scattered over the vast plains, connected to each other by a series of wide, easily accessible roads.

At first, it appeared a quiet agrarian town, but nothing could be seen growing on the actual land. A handful of places appeared to be actual farms, but they were so heavily fenced it was nearly impossible to see what was inside.

In general, the buildings in this town were heavily spaced apart, the only exceptions being what seemed to be a few normal residential buildings, which were concentrated in a corner of the town.

Some of these buildings were actually two or three smaller structures built together, but they generally were all built along the same roads. It was like the small town had been split into several dozen separate schools.

Additionally, all these “facilities” all shared something in common.

Both the facility buildings and all the trucks entered and leaving it had been painted with a certain badge –

– that of the corporation called “Nebula.”

The emblem of one of America’s most famous corporations: that was what they used as their symbol.

Rumored to have been created by German artist Carnald Strassburg, it was a very unique design.

And it was one that could be seen in every corner of the small town.

The town was filled with Nebula research institutes and warehouses, and the town’s residents were very unusual in one major aspect: all of them were connected to the same company.

That was one reason the town’s organizations were so close: it was because they belonged to the same group, conducting experiments as different divisions of the same company. Among the children of the town, however, it was rumored that because the organizations conducted a series of strange, suspicious experiments, their relationships were ones that could explode at any moment.

Such was the daily life in this small town.

One where the rumors of such disturbing occurrences had suddenly become reality.

It was as though if the sunlight trickling down had retreated, and the town was now bursting forth with blinding red light.

The reason for this was a blinding flash, which momentarily dazzled its viewers before slowly fading away.

But before the light could completely fade away, the skies were rocked by the sound of an explosion.

It was a deep, powerful roar, as though the sky was being torn in two.

And spreading through the town, a heat wave induced by this light –

Sound, smoke, and heat emanated from every corner.

On top of a small hill overlooking the town, several silhouettes moved.

Standing in front of the group overlooking the situation, one small shape could not help but murmur:

“Oh – looks like it’s started.”

Body shaking from the blast and heat of the explosions –

The boy with striking scars on his face and hands sighed.

“Well, there’s no way to turn back now.”

This remark was directed to himself, but from behind came what seemed to be a comment in response.

“You don’t know that, Rail.”

“…I didn’t ask for your opinion.”

A group of men comprised of varying ages, some even children, was the source of the many shadows behind the boy.

From within this group, a figure shook his head at the boy he had called Rail.

“If you want to go back, you can do it at anytime. All you have to do is stop.”

“…you say that, don’t you, but it’s clearly not going to stop me.” (1)

“Oh, don’t worry, your actions are hardly an impediment to Huey’s experiments. Plus, your plan to destroy Nebula’s research facilities won’t really affect their ability to carry out experiments.”

“…”

Rail fell silent, the emotionless crowd behind him blankly staring at the boy.

Seeming to have thought of something, the other man once more broke the silence.

“Oh, are you getting angry now? What, because you feel like you can never escape Huey?”

“…”

“Really Rail, relax. Right now, Huey’s also run into some inconveniences – so not only is there no way he could interfere with our actions, he doesn’t even have any of his trusted spies to give him information.”

Sham’s sarcastic remarks, however, were barely registered by Rail, who was gazing at the light below him. Now engulfed in a brilliant red radiance, the blaze was spreading to the town’s neighboring areas.

In such a suddenly volatile state of mind, Rail considered his situation.

A short two weeks before –

The most important person in the world to him was taken. Before his eyes, Frank had been kidnapped.

Not kidnapped – it would be more accurate to say he was brutalized. And though he would not rather not dwell on it, Rail knew it was likely that Frank had already been killed.

Contemplating the current situation, Rail’s thoughts turned to the white-clad figures he loathed so much – and, currently powerless to do anything against them, ground his teeth in anger.

Right now, all he could do was stand there, and watch the blaze take his revenge.

In Chicago, Rail had come into contact with Sham and asked him for his assistance. And even if Sham had turned out to be no help, he was determined to continue alone, not believing “they” could do anything to stop him – and here, in the fire currently raging through Elton Hill, was the result of his efforts.

He had never had many supplies to start with, but Rail had already spent half of them in Chicago.

Though the residents didn’t know who was responsible, the sheer force of the attacks was enough to terrify them. Even Rail, who knew the blaze below was the work of his preferred weapon, could not help gasping the first time he had realized the extent of its true power.

And here he was, deliberately using that power.

If he considered the terror he had caused unexceptional, it was because Rail, in using so many of his supplies, was trying to abate his own feelings of his confusion.

In order to leave his previous self behind, a self that felt unable to accomplish anything, Rail was driving himself insane.

And so for a motivation that might have just been sheer obstinacy –

The small town below had become a sheet of blazing light.

However, even after seeing the town below him wracked with explosions, Rail felt no change in his heart.

it wasn’t enough.

Within his heart, a new, bitter anger arose.

So this was how it was, all the impact his actions had had – and it was still not enough to calm the hatred in his heart.

Despite their efforts to fan the flames, the fires did not continue to spread, instead slowly smoldering to a halt and dying out. Rail, seeing their failed efforts, gritted his teeth and, with a great force of effort, turned to Sham.

“Let me ask you – during today’s bombings, did you find Frank?”

“No, we’ve confirmed that he was in none of the areas we hit.”

“Oh…you’re sure?”

“If he really was inside, then it’s possible that he was caught in the flames. For all we know, he could have burnt to death there.”

Sham’s untimely news made Rail grind his teeth even harder, but he made no retort.

When it came to their enemy, the fact that their attacks could endanger Frank was something Rail obviously knew. But apart from their current actions, Rail had no other plan of action.

As Rail was thus momentarily lost in thought, a flippant voice from behind him loudly declared:

“Well, to be honest, I think that gathering reliable information and then spearing all the company heads would also be a nice idea – but that’s just another option. With all the explosions going on, our opponent’s hardly going to have time to consider Frank.”

So that was it then, the impact of his reckless violence – but if this was now the meaning of an action originally meant only to wreck destruction, then Rail, quietly smiling, thought it was a step forward.

“Well then, what are we going to do now? Or do you just really not know?”

“…you’re really irritating, you know.”

Rail’s visible displeasure, however, seemed to be lost on Sham.

“If you want, I can ask Huey’s opinion on this. That’s something I definitely know I can do.”

“Shut up!”

Unable to control himself, Rail screamed these words, then took a deep breath, forcing himself to focus on the matter in front of him.

“Anyways, Sham. Do you know any ways to stop yourself from going crazy?” (2)

“Based on the experience I’ve collected…by the time you can realize that you’re crazy, then you can’t be considered insane anymore. Of course, if you asked Huey or Hilton, they’d probably just deliberately give you conflicting answers.”

Sham’s occasional mentions of Huey had always made Rail upset, but he still calmly forced himself to ask:

“…what about Chris, though – what would he say?”

“Chris? Oh, he’s already gone mad a long, long time ago – he’d probably just smile and cheerfully tell you ‘well, you’ll have to try to surpass madness, then!'”

“Ha ha…Sham, you really don’t understand Christ at all.”

Rail smiled wryly as he answered, but Sham’s next words made his stomach clench as he heard them.

“Or…

“If he really cared for you, then what he would say is: ‘There’s no way I can make things the way they were in the past, so if you wish to pursue insanity, then I will gladly be your guide – but I think that right now, you’re at a junction, and I’m powerless to help you chose. So Rail, you have to think about it yourself and then make a decision, to see whether you can find some way out of this situation before you insane and find a clear future for yourself.’ That’s basically what he would say, I think.”

“…”

Sham’s words were said in Christopher’s exact voice, leaving Rail speechless with shock.

Though the wording wasn’t exactly the same, in his memory, Rail could clearly remember Chris saying similar words.

During an instance when Rail, overcome by despair and powerlessness, had soundlessly cried all night.

A night which, in reality, had occurred barely half a day ago. What Christopher had told him then truly resembled the remarks Sham had just uttered.

Glancing at the man next to him – a man who, although responsible only for liaisons and odd jobs, somehow had a deeper knowledge Christopher than he did – Rail felt a mixture of surprise and sudden anger at Sham’s remarks. Scowling, he glared at the crowd behind him.

Receiving no response, Rail was momentarily at a loss – when suddenly, he realized something incredible.

More accurately, he confirmed something that he had suspected before but which his earlier agitation had stopped him from investigating – namely, the fact that the large group that had stood so patiently behind him was made up of all men.

“…hey Sham, were you the only one who came here? Where’s Hilton?”

“Hilton seems to be in a mess too, so she said she doesn’t have time to get involved. I think I mentioned it, but it has to do with Huey.”

“What happened?”

“Someone attacked Huey, then gouged out one of his eyes. Since then, it’s been missing.”

“Oh…”

Huey Laforet.

At the mention of the man who had created him, Rail should have felt only hatred. But upon hearing the news that Huey’s eye had been stolen, though Rail thought ‘it served him right,’ what he felt first was surprise. ‘Oh,’ he thought, ‘so there are people who can do this type of thing.’

In his memories, Huey was someone who was untouchable in all respects, always  manipulating people behind the scenes – an invulnerability which had always increased Rail’s apprehension and hatred for him.

Seeing the difficult expression on Rail’s face, the man responsible for it gently smiled…

“Huey’s predicament – does it make you happy?”

“No…he deserves it, I guess, but I don’t feel any satisfaction from it, and I’m not really interested in details. Even when it comes to who did it and why, it doesn’t feel connected to my current situation.”

After he’d said these listless words (3), Rail lifted his head towards Sham’s face.

“Sham…is it just my impression, or do you look somehow happier today?”

“Really? It must be you, then. Besides the pleasure of helping you, now I have to take care of Huey’s matters too. For someone used to only taking care of liaisons and odd jobs, it’s a lot to ask when what I can actually do is so limited.”

“So that’s how it is.”

Lowering his head slightly, Rail took a watch out of his pocket and glanced at it.

“But at least you have something you can do. No matter what it is, that’s something to envy.”

“…”

From the words he spoke to Sham, it seemed as though Rail had already returned to his previous mood.

But Sham had long since perceived the truth.

Right now, Rail might not have been truly insane –

But he was on the verge of it.

Rail glanced at his ticking watch, then lifted his head and cried to no one in particular, but to the sky itself –

“And since I’ve got nothing else to do right now, I guess I’ll just blow everything up!”

Immediately afterwards –

The small town once more exploded in a burst of light.

Turning his back on the blinding light, where smoke was rising from unremittingly burning flames, Rail calmly addressed the Shams:

“So I’m going to continue walking down this path, right to its very end, no matter where it takes me. Besides, going crazy doesn’t sound that bad.”

Rail’s voice had become emotionless once again, and the icy sound of his words drifted with the rising smoke into the sky.

“If it could let me go somewhere else…then I would happily chase madness.”

Interlude

Notes:

  1. In my version, this is a very ambiguous line: Rail could either be accusing Sham of being hypocritical in telling him to stop while doing nothing to stop, or he could be telling Sham his words will have no effect. Sham’s reply made me lean towards the latter.
  2. I’m rather ambivalent about this line – this is how it’s literally written, but it ends up sounding like a huge non-sequitor in English. Perhaps it’s a language thing?
  3. The original word used meant “masochistic”/”self-punishing,” but I didn’t see it and thought listless might be a better descriptor.
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10 Responses to “Chapter one: The Bombs Light up the Blue Sky, and…”

  1. Hoohah November 18, 2013 at 12:47 am #

    Yaaaay! More Rail!! 😀

    Thanks for the translation, btw how many chapters are there for this volume?

    • mistspinner November 18, 2013 at 12:58 am #

      Hello dear! As far as i can tell, there are (including interludes + epilogues) 11 chapters, with five “real” chapters. Some are longer than others, but I hope to do at least 1/month, potentially more over academic breaks 🙂

  2. Dark Hades November 18, 2013 at 1:48 pm #

    Hi, great job! I was just wondering if you’re planning on translating the “Streets Episode” of Alice in Jails afterwards.

  3. crowsama November 19, 2013 at 4:15 pm #

    Praise mistspinner!

  4. Kemm November 24, 2013 at 2:06 pm #

    “Rumored to have been created by German artist Karuna Strasbourg”

    This artist, a historical figure on Naritaverse, artist, collector and Eater, to my knowledge, has always been transcripted as “Carnald Strassburg”.

    • mistspinner November 24, 2013 at 3:17 pm #

      Ah, thank you! I’m not as familiar with Naritaverse as I’d like to be, so this is very useful, thanks!

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