“Hi, I’m Lucy!” Lucy greeted the red-haired father and son as Adam’s group entered Twine’s basement. “I’m a ghost! Watch!” She leaped up into the air, casually floating around.
“S-So you found her in that room…?” Jerry asked.
“Yep. She’s quite energetic for someone who’s dead.” Adam noted.
“Hey—being dead has nothing to do with that? You’ve known me for a while now.” Charlotte stated.
“And up until recently, you’ve had to sleep most of the time. Your point?”
“Fine, fine!” Charlotte pouted.
“Anyway, this is quite fascinating!” Thomas’ eyes lit up. “She’s not an Ouderkirk, yet she has a stable form that could be compared to you, Charlotte! How did all of this happen!?”
“I can explain it all to you.” Charlotte answered. “Adam, you should go take a look—” She pointed toward the area with the beds. “See?”
Adam turned around, seeing Roger and Roy sitting on each side of Emma, who was now awake. She looked exhausted, yet she was still smiling as she conversed with the two.
“Emma, you’re okay!?” Adam ran up to her.
“Adam…? What are you doing here? Yeah… I’m okay.” Emma stood up slowly, taking care not to fall over.
Roy stood up. “Come on, Roger. Let’s go see if we can be useful at all over at the computers. I doubt I will be, but you probably will.”
“Hah… Don’t sell yourself short, Roy.” Roger followed him, moving away from the beds.
Adam watched them leave, then turned back to Emma. “Do… Do you remember what happened? It was explained to me, but I want to hear how you experienced it.”
“Right… Well, I can’t remember much of anything. My head got all fuzzy, and then… everything went black. When I came to, I was here. And my entire body ached.” Emma looked at the floor. “These guys have already told me the details… I…”
“What is it?”
“Just… Why? Why did they have to use my spine for something like that? I… attacked everyone? Seriously… like, what the hell? I would have much rather preferred to not have my spine fixed if this was the result!”
“The Miracle Girl?” Tears began to roll down Emma’s face. “I always knew that nickname was just full of horse shit! I’m a freaking curse!”
“Nicknames are stupid, don’t worry about that.” Adam poked Emma’s forehead. “And don’t worry about anything, as a matter of fact. Once I learn how to master my power, I’m diving headfirst into everything, and putting an end to all of this nonsense.”
“You…” Emma snickered. “That’s just like you. You’re… You’re right. I need to grow stronger so I can help.”
“I’d say not to push yourself, but you’re going to get involved regardless, aren’t you? You won’t let this get in the way. That spine initially didn’t stop you, so why should you let this?”
“I mean… this could be a lot more serious than my mobility, but I guess you’re right?” Emma giggled. “You’re weird.”
“I’ve always been weird. Look at all the people I hang around with.” Adam chuckled, patting Emma on the shoulder. “Lie back down, for now. Rest up. That program these guys have made will keep that green nonsense out of you.”
“I… sure hope it does.” Emma did as she was told, making herself comfy on the bed. “I just… want my mom and sister, to be honest.”
“They’ll be back soon. Unfortunately, Unity will most likely catch a whiff of what we’ve been doing at that point. So we’re going to have a lot of decision-making to do.”
“What… are we going to do? We can’t face all of Unity… and… what if they make those guys fight us?”
“They won’t fight us. I won’t let anything like that happen. As I said, don’t worry about anything.” Adam assured her.
“I… will probably still worry. But I’ll trust you. Just… don’t get hurt, all right?”
“Too late for that…” Adam laughed awkwardly. “But, I’ll try my best from this point forward.”
“Oh… okay…” Emma frowned, closing her eyes. Despite her worry, her body’s fatigue forced her asleep in seconds.
Adam walked out into the main area of the large room, but was stopped by Muraco who was standing near the stairs.
“That’s quite the promise. You think you can keep it?” The rabbit asked him.
“I have no choice. I have to keep it, no matter what.”
“Yeah? Well, I’d feel bad if we upset the girl—or even worse—put her in danger. Same goes for everyone here… so!” Muraco hopped right onto Adam’s back. “I’m going to help you keep that promise.”
“Thank you, mutant bunny who recently wanted to kill me. I appreciate it, I really do. And please ignore the sarcasm I put into that sentence.”
“Hey! I didn’t want to kill you! I just wanted to throw you into another world, where… you…All right, maybe I did want to kill you, in a way?”
“It’s fine. I have other things to worry about right now. One day though, we’ll have that fight, and I’ll win.”
“Hah! Foolish! Just like a typical human!”
“What’s ‘foolish’ is what you’re doing right now. Why are you on my back?”
“Oh, this? I wanted to stand on your shoulder, but I’m a little too big for that. So, I’ll be on your back, and just look over your shoulder like this to talk to you!”
“But why are you doing this? I mean, you’re not that heavy, but—”
“Just don’t worry about it! Onward, to the other side of the room!”
“I—” Adam sighed. “Fine, do what you want.”
“Haha! I’ll take advantage of that ‘not caring’ attitude you have!”
As Adam began to walk, he turned around hearing the sound of the desk opening above. Through the secret entrance, two men entered. One was Travis, while the other was an older dark-skinned man using a black can to walk, which had a blue handle. His brown eyes, hidden behind black glasses, met Adam’s.
“Winona’s dad…? What are you doing here?” Adam asked him.
“You can just call me Cody, Adam. And I’m helping out Twine, of course! A group dedicated to messing up Unity? Of course I’ll do my part! For the sake of my back!”
“H-His back?” Muraco was confused.
“Well, that’s quite the peculiar creature there! Yes, tiny rabbit man! My back was injured in a battle a while ago. Due to that, I’m unable to fight properly. Yet, thanks to those bastards, I still have to chip in whenever I can using my Ability! Screw that! Cody wants some rest!”
“You still have to do things…?” Adam seemed angry at that statement.
“Yeah… Nothing too crazy, but every once in a while… like recently, for example. I had to help the Brown Suits with their investigation. Luckily, that gave me the perfect opportunity to help when the issue with Emma’s spine became reality.”
“He helped Thomas dispose of them!” Travis explained. “His Ability allows him to stick enemies to whatever surface he uses it on using a unique phantonic force. Thomas then uses some of the weapons he’s got stored to, well—”
“Vaporize them.” Cody continued. “We have no choice. Can’t leave any evidence behind.”
“I-I see…” Adam assumed their method involved something like that, but did not expect them to be so blunt about it.
“Whether that’s the ‘humane’ thing to do—we can’t really have that hold us back.” Travis sighed. “They’ve done enough damage as is… Perhaps once all of this is over, we can round-up the remaining clones and figure something out. I’m sure they won’t know what to do once we defeat the source of all of this.”
“The source of all of this…” Adam walked up to Cody. “I assume you know the situation we’re currently in?”
“I sure do! We’re in deep shit, kid.” Cody chuckled. “Even if we’re succeeding in sending them false information, that won’t matter once someone pops up in person. Usually, the Unity people stationed in Minuet like to drop by here, but thanks to—well—you apparently, they’re wrapped up in figuring out what happened to that barrier. It’s just a matter of time though before someone shows up. Most likely Rizzo, once the orientation is done.”
“Oh, that’s right! You seemed to pull it off! What did you find inside!?” Travis asked enthusiastically.
“Well—” Adam turned to see where Lucy was, but was interrupted by her flying onto Adam’s back alongside Muraco.
“Bunny! I shall join you in taking control of Adam! You be the pilot in the left seat, and I’ll be the pilot in the right!”
“Hey, kid! There’s not enough room!” Muraco shouted, trying to push her off.
“N-No! Bunny has gone evil! I must defeat him!”
“Come on guys… Why are fighting on me!?” Adam groaned.
While Adam and Muraco were distracted by Lucy’s mischief, Travis and Cody looked horrified.
“I know… I know. What do we do in this situation…?”
“I was hoping you would know…! But, we should pretend we don’t know anything, for now…”
“Right… I’m not sure if it’s something that’s supposed to be known. Well, it isn’t normally, but I’m not sure under these circumstances…”
Adam was able to calm Lucy down, along with Muraco, who had been riled up as well. “Anyway, this is Lucy. Her body was apparently sealed down there, while her ghost has been wandering around Requiem for a while now. When she interacted with her body, it made her like this. Basically alive.”
“S-So… kind of like how Charlotte is? Except she’s not an Ouderkirk?” Travis tried to play it cool. “Lucy, do you remember anything…?”
“Hmm?” Lucy glanced at Travis. Now noticing her and Cody, she attempted to analyze them. Both of the men held their breath, knowing that this act alone could be dangerous.
“Just that my name’s Lucy! Can’t even remember my last name! My head feels all funny when I try to remember things…”
“I-I see…” Travis exhaled. “There must be a reasoning behind that.”
Charlotte, now done with her discussion with Jerry and Thomas, walked up to the group. “Yeah. We think to keep her current form stable, the majority of her memories had to be sacrificed.”
“Ah, I see! That makes sense…” Travis scratched his head. “Even forgetting your last name, huh…?”
“Yeah. If we knew that much, it would be a lot easier to dig up info on her. I’m assuming she’s related to the Night of the Half Moon in some way, considering where her body was stored. Think we could match the name ‘Lucy’ up with that and figure something out?” Adam asked.
“Sure—” Jerry nodded. “I can work on that—”
“How about I do it, Jerry?” Travis suggested. “You should continue helping your dad out with Block.”
“I mean, sure? It doesn’t really matter who looks it up.” Jerry seemed slightly confused at Travis’ behavior.
“Cody, w-wanna help me out?” Travis asked the man.
“S-Sure! No problem!” Cody followed Travis as they walked over to the computers.
Adam turned to Jerry. “What’s ‘Block’?”
“Oh, that’s what we’re calling the software we’re using. Pretty simple, but it gets the point across.” Jerry answered.
“I gotcha. Anyway—” Adam grabbed Lucy and Muraco, placing them on the floor. “Muraco, keep Lucy company. Anywhere that’s not my back.”
“Man, I sure am getting the short end of the carrot…” Muraco whined. Adam suddenly grabbed a hold of his ear.
“Was… Was that a pun…?”
“Yeah. Is there an issue…?”
“There is. I’m gonna let it slide, for now. You watch those puns…”
“O-Okay?” Muraco nervously escorted Lucy away from him. “Let’s go play a game, Lucy.”
“Hey, I love games!” Lucy cheered.
“Wonderful.” Muraco sighed.
Adam once again turned to Jerry, placing his arm around his friend.
“Huh? What’s up, Adam?”
“Travis and Cody. Those two know something about Lucy. They weren’t doing too well in hiding it.”
“Y-You think?” Jerry glanced over to the two now sitting at the computer desks. “That… could make sense. They’ve been here the entire time. Ever since the Night of the Half Moon, at least. My dad probably wouldn’t know, considering we moved here when I was little. That was years after the incident.”
“It happened about a week after I was born. Travis seemed to know my mom, so he’s been around. Cody obviously has been as well.”
Charlotte joined in on the conversation. “Should I possess one of them? See if I can get the info out of them?”
“Maybe. I’d rather not do that on our allies if we don’t have to. I’ll think about it.”
“It’s best we obtain any information as soon as we can. Considering what position we’re all in at the moment.” Charlotte suggested.
“Right…” Adam walked over to the large table, flopping down in the chair. Charlotte and Jerry followed him.
“What’s the matter?” Charlotte asked him.
“The situation we’re in, obviously. We have to figure out what to do… I feel like my World Mirror is our best bet. How, though? I’m not strong enough yet…”
“Don’t see yourself short, Adam.” Charlotte leaned against the table next to him. “You just made another major step in learning your Ability. Figure out how to apply what you did to the barrier to actual combat, and you’ll continue to grow even further.”
“That’s fine and everything, but we’re limited on time.”
“Well, think about it this way—” Jerry raised his finger. “Charlotte and Muraco are fighting alongside you, yeah? You’re all sharing your strength. It’s not just them, we’re all giving you strength, in our own ways. We can fill the gap in strength for the—”
“This isn’t emotional strength we’re talking about! These are enemies with actual power that could kill us! Sure—Charlotte, Muraco, and I together are pretty strong. But these guys… forget this weird group, Unity alone is dangerous enough. It’s run by a guy that nobody can touch! He has—from our point of view—absolute power! How are we supposed to mess with that!?”
“I’ve… I’ve had an idea for a while now. I could try to possess Rizzo… Make him drop his guard. I wasn’t too sure it would work to begin with, but now I’m really not sure… He could be connected to that weird thing in the Network.” Charlotte sighed.
“Right… Just, what do we do—”
Charlotte placed her hand on top of Adam’s head, and leaned in close to him. She was staring directly into his eyes, only a few inches away from his face.
“Wh-What are you doing, Charlotte…?”
She did not respond for a moment. Charlotte simply took in the calming gray within his eyes.
A smile then formed on her face. Although it was incredibly warming to see, Adam couldn’t help but notice her eyes seemed somewhat pained.
“Yeah… I see. Don’t worry, Adam. We’ll figure it out. We have things to fight for, after all.” Without another word, Charlotte walked over to where Muraco and Lucy were, sitting on the floor to see what they were up to.
Adam and Jerry were left utterly bewildered.
“…Adam, what was that?”
“…I-I’m not sure. I thought you would know…”
Next: Chapter 2.20
Previous: Chapter 2.18