Reincarnated As A Villager – Strongest Slow-life – Chapter 32

Previous | Table of Contents | Next

Horse and carriage.

To move across the country, it could be said to be your life source.

So, asking someone to sell it would be like asking them to sell a leg. That’s unreasonable, right?

“A-chan, are you asking seriously?”

“Yes, I am very serious. Of course, I’ll pay accordingly.”

Is this guy really a merchant? Isn’t he kind of stupid?

“…if I accepted it, it’d be like a hundred gold coins.”

“What!?”

Well, that is the appropriate reaction. Even I’d expect it.

“—Don’t joke around! Who could just throw away 100 gold coins!”

This guy’s boiling point is surprisingly low. I was just returning the joke.

“Then let’s hear it, A-chan, how much were you planning to pay?”

“For a horse and carriage, some 200 silver coins should suffice!”

200 Silver. Well, if you speak of my previous life, it’d be enough to buy an automobile normally. So, when you think about it, that price would seem like common sense. But that didn’t fly out here in the countryside.

“Well, it’d be nice if you bought from someone else. Maybe they’d be cheaper. Why me?”

“Because I heard that your horse and carriage are the stoutest in the village!”

Oioioi, A-chan. Sticking me in such a predicament. So easily exposing your reasoning disqualifies yourself as a merchant.

But, the idea was read somehow.

“Village headman. If he were to sell his horse and carriage to me, would he be tax exempt?”

Did you hear that, Village head? Not talking but you seem to know the story.

“Huh? Why would I have to give him tax exemption?”

Well, what will you say to the village head?

“Because, without a horse and carriage, he can no longer carry firewood. If you ask, he’d have to pay a lot of money to have it brought in. Do you expect him to carry the firewood on his back? He couldn’t carry that much, even in an entire day!”

No, actually, I could easily carry it, but I have no obligation to tell them that.

“A-chan, what you have required of me. Even with 200 silver it’d accrue significant hardship. Do you take me for a joke? Huh, A-chan? Traveling the country on foot would ruin my body!”

Well, his boss will probably get it, I’m not interested. I wait anxiously.

“Well, A-chan. I don’t know how strong A-chan or his guard are, but you have to be tough to make it to the port city of Baldarin where there are ship technicians. It’s the season when orcs and other monster become active. Well, this neighborhood is relatively safe, but there are many mountains on the way to Baldarin.”

It’s one thing to travel around by boat, but I’m not ready to lose my horse and carriage over nothing.

“Don’t tell your boss this, but you need to offer good faith if you want a response of sincerity.”

There merchants whom I respect are zero. If a merchant can change loss into gain, I’d be the one to lose.

Previous | Table of Contents | Next

Advertisements

Reincarnated As A Villager – Strongest Slow-life – Chapter 31

Previous | Table of Contents | Next

When I left the hut (workshop), there was the village chief and a young man.

I felt like the young man was somewhere in his 30s. Well, that was my impression.

“What do you need, Village Chief?”

“Well, this one seems to have some business with you.”

“With me?”

I look at the young man with puzzlement.

“A pleasure to meet you, I am Raj Elu. I’m from the Bajibadoru Trading Company.”

I didn’t know what this was about from the village chief’s explanation, but he seemed to be polite enough.

“Thank you, because my names a little difficult to say, you can just call me Ba.”

The glittery name my father named me is hard to say, so even my mom calls me Ba.

…Father, why did you give me a sparkling name that nobody can say…?

“Don’t mind it, even I can’t remember Ba’s real name no matter how many time’s I hear it.”

“Ha, ha…”

It’s fine if I don’t give people my true name anymore, isn’t it?

“Anyway, what do you want with me?”

I urged the young man to get to the point a little confused.

“Well, that’s right. To ask bluntly, could you please give me your horse and carriage?”

“Huh?”

What is with this guy?

Previous | Table of Contents | Next

Release of My First Publication

I’m officially announcing I have succeeded in self-publishing my first book. It’s called Bad Boys of Fairmont High. (The webnovel was referred to as Hawtness). If you’re interested in any of my work and aren’t interested in Patreon, please feel free to buy and review the book.

If you’ve read Hawtness already, you can still leave the review. This book is on the first Arc, up until the end of her time traveling shenanigans. Making this launch successful will ensure the release of more original stories!

Thank You so Much!

Buy My Book Here!

Reincarnated As A Villager – Strongest Slow-life – Chapter 30

Previous | Table of Contents | Next

“I’ll ask the questions.”

“Just don’t make any promises to the merchants. If they ask to talk to the elders, run away.”

“Oh, I will.”

Sharing advice with the village chief while heading to the merchant ship, I parked in the beach opposite from the rocky ground that houses the merchant ship.

This is a hut (workshop) owned by me.

Because taxes are paid to the village in a lump sum, it doesn’t apply to the land and buildings. So, I can build whatever I want as a long as I have the village chief’s permission and the village allows it.

Well, even if I call it a hut, it’s mostly made of stone. It’d be more accurate to call it a studio over a hut.

In such a workshop, baked shellfish caught last year off the rocks are grinded into a powder to make fertilizer, spices, or a fish sauce.

Since fishing is a job requiring physical fitness, children and the elderly don’t go out to sea and only work on the landing. Still, fish handling and drying are considered the work of ladies. I can only afford to work during a big catch. Well, I also help the settlement, but not every day. Children can play, but old men only have to look at the sea once (to see it’s a bit much).

When I was eight, I realized it’d be a waste not to utilize that labor, so I built the hut (workshop) and launched a marine commodity trading business.

There is a highway along our village, and there are rest areas where we can cross the ridge before crossing the village, so caravans come frequently. So, we sell leather shoes, throwing knives, leather bags, etc to adventurers and mercenaries from the seas and mountains.

Well, instead of working in earnest, the kids and elderly come in their free time to work arbitrarily.

Today, I mean, there are four people. Eight year old Ribs, Twelve year Old Dali, and the elderly Gigi who is sixty. (TN: It says four people but he only mentions three here)

“Good work, how’s it going?”

I go inside and say hello.

“Oh, it’s going well.”

Amaria-chan gives a greeting on everyone’s behalf.

“What are you doing today?”

“We’re making fertilizer today.”

“Have you collected it already?”

Normally, it takes about twenty days, but this time it is fifteen. They must be getting good at it.

“Oh, there was a good place, I caught a big catch.”

Previous | Table of Contents | Next

Reincarnated As A Villager – Strongest Slow-life – Chapter 29

Previous | Table of Contents | Next

When I reached the top of the small mountain (a mountain not twenty meters tall), I could see the harbor.

Basically, along the coast of this country, there are many cliffs and rocks like the Rias coast, not suitable for ships to come in, but with sandy beaches and places for fishing.

It is said our village started fishing by chance.

There were sixteen densely built houses and four boats on the sandy beach.

Since they fish in the morning, right now they’d be handling fish (bottom draw net) together at a beach workshop.

Fifty meters to the left of the beach, there was a huge boat beside a rocky field.

“Surely it seems like an island.”

It is five hundred meters away from here, but for this age I could understand how this size is hard to imagine.

It appears similar to western ships, but the shape is more like a tanker (if you can imagine arbitrarily).

I thought it could only be so big if it was able to dock, but it was docked. It spoke more the quality of the ship and the skill of the sailors that it was docked so beautifully.

Near the rocky place was an area for quick-load storage, and a lot of boxes were piled up there.

Four people were patrolling, men with swords looked around. One of them noticed us and informed the rest, one of them going into the ship.

“They seem vigilant, but what are they carrying?”

“I don’t know what. According to Naga, they burn a lot of wood at night to keep watch.”

It’s not something illegal, some kind of metallic imported item.

As you go down the mountain, there are a few fields with open spaces and a firewood hut.

In the open space, the young ladies worked, a few coming out as they noticed us.

“Mayor, what’s the matter?”

Among them, the biggest chatterbox came out.

“About the ship, has anything changed?”

“No, nothing — ah, there was something. The captain was having some problem with a youth. How about food?”

“Lady, how is the condition of the fishery?”

I asked the lady before the village head opened his mouth.

“Huh? Because the sea god has been in a good mood lately, we’ve had a good catch.”

“Are you keeping the fish?”

“No, I don’t. I always go to the village to sell it.”

Even if you are not a fisherman, any sailor will catch fish during a voyage (well, you poke it with a harpoon) and you eat, salted fish is also a fine preserved diet. It doesn’t have to be piled up. It won’t get eaten if it is piled up or you could lose it when you bump into a Sea Dragon. Well, I don’t care that much, I don’t want the fish. I’m just concerned about the villages access to food. It’s annoying, guys!

“Ba.”

“Lady, if you have a big catch, give me another fish. Next time, I’ll bring a wild boar.”

“A wild boar! That’s great! I’ll pack you a barrel of fish myself!”

Compared to other villages, meat is often eating, but meat is still a luxury. From child to adult you’d be overjoyed if you had (chicken in the pot) once in three days.

“Bad, lady…”

“What are you saying? Because of you, I can eat meat, and the kids get work, so I’m here to say thank you.”

This is the result of daily work. You give and you get.

“We’re heading off.”

“Oh, I’ll get ready.”

You thank the lady and start the carriage.

“Village chief, I won’t talk during the discussion, but if you have some trouble I’ll help if I can.”

“Is that so?”

My negotiation skills are not high. I bargain with peddler Anchan often, and also shop with the caravan partner. At the very least, I won’t make a fool of myself.

Because the village chief knew it, he accompanied me.

Previous | Table of Contents | Next

Time and Place – Chapter 22

Previous | Table of Contents | Next

By the end of Darian’s first day in prison he found himself beaten to a bloody pulp. It was not the prisoners who had attacked him; he had not actually interacted with any of the other prisoners by that point. Instead, it was the guards who decided to deal out punishment.

It started out with something so innocent. He had smiled at one of the guards. He was trying to be polite and helpful. Being launched into space was incredibly exciting, and although the ship had no windows, he could just imagine the idea of a flying through space and landing on a space station.

The environment around him was new, the people he saw were new. It was almost a sensory overload, all the new and wonderful things that were so different from the white walls and monotonous room that he had spent so long in. The guards were chatting and being jovial, and the attitude reassured Darian, and filled him with a kind of silly giddiness.

So he smiled; this agitated one of the guards that was nearby, who glared at him and made a disparaging comment. Darian lost a lot of his subservient demeanor on the launch flight into space, and began to feel cocksure and confident once again. He responded playfully with good humor. This quickly caused the guards to become more angered, and before long he had four guards around him.

He didn’t know why he acted the way he did, but his instincts had, up to that point, always directed him in the right direction. So he went with his instincts. These instincts told him to push the guards, play with them, even mach them a little. He kept an insolent grin on his face as the guard continued to get angrier and angrier, up until a fist landed in his face, knocking him to the ground.

It would have been fine if it had ended there, but Darian, as a result of blindly following his instincts, hadn’t predicted exactly how angry he had made the guards by his jovialness and flippant tongue. Once on the ground, the four men began kicking him. Pain ripped through his ribs as he felt two of them crack, and then a third. Blows landed from every direction as the men continually stopped and kicked every part of his body.

He retained consciousness far longer than he should have. Perhaps the year of torture had made him more resilient to pain, or perhaps he was just very unlikely, but he regretted that he was awake for most of the beating. Compared to the pain of his torture sessions, which he admitted it had been many months since he last experienced those, the pain was only minor.

The bluntness of being struck was almost reassuring in a way, compared to a pain that seemed to come from inside and outside of his body at the same time. However, when he had been tortured, after the pain subsided he recovered pretty much intact. There was a whole other level of terror when the damage being done was a bit more substantial and potentially permanent.

When Darian finally did lose consciousness, most likely from the lack of blood if anything, he woke up a week later in a surprisingly comfortable bed. Of course, every part of his body hurt. He had broken 4 ribs, a leg, and bruised just about every part of his body. The guards involved, he would later find out, were heavily reprimanded for the behavior, but faced no other repercussions than that.

Other than Darian’s unprisoner like attitude, he could not remember what he said that had triggered them to act in such a way. He could also not understand why his instincts had led him into such an obvious folly. He felt stupid for having done what he did, but for some reason felt like he had no other choice but to do that.

He would need to be more careful. He could now see how easily his new found ability could lead him astray. That last folly had almost killed him. It was another two weeks before he was finally returned to his cell. It appeared that he shared the cell with Devin still. It wasn’t much bigger than the room they had been in before.

One of the most noticeable changes was the lack of a bathroom. Instead, there was simply a small commode in the back that offered little to no privacy. The walls were grey now, instead of white, a metallic clor that seemed to be the natural color of whatever the material the prison was made out of. The lighting was less than that of the room they had been in at the laboratory, the room allowing more shadows and shade from a single light source outside of the cell. The greatest change, of course, was one less wall that was instead replaced by a a set of bars.

To Darian, this made all of the difference. To be able to see the outside world of his cell, even if it just looked into the cells on the other side of the hallway, almost felt liberating in comparison. Darian grimaced in pain, holding his side.

“You look worse every day, I’m starting to worry,” Devin spoke up.

Darian chuckled, “Is that so? Well, no worries, they will take me to a doctor to be treated I think.”

Devin nodded, most likely taking Darian’s word as a declaration of the future. Darian walked to the bars in front of their cell, resting his arms on them, sighing slightly. The novelty of being in a cell would wear off soon, he suspected. He had only one choice, to escape from a prison that was considered inescapable.

He noticed the cell across from him was empty. For some reason this seemed to tug at his mind. Was it intuition? Predicting the future? He would need to get a better handle on his abilities; this was starting to become frustrating.

“I can’t seem to remember, the guy across from us, when was he last in his cell?” Darian asked carefully, coming up with the right wording.

“A few weeks ago I think, it has been a while, hasn’t it,” Devin responded, shrugging.

Darian nodded to himself. He would need to start wording questions that way with Devin in order to get the answers he needed. So someone would be in the cell across from them in two weeks. Would he transfer in? Or would he be a new prisoner? He didn’t suspect that Devin knew the answer.

He began thinking about ways to ask Devin what the man’s name was and what he looked like without revealing too much, when the answers to the unasked questions started echoing in his mind. The man’s name would be Beiromon. He couldn’t form an image of the man’s face, but he could form a verbal description of the man.

The man was older in years, with graying hair. He had large bushy sideburns, a hard face, with just a tad of haughtiness to it. Years in prison seemed to have worn his body down, giving him a straggly, lean appearance. He was a tall man, with a straight back and noble demeanor.

Darian shook his head. He hadn’t spoken to Devin, but those were the answers he could have gotten from Devin had he pressured him for them. Darian seem to know the answers to Devin’s questions before he had even asked his roommate. Darian didn’t realize he could do that.

Did he need to ask the questions then? What if he didn’t ask them? The answers wouldn’t suddenly disappear from his mind, because it didn’t happen?

His head started hurting. Whatever he could do, it was certainly complex. He wished he still had Phineas around so that he could ask him more about it. He was sure that Phineas would have had something both insightful and pointless to explain regarding Darian’s new found abilities.

After a few moments of not asking the question, the information remained in his head. Well, at least that answers one question. Darian wondered what other information he could ascertain from Devin without having to directly ask him. He turned to Devin, but realized he could not think of any questions to ask. Without an appropriate question, he wouldn’t get an appropriate answer.

It apparently wasn’t as useful to him as it could be right now, but perhaps he could use it on someone else, someone he did have questions for. Therefore, he sat back down and waited for lunch. When the guard came he thought of a question to ask the guard. It was nothing complex, just a simple question to test out the ability. The response was nothing.

Was the guard just going to meet him with silence? Why did the guard not answer his question? He figured that even a curt response should have been answered in his mind. After a few more moments of silence he became frustrated and decided to ask.

“What’s for lunch?” He began.

As soon as the words left his mouth, the answer slammed into his mind. Meat Pie. It was so simple. In fact, he wasn’t sure if the answer was there before or after he asked the question. It echoed in the guard’s voice, although Darian had never heard him speak before.

“Meat Pie,” The guard grunted in a raspy voice, pushing a tray through the bars in a grove designed for this task.

Darian nodded and took the food, but his mind worked furiously. As he tore open the meat pie from his plate using actual utensils; although flimsy blunted ones not exactly set for the task; he thought about what he has just experienced. The meat pie was absolutely delicious. Years of nothing but gruel, and then a slightly better tasting broth during the period of time he was sick, this had been the first true meal he had had in as long as he could remember.

He pushed his other thoughts to the back of his mind as he spent the time enjoying his meal, moaning with pleasure and enjoying each bite. The feast was over sooner than he would have liked, but he licked the plate to acquire every last crumb before sliding the plate back through the bars.

He hadn’t realized food could be that good. He couldn’t remember food ever having tasted better. If every meal was like this one, he could start to get used to prison. This caused him to chuckle a bit, he did remember that prison wasn’t exactly a desirable place to be, but he struggled to remember and fathom a world much bigger than the one he was already in.

Devin watched Darian eat with a raised eyebrow as he sat quietly,. Devin ate his food in the mess hall with the other prisoners, a privilege that Darian had yet to be a part of due to his rough arrival at the prison. He made no comment on Darian’s seeming enjoyment of this particular meal.

By that point, Darian felt he understood what had just happened with the guard. It seemed that he couldn’t predict the answer to someone’s questions unless he mentally committed to asking them. He couldn’t just think about asking a question, he had to plan to ask it, and then stop himself from asking it last moment, or ask it anyway already knowing the answer.

That was a pretty tricky thing to master. Unfortunately, he’d need to wait until dinner before he’d have another crack at a guard. Perhaps there were some questions he could ask Devin. It took him a few minutes to come up with one, and he almost immediately felt embarrassed for never having asked before.

“Your home, could you tell me about it?” Darian asked.

He had always assumed Devin had memory loss like he had, so he never realized that Devin might have a past he could talk about. He had always said he didn’t remember his past, but Darian was realizing their relationship was far more complicated than he had originally thought. After all, Devin’s past was the future… so would he remember where his home was, or where it would be. Either way, the answer began flowing into his mind before Devin started speaking it. Since this answer was a bit longer than the one he asked the guard, the information came gradually, giving him a strange since of Déjà vu as Devin finally spoke, the information running through Darian’s mind.

“Well…” Devin replied, seemingly surprised by Darian’s sudden interest,” That was a long time ago indeed…”

“D..” Darian stopped himself from interrupting Devin.

The question would have been ‘Do you remember your childhood yet?’; the answer would have been, ‘Of course I do.’ The answer flowed into his brain as soon as he set to ask it. This caused him a momentary headache as the events seemed to split in his brain.

Had Darian asked his question and interrupted his friend, Devin would have changed what he said, thus causing an odd kind of branch where Darian heard two different potential things Devin would have said based on what Darian did. This made Darian a tad nauseous; fortunately, the duality quickly went away as Devin continued to speak, oblivious to Darian’s ponderings.

“I know that you have memory problems,” Devin began, “and I suppose my mind isn’t what it used to be either. Between the two of us I don’t know who tends to get more confused!”

Devin chuckled and shook his head, but as Darian remained quiet he continued, “I grew up, and spent most of my life on a small planet called Achilles. The planet Achilles was part of the Arth Colony before the Tarren’s annexed them some two hundred years ago.”

“It’s a small farming planet. All of Arth was only one system. We have three habitable planets in the Arth system; Arth Prime, Achilles, and a moon called Chime.”

“My life grew up farming, plain and simple. However, every fifty years or so, some idiot kids get it in their heads that Arth should be free of the Taerren control. Talks of rebellion start spreading and eventually the Taerren’s make an example. My son…”

Devin stopped and cringed a bit, a small tear forming at the side of his eye. Darian had never known that he had a son. Almost two years stuck in a room with him and it almost was like he barely knew the old man.

After a moment he raised his head, his eyes growing resolute, “He got in with the wrong crowd was all. I’m proud to be Taerren. Arth has been a part of Taerra for 200 years, and while no Arth hold any Noble houses, we have been treated fair enough. It could certainly be worse, like the outer colonies. Soen. That was my son’s name. You remember that name, will you? He was a good boy, but he threw it away.”

Devin tightened his fist tightly, shaking it at Darian, “You remember him, Soen.”

Darian nodded his head quickly, which immediately caused Devin to loosen. The severity in his eyes went out, his hand opened up and his arm fell down to his side as he sighed.

“The families of those involved were arrested. I did what I could to help hide many of the other families, but my wife had died years before, my kid was dead, I volunteered, an offering or boon I guess. Been here every since. I can’t really remember how long ago that was. Ten years maybe? It all kind of blends together in the end.”

Darian sat next to Devin and patted him on the back, “You’re a good man Devin, don’t forget that.”

Devin chuckled, “You never faulted me, that first day. I never understood why you did what you did. I hated you. For so long. And the thing was, I was going to betray you anyway. So I hated you for going with your instincts and being right. Of course, you were back the next day and I came out of it unscathed. Odd, how things turn out in the end.”

“The past is the past,” Darian responded,” I know I have my eyes looking towards the future.”

Devin nodded, but Darian knew he didn’t understand exactly how true that statement was, any more than Darian understood Devin’s hints about the future. How was he going to betray Devin? Why would Devin hate him for it? Was it part of the promise? Darian shook his head, not wanting to think about that part.

A new guard returned with the evening meal. This time it was an incredibly tasty hunk of meat. Darian didn’t know what the meat was called, so he decided to ask the guard. He worded the question and went to ask. Pork, from a pig. Darian couldn’t remember what a pig was, but he did vaguely recall that is was an animal he did once know.

“Wha…” Darian only just managed to prevent himself from asking the question, however he had already said too much and they had gotten the guard’s attention.

The guard would be annoyed by the question, so he decided to just say nevermind instead. However, before he spoke a thought broke into his head, another wave of intuition. He hesitated. He could follow his intuition, but the pain in his side suggested that it wasn’t always the best decision.

The guard waited a few seconds for him to speak, but as he stood frozen, the guard grunted and turned away. The intuition seemed to grip him tighter. He couldn’t see how it fit into the puzzle, but if he didn’t follow these instincts then he knew he’d never find out.

“Purple…” the words suddenly came out of his mouth.

The guard froze, glancing back at him with a strange look on his face.

“You should go with purple for her, it’s her favorite…” he continued.

“How di…” The guard started, eying him.

The guard’s face darkened. He looked Darian up and down with a frown. After a moment he turned and finished his rounds before walking off without saying anything more. Well that could have gone better. Although, he admitted, it could have gone a lot worse too.

“What was that about?” Devin asked from the bed he was slumped down on.

After a moment of staring out at where the guard had left, Darian turned back to Devin.

“I don’t know,” he responded, “But I am going to find out.”

Previous | Table of Contents | Next

Time and Place – Chapter 21

Previous | Table of Contents | Next

Darian backed a few steps, finding himself tripping into the chair that duplicated the one he had spent twice a week in for the last two years. He had honestly thought that there would be an end to the experiments. That one day he’d just be let free, or at least put in prison, like Devin seemed to suggest. Then an idea came to Darian’s head.

“Prison,” He whispered.

Phineas frowned, “I know you say this place is like a prison…”

“No, not that; put us in prison!” Darian responded.

“I…” Phineas began, a look of doubt in his eyes.

“Transfer us; falsify documents, whatever you need to do, just move us into a prison and dispose of the paperwork,” Darian interrupted.

“That’s illegal. I could lose my job, I could end up in jail, I…”Phineas’s voice broke when he saw the glare that Darian was giving him.

“I don’t even know where to start…” Phineas finally sighed.

“Basalt Station,” Darian stated, a growing sense of certainty welling inside of himself.

“Basalt Station?” Phineas asked incredulously “That is a space prison. It’s in high orbit. You’d never be able to escape it. It’s a place for violent criminals and people dangerous to the empire. Only lifers go there. If I sent you there, it would be no better than here.”

Darian looked inward for a second, concentrating on the prison in his mind. The certainty started to form. That was the right direction.

“That friend of yours, the one who brought me here…”

“Thad Mason?” Phineas asked in surprise,” Well, actually… now that you mention it he does still owe me. A lot. And he does work at the station. Perhaps I could…”

His voice drifted off as he contemplated for a few moments. He snapped his fingers, his eyes going bright before turning back to Darian.

“You will not die. I won’t allow it. I have an idea, it should work. No, it will work. Tomorrow you are going to that prison,” His voice broke at that, “I am sorry. This might work, but you’ll still be a prisoner. If I could free you, I would… but there is just no way that I can see making that a reality.”

“Don’t worry about that,” Darian replied,” Just get me to that prison and I will do the rest.”

Phineas eyed him suspiciously, “You sound so confident, how do you know what will happen next?”

Darian smiled but did not respond. After a few moments, Phineas sighed.

“I suppose we all have our, little secrets,” He continued, “I have a lot of work to do if I am going to make this work. If this doesn’t work out, you’ve been a good friend. I just realized that we are not going to be able to have our talks anymore, this will probably be the last time we ever speak together.”

“We’ll meet again,” Darian responded, slapping him on the shoulder.

Darian was almost certain they would. He wasn’t sure if that was because he wanted it to happen, or because he knew it would happen.

Dr. Faraday recovered the guard, asking him to come back once he had brought Darian back to his room. Before long, Darian was back in the familiar cell he shared with Devin.

“How long do you think they are going to keep us here?” Devin asked him once he entered the room.

“Oh not long,” Darian responded, “We’ll be back in prison before you know it.”

Devin seemed to accept his words. There was a time that he had depended on Devin. Devin had been the confident rock that kept his sanity and kept him going. He now realized that sometime over the last year that dynamic had changed. Devin seemed to more readily look to Darian.

He didn’t have anything else to do, but felt very anxious waiting. He knew Phineas would succeed. Besides these newfound instincts that told him so, he had Devin’s past, which painted a road into Darian’s future. He would have to work to learn more about what was in store for himself from Devin.

Unable to rest, he sat back on the bed, crossing his legs and closing his eyes as he had done before. He tried to concentrate on his future, to see if there was a glimmer of anything to come. Occasionally, the shadow of images would appear in his head, but they never focused into anything tangible.

The images he was receiving now were even less substantial than the ones he had been getting before he met with Phineas. Perhaps he was doing it wrong. He opened his eyes and instead looked at the door. An image came to him of the door opening, but he could not see through it. The image melted and blew away before he could abstract any detail.

Well that wasn’t helpful. That door opened four times a week. Predicting the door would open again, most likely tomorrow, Darian wasn’t particularly sure how he knew that, wasn’t very helpful. Was the door opening to transport him to the prison or was it opening to send him to his death?

Darian shook his head, trying to clear his thoughts again. He turned to Devin and began starring at him. Devin had his back turned away from Darian at the moment, but his back stiffened slightly, suggesting that perhaps he knew Darian was looking at him. He didn’t say anything, however, so Darian continued to stare and concentrate.

Suddenly, he saw Devin still in front of him, but they were in a different room. Devin was huddled in the corner, his eyes starring distrustfully at Darian. He muttered something, but Darian couldn’t quite make out what it was. Darian took a step towards Devin, but this seemed to agitate the man more.

Then there was a kind of flicker as the world changed around him slightly. He closed his eyes to keep the strange dissolving picture from nauseating him. When he opened them Devin was in front of him, his face twisted in hate and anger. The old man leaped at Devin grabbing at his throat. He fought off Devin’s attack on instinct, but before he could think, he was on the floor, his friend’s hands around his neck as the man tried to choke him to death. The light started to fade around his eyes as he tried to call for help, although he didn’t know from who.

Then the present hit him in a flash. The sudden change of scenery disorientated him and made him dizzy. He realized he was on the floor next to his bed. Devin was over him, a look of concern on his face as he tried to restrain Darian’s wildly flailing arms. Darian noticed that one of his arms must have struck Devin, who looked to be sporting the start of a bruise on his left cheek.

“Are you alright, what happened?” Devin asked, a look of concern on his face.

Darian attempted to speak, but feeling the nausea rising, he held up his finger, jumping to his feet and racing to the bathroom, barely making it before he vomited into the sink. Darian was not unaccustomed to nausea and throwing up during the times he was experimented on, but the way this nausea had taken him had caught him off guard.

Devin stayed in the room, a look of concern on his face. Darian worked to reassure him that things were fine, but his mind kept wondering back to what he had seen in the vision. He had never seen Darian angry at him before, and the level of rage on the man’s face unnerved him. What could he have done to cause the man to hate him so? Was his vision definite? Or was it only a possible future? Would his one and only friend one day turn on him?

What about the mistrust? Darian watched his friend’s eyes closely. Was that level of mistrust starting? Were those looks of concern? Or uneasiness? Darian shook his head, vanishing the dark thoughts from his mind. Nothing had changed, not to that level. Darian suspected that he’d have more than ample amounts of time to see it coming and prevent it.

If he could not prevent these visions from coming true, then what would be the point of having them? He also thought back to the nature of the visions. It was difficult to decide if he was in control of himself during the visions, or if the future Darian was in control. The few visions he had had, his actions had seemed natural and he simply did what he figured he would do. As a result, he couldn’t tell who was in control during the visions. He almost kicked himself for not attempting to change things outside the event earlier with Phineas. He could have said a different word, or moved his hand a different way. Instead, his actions were identical and he didn’t know which was which.

On the other hand, his thoughts were different. He was pretty certain of that. His lines of thoughts were completely different when he had his first vision and when he saw Phineas for real. This also meant that he was not his future self when he saw the future. He thought independently of his future self, confused by places he didn’t recognized and not privy to future knowledge.

The idea that he should be concerned about maintaining individuality between his present self and his future self almost made him chuckle. He restrained the urge, however, as Devin was continuing to eye him with concern. He didn’t want Devin to think he was more insane than Devin already thought him to be.

Darian was already coming to the conclusion that Devin was not insane, at least, not in the traditional sense. It seemed like each night the record skipped and Devin was living the previous day rather than the next day. Darian wondered how crazy he’d look if he could remember a future no one else had experienced yet. He wondered how crazy he’d seem with his glances into the future.

He lied down in his bed and closed his eyes. He didn’t want to see any more visions right now. It wasn’t until he was just about to slip into unconsciousness that he realized that dreams were not any safer for him. He slipped into dream after dream, trying to forget them as quickly as he had them.

The next day Darian woke with a start. He was being shaken awake by Devin, who seemed concerned and panicked.

“How did we get here, what’s going on?” He asked, slightly frightened.

Darian sat in confusion for a few moments before he understood. Devin only remembered things in the other direction. So if they were going to be transferred today, then he went to sleep in the jail, and woke up in a completely different location with no memory of how he got there.

He made an effort to comfort his roommate and friend. He briefly considered telling Devin more about his future, but he hesitated. What would happen if he chose to tell Devin things that, to Devin, hadn’t happened yet? As he recalled, Devin had told him things about his future, but at the time he hadn’t understood them and couldn’t use them to his advantage.

He tried to think back to the details behind the many strange things his friend had said when he had first been imprisoned here. Unfortunately, he quickly grew frustrated at the patchy memory of his first year caused during the experimentation. He simply couldn’t remember what would come next. However, what would happen if he attempted to tell Devin about his future. Would that change Darian’s past? Or would there be some kind of contingency where events prevent him from changing the past?

Of course, why would telling Devin anything slightly earlier help? Devin knowing his predicament wouldn’t change anything. They’d still be tortured and experimented on; they would still be trapped in the cell for two years. Simply telling Devin that will make him worry. More importantly, telling him this information may change things.

At best, the more Devin new, the stranger he might act around Darian. Darian already had thought his friend was mad, if the man had told Darian when they first met that he was, for all intent and purposes, from the future, Darian would have never trusted him. It would have driven a wedge between the two of them that may have never been fixed. He never would have learned to speak common tongue, learned about hints to his future, or learned about the society outside of his cell.

Darian resolved to not tell Devin more than he had to about Devin’s future. It seemed like the safest course of action for the moment. He wondered about the vision he had had the night before. He would need to do something so that wouldn’t happen. However, now that he thought about it, he couldn’t do anything to prevent it, since whatever he did to cause it wouldn’t have happened by the time he was attacked. He shook his head.

This added a very strange dynamic to his friendship with Devin; he wondered how Devin had managed for so long having known this secret. He presumed that Devin had figured it out a few months before when he had started his friendship with Phineas Faraday.

After he had finished comforting Devin, telling him that they would return to the prison soon, he sat back down on the bed and began trying to open his mind to more visions. It was an interesting way to past the time, and bordered on a kind of meditation. In a way, it was relaxing, the smoky visions that never quite showed him the future glimpsed at the edge of sight.

He had realized from yesterday that the visions formed best when he focused on something. So he focused on an image in his mind of Phineas Faraday. He saw the man a few times in a few different areas, but nothing that really told him anything. These visions seemed to tell him of his own personal future. As a result, he could only see things he was present at, through his own point of view.

Therefore, he couldn’t see where Phineas Faraday was going to be tomorrow or the next day, unless he happened to being going to see Phineas tomorrow or the next day. However, he was relieved to see that he would see Phineas again sometime in the future. This meant that both he and the scientist would survive their respective predicaments somehow.

As he glanced around the room, trying to come up with something else to focus his visions on, he decided to avoid delving more into Devin’s future. His hand impulsively touched his neck, although he did not feel any of the effects from the vision, the memory of being choked to death was very strong in his mind.

The guard that had recovered him yesterday was the only other person that might be able to give him a glimpse of his near future. So he focused on the man called Thad Mason. Quickly he saw the man opening the door. Devin walked beside him as they crossed a corridor, entered a ship. He saw them leaving, the ship pushing up through the atmosphere, his face being pushed back as he experience several times the gravitational force as the ship left the atmosphere.

Darian opened his eyes. He knew the guard would open the doors in about two minutes. He still wasn’t sure how he knew it. The certainty became stronger once the vision occurred, but he had had the feeling of its inevitability growing all day. He didn’t know if these temporal instincts were related to the visions, or a different beast all together, but he knew this was another part of himself he would have to find a way to master if he hoped to escape the prison.

Despite never knowing a life outside of captivity, he seemed to know his escape was inevitable. He could see himself being free in the future, and knew it was real. He didn’t know the specifics. What would he do once he was out? Where would he go? These answers eluded him. Still, he knew he needed to leave, as if there was a definitive reason for him to get out and be free. Something important that he couldn’t do behind bars that exceeded the comfort of the only life he could remember.

Like clockwork, Thad Mason opened the door. He rose as the door opened while Devin jumped a little.

“It’s time to go,” Darian stated, turning to his friend and nodding encouragement.

He walked out of the room with Devin following behind, a strange air of confidence and authority surrounding himself. He knew his strength was at least slightly bolstered by the fact that he had already seen the events unfolding in this way. If he didn’t know what was going to happen next, he might have been more apprehensive and concerned, as his roommate seemed to be at this point and time.

Thad realized he was following Darian, versus leading him, and quickly took a few steps to get in front of him. He gave Darian a confused and wary look. Darian had known exactly where the guard was taking them and had already started heading that direction with Devin in tow. However, in the vision, the guard had led them along the entire way.

So the visions can change, at least, to an extent. Darian nodded to himself as he followed the nervous guard. The hallways were not any different from any of the other hallways he had been in, making it exceptionally easy to get lost for someone who did not know their way.

Suddenly, a flash of warning struck Darian’s mind as they approached an intersection. Thad had started to walk strait down the hallway, but Darian suddenly had a strong desire to turn right, a since of foreboding along the current path. That was different from his vision too. He was beginning to question how reliable these visions actually were.

“I think we need to go right,” Darian said, his feet stopping short.

The guard jumped at his voice, turning around with a glare at him.

“That’s the longer way, this is the shortest route,” the man argued, pointing down the hallways as if that was evidence of his statement.

“There are people down that way, there are not people down this way,” Darian said.

The guard looked at him strangely before responding, “You don’t know that, and even if there are guards down that hallway, they won’t suspect anything.”

“I do know that, and I never said they were guards, we meet with the wrong people at the wrong time, and we will all be in a lot of trouble,” Darian responded.

The guard glared at him, his eyes narrowing. They continued to stare at each other for a few minutes, the guard frustrated at the thought of taking a prisoner’s advice, Darian having a growing confidence that he would. Devin stood to the side saying nothing, his head bowed. He must have been used to Darian proclamations of the future and simply accepted them, which meant Darian would be making a lot more of them.

At the edge of hearing the rumble of a couple of voices came down the hallway. They were still far off and out of sight, but there was just enough echo down the long hallways that something could be heard. This caused the nervous guard to jump again, before breaking eye contact and nodding grudgingly. They went right. The voices faded as they rounded a corner and were out of sight of the intersection.

“I still say they were just guards,” The man grumbled as he continued to walk down the new hallway, still identical to the previous hallways they had been in.

“What do you owe Phineas Faraday?” Darian asked suddenly.

This caused Thad to blush slightly as he continued to walk. He didn’t answer right away, but Darian knew he would answer; otherwise he wouldn’t have bothered to ask.

“He, um… My son’s grades were never that great, but he really wanted to get into school. Phineas put in a recommendation and got my son accepted on merit. He also helped him get a scholarship to pay for it…” The guard trailed off, turning his head away from Darian and staring straight ahead.

Darian smiled to himself. He had long suspected that Phineas was a good man. It seemed like his suspicions were right. Still, he would miss the conversations he had with the man, and wondered how long it would be before he met the scientist again. He was not able to gleam a time, just a feeling that they would meet again in the distant future. They continued to walk down a few hallways before the guard finally spoke up again.

“You are now prisoners transferred to the Basalt Station from the surface jail. If asked where you transferred from, you are to say you were transferred from Port Geneva, a small colony located on the surface of the planet. You are locals there, and the two of you were tried and convicted for raping and murdering a local woman,” Thad declared.

Darian blinked, a horrified expression forming on his face.

“Don’t argue with me, I chose this crime for two reasons. First, a woman was raped and murdered by two men recently on Paris near Port Geneva. It was reported that the two men escaped, but more than likely locals lynched them.”

“Second, if you wish to survive at Basalt, other criminals need to think you’re hardened. Rapists tend not to be housed with other prisoners for obvious reasons, giving you two a cell to yourself, and any sentence lighter would have you going to a surface prison, not Basalt. “

“I can’t pretend to know why Fin hated you so much that he would send you to Basalt, but rest assured, it will most likely be the last place you ever see. He seemed to like you, and said you requested this, I don’t understand that either. I am about to hand you off to some transfer guards. They don’t know the circumstances of your transfer, and you aren’t going to tell them.”

“That is all I can do. I’ve put in a notice and I’m quitting. After this stunt, my face can’t be seen on either Basalt or this research facility, I will not risk my family’s lives, I am no Lancer skum. Never mention my name to anyone, and things will go fine. I don’t know why he wanted this done, but knowing the doc, it was important. So shut up, lower your eyes, and do a better job imitating your friend over there,” Thad nodded to Devin, who looked considerably more cowed.

Darian decided to take his advice and lowered his head and eyes too, adopting a more docile appearance. Before long they had reached the guards that Thad had spoken about. To Thad’s credit, the man handled himself incredibly well. He kept an air of authority and discipline, his voice strong. He spoke with the guards and signed some papers before saluting and leaving.

The guards that took the two of them roughly grabbed them and shoved them through a door, which appeared to be a dock for the ship. Darian was not unaccustomed to rough guards and keeping his head low, and quickly followed in the same demeanor that he had adopted for the better part of two years.

He then came to realize just how cocky and sure of himself he had been with the other guard. He stood strait, looked in his eyes, questioned, asked, and even demanded. These were actions he never would have tried with anyone else. Was this because of the fact the man was a friend of Phineas? Or was this because he had some preconceived instinct about how the man would react to pressures?

For whatever reason, it was a strangely exhilarating experience, being treated like a human being. He vaguely recalled what it felt like to be treated that way, in some time before his memories began. He realized for the first time that he was no longer a lab rat. Although when he looked into the disdainful eyes of the guards that ushered him into a seat and strapped him in with locks, he realized that now he was back to being something less than human, at least in the eyes of these people.

He didn’t know why he wanted to escape the only life he could remember, but the desire to have people look at him and see a person worthy of respect seemed like a start in the right direction. Before long, the ship’s engine rumbled, and they were pushing up into the sky, just like his vision had foretold.

*****

Aiden took the last few steps towards the room with a level of giddiness and excitement he had not felt in some time. Of course, he did not let his excitement show on his face. Even around the lowly guards nearby, he always had to maintain a state of complete control. It was one of the most important lessons his father had taught him.

Finally, after all of this time, he had tracked down the boy who had killed his brother. That the boy was still alive on the other side of that door was both a blessing and a disappointment. He had done a fair amount of research on the Chronos project before working to have it shut down. It wasn’t very cost effective and it had not produced any tangible results anyway.

Still, his primary reason for getting the program shut down was to finally get vengeance on the boy. He had heard the experiments had been particularly painful, torturous even. Aiden, however, would not be satisfied until his brother was avenged. That meant the death of this person, even if it did release him from a life of pain.

Aiden hid his impatience well as the guard entered in the codes into a small wrist pad and the door opened. He continued to wait as the guard entered the room to bring out his prey. The guard made a noise of surprise. Irritated, Aiden pushed himself into the room.

The room smelled. It didn’t smell as bad as it should have or could have smelled, even though it had two occupants that had occupied it almost nonstop for two years. The walls and ceiling were covered with an antibacterial layer. The room was seemingly designed to be self sufficient and self-cleaning.

The lamps emitted a kind of UV flash that helps sterilize the room. The toilet regularly cleaned itself and air was continually being filtered in and out of the room.  Still, it would seem that the occupants had also made an effort to keep things clean within the room, whether from boredom or a since of cleanliness that didn’t die with imprisonment.

Even with these modifications, years of stink left from people confined like animals layered the place. Unfortunately, the smell was all that was left in the place. The occupants were gone, and by the confused look of the guard, this was not expected.

“Where are they?” Aiden asked, his voice struggling to stay under control.

Before the man could answer, he struck him across the face. He never was particularly good at controlling his anger. However, the effect of his calm voice yet aggressive actions seemed to be a trigger for all of the other men nearby, who quickly bowed their heads and began searching.

Two guards took off in opposite directions down the halls in a desperate attempt to locate the missing occupants. Another guard began looking through the terminal. He moved up next to the guard on the terminal, who quickly became aware of his presence and was visibly unnerved by it.

The guard he had struck finally rose to his feet; he made a dazed bow to Aiden before moving from the room and leaving down the hall after one of the other guards.

“Sir, the last person to open this door was Phineas Faraday, the man in charge here. He never used his own code to open this door, one of us always fe…”The guard stopped speaking when Aiden held up his hand.

“Where is this Phineas Faraday,” Aiden asked calmly.

“Reassignment sir, he left last night, there is no way he could have used his code, it had to be stolen or…”  the guards voice trailed off at the dark look Aiden gave him.

“Where was he reassigned,” Aiden continued to question.

“Classified sir, Level 10, only the Lord Regent could give permission to access…” Aiden had to hold up his hand again to stop the man from stumbling over his own words.

It all came back to the Lord Regent again. Why was his father protecting this murderer? Did he not care about his own son’s death? What were his motives?  He cared little about this Phineas Faraday whether he was involved or not, but where would his father put the boy.

Two years of work and he finally found him, and like that, his father snatched the man out of his fingers again. He didn’t know what his father’s game was, but he would one day claim his vengeance.

The guard was terrified down on the ground next to him. He hadn’t realized he had lashed out, his fist slamming into the computer monitor just in front of where the guards head had been. The glass terminal had cracked, the display now only showing a black and white distorted image around the spiderlike cracks that crossed the monitor. His temper, he needed to be better at controlling his temper.

He glanced down at the trembling guard, his eyes intense, “Get up, get the other guards together, and burn this place to the ground.  By day break, I want nothing left of this facility or anything in it but ash and stone.”

The guard stood up and left to follow the orders, acting slightly braver now that he had a specific task to carry about. Aiden stood and contemplated what games his father was up and where he would need to look next to hunt down the boy who murdered his brother.

Previous | Table of Contents | Next