Chapter 15 – Out of Necessity, the Mother Invented
The regressor continued speaking as she leered at me while sitting sideways.
“Once you carve the Bio-receptor into yourself, your body becomes tied to the State whether you like it or not.
They will be able to track your every move, and the other nations will be extra cautious of you.
When going into nations that oppose the State, like the Empire or the Federation, you could be put under constant surveillance.”
“I don’t think that really matters unless you’re about to be exiled to another country.”
I replied, also sitting sideways.
The regressor kept leering at me.
Just really stared.
Throwing shade on the State is fine because it's a place where the innocent are thrown into the abyss by baseless accusations.
But I won't stand having my Bio-receptor talked down like that! I don’t use the Bio-receptor and Clothing Packet because I'm patriotic.
I only use them because they’re convenient!
“…And the Bio-receptor in itself is a liability.
A magical device that can affect my whole body.
It’s no different to branding a slave in the past.”
What? Are you trying to say that I’m a slave? That ticks me off.
I’m a guy who also wants the State to perish.
Curses against the State were plastered onto my lips as soon as I was chucked into Tantalus.
If I counted up the amount of laws I’ve broken just from living in the back alleys, it would be way more than the amount of laws you’ve broken.
Scamming, gambling, embezzlement, blackmailing, bribery, etcetera!
And you treat me like a slave of the State? No, I’m the State’s number one criminal! It might be slightly different from what you’ve committed, but I’ve got the quantity on you!
I got enraged and started ranting.
“That’s a bit too much.
If you say it like that, nothing in this world is really safe.
You could say that a tight suit is a suffocating prison or that a necktie is a leash on your neck.
If you can say things like that, then we should also confiscate every fountain pen in the world because ‘the pen is mightier than the sword’.”
The regressor sat back in her chair and just stared daggers at me.
Her scorching aggression stabbed at me.
It was an unchangeable disdain; an annoying but ever-present shadow that hung over thirteen deaths.
The stains of living in the darkness of the State could never be removed.
“…You shouldn’t not know.”
The regressor shot cold stares filled with the emotions of her many cycles.
Her heart was so cold that it would never warm up again.
Her stare scared the life out of me that I mumbled in my thoughts.
What on earth did you do that the regressor would hate your very being? You should be careful.
It’s a big world out there, and you could meet someone that can single-handedly destroy countries.
For example, a regressor with infinite lives.
‘You should try to not torture everyone too hard and be nicer to them in the future…’
“The first thing the State did with the Bio-receptor was… torturing people.”
A faint trace, a short but strong recollection.
I read her mind as she reminisced about her past.
Once upon a time, on her first cycle.
The perennial memory of those times were recalled.
All that could be felt were fragmented moments of suffering.
The only thing in her mind were two words: ‘It hurts’.
It covered the last page of her memories like a nasty piece of performance art.
Along with an old and weathered scar.
‘Hey, State? I think it’s too late for you.’
I should get out of this country ASAP.
See you never.
“The Bio-receptor is an arch avatar that was forcefully opened via alchemy and magic.
It's a clone of my body.
If you forcefully open the Bio-receptor and insert specialised poisons… Heh, then you could stimulate the feeling of pain without any drawbacks.
When electricity touches your body, it flows all throughout it.
The metal rod was definitely placed on my wrist, but my foot would start convulsing.
The State didn’t just invent a plain old convenient item.
With haste, they first and foremost invented weapons… and torture devices.”
The air felt extremely heavy.
To the point where the vampire forgot what she was saying, and even the dimwitted dog Azzy looked up and raised her tail.
The vampire stayed silent.
However, it was clear where her thoughts were.
If one’s mind were like a compass, hers would be pointing at the regressor.
The regressor, feeling dejected, laid out her painful thoughts.
「Everyone who’s been through that has died.
Even I couldn’t handle it and took my own life.
After that day, I always carried around a poison so that I could die a painless death every time.
I’ll never forgive the State…」
I fucked up.
If I had known this earlier, I would have never pretended to be an instructor.
I didn’t read any painful thoughts like this before!
‘I was wondering why she swung first and asked questions later.
I should even be thankful that I’m still alive.’
The regressor clenched her fist to stop her hand from shaking, so strong that it started bleeding.
“You still think the Bio-receptor is useful?”
「If this man is fully aware of the State’s evil but still sides with them, it would be a matter of time before we clashed.」
The regressor was assessing me.
If I made any hasty decisions, I could be confirmed as an ‘enemy’ and receive the suffering of a lifetime.
After all, this wasn’t her last life.
She wouldn’t believe me if I said I was only acting as an instructor all this time now, would she.
If that's the case…
‘I’m putting on a voice.
I’ll change my current cheery voice in an instant like I'm flipping personalities.’
Through the rapid change, I reset my mindset.
Bang, I’ll forcefully cut the conversation just like that.
If conversation was a living being, it would be dead.
I’ll pretend that the previous conversation just didn’t happen.
The end of one conversation, the start of another.
After preparing myself, I started from the top.
“When the Bio-receptor and Clothing Packet were first created, that wasn’t in the list of considerations.”
I said with a confident but calm voice.
I told an old story that sounded as profound as possible.
“The first person to come up with the Clothing Packet was an old woman with a daughter-in-law.
The old woman, who was trying to run a small clothing shop, looked upon her clumsy daughter-in-law with pity as she did the laundry and sewed till she started getting blisters.
The daughter-in-law’s bright smile always carried some worries.
But to help her son continue on with the family business, she had to sew and do the laundry.
The old woman tried to think of a way for her daughter-in-law to get used to all the housework, but couldn’t think of any decisive ideas.
In the meantime, the old woman got a clothing request from a noble.”
From a distance, even steep hills and sharp rocks were small details that built a grand and beautiful scenery.
All the tears and suffering couldn’t be captured into one story.
However, by including just some of the emotions, any story could be moving.
“The noble ordered the most fancy and beautiful clothes the old woman could make.
The old lady was dumbfounded by the order, as the clothes they wanted her to make were so full of different ornaments and embellishments that you wouldn’t be able to say that it was something you could wear.
She knelt down and answered.”
[“I am not skilled enough to create something like that.”
“The cloth and threads will tangle like that of dogs in a fight.
Because of this, you wouldn’t be able to take it off.”
“Not a problem.
“The threads of the cloth are so fine that, if it got damaged, even a child wouldn’t be able to fit their hands in between to fix it.”
“Not a problem.
“The different silks and cloth are intertwined into one that, if it were soiled, you wouldn’t be able to wash it with water or clean it even with a wet brush.”
“Not a problem.
“So you would want clothes that you could neither fix, wash, nor wear again?”
It’s to be worn only once.
After that, it will be taken off, torn, and soiled.
Your concerns are unnecessary.”
“That is not clothing.
It is a sewn monstrosity.”
“Not a problem.
“It was a fickle nobel’s crazy order.
A difficult order for anyone in the world.
It could have been rejected because it was too bizarre or because it was impossible to fulfil.
But the old woman who was thinking about her daughter-in-law saw this as a golden opportunity.”
The clumsy daughter-in-law who had no aptitude for laundry or sewing.
At first glance.
However, the old woman looked at the bloodstained cuffs and the tears that fell.
“If the clothes are disposable, then neither laundry nor sewing would be required.”
It was the perfect solution.
“It was impossible.
Impossible, right? A new pair of clothes made every time you needed to wear something; having to take them off when you needed through alchemy.
That is absurd.
It can’t be easy.
It would be way too difficult.
The old woman would have had to spend the rest of her life developing it.
She would have had to keep sewing until her sight blurred out.
Even with her talented hands, her age was catching up.
Her shaking and weakening hands were full of needle holes.
She was no longer like her youth.
There was no time for even the blood to dry.”
I intentionally took a breath and looked again at the hole in my arm.
To tell the story of this small cavity.
“The nature of the Bio-receptor.
It’s the wound from the needle.
The Clothing Packet is the one invented for the daughter-in-law.
It’s just that the State… engineered it into a magic tool.”
All evils of the world were created by the State.
However, such evils in the past were from a much smaller but precious heart.
I walked towards the regressor and took off the Clothing Packet.
It broke apart and was sucked into my left hand, as if someone had pulled apart all the fibres from the clothes.
Just as larvae created cocoons or spiders wrapped prey, the thin fibres came together into a small marble.
By a couple steps, I was back to my standard shirt and shorts.
The Clothing Packet popped out of my Bio-receptor.
I took it and stood next to the regressor’s desk.
“I can’t represent the State, and you wouldn’t be able to speak for all who were tortured.
Even so, I would like to ask for your forgiveness.”
‘I didn’t do the deed, but I am a part of it.
I will apologise for the things I have done.’
In that sentiment, I grasped the regressor’s hand to find her Bio-receptor.
The regressor sat in silence as she watched what I was doing.
“For the world’s most compassionate achievement.
For the committed sins that burn in hell.”
With that, I got her finger where her Bio-receptor would be—
Huh, there’s nothing there.
There’s no hole.
Only her smooth skin.
I found it strange and spoke.
You don’t even have a Bio-receptor.”
‘Why isn’t it there? That’s strange.
I thought for sure I saw her getting tortured in her memories.’
As I was wondering, the regressor pulled her hand back in panic.
「I only got tortured on my second cycle, when I didn’t know a thing… I didn’t even get one this time around.」
You only got tortured in a past cycle, huh? I had forgotten because the memory itself was so intense.’
After assessing the situation, I looked at the regressor.
She looked at me slightly awkwardly.
That makes me the clown.’
I decided the mood purely off reading her mind.
I assumed that the regressor had been tortured.
No, she did.
Only in a past cycle.
Even though in this cycle, she lived through it willy-nilly.
The story suddenly got complicated.
The regressor couldn’t explain her lie without revealing herself, and I said something only a mind reader could know.
‘What do I do? What if they find out that I can read minds?’
After some pondering, I flailed my arms and started screaming.
“You liar! Talking like you’ve experienced it! I thought you’d actually been tortured!”
To show that I really felt deceived by the regressor, I stomped my feet and shouted.
“Tortured? You don’t even have a Bio-receptor! What are you saying they put in your smooth-ass skin, huh?!”
“You really wanted some attention, huh? Or are you trying to steal the pain of those who were really tortured? To turn it into your personality? What impudence! I feel bad for those poor people who’ve had their pain and suffering stolen from them!”
“W-Wait! I’ve definitely…!”
As I pressed hard on the interrogation, the regressor’s lips shifted in frustration.
However, she couldn’t afford to speak her mind.
「I… I can’t let them know that I’m a regressor yet!」
‘Of course you can’t.
That’s that last thing you should be revealing as a regressor.
But how are you going to explain yourself now? How will you escape this situation?’
The answer was surprisingly simple.
The regressor disappeared through the door.
She literally escaped the situation.
I didn’t expect her to actually run away.
I got done in.’
[That was quite an interesting story.]
The vampire—who had been carefully listening to my story—came closer, as if she was satisfied with my lesson today.
[It was quite worthwhile, coming out of my coffin just for today.
However, I am yet to hear the end of the tale.
So what became of the old woman?]
[…Why do you laugh?]
“No, it’s just that you’re calling her an old woman.
She was around not too long ago.
If she were alive right now, she would only be around two hundred years old.
Way younger than you, Trainee Tyrkanzyaka.
So maybe you should be calling her ‘little girl’.
Wow, to be able to treat someone like that as a child—”
The vampire tore through the building and went.
She had also run away.
Just by running my mouth, I made a girl and a corpse run away.
Someone would be proud of me for that.
‘But that coffin’s made of wood, right? How can it break through the concrete and be perfectly fine? My sense of reality is degrading.’
“This is destruction of property, but… whatever.”
‘It’s not like I’m part of the financial division.
They’ll take care of it themselves.
I just need a place to sleep.’
I walked towards Azzy, who was trying her best not to fall asleep.
As I got closer, her tail started wagging.
Then, her ears flicked up.
And as she lifted her head, she figured out that I was approaching her and jumped to life.
Seeing as how she was drooling freely, she was living her best life.
I spoke as I dodged her attempts at wiping her saliva on my hand.
Were you listening to my lecture?”
“Can you tell me what you learned today?”
“Ah, you want me to lower my expectations?”
“…Kinda getting angry at the fact that you're only responding to that.”
“Yes! I’m angry, you fucking mutt! Just try to listen to anything I say!”
“Mutt?! Bark! Bark!”
What do I do with this mutt? She’ll usually follow human instructions well, but from what I’ve seen from the regressor’s memories, she’ll turn into a human meat grinder in the future.
I don’t know how that works, but I need to prevent that.
I thought putting some common sense into her would be good.’
“I’m crazy for even thinking that.
Even the guy who made the saying that ’experience is the best teacher’ would lose his shit at a real dog.”
As I was scratching my head, Azzy sat up straight and fiercely barked.
“Woof! Woof-woof! Woof!”
Azzy was looking straight at my left wrist.
Maybe, just maybe.
Did she actually listen to my lecture and understand something?
I half-doubtedly showed her my left wrist.
“Do you actually remember? Sure.
This is called a Bio-receptor, and if you put the Clothing Packet here—”
With the sensation of her sharp fangs digging into the hole, I lost consciousness.
Translator – aquamage
Proofreader – yukitokata
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