Chapter 1: Human Experimentation
—–Translated by daydrop. Please read on the original site at daydrop.nowaki.net.
Translator Note: Bloodlines Ablaze is a story with a British/European-inspired fantasy setting. I have made the stylistic choice to use British terms and slang, and to that end, smooth over some of the Japanese anachronisms (such as the senpai-kouhai addresses and the bows that accompany apologies) to maintain the Western atmosphere of the story as read in English.
My name is Roger Baldwin. Up until five years ago, I was a doctor at a large and prominent hospital.
It all started with a surgical mistake five years ago; it bucked my life into a tailspin from which I would never recover. I had been in the throes of utter exhaustion, having spent days on end working incessant overtime. That was why I had committed such an inconceivable mistake: leaving an implement inside the body of a surgical patient. It had not mattered that I had saved countless numbers of patients before the incident, but with this one medical error I was released from my post at the hospital, and with the stain on my reputation, no hospital would employ me, and I spent my days exposed to the gazes of scorn and disdain from family and relatives.
I could have elected for employment in a different occupation in order to support my family, but I remained fixated on my station as a doctor. From a young age, my life was conducted as one befitting a member of the honourable Baldwin family, and it was unthinkable to lead a life on a meagre salary. My wife left me, and when my fortune dwindled to nothing, my children also left me.
I had hit rock bottom, and the one who had extended a hand to me when I had nothing left was a relative: a middle-aged man named Samuel. We had never crossed paths before, not even at extended family gatherings.
Samuel had shown up at my residence one day, wholly unexpected, and said to me, “Roger, I have great faith in your skills. I would like to retain your services.”
Samuel was clad in the most exquisite articles of clothing, each piece made with the finest of craftsmanship, and he had the air and manner of someone who had possessed great wealth. He told me that he was looking for a skilled doctor. The compensation exceeded the sum that I had received as a surgeon at the hospital, and with no other options available to me, I did not hesitate to graciously accept his offer.
Samuel invited me to a laboratory built in a remote location. Heavy protection surrounded the building, and armed guards performed security checks on every person entering or leaving the premises. When I went to the laboratory, I was shown to a room built underneath the building.
“Roger, everything that happens here must be kept strictly confidential.”
Samuel would paste a smile on his face and remind me of this every time. I knew nothing about his plans or what I would be doing until he had brought the examinee to me. If I had known about the acts of depravity that he had wanted me to perform, I would have never accepted his offer. I swear my word upon the grace of God. I may have committed a medical error, but I am a good and moral person at heart.
“Now, here is your subject.”
Samuel walked into the underground operating theatre carrying the examinee. I picked up the chart and reviewed the examinee who was laid out at the surgical table. He was a pale boy of ten years old. The rest of the medical staff were expressionless like masks as they administered anaesthesia and prepared for surgery.
“I would like you to implant this stone into the boy’s heart.”
Samuel produced a sparkling, rainbow-coloured stone, approximately seven centimetres in diameter. I did not comprehend the words that I had been told.
“My apologies, I beg your pardon…?”
I glanced back and forth between the stone and Samuel as I gave a stiff smile.
Samuel had said that he wanted me to implant the stone into the boy’s heart. If I were to perform that surgery, the boy would naturally die. A foreign object embedded into the heart was bound to cause rejection of the implant.
“Roger, you can no longer leave this place. At least, not until this experiment succeeds,” Samuel stated without a smile.
I had not misheard him. What was Samuel thinking, implanting a stone into a living, breathing person? I backed away; it was out of the question for me to perform this surgery, but then Samuel pulled out a gun and pointed the barrel at me.
“I see. Then I have no use for you any more.”
Samuel’s eyes were hard and stern. Frightened for my life, I had no choice but to follow his orders. The boy’s face was still young and innocent as he lay on the surgical table. It was fortunate that he was unconscious before he was carried into the room.
I implanted the stone into a live human heart.
After the surgery, I was immediately taken to another underground room. A sense of claustrophobic despair permeated the windowless room where I was confined. From that day forward, my days consisted of travels between this room and the operating theatre, but back then I still harboured hope that I could find an opportunity to escape.
The next day, the boy died.
His body had rejected the stone, shook violently with convulsions whilst he took his last breath. The sparkling, rainbow-coloured stone was no ordinary stone. I would only confirm it later at the autopsy, but the stone had fused itself into the boy’s heart. It was an inorganic mineral, and yet it mutated its shape like a living organism and adhered itself onto the heart.
“Just what is this stone…? Could it perhaps be a magic stone?” I asked Samuel, retrieving the stone from the corpse. Once it was removed from the body, the stone returned to its original shape.
In this kingdom, there are special minerals called magic stones that can invoke magic. They are rare and precious commodities, found in very small quantities from the mines, and depending on the colours, they possess different effects. The most common colours are red, white, blue, yellow, and black, but the one I had in front of my eyes was rainbow-coloured, which was unheard of.
“This is no ordinary magic stone. It is the philosopher’s stone.” Samuel stared spellbound at it.
The philosopher’s stone—the mythical treasure sought by alchemists all over Europe in the Middle Ages. Legends, grand and fantastical, surrounded it: it could turn mere rock into gold or even grant immortality. I thought that Samuel had said it in jest, but I had to admit that there was something mysterious about this stone.
“I will prepare your next subject for you,” Samuel said as he placed the rainbow-coloured stone away in a glass case.
I could only pray to God. My job should have entailed saving people, so why was I forced to participate in the murder of children? Although I had committed a medical error, I hadn’t killed the patient. I should not have let myself fall for his flattery and charm. Whilst I cursed myself for my foolishness, interminable regret for my actions consumed me.
Two weeks later, Samuel brought a new subject into the operating theatre.
This time the subject was a frail young girl of seven years old. Like the previous child, she was incredibly pale, and her hair was white with a touch of gold.
I refused to operate again, but threatened with a gun, I performed the second surgery in tears.
The girl survived for three days, but her body rejected the stone in the end and she died.
“Samuel, please let me go home,” I begged him, sobbing from the horror and guilt that I felt from my coerced participation in these human experiments. I swore to him that would never mention anything to anyone regarding what I had experienced there. However, Samuel would not believe me. I watched for any opportunity and made numerous attempts to escape, but every time guards patrolling the hallway would capture me. My hands and feet were shackled except when I had to perform surgeries, and my confinement continued with no end in sight.
I was imprisoned in a building with no windows, unable to see the passing of the seasons, and I started to lose my sense of time. Even the faint hope that I had held onto at the beginning of my detention, that perhaps my estranged wife and children would come searching for me—it naturally faded away.
I believe that it had been a year into my confinement at the laboratory.
There had been ten human test subjects, and the aftermath of the corpses tormented me. Samuel had brought over children ranging from a few months old up to ten years old from God knows where, and he couldn’t have taken them by any honest means. By the time I had operated on the fifth subject, I had lost all of my emotions, and I simply performed the work.
That was why when he had brought that child, I thought emotionlessly that he would die anyway.
What was Samuel thinking, carrying out such heinous deeds?
The day after I performed the surgery, the child’s vital signs were stable.
I had harboured a faint hope for the child, though I warned myself not to raise my hopes too high. So far there had been a child who had survived for three days, but I knew that eventually the body would reject the implant and the child would die.
Three days passed. Five days passed. After a week had passed, I was full of astonishment whilst I examined the child.
I had implanted a stone into his heart, and yet this child was still living. I did not detect any heart murmurs, and his breathing was stable. I could not find any issues with the boy.
“We finally succeeded!”
Samuel cheered from behind a glass window where he was watching the child. But it was too early to call it a success: the child had not left the sterilised room and had yet to regain consciousness. However, it was still great progress.
“Ahhh, he was the last of the family line! This is truly the providence of Heaven. We finally have one of the requirements complete…!!”
In the throes of his excitement, Samuel’s voice cracked as he shouted. I did not understand anything that he was shouting, but my role in this twisted experiment had finally come to an end, and I sighed with relief.
It completely mystified me why this child’s body had not rejected the implant.
The name Mahoro was written on the child’s chart. He was 5 years and 10 months old. The subjects that Samuel had brought for the operation were all pale, but this child was especially pale, all white all over. His hair was pure white, even his eyelashes were white. If I were told that he was a fairy, I would probably nod and agree.
I entered the sterilised room to check the boy’s vital signs, and I frowned.
The boy—Mahoro sat up and turned his large, round eyes towards a white wall. It was as if there was something there.
“Magister… I’m all right. I will unlock it.”
Mahoro spoke to the wall as if he was dreaming. I did not understand what it meant, and I watched him thinking it was eerie.
“I will protect… the seed… of the Lux line…”
Mahoro mumbled aloud with a vacant stare. Before long, he closed his eyes slowly and collapsed back on the bed. His breathing was steady, and he appeared to be asleep.
What would Samuel use this child for?
As I watched Mahoro sleep, pity welled up inside of me for the boy. He could not expect to live a normal life. Samuel would use him for his own purposes, and I refused to imagine what it could be. I was someone who had already fallen to the depths of hell. Ten innocent young children had died by my hand; I would likely never step foot outside again.
Where had I gone wrong in my life? Why hadn’t I realised that such a terrifying man existed in the family?
I had no courage to commit suicide, no wits to escape. There was no future for me: I could only live out the rest of my days inside of this laboratory.
And with a heavy heart, I could not help but pray for this one boy, the lone survivor, wishing that he, at least, should find happiness.
—–Translated by daydrop. Please read on the original site at daydrop.nowaki.net.