Chapter 9: I Think, Therefore I Am (1)
—–Translated by daydrop. Please read on the original site at daydrop.nowaki.net.
When the ship reached the mainland, Mahoro was taken to a military base. He had been blindfolded during the transfer, and he didn’t know which military base he had been taken to.
The soldiers took Mahoro inside a building of what appeared to be a research facility, and he was isolated inside a room below the ground floor. They confiscated Noah’s jacket that he was wearing and gave him a white jumpsuit to wear instead.
The room was plainly furnished with only a toilet and a bed. The only window in the place was a small window installed in the lower portion of the door for passing items through. It was approximately the same size as the room that he had at the Academy. At first Mahoro thought that he had been taken to a prison, but when he strained his ears to listen to the place, there did not seem to be people around him, and the people who came twice a day to bring him his meals wore white lab coats.
I feel like I’ve seen a room like this before…
Mahoro wondered why it felt so nostalgic to him. He seemed to have a memory from when he was young that he was placed in a similar situation.
For three days, Mahoro spent his time isolated in the room, and the following day he was anaesthetised to undergo testing. Mahoro would try to talk to the personnel, but no one would answer him, and it wore on him emotionally. He had nothing to do to pass the time, and he knew nothing about the situation outside.
He wondered how the Academy was doing. Were the injured cadets okay? What was Siegfried doing now? Why had he done such a thing? Why had Lord Samuel taken the pains to make Siegfried his son?
…Noah must have been worried about him.
Mahoro was reminded of the faces of the cadets and instructors that he knew. He wondered what they all thought about him. Mahoro wanted to apologise for his part in causing such a horrible crisis.
Every day without rest, Mahoro faced interrogations. Tough-looking military officers would sit across from Mahoro and demand an explanation for all sorts of questions, like his relationship with Siegfried, how he had come to the Baldwin estate as a ward, and how he had spent his days at Loewen Military Academy. He would be asked the same questions again and again, and it weighed on his spirit. When they slammed a hand down to threaten him or went on an angry tirade, his heart would stiffen in fear and it became hard for him to breath.
At night when Mahoro was in the room by himself, he would sink into a depression, assailed by feelings of wanting to die. He couldn’t sleep very well, and images of dead soldiers covered in blood floated in his mind. Although Mahoro hadn’t wanted it to happen, it was probably his fault that Siegfried’s and Dr Mary’s magic had become so powerful. But who could have imagined that a special magic stone was implanted in his body? That was the cause of everything, even his own magic.
Mahoro spent what seemed like endless numbers of days confined to the room, thinking about questions that he couldn’t get any answers to, when one day Mahoro was taken in handcuffs to a different room from usual.
There was a calendar in the room. Mahoro had lost all sense of time, and it wasn’t until now that he learned that more than two months had passed since that day. It was a simple room with only a desk and chairs, but the carpet was thick and the chairs had beautiful designs on them. Mahoro was told to wait, and he sat down on a chair. After some time, Lieutenant General Abbott entered the room.
“At ease.” The Lieutenant General eyed Mahoro back into the chair when he tried to get up, and sat down in the chair across from him, removing his cap. The Lieutenant General placed his chin to his knuckles with his other arm crossed and stared hard at Mahoro. His hair was a golden brown, and it was always combed down into place.
“The results of our interrogation have concluded that you have no involvement in the incident. However, that does not acquit you of your charges. It is clear that you provided powerful magic to the enemy even if it had not been by your volition. Therefore, from now on you shall be kept under military custody.”
Lieutenant General Abbott handed down the judgement in a smooth tone of voice.
Mahoro was happy that he was able to prove his innocence, but his heart hurt when he realised that he would be placed under military surveillance for the foreseeable future. The consequences of his actions had been that severe.
“You should know that this was Her Majesty The Queen’s decision. The top levels of the military were inclined to exterminate a double-edged sword such as yourself. It would be a disaster if the enemy were to get a hold of you again. However, the Queen made a declaration that you were not to be killed. She instructed that you were to be treated with the utmost courtesy as one loyal to the kingdom.”
Mahoro did not know what to say at the mention of such an unexpected name. Her Majesty The Queen had saved him…? He had never met her before; she inhabited a entirely different plane of existence.
“We shall abide by her command. Do you have any questions that you want to ask?”
Lieutenant General Abbott stared at Mahoro like he was appraising his value. He was a very strict person who did not like to repeat himself. Mahoro guessed that he probably didn’t like pointless conversations either.
“I underwent a lot of tests, but were you able to determine anything from them? I would also like to hear about Loewen Military Academy and how it is faring.”
Lieutenant General Abbott raised his eyebrows at Mahoro’s hard voice.
“So you had been under the care of the House of Baldwin.”
The Lieutenant General’s voice softened somewhat, and Mahoro listened to him carefully.
“We have learned from the tests that you have a magic stone of unknown origins implanted in your heart.”
Mahoro lost all strength when he heard the Lieutenant General’s words. Just like Siegfried had said, Mahoro had a magic stone inside of his body. And it was implanted into his heart. Was that why his heart would feel so painful sometimes?
“We searched all of Samuel Baldwin’s property, including his estate and villas, and found a man that he had imprisoned. His name is Roger Baldwin, and he told us that thirteen years ago he had implanted that stone into your body. He testified that Samuel Baldwin had ordered him to do it. He had conducted human experimentation on many unknown children and that you had been the only test subject that was successful. He also confirmed that you do not carry the bloodline of the House of Baldwin. There are still many unresolved questions about this case, and it is still under investigation.”
Confronted with a reality that was far crueller than he had imagined, all colour drained from Mahoro’s face. Perhaps the reason that he felt a nostalgia from this facility was because of a faint memory from that time. If it had happened thirteen years ago, then Mahoro must have been five years old. He had very little memories from the time, and he couldn’t remember much. There had been small children like Mahoro who had been implanted with the stone but died. It terrified Mahoro just to imagine it, and he turned his eyes down.
Everything had been a lie.
Mahoro had been the sole child who survived the implantation of a magic stone, and Samuel had taken Mahoro as a ward because he had a purpose for him. Mahoro could only pray that Siegfried’s own volition had not been involved.
“Roger Baldwin says that the magic stone implanted into your heart is the philosopher’s stone.”
Philosopher’s stone…? Mahoro became speechless. He thought that the philosopher’s stone had only existed in the legends.
“We would very much like to remove the stone so that we can investigate it; however, we concluded that it is impossible to remove.”
Mahoro slowly raised his head at the plain and distinct words. There were no emotions that Mahoro could detect in his voice, and that was the only thing in this situation that managed to save him. He wouldn’t be able to stand it if he felt his pity.
“The stone has adhered onto the organ, and the doctors say that you will undoubtedly die if it is forcibly removed. Her Majesty The Queen has decreed that you shall not be killed, and so we will refrain from forcing the surgery to remove it. It is unclear if the stone implanted in your heart is the philosopher’s stone or not, but we are certain that we have never come across it before. No one knows where Samuel obtained the stone, but we believe that he was attempting to make human weapons. His objective is the resurrection of His Holy Kingdom of Trinity.”
Mahoro remembered the file that he had seen in the sealed room of the Library.
“Twenty years ago, there had been a religious cult by that name. The founder of the cult was a man named Alexander Valentino. He had descended from the dark magic bloodline, a fool who claimed to be king and tried to overthrow the kingdom. Subjugated by the military, the founder set himself on fire in a grand display of his defiance. It was believed that his followers had all been captured, but a woman carrying his baby had managed to escape.”
Mahoro caught his breath.
“Siegfried is that founder’s son. Samuel Baldwin had been a secret follower of the cult, and he sheltered and raised him as his real son. In order to fulfil his dead father’s wishes, Siegfried launched a number of uprisings around the kingdom that day. There are several locations that store large amounts of magic stones for the kingdom, and Siegfried and his forces planned to steal all of them. They succeeded in stealing magic stones from three of the storage facilities. It is highly probable that Siegfried came to Loewen Military Academy himself because he had an explosive in the form of yourself there. We captured the remnants of his forces, and they confessed that Siegfried had planned to take over Crimson Island to turn it into his base. They also said that the plan was scheduled to be executed much earlier. Siegfried killed most of the soldiers that had been stationed on the island.”
The Lieutenant General spoke in a detached tone of voice, but his expression wavered when he talked about the soldiers’ deaths. He appeared to be a tough, cool-headed man, but Mahoro could sense that he had very deep feelings for the deaths of his men.
“Mary Elgar is one of Siegfried’s followers. She infiltrated Loewen Military Academy as a spy and acted as his guide.”
Mahoro remembered Dr Mary’s voluptuous figure and despaired. So she had told Mahoro about the sealed room because she had wanted him to learn Siegfried’s true identity. She had disdained Mahoro. Perhaps she hadn’t liked how Mahoro had been close to Siegfried.
“We do not know of their current whereabouts. From the testimonies of the soldiers on the scene and also the cadets and instructors from the Academy, the military has concluded that you had not been one of their accomplices, not completely. It is clear from just looking at you that you had not known about the human experimentation either. However, we also cannot deny that your existence has caused great harm. The military cannot afford to allow you to go free. They will come after you. Your existence is now a double-edged sword. Anyone who uses magic next to you will obtain a power comparable to a warship. I have heard that you shot down dragons on Crimson Island. It is a fearsome power.”
Mahoro bit his lips.
“As for Loewen Military Academy, even the seriously injured cadets have made a full recovery. The Academy has returned to its normal operations.”
It was added almost like an afterthought, but Mahoro was a little relieved. Fortunately, the Academy had been restored to normal.
“Any other questions?”
Mahoro shook his head.
Lieutenant General Abbott put his cap back on and stood. “Diana… The Commandant of Loewen Military Academy and the son from the direct line of the House of St Johns have pleaded for your freedom. You are quite something to have won over a man from the Five Noble Houses. In consideration of your cooperative behaviour, I will allow you a visit.”
Lieutenant General Abbott laughed as if to ridicule him and stopped in front of the door. Without a moment’s delay, the soldiers in the hallway opened the door and saluted the Lieutenant General. One of the soldiers prompted Mahoro to stand. Mahoro got to his feet and started to walk with the soldiers escorting him.
The Lieutenant General had mentioned nothing about what would happen to Mahoro after this.
—–Translated by daydrop. Please read on the original site at daydrop.nowaki.net.