༺ Out of Necessity, Did the Mother Invent ༻
The Regressor continued speaking as she glared at me.
“Once you carve the Bio-receptor into yourself, your body becomes tied to the State regardless of your will. They will be able to monitor your every move, and the other nations will be extra cautious of you. When going into nations that are hostile to 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 defect to another country.”
I replied while glaring back.
The Regressor kept glaring daggers at me.
It’s alright to throw shade at the State 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 to the State. 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 is no different than 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.
Countless curses directed at the State were plastered onto my lips as soon as I was chucked into Tantalus.
If I counted up the number of laws I’ve broken just from living in the back alleys, it would be way more than the number of laws you’ve broken. Scamming, gambling, embezzlement, blackmailing, bribery, etcetera!
Yet you treat me like a slave of the State? No, I’m the State’s number one criminal! My crimes might be slightly different from yours, but I’ve got the quantity on you!
I snapped at the Regressor and started ranting.
“That’s a bit too much. If you say it like that, nothing in this world is truly safe. You could say that a tight suit is a suffocating prison or that a necktie is a leash on my 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 settled back down in her chair and just glared daggers at me.
Her scorching animosity stabbed 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 washed away.
“…You should know.”
The Regressor shot an icy gaze filled with the emotions of her many regressions. Her heart was so cold that it seemed as if it would never warm up again.
Her gaze scared the life out of me that I mumbled inwardly.
‘Oi, State. What on earth did you do that the Regressor would hate your very existence? You should be careful. It’s a big world out there, and you could meet an individual capable enough to 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 bold flashback. I read her mind as she reminisced about her past. Once upon a time, on her first regression. The fragmented memory of those times was 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. Adios. See you never.
“The Bio-receptor is an archaic 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 specialized 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. Hmph. 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 about to say, 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’ve always carried around 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 impersonated a warden. I didn’t read such painful thoughts like this before!
‘I was wondering why she swung first and asked questions later. I should be thankful that I’m still alive.’
The Regressor clenched her fist to the point of having her hands tremble, she clenched them hard enough for her hand to start leaking blood.
“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 only be a matter of time before we clashed.」
The Regressor was assessing me right now. If I made any hasty decisions, I could be confirmed as an ‘enemy’ and receive the suffering for all of eternity. After all, this wasn’t her last life.
She wouldn’t believe me if I said I was only acting as a warden 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.
With a snap, I forcefully cut the conversation off just like that. If conversations were ‘living beings’ one would be dead right about now. I’ll pretend that the previous conversation just didn’t happen.
Thus, I ended the conversation and started another.
After preparing myself, I started from the top.
“When the Bio-receptor and Clothing Packet were first created, they weren’t in the list of considerations.”
I said with a confident but calm voice.
I told an old story that I made it sound 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 concerns. 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. No story could capture all the suffering and tears shed.
However, by capturing just some of the emotions, any story could be moving.
“The noble ordered the fanciest and most 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 on and off.”
“Not a problem. Make it.”
“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. Make it.”
“The different silks and cloth are intertwined into one that, if it were soiled, you wouldn’t be able to wash it with water nor can you wash it away with a wet brush.”
“Not a problem. Make it.”
“So you would want clothes that you could not fix, wash, nor wear again?”
“Only once. 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 abomination.”
“Not a problem. Make it.”
“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 fulfill. But the old woman who was thinking about her daughter-in-law saw this as a golden opportunity of inspiration.”
At first glance the clumsy daughter-in-law had no aptitude for laundry or sewing. However, the old woman held back tears as she looked at the bloodstained cuffs.
“If the clothes are disposable, then neither laundry nor sewing would be required.”
It was the perfect solution.
“It was 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 in her prime. There was no time for even the blood to dry.”
I intentionally took a breath and looked again at the hole in my wrist.
To tell the story of this tiny hole.
“The essence 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 fibers from the clothes. Just as larvae created cocoons or spiders wrapped their prey, the slender fibers came together to form a small marble.
After a couple of 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. But 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 apologize 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 my every move.
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.
Puzzled I asked.
“Hey. 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 a panic.
「I only got tortured on my second regression, when I didn’t know a thing… I didn’t even get one this time around.」
‘Oh yeah. You only got tortured in a past regression, huh? I had forgotten because the memory itself was so vivid.’
After assessing the situation, I looked at the Regressor. She looked at me slightly awkwardly.
‘Wait. 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 get tortured. Only in a past regression.
Even though in this regression, 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’m a mind reader?’
After a moment of hesitation, I flailed my arms and started screaming.
“You liar! You made it seem as if you have actually experienced it yourself! 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 pressed against each other 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 the last thing you should be revealing as a Regressor. But how are you going to explain yourself now? How will you escape this situation that I’ve gotten you into?’
The answer was surprisingly simple.
The Regressor disappeared through the door. She literally escaped the situation.
‘Damn. 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 worth coming out of the coffin 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 left. She had also run away.
Damn. 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 State’s 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 to stay awake. As I got closer, her tail started wagging. Then, her ears perked 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.
“Hey, Azzy. Were you listening to my lecture?”
“Can you tell me what you learned today?”
“Ah, you want me to lower my expectations of you?”
“…I’m a little angry at the fact that you’re only responding to that.”
“Yes! I’m angry, you fucking mutt! Just try to listen to what I say!”
“Mutt?! Bark! Bark!”
‘Ugh, what do I ever 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 why that happens, but I need to prevent that. I thought putting some common sense into her would be good.’
“I’m crazy for even thinking that would work. Even the guy who made the saying that ’experience is the best teacher’ would lose his shit upon facing 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. Look. This is called a Bio-receptor, and if you put the Clothing Packet here—”
With the sensation of her sharp, hard fangs digging into the hole, I lost consciousness.
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