༺ The Enemy of Humanity Isn’t the Alarm, but the Morning Itself ༻
The State had this funny saying.
The State’s research lab undertook all of the world’s research. The bio-engineers who researched the human body and the material engineers who researched the properties of different materials used the same building. As a result of that, they would sometimes accidentally go into each other’s labs without realizing that they were using the wrong lab until it was time to leave.
Actually, it’s not even that funny.
The painful sound assaulted my eardrums. The fact that my ears were still fine after every morning meant that either my ears were more resilient than I thought or that the State’s engineers did a good job at making the alarms.
‘To bend without breaking.’ That was the State’s material engineers’ motto.
I wonder how much effort was put into just creating that one sound…
You know what, I don’t even want to think about it.
“Urgh, I hate that so much…”
Why? Why must that alarm greet me every morning? Why do I need to start every day in agony?
I felt like I was going to lose my mind.
I yelled as I buried my face into the hard pillow.
“Someone please turn off that fucking alarm!”
‘I wasn’t expecting an answer, but who was that?’
As I lifted my head after yelling some nonsense, I saw Azzy flying through the air. She jumped up in the blink of an eye, leaping toward the wall. She then raised her front paw and struck the annoying alarm clock.
I’ve said this before, but that alarm clock was like a steel cicada.
The steel cicada that harassed me every morning was trampled under the feet of the four-legged beast. Its gut-like mechanical insides flew everywhere, and the thin plate responsible for the noise cried out for the last time before it was crumpled.
The alarm was pressed so flat against the wall that it had merged into it. In order to take it out, you would need to dig out the wall itself. The gears and metal pieces spread throughout the air. After doing her deed, Azzy came towards me. She wagged her tail, as if she wanted to be praised.
“…What, do you want me to praise you?”
“Yeah, sure, you did well. You destroyed the evil alarm clock that harassed me every morning… To the point of no restoration.”
The core component was completely obliterated.
‘Unless there’s a smithy somewhere here, I don’t think it’s ever going to be salvaged.’
I combed my hair back before grabbing Azzy’s shoulders.
“But did you know, Azzy? The thing tormenting me every morning isn’t that alarm clock. That’s only a front. My suffering lies in the morning that tells the alarm to ring.”
“Yeah, the real problem is the morning. The fucking morning that makes you repeat the day you just barely got through. I thank you for your virtuous deeds, but this doesn’t change anything.”
The first thing Azzy said after my long rant was:
‘What did she say?’
I was standing with my mouth agape, dumbstruck as Azzy looked up and continued.
“Can’t see the sun. Dark here. No morning!”
“Well, no. Even if there is no sun, it’s still morning.”
“Woof! Can’t see the sun, no morning!”
‘Saying that there’s no morning if there is no sun. I didn’t know whether to call this optimism or literal dog talk.’
“I sleep when tired! I like sleep!”
“Yeah, I also want to sleep whenever. But there’s work to be done, so it can’t be helped.”
“Stuff like cooking or cleaning. You know, if I don’t wake up in the morning, there would be no one to feed you.”
As I said that, Azzy’s ears perked up. Then, she jumped onto the bed, and started to bite and tug at the hems of my clothes. My body was unwillingly dragged out of bed.
“No! Wake up! Food! Fooood!”
“Ok! I’ll feed you, so let go! Wait!”
Azzy ran all over the place as I made preparations. After pushing the broken bits of the alarm clock to the side with my foot, I wiped my face with a wet towel.
“Haaa… How am I going to wake up tomorrow now that the alarm clock is broken?”
There’s only one reason why I didn’t break the alarm clock myself even through all the suffering it put me through. If I don’t have it, I won’t be able to wake up.
It’s a sunless, roosterless abyss. A place that was isolated from the outside world; one where time holds no meaning. As there’s no visible morning, there’s no way to gauge the time. And it doesn’t help that the alarm clock—the only thing keeping time here—was destroyed by the dog.
“Is there anything remotely similar to an alarm…?”
I wanted to hit Azzy on her forehead, but I refrained and let out a sigh.
‘Well, she did do it out of consideration. Honestly, I did feel relieved when it was smashed.’
The hand that initially moved to hit her changed directions to scratch her chin instead. Azzy made a big smile and put her weight onto my hand.
‘How naively innocent… There are absolutely no concerns on her face. I guess it’s only possible because she’s an ignorant animal. I suppose these are the pros of a pet.’
I recalled the Clothing Packet I was currently wearing and pulled out a new one. The recalled Clothing Packet could be washed with the laundry or in a tub of water. Electric pulses could make the clothes good as new, but you would need a special device for it. The former method would take longer to dry but could be done anywhere.
After changing into new clothes, I removed my hand from Azzy’s chin. As if she were attached to my hand by glue, Azzy’s face followed my hand up for a short moment.
She opened her eyes wide, as if asking ‘Why did you stop?’ As if to tell me to keep going, she lunged her chin toward my hand.
It seems like she thinks I’m either a petting machine, a ball-throwing machine, or a feeding machine.
Just my luck. Why am I being the dog’s babysitter?
Well, It can’t be helped. She’s my dog. The least I could do is feed her.
“Let’s go and eat.”
If there was a ‘World’s Nicest Dog’, it would be Azzy on her way to eat food. I went to the cafeteria with the dog who would only become good three times a day.
‘I should heat up the leftover bean stew for breakfast and have something else in the afternoon. Maybe I should cook, it has been a while after all. Last time, to win over Azzy, I stove-cooked some meat. But to be honest, meat is an ingredient that gives a better feeling of satisfaction when prepared differently… Huh? Why is the pot empty? I swear there were some leftovers in here.’
I turned my head. To my irritation, Azzy was looking at me with clueless eyes.
I stand corrected. Azzy has never been a nice dog. This mutt with superstrength is a scourge upon this world.
“Oi! You ate the last of the leftovers, didn’t you?!”
“Don’t play dumb! There’s no one else here who could have done it!”
“You get nothing this morning! Nothiiiing!”
The howl of the starving dog rang out for a long time.
“Today’s lesson is about dealing with an ungrateful dog!”
Azzy, who was lying down in the back of the classroom, barked loudly in defiance to what I said. When I glared at her with flaming eyes, she turned her head with a ‘Hmph.’
‘Hmph. You think I care?’
“Animals have never known grace and don’t even have the intelligence to recognize it in the first place, so there’s no need to do anything for them. They’re just suffering a loss! Let just tell them survive on their own!”
“Woof! Woof! Grrrrrr!”
The Regressor—who had been watching me and Azzy go head to head—asked with no interest.
“What’s the problem?”
「It’s probably nothing as usual. I couldn’t care less, but I’ll pretend to ask.」
I could hear her impertinent thoughts, but I couldn’t help but vent my emotions. I thumped my chest with my fist and responded.
“That fucking mutt ate all the leftover food from yesterday!”
Azzy barked, as if she was retaliating. She had the appearance of a human, but all that came out was the bark of an animal.
That was some serious dog noise.
Ugh, come on. If she wasn’t a dog with a dog’s mind, I would have easily read her mind and came through with unavoidable evidence. It’s at these times where not being able to properly read her mind is a problem.
However, the Regressor asked, seemingly missing the whole point.
“So what if the dog eats some food?”
“‘Some’ food? ‘Some’?”
I pinched my forehead and let out a deep sigh.
“Seems like you’re missing something here, Trainee Shei. The only reason dogs and humans are able to coexist is the fact that it only takes some leftovers to feed these guys every day. Besides, it doesn’t take a lot to feed a dog, however!”
I pointed my finger at the glutton and yelled.
“That thing eats not only the same amount of food as me, but twice as much! And it has the audacity to eat on the same table!”
“Feeding her just a bit is fine, isn’t it? Stop being so stingy.”
‘You only say that ‘cause you have fucking everything from money to items after taking everything for yourself! How can you say that to someone like me who has to work every day just to put food on the table?! Didn’t you say something about Azzy being a piece of the apocalypse?! Why aren’t you the one taking care of her?! Isn’t that your responsibility as a Regressor?! Why don’t you take ‘With great power comes great responsibility’ to heart?!’
I was about to say all that. But since I couldn’t reveal that I was a mind reader yet, all that came out of my mouth were plain old complaints.
“Then why don’t you feed her?!”
“Ah, sorry. That’s not possible.”
「I tried feeding her some food from the Bountiful Table… but she didn’t eat any of it. It’s overall plentiful, but each portion of food is so small that it would never be able to fill her.」
The thing that came up in the Regressor’s mind—was the Bountiful Table. Every meal, would produce tons of food that could fill a table.
There were so many little portions of food that with a single stroke of chopsticks, would all disappear in an instant. It was designed so that each meal could provide a great variety of food to taste for a limited stomach.
It was the ultimate luxury item.
It was filled with the most high-end foods just to ensure no one mistook it for anything other than the Bountiful Table.
It definitely isn’t just some dog food, since it’s so precious that the dog can’t even eat it.
I wrinkled my forehead and let out a sigh.
“Anyway, I don’t like eating on the same table as a dog. I’m going to leave it here. I won’t even pretend to see Azzy anymore. Class dismissed.”
｢Wait. That’s the end?｣
“Yes. I just wanted to share with you all my grievances. Now, you can have the rest of the day off. You won’t get every day off, so enjoy this time while you can.”
The one thing students love is a day off. The crazy thing is that even the teachers love rest days. Maybe a day off is the world’s greatest good.
After announcing the world’s greatest good, I quickly headed to the door.