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Today’s events were so intense Atlas didn’t have the time to think how long he had been holed there. When he woke up, the first thing that he saw was the extravagant designs and objects of a foreign room. It wasn’t the first time he saw this kind of room. However, it was the first time he had been to such a place.
Atlas knew very well that it was expensive. To get such a room like this, even his 3 months worth of pay wouldn’t be enough for a single day. Aside from that, he didn’t know how exactly he got there.
Due to the lights, he had to block his eyes with his hands because of the brilliance that was coming from a chandelier, hanging on the ceiling. While trying to cover his eyes, he felt some pain coming from his hand. Needles were plugged inside of it.
Now, he was sure this place was a hospital. Much to his concern, he didn’t know what kind of hospital would have had this kind of room. It was just too expensive and extravagant. Period.
He shook his head to clear his mind. Then he clenched his fists, feeling much stronger than ever before. Taking a deep breath, Atlas sensed that he could fight the bull-like creature multiple times without getting exhausted. And, even without relying on the feather’s boost, he was confident that he could bring it down without suffering the same consequences.
It was something he had in mind. However, it didn’t mean he could 100 percent defeat such a beast. Battles were about quick-decision making. One wrong moved, and everything would fall down to pieces. Anyone could lose their life because of a single decision.
Hence, without fighting the beast, it would just be his wishful thinking.
The feather glowed on his chest. “Welcome back.”
Hearing the familiar voice that was neither a male nor female, Atlas knew he was back. Everything that happened so far seemed surreal. Contemplating about the things that happened so far, Atlas looked lost. Although the battle was over after five minutes; however, to him. It was far from normal. Thinking about it, when he was fighting in that world, everything appeared endless and real. And, right now he was back to reality—no, he was back to his world where he truly belonged.
He knew that everything there was 100 percent real. The lives he took weight very much, but he had to do what he ought to do. And what was done could never be undone. He knew fully-well it was something he asked fo. So he had to carry this guilt, knowing it would forever…
He tried to look unburdened and unperturbed. However, his hands never stopped trembling.
It wasn’t out of excitement. It was out of guilt of having killed many creatures with life. To him, they would be monsters, because they looked very different from what humans looked like. The cries before their deaths marked and tarnished his very innocence. He was mentally struggling to cope up with the things he did.
“Ugh.” He felt his stomach churned when he remembered the scene, where he wreaked havoc and reaped lives like it was nothing. Atlas had to hold his mouth as he stopped himself from vomiting. Bullet of sweat formed on his forehead as he barely stopped his stomach from throwing up by flexing it as hard as possible.
“You would have been killed if you hadn’t taken their lives,” the feather consoled him. “Besides, it was enjoyable, right?”
“No!” Atlas said, “It wasn’t. I didn’t feel anything at all. Except, for the screams of mercy. I came knocking to their doorsteps and took their lives as if they were worth nothing!”
“So what? Are you backing out?” It said. “This is the price for what you asked for.” It continued, “Remember this feeling, and have it ingrained in your head.”
“Don’t tell me what to do!” he shouted. “I know full well what I have gotten myself into.”
“Full well?” the feather mocked. “Well, just to let you know. You just saw the tip of the iceberg… just the tip of it, oh, Great Atlas.”
“You know what?” Atlas asked. “Your name is really ironic. Don’t you agree, Hope? Might as well call it Despair…”
Silence rained throughout the room. Atlas looked outside and he saw the clock hanging on the wall. Atlas remembered something very important that his face became pale from shock.
“Oh my god!” he shouted, “The kids!”
Ignoring the needles that were punctured deep beneath his body, Atlas got up, leaving the needles hanging on their own. Then he looked around the room to check if someone was around. But, no one else was present. He was all alone inside a VIP room. Although it was a very luxurious room, he did not have the time to enjoy the view, nor the accommodation. He walked near a giant mirror and gazed at it. In the reflection, he saw that he was still in his rugged clothes. It was grayish cover-all. There were large holes in them. Specks of dirt were also very prominent. It was the type of clothing used by construction workers in a construction site.
Atlas touched his face–it was smooth. He didn’t know who did it, but it was good. He didn’t care what he looked like. Right now, Atlas felt pretty much horrible with his lack of awareness. But, deep inside he knew everything was inevitable.
He let out a sigh as he thought about the kids, that were waiting for him in their school. “They must be feeling lonely right now.”
Synopsis: Somewhere in the universe, there was an altar. On it, laid a bloody eye as big as the sun itself. It burst with light and bathed the entire star system in red.
"The aura of an ancestral artifact!" Someone's voice rose in surprise.
The Great Galactic Era had begun.