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Chapter 2 - Mother & Daughter

Dearest mother, how are you doing? Have you been lonely? It is the first time ever since I was born that we’ve spent so long apart, so I hope you’re not having a hard time. I, for one, am a little homesick already, but that can’t be helped. Sometimes I find myself thinking about your food, as the food I’ve been eating isn’t the best either.

Jokes aside, I think the rebellion is going well, out of the 88 constellation Braves, we’ve gone through five already. There really isn’t a place for us to stay most of the time, as we’re serious threats to those who rule the world, but some people secretly support us, and come give us a hand from time to time. You might think five is being off to a good start, but it’s not even a fragment of the full picture, and they were only the weakest ones, the journey has barely started.

There are some very lonely nights, but my companion lightens the mood and gives me strength to keep it together. Since I was created roughly five years ago, she’s my senior by ten years. When my behavior bothers her, she quickly starts nagging, but I also feel a very warm gaze from her at times. Is this what an older sister feels like?

Astra is asleep right now, this is the only period where I write, as I’d feel embarrassed if she saw this. At the same time it’s a letter, I want it to be a diary and a mission report. Is that aiming for too much at the same time? I don’t need to sleep as much as real humans, so keeping myself busy with this seemed a good idea. If it becomes a bother, I can just stop. Aah, Mother, how I’d like to hear your voice again…

“Have you activated?” That was the first sound to ever enter my ears. And soon after, your face was the first light that entered my eyes. “Can you see me? Respond, what is your Serial Number?”

“SSDB-X05.”

“What is my name?”

“You are Doctor Rosexfleur, my creator.”

“Good. Reinitialize,” for a moment, my senses disappeared once more, but soon I was awake again. “What is your name?”

“I have none.”

“Hmmm. What are you?”

“I am your creation, a machine made to destroy.”

“Hmmm,” Mother analyzed me, took notes and continued her questioning. I had only very basic intelligence at the time, so even my awareness of being a Brave made to kill Braves didn’t exist. I knew I was a weapon, nothing more…

Seeing my motor functions had no irregularities, she took me for a walk. Rather than on the secret underground floor of a high-tech facility, I was created on a laboratory on her backyard. We walked outside, and I found myself within a large garden. My first contact with the real world was seeing nature. Grass, butterflies, the blowing wind… It isn’t a feeling someone born naturally can understand, perhaps. When you’re created on a laboratory, engaging with nature for the first time awakens you to the miracle of life.

“Do you know what that is?”

“I do not.”

“That’s called the Sun. All life exists because of it. That is our greatest father.”

“The Sun...” Since I was an unnatural being, I could stare directly into the Sun longer than my human creator could, but she still advised me not to overdo it.

She continued walking with me, showing me her house, then leaving it and taking me to a nearby beach. Stepping on the sand felt different from stepping on the grass, feeling the wind which blows from the ocean felt different too, and so did the warmth of the sun. Just from changing our surroundings, the feelings I felt also became very different.

“Do you want to try going into the water?”

“May I?”

“Go ahead.”

“Aah, it’s cold!” I could only get one foot in before stepping backwards. That reaction made my creator very excited. At the time I didn’t understand, but that was very human-like, that’s what she wanted to see. “Why is it so cold when the sun is so hot here?”

“The explanation is longer than you might imagine, let’s leave that to some other time.”

After that, we walked back to our house and she had me sit around a table. She wanted me to try her food, and so I did. The fish didn’t have any taste, the chicken felt rubbery, the meat was hard, but it felt like my teeth were made to eat that. When she asked me what I liked, I voiced these thoughts.

“Hmm, my cooking was never the best, but still hurts to hear it that bluntly…” I didn’t mean to offend, but she took some damage from that. She most likely only wanted to know my preferences, but that served as a lesson on being kind to others, being careful with the words I use.

Saying the next destination was the last one, she took me to an underground room. It was covered in profound darkness, but my eyes could see even within the dark, so it didn’t bother me. She ordered me to enter a room and she’d be waiting outside. Within the room she made me walk into, there was a large creature which I couldn’t quite tell whether it was mechanical or organical.

“Wake Up, Darkwurm,” my creator said, and I felt something building inside me, turning my body inside out, and covering my vision with a shade of red.

I don’t know how much time passed until I returned to myself, but once I became conscious again, I noticed being once more on the tube I first work up, my right arm broken and my left one missing. I could see my creator on a computer, but had no voice to call for her. Did I malfunction? Did I get into an accident? It’s all unclear to me.

Not long after that, my eyelids became heavy and I felt myself deactivating again. This would be a great moment to tell the dream I saw while inactive, but no such thing happened, there was no mental activity within me, there wasn’t even a subconscious to build a dream for me.

“Have you activated?”

“I have.”

“What is your name?”

“...”

“Hm? What is it?”

“Is my name Darkwurm?”

“...It isn’t.”

“In that case, I do not know my name.”

“Do you remember the last time you were awake?”

“Partially.”

“Hm… Do you want to eat something?”

“Ugh.”

“Hey. What was that reaction just now?”

“I do not know what you’re referring to.”

“...Was it reflexive or subconscious and thus didn’t get registered? Or did she learn how to tell white lies? Hmm...” Mother seemed pleased with something, and walked me outside of the laboratory once more.

The sun still shone on the sky, but the grass was covered in white, and the bugs had all disappeared. Stepping on the white felt even worse than trying to enter the ocean that one time, I jumped backwards back into the lab in an instant.

“What is this? It’s cold, it hurts!”

“Ah, it’s just snow. Maybe I should get you some boots, didn’t think you’d be so sensitive to cold. Or that you’d feel the cold at all.”

“Didn’t you learn that from the ocean experiment? You did this on purpose, didn’t you?”

“...I was just playing with you a little, don’t be like that,” Mother laughed mischievously, telling me to wait as she searched for boots I could use.

After giving me another serving of meat as hard as rock, she said we were going outside. Not to the beach, as it was awfully cold, but to a lake, she wanted me to see what happens to one during winter.

“Try walking over it.”

“Is it safe to try to walk over water? Even if it has become harder, I feel...”

“It’s fine, trust me.”

This experiment taught me not to trust Mother. My sense of humor took a long time to develop, and even when developed it still didn’t make me much of a comedian, but even as I learned to tell jokes, nothing ever made her laugh as much as seeing me slide face-first into the frozen lake.

After being humiliated for good ten minutes, she gave me a hand to slide out of the ice and we walked back home. I ignored everything she said, I was being very petty over her prank. Currently, it is a fond memory, but at the time, I was a little angry. But every happy memory gives birth to a sad memory, or so they say.

As we traversed the snow-covered fields on our way home, we were attacked. From within the snow, a large bear-like creature emerged, heading towards us with killing intent. We most likely invaded its territory and caused this response, it was a simple careless mistake. It was partially mechanical-looking, just like that creature on the underground, and moved so quickly we didn’t even need to try to escape to know we couldn’t outrun it. Mother seemed nervous, she looked around, looking for something, most likely a way to escape. But, in the end, she came to terms with it and lowered her head. Before I could say anything to comfort her, she said those words.

“Wake Up, Darkwurm.”

As those words entered my ears, I once more lost sight of myself. Everything became a blur shaded in red, and my body was no longer my own to control. However, my memories previous to losing myself didn’t become blurred, so I could think… think about how pained Mother seemed to say those words.

“Are you awake?” While last time it felt like ages until I heard her voice again, this time it felt like just a few minutes passed.

“I’m fine,” I answered, trying to get myself up. But I couldn’t, apparently due to two broken legs and a missing arm. “Oh. It seems I did it again.”

“Did what again?”

“Malfunction.”

“...No. You worked perfectly.”

Since I couldn’t move, I didn’t know. That what laid beneath me was the destroyed body of the bear monster that attacked us, and that I was the one that killed it. It was many times larger than me, and yet, with this small body, these limbs that could barely endure my power output, I destroyed it and protected mother.

“I’m sleepy now, I think I’ll sleep for a little.”

“You earned it. Please do, next time I’ll...” I couldn’t hear the rest of her sentence, but I have an idea of what she might have wanted to say.

After what I said the last time, it might be weird to say this now, but I believe I saw a dream this time. Just for a moment, I could see my own back standing on the ocean, wearing a dress. The wind blows and the me over there turns to the me over here, smiling. And that was it. These ten seconds were all I saw in five months asleep.

“Are you awake?”

“Yes.”

“Do you know your name?”

“I’m Darkwurm.”

“You may call yourself Nova, if you want.”

“Darkwurm Nova… Is that who I am?”

“Technically, that’s who you’re based on. But as that… person, no longer exists, currently, you’re the only one.”

“...I don’t fully understand.”

“I believe it is time I tell you everything…”

The world is at peace. Braves control the world, sharing territory and dominance, each country and state has its own rules, and everyone lives happily. Of course, all of this is just propaganda, only the richest cities live in such a reality. Beyond the walls of lies, there is a secret war taking place, there are humans dying in the frontlines, never even once having taken a step without having their strings being pulled.

Sharing the world friendly? Peace among countries? Who knows how long that facade lasted, perhaps it didn’t take a moment for it to crumble within their hearts, even if it took more than years for the first movements to start. The twelve zodiacs want nothing but to unify this world under themselves, they want to be alone at the top. They’ll destroy the world and send every human to war, all for the sake of obtaining a wasteland-turned planet.

“And that’s where you come in, Nova. You have the power to destroy every Brave, be it a Zodiac or whatever.”

“How can I?” By now, I’ve already realized I have a split personality which engages in battle when Mother orders me to ‘wake up,’ but I don’t know what this power is, where it comes from.

“This world… is a mirrored world. We live in the Reverse Galaxy, a world made upon the wishes of the Zodiac Braves. That is why beings which ought to be equipment are kings and queens… This world was made to conform to what’s convenient for us.”

“...”

“On the ‘correct’ Galaxy, there existed a Spirit, a corrupted dragon born from hatred towards… Braves. Using the data from that Spirit, I created you, to destroy all Braves and release this world.”

“...”

“From the sharpness in your eyes, I can tell your instinct already made you realize, right?”

“Knowing a truth hidden from masses, knowing the origin of the world and of the existence of another world… and more than anything, saying this world is ‘convenient for us’… Mother, you...”

“That’s correct. Wake up, Spica.” Mother closes her eyes, as her body crumbles and changes form, taking the shape of a large ivory statue in the likeness of an angel. “I’m the Virgo Brave, Vielje of the Reverse Galaxy...”

“...” My body reacted to her being a brave previous to my mind knowing it, but once my thoughts caught up to my instincts, I felt shocked.

“You’ll have two choices now, Nova. That is all I can give you, as your awful mother. Become my weapon on this war, or kill me now and start your path towards rebellion.”

“...Why?”

“This world was created for us to live in peace, but we immediately started strife among ourselves. I hate myself, I hate my siblings. But I can’t hold my desire to wage war and battle either. The world we created and populated is being killed by us, and only you can pass judgment and punish our sins, Nova. It’s in your hands.”

“...Could you… Give me a moment, I...”

“You’re such a cute person. I’m glad your mind didn’t develop greedily like ours, you’re just like a human. You’re the Star Slayer Brave, Darkwurm Nova. Wake up,” before I could sort my feelings, before I could even try to stop her from saying it… All turned red around me.

Dearest Mother, you’ll never read this letter, I know. Part of me even wants to say I have no right to still want to talk to you, since I’m the one who killed you. But I can’t help myself, by the time I notice, I’m already writing and shedding tears. Is this what it means to be human? Since you were a Brave, did you shed no tears when dying by my hands? Mother… I wish we could have talked more.