Shiny Happy People

Chapter 9

4:20 PM, MARCH 14 XXXX

The young gentleman- as the little girl called him- had to wonder whether this was his true calling. He had to wonder whether this was meant for him, whether this day had been predetermined since the day of his birth. He had to wonder whether it was fate for him to do this, to be with them…

...to buy his alternate self and some kid two cones of ice cream from a vendor who could barely understand him.

Apparently, the way he spoke seemed ancient, archaic. The ice cream seller ended up straining her ears as he tried to say the flavors and none of them were liking the predicament they were in.

He repeated: "One pistachio, one rocky road and one chocolate chip cookie dough."

She looked as if she wanted to punch him in the face and stayed silent, forking out her scoop and taking three cones, piling them up with perfectly round scoops of the same flavor.

Rocky road. Levia's favourite.

At least she heard that one right.

Seeing as there's no other flavors, he reluctantly bought them and went back to the park bench where Levia and Irene were waiting expectantly, only to be the bearer of bad news. Gold eyes and blue eyes that were so alike his own stared at him, only for one face to fall and one face to beam as they noticed the colour of their respective ice creams.

"They don't sell them," Behemo admitted, handing two cones to a very disappointed 14-year old and a very excited scientist. "Levia wins."

"It's too hard for my teeth!" Irene whined.

"Oh, get used to it," Levia whistled, licking her ice cream as Behemo sat right beside Irene, causing the youngest of the three to be sandwiched between two counterparts. Irene audibly huffed like a seven-year old who didn't get what she wanted, taking a big mouthful of her ice cream while letting out the most high-pitched whine Behemo's ever heard. Even with her mouth closed, it could've been the brain freeze that made Irene's teeth tingle and shiver with mild pain, and she was so upset to even bother wiping her mouth.

"The weather's nice," Behemo managed to say, as if he's trying to make the atmosphere at least a little better and less disagreeable. The evening was already at a bad start because of the ice cream, but it didn't hurt to try and make things a little better.

"It is," Levia agreed, biting off a piece of her cone. "I mean, the park's at its nicest during the evening."

"Daddy's thinking of putting extra security around me," Irene piped up. "A lot of people died in a bar, so daddy doesn't want anything to happen to me in crowded places. That's what he said about the newspaper while I was busy reading the funnies."

Both 'siblings' visibly paled.

"I didn't get to read the paper today, Irene," Levia managed. "What else did your daddy say?"

"I don't remember," she said, licking her ice cream.

"Must've been awful, those people who killed all of them," Behemo said off-handedly, as if he didn't really think much of how awful it was as he said.

Irene nodded her head. "People shouldn't kill people in the first place. Their families will be sad," she added in that girlish voice of hers.

"Of course," the young man agreed nonchalantly.

It was at this point that Levia had remembered what Behemo was all about in her own perspective. She looked down at her half-finished cone of ice cream, wondering how would things turn out if she had just stabbed him through the mirror. If she had went along with what Seth suggested, what would have happened? Was the Ark Project that important to everyone- the quest for a new world if they couldn't cure Malice- to the point where they'd kill to get a spot?

The horrifying fact was that she'd do exactly that to secure a spot.

She reacted horribly to any mention of murder after being aware of what she heard or what she did, but she noticed that Behemo treats it as if it's passing news. Even when she saw his terror when she first reached out to him, it was as if everything was premeditated, planned out.

Levia repelled Malice as much as she could, but Behemo embraced it without a word.

Even the way she had killed those in Hammond's were swift and precise- Behemo employed all sorts of morbid methods, sticking his cane into the victims' throats and so on. He was calm in the face of every form of morbidity. The way he calmly spoke to her as he washed bodily fluids from the weapon he had at Hammond's almost scared her right afterward- obviously it was a late reaction, but she justified the situation as far more intense than her fears.

As much as he is her, he is not like her.

Surely she won't be as hypocritical as to make him be like her?

"-no, I haven't gotten my ID yet," Behemo's voice came, cutting Levia's thoughts off. He looked rather worried at the fact. "I'll try to ask if there's a home ministry around, or an immigration."

Oh, right.

His identification documents!


6:17 PM, MARCH 14 XXXX

The home ministry of the city of Gudonechia was advanced, heavily guarded and white-washed to the bargain.

It wasn't empty even though it was already past 6- there were people (new arrivals, Levia presumed) sitting at the various countered departments in each glass-walled room. The lobby had people filling up forms and lawyers helping out those who didn't know the language. The audible clicks of dress shoes and heels against the floor didn't help in calming the unprofessional heart, but Behemo didn't need to worry so much about that because Levia already had the forms in her hands.

Irene fumbled with her ID card, wondering what was so special about it in the entirety of the city.

"Form 145A, form 145B and form 145I would be the usual forms for identification. You'll be expecting an identification card, a birth certificate, proof of citizenship papers and the standard issue slop," Levia droned, passing them to Behemo.

He skimmed through Form 145A in two seconds, as expected of a wealthy man's son.

"Address?" Behemo asked.

"Put mine."

"Phone number?"

"Medel's telephone number. They'll think you're staff, which you will be….right?" Levia asked tentatively. Behemo only rolled his eyes and chuckled.

"Mother and father?"

"Mine."

Behemo looked over at her, surprised. "We're actually going to be brother and sister on paper?"

Again, she was afraid that she had crossed a line. "You don't want-"

"Splendid! I'll fill out the rest, thank you," Behemo cut her off, beaming. Levia's pleasant surprise over Behemo being equally excited over that quickly took over her initial anxieties, but before she could even return his smile with a smile of her own, she found that he sauntered over to a desk, sitting straight at the chair while he filled his forms.

He's a leftie.

"Irene, don't go off anywhere, okay?" Levia reminded the young girl holding her hand, and to her surprise, Irene didn't even budge. Her golden eyes were fixated on the TV screen, where a pink-haired newscaster said the following:

'Police are still investigating the cause of the massacre in Hammond Bar- a corpse had been missing from the forensic department. The corpse has been identified as Aginecourt, a high school student studying in Pipillian High School. If you have any information, do give your local police department a call, and confidentiality is guaranteed.'

The scientist frowned. "They're still going on about that?"

Irene nodded. "Still going on about it. Pipillian's right next to my school."

"Are you scared?" Levia asked, sitting down at one of the waiting areas as Irene took the seat beside her while taking out her hand-held game console and started playing some princess game.

"I am, but I have people to take care of me!" Irene laughed.

"If you don't?" the blonde asked, clearly not meaning to scare or intimidate the younger girl, but the question was more of something born out of curiosity. Irene looked down and bit her lower lip, shaking her legs to and fro. Her shoes looked new- probably her father had bought them for her today.

"Then I'll get more scared," she admitted.

Levia frowned- the world is a dangerous place, she knew. Ever since she was a girl in college, being towered over by all those youths and old professors did nothing to soothe her issues. She was only six and her parents encouraged her to go- a prodigy in the family, they said, but it was as if she got kicked out of the house prematurely.

She had no place to go. Her dorm was like a box for her, the books were like a distraction and her classmates didn't like talking to kids. Levia had to feed herself, dress herself and find sources of entertainment that was neither dangerous nor morale-degrading. And when she finally graduated, the world seemed emptier because no one was there for her.

Obviously, she couldn't tell Irene to suck it up. That would be cruel, even if life was cruel to her.

"Hey, what's taking Mr. Behemo so long?" Irene piped up, causing Levia to realize that the younger girl must have been counting the minutes. In her reverie of thinking about her dreary college days, ten minutes had passed, which was quite long for an average person to get everything processed. When there are machines, the time's cut by a lot.

"He must've gotten lost," Levia said, looking around from her seat. The throng of people lessened as they got their documents in less than five minutes after filling in their forms, so she decided to get up and hold Irene's hand again, walking around to find him. She passed a few departments to find the Registration Department, only to find that Behemo was still there.

With a girl.

With Aginecourt, to be exact. But her face looked a little different than Aginecourt's. Her features were softer and her hair was brown, and she was laughing and smiling, trying to get Behemo to laugh with her.

Behemo wasn't smiling. If anything, he looked completely confused.

Levia steeled herself and walked right into the department, only to have Aginecourt look at her with the same airy smile. The smile changed in a few seconds- it was a knowing smile, a smile that she was bound to recognize anywhere. Behemo looked at Levia as if to inquire who on earth the girl was, but Levia's fears were confirmed from the words that escaped Aginecourt's lips.

"Oh, Levia," 'she' smiled. "I was just talking to Behemo right here. Pleasant young man, isn't he? I believe I should get moving though- I've just returned from the airport and I'm so tired."

Levia felt her muscles tense up as she forced a reply.

"Yes. It's...good that you're back, Seth."

Seth smiled, inclined a small bow of his head and walked out.


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