"Of all creatures that breathe and move upon the earth, nothing is bred that is weaker than man."
—Homer, The Odyssey
The city is always dark. So dark even under the glare of the sun, and even darker when the blanket of the night steals the brilliance away from its sky. For no matter how radiance this city is with all the light from its many skyscrapers, the shadow never wanes from the heart of men; so prone to fall prey to doubt whereas the ignorance live in the darkness of ambiguity. For it is always easier to lose oneself in the comfort of oblivion.
Some of those conscious of the change in the city talk about it in hushed whispers while some other shut themselves behind the door of their own cells, hoping to drown out the news with every contentment their little world has to offer. Life is harsh to you if you have a cloudy psycho-pass.
Pitter-patter. Pitter-patter. The rain falls.
Large droplets keep falling from the gray sky. Their coldness seeps even through the fabric of his cloak, pricking his skin like needles. The street scanners still work even when splashes of rain blur their cameras, still monitoring this rain-soaked world as eyes of Sibyl. And as the street is currently empty, all of those eyes turn, staring through their misty lens at the sole figure walking across the street.
"Caelum non animum mutant qui trans mare currunt."
The cloaked figure stops. Amber eyes fix upon those cameras from under his hood. The scanners read nothing out of ordinary and he continues his steps, lips curving into a smile as he is reminded of a quote from Horace.
"They change their sky, not their soul, who rush across the sea."
The hood obscures his face from getting detected by the street cameras. Yet, even as a man declared dead in the record of the government, he wonders if being away from this city he was born in for four and a half months really changes him.
His psycho-pass still remains clear - still pure white as freshly fallen snow.
He keeps walking down the empty path, turning corners after corners until he comes to stand before the serene lamp light illuminating a door at the end of an alley. Blinking the droplets of water away from his eyelashes, he looks at the faded sign that is the name of the inn. The Odyssey. He then shifts to gaze once again at the vision of Sibyl's raining world.
Some say rain falls from heaven but here, there is no heaven beyond the thick veil of dark clouds or even up and up, higher in the welkin.
The man turns, opens the door he doesn't bother to knock and enters, leaving the world of heavy rain behind.
The rain makes the path slippery and she could have slipped if she hadn't caught the nearby rail just in time. The young inspector pants and looks around, trying to catch sight of her companion. Enforcer Kunizuka has always been cool and collected. That was also her impression of the woman even when she first met her at Oso Academy. However, that seems to have changed upon the sight of those criminals they are currently pursuing. One of them is a woman with blue hair.
Could it be… Maybe it's someone she knows…?
Brushing her soppy bangs away from her eyes, Shimotsuki Mika carefully climbs down the ladder. She then finds herself in the middle of what seems like an old playground - abandoned because of a construction that is also never finished. Rusty metal pipes lie in tatter, along with rubbles of bricks, glass shards and wooden scrapes over one half of the lawn, and in one corner, there still stands an old swing.
The swing creaks, moving back and forth. The sound makes the woman tighten her grip on her Dominator. Droplets of cold water roll down her skin and she suddenly feels shivers run down her spine.
It could be the wind that moves the swing… That, she tells herself.
Still, she'd better take caution. Earlier she has tried to contact Inspector Tsunemori - as the inspector and Enforcer Ginoza went investigate in another direction - but the signal seems to have died since she entered this area. Now with her losing sight of Kunizuka, Shimotsuki Mika knows she is now on her own.
The old swing creaks, the harsh wind sending it moving back and forth, and she feels again that primal instinct known very early to the race of men:
Back and forth, back and forth, the old swing swings; the creaking sounds as if the old ropes can snap any minute.
In her mind, flashes again the memories of her best friend whose death she always feels she is responsible - if she hadn't told her about Oryo Rikako, her friend wouldn't have died. From that day, Mika has never fully forgiven herself. She thought she could do something to prevent crimes like that to ever happen again. That is why she has become an inspector. But now she starts to wonder if she can even save herself.
Back and forth, back and forth, the old swing swings. Mika swallows, now holding the Dominator with both hands. She can do it, she tells herself. Yes, she can.
Pitter-patter. Pitter-patter. The rain falls.
And back and forth, back and forth, the old rope snaps.
The swing sags to one side and twirls around, spinning in the air with its remaining rope twisting. And finally, when the remaining rope cannot endure the strain anymore, the swing falls and hits the ground, sending a loud clang that echoes over this deserted place.
As if the sound has signaled the end of eerie silence, a small man jumps out from his hiding place among the rubbles, charging at her with a knife!
Mika cries out but dodges just in time to the side, the man knife missing her by mere centimeters. She forces her shaky hands to stay steady and aims the Dominator at the man.
The phone signal dying is one thing but even her Dominator doesn't seem to work either.
"Surprise, little girl?" The man sneers. "Your powerful Dominator is but a chunk of useless metal when the signal is absent, isn't it?" He licks his knife as he moves closer to the girl.
"If you surrender your body, I will just take it easy and maybe let you go, you know. I mean… you are quite pretty~"
Mika pales at the man's suggestion. She gauges the distance between herself and the man and is sure if she is fast enough, she is still able to run away. Her hope is immediately crushed as another man, much bulkier than the one with the knife appears at the top of the ladder. He jumps down and is now behind her, blocking her only way of escape.
"Don't even try to run, little girl." The bulky man smirks, quickly grabbing her in his arms. She tries to struggle as the smaller man comes at her with the knife.
"Let's take care of your clothes first."
The young inspector is ready to scream at the top of her lungs when a punch suddenly sends the man holding her flying.
A cloaked figure stands in the middle of the old playground. His tall frame towers over the man he sent to the ground with a heavy punch. His dark eyes - even darker than the color of the current sky - gaze momentarily at her.
"Stay back." His words are calm as if the weapon the still standing man has doesn't bother him.
Meanwhile, the bulky man recollects himself and slowly stands up. The cloaked man only spares him a glance, looking not at all fazed.
The two criminals encircle the man. And then they charge.
Droplets of rain rap, tapping at the glass surface of the window. From where he sits, in a small wooden chair next to the floor lamp, he can still see the raining sky. It has been raining for hours.
Golden eyes stare for a while out the rain-blurred window. The view provided by this rundown inn's location is very limited. It is nothing compared to the luxury he had when he lived here.
The city that he was born in… The world that rejects his humanity…
Even though he so much loves to gaze at its mesmerizing scenery of technology and skyscrapers, somehow having the view blocked away makes it quite…different.
The sound of familiar footsteps make him close his book. There is no need to get up as he hasn't locked the door.
He only turns as it swings open. And greets the arrival of his roommate with a smile.
"How does it feel to be back here again after four and a half months?"
Kougami Shinya tosses his wet cloak carelessly aside as he regards the white-haired man with a calculating gaze. Then, he finally speaks:
"I was expecting you with some quotes about Ulysses returning to Ithaca."
Makishima Shogo's smile widens.
"Ulysses needed to be convinced of Ithaca himself before he could go convince others." He gently puts his book on the table. "For me, it still seems like a dream."
Pitter-patter. Pitter-patter. The rain sounds. And then the door slams shut.
Shimotsuki Mika doesn't know who her savior is. He easily took down those two men without much effort and she hardly got more than a glimpse at his face. Nevertheless, she is certain she has once seen those eyes before.
Inspector Tsunemori Akane found her a little while after the man left - as sudden as when he appeared. Her senior said she was following the trail someone left as if wanting her to quickly come and take her junior away from this place.
They still cannot find the trace of Kunizuka. Inspector Tsunemori is adamant the enforcer didn't just abandon her duty and run away, though.
To be continued…