Eden

Chapter I

"We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light."

—Plato

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Eden

Chapter I

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Has the sky always been this clear, I wonder? From what I remember, my earliest memories began with flood of city light… The magnificence of this city at night has imprinted itself forever in my mind.

It was that time when the first snow of the year fell. How flakes of falling snow glittered… How the wind swayed those flakes hither and thither… And how they blazed exultingly from reflections of the city's radiant light. They danced in the air, forming visions like those inside a kaleidoscope. The city itself shone like jewel before my eyes. Its brilliance, at that time I thought, was incomparable and couldn't be found anywhere else on earth.

It was only a few years after that I learned how my first impression was accurate.

He listened as he sank to his knees. The wind crooned gently as it passed over the hilltop. He listened and listened and it became clearer of that sound of the wind in the wheat. He took a deep breath, enjoying the scent of fresh air that rustled his silvery locks. And he continued to listen… listen for the sound of that hound tracing his steps. And he waited. For he knew the hound could sniff his death coming. Droplets of life escaped him, tricking down his skin and seeping through the fabric of his clothes like crimson rivulet. He waited and waited, knowing the end had drawn near.

It was ironic how he had become infatuated with this city from those early memories associated with the splendor of glowing lights. Like a moth attracted to death by a burning fire. Playing with the fire without wanting to leave or go elsewhere. There was no city left on earth as beautiful a scenery whether it was to be or not to be the peak of human civilization. For in his eyes, the Prophetess' perfection had long turned into dust under heaps after heaps of dead bodies.

Who isn't alone in this society?

This little world of Sibyl was isolated.

After his realization of this world's anomaly, he had come to be skeptical of its light.

In this world where everyone is watched over by the system and lives within the system's standards, a community isn't necessary. Everyone lives in their little cells and the system tames them by giving them each their own personal serenity.

Everyone was isolated.

Have you ever doubted the warmth of the sun even when you see how its light casts shadows? Have you ever wondered how many children tried to play with a spraying fountain before they realized the water was but the hologram of desired projection?

So many truths could be hidden behind the illusions of holograms.

Everything could be replaced.

Everyone is alone, everyone is empty. People no longed have need of others. You can always find a spare for a talent. Relationships can easily be replaced. I had gotten bored of a world like that.

As he waited atop the hill - the ground solid underneath him - he could hear the hound's footsteps. He would no longer run even if the last light of the sun died and made it easy to hide in the dark.

But for some reason... The thought that someone other than you might kill me never occurred to me.

His vision had already become blurry. And yet, as he tilted his gaze up toward the sky… He had never remembered ever seeing the sky this clear. It looked real even with his consciousness that began to fleet.

His bane had finally arrived - his footsteps heavier than the gentle rustling of the golden wheat - his shadow darker than the dying day. Even with his back on him, he could easily picture the man's expression. A man who was similar to him… one who knew well solitary… and one who didn't disregard his humanity for he could see the color of his sins. It was the end of their game. There would no longer be the continuation of this chase.

"Say, Kougami, what do you think... after this, will you be able to find a replacement for me?" That would be the last question.

And in that brief moment of silence, he silently felt his own anticipation. Perhaps he had always been waiting for this even before he and Kougami ever met.

"Sorry, but I hope I never do."

For Kougami's answer satisfied him, filling in that void in his mind that he had always sought its missing shape. A smile - for the first time so pure and genuine - graced his lips; relief and happiness reaching his amber eyes. Moonlight peeked through the slit of the drifting clouds. The man's gun was raised as he kept his gaze on the vision of the bright moon - so different from that he had always seen from inside the city. Life was but a dream of the suffering.

The gun sounded. And he found his consciousness slip away. Their game had come to an end.

…Except the rest wasn't silence.

Dark eyes watched the unconscious figure on the bed. The bandages wrapped around the lithe form turned slightly pink from the blood they absorbed. He considered applying another layer for a moment but then chose not to bother. He still didn't know what exactly made him decide against killing Makishima Shogo and opted instead to carry him here - his jacket soaked with Makishima's blood - in an attempt to save his life.

He watched as the man's chest rise and fall as steady as if he was having a good night's sleep; silvery threads framed about his face like an angelic halo. In his slumber, the man looked so peaceful and innocuous - almost to the point of absolute innocence. And yet he knew well how the man's look was but a deception just like his pure white psycho-pass. For Makishima Shogo was far from being innocent.

He was the epitome of the blackness of the abyss.

'Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster… for when you gaze long into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.'

His eyes narrowed fractionally as he recalled the deeds Makishima had caused - one of them the very reason why they were both here. Taking a packet of cigarettes from his pocket, he slipped out one stick and put it between his lips. His frown deepened when he remembered how his lighter was kept in his now blood-soaked jacket. The next thing he knew was to control his temperament as he strode across the room to fetch the thing he needed, willing himself not to look at the sleeping figure on the bed in the middle of the room.

It was pure luck how the tools and medicines were still available in this deserted hospital which happened to be conveniently close to this area. And despite the lack of electricity, the water was still running. Kougami sat back on the metal stool as he successfully secured his lighter. Flame flickered and the next moment, gray smoke floated languidly in the air, filling the room with its scent. Taking a deep drag from his cancer stick, the ex-Enforcer reminisced how he had first came to know of this hospital.

Three years before all this… when he had still been an inspector; he remembered chasing a criminal who had made a hideout around this area. The criminal had tried to escape using the route by this hospital's sewer, and it was an unforgettable job involving lots of clambering and crawling that had left his well-tailored suit in a state beyond recognizable. In the end, though, it had been Sasayama's Eliminator that had executed the criminal.

Obsidian eyes now fixed on the form of Makishima. It had, for him, been long past the point of desiring revenge for Sasayama but an obsession so intense and unorthodox it drove him so far down the depth of the abyss. And in that abyss, it didn't matter to him who was the real monster. It was an obsession spun from hatred so long faded. It was hate spun from his very own demons.

And then, in his darkest moment, there came a light that shone through.

Tsunemori Akane. That girl and her belief of justice and her wish for a brighter future.

Perhaps it was her words, he wondered, that had caused his bullet to purposely miss. Perhaps it was her justice that had stopped him even though he believed his final decision had been resolute.

Without proper care and medication and the amount of blood Makishima had lost, there was no guarantee the man would survive. And despite having saved him, Kougami wouldn't care if Makishima died. If anything, Makishima deserved it. However, if the man did survive…

He blew out a puff of smoke.

Then, he would later have to decide which judgment he would eventually uphold.

Pale eyelids quivered, then they fluttered, allowing in slivers of light. Amber eyes soon opened, taking in the unfamiliar sight of what used to be a white and sanitized room.

"…" He tried to move but pain immediately attacked him, reminding him of the deep-cut wound in his chest. He gasped, instinctively moving his hand to hold his chest -

Clank.

- Only to find that his right - the more dextrous side - wrist was cuffed to the bed's steel bar.

The chiming sound of the handcuffs alerted the other occupant. Soon the distance between them was closed and grim shadow loomed over the fallen white angel.

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To be continued...

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A/N: To clear up any possible misunderstanding, the prologue happened six months after the hyper oat field incident. This chapter, though, happened right after EP22.

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