He heard about Mokkania from various people. But he always heard more about his mother than about him.
Renas Fleur was a normal girl who grew up in that town. The fact that she gave birth to a child of the feudal lord was nothing more than a whim of his one day.
She probably faced many hardships while raising a child by herself.
Winkeny tried imagining the life of this woman who was bound to the lord’s selfishness.
She probably hated weak people being bullied because she herself was weak. That personality would have also affected Mokkania. Mokkania’s kindness and hatred for oppression of the weak probably came from that.
“Then why did Mokkania become an Armed Librarian?”
What was Mokkania’s mother to him? And what did her death mean to him?
Winkeny thought about it. However, he had no idea.
He visited the house Mokkania was born in. There were only ruins left. He couldn’t feel any signs of the life mother and child used to have in there.
“I am Mokkania. One day, as I return to my house, it is no longer my home.”
Walking through the abandoned place, Winkeny thought about Mokkania’s feelings. He stroked the floor and murmured.
“As I come home, I greet “I’m home”. However, at that instant I notice that mom is on the floor, dead.”
He touched the floor, thinking about the figure of the mother who was there.
“There’s no reply. “I’m home” – I say this once again. But there is no reply.”
Winkeny kept muttering.
“I’m home… I’m home… I’m home.”
At that instant, Winkeny received a message inside of his head in the form of Thought Sharing.
‘What are you doing, Winkeny? Return at once.”
Just when I got to the critical part? Winkeny gritted his teeth. But he could not go against the instructions of his superior.
Winkeny left Mokkania’s hometown, and went back to the Cult’s base.
Upon return to the ship, Winkeny took out the black queen from his pocket. It was the same one the Overseer of Paradise gave him during that day. He clenched it in his hand.
Winkeny was a failed piece, raised in order to kill the black queen. However, the piece that had been discarded by the player was now going to move outside the player’s intentions.
No, he wasn’t a piece anymore. By freely manipulating the black queen, he will become a player himself.
Winkeny investigated Mokkania’s heart so that he could control the black queen.
When he throws certain words at Mokkania, what will he think? When Mokkania faces certain circumstances, what will he think? When Mokkania has a certain goal in mind, how will he act?
Winkeny wanted to understand Mokkania completely just like a wife who was close to her husband knew everything about him after forty years together.
When Mokkania would act that way, he will become Winkeny’s puppet. While acting under his own will, even that very will would be controlled by Winkeny.
Each time a chess master moved his hand, he could envision and predict the actions of hundreds of pawns. An outstanding warrior could predict a battle’s outcome before it even began.
Winkeny aimed for that level. He tried to become an expert on the single man known as Mokkania.
“…You’re late. What were you doing?”
Winkeny’s immediate superior welcomed him as he returned from Rona Kingdom. As always, he rebuked Winkeny’s negligence of duty.
He worked as a contact that would convey orders from the higher-ups to their subordinates. He knew nothing about the encrypted information or the orders themselves. He was doing a job that only consisted of following the instructions of those above him and flying around the world. No-one remembered his role as a trump card against Mokkania. The fact that he secluded himself in the Labyrinth and was no longer a useful warrior was already well-known within the Indulging God Cult. A trump card aimed to defeat a useless piece was good for nothing.
“…I visited Mokkania’s hometown.”
His superior asked. Winkeny tried to explain, but his superior shook his hand as if telling him it was too annoying.
“Just go away.”
The superior said.
Nobody could understand Winkeny’s actions. Everyone told him it was useless, and many of them laughed at him. He was accustomed to humiliation, so he didn’t feel anything.
He clutched the black queen inside his pocket.
Winkeny returned to his hideout.
On his desk and floor were piles of documents that were all about Mokkania – his background; his evaluation from when he was a trainee, as well a report card from when he was a student; his interviews for newspapers; and the notes pertaining to his personality from what Winkeny heard from people who knew him.
There were also large quantities of Books that belonged to people who’ve met Mokkania placed on his shelves.
Many pictures of Mokkania were adhered to the walls. One valuable photo of him as a boy; pictures of him as a trainee, as an Armed Librarian, of him during the war, and pictures of him activating his ability.
Furthermore, there were investigation notes written by Winkeny hanging on the walls.
“Dissension with Hamyuts” “Loneliness” “Kind to his core->will he quit being an Armed Librarian?” “Guilt->where will he go?” “He might be considering suicide” “He parted with his lover. Was he really good with women?” “I definitely need Minth Chezine’s opinion->should I go and meet with him? Or is that unreasonable?”
Everything he knew about Mokkania was collected there. He even stole Mokkania’s psychological and psychiatric records from the Science Agency and read them over and over again until their seams were torn.
But despite all this, there were still many things he didn’t understand about Mokkania’s heart.
He could understand his surface feelings, but that was far from enough. In order to truly see through him, he had to become Mokkania himself. If Winkeny wouldn’t be able to reach that domain, there’s no way he could manipulate Mokkania.
Winkeny hit the desk with his fist.
He didn’t want to admit that such a thing was impossible. If he will, it would be one and the same as admitting his whole life was meaningless. He couldn’t stand it. He feared that far more than dying or not ascending to Heaven.
Winkeny held his head and kept worrying.
One day, the Overseer of Paradise called for him. He hadn’t met him for who knows how many years. For him, who was doing only odd jobs for a long time, it was like meeting a god-like existence.
He went to the same hotel he was in before. That hotel wasn’t under the Cult’s control. How and by which means could he stay here? Winkeny couldn’t even imagine.
He was reading a newspaper placed on the table by the window. It seemed to be just an ordinary newspaper sold everywhere.
“Winkeny. Are you aware that just the other day there was an assault on the Meats’ ship at Allow bay?”
He said while folding the newspaper. Winkeny nodded.
“There seems to have been a leak from the inside. Our intelligence will have to work with maximum vigilance, but it is a pity. Naturally, the more people we have, the more they will be harder to supervise.”
It didn’t seem like he suspected Winkeny. The Overseer of Paradise kept talking.
“Winkeny. Do you not think that we allowed just a little too many people inside?”
“I don’t really know.”
“From now on, we’re going to be a bit more selective. Not only in terms of ability but also in loyalty.”
Saying so, the Overseer of Paradise tossed the folded newspaper unto the rack. Winkeny only then noticed it was the newspaper that he was officially employed for.
“What does this mean?”
The Overseer of Paradise took a cup placed on the table to his hand. He slid it towards Winkeny.
“Winkeny. If you drink this water, you will be able to live as a simple newspaper reporter from now on.”
Without him saying anything, he could understand. The cup contained the water of Argax.
“Overseer of Paradise, I’m…”
“The article you’ve written the other day – it was just an editorial about the contradictions between Rona’s diplomacy and its political philosophy, but it was very interesting. Why don’t you sit down and write a proper continuation?”
Winkeny took the cup with trembling hands.
He recalled everything until now – his everyday life where he was referred to as useless. No matter how much thought about it, he wasn’t able to reach inside Mokkania’s mind.
His heart was inclined to give up. He brought the cup’s edge to his mouth while still trembling.
However, he returned it to the table while spilling some water.
“I’m not planning to become a journalist.”
Without any hesitation, the Overseer of Paradise spilled the water out of the window.
Drinking the water or not was probably some kind of test. Winkeny didn’t know what would happen if he drank it. Would he have been sent to the Meats’ ship? Or would he really and unexpectedly become a normal journalist?
The Overseer of Paradise rose from his chair and leaned his back on the window’s edge. There was no longer the air of tension from before.
“I have one question.”
“Why didn’t you drink it? …I was sure that you were going to drink.”
Winkeny thought for a while. When he wanted to give up, a nostalgic face surfaced in his memory.
“I was reminded of my mother, the one I entered the Cult together with.”
The Overseer of Paradise smiled.
“I see now. Family ties are important.”
The Overseer of Paradise tore a portion of the newspaper and drew a map there. He then showed it to Winkeny.
“To reward your loyalty, I’ll allow you to meet her. Your mother should be following Cigal right now.”
After receiving the map, Winkeny headed for Toatt Mining Town in Ismo Republic. His mother was supposedly there.
He was now reminded of her. Winkeny was surprised of the changes to his own mind. He made such an effort to understand Mokkania but couldn’t even understand himself.
He hadn’t met his mother in more than ten years. He thought he forgot everything, but now that he was allowed to meet her, it all felt incredibly nostalgic.
“Mokkania will never enjoy these feelings again.”
Winkeny murmured. No matter how much Mokkania wants to, he couldn’t ever meet his mother again. He felt a bit of pity for him.
His mother stayed at an inn in Toatt Mining Town. She was working undercover there from a while back.
After walking under the ash-clouded sky, as he set foot inside the dirty inn, Winkeny muttered in a low voice.
It was strange. He called this home despite being far away from his house. However, no matter the location, as long as he had some family there, it would become his home.
“…Oh, a customer.”
“Really, are you going to lodge here? Are you by yourself?”
His mother spoke as the innkeeper. When Winkeny used the Indulging God Cult’s watchword, she led him to his room. She was terribly aged. She looked like more than twenty years have passed.
Several pictures were spread on the table inside the room. Winkeny took them to his hand. He saw Meat-looking people there.
“What is this?”
“These are the photos of Bombs who will soon come here. I had to memorize their faces and names… It’s already been a year.”
Their names were written on the backside. His mother seemed to be recalling their names as she looked at the photos.
“Umm, that’s Milly. She’s useless so I put her in the abandoned house. This is Relia. This is Hyoue… no no, it’s actually Colio.”
Saying so, Winkeny’s mother flipped through the photos. She didn’t seem to care about him at all.
Winkeny was troubled. He wanted to talk to her not as fellow Cult members, but as mother and child. He should start by talking to her then. Should he start with “how are you”? Or perhaps “how nostalgic”? He considered his opening words.
But, before Winkeny got to say something, his mother talked to him.
“By the way, what are you doing here? You probably have some orders from the Indulging God Cult, right?”
She said. Winkeny was a bit surprised. Doesn’t she realize he’s her son?
“…Umm, it’s me, Winkeny.”
“So, what are you here for, Winkeny-san?”
“It’s me, Winkeny!”
His mother placed her hand on her check as if trying to recall something. Winkeny almost burst out laughing.
If her memories were erased by the water of Argax, there was still salvation.
She didn’t look like she could remember. She truly forgot it all. She forgot everything about her one and only child, Winkeny. Even his face and name. No, she forgot his very existence.
Winkeny turned his back to her.
“…Uh, where are you going? What do you need?”
Staying silent, Winkeny left the inn.
He walked around the mining town alone. Laughter welled up inside him and leaked out. And he couldn’t stop. He laughed so much tears came out. He couldn’t stop crying. Even after he stopped laughing, his tears still wouldn’t stop for some reason.
Ah, I see. He felt like he finally understood.
This is what it means to lose your mother.
so much tears came out. He couldn’t stop crying. Even after he stopped laughing, his tears still wouldn’t stop for some reason.
Ah, I see. He felt like he finally understood.
This is what it means to lose your mother.