Part II: My Purpose
We both held back on what we’d went through. It was understandable seeing as we’d only just met a short while ago. She did seem to calm down a little as we talked, though, so I guess that was something. However, I still had a feeling that she was going to keep being a slob no matter what I did. I’d have no choice but to deal with it. It was still uncomfortable to have someone that close to me for an extended period of time. Especially someone who irked me as much as she did.
I didn’t get very much sleep that night. I didn’t require that much of it, but it was still something I enjoyed to a certain extent. Seeing how much they would tire me out, one would think I’d welcome any sort of break. In reality, I couldn’t simply decide otherwise. It was like serving them was hard wired deep into my being. I did often want to be “normal” in a sense, but that sort of existence would lead to some sort of monotony which I didn’t think I could deal with. Even now, the few things I felt were pushed out of my consciousness and were replaced with the feeling to serve. Anytime I’d grow upset over this, that would be pushed out too.
Now that I think about it, this sort of existence was growing dull too. I remember I was able to fight it before by forming bonds with others that would hold this cursed instinct off for long enough for me to regain myself. I wondered if I could do so again. They wouldn’t be happy if I were to go against their orders, or find that I was gaining a personality. I vaguely remembered it being wiped in the facility where I was before. Despite the risk, I thought it was worth it to at least try and then feign ignorance if I got caught.
On the third day of me being here, I went about my schedule with little enthusiasm. I remember the day before where the other had some sort of get together during the afternoon. That hadn’t interest me that much and I wondered if I should spend the rest of the day at the facility or to study here. I tried the latter and it only got an awkward conversation with my roommate.
Today, though, I wanted things to go a little better. I still had my responsibilities to uphold, so I figured I should go about them first. They required me to be at the facility rather early in the morning. Unfortunately, this time I found I couldn’t get very far outside. The cold was a bane to almost anyone with black blood, I heard, or at least ones with the pure material. I’d observed both Yougen and Rowan being unaffected. Lucky them.
I’d retreated back inside before I collapsed. My own fatigue from fighting the shock was wearing me down and after I was now safe. I sure hoped that they wouldn’t be upset if I were late. I decided I would give myself a few more hours before trying to go out again. I then realized it would be too late to go and got a little frustrated. Of course, this didn’t last long. I was filled with embarrassment when I noticed someone looking at me.
“Are you okay? Is it really cold out, or something?” Yougen said, obviously nervous.
“No…Yes…I don’t know.” I remembered I wasn’t exactly talented with holding conversations with others.
“I have a warm jacket if you want to borrow it. There’s down lined inside of it.”
Her offer seemed tempting, but I barely knew her. I was curious to how she’d obtained the black blood, though. Among other things, that is.
“It’s nice and warm. I’ll go get it…” She turned around to go back where she came.
“I’ll come with you. It’s clear I can’t be outside in that climate otherwise.”
She gave a shy smile before going over to her assigned room. I took in the few details of it and noticed that she’d kept things in an orderly fashion. I didn’t realize that I’d said this out loud, but she didn’t see it as awkward as I thought she would. We spoke of our room mates and I mentioned that mine was certainly not the most organized person ever. Yougen was lucky to get someone who wasn’t as careless.
“Anyway, you can borrow this as long as you want to.” She held out the jacket.
Again, I was unsure.
“Come on, I don’t want you to freeze out there.”
“Alright, fine.” I gave in to her pressure and carefully put the jacket on.
“Looks nice on you.” She smiled brightly.
“R-Right. I really have to get going, though. I’ll answer your questions later. Thank you, Yougen.” I gave her a casual nod before going back outside.
Like I expected, my superiors were not happy with my tardiness. They subjected me to more training instead of my usual guard duties. I wasn’t sure if it was a punishment or not, but I appreciated any opportunity to better myself. I was informed that I didn’t have much time before I to attended the classes. In a way, I was relieved to know that I’d be in a less strict environment soon enough.
Despite my best efforts, I kept getting distracted and they’d sent me off early because of my negligence. Yougen’s carefree smile was seemingly stuck in my mind. It was like the girl hadn’t a care in the world. I didn’t know those like myself could experience such a thing. That is, other than…no, I couldn’t think about that one. The “failed” experiment that’d come after me. They said it perished, but I didn’t believe their words one bit. I did recall that they mentioned that the subject had a yearning for freedom which made a chill go through me every time I thought of why it had perished to begin with.
The classes in the morning were a little demanding, especially on top of what I’d already done today. There were others doing worse than I was. I wasn’t sure what to do when one of the students looked as though they were about to collapse. My roommate, on the other hand, seemed eager to take part in the class. Such enthusiasm I hadn’t seen from her in any other class up until now.
After this, we got some experience with dealing with a rather skilled opponent. He simply went by the name Rook, but his techniques were anything but simple. He knew his way around with dealing with parahumans. I didn’t really want to get into a confrontation with him especially after seeing what he was capable of, but my turn came eventually and I had no choice but to submit. I was not ordered to harm another human without a good reason. I doubted the Rook would actually try to kill me, especially after I’d claimed to be defeated.
A few more students were introduced throughout the day. I was to go back and work for my superiors once the classes ended even though I sort of wanted to get to know the others a little better during that time. I did what they wanted in dismay. They knew I wasn’t really happy with my current situation, but chose not to bring it up. They also knew they could only push me so hard before I grew…troublesome. When that happened, something else would take over and instinct would dictate my actions. My memories of that occurrence were very faint.
I got back a little late and I was eager to relax a little. I chose to study for a bit in my assigned room. To my luck, my room mate wasn’t there, so I could go about this in peace. I only got a few minutes in before I was disturbed again by a knock at the door.
“Hey, are you awake?” Yougen’s voice could barely be heard.
I went over and opened the door to see her there. She’d clearly been sleeping before as she was in the proper attire while looking quite drowsy.
“I just got back.”
“So I heard.”
“You weren’t waiting, were you?”
“Maybe. You took your time getting back here.”
“Sorry, I didn’t know.” I looked away awkwardly.
“Do you have time to talk now?”
“I could spare a few minutes.”
“Cool. Do you want me to come in?” She fidgeted with something she held in her hands.
“Sure. My roommate is out somewhere it seems.” I stepped aside so she could get past me.
“That’s a little odd.”
“I’m sure she hasn’t gotten far. Anyway, what did you want to talk about?” I went over and sat in the chair beside the desk.
“Where to begin?” Yougen looked flustered.
“You want to know more about the black blood, right?”
“Y-Yes. Since I was exposed to the material.”
“Exposed how?” I struggled to understand what she was saying.
“Long story short, I injected myself with it. Not the smartest thing I’ve ever done.”
“Why would you chose to do this to yourself!?”
“I got curious. It’s also how I ended up here, of all places.”
“Tsk…” I looked away.
“Is it really that bad?”
“You cannot tell anyone about this, they could-”
“They already know. It’s why I’m here.”
“Then why…?” I stopped to regain my composure.
“They…make you serve them, don’t they? They said I wasn’t capable of…service because of my condition…” Her voice was quiet and she chose her words carefully.
“I had to serve them where I was before. I could only be honest once I showed up here. Otherwise, I’m certain I’d be lost.”
“Well, that’s bullshit if you ask me.” She shrugged.
“How do you mean?”
“Shouldn’t you decide if you want to serve them?”
“They say our power needs to be controlled.”
“I don’t care what they say. What matters is what we want in the end. They don’t control us. You deserve a better life. Not just wall to wall stress and work. I’m sure they know that, too. Even happens in humans. Push too hard and they’ll push back. They’re a lot like us. I found that out the hard way…”
“Hm…” I pondered her words, but they failed to stick in my mind.
“You’re blocking it out, aren’t you?”
“I…I can’t be thinking about this.”
“Why not shut them out for once?”
“That’s absurd.” I stood up and turned away.
“I’m serious. Maybe that way, you’ll know what you want.”
“I…don’t think so.”
“Don’t think, just do.” She came in close and hugged me close.
Everything inside told me to panic and push her away. They said I shouldn’t let others get close to me. I didn’t want to lash out and hurt someone. I had the feeling that I’d done so before. They didn’t tell me anything else about this, though.
I was still rather tense as I pushed her away gently. She looked disappointed and a little defeated. I was able to realize something while she’d done that though. I still wanted to protect people, but I wanted it to be my own choice. My goal now was to not be used as a tool by my superiors. Maybe by suppressing that, I’d be able to find out more about who I am.