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Chapter 1: Life and Death

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I felt my body drifting in warm water.

Floating gently, the swaying water was like a natural cradle.

It was a comfortable sleep, unlike anything I had ever experienced before.

I couldn’t see, but I sensed the surroundings enveloped in a faint darkness.

――I want to sleep like this forever…

There was a strange sense of security that made me feel that way.

The loneliness that had tormented me so much was no longer here.

If this is the world after death, then death isn’t so bad.

Just as I had that thought, I was assaulted by a violent change. The water started to ripple, and the space that had been enveloping my body began to narrow rapidly.

The warm water reduced in volume, and a sense of pressure engulfed my body.

I tried to struggle, but I couldn’t move my limbs well.

I moved my mouth, but only managed to produce a murky sound as something overflowed.

It was unbearably painful.

(Someone, help me…)

I tried to scream for help, but no voice came out.

The darkness closed in, and my head felt like it was being squeezed.

My entire body screamed in pain, feeling as if it was about to be crushed.

Just when I thought I saw a light, I was grabbed by something, and my body floated in the air.

“Aaaa- aa- aa…”

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What a pathetic voice.

It sounded just like the cry of a newborn baby.

Despite coughing and mustering all the strength I could to make a sound, it remained unchanged.

As I faintly opened my eyes against the intense light, I noticed giants looking at me.

A man and a woman, two giants…

“Congratulations. It’s a lovely girl.”

The being who held me said that as they handed me over to the woman.

(A girl? Me…?)

There is a disease called Kuroishi disease.

The initial symptom is black spots appearing on the body. These spots, resembling moles, increase day by day, especially on the dominant hand, gradually spreading until they completely blacken the skin.

The black spots, which are the focal points of the disease, not only spread on the surface of the skin but also extend deep into the bones, destroying cells. As a result, the blackened skin hardens like stone, slowly eroding the body and spreading throughout.

The mortality rate is one hundred percent.

A large part of my body has already been affected by the progression of Kuroishi disease, and it has reached organs that cannot be “exchanged.”

“…ha… haa…”

Research on a treatment begun immediately after noticing the symptoms was abandoned as I couldn’t acquire the technology to realize my alchemy theory. The suppressants I take in desperation hardly play their role anymore.

With my left hand, which has become as heavy as lead, I put a tablet in my mouth and reach out for the pitcher on the table. However, my will doesn’t reach my steel prosthetic hand, and it falls on the table with a heavy sound.

“…Is this the end…”

I had cut off my right arm, which had turned black a long time ago, and attached a prosthetic limb, but it seems the blackening has progressed to the nerves of the arm. I grind the tablet with frustration, suppressing a groan as I swallow it.

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I lay down on the table, breathing heavily. No matter how much I breathe, the suffocation doesn’t alleviate. The progression of the blackening to the lungs signifies a slow impending death.

“Am I… going to die…?”

—Even though I haven’t unraveled the truths of this world.

Despite being called a genius alchemist of an unmatched generation, the feeling of powerlessness, unable to even treat Kuroishi disease, heavily envelops me. I groan in frustration at being unable to materialize the theoretically completed cure into reality, feeling the limits of my own body.

I don’t have much time left.

Unless I acquire a new body, I will—die.

With the only freely movable gaze, I look deep into the bookshelf.

Behind a hidden door, a homunculus, based on something compatible with my genetic information, sleeps as a complete entity.

It’s a homunculus that looks about twenty years younger than me, resembling me in my youth.

“It’s the limit. I’ll… exchange… my body…”

Even though I verbalized my resolution, only a moaning sound escaped. Despite hardly forming words, there was something that responded to my uttered voice.

“Glass=Dimelia, what lies ahead is forbidden territory.”

A dignified voice calmly announced this. As I move my only freely movable gaze around, I spot a young man with black hair in a corner of the room.


When did he sneak in? I didn’t notice at all.

All I could do was widen my eyes; I couldn’t form any more words. I feel an indescribable pressure. Although the man is smiling, his expression seems far from a smile.

His black and blue-based attire is somewhat like mourning clothes. I had a premonition that he carried the image of death with him.

“You have stepped into a domain you should not have ventured into.”

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Continuing to smile, the man slowly advanced, closing the distance between us.


I felt like I knew the true nature of the discomfort. At the same time, alarm bells started ringing in my head.

I have to escape now. However, the door is behind the man. To seize an opportunity to escape past him is impossible for me now, being eroded by Kuroishi disease.

“Unfortunately, I have to execute you.”

With a graceful smile lifting the corners of his lips softly, the man declared my execution.


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