|Author: Eltria||Original Source: Syosetu|
|Translator: Tunandir||English Source: Re:Library|
My body drifted in warm water. Gently, the slow currents rocked me back and forth, forming a natural cradle and lulling me into the most comfortable sleep I had ever experienced. Although I couldn’t see, I felt as though I was enveloped in a faint darkness.
“I wish I could sleep like this forever…”
A sense of comfort had filled me, making me yearn for eternal rest. The loneliness that had once tormented me was nowhere to be found. If this was the afterlife, then death didn’t seem so bad at all.
Just as these thoughts crossed my mind, a sudden, intense change shook my world. The water quivered, and the space encasing my body rapidly contracted.
The warm water retreated, replaced by a crushing sense of oppression. No matter how hard I struggled, my limbs refused to move. Though I could move my mouth, only muffled, dull sounds emerged. Agony overwhelmed me.
(Someone, help me…)
I had screamed for help, but no sound broke free.
Darkness closed in. My head felt constricted, and my body screamed in pain, as if being crushed. Just when I thought I saw a glimmer of light, someone seized me and lifted me into the air.
“Whaaa—, Whaa—, Whaa—…” A feeble cry erupted, sounding almost like the wails of a newborn.
I coughed and attempted to exert my voice, but it remained pitifully weak. My eyes opened to an intense light flooding my vision, revealing two towering figures—a man and a woman.
“Congratulations. It’s a lovely daughter,” the person holding me announced, presenting me to the woman.
(A girl? Me…?)
The Black Stone Disease started with black spots dotting your body, particularly your limbs—most noticeably on your dominant hand. As days went by, these dark, mole-like blemishes proliferated, eventually engulfing your entire skin in black.
The diseased black spots had not only spread all over my skin but had also taken root on my bones, infiltrating my body and causing my cells to die. As a result, the blackened skin hardened like stone and gradually consumed me from within. The fatality rate was an absolute 100%. The disease had already claimed more than half of my body and had even affected organs that couldn’t be “replaced.”
The research for a cure, initiated as soon as I had noticed the first symptoms, had been abandoned. The technology to bring my alchemic theories to fruition simply didn’t exist. Even the suppressant drug I had been taking in desperation had lost all effect.
With a left hand as heavy as lead, I brought a pill to my mouth and then reached for the pitcher on the table. But my thoughts failed to command the steel prosthetic arm, and with a resounding ‘Bang!’, it toppled onto the table.
“…This is as far as I go, huh…”
I had long since amputated my right hand, which had turned black, and replaced it with a prosthetic arm. But the disease had already reached my nerves. Irritated, I crunched the pill between my teeth and swallowed it, struggling to suppress my wheezing.
(This chapter is provided to you by Re:Library)
(Please visit Re:Library to show the translators your appreciation!)
I lay on the table, breathing heavily. No matter how deeply I inhaled, the suffocating sensation persisted. The disease’s advance toward my lungs signaled that a slow death was imminent.
“Will I… really die?”
—I hadn’t even unraveled the Truth of the World yet.
Despite my reputation as a rare, gifted alchemist, the futility of my failure to cure the black stone disease weighed on me. Frustrated by the unattainable cure that existed only in theory, I felt the limits of my body closing in.
I didn’t have much time left. If I couldn’t secure a new body, death was inevitable. As the only part of me still capable of movement, my eyes drifted toward the bookshelf. Behind a hidden door rested a Homunculus I had perfected using my own blood and genetic information. It resembled my younger self from twenty years ago.
“I’m at my limit. I must… I must ‘replace’ my body…”
I wanted to voice my resolve, but only inarticulate groans emerged. Even those vague sounds elicited a response.
“Glass Dimelia, what you’re about to do is taboo,” a cold voice replied calmly. My eyes, the only things I could still move freely, turned to find a young man with black hair standing in the corner of the room.
When had he entered? I hadn’t noticed him at all.
My eyes widened, but my words were stifled by an indescribable pressure. Although the man was smiling, his expression was anything but. Dressed in somber black and blue, he looked like he had just come from a funeral. His presence oozed an aura of death.
“You have trespassed on a forbidden domain,” he said, still smiling, as he slowly walked closer to me.
I had finally realized the source of my discomfort, and simultaneously, alarm bells had begun ringing in my head. I needed to get away, but escape was futile. The exit was situated behind that ominous man, and given my incapacitation from the black stone disease, surprising him and running away was impossible.
“I’m sorry to say, but I must execute you,” he had declared.
As he gently lifted his lips into an elegant smile, the man pronounced my execution with chilling finality.