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Chapter 3: Attachment to life

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Author: Eltria Original Source: Syosetu
Translator: Tunandir English Source: Re:Library
Editor(s): Silva

“Hadn’t you spent your entire life satisfying your own thirst for knowledge? You left the Society of Alchemy, and the research you continued on your own probably won’t be known by anyone.”

Could I still delay him by talking? I didn’t know, but this was the only way left.

“What do you know?”
“I don’t. So I can’t sympathize. Having chosen solitude on your own, living alone in this place separated from society, wouldn’t you know?”
“But my Research—”
“You were orphaned at birth, and the brief moment of relief after being picked up by your adoptive father, Fail Dimelia—And having learned that you were an ‘ingredient’ for his homunculus, you killed him to survive. This is the extent of the connection between alchemy and you.”

He interrupted me and nonchalantly revealed the sins of my childhood that nobody should know.

He knew everything.

“…I didn’t want to die. I did what I had to survive…”

The despair from the day my foster father I believed in told me I was a mere “ingredient” was being brought back. As I shook my head trying to expel those memories from my mind, Cassius placed his hand on my head.

“I’m not condemning you. The truth you are pursuing is merely following in the footsteps of your adoptive father.”

Perhaps because Cassius was touching me, the memories of the cruel end were being overpainted by ones when I still felt ‘happy’ with my adoptive father.

“I just… Wanted to be acknowledged…”

He told me I was gifted and rescued from a life of being a street child living side by side with death.

A house with a roof over my head, a warm bed, a hot meal—I had learned that happiness is being guaranteed food and sleep.

“Being praised by him like the old days? Even though you killed him?”

It never occurred to me that it would bring despair.

“I just… In my own way… Wanted to be useful. What’s wrong with using Alchemy for that?”
“There is nothing wrong with that. My predecessor holds gratitude towards you. Your achievements in the Great Human-Demon War deserve to be praised.”

He told me as if to comfort me. I shook my head weakly at his words.

“Without alchemy, I would not have even had that. I only have alchemy… If you call my alchemy praiseworthy, then why do you sentence me to execution? I have only alchemy—”
“And using alchemy, what is it that you seek?”
“Truth. I told you before. I’m pursuing the truth. Even now… That’s why I researched to get a new body, to continue that—”

Before I could finish, Cassius clapped his hands. The monotonous sound of clapping echoed harshly and coldly in the room.

“I see… So that’s what prompted you into action. It’s not so bad to know my crime at my final moment.”
“Let us be thankful for it.”
“Hmph, like you care.”

A cold voice that felt like it could see through me made Cassius’ lips tremble.

“Glass Dimelia. Your crime is researching Homunculi.”

The charges were too unreasonable.

“…But there are other researchers too?”

“Their level of completion differs. The theories you have completed have already stepped into the domain of gods. A homunculus that serves as a vessel for the soul—An existence like that will bring about disaster to the world.”

Cassius continued without even moving an eyebrow at my objection. With this, it had become clear that my research had reached a level of completion not everyone could reach. And now that had backfired, and I had been sentenced to death.

“…Then, what if I destroy all my research into homunculi?”
“You have a point. If you destroy it all, I might reconsider.”
“…I understand.”

This might be my only way to survive.

I started burning my research papers one by one in the fireplace.

While I took my time slowly burning everything, Cassius silently leaned against the door with his eyes closed. I had no idea what he was thinking, but I simply kept burning it.

As long as I could protect the completed homunculus, then I would be able to survive.

The fire from the fireplace wasn’t enough, so using a simplified magic circle, I called upon fire to increase the heat. Using another magic circle, I generated wind magic to blow away the ashes through the chimney.

I burned everything. Even research that had nothing to do with homunculi.

“…Was that everything?”
When all the shelves were empty, Cassius opened his eyes.

“…That’s right.”
I told a lie. One completed specimen was left in a secret room behind the wall.

He nodded and turned his back to me.

—It was finally over.

As long as the specimen remained, my goals were within reach.

“How regretful, Glass Dimelia.”

But as he uttered those words in a low voice, he spun around, drawing the bronze serpent Nehushtan in a swift motion.


In the next instant, the wall behind me exploded outward, revealing a homunculus suspended within a colossal glass container.

“Did you truly believe such paltry deceptions could fool a divine?”

His gaze pinned me with a chilling coldness. My hand fumbled for the magic scroll hidden in my sleeve, but it was too late. A sharp wind sliced through the air, and my arm tumbled to the floor.

“Ah…Ah…” Blood poured from the stump of my shoulder, and agony engulfed me. “AAAAAAH!”

I crashed to the ground, howling. The floor, slick as though wet with water, quickly stained with my blood. Thrashing about, I realized something was pressing against me. A severed head, bearing the visage of a younger me, lay before my eyes.


It didn’t take long to realize it was the homunculus, decapitated along with the container.

“With this, all has been eradicated.” Cassius’s smile was grim, his satisfaction clear in the face of such despair.

“Ah, there remains one last thing. But no matter.” He murmured to himself, then grasped the hilt of Nehushtan.

“Regarding your earlier offer—” He spoke, crouching beside me. “If you vow to forsake homunculi research forever, I might reconsider.”

“…Without an arm, do you think I could continue?”

The blood loss made it hard to focus.

“I can heal your wound.” His tone was casual. The sound of Nehushtan sheathing followed.

Nehushtan possessed dual powers: ‘Severing’ and ‘Joining’. Severed objects could be ‘joined’ by Nehushtan’s wielder upon touch. Cassius was undoubtedly cognizant of this.

But of what use was it now?

“…it’s futile if you cannot cure the black stone disease.”
“That is not within my power but is instead part of your destiny. Accept it.”
“What’s the purpose of extending my suffering?”

All my research existed only in my mind now. My tools, my workspace, everything had been shredded.

“That is for you to ponder.”
“The only thing I have left is despair…”

Without my homunculus, hope was extinguished.

“As long as you live, hope persists.”
“My last hope has just been eradicated by you…—”

It was cruel, this mock consolation from the man who had stripped everything from me.

But before anger could rise, my consciousness began to fade.

“If you wish to carry on, I will halt the bleeding.”
“No thanks. It’s enough… I’m weary.”

My sight blurred, and the world turned a frosty white. The cold was biting.

“There is no light in the life that remains for me. A world devoid of hope holds no allure.”

I was transported back to those harsh winter days of my earliest memories. Though I had survived thirty-seven years beyond that, it seemed I couldn’t escape the claws of death’s despair after all.

“…End it.”
“Very well. Your execution will proceed.”

His voice was the last I registered.

Perhaps in his final act of mercy, I felt no pain.


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