The first to know of the sealed city’s (Ostia) revival was neither men, mice nor cockroaches, but the crows with dark colored wings.

At dusk, as the sun was setting over the western lake, the first one cawed in a corner of the garbage dump. The one next to it agreed, and the cawing quickly became the will of the flock to fly up, a handful of black clouds floating in the red sky.

The setting sun shone down on the clouds from below, casting a shadow that stretched out into space. The bird somehow managed to carry its body that had fed too much into the air current, and looked down at the town below. Lights began to flash in the town below them, along with smoke that contained moisture.

Kaw, this is a good place. The bird seemingly cried out to the eastern night.

Kaw, they all agreed.

Until recently, this area had been nothing but a glistening lake and a cluster of abandoned ruins with long shadows. Recently however, it had become an attractive dump, crawling with people who are worth teasing. It was a pity, but even with humans gathering, there might not be sufficient food scraps produced. This place hardly produced fresh garbage, and seemed to only have a few interesting people. In this respect, the people here were very good. They were noisy, energetic, and carefree, and furthermore, produced heaps of garbage. If impossible, they wished to remain with these humans tomorrow, the day after, and beyond.

With that thought in mind, the crows were approaching the eastern hill.

Gaw!!

It was a a warning signal. Their wings and beaks were immediately ruffled and they screamed at each other like an echo. The chief raised its voice as though it was attacked by a beast on the ground. It straightened its back, took the lead, and looked down. The threat was at the top of the hill.

It looked similar to the garbage dump that the crows loved. At the top of the hill, in a large area where a school used to be, all kinds of waste materials were piled up to imitate some building. It was a building filled with trash, and there was nothing normal within, all made up of a complicated combination of broken things.

That garbage dump was on the rampage.

“Gachigachigachigachigachi.”

This deformed looking court resembled a nightmare that had been cut out and pasted onto its body, , and yet seemingly had life as it shook in rage. The tiles attached to the parapets screamed, and the outer walls wriggled like bellows. Each duct clacked and snapped its fangs.

The crows circled the hilltop, cawing warily. They cast their gaze deep into the building, trying to gather as much information as they could before sunset.

The creature was like an old wreck, its chest gaping open, exposing the heart of the central hall for all to see.

There, the raven found a jewel.

The jewel was in the shape of a girl, standing in the middle of the dump, staring straight at those who were defiling her. She wore no gravekeeper’s clothes, no shovel, not even a dream. She was just looking ahead, possessing only her life.

Right when the crows exchanged looks with her, the jewel took a deep breath and said.

“Waaaahhhh!”

She suddenly shouted.

It was like the helpless howl of a young wolf on a moonlit night, or the trembling cry of a crow on its maiden flight.

Kaw, the chief responded once to the young beast. The murder of crows were similarly affected and started. They were thoroughly motivated, as though they would scream forever if I could.

But the chief quickly regained its composure and led the herd into the mountains in an arc. It silenced the crows that were having a good time, without question. Night was almost upon them.

The chief looked behind it one last time. There, two young beasts were running out as if they were dancing.

Hopefully, the crows could be with them tomorrow, and the day after.

 

+

 

Destruction and chaos. Blows and sword fights. Flames and light lights.

The trial was a mess.

The air was filled with dust, and the deformed  furniture rattled as they got up to attack the people. Bendo and the other old politicians, with their empty fists, showed surprising strength and defeated the monsters, while Dee, with her head in her hands, hid under her desk.

Amidst it all, Ai and Alice were the only two people left standing at their spot in the room.

Looking up at the sky, Alice let out a big sigh and said,

“Now Ostia and Coven are at war…”

At this very moment, the two sides were in a hostile state.

The battle had already begun.

“…I guess lots of people will die…”

Alice said with narrowed eyes.

“…Do you regret it?

Ai glanced up at him.

“A little.”

Alice answered, not hiding his feeleings. His smile was honest and childlike, exactly the same as when she first met him.

“But I’ll live. That’s what I decided.”

Nn—Ai lowered her head and answered so. Just moments ago, she begged for him to live, and at this moment, she was a little embarrassed to remember..

“You say that, but what about you? Do you have any regrets?”

This time, Ai was asked.

“I do, A little.”

“……”

“I betrayed my dreams…and I affirmed it. Even now, I feel like my body is being torn apart. But I learned that…I can’t betray myself.”

Ai gently lowered her eyes and placed her hand on her chest, where it pounded greedily.

“So, for now, I’ll just go on with it.”

It did not mean she had cleared her doubts, nor that she resolved herself.

It was simply that she I still had a reason.

“I see…”

It seemed Alice too was lost. However, he still made a decision and reached his hands out to Ai.

There was an iron chain holding the accused captive.

“Take these off, please. ”

“Yes…doneIshita.”

Using the lever principle and her overwhelming arm strength, Ai removed the chain.

Alice rotated his shoulders a couple of times or so to loosen the stiffness.

“Come on, Ai, let’s do this, together.”

He smiled.

“Yes.”

Ai replied.

“Let’s go, Mr. Alice.”

Then Ai suddenly shouted.

“Wooaahhh!”

A beat later, Alice laughed.

“Woooooooooohhhhhh!”

And so they returned to the world.

The reality in front of them was rowdy like a festival.

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