"2323..." Dante repeated absentmindedly. He couldn't accept what he'd just heard. [300 years into the future? That's impossible. How?]
The idea of time travel was farfetched and to the best of his knowledge, it was just a theory in the current world. Maybe it would be possible by traveling through a black hole, but who would be willing to try that? Besides, you would be dead long before you even had the chance to get near one. The closest one to Earth was about 27,000 light-years away. Over the years, mankind has done wonders through science, going as far as cloning organs from stem cells. But time travel? Maybe we could grasp a method in the future, but today, it was impossible.
"Aah..." Dante began massaging his temples. He started having a headache [What's going on? None of this makes any sense.]
Dante got up from his seat and started pacing back and forth in the room. Leah continued to watch him silently while looking pensive.
After thinking things over, an idea suddenly came to Leah which seemed to be the only explanation to Dante's 'memory loss'. "Did you, at any point come in contact with the black water surrounding the island?" Leah asked.
"The black water? Yeah, when I came to I was crawling out of it. Why?" Dante questioned.
"That explains it," Leah said. A look of understanding now dawned on her face. "You must've been affected by the toxin. You're lucky to be alive. You should thank the Ancestors for keeping you safe." Leah concluded while folding her arms. [No wonder everything he says is so strange, he's been affected by the toxin, however, it doesn't seem that bad and he actually remembers Dr. Lambert. He might still prove to be useful. There's just one thing left to verify.]
Dante raised an eyebrow after listening to Leah. He looked even more confused, his headache had suddenly gotten worse. "What are you talking about?" he asked.
"Don't stress yourself over it," Leah waved as she sat back onto the stone bed. Seeing Dante ruminate through his memories made her sympathize with him.
"A bit of amnesia is normal after coming in contact with the toxin from the black water, but don't worry. your memories will gradually return over time. The elders say that if you stay in the black water long enough, you will get paralyzed, then it will slowly melt the skin and flesh off your bones. If you manage to survive, you're likely to have amnesia or hallucinations from the toxins that invaded your body. You should count yourself lucky. Most persons who are affected by the toxin forget who they are, others may even forget how to speak." Leah said while folding her legs as she rested against the wall. She didn't need to say all this to Dante, but she felt that for someone who managed to survive outside with no armor or weapons, gets affected by the toxin and still remain alive was a sign that they were either strong or were being protected by the blessings of the Ancestors.
[The more she speaks, the more questions I have. What the hell is going on here?! I need more information, for now, I'll just observe and play along.] Dante thought to himself.
"Oh, one more thing," Leah added, then spoke solemnly. "Don't ever tell anyone you're from the mainland. Us descendants of Maha Raja don't follow the teachings of Eve, however, others who do may take it offensively. They consider the mainland a sacred place. Be sure to remember that."
"You're a descendant of... Maha Raja? Dante asked after taking a seat.
"Can't you tell?" Leah said while pointing to her hair. "Our people have white hair and blue eyes. It's a rather distinct trait that sets us apart from the other clans. Wait, you're not a Raja hater are you?" Leah asked while feigning a frantic look.
"No, not unless you try to kill me," Dante replied honestly. He was usually an easy person to get along with, but once someone pissed him off, or worse tried to cause him harm he wouldn't let them off.
"Okay, then we're good," Leah said with a slight smile but it only lasted for an instant.
After speaking Leah took a good look at what Dante was wearing and felt her face grow hot all of a sudden. [What the hell is he wearing?!] She thought to herself and quickly averted her eyes. Her face was hot with embarrassment.
Earlier when they met she was furious and thought Dante was trying to take advantage of her. She didn't think much of it at that time. Later, Micah appeared and after he was rendered unconscious, the two were fleeing from the guards. They were running through the dark for half a day. It wasn't until just now that she realized that whatever it was that Dante was wearing was really strange and too revealing! If it wasn't for the faint outlines of his attire, she would believe without a doubt that he was naked.
"Pervert, put these on," Leah said as she tossed him a leather bag that was laying on the ground beside the bed. "Your attire is too strange. You'll stand out too much when we go outside"
Dante caught the bag but didn't say anything in response. He had a disbelieving expression on his face. [This girl... she still thinks that I was trying to take advantage of her back then?]
"Didn't you say that what happened earlier was in the past? Why are you still calling me a pervert? My name is Dante, get it right" Dante said quite unhappy.
"I call you a pervert because that's what you are," Leah said as a matter of fact while pulling her legs closer to her chest.
[This girl...] Dante was left speechless. He couldn't understand how Leah could have such a drastic change in personality. Earlier, she wanted to kill him and was ready to rip him apart, and now she is acting innocent and fragile. It's as if she was toying with him.
After blankly staring at Leah for a moment, Dante shook his head and open the leather bag. Inside, were some blue and white tribal clothes that looked similar to what Leah was wearing along with a white mask. A question came to Dante’s mind but he decided against saying it out loud. She would probably call him a pervert again.
From the leather bag, Dante removed only the white mask and returned the bag. "This is all I need," Dante said which stupefied Leah.
A frown appeared on Leah's face and she turned to look at Dante's outstretched arm which held the leather bag.
"Whatever it is that you're wearing makes you stand out too much. Micah saw your face earlier and he knows what you look like. The guards probably already ran a neuro-scan on him and should also know what you look like, including your face. You need to blend in and wear that mask to hide your identity while we're outside." Leah said while sounding cold and detached.
"I know, but as I said before. This is all I need. Besides, I'm not gonna wear your clothes." Dante tossed the leather bag on the bed and took a few steps back. Immediately after, he raised his right hand to his heart then spoke, "Adjust!
Dante's Exo-suit started to writhe and then shockingly changed its appearance to look similar to what Leah was wearing. And not only that, even the color of his eyes and hair changed to blue and white respectively. Dante decided to adjust his appearance to look similar to someone who would be from the Maha Raja clan.
The moment Leah saw Dante's appearance change, her eyes became round like full moons and shot to her feet.
A blue light flashed and a short sword suddenly appeared in Leah’s hand out of thin air. Leah moved like a ghost and quickly arrived in front of Dante, the tip of her short sword aiming at his heart.
“Whoa!” Dante haphazardly dodged the attack and frantically retreated to the opposite side of the room. Cold sweat dripping down his back. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?!” Dante shouted after putting enough distance between them. [What the hell is wrong with this girl?! She just attacked me out of the blue, and where the hell did that short sword come from?!]
The temperature inside the room abruptly dropped the moment the short sword appeared. The two stood opposite to each other and were vigilantly staring at one another.
Leah held her short sword at the ready while crouching slightly. [Damn it, I missed.]
Dante’s heart grew cold as he looked at her. He glanced at the short sword in Leah’s hand and his heart grew even colder. The short sword was pulsating with a cold blue light that seemed as if it could instantly freeze anything it touched.
Dante looked into Leah’s eyes and noticed they were filled with fear and caution. [Maybe I startled her just now] Dante thought to himself.
Dante slowly raised his hand then spoke: “Leah, I didn’t mean to scare you just now. I was just changing the appearance of my Exo-suit to blend in like you said.”
“Lies! You’re a fiend! I was wondering why the guards were pursuing us so intensely. It was as if they were hunting their most hated enemy. Apparently, they were hunting a fiend.” Leah said while narrowing her eyes.
“A fiend?” Dante repeated, confused yet again. “Whatever that is, I’m not one of them. I’m a normal human being, just like you”.
“Lies! I won’t fall for your tricks fiend” Leah said, not convinced at all.
What Dante did just now, was something she heard the elders of the clan speak of in stories. Fiends were terrifying creatures that could take on human appearances. Everything about them was the same as humans after changing their appearance save for the color of their blood.
“How can I prove it to you then that I am human?” Dante asked. It seemed to him that this was just a misunderstanding. It may have been the first time she had seen an exo-suit. He didn’t want to fight her because of a misunderstanding.
After a moment of silence, Leah replied. “Fine, then let me see your blood”
“What?” A deep frown appeared on Dante’s forehead.
“The blood of a fiend is purple,” Leah explained, “Let me see your blood then I’ll be sure”. Leah kept her ground and continued to stare at Dante to see what he would do. Fiends who want to keep their identity a secret would kill anyone who they suspect realize what they truly are. They would never consider revealing something about them that would expose their true identity.
Dante looked pensive for a moment but then nodded. “Fine”. Immediately after, Dante bit the tip of his tongue and spat a bit of blood onto the floor between them. Dante's blood was extremely dark, almost black which made Leah frown. She wasn’t able to tell the difference. Dante noticed this as well and wiped the blood across the floor which made it thinner. The result, there was a tinge of red in his blood.
Upon seeing that his blood was red, Leah did the same and bit the tip of her tongue and spat a bit of blood onto the floor. Her blood was a bright red and was easily distinguishable.
“The Ancestry Test proves that you are truly one of us,” Leah said while lowering her short sword. There was a flash of blue light and the short sword disappeared from her hand. “Nice to meet you, Dante.”