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Rated: GC · Novella · Young Adult · #2175174
A tale of two characters who have ended up in unfortunate circumstances.






To beta readers



Hello, my dear beta reader and welcome to my book! This is my first affair at writing novella, and I desperately need proofreading. So before I will get to all of the nitty details, I want to express my gratitude for your attempt to assist me. I don't know whether I will successfully publish this novella or will be left it in the dust, but either way, I still to express my heartfelt gratitude regardless if you will able to sit through it or not.

Now then, since this is an experimental fiction, there are a couple of things I need to stress out.

1) The Gift Points I will reward you will depend on how thorough or detailed your review will be, with a 100,000 - 300,000 gf depending on your review. Don't miss your chance! The reason why I decided to reward people after reading my book is because each review differs, so I want to give better rewards to those who give their honest and in-depth review.

2) After you will review my piece, write me whether you want to work further with me on it or not. I expect to make more 1-2 attempts before sending it to editor.

3) Since I'm not a native English speaker, expect grammar mistakes. A lot of them. Like, way too many. I'm still learning English and I don't yet know how to use each tense and times correctly.

4) The general story is about a shipwrecked guy and anthropomorphic lizard man discussing the facts of life on a deserted island.

5) It's a bit off topic, but I attempt to write for a "furry" community.

If you know what that is - good on you. If not, here is a brief synopsis:

The Furry Fandom grew out of the science fiction and fantasy communities as a unique group focused on anthropomorphic animals and creatures. Anthropomorphic animals are animals with human characteristics such as the familiar cartoon characters Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse or popular mascots like the Philadelphia Eagle or San Diego Chicken. It's quite a large fandom and includes a lot of things into itself, and the stories like this among them.

6) This is NOT erotica, BUT It contains some questionable content: there will be a couple of homophobic referenced and some violent moment in the story. Be warned.

7) Finally, the story is not yet complete as there still some fragments remain.



Now then with that out of the mind, here are some things I would like to see in your review (they are not necessary BUT it is recommended to include them, especially if you want to earn said GPs):

1.





Basic questions

1) Does the story engage you?

2) Is the pacing okay?

3) Are there sections that drag? Are there some of them that I better off deleting?

4) Do you like characters?

5) Is there any else you want to comment?

6) Did you enjoy the read overall?

Advanced

  1. Did you enjoy the current order the events are told or you feel that it's better to arranged a better timeline? Explain the answer if possible

  2. Do you feel that there are some elements that I better off explaining from the first person perspective?

  3. Show vs Tell: Are there any pieces where it is better to switch the narration method?

You can take your time for review. Ask questions at any time if you have any.

I wish you to have a good time.

Alex

























2.























The Human and the Beast























3.









Prologue



It all started on a seemingly casual summer day. Once upon a time in the Atlantic Ocean, a cruise ship was drifting, and everyone was slowly preparing for a long holiday. Everyone, except for a particular young man. Not that he unlike others was going on a business or work, but his mood was far from being relaxed. In fact, despite being on a holiday trip, he was very troubled by something.



His mood slightly improved when he by chance encountered and got to talk to another young man. That another passenger was going to Cuba, and he was cheerful and optimistic about his holiday trip as if worries were unknown to him. They started talking to each other and soon loosen up. The silent, quite a man said that his name was Leon, and when he asked the name of his passerby, he discovered that his name was Cooper. Despite being nice to each other, Cooper couldn't help but feel that Leon was really uneasy for some reason. When this strange youth told Cooper that by a lucky coincidence his destination was somewhat close to Cuba, it didn't take long for Cooper to invite Leon with him, if he got a chance of course.



While invitation was generous and friendly, Leon couldn't help but wonder about many things. For example: should he be a bother for a person who was barely known to him? Is he going to make a trouble for unknown people to him, even though he was going for a vacation, or... "Should I just throw away all my worries and just rest? And then return to my usual life routine?" he suddenly thought while sitting in his cabin. It wasn't clear what his original plans were, but he clearly had something else in mind for his journey. Something that was totally different.



However, he didn't have much time to make a choice...



Awoken in the middle of the night, Leon felt that something was wrong. Soon he found that the windows of the cabin were broken, and the floor was flooding with water... The young man quickly grabbed his luggage and busted out of the room right to the deck. It was clear what had happened: a storm had broken out, and it was so terrible, that it nearly destroyed the whole ship, and everyone was forced to evacuate on safe boats. Calling all his strength, Leon jumped on the last remaining safe boat, plunged himself into the water and tried to reach everyone. But... his efforts were meaningless. Everyone was too far by now, and the storm was too strong. All he could do was to wait to be swept away in the depth of the ocean...



4.











Part one: The first encounter



Chapter one: the first meeting



The next day, Leon awoke on a tropical island. Luckily, his luggage was undamaged, so the first thing he tried to do was to contact everyone with his mobile phone. But... the connection wasn't there, not mobile, nor the Internet. Troubled by his current state of affairs, as well as whether it had all turned out well for everyone who was on the ship, Leon decided to venture forth and explore where he could be now.

Very soon he noticed the barefoot footprints on the earth. It would be okay if not their size which was, while not quite equal to the size of a Bigfoot, was nevertheless, quite significant. And the nails were big, like claws.



Leon felt extremely uncomfortable, and before he knew that, he noticed heavy footsteps behind him. The youth quickly turned around and spot what he never expected to see.



The living being that Leon was facing was neither a human nor an animal. In fact, it was an anthropomorphic, intelligent hybrid of a lizard and a dragon. A reptile with human traits: he was walking on two legs, talked in English language (crude and rough but nevertheless), and, well, was acting like someone, who at least somewhat resemble human. He looked similar to creatures in science-fiction or fantasy games Leon liked to play: All green, with a massive body and a crocodile-like face but with two horns on his head. Also, he had a black mane on his head. The creature was almost naked, with barely any clothes on him, the only thing that was on him was a leather vest, or at least what looked like a leather vest. That wasn't what was Leon was supposed to think with such an unusual encounter, but for some reason, he could not let go of the fact how unsettling was to see such creature with such a low amount of clothes on it. It seems his mind just wasn't sure what to think about his situation.



Meanwhile, the creature introduced himself as Goro and claimed to be the owner of the island. Along with this he showed great hostility towards humans and was greatly dissatisfied with his new guest in particular. Leon wasn't delighted either: despite being stunned and staggered at first, he quickly expressed his own dissatisfaction back by countering Goro's indignant arguments and even threats. Leon was accusing the creature of his inability to greet visitors and louting to him in return, showing, that he wasn't afraid of him, even though Goro looked scary and was physically stronger than him. By the end of the day, they both went to different corners of the island, to be as far as possible from each other. Leon was wondering how he could end up in these absurd circumstances, and if they were actually real, or it was just a horrible dream.



Chapter two: the neighboring



The next morning, Leon was lost from the moment he woke up: he simply didn't know how to behave. To clear his thoughts, he started to write a diary where he was describing all of the events of past days. Above everything else, he also mentioned that he is a member of so-called "furry community" - a movement of anthropomorphic animal's fans, who dedicated themselves to creating any artwork or fiction on this theme. That would be okay by itself if young adventurer did not mention quite a disturbing fact about that community for an average person: one of the reasons some people are joined that particular community was the lust. Or, to be precise, the fact that some people were unable to feel it for ordinary people, whether they were asexual, or simply antisocial.



That's why it was quite unsettling, when the young adventurer admitted, that it was possible for him to have a sexual affection for his new neighbor. Leon wrote that maybe affection for such creatures who did not actually exist in real life was the reason for him to join such a community. And now, when he met such a creature, he started to worry about his sexual orientation genuinely.



Once Leon re-read his diary, he suddenly realized how stupid he was. His life might be in danger, and all he could think about was something that was completely irrelevant in his situation. It made him so furious that he even wanted to tear apart all of his writing in anger. However... suddenly the malicious idea came to his mind.



Despite being born in a wealthy and loving family, Leon couldn't help but feel frustrated that he still lived for his parent's bills. Was he guilty because of it? Or was he dissatisfied that he couldn't start living on his own? He didn't know.



However, he could only imagine how lucky he was now. Not only he could make a name for himself, but he also could be an actual discoverer of an officially new type of species in the world! This idea started to twist his mind more and more as he thought about it, and finally, he set his goal: falsely befriend his new neighbor and expose him to the world.



But... it didn't go quite as well as the youth was planning it to be going at first. Leon had just woken up in the morning and already messed up his own plans by nearly falling from a tree in attempt to gather fruits, and in last minute was saved by Goro.



Failing to do that simple task, "Human," at least how Goro began to address him, started to feel really discontent with himself as if he had been affected by a misfortune syndrome. The creature, seeing him miserable, felt like he just had to teach him a thing or two about surviving in the wild, even though he wasn't fond of him and thought of him no more than a trouble.



Luckily, Leon's luggage was suspiciously full of useful things that were meant to help in surviving in the wild, which one could not expect to find in a regular bag. With the help of useful tools, Goro started to teach the "sad sack" of human all the basic things for survival: how to make fire, where to gather food, and so on.



Half of the day later, they finally decided to talk to each other near the campfire. It started a bit awkward - Goro didn't understand Leon's slang, jokes, and speech in general while Leon was off-put by Goro's serious and standoffish attitude and total ignorance of the modern society. But eventually, they somehow manage to have a long conversation. The "human" turned out to be quite a playful interlocutor with a lot of "geeky" hobbies, starting from books and finishing with video games, from which he was drawing an endless amount of associations to his current circumstances. He was smiling a lot too, like this extravagant situation was more like an adventure for him than a trial of life and death. He even decided to make a nickname for his new neighbor - "Gorinich." He explained that it was a legendary mythical creature from where he came - a dragon with three heads.



Of course, Goro wasn't making out a lot, even though the young man was explaining the best he could to him, going as far to dive deep down into history. And he wasn't pleased to be tagged with a nickname either. But surprisingly, the creature felt like he was enjoying his company, even though he thought he wouldn't. Initially, Goro was even convinced that he should not care about this stuff at all. He actively believed that he didn't possess any human emotions to begin with. And yet, for some reason, he found himself enjoying the company he was in now. He wondered: why?



However, there were other things in their conversation which the lizard was apparently not expecting. While, as he thought, normal humans should start panicking when they saw him, Leon not only wasn't afraid of him but also dared to coldly interrogate Goro once in a while, asking not the most comfortable questions. He hadn't got much information though. What he got to know was that Goro was roughly around his age when he appeared on the island and had been living here isolated from the rest of the world somewhere around fifteen years from now. For such a big life he eventually learned how to survive appropriately, by the trial and error methods. However, he couldn't tell what he had been doing earlier.



Despite being pretty annoyed with the flurry of questions being targeted towards him, Goro somewhat tolerated them. Until he heard something entirely out of what he expected to hear:

"Do you know, that not all humans can allow themselves to live in such a beautiful place with the unlimited amount of food near them and a comfy ocean nearby -- like you?"



That question almost drove Goro nuts. "What does this puny human know about me to make judgments like this? Why should I care about human's stupid problems?"



However, for some reason, he could not bring himself to say this out loud. Leon, however, suddenly stopped his advance and suddenly fell silent. There was a somber and sad expression on his face. Now Goro was confused, why did he suddenly stop talking? Did he read Goro's thoughts on the matter?



And yet despite everything, this time they went to bed in more or less better relationship, compared to the first day.



Chapter 3: Goro's past







The third day started yet again is not the most favorable way for Leon. He thought that he was able to break the mold, but really not. Goro was yet again in his what it seemed to be a usual irritable shell, so the dialogue didn't go well anymore. Although, Leon did finally ask what was troubling him the most: whether other people were visiting his island, and, especially, if Goro had hurt anyone. It was revealed that other humans were visiting the island once in a while, apparently tourists. Obviously, Goro wasn't showing himself to anyone. At that point, lizard man was so tired of these questions that he mentioned that he might definitely make an unlucky exception for him exclusively when it comes in "punching humans" if he continued "stupid questions", so the young man was forced to shut up for a while.

While Leon was pretty annoyed yet forced to comply with all this, he did get permission to explore the island. Before he started doing it though, he couldn't but feel like Goro's annoyed yet somewhat fatherly scolding was... a bit unnatural. It was like he was sad and somber even. However, the more young adventurer thought about it, the more he started to think that he was merely overthinking things. After all, it was a new type of species, and its behavior might be different from normal humans. He decided not to overbear his head by an amount of thinking that it already was, and decided to finally inspect the place he was in now.



...For a human the island was "such a beautiful place" indeed, even more than he had imagined at first: It was not only comfortable and pretty big but also had ponds with fishes, a hot spring, and overall it was a beautiful place with others landmarks and showplaces. "Why has nobody built a resort with hotels here?" Leon could not stop thinking. Especially he was mesmerized by a huge rocky mountain surrounded by lianas and vines. Goro explained that there was a cave somewhere on it, where he usually climbed at times when storms burst out to not get wet. It was a bit strange to go that far just to get a cover from the rain, but since Leon knew he was familiar with wild environment mainly through unreliable sources, he didn't complain.



What he did secretly complain about, however, was that, despite his wish to get close to a strange creature, for some reason, the lizard man was in a foul mood and wasn't up for it. Leon noticed that Goro looked like he was genuinely tired of life.



To make matters worse, Leon's phone still wasn't connected to the net, so it was unclear how the hell he should escape the island in the first place. Of course, he could wait for tourists to arrive or for a rescue team to find him, but he didn't want to make his relatives worry for him. Unfortunately, that was where the situation was going to. And the worst part was, that Leon was concerned whether the rescue team had saved everyone else from the ship. When he was jumping from the boat, he couldn't meet anyone, and he saw dozens of safe boats from afar, and also could hear helicopters. But if anyone else had overslept the alarm, he felt that he would never forgive himself for leaving this person behind.



The young man more or less got to talk to "Gorinich" near the evening. Finally, the creature started to ask about Leon himself, not really because of curiosity and more like to be left alone as soon as possible. Suddenly he even started to get interested himself in what he was hearing. Until a certain thing...



When the young man told him a bit about himself, or namely, why did he left home at all, he mentioned an argument with his father. It seems the two of them weren't getting along somewhat. When Goro asked what other reasons made him run away from "human" life, Leon was especially talkative... in a negative way. He called it "boring," "shitty," "dull," "stupid" and lot and lot of other peculiar objectives. Goro even started to feel like he began to resonate with him... until the human mentioned that in his childhood dream he had wanted to become a scientist.



And when he said it, Goro became really angry, up to the point when he almost lost control of himself and humiliated Leon without even knowing it. It was the first time when he scared Leon. However, very soon they both got themselves in a hot argument. In a certain moment, the creature suddenly stopped, as if he just awoken from shock, and was trying to avoid any eye contact with the human and to leave, only to be blocked by the angry young man.



"What was the meaning of this? Can you maybe explain yourself!?"



He furiously attacked him with these questions. Goro tried to evade them only to be blocked off again. Seeing that he couldn't get rid of him, he was forced to tell him the reason. And that was the source of his birth.



...



Goro was born in a secret scientific organization. Its objective was to create "intelligent, trainable bioweapons for developing countries." He was the first subject... and also the last.



His so-called "father" was the leading expert in the field of genetic engineering, who signed the contract with the government of absolute privatenes in his current project.



Yes, Goro had a "father." No, he thought he had a father because that was what his newborn instincts were telling him to do.



From an early age, Goro was raised in a remote facility located on another island far away from civilization. There, he was learning about humanity with computer programs that his "father" was supplying him with. From the beginning young Goro could feel that his situation wasn't normal. Both his "animal" and "human" instincts, as well as information that he was studying about humans, were telling him that he should be raised in a family. And the fact that most of his time he was spending near a strange human's technological equipment was telling him that something was very wrong.



Thankfully, the situation improved a bit after he reached a certain age when his "father" invited a woman to his facility, who then he called "mother." They started to interact with each other a lot, and now Goro was studying to speak. The woman was very kind and generous, she was talking with him a lot and behaved like a real mother. She was talking about his situation without going into uncomfortable details too much. With her, "father" was also forced to join their conversations from time to time, especially when they were dining together. And they had never done it before. Apparently, she had deep ties with the project that his "father" lead. Also, "mother" and "father" knew each other for quite some time.

One day, the woman has shown him the rest of the working personnel. She introduced them as scientists, who were working on the project together with her and the "father." It turned out somewhat of a revelation for Goro that other people were working there. They were very friendly towards him, and Goro was very happy.



At first, the life slightly began to change for him in a positive direction. Goro started to help his "father" with his work -- it was "Mom"s idea for doing so. Of course, the young creature was too ignorant to understand genetic engineering even a little bit, so he was helping in ways he could. But he was happy, nevertheless. Finally, he started to build some relationship with his "father" - an ambitious and charismatic scientist, who promised his "son," as a pleasant surprise, to reveal the goal of the project when the time will come.



Things were going okay before a particular day when they started to stir. And very soon Goro found out that the "pleasant surprise" wasn't pleasant at all.



Soon Goro started to gain battle abilities. His scale turned armor-thick in certain places, he has grown sharp claws and he became much faster than he was before. At first, he thought that it was cool until he was demanded to demonstrate his newfound powers on practice. What first started like physical culture lesson, slowly began to turn into the battle training. Goro's objective was to tear apart sandbags one by one, and the more he was doing it, the less he started to like his new powers. He noticed, in a meanwhile, how the eyes of his father were shining as Goro demonstrated his combat abilities. As for mother... while she was admitting that it was "quite a sight," she was always bothering "father" and asking when they were done so she could start more important and useful activities. Goro was guessing, that she wasn't fond of their battle practices either. But "father" didn't feel their discontent.



One moment "mother" came to Goro and asked if he liked his training. After a moment of thinking, Goro said no.



After he openly admitted that, the whole scientific complex started to descent in a state of unrest. The entire research slowed down to a crawl. Goro's daily routine got messed as well, as his parents suddenly stopped visiting him. Moreover, he started to notice more and more research members arguing with each other. He couldn't understand them well, but he heard that the subject was him. Goro wasn't aware why he was so important until he managed to eavesdrop his parent's conversation. And then he understood everything.



It turned out that Goro's future mission was to kill people. He was so shocked he couldn't believe this. At the same time, there was a guess in his head, which he actively refused to accept.



That wasn't everything; after a while, he noticed that his "parents" were talking to each other in a way he never heard.



"I have walked the long way to look at you right now, and feel absolutely nothing. You have changed so much... how can you be so cruel?"



"Honey, it isn't my fault that you are still looking at the world through the rose-colored eyeglasses. After all, your rules and norms, including ones that are graciously labeled as "ethical" are only there to be broken. All the worlds famous discoveries were made thanks to sacrifices if you remember".



"First of all, that's not true and I can give you a hundred examples. And second, is that the way you are going to justify our actions?"



"Justify? Sweetheart, what are you even talking about? Not to mention that we both have signed for it, haven't we? Are you worrying that there is some kind of God watching us? Don't disappoint me by saying that you actually believe in this unscientific myth. We are gods ourselves over our creations, how can you not see that simple fact! Or did you start all this farce because you wanted an exclusive little dragon toy yourself that badly?"



"Oh, so it is me for whom this poor thing is a toy!? You know what, you are right. It was a mistake for me to sign in the first place!"



Goro couldn't understand the rest. He was in shock. He could not believe that he was just a puppet, created to destroy humans. He was furious at his parents, and at himself, for participating in this research. He was... completely lost.



On the same day, when the working hours were over and all people would have gone, he decided to destroy the facility and end this horrible research once in for all. He made plans to destroy the main reactor and the entire facility with it. Of course, it was very nae...



He was captured by security in no time and was locked into the cell. He didn't know how many days he had been there, nor what had been happening with the research since then. Until one day his "father" came to him and said:

"Well, sorry sonny, but you disappointed me, so looks like I would have to make another one. I'm going to extract the genes from you, so I will need you as an object to perform an operation. Oh, and you are probably not going to survive it, so don't be mad at me if you don't, okay?"



After hearing his "father" said those cruel words so casually, Goro not only felt betrayed but also completely and utterly heartbroken. This case has finally shown to him, that his family wasn't actually a family at all. He was merely a puppet in hands of a greater being - in hands of a man. Or more specifically - in hands of scientists - people who were ready to sacrifice anything for a "greater good". Now, he knew these facts well.



Everything has changed after that. Each day he was forcefully placed into surgery, tortured with strange equipment and inserted by sharp objects. On top of physical pain, Goro felt how unbearable emotional suffering was destroying his spirit, as the people at whose mercy he was left were the same scientists, who once upon a time kept saying "how cute he was". He could not believe things have ended up that way.



One day, when he was left in his cell, exhausted and malnourished, he suddenly heard:

"Let me to my son!"

He thought that he heard his mother's voice, but no one appeared. Goro felt completely crushed. He felt, that no one was going to come for his help.



And yet...



After some time, when he came to his senses, he felt his "mother" was standing next to him. She slowly opened the cell, entered and gently embraced her son.



"Mother... why haven't you came to my aid?"



"If I only could..."



She finally explained to him that she, actually, was trying to get him out, but his so-called "father" - the leader of the project - had restricted all the access, especially for those who have set up some dispute regarding the ethics of the project. Yes, there were people who tried to come to his aid. However, their number was laughably small compared to those, who wanted the project to succeed. As a result, it gave the leader a power to maintain an iron grip over the experiment and set up strict rules in order to prevent all of the nuisances that could potentially stop it.



The conversation wasn't long: very soon they heard an alarm echoed in the whole building. The woman gave Goro some sort of package and left the cell.



Once Goro unpacked the packaged he was able to smell something edible. He didn't understand what it was, because he immediately ate it, as he was very hungry. Soon he started to feel a lot better. It was quite a strange feeling. At first, Goro didn't know from where it came. After a while when he was taken on another "experiment session", he suddenly felt a massive rush of power and broke free. In his frenziness, he transformed in uncontrollable beast he was supposed to become and started to tear everything and everyone apart before anyone actually had a chance to do anything.



Very soon he wrecked a chaos in the whole facility, as everyone who remained alive panicked and ran away. He didn't know how long he was on a rampage, but when he came to his senses, he found himself surrounded by corpses. Among them, he saw some familiar faces... including his "father".



Goro escaped by a miracle. He managed somehow to find a boat in the laboratory, and sail away. He also got caught in the storm and was probably considered to be dead.



That's how he ended up on the island.



He guessed later that whatever his mother gave him in the cell was drugged with something powerful. Sometimes Goro wondered if mother actually intended to make this dangerous step or it was just a coincidence, but soon all these horrible memories became just a bad dream.



...



From the very youth, Leon was a very kindhearted and compassionate young man. It was needless to say that this story was supposed to touch him to his very soul. Not by Goro's intentions, or at least not consciously. And yet...



"Let's see..." - he said without anything that even slightly resembled a sympathy - "So, you haven't given at least a tiniest bit of thought for all the people you vanquished among whose might be actually those who supported you, you haven't paid at least some respect to the woman that genuinely wanted a happy future for you, and now you assume that every human is bad, right? Oh, and now I, of all people, got a very happy lottery ticket to become your scapegoat for all of your misfortunes? Do you think that's your tragic backstory makes you unique or something? Or suffering is something that only you have experienced? Answer me honestly: you were bullying me because you thought that you can simply get away with it, right?"



Leon paused to wait for the answer, with his eyes burning with hatred. However, there was none. Goro couldn't find anything to counter back. He didn't even want to do it, because he was feeling that the human was right. All he was able to do was to avert his eyes anywhere else. He couldn't look into the human's eyes.



"You really are... a heartless beast" - human concluded and walked away.



That was how the conversation ended on the third day. Goro wasn't angry, nor he was bearing any ill will towards the human. He understood that, after all, he had a justifiable reason to feel that way towards him. Maybe he even wanted to apologize... but he didn't know how to do it. With emptiness filling his being, he walked away as well...

...



"Why does it hurt so much?" - Leon kept wondering. He couldn't sleep a wink, as he couldn't bring himself to believe that everything that had happened to him during the last couple of days was real. It was impossible for someone to go that far to create an artificial being, and then discard it so easily. He didn't even know that something like underground science existed. After all, Goro's story was like a bad science fiction. It was impossible... but it was real.



"I said what I had to... right?"



For Leon, the worst kind of people were the ones who were abusing their power for their own selfish goals. He couldn't understand how those people could actually exist. That's why Goro's story had touched him, whether he wanted it to resonate with him or not. Nevertheless, that didn't give him any justifiable excuses to behave with humans like that. So why Leon felt pain from his own words, if they were directed by justice?



"That doesn't matter..." He finally said to himself. "His problems aren't my business. I should stick to the original plan and get myself out of here. I have to find a place to contact anyone who can help me escape".



Of course, he still was planning to make his discovery, regardless of everything that happened. "Actually", -- he then thought - "It is even better to return this creature where it belongs. He is not safe to keep near normal humans, and I'm sure that he could hurt them, too. It is better that way anyway".



It was yet another day when they both met each other again.



Leon found strange, that Goro also looked like he hadn't slept for quite some time. He wondered if his unpleasant words the day before had actually reached the creature. Goro actively rejected this idea even before the human got to ask him. How could he even know what he was going to ask in the first place, though?



Leon was vigilant to notice this, but... Perhaps it was easier for them both to act as nothing had happened. After all, the human wanted to see him solely as an evil being, and thus it would be best to safeguard himself from any potential threat from now on.



For Goro, it was also probably easier to think that human traits were not given to him and thus he couldn't experience such emotions like sadness, shame, and regret.





So they decided to act normally like everything was okay. However, it didn't last long. Shortly after that, on another stormy night, everything came crashing down. The rift between the two grew even deeper, and the wall got impossibly high... until the beast suddenly found again his claws penetrating the human flesh.



Chapter 4: Unrest



It's been only four days for Leon of being on this island, yet he felt like it might as well be the whole week. Despite being in a comfortable place with ideal survival and overall comfort conditions, every day felt twice as long as it should have. Leon's anticipation for quick coin and fame started shattering slowly, transforming it into anxiety. His mind was riddled with uneasiness. Once he even though that he could be trapped here forever. After all, Leon still hadn't found a spot where he could catch a network. He doesn't even saw any nearby ships. He felt that he was completely confined.

The plans of befriending creature have derailed as well. To set them straight, the situation needed to improve. A lot. But Leon didn't know from where this improvement should suddenly come from.

For some reason, Goro didn't mind teaching Leon basic lessons of surviving in wild, although he wasn't really passionate about it either. Actually, it was like he didn't care anymore. The second day was the only one when he was at least somewhat showing some signs of life. Leon felt he was going to lose his mind if he would remain like this. If he would manage to make him open up like that at least a tiniest bit, it would make his interrupted holiday a little bit better. He wasn't going to make him best friend ever or anything, just repair relationship enough that being near each other wasn't torturous.

However, he was nae to think he could break the ice even that way. When Leon was trying to talk about anything with Goro, he was either asserting or simply saying nothing. But most of the time he was angrily saying to shut up because it was distracting from their current activity. Here, where another problem was lying: Leon turned out to be far from the best explorer and adventurer. Which means that he was constantly messing something up. Whenever Goro wasn't liking it, he always argued angrily, and Leon was always answering back. That was their method of talking now. Soon they started to annoy each other for good. The simple dialogue became a tiring exercise for both, let alone a cooperative business.

"It is impossible to talk normally with this thing" -- Leon's thought. There was nothing he could do to warm him up again.

The breaking point was when Goro ordered the human to make the fire himself, as well as to cook the food they had just gathered. For Leon, it was quite a challenge because method Goro used was so archaic and primitive that it required a lot of physical strength. Obviously, Leon didn't possess it. In fact, he didn't even know how you could ever have lit the fire with this approach. Seeing him didn't able to do anything, Goro got really angry. Since Leon was unable even to make a fire, let alone cook the food, the lizard man got really frustrated that all of his lessons, as he thought, were in vain. Why he even was busting his ass explaining how things work?

As for Leon... he felt he didn't really even care anymore. He was not only feeling angry, furious and frustrated, he was also... so annoyed. He couldn't believe that his situation just got so ridiculous and stupid. It was like when he was a little kid. It was rarely, but there were situations when he argued with his father about things whenever he was doing something wrong. It was nostalgic for all the wrong reasons.

And he also was forced to argue with this wacky social outcast. What business he ever had with that psychopath? Why he even bothered to actually sit through all of his "lessons"?

"You can't even light a damn fire! How you were even considered to leave your home with your total lack of required skills? Hell, do you even have a common sense? Are you brain-dead, human?"

It was yet another argument Leon got so sick of. And yet... it was somewhat different. It was like his anger finally started getting the best of him.

"Why do I have to bother with you anyway..." - Goro sighted in the end&

"You know, this is actually a very important question. I'm not even asked you for any of your stupid lessons. You can just go somewhere and kill yourself or something for all I care"

"What!? What did you say?"

"Oh, so you are deaf? Well, sorry, it isn't my problem that you weren't cleaning your ears. Oh right, it was probably scientists who have fucked you up that way... sorry I forgot such an important fact."

Goro was outraged. He could not believe that this puny human had the courage to mock him so easily and fearlessly.

"Listen up, you, brat! Don't you dare to order me around! I am the master here, and I am going to decide what and when! You got it?"

"Goro, honey, I really do not want to shatter your world, but this island is not yours. It's just enough to make a call for me and you gonna fly away from here once and for all. If you will be lucky enough to get away with just flying away, that is".

"What are you... are you even normal? Do you know that I can simply end you right now?"

"Oh, go on".

Goro could not believe what he was hearing. While human's voice tone was unbelievably calm and smooth like he was telling something casual, his eyes were full of rage. Just like yesterday. It seemed that he wasn't joking either. Now he was truly hating the lizard man. Not only that, but it just now became clear to Goro that he is definitely not normal. Those eyes... They weren't belonging to the human. It was like... those eyes belonged to a demon.

Actually, he had already seen those eyes. Maybe his so-called "father"? No, those eyes were only seeing a "discovery" in front of him. Also... He even begged for mercy before he was killed. Goro didn't want to remember it, but now he couldn't help but do it. However, these eyes were reflecting so much contempt that even the death wasn't enough to shut down this hatred. No... it was like Leon became even angrier as he was threatening by death.

Goro loathed to admit it, but he began to be terrified of him. What a terrible feeling, to be afraid of the human!

"What? You don't have balls?"

"Human... Are you insane? Do you know, who are you speaking with?"

"Insane? Me? Are you out of your fucking mind!? So just because you are a big evil asshole I should stand here a big for mercy, you son of a...? Do you know how actually terrible you are!?..."

Suddenly human's voice turned aggressive, as he started to intimidate with an arsenal of curses and abusive language that Goro didn't understand. At that moment lizard felt like he was ready to tear apart this snotter at any minute. He could not stand him anymore. Greatly restraining his unhealthy impulses, he ended the conversation as soon as he got a chance and went away.

Goro felt like his arms were trembling in a wish to kill. But more importantly...

'Can he really report on me?' Goro wondered. He was remembering his past life with fear. He couldn't bring himself to return to this place again.

'No... if he could do it, he would have done it long ago, by now'.

And yet, now he was feeling unrest. He just now understood how dangerous his current situation was. But at this point, he didn't know how he should fix it anymore. He didn't know how he should interact with humans in general, let alone with this one. He hated it but now he couldn't do but admit the fact that it was his fault of bringing this situation to this condition. What he should do now?

...

Leon was sick of this. The only things that he was feeling were either apathy or hatred. He wanted just to get away from this island and that horrible creature that dwelled within it. And the worst part is, he felt genuinely offended. He couldn't remember last time when somebody was treating him that disrespectfully.

'You can't even light a damn fire!'

Leon couldn't believe he was so aggravated by that phrase. But as stupid and childish as it was, he felt that he just had to prove his independence.

He glanced on his inventory searching for the right tools which would help him to light the fire his way. And, eventually, he figured out a certain method himself. It actually was invented long ago before him, but no one would use it since it was presuming objects that were... not quite common for a person, who decided to travel in the wild. But Leon had these objects, because, of course.

This method wasn't too complicated: all you need to do is to place the wire to both sided of the battery and ensure that amperage is flowing from side to side.

'I bet you would not have enough brain to figure that trick, you musclebound idiot'.

Leon was anticipating Goro's face when he would finally see him cooked all the food by the time he will come. He was so absorbed with his business that didn't even consider the certain fact: now that he exposed his motives to Goro, he had far more important things to worry about. Yet, without even thought that something had gone wrong he continued to tinker his current matter.

'Now, what did you know!'

Finally, the bonfire was lit. Honestly, Leon wasn't really expecting he would really manage to do it and was even a bit proud of himself for using such an original method. (Even though it was hardly a matter to be proud of). Furthermore, it was one thing to lit the fire is one thing, and another - to don't let it get extinguished. Or the opposite...

"Hey, you, scaly bastard! Are you there? I have a lil' surprise for ya!" - human's intimidating shouts echoed through the forest.

It took about a minute for Goro to appear. And when he appeared... His reactions weren't as nice as the Leon expected...

"What... the hell have you done!?"

At that moment Goro rushed to the bonfire while showing off a staggered human. Leon was so tuned that didn't even notice the moment of, at this point regular, sudden rage.

And when he turned around... he had seen, that it was very irresponsible of him of letting the fire alone.

It had flared up and broke free around the whole campfire. It was really... embarrassing sight, watching how Goro is stomping down the fire. Leon probably would laugh in a different kind of circumstances. Right now the only thing he wanted to do is to move his eyes somewhere else, to not to look on this stupidly goofy sight. At some point, he even wanted to help, but by that time it was already over.

"You... idiot! Did I even allow you to touch that shit without me? How about you will finally begin to watch your actions? Or at least don't call me a "bastard" while you have this whole mess burning behind you. How 'bout that human? That's a good start! Damn it..."

And once again human found himself in an awkward position, this time being caught in misdoing. But he just wanted to make an impression! Because of it, there were so much frustration and anger burning inside of him at this point, that they were ready to explode in any minute from the slightest trigger.

"Why you haven't in this damned ship!? You know, it would be so much easier for me to..."

And that was the moment he finally snapped.

WRAM!

An uncomfortable squishing and at the same time the harsh sound was heard as soon as Goro has turned his face towards the human. As soon as he did it, he felt as something sticky flew in his muzzle. It was a coconut milk that he prepared.

"What... the fuck it was just know!?"

Goro's indignation knew no end. There were no words expressing how he furious was now. But human was standing there and facing Goro with a twisted grin on his face.

The balloon had gone up, and nothing was stopping it from popping anymore.

"Oh, I just thought you will be happy for a little gift, no need to thank me. Enjoy your meal, freak.".

Then it all happened in an instant. It was so surreal and impossible scene, that no one ever would image this happening.

As Leon demonstratively started walking away, an outraged Lizardman angrily grabbed him by the collar, but what he didn't expect... that he would be punched by the human in that instant.

"Don't touch me!" - shouted Leon, while launching his fist in lizard's face with incredible fury. Staggered Goro even let go of him from this unexpected action.

"You disgust me! It is you who should've died! Why wouldn't you just have drowned in the ocean? Why you haven't rot in this lab!?"

And after that, the loud, angry words started to continually echo across the island. Words full of rage, hatred, and indignation.

"I wonder how long you would last here without me if I wasn't here!" -- said Goro

"So that's all you think about me after all my help!? Aren't I deserving at least a bit of gratitude?" -- said Goro.

"Is this excuse for your terrible behavior?" - said Goro

"You are just a bratty kid!" - said Goro

"I don't care anymore what will happen to you!" - said Goro.

However, very soon he found his own word lost in the middle of his adversary's argument. He suddenly realized, that not only human's sounded more hostile and convincing, but he was much smarter and inventive than Goro.



"Gratitude? If anything, you deserve a complete extermination. You are nothing but a nature's fault!" - said Leon.

"You are nothing! Just a big, huge misunderstanding! Your existence itself is a mistake! You aren't supposed to be here at all! Hell, you aren't supposed to be anywhere!" - said Leon.

"You are just a stupid caricature of a shitty cartoony villain! You don't even understand how actually lucky you are not only to be not exposed to the world but also settling down in that comfortable place to live with literally everything and more around you, and, together with this, you have got the nerve to blame humans for all of your troubles!?" - Said Leon.

"You know, I even would not be surprised if your sob-story was a part of your stale, trite and highly unoriginal imagination! A cheap product created only to make a reason for you to pin on humans every of your stupid problem so you can create a delusion for yourself like you are some kind of divine being, which you are not!" - Said Leon.

And finally...

"You are the total opposite of what you want to be, in fact! You are...

...an abomination!"

That final word pierced Goro. He wanted to answer something back... but he found that he couldn't There was nothing he could object or do to stop this hatred-filled speech. Whenever he came up with an argument, Leon found even more counter-arguments on his behalf.

"That's it! I'm done with you, get out and don't come back when something will happen to you!"

"Gladly! And If I don't - then it will be even better, because I'd rather kill myself than to live together with a shithead like you!" - shouted human and ran away.



Goro was left alone.

Why he couldn't do anything about him? Why he couldn't just shut him up forcefully... and for good? But more importantly... why these words have been stuck in his mind? To think that he was defeated by the words were laughable, and yet... here he was. No matter how much he denied it... his cruel words hurt him.

They hurt him very, very badly.

But there was more important thing to worry about : he noticed is that human was on a verge of tears. Did Goro really abuse him that hard all these days? A sudden feeling of guilt overwhelmed him. Whether he wanted it or not, he felt a responsibility for him. What if he will get hurt? What if he will kill himself as he said? He didn't know what to expect from him. He stood up and chased after him.

...

Leon couldn't control his emotions. While he knew that his behavior was completely unacceptable, he was driven by the hysteria that was too powerful to stop his temper tantrum. His hand was hurting incredibly badly after punching the lizard in the face and fueled even more fire in his already unstable state. He hated everything around him. But more importantly, he hated himself. He hated himself for being so weak and infantile.



"Human?..."

"Get out!" - he didn't even look at Goro's direction.

"Please, listen to me!"

"You said you done with me, thank you very much! I don't want to hear any of your..."

"Can you please finally stop your idiotic whining and listen to me!?"

Only for a while, that phrase affected Leon.

"What did you need from me now?"

"I had absolutely no Idea that you were so... vulnerable. There is a justification in your rage. But please, hear me out. I didn't know how I should... behave around you. I had no idea, no experience how to interact with humans."

"So you were so stupid that wasn't even able to comprehend basic rules of communication. Wow. I wonder what happened... Oh, I know: it was scientists who fucked you up again, right?"

"If this is what you believe... than yes. Now I know that I have a tendency to say things or act I don't mean the more perturbed I get. I'm sure I said things that hurt you all these days. However, I didn't want to humiliate or abuse you. It's just... you weren't very good at survival, were you? There is nothing wrong with that, but..."

"Really? Did you know what was your reaction on that "nothing wrong"?

"Because I was afraid that you might have hurt yourself! I mean you almost fell from the tree on the very first day!"

"And what are you trying to achieve now? Remind me how... ...how... how pathetic I am?"

"No, idiot! That wasn't why I came at all! I just wanted to ask...".

Goro paused. He was seeing that human clearly isn't in a state of mind, but because it was Goro who had cornered him there, creature felt like he should fix it even a little bit.

"I want to start over with you. Can you give me a chance? One last chance is all I ask."





Leon wasn't expecting that request. He felt like tears were able to start dropping from his eyes. And yet...

"I was giving you this opportunity, like, for how long? Oh yeah, for 4 fucking days!"

...But wasn't my original intention malicious for that?

And only now you are finally agreeing on interaction? And you are agreeing on them just because it turned out because I'm so easy to offend?

...But he didn't know how to interact with humans anyway...

Just because of that?

...But he had no idea I'm so weak and vulnerable...

So, before I "whined" for good you had no idea that you are doing something wrong?

...But I'm not a kid to be so capricious anymore...

Do you honestly believe that I will fall for that?

...why...

Why am I thinking only about myself?

When did I --

When did I begin to stray from my path?

All you can do is blaming people because it is apparently making you feel better, right?

No...

You have no idea about life that is, you know, happens beyond your swamp! Because all about your care is yourself!

That's not what I want to say...I... I can't let this bullshit out than more it already has...

There people out there who are suffering actually fucking dying. And all you are only caring is about nuances that were caused you by a wimp like me!

I... must...

You have no idea how hard is for humans! Because you are just stupid, chewing animal! A bio trash! I hate you! I HATE YOUUUUUUUUU!!!!!!

STOOOOOP!

"

Leon was completely torn. His inner self was getting him signals that he had already said more than enough... but he still couldn't stop. At that moment, he actually hated himself more than anyone.

Of course, Goro couldn't read his thoughts, however, he could clearly see how badly he was suffering at that moment. He was crying like a small, lost child. How, how he could know that he would bring him to this state?

"I'm... I'm sorry! I had theabsolutely no idea about... Please, calm down, you aren't doing any good for your self now!"

"Go away! Get lost! Just disappear... please, leave me alone..."

Goro felt like he has to do something - anything - to calm him down. For a minute he was trying to convince him that he never meant him any harm. But in the end...

"Alright then. If this is what you want, then I will do as you wish".

...he conceded.

"I'm sorry".

And so he left.

...

Goro had no idea what specifically caused Leon to behave himself like this. If he knew that, he would never have said anything to him. The only thing that was clear, that there was something with the human world, that he wasn't aware of. What was happening here that made human reference it the way he did? If it was so dangerous as human said it was, then he wouldn't force him out. He could live with him...

However, he felt like something else started to creep in his soul. It was everything that human had cursed him with. "Nature's fault, a mistake, a bio trash, an abomination..." Goro couldn't let go all of it. While human probably wasn't in control of his words in a state of emotional distress, Goro was feeling like he wasn't wrong about all of this.

...By at the end of that day he Goro felt so tired, that he hadn't left any strength to think or reflect about anything anymore. So the only thing he could do is hoping that tomorrow will be better...





Chapter 4: Outrage



Leon was a mess. His thoughts were scattered around, and he felt even more tired than yesterday. He could very well have got sick if he wouldn't find himself covered in his jacked, that appeared from nowhere. Well, actually "find" - not a really correct word as Leon haven't even notice that he got his clothes out of nowhere since he was too busy brooding about all the stuff that has happened lately. There was something else that was impossible not to notice though: the weather got really bad. It was like it played along with his mood.

What surprised Leon later, is that Goro was a mess even more. His mane was combed all over the place, the eyes were bloodshot, the spots under them looked black, the overall gaze was wandering, his muscles looked sagged... on top of it, he noticed the leaf coiled around his maw. Did Leon punched him that hard?

But when he gave it a little though, he suddenly realized that all the trouble he had caused him yesterday was far more severe than physical. All this stuff he said to him had only one objective: to cause him emotional pain, as much as he possibly can. And now it seems he had achieved his goal, yet he wasn't feeling any sense of achievement. Quite the opposite: he was feeling guilt and shame.

The greetings were nothing special. Yet again they were pretending as nothing had happened. The only thing that Goro mentioned is that the storm was approaching, and they need to gather firewood. He explained they have to do quite a journey up the rocky mountain he told the day before yesterday, and to stay there for a while they have to gather firewood to lit the fire up here.

Leon suddenly offered help. What was he trying to achieve that way? Actually, he doesn't need any fire at all. He already had plenty of warm clothes in his luggage, why even bother with this? Nevertheless, Goro excepted it, even though he was a bit surprised by this offering.

...Leon aimlessly wandered through the island for quite some time. After all the events he was felt somewhat in trance and very closed off, not really realizing where he was actually going. His mind was wandering somewhere far away as well. He was thinking about what he had done, how could he fell into such hysteria and why things have reached the point they did. The more he was thinking about, the gloomier he became.

Suddenly, Leon's phone started to ring. Thanks to a large number of portable charges, the phone's battery was full, but he still wasn't expected for connection to suddenly appear.

Actually, before he even got a chance to answer, he noticed that he started to receive multiple calls at once. Needless to say, it was his relatives. Leon didn't want to answer the call, but to ignore it was to prolong the issue even further. Not only that but suddenly he got the urge to say something like "please, rescue me! There is a monster nearby me! I'm scared..." He angrily slapped himself on the cheek and answered the call.



And it was as he expected: everyone was in utter shock, or in desperation, or worse. In one word - everyone completely freaked out. At the same time, the answer finally released everyone's worries as they could finally hear their son, grandson, and friend voice again. Leon did his best to calm everyone and told that he got stranded on the island minus the nearby creature. It took some time before he explained what happened to him. But in the end, he managed to release every one of their fear. He tried to answer everyone. Including that one guy named Cooper, whom he met on the ship. It turned out that no incidents happened aside from him. Also, as a matter of fact, the whole rescue team was involved of finding him, and only him.

"You was... worried about me? But why?" - asked Leon.

"Why!? What even the question is that!? Because you were gone! I was freaked when I saw you being freaking blown away into nowhere!"

"I see... but how did you got my number?"

"I contacted your parents. They were lucky to phone the cruise company on time!"

"You had even gone as far as this?"

"Well yeah, I mean they were worried like hell! Oh, and by the way... you got a really big family there, huh?"

"Something like this, yeah... I was hoping that I could contact earlier to prevent all this mess!"

"Hey, but at least you are alive! Now all that remains is to find you, right? Although that is the hard part because rescue guys are searching for you for quite some time... can't you give a little hint?"

"Well... we have got a storm on our hand, so I don't know if that's a hint..."

"Wait, did you said "we"?"

"...Sorry... I meant it is only me".

"Anyways, I think I got an idea where you are. There is an archipelago of islands nearby you that have those terrible storms so often like they are in Bermuda triangle. Oh, and one of them Is actually some sort of local legend. There were some rumors about... uh... local Loch Ness monster? In case if you are wondering it wasn't me who fabricated this bullshit. So..."

"...I'm there."

"Come again?"

"On that island with "Loch Ness" monster".

"Wow, really? Are you sure? I mean... monster isn't real, right?"

"...No. There is a huge rock shaped in a form of a serpent. It is probably mistaking for your monster".

"Oh. Okay, that's helpful! I'm gonna report to rescue guys. Hold there, buddy, heroes are coming for ya!"

"Cooper?"

"Yeah?"

"You are real treat buddy. I really mean it."

"Hey, no prob! Just return in one peace okay? Although, including weather conditions and the distance it probably will take some time... can you hold until then?"

"Say them to take their time, I'm not really hurrying anywhere... anymore. Plus, the conditions are good enough for me".

"Wow, you, like, Robinson Crusoe! How are you have even managed to hold safe until know?"



'Robinson Crusoe, huh?'

It was one of the favorite Leon's book. He was one of the character that Leon aspired towards to. But...

'I'm anything but'.



"Long story," - Leon continued, -- "I'm afraid I will run out of my phone call time by the time I will tell you everything. Also, the weather isn't helping either, as you can tell".

"Yeah, you are disappearing from time to time. Anyways, if you have everything under control, I'm not gonna bother you anymore. Just come back in one peace alright?"

.......

"I'm such a prick. Crap!"

When Leon thought that he couldn't hate himself anymore, all of sudden he was getting more and more reasons for this. He couldn't believe he had kick-started such a fuss over his disappearance. And it was him who made everyone worry about him. He started to despise himself more and more.

The desires of quick cash and fame have disappeared like by magic. Now he wanted only one thing: to get away from this place as soon as possible and as far as possible and to forget everything that happened here like huge, huge misunderstanding, like a very bad dream.

"Oh, maybe it is a bad dream... huh? Wait, what is this place?"

Suddenly he noticed, that, unwillingly, he went somewhere quite a way from the camp. It wasn't that he was lost, thanks to the compass app in his phone which he paid attention to from time to time, but the environment around him was... uncanny. The trees around him would be like normal trees he finds everywhere, except these ones had some kind of drawing on them. Upon examining them closely he started to notice a certain pattern: there were some drawing on the trees... namely, there were two silhouettes depicted there. It was Goro's silhouette and... a human silhouette. It appeared like they were busy with some kind of activities on each drawing. And one of them they were standing and holding hands together.

Leon wasn't really expecting to find something there. Was... someone else here before?

"Well... in any case, it isn't my concern. I have wasted enough time already... no, wait..."

There was something else... it was like a pit with bushes and earth inside of it. It was noticeably standing out from the rest of the ground.

"What is this...?"

Suddenly Leon felt an extreme surge of anxiety. Urged by his rapidly pounding heart, he stepped near the pit... and began to dig it.

"Wait, what am I even doing? There is not a time for this!" -- tried Leon to wake himself, but the curiosity took the better of him in the end, so he decided to take a quick peek after all. "calm down, stupid, there is nothing to worry about..." - he was trying to convince himself.

He knew he has no right digging foreign property, but he was so overwhelmed by trepidation that he couldn't stop. He had a horrible premonition like something was about to happen. He could hear a thunder in a distance as if it was a signal of warning. And suddenly, color in his face began to drain.

"This is... this... is... ah!"

...............

'Where is that human now, damn it!? I have no time for this!'

Goro was beyond impatient. He knew that it was a bad idea to let him wonder alone. Since the first day he was causing nothing but trouble, and now was a literally least fitting time for it.

He even wanted to search for him when he finally saw Leon going. For some reason, his face was hidden beneath his hood, so Goro could barely see it, but he didn't pay attention to that detail.

"You are late! Where the hell have you been!? Let's go, our time is running short!"

And indeed, the thunderous roars were to become louder and louder, but it wasn't long before the two have reached their destination. It was a rock that Goro showed on the third day, covered with edges and protuberances. The original plan was to tie the brushwood to their backs by lianas and vines, and then climb up here. Also, both of them should be climbing near each other, so Goro could ensure Leon in case if he will fall.

When Goro explained all that, he notices how the human is staying silent all the time. It started to really worry about the creature. No extra question, no stupid jokes, no comments... nothing. It wasn't like there were a time to this all, but for some reason Goro became suspicious of Leon's behavior.

"Hey, are you listening to me at all?"

Suddenly...

"I'm not going with you anywhere."

...he dropped his brushwood.

"What is the meaning of this!? We don't have time to waste anymore! The rain will pour down in any minute, you, idiot! Just what's in God's name are you having the problem with again, damn it!?"

"With this."

As soon as Leon said it, he threw some kind of object at Goro's feet. It was...

A skull. A human skull.

For a moment, Goro's face twisted in horror. However, he quickly regained his composure.

"I want you to return it from where it belongs later. But now stop loafing around and take your brushwood. We don't have much time".

"Wow, is that... all you've got to say?"

"We don't have a freakin' time, dammit! Are you stupid to not understand this!?"

"I don't really care. Who was this? What happened to him!? Answer me! Now!!!"

"This is not your business. So shut up. And follow me. Or you will be next!!!"

"Really?"

Suddenly Goro noticed the glint of a metallic object in human's hand. Goro knew very well what this object was. But even he didn't expect that someone would ever try to use it against him so directly. For a moment, he even went speechless.

"Well, let's see!!!"

The lightning had struck, and human lunged forward.

Slash. Dodge.

The hand was aimed at the body, but Goro swiftly moved to the side. He looked a bit bulky, but his combat abilities have suddenly awoken, allowing him to evade any danger with ease. Not even firearms were able to take him down.

But then... how can this situation be happening at all? It was wrong in so many ways... "Why?" "What happened?" "how could he?" These questions were appearing in Goro's head.

"What... the hell was that!? Have you gone COMPLETELY HIGH!?"

His eyes were slowly going red. His claws were unscathed, and hands were aiming at a human. He was barely controlling himself: a primal instinct of self-preservation started to rule his being.

But it seemed that human wasn't himself either. It was like a demon suddenly possessed him. And at the same time... he looked like he was in pain.

"You lied to me. You said that no one was here. You even worse than I thought. I wish you had never existed. I want you to disappear. I want you to extinguish, to be expunged. To go extinct. I want you to FUCKING DIE!!!"

One more relentless lunge. The knife whistled with sharp "whoosh" into nothingness. It was easy to counter him than to dodge, yet the lizardman was doing his best to stop a mad human.

"SHUT UP! Shut up and stop this! Do you realize what are you doing? Do you have any idea what are you asking for? Do you know what I'm capable of?"

"Oh, what? Tell me!"

"Gah!"

Goro was a loss. He felt like he could go insane himself in any moment. He didn't know what else he should have done to stop this madness.

"Go on! Speak louder! I'm hanging on your every word! What? Got nothing to say? That because you are useless trash, that what you are! You think you have the might, but as soon as anyone refuses to bow before you, your house of card collapses by itself!"

"What are you even talking about, you!..."

Goro wasn't able to finish the sentence, as Leon launched himself again.

But this time

before he had a chance to swing his weapon again

the world around him

went red.



"That what you wanted to get!? Are you happy now!? Are you impressed!? IMPRESSED!? I warned you! I have warned you hundreds of times! What else you needed to know to guess that it would come to this!? Why... why were you doing this? Why are you don't even feel sorry for yourself? Why... you think that my loathing is worth to throw the life away for? Why!?"

Goro's claws were still unscathed, and hands still shaking. But what he couldn't feel because of the pressure of the current situation was that tears have started to drop from his eyes.

Human collapsed under the tree and wasn't moving. When Goro had finally come back to his senses, indescribable sense of horror and guilt overcame him. He quickly tried to get close to the body in front of him, when it suddenly rose up and started running away, simultaneously holding the hand to his wounded part. Goro chased after him without hesitation.

"Wait! Wait, I said! Please stop! IM SORRY! I DIDN'T WANTED IT!"

The lizard ran and ran, without stopping, without paying attention to anything else. All he wanted to do is just save an unwise human.

Finally, Leon stopped and screamed. It was a scream, filled with a great desperation and sorrow. Soon, the tears that burst from his eyes merge with the rain.

......

Leon awoke in a dark place. He couldn't see anything because of the dark, but he was feeling his wounds that have been left on his body. He was lucky that they weren't deep and have not hurt the vital organs. He also felt that he was wet from the rain, and stripped of his clothes. However, he wasn't feeling cold... because somebody was hugging him from behind.

"Hey... are you awake?"

The voice he heard held no ill will, neither he was angry or annoyed. Instead, it was calm and somber. A bit accommodating, Leon noticed, how he didn't find Goro's vest wasn't in place. It turned out that he sacrificed it to patch up Leon's wounds.

"Your clothes... they were wet. I had to take them off you. You might get cold otherwise. Also, your wounds have been bleeding for a while, so I pathed them up".

Suddenly, he felt pressed a bit tighter and heard only two words:

"I'm sorry".





Chapter 5: Slow-killing poison



It was the end. Everything was over between them. Leon didn't know anymore what to say, how to say it and how to fix what was beyond repair. So the only thing that he could do is bury his face Goro's scale and quietly sob.

Several days have passed. Both of them were hugging each other like this, while not saying a single word. They both were... ashamed of each other, and both of them didn't know what to say. After all, both of their actions and words were dealing only pain to one another. They didn't know how to apologize to each other, or how to ask for forgiveness. They both were afraid.

Leon was only guessing what he made Goro experience. By laying bare that fragment of his past, he caused him even more pain than he already had. And yet... Goro didn't abandon him. Quite the opposite: he sheltered him. Despite all of Leon's misdoings, he didn't chase him away or abandon him. "But... Why?" Leon wanted to ask. But... he couldn't.







Finally, the rain was over. Goro took a human down with all of his possessions. And then... he suddenly collapsed. Leon was in shock: what happened? But when he touched him, he has realized.

The lizard was burning. His whole body was on fire, which means that he clearly had a high fever. Leon suddenly remembered, why Goro asked him to bring the firewood: because the cave was cold. Not only that, but the lizard was already quite wet because of the rain. Not to mention that he sacrificed his vest for an unwise human. In this conditions...

"But... but I thought, you, like, poikilothermic, no? Weren't you supposed to adapt to a situation and such? Like, the temperature of your body was supposed to change with the environment? Wake up, answer me!" - was begging human while simultaneously shaking the large body of his neighbor.

"That doesn't matter, I won't let it end like this!" - he continued, without getting a response and immediately rushed to his luggage to take his medical supplies above all else's things.

He quickly unpacked them and, carefully following instructions, started to prepare them, one by one, while also measuring Goro's temperature with a thermometer. In such state, he felt he had no choice but to put the medicament in a syringe and insert it. The needle was resisting lizardman's armored scale, so it took a few tries to inject it correctly. However, suddenly another problem came to Leon' mind: because Goro was not human, it was very problematic to choose the right dose for him. Will his organism endure the sickness with that particular measure, or it will require the whole package to consume? Will even the common medicines actually work on him? He had absolutely no idea.

Goro regained his conscious near the evening. Leon was glad at first, but... soon he felt, that something about him was different. He couldn't believe that this creature can get even more apathetical then it already was before that, yet now he looked like literally whole life has been drained out of him. However, later he was even more surprised when he heard:

"Human... Will you be able... to hold out here on your own?"

His voice was slow and monotonous, hoarse and had large pauses between words.

"What's that supposed to mean!? Are you telling me that a giant like you can be defeated from a freaking cold!? You are stronger than that! Give it a few days and you will be back in perfect health! And where that sudden concern about me came from? You... you aren't getting off me any time soon! There is still so much I..."

He wanted to say something, but then he realized that after all this time, whatever he would say, it would sound like he had an ulterior motive in mind. If he said that "there is so much I wanted to say to you" then it would sound like he wants to spit even more curses. If he would say that "there is much I want to learn from you", then it would imply that he is about to bring even more disappointments. If he would say that...

"I'm sorry... I'm so sorry that I have caused you so much trouble. I'm sorry that I had to put you through all of my farce. What... what have I done?"

That was the first time when Leon apologized to Goro. If it had been done earlier, it probably woulnd't led to the current situation. Knowing this Leon felt only worse.

"You... don't have to apologize... for anything. Your tears... were atonement enough for me... Do you still angry with me?"

"I... I don't know" - said Leon. - "Can we postpone this question? I need you to freeze for me for a while."

"...From the very start... I thought that it would be better for both of us to keep a distance,"-- Goro continued without paying attention to Leon's words, -- "But now that I understand that I was.. simply.. running away. Wanted to avoid responsibility for you. Wanted to hide my head in the sand... It... it was my fault, and yet here I am screwed up even worse this time." -- Goro smiled sadly, -- "Pitiful of me, isn't it?"

"Stop... stop it! First of all, you were helping me out from the first day. I mean yeah, you are a jerk and I still hate you, but, you were still helping me, even when we were trying to chase each other out. And...

...crap, we can talk about it when you will get well! Here, I'm gonna inject you another dose".

Leon drew another syringe and loaded a medicine into it.

"...heh...hah.."

"What's so funny?"

"These needles again... I just thought that I'm never going to meet them in my life anymore..."

Leon was remembering why Goro hates syringes, but he had no choice at that moment...

"Oh... well sorry, there is no other way around it, so you have to bear with me, okay? After all, the real reason people invented those things to cure each other. Please... give me chance"

"I don't mind... it just brings me memories of the older days, that's all"

Leon started to get more and more unsettled by Goro's apathetic mood but his attention was elsewhere at the moment, so he attributed this to his illness and continued his preparations.

"Why... Why do you want to save my life? After everything I've said to you and after all your hate... you are suddenly want to save me... why?" - Goro was wondering. He clearly could sense that Leon doesn't mean him any harm now, and there were genuine concern and worries in his words.

"Because... just because! We still have a lot of unsettled stuff between us, if you don't know! Actually, never mind that. Did you even did not found the state you are in to be because of my doing? I thought... it would be only natural for me to correct myself. If not me, then you wouldn't have caught up this sickness, right?"

"Probably... although that doesn't change the fact that you don't have to worry about it either way. But I will do as you say. I won't stop you. Just be careful that I don't infect you... So keep your wounds patched and away from me... and you have to not forget to check on them in general... they might still open... don't... forget... ".

"Okay, okay, I got it! I'll do that after I will patch you up, alright?"

In the end, Leon never checked his wounds.

...

The time passed, but the results were the same. Leon continued to give medicines according to recipes, but nothing seemed to work, and his spirit started to fall lower and lower. Meanwhile, Goro's consciousness was drifting back and forth in space.

When it more or less normalized, he suddenly spoke:

"You should take a break" - said Goro - "it is equally important for you to get enough sleep, otherwise you would get sick yourself".

'I will not', -- is what wanted Leon to say. However, he knew that it might probably cause another argument between them, and that was the last thing he needed. Furthermore, he felt he was already pressured by a strain that he put on himself, which was making it harder and harder for him to focus on anything else, so he had to comply.

"Okay" - he said.

"You know how to make fire by now, right?'' - Goro has suddenly asked.

"I think I will manage, but... where this question has suddenly come from?"

"Good. There is more... I wanted to tell you about surviving".

"...Okay"

"I wanted to tell you, that I actually was relieved to know that you can sustain yourself with fire. However, you also should know how to keep it from going wild..."

Leon sincerely believed that it was a rambling caused by a fever. Although the fact itself that it was happening meant that condition wasn't any good. While he tried to listen to Goro, he could hardly focus his attention on what he was saying.

...

"Say, Goro," - interrupted Leon, -- "you think that I'm planning to sell you out, aren't you?"

"Do you? I don't think you are... at least not anymore. And if you are, then I don't really mind, although who will need me, now, in this state... When you mentioned something like this days ago, I... you really put me on edge, though. But now I think about it... you wanted more to pay me back, and no so much for a profit, do you?".

That was correct. Leon indeed wanted to do it just to pay him back for his bruised ego and nothing more. Leon himself didn't know until just now Goro have pointed out directly.

"You... are kidding me, right? So you are saying that you will just go and turn yourself in for me? Has your mind gone high? Did that happen because of sickness?"

"I have lost my mind long ago, human. I was so afraid that one day I will be sent back to the facility, that in the end, I think I really felt a relief that it would finally happen to me. At least it would be some change of pace. Can you imagine this? I was so sick and tired of my life that I wasn't even cared anymore whether it was comfortable or luxurious. Pathetic, I know, you don't have to remind me that anymore. Although if you are going to throw another tantrum, I wouldn't stop you."

"Is this... really true? Is this why you don't care what will happen to you next? Was... was your horrible attitude just a fade, under which you were hiding your... well... the weight of all the horrible things that happened to you?"

"The fade, huh... yes, your guess is right. You know, you are a pretty smart boy. Come to think of it, I didn't even mention any of your strength. Not how interesting you are, not how brave you are. All I did was pushing you away. Do you see now what... I have become, while I was living here all alone?"

Leon felt like another tear was coming down his cheek, yet he found the strength to smile.

"Heh... brave? Interesting? I cannot believe you are saying these things with a straight face. Do I really look like one?"

"Yes, you are... another human probably would choose far more comfortable opportunity to get rid of me. I don't believe there is a lot of humans who can challenge me in the open like this. And no one would ever mock me, knowing how dangerous I am".

"Meh, I don't think so highly of myself. And even if I am... so what? I'm not a superhero, and I'm not a savior, not a chosen one, I'm just... I'm just some stupid kid who overplayed video games. Crap, what am I even saying? That's just a bunch of nonsense for you, isn't it?"

"No, I... I think I understand you. You always wanted to be something more than just a normal human. You wanted to be useful to humanity. But the only place you were able to do it is in the sphere of your technology, where the circumstances of danger are fabricated In order for you to deal with them. I didn't understand at first what was the point of saving the worlds that don't exist, but now I know, I think".

For a moment Leon was shocked: it wasn't a rambling because of fever. That clarity and precision with which this creature have guessed everything about him have brought the chills to his spine.

"...how... how have you figured it out?"

"Two days ago you said to me that not all humans can allow themselves to live so luxurious as I am. I didn't understand what you meant at first, but now I realized that you had a dream when you could serve a purpose to humanity. You also aware about how it is imperfect, and you were guilty of it, and I... I was only making it worse. I had entered the role of my fade so far that didn't even noticed that I'm hurting you with my words..."

"Heh, you know, for someone who was loafing around for God know how you are incredibly perceptive. Although that makes me hate you even more since if you had that much clarity, you would have guessed what your racist-wannabe attitude would lead to... I mean, yeah, I'm the major brat here, but I still can't stop being mad at you. I know I shouldn't rant about it anymore, especially when seeing you like this, but...

Anyways, on the plus side, since we have already hit the lowest level possible, now only the only thing for us that remains is to go up. So hang in there... all right?"

"So.... You will allow me to start over?"

"Yes... Yes! I... I want to do this myself. Will you... also, allow me to do this?"

"Of course, I will."





Chapter 6: The Promise



Leon was working without stopping. He has lost count how many hours have passed. Or was it days already? He was studying instructions and prescriptions, preparing medicines and injecting them, while Goro fell into drowsiness and was silently snoring. At first. Later he clearly got really bad dreams, which was indicated by his tossing and turning from side to side, making it even more troublesome to actually to give him a medicine. Not only that, Leon noticed how Goro was grimacing and muttering "no more". He hoped Goro wouldn't remember this when he woke up. Not only because it pained Leon seeing him like this, but because it just has recently occurred to him, how Goro is actually vulnerable and insecure. With his fade worn off, Leon's personal problems were nothing comparing through what Goro had been through. How Leon could be so callous towards Goro? How he even had the gall to accuse the person in all the world's problems that not only had nothing to do with these problems but also had a great deal of his own?

The process continued for a while. At some point, Goro woke up, but he decided not to worry Leon, so he was just laying silently. Or... maybe he wanted to check if Leon was generally caring about him now? It was a long time since Goro felt somebody to genuinely worried about him like that, so maybe he wanted to feel that care.

Finally, Leon started to accurately measure Goro's temperature again.

When Goro felt human's absence, he took a glance around himself in an attempt to find him. His vision started to get blurry, so he blinked several times in order to clear it... and suddenly found that it isn't helping. Overcoming his condition, he wanted to rise and to call for him, but soon he heard a piece of broken glass nearby. When he looked at this direction, he finally guessed what happened... he didn't need an eyesight for this anymore.

He soon could hear slow footsteps, moving towards him. The creature could see his silhouette, and despite not being able to see human's face, he could feel that he hides it in shame.

Despite Leon didn't want to cry for the second time, at the end of the day all the frustration and fatigue and guilt that he was carrying within him started to get the best of him.

"I'm... I'm sorry, Goro" - he said. After that, he covered his face with hands and silently fell next to him. "If I only... If only given this stupid "second chance" to you sooner, then this... this whole mess..."

"Leon".

Slowly Leon removed his hands from his face and looked at Goro. There was a little glimpse of surprise reflected on his face, as it was the first time he is called by name.

Soon he felt a hand touched his face, rubbing his tears away.

"Don't cry anymore... okay? I know that I'm not in right to say this, but... try not to cry anymore. I don't want you to be sad. Don't let people like me upset you okay? Nor you should be crying for them either."

"O... okay. When I will go home... I will try... try to look life from more optimistic perspective... if this what you want."

"Good. That's what I like to hear from you. Now then... could you sit beside me for a moment?"

"Huh? Okay..."

Leon sat beside Goro as he asked. He felt like his mane started to rub against his back.

"Tell me human, how you ended up here?"

"Um, I thought I already told you? What day was this again..."

"I remember that. But I don't know why you decided to make this journey in the first place."

"Oh, this... And why you suddenly interested?"

"I noticed that I never showed interest in you. So while I still have time, I want to get you to know you closer. ...sounds strange considering I tried so hard to ignore you?"

Leon took out a deep sight. Despite still being at low spirits, he started to regain his cockiness and whimsical style of speaking.

"You know, 'strange' doesn't even begin to describe it. Also, yeah, the timing is just you know, wow. How should I put this... like, were you just trolling me all along and waiting for this particular moment to ask?"

"Uh, I'm still not entirely understand your speech but... no, I don't. And I... I really regret I haven't asked you from the very beginning..."

"Okay, I got it. Please... don't say anything else. I will tell you... I will tell you everything."

"Hey, it's not like I'm interrogating you. You can skip some uncomfortable parts if you have some".

"Eh, it's not like I have any 'uncomfortable parts'. Sometimes I do wish I had them though. Like, my father beat me? Or I was sexually abused? Or being bullied? But I believe my problems are much less dramatic than that..."

"Why in the name of God do you wish those things to happen to you!?"

"I just thought that only those who have been through the same kind of mistreatment and misfortune as you could make you feel better... am I wrong?"

Goro took a deep sight.

"You idiot... listen: I never, ever wish for anyone to have the same past like mine. Got it?"

"Ahem, I think you have interrupted me".

"...I'm sorry. Please, continue".

"Also, speaking of uncomfortable parts... there is a certain thing I want to hear from you too."

Goro made a short delay before replying.

"Yes, I... I know what you asking about."

"That's good. It's... probably cruel and tactless from me, but if you don't tell me about it then..."

"I... I know what you mean. Every single day its... it's been..."

"Figures. That's why I'm forcing you to do it. Regardless of what happened, I won't mock you. And... I think that there is a justification for what has happened. I know how you would not kill people without a reason."

Goro fell silent. Leon waited patiently for his answer.

"Okay, you have my word."

"Aight, awesome. So then... where was I again? Oh, yeah!..."

...

The two of them weren't sleeping the whole night. They were trying to comfort each other while sharing heart-to-heart stories. Leon has forgotten for a while that Goro might die soon, and Goro also was trying to get the best out of time they both have left.

"You know, you are unusually open these days."

"Really? I see. I also found myself comfortable around you these couple of days. Maybe because I have no reason to make a big monster out of myself anymore... no, I don't want to."

"Wow, so you have finally acknowledged the fact that you were a big monster? Yay, a progress."

"Well yeah, it indeed wasn't my original plans. And it all thanks to you. Although... I wasn't fast enough, was I?"

For a moment Leon made a pause. He realized that despite trying to be as much tolerable as it can be to Goro, it didn't help for him to make an occasional out of place sarcastic remarks. What was even worse Goro didn't even understand them. He couldn't believe that he still unconsciously hated him.

"No. It was me who wasn't fast enough."

"Leon..."

"I'm sorry Goro... I'm such a mess... you were pretending that you hate us, where in fact we, humans, were causing you nothing but pain all these years. I'm... I'm so sorry..."

"Leon. Enough. What's done is done. Don't let it you get to you, or you will live with regret whole your life like this. I... don't want that to happen to you. Nothing of value was lost because of your actions, and I don't bear any ill will towards you."

"B-But... but!"

Leon wanted to object something regarding the question what Goro thought of himself, but he hasn't found the right words in time. Meanwhile, Goro continued:

"...And you know... thank you for bearing with me."

"Huh? For what... are you thanking me?"

"I have lost so much... Sometimes I was on a verge of insanity. I was ready to abandon all hope. But talking you helped me to revitalize myself a bit, even if our relationship was so imperfect and flawed."

"Haha..."

"Yeah I know, it probably sounds funny and absurdly..."

"No, stupid. That isn't the reason"

"Oh? Then what is?"

"That was what I wanted myself to be from the very childhood. Someone who will prevent other people from being drawn into despair. But the only thing I became, in the end, is a stupid nerd. I hate myself so much. I want to rewind time so we could try again... so I would not be the one whom you know."

"As do I. But you know, don't hate yourself. You are just a normal human after all. At least, you are to me. You shouldn't be ashamed at expressing your emotions the way you want"

"I wish I could agree... but it seems our gap in the age way too wide for you to notice the fact our I'm not a kid anymore".

"Maybe. But I don't care. You will be just a boy for me"

"A twenty-year-old boy, huh... that sounds incredibly infantile. But you know what? I don't mind. Although I'm not sure how you will deal with stupid tantrums of mine."

"I suppose I will have to learn how to tolerate them".

"Really? You don't seem to be tolerating them... minus the last couple of days"

"Well... honestly, you did get on my nerves at times. You know, it was very frustrating for me to listen to your arguing and complaining when I was trying so hard to teach you basic things that would help you to stay alive. I was... also getting upset at your harsh words. But now I realized, what seemed to be generous from my point of view isn't necessarily same for yours."

Leon squints his eyes again as an attempt to prevent another portion of tears flowing.

"I'm glad you have realized this... although you still made the wrong conclusion".

"Then which is a right one, o wise human?"

"The way you are explaining shit is not only confusing, but you also don't even consider anyone's physical capabilities. You shouting stuff more often than you explaining anything, which kinda unprofessional considering how highly you were thinking about yourself. I mean before you realized that you aren't really that professional... well, you got the idea."

"Okay... I will try to correct myself. I meant... 'The survival club run by a very angry and obnoxious *cough* green thing' has taken your feedback into account, good sir, please, call back later."

"Hey, that was a nice one! How did you even know all that crap?"

"Oh, I just happened to remember a couple of things when I was back at a research lab. Also... you have that kind of vibe that also makes me answer something back... but something a witty, not just another insult... I realize that I don't have much in terms of wittiness. Maybe that why I was shouting at you because I didn't have anything more original to say?"

"You know, you are damn witty when you want to be! And don't - I have a lot of time to teach every single little obscenity that I know!"



'Why... why do we talk like we have an eternity ahead of us?' - suddenly realized Leon. But just when he wanted to think about it a little longer, he felt like his thoughts started to twist with each other and transform into gibberish, and soon he felt like rough yet gentle hands have embraced him, as the strength finally left his body.

"Ngh... now I'm officially bested".

"Don't worry. You have done an admirable job of holding yourself for so long. You have to take a rest. I will hold you a bit... I think I wouldn't infect you."

"You have already infected... me... idiot."

"W-what?"

"Goro...I... I love you."

....

When Leon woke up, the sun was reaching the summit. Despite oversleeping, he felt that this particular morning, or rather a day, was an unusually pleasant one. Of course, his problems haven't gone anywhere, but it felt like he has finally felt relieved from some sort of burden that was tainting him all this time.

"Oph..."

But as soon as he has heard a strange noise, Leon got alerted and has immediately jumped onto his feet.

"Goro... what the hell are you doing!?"

Goro was leaning against the tree in an attempt to raise himself.

"Oh... morning Leon".

Leon couldn't help but get angry at him for still insisting his "everything is all right" act.

"What in Christ's name are you doing!? Wait, I'm gonna give you a hand..."

"No, stay back. You might catch it".

"I don't care!"

Leon didn't know what for Goro wanted to stand up in his condition but have nevertheless decided to help him stand up.

"Crap, you weight a ton!"

"Well,I wasn't one asking you to help me... but thanks".

"So... why did you need this?"

"It's came"

"What has?..."

"My time".

For a moment Leon didn't know what to say. Just now he noticed how awfully Goro looked.

"I... see."

"I wanted to say my farewells in more appropriate way... as well as to say few very important things."

"Alright. I'm listening to you".

"Good. Leon. Take care of yourself. You have to get strong. When you will challenge someone who like me, you might not survive. I believe that one day you will become a great man. But before that happens, you have to be ready to hold your burden. You don't have to hurry, you have to the whole ahead, but please, keep that in mind. Okay?

My island is yours. But I don't recommend you to stay there for long. I... I'm so, so envy you. If you knew how I truly envied you for all this time. You have an opportunity to live. Truly. I'm on the other hand... was simply existing. So don't here for too long, okay? Don't... destroy your life."

"I... I promise".

"And one more thing... Do you still hate yourself?"

"I... no. I know that I should but..."

"Please, don't. Actually, I want what you to take what is feeling right now and to keep it with you."

"Okay... you think it's important?"

"I do. I think that if you see a person in yourself, you will able to see it in someone else... when you will get a chance".

Leon who has supported Goro all along squinted one more time and gave his neighbor a tight hug, while also receiving the same.

The two were standing like this for quite some time. Leon was happy. He knew that they both probably have let sentimental feelings cloud their sanity, but he stopped caring about details.

"...Or you can still hate and lunge at people with a knife shouting 'I want you to fucking die!!!'. Although even I would have thought of a more original method to get rid of your foe."

"You have got the gall to joke and laugh, in a situation like this?" - asked Leon while smiling through tears himself.

"Yes, I do. What's wrong with that? I'm in a great mood."

"In great mood? After everything that happened?"

"Yes. I'm feeling great. I had a fantastic time here, with you. Whether we were arguing or talking with each other, I remember everything with a smile. Do you think I'm selfish? So you hate me for that?"

"No... I'm not hating you anymore. Actually... this is stranger but I feel happy myself... why?"

"Don't try to answer this. Just... be happy. Will you do it for me?"

Indeed, as the Goro's death crept closer, for a moment, Leon stopped feeling sorrow or guilt. 'Maybe it because our nature can't feel only one emotion for a long period of time?' - he wandered.



"Nng... cough..."

Suddenly Leon felt how Goro's body started to shake...

"Now I am officially bested... Yeah, I think I'm on my last legs".

He slowly freed himself from Leon's grip.

"What you will do now?"

Leon felt that this question was rhetorical, yet felt like it needs to be asked anyway.

"I think will go in the woods. I don't want you to see this miserable sight. You mind?"

"No... I understand. Will you manage to even reach them with your vision gone?"

"Yeah. Have I mentioned that I have a pretty good hearing to? I think that I would able to identify the tiniest sound from them any corner of the island."

"...Okay."

"So long... Leon"

"Goodbye, Goro. Thank you... for everything."

After Goro had gone away, Leon sat on the ground, dropped to his knees.

They have lived here together only for a week. They barely knew each other, and their relationship was all over the place. They didn't deserve to call each other acquaintances, never mind friends. There was no reason for him feeling this emptiness. The feeling of someone dear passed away. The feeling that Leon was afraid to ever experience.

...

Soon Leon could hear the sound of helicopters drawing near. It seems Goro's worries for Leon of being too long in this island were pointless. Even if he had a choice, Leon would unlikely stay here any longer. In the place where people's lives were crushed by mysterious and cruel fate... it would be desecration for him to live here. Actually, it would be better than this place would left alone, with no one coming here anymore.

For a moment Leon wanted to find Goro's body and to give it a proper burial, but he quickly banished this though. After all, he didn't even have the right tools to do it. And besides, he knew where it is now...

Leon had mixed feelings on a thought of leaving this island. On the one hand, he could still feel his guilt on what happened. But on the other... he felt like he has learned a lot. Not only about mysterious creature, but also about himself. He could feel that it was a very important event in his life. He felt stronger and more confident. He felt that he is ready to tackle his problems now. After all... there was someone whom he gave a promise.



Part 2: starting over

Chapter 7: forgiveness



Leon had a really bad dream that he wasn't remembering. It was always like that: when he had vivid and shiny dreams, whether they were good or bad, he was never being able to remember them by the time he was waking up. However... right now it was the least of his worries.

He woke up on a seemingly tropical island. A sandy beach, clear sky and sea breeze. It was like the storm had never happened.

Leon immediately examined himself. The boat that he came on was undamaged, as was his luggage. He took his phone and checked connection. It was working... unbelievably. The chance that this island was inhabitant has slightly increased, not to mention that thank to the connection he technically was able to get out of here whenever he wanted.

Then... everything is alright? However, for some reason, Leon wasn't feeling like that. He has sensed that something was amiss. At first, he thought it was his adventurous spirit was talking to him as it invited him to venture forth and discover the island's secrets, but then he felt that it was something much more serious, the question of life and death.

As Leon decided to check the island and was going to venture forth, he got a reply from a guy he met on a ship: despite the damaged dealt with the ship itself was severe, everyone turned out to be alive, which lifted the weight from Leon's shoulders. However, what that man wasn't understanding, is why Leon is so chill and calm about the situation of being stranded on the island and his lack of urgent request to take him out from here. Leon couldn't explain it. The only thing he said "I have a premonition. If you happen to connect with my parents, tell them that everything is alright".

How Leon could know that Cooper is going to contact his parents? He couldn't explain it, yet somehow he knew it.

Soon he also started to notice how everything was familiar to him. First, he thought that it because he was on vacation with his family on islands several times, so that's why nature was so familiar. But then he noticed that there was more to it than that.

"Huh?... this is strange... it like I can memorize all this leaves and trees. I would not even surprise that if I look on my left there going to be a bigfoot trace here... Aah!"

He didn't even finish the sentence when he discovered that his forecast was absolutely correct. He didn't even know what to be surprised about more: from where this trace had come, or how he was able to guess it.

And if he thought that now was the time to be surprised by things ...

Suddenly, Leon could hear heavy footsteps behind him. And when he turned around, his jaw dropped to the floor completely.

For a moment, he and those whom he had encountered were standing completely speechless.

"Uh, hello?" - finally spoke Leon.

"...hello, human. Are you lost?"

"Well, duh, I'm shipwrecked actually, so... wait what I'm even talking about?..."

Leon couldn't decide what reaction he should choose, so he was saying whatever was on his mind right now, and was feeling more and more embarrassed.

"Hmm, that's unfortunate. Well, you can be with me until someone will find you..." - meanwhile, his interlocutor continued to speak in a manner like everything was normal.

"Something wrong?" - he asked after Leon's continuing silence.

"...Wrong? Something wrong?... Something wrong??? Of course! Everything is wrong! I mean you are really fucking lizard!!! Like wow!!!"

Now it was the turn of a 'real lizard' to get embarrassed... although the more fitting word is embraced, as Leon suddenly leaped and wrapped his small arms around him.

"I never thought I would have met a real anthro reptile! This is the best trip ever!"

For a moment poor lizard was getting seriously confused whether or not human's overreaction is excitement or something else...

"Crap!... I'm sorry" - finally, human calmed down. His mood quickly changed from childishly amazed to apologetic - "It's just... I wasn't expecting to meet someone like you, I really am!"

"Well, I believe you", -- said the 'real lizard' while being slightly embarrassed still - "although it still was quite reckless for you to throw yourself to unknown being like that. Who knew, maybe I am dangerous?"

"I know... you see, it's always like that. Each time I'm trying to be myself I tend to do or say stupid shit. I hate myself for that" - sighted human, -- "although I guess that it isn't really your concern, is it?"

"Hating yourself for that is a bit excessive, but I guess you should watch yourself sometimes to not endanger yourself. But anyway, I think it's time for me to guide you to my camp if you do not mind."

"Oh, of course! I actually wouldn't mind".

'This is strange' - though Leon somewhere on the back of his consciousness... 'why am I acting like... like everything is normal? I probably should...'

But then he quickly interrupted his thoughts and discarded them as unnecessary. He thought that if he will constantly be worried by something that his current behavior will loose sincerity... and it would be ungrateful for him to this strange but kind creature.

"By the way, uh... do you have a name?"

"Yes... it's Gorinich".

"Oh, alright... wait... really? Uh, I mean never mind..."

What surprised Leon the most, is how this meeting was natural to him, despite obviously being not normal. But at the same time, there were so many things that were off. Even if he drops the fact there is an actual otherworld creature living here, there are so much of stuff that Leon didn't get. His overreaction to just hug this creature - from where it came from? He believed that he is a grown-up, and yet he acted so childishly like it was okay! And he wasn't feeling any danger from this creature either... and... how come that its name came right from the mythological creature in Leon's home country? He started to believe like it was just a dream.

............................



"So that's what we call 'video games!'"



The half of the day has passed, and they both were getting along quite well despite meeting at the first time. While the creature named Gorinich didn't understand everything Leon was saying, the boy noticed that it was quite talkative and friendly. Although talkative, perhaps, not the most precise definition, as the only thing the creature doing was nodding and listen.

"Whew... I haven't talked this much in ages! This is weird... you look like an entity from my dreams!"

"Well, I hope not from the wet ones".

"Huh? Excuse me? Why would I have wet dreams?"

"I heard that there is that weird fandom or whatever where you humans like to pose as your animals you have spoken earlier of. And I have to say that most of you had a light, how should I put this? A slightly perverted view on this things... am I wrong?"

"Wow! I never would have guessed that you are so into stuff like this!"

The human was truly surprised by that fact, but... by that time Gornich noticed that he wants to say something, but for some reason was restraining himself.

"Leon" - said the lizard -- "if you want to say something, I would glad to lend you my ear".

"I think I said a lot already... I'm not even sure which topic I should choose next! And speaking of which... you haven't talked about yourself at all!"

"Huh? Well..."

"I mean; how do you live here? And what are you doing all days long?"

That simple question has completely corned the creature.

"Nothing", -- he said honestly - "there is not much to do here, so I... wasn't really doing anything. Each day is the same as the last: I'm waking up, have a breakfast, and... well, that's it. And then again, and again, and again... That's all my life basically. Not much, eh?"

"Oh... I..."

All of sudden the creature noticed a shameful look on Leon's face. After that, he quickly turned his head away.

"Something wrong?"

Suddenly Leon gave Gorinich a very concerned look.

The voice suddenly went down.

"Hey... is everything alright?"

"Of course not!" - said Leon bluntly and furiously.

"Have I said something to upset you... again?"

"No, why again, and I'm talking about the entirely different matter! How... how can you just say that so casually and... well, casually! I mean how could just live here and do nothing? You will be mentally destroyed sooner or later! You are basically just wasting your life away... that's not good at all!"

"What... what do you want for me to do?"

"Shit, I dunno... there should be someone nearby you, right? I mean, there someone there living with you no? Like you have to have family or siblings somewhere? Or friends? Maybe you should ask them about..."

"I have no one".

"What...?"

"I live here all alone".

"But... but this impossible!" - Leon desperate - "There should be a starting point when you were born! You should have people or creatures like you who helped you grow... right?"

"It's all in the past now... why do you care about it anyway? I was... I was banished here long ago. I think you know that I cannot travel anywhere else... and I don't need the need to do it either. And... I wasn't banished here for nothing. I'm not really a good person. I... have done a lot of bad things and... well, maybe I deserve this. I heard humans face imprisonment when they commit crimes, so maybe this is my punishment".

"I... I don't care! I don't know what or how many "bad things" you have committed, but that doesn't mean that you have to be doomed to this! You know, I can say from the looks of you that you have got your fair share of punishment already!..."

Suddenly Leon moved closely to Gorihich, grabbed his heavy shoulders and looked him in the eye.

The lizard-man clearly hadn't expected that, so he was a bit staggered when he felt this serious look to be so close to him.

"Have you looked in the mirror? You have eyes of a dead man. I know those eyes. They are everywhere when I look form where I came!

Look at me, Gorinich! Don't kill your soul!"

"What... what the hell you are you expecting from me!?"

Suddenly the creature raised and angrily shouted at Leon. After that, he grabbed him by the collar and shook him furiously.

"You are talking like there is some kind of solution that I can suddenly magically create! Look at me! Who do you see!?"

Leon could see a giant silhouette that was towering before him. And it was... horrifying.



For a moment Leon's expression was filled with horror, but soon it turned to gloomy, and somber.

When the lizard finally snapped out of it, he released him at first. Leon could see the same expression of horror at his face, that he himself was experiencing not so long ago.

"See...? I'm broken. Broken, irredeemable... abomination."

"Ugh... Dunno what you have been through, but clearly had It rough, honey" -- said Leon while cleaning up himself.

"What? You are not angry at me?"

"You know, you freaked me out for good just now. Also, my head is a bit spinning from your shake-out. But I cannot help but feel that you didn't want it."

"I see... I didn't expect you to understand. But the point is, I'm the lost cause. So... don't remind about this, or you will witness this sight of me going crazy again".



'You wouldn't have entered this state if you wouldn't desire to find an escape from your life, to begin with... that means that you are indeed unsatisfied by it. And if you can't create it by yourself... than... I will be your solution!'

Leon couldn't say this out loud, but he has decided this to himself.



"So, do you want dinner?"

Leon could feel his stomach rumbling.

"Ugh... yeah, I really wouldn't mind to stock myself a bit".

"Alright, come here then".

"By the way, what's on the menu?"

"Fish... as always".

"So that's what you are eating every day?"

"Yeah... sorry, but I don't really have much variety there"

"I see. Then I suppose it's time to make your stuff a bit diverse!"





As Leon has said that, he opened his luggage and started to search for something in it.

"Hmm..."

"Leon... what are you doing?"

"I'm trying to dig some useful tools..."

Soon Leon started to draw some unfamiliar things for the creature: Some packages, vessels, spoons, and a lot of other things. But slowly he started to guess what are they meant to be for.

"Oooookay, so lets if I can add extra spice to the flavor!"



But as soon as Leon drew everything out... he realized, that he had no idea what to do next. All the tools were there, but he realized that he had no idea how to use them.

"Crap... looks like I got excited too fast".

"Do you need help, Leon?"

"No, but... yeah, I kinda do".

....

The two of them began to make a dinner the way Leon wanted. The Leon had a lot of suspiciously useful things for cooking the food in wild, including portable cooking saucepan, teapot with the teas themselves, some food, seasonings, and flavors. But before he could actually use them, he had to study prescriptions first. The creature, meanwhile, while wasn't able to read, was quickly catching up with Leon and his explanations.

For preparations, they needed to have a boiling water, and for that, they had to have a fire.

Suddenly Leon asked:

"Say, Gorinich... can you teach me how to make a fire?"

"I... probably can, but why? I can make it for you".

"No... I wanted to make it by myself".

"...Okay. But I might get angry at you if you will listen to me not attentively"

"Wow, I don't even know you are managing a bootcamp here. Okay, challenge accepted!"

...The method used by the creature was so archaic and primitive that it required a lot of physical strength. It was tough for Leon to spin the stick so fast to create a friction necessary to cause the spark.

"Ugh, this is tough!"

Then the lizard man sat near him and said:

"Let's try doing it together then..."

"Okay, I think I indeed would do with some of the professional help!"

And they the creature carefully grabbed human's tiny hands and started spinning the stick together with him, starting slowly, but then speeding up little by little. After a while, Leon like his hands started to sore, but he clenched his teeth and focused on a task.

Soon, the fire was done.

"Impressive" -- creature said.

"Welp, I wouldn't do it without your help" -- Leon has answered.

"Actually, I didn't help you".

"Wait, what?"

"All I did was covering your hands with mine, and that's all".

Leon couldn't believe it.

"C'mon, you are pulling my leg! I felt myself how you grabbed my hands and... ah, forget it, maybe you are I'm indeed doing myself..."

"You always can try again if you are not sure".

"Meh, maybe some other time"

Leon didn't want to ruin the illusion of his success, so he decided not to argue too much about it. And yet...

'Was it really an illusion?'

...Soon they both boiled down the water. Part of it was meant for 'fish soup', and another Leon has boiled down some tea bag, after what he gave some of it to the creature.

"Hot!" - was an immediate response.

"S-sorry! I forgot to tell you that you have to wait a bit first!"

"Please do not forget next time, or you are going to leave me without tongue!"

"Ahah, okay!"

Leon was a bit ashamed, but he already made peace with the fact that he messes something sometimes.

'Note to self: Before treating something to anyone always try it yourself first!'

...

"So, how was it?" - asked Leon. He already knew the answer: he noticed how the lizard man started drooling long before he finished cooking a fish soup.

"It's... it's fantastic. It reminds me..."

"Reminds you...?"

"Of a time that had gone long ago..." - Goro said. - "Long, long ago..."

Leon could see that creature's face started turning sad at that moment and... for some reason, he felt sad too.

"Do you... cook a lot?" - he asked.

"Yes. For the last year."

"Why for the last?"

"Why, I needed to prepare myself for these types of circumstances".

"I see. It was because... you were preparing to run away from home?"

As soon as the creature asked this, Leon's last remains of good mood have been wiped out completely.

"...Sorry, I must have asked the wrong question".

"...How... how did you know that?"

The creature didn't know what to say.

"I... I guessed. I mean your luggage was packed with some useful tools, it's only natural to assume you decided to... well..."

The lizard couldn't finish the phrase when he saw Leon who, as if he was in trance, turned around and walked away. Just like that. Without saying anything.

For a moment Gorinich himself stayed in place, stunned. But then he immediately followed him, feeling that something not good was happening to the human.

When he reached him, he noticed he was mumbling something incomprehensive to himself.

'...This can't be happening...'

'...I don't deserve this...'

'...This is too good to be true...'



"Leon? Are you alright?"



Leon suddenly stopped.

He was standing back to the lizard man.

"Your name isn't Gorinich... is it?"

The creature froze in place.

"Yes... I lied to you" - he confessed.

Now that his secret was found out, Goro didn't know what to expect from Leon... and yet somehow, what Leon said after that, yet again was what he expected the least.

"I'm... not the first one who arrived here... am I?"

"No... there was... someone before you... I couldn't protect him..."

"So, I'm just using you..."

"Using? No... I mean, what are you even trying to say?"

"I'm keeping all of this charade in an attempt to tame you... manipulating all of your pain that you have left since this tragedy... or... more precisely, tragedies. So we were having fun like nothing had happened, like a Feast in Time of Plague.

Am I right...

...Goro?"

"No...NO! I mean yes, but it was me! It was me who tricked you! I mean, what did you expect? That I would say something like 'Hi I'm Goro and a lot of humans died because of me!" right from the get-go? Then what would you possibly think if me then?"

Goro could not believe that everything actually had happened like he just said. Those events that had happened to him were indeed too much for him to keep inside himself.

He expected human to spiral into a rage by now, but... surprisingly, he stood calm and composed.

"Goro... I ... I'm sorry"

"For what? For what are you apologizing now?"

"I didn't mean to offend you... as I said, I tend to say stupid o mean things sometimes. I... I wanted to thank you. You know, I really... I really thought that I'm in fairytale at first. When you greet me and introduced yourself I thought you were a creature from my dreams."

"Oh... then what the matter, stupid? Are you disappointed in me?"

"No... I think that you are a very beautiful creature."

"Really? I thought you would say something 'how dare a biotrash like you exist' and stuff... Damn, what the hell is going on with you?"

As soon as Goro made another remark, Leon squinted his face like he was going to cry.

"I'm...I'm sorry..."

"Now what!?"

"For ever visiting your island..."

Suddenly Leon Grabbed already confused creature by hand and said to him:

"Goro... when someone else... someone better than me going to visit your island, whether it will be human or another unfortunate creature, grab him by hand and get out of here! You may not find a place comfortable as this again, but it will be better than to waste your days here! ...okay?"

''...Leon, I think you had enough of bright events for today. You don't make any sense even for me anymore. Let's prepare for sleep, okay?"

"Yeah, you right. My thoughts are a mess indeed..."

"See? Let's return to camp, shall we?"

"Okay... uh, I think I need to uh, go out... so come back without me."

"Are you sure you wouldn't lose yourself?"

"I think I will manage. Also, your fire is quite easy to spot during the night."

"Alright. Don't hang for too long, okay?"



Goro felt somewhat relieved. He still didn't know what human wanted to say to him all this time, but he could feel that something was bugging him... and now it looked like he calmed down more or less.

But it wasn't long when Goro's senses spotted something uncanny. He has quickly turned around and wanted to return to human... but he didn't found it: not in place, he was just no, nor somewhere close to him.

"Gods, what's wrong with you!?"

Goro was completely stunted. He didn't know anymore what was the motive behind human's actions, nor how to finally calm him down. Hell, wasn't able to calm even himself down anymore!

...Luckily, he noticed the traces on the ground, and he quickly followed them. He didn't know what was going to happen, but he needed to get there fast.

Surprisingly, he managed to get to the place instantly... where was the giant piece of rock standing... the human was near it. As the moonlight was shining, Goro clearly saw that human was standing there, from the back angle, and seems like he didn't notice Goro... and what's more, he was holding some kind of object.

Taking a closer look, Goro suddenly saw noticed the glint of a metallic object in human's hand. Goro knew very well what this object was. Suddenly, human raise it and pointed at himself.

"What the hell are you doing!? STOOOP!"

Goro lunged himself upon the human. At that exact moment, Leon turned around from surprise and immediately got grabbed and snuggled to the ground.

At that moment, they both glanced on each other with their eyes open wide. Their eyes have met... and it was enough to understand everything about each other.

Suddenly... Leon's expression has distorted in a terrible grimace. He grabbed Goro and tumbled him down with an unexpectedly strong force. When poor lizard thought, that he would not get any surprises anymore, he suddenly discovered himself lying on the ground beneath him.

"Shut your eyes!" - Leon shouted.



'Is this the end? Will you finally grab this damn knife and kill me now, that you had remembered everything?' - Goro thought. When human has climbed him, with his tearful eyes full of rage and sadness, he thought that this is it for him: this time, he will be stabbed for good. He didn't resist, leaving himself in the mercy of human. But instead...

...he felt something soft touching his lips.

Goro's mind went completely blank. He didn't know what was going on anymore. He was getting more and more confused by this utterly absurd situation, as well as by the feelings that overflowed him at that moment. But soon everything lost in the darkness, as once again, his hands wrap the human and held him once again.







The human's tale





I don't know how to explain this.

I don't know where I am, where I'll go

Where to even begin.

Unfortunately, in my case, it isn't the verse from a beautiful song, but a sad truth. To say that I was a bit sad and confused at the moment when "this" had happened would be a huge understatement. Mayhaps, I better off starting from the beginning. After all, that's what I have done thereat.

I'm your average infantile teenage edgy/emo boy you are going to find next door. Probably you wouldn't guess it from one meeting since I will be kind, polite and yadda, yadda, yadda. Well, unless you decide to talk shit to me for some reason. Who knows, maybe I will occasionally bump into you or impolitely ignore you. There is numerous conflict situation the life can throw at us. You know, like ours.

The problem is, I have lived with a mask I have just described for quite some time. While people are often saying that you have to be yourself, I will say that's only true if you are not, say, a shithead. Because if you are a shithead, then you better off wearing the mask that I myself was wearing for this long. There is nothing bad or shameful in it, after all, all people are different and this civil mask is what helps (well, mostly at least) those people to build a relationship with each other. Unfortunately, in my case, I had, eh, how to say this... overworn it, I think I will create this verb for a while.

...And when I got so sick of my mask I have furiously broken it, unleashing everything negative that was dormant in my soul. It's like the Jungian psychology says: if you are acting in the way that you don't like, your sub conciseness will let you know about it by slowly building up your discontent, and eventually, releasing it.

...

You know my actual name? It's Leonid. It was given to me in honor of the Spartan king, who sacrificed himself to save Greece.

It was given me by my mother. She thought that I will be some sort of a superhero in future who will save humanity from its problems.

Yep, it was like that.

Kinda typical situation actually. Parents want their child to be idealized self, so they want him to become perfect to their vision. Take notes, parents! It's not always a good idea unless you want your child to become like me!

Anyways, where was I? Oh, yeah! I hate my name. Sorry, mom, But I think you had misdirected it on someone who, well, isn't quite fit for it. At least, not anymore.

I always thought that it fits me even less than Leon, but I would never say this, as together with this, my mother entrusted her hopes and dreams into me. Hopes and dreams I tried so hard to live up. Unfortunately, I kinda got lost halfway through of my, um, heroic mission.

My childhood was quite happy though. I was a goodie-goodie in two shoes (and still kinda am... sometimes), was going to school, getting good marks, playing with friends, reading books, playing computer games, and, of course, swimming in the clouds of my own fantasies.

My dad was a governor in a place where I lived, so you cloud say that my future was secured. At the time, it allowed to be the person whom I wanted to be - a little strange, eccentric, nae - you could say enchanted. While I was a bit clouded, I have this ability to find a common ground with almost any person. I think that my status allowed me to develop this trait.

I was lucky. I was lucky, because politically speaking, the place where I live, uh, how should I put it lightly? Ah, well, I guess it's pointless to intrigue, so here you go: my country is kinda shit. I didn't know it from the beginning, but since I was curious about the world, I have found out that it was... not the best place to live. Not quite on par with some fictional dystopian worlds, but you would likely choose something more comfortable - let's say, some average state of America. When I have found this out I... I think I felt guilty. The peaceful place where I lived was one of the fewest prosperous places in my country - of course, thanks to my Dad, no less. And the fact that the outside world isn't as nice as a world I live in was... little shocking for me. I thought that is... unfair.

For those years my Dad was kinda a paragon of justice for me. Well, everyone's Dad is an authority to its kid, right? That's why when I told him about my purely altruistic intentions, he said to me this:

"If you really want to change the world and help people who were less lucky then you are, then first, you have to provide this opportunity to yourself. So, the first thing you should do is to finish school and university. Only after your studies, you will be able to create real things."

I was encouraged by his words, but... I mean yeah, they are right and all, but because me was me, I took them way too seriously and... well, decided to follow my way.

What way, you ask?

Oh, here comes the sweetest part: to create the universe where everyone will be happy.

Yes, seriously. Wha, don't believe me? Well, I can't help.

I was young. And stupid. And young. And loved time-travel stories. And played Chrono Trigger. And read a lot of Japanese visual novels, where, to explain the existence of multiple endings at once game scenario writers - surprise! - were constantly making pseudo-scientific theories.

And I believed in them. It surprised me though, why this fact isn't mentioned by modern science.

So I decided to make this dream come true.

Can you believe how stupid I was? To draw myself in my own delusions - yeah, only I can do that. So that's what I decided to do.

I haven't told straight about my intentions to others - I simply said that I want to become a scientist to do great things. And you know what? It worked! Well, at least my parents supported my intentions wholeheartedly. My mother - as I mentioned - sincerely believed that the meaning of my birth was to help humanity, that's why it is understandable why she supported my idealized dream. As for Dad... he actually wanted to become the scientist himself, but his circumstances forced himself to go in the politics and earn a lot of money for our big family.

What could possibly go wrong, you ask? Turned out - a lot of things.

I haven't understood myself when things are started to stir at first, but I guess that was inevitable anyway.

This whole thing started going wrong when we have moved to the capital. As the time of my father's job was running out, he needed a new job, and he also hoped that it would be better for me as well since the capital provided more opportunities for everything. Honestly, I did not really want to change my place and begin everything a new, but that was a necessity, so I wasn't complaining about it.

There was, though, another thing that influenced my life: before our movement, father came to me and said that when we will come to the capital, I wouldn't be able to feel myself freely anymore. So I in order to make friends, I have to make as best impression as possible -- always behaving politely to everyone, not speaking my mind, agreeing on each topic, answer only what other want to hear in order to gain their affection or earn the good mark.

I couldn't help but raise a brow on some of the requirements I had to uphold, but I obeyed and listened to him. And so put this mask on me...







...To its credit, it helped me a lot. It is important to build a relationship over the course of life, so my mask did a fine job in this regard. While I struggled in making new friends at first, my new character kinda helped me. I was treated like a puppy more often than not, but it satisfied me. Also, it had its arsenal of benefits. Not to mention that it was by far not the worst treatment...

You see, our school had a problem with bullies. I always wanted to ask officials what the hell they were doing, but I afraid to ask them about it directly. I was afraid to say anything that is wrong. They improved this stuff by now, but then we had that really ghastly hierarchy where, basically, the richer your parent's are, the higher priority you get. I was somewhere in the middle ground since while my Dad has a good job, it wasn't nearly as "prestige" as governor, and he usually tried to live as humble as possible, and not let other people know how much money he is got.

I wasn't really minded to be in such status myself, even with our environment being so... well, corrupted.

Why he chose this school? We all were inexperienced when it came to choosing the correct school, so he thought that since this one is famous for its science subject priority, it will be perfect for me.

While I personally wasn't having any problems with bullies thanks to my demure nature and innocent puppy eyes, the fact that this problem was existing was... quite disturbing for me. I mean... I thought that people have to be, like, a family? But it seemed like not really the case here.

There were outsiders, and they weren't getting the best of the treatment out here. They were mistreated, and badmouthed, and... ah, well, long story.

Honestly, I was ashamed of my weakness. I wasn't into sports and I despised martial arts because for me they were just another method of taking advantage of people.

...You know, it's almost funny. The real friends which I had in school were precisely who were treated like outsiders. I knew that I probably was putting myself at risk to become an outsider myself when I was trying to make friends with them. But I felt that if I wouldn't, then, probably no one will.

Of course, the fact that they were outsiders doesn't automatically mean that they were easier to make friends. Since I was in good relationship with people that those outsiders were in a bad relationship, I kinda was a sycophant for them, so there were also a lot of cases when I got rejected. It was alright, I kinda expected this outcome.

However, it wasn't all fruitless. Those friends with whom I managed to get in a relationship, became like brothers to be. It's not hard to see why: they were guys like me, it just so happened that they weren't really fortunate with their position.

.....

This all probably heartwarming and all, but the time passed meanwhile, and everything seemed to be going okay for a while. Well, actually, the more I studied, the more things started to stir from the "okay" direction. My marks were still great, and I made solid progress in a study not just science, but other subjects as well. And that's... where slowly everything started to slow down.

You see, the more I studied, the more I started to notice how my passion started to fade away in the science department. Eventually, I got interested in fields where I wasn't paying much attention at first.

I suddenly got interested in history and literature. I haven't really acknowledged it at first, so I just went along with the flow cuz why not. I don't know why, but... it really felt compelling to me to discover stories of different people and where they lead to in the end. The tyrants whom I despised, and the heroes whom I admired. This subject let me learn all about them.

Yes, I admired those people, who were leading humanity forward into the prosperity, and, as you know that by now, I was striving to become one myself eventually. But the more I learned those subjects... the weaker that desire become.

Have I mentioned how actually crappy my country is? How it's corrupted and behind the times? It all started long, long time ago. As you have guessed, the content of these subjects was rarely about something happy. The more were I studying these them - the more I noticed how it was about something bad, tragic and unethical.

Soon, I could get a nice, clear view of our 'beautiful-beautiful' world. Those people who truly wish to do good for others only got relatively acknowledged in our time. Do you know what reputation they were having in their time? Nobody gave a rat's ass about their ideas, talents or deeds, and most of them died sick and miserable. But those, who had enough power to oppress everyone who was lower then they are - they were treated as the great people, even after the history has acknowledged the fact that they were complete slimes.

Basically, today's society was like my class... except ten times worse. And for all those years that have passed, it hasn't changed much.

Why I was surprised by this so much? I mean, I still kinda expected it. I wasn't in the age to be particularly surprised and horrified by that crap. And still I couldn't help but feel:

"Where I will find myself If I will continue following my 'dream?'"

Meanwhile, while my successes in studies were still progressing, and the school... well, it somehow became a better place. Something has changed in its leadership, which caused a lot of students with bad studies to get expelled. At first, that was I was glad that it was happening, as the school became a much more peaceful place than it was before.

That ultimately meant fewer bullies and more good guys. Or at least, guys who are more or less normal. Strangely enough, I felt like I got more communicative with others. I felt like my bonds started to strengthen even with those whom I didn't communicate much for one reason or another, as we all were preparing for the final exam. And since my grades were high, a lot of people treated me with respect.

I should have been glad. After I successfully passed my exam, I should be holding my head high because I had a promising future ahead. And yet there was a lingering feeling that something had gone wrong. I was trying not to pay attention to it, until at the end of our high school graduation day when we were celebrating it and stuff, I suddenly felt somewhat ill.

I left the celebration and returned home. I didn't understand what was wrong at first until came to my room and look myself at the mirror. When I gazed upon my reflection and looked closely...

...I could see that I was no longer me.

I was no longer trying to help anyone, but simply trying to make an impression that I'm trying to accomplish something great. To make others believe that I'm a good person.

My dream? I have long learned all the necessary knowledge to understand that it was out of reach. It's simply unachievable, as the theory was just a fraud. Well, you don't have to have a Nobel's prize to guess that by now.

"What am I... now? Where I will go next?"

...



Soon, I started to see the "Corruption" everywhere in everyday life. I started to see it everywhere... including myself.

For example, the reason my school was expelling so many students over a year was not because they have acknowledged that they have got problems with discipline, but because they were simply eliminating poor students leaving only the best of the bet to keep their rating high. Meaning that school didn't keep me because I had a goal to achieve, but simply because I had high grades. Ultimately, the school's opinion on 'bad' students drastically differed from my perspective.

How many actually 'good' students were expelled because of this policy? Where are they now?

I started to notice how my worldview started to twist little by little. The Dad all of sudden started to have conversations with me about the importance of building a successful carrier. Why is he deiced that I need a successful career? Did he forget the promise we made together long ago? What about my goal to help people? I was wanted to say something like "what the fuck are you talking about, Dad? Since when I said that goal of my life to build a successful carrier? Are these meanings synonyms in our days or what?"? But I didn't know how to argue then, and well, I never even wanted to argue with anyone, so, as I always, all I could do is silently nod.

And then I started to notice that everyone started to relate to me like... like I was some kind of... how should I put this... a talisman. I didn't really understand what wrong with that at first, but after giving it some thought, I got it: Everyone valued me not because I was a person, but because I was something that society recognized only for its achievements. For a school I was their good-luck charm that they could present to other schools or famous organizations; for Dad, I was his object upon whom he could realize his desires that he couldn't bring to reality in his past life, classmates could rely upon in case they wouldn't be able to study something...

I felt like I was the thing, not a person anymore. I felt like everyone is treating only for my achievements, not who I was as a person.

Actually, who I was as a person? Who am I now?

No more than just Dostoyevsky's idiot - 'a very humble and wonderful human being', who actually just a wimp without a backbone. A prince of fools. A Don Quixote. Actually, I might as be a literal idiot.

When I realized this, it shocked me so much, that I suddenly started to close myself to everyone.

Eventually, I started to hate my old self. That innocent boy that was hopelessly left behind.

What kind of vapid, nebulous dream was "I want to help everyone?" What basis did I have for thinking of myself for being some kind of superhero? And where the hell I got that Idea that "perfect universe" even exist?

And what about now? What, fundamentally, did I even want now? To build my life in this world, ruled by money and lies? Where I have to constantly make an impression of how "good" I was?

...

I realized that I started to feel an aggressive apathy towards life. My parents had even signed me up to a psychologist in order to help me fix my mind. However, by that time I had locked my heart tight for everyone else to look. I was afraid to be laughed at. I mean... any normal person in my place would just go on enjoying the life or whatever (assuming he is able to survive in the college) when I was pacing and pacing, while didn't know what to do with myself. Science lost interest for me, and I didn't know what path I should take in life.

If not these factors were enough for me, one lucky day I have accidentally discovered my father's ancient history, and as it turned out he was hardly a paragon of justice in his early carrier, then I thought long ago.

Now, because kids are kids and kids are the worst, they tend to be the cruelest judges of their parents. Of course, I never minded the fact that my Dad had literally no other way to come to his post where he could finally lead his town to prosperity to begin with. However, I believe that I also was aware of this fact inside of my subconscious.

It's just... I don't know whether it was my rebellious age or my inner demons who have suddenly awoken within me... probably all of the above, but it all lead to...

...to despising our human nature in general. I really start to hate it. Like, everything about us I started to see as negative since then.

I was convinced that we build our lives in the corpses of others. That we destroy animals, plants and even ourselves to survive, and we will die if we don't do it. That our appetites are whetted by the slaughtering of others. And everything about those desires is negative.

A desire for sleep? Laziness.

Sexual desires? Obscenity and sin.

A desire for food? Gluttony.

A desire for self-expression? Arrogance and selfishness.



Well, you got the idea.



When I finally understood that the goal of my struggles with studies was not to help anyone but to simply prove the society that I'm not a loser, I rejected my society. As soon as I finished my exams (The results were great, but that's was my final straw), I asked parents to buy me a spare room in an average apartment and started to live the closed off, solitary life.

My relatives were totally confused about my situation: why a student that finished the school with excellent results suddenly decided to distant himself from everyone? Why instead continuing studies at university he decided to just do nothing? After all, I didn't really talk to anyone about my insecurities. I... I was ashamed of them.

.....

As always, my country had another crisis these days. Which means a constant brainwashing in the tv's, or stupid seamy tv dramas, or other bullshit. That's why when I moved to my apartment, I started to live my life as hikikomori. Know what's hikikomori means? It's a person who leaves an introverted solitary life, existing only for the home's entertainments. Books, films, tv shows, anime, video games... I have surrounded myself with fictional worlds as tight as I only could. The worlds that were better than ours... and the worlds where I could be a hero. I was desperately clinging on remains of my childhood, doing everything to prevent it go away.

That was also a time when I met a "furry" community. What is furry? They basically are fans of anthropomorphic animals, who are doing their weird shtick by dressing in said costumes. There are people who say that they are "sexual deviants", "they want to have sex with animals", "they freaks for wanting to dress up as animals and have sex", but that's bullcrap. They are actually pretty nice people, loving, respectful, childish and child-friendly, which, as you have guessed, was the main reason why I became one soon enough.

The main reason the community was created was an escapism. They basically a people who were attemptitng to hide themselves from fears and worries of the outside world under a thick layer of artificial fur.

Why there was so much fuss about the whole sex thing, is because people in this community probably weren't ready to engage in a real relationship yet (OR were rejected or broke off), so they somehow started to get attracted to things that actually don't exist. And yes, so was me beside them.

There I was able to meet more friends - well, not really friends but buddies, since I kinda became bad at friendship. It was also the place where I somewhat felt free from the society's cage - I could be myself regardless of my status or who I am. The place where I could freely have worn off my mask.

Once I have visited a furry convention where I have met the foreigners. They told me about that there are going to be another furry convention - a new type, the one that meant to happen approximately in another year. It was experimental, as it was the first time of making a convention about hiking in the wild, and are hiring volunteers for that. Yeah, hiking on those unmovable costumes is defiantly sounded like fun...

...But anyway. When I heard that, I could sense how an absolutely dumbest and absurd idea started to form in my mind: use this opportunity to get away from it all. From my rotten society, from the obligation of wearing my goodie-goodie mask, from a necessity to study hard in order to get a good life, from this constant pressure of making career... The place where I can live how I want...

...or die.



The event, by the way, was happening in America - a birthplace of hippies, adventurers, and travelers of sorts. Which means I will probably not be alone in that regard, although it probably will take time for me to find a suitable company. So immediately signed up for this and promised that I will come. The idea was to, after the convention will be finished, to continue hiking alone... forever. To throw all of identifying documents away, and go on a journey until I die.

I returned home and started to study about survival. I have searched a lot of survival books, as well as adventure books in order to learn about this thing as much as I possibly can. Too bad though that though putting all that to the test haven't crossed my mind for some reason, except my cooking lessons.

...Meanwhile, my business at home wasn't doing anyhow. When my Dad finally reached out to me and asked how am I doing, I finally told him everything. Let me tell you - there was a good pile of shit running out of me at that moment. Remember when I shouted at Goro with all my might? Well, it was a part of how I shouted at Dad at the moment. It was like I finally got my mask off and was able to do anything I want. I remember telling him how I hated my class with burning passion, how I hate my society, my country and, finally, him. I told him how he forgot about my dream and now only see me as an object of showing off to his co-workers, how everything saw me only as a talisman...

It was very, very ugly.

That one is the shiniest episode that I just wish to cut the hell off form my life... you know, like reload the save file. Or more precisely, to warp in that particular universe where this hadn't happened.

So... the moment Dad was so shocked that he even didn't find to answer at first. I was a character from whom he expected arguments the least. And all the time up till now he has spent to think how he could bring me back from my... well... sociopathy at this point I guess, using all possible ways of threats, persuasions., and moral educations, other possible methods. I mean, what did you want from my poor dude? His son has just gone crazy all out, for God's sake! That's enough to freak out any dad out there.

At the same time, my parents have "upgraded" the psychologist, which I guess was something to be expected. Thanks to my behavior lately I have caused enough reasons to worry about me, not only from parents but from other people as well. And, well, I have some extra negative traits in the process, including numerous complexes regarding my mood swings, apathy aaaand....

...sexual orientation. Yeeaaaah, didn't see that coming, did ya? I was an officially furry trash at this point.

My relatives were trying to reach out to me... and I just ignored them, while continuing building high walls around myself.

See the sad Irony of it all? I was so convinced that nobody was caring for me as a person that hasn't even noticed how everyone was horrified and worry for me when I closed my world and started to live as a hikikomori.

If I would be wise enough to take a look inside myself, I would understand that there was also a problem in me, not just in everyone around me, and this problem was much more serious than just being a talisman. But because me is me, I just continued onward with my stupid rebellion.

After a year or so, I have made an impression like I'm getting better, and when I told everyone that I'm volunteering for a short holiday trip, everyone was pleased as they thought that psychologists help was going well.

Why did I decide to change my name? I guess it was another part of my stupid rebellion. Leonid was... kinda on-the-nose, and also carried the sign of my nation, which I didn't want to share with anyone. Also, have I mentioned how much I hated it?

I thought that if I change it, then maybe nobody would guess when I from when I will get to the wild. Oh, also it sounds "cool". Well, at least all so-called badass characters from fiction were caring that name, so I thought why not to assign that to myself.

Can you imagine how stupid I was? I was going to sink myself into the oblivion and that what was going through my mind - to imagine myself a cool name!



And... I believe you know the rest. Arrival on an island, the unluckiest meeting possible with an alien form of life, and... remember my scientific theory? Well, it suddenly turned out to be true. What, you don't believe me? Don't tell me you have a better explanation of what has happened. The dream inside the dream? Really? That's even more absurd. Maybe you think that I'm gone crazy? Well, I would argue with you on that one as well. I mean I have my problems, but they are nowhere enough to just to bring me to that state...

...

At least, now I understood why I set up on my journey. It was not get away from it all, but to see if people will accept me for who I am. And... I think that I already have an answer.

...

Enough of my problems. There is someone nearby who needs far greater help than I... and I will do everything for him. After all the crap I have done because of my angst... I have to correct it all. I actually knew that long ago, just didn't know where the turning point should be, and now there can't be possibly any more fitting time.

I dunno how, but I... no, "we" were gifted with a second chance... and now I'm not going to waste it, and I'm not going to let him waste it either.

Goro... I will save you.

The creature's tale





This story happened long ago.

When I started to live on this island on my own, I was glad at first. It allowed me to remain safe from humans and be free, almost like a bird. No... almost like a God. Of course, this feeling didn't come from nowhere: the island was quite a hostile quite there when I came here, it had quite dangerous bests, with which I had to fight to survive. However, eventually, I managed to conquer this place.

This arrogant feeling of superiority allowed me to bear anything that I was holding against humans. However, the more I lived, the more emptiness I started to feel inside myself. When suddenly first humans started visiting my island, I felt that my hatred was only getting worse. To think that I have to hide myself from lesser beings considering that I was thinking of myself as a "God" was beyond humiliating for me. And... the thought that I will never be able to interact with them was making my existence almost unbearable, although I wouldn't able to admit this in the open, even when there was no one but myself.

That was until the certain human has showed up. He washed ashore after terrible a terrible storm. I wanted to chase him out at first, but when I get to meet him, I instantly changed my mind. That human was a total opposite of Leon. He wasn't brave, he lacked that energy and spirit. He didn't particular cared about the world or anything else than himself. He was... quite puny, and he even didn't conceal it. But I didn't mind any of that, so when he asked me stay with me, I couldn't force myself to say "no".

And so we started to live together. Very soon I felt like my hatred started to melt, and I began to open up a bit. That human... he was so helpless that I was spending my whole day taking care of him. But I can't say I was dissatisfied with this. I was somehow glad that I have now someone to care about. And each time I was doing something for him, he smiled at said "thank you". I felt that this reward was more than enough for me.

But we had a pretty bad time when it comes to having a conversation. I for, as long as we lived together, haven't got even a half as much of information about the world out there, that I got from Leon if any. And he wasn't an exception: it was like he wasn't knowing anything, except for the most elementary stuff. Needless to say, we both weren't used to talk much. And we both were closed-off. At the same time, it was something that we had in common, so in the end, we were able to get close to each other.

His name was Kyle, and he came from reach family like Leon. However, they both are so different that I couldn't believe that both of them came from the same area of society. But soon I got a clearer picture of why he was so silent and introverted. As I heard from him, when he was small he was involved in... kidnapping, I think? In short, his parents decided that it was a good idea to isolate him from the rest of the world after that. His trip on the ship was that one occasion when they allowed him to be at freedom for a couple of weeks. Maybe that was the reason he didn't want to go back and instead wanted to stay with me...

Soon we got really close. We started to live our life together and thought that we could live happily like this forever. How were we wrong...

The first thing that started to go off is him suddenly suggesting that our relationship should become intimate. When I first heard this... well, I was in shock, to say the least. I heard about this type of relationship long ago from my mother, so I was sort of knew what it was. And my knowledge about it was enough to tell me that this was not a normal request. Not only that, but everything about us was so different... our age, gender, kin... Everything about this relationship was wrong for me.

I... have to admit that had special feelings for him as well. To whom else I could have them after all... But nevertheless, I felt like this is something that I have to avoid. My gut was telling me that something very bad was going to happen if I would answer "Yes" on his request. So I tried to switch the topic and hoping that he will forget about it again. It worked... for a while, until but a more serious problem occurred.

For some time, we lived happily together. The days were the same as always more or less, but we got used to each other's presence. However... suddenly things started to change. As the days gone by, Kyle's happy mood, that was somehow giving me a meaning to live further, suddenly started to get sour. And his behavior got strange as well. He started to get spoiled, capricious, and always dissatisfied by something.

One day I bring him food like I always did, but for some reason instead of accepting it like he always did, he started at it with the leaden gaze and then threw away everything I have brought for him.

"What... what the hell are you doing!?"

And he replied:

"Sick... I'm sick of it! That's all I can take! I can't take it anymore! I don't want any more of fish! I'm sick of it! I want to eat something else!"

"Then... why you don't simply ask me for something else? Why do you have to make this tantrum?"

"Because I'm sick... and tired... for everything!"

"Kyle, what's gotten in you all of sudden? Six months ago you were happy, saying how it is peaceful and calm and stuff! You were saying something that my island is like a paradise, no?"

"That was then! This is now!"

"What's the difference? I don't understand! Has something changed?"

"No! Nothing's change! Not a single thing! Yesterday, today, -- it's all the same! The same scenery! The same can! I'm... I'm losing my mind!"

I haven't said everything. I sort of knew why he was acting like that but was lying myself that I didn't. Because If accepted the gravity of the situation in which we have cornered ourselves, then this kid would have got no one left to rely on.

"I don't want to eat any more fishes! I don't want any more fruits! I want... I want something else!"

But... you already know that I don't really don't have any emotions, didn't you?

"St.. stupid fool! Do you have any idea what are you asking for!? Don't ask for impossible! Do you have any idea what are you asking for? The only food that we have is fishes and fruits! And you know what? This is far from the worst food out there! Actually, it is very healthy! And do you know how much time I spend each date to gather it for you? And you are telling me you are sick of it!?"

"I... I..."

It seems like at that moment I've got really angry because his previously annoyed voice trembled at that moment.

The later days started to get worse since then. We couldn't even have a conversation with each other anymore, because each time we started to talk about something... it wasn't for very long. And to make matters worse, soon I have found that I don't have anything left to talk about. Despite being together, we started to rarely talk to each other and avoid eye contact...

I knew that it wasn't right, but I couldn't think of anything. At first, I thought that he doesn't need me anymore, but remembering him wanting to start a "special" sort of relationship with me I knew that it probably wasn't the case.

But what... what I should have done? I didn't have any ideas at all! It's got so bad, that I even started to think that at this point it would be fair to bring back this conversation and say "yes" to him. And yet, I was feeling that it wouldn't be right, and it was holding me back. I ended up waiting for something - for an occasion - to talk to him. Unfortunately, the more you prolong something, the harder it becomes for you to talk about it. I didn't know it then.

I should know better than anyone that ones you live the same day over and over your life become stale. And now with the relationship becoming distant between us, I was chipping his last... no, the most important reason to be here.

And when I finally decided to seriously talk with him about things...

...

Ngr... it's painful to remember. I always have that headache when I'm trying to remember that particular fragment.

When I was observing the island, I though dispatched of every little creature that was inhabiting the island when arrived there... so one time we carelessly started a loud argument... and paid a steep price for that.



I can't remember what we were arguing about no matter how I tried, but I think it doesn't matter anymore.

The point is, that suddenly, out of the blue, the tiger had appeared. Even I panicked from a sudden surprise. However, I quickly readied myself for battle, knowing that I have no other choice. "Kyle, get out of here!" I shouted. I didn't look at him, being fully sure that he heard and listened to me.

The fight was hard. At some point, I found myself backed up unto a tree with several of my body parts wounded and dripping in blood. I thought that this is it. I will die... and I'm going to leave behind someone, who will certainly be next in line for death.

And... know what happened next? When the tiger lunged at me... I was saved by him. He shielded me right before the last blow. Later I discovered that he had not only shielded me but also inserted sharp-shaped rock right in the tiger's heart, thanks to which I had actually survived.

However... He paid his life for that.

"Kyle!"

"Goro... I feel a bit cold... can you hold me... for a while?"

I picked up his bloody body... it was cold and numb.

"Kyle, please, get a hold of yourself! I... I'm sorry for everything! For shouting in you, for ignoring you for so long... please, don't leave me!"

I don't remember what else sweet words I was shouting at him...

"Kyle... no... that's wrong... that' have to be a bad dream..."

His heart rate was decreasing really fast, and I knew that I cannot do anything about it. I felt like an overwhelming despair consumed me.

"Goro... " - said Kyle, and suddenly smiled -- "thank you. You probably didn't feel anything about me, but... but I... I really liked..."

I understood what he wanted to say to me.

"ngh... AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!"

I Screamed. I was screaming until my lungs got fully devastated.

......

... Since then, it was like I was living in the dark. I was waking up, drawing my eyes in tears all day and then going back to sleep, and that's how I was spending the rest of my days. Eventually, I pushed all of my memories far, far away in the depths of my mind. It was hard to discard them at first, but the constant flow of time made it easier for them to fade into nothing... eventually. I know that It was disrespectful for me to forget about any of people who showed so much affection to me, but I would never see him again, and thinking about him only brought me pain, so there was no point in remembering. The years started to go by, and the more time has passed, the more I felt how terrible cynicism started taking a root in my heart. Thankfully, people have almost stopped visiting my place, so I had nothing on whom I could discharge my negative feelings.

However...

...

...On certain day, another human was going on a trip. He told everyone that it was just to be left off for a while, where in fact, his ultimate goal was to disappear forever. But his plans were not meant to be completed... because he met me.

Since this incident, my world became cold and dark. I was drifting through the endless darkness with not a single a ray of hope at the end. It was clear by that point, that I was born to live an obscure life and eventually disappear without a trace. However, all of sudden a glimpse of light appeared above me... and him, stretching his hand to me. It was so sudden and out of blue that I didn't even believe my eyes at first. But when the realization hit me... I still thought - is it okay to grab this hand? Wouldn't it bring me in a place that is even worse? Or... could this fragile human even handle me? Would he break upon the weight of my own troubles?

Knowing that there will be never any other opportunity, I extended my hand to him. I immediately felt bad for doing so, as his strength was not nearly enough to lift me up from where was I... I was ready to accept his rejection. However, he didn't wish to let me go, and, upon the sheer determination, he managed to draw me out from where I was.

My heart started to beat again. My eyes started to open. Slowly, the color started returning to the world. The hands of my clock, once frozen still, began to move again.

...

...

That's how it all happened, poetry aside. Not so long ago I was literately a broken mess of a living thing, that came from nowhere, living for nothing, and was meant to disappear in nothingness.

However... there was one person who was able to somehow change me. I didn't expect him to go that far for me all that way where he did, but now I couldn't thank him enough for all his troubles he had gone through with me once again.

...I still not quite get the grasp of the situation we found ourselves in though. Leon's scientific theory, I think, is the most fitting explanation here... but anyway, when I woke up from the "dream" when I got sick and died because of his unwise actions, I found myself alive and well and in perfect health. I should have been glad, but instead, I felt the same bleeding pain in my heart once again. I remember roaming aimlessly after that around the island, when... I met him again. I couldn't this miracle that has happened. I felt incredibly relieved but at the same time... I wasn't sure if I should meet him. What if he will hate me again? How... I should behave myself around him 'this' time around?

However, knowing that he will not survive without me, I made my choice.

I decide to behave myself as politely as possible... and wow, I didn't even know that it would make so much of drastic difference. "Or maybe... that dream is just a dream?" - I thought then. However, the more time passed, the more I started to feel that it's the same human that I parted ways.

...Very soon, I noticed how he began to remember something... I was afraid at first, guessing that - somehow -- he had the same dream as me. I wanted to begin anew so badly, that I was constantly lying to himself that it's our first meeting.

It was cowardly for me yet again continuing making an impression like everything was fine, but I was so scared that it all may go wrong again that I didn't even care anymore about what I was doing.

And when he finally remembered everything...

.....

"What we were doing? We were kissing... what is a kiss? A symbol of affection, intimacy... fucking hell!"

I desperately trying to remember what was happening last night, as well as to confront my feelings and... my results weren't good. Actually, I was a bit horrified at first. ...No, it didn't go further than kissing, but the fact that we kissed was still horrifying by itself. I'm already was at loss how to continue behaving around him... I mean, even I have guessed long ago that this kid wasn't normal, and now this...

However, I didn't get to think... because as soon as I woke up, I felt like the human I was holding started to move.

I hurriedly but gently placed him beside me, because I knew that if he will find out himself so close to me it's not going to get better.

"Good morning..." I finally said.

"Oh, hey..." - he answered, -- "you look great today!"

"What, really?"

"Yeah... yesterday when you found me you looked... how should I put this? Freaked... out?"

Of course, I was freaked out. I thought that I will never find you.

"...But now you look like you born again! Damn...

...I'm a horrible human, aren't I?" - he looked at me with guilty eyes.

"Walking mystery, is what you are," - I said, -- "one minute you are lunging at me with a knife, and other - well,..."

I think my face flashed red at that moment.

"I'm sorry! I didn't expect it... I really haven't. It's all just happened so fast... all those memories just came too many so quickly... I remembered how I hated you when you were mistreating me, and..."

"Was I... that horrible?"

"No... I mean yes." - he said honestly, -- "But then again, we both were, so there is no point of arguing it anymore, is it?"

Actually, he is right: the self-deprecation alone wouldn't lead us anywhere.

"I... I understand now why decided to act like nothing happened yesterday..." - he continued, "but still... ngh.. not this... crap, I don't even know where to start!"

"Can you remind me... how you ended up here?" - I couldn't think of anything better to ask that I already knew... "I seemed to forget that part..."

"Hey... that was the most important thing!" - Leon jokingly made an impression like he was offended... "but eh, I don't mind, although... it's not going to be fast".

Of course, I remembered 'that' part. I was remembering everything. His existential crisis, his rejection of the laws to which the world was working, his dream to rescue humanity from itself... I have just noticed that in some way his life was a bit similar to mine... despite he wasn't forced out of the family for his rebellion, the reason why he decided to act against the society laws was because he could feel other's people problems like his own.

...There was still a lot of things that I wish to understand though. One of which is...

"Say, do you tried to kill yourself?"

"Yesterday!? Of course not! I just... I just wanted to remember that moment when I... lunged at you recklessly. I didn't remember that moment exactly back then... but... yeah, I had certain psychological problems that tempted me to commit suicide..."

"How anyone could let you go on this journey with that?"

"I faked my recovery, of course! After all... 'faking' is the only thing I'm good at..."

...

Despite hearing the same story the second time, there was still something that I still didn't understand.

And then, a certain idea came to my mind.

"...Well, and after I 'volunteered' for my trip I, ended up on the ship where I have met certain individual..."

"Human?"

"Yeeeesss?"

"Can you... change me?"

"...What?"

He looked at me with expected surprise.

"What do you mean... oh... I think I got it"

For a moment I felt he was puzzled or sad, but then I felt like a smile has flashed his face.

"You know, actually that where we have left off! But... why do you think that its... what you need right now? And why do you think... I'm capable of this? Aren't you knowing by now that I'm far, far from being perfect... in many ways? Crap, what am I even saying! How can you still trust me after all the bullshit I have done to you!? This dream - it wasn't a dream! It was real! And this another me that was in this dream --- that's not 'another' me - that's me currently now!"

"As me, who neglected and mistreated you - that also me who is now" - I answered, - "Do you see now, why I ask you?"

"Yes, but... yes, you right".

"Also, I don't think that you are as horrible as you think. It just happened that you turned out to be in wrong at wrong place... and in not the best condition. I mean, I'm not holding you here, but if you stayed with me for a while... I would be very grateful."

"You... need me?"

"Yes."

"I see... yes, after all, that happened... we earned a lot of things that we should settle between us... hmmm... well, since you asked for this yourself..."

Suddenly he disappeared somewhere, and reappeared shortly thereafter with a different... style of clothes. He was holding some books under his shoulder, and...

"Is that... a glasses?"

"Yep! Do you know what we are going to do in the near future? We are going to study! So this thing will come in handy. Honestly, I thought that I will never need those anymore, but it looks like I am. So... are you ready to dive into a compelling history of humanity?"

"Before that, I also need to say something to you"

"Hmm?"

"Since we both already know that we are same living beings, I ... would not be so gentle towards all the time, well... that just how I am. I can't control myself all the time."

"I think I got a pretty clear idea of your post-depressive syndrome... I mean, through how much you've been already? Don't worry... I'm going to address all this stuff as well... at least, as much as I able. I mean, I'm not a psychologist, but I've got a pretty clear view on their job. So than... Since now, I'm officially your personal teacher, psychotherapist, punching bag aaaaand..."

"I will be fine if you will just be my friend."

"Gee... you are no fun!"

"I just think you aren't ready to fit yourself in all those roles at once just yet."

"Hm! You are underestimating my power, ignorant creature!"

"You are as confident as always, I see... well then, I won't take the challenge away from you".

"Oh, so now you believe in me? Then let's start before your fragile faith faded away!"

He extended his arm to me after those words.

"Yes. Let's do this!" - I agreed.

"Let's start changing ourselves".

To be continued...

....













Hey, thanks for getting this far! I hope you liked my creation (well, at least a part of it), so now I'm awaiting your rightful judgment.

I will see you at wtitng.com.









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