SETP Vol. 3 Chapter 18

Chapter 18 – “Hero” — “Heart Scan”

“ — Scanner!! Are you even listening!?”

Dark, barely lit underground ruins.

A room surrounded by walls covered with cryptical paintings. The eerie atmosphere made the air feel heavy. 

The beacons lit in the four corners of the room were the only source of light.

It was a place aptly described as “out of this world”.

“…shut up. You know I’m using ‘Heart Scan’ right now. Any noise will disrupt the memories.”

The words came from a man wearing sunglasses, who was holding his right palm over the painted wall. His curt reply was directed at a man wearing a dark green uniform.

“You say that every time, but how long is this going to take!? You aren’t making fools out of us, are you!?”

A month had already passed since they arrived at the ruins. The initial plan was to stay about one week, but maybe because of their lack of ability, or because of unexpected obstacles, their stay was extended longer and longer. They had brought only one week’s worth of supplies too, so they were forced to procure food and drink on site.

A situation that made the man in the uniform feel restless.

Concerned that they might attract outside interference.

“…ancient relics can’t be figured out so easily.”

No one knew how the man in sunglasses truly felt. But his words were brimming with cold anger.

“…one more week. We can’t wait any longer.”

The man in uniform stated his ultimatum and turned around to leave.

“How unusual.”

A voice echoed in the room.

“…what?”

“How unusual, I said. The all-powerful, all-encompassing empire…seems to have rather timid men among its ranks.”

The man in uniform looked back over his shoulder.

The man with sunglasses seemed to be waiting for that. He was about to talk again, when— 

“Don’t.”

The man in uniform stopped him.

“You were about to do your ‘Heart Scan’ on me, weren’t you.”

“….maybe.”

“Tch.”

The man in uniform seemed to want to say something else, but only clicked his tongue and left.

“People like that just don’t get it…”

—what a pain.

After the man mumbled this to himself, all stiffness left his expression and he turned again towards the wall painting.

The man’s name was Cohen Socaccio.

Self-proclaimed archeologist, he was also a “Hero” better known by the name of his ability, “Heart Scan”. 

The man in uniform addressed him as “Scanner”, a nickname born from the same ability.

“Anger. Hate. Indignation. Resentment. Then — salvation and solitude.”

Cohen “Heart Scan” Socaccio.

His ability was, literally, to scan or read hearts.

It could be used not only on living beings, however, but also on inanimate objects.

As soon as he placed a hand on the wall painting and performed “Heart Scan”, a deluge of dark, oppressing negative feelings penetrated his head. In that mass of dark emotions, however, were also scattered cries for help.

Those faint cries, however, were immediately crushed by hate.

Destroyed without a trace.

“…the world’s rebirth.”

Cohen understood that there was a limit to the words he could extract and removed his hand from the wall painting. He retreated a couple steps.

He looked at the somewhat familiar monsters painted on the walls and whispered to himself.

“Those monsters are…the same, aren’t they.

Monster weapons that anyone close enough to the empire’s inner workings knew about.

Monsters like the ones painted on the wall, the result of human beings consuming certain substances. Cohen looked at the paintings and whispered in a flat tone.

Their bodies were being pierced by multiple sharp objects.

That was probably the source of the “resentment” he felt. The expressions of the painted monsters were twisted in pain.

“It looks like they painted the extermination of those monsters…”

There was a single painting of a swordsman.

As if it was fighting alone against the monsters.

“One swordsman against those ‘things’…like a hero fighting against evil.”

Cohen then looked up at the ceiling.

The dimly lit room made it look like heavy, dark clouds covered the sky.

“…history repeats itself.”

Being an archaeologist, Cohen’s words held a particular weight. They felt real. He knew many instances of such repetitions.

“That is the nature of the world…its fate.”

If so…

“If we have given birth to those monsters, then we are on ‘the side of evil’…I suppose. Haha…hahaha.”

Cohen understood well how immoral those “things” were. But it was too late. They couldn’t shift back to the original “course” anymore.

There was no turning back anymore. The die had been cast.

“…these ruins are really exceptional.”

Cohen Socaccio was one of the greatest contributors to the rebirth of the mutated beings he called “monsters”. Needless to say, his ability to read memories, feelings and thoughts was the cause.

The ruins he was trying to read were so filled with dark emotions that it was hard to extract anything.

Corrupting, bewitching energy.

The ruins were filled with such unnatural energy, especially rich in resentful energy. Thus Cohen said they were exceptional.

Just like the object of such hateful emotions was right there.

Other than such feelings, there was little to no information to find. Even with “Heart Scan”, to find one single piece of information from this mass was like looking for the proverbial needle in the haystack.

“There is something, however. I can’t help but feeling like that, staying here.”

—There definitely was.

Cohen did not say it out loud, but he was positive.

“I cannot turn my eyes away from this, or I can’t call myself an archaeologist anymore. Even if it will turn into a storm or a hurricane…”

Cohen was fully focused on the wall paintings.

“Haha…hahaha…this is so fun…!”

Cohen’s shoulders shook as he laughed.

“History is full of mysteries…it’s exciting like nothing else…!”

Cohen calmly reached for his sunglasses. Slowly but surely, he took them off.

Cohen’s right eye had lost all light already.

A single sword slash ran down through the middle of his eye.

It was a wound and also a memory.

A wound he suffered in certain ruins.

“Let me know…let me hear. The sounds…the voices…of history…!”

Cohen spoke loudly.

His voice echoed throughout the room.

He pleaded to the mute walls and paintings.

“Who is that swordsman!? Who exterminated the ‘monsters’!? What happened in the past!? Tell me!! Speak to me — !!!”

He didn’t stop.

Too many questions.

Overflowing curiosity.

“Ha..haha!! Hahahahaha!!!”

For a long while, the room was filled with eerie laughter.


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