“That’s impossible, on whose authority…?”
“On my authority, of course.”
A sharp smile, like a piece of broken glass, blossomed on his face. The man’s pupils reflected a flash of blue as his eyes gleamed with a terrifying light.
“I can’t stand seeing this sort of disgusting thing on my land.”
Shortly after, a violent red storm blew through the research institute. The man murdered every single soul that worked in the lab. The massacre was so one-sided that it was hard to believe he had done it all by himself. In the midst of the chaos, the trapped test subjects ran away.
I was also one of the test subjects who escaped from the institute at the time. The man didn’t care about us.
On that day, a large-scale announcement was made, declaring that the owner of the dark city of Carnot had changed. The name of the new king was Lakis.
He was the very same person who made me first realize, that this place was a world inside a novel.
* * *
While the blonde man was slaughtering people in the institute, I ran out of there without looking back and hid myself in the darkness. I didn’t think I could beat him, even though I had consumed so much fragment powder and my body had gained a mysterious power. He really couldn’t be called anything but a monster.
I came to know the man’s name because later that evening, the news that Carnot’s king had changed swept through the entire city.
The bio-experimenting research institute I was in.
The mysterious power that appeared from the ruins.
The name of the land I was standing on right now with my own two feet.
And the name of the man who had become the new leader of this place, plus his appearance which I had seen.
In that moment, pieces of the puzzle that were scattered around merged into one piece. It was a slightly unexpected tale, but what ultimately came to my mind from the completed puzzle was one particular novel. In my previous life which was endlessly peaceful, my little hobby was reading books.
I remember that among them, the last novel I read before I died had this type of content. It seemed like a long time ago since it was something from my previous life but because of the various experiments I had been subjected to at the institute, my memory was far better than before.
Therefore, I could remember things from a long time ago quite clearly. The title of the novel was “Chain of Flowers” and it was a novel that couldn’t be clearly classified as a romance novel or a thriller novel. It was shortened by the readers to “FlowerChain” and it was a ‘romance thriller’ marked by its bloody love and war.
Like the title, the heroine was a woman who could best be described as a flower bouquet, beautifully cultivated in a greenhouse.
The heroine’s name was ‘Anne-Marie Blanche’ and I remember that she was originally the daughter of an wealthy man, who bought a title and become a newly-established noble.
However, after her father died in a shipwreck at sea, Anne-Marie’s house fell into utter ruins. Left alone with her little sister, the heroine initially fell into despair but nevertheless, she stayed firm and began to stand on her own feet.
She was always kind and bright, and the people around her were helplessly charmed by these attributes of hers. The charm of a heroine was something that didn’t distinguish between genders. Later on, she even chose one of the amazing male leads that fell for her and swore an oath of eternal love with him.
In other words, the novel “Chain of Flowers” was about a heroine who faced adversity bravely without crying despite her loneliness and sadness, and eventually found wealth, love, and fame…
Wait, I’m not sure about the fame part but anyways, it was a novel with a happy ending. However, was the genre of the novel, ‘romance thriller’ for no reason?
Among the bees drawn to the flower’s scent, was a guy akin to a wasp. And that person was none other than the sub-villain, Lakis Avalon, who can be said to be the major reason for devastation in the heroine’s life.
Yes. It was the same man who suddenly appeared at the research institute and burned it to the ground.
He was a man best described as a chain that shackled the heroine. Of course, there were a few men other than Lakis that fell for the heroine, Anne-Marie, and burned with twisted possessive desire. However, none of them had an obsession as intense as Lakis’ or a desire ignited with madness.
The first encounter between the heroine and the sub-villain was, well, if you want to call it dramatic, you could, if you want to call it cliché, you could.
At the beginning of the novel, Lakis was a man who reigned as the king of the underworld, but he was betrayed by a trusted aide and driven out with a fatal wound. Like that, he entered a remote alley and passed out but where he collapsed was none other than the front of the heroine, Anne-Marie’s house, of all places.
At that time, Anne-Marie had fled debt collectors after her house was ruined and was living with her younger sister in a shabby house bought with the money she obtained from selling the keepsakes from her parents.
Despite her difficult circumstances, the nice heroine took in the unknown man who collapsed in front of her house and sincerely tended to him. While living together in such a manner, Lakis became interested in Anne-Marie. Of course, following the laws of romance novels, that interest soon turned into love.
Afterwards, Lakis became horribly obsessed with Anne-Marie and poured out his twisted affection on her. He didn’t allow anyone that might harm Anne-Marie in the slightest to live.
However, Lakis’ standards were so severe that it would be fair to call it ‘very daring’ from his perspective as the king of the underworld. As a result, the people that died at his hands included some of the people that Anne-Marie loved, and it ruined her life. Even one of the sub-characters that was quite popular among the readers died to Lakis.
When I read that scene back then, I was beyond shocked. The sub-character that died was actually my favorite character…
As I thought about the past for the first time in a while, I felt something bubbling up in my throat. I thought I had lost most of my human emotions while I was experimented on in the lab but when I recalled my favorite character that died, I felt sentimental.
At any rate, the Lakis in the novel was a scary bastard. I wonder if it was bad enough for even the heroine to regret saving him at the end of the novel.
When I took a careful look at various circumstances, it all pointed to the guy that I had seen at the institute being the obsessive sub-villain of the novel.
Of course, when you thought about it realistically, it made no sense for me to be in the world of a novel.
However, if that didn’t make sense, then it was hard to believe I had memories of my previous life, or that a mysterious supernatural power called a ruin’s fragment existed. Of course, I had to keep in mind that this world could be unrelated to the novel I read.
In any case, the man I’ve assumed to be Lakis Avalon was ten times scarier than I had imagined him to be when I read the book. Even though he seemed much younger than when he first appeared in the novel, he was already so vicious.
If this was truly the world of the novel, then there were still several more years before the story began, since Lakis had only just become the king of the underworld. Regardless of how much my memory had improved, there were some things I didn’t remember, such as the minor settings of characters. This seemed to be because I didn’t really look very closely at those parts back then.
From his appearance at the research institute, I could at least tell that Lakis didn’t like that place very much…
Maybe he detested it so much that it was the very first place he came to shut down as soon as he became king?
Due to this, I was slightly nervous that the ball of fire known as Lakis would come after the test subjects and chase me down to kill me. I quietly held my breath and watched for the movements he would make. Perhaps the other surviving test-subjects did the same.
I listened to the news going around and heard that Lakis had killed off all the other challengers after his father the former king of the underworld died, and achieved a generational shift faster than everyone expected. Then he got busy organizing his forces within and outside of Carnot. From the looks of it, Lakis didn’t have any desire to hunt down and kill runaway test subjects.
And so, like that, I regained my freedom six years after I entered the research institute. Now, no matter where I go, there was no one that would block my path. And unlike before, I had the strength to protect myself so no one could threaten me anymore like they did when I was a child.
I left Carnot and settled down somewhere else. A little more time passed, and I now led a life as ordinary and normal as anyone else, by all accounts.
Then one day.
“Hi, I’ll be living next door from today, so I came to say hello. My name is Anne-Marie.”
The heroine moved in next door.
 While, I’m not super sure what this means, the KR dictionary describes it as a ‘huge change’ or a generational shift. My understanding is that, this stands for when the generation in charge changes.