Volume 1 – Between Daybreak and Evernight, Chapter 1: Crimson Colored Night
The Evernight Continent was usually shrouded in twilight. This was especially true during the dark season when the upper continent’s orbit blocked out the sunlight, resulting in only a few hours of daytime.
Tonight, the star, Gemini-α, had shifted to a low orbit. It was a night where the seldomly seen moon was visible.
An enormous, round moon filled nearly half the sky, seemingly ready to crash down at any moment. Even ordinary people without powers could clearly see the enormous basins and imposing mountain ranges on the moon’s surface.
Yet the people who had not fallen asleep were anxious.
The moon was actually scarlet, and the moonlight, which cascaded down onto the ground like chiffon, spread across the uneven and rugged land like a living animal. Stretches of dark silhouettes were saturated a rich red, causing them to resemble numerous colossal scars and wounds. Above, the cold sheen of metal even occasionally flickered.
The howling of wolves and roaring of unknown beasts occasionally traveled over from afar, echoing back and forth filling the area with an air of savagery.
In the legends of the Evernight Continent, the Crimson Moon was considered an ill omen. Furthermore, it was a very rare occurrence, but whenever it appeared, suffering and chaos would soon follow. Whenever the moon became thoroughly saturated with the color of blood, the great monarchs of the Dark World would open the doors to calamity, unleashing violence and disaster onto the land below.
These legends were not without basis. Under the blood colored moonlight, all living creatures would indeed involuntarily become even more violent, bloodthirsty, and prone to fighting.
Under the scarlet curtain of the night, a small black dot suddenly appeared in the horizon. It slowly moved horizontally across the sky, growing in size with each passing moment as it flew ever so closer. Surprisingly, it was actually a floating airship which was thousands of meters long!
The airship looked extremely worn out. Its enormous aerostatic balloon was riddled with patches, its metal components were completely stained with rust, and many of its interconnecting joints stuck out, causing any observers to wonder whether or not it would suddenly snap.
As though confirming their worries, the airship suddenly jolted a few times; numerous components even crumbled and fell, of which included a large metal component reaching over ten meters in size.
It plunged toward the ground, causing an explosive rumble on impact.
The airship began to struggle with difficulty in midair as all of the copper tubings lined up along the outside of the ship began to vibrate. Large puffs of steam also soon started spraying out from within the ship’s rear mechanical cabin. The sound of rusty parts creaking could be heard as the eight groups of propellers situated on top of the ship’s hull began to madly spin. Only then did the ship’s body somehow manage to stabilize.
Several tens of thick cables hung disheveled from the bottom of the airship, carrying a huge cargo bay which was just as rusted and stained as the ship itself. Through the loosely shut cabin door, one could see that the cargo bay was filled to the brim with garbage.
Like an enormous, drowsy beast, the old, corroded airship arduously moved though the last length of its course before finally arriving at its destination. On the ground several hundred meters below shockingly lay an extremely vast airship cemetery!
At that moment, tens of thousands of people flocked out from their respective hiding places; they had long since discarded their fear of the scarlet moon. Instead, they began waving their hands at the floating airship as they shouted words of celebration!
Even though they lived on this land which had been almost forgotten by the Empire and were the insects of the lowest rung in the entire world, they still struggled and tried to survive through each day.
This land was the burial ground of those once splendid colossi. Moreover, as the scrapped airships discarded by the upper layer continents generally carried large amounts of trash with them, as time passed, this burial ground had turned into a junkyard which contained all kinds of things. The survival of these people who resided within this airship burial ground was completely reliant on the garbage tossed down from the upper continents.
If no airships transported garbage for a long period of time, a large number of the people here would starve to death. To them, the upper continent’s trash was their entire livelihood.
As for tomorrow… to them, tomorrow was too luxurious of a phrase. In this place, no one would bother thinking about tomorrow.
The airship which had finally reached its preset coordinates painfully moaned as, one by one, the propellers came to a stop. At this time, the ship’s enormous body fiercely jolted and then began to bounce up and down midair, losing several dozen meters in elevation. Afterwards, the ship’s outer shell near the left-frontal side split apart, releasing a small-sized airship.
The small airship looked to be much cleaner on the surface. It flew around the junkyard once and then turned around and ascended, slowly flying toward the distant horizon.
Meanwhile, now that the airship had lost its propulsion, it started to vibrate non-stop. All of a sudden, it tilted askew and slowly fell to the ground below!
Falling ever faster, it finally crashed into the ground and broke into pieces amidst the explosive rumble. A sea of garbage, waste material, and metal component scattered in all directions, calling down a rain of trash from the airship cemetery’s skies.
The carnival had begun!
Shouting and shrieking, the dwellers charged toward the wreckage. Some even ran on all fours like wild beasts.
From time to time, enormous metal parts would rain down from above. Many who just happened to be where the parts landed were unable to dodge in time, ending up thoroughly crushed into lumps of meat by the several ton components. However, their companions beside them ignored the dangers and still charged forth as though their lives depended on it, scrambling to start searching for garbage just a moment sooner.
There were men, women, and even the elderly and children, but age and sex had no meaning in this place; each group differed according to body size and strength. That was the only standard by which territory was allocated in the cemetery.
Of those who were rushing to the airship’s remains the strongest and most robust of men were at the forefront. Behind them, it was the weaker men and strong women, then the weaker women, and the very back consisted of the young and elderly.
Just like that, with the fallen airship as the center, the people composed various concentric circles. Between each layer there lay a formless yet uncrossable boundary.
On the outermost edge of the various concentric circles was the area where small children moved about. Hundreds of children unceasingly rummaged through the trash in this area, searching for almost non-existent foodstuffs.
Within them, there was a thin and small boy who was also searching with great effort.
He was approximately seven or eight years old, and his little face was so blackened that his original appearance couldn’t be made out. The clothes on his body should’ve originally been an adult’s shirt, and it was just like a robe wrapped up on him. Moreover, the shirt was already tattered beyond recognition, now simply a few larger rags wrapped around his body in strips.
He exerted all his strength digging apart the ice cold trash with his hands covered in cuts. Some cuts were even turning into ulcers. However, it was as though he could not feel pain as he pushed apart the large, indistinguishable pile of trash in front of him with all his might.
It has already been three days since he had last eaten. If he could not find anything to eat today, then he definitely wouldn’t last until the next time an airship arrives.
But no matter how hard the little boy tried, he found nothing.
This region had already been rummaged through countless times by others, and only then was it left aside for these children who were younger than ten. These children were the weakest beings in this garbage field. When the strong ended unable to find food, their hungry gazes would… fall on the elderly and children.
This was the abandoned land, the airship cemetery. The people here only wished to live on and were already no different from wild beasts. Even strong beasts lived with more dignity than them!
The thirst for survival pushed the boy on. He unceasingly searched, and many of his previous wounds tore up once again due to using excessive strength as his blood leaked out; however, he was completely unaware.
Another wave of garbage fell from the skies. Within this wave, a relatively large trash bag fell beside the boy.
The bag’s outer layer broke, and a wax paper bag rolled out amidst various useless garbage, firmly grasping all of the boy’s gaze in an instant. That wax paper bag actually had grease seeping from it!
He suddenly pounced over with the agility of a feral cat, tightly grasping the bag within his hands. He didn’t open it at all to confirm the contents inside and instead hid it at once within his clothes. At the same time, he looked around with extreme caution, then cautiously and prudently crawled toward the outer edges of the junkyard.
Competition, robbery, and even murder also existed amongst these children! The degree of cruelty was by no means inferior compared to the world of adults.
The little boy was very petite and was classified as relatively weaker amongst those within this area of the junkyard. If others discovered that he found edible things and wished to keep it to himself by the strong, bigger kids, then being viciously beaten up was the most favorable outcome.
Quite fortunately, the boy evaded being detected by all the older children and successfully escaped from this area. He seemed to possess an inherent keen sense and was always one step ahead in avoiding those older kids who were even more terrifying than vicious beasts.
After leaving the airship remains far behind, the boy madly ran without rest until reaching the backside of another mountain of trash and made his way into a empty iron barrel.
This place was his little nest, his shelter against the elements and hardships. In his mind, this small space, just over one square meter was the utopia of life.
He carefully took out the wax paper bag and held his breath. With an facial expression full of faith, as if a praying pilgrim, he slowly opened it.
It was actually a piece of bread inside the bag! A piece of bread that had only been bitten into once!
The boy knew at first glance that this thing was called bread. He had never seen a piece of food so intact, yet he completely couldn’t recall where and when he learned about such a thing like bread.
Actually, that was just an ordinary bread roll. Even the lowest peasants on the upper continent might toss it away after one bite, just like this piece on the young boy’s hands. Yet in this junkyard, it could be worth a few lives.
Moving a little closer to it, he could smell the faint scent belonging to cereal grains. The little boy felt that all the wounds and pain on his body had disappeared without a trace. He very carefully held up this piece of bread, finding it difficult to believe that he could actually find such a treasure.
Was this a dream?
A drop of blood seeped out from the wound on his hand and rolled off onto the bread. The boy involuntarily cried out and hastily wiped his hands on his body with force, drying up all of the blood and sweat. When he turned around and looked at this piece of bread while weeping, he felt so horrible as though the sacred object in his heart had been defiled.
All of a sudden, the boy’s stomach started growling at this moment. It expressed his desire with acute pains as though it was cramping up. So, he pulled off the chunk of bread that was stained with blood, rallied up all of his determination, and was just about to put it in his mouth.
But his hands froze midair.
Just outside of the iron barrel, at some point in time, a little girl had appeared.
She appeared to be only four or five, and streaks of ash and dirt covered her little face, entirely drowning out her original skin color. However, those clear and distinct features hinted at the immature form of a girl who would absolutely be gorgeous in the future. Her pair of twinkling large eyes were exceptionally beautiful and flowing with spirit as they fixedly stared at the bread within the boy’s hands, unable to turn away at all.
The young boy sat up with a jolt while his left hand securely grasped an iron rod that seemed to have been freshly sharpened. This was the most instinctual response of the people who lived within the junkyard; when one’s food was seen by another, it was often a fight to the death.
The little girl did not run away, however. Both of her eyes were stilled glued onto the bread, completely unmoving.
The young boy slowly put down the iron rod in his hand. Hesitating, he made up his mind after a great deal of time. He slowly tore the bread into two halves and passed one to the little girl.
The boy’s movements were very slow, and his hand was also shaking while sweat was pouring down his head. His stomach and all the wounds on his body voiced their dissent with the most intense pangs of pain imaginable.
However, the bread still ended up in the little girl’s hands in the end.
The little girl seemed to not dare believe her own eyes. She grasped the bread tightly at once and heavily rubbed her eyes. Only then did she confirm that she wasn’t dreaming.
She immediately stuffed the bread into her mouth with all her might. The half that was even a size bigger than her fist actually vanished into that tiny mouth in just a few bites, perhaps no more than three seconds!
The little girl finished eating the bread and licked the crumbs on her hands clean. Only then did she lift her eyes and focus her gaze on the young boy’s face for the first time. After looking at him attentively for a moment, she then ran away almost seeming like she took flight.
At this moment, the little boy didn’t know what he was feeling within his heart.. Even more so, he had no idea why he did such a thing and could only wearily sit back down. Perhaps it was due to those pure and clear eyes that touched a certain emotion deep down within the depths of his heart?
But, what is this strange so-called emotion thing? The little boy leaned on the barrel’s walls, carefully ripped off a fingernail sized piece of bread and put it into his mouth. He did not swallow it right away but instead kept it in his mouth, feeling the sweet taste of grains with the tip of his tongue.
Just at this time, the soft and immature voice of a girl suddenly came from outside of his little nest, “He has tasty food on him! You promised to give half to me!”
The boy’s heart instantly sunk to the depths of despair. He saw several older children standing outside.