The Branding System

Chapter 6: Betrayal and Fight.

Yve could have sworn that if Aksel was to be branded then he would have lived a rather luxurious life.

She kind of even felt bad for him to have to struggle through the reality when he could have been living a fun mindless life of comfort.

But would it really be worth it?

If she would have been presented with the option of living an easy life like the rest of the branded she would have still never chosen it for she could never let someone else control her life.

Scoffing at her thoughts she raised her hood to look at the tall building that was supposedly Aksels home.

The whole building was divided into four floors and had been completely made of glass. One could easily look inside the building and observe its luxuries which would easily make a passerby jealous. It stood in the costlier part of the city of Aquilo, among other such buildings, and some even taller than that.

If they had been standing on the road, in front of it they would have looked really out of place, therefore, they were thankful to have climbed the billboard near it to be hidden and still get a better view of the house and Aksels parents.

”Why didn you let me directly go into my house? ” Aksel fumed from beside her. To be looking at his own home like a robber or a lunatic didn sit well with him and staring ahead at the empty rooms he waited for an answer.

”You will see in a few minutes just give it some time, ” Yve insisted feeling some sympathy for what the man was about to see. She remembered how she had felt when the truth had been revealed to her and the cruelty that rancid feelings left were still stuffed somewhere deep in her heart.

Turning to the front Aksel sighed and let the soft wind blowing up this high, soothe his tensed senses. He was excited to meet his parents, seeing that he had been able to locate his home and remembered every bit of it, would certainly mean that his memories weren a lie.

It was only a matter of a few minutes more before which he would be able to prove that to Yve and Daren.

Suddenly his eyes caught movement in the house as the lights powered on, all over the building. His parents must have been home from work he realized as he watched each floor light up with white light replacing the dim colored ones from before.

The whole of the third floor was supposed to be his room and getting a better view of it now that it was bathed in clear light he saw that it had remained exactly the same as it was when he had left it for his branding yesterday.

The giant bed sat in the middle sheeted in black and the cream carpet underneath it was spread in a circle against the black floor making him remember its softness. His study table and the two massive bookshelves beside it were set exactly as he had wanted them to be. On the other corner, his gaming setup floated in the air as the circular chair fixed with the console glimmered in an orange hue.

The door to the bathroom and closet was also present in their places and he swore that once he got back he was going to take a long bath. He deserved at least that much.

The second floor was where the kitchen and recreation rooms were and the opening of the door to the kitchen made him eagerly await the face of his mother. She entered first as he had guessed throwing open her hair from the bun she usually kept it in. Her slender robotic arms stretched to help her get a glass of water and sitting at the counter drinking it she faced the door through which her husband entered. He could imagine her smiling at him like she always did and he wished that he would have been able to see it.

Unfortunately, though the billboard was close to their house it wasn close enough for him to see their parents expressions or even make out further details. All he could see was their small figures as they moved about.

His father, a giant Contrivo with a robotic chest and massive legs bent to kiss his mother when suddenly something struck him.

Why were they so happy?

Shouldn they be worried about his safety?

He had half a mind to believe that his loving parents hadn already started inquiring about his whereabouts but they still seemed a lot laidback for someone whose kid had gone missing.

Yve watched as Aksel stood taking in his home and his parents or what would have been his home and his parents. There was softness and longing present in his blue orbs and looking away at the emotion she wondered if he would be able to survive in a world where practicality was the only key to being alive.

Finally, he watched as another figure entered the room.

He had never seen this person before. He was a Contrivo just like his parents with a shiny red titanium plating covering its neck and all of his hands. He tried getting a better look at the guys face but except for his blonde hair, he couldn make out much.

Spotting the man his mother instantly got down from the counter and ran to hug him like she had done to Aksel for the past many years.

What was happening?

He watched for a few more seconds as the guy continued to chatter with his mom and dad, sitting on the counter as if he belonged there.

His dad was usually a very strict person and was rather unfriendly to strangers but even he seemed to be laughing at whatever the guy said.

The three of them were having fun and Aksel didn understand why?

”Who is he? ” he mumbled out loud catching Yves attention and she realized that the heartbreaking part of realizing the truth had already started.

She was glad that she hadn let him try and break into the house which wasn his or else he would have already been dead in the presence of three Contrivos. The Dad especially looked like he could crush anyone under his feet if he so wished to.

A zooming sound roared from over them as he watched a flying mobile swish through the air, dodging a few other vehicles and parked on top of his building. The parking space was lit comparatively darker than the rest of the house and only the glowing green vehicle was visible. Carefully peering he could make out in its light a figure exiting it and in a matter of few seconds, he saw the said figure enter the kitchen below.

This was an Exter with a green body and no legs but instead had a tail like that of a serpent. The person slithered into the room throwing open her arms as a bright message displayed in the room.

”Congratulations on being branded as a Contrivo, best friend! ”

Aksel gasped as he read that message.

Aurelia, the brunette and recently branded Exter had been his best friend since birth. Her parents and his had been close since even before the two were born and to see her calling someone else his best friend he finally seemed to understand what was happening.

Aksel who had been in denial all this time wasn dumb he had just wished that whatever he had been told up till now had been a misunderstanding but he could no longer be blind to the truth that was staring him in the face.

That new blonde Contrivo there had taken his place. He was the son of his parents and the best friend of his best friend but how did it happen in a matter of just a day?

How could someone else replace all the years that he had lived with his parents?

Or did he really never have them as his parents? Were his memories all fake?

”How is this possible? ” he distressed, sinking down on the metallic platform that slightly creaked under his sudden weight.

Yve sighed from beside him as she realized that he had finally begun to see the truth. She was glad that he hadn wanted to meet his parents or she would have to either let him die or forcefully take him away.

Neither of the options appealed to her.

It had already been a risk to be out in the open and especially in that part of the city that was more likely to be their death beds than any other as she looked at the many Contrivos and Exters going about their business.

”Yve, do you know what is happening? ” he weakly asked still staring at his fami-, No, the people from his memories celebrating together.

Taking pity on him Yve sat down and sighing she said, ”As Daren had informed you before. Your memories of your life are fake. We are not sure of how and why this works like this but the Branding System sends us from somewhere else with memories instilled of this place and of a life that we have never lived. If we would have been branded then our life would have continued from our memories but since we weren branded the System considers us dead and elects another person to take our place. ”

Aksel felt like vomiting on hearing the truth. The truth when visible to his eyes and backed by her words was stressing his mind and holding his head he wondered if his parents would remember him if they were to see him once.

He still had some hope although he knew it was foolish and getting to his feet he said, ”I want to meet them once. ”

It was exactly this that Yve had feared to hear and standing up she stared up at his face and gripping onto his arm she forcefully stated, ”Don be stupid, Aksel. They are not your parents anymore, just accept it. ”

Aksel who had still been staring at the house suddenly stilled as he saw his mother standing by the window and staring right at him. Hope swirled in his heart as he smiled and whispered, ”Yve she is looking at me. ”

And to his surprise, Yve agreed with him but her voice was small and fearful.

”Look up here, Aksel, ” she said as she grabbed onto his hoodie, and turning around in her direction he saw her finger pointing at the billboard. Since they were so close to it the image was not very clear but he felt his eyes widen as he saw a giant picture of his displayed on it, under which it read,

”WANTED CRIMINAL.

REWARD: 100000 Nummus. ”

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