Last Embryo Volume 2 Chapter 2 Part 5
「「Lightning」 and 「Stars」… by searching around with those two terms as our keywords, I managed to dig up that apparently Minotaur’s real name is Asterios, which can be roughly translated as 「A Child of stars and lightning」.
「Its real name? So it actually has two?」
「That’s right, and to be honest, I considered such a possibility with the way the second Winning Condition was phrased: 「Erasing of the 『Taurus’』 lightning, returning its star to its original form」, and it ultimately got me thinking: what if Minotaur was originally a human?」
That suggestion was so incredibly unbelievable that it made Ayato jump up in surprise.
「So you’re suggesting that it was actually born human, but got turned into a monster sometime after birth… n-no, wait just a moment, okay?! What made you arrive at such an outrageous conclusion in the first place?!」
「A few things, actually. The name that Minotaur was given, Asterios, was a one that belonged to one of the members of the royal bloodline of the island of Crete, a father of king Minos, to be more precise. That information serves as proof that, at least at the time of its birth Minotaur must have still be human and was therefore recognized as a member of the royal family himself, and was probably the only child, meaning that at the time there was no successors to the throne other than him. But for some reason, despite being a son of king Minos, he still came to be treated as a monster, and that leads me to believe that there is some important unknown factor missing from the legend that everyone came to know, the one that will prove crucial for us if we want to win this Gift Game.」
Exactly. There has to be a reason why Asterios was stripped from his status as royalty and even his name, becoming the monster bull of legend, Minotaur.
「Now, if that assumption of mine proves to be correct, then the sentence「returning its star to its original form」 would gain an entirely new meaning of: 「turn the monster Minotaur back into the human Asterios.」. If this is supposed to be a trial related to Star Particle Bodies, then we could even take is a step further to paradoxical levels of 「You can turn Minotaur back into Asterios if you use Star Particle Bodies on him」, but since we have no way of knowing whether this is a correct interpretation or not, then we cannot allow ourselves to use one of the remaining 『Origins』 so carelessly, since we only have one of them left.」
Ayato involuntarily held her breath when she heard Homura speak those words. She secretly glanced at Suzuka who was on the other bed with her back next to them, and then asked in a hushed voice:
「So what saved Suzuka from the injury she sustained when the 『Bull of Heaven』 appeared was…」
「Yes. I had to use the second of the three 『Origins』 I had with me. There was no other way for her to survive.」
After the incident with the Minotaur at the school Homura was forced to use one of the 『Origin』 capsules to save Ayato, and now he had no choice but to do the same with Suzuka. The thought that the two of his closest friends, the ones who he considered to be his new family members became the carriers for the Star Particle Bodies filled him with all kinds of worries and anxiety, but both times it happened in the situations where his hand was largely forced upon him and he had no way of saving them without using them. He couldn’t know it for sure because he had no way of observing if there were any changes in them, so for now he had no way but to assume that there were two new, separate specimens of Star Particle Bodies developing inside Ayato and Suzuka’s bodies.
Right now, his biggest concern was the fact that he had only one 『Origins』 capsule remaining.
Because they had no way of replicating the parasitic multiplication of the 『Origins』 in Star Particle Bodies, the researchers form Everything Company were preserving them by keeping them in a simulated body fluid similar to human blood made from a mixture of amino acids and salinity. Technically they had a way to naturally increase their numbers, but it required them to manually stimulate them through the usage of vibrations with the frequency of 32.768 khz when it was absolutely necessary. That is why it was imperative for Homura not to use the last 『Origin』 capsule no matter what. If he ever does that, they are going to lose them and never be able to get them back again.
「Understood. For argument’s sake, let us assume that your assumption is indeed correct, senpai. In that case, what our next step should be? Please, do tell us more.」
Ayato encouraged Homura to keep providing his explanations. Loosening his shoulders for a bit, he leaned back and looked at the ceiling.」
「Well, technically I could do that, but since the preparations are still not finished then I think that can wait for a bit. You should also try and come up with something, Lady Ayato.」
「Yeah, you. Since it’s a game made by literal Gods, then the more you think about it the deeper it gets, so it’s a surprisingly good brain exercise.」
Ayato was caught off guard by this sudden change in the direction that their conversation took. Don’t get this the wrong way, in school, all her grades and test marks were always top tier, but when it came to all kinds of brain stormers and thinking games, they were something she was not all that good with them. She could always do her absolute best when she was in an environment she was familiar with and the problem pertained to the things she knew, but coming up with solutions to the things that were totally unknown to her was one of the things she was inherently bad at. But when she was asked to think about something, her natural earnestness would always compel her to give it her absolute best, and that was one of her strongest points.
Also, it was quite charming to see her as she took the smartphone from Homura and tried to challenge the unfamiliar screen and its contents while furrowing her brows and supporting her chin with her hand. Unable to handle her cuteness without the risk of developing stage 3 diabetes in a blink of an eye, Homura decided that maybe he should offer her a subtle hint, not so much as to give her an answer right away, but just enough to send her brain rolling.
「 Well then, since you’ve been such a diligent kouhai all this time, then allow me to offer you a hint: none of the events that transpired since the start of the Gift Game have been unrelated to what is happening right now.」
「So we’re taking the damages done by the typhoon into consideration as well?」
「Not just that, but also everything that the Minotaur and the virus done. I mean really, if you think about it long enough, everything’s been pretty well done. Looks like contrary to my initial belief, those Gift games are something that definitely requires you to look at them from a much broader perspective if you want to tackle them on, and the records of the Gift Games conducted in the past confirm that, truly a fascinating read. Oi, Suzuka.」
「I’m reading about the Game of Black Death right now, so I’ll join you when I’m done with it, ok?」
Suzuka said while swinging her feet in the air. Looks like that particular Gift Game record was quite a difficult reading material for someone like her…. And then Ayato finally noticed it. The reason why those two did nothing but reading for the past 3 days. They wanted to read about all of the recorded Gift /games so they could amass experience with them, if only passively for now. Since Underwood was such a popular city visited by many different people, then it wasn’t all that strange for it to have the copies of the records of past Gift Games for everyone to read through.
Knowing what they were doing these past few days, Ayato thought about Homura’s words once more, but his way of thinking proved to be much more flexible and unothtodox than she thought. If she were to believe his words, then she needed to carefully rethink everything that’s happened once more, but this time from a newer, fresher perspective.
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