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Chapter 1: All Ends Have Beginnings
Slowly, he opened his eyes.
A tumultuous, swirling sky of purple and black sprawled out directly in front of him. He, apparently, was lying on the ground. The surface underneath his pale hands as he pushed himself up was coarse and rocky, glowing with an ethereal lavender tint. In fact, although it was bright, the entirety of the surroundings appeared to give off a universally captivating glow, rather than being lit by a single, determinable source.
Clearly-defined edges to the rocky landmass were visible to the left and right. In front of him, a marked and worn pathway noted the direction of a nearby city, taking up the rest of the visible nowhere-land. Before he set off, he noticed something odd stuck to his forehead. Quickly, he peeled it off. It was a sticky note.
Good luck, Sixty Four.
Some images rushed back into this lost boy’s head. Indeed, he was the one known as Sixty Four. Though hardly discernable by any useful measure, these vague recollections brought with them...feelings; core values, you might say.
Friendship. Confidence. Curiosity. Nostalgia…? Despite not knowing exactly how or why quite yet, these memories helped to get Sixty moving towards the city with some sense of purpose. At the very least, he was determined to find this “Amy.”
“Hey hey! Welcome to Void City!” A small man wearing a bowler hat and trenchcoat greeted Sixty as he entered under an arch denoting a proverbial front door. The decorative half-circle bore a strange emblem on the front.
Sixty was unsure of what to say back, only meekly replying with a “Hello.” The much more jovial man decided to help the lost kid out.
“Just a few tips, from me to you, yeah? Straight ahead is the plaza of Tower Metro, the area under the big tower up there. That’s where you’ll find most of the people this time of day. Over to the right more is Don’t Go Station, in case you need to travel anywhere. And to the left...well, I personally wouldn’t go over there, but if you wanna know, that’s Historia Town.”
“Um, thanks.” Sixty politely replied. The man nodded and waved, “Have a good day, sir!”
Sixty proceeded forward, to the plaza. On the way, he passed by the reflective glass windows of a shop. He could see his red t-shirt, emblazoned with a star at center, his blue jeans, the many clips and buckles of his shoes, and his messy blonde hair.
“No wonder he wanted to help me out so bad,” Sixty realized and mumbled to himself, “I’m the walking definition of disheveled.”
In the plaza, Sixty stood under the shadow of the district’s namesake giant tower. He wondered what type of person would live in there, if it was a place of residence at all. To the tower’s right, a teenage girl with blue hair tied back, wearing a scarf and a complicated-looking outfit, stood in front of a newspaper stand.
“The news has to have some valuable information.” Sixty reasoned, and he headed over there.
“Where is the stuff about the quake?!” The girl demanded of the newsstand owner, flipping through a paper.
“I’m sorry, but we haven’t gone to report on it just yet. It’ll be in tomorrow’s print, I’m sure.”
The girl was not very happy about that answer. “Agh, you idiots! You don’t get it! The more you wait, the more could be removed or changed! I need to know what that quake was about!”
“There’s really nothing I can do about it, the reporters aren’t going out until later…”
Still annoyed, the girl took the paper in her hand and rolled it back up, “There’s gotta be something in here!” She sprinted away with the newspaper.
“H-Hey! Someone stop her!” The newsstand owner yelled. Sixty, who was almost to the stand now, had watched the entire event unfold in front of him as he walked up.
“...Don’t worry! I’ll go!” Sixty offered, running after the girl. Truthfully, he became quite nervous after saying that. Why did he even care? He could have gotten a paper and been done with it.
But...for some reason, he wanted to meet the girl, too.
Sixty chased the teenage culprit down past Tower Metro, into the residential area behind the plaza. The shiny finish and wealthy appearance of the city’s welcoming district quickly gave way to a more worn and...society-weathered environment.
“Where’d she go?” Sixty looked around as he ran, seeing empty alleyways and confused residents going past him. Eventually, he locked on to the girl’s blue hair, disappearing into an alley. He turned right and followed her inside.
“Hey--what--” Sixty stumbled to a halt.
The alley was empty.
He turned around to leave, but was met with an oncoming fist when he did. A group of three thugs had followed him into the alley, and the particular aggressor nearly knocked Sixty clean out with one punch.
“So,” The aggressor lifted Sixty up by his shirt collar and walked forward, backing Sixty up against the far wall of the alley, “What’s a kid like you running around back here for? You lost or something?” For a thug, this man seemed pretty well-dressed compared to the other two.
“...Please...let...go…” Sixty was finding it difficult to breathe.
“Heh. If you’re not gonna tell us why you’re out here, I’m afraid we’re not gonna be much good to you.” The aggressor dropped Sixty, letting him hit the ground with a thud.
Suddenly, a beeping sound rang out. An earpiece, being worn by the aggressor, was receiving a call.
“Restrain him,” The aggressor commanded the other two thugs, “I have to take this.”
The two thugs held Sixty against the wall. Even though his whole face was still reeling from that punch before, Sixty could see someone with blue hair sneaking into the alley.
“Hey, kid. Good news! I just got a rather timely call. It appears you’re a little more interesting than you let on.” The aggressor smiled.
“Xander, are you saying--? This is?” One of the thugs asked, in fragmented questions.
“Precisely. Let’s bring ‘im in.” Xander directed. The two thugs lifted Sixty to his feet.
A girl’s voice suddenly rang out in a triumphant scream, “Ngahhh!”
Just then, the girl from the newspaper stand rushed in, and whacked Xander in the head with a skinny metal pipe. He fell to the ground, and the other thugs dropped Sixty, heading to deal with the girl, but they were no match for her either. In a few swings, they went down too.
“Hah...whew…” The girl caught her breath, as Sixty slowly got up.
“You...how…” Sixty stood in shock. She just saved his life in a matter of seconds!
“Hey, you pick up a few skills if you stick around here long enough.” The girl offered an explanation. Then, she lifted her weapon to Sixty! “Now,” She began, “Why were you chasing after me?!”
“Uh, well, um, you...stole that paper, and I thought...I don’t know, it was just a moment, sort of…”
She lowered the pipe, and threw it aside with a sigh. “...I suppose you’re right. I shouldn’t have stolen this newspaper, but you have to understand, something’s happened that I don’t think can wait until tomorrow. There was a quake a few hours ago, connected to some strange explosion in the empty lands to the northeast. I was hoping that the papers would have printed something by now, but they haven’t...I kinda just stole it out of frustration.” The girl threw the paper to the ground. “It isn’t really going to help.”
Sixty walked closer to the girl. He opened his mouth, really wanting to ask her to just return the paper, but...he couldn’t.
“My name’s Sixty. Sixty Four.” He eventually spoke.
“...You look a little young to be Sixty Four.” The girl joked. “...I’m Andata.” She introduced herself as well.
For a second, Sixty was...disappointed. “...Andata, I’m kinda new to this place.” Sixty admitted.
“And you jumped at the opportunity to try and stop me from stealing the paper? Interesting.” Andata replied.
“Yeah, well, I--I was hoping actually that you would help me. You just seem like somebody who really could.”
“Look, Sixty, just take up a job and find a place to call home. This place is about as secure and simple as you could get, if you stay ‘within the lines’ of course.”
“That’s the thing...I actually have a sort of ‘mission’ to go about.” Sixty showed Andata the note he was given.
Andata’s expression immediately changed from calm and generally nonchalant to utter surprise.
“What the hell…?” The teenage girl muttered in a hushed voice.
“What is it?” Sixty wondered aloud.
Reaching in her pocket, Andata pulled out a similar sticky note, and turned it to face Sixty.
There's a book of Amy's memories. Find it.
Good luck, Andata.
“What?!” Sixty reciprocated Andata’s shock.
“That’s why I really want to go to the explosion site. For some reason I can’t help but feel that something really isn’t right, and it has to do with this.”
“Does that mean I can come along?”
“Unless you want to take my original advice, then yeah.”
To Be Continued...