Disclaimer: ECO world is not mine, it's GungHo's.


Acedia


Sunlight flushed in, giving off a warm feeling. Suddenly it merged into the words that were exchanged heatedly under the roofs of White Church.

"The society had gone pathetic, right after they coined the diction 'ignorance is a bliss' and 'curiosity killed the cat'," said a man. His blue locks shimmered under the carress of sunlight. "What kind of society that encouraged their people not to poke at the mysteries of life? Curiosity is what makes us wonder, makes us think and explore the possibilities and impossibilities. In short, it makes us evolve. It did not, in any kinds of common nor uncommon sense, kills us. Thus, the term 'ignorance is a bliss' is simply a blasphemy in the world of science." Jeffel finished his speech with a dignified manner.

"You do not determine if such things indeed labeled as a blasphemy or not—that is God's job, not us," Father Ethrus, a six-winged angel with blonde hair, spoke firmly.

"And you do not dictate God's job desk," Jeffel simply retorted with a smile of mock respect. "If I'm able to recall, that's not our job too."

Father Ethrus held any kind of rebuttal that might jump at that very moment with a sheer amount of inner determination, and managed to pull a defeated look on his face instead. "Alright," he said, sighing. "I will look forward to your experiments, then. Apparently, you hold so much loyalty to this... 'science' thing, to prove that Light Magic is, as you said, 'clearly only some cheap magic tricks'," he said, annoyance filled his face.

"Wonderful!" A grin spread itself at the man's aged face. "Well then, I will take my leave and do the experiments right away!"

"Do not forget to report your progress to me," the Father simply nodded to him. "Ah, Father Layren," he said, and bowed to his superior as the said man casually strolled to his side.

"Who?" His emerald gaze followed the gleefully happy man that exited the White Church just now.

"A scientist."

"Hmm." The silver-haired angel stared at his subordinate's blue orbs for a while before retreating back to his chambers. "Do not try something foolish."

He bowed at Father Layren. "I will not, Father."

*O*O*O*

His life, as a doctor, can be translated literally as to live a living hell.

People don't trust him at all. They trusted more sparkily, merrily, twinkly, hand-twitching magic called Light Magic. Vates, Druids, Bards. Most Backpackers too, with their 'First Aid'. It's not because it made him sick, nor it made him held some kind of personal grudge or anything. It's just that... their kind of 'healing' is not the one that supposed to exist. Yes, they can heal majority of battle wounds. Or any abnormal status that involved poisons and gasses and other bad things that, basically, not really intended to be made for amusement.

But what if people suffered an illness that is too great to cure by a mere Light Magic? Tuberculosis? Cardiac arrest? And viruses that roam free in the corner of dark alleys in Acronia City? SARS?

Those questions haunted him when he first took his time to decide which Guild he would join. At first, the Vates' Guild was tempting. But the thought of worser illness kept plaguing his mind like mold on a stale cheese. And after days worth of contemplation, he finally settled his mind to become an Alchemist—a doctor, he firmly corrected himself. Yes. He's a doctor who will prove that those Light Magic aren't even comparable to science that can heal any kinds of real wound and illness—

"Daddy.."

A scared girl with teal hair slowly approached him. The girl clearly need some nourishment and hygiene, but he didn't care the slightest. "Linorra, please try not to disturb me," he said dismissively as his good portion of attention was sucked at the pile of data. "I'm busy."

"I'm hungry..."

"There's always some food on the fridge."

"There's nothing..."

This caused him to snap. "You actually ate all of the food I stored there?!"

Tears flowed on her cheeks as she cried. "I-I'm s-sorry, Daddy..." She put her arms around her grumbling stomach, trying to stiffle down the sound.

Jeffel sighed angrily. "Wait until tomorrow! And maybe I'll get you food you always deplete!"

The cries reduced to little sobs, but like before, he didn't care. Actually, he didn't want to care as his work was far more important than a mere child... wasn't it?

*O*O*O*

The world rolled, the months blurred. Every day, every time, every now and then, he would busy gathering data, conducting countless experiments, and unconciously neglecting his own daughter. But after every attempt he did, Father Ethrus clearly disappointed.

'So this is the only result you could gather? I have to say that I'm unimpressed. I thought that giving you an approvement would boast your so-called 'science', but then... maybe I'm just too optimistic?'

And so he worked harder, harder, harder, to impress Father Ethrus, but to no avail as he felt that his sanity slowly crumbling away...

*O*O*O*

Harsh knocks on his door made him curse for the umpteenth time. He quickly left his chambers, and opened the door only to reveal his neighbors. They were firmly holding the shoulder of Linorra, who brought along a big can, looked somehow terrified of his own face.

"What do you want? And why're you holding her?" he demanded. His eyes glared with annoyance as Orwerth, a young titanian with an unusual blazing red hair, answered.

"Seriously, Jeffel, this is our first meeting in three months and you're already barking like a mad Bawoo," Orwerth deepened his own scowl. Murmurs of agreement made their way from behind him. "As for what I want, what we want, to be exact... are you aware that you're neglecting your own daughter?" asked Orwerth bluntly.

"I didn't neglect her," he said angrily, his heart already twitched because of the guilt he never really care to listen to. "Now give her back and consider yourself banished from this doorstep."

"I ain't going anywhere until you treat her like a real father should!" Orwerth shouted angrily. "Leaving her outside, really? We found her scavanging food from the bins, for God's sake! And it's already autumn, if you didn't notice the cold!" He spat.

"Thank you for the weather reminder. Now if that's your only concern, please consider my warm request to leave immediately," he said, eyes now blank from emotions. His hands reached Linorra's trembling hand. But suddenly Orwerth snapped and clutched his fingers over Jeffel's throat. Soon Jeffel found himself staggering under the hands that firmly tied over his neck. The neighbors clearly didn't like the obvious violence display, but none of them seemed eager to help Jeffel.

"You're pathetic. What are you, a Hell King? Wait, even Hell King actually care about its offsprings. So I repeat, what are you? What kind of creature that neglect his own once beautiful daughter, Jeffel?!" he shouted, rage screamed in every words. After a few seconds, he finally released him as Jeffel was desperate to fill his need of air.

"Out now..." Jeffel grumbled, his voice threatening as he slowly pulled a rusty axe which was hidden in his bag. "Out before I'll butcher you all!" The neighbors, including Orwerth, was shocked at the sight and almost immediately ran away right after he showed his rusty axe.

Slamming the door shut, he slowly turn his body to Linorra with an angry face. This made Linorra flinched and mumbled, "You're not my dad."

"Of course I am." His gaze intensified.

Tears began to work its way on Linorra's cheeks. "You're not my Dad! M-maybe my Daddy is buried deep inside you. Please let him out! Please!" she innocently plead with a hysterical cry. He can't seem to find his voice. Those experiments... those goals... are they really worth neglecting his only child?

After a minute of thick silence, Linorra began to whispered, "You killed my dad, didn't you?"

That shocked him until his very core, as once again he can't seem to find any of his voice just to retort on those statement. After all, those words indeed innocent... and deeply tore his heart for the sheer amount of truth.

She sobbed once more. "So he's right... " She opened the can she brought. "And now..."

That can... was full of oil.

"I WILL KILL YOU FOR KILLING MY BELOVED DADDY!"

Before he could react, she spilt the oil onto his body. She lit a match and tossed it to him.

*O*O*O*

The sound of fire cackled through the sky. As Father Ethrus watched those fire burnt the house down, he didn't notice another man who slowly walked behind him.

"What... happened, Father Ethrus?" The shocked-toned words shocked Father Ethrus too.

"F-Father Layren..." He bowed to his superior, not really knowing what kind of words, or excuse, he had to tell him. But he decided that honesty was the best—and will always be. "I have cleaned one plague of sin from this city," he said.

"Is that so...?" The shock was still clear on his tone.

"Yes. This city, this world, practically everything that roamed under the orbs of stars, do not and will not need any form of this 'science' trash. What is more important is the worship of Titanians as the highest race of all."

"... How did you do it?" asked Father Layren weakly.

"Easy. I led him to believe me, but slowly slicing his pride and self-esteem to the lowest level possible to wage a psychological warfare on his thick brain. I gave some encouragement to Linorra, plus the oil and fire, too. Then it would be just a matter of time before this happen. I just pressed at the right mental button," he smiled proudly, not noticing the slight disgust on the other Father's face. "We have to celebrate. It's one step further towards my already moving plan to fully cleanse the sins of mortals."

"Maybe... future," he said, with a surprising tone of sadness.

"Future it is, then. Good night, Father Layren."

A curt nod was given, and the other man silently left the burning house along with Father Layren.

Sorrow had taken over his face. Ignorance, as the already deceased doctor stated, is truly one wonderful bliss. Even if this 'ignorance' is as corrupted as his own, it still provide the same amount of the much-wanted bliss.

And also the same amount of much-unwanted remorse.

He didn't know that Erthus was so manipulative... but excuses can't anymore shred his sin. His pain. His torture. His torment. He would live his life with nightmares and fear as a reminder of his 'blissful ignorance'. Yes, a blissful ignorance that made him do nothing to prevent a murder. And every remorse he felt can do nothing to change that, as his blood was already on his hands. He will carry the blood of Jeffel until his very end. Until he was hidden under of his own grave, until death took him, merried his way to Hell.

Suddenly, he caught something stirred in the house—something alive. He felt his eyes widen at the prospect of having a survivor of this hell of a night. He quickly cast a fire barrier on himself, entered the house, and found Linorra, alive, crying under the heavy scent of burnt flesh and wood.

"Little one, do not cry," he assured the weeping child as he slowly went to her. He held her between his protective arms as he cast another fire barrier over her skin as well. "You will live. You will embrace your life. That is my only promise for your future. For now, though, do not cry."

He walked out from the burning house, eyes filled with sorrow and determination to heal the trauma of the poor girl and raise her, as the house slowly crumbled to earth, burying the burnt body of a misfortuned man once named Jeffel.


Whad do you think? R&R please =)