Lucius of Another World
It is said that a name is incredibly important. A name ties to the soul, and through the name, it is easier to classify and correlate the appropriate soul to the appropriate body. A sinful soul is reborn in the Netherlands, while a pure soul is sent to the realm of divine beings.
Or at least, so it has been said.
It was a small class of only a couple teenagers. The teacher at the podium was droning on and on a list of names, while one by one the classmates called out that they are present. Near the middle of the list, the teacher finally called out, “Lucius.”
A youth that looked barely 15 hurriedly called out, “Here!” and only loosened his tension when the teacher carried on. However, he did not miss the teacher’s slight glance towards the side of his face. ‘Whew, I properly told the teacher that I’m present. This is good, just a couple more classes…’
He ignored the other people’s sly glances towards his face, and relaxed into the bench. Although it seemed like the texture was wood, it was actually a form-fitting couch which was very comfortable to sit in. As the teacher finished off his meager list, he delved right into a preview of the class. However, one seat down from Lucius’s seat was a heated conversation.
Despite the daggers the professor sent their way, his classmate still chatted happily who his friend, who sat right next to him.
“Look what I got for my birthday!” The classmate pulled out a thin metallic plate with a silvery sheen, which immediately lit up a 3D area above it. “No way bro, a holophone?” A look of longing appeared on the face of the other boy. It was exactly this look that made the first boy triumphantly stick out his chest and declare proudly, “Ahaha, I had to beg quite a bit for this!”
The second classmate just looked with a mixture of disgruntlement and jealousy towards his friend. “These are expensive, you should just go to one of those 3D programs instead of this school…” However, the other boy only waved his hand and said, “No way, my parents are real ‘traditionalists’…”
An image flickers in the area of the 3D space covered by the holophone, however Lucius merely frowned. Although other people would think that Lucius was in disdain over the two, in truth he was just trying to focus his eyes.
After all, one of his eyes was a dark blood red!
Probably due to the unique coloration of his eye, Lucius was unable to see 3D. Even though technology had improved by leaps and bounds, for some reason he was still unable to utilize 3D technology, and instead the images turn out hazy and unclear, as if static was blocking his vision.
It was also due to this abnormal and eye-catching color that his classmates were inclined to turn their heads and look towards him, even though it was rude and they knew it.
‘Sigh, as I thought, I still can’t see it.’ He didn’t really have much hope from the beginning though, so Lucius was not discouraged for long. Before long he was daydreaming about lunch, and how he’d find a nice thick oak and read on his antique tablet which was not 3D. Though of course, the oak tree would most likely be fake. Just as he was pondering over what text he should peruse today, the teacher called out his name.
“Solve this question, Lucius.”
Lucius was startled on the inside, but managed to remain calm on the outside. He scrutinized the board, but saw no question, so he assumed it was a verbal question. ‘Ah, I messed up on the first day…!’ He silently cursed himself in his mind, when a life-saving voice whispered beside him.
“He is just asking about the history of 3D.”
With this, Lucius hesitatingly replied, “With the collapse of nature, technology took precedence. In order to fill in the gaps formed by breakdown of plants, we substituted the trees with recycled plastic and metal, which also filters the air we breathe. Eventually, technology has improved to the point where holograms and 3D is available to nearly everyone.” At this, he fell silent. He could elaborate further, but he didn’t want to look too nerdy, and truthfully this subject tormented him. Perhaps the teacher also just now realized his mistake, and when he once more gazed at the left side of Lucius’s face, it was tinged with a hint of guilt and pity.
He merely revealed a slightly troubled smile, before looking around for the source of the voice that saved him.
“Boo~” A small gust of wind blew into his ear while a finger stabbed into his cheek, raising gooseflesh and sending Lucius backing out of his seat.
As he recognized the person that poked him, Lucius whispered in a cry, “Aiva? What are you doing here?”
Instead of the two gossiping classmates, the teacher now stared daggers at Lucius, a slight disapproving frown across his face. Seeing this, he could only grin awkwardly before turning back to the problem of Aiva.
“Did you sneak into my school?” Lucius’s mouth turned downwards in worry as he looked at the light blue uniform signifying a student at his school.
His childhood friend merely chuckled darkly, saying, “Haha, money money, money makes the world go round!”
Lucius’s eyes could not go any wider as he tried to shoo her away, but Aiva was pretty strong despite her cute exterior. She revealed yet another sadistic smile as she said, “Kidding, I’m an official student of this school.”
However, he only frowned deeper. “Why would you attend this place? This program will not be very beneficial in the future, and the school is also more expensive due to having to pay teachers.”
Before she could reply, a bell resounded, and Aiva jumped up with excitement. “Lunch! Oh oh, I want braised short ribs, some fried rice, some sunny-side up eggs…” She ran a whole list as she grasped onto Lucius and dragged him to the vending machines. After pressing a whole load of buttons and swiping a card, a luxurious full course meal came rolling out.
Seeing this, Lucius wanted to escape, but Aiva latched on with yet another cruel smile. “Lucy~ You’ll eat with me, right?”
Her aggressiveness made him gulp with terror.
It was surprisingly not that bad. Aiva had a black hole for a stomach, and she ended up eating most of the food.
“Lucy, reading at the table is bad manners!” Aiva frowned as she waved a drumstick at the tablet in his hand.
“My name is Lucius, Lucy is a girl’s name…” ‘Also, I’m sure that would also be considered bad manners…’ However, Lucius still sighed as he placed the tablet away. Even though lunch would be nearly over, they didn’t bother to start cleaning up, since there would shortly be a group of A.I. to sweep the place.
Aiva glanced at the bag containing the tablet with a glint of interest in her eyes. “Are you still reading those, uh, wu…”
“Wuxia novels.” Lucius’s eyes lit up with the excitement of a little child. “It’s really so interesting, the various twists and turns! I don’t know why, but it’s really so fun to read about such strong characters who have built themselves up from day one…”
“It’s like a feeling of nostalgia, whenever I read a fantasy novel. It’s too bad most of the recent fantasy genre MMOs are in 3D… I would have truly liked to enjoy a game or two.”
At this, Aiva cocked a perfect eyebrow in confusion. “Eh? Luce, did you not hear?
“What? What didn’t I hear?” Lucius was baffled. For a second, Aiva lost her former look of superiority and seriously wondered about it, then shortly regained her demonic aura. “Oh ho~ So fun~ So it must be a secret! No problem, no problem, I can certainly keep this secret, ahahha…”
There were question marks floating above his head, but upon seeing such a demonic face he could only back away. ‘Uwah, so scary… When did she become this twisted?”
The afternoon sun beat down on Lucius in waves, causing him to loosen his blue collar by one button and fan himself with the collar. In the end, he was not able to have quality reading time during lunch.
‘Still,” he thought while slightly euphoric, “It’s nice to know someone at school.” He had feared that since high schools near his home had only 3D or no 3D programs, he would have to be estranged from his former company.
‘Truly, I’m so blessed~” In a fit of happiness, he raced himself to the elevator chute, since there was only trees for company around the walkway to his family’s apartment home. A gust of wind seemed to propel him, and although he seemed to be going at a leisurely pace, he actually covered a lot of space in a short amount of time. There was a strange profoundness to his running style that not even Lucius noticed himself. It was as if the wind was turning according to the line of his form, so that wind resistance was cut down.
Nevertheless, whether Lucius realized it or not, he still arrived at the elevator in no time at all. Designed after the vintage design of antique elevators, the fingerprint identifying plate was disguised as an up-down button. Soon, a silent whir set the elevator into place as the first dot in a row of five lit up.
A metallic voice, beautiful yet mechanical, rang out from the fingerprinting plate. “Welcome home, Master Lucius. Which floor would you like to head to?”
‘I guess I’ll head home to rest.’ “Home.” There was no need to be overly polite to a button, so he didn’t bother adding a ‘please’.
The door silently opened with a “ding!” sound. No matter after how many years, humans will always find comfort in a sound that occurs when something has been accomplished.
“Floor 73 it is then.” The mechanical voice rang out once more before it receded.
Stepping into the elevator, the silvery doors slid shut, applying anti-shock and anti-wind properties to the outside. With a small sound of gears turning, the elevator shot straight up into the sky, faster than any mobile transportation in the past! It traversed past the clouds, and slightly above it, it stopped. The elevator took only a mere blink to cross such a vast area of space.
As the elevator door silently slid open, Lucius walked out. Although such a speed would normally cause damage to the human body, technology has improved to the point where humans have found a way to override that.
Using yet another fingerprint identifying plate, Lucius unlocked the door right in front of him and went inside.
“I’m home.” Lucius called out as he walked in, searching for his sister, who said she would be home today.
“Ah, Lucius! So you’re finally home.” His sister Lena greeted him as he walked in. “How was school? I have your favorite for lunch~”
Lucius thought back to how his good friend had given up a chance at a better school to attend a traditional program with him. With a wry smile, he said, “Later on, I think I need to speak to a couple people…” It was touching and all, but he knew Aiva could do much better. Not to mention, she was the only daughter of ‘that’ family.
He sniffed the air and was confused. “It smells like clam chowder, not eggs…”
“Yup! Lunch is clam chowder! Wow Luce, your nose is as good as ever, I was pretty sure I kept the food under wraps.” Lena grinned a little.
“…Clam chowder isn’t my favorite food… It’s yours.”
The sister was silent for only a second before she managed to regain her composure. “Ahahaha, too bad but we’re still having clam chowder!”
She wasn’t able to be with her brother much ever since she started going into the working society. It has probably been around a year since she last properly sat down and ate with Lucius. The parents of the two were away even more, due to the pressure of their work.
While harboring guilt in her heart, Lena tenderly asked, “Then, what dish do you enjoy now?”
Lucius’s eyes lit up like a child. “Eggies!” Lena was taken aback. “So simple? Perhaps you meant that you like omelet rice with egg coating, or perhaps you meant that you like cake…?”
Instead, Lucius only vigorously shook his head and said, “Nope, plain eggs are the best! Maybe some soy sauce on a sunny-side up egg, or some boiled eggs, those are the most delicious in the world!” He was very jubilant as he started daydreaming about eggs.
‘Eggs? Maybe I should have gotten him that instead? But then I’d feel like I’m not giving him enough nutrition…’ Lena didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
Lucius looked into his sister’s face, and asked while blowing on his spoonful of clam chowder, “So, why have you come back so early this time?”
“Oh right! Your birthday is this weekend, I’ll be sure to stay until then. I cleared my schedule for this you know?” Lena very happily clasped her hands together. ‘Hehehe, there is also ‘that matter’~’ But of course, that would be a secret until his birthday.
“? Great.” Lucius was slightly confused as he looked at his sister chitter in excitement.
As the sky calmed down and people turned off the various lights in their homes, there was a bright red streak in the sky. However, it was but for a mere second, before it dissipated.
A figure of a fit lean man drifted in the wind. Even though he was not suspended by ropes or anything, he effortlessly floated in the air above an apartment which reached into space.
This man was the Deity of Lucius’s past world!