Author's rant: I got two different editors to edit this, but after waiting a couple weeks with no reply, I said fuck it and decided to upload it after a normal Word spell and grammar check. I would get different editors, but I want to get this uploaded and I don't want to wait anymore. I'm really sorry for every error that got past my eyes, either way, enjoy this very long story. It reached more than 35,000 words and I felt that it wouldn't work too well if separated into parts, so enjoy all 35,000 words continuously.
Also, this is not a story focused on sex, while there are scenes like that, it is a purely story based upload.
–Nepenthe– Part one.
"SHE'S ESCAPED! AFTER HER!" Yelled a large man in a black suit. He was holding a pistol in his right hand and was directing several men with his other.
The man's name is Daniels. At least it was his name this time. And Daniels was entrusted with guarding a certain black haired girl, whom was recently given a certain drug designed to have a certain effect on a person's mind. Yet he failed, as somehow the girl undid her bindings, which were made of a tough metal mind you, and overpowered him.
The men, along with Daniels, began their pursuit of the girl after activating the alarm that resonated through the entire facility. They needed to capture her soon, or else the girl would escape, most likely with the help of her power.
As the men split up to navigate the facility, which practically rivaled the Labyrinth of Crete, Daniels was the first one to come into contact with the girl, in a bad way.
The girl swiped upwards with a golden limb, striking him in the chin. Daniels barely managed to avoid blackening out before he called for the other men, "SHE'S OVER HERE!"
The girl panicked as she delivered the final, non-lethal, blow to Daniels, striking him with her palm on the sides of his head.
The men, along with some reinforcements making their number around six, aimed their pistols at Jia. "DON'T MOVE!" "DO NOT RESIST!" And along with several other shouts permeated the hall.
Jia hissed at the men, which startled them and had them fire their guns.
At first the men thought they killed the girl, though they saw they were wrong. A gold green membrane swept up and blocked all the bullets. Some of them got stuck in the membrane, causing it to bleed and having the girl scream out in pain.
The men in suits didn't see it, as the membrane covered the girl, but the girl picked up Daniel's gun and fired it until it ran out of bullets. Each of the bullets hit seemingly random body parts of the men, causing one of them to die instantly and wounding the others. The girl, as the men fell down clutching their wounds in agony, was about to retreat backwards only to find more men in suits rushing at her with their pistols and even larger guns.
Jumping over the wounded men, the girl fled the area and escaping deeper into the facility.
It wasn't long until the girl found a set of windows, which revealed that the girl was in a very high tower like building. The girl didn't know, but she was approximately fifty-three stories up.
Turning around, the girl saw another person walking towards her. It was a girl with short red hair. The black haired girl recognized the red haired girl to be one that occasionally joined her in the strange areas of the facility, not as a guard, but as a fellow test subject.
The black haired girl was cautious, and rightfully so, as the red haired girl revealed a carbon fiber baton measuring at least a third of a meter. Instantly the red haired girl swung at the black haired girl, who ducked and effortlessly counter attacked. Not one of the test subjects didn't know how to fight in melee combat, and each specialized in the arts of their choosing, but as to where that specialty came from, none of the test subjects knew.
The red haired girl did know one thing, it was that she was ordered to retrieve the black haired girl and take her back to the facility conscious of unconscious. She was also ordered not to kill, which was strange, as another test subject had escaped once before and the ones who ordered the red haired girl to pursue, said that they couldn't care less if the previous escapee died. Yet it was different for this girl. In the end, the red haired girl didn't care about killing or not, all she wanted to do was fulfill her orders.
The red haired girl rained a series of attacks with her baton, with each of them being nullified by a strange martial art the black haired girl used. Still, her persistence paid off, as one of the attacks managed to land a blow on the black haired girl's side.
Pained by the attack, the black haired girl snarled and formed a nukite, an attack with the fingers of the hand extended, stabbing it into the red haired girl with speed.
It proved successful, the red haired girl couldn't comprehend the speed of the attack, and received the nukite into her chest, piercing the flesh and snapping a rib. The red haired girl couldn't help but recoil backwards, shuddering from the pain. Still, pain didn't matter. Ignoring the pain, the red haired girl looked up and prepared to charge, only to find a broken window.
Looking out from the window, the red haired girl saw the black haired girl falling down to her death, or what should have been her death. Two golden green and bony membranes sprouted from the girl's back, causing her to glide down to the surface under the cover of the night. The hot night air flooded the facility as the red haired girl blinked several times and cursed her failure. She contemplated following her through the window, but she didn't, as while she felt that she could, she also didn't know how.
The black haired girl had successfully escaped.
"Soooo hungry..." I moaned softly to myself as I stumbled my way through a fairly populated street way. Populated in the sense that there were the occasional passerby's window-shopping and buying from street vendors.
I originally went through this street because it was the way to the bus stop where I would normally board the number 24 bus and head to my apartment. I had just gotten off work at the local electronics store as an assistant manager. It was decent pay, above the average worker's pay thankfully and with some fairly decent benefits. Well, I call it above average, others would call it quite the plush position.
Still, that didn't change the fact that I had no money in my wallet and thus I could eat no food until I got home... Well, I could beg for some money from strangers, but I'd probably come off as some desperate addict. I don't know why, I keep myself clean, I wear clean clothes that I wash once a week, and I make sure I utilize a healthy amount of cleaning products when ever I shower or bathe. Maybe it's my facial features? No, not that, I don't even keep a hint of facial hair, I'm not too short or too tall, and... Well, maybe it's my whining?
As I walked down the street, I kept an active eye on my surroundings for reasons unknown to me. You know that friend of yours who always brags about finding money on the streets? Not coins but actual bank notes worth around ten or twenty dollars. I guess I was hoping to become one of those people who gets lucky enough.
"Ah, who am I kidding?" I mumbled under my breath.
I looked down with my downcast face. The sight before my eyes took approximately twenty-three seconds to register with my brain. I rubbed my eyes as if trying to get rid of any possible mirages or hallucinations, the weather did resemble the Sahara after all. Yet nothing disappeared; what I saw was exactly the same: A one hundred dollar bill.
'Ok... Keep calm, you're a big boy now, Callan.'
Yes, my name is Callan. It took my parents quite a long time to tell me the origin of my name, and I was peeved to find out that the name they gave me was out of a semi-sick joke involving my birth. I'll leave the details to your imagination, since I don't know the details as well, but apparently I was born on a street named "Callan Drive" as my mother gave birth to me in the paramedics vehicle before it even got close to the hospital.
Ignoring the origin of my name just now, my thoughts continued to go haywire, 'This isn't some TV prank right? No hidden cameras? I'll be fucking pissed if that's the case. Huh, maybe I should do the right thing and return it...' The rational part of my mind soon took over and gave that suggestion, but the rumbling in my stomach overshadowed it. 'Welllllll, walking on an empty stomach isn't healthy, not when I'm sweating this much. I suppose there's no problem in borrowing a little bit of the money. Hell, I don't even know how it got lost or even how to return it.'
The devil side of my conscience completely decimated the angel side. I imagined a miniature fistfight between two fat guys in a devil and angel suit in a boxing ring, forcing a small giggle out of my mouth as I stooped over to pick up the one hundred dollar bill.
It didn't stick to the ground, and it didn't look counterfeit, so I figured that it was fine and I stuffed it in one of my pockets.
I glanced at the various street vendors, surveying the possible greasy cuisines I could sample: hotdogs, shawarma, ice cream, churros, and etcetera. At the moment, I was feeling hungry for an all American hotdog, so I purchased two of them to eat. I ate the first one at a park bench, hiding under the shade of the tree to shield from the sun's rays, savoring the unhealthy grease and high sodium levels as it coursed legendary flavor through my mouth. There are just times when you're dying to eat some junk food, and not the fake junk food that you'll get at your resident McRonalds (tm), some real fast food that you'll get fresh off the grill at a food vendor.
I picked up the second hotdog and decided to eat it along the way to the bus. Unwrapping it to reveal the steam, the delicious aroma flowed through my nostrils. Even though this one waited awhile, it was still hot and crispy as if fresh off the grill.
I was about to take a bite off the hotdog until I saw a peculiar sight. A girl slumped over her own body leaning against an alleyway wall. Normally, girls are existences as common as guys (unfortunately for us men), and I would obviously ignore them. Yet, it felt as if something pulled my gaze towards the girl. Even so, she didn't look very well.
Against my better judgment, I walked over to the girl with my food in hand. When I walked to the girl, I couldn't see her face, as it was bent down and covered by her black hair. She didn't look all that healthy, especially in this warm weather.
"Uh, you ok there? Need me to call an ambulance?" I asked, worried about the girl's health.
At first, she didn't respond, much less move. Yet, unknown to me, the smell of my hotdog wafted over to the girl's nose. The girl sniffed the air, clearly smelling something good. I at first thought her movements were some sort of spasm, though I could hear her sniffing.
Even more against my much better judgment, I longingly looked at my hotdog and back at the girl, trying to decide which entity was more important. Sure, I shouldn't be selfish and it is only one hotdog. I could probably buy ninety-eight more with the money I found... On the other hand, I was still really hungry, and I was reluctant to instantly give up my food to some random strange girl I found laid against an alleyway wall who's probably suffering from this inane arid temperature.
Still, this time, the angel side of my conscience won out, the fat guy in an angel suit won this round. "Uh, you want this? It's a hotdog, I already ate one so you can have this one." I suggested somewhat sorrowfully, still partially reluctant to part with that delicious, steaming vendor food.
The girl finally revealed her face. The raven hair parted ways to reveal a pretty girl, probably not much older or younger than I, maybe even the same age (which is twenty going on twenty-one). The girl was Asian, most likely Chinese if I knew my ethnicities well. Her angular eyes and sharp features gave off a piercing, if not stern gaze. And even though she was slumped against the alleyway wall, not a single bit of dirt covered her face, it was almost as if she was freshly washed.
The girl spoke in a strangely mystical and entrancing voice, "You will... Give me food?"
I nodded enthusiastically as I reached down, placing the hotdog in the girl's hand. "Yea, I'm not anything selfish (a lie), I've got some money to spare, and so one hotdog won't trouble me at all. Don't worry!"
The girl daintily accepted my gift and immediately began wolfing down the meal, as if it was the first meal after days of starving in the Sahara. "Thank... You. You are a... Good person, very... Kind."
The girl didn't speak in a strange dialect, though it still had hints of her Asian ancestry in it, but she still hesitated after almost every other word. Still, that didn't chase away the fact that the girl was very pretty, and her looks almost made me perform a triple-take.
I checked the time on my phone, and saw that my bus would arrive soon. If I quickened my pace, I would probably make it just in time with maybe a minute to spare.
"Ah, well, I need to get going. You should probably get yourself back to your place if you're feeling this drunk." At least I thought the girl was drunk.
"Please... Wait." The girl begged, though I paid her words no attention, as I needed to rush to my bus.
I walked a brisk pace all the way to the bus stop, and just in time too, as people were almost finished boarding. I paid the fare with the change form the hundred I got (it was amazing that the vendor even had change for an hundred) and took a seat near the front of the bus.
One more person began to board the bus behind me, though I didn't bother with paying attention as I closed my eyes to daydream.
Instantly was my daydreaming interrupted.
"Uh, sorry, no fare, no boarding." Gruffly said the bus driver.
"But... He is on... This machine." Now THAT sounded familiar.
"Can't help that, little lady. You need to pay the fare to get on the bus."
Well shit, I can't leave her there.
I stood up and walked over to the bus driver, "Uh, will this do for her fare? I know her, so please." This is really too troublesome.
"Yea, fine, go on then." The bus driver deposited the fare and handed the Chinese girl a ticket.
The girl accepted the slip of paper while constantly staring at my face for some strange reason.
I turned slightly red at the girl's attention as I saw back down in my seat. And much to either my annoyance (due to the troublesome situation of the girl) or delight (due to her pretty looks), the strange girl sat down beside me, clutching the ticket in her hand.
For the entire drive, neither of us spoke to each other. I did my best to avert my eyes from the girl and pay my attention to random objects outside of the windows, while the girl focused a listless stare in my direction, not once averting her eyes.
I wasn't sure how to react to the girl's intense gaze. I could only hope that nothing weird erupted between our interaction.
Eventually, my stop came, and I stood up to get off the bus. I calmly walked out of the bus, only to find that the girl was following me. Still ignoring the girl, I navigated the short path of sidewalks until I reached my apartment complex. I didn't look back once, though I could hear the faint steps of the girl's, which I didn't notice until now, slippers.
It was when I reached the door to my particular place that I couldn't contain my annoyance anymore. "Hey! Just why the heck are you following me?"
The girl kept her somber gaze fixated on me, "You... Gave me food. And you... Paid for my... Fare. I must... Thank you." Her way of speaking still seemed unnaturally strange, though it kept its entrancing feel to it.
"Look, that's all well and good, but you don't need to follow me home to do that! Just wait until tomorrow and buy a hotdog for me or something. Seriously, you must have drank or smoked a heck of a lot to get like this."
"I do not... Partake of... Such substances." It didn't seem like she was lying, nor did I see any other signs of inebriation on her person.
"Ok then... Let's do this again, my name is Callan... What's yours?" I had to start somewhere, and it's always best to start off with introductions, even if we didn't start off with them in the first place.
"My name... I do not... Remember. Ah... Take this." The Chinese girl removed an ornate pendant from her neck, it probably contained some clue to her identity.
'Wait, she doesn't remember? What the heck? Isn't that like a giant red flag that I should take her to a hospital?' Well, I didn't think of that at all at that time.
I accepted the pendant and opened up. There was a picture of a snake like golden-green dragon, and in front of it, was the girl's name: Jia Fucanglong. I though it strange that in her pendant was the romanized version of her name, but what the heck, convenience is convenience.
"So is your name Jia Fucanglong?" Jia nodded her head furiously, it seemed that she at least realized that that was her name.
While I wasn't familiar with many Asian names, and much less Chinese ones, her name still struck the unusual cord within my brain. Still, I paid it no heed and figured that maybe it was a normal name in China.
"And, well, considering there's no point in staying out here, you might as well come in if you want." The last girl I had in here was... Wait a second, not even my mom came in here before!
"Thank you... Again Cahlan." Said Jia impassively.
"No it's not Cahlan, it's Callan." Oh whatever, I can't force people with dialects to say my name correctly straight up.
We walked in side, with both of us removing our shoes. I only took off my shoes as I found it much more comfortable walking on the carpet without shoes, Jia only took off her slippers after watching me, probably emulating my behavior.
In a forced attempt to enter conversation, I muttered out, "So why were you out in that alleyway? Coming back from a party or something?"
Jia responded in the same stony way as before, "I do not... Remember why... I was... There."
That couldn't be good. Maybe she has a concussion or some sort of amnesia? "Well, I'll call the police or something, maybe someone's looking for you"
For the first time, Jia spoke quickly, "No police! Please do not... Leave me... Here."
No police huh? Well shit, this is turning out to be much more troublesome than it should be. "Well, do you remember anything? Anything before we met?"
Jia tilted her head, confused. "Nothing... Ah, maybe... This?" Jia then pulled out a strange vial with a piece of tape on it.
The tape had some writing on it, which I read out loud, "Nepenthe? What the heck's that?" The word 'Nepenthe' was printed on the tape in permanent ink. I had no idea what Nepenthe was, nor would I have expected what it actually did when I found out later.
"Ne...Pen...The" Murmured Jia.
"Eh? You know what it is?"
"No... I do not. Though it... Is familiar."
Maybe she really does have amnesia? Seeing no other choice in this troublesome situation, I offered Jia to stay the night if she still does not remember anything.
"Thank... You, Cahlan."
"It's CAL-Lan. Oh forget it. I'm going to go make something for dinner, make yourself at home." I said, slightly amused at her failed attempts to pronounce my name.
Jia sat by herself on the armchair, facing the TV, though she paid the TV no attention and once again focused her gaze on my face. "You are... Giving me a... Place to sleep. And you are... Feeding... Me again. Kindness..." She said softly to herself. Jia buried her face in a nearby pillow in order to hide her tears that streamed down her face.