Arisu no Kakumei
Valkyries… The warrior goddesses of death…
Known as the heralds of demise, they swoop down on battlefields to recruit the souls of the brave and the wise, of the valiant and the fearless. Their purpose is to bring warriors to fight for the Gods in a never-ending conquest of power, all leading to the cataclysm known as Ragnarok.
Valkyrie… A fitting name for a weapon of destruction…
When Kuroyuki Alice entered the room, she had all sorts of theories swirling around her mind. Mother Selena, the head nun of the Christian orphanage she was staying in looked rather happy for her. Could someone be interested in adopting a seventeen year old girl like her? In the slightest chance that would be true, she would politely decline the offer.
Ten years ago, Alice arrived in the orphanage - a three-storey old wooden building in the middle of a plain, a few miles out from the nearest town. The structure had been ancient and the floorboards creaked when stepped on, but it had been her home. Away from the people who destroyed her life, she found solace in this place.
The nuns had taken good care of Alice. They were the kindest people she had ever met and Mother Selena, an old woman with a warm smile, had been her second mother. The children in the orphanage looked up to her, although they had been wary of her at first. With good reason of course, because Alice harboured a dark secret she never shared to anyone, not even to Mother Selena.
Alice looked at herself in the mirror, making sure she was as prim and proper as needed. She was wearing a simple black dress with white laces and a pair of brown sandals. Her fair skin accentuated her dark hair, which she tied into a long ponytail with a dark blue ribbon. She looked like an ordinary young lady, hovering between being a girl and a woman. The only thing that made her different was her eyes - the left one had the colour of sapphires and the right shone like the golden sun.
The first thing people would notice her was this and she always said it was a genetic abnormality. It was one of the first lies that she were taught of.
Now Alice stood in front of ebony door that lead to Mother Selena's office. She was instructed to meet the guest alone and this raised a tiny alarm. But Alice put a stop in the anxiety, she had been in peace for the last ten years and she intended it to remain that way.
"Excuse me," said Alice, as she turned the doorknob and entered the room. Inside, a strange man stood waiting for her. He smiled warmly at her, as if he had known her for a long time and was glad to be reunited with her.
Puzzled, Alice looked closely at her visitor. He was a tall and lean man with short blue hair, aging around the early forties. He wore an expensive black suit, which fitted him greatly. He looked like an important and rich person, but what stroke her odd was the eye patch he wore on his right eye, covering one of what must be a pair of emerald-like eyes. On the black cloth of the eye patch was a strange crest written in white ink - a capital A enclosed in a semi-circle, making it look like a beast's eye.
Alice froze. In a split-second, the same symbol flashed through her mind. Painted in walls of reinforced steel… Flashing in the dashboard of a high-end computer… Stitched in a flag burning in the embers of an inferno…
The recognition in Alice's eyes seemed to amuse the man. "We meet again, Kuroyuki Alice-san," he said in a deep voice.
For a few seconds, Alice stood there in disbelief. But her shocked expression quickly changed to anger and in a manoeuvre that only she could apply, jumped out and pinned the man on the wooden wall. She used her arm to trap his neck, which was a bit difficult to do because of their difference in height. In a threatening voice she hadn't heard for years, Alice bellowed, "What do you want? How did you find me? What are you going to do to the orphanage if I won't cooperate? Spill it or I won't hesitate to kill you."
The man didn't look particularly alarmed. There was no fear on the one good eye he had and this confused Alice. If he knew who she exactly was, he would have trembled in her presence. But he calmly faced her and said, "I believe your third question was of more immediate reply. So, I shall say that I have no intention of harming you or the people around you or this poor structure that housed such."
"I don't trust you," said Alice, pushing her arm closer to the man's neck. "You Aesir scum cannot be trusted."
"Then I guess being the leader of the Aesir doesn't give you any assurance."
"What?" Alice took a look at the man. Besides the insignia on his patch, he was not a familiar face to her. The leader she knew was not him. "You're not Yamato Atsuro."
"I am not," answered the man. "I am Yamato Akira, his son."
"You're his son?" This information had put a stop in her thoughts.
"Indeed I am," said the man. There was a serious expression in his face as he continued on. "But I follow neither his ideals nor his… methods…"
It took a while for Alice to process her thoughts. "If you're Yamato Akira, then…"
"Yes, I know Kuroyuki-sensei." The man looked solemn as he watched her reaction in the next few words he uttered. "I was the one who ordered your disposal."
Alice trembled as she stepped away from the man. Yamato Akira straightened up, massaged his neck and then fixed his tie, which was crumpled in the confrontation. "You…" muttered Alice. "You were the one who allowed my escape…"
"I was expecting for the two of you to escape," said Yamato Akira with a sad tone. "Alas, there was tiny flaw in my plan and Kuroyuki-sensei paid the price."
At this, Alice grew silent. Another memory flashed in her mind - the bloody body of a black-haired man in a white laboratory suit. This was the lifeless body of Kuroyuki Keisuke, a brilliant scientist in his own right and her own beloved father.
A lone tear escaped from Alice's golden right eye. This surprised her; tears only flowed from her left eye.
"Remarkable," said Yamato Akira, looking at her eye and the tear. "The accessory… After this whole time, it is still fully operational."
"It had been dormant during the whole time," Alice told him. "My…" She paused and then swallowed. "My father made sure it will not be used so easily." She looked at him severely, her golden eye shining eerily. "So if you want me to be your personal weapon, I'm sorry but you have to go home without me."
Yamato Akira's gaze hardened. A shadow of the man Alice despised the most flickered in his face, but only for a short moment. "I seek no weapon," he announced. He pointed at his eye patch and said, "This is a proof of the mistakes my father had made. I will not allow history to repeat itself."
Alice was taken aback, but only for a while. "History to repeat itself - what do you mean by that?"
In reply, Yamato Akira took an envelope from the table. He gave it to Alice, who opened it warily and looked at the contents. She gasped at what she saw.
There were pictures of mangled bodies, cut and mutilated beyond recognition. Alice dropped the pictures, feeling sick all of a sudden.
"Those are the pictures of recent incidents that are happening in Tokyo," stated Akira. "The media listed it as bizarre series of murders, but the Aesir know the truth. After all, each of the victims was a member of the organization."
Alice trembled and it took all her willpower not to fall down on her knees.
Yamato Akira picked out a cigarette from his pocket, lit it and set it in his mouth. "I know you recognize what this means…"
"This is a nightmare…" muttered Alice.
Yamato Akira seemed not to hear. "Ten years ago, a facility was created by the combined efforts of the Aesir and the Vanyr. Two warring factions that once reigned supreme in the world had finally found harmony in a project that was supposed to herald eternal peace." He chuckled at this, shaking his head. "How absurd."
He puffed out smoke and then continued. "The project was simply a façade for each organization to make use of the other's resources. The scientists caught in this deadly battle were tasked to create the ultimate weapon of mass destruction. Using several test subjects, they failed time and time again, creating abominations in their wake."
Alice stood frozen during the whole time, suspended in the past where she escaped from and was now rapidly catching up to her. Yamato Akira turned his back on her, his story far from finished. "Project Valkyrie was ready to be declared a failure, but then a brilliant scientist found a way to install the human consciousness that escaped in each of the prior subjects. In his time, two Valkyries were created."
The story was coming to a close. Alice gripped her fists tight; her whole body tense in unfathomable anger. "And now that the weapons were created," continued Yamato Akira. "The real colours of the Aesir and the Vanyr surfaced. A fierce war raged on during that time, ending in a catastrophe that rid the world of many lives and two powerful weapons…" He paused to release a few more wisps of smoke. "Of course, that was what I lead them all to believe…"
Yamato Akira turned to face her again. During the few seconds that he did so, Alice jumped towards him, her right hand armed with a sharp knife…
A few moments after, Yamato Akira breathed out. The sharp edge of a knife pricked his neck, but it did no damage on his skin. He stared at Alice, who froze in the last moment. "You were created to become a weapon, Alice," he told her. "But you don't have to be one."
"I will always be a weapon in the eyes of the world," said Alice.
"And does that matter?" said Yamato Akira rather severely. It surprised Alice that he had the guts to be angry at her, even though his life was at her mercy. "It is not what the rest perceive you to be that mould you, it is your own actions."
Alice did not speak, but threw the knife into the floor. She turned her back on him and muttered, "Leave. Don't come back here anymore. I want to live my life as normal as it could be."
"I have no objections to whatever you may decide. But I want you to hear my proposition."
Alice turned back to face him. "Your proposition?"
"I came here to offer you a job," said Yamato Akira. Alice looked confused, so he sighed. "I believe the kind old lady forgot to tell you in her excitement."
Alice couldn't help but smile a little - Mother Selena had been known to miss out the important details when she's exhilarated.
"Kuroyuki Alice-san," said Yamato Akira in a formal tone. "I am offering you the job of being the personal maid of the Yamato mansion."
"What?" Alice was sure she hadn't heard it clearly.
"I am giving you an opportunity to investigate the Valkyrie Project," he told her, crossing his arms. "In the position I am offering, you are free to access the databases of the Aesir. And with your skill, you can find out the truth."
"I'm not sure I understand what you're talking about."
"Do you not?" He looked at her gaze and she was the first one to break the eye contact. "If my - our - hunch is correct, it seems the Project is not as dead as we presumed it to be."
Alice nodded. "So you want me to find it all out?"
Yamato Akira shrugged. "Whether you find the truth or not is of no consequence to me. To be honest, this pet project of my father had been a complete pain in the ass."
Alice was surprised at his crude words. She knew there was sincerity in his statement, but something was still off. And then it hit her. "Then, why?"
"Why are you telling me this?" She looked at him and this time, he was the first one to avoid her gaze. "What's in it for you?"
It took quite a while for him to answer. "Fulfilling a promise to an old comrade," he said after several puffs of smoke. His cigarette burned to a small stick, so he threw it away. "I promised your father that I will take good care of you in his absence. It took me ten years, but now I have the chance to right one of my father's wrongs."
Alice closed her eyes. "And me. I'll have the same chance as well." Her father's warm smile pervaded her mind and she could no longer turn her back to him. It was time to face the curse of the past. "Fine, I'll accept your offer."
"Thank you," said Yamato Akira, looking immensely relieved. "As I said, I will not be limiting your actions. You are free to investigate the matter on your own pace. Just make sure you don't kill too many of my men in the process."
Alice pretended to consider it. She grinned. "I'll try my best."
"For my sake, I hope you do." He resumed a business-like tone after that. "A professional maid would be your listed job, but you don't have to do any cleaning or the menial tasks. You would only have two duties in my mansion. First, protect my three sons from any harm."
"I'm sure what you need is a bodyguard and not a maid."
"My sons don't like bodyguards." Distaste was evident in his tone and Alice was sure he felt the same way. "Our butler is perfectly capable of protecting them, but I want you to assist him in that aspect as well."
"I see…" Alice refrained from asking what kind of butler he was talking about.
"Kindly prepare our meals." Yamato Akira looked embarrassed.
When Yamato Akira left the orphanage in a shiny black car, Alice was left to ponder in her room. Mother Selena and the other nuns had been elated to know that she had the chance to go back to society, but Alice could not the catch the same enthusiasm.
To find out the truth of the Project that ruined her and her father's lives, Alice was willing to do everything - even if it means working for the Aesir, whom she loathed the most. Even if she needed to trust Yamato Akira, whom she knew had secrets of his own.
Alice didn't know if she made the right decision, but there was one way to find out. She pulled out a worn bag out from under her bed and started to decide which things she'll be bringing with her to her new employer's house.
Author's Note: Ah, finally! After several months of hiatus, I'm back! I don't know why, but February to May seemed to be my hibernating season. Oh well.
Let's see now, here's a brand new series - Alice Revolution! It's a step up from my usual shoujo-ish stories with a darker tone and badass-er female protagonist. Of course, I'll still update the rest of my other stories but this will be a priority until I have the first arc done. The prologue is just a foreshadowing of the whole plot. Take note of the use of Norse mythology since it will be useful.
Anyway, thanks for reading! And see you in Chapter 1!