I Raised a Black Dragon - Chapter 213
Adrian smiled, his grin stretching from ear to ear. Though he was smiling, it did not reach his eyes, which were stone cold and emotionless. “Don’t just smile at me!” Noah stomped her foot, which she immediately regretted when it made feel like a child throwing a tantrum. “Are you real, or are you a duplicate?”
“I am just me,” Adrian claimed, shrugging his shoulders and pulling his hair back to reveal that the back of his ear was spotlessly clean. There was no sign of an ‘r’ or ‘R’ on him.
Noah’s forehead wrinkled deeply as she frowned. “That doesn’t answer anything. You could still be a replica; you might not have been tattooed!” Noah said, desperately trying to get Adrian to give a straight answer.
“Well… if you don’t believe me, I can confirm it. After all, you know how to distinguish between the real and the fake. That incident on the Angelic, didn’t Kyle Leonard tell you? It’s all captured on the video he recorded.”
Noah couldn’t tell if he was bluffing or not. There was a way to distinguish between the two forms, but it was dangerous.
“It’s alright, Noah.” Adrian said, holding out his hand. His voice was soothing, as if he was trying to calm her nerves.
Something was rather off about the conversation, but Noah stood her ground and made her mind to put Adrian to the test.
The walls of the stairs were lined with different swords, ranging from a longsword to a tiny dagger. Focusing on that dagger, Noah reached out with her hand to wrap phantom ropes around the hilt of the dagger. She tugged on the rope with enough force to pull it free from the wall. As the blade clattered to the floor, it caught Adrian’s hand.
Blood began to ooze down his arm, which made Noah’s heart sink. He had been confirmed as human, as blood did not flow through replicas. She was certain that he was a replica of some sort. And yet, there he was, standing in front of her in the flesh and blood.
“You didn’t even try to dodge it.” She said, staring at Adrian’s blood. He rubbed his finger over the cut, his dark red blood staining his finger.
“I take it that I have been confirmed, then. Or, am I?” Adrian wiped his fingers down his cheek, smearing it with blood. The sight of him with the blood on his hands, his face, and his clothing, was grotesque to see. How Adrian didn’t even seem to care that he was covered in blood, and the way he left bloody handprints on everything he touched. He approached Noah, gripping the front of her shirt to pull her in closer. Noah wanted to run, to free herself from Adrian, but she was curious as to what Adrian had to say.
“Do you know how Eleonora died?” He leant in close to whisper into Noah’s ear.
“Because you killed her. While co-researching the replica project, you fought with Eleonora near the castle. You killed her right after that, didn’t you?” Noah said, shivers going down her spine as Adrian’s breath tickled her neck.
“That’s that you think. But the truth is much different than you think. She was proficient in pure magic, and a very curious individual. Eleonora really wanted to create another version of herself. Not just a machine shell over human skin. An existence that thought and moved just like her. But how could that be? A mechanical human has skin but no soul, and soulless replicas only maneuver according to a set manual. So, what did Eleonora think of?” Adrian lowered his voice to a whisper as if he were about to tell his deep, darkest secret. “To model it not only after the human body but after the human soul. She died attempting that.”
Noah froze in place, too stunned to move. All this time, she thought that Adrian had been the one to kill Eleonora, and then she took over the body before returning to her original form. But, as it turned out, her death was an accident. An experiment that went wrong. Goosebumps spread across her body as she looked down at Adrian’s hand, the blood from his cut now dripping onto the floor.
“Adrian, you’re a success? You mean to say that someone managed to create a perfect clone of you? Or are you still messing with me?” She took a step back, her heart pounding against her chest as Adrian walked towards her. But if Eleonora had died during the experiments before she could create a clone, who carried on her work? Adrian himself?