ADIM: Lost Things - Chapter IV: Hope

“Say,” Carson said, looking at Markus, “what were you doing with the Crescent Squad?”

Markus had silence for his answer.

“Look. If I try to kill you again, Ace would kill me first,” Carson reassured Markus while glancing at Ace. “I’m not that mad this time. I just want to know.”

Markus remained silent and still—like he wasn’t processing the question, or anything Carson just said. But after a few moments, he turned towards Ace, nodding at him.

“I’ll answer for him,” Ace said, much to be suspected by Carson.

“You sure?”

“I am. The kid’s one of their lower rank members, sent to join the Sun Rage bandits months before the attack. He claimed he wasn’t involved with the attack itself, and he’s never contacted them about leaving the group.”

With how Ace, including John and Virgil, referred to Markus as a kid—Carson knew something was off with his perception. He had always seen Markus as someone around his age, maybe ‌a little younger. He couldn’t tell Ace’s age, and John and Virgil seemed older to him.

“Wait. I’ve never asked him properly, but did you get his age?”

“Around nineteen.”

And Carson’s twenty-two, if he recalled correctly. With his remaining math knowledge, Markus would be roughly fourteen when the attack happened. He could’ve joined the Crescent Squad when he was way, way younger, too. And considering the Crescent Squad’s nature of abandoning and changing identities, he wondered how many identities had Markus assumed, within nineteen years.

“Say, have you guys identified him? Like, anything before joining the Crescent group?” Carson asked Ace.

Ace shook his head. “He’s completely new here. I’ll have to arrange a few more things for him.”

“Oh, okay.” Carson turned to Markus, who didn’t look like he was listening. “You okay?”

Markus nodded. “Mhm, yeah. You have anything else?”

“Hmm… Say, you know how’d my parents end up?”

“Uh, I’m not sure, honestly… Wait, hold on. I think I can answer this one.” Markus gulped, slapping his face—as if to wake himself up, and he stayed still for a bit. “I haven’t heard what would those big guys wanted to do with the captives—like your parents and other people in their group. You’re more of the… hostage? I don’t know. They only told me you’re staying with the Sun Rages instead, and that’s about it. Pretty sure there’s some other people being sent to other guilds or gangs too.”

Carson did not know what Markus meant by other people in his parents’ group. He could’ve meant people in the same guild, people who work with them, and so on. But he only cared about one thing. “Did they kill my family?”

“They haven’t said anything about killing the captives. But I’ve heard of a place they sent those people to, and I tried copying its map.” Markus turned to Ace, who picked out a paper from his pocket. “Yeah, that one. Carson can have that.”

Once Carson got the paper, he only made out an unknown town from the shaky lines.

“You know the Ashen Volcano? It’s on the west of it, I think. And honestly, it’s probably abandoned by now. But there could be some ruins over there.”

“They brought my parents there?”

“Yeah, from what I’ve heard.”

“Did they kill them?”

“I told you I don’t know… But honestly, I meant this in the least mean way, and please don’t kill me for saying this—but I don’t think they’re alive, even if I haven’t heard of any executions happening there.”

Carson had already anticipated this outcome. But after punching Markus yesterday and seeing him here again, and how he ended yesterday in the comfort of John’s house—he craved for the same relief, once again. “They could be alive?”

“Sort of? But eh, I dunno. Death’s most likely, but… If you actually find them walking around, tell them, uh…”

After watching Markus struggling to say the message, he had another question. “So, what did you do about this entire thing? You told Ace you weren’t involved with the attack.”

“…Eavesdropping, mostly. They only told me to keep you in the Sun Rage,” Markus chuckled dryly, his expression lightened up. “You know how that turned out. Hell, I’m sure I was almost killed by letting you run away a week ago, or they could want me dead for other reasons. I don’t know.”

Carson remembered the stab scar on Markus’ body, realizing Markus could’ve died when he ran away alone.

But at last, Carson had finally found a few more leads to his family’s fate. They could’ve been ‌alive or dead, and he now had the next destination. Maybe he could trace after his family or the other Crescent Squad members, too.

At the moment he considered going after the squad, he remembered one thing. “Wait, hold on. What are you going to do with those Crescent guys?”

“Whatever Ace came up next,” Markus replied.

And things seemed to click. Ace was hunting down Crescent Squad members, and Markus could’ve been a lead to his quest. And that’s all Carson wanted to hear—Ace being able to continue his own mission, and Markus feeling safe with someone else other than him.

Once Carson got back to Ironport, he told Virgil about the location Markus gave him, while accompanying him until John got home. But he only told them he had another lead to Crescent Squad, hiding the fact he was looking for his family from the two.

“You’re going out again?” John asked as he washed the dishes, while Carson was sitting at the dining table. “We could join you too, you know.”

“Wait, what?” Carson asked, raising his eyebrows at the last sentence.

“I said what I said.”

“Eh, you’re probably too busy with work or something.”

“If you’re going out tomorrow or any other weekdays, Virgil could join you. But if we’re going at the weekend, we could all go together.”

“Huh. When’s the weekend again?”

From the upstairs, Virgil joined in. “Four more days.”

That long until John could join them… Would he really need his housemates to join him too? But considering the age of this information, the only thing that really mattered was when Carson would visit this place. He could’ve waited a few days to think all of this over, as he processed what happened yesterday properly. But aside from that, nothing was stopping him—except for his decision.

  • Don’t let John and Virgil join him, and head to the next destination tomorrow.
  • Don’t let John and Virgil join him, but take a few days to process things first.
  • Head to the next destination with Virgil tomorrow.
  • Take a few days to process things, and head to the next destination with Virgil.
  • Wait for the weekend, and head to the next destination with both John and Virgil.

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Writer's Notes

this is probably one of the few things I do on the forum for a while, just updating my wom oc story, like new arts/writings

hi again y’all