Shops in the market were filled with various meats and vegetables. Gretchen, with a basket in her hand, carefully observed the goods as if selecting jewelry. However, she also frequently looked at her watch. She was afraid to be late home and be scolded by her husband — Faust.
Due to her parents’ early passing, Gretchen had supported herself since she was small. She knew that survival needs courage. Later, in an fated encounter, she met Faust. When the two looked each other in the eye, Gretchen sensed that she could rely on him and hence married him shortly thereafter.
However, Faust was overly concerned about Gretchen. If she was home even slightly late, he would search the whole city for her. He wanted to control every detail about Gretchen’s life. This lifestyle was stressful to Gretchen, but she thought it as a manifestation of his love. Although she occasionally had complaints, she stifled her words.
When Gretchen stepped inside the house, she called out for her husband, but no one answered. All of a sudden, she was jumped from behind with a cloth over her nose. She felt a pungent smell before her consciousness gradually fell...
Gretchen: What...are you doing...?
Blair the Witch of Rotten Woods: Don’t move. It’ll be done soon.
Gretchen: ‘Why do I feel light-headed?’
Gretchen: ‘What’s happening?’
Faust: This way, we can be together forever.
Faust: Only through this can we truly belong to each other.
In a state of semi-consciousness, Gretchen could only remember her body becoming lighter, as if she floated in the air. She did not know what Faust and Blair had done to her. Only Faust’s deep voice echoed in her mind...
Faust: Gretchen, I really love you so much...
Faust: I want to own you, possess you...
Faust: So you can never leave me.
When Gretchen awoke, she lost her original body; her soul was trapped in a gem. Gretchen shouted with all her might, but none heard her; she cried in immense fear, but none saw her. All that remained of Gretchen was a helpless soul...
Gretchen: Who can hear me? Who can notice my existence?
Gretchen’s body was taken by Faust, whilst her soul was sealed within a gem. She lived a bounded life ever since. However, when Felix was later cleaning his place, he mistook her for trash and threw her away with the rubbish. After being passed through many hands and places, Gretchen was sold in a small unknown shop.
Inside the gem, Gretchen never stopped yelling, hopefully drawing someone’s attention. However, she gradually lost hope, because she began to realize that her voice could not pierce the gem. None could hear her painful cries for help.
That day was no different from other days. The gem with Gretchen inside was at a secluded position in the shop; but a man stopped in front of the gem and carefully observed it...
Heisenberg: This gem feels special...
Researcher of Ancient Dragon Power: I’m buying the gem! If you’re not going to, step aside!
Heisenberg: Hmph! I’ll buy it even if I have to pay my last dime!
After a heated argument, Heisenberg successfully bought the strange gem of unknown origin. It was an ordinary gem to Heisenberg’s students, but to Heisenberg himself, it was an invaluable treasure.
Heisenberg’s Student: Spending so much money...just to win for winning’s sake!
Heisenberg: No! My instinct is telling me that this gem will be the breakthrough of my research.
Heisenberg’s Student: Instinct? Teacher, don’t you think you’re just being irrational?
Heisenberg smiled without saying a word. The line between science and fantasy was mere and thin. Those who only fantasize are called idealists; those who build their ideas are named inventors; those who chase after vague philosophy are labeled thinkers, while those who seek the unknown in the real world are known as scientists.
After returning to his laboratory, Heisenberg continued his research. An idea struck his mind. He put the gem into the waist of the cyborg, filling the only missing part of his product. Suddenly, the cyborg radiated blinding light. When Heisenberg reopened his eyes, he saw the cyborg hiding under the desk in the laboratory. It nervously looked around. Heisenberg slowly walked to it and crouched...
Heisenberg: My name is Heisenberg. This is my laboratory. You are...?
Gretchen: I am...Gret...Gretchen...
The appearance of this girl named Gretchen reminded Heisenberg of his deep-hidden regret. They called each other father and daughter and lived together. The two cared for the other until Heisenberg was taken away by the merciless flow of time.
Ancient Dragon Power exists as a powerful force. A lot became mad or even lost their sanity in attempt to attain it. To prevent it from falling into the wrong hands, Gretchen collaborated with other scholars — Agnesi, Lisa and Mark-II. They worked together and turned the Stirling Ruins into a fort; they moved in when the work was done.
Though they had different points of view, the scholars respected each other. They seldom argued and would even assist others’ research or experiments. One day, as they were focusing on their work, Mark-II screeched an alarm...
Mark-II: Intruder detected...
Mark-II: Need immediate elimination...
Gretchen: I’d never thought you would dare come here! Are you after Ancient Dragon Power?
Midgley: I just want to help...
Gretchen: I won’t fall for this!
Gretchen pushed Midgley to the ground and said angrily...
Gretchen: I’ll never let Ancient Dragon Power fall to the hands of your likes!
Geppetto: Please let teacher go! He is not the kind of person you think he is! He saved me once!
Geppetto’s words startled the scholars. It was not until he said this did Gretchen turn to face Geppetto.
Geppetto: I was an abandoned baby. If not for teacher, I would have long been dead.
Agnesi: Just because he’d made mistakes doesn’t mean he wouldn’t change.
Agnesi: No matter how many mistakes he’ve made, they are in the past, aren’t they?
Lisa: Forgiving him means forgiving yourself, too, Gretchen.
Gretchen looked at Midgley. His eyes did change when compared to the past, as if he has had new realizations about his previous actions. She released her grip and stood straight again. She then turned her back on Midgley, asking Mark-II’s opinion.
Gretchen: Mark, what do you think?
Mark-II: Long-term future is hard to predict; but you do need a technician for adjusting the energy system right now.
Gretchen considered for a while before stretching out her hand to Midgley, her face still filled with some resentment.
Gretchen: Don’t try anything funny.
Midgley: Thank You.
Not long after, Agnesi could not hold back her enthusiasm, and started discussing Ancient Dragon Power research and data with Midgley; Lisa stood beside them and listened. Gretchen, looking at all this from not far away, patted Monstro and smiled in relief.
The Demonic Savants had always coveted Ancient Dragon Power. To seize it from the scholars, the Savants utilized their proudest battle tool — Combatants — and raided Fort Stirling. The scholars were faced with a bitter battle as they had never encountered such strong rivals. At the brink of defeat, the scholars and their built companions generated new power with their shared feelings.
Gretchen’s desire to protect everyone resonated with Monstro’s will to guard Gretchen. At a critical juncture, Monstro broke into parts and reassembled onto Gretchen’s body. Hence, they gained power to rival that of the Combatants. Gretchen blasted her charged cannon at targets in front of her, vaporizing most Demons in the column before her. Grey smoke emerged from the struck Combatants...
Gretchen focused her sight forward, waiting for the smoke to blow over. When the air was clear again, she saw that the Combatants were still standing and were approaching the fort. Nevertheless, the Combatants were not unharmed; parts of their armor had been knocked off, revealing the parts inside.
Gretchen: Monstro, how long do we need until the next shot?
Combative Whale Monstro: ‘Five minutes to full power.’
Mark-II: Gretchen, I have come to help...
Gretchen: Mark! Please try your best to stall them!
Mark-II: I will handle it.
Combative Whale Monstro: ‘One minute to full power.’
Gretchen: Can we really not go faster?
Combative Whale Monstro: ‘Charge complete.’
Gretchen: This time, we’ll really drive back those annoying Demons!
Gretchen shot again towards the Combatants. This hit landed on their core, knocking them to their knees and stripping them of their ability to continue fighting. The Demonic Savants were shocked at what was happening before their eyes. They could not believe that the results of their painstaking research had lost to the scholars.
Gretchen: I might not be able to defeat you on my own, but...