Sundown became imminent when a ray of sunlight was projected toward a small, concave mirror, which in turn induced a reflected ray of light that pointed to Piccolo’s notebook; this was an indication that it was past five before evening, the time at which he opt to resume his research the following day and return home.
Piccolo gathered his research papers and stuffed them inside his shoulder bag made out of tiger’s skin; the bag had cost him a fortune that it nearly took him two years to save most of his earnings.
A biologist and head of Scientia Comunica, which is an organization run by scientists of various disciplines, Piccolo is among the gifted individuals who have contributed much of their time to the City of Lazario as well as revolutionized medicine and technology.
Outside from the Romans, about 10,948 kilometers away, King Vesuvius founded the City of Lazario, along with his family and wife, as a way to escape tyranny and corruption instigated by a powerful family in Rome. In hopes to solidify autonomy and develop City of Lazario into an independent nation, King Vesuvius decided to grant scholars adequate resources so they could better improve the status quo and other social structures.
Citizens of the City of Lazario lived a happy life without any outside influence from the Romans—who knew nothing of their whereabouts or existence—until the god of falsity and wickedness, Babo, decided to carry corruption from the unstable Rom.
Other Gods and Goddesses tried to tell Babo how selfish and destructive it was to rule over another country occupied by people, but the egotistical god refused to accept their claims and decided to act upon his urge as a god. So afterwards Babo pinpointed the location of City of Lazario in a fraction of a second, and cursed the citizens to lie and never tell the truth, and whosoever decides to tell the truth will be burnt to smithereens.
Babo did not, however, control the people’s will; he merely cursed them not to tell the truth. Even though people did have the will to tell the truth, they knew doing so would mean burning themselves to ashes. So far over a hundred of people who despised the god and thought it was all a bluff have been publicly burned until no flesh was left of them.
The 49 year-old Piccolo left his office where he works and set foot on the gravel that leads to the street of the city. The man decided to wander the city, thinking about his wife the whole time. Donatela, her real name, died a couple of months ago due to Lymphoma. Piccolo didn’t know the actual cause of her death until after he did a biopsy on her.
After having being married for more than 15 years, Piccolo couldn’t understand why she became ill; she seemed healthy to him the entire time. He couldn’t find any reasonable explanation for such coming, so he opted to move on with his life. Though every year of her birthday he would visit her graveyard and deposit one Bermusa Buttercup, her favorite flower.
Walking aimlessly on the street, Piccolo thought about the only question that kept bothering him after the death of Donatela: why would the gods and goddesses stay put when his wife was on the brink of death without him knowing? He had prayed for them, worshipped them as superiors since he has lived in Rome as a child. But he became reluctant to bow down for them, not because of letting Donatela go but bringing corruption and lies among citizens of Lazario.
A hatred that Piccolo continues to bear against Babo continuously grows, but there’s nothing he could do with the hatred; how can he confront a god with the hatred in him when he’s merely human? The only thing he is thankful is that his wife doesn’t have to live in a society controlled by a ruthless god, let alone abide by corruption.
A faint voice from out of nowhere reached Piccolo’s attention when the man surveyed his surroundings, locating the voice. A few seconds later another man, whom Piccolo was relieved to see, emerged into view. It was his partner, Lunaris. Lunaris is a 54 year-old environmentalist, who spend most of his years studying biology with Piccolo. Both men were like brothers and never kept a secret from one another, but with the rising of Babo everything they’ve done is nothing but lies.
“It is good to see you, Piccolo, my brother,” said Lunaris as he approached him.
“Same here. What have you become lately?” asked Piccolo. The men knew already that everything they are about to say is a lie—they got so used to it that it became natural. Though they felt guilt for doing so.
“I’ve gone to the fountain of youth,” Lunaris lied.
“I believe you found what you were looking for?”
“Yes,” he lied again. “I’ve collected a sample that would enable us to extract a compound; this potent compound will be used intravenously to cure sexual transmitted diseases.”
Piccolo knew that they didn’t have the advanced techniques or equipment to extract such a thing.
“How’s your children?” asked Piccolo.
“Oh, them! They died yesterday,” Lunaris lied, even thought both men knew what a horrible thing to say.
“How’s your wife, is she at home?” Lunaris pretended she was alive.
“She died of lymphoma,” replied Piccolo, though this immediately aroused both men with fear, as they were well aware it was the truth. “I mean…she’s at the garden.”
Both men stood still in shock, waiting to witness the happening as one of then thought it would be his last to see the other.
Piccolo didn’t understand what brought him to speak the truth—this was the first time to ever happen! The scientist felt his heart beating, blood pressure reaching a peak higher than an average human; he was utterly scared, unprepared to face death right before his partner’s eyes. The men said not a word for over two minutes, yet nothing happened.
As one’s eyes met the other’s eyes, both lingered like statues, hearing the footsteps of passersby. It was past five minutes, yet nothing happened.
Piccolo wanted to speak the truth about his wife even though Lunaris knew about her death. Maybe his subconscious broke the curse and let himself act upon his will? Piccolo couldn’t think of anything but waiting what is about to happen to him.
“How are you feeling, brother?” Lunaris continued.
Piccolo didn’t want to tell the truth; he believed it would worsen the pain when getting burned. “I’m feeling absolutely well and calmed.”
“My apology for being careless, but what was your wife’s name again?” Lunaris pretended even if he knew her name.
“Her name was Donatela, and she died of lymphoma,” again Piccolo said the truth. This confused Lunaris, as Piccolo was trying to fathom the situation. The men stood on the same spot for a while, in silence, yet nothing happened.
“How come you not facing punishment?” Lunaris threw the question.
“I don’t know. Maybe the god of sin and wickedness broke the curse?”
“If he had done so, we would’ve known by now. But my senses are telling the gods and goddesses have finally end Babo.”
“That is very unlikely,” protested Piccolo. “I believe another god or goddess must’ve stepped in to guide us to the right path.”
The men thought about it for a while, though they knew they must report this to their king. From there they decided to go to the king’s palace.
King Vesuvius was the only person in the City of Lazario to be free from the curse; Babo decided to free him from the tyrant’s curse, only because as a king Babo wanted him to witness the corruption of a society he had hoped to survive without Roman’s influence or the gods.
Once at the palace, both men were ushered by two guards to king’s office. Inside the office, King Vesuvius, sitting in his chair while reviewing the constitutional rights of his people, raised an eye brown.
“Ah, Piccolo and Lunaris, you no need to bow down before me but the gods,” the king said. “Tell me, what is it that brings you here?”
“My king,” said Piccolo, “today I have spoken the truth, twice, in response to Lunaris’ inquiries, yet I have not felt a slight of flame decimating my flesh. Why is that?”
King Vesuvius became astounded by the news, which had him sitting up from his leisure pose.
“This is outstanding news!” the king’s voice echoed the office. “It has appeared that we are no longer under the curse of Babo. I knew this day would come!” The king said, following a laugh. This perplexed Piccolo and the rest inside the office.
“How can you be certain of this?” questioned Piccolo.
“Oh, yeah! I’m absolutely certain! The Goddess of truth has finally saved us from wickedness. We no longer have to fear and lie for him.”
“What is this new goddess?” asked Lunaris.
The king rose from his chair, took a deep breath, and announced to his men.
“My fellow men, from this moment forward, let it be known that Veritas, the goddess of truth, will guide us from corruption. Live free as she has bestowed on you free will, and speak the truth as you won’t carry the favor of Babo.”
With that being said, Piccolo left the palace, looked at the dark sky as it was late evening, and let out two words that he had hoped to say one day in relief, “At last!”