The Consequence of Saving the World
Sereya’s brutal honesty hit me hard. Even as she led me to the Legendary Sage, my thoughts and feelings were still trying to adjust.
In some ways, there was a silver lining, though. My mind felt a lot more prepared for whatever the Legendary Sage would say.
“I know you’re nervous and all, but shouldn’t you enjoy the view?”
Sorry, Sereya. I didn’t really want to focus on my surroundings that much. If I tried to wrap my mind over the architecture of the palace, my peasant brain would explode.
I felt dirty and underdressed. Even stepping on the carpet made me feel bad. The massive paintings on the walls stared at me with immense pressure. I felt like a deer that just entered a human city.
“Is everything alright, Hero Evansmith?”
The palace guards who escorted us were armed to the teeth. The voice of the guard who just expressed concern to me was echoey thanks to the design of his helm. These guys were really intimidating. The Knights of The Wings of Ragnarl feel a lot more friendly in comparison.
The corridors and hallways were large, wide and mostly empty. There were doors and intersections everywhere. Allantheim Palace seriously needed to stick a map somewhere.
We kept walking until eventually, both of the knights stopped.
“Lady Sereya, Hero Evansmith, this is as far as we could take you,” one of the knights stated, “Simply head straight and you should see the Legendary Sage’s study on your left.”
“Thank you, you may return to your posts.”
I mimicked Sereya’s gesture and nodded towards our escorts. As they left, Sereya and I continued.
“Why did they leave us halfway?” I asked.
“Ordis is rather eccentric, you see. He hates nothing more than being disturbed. I remember hearing rumours of new guards accidentally wounding up in his study, only to be turned into guinea pigs for his experiments.”
My throat swallowed a gulp of saliva.
“Then, wouldn’t we be disturbing him?”
“Oh don’t worry, once he sees your face, he’ll probably be more delighted than annoyed.”
I hoped what Sereya said was true.
We were finally outside of the Legendary Sage’s study. A huge, gargantuan-sized door stood in front of us. What was being kept inside here, a dragon? I had to crane my neck just to see the top of the entrance.
Instead of knocking, Sereya let herself right in! Somehow, she was able to push open the massive door like it was some curtain covering a window. I followed behind her, palms sweaty from the anticipation.
Unlike the rest of the palace, this room was really dark and stuffy. I couldn’t tell its exact size, which sent chills down my spine. What kind of person would study in complete darkness?
“Ordis! You dead yet?”
As Sereya called out, I got even more worried. Was the Legendary Sage so familiar with us to the point that you can use such a casual greeting? Making things more nerve-racking was that her voice seemed to stretch far and wide, almost as if this was a wide, open area.
“Ah yes, the Bladecrest girl, here to ruin my day. Didn’t you have a bunch of old men to entertain at a certain summit?
The voice that answered came from all around me. I had trouble pinpointing its exact location. The only thing I could tell was that the voice was male, but it was bizarrely monotonous, which made the sarcasm carried in his words even more jarring.
“Look who I brought with me.”
Sereya lightly slapped my back, which automatically sent me several steps forward. I kept my eyes peeled, looking for any sign of life besides the two of us in this room. Damn, the outside was so bright, my eyes didn’t have any time to adjust to the darkness.
“Oh my! Why, if it isn’t my favourite otherworlder!”
Once more, the strange voice came at me from all directions. I held my breath. Despite the words of welcome, I couldn’t help but feel on edge given how unnatural they sounded.
It was at that moment, a flash of white utterly overwhelmed my vision. By the time I could raise my hands and shut my eyes, it was already too late. I must have gone blind.
“Evan! My word—you look younger than ever!"
Gee, thanks. It wasn’t easy to accept this compliment, especially since I couldn’t even see the one giving it.
“Bladecrest, what happened to him?”
“That’s why we’re here to find out.”
As I heard Sereya and the Legendary Sage conversing, my sense of sight gradually returned. My eyelids gently unravelled, and the floating green things which bounced around in my vision were still there. After a bit of rubbing, I could finally see clearly again.
I wished I could breathe a sigh of relief, but I couldn’t. In front of me was a pile of sculpted stone, a statue perhaps? It was huge—only its knees and below were in my sight. I tilted my neck upwards to have a better view of the object before me.
That was no object. What stood before me was neither man nor monster.
It was a golem.
I had never seen one before in my life. This was purely a guess, a recollection of one of the stories my mum used to tell. An artificial construct made of earth and stone said to serve the gods during the Age of Heroes—that was a golem. To think that the Legendary Sage Ordis was this being of myth—my mouth was left agape like a dead fish, completely struck in awe.
Its two green dots for eyes almost seemed like they twitched for a moment. Lacking a mouth, the Legendary Sage’s voice appeared to be transmitted via the surroundings. Exactly how it functioned was beyond me.
The entire study itself was similar to its tenant, massive and built in various stones and minerals. Just like the body of the golem, various markings and carvings were scattered throughout the walls and towering pillars arranged throughout the room—no, hall would be a more apt description.
If someone told me that this was a secret location in some hidden dungeon, I would have believed that more than the thought of this place being connected to the palace. The architecture, the atmosphere—everything was completely different.
Just to double-check, I gave a quick glance to the back. Sereya was there, and behind her was the same, gigantic door. This space was not separated by magic or something—it was physically connected to the hallway outside. The Legendary Sage was probably just small enough to fit into the door and hallway without breaking anything.
“Ah, Evan! I bet you were looking for this. Come, come!”
The Legendary Sage turned around and began to lead us deeper into the hall. With every step it took, I could feel my heart vibrating from the aftershock of each of his humongous steps.
We passed by many of the ornamented pillars throughout the study. These pillars had a pattern to their layout. They were lined up perfectly to both sides of the room. In between every two pillars, there were enormous doors, similar to the entrance.
After thirty or so steps (which were like ten steps for the Legendary Sage), we finally stopped in front of one of these doors placed between the pillars. Even though the Sage’s body seemed cumbersome at first glance, it was able to gently open the door like a normal human.
The room within it was spotless. White tiles layered the entire interior, from the floor up to the ceiling. It was also empty, except for a chair in the middle of the room.
The chair was clearly too small for the Sage to use. It was for human use. Similar to the room’s design, it was also coated in white, but it seemed a lot bulkier and weirdly designed than usual chairs. It didn’t have any legs, but it was connected to the floor directly like a tree stump.
“Evan, What do you think?”
The Legendary Sage quickly went in ahead of us and proudly opened its oversized palms beside the tiny chair, flaunting the object. I was utterly confused. Why was the Sage so excited?
“What are you standing outside for? Come! Come! Have a closer look.”
With Sereya behind me, I approached the strange furniture. That was when I realised that its seat was in fact, a hole. The rim of the ‘seat’ was made of ceramic, but it appeared to store water at the centre of the hole.
“I followed your instructions from last time, and I was finally able to create it! Behold, Fallcross’ first-ever flush toilet!”
“Gone are the days of the revolting smell of human waste! A single pull of the lever, and all the dirty business will be flushed away, no magic required! The gong farmers will no longer need to collect excrement every morning—this process can now be automated. Oh, the wonders of otherworldly technology!”
I pulled the lever that was located on the top half of this flush toilet, and the water that sat motionless at the bottom of the bowl was suddenly sucked into a hole, producing a ‘whsh’ sound. More water from the sides of the rim started to pour into the bowl and just like that, the water was replaced.
This was genius!
I finally understood the impact this invention will have on humanity. We no longer need to suffer from foul odour and pick up our droppings left in our cesspits or latrines. With the pressure of water, we can flush them away somewhere else.
“Was this how your toilets were like in Japan?”
The Sage’s earthen face could not express any emotion whatsoever, but I got the feeling that it was probably that of an eager child. Heck, I was also equally as excited. This was a piece of technology from the past me, someone from another world. Wow, with knowledge like that, no wonder he was friends with the Legendary Sage.
“I know, this is really cool,” Sereya finally spoke up after staying quiet for so long.
“But we have a much bigger problem on our hands, Ordis.”