Chapter 18:

Our Final Moments

The Consequence of Saving the World


It gleamed like a pearl, almost like something straight out of a fairy tale. The axe was completely white from tip to handle and was twice the size of the man wielding it. Even after cutting clean through the bandit, the blade of the axe remained as white as snow. Bookmark here

Instead of sticking onto the weapon, the blood flowed down to its hilt and stained the wielder’s hand, the red on his glove mimicking the red in his hair. Bookmark here

Everyone, from the villagers to the bandits, was completely paralysed in fear. Even for me, every single part of my body was yelling at me to run, but I couldn’t. I had to see this through.Bookmark here

“No one, not even my men knew that I stole one of the Legendary Treasures,” he growled as he lowered his weapon to the side.Bookmark here

“So tell me, how in that sick Goddess’ name did you know I had Diphaxia with me, hmm?”Bookmark here

His tone switched, becoming a little softer. Even then, he did not feel any less threatening.Bookmark here

I could feel the sweat building up in my palms. Think, Evan, think! You had to come up with something, anything!Bookmark here

“H-Haven’t you heard? That’s what people are calling you nowadays.”Bookmark here

“Harh? I just came back from town wasted. If I heard someone call me that, there wouldn’t be any town left!”Bookmark here

Crap! He was making a more convincing argument than me. Bookmark here

“Hey, village people!” Remus roared, waving his oversized weapon towards the villagers.Bookmark here

“That kid is saying that’s what people are calling me nowadays, so hurry up and fess up! Which one of you said that?”Bookmark here

No one in their right mind would answer. I looked around me, desperate to find a solution of any kind. Was there anything I could use to catch him off guard?Bookmark here

“Ten! Nine!”Bookmark here

Hurry! What would the Hero do, Evan? Remus was counting down!Bookmark here

“If I reach zero, I’ll start killing one by one! Eight! Two!”Bookmark here

Wait, he skipped!Bookmark here

“One—”Bookmark here

I was smacked right in the face.Bookmark here

“He heard it from me! This idiot son of mine!”Bookmark here

M-Mum?Bookmark here

My cheek still stung, but nothing ached me more than to see my mum on the verge of breaking down.Bookmark here

“NO!”Bookmark here

“Evan, ENOUGH!”Bookmark here

No no no no! Mum, NO! Bookmark here

“She’s—”Bookmark here

Once more, my mum silenced me with her hand. I couldn’t care less that I was being disciplined in front of everyone. I didn’t want mum to sacrifice herself!Bookmark here

“You want to know how I know, right? You want to know where I got the news from, right? Then I can bring you right to the one who told me, but only if you leave the villagers of Breven alone!”Bookmark here

Mum…Bookmark here

It was as if all colour disappeared from my world. The most important person in my life was throwing her own life away for mine. Bookmark here

I bit my lip in complete denial. The blood that dripped from my mouth didn’t faze me at all. To hell if this was just a memory or not! I refused to allow any of this to happen!Bookmark here

“Woman!” Remus called out as he planted the base of his weapon to the ground.Bookmark here

“Even I, a bandit, am moved by your sacrifice. You have touched my heart.”Bookmark here

“Then—”Bookmark here

H-He killed the village chief!? Why?Bookmark here

“Might I remind you that I am the one calling the shots here?”Bookmark here

“Run!”Bookmark here

The villagers started to scream and run. All hell finally broke loose.Bookmark here

“What are you waiting for? Help Remu—”Bookmark here

Remus was even killing his own men. What kind of human was he?!Bookmark here

“Sorry boys, no hard feelings, yeah? This is a secret you’ll be keeping to your graves.Bookmark here

Be it friend or foe, Remus Whiteaxe mowed down everyone around him without prejudice. His terrifying weapon was so large, it could cleave swathes of men, women and children in a single swing. Blood dyed all of Breven red, except his axe, Diphaxia, which remained immaculate.Bookmark here

I was on my knees. Crushed. Devastated. Spirit utterly broken.Bookmark here

My mum was also on the ground, begging, praying, both at the same time. I couldn’t hear a single word she said over the deafening screams, the most unsettling sound a human could make.Bookmark here

How did this all happen? Was it all my fault? Was this Hanasuke’s fault?Bookmark here

Why did this happen to me?Bookmark here

What did I do to deserve this?Bookmark here

No, what did the people of Breven do to deserve all this?Bookmark here

Why, Goddess? Bookmark here

WHY?!Bookmark here

...Bookmark here

The sky above me was so peaceful. The sun was still blistering.Bookmark here

The moment I looked down, everyone was dead.Bookmark here

Their anguished expressions as they lay motionless on the ground—it was unbearable.Bookmark here

Mum was crying, her head planted on the floor. The tears that flowed from her eyes mixed with the blood on the ground slowly flowing towards us.Bookmark here

I thought the screaming was bad. It was a lot worse when they stopped.Bookmark here

The only thing I could hear was mum wailing. Bookmark here

“Sorry lady, I got carried away a bit. Where were we?”Bookmark here

Remus slowly walked towards us. His clothes which were made of leather seemed more like they were made in blood. He didn’t care that he was soaked with the blood of the innocent, or the blood of those whom he called friends.Bookmark here

He only cared that the sun wasn’t as hot now, thanks to the cool sensation of the blood. I could tell from the way he fanned himself with his shirt and the complete indifference in his eyes.Bookmark here

“P-P-Please, let me son go,” mum’s voice was hoarse from all the crying.Bookmark here

“Sorry missus, men with big mouths must wash their teeth with big blades, as they say.”Bookmark here

“No!” Bookmark here

Mum leapt in between Remus and myself, arms outstretched.Bookmark here

“My son is only sixteen! He is only a child! If you do anything to him, I’ll bite my tongue off!”Bookmark here

The deranged murderer let out a depressed sigh, before lifting his weapon into the air.Bookmark here

For a moment, the huge white axe covered the sun. I was able to push mum away in time. It wasn’t much, but this feeling in my heart—Bookmark here

Was this fulfilment?Bookmark here

“Ow.”Bookmark here

I heard a plop on the ground and a sound I never expected to hear from Remus.Bookmark here

“HANDS OFF MY MOTHER AND BROTHER!”Bookmark here

Eveline?!Bookmark here

She threw the wooden sword right into the back of Remus's head! That idiot!Bookmark here

“I am Eveline Mattheld! I am not afraid of you!”Bookmark here

To see my younger sister, her face covered in tears, her hands not even having a firm grip on her sword as she stood amongst the pile of corpses.Bookmark here

No, I was the idiot.Bookmark here

I felt so ashamed. My sister was a million times more courageous than I ever was. She was the real Hero.Bookmark here

I was so unbelievably upset with myself. Bookmark here

Why the hell was I on my knees when she was still standing on her own two feet?!Bookmark here

To hell if Remus had a Legendary Treasure! To hell if he could cut down people like grass! To hell with everything!Bookmark here

I HAD TO SAVE MY MUM AND MY SISTER!Bookmark here

I grabbed the wooden sword that Eveline threw and hurled myself at Remus. He turned his back to me when his attention was on her. This was my only chance!Bookmark here

Using the blade like an extension of my arms, I choked Remus with it. I pulled as hard as I could with the blade against his neck. Bookmark here

The bandit struggled to shake me off. Even as he straightened his back and my feet were dangling in the air, I used everything in my power to suffocate him as I clung behind him. Bookmark here

He was slippery from all the blood and I was starting to slide off. In a desperate attempt to hold on, I bit the scruff of his neck like an animal. Under no circumstances was I allowed to let go!Bookmark here

It was bony and tough, but I didn’t care.Bookmark here

My back was being sliced open by something, but there was no pain. Even if all I had left were my arms and my mouth, I would still hold on!Bookmark here

“Enough!”Bookmark here

Remus roared, but the sound which left his throat was that of a dying beast. Whatever I was doing was working; he was running out of breath.Bookmark here

I hugged his back tightly. Even though my vision was starting to disappear, I bit down and pulled back on his neck with everything I could muster.Bookmark here

Somehow, his hand found its way to my necklace. Yanking on it, the steel chains which held it together were tough enough that it didn’t break. Holding onto my necklace like a collar, he threw me at one of the houses, but not before I took a chunk of his flesh with me.Bookmark here

I didn’t even feel anything when my back slammed against the wood.Bookmark here

Blood was starting to cover my eyesight. I forced myself to get up, but my legs were disobedient. All I could do was to spit out the foul-tasting meat in my mouth. Bookmark here

Such a shame, I couldn’t take him down with me.Bookmark here

“B-Big bro?”Bookmark here

My hearing was starting to fail me, but I could make out Eveline’s voice on my right. She was right next to me, her back was also against the wall.Bookmark here

It was hard to tell, but it seemed like she was also a bloody mess.Bookmark here

“In your dream, I saved you, right? Am I...a Hero now?”Bookmark here

What a foolish question. Even in our final moments, she was such a pain.Bookmark here

“Yes, yes you are.”Bookmark here

Bookmarked
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