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.
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.
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.
“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.
“So tell me, how in that sick Goddess’ name did you know I had Diphaxia with me, hmm?”
His tone switched, becoming a little softer. Even then, he did not feel any less threatening.
I could feel the sweat building up in my palms. Think, Evan, think! You had to come up with something, anything!
“H-Haven’t you heard? That’s what people are calling you nowadays.”
“Harh? I just came back from town wasted. If I heard someone call me that, there wouldn’t be any town left!”
Crap! He was making a more convincing argument than me.
“Hey, village people!” Remus roared, waving his oversized weapon towards the villagers.
“That kid is saying that’s what people are calling me nowadays, so hurry up and fess up! Which one of you said that?”
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?
Hurry! What would the Hero do, Evan? Remus was counting down!
“If I reach zero, I’ll start killing one by one! Eight! Two!”
Wait, he skipped!
I was smacked right in the face.
“He heard it from me! This idiot son of mine!”
My cheek still stung, but nothing ached me more than to see my mum on the verge of breaking down.
No no no no! Mum, NO!
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!
“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!”
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.
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!
“Woman!” Remus called out as he planted the base of his weapon to the ground.
“Even I, a bandit, am moved by your sacrifice. You have touched my heart.”
H-He killed the village chief!? Why?
“Might I remind you that I am the one calling the shots here?”
The villagers started to scream and run. All hell finally broke loose.
“What are you waiting for? Help Remu—”
Remus was even killing his own men. What kind of human was he?!
“Sorry boys, no hard feelings, yeah? This is a secret you’ll be keeping to your graves.
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.
I was on my knees. Crushed. Devastated. Spirit utterly broken.
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.
How did this all happen? Was it all my fault? Was this Hanasuke’s fault?
Why did this happen to me?
What did I do to deserve this?
No, what did the people of Breven do to deserve all this?
The sky above me was so peaceful. The sun was still blistering.
The moment I looked down, everyone was dead.
Their anguished expressions as they lay motionless on the ground—it was unbearable.
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.
I thought the screaming was bad. It was a lot worse when they stopped.
The only thing I could hear was mum wailing.
“Sorry lady, I got carried away a bit. Where were we?”
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.
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.
“P-P-Please, let me son go,” mum’s voice was hoarse from all the crying.
“Sorry missus, men with big mouths must wash their teeth with big blades, as they say.”
Mum leapt in between Remus and myself, arms outstretched.
“My son is only sixteen! He is only a child! If you do anything to him, I’ll bite my tongue off!”
The deranged murderer let out a depressed sigh, before lifting his weapon into the air.
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—
Was this fulfilment?
I heard a plop on the ground and a sound I never expected to hear from Remus.
“HANDS OFF MY MOTHER AND BROTHER!”
She threw the wooden sword right into the back of Remus's head! That idiot!
“I am Eveline Mattheld! I am not afraid of you!”
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.
No, I was the idiot.
I felt so ashamed. My sister was a million times more courageous than I ever was. She was the real Hero.
I was so unbelievably upset with myself.
Why the hell was I on my knees when she was still standing on her own two feet?!
To hell if Remus had a Legendary Treasure! To hell if he could cut down people like grass! To hell with everything!
I HAD TO SAVE MY MUM AND MY SISTER!
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!
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.
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.
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!
It was bony and tough, but I didn’t care.
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!
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.
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.
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.
I didn’t even feel anything when my back slammed against the wood.
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.
Such a shame, I couldn’t take him down with me.
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.
It was hard to tell, but it seemed like she was also a bloody mess.
“In your dream, I saved you, right? Am I...a Hero now?”
What a foolish question. Even in our final moments, she was such a pain.
“Yes, yes you are.”