The Consequence of Saving the World
The familiar sight of the ocean of eternal black—
Once more, I was thrust deep into this realm between body and soul. There were only two things on my mind—mum and Eveline.
However, unlike the first time, my body felt as light as a leaf in this void. I was being blown by the water current, which washed against me in waves.
In fact, I felt so light that when I opened my eyes, all I could see was a familiar ceiling.
This was the ceiling of Ordis’s study.
I slowly got up. The sensation that my body felt earlier, being pushed around in waves, was actually the tremors caused by Ordis’s back and forth pacing.
It finally hit me—I was alive and back to reality.
“Wonderful timing, Evan, you are finally awake.”
Thanks to the monotonous tone of Ordis’s voice, I couldn’t tell if it was actually delighted or sarcastic.
Stretching my arms, I started to feel around my back. Before Remus hurled me against one of the village houses, he slashed my back multiple times.
There were no scars on my back. I was about to sigh in relief, before I realised that healing magic could have easily fixed that.
It was insane. I could’ve sworn I died of blood loss.
“Ordis, did I die?”
“That’s the least of our worries. The Memory Dive was a complete disaster.”
“Complete disaster? What do you mean?”
I got up from the makeshift mattress in disbelief.
“Every single trace of Hanasuke was completely erased, both from your body and your soul.”
“Then what the hell was that memory I went through?!”
“Govern. Your. Tongue.”
Ordis stopped moving. The immense stature of the golem cast a huge shadow over me. I took a step back as fear replaced my anger.
“Hero as you are, I do not take kindly to irrational outbursts of anger. Anger causes one to lose IQ. Hanasuke always said that.”
I had no idea what IQ was, but I agreed with Ordis that getting riled up would get me nowhere.
“Sorry,” I apologised.
“I had witnessed something traumatic that had to be Hanasuke’s memory. I saw Eveline and the villagers dying right in front of me.”
“That is incorrect. What you witnessed were your own memories. Or at least, what should have been your own memories if you did not stupidly get yourself slain!”
“Think hard, Evan. That was your own memory, but the end result was altered due to an incorrect action you took. Did you not recall familiar scenes?”
Everything was familiar right till Remus’s atta—
Smoke rising from the village, a drunk bandit looking for alcohol—these actually happened before!
That time, I didn’t know it was Remus, so I didn’t call him out. In the end, he left.
Wait, so everyone dying was really my fault?
I sat back down on the bed as I pulled my hair in frustration. All of this was just conjecture, but as I recalled those agonising scenes, the most damning evidence appeared in my mind:
“My son is only sixteen! He is only a child! If you do anything to him, I’ll bite my tongue off!”
The last words I heard from my mum during the Memory Dive resurfaced.
I was too stunned by everything to realise at first, but I was sixteen when that took place. This could not be Hanasuke’s memory as he was only active during my ten-year timeskip, where I had to be eighteen or older. This memory was mine.
“During the Memory Dive, I was unable to find any memories of Hanasuke left in your muscles. As a result, the Dive took place in a memory of your own.”
Ordis was right. All of the bloodshed and murder which occurred was because I did the wrong thing. Everything was avoidable if I behaved like myself instead of a wannabe Hero.
I could feel myself tensing up in rage.
It was my pride that led to my mum sacrificing herself for me.
It was my pride that led to Eveline thrusting herself into death to save her useless brother.
It was my pride that led to everything that went wrong.
“Evan, remember what I said about anger? Steady yourself. Whatever you saw back there didn’t happen in reality.”
I felt the urge to retort, when I suddenly realised—mum and Eveline might still be okay! Sure, I was a good-for-nothing human being, but the fact remained that it was merely my imagination.
That was a ‘what if’ scenario that never actually took place. Remus Whiteaxe’s secret of stealing Diphaxia wasn’t exposed by me, it happened later down the future. None of that was real—Eveline didn’t die!
“Wonderful, now that you’ve calmed down somewhat, allow me to introduce you to—”
The large door of the study flung open.
“Time’s up, Sage. Now let me fulfil my duty.”
It was the amber-haired, heterochromatic knight. She was in her full plate armour, the same one which she wore in the duel against Sereya.
I was dumbfounded. Did she have beef with Ordis?
“Persistent one, aren’t you? That is the problem of knighting children, they have no patience.”
“Silence! Hand over Hero Evansmith to me. Even if you are the Legendary Sage, as a knight of Adradia, I will not stand against treason.”
Treason? What happened in the real world during the Memory Dive?
“Wait! Melyeze, what is going on?!”
“I heard from some of the knights that Hero Evansmith visited the Sage. To my surprise, the Sage kidnapped you.”
“No no no, this is just a huge misunderstanding!”
“Evan, she is correct,” Ordis’s frank response caught me off guard.
“I am actually ‘kidnapping’ you, for a lack of a better term.”
Harh? What the hell?!
“We need to get you to the assembly hall, Evan. Lady Sereya needs your help!”
“To ensure the safety of all of Fallcross, I cannot allow the Hero to join the summit!”
Sereya needed my help? The Seven Heroes Summit was already going on?
Those words were all it took to get me running to the exit.
I could no longer see the open door, though. Neither could I see Melyeze.
Ordis’s enormous arm blocked my path.
“I can empathise with your desire to help, but I cannot allow a Hero with no memories to endanger all of Fallcross in a discussion he does not belong in!”
“Let him go!”
Melyeze blue eye was set ablaze as she drew her weapon.
Damn it! I had to do something!
My chest felt ridiculously tight. This was a repeat of the Memory Dive all over again. I struggled to find the right words and as a consequence, mum had to sacrifice herself for me.
Both Ordis and Melyeze were my friends. I had to stop them from killing each other! I had to prevent another pointless bloodshed!
For the last damn time, Evan! Think!
“Ordis,” I called out to him as I prayed in my heart.
“There were no traces of his memory left in me, but didn’t you know that he actually left traces in mine?”
“What? Preposterous! To do that is to alter the past!”
Ordis overreacting was a good sign.
“Oh, but in my memory, I discovered that your flush toilet was actually missing a very important feature.”
“Stop with your bluffi—”
“It’s called the sprayer.”
It was working. The Sage desired knowledge more than anything else. That was how Hanasuke was friends with it in the first place.
“Yup. Sprayer. Flushing poop is hygienic and all, but having to stick your hand up your ass to wipe with cloth or leaves kinda defeats the purpose, doesn't it?
In my memory, the toilet I used fired a jet of water right into my bum! There was actually another, smaller lever that controlled the mechanism to do that. The more I turned it, the stronger the pressure was.
Not only did I feel clean, I felt good.”
“T-That was in your memory?”
Unfortunately, yes and no. The idea was from how clean Diphaxia stayed even after spurts of blood splashed onto the blade of the axe. I had no idea how this ‘sprayer’ mechanism actually worked, but Ordis was smart. He would figure it out.
“Not only that, I saw a sound chamber. Just like how your voice is projected all over the room, it was music that played all over! People in Japan danced to it at parties. The music was so loud, you cannot hear the person right next to you!
It was actually the screams of the dying villagers all around me utterly masking my mum’s voice.
“N-No, you made this all up!”
“Huh? I thought you were the Legendary Sage! Why are you behaving like the people who called me a liar when I told them about the painslayer?”
“Yup. Everyone in Japan, from soldiers to commoners, used the painslayer. The painslayer was a small piece of meat from a certain animal that when consumed, instantly nullified all sense of pain. Whether you are at work or on the battlefield, just take a bite of the painslayer and you can keep on fighting like nothing happened!”
“Which animal is that?!”
“Sorry Ordis, I’d love to tell you, but it’s really hard to remember everything especially when one of the Seven Heroes needs my help.”
“Well, this is certainly an interesting turn of events,” as Ordis declared, my path was suddenly wide open.
“Since you have proven yourself with the attainment of otherworldly knowledge, I have to concede. Your knowledge will be helpful to Fallcross like how it previously was.”
The flame in Melyeze’s eye was extinguished.
“I had no idea what you were on about, but we had to move.”
“I know,” I exclaimed as I rushed to Melyeze’s side.
Even though all I had were lies, this was my own weapon as the Hero.
It was far from the best. With this weapon, I was weak and nowhere as brave or strong as Eveline.
Even then, I would rather fight on my feet than cry on my knees!
Sereya, hold on!