The Consequence of Saving the World
I could feel it.
In this large circular hall, with a ceiling that stretched high into the sky, time was moving slower and slower, until it finally stopped.
Yet, for some reason, my heart felt like it was about to explode. My breaths were getting shorter. My jaw started to hurt from how hard my teeth were biting into each other.
Remus Whiteaxe, the man who killed my sister, was one of the Seven Heroes.
The lines on his forehead, the slight greying of his red hair; this man has aged since I last saw him, but I would never mistake his face.
And that warped smile of his, gazing at me like he had not seen a friend in a long time—
This monster kills his own friends!
Yet, he was standing there, next to Sereya, in front of Fallcross’s leaders being looked up to as a Hero.
What kind of sick joke was this? Huh? A psychopathic, double-crossing, lowlife scum like him was a Hero?
It wasn’t just my fists, my whole body was tensing up.
The urge to run up to him and implant my knuckle into his face was overwhelming.
My body still remembered. After all, it was probably less than an hour ago when I chewed off the back of his neck. I wanted nothing more than to go there and finish the job.
I wanted nothing more than this man to be dead.
So what if my Memory Dive failed and showed a past that did not happen? That did not change the fact that if I called him out, he would still be a mass murderer.
How could the world rely on a Hero with such an unsound mind?
This animal was the one the nations needed to rely on to maintain peace?
“Kid, you seem awfully excited to see me. You itchin’ for a fight?”
He still had a smile on his face, asking me that question with a jovial tone.
I knew I stood no chance, but that did not change the fact that I would gladly tear into his flesh.
I didn’t realise how tightly pulled my eyebrows were until I heard Sereya’s voice. For a brief moment, I felt that some of the anger building up in me dissipated.
I was still upset, but I didn’t want to show my ugly side to her.
She brushed past Remus's imposing figure and briskly walked up the stairs in my direction.
As she stopped before me, she whispered to my ear. However, instead of the gentle, lulling voice I was used to, her tone was stark:
“Stop projecting your bloodlust.”
So that was why Remus asked me if I wanted a fight. Not just him, but all the Heroes definitely sensed my emotions.
The man with the long black hair and the burning bird beside him—their gaze was fixated on me, too.
It was creepy; I felt like I was just seen through.
My mind was racing, desperately trying to figure out how to calm my ragged breathing.
“I don’t know why you’re angry, but if anyone else in this hall finds out you’re weak, Fallcross is doomed.”
Sereya’s words, even though they were conveyed to me in a soft whisper, smacked me with a hard slap of reality.
She was absolutely right.
I was carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. My hatred towards Remus had to be buried in the backyard. Dragging down innocent lives over my own personal interests would make me no different from him.
In this war between logic and emotion, my thoughts were finally gaining the upper hand.
My shoulders eased up, as with the grip in my fists. My face didn’t feel like a statue anymore from how hard I was tensing up.
Time began to flow normally for me again. Thanks to Sereya, I was able to manage both my anger and my breathing.
“Hey princess, don’t hog your boyfriend all to yourself! We miss him too, y’know?”
Just like how Sereya didn’t respond to Remus’s provocation, I too kept a stone-cold face. We walked down the stairs towards the middle of the assembly hall.
As I got closer, I was attacked by a foul, noxious odour. It was the smell of alcohol, and I didn’t need a dog’s nose to tell who it came from.
I tried my level best to ignore it. Heck, I was trying to ignore Remus altogether. I didn’t want to accidentally start strangling him if he were to give me a weird look or something.
“Your seat is here.”
Sereya whispered to me one last time before returning to her seat.
All I could do was curse my luck. On my left was the large bird, its feathers made of fire. It was certainly disturbing, but not as disturbing as the fact that Remus Whiteaxe was on my right.
The round table in front of me was unnecessarily large, roughly the size of the fountain right outside the palace. There were seven seats at this table, spaced out evenly from each other. Two of them were empty. Yet, all five of us who were present did not have an empty chair between us.
This strange bird was on my left, while the rest of the Heroes were seated on my right, starting from Remus, then Sereya, followed by the man with long hair.
This man seemed young, younger than Sereya even. I have never seen clothes like his before. He had a vest that was made of colourful beads. Was this the traditional attire of a foreign country?
Just as I was about to take my seat, I lifted my head up slightly to look at the source of the loud, bellowing voice. It belonged to a man seated in the tier immediately above us.
The jewelled crown on his head told me all that I needed to know about him. Some of the paintings in Allantheim Palace had his face on them.
That was King Graven.
Once again, I was frozen. I had no clue what the etiquette was when it came to talking with royals! What should I say?
“On behalf of the Kingdom of Adradia and all the representatives in this summit, thank you.”
As the king said his piece, he stood up from his seat. Everyone else in the assembly hall copied him and stood up.
Almost like it was rehearsed, they all bowed their heads down?! For me?!
Chills travelled down my spine. The silence in the hall was made louder thanks to the unexpected gesture directed towards me from around forty to fifty bigshots.
My hands were on the table to keep me upright. I could already feel my legs buckling from the pressure. Was it okay for me to sit down?
I looked to Sereya for help. She did a quick nod which I understood as sitting down was fine. I did just that, but the cold hard surface of the chair did little to pacify the unrest in my legs.
King Graven and the others lifted their heads. As everyone returned to their seats, the king continued speaking.
“Like always, your timing is as impeccable as ever. Your wisdom and knowledge will be most valued in the matter at hand. Before we proceed, I believe you have not met some of the faces on this table, yes?”
Eh? What did he mean? These people who were sitting at the table with me, weren’t they the Seven Heroes? Shouldn’t Hanasuke already be familiar with them?
“That is correct.”
The bird on my left spoke!
Its voice sounded like that of a young girl, which was really bizarre because of how intimidating it looked. Standing on the seat of the chair, its height matched mine sitting down. If it were to spread its wings, each wing was probably around my size.
The most uncanny feature of this animal was that it was burning! Yet, the wooden chair it was on remained perfectly unscathed. Smoke was also completely absent. I didn’t even feel any heat from it.
“Evan, feast your eyes on my majestic form!”
My suspicions were true. With its wings outstretched, it was slightly shorter than the length of this table.
I was more surprised by how proud this bird was, though. This was one of the Seven Heroes?
“Stop playing around, Azelia. You should at least come in person instead of sending one of your familiars.”
Another strange sight. Sereya was clearly annoyed.
“That’s one of the benefits of magic, Sereya. Perhaps if you attended one of our lessons instead of swinging your sword all the time, you’ll also realise that. Oh wait, you have no affinity whatsoever! Hahahaha!”
Sheesh, the attitude on this bird!
“So, Evan, as a fellow appreciator of the magical arts, what do you think? It’s okay to feel jealous, you know.”
“Looking at your pet bird makes me feel hungry, witch. Is it edible?”
“By all means, take a bite, Remus. You will be so cooked, you are the one who becomes edible!”
Okay, this was getting out of hand.
“Excuse me,” perhaps sensing the same thing, the young man on Sereya’s right got up, “it is an honour to finally meet you, Hero Evansmith.
I am Uriah, son of Urstix the Giant. I am here on behalf of my father today who is currently in the former demon la—.”
“Nobody asked, pretty boy.”
Remus was behaving like the animal he was.
“Exactly, children shouldn’t interrupt when adults are speaking.”
And Azelia was behaving like the animal she was in.
Uriah however, merely sat back down without complaint. He seemed completely indifferent.
“Ahem,” King Graven coughed, drawing my attention back to him.
“Now then, shall we begin?”