Chapter 13:

The First Instance

Every Side of the World

The next day came, and Kizou woke up early in the morning before everyone else was awake. During his conversation with Grandma yesterday, he decided to replicate the things that Shoma did in hopes of having the other villagers appreciate him. He opened up the wardrobe and put on a black coat and black pants as it was still too cold in the morning. He tiptoed out of the house in hopes of not waking anyone up. He walked outside the door and let out a huge breath.

“Alright,” Kizou muttered to himself as he went out to complete the tasks.

He grabbed the axe that Grandpa seemed to always use and walked towards the forest. He started chopping up the trees and gathering the wood that fell.

How does Grandpa do this everyday? Kizou thought to himself as he struggled to cut the trees.

He kept cutting until he had enough wood to bring back. He squatted down and tried picking it up.

“Oomph!” Kizou said as he tried picking up the wood but failed.

“Hup!” Kizou grunted as he almost got the wood up.

“Ughh!” Kizou grunted as the wood slowly got up. However, it dropped in an instant. Kizou sat on the floor and started breathing rapidly from being tired.

Shoma actually did this?! Kizou thought to himself in disbelief.

As he sat down on the dirt floor, he remembered that there was rope back at the house. He ran back as fast as he could and tiptoed back inside the house. He managed to find the rope and went back out to where the wood was. He tied the rope around one of the chunks of wood and started dragging it back slowly. The wood started moving, but it was clear that it was going to take Kizou a while to get back to the house. He continued pulling the rope until he managed to reach the front of the house. He dropped to the floor and stared at the sky.

This is kind of fun, Kizou thought to himself.

He continued on back until he brought back the other chunk of wood back to the house. He was too scared to chop the wood, so he just left the axe for Grandpa to cut it. He ran towards the other huts to see if the owners were awake at all. He stopped by Dax’s hut first. He peered inside the building and didn’t see Dax, so he went towards the produce shops. He walked inside.

“Hello, I’m here to help if you need anything to be delivered,” Kizou said with a smile.

“Oh, aren’t you that boy from yesterday?” the shopkeeper asked. “Are you sure you don’t want to get more sleep?”

“It’s fine! I’m stronger than I look,” Kizou answered with a smile. 

The shopkeeper laughed and gave him a list of different cabins within the village. Kizou took the orders and started running down the village to each cabin. He dropped the box of food by the door and knocked on it before leaving. Some people would still be asleep while some people would wave at Kizou while he was on his way to leave. He grabbed the last order and looked at who the owner was.

This might be a tough one, Kizou thought to himself.

He ran towards the cabin, but he started sneaking as he got closer. It was Tomiko’s house, and he didn’t want anything to do with them. As he got closer, he saw someone exiting the front door. He hid by the nearest bush to hopefully not get caught. It was Tomiko which surprised him, because he didn’t expect her to be awake this early. She started walking down the road that leads towards the river.

As she disappeared out of sight, Kizou ran to the cabin and dropped the food as quietly as possible. Afterwards, he followed the main road to see where Tomiko might be going. While he didn’t want to look like a stalker, he was very curious about why Tomiko was up so early.

He walked down the road and found a bush to hide behind. After some thorough scouting, he managed to find Tomiko standing alone by the river. She put her hand on her waist and looked to be in total concentration.

She looks like she’s about to start dancing, Kizou thought to himself as he placed his hand over his mouth to stop him from laughing.

Suddenly, a sword was pulled out, and Tomiko started striking the air as if she saw her enemies. She dodged and slashed, and it showed that she definitely had some sort of training throughout her life. Kizou’s eyes followed all of her movements, and he was in a trance by her movements. Whenever she dodged, Kizou could almost feel like he saw an enemy try to hit her. Every hit that she made was precise, and there wasn’t any sign of hesitation or fear in every strike. She pointed her arm out into the air and chanted something out loud.

“Craters of Earth,” she said.

Her hand shot rocks out which shocked Kizou, because he didn’t hear her chant last time. As the rocks came down, Tomiko’s eyes were closed as she put herself into deep concentration. Slowly, chunks of rocks came down, and Tomiko was able to dodge each of them gracefully. She was dancing, but Kizou wasn’t laughing.

She put her sword away and let out a deep breath. Kizou felt like running up to her and congratulating her, because he was so impressed. However, he didn’t want to look like a stalker and have to deal with the disgusted look once again. As she put her sword on her waist, she crouched down towards the river and washed her face with her hand. Kizou stared at her in awe and realized that he needed to work even harder.

He walked back up the hill and went towards his house. He snuck back into his room and changed out of his clothes into more comfortable ones. He lied down on the bed and went back to sleep as his first day with his new tasks drained him.

A few hours later, he was woken up by the sound of hoofsteps. He sat up on his bed and let out a huge yawn. Outside of the window, he heard different voices that seemed to be arguing with one another. He walked outside of his room, and Grandma and Grandpa were nowhere to be found. Kizou stepped outside and put his hand over his head as the sun was way brighter than what he saw in the morning.

He walked towards where he heard the loud voices and realized it was Grandpa who seemed to be arguing with an individual. He wore a white coat, black pants, and had a green armband on the side of his arm. He brought a wagon that seemed to have two of his friends inside. There was a crowd of individuals that gathered all around them. 

Kizou tried to squeeze through and hear what the conversation was about. As he managed to squeeze through inside, he looked to the left of him and saw Tomiko. Kizou wanted to say how impressed he was by her, but then he realized that she didn’t know that he was there the whole time. She looked at him and let out a disgusted look to which Kizou awkwardly moved away. He found a different spot and listened in on the conversation.

“... which is why we’ve decided to increase the tariff,” the individual said.

“What do you mean increase? You’re always increasing the tariff every other week!” Grandpa yelled towards the man.

“And we do that, because our guild protects you from Demons,” the man answered with more sternness in his voice.

“What Demons? I haven’t ever seen a Demon!” Grandpa declared.

“And why do you think that is?!” the man yelled back.

The villagers seemed to be rallying behind Grandpa which got the man angry. The two individuals got out of the wagon and stood by the man. One of the males was around Kizou’s height, and he looked like he was about the same age. He wore a white robe as well with an armband. The other individual was a female, and she was around the same height as the man talking. She had long blonde hair, and she wore a white robe as well with an armband.

Wow, the villagers really do stick together through everything, Kizou thought to himself.

“Captain Klein, you should show these dirty villagers a lesson,” the boy mumbled.

“If I do too much, we’ll be penalized by the Commander,” the man said. “You should know this by now, Takumi.”

“But if you do too little, we’ll be penalized by the Commander by not making any money,” the woman replied.

“I know, I know. You don’t have to tell me twice, Hanae.” The man stood there for a moment and contemplated what the best decision would be. After looking at his two partners, he decided to approach this situation aggressively.

“How about you all just shut up and listen to me?” Klein asked angrily. Everyone scooted back a bit.

“You can’t talk to us like that,” Grandpa replied. The villagers backed him up and started shouting towards the man.

Grandpa, don’t be so careless now, Kizou thought to himself.

“I can easily burn this village down to the ground and just say that Demons came by,” the man said. “And no one would even bat an eye.”

The villagers quieted down and looked at the man who was seriously intent on destroying the village if he didn’t get his way.

“We’re from the Shadow's Guild, but guilds are probably something that you villagers wouldn’t even understand,” Klein said as he started flaunting himself. “Stuck here with your low magic skills and dirty homes.”

“Don’t you dare look down on us!” Grandpa yelled as he didn’t seem scared by the man at all. The rest of the villagers stopped backing up Grandpa as they were worried for their own safety.

Grandpa, you gotta relax, Kizou thought to himself as he worried about what was going to happen.

“I suggest you move back, old man,” Klein said even though he was the one that slowly backed up. He was surprised that Grandpa wasn’t scared.

“Why would I be scared of someone like you? Preying over the weak?” Grandpa said as he continued walking towards Klein.

“Heaven’s Rain!” Takumi said as he launched a stream of water out of his hands. “Did you not hear him say stay back?”

Grandpa fell down due to the pressure and was pushed back onto the floor. He was drenched from head to toe and didn’t seem to have the energy to get back up. Klein walked up to Grandpa proudly and smiled as he stood over him.

“Does anyone else want to look pathetic and be like this old man?” Klein said with a laugh. Takumi and Hanae both laughed as Grandpa sat down on the floor without any willpower left.

Should’ve not gotten involved, Kizou thought to himself as he tried to justify the reason for Grandpa being hurt. Kizou was worried, but he didn’t want to show it.

“Now, I’m going to make sure that no one else tries to go against us,” Klein said as he held a finger out. Everyone watched in bewilderment at what was about to happen.

Wait, stop! Kizou thought to himself. 

He was about to run, but a hand blocked his way. Kizou looked up towards where the hand was coming from and saw a familiar man standing there with a smile.

“Wait, you’re-”

Kizou was stopped by the man putting a finger to his mouth to signal Kizou to stay silent.

“Fire Point!” Klein yelled as his finger let out a small fire. “Let me brand a mark on the man who tried to go against Shadow’s Guild.”

Klein moved his finger towards Grandpa’s cheek who continued to sit down after being defeated.

“Please, help him!” Kizou yelled.

Suddenly, the man who was next to Kizou started yelling which startled everyone around them. Even Klein stopped and looked towards where the man was talking.

“What’s happening here?! Is there a party going on?!” Tomiko’s dad yelled out as he walked towards the center of where Klein and Grandpa stood.

“What?” Klein stood there confused at what was happening.

“Is that fire coming out of your finger? Are you some kind of performer?” Tomiko’s dad said in glee. He grabbed Klein’s finger and blew on it which extinguished the flame.

“Who is this guy?” Klein asked angrily. Takumi and Hanae both walked next to Klein to intimidate Tomiko’s dad.

“My name is Osamu, and I have a wife named Hoshu. My daughter Tomiko is the best daughter in the world, and I won’t give her up to anyone,” Osamu said as he clasped his hands together and shook his hips.

“What is he even talking about? Teach him a lesson,” Klein said annoyingly towards Takumi and Hanae. Takumi and Hanae both walked up to him.

“Heaven’s Rain!” Takumi yelled as he tried to launch the same water attack but on Osamu.

“Grandpa, you okay?” Osamu asked as he crouched down to help Grandpa right as the water was about to hit him. He easily avoided the attack.

“Core of the World!” Hanae yelled as rocks started being launched towards Osamu.

“Wait, I think you dropped something,” Osamu said as he leaned down to pick up something for Grandpa. He easily avoided that attack as well.

“What’s wrong with this guy?” Hanae asked angrily.

“I don’t know, but he’s getting extremely lucky by flailing around,” Takumi said.

“Well, it’s no matter. We got the tariffs for this week, let’s head out,” Klein said as he realized they were just wasting their time. “We’ll be back so make sure you have your money in order.”

They walked towards their wagon and looked at the villagers. Klein spit towards the floor and started laughing.

“We’ll be waiting for your arrival,” Osamu said as he waved towards the group with a smile.

“This guy only dodged the attacks by pure coincidence, now he’s acting all high and mighty,” Klein told his group before looking back at Osamu.

Suddenly, Klein felt a huge pressure looking down at him. He scouted around for the source and saw the man who was smiling while waving. Osamu continued to just smile and wave without even moving an inch. Klein let out a gulp as he realized maybe luck didn’t play such a huge factor after all.

As the wagon drove away, Osamu went to pick up Grandpa. Kizou ran up to Grandpa to check if he was doing well.

“Grandpa, are you okay?!” Kizou asked concerningly.

Grandpa looked at Kizou and didn’t say a word as he slowly got up and walked towards the cabin.

“Grandpa is a tough guy,” Osamu said. “He has little to no magic, but he’ll stand up to anyone who interferes with the village.”

Kizou stood there quietly as he realized that he was too afraid to move the whole time. He did want to run to Grandpa and help, but he realized now that he would’ve been a burden. 

 However, there was one thing that seemed to bother Kizou. Kizou looked up at Osamu and started to think about whether everything he just did was a coincidence or not. There was something about Osamu that made Kizou uncomfortable.