Chapter 28:

How He Will Find Her

White Nightmare

“...Sorry? What for?” Rodan wondered.Bookmark here

“For what I’ve done...” said Ringo while looking at him in the eyes. “I... said something bad to Ruru and made her ran away. If only I refrain myself from saying those harsh words... she might’ve not run away.”Bookmark here

“Hah... I’ve told ya, apple head. It’s okay. I do not matter it anymore.”Bookmark here

“...” Ringo felt saddened and looked down.Bookmark here

Rodan looked at her in pity. He let out a breath shortly. “...If you truly want to say sorry, then say it to Ruru directly, not me. I am not her father that will accept your apology on her behalf. You must apologize to her yourself. I believe she will understand.”Bookmark here

“I... I see. Do you not hate me, Roro...?” Ringo asked again.Bookmark here

“Huh... I can’t come to hate you, Ringo. Oh, but I have some curiosities that’s been itching me lately. You don’t have to explain, just answer me with a yes or no, alright?”Bookmark here

“...” Ringo got perplexed, but eventually, she nodded to him. “Mm.”Bookmark here

“Is your past related with what you’ve said to her?”Bookmark here

“...Yes.”Bookmark here

“Is that also the reason why you were all gloomy back when you’re still a small kid?”Bookmark here

“...Yes...”Bookmark here

“...Have you ever met her before?”Bookmark here

“I not sure.”Bookmark here

“...Hmph... I see. I will not ask anymore. Thank you for answering. Here, let me help you sit down,” said Rodan while helping her to sit next to him.Bookmark here

“W-What is that all about, hng...?” she pouted.Bookmark here

“Nothing, I’m just curious. Hm-hm-hm...Bookmark here

At this rate, you should get back to bed, Ringo. Or should I carry you to bed? Aww... what a spoiled child you are!”Bookmark here

Rodan’s sudden joke made Ringo immediately light up her spirit back to what she was normally.Bookmark here

“S-Shut up! I’m 22 years old! I... I can go back myself.”Bookmark here

“Hohoho, you should be careful, or else you’re gonna break another bone~”Bookmark here

“Hmph!” she turned away as she pouted.Bookmark here

“It looks like you’re back to normal, eh?” Rodan teased.Bookmark here

“Oh, shush, you. Bookmark here

Then...?Bookmark here

...Are you still going to go and find her?” she asked. “By now, she could be anywhere around this kingdom. Or worse, she might’ve hidden herself somewhere in this world... how can you find her? Isn’t it... impossible?”Bookmark here

“Ah, about that? I’ve gotten it all covered,” Rodan said it easily. He pulled up his sleeve in the end of his words.Bookmark here

“T-Those are...!”Bookmark here

Rodan revealed his right arm full of sigil. “That’s right, these are used as slave controller. By transferring Mana to these, I will have the power to make my contracted slave to bend to my will!Bookmark here

When I said that Ringo was a former slave, it’s true, but I was handed over these just in case something like this happens.”Bookmark here

“It actually works?” Ringo asked excitedly. She nearly fell off because of that.Bookmark here

“—No, it never worked,” said Rodan anticlimactically. “She’s too overpowered for these sigils to command.”Bookmark here

“H-Huh... then why have those in the first place...?”Bookmark here

“There’s another usage that I discovered not so long ago. And that is to tell me where the slave is, or in this case, where Ruru is. If I let this sigil lead me, I will eventually find where she’s at.”Bookmark here

“Why not search for her any time soon? I mean... if you just sit around like this, she might’ve gone far.”Bookmark here

“No, the reason why I’m just sitting around like this is because this sigil told me that she’s still moving. It’s ineffective for me to find her when she’s still moving. You know it yourself, Ringo, just how fast her movements are. That’s why I will go when she’s stopped in one particular place.”Bookmark here

“O-Oh...Bookmark here

...Hey Roro, this bothered me for some time...Bookmark here

That time when Ruru escaped... you know you can just after her with your powers that time, right? With that sigil, you can keep track of her while chasing her down. But instead, you let her go and decided to save me, the person who made her ran away. I could get out with some effort, even if you go!”Bookmark here

“Hah...” Rodan let out a long breath.Bookmark here

“Look Ringo. If I chased after her that time, then you will surely die. The hill that has been destroyed was still uneven and there would be a landslide. You sure you can get away from that? You will die buried alive beneath the weight of those boulders. Even though you could get away, those avalanches would still be your reaper, Ringo. You cannot escape that, not with your broken legs.Bookmark here

That outcome... is something that I do not want.”Bookmark here

Ringo was surprised to hear that. She realized that she couldn’t even move that time, let alone saving herself. She didn’t think the hill would crumble further. Rodan noticed that and decided to save her first. Bookmark here

“I... I see. I’m sorry for bringing it up...”Bookmark here

“...No worries. Just to remind you once again...Bookmark here

If I ever need to sacrifice something, I will never ever sacrifice those around me. I will use whatever I have within myself instead.Bookmark here

Even if I succeeded in saving Ruru, but if the cost of that is your life, then I will not opt for it. I will not forgive myself if you die because I abandoned you. We’ve known each other for so long, don’t we? It’ll be stupid if I left you to rot back there.”Bookmark here

“...I see. Thank you, Roro...”Bookmark here

“You’re welcome. Oh? Well, well, lookie here, the sigil just showed an interesting change!” said Rodan realizing the slight change in his tattoos. “Okay, it appears Ruru has stopped somewhere. Time to go!”Bookmark here

Rodan immediately stood up. He nearly made Ringo fell.Bookmark here

“Oh, sorry,” he said casually. Bookmark here

“Darn it, Roro!” she nagged. “Ergh... gu...”Bookmark here

“It’s time for you to go back inside and rest, Ringo.Bookmark here

I promise I’ll return with the same Ruru you know and love. That’s why when I return, please smile, greet her with your arms open wide, and there you can say your apology to her. That’s all I ask of you.”Bookmark here

The wind blew across. It felt breezing to them, yet at the same time, the warmth of the sunrise wrapped on their skin and comforted them.Bookmark here

Ringo held her hands above her chest. She clenched them. They are trembling, trying to get ahold of herself. Eventually, they calmed down, allowing Ringo to take a breather and finally gave her answer.Bookmark here

“...I will try. But I can’t guarantee, you know?”Bookmark here

“Without you guaranteeing it, I already know you can do it. Well, then, I’ll go now.”Bookmark here

Rodan stepped outside, but before he could go anywhere, Ringo asked him in a yelling voice.Bookmark here

“This might be late of me to ask, but how are you going to get to her? You’re not telling me you’re walking there, right?”Bookmark here

“Hah? What are you blabbering about? Of course, I will use the same technique Ruru used to ran away.”Bookmark here

“Hold on, you can do that?”Bookmark here

“Hmph, just who do you think I am? If my protege ran away, then it’s my responsibility to guide them back and understand. If I don’t have the power to do that, then I will never make Ruru as my own. Besides...Bookmark here

This is a promise that I must fulfill.”Bookmark here

“Pro... mise...?” Ringo wondered.Bookmark here

“Well, then, I must go now before she moves again, or else it’ll be hard for me to catch up with her.”Bookmark here

Rodan took a stance where he stood half crouched with his arms clenched and pulled back beside his waist. Soon, a crimson aura began to generate from beneath him. It grew larger and more intense within a short period of time. Ringo could only see the menacing wave of aura flowing around Rodan’s body outlines. But when she saw beneath his boots, she could barely see the magic circle he was activating.Bookmark here

After a moment, Rodan used his foot to boost himself and launch highly into the morning sky. His departure caused the ground to tremor and made dust clouds to rise as if a space rocket was launched. When the dust settles, Rodan had disappeared. Only trails of his aura were seen, though it disappeared almost immediately.Bookmark here

A minute since his departure, Ringo began pondering of what Rodan said before.Bookmark here

“Greeting her with wide open arms...? Can I... really do that?”Bookmark here

She mused about it. Her heart was aching thinking about it. “After knowing that she’s like that... after knowing what she is truly... can I still smile when she’s around?Bookmark here

The scar within myself that has long been buried suddenly resurfaced. My mind, my heart, and my soul were shocked. That past that has been gone like the wind suddenly blew back to my head like the typhoon. The dreadful past that I’ve concealed suddenly unveiled themselves...Bookmark here

...And it’s impossible for me to heal entirely. The scar of my past... the time when I personally met the White Nightmare...”Bookmark here

Amidst of thinking that, she was reminded of what Rodan said.Bookmark here

“She really is lovely and cute. Her smile was probably the cutest one I’ve seen in my life. Her obedient attitude made her look even cuter.Bookmark here

Looking back a bit, I realized...Bookmark here

...Ruru always showed her wholesomeness whenever I’m near her. Is that a proof that she believed in me?Bookmark here

As minutes went by, Ringo’s thought of her being the White Nightmare began to waver. Recalling those moments she spent her time with her, although short but meaningful to both Ringo and Ruru. There, she realized that she might be wrong about her.Bookmark here

“...Is she really the same White Nightmare I’ve encountered twenty years ago...?”Bookmark here

But when she was about to muse again, a lady, Ringo’s guild member, found her not resting.Bookmark here

“Miss Ringo! Why are you here? You should be resting!” one of her guild members came.Bookmark here

“Ah, crap” Ringo backlashed in her mind.Bookmark here

“Don’t you realize your own condition, Miss Ringo? Come, you must rest! If you’re all sick, how the production will go? We’re nothing without you, you know?”Bookmark here

“Ugh... all you care about is only money, huh, Razzly? Fine... I’ll go back.”Bookmark here

Eventually, she was escorted back to her room.Bookmark here

...Bookmark here

..Bookmark here

.Bookmark here

Somewhere around the world, inside a deep, deep underground cavern where magic crystals enlightened the ceilings, Ruru was hiding her presence. She had blasted through the sound barrier just to find the safest place to hide from the world. Her flight was invisible to anyone’s eyes, hence the reason she wasn’t noticed.Bookmark here

She hid herself in a tight chamber within that cavern, hoping to seal herself in there. Bookmark here

But at the same time...Bookmark here

She felt incredibly remorseful.Bookmark here

“What... have I done...?”Bookmark here

She remembered crystal clear of how she nearly decimated Rodan and Ringo with her own hands. Because of that, she felt sorry.Bookmark here

Her instincts were as sharp as her claws. She reflectively attempted to kill Ringo, who spoke the bewitched title to her. Her mind became blurry, and it pained all the way through her body. She could not resist herself anymore. Her instinct told her to take out those who made her uncomfortable and pained.Bookmark here

And now, she had returned to her albino humanoid female form. Even though she got back normal, she felt an incredible guilt running through her veins.Bookmark here

“I... I didn’t do that... I didn’t... do that... I was just...Bookmark here

...No. I really did that with my own hands.”Bookmark here

Ruru clasped her nape, scraping her ghost white skin and then her hair before finally caressing her face in deep remorse. Her eyes were twitching, her heart was thumping, and her teeth gritting together.Bookmark here

“After doing that to Roro... there’s no way he will forgive me. There’s no way he’ll see me the same way as before...Bookmark here

Ah... what have I done?Bookmark here

I can’t hold myself... I can’t... hold it...Bookmark here

It’s weird... weird...!”Bookmark here

Ruru lied down on the cold rocky floor of the cavern that looked more like a dungeon. There are no other living creatures aside from microscopic creatures accompanying her. Ruru hugged her legs as she lied down.Bookmark here

For a moment, she realized something.Bookmark here

“...But...Bookmark here

It’s for the best... is it not? With these memories that I’ve gotten back... I realized that by hiding myself like this would be the best thing to do. In a place where nobody would notice, nobody will ever find me, nobody will... ever need to die again because of me.Bookmark here

My decision is correct.Bookmark here

I don’t want Roro... I don’t want someone like him to die...Bookmark here

Enough.Bookmark here

I will spend the rest of my time here...”Bookmark here

...Bookmark here

As Ruru closed her mind, she let herself fell asleep. Without her noticing it, her tears began running down from her eyes. Her lips may have said it that way, but her heart would always be honest.Bookmark here

In her heart...Bookmark here

She still wanted to see Roro.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.