Chapter 23:

Chapter 23- You Found Me, But Will I Ever be Able to Find You?

The Husband and Hero

This is it.

The moment I've been waiting for.

Standing in front of me is the woman that can make all my dreams come true. All I have to do is slash her throat open.

With a devious stare fitting of a queen, Shinkyo hollers off to the other two generals to escape.

Shinkyo: "Reinforcements are on the way! Retreat immediately!"

There are several things running through my mind as I stand here with my weapon in hand.

How can I possibly defeat her?


It doesn't matter if I can, I have to.

For my kingdom and for my future.

However, her eyes keep throwing my mind off track. I can help but ask myself why do her eyes look like that to me?

Her eyes are beaming in that bright blue again that seem so familiar. It makes me wonder if the novel got it wrong or if perhaps, I'm the only one who sees it this way.

This small unimportant detail, seems to take up my whole being. Despite being in the middle of a battle, where my life is possibly at stake, her eyes fill me with a sense of relief and I forget why I'm even here.

That is until her loud screech snaps me back into the moment.

Shinkyo: “Don't you realize what Fern is making you do?! You are harming innocent people who have been thrown away to starve and die by your oh so wonderful princess."

For some odd reason, my heart becomes heavy the moment she mentions Fern. Before I know it, I find myself in a heated argument with her.

Devilynn: "What does it matter that we threw away a couple hundred people in order to preserve a better future?! By existing, you people are only damaging the hopes of a harmonious path!"

Despite the passion in my words, my heart feels like it is breaking from seams. Whenever I have a look at the Queen's face, my heart feels as though it shrinks smaller and smaller.

Shinkyo: “I always knew Fern had manipulated the rest of you. But how could you be so ignorant?”

With a pitiful face, Shinkyo lets out the first swing. Although weaker than expected, it is still a forceful and heavy swing.

Dodging her first hit, it is clear to see that she is not nearly as experience or well-trained as Killian. I can't fathom how she became a ruler with such little skill.

Devilynn: "Vermin like yourself could never understand Fern's dream!"

It's not as if I fully understand it either.

But this is a path I chose to take, and I plan to take it to the very end.

Bringing my sword forward and swing heavily at her to with a counter attack. Bring her sword forth, she blocks the attack from going down on her.

Taking back my sword once again, I find that our fight has been the same event occurring over and over again. Not a single one of us is capable of making any hit on each other, as the other blocks or dodges it.

Irritation begins to form inside me.

Shinkyo: "How can you call yourself a hero for all, the savior of innocence, the bringer of peace, when you have slaughtered several victims of war?"

Devilynn: "You are not so innocent yourself, you have no right to compare!"

Shinkyo: "I never said that my hands were clean of this blood-stained filth! I have remembered and scarred myself with each life I've taken."

I'm tired of this conversation.

I'm tired of this fight.

I won't be ridiculed any longer.

Pushing myself forward, I move my feet as fast as it will take me. There's a clear opening that she can't block and I plan to take it.

Shinkyo: "You are a failure of a protagonist."

Whatever would a villain know about being a protagonist? I find myself wanting to lecture her on her comment and find myself slowly-


Before I can throw the next swing at her, I find my feet stopping on their own as my eyes begin to shrink.

Did she just say protagonist?

Shinkyo: "Does the cat now have your tongue?! Did your eyes open to the atrocities you have created and influenced?!"

I don't want to believe it.

I want to pretend I didn't hear it.

But if she truly said what I think she said, then there's only one person she could possibly be.

Devilynn: "E-Eri?"

I find myself shaking as I utter her name.

There’re a dozen thoughts in my mind again.

I'm praying that she doesn't respond. That she brushes it off or won’t recognize it.

Shinkyo: "Zaro?"

With her eyes widen much like mine, I find the both of us frozen within the field of wildflowers.

Shinkyo: "No…Zaro, is that truly you?"

I can't control myself, and find my hands throwing my sword as far away from me as I possibly can. My feet are taking me directly over to her as my eyes begin to bawl profusely.

Devilynn: "Eri!"

Despite my feet taking me with quick speed, I found myself stopping as soon as she opens her mouth.

Shinkyo: “What in the world do you think you're doing?!”

Looking up at her, I can't seem to understand what she means.

Shinkyo: “How could you fall for Fern’s selfish wish?! How could you kill all of those people?! All of my people!”

Devilynn: “I've been making a pathway to our future!”

Spreading my hands outward, I can feel my face hardening.

Devilynn: “Fern and I are creating a perfect future! A future that you and I can live in with no worries Eri! Isn't that amazing? Isn't that wonderful? I've been doing this for both of us!”

Her eyes completely darken, and an angry yet somber look takes over her face.

Mumbling something under her breath, she quickly glances away from me. Despite her mumbling, I can still hear her clearly.

Shinkyo: “Who even are you?”

She turns her head back over to me again.

Shinkyo: “Tell me this Zaro, in what world-in what future-can you imagine Fern allowing the both of us to live harmoniously?”

Devilynn: “I-i I'll figure it out! I know we can live here together! We can be together again! I'm sure if you give up those pesky people then Fern will allow you to live!”

Shinkyo: "Pesky people? Those are my people! Since when have you thought that way?! Do not realize what's coming out of your mouth? Do not realize how wrong it is?”

Pondering back, I can't seem to come up with a time my thoughts have ever been different.

Shinkyo: “You're not him anymore.”

Almost as if times stops, her words ring loudly within my head.

The same words for my dream.

The same words that have broken my heart so many times.

Staring up at Eri, I'm finally able to see her hurt face.

I'm finally able to clearly hear how upset she's is.

Have I really been doing something so wrong?

Despite questioning it, there's no way I don't know the answer. If Eri look like this, if Eri is hurt like this, I messed up.

Devilynn: “Eri, I-“

Shinkyo: “I will give you a choice, Zaro.”

Looking down at me with an unpleasant expression, I find Eri has extended her hand out to me.

Shinkyo: "Come with me now and fight alongside my people and I. I don't like the person I'm seeing in front of me. In fact, I'm shocked you turned out this way. But...there is still love for you in my heart. And, if you still have love for me then come with me now."

Dumbfounded, I began to notice the distance between us.

I want to go with her. Standing beside her has been the only thing I've ever wanted. I feel so immensely blessed to see her again, even if she's not the same.

Shinkyo: "However, if you don't come with me now, I will not give you another chance."

Devilynn: "Eri, you know that I-"

Before I can utter any words, I find my voice cut off by the sound of another.

Fern: "What do you think you're doing standing around?! She's right in front of you finish her!"

As Fern begins to rush on over to me, I glance behind Eri to see Killian is rushing over to her.

Killian: “Sister we need to leave now. Everyone has evacuated. Some men need urgent care."

Shinkyo: "We will leave in a moment."

Staring back at me, Eri gives me a clear countdown. She's waiting for my answer before leaving.

My heart is telling me to go with her, but my head is thinking about what is truly right or wrong.

Have I really been manipulated by Fern?

Have I truly been blinded my whole life into thinking that this kingdom was paradise?

I swallow my pride and decide on the right choice. I've always said and I always will say the Eri is my top priority. So, my answer is clear.

Devilynn: "I can't go with you."

Realizing what I've said, my eyes widen and my stomach shrivels. I can't seem to speak anymore.


If I don't say what I really mean then I might lose her forever.

This isn't what I wanted. Why am I saying these things? Why am I making her look the way she's looking? Why this? Why? Why?

With a look of utter disappointment, Eri begins biting her lip and then stops and moves her lips into a gentle unsettling smile.

Shinkyo: “Then it appears we will be enemies. Next time on the battlefield, I won't hesitate on striking you down.”

And she turns away, I began to feel this distance between me and her grow wider.

Just like the dream I've had; the distance just continues to grow bigger and bigger till I can hardly see her. I feel like I am drowning in thoughts that aren't my own.

Although hard to hear her, Eri whispers one last thing.

Shinkyo: "I wish we could have met with open arms."

It is clearly said with somber. It makes my heart feel as though it's in a black pit.

As Killian and her disappear into the campsite and away from my point of view, I found myself standing there in the middle of the bloodbath.

I begin to notice a blood on my hands, the emptiness inside, and the rotten core that's been there for far too long.