Chapter 30:

Welcome Home

White Nightmare

Few moments earlier, Rodan was in flight following where the sigil led him. He flew so high in the sky, passing through above land and water, mountains and rivers, hills and lakes, forests, and plains. He punched through the clouds as if a missile in the air, breaking the cloud formations. Just to his left, he could see the sun slowly rising. The thin and cold air grazed his skin in his high velocity. He flew impressively, as if he was born to fly. He flew with astonishing agility, yet he didn’t make any sound.Bookmark here

“How long has it been since I did this?” Rodan thought. Bookmark here

“Too long, perhaps...Bookmark here

The air braking into my skin reminded me of old times. I refused to fly. Though it relieved me, yet at the same time ached my soul. It’s cruelly and kindly rekindling those days. I would use this ability on this kind of situation.Bookmark here

After all of this is over, this ability will eventually come to rest again... and I hope not to use it ever again.”Bookmark here

Few minutes later, Rodan found a lone island, surrounded by the blue ocean. The sigil was directing him to go to that island. He realized Ruru must be down there.Bookmark here

He landed on the beach, where it felt like he was visiting a tropical island, many coconut trees, and white warm sands elaborate the island beaches. Sound of the waves breaking as they met the rocky cliffs and seagulls flying overhead emphasized it more.Bookmark here

There’s nobody in plain sight. It’s quiet.Bookmark here

“This island... have I ever been here before?” he wondered. But when he stepped forward, he got sands in his boots. “I feel like I’ve been here... ugh, this is just great. It’ll take some time to get rid of these sands off my shoes. Maybe I’ll ask Nono to wash them, I’ll teach him some other cool tricks afterwards, he-he-he.”Bookmark here

Rodan checked his sigil, and it was lighting up. Ruru was close by, but he must still follow where the sigil’s power flow would lead him. Into the dense forest of the island, he went to. He was prepared to fight off any monsters, but fortunately, there were none. Only animals that were harmless lived there.Bookmark here

After a moment, he eventually found a cave. It was well hidden, merged with the rocky cliffs. When he approached the entrance, he found magic stones lying next to it. There, he realized where he was right now.Bookmark here

“I see now. No wonder Ruru would go to this place...”Bookmark here

Rodan entered the cave. He didn’t know the layout of the area, but he kept walking, following where the sigil tattoo in his arms led him. As he went deeper inside, the cave felt more like a dungeon. The only source of light to that place was nothing more but the magic stones. They absorbed sunrays from the outside and released a dim light into the cave.Bookmark here

The cave monsters were strangely avoiding Rodan. Most of them looked strong, but they backed off as soon as Rodan stepped near them. It was as if they knew who he was and didn’t want to fight him. Just by looking, Rodan noticed that those monsters had already been affected by Ruru’s influence.Bookmark here

“They’ve been affected... Ruru is here, no doubt about it. But strange how these monsters didn’t dare lay their teeth to outsiders or possible preys. Was it because Ruru had used her powers before?”Bookmark here

Rodan eventually found a hole. It was a long way down, but the sigil directed him to go there. He leapt to the mouth of the hole and carefully jumped down from wall to wall before finally reaching the bottom.Bookmark here

There... he saw a circular gate. It was sealed tight, magically. Bookmark here

He stood before it and called her name.Bookmark here

Beyond the seal, Ruru was surprised. She stood up and approached it but dared not to touch the seal she made herself. She wanted to make sure she didn’t mishear.Bookmark here

Rodan called for her name once more, and this time Ruru fully acknowledged that it was Rodan.Bookmark here

“How...” Ruru asked softly. “How did you find me...?”Bookmark here

Her voice sounded unperturbed, but in contrast she was holding back her tears. Rodan heard her. His tensed nerves began to calm down that she was still alive.Bookmark here

“So, it IS you in there, Ruru. Phew...” Rodan let out a gladdened breath. “Took me some time to look for ya, didn’t you know?”Bookmark here

“How... did you find me?” she asked again. Rodan heard her scraping against the wall. Ruru was clenching her hands on the wall. It was her attempt to hold her leaking tears.Bookmark here

“How did I find you; you ask? Have you forgotten that you are still under the effects of slave contract? I’m still your master, after all. And your master always knows where you go.”Bookmark here

Ruru just remembered it. “So... that’s how you found me,”Bookmark here

“Hum-um. Even though if I don’t have these sigils with me, I might still find you, though it will take some time before we finally met each other again. Even if it takes an eternity to find you.”Bookmark here

His sweet words made her tears unholdable. She was sobbing profusely. There were hundreds of things she still didn’t understand from the red man behind the seal.Bookmark here

“Hey... Ruru...”Bookmark here

“Why did you come here, Roro?!” she cried out. “Don’t you know who I am?!Bookmark here

I’m the WHITE NIGHTMARE! The one that brought fear and destruction to anywhere I stepped on. I killed many people, I slew innocents, and destroyed many virtues.”Bookmark here

“...I understand that” Rodan softly replied.Bookmark here

“Then, why?!?! Why did you come here...? I will only bring desperation, agony, and pain to you. Please, leave me alone! I...Bookmark here

I... I don’t want to... I don’t want to kill you...”Bookmark here

Ruru let out a silence cry, she kneeled before the seal while knocking it several times with her fist. She sobbed, she cried, she didn’t want her hands kill the person she adored.Bookmark here

Rodan heard her cry. He knew how she felt and decided to let her sooth down first. But he didn’t leave her. He’s there, willing to wait for her even if it will take an entire lifetime. He sat down and stretched out his left leg.Bookmark here

The Red and the White sat on each side of the seal, leaning against it.Bookmark here

Rodan waited patiently for her to calm down. After a while, Ruru told her the same thing again.Bookmark here

“Please... Roro, leave. I don’t want to kill you... You’ve seen how I tried to kill you that time...”Bookmark here

“Ruru. I’ve contested my powers against you twice already. Here, I am still breathing normally, and still have my healthy body. Not even you can kill me.”Bookmark here

Ruru looked up into the ceilings above her, coincidentally, Rodan was also looking up.Bookmark here

After a long silent, Ruru let out a hoarsened voice, reaching out to the red-haired man. “Roro... you are a weird human.”Bookmark here

“Well, what can I say? It’s facts, perhaps. I’m not the one to judge who I am. That’s why, it is the same to you, Ruru. You are not the one to judge who you are. But everyone is.Bookmark here

Even though you were entitled the White Nightmare by many people, I care little for that. I still see you as a saddened creature who lost their path. Nono never saw you as a monster, either. Even though you’ve destroyed a portion of my house and made quite the vociferous deafening scream during the night, I still won’t change my mind. I still see you as my protege.Bookmark here

Besides... it is a master’s duty to guide their apprentices, right?”Bookmark here

...Bookmark here

“Hey, Ruru... did you remember what’s my first order to you?” Rodan asked. “I told you to not refer me as ‘master’ but simply call me by my name. And you did it splendidly. Until now, you never call me Master Roro, or Master Rodan, or whatever. Even now... you still do what I ordered you to.Bookmark here

I’m proud of you, Ruru.”Bookmark here

Such warm words coming from him made her rethink her actions. It felt like she didn’t deserve the care and kindness from him. She felt guilty. She thought that she didn’t deserve to be given a name. She should’ve stayed nameless as many people saw her as a monster, yet Rodan never saw her as one. Rodan took her in and even going as far as giving her identity. Rodan opened back what’s lost within her. The door of her memories that was shut tight was opened.Bookmark here

She realized all of this might not happened should she be more open to him. About the loss of her memories, about everything she had went through. It may be late as of now, but she gathered all the bravery and decided to speak the truth to the very person she feared of losing.Bookmark here

“...Hey, Roro...”Bookmark here

“What is it?”Bookmark here

“...There’s something I wanted to say.” Bookmark here

“I’m all ears. I’ll hear what you want to say, Ruru.”Bookmark here

Ruru told him everything.Bookmark here

“I am from the demon race, Roro. I... I am a White Demon. I’m sorry I hid about it all this time. I actually remembered what I am when you gave me that apple for the first time.”Bookmark here

She kept explaining what she had experienced and what she remembered all this time.Bookmark here

“I don’t know of my past, but... the only last thing I could remember was that I was captured by someone. I don’t know when, but I could remember it clearly. It was a fiery night...Bookmark here

That person who captured me... those who worked together to fight me... cursed me. They called me the White Nightmare. Before long, I lost consciousness.Bookmark here

I don’t remember what happened next.Bookmark here

When I woke up, I realized I was turned into a slave. A frail, and weak creature. I couldn’t remember a thing at all. I don’t know my name, my origins, or even any relatives. I don’t even remember that I am the White Nightmare. Trying to find the missing pieces of my memories was what I’ve done until that last circus. I don’t know how long it has been.Bookmark here

I never remembered anyone’s faces. But there’s one person I kept in my mind forever. He was the cruelest slave master I’ve ever had. And that person is Karn Karraz. I was hoping someday that I would be able to kill him. But that hope died too soon. He sold me to another slave master, which was the ringleader of the Algoria Circus.”Bookmark here

“It’s painful, isn’t it?” Rodan asked softly.Bookmark here

“It is. If possible, I don’t want to talk about it. I just want to forget those times, but it always come back to me.”Bookmark here

“Say, Ruru... where did that Karn Karraz guy last sold you?”Bookmark here

“H-Huh... if I recall the environment in that time... it wasn’t too long ago. It was rainy. I saw buildings made of concrete and brick road below the carriage. I also saw some knights. They were pulling some sort of a large weapon behind them, like a giant crossbow. But I’m sorry, I don’t remember too well.”Bookmark here

“It’s okay. Thank you for telling me, Ruru. Giant crossbow, huh...? Could it be, though...”Bookmark here

...Bookmark here

Ruru’s heart was still aching. Beforehand, she said to him that she wanted to be left alone. She didn’t want to kill Rodan, but her heart was saying that she wanted to be with him. Even though he stated that she couldn’t kill him, she still feared that she would kill him by accident.Bookmark here

Slightly crying, she spoke to him.Bookmark here

“Roro... I don’t know what I should do...”Bookmark here

“If you don’t know what you should do, then come back to me. Let us find out together!”Bookmark here

“But I will hurt you!”Bookmark here

“No, no you won’t.”Bookmark here

“If I return to you, you will suffer... Everyone will suffer...”Bookmark here

“Suffering is a part of our daily lives, Ruru. We struggle to go through it and find the best way to be freed from suffering. I suffered, Nono suffered, Ringo suffered, but in the end, we will all laugh and forget those bad times because we’ve managed to get past it.”Bookmark here

“But I’m a White Demon... nobody would like to have a demon... moreover, people called me the White Nightmare...”Bookmark here

“I will be first in line to have you in my side. Those people are fools to think you’re a filthy creature. They’re blind to see the truth within you. Yes, you are a White Demon, but there’s no proof that you are the White Nightmare. That’s why, please come back, Ruru!”Bookmark here

“Do you truly mean it...?”Bookmark here

“Absolutely. Even if you’re lost... I will find you. If you don’t have another place to go, then you may return to me. I will welcome you with my hands open wide.”Bookmark here

“I’m... I’m so happy to hear it. All this time... I’ve never felt this way...Bookmark here

Can I... can I call you... home...?”Bookmark here

Rodan ultimately nodded. “Yeah...! That’s why I’m here. You can always return to me. Let us live together. With Nono and you in our tree house, it will be a lively life we will have. Let us train together. Let us help each other’s back. Let us eat as many green apples as possible until our stomachs full. Enjoy laughs, telling stories, and many kinds of things.Bookmark here

If you fear your powers will go wild, then I will help you tone them down. You don’t have to fear of hurting people with your claws, because I will be there to stop you. Bookmark here

You are not the only one at fault, Ruru. I’m also wrong. If only that time I studied about your past, I would’ve averted many incidents from happening. If only I wasn’t too lazy that time, nobody would’ve suffered this much. That’s why, to reflect on my mistakes, on your mistakes, let us together fix ourselves!”Bookmark here

In the end of his words, Ruru opened the seal. Rodan stood up and witnessed her face all in tears.Bookmark here

“Ruru...”Bookmark here

“Roroooo!”Bookmark here

Letting go all her pain, dropping all weight that burdened both her mind and heart, Ruru jumped to him, hugging him while altogether letting all her emotions flow out entirely. She cried loudly. She was happy. She was thrilled. Nobody ever wanted her back after what she had done, but Rodan was totally different. He was the only person that cared for her even after she attempted to kill him. He didn’t care if she’s the White Nightmare. He saw what her heart was truly wanting. He heard her cry. He listened to her story and still won’t change his mind. He still cared for her.Bookmark here

She buried her face in his red robe. Her white hair was all over his chest. Allowing her time to let her emotions flow, Rodan kindly hug her back softly. He stroked her hair, comforting her.Bookmark here

“Thank you... thank you, Roro...!”Bookmark here

Rodan smiled from behind his mask.Bookmark here

Ultimately...Bookmark here

He gave his reply.Bookmark here

“You’re welcome. And...Bookmark here

Welcome home... Ruru.”Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.