Chapter 22:

Allude to Chaos

Every Side of the World

Kizou woke up early in the morning and started to get dressed. He fixed his bed and quietly walked out of the room to not wake up Grandma or Grandpa. As he exited the cabin, he let out a deep breath and smiled.

Time for another day to begin, Kizou thought to himself.

He grabbed the axe and walked towards the forest. As he looked around, he tried to find the most trees to cut down and bring back. He found a group of trees and started inspecting them to make sure there wasn’t anything wrong with them. Kizou picked up his axe and started exerting a lot of pressure. He took one big inhale before swinging his axe horizontally as he exhaled. All of the trees fell down in an instant from that one strike.

Kizou carried all the logs and put them on his shoulders. He crouched down and looked to be counting to himself before he started sprinting back to the cabin. It took him around 10 seconds to carry the heavy logs from the forest to the cabin. When he arrived, he dropped the logs and looked mad at himself.

Why did that feel slower than yesterday? Kizou thought to himself.

He slowly brought the logs inside the cabin and put them inside the furnace for Grandma and Grandpa to use. He walked out and started heading towards Dax’s old hut.

I really need to get someone to take care of this place for me, Kizou thought to himself as he looked around and found smoke and soot.

He grabbed a hammer and picked up a metal object that looked as if it had been worked on for a while. Kizou started hammering the metal object, and it started getting sharper. Kizou’s eyes lit up.

It’s finally almost done, Kizou excitedly thought to himself.

He continued hammering the metal object until he was satisfied with the work that he had done. He walked out and headed over to the shopkeeper who handed him orders to deliver. Surprisingly, it seemed like every villager had orders that needed to be delivered, so Kizou went to every cabin and dropped it off.

For the rest of the morning, Kizou walked down to the river to get some training in. He grabbed his sword by his waist and closed his eyes as he focused intently. As he kept his eyes closed, he had an image of himself with his sword out. The image of himself started rushing towards him. Kizou began his training as he had been doing for the past 9 years.

Meanwhile, the Villager Association gathered early in the morning as they wanted to get all the issues in the village resolved as quickly as possible. The Villager Association was established to allow the prominent figures of the tiny village to make decisions that they all agreed upon. While it doesn’t hold too many political discussions like the Kingdom, it was still a first step for the village of Rakai. This mostly involved the taxation of the Shadow’s Guild that continued to rise over the past years.

“So, now that we have gathered here today,” said the Head Elder. “I’d like to go over our agenda.”

The individuals who sat around the table were the eldest farmer, eldest shopkeeper, and Grandpa. They were known for being in the village the longest, so they were given the opportunity to be in the Villager Association. Kaiya was the secretary as she was viewed as the most promising when it came to making decisions.

“So for our agenda, we have the topic of our tariff as well as Kizou’s 15th birthday,” Kaiya said as she read off the list.

The Association looked at one another as the topic of the tariff was something they never truly understood. A measly village such as theirs seemed to keep getting taxed when they could barely get by.

“If I may, I think we should argue for a lower tariff,” Grandpa said as he raised his hand.

“We can’t! Did you see what happened last time?” the shopkeeper asked as he looked at Grandpa.

“I know, I know,” Grandpa said as he acknowledged his own mistake. “But now we have Kizou. He’s also been training Kaiya, Reiji, and Taishi.”

“Even if that may be, we don’t need that wretched guild burning down the village,” the eldest farmer said as he was thinking solely of his crops.

“Excuse me for the lack of respect, but I believe that we’ll be able to fight them off,” Kaiya said with a determined face as she squeezed the clipboard. “Even I have been tired of them taking advantage of our village.

Everyone looked at her and weren’t sure if she was serious, or if she was just joking. Grandpa let out a smile.

“How about this?” Grandpa asked. “What if they are able to jump in if an issue were to arise?”

“I think that would be fine,” the Head Elder said as it seemed that an argument would still continue if the topic was kept up.

“So, the decision to lower the tariff has been passed. I will prepare only half of the amount we usually give for when they arrive in the evening,” Kaiya said as she checked off the item on the agenda.

“Our next topic is Kizou,” the Head Elder said.

The room got quiet once the name was brought up. Grandpa looked fidgety, and the Head Elder let out a sigh.

“I think we’re all in agreement that we should send him off to Lestia’s Academy, the most prestigious Academy within all of the Kingdom,” the Head Elder said with everyone in agreement. Grandpa was hesitant, but he didn’t want to start any more problems.

“Kaiya, Reiji, and Taishi are clearly still learning, so they will stay here and slowly hone their skills,” the Head Elder said. Kaiya nodded her head.

“With the mark of his 15th birthday, Kizou will head off and bring our village to glory,” the Head Elder announced.

As the Village Association dispersed, Grandpa walked back home and thought about Kizou leaving. He grew to love and cherish him, and he was too afraid that he might lose him. A hand went around Grandpa’s neck.

“Geez Grandpa, why do you look so down?” Kizou asked with a smile.

“Probably because your stink is rubbing all on me,” Grandpa answered with a laugh to avoid Kizou’s worry. They both laughed and walked into the cabin as Grandma prepared breakfast for them.

Afternoon came, and all of the villagers waited by the entrance as they knew that it was tariff day. With the sounds of wagons arriving, everyone was prepared for another day of mistreatment by the Shadow’s Guild.

“Well lookie here,” said a voice as he stepped out of the wagon. The boy who was once just a member in Klein’s team was now the captain. Takumi stood there with a smug look as if he knew he was superior compared to everyone there.

“Just take your money and leave,” the Head Elder said as he handed the bag of money to them.

“Go check it,” Takumi said as he pointed to one of the members that came with him. Takumi smiled as he continued to walk around the villagers to intimidate them.

“You know what’s crazy?” Takumi said as he looked over the state of the village. “I bet you all don’t even have the most up to date news about the Kingdom, since you’re stuck in this filthy place such as the Demon students, new borders, and even the return of the King.”

Everyone looked at each other and back at Takumi as they realized that they really were behind on the current events.

The member came up and whispered something into Takumi’s ear which made him angry.

“Do you think I’m a joke?!” Takumi said as he coated his hands with water. “Commander Klein was so nice to not even burn your village down, and this is how you repay him?”

“We’ve decided that after 9 years, we’re lowering the tariffs,” Grandpa said as she stepped out of the pack.

“Wow, there’s a familiar face,” Takumi said with a laugh before turning serious. “You were in hiding for 9 years after that embarrassment, and you have the guts to stand up to me?”

“It’s not just me this time, we’re all tired of it,” Grandpa said as the villagers lined up behind him.

“Oh yeah? Then how about I teach you all a lesson?” Takumi said as water seemed to form on his hands.

Everyone stood still and were determined not to be intimidated by Takumi. This annoyed him even further.

“Don’t blame me if you end up drowning!” Takumi said as he aimed his hand towards all of the villagers. “Tsunami's Scream!”

“Inferno’s Rage!” a female’s voice yelled. The fire collided with the water, and a smokescreen formed.

“What was that?” Takumi asked as he started coughing from inhaling the smoke.

“Can you not bully old people like for one day?” Kaiya said as she appeared once the smoke was cleared. Reiji and Taishi stood next to her to provide her support.

“You brats only know a little bit of magic and think you’re so tough?” Takumi asked angrily as he was preparing for another spell. Kaiya, Reiji, and Taishi took their swords out and prepared for an attack. Suddenly, Takumi felt a huge gaze of hatred towards him from somewhere in the crowd. He scouted as much as he could, but he couldn’t tell who it was. Words rang in his head from 9 years ago.

If you ever feel a gaze of hatred on the level of that man next time we come to this village, run, Klein’s words echoed towards Takumi from the past.

“On second thought, I’ll take my leave as I have other matters to attend to,” Takumi said as he coughed. “I’ll be back tomorrow.”

As he drove away, he could hear the laughs and cheers of the villagers behind him.

“Damn it, damn it, damn it!” Takumi yelled to himself. “How could I be so scared of whoever that was? I didn’t think I’d need to use them, but it looks like I need to teach those peasants a lesson.”

As the wagon continued to go away, everyone in the village kept on cheering. Kaiya, Reiji, and Taishi walked towards the back of the crowd.

“Come on Kizou, you said it would be our time to shine,” Reiji said annoyingly.

“Yeah, even we could tell that you were gazing at him,” Taishi said.

“I’m sorry, I just wanted to make sure everyone was safe,” Kizou said with a smile.  Reiji and Taishi put a palm to their faces.

“Idiot,” Kaiya mumbled to herself with a smile.