Chapter 23:


Every Side of the World

Morning came, and Kizou went about his daily routine as always. He went to cut down wood, craft his sword, and help deliver groceries. However, it felt like the village was emptier than usual as there weren’t too many people outside.

That’s weird, Kizou thought to himself. There’s usually a lot of children running around.

He walked down to the river and continued his training as he always did. Afterwards, he walked back up to the village, and now it looked as if everyone was gone.

Wait! Did that Guild come back?! Kizou worriedly thought to himself.

He started running around the village and checking every door, but there wasn’t anyone at all. He went back to the cabin, and he realized that it looked like Grandma and Grandpa hadn’t been there since the morning. Kizou started panicking as he realized that he let his village get into danger due to his lack of awareness.

Suddenly, he heard the sound of laughter near the Village Association hut and went to go check it out. As he walked to the hut, he opened the door to see the whole village waiting for him inside.

“Surprise!” yelled the crowd gathered. “Happy Birthday, Kizou!”

Hah, I can’t believe they got me when I already knew they were planning a surprise, Kizou thought to himself with a smile.

Everyone started running up to Kizou and giving him presents. The villagers gave him food and clothes that Kizou happily accepted. The shopkeeper gave him food as well as they didn’t know what else would make Kizou happy. Kizou happily accepted their offer.

“Here’s a special gift that we’ve been holding for 10 years,” Grandma said with a smile.

“What is it?” Kizou asked curiously.

“It’s a note from an old friend,” Grandpa said with a smile. He handed Kizou a note.

“Wait, is this?” Kizou mumbled to himself as he read the note.

Hey Kizou, the note read. If you’re reading this, you’re probably 15 by now. I told Grandma and Grandpa to hold the key to the box until you were ready to leave the village. I heard that you managed to land a lucky hit, so here is your present as promised.

Kizou turned towards Grandma and Grandpa, and they gave him a key. Kizou smiled happily to himself, but he didn’t want to rush to the present just yet.

“And here’s a present from both of us,” Grandma said while Grandpa stood next to her.

They handed Kizou a box in which he opened immediately. He looked inside and found a crest that he didn’t recognize.

“You guys made me a crest?” Kizou asked confusingly.

“Well, we actually found that crest on you during the first day that you arrived,” Grandma said.

“What do you mean?” Kizou asked.

“Besides your clothes, this was the only other thing that we found that might be a link to your past,” Grandpa said sadly as if he wanted to continue to hold off on this secret.

Kizou looked at both of them and realized that even though it was already his, the real present was them letting Kizou go and find his true roots. He looked at both Grandma and Grandpa who looked as if they were about to cry.

“Don’t worry, you two will always be Grandpa and Grandma to me,” Kizou said with a smile.

Grandma and Grandpa smiled as tears came down their faces. They both hugged Kizou tightly after realizing that tomorrow would be their last day together.

“Our turn, our turn,” said a group of familiar voices.

Kizou turned around to find Reiji and Taishi with their hands behind their backs.

“So, what did my students decide to give me?” Kizou asked with a smile.

“I have this sling that you can put in your waist, so you can get your sword out easier and slice the enemies,” Reiji said with a smile.

“Wow, that’s a thoughtful gift,” Kizou said with a chuckle.

“And I have these black shoes that you can wear,” Taishi said as he handed Kizou some shoes.

“These are definitely going to help me,” Kizou said with a smile. “You two really went of your way to get these things, huh?”

“It’s the least we could do for our teacher,” Taishi said with a smile.

“Where’s Kaiya?” Kizou asked.

“She said she has her present for you down by the river,” Reiji said. “You should go meet her.”

“I guess I’ll head on over then,” Kizou said as he walked out of the building.

“You sure you wanted to do that?” Taishi asked.

“What do you mean?” Reiji asked.

“I’m just saying that you don’t have to hide your own feelings to help someone else’s feelings,” Taishi answered. Reiji only smiled at him.

Meanwhile, Takumi called for assistance from his Guild who managed to buy mercenaries. Takumi was still embarrassed from the day before, and he wanted to make sure that he made the village pay for embarrassing him. As he stood outside of his wagon, four individuals instantly appeared in front of him. They all wore black robes as well as black pants with a grey collar around their neck. They got down on one knee and kept their head down.

“We’re here at the request of the Shadow’s Guild,” said the leader among the pack.

“Good,” Takumi said. “We’re paying you good money to slaughter everyone in the village.”

The individuals kept their heads down as Takumi continued on with their rant.

“We’ve done business with them for 10 years now, but they finally decided to step out of

their boundaries. Make sure there are no survivors at all,” Takumi said.

“Yes,” they all answered in unison.

“And a piece of advice, there’s one person there that you should watch out for,” Takumi said annoyingly. “I will be waiting for your good news back at the Guild, you Demons.”

As Takumi drove with the rest of his group on the wagon, the four individuals stood there.

“Alright, you heard him,” the boss said. “Let’s get this cleaned up and head on back.”