Chapter 11:

Hopelessness (Miya Eri) - Part 1

Mages and Dragons in a New Land? They Obviously Haven't Seen a Modern War Man! Book 2


Everything was dark. It was pitch black. Eri couldn’t see, couldn’t feel.

‘What’s wrong with me?’ she thought, ‘Where am I? I can’t see anything! Everything was fine until I entered that door.’

The door.

“Eri!” she heard a voice. It sounded oddly familiar.

She heard footsteps rushing towards her.

“Oh, so you are here.”

“Nobaru?”

The voice belonged to her brother. But she didn’t understand. Why couldn’t she see him?

“Where are you?” she asked, “I can’t sense your aura.”

“What are you talking about?” he asked, confused. “Sensing aura?”

“Yes. I can’t see your aura.”

“Eri… You are blind. How could you forget that?”

Eri was shocked.

“I’m blind...?”

“Yes you are.” Nobaru responded, “You always have been.”

Eri was confused.

“Huh?!”

“It’s fine, Eri.” Nobaru said comfortingly, “I’ll be there. C’mon.”

Nobaru took her hand and raised her up. But Eri let him go.

‘I can’t believe this!’ she thought. She ran (what she thought was) away from Nobaru.

‘Why? How? All I did was enter that glowing door…’

“That’s it!” she shouted, “This has to be a hallucination! I’m still in that room. I must be unconscious. I must-”

Suddenly, her legs tripped on something and she fell headfirst to the ground. She rolled and rolled ahead, hitting things on the ground that she didn’t know the form of.

---

Eri felt like she was awake. She lay on a soft surface.

“Where… am I?”

“Good morning.” Nobaru said.

“Nobaru?”

“Yep.” He responded, “We’re home now. So get some rest.”

“Yeah…” Eri said, “Sorry about earlier…”

Nobaru laughed and ruffled her hair.

“It’s fine. You must’ve had a lot on your mind.”

“I guess so.”

“You doing fine now?” he asked curiously.

Eri nodded, “I just need some time alone to sort some things out.”

“I’ll leave you to it then.” He said, “Mom must’ve finished cooking breakfast. I’ll bring it here.”

“No, I’ll come down there myself.”

“Are you sure you are fine? I found you in the forest all battered and bruised.”

“In the forest?!” she exclaimed.

“Yeah, you were pretty beat up.”

“I see.”

“As much as I don’t like leaving you alone like this, I trust you are fine. Your cane is to your right so don’t forget about it.”

Eri nodded, “Thanks. Enjoy your meal.”

After a brief moment, Nobaru’s footsteps were heard sounding fainter by the second. As a ‘thud’ was heard, then there was nothing. Just the silence.

And in the silence, Eri was going through the situation.

‘My worst nightmare… huh?’ she thought, ‘I am blind. Wait, I was already blind to begin with! Why can’t I sense aura anymore?’

A smile of realization was shown on her face.

‘Ohh! This is all just a dream right?!’ she thought, ‘A bad dream. Yeah that’s it!’

She pinched her hand… or at least she thought it was her hand.

“Ouch!”

She was disappointed, it was real. The hopeless situation was as real as it could get.

‘I’m stuck. Aren’t I…’

Tears filled her eyes. She didn’t want this to happen. She didn’t want a scenario where she becomes the heaviest burden for others around her…

‘I don’t want to be that!’

Moments of silent tears followed. Something gently tapped against her knee. Eri was jolted out of her thoughts. She reached out to feel a long rod like thing with a curved handgrip.

‘This is my cane… probably.’ She thought, steeling herself. She wiped her tears away and stood up.

Feeling for the handle, she gripped the cane and walked.

‘I think I still have my sharp memory. Let’s use it.’

She then started getting creative. While walking, she counted in her head.

‘1, 2, 3, 4…’

Moments later, she hit her head softly on a wall…

‘Huh?’

Feeling the wall before her, she felt the soft wood and then a round thing, cold and metallic.

‘A handle!’ she thought, ‘That’s 14 steps to the door.’

She turned the handle and the door opened outwards with a creak.

‘Nice!’

She continued. She recalled that the hallways were mostly empty and led to some stairs to the right.

Feeling her surroundings with her cane, she proceeded forward. She was slowly getting used to this.

Until she fell, that is.

Suddenly she felt herself falling down, there was no footing.

“Shit, The stairs!”

She didn’t expect the stairs to be here. It wasn’t supposed to be here. She fell and expected her head to get hit when a gust of wind saved her. She felt lighter than usual.

“Eri are you alright?” she heard a voice saying.

“I’m fine…” She responded, dazed.

She felt herself float and being put down on the ground. Footsteps rushed towards her and she felt her dad’s hand on her.

“You are burning hot.” he said with concern. Rest.

“Don’t I have school today?” she asked, “And I feel fine.”

There was no response on the other end. Then came a statement that startled her.

“School? You don’t go to school, Eri. What are you talking about?”

A baffled look crossed her face. She didn’t go to school?

“I don’t go to Yanine anymore?”

“No, you don’t. Only your brother does.”

Eri groaned in disbelief. She didn’t even go to school. This added to her disappointment and sadness.

She sighed, ‘No matter how much I want to. The school won’t let a disabled mess like me study there. It’s more logical.’

At this point, I’m only dead weight.

---

Eri was outside. She felt the warm wind brush against her shoulder-length hair. She could hear splashes and whooshes in the distance which was apparently her brother training.

“You don’t have school today?” she asked.

“Nope.” He responded, “I was planning to train with Kaeda and Hugo today but they had other plans. They asked about you too.”

“They did?”

“Yeah, they do every day.” He laughed, “It’s natural asking about you when they think about including you in their conversations. They are friends after all.”

‘So they still know me…’ she thought.

The two laughed together.

“Yeah, it’s like that isn’t it…”

She heard the noise from Nobaru training and began to process her findings.

‘I swear the stairs were not supposed to be there. So the only choice, besides me being robbed of my perfect recall, is that this place adjusts to my thoughts and actions.’

She smiled to herself.

‘It’s a challenging game alright! I know what to do now.’

“Nobaru!” She called out with a grin.”

The sounds stopped and Eri heard Nobaru adjusting something.

“Yeah?”

“This may be a bit odd to ask but may I ask you something?”

Nobaru chuckled, “What’s with the polite tone? We are siblings. And sure, ask away.”

Eri exhaled to calm her nerves down. And then she spoke.

“Can you… teach me magic?”

Eri didn’t need to see to understand how confused and surprised Nobaru was at that moment.

“I’m sorry, could you repeat that? I don’t know if I heard that well or if I was just hearing things.”

“Huh?!” Eri snapped, “I asked you to teach me magic, that’s what! What do you think, huh? Just because I am blind doesn’t mean I can’t learn magic, you-”

Nobaru burst into laughter, confusing Eri.

“Now that’s the Eri I know!” he exclaimed, “So this is what was on your mind.”

“Yeah, sort of…”

An awkward silence followed. The grin disappeared from Eri’s face.

‘I messed up…’ she thought.

“Sure!”

Eri was confused, “Wait what?”

“Huh? I said sure. You want to learn magic right? I’ll equip you with both magic and sword skills, although I’m not as good as Kaeda. The latter may take time but I think you can manage right?”

‘Oh yeah,’ Eri thought, ‘the sword was the other thing I want to learn again. Not going to school probably means that I won’t know magic and the sword.’

“But why the sword?” she asked.

She never asked him to teach her the sword. She wondered why he bought it up.

“You need instincts.” Nobaru explained, “Since you can’t see, sharpening your other senses is what you need to do. And I think that fighting with weapons, where you can fight your opponents head on, is the best way to do that.”

“That makes sense.” She commented feeling relieved.

“And because…” Nobaru continued, “It’s unfair that you have to go through not having everything I do. It’s unfair that you are blind. I know how hard it must be for you. So if this makes you feel better, I’ll give you everything I have so you won’t feel left out.”

Eri was confused, “But you may find it a bother trying to teach a blind girl who is delusional enough to think she can learn things.”

“Huh?” Nobaru responded, “Eri, you are not delusional. You are perfectly right in thinking that way. If you have the drive, you can do it. And if only, I think it would be a pain learning from a person like me who doesn’t go easy.

Eri’s mouth opened with surprise. She never expected Nobaru to say something like this. Even though it’s a simulation, she was still happy.

She then laughed with a confident grin, “I don’t want that either. I would beat you up if you were to go easy on me.”

“Oh fighting talk huh? I like it! Let’s get to work.”

---

‘Is it morning yet?’

Eri couldn’t sleep today either. Well, it was normal to her at this point. She had heard that totally blind people had trouble sleeping since they wouldn't know the difference between night and day.

‘It’s only been a few weeks here but it feels like a long time has passed here. Like I know better.’

At least the training was going smoothly. Every time, Nobaru used to read the chants to the spells out loud and each time she memorized and performed them like she always could. Although she missed her blade, she enjoyed training with a wooden sword. With each sparring session, she could feel her other senses heightening. She could see, hear and feel things.

Maybe a lot of time had passed after all. Maybe even months or years. Being deprived of her vision made her lose track of time. This was a huge problem along with the sadness and depression she faced from the nightmares she had.

“Eri.” a voice called out. It belonged to Ren, her mom.

“Yeah?” she responded.

“It’s time for school. Aren’t you getting up?”

‘School?’ she thought, shocked, ‘I thought I didn’t-’

Wait… how much time had passed anyway?

“How long has it been since I asked Nobaru to train me?”

“Umm… I think five months or so.”

“FIVE MONTHS?!” she shouted at which point she was already wide awake.

“Yes… five months.” Ren responded, “You’ve been going to Yanine too since you were making fast progress. ‘Abnormally fast progress’ as Nobaru put it. You were able to master Ancient Magic which was impressive. He was surprised too since he couldn’t do spells no matter how much he tried. And you were better with the sword than he thought. Master Akio sent you a sword too… I think he called it The Executioner’s Blade?”

“Supplicium?” she asked, confused.

“Ah yeah! That’s it.”

“Huh?!” Eri got up from bed, “Where is it?”

“It’s kept up in the glass shelf downstairs unsheathed, why?”

Eri got up and ran. She didn’t bother to take her cane. She had memorized the layout of the house already. Going down the stairs, she remembered where the shelf in question was. The house only had one such glass shelf.

She felt for the sword and then picked up a soft long sheath made of cloth.

“What is this?”

“Your sword.” Replied Izanagi, “Why?”

“Dad?”

“Yeah?”

Eri’s mind was overloaded with thoughts at this point. She couldn’t process anything.

“I-it’s nothing.” Eri responded, “Good morning.”

Izanagi laughed, “Good morning, Eri. Looks like you are tired.”

“I can’t sleep that well. I get… nightmares. A black void swallowing me up, distorted creatures and things that creep me out.”

Footsteps advanced toward her and she felt Izanagi’s embrace.

“It’s fine.” He comforted, “Whatever it is. It’s just a bad dream... We all are here for you.”

“Even if I am just dead weight?”

“Eri you are anything but a burden. You should really look at yourself more positively. We are fortunate to have a kid like you.”

“Even if my brother is better?”

“What gave you that idea? You both are perfect in your own way. You both also have your imperfections.”

“Nope, Nobaru is leaps and bounds better than I am. He must be thinking of me as a bother.”

“Nope. He is fortunate to have you. He said it himself once. He’s way more mature for his age and I think he has a lot on his mind. He said once that he likes having you around because he has someone to look out for. We love you both equally no matter what.”

The two stood silently locked in a hug. Eri processed everything that she heard over tears of joy. Her family and her brother thought well about her. It was her mistake of thinking negatively that led to the insecurity.

Moments later, Eri let go.

“Better?”

She nodded, “I should probably get to school shouldn’t I?”

Izanagi just laughed out loud in response.

“I suggest you take a shower first.”

---

As Eri walked to school, she held her cane in one hand and Nobaru held her other hand. As for her blade, it was sheathed on her right side.

“Today Mr. Harada asked all the classes to meet up with him.” Nobaru started, “Just letting you know since you weren’t in school yesterday.”

“Is something wrong?” Eri asked.

“He didn’t say anything yet.” Nobaru answered, “But from his face, it looked serious. Even Ms. Natsumi was worried.”

“Ms Natsumi?” Eri asked. “It’s not like her to get anxious. She’s normally all cheery and… fluffy…? Hope nothing goes wrong…”

“Yeah... Although I have a bad feeling about this.”

Eri too shared the same thoughts. Her instincts told her to get ready for a fight.

“Yeah.” Nobaru said, reading her mind. “Best get ready for something big.”

---

The voice of a huge, alarmed crowd already worried Eri.

‘What’s going on.’ She thought.

“Looks like they have already formed lines.”

Kaeda’s voice came from behind the duo.

“Yeah.” Nobaru said, “Let’s line up too.”

Eri walked amongst the sound of rushed footsteps and stood.

“It’s an emergency.” She heard Hugo stating, “Apparently, an attack is coming.”

“More dragons?” Nobaru asked.

“More dragons,” Hugo affirmed.

Then everyone fell silent until only a single set of footsteps were heard.

A man cleared his throat.

“As some of you may have heard.” began Mr Harada, “An attack is coming.”

Nervous murmurs were heard from the students.

“Although it’s only two dragons, they are also two of the most powerful. It’s a good thing we got this information ahead of time. We got a set of turrets ready to shoot them from the air. But I don’t think that will stop them. We have yet to obtain the names of the powerful duo. So it may consist of the king himself or anyone below him. I know that most of you here aren’t accustomed to combat for the most part but, all I can say is, put up a good fight. Survive!”

‘Mana Sense.’ Eri thought to herself as the moments that followed stimulated her senses. The huge deafening roar that followed silenced the stimulation of the crowd. And the murmurs of the crowd subsided. Two huge blobs were heading toward their direction getting closer within the moments that passed.

“Ready the cannons!” Yuuji shouted.

Eri heard noises of the cannons being raised up, signaled by a loud war horn.

“Ready…!”

A warm feeling spread over the crowd as mana was being focused to distinct, glowing points. Moments later, a robotic voice signalled that they were ready.

FULL POWER. MAX CHARGED. READY TO FIRE

“Fire!”

The glow faded as multiple shots were fired, travelling at high speeds, barreling into the sky like shooting stars but in reverse. A shot missed and fell into the vast sea on the horizon. Another was put out by blue hot flames.

But then a group of shots hit their wings. There was a celebratory cheer as the figures looked like they were losing their balance. But they only flew closer toward them.

“They aren’t falling, sir!” said a voice.

“Impossible! It can’t be…”

Harada’s face showed an alarmed look.

“Students!” he shouted, “Prepare for a direct confrontation!”

Their guard was up as the figures got closer still. Their wingbeats could be heard from miles away. Their presence was felt over the entire crowd. The mass was petrified as they felt the searing pressure. Even Eri was intimidated. Her intuition told her not to mess with the beings.

There was also the smell of rotten, disgusting flesh that almost suffocated her.

They could only watch as the two dragons landed in their midst.