Chapter 7:

The Wizard's Apprentices

Peters' Crosses Side Story: Legacy of the Round


“Let’s get out of here,” I say, patting Arthur and Morgan on the back. The town is already in so much of a wreck, and it’s not like we’re too welcomed in this place any longer. Best to continue our conversation at a safer place.

As I poke my staff on the ground, a large blue circle emerges, engulfing the four of us inside its mystifying light. In an instant, in front of the astonished gazes of the townspeople, we disappear from the scene of the crime, and before the children can notice the sudden movement, we’ve already appeared far away from the outskirts of the place, on the edge of a nearby pasture.

“Have a seat, guys.” I sit down on the natural carpet, signaling the others to do the same. Being used to running away from invaders already, it doesn’t take long for them to adjust to their new settings.

“Now, where do I start…”

“Um… Are you really a Demon?” Asks Kay, who has finally fully calmed down from his earlier frenzy.

“… Alright, we’ll start with that, then. Yes, I am.”

“Then… are you really evil?”

“Hmm… why would you think I’m evil?”

“Because you’re a Demon?”

“Why would you think Demons are evil?”

“Well…” It’s a much longer pause from Kay this time. The boy racks his mind to find a good reason. However, that reason keeps on escaping his grasp. In the end, after a good minute of holding his head as if he’s trying to squeeze out the idea, Kay finally comes up with his answer:

“Isn’t that what everyone says? My teachers, my friends, and family.”

“That is correct,” I nod to confirm. I’m no stranger to that fact. But the end I’ve planned for him goes deeper than that. “But why do they say that?”

“Why?” Kay asks again, his mind filled with confusion and doubt. It’s a normal reaction for any normal person, let alone a child barely in his adolescent stage. And of course, the matter of fact is simple, but they just never truly think about it.

“Because we lost. It’s that easy.” With a bitter smile on my face, I reply.

“Lost? Lost what?”

“A war long, long ago. Back when you humans were few and far between, we fought against the angels. The Demon Lord and his seventy-two servants, against God and his twelve.”

“What were you fighting for?”

“Ah… what was it, actually? I don’t even remember anymore.” As if to mock myself further, it’s the only answer I could give to their curious ears at the moment.

“But history is written by winners,” I continue. “If you lose, you’re the bad guys, plain and simple. We lost that war, so now we’re the representation of any vile and unjust thing you can think of.”

Kay is silent. I don’t know what’s going on in that small head of his, but he’s deep in his own thoughts. Morgan seems to be the same as well. Seeing their entire worldview crumbling before them… well, I can’t say that it doesn’t take a toll on a person.

Suddenly, beyond my wildest expectations, breaking the silence is a voice that has been out of the conversation from the start:

“Yeah, that makes sense.” Nods Arthur, of all people.

After a brief delay, however, the young boy soon turns flustered and raises his voice. “Why are you looking at me like that?”

“I didn’t expect you to, well… get that.” I raise my eyebrows in surprise.

“Hey! What do you take me for? I may look like this, but I’m still a prince!” He angrily shouts in return, his face still as red as a ripe tomato. “This knowledge is nothing!”

Seeing his expression puts a light chuckle on my mouth. I hate to agree with that damn angel, but if there’s one thing he’s correct, then it’s that there would never be a dull moment with these kids around.

“Hey! Stop laughing!” My expression only adds more fuel to the fire, but his further angered look only serves to entertain me further in my ideas. And thus, the natural result is a fuming Arthur repeatedly punching my back while laughter never leaves my face.

“I said stop!” The boy keeps on his assault, which feels rather pleasant for a back massage.

“Okay, okay, I digress,” wiping the tears off my face, I finally continue on with the rest of my story. “We lost the war, but contrary to the angel’s thoughts, we’re not completely eradicated. While our leader, the Demon Lord, is gone, all seventy-two of us are alive. I’m here, while the others…”

“… Are inside those crosses on your staff?” Asks the remaining member of the trio, Morgan.

“Correct,” I nod to confirm. “In order to save themselves, they’ve discarded their physical bodies and stored their souls inside those crosses, while waiting for a certain someone to resonate with their desires so that they can awaken once more.”

“Which leads to our current situation, Kay,” turning my attention to the older boy, I continue. “You’re the first human that any of us has responded to. So, unfortunately, you’re now a part of our war, whether you like it or not.”

“… What if I don’t want to fight the angels?”

“It’s not a matter of if you want to fight. The angels will find you and hunt you down, especially now that they’ve seen who exactly you’re partnered with.”

“Then can’t I just refuse this Demon?”

I figured that he would say that. But the moment he resonated with Belial; the answer was already as clear as day. “I don’t know. Can you?”

“You’ve already known the answer, haven’t you?” I continue to push him forward. “After today, surely you must have realized how hard it is to protect your brother and sister, your future rulers of your country, especially with your current strength.”

“But, I…”

“Back then, you didn’t swing Belial’s scythe out of hate or malice. You did it out of love, to protect Arthur from any further danger, even if it means staining your own hands. You’re fighting for a just cause, I can guarantee that.”

“A… just cause?”

“That’s right, Kay. It’s a just cause.”

“I…”

“What’s the matter, Kay? Why are you doubting him so much now?” Arthur interrupts the conversation, jumping at Kay’s face in the process. “He’s saved us, directly or indirectly, many times now! If he wanted to do us harm, with his power, he could have done it ages ago!”

“But…”

“… I believe him,” Morgan raises her hand to join in as well. “I can feel that he’s not holding any malice.”

“I… alright,” in the end, it seems like he can’t go against his other companions after all. Raising his hands as if accepting defeat, Kay continues. “We’ll continue to travel with you… Master.”

“Pleased to be working with you,” I reply, raising my hand forward to offer a shake, forever burying our past doubts and misunderstanding.

“Pleased to be working with you,” after saying such words, it’s not hard for Kay to accept the handshake.

“Same here,” nods Morgan, who puts her hand over ours. But before she can do so, Arthur’s hand has already taken the spot, with the boy gleefully asking in the process:

“Hey, what about me? You’re training me too, right?”

“As much as I hate to admit it… among you three, you’re the strongest. But you better be prepared for the toughest lessons of your life, Arthur boy.”

“You don’t have to tell me twice, Merlin!” The boy answers with a smile as bright as the midday sun. It seems like my traveling days will be just a tad more interesting from now on.

Bubbles
icon-reaction-4
otkrlj
icon-reaction-4