The Consequence of Saving the World
Reading him was like trying to read a sign while drunk. The air of mystery enveloping him wasn’t affecting my lungs—it was messing with my brain.
Timon Taze—the Hero whose power was music.
The huge floppy feathered hat resting on top of his head was nothing compared to the size of his ego. Normally, I’d stay away from people who were this full of themself, but there was something about him that I just couldn’t wrap my finger around.
Was this an effect of his ability? His music was able to manipulate people. Just a toot of the flute and the waitress flipped personalities, automatically leaving the room. Not only did I hear it, I was exposed to the loud music he was banging out downstairs, too.
My previous encounter with Remus was a lesson that not all of the Seven Heroes were as noble as their designation implied.
I could care less that he was physically the weakest amongst the seven. This man was capable of mind control. He was dangerous.
And here he was, offering me a drink and actually being concerned for me. Was this a test? A trap?
I turned to face Sereya, the only person in the room whom I could trust. Even without a single word uttered, she knew right away what my concerns were. With a deliberate nod, she furnished me with reassurance.
I took the cup from Timon’s hand and allowed the sweet nectar to flow into my throat. I had no clue what it was. All I knew was that it was definitely overpriced.
“My family,” I muttered. “I came here for my mother and sister. I need to bury my mum in the ground where she belongs—not leave her body on display in a case somewhere by those Evanists.”
“Hmm…You are certainly different from the Evansmith I remember. Never saw you as the filial type. Would a memory loss bring this much of a change, I wonder?”
“Timon, Hanasuke’s gone,” I confronted him with the cold, hard truth.
“Pardon me, but who?”
“Evan, I think Timon wasn’t informed. As far as I know, only Remus, Ordis and myself were aware that you were an otherworlder.”
The eccentric musician’s eyebrow shot up. It was a rather subdued reaction upon learning of the existence of another world.
“Now it seems like Fal and myself have caught the cat as it left the bag. Isn’t that right, Fal?”
We turned to face the knight leaning against the wall. Once again, no words were exchanged, only a single nod.
“As you can tell, Fal’s curiosity regarding this ‘otherworlder’ business is brimming from his ill-maintained armour. Pray tell.”
Way to mask your curiosity. Was it so hard to say, “I’m curious, please explain?”
“The ‘me’ that you’re familiar with—that was actually the soul of a person from another world named Hanasuke. He was using my body and was the reason why I had powers. A few weeks ago, the soul disappeared, so I’m back to the real ‘me’ from before it was in control.”
“Fascinating…” Timon rubbed his chin. “Though, I can’t deny the bitter taste in my mouth. Wish I was informed of this by the ‘old you’ directly.”
“Nah, not telling you was the right move. You’re horrible at keeping secrets,” Sereya dropped that stinging statement out of nowhere.
Clenching his heart in an exaggerated display of theatrics, Timon answered, “Ack! You wound me with your baseless accusations! But alas, I shall seal up the hole in my heart like how I’ve always kept these lips of mine sealed for our dear Evansmith.”
Sereya looked straight at me with dead eyes and commented, “Now you know why I don’t want Anita and Ain to be here?” Facing Timon, she voiced her frustration, “It’s Evan! EVAN! Calling him Evansmith is just going to land us in trouble!”
“When your voice is as attractive as mine, ‘tis natural to have the occasional slip of the tongue, lest the gods get jealous, no?”
Sereya rolling her eyes captured my feelings exactly. I hoped a god would actually smite this guy.
“I jest, I jest,” he waved his hand, attempting to push aside Sereya’s scrutiny. “So, Evan, you’re locked in a race with the members of your flock to see who can acquire your mother’s corpse, is that not the hand you’re dealt with?”
“They’re not my followers. I don’t know who started it, but it definitely wasn’t me.”
“Aha! Hear that, Fal? I was right all along—it was some other bloke who founded Evanism!”
Fal was an oddball himself, giving his employer a metallic thumbs up. I could see how they both go so well together. One lets his fighting do the talking, while the other’s talking makes people want to fight him.
Wait a sec—isn’t that just my relationship with Sereya in a nutshell?
Taking another gulp of his drink in victory, Timon continued, “Whether they’re your followers or not, I wished my fans would worship me as religiously as yours.”
When your fans consist of little girls like Ain, I hope that day would never come.
“That aside, you also mentioned a sister? I do hope she is as fine in terms of appearance as she is in terms of wellbeing. Is she looking for your mother as well? Details. Chop chop.”
“Sereya, why I’m telling this guy everything again?”
Sighing on my behalf, she clarified, “I can vouch for him because of two things. Number one—Timon is one of the most well-connected people in all of Fallcross. His information network is only second to kings and queens.”
As she said that, Timon’s fingers gleefully played with his near-empty cup, his narcissism beaming from that smug look on his face.
“Number two—he’s a Hero. A complete ass, yes, but a Hero nonetheless.”
From within the recesses of Phalanx’s helmet, a loud snort erupted. The knight pulled himself together and managed to prevent the burst of laughter that typically follows.
“Fal! If you could maintain the ‘intimdating silent figure’ for once, that’ll be much appreciated!” The red-faced bard snapped at his companion, who apologetically lifts his steel hand while covering his mouthpiece with the other.
Clearing his throat in an attempt to bury his embarrassment, he continued:
“There is some truth to Sereya’s second statement, that I must concede. As colleagues, in the world of heroism, we put the needs of humanity above our own. For there is no love greater than to lay down your life for your fellow man.
Except…maybe one thing.”
We all shot inquisitive gazes in anticipation of Timon’s next words.
“Why, ‘tis my love and desire to meet your sister, of course!”
“TIMON!” In perfect harmony, both Sereya and myself got up from our seats and yelled.
Nope. Nuh uh. No way am I letting this creep within a ten mile radius of Eveline!
“I jest, I jest,” he laughed as he tried to wave it off, “As our dear Sereya knows, even I can’t fall for a lady if I don’t know how they look.”
That makes me even more adamant NOT to let him see her!
“But yes, humour aside, ‘tis easier to find for a person amongst the living than the dead. It’d be much appreciated if you can share with me information regarding your sister.”
I bit my lip. My fist clenched hard out of frustration. My only memory of Eveline was from ten years ago. She should be twenty-two now. Besides that, I really don’t know how much she has changed. As an elder brother, it pains me to accept this fact.
I took off my necklace, praying that she still treasured hers as much as I do for mine.
“Her name is Eveline. I haven’t seen her for ten years, but she should have a necklace that looks identical to mine.”
Timon, Sereya, and even Phalanx leaned in to inspect the piece of accessory dangling from my hand.
“I gather that her necklace contains the other broken half of the pendant?”
“That’s right,” I answered Timon.
“There’s nothing too peculiar about the pendant, but isn’t the chain made out of Serenesteel?”
Sereya’s comment instinctively caused me to look at Phalanx, who was wearing that material from head to toe. The knight nodded, affirming her observation.
Suddenly, it made sense to me. Given how unbreakable it was, that was why it was so effective in suffocating Remus.
Timon rubbed his chin, “Why someone would want to make the chain instead of the pendant out of such a prized material will have to remain a mystery for another day. For now, this should suffice as a lead.”
“So, you’re just gonna ask around if people have seen someone with the same necklace as me?”
I really doubted if that would work.
“In situations like this, I have more effective methods. Leave the search for your sister to me. I suggest that you focus your efforts on looking for your mother. The temple would be a good place to start, since your followers would have already been looking for her. Should fortune favour us, we’ll be able to find your loved ones without too much of a hassle.”
“But weren’t you investigating the evil presence here? What happened to that?” Sereya asked.
“As formidable as it may be, there’s two of the Seven Heroes here. It’ll think twice before doing anything drastic. That should buy us enough time for our dear Evansmit—Evan’s little treasure hunt.”
“So…Sereya and I will head to the temple now while you two will go look for Eveline?”
“Patience, friend. First, I have something to show you. Follow me.”