Chapter 63:

Living Blissfully in a Cage

The Consequence of Saving the World

The chirping of birds was all I could hear.

It wasn’t just my mind playing it over and over again for me, it was literally happening on a tree next to Timon’s lot. In the midst of unpacking my stuff in my new room, in what I assumed to be “Genevieve’s right armpit”, I made the mistake of taking a break.

By resting my bum on a strategically-positioned rocking chair, my gaze finally met the source of the noise right outside the window.

Birds—no chicks, were crying out in hunger, begging for their parents—or anyone, really—to come and feed them. I would have went and done so, but since my name wasn’t Sereya Bladecrest, the gap between the window and the tree branch would equate into my spine being divided into two.

So there I sat, staring at chicks crying out for “daddy” in bird.

We all want freedom, but don’t you think we’re our happiest when we’re locked in our own cages, blissfully unaware of the real world?

Timon’s words echoed within the crevice between my brain and my skull.

There was something ironic about a Hero whose power is mind control. That’s what an evil person would use—bringing the world to its knees through the power of dominion.

Sure, he inhaled arrogance and exhaled narcissism, but from his performance just now, I knew that he genuinely wanted to help. Despite his off-putting attitude and in a similar vein of one Remus Whiteaxe, he had a good heart.

Timon Taze.

Like Ain said, he truly was an enigma. How did a celebrity like him end up being a Hero? Or was it the other way round—did he become a celeb because he saved the world?

As if to punish my mind for being distracted, a shrill, but soft scream made my heart jump.

The cries of the baby chicks became all the more desperate as one of their own was devoured right before their and my very own eyes. A crow, being the opportunist that it was, swooped down to feed them their demise.

My body instinctively got up, but then I realised—what gave me the right to stop it?

On top of being physically incapable of doing it, it wasn’t my place to interfere in nature’s course. Perhaps the crow was starving even more than the chicks. Perhaps it was the punishment inflicted upon the chicks’ parents for abandoning them in the first place?

After all, the only reason why Sereya and the others are Heroes was that the Demon Lord was on the losing end. History was written by the winners. Good and evil were just perspectives, labels used by the winners to justify their cause.

But for people like me, who could only lie and fake their way around the strong, wasn’t it my place just to put up an act? To keep the powerful people and nations happy by being a fake Hero?

If my end goal was just to appease someone else, wouldn’t it be easier if my mind was controlled by them, too?

Maybe, just maybe, if I surrendered my mind to Timon’s music, and let him command me the way that the Seven Heroes see fit, then I wouldn’t be in this dilemma in the first place.

It was a win-win situation. I didn’t need to worry about having to act like Hanasuke. The world would be at peace too, since I wouldn’t mess up.

By the time I’ve come to that thought, the sounds of the birds were finally gone. The crow had disappeared into the sky, leaving only an empty, silent nest. If only the chicks were locked in one of Timon’s cages, they’d still be alive and well.

This whole witch hunt for my mother’s corpse and my missing sister—as much as I tried to convince myself that I was doing it out of familial obligation, I couldn’t deny the fact that it was a last-ditch attempt to maintain my own sense of self.

I didn’t want to be Hanasuke 2.0. I didn’t want to be something that I completely wasn’t cut out for.

Me dragging along two of the Seven Heroes on a selfish quest was just an escape from the Hero charade that I should be maintaining. Mum’s gone. Eveline might have her own life now.

In the end, if my only purpose was to sacrifice my own happiness for others, what’s the point?

“I don’t get it.”

What shocked me was that those words came out from Sereya.

“It’s just a tree. Why are you looking like it bullied you? Would it make you happier if I cut it down for you?”

No, idiot. You’ll make the neighbours who own it the opposite of happy. Also, was violence your only answer to every problem?

“It’s nothing. I was looking at that nest there. There were chicks there just now, but a bigger bird came and ate them up.”

Standing next to me, her adorkable thought process was like an open book. First, there was an expression of horror. Second, she tried to come up with something to diffuse the situation. Instead, her mind stumbled on something inappropriate and her cheeks lit up in pink. One second later, her mind said, “screw it” and she went along with the plan.

Sereya hopped onto my bed, her light weight causing her body to bounce on the mattress several times. She stretched and extended her three limbs, spreading her legs and raising her right hand over her head.

With puppy eyes, she said in a soft tone:

“There’s a chick right here. Oh no! Is a big bird going to eat me up?”

Ladies and gentlemen, introducing—Sereya the Merciful Blade. The world’s strongest swordswoman, everybody.

Seriously, her offer was indeed tempting. Unfortunately, I wasn’t as horny as her. Heck, I haven’t even unpacked my stuff!

But more importantly, my mind was somewhere else at the moment.

I sat on the side of the bed, facing the window.

“Sereya, can we talk?”

Whether it was my tone or my lack of enthusiasm, my girlfriend immediately knew that something was off. She switched gears instantly, pulled herself up and sat right next to me.

“What’s up?”

“Why doesn’t Timon mind control everyone? As a Hero, he can make everyone and himself happier, right?”

“Heh. Despite how openly perverted and flirtatious that guy is, he has more self-control than anyone. Even though he could easily make people fall in love with him with his Blessing, he doesn’t. That’s why he keeps boasting about getting his heart broken all the time.

You have to give him credit, though. Whenever he performs on stage, he doesn’t use his Blessing. His music sounding as good as it is is purely the result of his skill. Timon the bard, and Timon the Hero are two similar, but very different people—one uses only his music, while the other uses only his Blessing.”

Figures. No point asking him to mind control me, then.

“Then again, his Blessing wouldn’t work on everyone. People at my level are more or less immune to it. The most it’ll do is maybe disrupt an attack for a split second, so Timon’s place is in the rear guard, where his buffs really help.”

A stray thought came crawling by.

“Did Hanasuke have a Blessing?”

“Oh? It wasn’t a Blessing, since I don’t think a particular god gave him one, but it pretty much had a similar effect. Actually, scratch that—it was way more overpowered.

He had the ability to design and create whatever skill and magic that he could imagine. Combine that with the fact he came from another world, and he was untouchable. He could mimic the effect of just about any Blessing, but Hanasuke at the later stages of the war mainly relied on Concepts.”


I was familiar with the meaning like everyone else, but the term seemed to have a different one here.

“Yup. The demons called it an ‘ultimate ability'. The number of people who had them in Fallcross could be counted on two hands. Oh.”

Yeah. She just had the awkward realisation that she only had one.

“Anyways, even I don’t have one. Hanasuke had seven.”

“Couldn’t you create one yourself?”

“I wish. For it to be considered a Concept, the Goddess has to recognise it. According to Hanasuke, you needed to have a complete understanding of the skill and how it works down to an ‘atomic’ level. Don’t ask me what atoms are. His explanation was a complete mess.”

Discovering that some things were impossible even for Sereya made me feel a bit better. Also, it made Hanasuke seem a lot scarier. What do you even do with all that power?

Leave your body to take your place as you travel to another world. Right.

Jumping off my bed, Sereya did a twirl and beamed, “Enough of all this power talk. We still have a Ms. Mattheld, to find, remember? Let’s go!”

“Sure, just let me unpack all my stuff first.”

“Seriously? You have two arms and you’re slower than me?”

“You could move so fast you’re invisible. Why even compare?”

“Ah right. Sorry, I forgot you’re a normal person. My bad.”

Despite her remark, she enjoyed unpacking my things way more than I did.