One Step To Hell [Short]
“Attention!” said the Captain as he turned around to see the man attacking me.
The man came towards me. I noticed that he was aiming a knife and I quickly dodged it and put all my strength in my fist, thus hitting him squarely in the face. The Captain, Kin and Yumi were just surprised. The Captain wasted no time in picking up the knife the man had dropped and pointed it at him as he said:
“Looks like you took a lesson from one of my students.”
“Captain, I don't think this is the best time to laugh.” said Kin.
“You're right.” said the Captain.
“If I were you, I wouldn't be so happy.” said the man, laughing.
“Hey! Looks like you're causing trouble for one of my men.” said a man who was on top of one of the houses that was still in some condition.
“Bring the brat.” he said.
When we noticed, another man appeared with a child. The man who appeared to be the leader of the group quickly grabbed the child, pointed a knife at him and said:
“You'd better give up everything you have and get out of here, unless you want me to kill the brat.”
We were all in a very complicated situation, but I was somehow angry. I wanted to do something for that child, but what? The Captain must have noticed how I was feeling and said:
“Calm down, Minori. I solve it.”
“You want me to kill the brat, eh?” said the man pointing the knife closer to the child.
“I can see I can't even light a cigarette... Anyway, let's go!”
“Plan 3: Offering of Darkness.”
Without even realizing it, the Captain and the three men had disappeared. I asked Kin a little distressed what had happened.
“Didn't the Captain tell you to take it easy? He always has this sort of thing under control, just when he feels like it. This is a “Plan” spell that only Special Class can use. “Plan 3” is the Captain’s weakest, but it's still enough to finish off those men.”
I asked Kin how the “Plan” worked, to which Yumi replied:
“The “Plan” is a place that doesn't exist in our world. It's created by its wearer and the accompanying spirits.”
I thanked the two for the explanation and behold, at the same time, the Captain appeared coming from a kind of portal with the men all finished.
“I've done the cleaning, how are you here?”
We replied that everything was fine with us.
“Very well, fortunately. Now, what's your name boy?” the captain asked the child who had been taken hostage and at the same time lit a cigarette.
“My name is Peter.” said the child, still a little scared.
“Pleased to meet you, I'm Michio. We won't hurt you, we just wanted a place to spend the night.”
“I think I can help with that.” said the child less frightened.
“Thanks, we're counting on you Peter.”
Peter takes us to a camp still inside Ersham village. That camp seemed less developed than my village. The few people present there looked at us with contempt. However, Peter said:
“I'll take you to the camp leader.”
We arrived at a tent that was a little bigger than the others. Inside it was a single person, about fifty years old. That person said:
“Who are they, Peter?”
“I was caught by some men, but they helped me back. They are Knights of Redon.”
“Oh… But what an honor to have Knights of Redon here. Let me introduce myself, I'm Rancis. I'm the leader of this little camp in Ersham village.”
“It's our pleasure. I'm the Captain of this squad, Michio, and these are my students, Minori, Kin and Yumi.”
We greeted the camp leader.
“Thanks for bringing back Peter safe and sound. Unfortunately, I can't repay you, forgive me.”
“If you can find a place for us to spend the night, that's more than enough.” said the Captain.
“Of course, that I can arrange. Peter, do you think they can stay in your tent?”
“Yes, it's the least I can do for being saved.”
We appreciate once more.
“You can go out just for a second, it's just that I have to talk to Peter about a personal matter.”
We left the leader's tent and waited for Peter to take us to his tent.
“Yes, Mr. Rancis.”
“Are they really Knights of Redon?”
“Then I will give you a mission.”
“I want you to steal everything from them, after all they must have a lot of valuable things with them.”
“But... They saved me and they are good people.”
“Peter, you want your mother to get well, don't you?”
“Peter… if necessary, don't hesitate to kill them. Remember, it's for your mother's sake.”
“Okay, Mr. Rancis.”
Peter came out of the leader's tent, but he didn't look good. I asked him if everything was okay.
“Yes, it's all okay. Thank you for asking, Mr. Minori.”
I told him he could just call me Minori.
“Okay, Minori!” said Peter more happily.
We walked a bit until we reached Peter's tent. When we arrived he invited us in. There was a woman who was bedridden and looking exhausted.
“Mother, they're Knights of Redon. I was almost taken by some men, but they saved me.”
“Thank you for helping my son.” said the woman in a slightly strained voice.
“No need to say thank you. My students and I just did what we thought was right.”
“They're staying here tonight, mother.”
“Okay, Peter. It's the least I can do to thank you for bringing my son to safety. My name is Rose, may I know yours?”
We all introduced ourselves to Ms. Rose. The Captain asked why Ms. Rose was bedridden. She said she had been terminally ill for some time and didn't have much time left. The only way for her to cure herself was to buy a recent medicine they had created, but as it was only sold in the most technologically developed towns and cities she had no way of obtaining it.
I started to think what would become of Peter if he lost his mother. That village wasn't the best place to live, after all.
The night came, Peter cooked something for us. The soup he had made for us was very good. The Captain started to tell some jokes to brighten the atmosphere a little. Ms. Rose looked happy to see her son happy to have company.
It was getting late and we needed to leave early the next day. We all went to bed. Everyone was asleep except me. I couldn't stop thinking about what could happen to poor Peter. My life had stopped being so boring since I went on the journey, I managed to make friends more easily than I expected and no one made fun of me or insulted me. But I thought, my life and family weren't like Peter's. Peter had a worse life than I had, his family despite being just his mother, was a point of shelter for him, while my family and I didn't have much connection. I started to realize that people's lives can be completely different. A good child like Peter could suffer immensely, while a bad person could've a peaceful life. I wondered why things were this way.
Suddenly, I thought I heard someone's footsteps. I stayed quiet, pretending to be asleep, waiting to see who was walking around. I felt that someone was next to me and I started to hear crying.
I got up and walked towards a flashlight to get a better look at who it was. When I turned on the flashlight, I couldn't believe what I was seeing.
“Sorry, Minori. Sorry...”
It was nothing more, nothing less, than Peter with a knife in his hand. What would this mean?
I didn't understand what Peter was up to, but with a knife in his hand I just wanted to say one thing, he wanted to kill me. But why? And that would be exactly what he wanted, because he cried a lot, as if he was in a lot of anguish.
“What's up?” said the Captain when he woke up with the noise.
While Peter was distracted looking at the Captain, I immediately took the knife out of his hand. Peter started to cry even more.
“I need to kill you... for my mother.”
“Peter, how killing us will help your mother.” said the Captain.
“Mr. Rancis told me to steal everything from you, as you must have things of value. He said that if necessary I should kill you to get your values. That way I could help my mother. Sorry...”
The others woke up, including Peter's mother. The Captain and I explained the situation to everyone.
“Peter, why?” said Peter's mother with tears in her eyes.
“It was to help you, mother.” said Peter with a few tears still.
“Do you think killing good people will help me, Peter?”
Peter looked thoughtful.
“Son, I just want to see you happy and I thank you for wanting to help me, but as I told you, killing good people will not help me, it will only bring more sadness to me and you.”
“I... I apologize to everyone.”
“We have to deal with the camp leader.” said Kin.
“Yes, he dares to use a child to steal for him?” said Yumi.
We decided to meet Rancis at dawn. We asked Peter to stay with Ms. Rose while we went to see Rancis.
As soon as dawn came, we went to Rancis's tent.
When we were getting to the leader's tent we realized that they had already surrounded us.
“Guys, we're going to have to take this seriously.” said the Captain.
“Go ahead, boys.” said Rancis, who had appeared from an alley.
“Me and my students are going to show you that you can't use people as you wish, especially children.”
“I want to see it.” said Rancis, laughing.
We began a hand-to-hand fight against the men of Rancis, the leader of the camp, who turned out to be just another bandit from Ersham village. I decided to give it my all, especially since I still didn't know how to use magic, much less spells.
What will happen during this confrontation?