The Consequence of Saving the World
Sereya was a master of many things—the sword, warfare, and even my heart, but a master of faeces she was not.
Even after I went through the effort of walking barefoot under the hot sun, drawing water from the well and cleaning off the foul doo-doo that was stuck on her sandals, the girl adamantly refused to wear them.
I could empathise with her, though. Unlike me, who lived on a farm and was used to manure and animal droppings everywhere, she was a noble and a lady.
What I did not expect, however, was her trying to slip money into my pocket with a mischievous face!
“What’re you doing?!”
“I’ll buy your shoes hehe, how about that?”
I found two major flaws with that.
Number one—her feet looked more like some aquatic animal’s flippers because of how much bigger my sandals were compared to her feet. I was afraid that if she engaged in combat for whatever reason, she’ll trip and die!
Number two—I’m her boyfriend for Goddess’ sake! If she wanted to use my stuff, just tell me! No need to buy it from me! Seriously, I couldn’t brain how this girl worked.
Despite all the weight behind my logic, my tongue was caught at an impasse. I wasn’t able to express all this to her due to the face that she was making.
Cheeks swollen, lips slightly raised and downturned, eyebrows furrowed and looking at me with disdain.
I was familiar with this tactic. Even before Sereya, Eveline would pull off this exact same pout at me to get what she wanted.
Was this secret ability hardwired into every single woman? I shudder at that thought, given that my mind was already telling me stuff like, “You know, Evan, the ground isn’t that hot,” and “How could you even think of letting a lady’s feet be callused as yours?!”
I refused Sereya’s money, but conceded to her demands, with my reward being a cute little celebratory hop from her.
However, I bargained with the reptilian brain of mine. Instead of walking the rest of the way and murdering my feet, I figured we could check out some of the stalls in front of the church for shoes. Not for me, of course, but for Sereya.
She was just an accident waiting to happen.
True enough, some bloke accidentally step on MY sandals that were loosely wrapped around her feet as we were squeezing into the crowd surrounding the stalls.
Thankfully, we didn’t need to go in that deep to look for the shoe seller.
“Give your old shoes a break with new ones! Lord Evan would not be pleased if you step into his home with worn out shoes!”
That’s funny, Mr. Shoe Seller, because back when Breven was only a village, the fashion trend that everyone was following was worn out shoes.
“Which one are you getting?” Sereya asked.
“No, which one are YOU getting? My shoes are perfectly fine.”
“Aww…b-but yours are so fun to wear.”
“Lord Evan would not be pleased if you stepped into his home with oversized shoes.”
Did she really think that wearing my sandals long-term was a good idea?
Regardless, she finally gave in after I used my own name in vain. She looked around the stall, perusing each footwear on display with great attention. So great was her attention, that I found myself tapping my bare foot on the baking hot ground out of impatience.
Was it so hard to grab a pair? They all look similar anyways.
Leather slip ons. Those would do the trick.
“Yeah, they’re great.”
My eyes widened in horror as she casually put my shoes back on and continued browsing the selection. What was all that time spent for?
“Ooh! Ooh! Don’t these look cute?”
Fashionable boots, befitting her status as a noble.
“Yeah, they look good on you.”
“Hehe, great minds think alike!”
A smile and a nod. Finally, we could carry on.
Then why, oh why did you take them off AGAIN?! Woman! You already agreed that you like it!
“I don’t mean to rush, but we still have things we need to do.”
The anger in how my words sounded was inversely proportional to the annoyance growing inside of me.
“That’s it! These are the ones!”
Completely ignoring me, she went for…the EXACT same pair of sandals as her old one!
That was literally the most common design! How?! Why?! If these were the perfect ones, why didn’t you get them first? Why must you travel across the whole universe only to settle for the planet you started off on?!
You wouldn’t understand this now, but remember this as you grow up, Evan. Back in the city, your mum would go into a store to look for new shoes.
Her eyes were glued to a beautiful hat.
She walked out of the store with a new dress.
Gee, never thought I’d be agreeing with my jerk of a dad. Actually, how is he, I wondered? He left way before Hanasuke came, so I wasn’t surprised that the Evanists know nothing about him.
Maybe he was already dead.
Maybe it would be better that way.
“Hello? What are you spacing out for? We still have things we need to do.”
“Don’t cast my own spells against me, witch.”
After flashing me a look of utter betrayal, we proceeded to return to the back of the church, but not before buying a drink since we were thirsty.
Unfortunately, the only water that was on sale here was ‘holy water from Andreana Spring, where Lord Evan soaked in.’ So holy was this water in fact, that the seller even said that it could be used to exorcise spirits by making a possessed man drink it.
I had no clue where Andreana Spring was and it was highly debatable whether my bath water had any value.
All we cared was that it was safe to drink.
With quenched throats and a new pair of sandals on my partner's feet, we could finally get on with the task at hand.
The queue for rations had shortened immensely since we last arrived here. Beside the road into Old Breven, there was a separate path, not too far from where said road started. It was a lot newer and well-maintained.
I didn’t need to guess that it was the path to my house, which had been turned into a pilgrimage site. The biggest giveaway for it was the armed guards standing by the intersection.
Dressed in pure white, the guards protecting the pilgrimage site were far better equipped compared to the ones standing watch at the town gates. With vestments draped over their plate armour and runes etched all throughout, if I encountered them anywhere else, I would’ve mistaken them for knights.
Heck, maybe they were knights, probably from some new order that mysteriously sprang up alongside this temple in just six short months.
As I was making note of the Evanists’ impressive security, a missionary nearby approached us.
“Hi there! Sorry, but the pilgrimage site is closed until the next batch arrives. If you’ve already completed—”
Sereya and I took out our iter carta, showing it to the woman. She looked at it with immense focus, causing my sweat to pour out harder than it already was. Timon better didn’t screw us over.
“Ah! Brother Melvin! Sister Frey! How nice of you to visit the house of our Lord once more. He’ll most certainly be pleased.”
“Thank you. Have a blessed day to you too, sister.”
And just like that, I have been fully integrated as a follower into the society that worshipped..me.
The guards allowed the two of us to pass, their hands at ease, away from the maces which rested on their waist.
The path that we travelled on was a complete one-eighty from what we saw in Old Breven. Flowers and exotic trees lined up the sides of the street. At every set distance, two guards would be standing watch, even though there was barely anyone walking here.
Occasionally, we would see a person or two walking past, but the traffic here was a lot less than I expected.
Instead, what caught my eye the most were the statues in the middle of the street, each one spaced out evenly from its brethren. These statues were big—several times my size, showcasing epic set pieces, all involving…me.
Or at least, the sculptor’s idea of me. To be more precise, it depicted Hanasuke’s feats. The first one read:
On this day, our Lord Evansmith Mattheld slew the Wicked Dragon Tyralzemuth. Though Zethos was turned to ruin, not a single soul was lost.
This statue depicted a man in heavy armour, firing a massive beam of light into the sky as a dragon charged towards him. The craftsmanship was unlike anything I’ve seen before. To think that there were more of these statues that shared the same quality was mind-boggling.
“I’ll never forget this moment. This beam that you fired here was the first time I’ve ever seen a Concept in action. You called it Occam’s Razor, the simplest, most devastating attack that could be performed by a warrior,” Sereya recalled openly.
Weird name. Who’s Occam? And whatever this attack was, it definitely wasn’t a razor.
There was another name etched on the statue, though. The craftsman’s.
A person by the name of Theophilus Rex.