The Consequence of Saving the World
On this day, our Lord Evansmith Mattheld divided the Eastern Sea in twain with a single slash, preventing the Flooding of Damai caused by the collapse of Bergorost’s corpse.
On this day, our Lord Evansmith Mattheld saved all of Fallcross by repelling a fallen star, sending it back to the gods.
On this day, the real Evansmith Mattheld didn’t appreciate what Lord Evansmith Mattheld has done.
Seriously, every single one of Hanasuke’s achievements was downright ridiculous. What was the guy up to? What kind of person casually cuts an entire ocean in two? Or worse, telling a meteor to do a u-turn?
At this rate, no wonder people were worshipping him. Killing the Demon Lord looked like child’s play compared to how he literally prevented mass apocalypse from breaking out.
Actually, what in the world was happening in these past ten years when I was out?! Was Fallcross always in this much constant danger of getting wiped out?
“Sure, you did the heavy lifting for the most part, but I helped out too…”
No, Sereya, that wasn’t my point!
Still, her response proved that these events were in fact, true.
“Why are all these dates so recent?” I asked.
Putting the sheer absurdity of these incidents aside, most of the dates denoting when they happened were only a few years back at most. The oldest of these events was the dragon-slaying one, which took place about five years ago.
If I recall correctly, Sereya defeated Hanasuke pretty early on when they first met. This meant that he only became impossibly strong near the end of the war.
“I don’t know. Ask the Demon Lord. He caused most of it.”
I see, so the push for world destruction only really ramped up towards the end, huh. If I was the Demon Lord, I would’ve just ended the world before Hanasuke took centre stage.
Then again, it probably wasn’t that easy.
“What’s with the weird mask?”
In all of these depictions, the human carrying out these unthinkable tasks was wearing something to obscure his face. His clothes or armour changed across the years, but that mask was the most consistent feature.
Lowering her voice in a poor attempt to mimic mine, she declared with an outlandish pose:
“A Hero always needs a little bit of mystery.”
On one hand, I was grateful that my face wasn’t plastered on these statues. On the other, I could feel my butthole clenching.
“You were very cringey though when I first met you.”
EXACTLY! Thank you, Sereya.
And screw you, Hanasuke!
Wait a sec—
“So I became less cringey later on?”
“Well, yeah but not exactly. You became…jaded. As if you were tired of living in the world.”
She gazed deeply into the obscured face of the statue, effortlessly stopping the charge of a castle-sized bull with one hand. Despite developing feelings for him, it was clear that she wasn’t able to understand the otherworlder on a deeper level.
“Maybe that’s why he left,” she muttered with a downcast gaze.
Almost immediately, Sereya looked at me and started to wave her hand in a frantic, apologetic manner.
“Oh! But you’re here now and I’m happier than I’ve ever been! So don’t worry about that too much. I was a different person in the past. You, me, Remus—we all worked hard to bring peace so…”
I rushed to her side, embracing her as I stopped her tears from flowing with my shoulder.
“...why are we treated so poorly?
The summit, all these low-profile stuff. I know my fallen comrades will hate me for saying this, but killing demons is so much easier than playing politics. I wish I could’ve just stuck with that.
I get it. I get it, okay! The world doesn’t need us anymore. We’re the strongest people in the world, of course nations will fear us! I know this already…
...but it’s just so damn tiring.”
As my chest muffled her true feelings, drowning them out so that the world doesn’t hear, I realised that this was the second time she truly broke down in front of me.
The first was when I knew absolutely nothing about her—the time when I cried because I hurt my little toe. This time, she was crying, not because of a wound, but because of the burden on her tiny shoulders.
It was oddly comforting. I knew she was suffering, but it filled me with a sense of relief.
Despite how fragile she appeared right now nestled in between my arms, she could easily snap my spine in half. I began to really consider how much restraint she must practise in her everyday life just to fit in with society.
Even though we were two completely different people, I understood how she felt. She was an expert at killing. She killed and killed and killed. Yet, it wasn’t the weight of the lives that she took that wore her down, it was the responsibility of being hailed as a Hero.
I could see why she and Remus were struggling to adapt to peace. They knew it was a good thing, but when all you know is battle and bloodshed, it wasn’t easy to fit in. This was why someone like Timon, who was essentially a non-combatant, had it comparatively better.
I didn’t blame her one bit for feeling that her past was easier than it is now. This was one thing that I agreed with wholeheartedly. Although we had different circumstances, both of us weren’t too fond of what being a Hero was about in this era of peace. This was something that people would never realise, until they’ve been in the shoes of one themselves.
“But you’re wrong about one thing though.”
She looked up at me, eyes red and wet with question marks all over her face.
“The world still needs you. Am I not the world to you?”
Slowly, she inched away from me. I wasn’t sure if she was going to cry or laugh.
Taking a deep breath, she asked, “Why am I still dating you?”
“Maybe because I’m a lot better looking than that masked guy up there?”
And with that, she started laughing.
“Okay, that’s funny,” she commented after calming down a bit. “Seriously though, that mouth of yours is too dangerous. You sure you’ve never been in a relationship before?”
“I’m flattered, but no. When all the girls in Breven remember me for being the one that’s always picked last whenever the boys played sports, I’m not exactly attractive now, am I?”
“Well, all I can say is that they’re missing out a lot then.”
Even though her face was still red and her breathing hasn’t fully recovered, judging from how she could quip back at me, it was pleasant to know that I’ve cheered her up. Fortunately, there wasn’t anyone else near this statue when it all happened, so we could keep this moment between ourselves.
It was nice getting blown away by the exceptional works of art laid out along the path, but even I wasn’t that self-absorbed to admire myself that much. That sin was Timon’s to bear.
If anything, this was more like an appetizer. Something to make the rest go down easier a bit. Because if they already upsold me to this extent, I rued the moment that I had to step into my home.
True enough, as we approached the old plot of land, I could already see from a distance—pilgrims kneeling. Of all the places that they could do it, they just had to kneel in front of the stables.
“What’s wrong?” Sereya whispered.
This time, it was me who had to rein in his laughter.
“They're kneeling at the exact spot where our cows preferred to poop at.”
Sereya’s hand was slightly slower than her mouth. A breath of laughter escaped before she covered it. Thankfully, the Evanists were so engrossed in prayer, no one turned to face us.
I decided to have a look at the farm area first instead of stepping into the house. The most unnerving thing was seeing how empty everything looked. There were no animals for obvious reasons, but the place was so well preserved, it seemed as if they were moved just yesterday.
Every bucket, every brush, every little detail of the farm minus the animals was exactly like how I remembered it. The hairs on my arms and neck were sticking out. I thought I’d be hit by nostalgia. The only things that struck me were goosebumps and chills.
It was the fact that everything seemed so natural, even after ten whole years—it scared me.
Outside the stables, there were information boards planted on the ground, detailing exactly how the Mattheld family farm came to be. I went from one board to the next, reading and getting disturbed by how accurately my early life was being laid out for all to see.
People knowing about what Hanasuke did was a no-brainer, but how did they know about everything before that?
Just…who did all this?