The Consequence of Saving the World
I’ve been held at gunpoint, fought a bear-sized man, but I’ve never felt dread like this before.
The feeling of coming back to your house, only to discover that something wasn’t right. This ‘something’ was the information boards—pieces of wood documenting my entire life since birth.
Every single incident, even those that no one knew except me, was displayed like what I’d imagine finding in a museum. It was as if someone was observing me, researching and recording their findings for eighteen years, only to share what they’ve found now.
They even knew things that I wasn’t even aware of. The exact date that I learned to walk. The exact time when I first learned how to milk a cow. The exact date when I finally succeeded in riding a horse.
It was tempting to dismiss all of this information as made up, but they were consistently far too close to my hazy memory. Even if some of the dates were guesstimates that I couldn’t remember, the ones that I did were a hundred percent accurate.
Who could do this? Why would they do this? It pained me so much as I started to doubt even my closest family.
Dad? It couldn’t be him, he left later on. There was no way he would’ve known the events that took place during my teenage years.
Likewise, Eveline was just a blabbering infant when the chicken incident happened. Even if someone told her, the only possible culprit…
Okay, Evan, calm down.
This…whatever this was, it couldn’t have been the work of a normal human being. Mum might be the one who knew the most about me, but she didn’t know EVERYTHING, unlike the scribe of these information boards, who clearly had some ability to observe me even in moments when I was completely and definitely alone.
My entire life laid bare—just what did they hope to gain by knowing my life in such great detail?
Standing outside, looking at the empty ranch where our cows used to graze—doing this used to bring me a sense of calm.
But with all these wooden boards chronicling every major and minor moment of my life, all I felt was dread. No matter how much I tried to rub my forearms, I couldn’t get rid of the insects crawling under my skin.
The soft murmurs of Evanists praying in the distance were driving me insane. I had no idea what they were whispering, but only one word was clear to me.
Hearing my name again and again and again, as I began to doubt anyone and everyone in my life who has ever met me, was…
The sound of my name and the brush of a hand on my shoulder sent a lightning strike into my heart, causing me to jump.
“What happened? You’re so pale.”
Sereya placed her hand on my cheek, only to jump as well.
“You’re freezing! I don’t care, we’re leaving.”
She grabbed my wrist, dragging me out of the farm and towards its entrance. She pulled me to one side, away from any peering eyes.
“Evan, hey Evan, talk to me. You’re freaking me out.”
I was hyperaware of everything, but I only just realised how terrified I was as the only thing I could respond was with a stutter.
“It’s okay. I’m here now.”
“I-Is someone w-watching us?”
“If they were, I’ll cut them in half. Would that make you feel better?”
She had to be joking. Heroes were forbidden from killing innocents. She was just saying this to make me feel better.
Then again, she did cut Rolf’s arm off so cleanly that it wasn’t life-threatening, since he could reattach it. Would a bisected person be able to reattach themself, though?
“Good, you’re starting to look more alive.”
Thanks to my morbid curiosity, I guessed.
“Sereya, what did you think of that place?”
“Huh? Honestly, it is kinda cool. I never knew that your father caught a wanted criminal and build the farm from the reward money! I learned so much about—”
“No Sereya, that’s the problem.”
Also, dad stumbled upon the guy who was already on his last breath. Easiest money of his life.
“All these details that they put up about me and my family…it’s far too accurate. Even stuff that I did that no one else knows about—”
“Like the baby fox you saved that got eaten by a badger?”
“Yeah, like that. No one was there when I did those things, and I didn’t tell anyone, too.”
The only thing that I was thankful for, was that whoever doing this omitted all my embarrassing stories. The person behind all this framed everything to try and make me look better. As such:
“I’m guessing that Hanasuke’s arrival was pre-planned.”
This was the only conclusion that I could draw from this. Someone knew, even way before Hanasuke took over, that I was going to be a Hero. That would explain their obsession with documenting my life and turning it into a history book.
Then again, they didn’t just want to record history—they wanted to make a religion out of it too. This would also explain how Evanism spread so damn quickly. I found it a lot more logical that this was all pre-planned years in advance, instead of a religion just magically appearing out of nowhere in the past six months.
I still couldn’t make head or tail how they built the temple so quickly, but at least the other pieces of the puzzle were starting to fall in place. Hopefully, meeting the Baron would be able to clear up that part of the equation.
Either we’re dealing with someone with omniscient-levels of observation, or perhaps someone who could divine the future, maybe even both. Even though this was all conjecture…
There was no reason to do anything about it.
The damage, or lack thereof, has already been done. Considering the abilities of the hypothetical culprit, they very well may be an actual god. Even if I could, what could I hope to get from confronting such a being? Complain that they tried to deify me without my permission? Make them ‘unmake’ Evanism?
If people are happy from believing in a false god, is that really a bad thing?
Besides, the goal right now was to look for Mum and Eveline.
“Evan, if that’s the case, should we go see Ordis?”
Ah yes, the Legendary Sage. We haven’t seen each other since after the Memory Dive. I wondered what’s that golem doing…
“Yeah, but after mum and Eveline is settled.”
“Actually, speaking of Eveline, none of the information boards seem to mention your sister?”
In my paranoia, I missed that very big point! Evan, you idiot!
“Eh Evan? Where are you—”
I headed straight back to the farm. I could care less if we were not supposed to run at this pilgrimage site, everyone was too busy praying to notice me anyway.
On all those boards, they mention me, mum, dad, even some of the neighbours and animals, but not once did they even say “Eveline Mattheld.”
This also lined up perfectly with what Anita said. She knew nothing about the sister of her supposed god.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t rush into my house. The door was a normal-sized door accommodating more visitors than it has ever seen in its life. Most of the pilgrims were concentrated here, and I had no choice but to squeeze myself into the crowd.
The sounds of praying and even weeping were everywhere, but I couldn’t be distracted. I was dying to know one thing.
If everything at the farm was exactly as they were, but they removed all mention of Eveline, that would mean—
—our family picture missing one member.
My suspicions were spot on. This painting of me, mum and Eveline by Henri Étoile when he visited Breven, had changed. There was an empty space next to mum where Eveline was supposed to be smiling.
Whoever doing this didn’t want Eveline in the picture, figuratively and literally.
At this point, I wasn’t sure which was sinking deeper—my heart, or this mystery.
Unlike mum, who passed away, this person didn’t even want people to know that their Lord Evan had a little sister. If the person behind all this would go as far as to tamper a painting just to remove her, then in all likelihood, Eveline was…
Calm down. Think.
Whoever was behind all this may be a god for all I care, but even they have limitations. This person went through all the effort of collecting lore for a believable a religion, when there exists someone like Timon who could’ve easily started one with much less trouble.
Logically, mum having passed away made more sense. The Evanists were being sent out to look for her corpse. Considering how meticulous this individual had been so far, I doubt they would’ve made such a wasteful act if she was still alive.
Mum died, and they included her as part of this religion. If Eveline also died, it would’ve been much easier to also do the same for her.
Likewise, the boards explained that dad abandoned the family and disappeared, cautioning him as someone not to be trusted. They could’ve conjured a similarly negative narrative for Eveline, but they didn’t, opting instead for the more troublesome task of trying to rid every sign that she ever existed.
It was almost as if they wanted to silence dad, but they couldn’t do the same against the innocent, youngest child of the family. Also, for some reason, they also couldn’t make it sound like she passed away.
Thus, her being alive and laying low made much more sense.
Eveline, hold on a little longer. Your big bro and his friends will fix this!