The Consequence of Saving the World
We were gathered in the same VIP room at the Horseshoe Tavern, the same place I when I first arrived at this “new” Breven. Unlike last time, there was no platter or delicious meals to engorge myself in.
The only thing I was hungry for was answers.
There was no question that the necklace in Phalanx’s grasp belonged to Eveline. It was the same as mine—even the crack on the pendant fit perfectly with mine. No matter how much I asked or begged for answers, the Serenesteel knight could be mistaken for a statue, unwilling to entertain or even react to me.
In a way, waiting for that diva to arrive did have one benefit—I could calm myself down and prepare myself mentally. If I was presented with the truth just like that, I probably would have lost my cool.
I may look fine outside, but inside couldn’t be further from the truth. The concerned look on my girlfriend’s face was proof of that, but I’m glad that she knew that the best support to offer me at this time was to just hold my hand.
Millions of plausible reasons why the necklace wasn’t on her person were popping off in my head at the same time, but I refused to believe that she was dead. Considering how much the Evanists tried to erase her existence in my old house as opposed to mum and that man I used to call dad, there had to be more than that.
Something must have happened to her that forced her to part ways with it.
As the door swung open, my attention instantly leapt from the floor to the door.
Timon waltzed in with his usual flair, but he froze upon seeing me, which was rather uncharacteristic of him.
“I’m sorry, have I ever mentioned about your stunning new hair?”
“NOT NOW, TIMON.”
Yeah, Sereya wasn’t having any of it.
Realising the gravity of the situation, he took his seat right in front of me. While he still maintained the flowery air around him, I could tell that he was a little more serious.
“So, my dear Evansm—Evan, I’m sure you’re curious about this necklace, hmm?” he asked the obvious as Phalanx handed the necklace to him.
“I’ll cut right to the chase—I bought it at an old, dusty pawn shop just several blocks away from here. Alas, there’s no need to compensate me, for I could hardly remember such a paltry sum. Take it.”
“Who would’ve thought that after looking high and low throughout Adradia, the closest clue to your sister was right under our noses all along. Indeed, such a mystery deserves to be in my next verse.”
My gaze fell emptily on the necklace that Timon just slid across the table towards me. His next words sent my world crashing down even more.
“It took a little bit of convincing, but here,” he said as he pulled out the pawn agreement from under his cloak. “The one who took the loan was undoubtedly, one Eveline Mattheld.”
While most of it was faded, my sister’s name was still legible on the parchment. The necklace—given away for a mere ten denars. Considering how old the document looked and how scam-worthy the price sounded, I was inclined to believe that the transaction took place when she was still a child. The date was too faded to make out, but if I had to guess, Eveline had to be in her early teens when it took place.
Why then, did she pawn the necklace away? Did mum die early? Surely, Hanasuke was there for her, right?
“When did the two of you first meet Hana—I mean, me?”
“At the Zethos Grand Tournament five years ago,” Sereya’s answer was quick. Considering that they first met as enemies, it makes sense how the memory was so fresh on her mind.
Timon, however, struggled a bit to recount his memories, “Oh—”
“Please don’t sing it. Just try to remember like a normal person,” Sereya shot him down before he could finish his first word, causing the pitch to fluctuate like a trumpet playing the wrong note.
Instead, Timon turns away and began to quietly recite and mumble what appears to be a song. His finger made several loops in the air seemingly in beat, as if he was unwrapping the memory stored somewhere deep inside his head.
“Ah yes! We met three years ago on a moonless night.”
I heard of people reciting song lyrics to remember something, but this is the first I’ve ever seen such a thing. I wasn’t sure how I felt about it.
Regardless, their memories seem to line up with what I had in mind. Something happened in Breven prior to Hanasuke venturing out into the world, meeting Sereya and the others while killing demons. Eveline must have been forced to leave as well, probably under dire circumstances. I couldn’t imagine a different reason for her to part ways with the necklace, considering how attached she was to it in the first place.
The things I’d give just to see her again…
“Spirits up, dear friend. It is a sign that your sister did what she can to survive, is it not? A sign is better than no sign at all. I assure you, my little birds will bring joyous news the next time we meet.
“Mhm,” Sereya nodded. “Think about what to say when you finally see your sister again.”
Leaning closer to my ear, she whispered, “Timon’s found harder-to-find things before. You’ll definitely see her.”
“Aha! Is that praise I hear from the great Sereya herself?”
“It’s the sound of the wax inside your ears. Keep dreaming, Timon.”
“Why, dreams aren’t completely baseless, are they not? Please, by all means, offer me your words so that I can dream a glorious dream!”
It did feel rather heartwarming that they were trying to cheer me up in their own way, even if it means bickering like cats and dogs. They offer so much help to someone as useless as me, I really didn’t know how to respond.
While they were distracted by each other, I sneaked in the opportunity to wipe my teary eyes.
That was when I felt someone staring at me. Phalanx?!
As I quickly turned to face that statue of steel, I caught it quickly turning away to avert my gaze! So that guy did have some understanding of social cues…
Well, at least I can trust him to keep quiet.
“So my dear Evan, how’s the Recruitment Centre going? I trust a lot of important people are sent your way?”
“Don’t change the topic, Timon. I still remember you peeking into the girls’ baths!”
As much as I sided with Sereya, I found my heart squeezing out an ounce of pity towards the bard. As a fellow man, especially.
“Yeah. I’m having trouble trying to decide who gets to do what. It’s great how nice the townfolk are to the villages once they’re given the opportunity. I just wished we could push for better pay for most of them.”
“That’s a good problem,” Timon beamed as Sereya glared daggers at him. “You’ll be able to get your mother back and show that priestess the might of Timon Taze!”
At that exact moment, a loud crash could be heard outside as the entire building shook slightly.
Awkwardly, I asked, “Err…is that the might of Timon Taze?”
When the answer that followed was the roar of something that clearly wasn’t human, both Timon and Sereya got up from their chairs in full alert.
One word was all that she uttered before she leapt over the table and kicked the door open in one swoop, sprinting away. Phalanx opted for the window instead, blasting it open with wind magic as he flew weightlessly outside.
“Evan. Time to shine. We may not be able to fight, but that doesn’t mean we can’t support.”
I nodded. If there was something big happening in town, then there were people who were bound to need to be saved. Even if it was a little, I felt driven to help!
We rushed outside following Sereya’s footsteps. There were curious customers standing up and wondering what was wrong, and I doubt our running did anything to assuage their panic.
No matter, the patrons in the bar weren’t the ones in trouble, because the moment I stepped outside a shadow briefly blotted the sun, before returning light to my eyes.
It was a massive winged creature flying overhead. A Dragon attack in the middle of the day?!
The sounds of screaming all around suddenly made me realise the immense danger I was in. The panic started to creep into my veins and I felt the colour fleeing from my face.
Suddenly, in the midst of the screaming, the sound of a single strum. I wasn’t sure how, but Timon’s lute helped me to breathe again.
“That’s a Wyvern. Not a Dragon, but still a problem,” he pointed out as his instrument faded into thin air.
“Come, my dear Evan. Now is not the time to falter.”