Chapter 78:

Faith Before Fire

The Consequence of Saving the World

Myths, fables, legends—as exaggerated they may be, they all had to come from somewhere. The scale and happenings of an event may be magnified to an extent, but empty words don’t just get passed down without reason.

This afternoon, I had my own to pass down.

Never in a million years would I expect a Wyvern of all creatures to attack my hometown.

My mum’s stories of massive winged creatures terrorising towns and villages resurfaced in my mind. To think they used to fascinate me as a child. Ignorance truly is bliss.

The sound of the warning bell in the distance was drowned out by the screams and cries of women and children. The streets were flooded with people running in all directions, pushing and trampling each other. The monster above had not even begun its descent, just its mere shadow zooming past at tremendous speed was already enough to cause pandemonium.

If it weren’t for Timon’s music which filled my heart with courage, I’d already have fallen victim, too.

It was hard to determine the exact size of the enemy. It was flying high above, its body appearing and reappearing from amongst the clouds, far beyond the reach of any bow or magic. From the way it was circling above, it was clear that the town was its target.

But for what purpose? There weren’t any mountains or rocky ranges near Breven—the closest one was near Adradia’s border with Phoenixfell. Surely, there were more appealing targets along the way, ones without Dragon-ranked adventurers like Sereya and Phalanx.

“This way!”

Timon’s voice peered out of a tight alleyway that I nearly missed. For once, I was glad that he wore such bright and flamboyant clothing—it made it easy to pinpoint him in this sea of plain, muted colours.

However, just as quickly as we entered, our feet came to a halt. I was about to ask him why, but my answer came in the form of a small tin whistle.

As he played a single note from another one of his assortment of instruments, he set his gaze on the wall sandwiching us, then the roof jutting out above. Please don’t tell me what I was thinking…

The usually frolicsome Timon was quiet. He took a deep breath before jumping towards the wall. Common sense would dictate that he would fall as his hands touched the bricks, but he was able to leap off towards the wall behind, repeating the process in zig-zag-like jumps, before finally pulling himself up and over the ledge.

Bah! To hell with it!

I knew for a fact that such athleticism was impossible for me, but Timon’s lack of instruction meant that the way was obvious.

The way was up.

I too, tried replicating his steps. The moment I jumped, a strange sensation filled my body.

It was far lighter than usual, like gravity’s pull was getting lazy, only happening a second later. That brief second was enough time to propel me off the wall and onto the one behind me.

It had to be the effect of Timon’s Blessing.

Eventually, I was able to haul myself up like Timon. I finally understood why we took this vertical path. The rooftops were clear and had much greater visibility.

I followed Timon’s trail, jumping from rooftop to rooftop. The shingles may be unstable, but it was far easier to navigate compared to the sea of people below.

Far ahead, I saw the tiny figure of another person, also mimicking our movements. However, judging from how ridiculous far each time that individual leapt, I knew that it was Sereya. She was effortlessly clearing several blocks in a single jump, getting smaller and smaller as she disappeared into the horizon.

At the same time, the Wyvern above seemed bigger and bigger. It was diving toward town like an arrowhead cutting through the wind. Based on where it was falling, its target appeared to be the temple!

Suddenly, the small arrowhead unfurled, the Wyvern stretched its wings in full—each one easily the length of a room. With its size in full display, the creature stopped in midair, almost as if it was levitating.

High above the temple’s spires, the Wyvern floated, eyeing the building below. Its attention was distracted by the hail of arrows and magic spells from below. As long as it didn’t land, it seemed that this battle would be determined in the skies.

Even after the barrage of projectiles and explosions, the creature appeared unperturbed. The mere flap of its wings stopped most of the assault in its tracks. What went through simply bounced off its dark green scales without a scratch.

Even if it wasn’t a Dragon, it definitely was pretty close in terms of danger. The combined force of regular archers and mages was no match for the beast. Yet, that didn’t deter the struggle of our fellow man, who kept the Wyvern busy.

“I’ll head towards the defence force to back them up. Hurry towards the temple.”

Timon split off in a different direction. Perhaps, with Timon’s support, they’d be able to multiply in strength and take the Wyvern down…

But before that could even happen, the sight of smoke fuming from the muzzle of the creature was a bad sign. Its belly began to light up, moving from the bottom and up towards its neck. It was about to breathe fire!

I shook my head, casting away the fearful thoughts clogging my mind as I rushed toward the temple. Steeling myself for the flames to come, I leapt down from the last set of rooftops and onto the road leading to the temple.

Surprisingly, the temperature stayed the same. Not even a tongue of fire was spewed from the mouth of the Wyvern, for its face was hit by Phalanx’s halberd!

Using his Blessing, the knight was flying in the air, swinging his weapon in an attempt to distract the monster. While the strike wasn’t fatal, it was enough to send the Wyvern reeling, knocking it a fair distance away before it recovered in the air.

Phalanx chased after the stunned beast, ready to strike once more. I prayed that he’d be able it at bay.

The temple grounds were empty. Everyone nearby rushed into the massive structure for safety, but it clearly wasn’t safe.

What laid before me inside the temple was unfathomable.

Everyone was kneeling, praying in complete silence.

Did they honestly think that their “god” can save them? How ignorant could they be…

“Evacuate the temple now, it’s dangerous!”

I couldn’t care less that I was interrupting their prayers. A fire-breathing monster was hovering right above. They needed to run away NOW.

So to see them ignoring me to continue on their silent vigil crushed me even more.

I screamed even louder, “If your god wanted to save you, he wouldn’t have brought a Wyvern so close in the first place! Run! Get out of here!”

“Calm down brother,” I felt a hand on my shoulder. “This temple is the safest place in the whole of Breven. Its walls shall not fall.”

Sure, the size of the building and its make made it an ideal place for shelter, but not when it was the target of an attack! The Wyvern was ignoring literally every other building and was primed for this one.

“Everyone! Please! The Wyvern is aiming for the building! There is no time to argue, GET OUT NOW!”

I drew my sword, pointing it at the people whom I intended to save.

“Stay calm, brethren! This is just a test!” commanded the monk behind me.

How, just how deluded were they? I was waving Exordium like a madman, and they were still kneeling, some with their eyes closed! I was beginning to think that I was the one who was mistaken.

How…just how could they be so—

Suddenly, all sound disappeared. The ground shook as the silence was replaced by ringing.

A large explosion blew up the door behind me, covering the entire archway in flames. Like a plague, they began to spread rapidly.

I shouted. I screamed. I yelled out words that even I couldn’t make out myself. Only when my words ring true, did the Evanists start to believe me.

But it was too late.

While the ones closer to the exits were able to rush out, many of them who were in the middle were pushing their fellow believers, causing the side doors to get stuck.

In an instant, their prayers have turned into genuine cries for help.

With few options left, I leapt over the crowd using the pews in between for coverage. There was a wooden door at the back of the altar, but it was locked. Using my weapon, I began to hack into the area of the latch. After several strikes, the door came loose.

“This way! This way!” I yelled.

Even though the ringing was still there, I could hear myself again. Like a leaking gourd which received a new hole, the crowd began to leak out towards the direction of the door I just opened, freeing up some space and allowing more people to leave the previously saturated exits.

The only thing that I wished for at that moment, was that the people I was leading did not get consumed by the flames in the explosion behind me.

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