Chapter 12:

Woven Path

The Writer of Magic

The Battle was turned to our favor. The vast majority of the changelings were decimated by the sheer power of my friends, and by Reiko's ferocity. The chimeras were easily routed, but some tried to escape. But Reiko and I had other plans for them.

"Break through o' twisted door of distortion; Negative Gate!"

The space in front of the retreating chimeras was closed off by a distortion that was absorbing anything that gets in range. Some got sucked in, others were doing their best to hang on to their dear life.

Reiko was thirsting for blood, and he sent a barrage of arrows made out of hard red wood. Blood stained the forest floor, and the cries of the dying chimeras all died down in a flash.

One managed to dodge but I flung myself towards it, and with fire magic brimming from my hands and I incinerated the chimera. Nothing remained from the chimera but ash and... a small metallic link.

The battle was over. And Reiko and I collapsed from exhaustion. But I was caught by Trent and Toby, while Claire and Hanabi helped Reiko.

"You okay?" Hanabi asked Reiko, her face was riddled with worry, relief, and possibly anger.

"A bit sore... But I'll live. Thanks Hanabi." Reiko replied weakly.

I looked at my friends, they seem... gaunt for some reason. And when they stared at me, they all frowned. Like I was a disappointing piece of meat.

"H-hey guys." I said weakly and they exploded. Telling me off about not sending an SOS signal or maybe even trying to establish a connection.

"We all thought you were dead, you idiot!" Toby said, his usual smiling self was gone without any trace at all.

"Captain Ventus was blaming himself, and he hasn't been functioning very well ever since." Leo informed me.

"Was he overexaggerating a bit?" I asked.

Claire shakes her head. "Ever since you went MIA, his actions in Senzakura were a bit... concerning. He became highly aggressive when it came to missions concerning the rainforest."

"You were part of his responsibility Yman. It will be a big red flag for everyone if he didn't care for his subordinates." Leo puts in.

I let that sink in. Captain Ventus was acting out of character? Well to be fair, I never knew him as his maker. But as his subordinate, he was upbeat. Caring. Why the sudden attitude change?

"I'll make sure to apologize." I promised them, but I heard a strong gagging sound and I did a 180. Reiko wasn't doing too good, and sure enough. The Violet Plague was eating his body.

"W-what is this? I never seen this kind of affliction before!" Hanabi said and she tried to touch Reiko but Trent stopped her.

"It's called the Violet Plague... A dangerous disease caused by contamination from Chimera blood." Lord Arbor spoke, and as the vines withered away as I saw him injured and bleeding. My vision narrowed and blurred. I tried to rush for him, but my legs wouldn't budge. Instead, I fell face down.

"Help me up... Please. I have to save him!" I pleaded and Leo help me stand. He and I trudge towards the Serpent God, his wounds were so grave that even with Hanabi's healing magic won't be able to salvage him. The Lord of the Forest looked at me, his eyes fading in color.

"Child of man... You... Why the sad expression, surely you know this would happen?" He asked. And I was bewildered. I grit my teeth and placed my hand on the serpent god's snout.

"Arbor, save your strength." I said, I think it was either dementia or delirium.

"I'm afraid I don't have that luxury anymore. Child of man... No. Yman Caliesto. Listen to my final request. I want you to sever the Vow of Apostleship." Arbor said weakly. Hearing that, Reiko looks up and:

"Don't do it! I won't forgive you if you do!!" He shouts.

"If I die, he dies with me. But there is another catch. The Rainforest... From it's roots and it's fauna, they will be changed. The rain will intensify further, the flowers that bloomed will wither, and the animals that thrived will go berserk and attack Senzakura. Even with its defenses, it will be overwhelmed indefinitely." Arbor said forebodingly. "And soon, the rest of the world will suffer too. I'm sure you realized that..."

I grit my teeth. If Arbor was determined. Then... I have no other say in the matter. I looked at Reiko and apologized through my eyes and with a heavy heart, I opened my Grimoire.

"YMAN DON'T DO IT!" Reiko shouts.

"Destiny Editor." I whispered and Leo, who was beside me, gave me a shocked look as a blinding light engulfed me and Arbor's body.

When the light died down, the land that I was standing on was so bright it had no room for any shadows. My head felt heavy, and my heart was beating faster, something's wrong with this place. It felt different from when I was inside Arthur's cognition. Possibly because I was inside a deity's fate. But I shook off those feelings and glared at the figure that was sitting on the throne. Arbor's Incorrupti. It took the form of a young man, its slits were snake-like and his hair was bright green.

"Welcome... frankly this is the first time I've received visitors. And not incorrupti at that." It said but it didn't stand up. The incorrupti was also suffering from the violet plague it seems. As if mirroring Arbor's dying state. "I am the Incorrupti of the Kusanagi Rainforest, the destiny of the God of the Forest. Invidia... you may call me by that name."

I shook my head in great disapproval. And used;


Name: Invidia

Family: Incorruptus

Level: 35

Skills: Anecdote of Interrogation, Invocation: Infusion

"You don't look surprised, human..." Invidia said. Its expression was perplexed.

"You're not the first Incorruptus I've faced. And certainly won't be the last." I said and readied my grimoire but it only raised its hand.

"So you've met Ira first. That warmonger..." It said and coughs. I hesitated a bit. Is it putting up a front?

"I have nothing to say to stay your distrust. But please... Hear me out. Child of Man." It said and I grit my teeth.

"My name is Yman Caliesto. And stop trying to copy Arbor!" I shout. The space's silence was deafening.

"Understood. Now... what are you doing here?" It asked and I explained to it my goal. It pondered a bit and gave me a silent stare.

"I'm not asking for your cooperation, but I need to save someone." I said.

"By using the power to reshape destiny? Are you sure you're not just absolving your guilty conscience?" It asked.

"This isn't up for any discussion nor any debate." My voice was shaking and my fingers were digging in my palms. My ears were ringing and my heart was pounding in my chest.

"No matter how much you try to convince yourself. You are holding yourself accountable for this beyond your control, thus making yourself responsible for things that are relatively unrelated to you." It said.

"Shut up..." I whispered.

"And now... You are trying to use a power that isn't yours to begin with. Carelessly weaving elemental energy, hopelessly sticking your nose in others business. And to make matters worse, trying to impersonate the Primordial One. A power that isn't yours to use originally."

As soon as it said the word Impersonation. I stomped my foot on the ground, and a shockwave ruptures the whole space. My hands were shaking, my blood boiling from anger... from the guilt.

"Impersonate? Me?" I was ticked off, this was MY novel. How dare this... thing call me a fake. "Fuck off..."

I was so angry that I struck down the incorrupti with Fire Magic. The incorrupti skids across the floor, its form dissipating from the shock of the attack. But it looked at me with eyes full of pity.

"You do possess some of the traits I know that is similar to the Primordial One. But yours feels... Disconnected. Uneven. Tragic..." Invidia said.

"You know nothing." I growled.

"The more you resist. The less you'll know. Tell me... Have you ever considered every angle of your current situation?" The Incorruptus asked.

"Listen... I know what happened to me back then. But if there is a chance for me to go home. I'll take it. But for now... This takes priority." I said and then something went wrong. My head began to scream in pain, and my vision became blurry. A strong ringing sound was making the disorientation worse.

"And that was the third question. Sleep well... Yman Caliesto. Soon... You will know that some fates. Are beyond you." Invidia said as my vision was getting hazier.

I woke up from the sound of an alarm. Wait... that tone?

I sat up bolt, turned around and reached for my glasses. And what was before me was... My room. And not the bunk room of the novel... But the room I stayed in reality.

I pinched myself, heck I even slapped myself. It stung. Was this for real? Am I... Am I really back?!

I went out of the room and was greeted by the lemon zest air freshener I always bought at the local convenience store, the ambient serenity of my apartment.

The ringing of the phone startled the bajeebers out of me and I rushed to answer it.

"Finally you answered. Do you have any idea how worried mom was for his filial son?" That voice... It was the first time in many months since I've heard that voice.

"Dad? Is that you?" I asked, my voice was shaking.

"Huh? Did you smack your head or something stupid brat? Anyways, your mom's worried sick. Come home once in a while."

Dad's voice... I never thought I'd hear it again. From the excitement, I looked at my phone. It was the day after I got hit by lightning. Wait... I did get hit by lightning. But my body looks fine and physically well too.

My phone had one notification. It was my boss. My request for leave was granted and I don't have to go to work today. This... is actually good. I was back. I'm... I'm home.

I was finally back home.