Chapter 0:

Prologue: The End of Peaceful Days

Devil's Executioner

In a clear patch of a forest where moonlight broke through the thick canopy of trees, a boy lay nonchalantly on his back.

The wind gently caressed his snow-white hair as his brilliant azure eyes admired the tiny dots in the dark sky, which were usually not visible in the city due to the recently increasing pollution. It was a remarkably peaceful atmosphere that threatened to put him to sleep with the perfect temperature and humidity.

But he was not sleepy in the slightest. Not like he could let himself sleep in the middle of a forest, anyway.

Suddenly, something that sounded like the deep growling of the engine of an old car broke the beautiful silence.

Annoyed ever so slightly, he tried to get up from his complacent position and looked to his right, from where the sound came from, to confirm who had disturbed his rest.

And then his eyes fell on the source.

He realized instantly. The time had come.
He decided on his one and only goal. To protect.


The people who were soundly sleeping to his left at a slight distance.
More specifically, it felt biased, but he wanted to protect one of them more than the others.

However, if possible, he would like not to put anyone else's life in danger.

He looked back to where those people were supposed to be sleeping. But that sight just threw him into a bigger dilemma.

The one person he didn't want to see here.
The one person whom he didn't want to involve in this situation, had noticed him.

They called out the boy's name as they started approaching him carelessly.

He could not turn back.

He faced forward and looked at it. The thing was slowly making its way to him, as if to mock his misfortune.

The boy had limited options.

The boy had the least regard for his life, as long it meant he could save the others.
So, the decision was easy for him.

He would run away and distract those things, sacrificing himself to save the others. He didn't even stop to think about what the others would think of this sacrifice. Because if he did, he would hesitate. And hesitating here would bear disastrous results.

That was the selfless person he was.

He ran towards the thing at full speed. The thing retaliated back, as a matter of course.
Barely dodging its fangs, he shouted, "No! Don't come here!" to the person behind him and started running.

This was bad.
This was really bad.

The boy didn't want them to get caught up in this situation. If he wanted to ensure that, he would have to speed up. And so, he poured the entirety of his strength into his legs, and picked up the pace, racing past the thicket of trees and bushes.

He was a naturally fast runner, and that person was quite slow when compared to him, so before long, he started gaining distance, which was his only relief.

On the other hand, the problems were starting to pile up.

Not only did the thing start chasing him, but it also started howling, which echoed throughout the forest, attracting more of them to this hunt. And slowly but surely, the numbers started to increase.

What was worse was that that person was still behind him, chasing him relentlessly with no signs of giving up. They seemed to be yet to have noticed those things chasing them, as he felt that they had their eyes locked onto him.

Moreover, all of them were running deep into the forest, taking left and right turns every now and then. In the process, the boy completely lost his sense of direction.

Even if he managed to shake off the chase, he was no longer sure that he could get out of the forest that easily. He would guess it would end up taking him a couple of days before he got a clue of where he was.

His legs were starting to go numb.
He couldn't run for much longer. It was not within human limits to do so.

He could climb up a tree, but he didn't. He knew that if he became out of reach, the things would target them, which he wanted to avoid at all costs.

So, he kept running.
But, a few moments later, his feet stopped and his face paled.

In front of him was a dead end, in the form of a high cliff.

This was where it would end.
In front of him was a cliff, and behind him were those things, who were starting to get tired of this cat-and-mouse game.

There was no way he was getting out of this alive.
He hoped, from the bottom of his heart, that this sacrifice will serve to save all the people he left behind.

Gritting his teeth, he turned around to face those things. No matter how little he cared about his life, it didn't amount to absolutely nothing. If he was going to die anyway, he wanted to struggle till the very end.

And there, his heart froze.

His pupils shrunk more than what you would think was humanly possible.
That person had still not given up the chase.

His throat went dry. He couldn't make a voice.
In denial, he subconsciously started to step back.

The most inconvenient stone was lying just behind his ankle, so he tripped the moment his right leg moved backward.

His eyes closed instantly.

When he opened his eyes, the sky was dyed a pale red.

He felt that his entire body was burning.
Blood was flowing out of him from every part imaginable, draining his life reserves steadily.

A numb sensation seeping into his body, he could not move, and felt like he was cut off from the world.

Breathing was the only thing he could freely do, and even that hurt like hell.
With that sensation, he could tell that death was right around the corner.

As he was being continually dragged into the depths of his own consciousness, he felt like he should apologize to everyone about going off alone and dying in the middle of nowhere.

But he wouldn't be able to do that.
A dead person cannot apologize, after all.

It was most likely his imagination, but at that moment, he could swear that he could see someone smile at him. It was less like a smile, and more like an evil grin.

Lying on the hard ground which he could not feel, he had but a single thought.

"Please, don't die..."

He could not say it.
His last prayer, his last hope, his last desire was absorbed by his own weakness.
This feeling he had, was despair. Despair, that his wish would never be fulfilled.

The next moment, he died, as the moonlight shone brightly on his body, ever unchanging.