The Masked Devil
“Please, esteemed Hero! Please, help us…!”
“Please, have it in you to save us…”
Why are you begging me…?
“Only you can save this world from destruction…”
“A Dark Lord has awoken, and only you can stop it…”
“Familiar words, are they not?”
“It is a story you have surely heard.”
The unknown speaker’s words prompted me to answer, but my voice refused to come out. I tried again and again, but to no avail.
I opened my eyes, to see the image of uncountable galaxies passing me by with immense speed. Every so often, a beam of light ‘crashed’ into a galaxy, and the pleading voices turned to rejoice before falling silent.
A chill ran down my spine. All I could do now was close my eyes and wait for this weird dream to end.
“Save us, Great Hero!”
“We alone are not enough to face this threat…”
Yet no matter how much I waited, the dream… the nightmare did not end…
“You are our last hope…!”
“Hero from another world! We are in great peril, and only with your power can we survive!”
“Help us end this war!”
After the final – and loud like no other – voice, everything fell silent. Slowly, the feeling of racing through space disappeared too.
I opened my eyes again, only to see… nothing; a vast void expanding around me. Only within my peripheral vision could I see millions of stars and galaxies, but again they appeared distorted. Streaks of light and stardust swirled and twisted, slowly vanishing inside the void.
Out of nowhere, before me a humanoid entity appeared. It’s dark silhouette glowed blue in the black emptiness. It stood still with it’s hands behind it’s back, occasionally flickering in-and-out of reality.
His voice was hollow; devoid of emotions.
“H-Hello? Oh! My voice! Please–”
“– ‘Explain what’s this all about’… yes.
“I know you are full of questions, but… there is only so much time I can stall the summoning for.”
“… The what?”
“You must have heard on your way here… the pleas from worlds innumerable. At the brink of despair, as a… last resort, they entrust their fate to a… ‘hero’… from another world.”
“Wait, does it mean that I–?”
“Yes. Wizards… from a world akin to yours have used an… ancient summoning ritual to call forth a ‘hero’. A ‘hero’… that can help them end their war.”
“Now, normally, if all had gone according to procedures, we… would not have met. It cost me a great deal of power, and… I had to exploit a few loop holes to get here. Even now… I am standing on a minefield.
“But it was all to meet you… and to ask a favor.”
“Please, end the war. By all means.”
“This world… belonged to a very good friend of mine. It was his magnum opus…! He is long gone now, but I wish to preserve his… legacy. That is why–”
“Wait, wait, WAIT!! Can’t YOU do something about it?!”
“… Directly? I am… forbidden by our laws. Indirectly? … Through you… or another summoned ‘hero’. But I can not tell if another… opportunity would arise.”
… No, no, no. Spare me. SPARE ME from this!
“My apologies, once agai– Oh, it seems our time is almost up.”
As the entity said that, my vision became blurry and I started to feel delirious.
“Before you go… allow me to impart a little gift. You… will need it… on your quest.”
I was frustrated. Like, my choice in all these matters was null.
Everything the entity said was INSANITY! End a war?! That in itself is not something one should ask so easily, let alone from a SINGLE PERSON!
… But, then again, I was pinning the blame on the wrong person.
“I bid you farewell.”
When I woke up, twenty or so robed figures, wielding staves, stood trembling around a colossal magic circle with me in the center.
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