Chapter 7:

...I can't drown my demons, they know how to swim... (Part 2)


"My sweat was dripping down from my forehead, my hands covered in blood, as I killed the three men that dared to approach me, I looked at the sky. The dark clouds from the smoke were fading away and I was finally able to see the winter sun, but at what cost?

The enemy forces pushed us back against the wall, even though we fought with honor and power, they were way higher in numbers. After all, a lion can't fight a pack of wolves…"


Varis was quick enough to catch the enemy's dagger which was about to thrust him through the gut, even so his strength wasn't even a match for the enemy. The dagger slowly pierced his skin and the blood began to come out of the cut. All of a sudden a small rock hit the soldier on the back of his head. When he turned around to see what it was, he saw a small child, a boy with torn up clothes holding a rock in his hand.

"What are you doing here?! This is no place for children, get lost before you get killed!" - the enemy spoke.

Boy: "LEAVE HIM ALONE! Why are you doing this?! Why can't we all just be friends?!"

As the man was distracted, Varis surprised him by pulling the knife out of his gut and stabbed him in the throat. Varis pushed the dead body aside and stood up, he caught the glance of the terrified boy, just seconds away from bursting into tears. As the boy was about to fall on his knees Varis caught him in his arms.

Varis: "Sneaking out without your parents' permission, ey slugger? You just saved my life, kid!"

Boy: "P-Please don't tell my parents, they are going to be so mad at me once they found out I ran off to help you!"

Varis: "Then I guess this will be our little secret. But please, you have to go. They are definitely looking for you and are worried sick!"

Boy: "How do you know that?"

Varis: "Parents have that superpower, no matter where our child is, we will always be there to help them, you are the reason we wake up with smiles on our faces, and when you are sick, we are sick as well. Now go, before they freak out even more!"

The boy ran off with all of his strength, stopping for just one second to look back at Varis and give him a gentle smile.

Varis reached out for something in his breast pocket, he pulled out an old piece of paper with a drawing on it. The drawing was of two stickmen, their hands raised in the air, big smiles on their faces and a beautiful rainbow in the sky.

"Wish you could've seen the rainbow one more time, Valdy…" - Varis said as he looked at the drawing.


As he walked amongst the mountains of corpses and rivers of blood, Scorch felt a very sharp pain in his chest, as if he was about to vomit from the smell of death and the crows chewing on the ears of his comrades and enemies. He covered his nose with his elbow so that he could at least remove the smell.

The scream of somebody roared through the battlefield and eventually reached Scorch's ears.

Scorch: "A scream?"

He followed the direction of the screams when the overwhelming pressure suddenly hit him, it felt like it could crush the ground beneath and snap the trees around him, a fear so immeasurable he couldn't move for a moment.

Scorch: "What is this?! What kind of monster has such power?!"

He brushed off the branches of the trees only to witness the horrific scene of Samuel getting decapitated right in front of his eyes. That same pressure he felt earlier illuminated in bright red from the commander's body, time felt as if it was moving in slow motion and the colors had disappeared. Samuel's head slowly rolled towards Scorch and he couldn't help, but scream. The commander of the enemy's army turned around and stared at him with the same terrifying eyes.

???: "I was beginning to think you are dead…"

Scorch gently closed his eyes and all of his fear disappeared, as he opened them they burned with the light of a thousand flames, so fearless, but yet so emotionless, they looked so much like the terrifying foe in front of him.

???: "There they are…"

Scorch: "Hm?"

???: "You had the same eyes as when you killed her, the eyes of a monster who has no sense of pleasure, not sadness…"

Scorch: "Her? Who are you talking about?"

???: "You really don't remember me? I was with her when you took the only money we had back then, she tried to be civil about this, but then you killed her… Ripped her heart out and showed no emotion while doing it."

Scorch: "So you must be that kid who was with Charlotte?"

???: "The name is Zephyr and yes I am Charlotte's brother. I stood there and watched as you mercilessly killed her, your eyes were so empty it was like you had no piece of humanity left in you."

Scorch: "Your sister killed mine, I wasn't going to just stand there and watch, I was so swallowed by anger, I couldn't stop myself. I wanted revenge…"

Zephyr: "That's why you and I have the same eyes, we come from the same tree of vengeance, we are forbidden from living a normal life and follow only the path that leads to even more suffering."

With a soulless expression, Scorch bent over to grab something from the ground.

Scorch: "So you and I are the same huh? Then tell me…"

He plucked a beautiful yellow flower from the ground, as he lifted it, he pointed it towards Zephyr, his mouth shaped in a thin smirk and said in a calm, warm voice.

Scorch: "... Do you like flowers?"

Zephyr stumbled in surprise from his question, then answered with certainty.

Zephyr: "I don't."

Scorch: "That's a shame. You know what I found fascinating about flowers? It's that they simply exist to make our world a little more beautiful, they are not like us humans. We only exist to poison this planet and drown it in our own blood. But I still have hope for humanity, I'm hoping that one day I can create a world where we can all be just like flowers."

Zephyr: "That's quite foolish, if you ask me. You can't seriously expect everyone to become good just because you want them to."

Scorch: "I'm aware of that fact, some of us are too far gone into the deep end, but even a flower drowned in blood can still bloom and turn into something beautiful. I've killed many men throughout the years, I've drowned in their blood, and yet that is still the flower I'm trying to become!"

Zephyr: "That doesn't mean all those people you killed are justified, you will rot in hell, just like I am! Alissia would have been so disappointed…"

Scorch: "I know…"

Faster than the sound could reach him, Zephyr summoned a sword in his hand and charged at him, their weapons clashed in one another as Scorch blocked that powerful blow with his katana.

Scorch: "I figured you are a mage, since you were able to block that bullet earlier." - He said as his arms and eyes were shaking from the pressure.

Zephyr: "You know that and yet you still fight, a normal human competing against a mage?!"

Scorch: "How is your sister then?"

Suddenly the blades which Zephyr summoned felt like they were coming from every direction, they were moving so fast, he was barely able to dodge them. Cuts all over his body and that stinging pain which never seemed to go away, Scorch waited for his next attack. Just as he was standing in front of him, Zephyr disappeared for a mere moment, Scorch felt the sudden gust of wind coming from behind, luckily he was quick enough to stay away from that piercing blade aiming for his torso. He thrusted his katana, so close to stabbing Zephyr in the throat, but he was kicked in the stomach and sent flying, crashing into the nearby trees. He slowly walked out trying to stop the bleeding on his shoulder.

The battlefield was the pure definition of hell on Earth, the enemy forces had open fire on the Edessians, those who managed to survive were still fighting for their lives and their kingdom, but it was all pointless, they were fighting with a hundred men against six hundred. Scorch observed the sad scene as he held his shoulder, blood coming down from his forehead and cuts all over his body. He smiled gently, knowing that this might be where his journey ends. Zephyr wiped the blood from his sword as he spoke in a calm tone.

Zephyr: "Are you ready to pay for your sins?"

Scorch: "Not quite… Tell me something, Zephyr. When we first met, you were in Allenwall, the capital of the Edessa Kingdom, but you were born in Gates, am I right?"

Zephyr: "Why do you care?"

Scorch: "What were you doing there? How did the guards allow you to enter the city during the war with your kingdom? Every foreigner should be forbidden from entering the city, but you just so happened to be there at the right time…"

Zephyr: "Hmm fine, you deserve to know the answer. Do you know why people hunt down those with magical abilities? We mages are born with a unique mutation mixed with the supernatural, this mutation crystalizes one part of our bodies; it could be an eye, a limb, or even a heart. In my case that's my kidneys. Those crystalized organs are extremely expensive on the black market. We are forced to live a life in a constant fear that we might get killed just for business, that's what happened to our parents, they were killed by pirates in order to sell their organs and become rich. Charlotte, as my older sister took me in her hands and we ran far away. I don't feel bad for my old man, he was a terrible person, using his power in order to torture my mom every time she disobeyed his commands, it was… Wrong! Well sometime passed and we ended up in Allenwall, we charmed the guards to let us in, but I guess you just can't run away from the devil. You know what happened next…"

Upon hearing this story Scorch's eyes filled with sadness and empathy, he looked down at the ground with a smile on his face.

Scorch: "It's funny how cruel and unforgiving we humans can be, how sometimes we steal and murder in order to survive. But tell me…"

The city gates opened far in the distance, from them thousands of citizens, men, women and children emerged, they were all wearing torches, stones, sticks, axes and whatever they could find in their homes. Their numbers were so overwhelming the enemy forces fled back as soon as they saw the fire in their eyes. Those innocent people were ready to sacrifice their life for their city, but they were not ready to be someone's slave.

Scorch: "... aren't we beautiful?"

The innocent people, those who have no power in this war, they all charged at the enemy as one, in order to protect what's precious for them. What is more beautiful than that?

Zephyr: "I guess your words really make a difference, you could've been a great leader…"

Scorch: "I guess we'll never know. Anyway, I think we talked enough." - He closed his eyes and pointed his katana towards the opponent, a thin smile appeared on his face as he said those words.

Zephyr: "This is the end of your path."

The smokey clouds casted a thin shadow upon the battlefield, though there were still a few places with beams of light falling gently on the ground, the time appeared to be moving slower as Zephyr and Scorch clashed one last time.

"I know I'm about to face my doom, and that these are my final moments on this planet…"

Scorch swung his sword, aiming for Zephyr's head, though he managed to block his attacks he swung again and again, until Zephyr kicked him in the stomach, Scorch bent over from the pain. Just as he was vulnerable, Zephyr grabbed Scorch's arm and with all of the strength of his knee he shattered his arm bones. The scream that came from Scorch's mouth was like nothing a normal human has ever heard. A scream so loud and painful it could deafen the birds around him, but yet no one heard his struggles and no one came to help him. He fell on the ground in defeat, his whole body was shaking and the heavy pain in his arm was immeasurable.

"...I have made many mistakes, of which I regret none…"

Zephyr backed away for a second, thinking that the battle was over. His face filled with shock and fear as he saw that his opponent got up on both of his legs and with a shaking hand he grabbed his sword, but what truly shocked him was the smile on his face, a happy smile empty of every regret or rage.

Zephyr: "How could you still be smiling after such a brutal injury?!" - A drop of sweat fell from his face.

Scorch: "A man once told me that those who die without a smile on their face have lived a life full of regret. That's why I want to die knowing that I lived the life I wanted to. So, are you ready to finish this?" - He smiled gently with his eyes closed.

As he pointed his blade forward it shattered to pieces, only leaving the handle in his hand. He looked down at the broken sword.

"... I have faced fear many times, but I would gladly walk next to it once again…"

Zephyr teleported right next to him and just like before he destroyed the bones of his other arm, but this time Scorch didn't even blink, he just stood there and stared at the ground before he swung his leg and kicked Zephyr in the face, he dropped on the ground, his face covered in mud and blood, he looked at him with that same emotionless expression.

Zephyr: "Just what the hell are you?!"

Scorch: "I'm nothing more than just a human."

"...Am I strong? No, I'm not. If I was strong, then I would've shown those close to me how I really felt, but instead covered my true face with a smiling mask and pretended everything was okay…"

As he aimed once again for Zephyr's head, a blade pierced his heart, the blood spilled from his mouth, his knees gently touching the ground as he stared at him.

Zephyr: "Do you have any last words?"

The wide smug returned to his face, he said the following words in a calm, amusing tone, as if he was mocking him: "... So this is how your sister felt when I killed her?".

For the first time in his life Zephyr felt genuinely angry, his eyes filled with rage as he punched Scorch in the face and continued punching him until he was drowning in his own blood.

Zephyr: "Your foolish decisions have led you to this point! IF YOU WEREN'T SUCH AN IDIOT YOU COULD'VE LIVED!!! WHY DID YOU THROW YOUR LIFE AWAY?! ANSWER ME!!!"

Zephyr: "I'm not going to waste my time with a dead man…"

Zephyr walked away from the scene into the woods and fled the battlefield in defeat.

"... Despite everything I've been through, all I wish for is a second chance. I couldn't fulfill my promise to you, Alissia. You died in vain, I'm so sorry!"