Chapter 20:

How It All Began - Part 2

The Heroes' Story After Saving the World

My thoughts and behavior might strike you as odd, after everything you have read about me before.

I wasn’t in a good place when I came to this world, really. It took a lot of years and the magic of hindsight to fully realize that and come to terms with it.

I don’t want to go into the details of my life before I came to this world.

I don’t think you’d appreciate the boringness of day-to-day life in a world that is so out of reach. Although life in my old world definitely informed life in this world.

I can’t even properly remember the things that transpired before my arrival to this world. Everything became a blur, not because it’s been so long, but because I’d rather forget.

Before Zenia, there was another woman. Back then, when I met Zenia under the circumstances described above, I didn’t bat an eyelid, because I didn’t realize the difference between the two. And yes, by that I mean, that that woman would have absolutely pointed a knife at me. But Zenia let me go.


I’m sorry, if you expected a fun adventure, as I first arrived in this new world. I must have forgotten all that came with me all those years ago.

Being torn away from all you’ve known before like that really must do a number on you. Of course, life-altering events like these happened all the time in my old world. Didn’t think mine would involve swords and sorcery. But I think that this was just what I needed. What had saved me.

Before I came to this world, I most likely had a fight with Her. Decided to get drunk, let myself get run over by a car.

God, this entire last page is a disjointed nightmare.

Like my previous relationship.

There I go, I can at least joke about this.

Let’s move on to marginally more pleasant matters.


After Zenia and Sirius left I waited a few more minutes. I couldn’t endure the biting cold much longer, however, and so, what to me felt like minutes, might have been mere seconds.

I stealthily tried to check my surroundings but wasn’t really sure what to make of them. For one, there was a gigantic house some distance away from me. Behind me was a stone wall that stretched around the entire premises. If it wasn’t for the modern architecture of the building in the middle, I would have said I was on the grounds of a castle. That would explain the stables in front, and why Zenia and Sirius attacked me with swords. The main building however was much more akin to a mansion than to a castle. Its function seemed to be to show off prestige, rather than to ward off intruders.

Like me.

I had to get out of here.

The wall behind me was too big to climb, so I decided to stick to it. Surely, there would be an exit at some point. And if anyone approached me, I’d just have to dive into the snow.

How pleasant.

For the most part, I could consider myself lucky. Despite it appearing to be midday, I couldn’t even spot anyone moving behind the windows of the mansion. It seemed the cold of winter deterred the habitants of this mansion from going outside. Which made me wonder what the role of the two people from before was in this whole thing.

The swords, the pelts, the Victorian-era building. The ... way I was blown through that stable. I couldn’t make any sense of it yet.

Before I knew what was happening, my spiraling thoughts had sent my limbs into autopilot. When I regained proper consciousness, I was quite the ways away from the stable and spotted what looked like a metal gate.

Instinctively, I ducked into the snow and surveyed my surroundings once more. Though, if someone had spotted me, I’d have realized that by now.

I was able to see the entrance to the mansion. It appeared unguarded and so I was tempted to make my way inside. I really needed to warm up. I could not know whether there were any guards on the other side, however, so I was reluctant at first.

Thankfully, I had an idea. If I wasn’t mistaken, castles or fortresses sometimes had hollowed out walls that you could walk inside of. Even if it wasn’t warm inside, I could at least get a good view of my surroundings from on top of the walls. Though if there was a guard post, would it be unattended?

Only one way to find out.

I leaned forward, trying to look along the wall for an opening of whatever sort. There only seemed to be a metal gate leading to the outside world.

I carefully moved through the snow towards the gate. The snow was a few centimeters high but had been considerably piled up next to the path leading from a metal gate to the building. I sighed as I pondered whether I should jump over the pile, but I decided to just bite the bullet and thrust my leg into the snow. The cold enveloped my leg up to the knee and I quickly twisted my body to get to the other side, almost falling over as I tried to free my leg from the snow.

Of course, snow had gotten into my shoe.

Still, I walked over to the metal gate and was pleasantly surprised to find a door in the archway next to it. It was a light metal door, the edges of which were covered in rust. It was bedecked with the occasional indent, as if someone had punched into it. Despite its firm appearance I was able to open it with ease.

Inside was a set of stairs leading upwards. They had a steep incline and none of the stone steps were even. Stories of the “Victorian Death Stairs” quickly flared up in my mind. That would explain the dents in the metal door at least.

A passage at the top of the stairs led me outside again. I poked my head through the opening. The coast was clear, and I crawled outside. There wasn’t much space up here. Maybe two people would be able to comfortably stand next to each other. Three, and they’d be bumping into each other for sure. Despite the top of the wall being covered in snow I decided to lay low first so I couldn’t be spotted. However, both sides of the wall had battlements spread along the edges. I needed to stand up to be able to see anything.

I crouch-walked over to the battlement facing away from the mansion. I grabbed onto its edges and pulled myself up.

Two possible explanations for what I was seeing began fighting for dominance: I was in Europe. Or I was in medieval Europe. Victorian Death Stairs. I- needed to process what I was seeing for just a bit.

It was snowing.

Everything was covered in white.

That was a moderately regular sight at least.

As I was awe-struck at a scenery so surreal, I wondered if it was a painting, something brushed my hair. A gust of wind blew me back and had me guessing were above and below was. To make this endeavor even harder for me, what I saw was ... a woman flying over the wall on a broom.

My eyes followed her as I staggered backwards.

I don’t know if you’ve ever seen what a woman sitting on a broom looked like from below, but...I’m just going to leave that to your imagination.

As I staggered backwards, I noticed her getting further away from the ground.

Oh no.

It wasn’t her that was getting away from the ground.

It was me that was getting closer to it.

Dave Mania