Chapter 6:

Chapter 6: What Lay in the Forests pt 2

Code Reader Kagami (LitRPG)

“G-..guys. Come on now. What the hell do you think you guys are doing?”

“Step aside. Let me deal with that thing. Then we can talk.” Flinn walked away, to the left of the group. The rest of the group kept their sights fixated on Kagami. Kobul’s giant hammer, Rein’s dagger, and Meil who stood there with several charged spell formulas, circulating around his being.”

The hunter seeming completely confused about this development took various steps back from the tumultuous group. “Boss, this thing is nothing to worry about. I’m going to show you right now.” He charged up his skill yet again. It would appear it was not something he could do quickly in battle since it was still in development.

Kagami, who could do nothing at the threat before him, was at a loss for words. His eyes scanned each and each and every one of them.

<Confusion_ : “Warriness” > <Confusion:_ “Uncertainty”> <Confusion:_ “Fear”>

Lastly, there was one more he could quickly pick out from the crowd, another feeling of confusion and fear. However, this one was different from his squad members. This feeling of confusion and fear came from the hunter. While he may not have known Kagami for most of his life, Kagami was a symbol that could not be easily replaced. The fear and confusion he was feeling was not something that was spread by Kagami, but rather his group. He couldn’t understand why Kagami’s team had turned against him. However, his trust lay entirely within Kagami. The scuffling of his eyes sought to see everything he could do to help the hero.

There it was… the chance he was looking for. As he had all of his hands and fingers up in the air, he finally lowered all of them. All save for the middle. He hadn’t yet time to think, but this small simple queue had gotten through to the hunter, for he took care of the target most concerning- The Mage.

Kagami was by himself far from the rest of them. Meil was the only one that posed a long ranged threat at this distance. Aside from that, Flinn was the closest to him, and the biggest danger. Luckily, with the amount he was trying to exert himself, such a move was something within reach that he could prevent.

Instantly as Flynn had started to launch his attack, Kagami’s fist quickly came out, slamming upon the young fool's face and sending him lurching to the ground from his own momentum. The ability was not fully in effect it seems. He was charging up for it and readying himself to utilize it at the moment he got close enough, but such dreams were shattered by Kagami’s fists.

The sound hollowed out throughout the forests as the only sound that encompassed it. With a hesitant moment of shock the rest of the group began to react, but the person they were relying on for their speedy attack failed to properly do his role. The hunter had already grabbed the magician by the arms and fling him back around, throwing off everything about whatever aim he could have tried to have.

“Kagami… no- Kagachan!! I choose to trust you!!” With one giant motion the small statured mage hit the ground with a thud just like the young Flinn.

The other two hesitated, but quickly realized their objective was not to defend Meil, but instead take down the biggest threat around, the imposter. Kagami struggled to hold the young warrier down below him as he clawed his way around Kagami’s face. In the meantime the other two were approaching him.

How much time until he was undoubtedly decimated....3 seconds?... 2 seconds? The worry was disrupting his thinking. There wasn’t much he could do in this position against three people. He may have been the highest level, but at this state, he was not capable of fighting back against three people. To start, he was barely able to fight against one person. He despised fighting.

The old man struggling against the mage, him struggling against Flinn, and Rein and Kobul lurching barreling towards him, the world around him seemed to freeze still. It was undoubtedly certain that once Rein arrived he would sustain damage.

The scenarios appeared in his head as if he was choreographing an action scene. Within just three seconds, if he doesn’t do anything, Rein would be upon him. At that time he would have to fight off Rein and her daggers, an impossible task while holding down Flinn. If he fumbled with such an idea it was only a second more before Kobul, who was trailing behind, would shatter him with his hammer.

‘This was exactly what I had hoped to avoid. Think…. Think!... what in the world is this… what can I possibly do?’

He looked at all angles of this onslaught, yet he couldn’t find one. Just at that moment, he saw Meil’s palms glow on the hunter’s torso. In one instant the hunter flew through the sky.

‘That’s it. An ability. I have to use mine. I have to have one right? Come on!!’

That’s right. There was an ability he too held like the rest. This body had utilized it countless times to avoid death. How could he even forget such an ability? It had always been beside him. Similar to this perceptive insight ability he held. This one was not something he could ever dismiss as a secondary ability.

Just as the other two converged upon him, he instantly lurched himself back off of Flin. In that instant he planted his feet and withdrew his sword. His energy burst out in a dome-like shape around his body. In that dome’s radius, was Flinn, Rein and Kobul. The moment that intangible dome of energy flew out to meet them, he felt something change structurally in everything around them.

The speed at which they should have reached him was three seconds. They were already on their final second, yet as the dome expanded around them, he could see the speed decrease tremendously. What should have been five seconds was now 3 more seconds added on. They were only a foot away from him!

A part of him hesitated to take in this information as accurate. Yet, as he saw Flinn begin to get up, the motion was abnormally slow. That’s when he saw it. The name of the technique, and the ability he had always been using up until now. “Absolute Domain.”

Within the sphere of influence of his energy, the stats of the others rapidly decreased.
The speed of which they were moving, the strength behind their attacks, their reaction time, the information he was seeing changing was too much to fathom. Yet at the same time, the stat change he was gaining was one he could feel in the moment.

As Flinn got up and Rein’s attack fell upon him, he quickly deflected Rein’s attack and immediately got in the way of Flinn’s movements, pushing Rein in the way. Flinn had no choice but to jump back, deactivating his ability immediately. Every second he was ready to utilize was one that drew from his health. Even when it came to the milliseconds. Thus, he had no choice but to immediately withdraw.

This however, was an oversight. He was too focused on the main two enemies. The moment that Kobul should have descended upon him, Kobul was far elsewhere. 7 feet behind him, with his hammer descending harshley upon the cocoon. “C’mon Boss. This isn’t like you. Fight with us like you always have. Show us that we’re wrong!”

The crackling noise struck and hollowed out through the forest. In a situation like this, normally birds would flutter through the sky. However…. There were no more animals left to flee such a frightening sound, only humans.

At this point the Hunter was already laid bare behind them as Rein held his palms up, with several charged spells. “Guys.. please… listen to me!!”

The time for the creature lowered down much more after Kabul's precise strike. He had chose to strike exactly where Flinn had made his mark. The time now fell to 4 days.

“Boss..- no, whoever you are! Stop trying to act like our leader!! Since the day of the red moon, you’ve been trying too hard!!”

Rein spoke this time. Her words held much more credibility than anyone else's when it came to who knew the old Kagami more. It was clear she was the oldest of the group.

Flynn joined in. “Y…-eah. That’s right.” He steeled his resolve and his glistening blade only fixed on one target. “Ever since that wyvern incident on the way here… you’ve not quite been yourself.”

He glared at Flynn who took the stage. “You know, on the western continent I’m from there’s tales sometimes of Dracomancers that can take on both the forms of humans and lizards. So why not Wyverns. Spit it out, you’re just a Dracomancer that got too far ahead of your game and took over the boss right? Lizard people.”

There was a small groan that resonated deep within Kagami’s being. Even in this obscene world, it would seem he could not escape the lizardmen conspiracy theories. Kagami’s eyes focused on all of them. “I’m not an imposter. I’m Kagami! Kagami Shima! My only goal in life is to take care of my daughter! And to make sure that the people I care about live a happy life. To that end…” He got quieter. “To that end, I will continue to ruin myself. Until I can at least see the permanent happiness in their face… until they finally become too happy and realize how much I sacrifice.”

The swords of everyone else seem to waver. This was after-all their leader speaking to them his true feelings and his true thoughts. He had come to realize the Kagami before him was much like he was. Tears began to well in his eyes. “A-and.. When they realize that, the last piece of the puzzle to make them happy is to see me happy. Then- I can fulfill even that wish.”

There was a slight moment of hesitance. But his blade remained facing the four of them. “So… I cannot let you all bring that goal to an end.”

This display of raw pure emotion was enough to stifle their worries that he was an enemy. Yet still, they did not believe the man standing before them was their old friend Kagami. They had a long time to contemplate this. He had acted entirely different the night before.

Even now as the tears sculpted his face with burning passion of raw emotion and warmth, he was an unrecognizable man. They stood staring at him. Of course they would view him differently. He couldn’t even recognize what kind of look they were trying to display. His insight would not even give a definitive answer. Thus, he attempted to persuade them all.

“So please…” with his lip quivering, and his sword hand standing steadily. “Please… don’t do this. There’s nothing that lies beyond this action but destruction.” The eyes that glared back at the group were ones that stared daggers into them. “If you trust my you always have done. Please!” He struck his sword into the ground, piercing through the soil before him. With that he threw himself to the floor, pleading with them to understand what he was fighting for.

“Get up.” This time, it was Rein who stood in front of everyone. “I don’t know who you are… you’re not a monster or devil… and you’re certainly not Kagami, but I can’t bear to see someone like you look the same way as him. Get out of here. Get as far away as you can from this village of Kagami’s. We’ll take care of the problem for him. So that when he gets back, he will see what kind of soldiers he raised.”

Meil’s magic spells also dissipated and he put his arms in his pockets. Naturally, it was always gonna be Rein who took over this group once Kagami was gone. Kobul even lowered his defense at that. “You’re not Kagami. I’m not sure what kind of joke you’re trying to play, but only the Kagami who is truly Kagami could lead us. Walk, and let your shame guide you.”

Kagami looked into the eyes of all of them. Yet before he could gleam anything, Rein lashed out. “Get out of here!” Her arms swung almost far back enough to hit Flynn who smoothly lurched himself out of the way. “Before you defile the image of my leader in front of my face yet again.”

Kagami saw the scene before him and realized it before anyone else probably had. He had utterly failed. His attempt to cover his substitution had ultimately failed. He couldn’t hold a candle to the role that the man before him played. Yet, that was okay.

There was something he was certain of. It was the fact that, if the man he had heard so much had been standing before this group, everyone… this group, the village, and whoever else remained nearby, would perish.

“I…” he held back his words. He wanted to convince them otherwise, but there was something about them that told him they were not gonna listen to a single word that now escaped his lips. They had deemed him unworthy of even being among them. He could not blame them though. This was a way of life created by the man before him. It would take years of unraveling in order to change this. Yet, he did not have this time. “I wish to caution you all… just one last time.”

Their faces were already disregarding him as a human being and were instead focused on the target of their mission. “Please… if not for me, please… just give enough time to allow the villagers an escape. Enough time to evacuate everyone. That thing…- there’s no way anyone of you guys can beat that.”

They still ignored him as if one might ignore a fly buzzing in an open field of grass. “PLEASE! AT LEAST GIVE SOME TIME!! THAT THING.- THAT THING…- YOU CAN’T POSSIBLY BEAT IT!!”

Meil finally spoke. “You know, I thought of taking initiative on my own and killing you if you had not shown any care for the villagers, but the problem with you can wait.”

“What the hell is wrong with you guys… can you not see it? CAN YOU NOT SEE ITS LEVEL!!?”

Meil curled his lip with an annoyed clicking noise. “That villager over there, the hunter, he’s still alive. We’ll take care of the beast. If it puts you at ease, you can evacuate everyone. They will return in at most an hour.”

There was no swaying these unwavering branches.

Kagami understood instantly and ran to the stout old man, hurling him over his shoulder and hurrying back to the village. This was a situation in which he could not in a million years guess which way it would go.

Even though he had utilized his absolute domain ability, just that couple seconds of usage had left him weary and tired, utterly exhausted really. If it had come down to another fight, he would have failed after the first attack.

The butcher winced as his hands went over Kagami’s shoulder. “Kagami…” He walked with the young man.

“Listen…. You aind I. We’re a lot different from other people. You have an insight beyond what lies in the village… so I can only appeal to you… please don’t try too hard.”

Kagami glanced over at the giant warrior of a man. “Hm? What are you saying?”

“I know what you’re thinking…” He coughed hard. “I’ve already tried it.”

Kagami and the hunter’s eyes met each other. “This village is one averse to change… when I realized this creature I already tried to warn everyone.”

He panted heavily. “I’m sorry. I was hoping my intuition was wrong… so I set out this adventurers posting… I was hoping everyone else would follow along easily with the advice of a prominent adventurer. But… no one else in the village would pitch in to this request.”

“Hm? What do you mean? Why wouldn’t they.”

“I’m an outsider. I’m from the much bigger city of Belrei just a hundred miles from Callistae village here.”

Kagami looked over at him. “I’ve lived here almost 6 years… but it's alright if you couldn’t recognize me. I never expected my public perception to change quickly after-all… I’m just… I’m just a completely unknown substance, trying to enter a small bubble.”

“Eh… Harre?” Harre could barely hold himself up. The burden of weight that was distributed to Kagami was increasing more and more. “You reached the same conclusion I did about that…. Thing. I’m so glad. If someone as trusted as you can agree with me…. The rest of….. The rest of these villagers could see my intentions were true. Since the beginning.”

“Hey. It's alright, stop talking too much. We’ll be home soon.”