Hero – Chapter 5: Empty?

The world seemed bigger. But I guess that was because I had shrunk. If I had to take a guess, I was probably 9 in the dream. I was lying on the cold, rough cement sidewalk. The ground around me was stained in some hot red stuff leaking out of my stomach. I wasn’t kicking or screaming or begging for help. I didn’t have the energy or the will to do so. I was just lying there with lifeless, emotionless eyes, gazing at the world around me.

The cruel, cold world, where not a single soul radiates warmth. The heartless world which was neither black nor white. Just an indifferent dark grey. The worthless world filled with people just as worthless. The forsaken world that wasn’t even worth hating.

There was hundreds and thousands of people milling around me. But to them, I was invisible. No that’s wrong. I wasn’t invisible, I was negligible. Then, a little girl that was a little younger than me saw me. She pointed at me and said something to the grown up holding her hand. The grown up covered her eyes and dragged her away.

As the blood drained away, I lost what was left of my energy and closed my eyes. When I opened them again, I saw the world beneath by feet. I was standing on some sort of invisible platform. From up here, people looked like the ants they are. No… that’s an insult to ants. After all, humans are the worst of the worst, beneath even amoebas. No exceptions, not me, not you, not anyone else.

Suddenly, I heard a voice from behind me, “It is a pleasure to meet you, my valiant [Hero]. I am what the humans worship as ‘goddess’ but you may simply call me Christine.”

To that I replied, “Well aren’t you a new part to this dream? In the hundreds of times I’ve been here, you’re the only variation. I’m guessing you’re the goddess that brought me away from that shithole into a dump just as shitty if not worse? Well I’ve got two words to say to you. And they aren’t ‘thank you’ they’re ‘fuck you’”.

Goddess or not, I was just snarky and cynical as ever. After all, why should I care? The worst that can happen is I suffer unimaginable torment. I had nothing to lose. Everything I could lose had long since been sacrificed. This summoning just erased what ties of sentiment I had left.

“You really do remind me of a crustacean. Just like them, you had your soft interior behind a hard but fragile carapace. Though I suppose most of you humans are like that. Guarding delicate psyches with tinted glass personas.” Christine said amusedly.

I was mildly offended by those words, so I tried to show my individuality via not so unconventional words. “What are you talking about? I’m clearly different.”

The goddess seemed to be getting more and more amused as she laughed, “Yes, you mortals do like to think that you’re different from everyone else.”

“What can I say? People can be summed up as 6.8 billion copies of the same individual. The only difference is who made us. After all, at our core, humans all function the exact same way. Coldly, ruthlessly, heartlessly. No different from machines save for the fact that we’re a lot dumber than them. But I really am different from what you think. I don’t use my persona to guard my interior. I am my persona. After all, when the flesh isn’t there, all that’s left is the shell.”

It seemed like my reply entertained her even more as this time she just burst out laughing. Eventually, she said while wiping away her tears of laughter, “I can see why you’d end up like that. Though since I’m merely viewing what happened in your nightmare, I don’t quite know the full story. But that raises the question: are you really empty? Or are you simply too full? Full of resentment and despair to the point where you can only see darkness. Darkness which you take to be emptiness. That brings about another question. What makes you think emptiness isn’t light?”

“You’re the god here. You tell me. After all, aren’t you deities supposed to be omniscient? That said, darkness and light are two sides of the same coin. Being different sides doesn’t change the fact that they’re the same. All good deeds are done with a dark motive. History’s most heinous villains are ones who hold the greatest belief in justice. If that’s the case, why view light and dark separately? They’re one and the same in the end. Drawing a line between the two is a waste of effort.” The question she asked was one I asked myself a trillion times over. It was just another way to ask, ‘who am I?’. Honestly, to this day, I haven’t gotten a perfect answer. I’ve tried a hundred thousand answers. In the end, not a single one fit.

To my words, she simply said, “Gods are not truly all-knowing. We only seem that way because we see more than mortals. And what we see, is not clouded by as much emotion.”

I decided to take the offensive and retorted, “If you’re not affected by emotions, it’d be impossible to bribe you. If you’re not affected by emotions, there’s no way you’d care about the world enough to call me here. Oh and while we’re on the topic of my summoning, what the hell is that power I’m supposed to have supposed to be?”

She smiled and replied, “Didn’t that girl Elaine tell you already? She’s the 15th princess of the kingdom you’re in incase you didn’t know. When you wield your sword as a [Hero] the power shall awaken and grant you the ability to act on your decision.”

I retorted with, “Do I look like an easy con to you? What decision? You basically said if I don’t be a hero I’ll never be able to access it. What kind of choice is that? Besides aren’t I supposed to be given some sort of overpowered cheat ability as compensation for summoning me? What kind of bullshit are you trying to pull here?”

She gave a mocking smile and said, “Hm? I’m simply answering the wishes of those who ‘bribed’ me. Trust is important when being corrupt after all. If you breach that trust, who would trust you enough to even bother ‘bribing’ you? They begged for a [Hero] to save them and that’s what I gave them. You. You who has no ties. You who could care less about life and death. You who could laugh in the face of ungodly torture. You who will bear the weight of the world at the cost of yourself. While you may not know or see it yet, I am not wrong in trusting you. After all, you may not see yourself as a hero, but that’s what you are. I just made the title official by declaring you [Hero].”

“So go on my mighty [Hero]. Be valiant and brave and carve a way out of this darkness with your sword. Bring about hope to this hopeless world. Banish into the abyss those who would drag it into damnation. Who knows? You may find your truth on this journey. But before you set out, I suggest you realize that this isn’t the world you came from. So please, do not forsake it before you’ve seen what it has to offer.”

Right after Christine said that, I woke up. Correction, I was woken up. By a man-ape that puts gorillas to shame.

“Lord He-, Lord! Wake up! It’s morning!”

“Stop calling me lord already. It’s annoying. Call me… hmmm… Call me Wes. Wes Shadow.” Naturally, that was a fake name. But in a sense I guess it fit in with this world.

The man-ape told me the day’s schedule, “Very well sir Wes. Breakfast had been prepared. After your meal, there will be a tour of the castle. This will be followed by a tour of the city. Afterwards, the pope will give you lessons on the goddess’s glory.”

“Ah before all that bullshit, get me some alcohol. Strongest you have in the castle. I need a drink. And I don’t care if it’s too early to start drinking. You either give it to me or I fade away once again.”

Author’s note: As always, comments are appreciated and encouraging. And I’m still looking for that artist to help me out. For FREE. If you’re willing, email me at h0rr1bl3cpu@gmail.com.

P.s. If you came from royalroad, leaving a rating there would be useful

Written By H0RR1BL3CPU

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7 Replies to “Hero – Chapter 5: Empty?”

  1. raul

    The story is fun, but the coolest ending would be he suiciding right now, so he would not be the hero they want he to be and this god would be wrong about him….

  2. Bakker

    Thanks for the chapter !

    I love cynical protagonists but this chapter gave bad vibes, it feels like between coincidences, plots devices, fateful encounters and the protagonist becoming a pushover/tundere whenever it’s useful for the plot and later discovering a benevolent and self-sacrificing side to himself, he will actually become the Hero, one way or another.

    I really hope that the premise of the story isn’t betrayed later.

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