The child headed back to the village. Right now, the place where he had lived for the past eight years was burning, the few valuable things the villagers had managed to gather during their poor life pillaged as the cries of women and children broke the quietness of the night.
Roofs and walls came crashing down and slowly turned into ashes as the fire burned the wooden buildings to the ground. The cold night heated up thanks to those flames. The child smiled as he walked in between the flaming debris, as if the fire posed no threat to him.
Step by step, he headed towards the only part in the village that had yet to burn down: here, the houses weren’t built with wood, instead, all the building were made out of stone. Although this may have saved many villagers from the fire, it would not save them from the biggest threat: the bandits.
At the moment, dozens of people clad in black were rushing down the paved roads, each held a sack in one hand and a weapon in the other. Some let go of the loot to grab women instead, but one thing didn’t change: if you were not gold, silver, some precious ore or a beauty, you would get cut down on the spot.
In between all this chaos of people screaming and buildings falling, the child kept smiling as he headed towards the one place where he remembered the people of Stonewood Township would be able to defend themselves from the bandits’ raid: the major’s mansion.
He walked up to the town plaza and no one seemed to notice him. It didn’t matter if it was a bandit looting a house, a rogue raping a woman or one of the criminals drinking stolen wine, they all didn’t notice this shadow that swept by them. And, of course, they didn’t notice when their heads fell on the ground, their visage still contorted into feral grins and sadistic smiles…
One by one, the noise quieted down, leaving only the cracking sounds coming from the flames. The people that had hid themselves in the mansion were now even more scared: did the bandits leave? Or were they only preparing to attack them? Or did something even scarier come in their place?
Finally, after a few minutes, one of the bravest hunters in the village stepped out of the safe haven that was the major’s mansion. People waited the news anxiously and every second that passed seemed to last hours. After ten minutes, the man came back.
There was no trace of the usual courage on his face, the only expression was terror, pure terror. He was shaking from head to toe, and only after he drank some of the best whisky did he tell everyone else of what had happened outside.
“Death. Outside there is only death. Pools of blood, countless dead bodies, headless corpses whose heads are still grinning, as if they still haven’t realized that they are dead…” Although he could speak, he still shook as he remembered the scenes “But… This is nothing. In the plaza, I found the cause to all of this. It was… a boy. No more than eight years old and he was wearing nothing. But that was no problem, because his body was so dyed in the red blood that it worked as a robe itself!”
“When I stepped into the plaza, I didn’t make any noise, yet he turned towards me, as if he had somehow… Sensed me. ‘Uncle, what is my name?’ He had asked. I got closer and closer… Maybe it was a rush of adrenaline, but I wasn’t so scared anymore. Anyways, when I got closer I was even more shocked…”
The man turned towards a couple holding each other close in a corner of the building “Master Fen, please brace yourself… It was Hao’ Er! But his eyes were totally different, they were ruthless, cold, as if he hadn’t just killed a hundred people by himself! Those were not the eyes of a child… They were the eyes of a demon that had fought countless battles and slaughtered millions!”
The man curled up in his chair as everyone patted on his back and poured him more alcohol. In the corner, the two people, a man and a woman, trembled. The man was called Cheng Fen, the woman Ning Rong and they were Cheng Hao’s parents. Cheng Fen was also the town major.
“At that time, I couldn’t help but answer truthfully ‘Child, your name is Cheng Hao, you are this town major’s son’, I said” the man shook his head “Hao’ Er pondered for a while, I did not dare interrupt him, since my instincts told me that if I did I would most likely end up like those people on the ground…”
“After a while, the child had smiled and had nodded at me ‘Cheng Hao, uh? Good name… Since I have technically stolen his body, I will make sure to use his name to repay him! Thank you for telling me, Uncle! These dead bandits are my way to thank you and the village of everything you have done for me up to today!'”
Cheng Fen was shocked: was that person truly the same foolish child of his that couldn’t hurt a fly? How could he not be surprised when he found out that the one person that had cleared the village of the bandits… Was his own kind and gentle son! He shook his head in disbelief but then he still asked “And then? What happened? Where is Hao’ Er?”
The hunter shook his head “I’m sorry, I don’t know…” He lifted his head towards Cheng Fen and his wife “H-He just… disappeared!”
Author’s Note: Yep. This is the end of Arc 1: The Child And The Dragon.
How do you like the story so far? Is the pace to your liking? Are the characters enjoyable? Which one is your favorite? Please comment so that I can satisfy my thirst for fame!!!!! get better!