Once again, I found myself in a similar situation.
My hand outstretched and looking at a wooden ceiling, it’s almost feels like déjà vu, or so I wished.
I know for a fact that my village is utterly and completely devastated, along with all my loved ones.
Yet, a part of me keeps wishing that it was just merely a nightmare, and I’m back on my bed.
Any moment now Lilithia would call for me to eat breakfast, and I’ll jump right out of bed…
Without me realizing, the tears began to flow again. I stifled my tears (or at least, attempted to), sat up, and looked around at my surroundings.
The best way to describe this place is…a wooden hut. It’s a small, wooden hut about 5 meters by 5 meters. There is almost nothing in the hut except for the bed which I’m lying on, a drawer, a few chairs with an accompanying table, and a few tattered clothes laying around.
Despite the messy arrangement of the clothing, the hut by itself is a clean and neat place. One can tell how much effort the person takes to clean up his or her own living quarters.
“Where is this place..?” (Gideon)
Judging by the sunlight that’s shining through the gaps of the wooden hut, it’s now morning already, early morning to be exact.
My items, where are my items?!
I looked around frantically, but eventually I found them just beside the bed, hidden from my sight. I rummaged through my bag and took a few moments to check if anything was missing. Thankfully, all of my items were still intact, especially the wooden rod that Lilithia passed to me, that’s given to her by my parents.
Unknowingly, I’m still holding on to that small little hope that, perhaps, just perhaps, Lilithia somehow managed to escape and is still safe and sound. I know it’s not possible, but my mind refuses to believe she simply just….died, just like that.
And it’s because of me. It’s entirely my fault.
After checking through my items and wiping off the remaining tears, I went to the door and opened it. A small garden revealed itself before my very eyes, with fruits and vegetables nicely planted in rows. An old man, who was tending to the plants, turned around to look at me.
Even though he looks old, with his face was slightly wrinkly and showing the obvious signs of aging, he is definitely not unfit. Through the thin white shirt of his reveals his well-toned and muscular physique. It was not something you would expect out of an retired-looking old man such as this one.
“Hey there sonny, you’re finally awake! Glad to see you looking fine and chirper.”
I looked around the surroundings, and to the west of the wooden hut, I located the hill which my village resides. Or at least where it has used to reside.
It looked completely different from what it used to be like…and yet it is that difference which made it even more recognizable to me.
The surrounding trees were nearly all but burnt down, leaving only a few sparse survivors. Even then, most of those who were still standing were charred nearly black.
There were huge spots of red lying on the hills, being molten rocks that have erupted from the ground that have yet to cool down. The contrasting colours of dull black and bright red gave the entire hill a look of desolation, a shadow of its former self.
“That was the worst earth-shake that I ever had experienced in my life, woke me up instantly when it happened. I ran out of my house and there you were, lying there on the ground last night, as the hill went up in flames. Never in my entire life did I witness something that terrifying before…if not for the fact that I saw a kid like you lying on the floor, I wouldn’t even risk my life running towards you and bringing you here. Thankfully you aren’t that heavy, else my old bones wouldn’t able to last until I reach this humble abode.”
“My condolence, young lad. I believe that you came from the village from above the hill, didn’t you?”
“…It’s quite obvious, isn’t it?”
“Well, you just seem so sad when you stared at the hill. That look of yours is the look that everyone makes when they look something precious to them.”
“Lad, I understand how you feel. Don’t keep your feelings in yourself; let it out if you need to.”
“…how would you understand? You cannot understand this…this anguish, this pain..!”
The old man came over closer, and tried to say something, but I continued shooting my mouth off before he could.
“NO ONE CAN UNDERSTAND MY PAIN! Nobody can…MY VILLAGE, LOST FOREVER TO ME IN A BLINK OF AN EYE…AND IT’S ALL MY FAULT! I…I caused that disaster…I’m the reason why they died…my family, my fellow villages, my teacher…I KILLED THEM…! Can you…can you even begin to understand, how I’m feeling right now?! EVERYONE PRECIOUS TO ME IS NOW DEAD AND IT’S ENTIRELY MY FAULT! MY FAULT! Uuuuwuuuu…”
Once again, my tears began to flow. I screamed at the top of my lungs, and lost strength in my body, collapsing onto the floor and sitting down in a fetal position. Guilt pangs attacked him again and again as I am constantly reminded of the scene that just happened a few hours ago; as I imagined how the people I know and loved die without even knowing, without even given the chance to escape…
The old man walked to a nearby plant, pulled out a few leaves and returned to his hut. A few minutes later, he came out with a cup of water, infused with the leaves he plucked out. As he walked to where I was still drowning in my sorrows, he passed the cup of water to me, with a kind smile on his face.
“Here, drink this. It’ll help you a little.”
Having neither will nor intention to resist the offer from the old man, I took the cup from him and downed it in one shot. The drink had a near immediate effect, cooling me down a little and clearing my head slightly.
I returned the cup to him, and he sat down on the ground beside me.
“Look sonny, I don’t really fully understand your situation, but there’s one thing I definitely know. And that is, no one in your village would blame you for anything.”
“But how would you k-“
“Hold your tongue for a moment sonny, let this old man speak. I used to be a 1000-men commander, fighting the Overlord’s troops during a war. I witnessed many deaths of comrades-in-arms and good soldiers. The guilt that was accumulating over time is unbearable, as I was the one who sent them to their graves. I ordered them to die, to die for their country. In a way, isn’t that just as good as me killing them as well?”
“But for those who died in front of my eyes, within my arms, they died looking at me, smiling as they passed on. I didn’t understand it at first, but I eventually realized it. They died smiling because they knew I was okay, and most importantly, they didn’t blame me for sending them to their graves. It took me 10 years, 10 whole years to truly understand and accept that fact. To accept the fact that they know they would die, yet they willingly do so for the sake of a better future.”
“As a senior in life, I wish to tell you this so that you won’t be bonded to the past, and make more mistakes down the road, such as I did. Surely you have a goal in life you wish to achieve, am I not right? Do you think your loved ones would want to see you like this, chained down to your past? Of course, I would never say that their deaths are a good thing, but it a fact that they have already died. As for you, the survivor, you have to move on not only for your sake, but for theirs.”
The words this old man said…isn’t wrong. I knew that moping around wouldn’t do any good, and it not that I haven’t sent my fellow ogres to the grave myself in the past; I probably had washed my hands in more blood than the old man had washed his hands with water. However, this matter isn’t something I can just…let go off so easily.
“You’re still so young. In fact, I believe even if I had a grandson, he’ll probably be older than you, don’t you think so? There’s still a long road down ahead for you, and it would be sad to see you start your journey off already bound up.”
He’s right. What am I doing, moping around still? Even without my Ogre past, I’m already fourteen years old, for crying out loud! I need to remove these bonds once and for all, and never look back at it ever again.
I now know what I must do.
I stood up, patted off any dirt on me and prepared myself to leave.
“I understand now…thanks, old man. I feel somewhat enlightened now, slightly. Please excuse my previously unsightly behaviour.”
“Not at all, to be able to make mistakes is a sign of youth, after all. Rising up stronger every time is what separates the good from the bad. You’re…strangely mature of a person your age. I have high expectations from you, sonny.”
The old man threw a wrapped up packet to me, and i promptly caught it with both hands.
“Those are Monzae leaves, infused in water, and it has calming effects, such as just now. When eaten, its effects are stronger, and can remove mental effects such as dazing, charm, fear, etc. It should prove useful on the road.”
“I’ll accept it with thanks.”
I left his garden, my heart filled with gratitude for the old man. Even if it was only for a short period of time, he helped me in more ways than one.
I only realized it, but ever since I became a human, I’ve always been in the debt of others, yet being unable to return the favour. Also, turning into a human has made me extremely emotional, and my mentality is slowly reverted closer to that of a child…that is something that I need to take a good note of.
I went forward towards my next destination: the hill that used to be my home village.
Reaching near the location, the terrain looks completely different. Everything that resembles the village I used to know and lived in, wiped out completely without a trace.
the potion store;
All which are gone, forever replaced with a huge crater that is still giving off smoke and spewing molten earth periodically.
“Such a horrifying curse is placed within me…tch.” (Gideon)
I roared out with fury, and cursed to the heavens.
What was the point of me training so hard? What was the point, that when I spent days after days putting myself through unless tough trainings, and yet, I couldn’t even defend a measly town such as this?
So what if I had all this monstrous strength? How do I possibly fight a curse?
What’s the use of all this strength if I can’t even protect my own clan, my subordinates, and the people that I care about?
Now, I have no place that I can now call home, nor any place where I can rest if I’m tired!
I have nothing. Not even loved ones, and I’m not even allowed to have any loved ones thereafter…I can only depend on myself now.
Even without the curse…I don’t deserve to have happiness of my own. I have to dedicate myself to my original goal.
My life can now exists for only that one single motive: Revenge.
Revenge for my faction; I’ll even go through high heaven and hell, but I’ll kill off every last person related to the purging of my people. Even if that person is the Overlord! Whatever it takes…but first, I must settle everything that ties me down in this village.
With my axe which was given to me by Bratt, I chopped down a small tree down the hill, which barely survived the disaster. I trimmed the trunk and split it into two, thereafter tying it together to resemble a cross-shape.
It’s a poorly designed tomb-mark, but it’ll have to make do, at least for now. I brought it back up to the top of the hill, and stabbed it in a place where the molten rock is now hardened and away from the direction where the molten rocks are flowing in order to minimize the chances of it getting destroyed.
I clapped my hand together to offer a simple, silent prayer and took one last look at my surroundings.
“Forgive me…and farewell, my home.”
With the axe, I sliced through the wooden tomb-mark that I had just made cleanly into half. With this…I had cut off any ties that still bind me to this village.
I no longer have any attachment to this place.
Without looking back thereafter, I left the hill once again for the last time and continuing on towards the next town.
It’s strange though…even when there’s no rain, where are all these droplets of water coming from…?
Author : Kiribou