By Richard L.
“Oh, hello mister! Glad to know that you’re awake! My daddy is making breakfast right now!” I smiled. “Ah, thank you, I’ll be there in a moment.” Once I made my way towards the interior, I came upon the person who had guided me out of the barren wasteland.
“Ah, hey there mate! It’s ‘bout time that you got up! Everybody else had already gone out, I just decided to wait for you. I’m cooking some eggs for you, is that okay?” I couldn’t feel any more delighted.
“Yes of course. Again, I must thank you for your ever most appreciated hospitality; it’s been a very long time since someone as kind as you came upon my path.”
He grinned while a sharp glint shined upon his teeth. “Ah, don’t sweat it mate. Every traveler is welcome to our humble village.” I went to a nearby ceramic table and situated myself on a leather chair.
The metal from my armor had clinked together as I sat, giving an assortment of screeching sounds to my disposal. I remembered that I had abandoned my lance a long time ago, it was simply too much of a burden to carry along with me. Once I relaxed myself to utter comfort, I waited patiently for my breakfast. I felt like I was a child again. Waiting for delectable food while recklessly thrashing around the house, it sure brought back memories. After a couple of minutes, a marble plate was displayed in front of me with a variety of delicacies and scrambled eggs.
Slobber uncontrollably drizzled down the edges of my lips. I immediately started to wolf down the meal until there wasn’t a speck left. If I wasn’t mentally and physically obliterated, I might’ve critiqued it a bit, but at the time, it was the best meal in every conceivable way.
“That was truly delicious, I thank you from the bottom of my soul.” He snorted and chortled to himself at the same time. “My cooking isn’t that exceptional.” I grabbed my belongings to head out the village to continue my journey. “Alright, I’ll be heading out now, you have my blessing.” When I headed out the door, the stranger shouted behind himself. “You sure mate? You can stay here more if you like- that is, if you’re not in a rush.”
“Really? That would be wonderful- thank you.” Once I went out, the scenery was breathtaking. Clay houses of straw and stone fit in perfectly with the environment as debris and dust brushed every solid object. Kids ran around tirelessly with an endless supply of energy, a fountain of gleaming water sprayed tiny droplets which clinged to the pebbles in the air, and domesticated cows patrolled the streets.
Just when I thought the world couldn’t be any more compassionate, someone had appeared behind me; waiting. When I had noticed their presence, a question emerged from their mouth.
“Excuse me sir, would you perhaps consider referring to yourself as a knight?” He looked like a small child, but his voice interrupted the illusion with a deep, middle-aged man sound. It was so abrupt that I couldn’t think about what I was going to say, intuition took over.
He seemed intrigued, a look of suspicion mixed with incredulity was plastered across his face. “Have you ever heard the name Kazimir?” I gulped. I realized the situation I brought upon myself. “No, I’m afraid I’ve never heard of such a name.”
The interviewer squinted his eyes, he knew that I was hiding something. “Okay then, sorry for using your time sir…”
I tried to act naive and clueless. “It’s completely fine, I hope you find this individual you were mentioning…”
His face gradually turned into an opaque shade of pink, the center of his cheeks were the reddest part of his entire face. He turned away, sweeping dust from his outfit. I headed the other direction, trying to separate the strands of my hair that got stuck together by a sticky substance. As I checked out more of the village, I felt increasingly cozy in my surroundings. It reminded me of a word that had faded out from my mind, never to be mentioned again for all of eternity; home. People of all ages and appearances went past my way. A young couple enjoying a pleasant stroll across broken rocks, a senior walking with her son to a nearby restaurant, a gang of rowdy teenagers eager to engage in any activity; this place was bursting with life. Such sights replenished my soul, made me remember that I was still alive. In a foul and sinister desert, it seemed as if this village changed all of that, it brought out its own world with its own set of values.
I was feeling exuberant at the time, but it wouldn’t be long before conflict would cross paths with my fate once again. A small child ran past me in the opposite direction I was heading; he was carrying a worried expression. I decided to find out what was happening to him, so I turned around and began my walk slowly. But, it wouldn’t be long before I reached what he was worried about. A caravan of lowly bandits had been holding either his friend or his brother hostage. I could hear shouts in the distance. “Give us the money, and there will be no issues.” A large nomad-like brute had been holding a child as if he was a stuffed toy. “I’ll tell you again, give us the MONEY.” Some worried parents had been weeping together while begging for mercy.
I wanted to turn away, say it wasn’t my problem. However, just as I dragged myself around, something tugged at me to go. It had told me that if I wanted to become a hero, this would be the chance to redeem myself. I sighed and agreed. I focused on the attackers, one brute and three minions. I concentrated, determined to save the innocent civilians. I pulled out a broadsword from my holster. Sneaking up closer and closer, I eventually came up to the point where I was right next to them. They noticed my arrival.
“Who dares sneak up on us?” The brute faced me, a gaping scar had streaked his appearance. He swung a massive club, which I managed to duck under. I lunged at him with all my might with the broadsword at the right side of my waist. It pierced his armor and went deep into his flesh. He yelped in pain as he alerted his minions. I made quick work of each one, kicking and punching every part of the body I could come into contact with. At the end, not a single dent even went into my armor, I was unscathed. Still writhing in agony, the head bandit managed to make out a couple of words from his mouth. “Impressive. Never before have I considered that a small worm would be able to hurt me.” He coughed up blood, the acrid liquid spilled across the brick tiles, leaving black stains.
“I don’t know where you come from traveler, but I’m going to teach some manners into you.” While he was speaking, he readied his arm to launch another attack. I prepared myself.
Suddenly, a grin spread across his face. I hesitated, irritated by this abrupt gesture. The bandit then proceeded to take a small bottle out of one of his multiple pockets. Before I knew it, he began to pour the contents onto his club, drenching it until completely soaked. I had no idea what the substance was, but I knew it had to be potentially dangerous. He placed the massive club from his hand and gripped it with his teeth. I had no idea what was to come, a sharp sense of fear and anxiousness shriveled up my back. The bandit took a small little rock, black to the brim. Then, he took a shiny object, appearing to be some sort of metal.
I had no idea what it was at the time until I began to examine what the liquid was. It was a putrid, tan-yellow color. A chill went up to my head. Oh no. It was lighter liquid, a common substance used to make fires. Even before I saw him light it up, I already saw a scorching blaze in his eyes. He laughed endlessly. He took the metal part and struck it against the flint with all his strength. Veins popped out from his arms while multiple sparks flew in every direction. Unfortunately, some landed onto the club. Instantly, the club was set ablaze. The minions were more motivated when they saw the newly acquired weapon.
“Oh now you’re going to get it little shrimp!” One of them said.
“No one’s gonna save you now! Say ya prayers!” Another one exclaimed.
A vast adrenaline rush came into my body. I was trembling. Whether or not I would possibly perish, it didn’t matter, I was thankful for one last time to pay for my wrongdoings. The world went silent. The only sound that was present was a piercing, loud, blaring noise that covered up everything. The thief began to charge at me. My body quickly started moving on its own, by instinct. I remembered to keep my distance between myself and the opponent. If I slipped up, this would be a very short story. I kept my broadsword to my waist, ready to strike at any moment. Once he got close enough, I shifted to the side and swung at his hips. I shattered his armor, but his actual body was unaffected. What soon came was a heavy vertical swing, directly aimed at my lower body. I dodged. I proceeded to then hack and slash at his armor repeatedly until only shards remained on his body. I coughed in exhaustion. However, the thief was furious, it seemed as if the fire began to roar in anger and hatred. It appeared white. He swung at my side. Unfortunately, I was too tired to fully evade the attack. The club going through my shoulder plate and scalding my arm a bit.
I was surprised, but the pain was somewhat manageable. After all, I had to deal with everything I knew burning right in front of me, so I was resistant at this point. In fact, to try and suppress the pain, I started laughing while I patted the area. The thief took notice of this.
“What’s wrong with you? Are you laughing because you know you’re going to get pummeled into the ground?” He chuckled at his own joke. I chuckled myself, but not because of what he said.
“No, I’m just laughing because you think a puny little fire will stop me.” His face became more and more pleased.
Eventually, he started cackling like a madman. “Hahaha! You think that I can’t stop you? This fire I’m holding will melt you like ice if I touch you!”
I placed myself into a fighting position. He came closer and closer. All of a sudden, I stopped breathing. I made myself completely silent. And as the brute and his little followers came nearer by the second, snickering to themselves, I couldn’t help but feel bad for them. I plunged at the bandit within a second, my arm using every fiber that was in it to push through the body. It was like slashing a knife through a thick piece of meat. My sword came out the other side, slicing a portion of his abdomen.
My sword was swung high in the air. The brute fell to the ground without any complications. What I didn’t realize was that there was a crowd forming around the battle, and, when I made the bandit fall to the ground, the crowd cheered and cheered. Some mothers even began thanking me while holding their young ones.
The minions were startled, but still determined. One by one, I evaded their attacks and pierced them with my trusty weapon. When the job was done, I slid my sword into its holster, as if ending the battle entirely. The moment it slipped in, my hearing kicked in again. Cheers and screams were exchanged among the citizens. Then, the person who had guided me to the village stepped up to me. I had no idea that he had been watching me.
“Wow, you sure taught these thugs what you’re made of didn’t you mate? Didn’t expect you to cause a ruckus here in this village, but I’m glad you took care of them. Those were part of the Blazing Dragon Gang, a notorious group known for terrorizing these parts. Thanks mate.”
“No problem, I’m just pleased that I could help,” I responded. Gradually, as the crowd subsided, a familiar figure stood boldly. The interviewer from earlier. As I stepped towards him, he looked not happy with me whatsoever. He knew. “Well if isn’t the hero of the day. I’m happy to meet you, Kazimir.”
“What do you want with me?” I said.
His cheeks puffed up once more. “I’m going to need you to be relocated to a local prison, of course.”
I gulped. “Why should I go?”
The little man cleared his throat. “Attention everyone! Your local hero is actually a falsely accused man of justice! This is the criminal, Kazimir!”
Some people put their hand on their mouths and gasped.
“He has committed the sin of murdering all the innocent people of his local village!”
No, I thought to myself. This can’t be happening again. Multiple strong looking men appeared from the crowd. Several of them looked like fathers, willing to do anything to protect their family and home. I couldn’t blame them.
As they started coming closer, I began to protest. “No, you’ve got this all wrong! I never meant to do such a thing!” I couldn’t fight them, I wouldn’t make the same mistake twice. Even the man who I considered my friend and gave me everything I could wish for at the time looked disappointed, even angry. Perhaps he felt ashamed he helped such a infamous wrongdoer. Eventually, a person shouted from the crowd.
“GET ‘IM!” I began running once more. Running from my mistakes, running from the crowd, and running from my dignity.
TO BE CONTINUED(?)