Loss

 

 

I raced across several streets and turned several into several more streets by following the navigation arrow that was pointing the way. Several minutes later, I arrived at the end of the village and I promptly stopped there to stare at the vast forest that was just outside the gates.

 

In these several months that I lived in this world, I had never ventured outside the village compounds. Why? It’s because I was scared about what I find in the outside world and that’s why I chose to take comfort in living here in the shelter of Erina and The Elder. Now, however, I have to come out of my comfort zone and go out to save the people that sheltered me these last few months.

 

“You there. Are you okay?”

 

I suddenly heard a loud voice calling me and I snapped out of my reverie to look in the direction the voice came from. It was a guard that called me and he was holding a spear as he walked towards me with a concerned look on his face.

 

“What’s the matter? You seem to be in a hurry.”

 

“Yeah. I am,” I replied and I looked at him quickly for answers. “Did you happen to see a man carrying a woman and a baby? He might be holding a weapon to them or something?”

 

The man’s eyes sharpened and he replied, “I have! A few minutes ago, a man was riding a fast moving horse and he seemed to be kidnapping a woman and a baby.”

 

My eyes widened sharply in shock as the man continued speaking in a sorrowful manner.

 

“I tried to stop him, but he was making his horse run so fast that I had to get out of the way. Don’t worry, though, because I alerted the authorities and they soon will chase after him.”

 

I could not believe what the man was saying and I shouted in his face, “By the time they come, he’ll be long gone with the hostages!”

 

The guard winced at my loud shouting and other people around looked at us with strange looks in their eyes. I didn’t care because they are people who have no idea of how serious the situation was to me.

 

“Calm down, lad,” said the guard and I stared at him angrily. “What can you do on your own?”

 

I glared at him and said sharply, “I’ll be chasing after him and hopefully have the chance to stop him before he does anything to the hostages instead of standing around and chitchatting with a guard!”

 

I deeply regrated those words, but my emotions were a little explosive at that moment because of the tension I was under. The guard looked hurt at my words, but he nodded his head as if he understood how I was feeling.

 

“I take it those people were relatives to you. Sorry lad. I wish I can help, but I’m a guard and this is my station. I cannot leave it, but you can.”

 

He pointed towards a side of the station house and I saw a horse with its reins tied to the wall.

 

“Take the horse and chase after that man. Make sure to rescue your relatives and capture that man alive, but don’t take chances. Men like him are mongrels that have no sympathy and will not any mercy towards their target. Do whatever it means to staying alive and protecting them; even if it means killing him.”

 

I was momentarily stunned by the man’s words.

 

“K-Killing him…?”

 

“If you are out of options,” said the guard and he patted me on the shoulder reassuringly. “To do the right thing, you must make the right choice. The choice is yours.”

 

With that said, he left me and quickly walked over to another guard to talk for a bit. A moment later, the guard walked over to the horse, untied the reins and brought the black steed towards me. Once he reached me, the guard handed the reins over to me.

 

“Here,” the guard said to me with a firm look on his face. “Go.”

 

I looked at the guard for a moment before I took the reins of the horse, which looked at me steadily. She was a beautiful black horse with a nicely built body that showed that it can travel a long distance and run as long as it was willed to go.

 

So, I patted the horse gently as the guard helped me get onto it, but I was nervous. This was my very first time getting on a horse and I was feeling nervous, but it seems I was calm due to the tension. It made me feel relaxed as I gently patted the horse on the side of its neck.

 

“Pat her well and give her an apple and she will ride with you forever,” said the guard and I managed to crack a a small smile on my tension driven face.

 

I was wrong to get angry at him and I softly said, “Sorry.”

 

The guard waved his hand and smiled a little before he said, “That’s okay, lad. Now, go and I pray the gods be with you!”

 

I smiled and confidently said, “Thanks!”

 

I took the horse reins from the guard and at that moment, a window popped up with a message.

 

“You have earned the title: Novice Rider.”

 

Great. Even the messenger thing is making fun of me, but I did not wait to snap at it. Instead, I focused on putting the horse into motion after taking two apples from the guard. In an instant, the horse reared onto its back legs and took off at an unbelievable high speed.

 

“Wow!”

 

I shouted as the wind blew against my face and a loud noise drummed against my ears from how fast we went. During that time, I heard a small sound before a small window popped up in front of me.

 

“You have learnt a new ability: Horse Riding.”

 

“Just like that? Wow!”

 

That’s what I thought because I had never expected to learn to ride a horse so easily, but I suspect that I’m still a novice like the message I received earlier. In any case, I focused my senses and set my horse to travel through the forest in the direction the navigation icon was pointing towards.

 

It took me a while to travel through the forest and I found nothing interesting to look inside it. Sure, there were small monsters and cute animals, but nothing mattered except saving Erina and Serina. So, I race through the forest at high speed with my borrowed horse before bursting out of the thickets into bright sunlight.

 

“Ah!”

 

I cried out loud in surprise and covered my eyes as the horse continued to gallop on without my urging. It seemed the horse sensed his desperation and made sure to ran on while making sure he stayed on it from falling off from the jerkiness.

 

I blinked my eyes quickly to recover my vision and once I did, I was a little surprised. It looked like I was in some sort of valley that only had one way forward with high walls on either side. The scenario was impressive and I smiled a little as the horse galloped on without stopping to take a break.

 

“Where…? Where…?”

 

I constantly looked left and right to find any clue of their whereabouts while looking up at the navigation icon pointing the way. It’s there for the reason to direct me in the right direction, but I did not want to rely on it too much because it could be faulty. That bastard might’ve used some sort of tracking diversion type method to misdirect me, so I have to use my senses as well to track him.

 

“Reeiiggghhh!”

 

The horse suddenly cried out and came to a sliding stop, which caused me to jerk and almost fall off the horse. Feeling a little pain from my side, I looked forward and was surprised to find a slip in the valley. Two ways in two different directions with no indication that they ever meet further ahead.

 

“At times like these when the navigation thing comes in handy,” I muttered.

 

I looked at the navigation icon and saw that it was pointing towards the left direction. Relying on this gaming system completely might not be a good idea because there’s reality mixed in with it. So, I leaned over my horse and checked to see horse prints on the sandy ground below. Sure enough, I saw horse prints heading towards the left.

 

“Neeiiggghhh!”

 

My horse tossed its head upward and turned towards the left as if to confirm what was happening.

 

“Oh? You think so too?” I asked and momentary laughed. I steadied the reigns and said, “Let’s go!”

 

I put the horse into motion with the reins and the horse began to gallop in the left direction of the valley. It was a push as I used the reins to push the horse to gallop faster than it normally did. After all of this, I fear that I might be sick from stomach ache because of not being accustomed to horse riding. Still, I hope Erina and Serina are doing better than me in that bastard’s hands.

 

It’s been almost half-an-hour before I managed to see dust rising ahead. I wasn’t sure whether it was the bastard or someone else that was in pursuit of him to save the two poor people. I soon found out a few seconds later as I drew closer to them to realise it was the bastard that was charging his horse to race through the valley at high speed.

 

I could not see Erina or Serina, but I could see a trail of long hair over his shoulders. Wanting to confirm, I pushed my horse to draw neck and neck with him only to find a shocking sight.

 

The man had one hand on the reins and the other holding a sword near Erina’s neck as she held her baby daughter in her arms. She was crying and had blood coming from various spots on her exposed parts of arms and skins. Serina did not look harmed and appeared to be sleeping, which made me feel relieved.

 

I turned toward the bastard and glared fiercely at him as, at that moment, he caught my eye. It took him a moment to recognise me and once he did, his eyes were filled with mad rage. Erina also saw him and did not seem able to move her mouth in fear of slitting her throat because of a small movement of the mouth.

 

“Urgh!”

 

The man shouted and he released his left hand on the reins to pull out a sword from the left side of his waist. He pulled out a very long sword and swung it in an arc to try and cut me near the neck.

 

“Oh!”

 

I shouted and I ducked just in time to avoid the sword. Reacting quickly, I unsheathed my halberd and met his next swung at me. I continued to slam my spear against his while my horse kept side by side with his horse, but I was losing the battle. Why? It’s because I’m fighting on a horse back for the first time in my life. Forget about managing to ride the horse the first time because it becomes completely different once you try fighting on it for the first time.

 

“You’re weak like the brat that you are!” the man shouted as he swung forcefully against me.

 

“Nothing compared to a cold hearted bastard like you!” I shouted back while doing my best to fight. “How can you kill your own father-in-law and kidnap your wife along with your newly born daughter?!”

 

“They hurt me and I wanted payment! This is my revenge and I want payment from my wife that dared to abandon me!”

 

I could not believe it what he was saying and I began to question his sanity. It seemed that his time in the jail had made him go insane and finally made him decide on a quest for revenge against those that hurt him the most. In the process, he killed The Elder and kidnapped his own wife and daughter.

 

“You make me sick!” I said sharply in a disgusted voice. “How can you do so much cruelty to your own family?!”

 

“Family? Mine?” he asked and stopped attacking me with a look of alarm on his face. “You consider these failure of beings as my family?”

 

“Obviously!” I retorted.

 

The man laughed madly and said, “Parasites! They are nothing, but leaches that live off my wealth.”

 

I widened my eyes in horror from the cruel merciless words this heartless man uttered. If my dad was here right now, he would skin this man alive because my dad has great respect towards women. That’s also part of the reason he buys whatever my mother asks him, but that’s another matter altogether.

 

“You are worse than the monsters that people kill for meat and experience!” I shouted angrily with a hateful expression on my face. “They care enough to protect their family, but you’ve just proven yourself to be far below them!”

 

The man just laughed and said, “Stop comparing me to lowly creatures. It gets boring.”

 

“What?!” I exclaimed sharply.

 

“Also, I’ve had enough of you!”

 

He suddenly swung his sword at me and caught me off guard, but I quickly blocked his sword thanks to my reflexes. Still, the force he released so strong that I was knocked off my horse and I fell on the sandy ground. I was not injured, but I punched the ground and looked towards him as he brought his horse to a stop.

 

“You were never a match for me, stupid brat!” the man shouted with a crazy expression on his face while Erina cried silently with Serina cuddled in her arms. “Just to make sure you don’t after me, I’ll let you have these for company!”

 

With saying those words, the man dropped a pair of crystals on the ground and they smashed upon falling down. A moment later, a magic circle appeared upon the crashed spot before a pair of black swirling dogs appeared. They were growling savagely at him as the man laughed from behind them while mounted on his horse.

 

“Good luck surviving them, brat,” said the man and he laughed at me. He turned his horse around and said casually in a carrying voice, “Now, time to head over to the slave market and collect my money.”

 

He set his horse aside and began to gallop away at high speed without stopping. Erina momentarily made eye contact with me and my eyes widened as I realised she was asking for his help. It made him angry at himself for being unable to do anything, but grovel on the ground while he headed over to the slave market.

 

“Huh? Slave Market?” I asked out loud in a surprised voice.

 

The Slave Market is a place where people can either sell a slave for money or buy a useful slave in exchange for money. It’s a common place for any MMO and RPG type games played by many people in my world. So, it isn’t unusual for me to hear that term, but alarms were raised in my mind by the way he used it as he took off.

 

“Neeeiiiggghhh!!!”

 

“Rrraaaagggghhhh!!!”

 

“Ah!”

 

I shouted in surprise as the black swirling dogs suddenly attacked me without warning. It seemed that I was so deep in thought that I did not notice the monsters make their move towards me. Thanks to my horse, however, I managed to snap out of my reverie just in time to get myself out of the dogs’ way.

 

“Damn! I don’t have time to waste on you!” I unintentionally shouted at them.

 

I grabbed my spear, which had fallen a few feet away, and began to attack these monsters. Damn! They are strong. I didn’t know what they are, but they are somehow very different from monsters. They did have a solid form, but the black swirling substance feels unnatural. I mean, this world is unnatural in itself, but this unnatural monster thing is different.

 

Two monsters leaped towards me and I ducked to avoid them before cutting the two monsters in front of me. In an instant, the monsters were cut in half and seemed to turn into a black mist that got absorbed into my halberd because of its ability of Soul Absorption.

 

“Ouch!”

 

I cried out in shock as something sharp cut me across my left arm, which made me jump away. Not paying any attention to my injury, I swirled around and cut at the monster that attacked me. Like the other two, it turned into black mist and got absorbed into my halberd.
It did not take me long to destroy the monsters, but truth be told, these things are difficult to battle if you were a novice. Thankfully, my daily exercises and farming had strengthened my stats and helped me gain the needed values to defeat these monsters easily.

 

With the last of them destroyed, I took a deep breath just as a window popped up to show me my messages.

 

“All of your stats increased by 5 points.”

“You have earned the title: Novice Spearman.”

“You have earned the title: Novice Warrior.”

“You have earned the title: Fiend Slayer.”

 

I looked at the window briefly and turned away to face my horse, which had trotted towards me once the battle was over. Smiling a little, I took out an apple and fed it to the horse, which munched it gratefully while I patted it affectionately.

 

“Thanks to you, I survived,” I said to the horse, which continued to eat happily.

 

Just then, I heard a sound in my mind and saw a window popup in front of me.

 

“You have earned the job: Horse Tamer LV1.”

 

“Funny,” I said simply with a small smile on my face.

 

Once it was done eating, it lowered itself to the ground for me to get on. Happy, I quickly got onto the horse and it rose to its feet with a firm breathing as it prepared to race. Nodding my head in understanding, I made the horse go into a full gallop and we raced after the man as fast as we could.

 

Within several minutes, I caught up with the man once again as we seemed to be nearing the exit of the valley. This isn’t good because, once he is out on the plain field, he’ll have more opportunities to distract me while he heads away towards wherever the Slave Market is located.

 

“Stop, dammit!” I shouted loudly as my horse drew closer to his.

 

The man turned around and upon seeing it was me, he snorted and shouted, “Not you again?!”

 

He put his hand into his breast pocket of the shirt he was wearing and pulled out several more of those crystals. They were the same as the one he had used to try and slow me down by using Summoning Crystals to summon fiends to attack me. This time, however, I was not going to give him the chance because I had enough of this bastard.

 

So, I carefully rose to my feet and held my spear firmly in my hand. The galloping speed and the vibrating body of the horse made it difficult for me to get a firmer standing position, but at least, I managed to stand without falling off like the beginner that I am.

 

I held my halberd firmly in my hand for a moment before swinging it down in an arc, which released a slicing energy wave that soared away to the side and slammed against the valley wall. In an instant, the wall shook violently before rocks came tumbling down to bar our way. His horse tumbled and fell, dropping the riders onto the ground while I gently brought my horse to a steady halt.

 

“I hope Erina and Serina are fine from my recklessness,” I prayed hopefully in my mind.

 

The horse lowered for me to jump off and once I did, I nudged its side to indicate that it should stay away. Obeying without question, the horse neighed once before trotting away to a safe distance as I slowly walked towards where the dust was clearing.

 

“Rrraaaagggghhhh!!!”

 

A loud roaring noise was heard and five fiend dogs appeared as they attempted to bite at me with their sharp black fangs. I, quickly, moved my halberd in the way and cut down three of the Fiend Dogs while the remaining two stepped away to glare fiercely at me. I forgot to mention that the halberd is a little heavy to use, but I managed to swing it well thanks to my increasing values in strength.

 

The two of the Fiend Dogs stalked around me and growled loudly as they showed their teeth to me. I kept my guard up and held my halberd in a ready position to take them down. The standoff lasted a few seconds before the two monsters chased at me with one following after the other.

 

I took a reflexive step back and swung my halberd at the first dog that leaped towards me, cutting it into two. Sadly, I did not manage to react in time for the second Fiend Dog that had leaped after its brother and berried its fangs into my right arm.

 

“Ah!”

 

I cried out in alarm and pain as the monster bit into my arm as fiercely as it could in an attempt to rip my arm off. Blood seeped out quickly and made me feel q little dizzy from losing so much blood so quickly. Through the pain and dizziness, I took a glance towards my Health Window and the values are getting dangerously low.

 

HP: 70/150
CON: 60/150

 

“Get off me!”

 

I shouted and swung myself around in an attempt to get rid of that fiend, but it was no use. It kept attached to me like a magnet and won’t let go as it caused me more bleeding and pain.

 

“Dammit it all! Arrrggghhh!!!”

 

I screamed and in that pain stacked moment, I skilfully spun my halberd and sliced the monster into two parts. It growled a little and transformed into black mist that got absorbed into my halberd. The diamond shaped object fixed near the top of my weapon seemed to be absorbing all of this for some purpose, which I did not understand.

 

“Argh.”

 

I said painfully as I clutched my wounded arm a little to check the damage. Not bad. I expected far more fate from how fiercely that monster bit into me, but the wound can be healed over time. Anyway, I focus on the clearing dust and saw the man holding Erina as hostage with a blade touching her neck as she clutched her baby daughter in her arms.

 

“Don’t do this! They’re your family!” I shouted at the man, but the bastard did not listen.

 

“The only family I have right now is the money I’m going to receive for selling these living specimen!” the man shouted back with a gleeful smile on his face.

 

I finally understood why he was so desperately trying to head his way towards the Slave Market. It was in order to sell his wife and baby daughter and receive their payment in cold hard cash. The very thought made me shake my head violently from the shock of learning the horrible truth of the kind of man he really was.

 

“You’d sell your own wife and daughter without any sense of responsibility as their family head. You disgust me!” I said as I stared at him in disgust.

 

I began to walk forward and he tightened his grip on his wife while pressing the blade a little deeply into her throat. A small flesh wound opened up a trickle of blood seeped out of it. When I saw that, I was shocked and it made me stop in my tracks while staring at him in disbelief.

 

“Stay back or I’ll kill her!” he shouted at me and his voice shook a little from the fear he felt. “I’m sure she means a lot to you than she does to me, so stay back and let us go! At least, she’ll be alive and so will my poor daughter after I sell them at the Slave Market.”

 

I glared at him fiercely and said, “Vermin. Think about what you’re saying. That’s your flesh and blood you’re planning on selling. Are you really okay with that?”

 

“Why not?” the man asked without a care in the world. “We donate blood to get money and the same logic applies here. I’m selling my flesh and blood, my daughter I mean, so that I get money. What’s wrong with that?”

 

I was lost for words because I could not believe this man was such a cold hearted beast. There was not a shred of mercy in his manner of speech and it made me get extremely angry. Still, I kept my distance because I feared this lunatic would do more harm to Erina and Serina if I were to approach him so directly. I need to stop him quickly, but how?

 

The solution was given to me by Erina, who sensed that things will not get better if they are left like that. So, she made the ultimate sacrifice by moving herself sideways and slitting her throat at the same time.

 

My eyes widened in shock as she slowly fell sideways and crash on the ground while clutching Serina in a way that the fall would not bring any harm to her. The man was taken by surprise and he did nothing to stop her fall with a bewildered expression on his face. There was a moment of stunned silence from both sides as Erina lay there unmoving a blood slowly started to spread around her.

 

“Damn you!” I screamed at the top of my lungs as tension and anger exploded into a full blown rage.

 

I heard a sound in my head and a window popped up in front of me with a message.

 

“Your mode is currently set to: Rage.”

“Temporarily boosting stats.”

“Constitution Condition: Freeze.”

“Strength and Dexterity: +20.”

“Intelligence, Charm, Wisdom and Charm: -20.”

 

I was distracted so I didn’t clearly read the message until after the battle.

 

“Runner: Activate!”

 

With the shout of my ability, I kicked off the ground and raced towards him as fast as I could while holding my halberd in a position to attack. Once I reached him, I instantly swung it at him in a serious attempt to cut him in half, but luck was with him as he managed to use his sword to block the attack and get back at the same time.

 

“Arrgghhh!”

 

I roared angrily and chased after him as I began to attack him by singing my halberd rapidly at him. The man fought back in a desperate attempt to being slashed by me, but he was shocked. I did not give him the chance to fight back because of how rapidly I was swinging the halberd at him, making him fight defensively.

 

“Why?! Why are you fighting for them so desperately?!” the man screamed as panic began to settle in as he realised he was losing the battle.

 

“It’s a thing called loyalty!” I shouted back at him angrily. “They gave me shelter and fed me to food when I had nothing, so it’s only fair that I do this for them!”

 

The man’s eyes widened in shock and he stared at me with fear filled eyes as I drew nearer and nearer in striking him directly. Our next clash of weapons caused him and me to get pushed back while our feet got dragged on the ground.

 

As I readied to continue the battle, the man bellowed at me, “Stupid brat! I won’t be defeated by a child like you! Uurraaagghhh!!”

 

With a roar, he kicked off the ground and raced towards me at high speed, which surprised me. In the moment that I paused to stare at him in surprise, he lunged his sword forward and pierced it straight into my left shoulder.

 

“Aaaahhh!!!”

 

I screamed in pain and agony as the blade dug deep into my left shoulder and caused a lot of blood to spill out like a spilling tomato juice. The man grinned gleefully, but the grin slowly faded when he noticed something missing to his left. Glancing to his left, his eyes widened in shock when he saw that his left arm was gone and blood was bursting out rapidly.

 

“Aaaaahhh!!!”

 

He screamed like a wild animal and leapt back while clutching his severed arm while his severed limp lay on the ground in a pool of its own blood. I stared at him fiercely while clutching my own wound tightly with a hint of satisfaction in my eyes.

 

Yes. I sliced his arm off a moment before he stabbed his sword into my shoulder. Thanks to my reflexes, I received a small wound compared to the damage the bastard had taken. I delivered a vital blow to him, but despite that, I am not satisfied one bit.

 

“That was for killing The Elder!” I said to him in a low, but dangerous voice.
The man looked towards me while clutching his severed arm in an attempt to stop the blood that was spilling out. In the meantime, I grabbed the hilt of the sword with my right and managed to pull it out while groaning from the pain of drawing it out of my shoulder. It stung and the blood continued to seep out, but my mind was focused on completely on the man before me.

 

I threw the man’s sword at his feet and said, “You’re next.”

 

His eyes widened in shock and he suddenly dropped to his knees and began pleading me for mercy.

 

“Please! Spare me! It was all my fault! I was angry that they treated me like some lowlife fool and sent me to jail. That’s why, I wanted to treat them to the same insult they gave me, but they were defiant. I became angry and I accidentally killed that old man. After that, I don’t know what I was doing and before I knew it, I had kidnapped my wife and daughter. Please, believe me! It was the demons controlling me! I would never do such things to my family! Honest!”

 

He stopped rambling the moment I reached him and he cowered before me like a child caught doing wrong. I listened to his pleadings, but did not believe a word of it because I knew he was just begging for mercy in his own way. This made me feel even more disgust for this man, who had the nerve to push the blame onto someone else, rather than face it like a man.

 

“You truly are a disgusting person,” I said and the man was alarmed as he looked up at me. “Trying to put the blame for your inexcusable mistakes onto something else. You were responsible for the choices you made when you killed The Elder and kidnapped Erina and Serina. No demon controlled you; you did them on willingly and for that, you must pay!”

 

I sounded like I was going to kill him and I probably would have if it were not for my morals to let justice take care of that business. Even slicing his arm off was a tough decision I had to make and it’s still causing my hands to shake a little, but I was left with no choice. If I didn’t do it, this bastard would’ve continued to fight me and might’ve even had the chance to kill me if I slipped up even once.

 

The man looked up at me with an alarmed expression on his face because of what he heard. It looked like the murderous tone I used had alerted him to a danger that was not really there. I think he thought I was going to kill him because the next action he made sealed his fate forever.

 

At that moment, the man swung his hand back and grabbed the hilt of his sword firmly in his right arm. The next instance, he swung it forward and attempted to pierce me in the chest in order to kill me as he shouted, “Die brat!”

 

It was a split second decision for me whether to live or die. The choice was not mine, however, because my body reacted before my mind could and I suddenly found myself jumping into the air. The sword pierced through empty air as I travelled over his head while holding my halberd firmly in my hand. The next moment, I swung the halberd around and sliced the man’s throat with it before I landed on the other side.

 

There was a split second pause in which nothing happened before the man’s throat sliced opened and it toppled off his shoulders. It lay there with the man showing a surprised expression on his face while his body heavily fell forward onto the ground. The body twitched a little before going limp as blood slowly spread around the limp head and body.

 

I heard a sound in my mind and a window popped up in front of me.

 

“All your stats have increased by 50 points.”

“You have levelled up: LV14.”

“Your job has levelled up: Hero LV2.”

 

“Markus has been slain.”

“Your mode has changed to: Normal.”

“Boosted stats have returned to normal.”

“Constitution Condition: Normal, Slow Recovery.”

 

“I killed him.”

 

The thought was like a sledge hammer that was smacking me in the face with an incredible force. It pained me beyond belief by the fact that I had actually taken the life of someone. Yes. I did it for a good reason; to survive and avenge the people that sheltered me, but it’s still painful to accept. In my science laboratory lessons, back in my world, I always thought killing a person is easy as killing an insect, but I now understand the heavy burden placed on those that kill.

 

“Uuuhhhh.”

 

I was distracted by the noise and for a moment, I thought the man was still alive. I turned towards the noise and realised it was coming from where Erina had collapsed on the ground. Rising to my feet, I rushed over to her as fast as my legs would carry in my drained state. I glance at my health window and notice that the values are pretty low due to the amount of damage I had taken.

 

HP: 20/150
CON: 15/150

 

I reached Erina and sat down heavily before I managed to turn her over. She was gasping for breath desperately with her eyes widened as wide as possible. Her life was fading away fast and I knew it because her health bar above her head was in the dangerous red zone. If anymore and she will really die.

 

“Hang on, Erina. I’ll help you!” I said as firmly as I could muster despite my own weakened state.

 

I tried helping her up, but my strength could not muster any energy because of how long my constitution was. Despite that, I tried one more time, but Erina managed to place a hand on my arm in an attempt to stop me.

 

“No… hope…” she mustered weakly while taking great lungful of energy. “I’m… finished, but… not… Serina…”

 

With that, she used what little strengthen remaining in her to push the bumble of wrappings, that was Serina, onto my arms. I was rendered speechless because I didn’t understand what was happening before me.

 

“Take care… of her… for me…” Erina gasped as she desperately fought to breathe to speak.

 

“No! Stop speaking!” I said loudly in desperation because I could not watch her suffer like that. “Keep your strength! I’ll take you to the hospital! I’ll—!”

 

I stopped because Erina, who had been fighting to breathe, suddenly fell silent. The light of life in her eyes slowly faded and became lifeless. Her hand, which had been gripping my arm, slackened and fell limply on the ground.

 

Erina was dead as he lifeless body lay in my arms, but I did not accept it. I did not want to accept it because it created an enormous pain that made me feel like my heart was going to explode.

 

“No!” I said slowly and began to shake her body as if that would bring her back to life. “You can’t die! You can’t! Erina! I won’t let you die! You can’t leave us like this! Not your daughter and not me! Please…! You… can’t…!” You.. sniff… c-can’t… sniff…!”

 

I began to cry as I desperately tried to wake her up, but it was no use. Erina was gone forever and there was nothing I could do to bring her back. I did not want to acknowledge it, but I’m finally forced to and the truth hurt so much that I began to wail at the top of my lungs. For the first time since I arrived in this world, I cried.

 

The person who looked after me like a mother and sheltered me like a mother was now gone. The peace and love I enjoyed for the last few months I spent with her and The Elder were over. The sanctuary that I felt safe and protected in has finally crumbled into dust.


Author’s Note

 

Hello everyone and thanks for reading this chapter. I didn’t forget this story, but I am not abandoning Phoenix Rising either. I just thought that I should write more for this story and I finally got into the mood to do it. So, I hope that you liked it and will look forward to more as the infinity alternate world travel begins!

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