Author’s corner: Hooray for new story! Well, this is the whole intent of this site, so can’t really blame me for doing even more of them, right? Anyway, on to the story!
“Gerstalt, such a pitiful man you are.” Her voice said, filled with sorrow. “Burdened with the destiny of an entire world, forced to make a choice between destruction and slaughter. Branded as a hero, yet treated as a villain.”
All I could do was smile sadly at her words. True, I had been forced in that situation, but at the same time, I was the one who chose it. Did I really have the right to be pitied for that?
“We had plans, Gerstalt. However, even we could not fathom that your destiny would end up like this.” She said, probably reading my thoughts. “It’s true, we wanted you to take that path, but we never planned for it to end like that.”
What can I say? Humans are scary. Way scarier than demons. And I’m the worst of them all.
Hah, what a hero.
“We… We have an offer to make you.” She said, her hesitation getting me by surprise.
But an offer? What? Do I have to slaughter an entire race again? Maybe bring down the balance of the world? Who will it be? The elves? Oh! The dwarves! Yeah, it will be the dwarves, right?
“No. It’s nothing of the sorts.” She stopped me. “We will give you a choice. A choice that only you can make, no one else will have to right to change this.”
So I will be able to choose again? Heh. Not like it ended badly last time, right?
For a moment, silence.
“You can redeem yourself.” She said after some time. “Go to another place, one where no destiny binds you. It’ll be as much, if not much greater of a hardship than the one you went through. You’ll spend years of your life fighting risking death at every turn and corner while battling enemies you wouldn’t even dream possible.” She stopped. “You’ll most likely die.”
Sounds wonderful! Leaving the torture to fall into hell! Geez, the other option can’t possibly be better, can it?
“…We’ll wipe everyone’s memories of you, and bless you so that no more hardships ever befall upon you, before sending you back to your world.”
…Oh. I… Didn’t expect that.
“We give you the choice, Gerstalt. Now, it’s your turn.”
Heh. You speak as if it wasn’t obvious which one I would pick.
All I could do was smile mockingly at myself for being such a fool.
“FUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!” I shouted while watching the ground approaching me at high speed.
THOSE FUCKING GODS! NOT EVEN TO LEAVE ME IN GROUND LEVEL?
As I cursed them at the top of my lungs, I quickly twisted my body to have my legs turned towards the ground while taking a squatting position. Extending my left hand downwards, I held my sword with my right before casting the air cushion spell.
However, those bastards left me with an uncharged focus, so I slammed feet first into the ground without the chance of casting body reinforcing spell on myself. Feeling as the pain creeped up my legs and reached my brain, I gritted my teeth so I wouldn’t start screaming.
It took me a few seconds to recover. Thankfully, the damage wasn’t that bad so there was no need for a healing spell.
Taking the chance to refill the focus of my sword with mana, I took a deep breath before looking around to get an idea of where I was.
From the looks of it, I was in the back alley of some city. A very strange backalley. It was desolate enough as it is, and the only person I could see was a drunk homeless who was either dead or passed out in the corner of the street. However, the sheer cleanliness of this place left me doubtful whether it was truly an alleyway or not.
Heck, besides the glass bottle besides the drunkard, I couldn’t see a single trace of trash or dirty in this place. Not even the usual smell of excrement reached me as I stood there dumbfounded.
And if I look around, it feels like the ground isn’t made of battered dirt nor paved with stones. It actually looks like a huge piece of sculpted stone.
Was this alleyway built into a mountain? No, doesn’t look like it.
Feeling a bit confused, I decided to take a look upon the buildings besides us, and it took me no more than a second to become flabbergasted. Buildings made of metal and glass stood before me. And what’s worse, they were much taller than they were wide! Without the single trace of magic being used!
She told me that this place was unlike anything I had ever seen, but…
Fuck, where’s Tereza when you need her?
…On the other hand, I’m not sure I want the girl who impaled me with an ice spike on my side. That was enough pain for one lifetime.
Bah,I don’t have time to worry about this. Shaking my head, I stood up and started walking down the alleyway. I had a mission to do, and staying here with my jaw dropped won’t get me ahead of it, so might as well get going wit… Was that a walking bucket?
Making a double-take just to be sure, I stared blankly as I saw a leg-sized metal bucket sliding on the ground besides me. It had a small hand-like attachment to the side of its body that I wasn’t entirely sure what it was for.
The sliding bucket approached the passed out homeless and used the hand-like attachment to pick up the beer bottles that had piled up around him and throw in its opening.
“Citizen. Sleeping on the streets is inadvisable. Please, return to your house.”
…THE BUCKET SPOKE!
WHY THE FUCK WOULD ONE ENCHANT A BUCKET TO SPEAK?
While I stared blankly at the talking bucket, I saw as the man grumbled some words and slowly got up. The bucket looked satisfied, because it soon went back to walking towards a corner in the alleyway and disappeared from sight. Still a bit shocked by the scene, the homeless man finally noticed me and stared at me in the eyes.
All I could do was stare in shock as what I thought to be a homeless man reveal himself to be someone with some fairly respectable appearance. While he did have a long hair and beard, they were actually quite properly taken care of. He wore a strange deep blue uniform and had something of a badge in his chest. Mayhaps he was from the military?
“Oi! Fantashy guy!” The man shouted while waving at my direction. I blinked surprised before looking around just to be sure. “Yeah, you. Give this old man a help, will yah?” He said while extending his hand towards me.
I blinked surprised, but seeing how he was pretty much harmless, not even having mana circulating in his body nor a focus of sorts, I decided to approach him and take on his hand.
He took my hand and I helped him stand up, only to have to hold him when he almost fell down due to the lingering drunkenness.
“Thanks youngling.” He said while passing his arm around my shoulder. “C-Can you help me to the police department? Can’t get too late or else the subordinates will complain again.” He said in an awkard tone.
“Huhh… Where’s this… Deportment?” I asked confused, not really sure on how to take the scene before me.
“Department. not deportment!” He corrected me while swinging his arm widely and sounding disapproving, however, he flinched and held his head in his hand for a moment as a headache took over him. “Hughh. Fucking hangover. Anyway, you new around here?”
“Ah… Yes. I guess you could say that.” Well, I did just arrive, right?
“Huuh. Then I’ll guide us. Don’t think I can quite walk by myself just yet… But I can guide us there without trouble. Probably… I think.” Old man, you aren’t sounding very reliable right now, you know? “Anyway, I’ll make it worth your time.”
Well… not like I can get any more lost than what I already am, so…
Nodding, I followed the oldman’s order as he guided me through the alleyways in search for a main street. More than a couple of times we ended up in a dead end, and in our way, we met with at least two other walking buckets.
Meanwhile, the old man kept on rambling on how the guys at his works were unreasonable and didn’t let him take his chance to drink a bit, talk about how he found paperwork annoying and that he’d just take on more physical jobs.
From what I could get from his ramblings, he was, indeed, some sort of military unit, and quite high ranking at it. His name was a bit weird, Hughes Dakota, and was pretty much the boss in his unit. However, from the way he spoke, he didn’t seem to have a very high standing in his subordinates views.
“What about you boy?” Old man Dakota asked me curious. “What brings you to this city?” He asked me suddenly. “You said you ain’t from here, right?”
“Ah. Yes.” I said quickly before stopping to choose my words. “I’m a traveler from far away.” I used my usual words from when I still traveled in my own world to explain myself. “And… Well, I came here looking for something…”
Not entirely sure if there would be a problem if I were to divulge my objective coming here, I tried leaving it vague. However, once my eyes landed on the old man, I felt a shiver run down my spines as his eyes peered deep into me, and a knowingly smile appeared in his face.
“Ahh. I see boy. I understand.” He said in a deep tone. For a moment I felt worried that he’d seen through me, but then… “It’s the booze, right?” He said with a large smile. “Ahh, tis true that this city’s booze is the best one around!” He tightened his grasp on my shoulders as he shouted that happily, before cringing due to the hangover.
“Ermm… That’s not… the reason…” I said awkwardly.
For a moment, Dakota blinked surprised while staring at me surprised.
“Oh! Then it gotta be the girls!” he said as if he understood everything. “Aah. I see boy. You are in the height of your youth after all. Want me to show you a place where a bunch of cuties pass through?”
Is it safe for the military to have a guy like this in a high rank? While I wondered about this, the old man was nudging me with a mischievous gaze that I tried to ignore.
While we walked, I kept on taking the impressive, yet opressing scenery of the huge towers that surrounded us no matter which alley we took. However, following our ears as the sound of people walking and some other odd sounds came from the main streets, we slowly found our way out of the maze.
“….We are being followed.” I said once I felt a couple of hostile presences following us.
“…Hou?” The old man said impressed. “You can tell?” He said while putting on an interested expression.
“Sir. I don’t know how capable you are, but it doesn’t look like you are in good condition as of now.” I said while looking at him worriedly.
“What are you talking about boy…” He asked curious, but I quickly helped him against the wall before turning back towards the alleyway.
“WE GOT YOU OLD MA… huh?” A strong looking man came from another alley nearby, using a strange mask to cover his face and holding a reverse L shaped object in his hand.
“Don’t stop now you retar… Oh.” Another one came out, but stopped once he noticed me looking at them. “Who’s the freak?”
I’m not entirely sure what they had planned, but seeing how they had been hiding up until now and they had clear hostility towards the old man I had helped, I decided to take on his side for now and protect him.
I stepped in towards the closest one and unsheathed my sword in my hand in one swift motion, knocking the object away from his hand and into the ground far away, split into two.
Taking the moment they were surprised as a chance, I turned towards the second bandit, noticing he held a similar object in his hands. He quickly raised it while pointing at me and having a bad feeling about it, I quickly dodged to the side while dashing towards him.
Then, a loud explosion and something darted besides my head, almost hitting me with enough speed to kill me. Blinking surprised at the strange spell, I was confused on how he managed to do it without using a focus or gathering his mana, but deciding that it wasn’t worth waiting to find out, I quickly rammed him with my shoulder before following with a pommel to the face.
He blanked out from the impact and fell to the ground, so I took the chance to turn back to the first one, who was pulling out a strange knife hilt from his pocket.
“Damn it. Just when I thought we had the damned old man!” He said before taking a stance. As if reacting to his words, a blade of blue light appeared from the hilt. Once again I was surprised by this mana-less magic, but thankfully, battling waging a war against demons had made me resistant to surprises.
Still, I wasn’t an idiot to charge into such unknown spell without a care, so I took some distance while eyeing him warily.
“Damn it. Where’s Big G? He was supposed to ambush the old man with us!” The bandit said annoyed while giving a glance back. “And what with this freak? How the fuck did you cut a gun in half with a sword?”
“Well, I’m also curious about that.” The old man said as he approached us. I blinked surprised and turned towards him to tell him to go somewhere safer, but his appearance left me surprised.
The old man who looked like he was barely able to walk was now standing straight up as if he had never been drunk, and now that he wasn’t slumped over my shoulders, I noticed that he was actually pretty tall and well built, being almost half a head taller than me and having a surprisingly fit physique when he wasn’t faking it.
The unreliable atmosphere around him was completely gone, and now he looked extremely dignified, almost intimidating as he smiled evilly towards the thief.
“Now, about your friend, I fear that he won’t be helping you here.” He said while snapping his finger.
While I was still confused trying to understand what was happening around me, I noticed as a large shadow approached us. Seeing its sheer size, I quickly decided that it must be either an ogre or minotaur, so while cursing I jumped back to let the thief and the incoming ogre within my field of view.
But then, I found out that it wasn’t an ogre.
Though I kinda wish it was.
A giant with a body made of metal approached us. It was a bit shorter than the usual ogre, but its body was much bulkier and powerful looking, being almost as wide as it was tall. Its head was short yet wide, looking more like a deformed helmet than an actual head, yet a pair of piercing, lifeless blue lights peered from its eyes sockets.
With both of its arms as thick as my chest, it easily carried an unconscious man in one while using the second one to point at me and the thief. Seeing some kind of protrusion from the back of its forearms, I recalled a similar thing in some Spike-spitters I had met a long time ago.
Thankfully, the giant didn’t seem very agile, with its legs being fairly short and having the characteristic of a reptilian, being double jointed. But… Are those wheels at its feet? What kind of giant grows wheels?
“This is the Faraday Police department. You are charged with illegal use of plasma weaponry, gunpowder weaponry and homicide attempt. Lay down your weapon and surrender in peace.” A cold feminine sounding voice echoed from the giant, getting me by surprise.
“FUUUUCK! WHAT’S A FUCKING METAL DOING HERE?” The guy besides me shouted surprised as fear tinged his eyes.
Taking the moment of surprise to act, I quickly approached him from the side and slammed my open palm into his ribs while pulling some mana from my sword to create an electric discharge.
Being a bit surprised on why he wouldn’t have a shield up for something like this, I took the moment where he was spasming to knock him down with my sword’s pommel. Being done, I quickly turned back to the giant who stood still, its arms still pointed at me dangerously.
“Oh. Quite impressive young man.” Dakota said while raising one of his hands. “PX. Stand down. This young man here just helped me.”
“Sir. My scanners do not pick any ID in him, nor does his face match any in my database. He’s an unknown threat.” The giant replied.
Wait, did the giant just call the old man ‘sir’? Does that means the giant is obeying Dakota? While that thought crossed my mind, I decided that it meant that it would be better to not show hostility, so I started sheathing my sword.
I’m quite confident in being able to unsheathe it before the big guy… Erm… Girl get to me anyway.
“Really?” Dakota said surprised while looking at the giant. “…Are you sure it’s not just a system error?”
“Yes sir. My scans pick you up just fine.” She replied.
“Ugh… Sorry about this youngling.” Dakota said with a sigh. “But it looks like I need to have you come with me. Geez, when you said you come from afar, I didn’t expect it to be that far.”
Huh? Why did I suddenly have to follow him now? Feeling confused about this I took a step back while preparing to run off.
“And why exactly would I NEED to go with you?” I asked. Could the old man also be a thief of sorts?
“Because I’m a cop?” The old man said confused. “As in, the lawkeeper, peacekeeper, guardian of the people and so forth?”
“…Then you are like a town guard?” I said after processing his words.
“T-Town guard? Geez, you really like to keep with your whole fantasy thing, don’t you?” For some reason he sounded tired. And what does he means about fantasy? “Yeah. I’m a… heh. Town guard. If you will.”
…Well, that’s troubling. It doesn’t really look like he’s lying, and if he IS saying the truth, it would leave a bad taste in my mouth if I were to attack a guy who’s just doing his job.
And well, I must say I probably look really suspicious right now.
Sighing, I nodded and lowered my head tiredly before walking towards the old man. The giant looked satisfied at this, because it lowered its arms and went to pick up the two other thieves who I had knocked down.