Ch 4: We are Heroes?
The morning sun had risen long ago and with it brought the scurrying of feet as people busied themselves with work. Leaving her room in a rush, Neya had gotten a rather late start. She had exhausted herself beyond reason the day before and had slept in by accident. Making her way from her quarters to the infirmary was a 15-minute walk but with her already being behind, she activated her magic and her body seemed to lighten greatly. What should have taken 15 minutes of walking she covered in 3 with a run.
*Huff Puff Huff*
Panting heavily, Neya had arrived at the infirmary where her old colleague greeted her whilst fuming.
“Dammit Neya, you’re late.”
“Sorry I just woke up, hehe.”
“Whatever, let’s just finish this quickly. Because of the incident, the summoned ones have already lost a day and I don’t want to be blamed if they lose any more time, now come let us hurry.”
With a nod, Neya followed after the old man and the two made their rounds. Stopping at the last room, Neya spotted the young man with a wrapped head and noticed that he was sitting up.
(Good, it seems he’s doing much better.)
Neya and the old man split the work between each other and inspected each patient one by one until they had gone through everyone except the man with the wrapped face.
The two looked at him and nodded at each other in understanding. Because they both had trouble helping him, they both were curious to see if he had properly healed and walked over together.
Neya spoke first.
“Hello, good morning. Do you recognize my voice?”
The young man turned his head toward the voice, asking.
“Your the kind lady from yesterday, aren’t you?”
Neya smiled and nodded.
“Yep. Today we’ve come to remove your bandage and make sure your 100%.”
“Oh haha, that’s right, next to me is another healer, his name is Ishi. Yesterday I had trouble healing you so it was healer Ishi who helped me. With a bit of teamwork, we were able to start the healing process.”
Neya elbowed old man Ishi, causing him to grunt in pain. Looking at Neya he got the gist of what she wanted but still, he was annoyed with her but introduced himself anyway.
“My name is Ishi and I’m one of the healers assigned to you summoned ones. Tell me, do you have a strange power or ability. Whilst trying to help you our magic had some kind of interference and…”
Once more Neya elbowed Ishi interrupting him.
“Ishi, where’s your professionalism. You know our patients business is theirs and theirs alone, we can’t ask such questions.”
Ishi held his side and grumbled under his breath but he knew Neya was right and didn’t argue. However, the irritation he now felt from being elbowed twice was clearly building and could be heard in his voice.
“Eh, forgive me, young man, I shouldn’t have pried.”
Pausing for an awkward moment, Ishi continued.
“Anyway, about your wound, do you mind if we have a look?”
“Ah, but my face, my face is…is…”
Neya grabbed the young man’s hand and patted it gently.
“It’s ok. Although we couldn’t do much yesterday, the magic we infused in you should have finished the rest of the healing while you slept, so there’s no need for alarm. Trust me.”
The young man gave a nod and Neya slowly removed his bandages. Unwrapping it carefully, halfway through, Neya’s hands paused for a moment. Her cheeks flushed slightly as she stared at two perfect green eyes. She had seen this color before many times every day, for her ring gave off the same color light but seeing them this close on a man, suddenly she was woefully aware that she was a young lady and he a young man.
Ishi cleared his throat, interrupting whatever bubbly thoughts had just appeared in Neya’s mind and she quickly finished taking off the bandages.
Ishi looked at the young man before he gave a small whistle.
“No wonder you froze, he’s quite handsome, wouldn’t you say?”
Neya turned her head away shyly before delivering another elbow to Ishi but how could Ishi simply continue to take such abuse. Grabbing Neya’s small and petite waist, Ishi gave it a firm pinch causing Neya to squeal like a little mouse caught by a cat.
She turned around and pointed accusingly.
“You…you…you animal. you actually pinched me.”
“Hmph, you can elbow me but can’t take a pinch, how can one be such a hypocrite?”
“Furthermore, you preach of professionalism and yet you throw elbows all day. Who’s unprofessional now?”
Neya’s words clumped together in her throat refusing to allow her to speak. Looking between the confused young man and Ishi, Neya turned a bright red and ran out of the room almost in tears.
“I suppose I should go after her.”
Ishi followed after her and the room grew quiet until.
“Well, that was weird.”
A young man a few beds down said those words and the other patients all broke out into laughter. The guy got up and walked over and held out a hand.
“Yo, I’m Miya Shinichi, but my friends all call me Shin and you?”
Shaking his hand the young man replied.
“Just call me Ryuta.”
Before they could be introduced further, the door flew open and dozens of soldiers flooded in, frightening everyone there beside Ryuta and Shin.
A Soldier who seemed to be in charge stepped forward and only said a few words. before escorting everyone out. Some wanted to resist or fight back but the soldiers didn’t really give them any choice, especially since they weren’t threatening anyone. These summoned ones all being 16-17 years old and coming from such peaceful countries, were not ones to suddenly fight against someone, especially if said someone was an authority figure.
Ryuta and Shin though seemed to look on with aloofness, as though this wasn’t really a problem.
Following the soldiers, these 10 summoned ones were soon led into a large room. Looking around, it appeared very similar to an assembly hall or an auditorium. At the front, there were a dozen or so powerful looking figures sitting at a table on the stage. Suddenly Ryuta felt something coming at his back. He was about to turn around and attack when he realized what it was and allowed himself to be tackled.
A young girl around 17 or so, with red, long flowing hair and sapphire blue eyes, had tackled Ryuta from behind and began to sob tears in his chest. Looking at her closely, he recognized her immediately. It was one of the targets he had been watching for slightly over a year. Patting her back comfortingly he said.
Asuna slowly lifted her head and saw the calmness in his eyes and retorted back.
“How can you be so calm in this situation and what’s wrong with your voice?”
(Ah, how could I forget.)
Ryuta cleared his throat and coughed before he sent a pulse of magic to his vocal cords and vibrated them at a certain frequency. He had been studying Ryuta and watching him closely for over a year. Copying the way he walked and talked and even the many little tendencies he had. After watching him for so long, even the facial expressions he made had been perfectly learned.
Warping the sound in his throat, he emitted an identical voice and perfectly imitated the real Ryuta.
“My voice, what’s wrong with my voice?”
Asuna’s brows scrunched momentarily in confusion.
“Eh, I thought you sounded funny for a second. Sorry, I was so worried last night that I couldn’t sleep properly. I guess I’m still a little tired.”
“Worried, for me?”
Asuna’s suddenly recognized the implications and quickly tried to deny them but before she could, a voice from the stage boomed over in their direction.
“Hey, the lovely couple on the ground over there. I don’t care where you want to roll around afterward but for now, I need your attention on me, you got it!”
The room erupted in wild laughter and Asuna leaped up like a cat that just had its tail accidentally stepped on. With her face turning bright red, all the way up to her ears, she ran over to a certain seat and sat down next to Sam. Sam just now noticing her presence, looked at her still beat red face and asked.
“Asuna, when did you get here and what’s with your face? Are you feeling unwell?”
Asuna ignored Sam’s dumb question and peeked over in Ryuta’s direction. The two made eye contact and seeing how nonchalant Ryuta was being, it made Asuna feel irritated, so she turned her nose up at him before crossing her arms in frustration and looking away.
Sam, not able to read the situation properly, spotted Ryuta, stood up and waved him over.
“Hey Ryuta, over here.”
Ryuta smiled and sat down right next to Asuna but she continued to ignore him.
Soon the auditorium that looked as though it could seat 300 had now been filled by a third when the doors finally closed. Looking around, Ryuta could tell that besides the ones summoned the rest of the people inside were all mages and warriors, all of whom exuded power.
The man who had spoken earlier had walked up to the podium. Filling his voice with a bit of magic, his once loud voice amplified, becoming even louder and expanding out toward the crowd, allowing everyone to hear him perfectly.
“My name is Rust and I am a knight.”
Rust gave a small salute before pointing at a small insignia on his chest. From where they were sitting, no one could really make out what it was but Ryuta already knew.
(A griffin over a snake, so this is the kingdom of Treia. I knew there was a one out of three chance of being summoned to this kingdom but to be summoned so far away from my goal, hmph what rotten luck.)
“I am a loyal knight of this great country of Treia and you, all of you, are heroes!”
A low murmur began to grow among those that had been summoned until it soon became a clamor. Some grew excited while others were clearly panicking. Someone from the crowd jumped to his feet. With a thin frame and a frail disposition, the highschooler yelled in fear.
“No, no way, not me. Send me back. I don’t want to die. I’m too young to die, please send me back home.”
A few people began to snicker at the foolish young man but he just turned even paler as he continued.
“Don’t you idiots get it. Haven’t you read a single manga or watched one anime. Tell me, what happens when a group of people are suddenly summoned to a new world. What happens to characters like me huh? I’ll tell you what, its people like me that are the first to go.”
Those around kept laughing until the frail teen struck them at the core. Looking at a few people laughing to his right, he pointed.
“Tell me, what happens to the overconfident ones who don’t take things seriously enough.”
The frail youth then pointed at a few more people.
“You over there. What happens to thugs like you?
The guy he pointed to retorted back.
“Oy, I ain’t no damn thug bruh, so shut yer trap before I shut it for ya.”
A bunch of people rolled their eyes at his words and the same thought crossed their mind.
(Yep he’s a thug.)
The frail teen ignored the thug’s threats and continued.
“If even one bad thing happens around the group, you’ll be the first one blamed and people will distrust you. What happens then, huh? Then you start to resent all of us and then some demon lord or something like that will tempt you and you’ll end up betraying us all and stabbing us in the back.”
Everyone’s eyes turned to the thug and they all shared a questioning glance. The thug didn’t like that and waved his fist with more threats.
“Oy, stop staring before I beat the crap out of you.”
Everyone though continued to stare and a few whispers were heard.
“Eh is he really like that?”
Another replied in a whisper but the thug still overheard it.
“Yea didn’t you just hear him, he’ll beat us up just because we look at him. I don’t care what happens next, no matter what I’m definitely not going anywhere near him.”
“Yea you’re right, it’s best to stay away from the troublemakers.”
“Oy whos a troublemaker. I oughtta beat…”
The thug looked around him and now recognized that he had already ostracized himself and realized that the nerdy frail dude might actually be right. He had only said a few sentences and people were already moving away from him. He wondered if he could survive in a new world without any allies and quickly shut his mouth.
The frail teen though wasn’t finished and was about to say more, when Rust’s voice suppressed his with a shout.
Rust’s shout was focused on the frail teen and it reverberated into his chest, causing his knees to go weak. The frail teen crumbled and fell into his seat. Trembling, he wanted to say more but he had already used up the remainder of his courage against the thug. Against a knight, he was simply no match and became completely submissive.
Seeing that he was losing the crowd, Rust was lost on what to do. That’s when an old man stood up and walked over. Seeing Garn come up to him, Rust felt relief.
“This man coming up to speak is called Garn. He is one that I greatly admire and respect and although he doesn’t see me in the same light, I consider him a friend, so show him the utmost respect, got it?”
Rust stepped back and sat down and Garn came in front of the podium, however, instead of speaking, Garn raised his staff and pointed it at the ceiling. The crystal embedded at the end glowed a multitude of colors, causing Rust to grow worried but before he could do anything, Garn roared.
A force of wind and fire formed at the tip of his staff and shot forward like a bullet. Just before the two forces collided with the ceiling, the two powers formed together in just the right amount and a large explosion rang out.
The entire ceiling exploded into both small and large fragments and rained down on the audience like meteors. Right before they impacted though, a large white barrier appeared above their heads and caught all of the debris. All of this happened before anyone could blink but seeing all of the rocks weighing many tons stop just short of crushing them, everyone was greatly shocked. Some even fell out of their seats entirely while the frail young man now had a wet stain on his pants.
If one were to look closely, they may have been able to notice a small thin barrier an inch or so above Ryuta’s head but with safety now guaranteed, Ryuta himself dissolved it, allowing him to slip under the radar.
After all of the debris finished raining down, Garn extended an empty hand forward and clenched his fist in the air. The debris was crushed into dust and the barrier was released causing a cloud of dust to cover the crowd before him. Waving his staff once more, Garn whispered.
A drizzle of rain came down through the broken ceiling, cleaning the dust-covered students below but very quickly that drizzle became a heavy storm as the gentle drops became large and weighty with thunder and lightning beginning to crack. Once more the crowd was terrified by what was happening causing screams to ring out and panic to take hold.
Rust wanted to stop Garn at first but now he realized what he was doing and just continued to watch on silently.
Garn stamped his staff and a pulse of power flowed through. The storm ceased and with another stamp of his staff, large rocks began to materialize into the world and gathered at the ceiling. The ceiling, as though it had a mind of its own, put itself together like a puzzle until it was fully formed. Garn stepped forward, taking a step into the air and off of the stage. He was actually walking in the air. A few steps more and he eventually stopped and stood there floating. Floating peacefully in the sky, like an old wise sage, Garn spoke confidently.
“Air, fire, water, earth, light, dark, space, time. Bringing order to chaos, this is the basis of all magic. Manipulating the elements, bending them to your every whim, is a talent that is already yours. What I have learned for 8 decades, what I have mastered, all of this knowledge, I give you freely. War is upon us and if you don’t fight, if we don’t win, it’s not just this world that will fall but yours as well. The Azirian’s, whether you fight or not will come for you. Since you have been summoned, you have already had a target placed upon your back. At least if you fight, you have a chance to live.”