VOLUME 4: ADVANCE TO THE FALL
The night was serene and beautiful, the occasional wind blowing calming my supercharged nerves.
Yet the scenery of hell painted below was truly a nightmare. The smell of blood lingering in the air, the corpses strewn about with their empty eyes staring straight into my soul, the burnt houses.
And in this hell, I was the only one who was standing alive. The dead bodies of my friends, comrades, soldiers, lover, were piled under my feet, reminding me that I was the one who pushed them to their death.
That I was the one who failed to protect them.
I had finally won, but at what cost?
Was it worth it? Was this victory worth this sacrifice?
I don’t know. I don’t know at all.
Suddenly, the sound of a twig breaking resounded, thus bringing me back from my nightmare. The Hell had vanished, leaving me alone in a beautiful garden.
I finally remembered where I was.
In front of me were two gravestones, the names of two of my friends engraved into them.
The two lives I failed to protect. The two lives I was too powerless to protect.
Lightning crackled in the sky, thus lighting up my surroundings. The rhythmic pitter-patter of the rain served to calm my nerves, while the water drenching me hid my tears.
As I had thought, I was not suitable for this role. It was a mistake to make me the Hero.
Yes, if it was that man, the one casted out by the God himself, instead of me, these lives wouldn’t have been lost. I am nothing but a coward. I…………
“What are you doing here?”
Suddenly, a sweet yet commanding voice called me from behind. I turned around, and there she was, my beacon of hope.
Yet I could not bring myself to meet her eyes.
“Let me guess, ruminating on your failures once again?”
Having nothing to say, I stiffly nodded.
“How pointless.” She sighed. “I believe that we have already proven to you that their deaths were not your fault.”
“But if it was-”
“If it was that man who had been chosen instead of you, they wouldn’t have died, correct? I have listened to it so many times that I can’t help but want to meet that man. But we both know that won’t be possible. The dead do not return, after all.”
“But there’s a chance he is still alive!”
Yes, I’m sure of it!
“No way. If he was indeed cast into Hell, then there’s no way he can survive. And look here. No matter how much you whine and complain that you are not suited for this job, the fact remains that you had been chosen as the Hero by the God. It was you, and not that man.”
“Etch this into your heart: you are the Hero, you are the justice. You are the sword that pierces through all those who oppose humanity. It’s high time that you accepted that, unless you want more gravestones to be placed there. Come inside now, it won’t be funny if you lost tomorrow’s battle just because you were suffering from cold.”
Without waiting for my answer, the princess turned around and headed towards the castle, her back declaring that she won’t be listening to any objections. Having no other choice, I followed her.
What she said was indeed the truth, and deep inside I know that. No matter how much I struggle against my fate and deny it, no matter how much I wish that all of this was just a long, bad dream, the truth won’t change. I will always remain the-