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Chapter 4: I’m The Hero?

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With our backs to the wooden shelter behind us, we have nowhere left to run. As goblins begin surrounding us from every angle, Lucia shouts.

“Get inside!” She commands as she takes a defensive stance against the goblins.

I had imagined this scenario so many times in my head, but actually experiencing it, the panic and fear I felt was something I never included in my daydreams. I struggle to form words or thoughts, both proving too difficult as even following Lucia’s command to get in the hut was something I could not oblige, as my feet remained planted in the ground like the roots of a tree.

“GET IN, NOW!” She shouts as she pushes me inside.

I snap back into reality as she shoves me into the hut while she walks backwards inside, brandishing her sword at the entrance, guarding it from any goblin eager enough to be the one to make first contact.

I’m panicking. I really am panicking. I don’t even know how to use magic, how strong are goblins? How strong is Lucia? Will we be ok? If I can’t perform here, are we screwed?

“GET YOURSELF TOGETHER!” Lucia shouts at me as she glances at my face, frozen in fear.

Goblins start stabbing the sides of the circular hut with their daggers as Lucia retreats further into a wider part of the hut to avoid being cut.

The shelter begins falling apart, the hay and mud it was made of begins giving way, allowing the goblins to reach their hands in and pull chunks of the wall out.

Time seems to move slower as I foresee my own demise, observing the situation in slow motion, reality begins to sink in. Was this magic? Or simply what it’s like to be in a life or death situation? Everything seems to be moving so slowly, yet despite this I cannot think of a way out of this predicament. A simple yet profound thought crosses my mind, if I am going to die regardless, I may as well try using magic.

“Focus.” I think to myself, suppressing all the panic and fear as best as I can in order to clear my mind and imagine myself using magic.

This is how it is in most fantasy settings, after all.

“I need to focus.” I take a deep breath and force myself to ignore the current situation. Deep breath in, deep breath out. Focus.

I feel a warm surge of energy travelling through my body as I relax.

The mass I feel within me begins condensing in my chest as I continue meditating with the slight relief that something is actually happening helping me to relax.

The mass begins to get warmer, then hotter, as it begins to start burning as I continue my ritual.

“Now let it go.” A voice in my head comes out of nowhere, gently guiding me.

“CRACK” The walls have been breached, the goblins begin rushing in from the new opening, drawing Lucia’s attention away from the entrance, allowing the other groups to surge through as well. Lucia’s sword skills were no match for the narrow area and large number of enemies, as she could hardly cut down one before being overwhelmed by the enemy, yet, their attacks could not reach her.

“Huh?” Lucia says aloud as she looks over at me as I meditate.

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Dark clouds begin forming over the goblin camp as the goblins try fruitlessly to impale Lucia and I with their weapons. Panic ensues among the little green men as they sense a fluctuation of mana brought on by myself, though I pay this no mind. All I am thinking about is my breathing, for I know if I lose focus, we will perish. Breathe in, breathe out. In, out.

“Let it take shape.” The same voice cuts back in, and I oblige it.

Lightning begins to strike, at first doing no damage to the landscape before quickly ramping up to create holes the size of small potholes, charring the bodies of any goblin unfortunate enough to be in its path.

As lightning dances around the area, annihilating everything in our surroundings, Lucia and I remain safe for reasons unknown to us both. I watch as shock fills Lucia’s face at the current happenings. Observing the situation, the lightning has already stopped, leaving Lucia, me, and the bodies of 13 charred goblins all around us.

“W-was that you?” She stammers.

I hesitantly nod my head slowly with an unsure look, as I’m not sure if this is my feat to take credit for.

Looking around some more, the goblins are dead as they come, their bodies blackened, shrunken, and burned from the intensity of the lightning. I reach down to grab one of their daggers, but it crumbles as I make contact with it, disintegrating into a fine black ash.

Lucia is only staring at me as I do this, a look of fear displayed clearly on her face.

“I’m not even sure if that was me. I’ve never done anything like that before.” I say in an attempt to clear her suspicion of me.

“If it’s you…” She mutters.

“What?” I replied quickly, desperate to keep her as an ally.

“If it’s you… that power is great. You may be the one destined to defeat the Demon King and free the enslaved countries…” Lucia says in a trance.

“Defeat the Demon King? Enslaved countries?” Thoughts run rampant in my mind after hearing Lucia say these things.

“So there really is a Demon King? It seems like Lucia has some sort of personal affliction related to it too… Does she think I’m the hero? … Am I the hero?”

“Please, use your power to save my kingdom- no, all of the enslaved kingdoms. The Demon King has captured our entire Western front and is using it as a base of operations to push the war and his lands further.” Lucia falls to her knees in front of me as she asks this.

I am perplexed.

Not even an hour ago I was worried about offending this person, yet now she kneels in front of me asking me to save her country? Isn’t this going to give me a big head?

Wait, besides that, save a kingdom? Can I do something like that? I was about to pee myself in terror at the sight of a group of goblins, how am I supposed to face a Demon King and his army?

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“I’m sorry, but I don’t know if I can do that.” I blurt out, as the silence had begun to take its toll on me.

“With power as great as yours, there is no doubt about it. You are destined to defeat the Demon King and bring peace to the continent. I understand clearly that you are not ready now, but you are without a doubt the hero we have prophesied. Please, I understand it’s selfish to ask an outsider to solve our problems for us, but we will surely perish without you. I beg of you, help us.” A tinge of desperation at the end of her speech, though I was moved by her sincerity before. That had done well to clear all my uncertainty. I have to help these people.

Whether or not I am the hero, I have spent my life wishing for adventure, and now that adventure presents itself to me front and center, without any shyness, how can I decline?

“I will help you.” I say to the still kneeling Lucia.

Her eyes fill with tears as she hugs my legs.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank y-”. I nudge her away.

“Please, how you were acting before was far more comfortable for me.”

“Y-yes! I’m sorry, I got a little carried away…” Lucia rose back to her feet.

“Thank you, again.” She says while bowing slightly to me.

“Don’t thank me yet. I’m not sure if I’m who you’re looking for. What I did just now could have been nothing but a fluke, or not be my own power to begin with. If I am the ‘hero’ you think I am though, you have my word that I will help you.” I say with a tone of pure determination and grit.

“I understand, I will help you grasp your power then.” Lucia replies with even more determination.

“Huh? So you’re going to stay with me then?”

Lucia kneeled down on one knee, raising her hand to her chest and tilting her head down.

“Yes, I must make sure you are able to make use of the power I believe you have. You also don’t seem to know much about this world, and we can’t be sure whether or not your memories will come back, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. I will ensure your safety until you are capable enough to take care of yourself.

Surprised at her sudden chivalry, I urge her to stand.

“I really meant it earlier, please act the same as before all this.” I plead with her.

“I will do my best, hero.”

I’m a little irked at being called ‘hero’ but I’ll let it slide as long as she isn’t kneeling to me every other sentence.

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“Alright, well, first thing’s first, we should probably continue trying to find other people.” I say in an attempt to get things going again.

“Yes, sir hero, we shall move again at once.”

“Lucia.”

“Sorry.”

I really hope this doesn’t become a trend.

After looking around the rest of the campground, we find nothing but ash, though we decided to check just to be sure. As we continue walking along, we eventually find a road, and following it, the signs of other humans begin showing up. Fields of wheat, tire and horse tracks, and walking a little further, a large stone wall reveals itself over the horizon, with the sun setting behind it, illuminating it with a beautiful luminescent light.

I will soon be entering my first fantasy town.



 

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