I feel the crisp cold air on my face as I watch the sun rise over the buildings and the great wall surrounding the city in the distance. From the top of the arena, the city certainly looks beautiful, doesn’t it?
Even though I know that I should have spent last night resting and preparing for today’s fight… I just couldn’t fall asleep. With how instantly sleep has come to me since I came into this world I had forgotten how horrid it is to toss and turn in the anxiety of something horrible happening. For some reason, my body simply would not rest last night… and yet I don’t feel the least bit tired.
I started to wander the streets through the night, thinking to myself, trying to prepare myself. I’m not stupid, I know that the Yuusha probably won’t kill me today. As ignorant and childlike as he is, he probably wouldn’t kill without a good reason. All the same… I’m scared. This fight is probably the best chance that I will get to end this. If I were to kill him within the rules of the tournament I would be free from suspicion.
I know I’ve trained harder to him, I know I’ve gained better equipment than him, I know that by all rights I should win. Logically it only makes sense. With the way the Yuusha gains power, every second I delay is a greater gap in our power. Without the power held within that wisp, that gap grows even further in his favor, and I’m still not even sure if I can even handle the power within it yet.
Regardless, even if not all the cards are stacked in my favor, this is the best hand this world is likely to ever deal me. Knowing that… if I fail there is a good chance there is no coming back. If even his complete lack of focus or effort has made him more powerful than me, then what hope will I ever stand?
Even at night, the streets had people wandering about. I felt the need to be alone with my thoughts, to try to process the facts that I had been refusing to face up to this point. Eventually, I decided to head to the Arena. When not in use it was always such a quiet place. I waited out the morning from the top of the stands, where I had first met Reese.
Staring out onto the dimly moon-lit city I pondered one question.
“What do I do if I can’t win?”
I must have imagined a million scenarios, but in none of them did I end up happy. Not wanting to run away from it anymore, I refused to trick myself and thought about things logically. Perhaps the fear made me pessimistic, but if my fate wasn’t to defeat the Yuusha… then I couldn’t think of a future that ended without pain.
What do you do when you know every path leads to pain? How do you pick between bad endings?
It’s weird… despite the fact that I can’t remember anything specific, I still remember the line that always used to show up in anime.
“Considering how to handle losing before the battle has even begun will always result in defeat!”
I can’t help but scoff at that line now. Is there no way to fight without blindly charging ahead without considering the consequences? If that line is true, then fate truly is a cruel entity.
These thoughts carry me throughout the night. Before I know it the sun begins to rise, and I am met with the final day of the tournament.
There is one thing I can think of that will give me an edge over the fight that is now just a few hours away.
As I walk the deadly silent streets, that are slowly filling with those that have just pulled themselves from bed at the crack of dawn, I begin to wonder if I am making the right choice. After my last encounter, this place scares me almost as much as facing the Yuusha. I simply have to remind myself on several occasions that there is no reward without at least some measure of risk.
I breathe deeply before walking into the front gate of the Royal magic academy. The courtyard and halls both seem to be even more empty than the streets outside. I suppose of the students that are left, none are diligent enough to be awake at this early hour. The last time I was here most of them seemed to be using this place as more of a hangout spot than a place of learning so I might have been more surprised to see people working hard this early.
Unable to find the boy that greeted me before, and still not knowing my way around, I begin to wander throughout the halls of the building looking for someone to direct me. If there is anybody here at this hour it should be a quick job to find them. This place is quite large from the outside, but most of its grounds are made up by the courtyard in the center. The courtyard is surrounded on all sides by one large connected building, that seems to be almost entirely classrooms. Opposite to the entrance seems to be where various offices, meeting rooms, and what little student housing they offer is located. To walk the entire grounds would take less than 20 minutes.
The halls are silent with all but the echoing sound of my steps across the hard wooden floors. The entire building feels almost eerily quiet as if completely abandoned. I must admit that there is a level of relief when I finally notice a light pouring out of a nearly closed door when I make my way to the office area.
The mood becomes eerie once again however when I begin to notice weird mumbling as I approach the door. Cautious of the origin, I peek through the opening to see what the source is before entering.
“Ai-Yon-Fera, Fikbon-Fa-Tera, Hien-Ko-Fira, Rakan-Koyu-Fa”
What I saw was an entirely different kind of stunning than I had prepared myself for. The boy I met before is the only occupant of the room, sat at a desk with a single candle lit next to him. Surrounding him are numerous books, well more than a dozen, all of which open and within reaching distance. The boy is jumping between books, following random lines with one of his hands as he reads out strange words. For some reason he is holding his other hand away from himself with his wrist extended were his palm faces outward.
He looks haggard. As if he hasn’t slept in days.
“Niji-Ko-Fira, Reya-Te-Aera, Jaryu-Te-Aega, Fa- WHAH!” Suddenly amidst the garbled words, his hand begins to glow as papers begin to fly up around him, and the book pages start to flip wildly about
Wait, is that air hitting my face?
“Of all ones to work, why did it have to be this one! Grandma is going to kill me!” The boy says as he places his other hand on his wrist, and aims the outward stretched hand at the window
Just as I begin to understand what is going on, snake-like vortexes begin to wrap around the boy’s arm before blasting outward into the window. The impact is destructive. Not only does it easily shatter the glass, but much of the surrounding window frame has also been taken.