Chapter 116 Reminiscing (Part 2)
Only glancing at the forest one last time, Daichi decided that even if this wasn’t the last time he saw this forest. He would very well not enter it again of his own volition anytime soon. He’d travel any direction but the direction of this forest from now on!
Turning around and facing Lydia with a smile, Daichi spoke up in an enthusiastic voice “Where I called home is pretty far from here…”
Lydia could tell that Daichi wasn’t going to continue unless she probed so she nodded for him to continue while beginning to walk with him. She was focusing on hearing more. Daichi on the other hand couldn’t help but notice the stares he was getting from some of the other people his age, clearly he was getting more attention than they would like from someone in a position of power. It didn’t take him much to put two and two together and figure out that what he was sensing was the beginnings of hostility.
He could already tell that the only reason they weren’t sure what to think or feel about him was because they didn’t understand the situation yet. If they knew he had already been all but accepted as a student of Lumea Academy they would have hated his guts immediately and some of them may have even began plotting something behind his back, not that Daichi knew any of this but he could tell that they were looking at one another as competition and that he just hadn’t been classified under the same category yet.
Instead of focusing too much on it, Daichi focused on re-tooling his words. He knew that if he was going to talk about his past, he would have to be careful about how he worded things so that he could tell the truth while skipping over some vital details…
“I once heard from someone older than me, that if the portals had still been working then it would have been a quick to and from Lumea and my city. Unfortunately, they are long gone and so is what is left of our city. At some point after the catastrophe that happened, the city began to dwindle town. It was barely a city to start and could only be called that because we had a portal. If it weren’t for that, based on how far we were from everyone else and the lack of people then it could at best be called a town in the middle of no where.
After the catastrophe there were barely any survivors but everyone made due for as long as they could. Things went from bad to worse as the monsters and beasts broke out in a battle in an area near our town. Luckily we had the natural protection from the location of the town, that had mountains and cliffs protecting us from multiple sides.
Eventually though… Everyone who survived was forced into the forest. It was the only choice for survival… Some thought it was better to take their chances in the forest with the unknown than the certain death that awaited them in the remnants of the town. Others actually saw it as an opportunity to begin a journey to Lumea. It was a place everyone hoped would still be standing despite not hearing or seeing anyone from anywhere else. After all, no one knew how vast the devastation was and whether it had only affected our town.”
Daichi had to finally take a breath as he surveyed Lydia’s expression which seemed weirdly out of place and inappropriate considering the topic of conversation. She was smiling brilliantly with wide and bright eyes as Daichi wondered whether she was socially awkward like him too…
Instead of dwelling though, Daichi coughed dryly and then continued with his story. “Inevitably… We all agreed to leave the town. There was nothing left for us there but certain death. We traveled through the woods and it wasn’t long before we realized that no matter where we went, maintaining the same direction was impossible. It’s obvious we ran into monsters and beasts of all types more than once.”
Lydia nodded along as if everything Daichi was saying made perfect sense but even though Crimson was directing the others at a respectful distance, he was still keeping an ear out for the conversation and felt everything Daichi was saying seemed… Off.
“We were actually pretty lucky… Even though things weren’t easy, we came across two girls who were stunning. They both looked alike but they weren’t. They had the oddest personalities. In fact you could even say it almost seemed like they lacked a personality and that’s what made them so unique.” Daichi said with a smirk on his face. He was genuinely glad to be thinking about the mare. Although he hadn’t thought anything of them before. After years of solitude, his heart had grown warmer and increasingly fond of their memories. They had been helpful when they needed help the most, and despite thinking the worst of them at the time, they did nothing to harm him.
Daichi came to the conclusion long ago that he’d been wrong about them all along, even if they had something planned or something they wanted that they hadn’t mentioned the entire time they were together, Daichi wouldn’t think anything less of them for it. In his mind the majority of the time they’d been together it was mostly Daichi’s group that had benefited from the mare and not the other way around.
The mare had taken some essence from Kaden, but that was it. They’d helped them in battle, led them to safety and even helped when Daichi made the foolish mistake of trying to attack the heavenly bulls. The mare had likely suffered more from their experience in helping their group then they had gained overall.
Lydia looked at Daichi with a completely shocked expression. Had you asked him minutes ago Daichi would have thought it impossible for her eyes to somehow get even wider.
“How is that possible? There were more humans in the possible?? Explain!”
“Eh…” He rolled his eyes, as he realized he walked straight into that little error in story telling. On the other hand he figured that it would be a good way to gauge their reaction to non-humans, if they really had true animosity towards anything that wasn’t human and somehow he was mistaken for non-human then this would give him a good idea of how bad the reaction would be.
“Actually… We very soon found out after meeting them that they weren’t actually humans. They were what they called “mare”
Lydia stopped walking and looked like she was in deep thought for a moment before recovering with a wistful expression. “They were friendly?”
“Yes. They were. I was one of the few if only that were skeptical at first, but yeah. I was wrong, and I can admit I was wrong now. I know what the monsters and beasts have done. Whether it was their intention or not, they ruined my town. They are normally our enemies but I can’t help but realize now that a threat can come in various forms. Are people any more trustworthy than something or someone that isn’t human?”
Lydia only looked thoughtful before responding. “Regardless of what you personally think, don’t voice these thoughts once we get to the city. In the view of the masses and those in power, the monsters and beasts whether by intention or not have ruined everything humanity has worked for. They have killed our brethren and forced what we know is left of humanity into a hole. I don’t know whether they are all evil or not, but it doesn’t change that they are our enemies. That is a fact.”
“Fair enough.” Daichi said without a change in expression as he continued his story.
“They were quite beautiful though. It made them seem more approachable and made one of my companions instantly lose his head for them.”
“Yeah well, can’t say a thing about that” Daichi said while scratching his cheek with a playful expression that would have seemed foreign to him years ago.
“Both girls had oval faces with just a little bit of extra baby fat in their cheeks giving them an appearance of perpetual youth. They had large black eyes with long dark hair coming down to their shoulders. Unfortunately they looked like they’d been in the forest for quite a while, so their hair was matted and their was dirt on their bodies. Even with all that they still had a beauty that couldn’t be hidden. Their bodies looked skinny and frail, and their tall heights accentuated their lack of extra fat on their arms and legs. Despite their slightly gaunt appearance they had striking expressions that despite their looks and gender gave off an intimidating aura of self-reliance.” Daichi recalled their appearances with a trace of nostalgia and the more he talked the stranger he found it that he actually felt anything at all.
Meanwhile Lydia’s eyes had once again gone wide as her mouth formed a beautiful little “O” shape that made Crimson who’d just so happened to look over think something wildly inappropriate forcing him to look away with a completely reddened face.
Daichi came out of his thoughts and noticed her expression before adding “Of course I am not saying they were more beautiful than you of course, I’m merely remarking upon their features which easily captured the attention of the others and lowered their guards even when they knew better!” Daichi backtracked for a second. He knew women were touchy about their appearance and didn’t like men to fawn over other women when they were with them regardless of whether they had any interest in the man going on about another woman. He’d made too many mistakes inadvertently in his younger days. If his life would have just moved forward casually he would have never realized it, but being stuck in a place with nothing to do but analyze your memories or thoughts had made him recall every detail of his life.
Lydia had already rolled her eyes at Daichi’s comments as she realized what he was thinking and was a little annoyed he’d thought so little of her. Then spoke up with some interesting news. “Putting those silly comments aside you silly boy… I was a little surprised because your description matched someone who my group of kids came across only days ago. Although it might not be the same person. She was alone, but her appearance was quite similar to what you described except even more beautiful. She wasn’t human but she still helped my potential-students without showing any hostility, therefore I didn’t intervene at the time. Perhaps they were of the same race?”
That finally caught Daichi’s attention as he immediately wondered whether perhaps they WERE the same person. He knew that the odds were slim, but he also knew that the forest was their home. When he’d met them they were already hundreds of years old, was it really crazy that they could still be alive? ‘Still… She said that there was only one of them… I can’t imagine that they wouldn’t have found one another after all that time, and if they did that they wouldn’t be together.”
Daichi waved the thoughts away realizing it was foolish to even think about it. He would let fate decide whether he ever met them again, his future was not back in that forest but towards the destination he was currently walking towards.