Chapter 61 Cheating Death – Consequences (Part 5)
Daichi’s eyes widened in surprise as he glanced at the mare, feeling less confidence as he noticed the pallor of her expression.
“I’m sure you can hear me. I heard you weren’t in the best of shape. I doubt you are out of my territory yet and if you are then the rest of this won’t matter.”
Daichi settled down as he realized he was currently safe. This voice, this person didn’t know where he was.
“Let me get straight to the point, two days ago my cute little pets were given a horrible fright! My little beauties were attacked by a mischievous little devil! They were terrified and were fussy for an entire night! The poor little things ran amok in their fright, eating like little gluttons to quell their fright with food. You know wha they say about comfort foods right?”
Daichi was beginning to take this voice less and less seriously, despite the kind of ability it must have taken to do what he was doing, the voice sounded like an idiot.
“Well now, I don’t take kindly to strangers picking on my poor defenseless little pets, as such I began looking for said perpetrators a little while ago… And lo and behold.
I found three little human rats scurrying about. The little red head has voiced that their names are Kaden, Ava and Hannah.
I have to say, their names aren’t all too bad. They have a certain zing to them! I was surprised to hear their friend, the poor little guy who got lost on the way. Surprised to learn his was Daichi! I mean, what kind of silly name is that?”
Getting more and more irritated at the guy, Daichi wanted to smack him for mocking his name. Daichi had been a little self-conscious about it ever since he was a child, it was only after his father had told him to go to the library and find out it’s meaning that after using several books.
He’d figured it out and had a good chuckle about it. It’s meaning was something Daichi could be proud of. Now this random jerk was mocking him for it!
Putting his irritation to the side, Daichi finally focused on the first few words.
“So he’s found the group, and they told him about me. Annoying.” Daichi thought.
“Well suffice to say, I’ve been playing with these little rats but it’s been quite disappointing. They’re just not very durable! I’m afraid if this Daichi fellow, yeah you. If you don’t get over here soon, I just don’t think you’ll be able to say your goodbyes!”
Daichi wondered what incentive this guy must think he would have to go throw his life away? Did the voice think he was an idiot?
“Hmm.. The little redhead has pointed out though.. That you my little oddly named bother, are likely not too keen to come. That you are a cold person.
Well bully for me! So I’ll be kind and fair, I’m a kind and fair guy you know?
If you get yourself here within the next 12 hours… I promise you’ll be able to save at least one of them… And hey! I’ll be extra kind! I promise that if you do get here in time to save one of them, and I promise my pets and I won’t lay a hand on them or you. That I’ll spare you. I’ll spare you and the saved ones. Free pass!
Although in fairness, I must admit the noble boy won’t last too long even if you do get here. Poor little thing somehow came in contact with my mana… And a skill of mine…
Who knows how it happened? Weird things happen ya know? Thinking ahead though, now that he has, once it’s gone from his mana pool, he’ll die. So there’s that.
Still a pretty sweet deal though right!? So make up your mind, come or don’t come. 12 hours.” The voice said as it seemed to drift away.
Hearing that weird high pitched sound in the same ear again, Daichi’s whole shoulder and neck twitched as if he was given a shock.
Shaking his head to get the sensation to go away, he looked at the mare as she looked downright ghostly.
“So who was that?” Daichi asked her point blank.
Giving him a long hard look, the mare seemingly having an internal struggle over the question finally answers “That is a very terrifying being. If he is what I think he might be… Then even entering his territory much less offending him was the worst possible thing you could have done.”
Clicking his tongue, Daichi counters “Well you were there too. He only mentioned the three, the other mare wasn’t there I’m guessing? Why do you get the free pass but not us?”
Giving him a meaningful look, the mare’s expression returned to its normal indifference “There are reasons. We will likely be fine if we run away and leave his territory.”
Tapping his fingers on his knees, Daichi began to ponder something obvious.
Three days ago he would have simply left with the mare. There was no reason to risk when the stakes were so clearly against his favor. The risk and reward was too obviously poor.
The only one in the group that Daichi even put much stock in was Hannah, even if Ava had put in the same amount of work. He’d valued her for her knowledge and tools. Kaden just happened to come along for the ride in his mind. Even if he had come to respect his ability to abide by his ideals. It still hadn’t made him any less of a risk.
Three days ago, he would have left them and not thought twice about the matter.
Three days ago things were simple. He was himself and he did the things he did because they were the rational things to do and because it was what he would do.
Now… Now that Daichi had realized that perhaps he wasn’t himself. That perhaps something was making him act differently, be different.
A nagging, a stubborn, part of him refused to just be. To just “do” what he “should”.
The part of him that was nagging at him, was telling him the obvious thing before his eyes.
“Doing something without foreknowledge is one thing, to willing know and then do is another.” His father had once said to him.
Thinking about his father’s words, Daichi considered his choices. Not the choice of whether he should go or not and what those risks might hold.
He considered *his* choices. Now knowing that he didn’t know what and who he was, Daichi faced a monumental decision for himself.
He could do what came natural to him, be logical and ignore anything else. He could forget what he’d learned, abandon his group and just leave. He’d forget them soon enough and he wouldn’t feel a thing over it.
Or… He could save them. He could chose to risk his life, and do “the right thing”. Nothing about it sparked any sort of emotion in him, but thinking about what his father would do. About the philosophical talks he’d had with him.
Daichi placed a huge value on the philosophical value behind the rationale one uses to walk through life.
What I think or what I want does not define who I am. What I chose to do defines who I am. Why I chose to do the things I do defines how I see myself. How I chose to carry my convictions and whether I stay true to them defines my will.
If this is how I see the world, and it is. Then it’s not much of a choice is it?
I am going to chose to save them. I am going to chose to do the “right thing”. I am going to chose the harder path.
I would rather die tomorrow making a stupid decision, but one I feel I wholeheartedly made, me – myself.
Than live for the rest of my life wondering who I am and whether anything I do has any meaning, a puppet under someone else’s strings!
Standing up, Daichi has made up his mind. The mare glanced at him in surprise, that mask of indifference crumbling for the third time in the span of just a few minutes.
She could tell he’d decided to save the others. Bringing utter surprise to her. This was completely out of the range of her expectations and out of character for him.
“I am choosing to do this just because. Because I can. Because I need too. Not for them, but for me.” Daichi said as he looked at her, his eyes burning with conviction.
Thinking for a long time, the taller mare finally spoke, “I can guide you most of the way. Once we are close enough, I will leave. That is the most I can do for you.” she stated matter of factly.