Rebirth Online World

Creating, Telling, Sharing Dreams

Last High Human

Chapter 001 - Last High Human 1: Sacrifice, Regrets


 Last High Human 1: Sacrifice, Regrets

 

After killing the remaining assassins, Deunan and I ran towards the throne room. Even with my helmet on, I could clearly hear the ring of our footsteps echoing down the hall.

The walls and floor of the main hall are now painted red with our dead comrades’ blood, covering the pristine white marble. Their bodies, torn and ripped apart, lie scattered here and there, still warm from the butchering.

We rushed to the large doors at the end of the hall, opened them and burst through them. Inside the throne room, the king was fighting an intruder clad in dark robes. Both of them used intermediate magic: the intruder casted Ice Blade, while the king used Flame Tongue and Burning Arrow.

Hélias III was an old man in his 80’s, with long white hair. His dignified red clothing emphasized his silver eyes and tanned skin. His body was large and muscular, giving him a strong, manly appearance.

Twenty meters [65ft] away there were two more intruders dressed in the same dark robes. They were fighting against the Crown Prince, Hélias IV, a 30 year old version of his father.

Lying on the ground around them were dozens of dead soldiers, soaked in their own blood. I recognized some of them as members of my squad. I would have probably felt angry, if I could.

Deunan rushed to the Prince's side while I approached the King.
 
[Rhod] “Is Your Majesty harmed?” I asked while deflecting an Ice Blade with my shield.
 
[King] “We shan’t fall to such childish trickery, son. Now, hast thou come to speak or fight?”
 
I ran towards the intruder while deflecting another Ice Blade with my shield, buying time for the king to summon stronger spells.
 
I thrusted my sword, targeting my opponent’s heart, but the wizard ducked down, avoiding it. I kicked him in the jaw as he jumped backwards and prepared another Ice Blade, with a visibly much sharper edge. I managed to deflect it but felt that my shield took some serious damage.
 
[King] “Dodge, son!”
 
Hearing the King’s order and detecting a high amount of Energy coming from behind, I immediately dove to the right and laid on the ground. The King’s spell passed right over me, grazing my armor. I quickly rolled onto my back and lifted my shield, holding it between my body and the powerful Lightning Spear of the King.
 
As the spell ended, the scent of carbonized flesh filled my nose, just as a wave of heat hit my body. I climbed to my feet, shield up.
 
The enemy was gone, only a lump of burnt black matter remained where he once stood seconds before.
 
I turned around and checked on the King. He was panting heavily, and while ignoring the results of his attack, tried to walk towards the other side of the throne room. I turned my eyes towards the direction he was heading to.
 
Deunan was currently impaled on an intruder’s sword. Her face turned towards me and her empty eyes seemed to beg for a savior. Her body fell onto the corpse of an intruder, her killer already a few meters away.
 
I have regretted not being the one to kill him.
 
But, like all 'branded' soldiers, I felt nothing, even in such a situation, even while facing Deunan’s death, she who has been my partner for many years. We might officially be titled as 'slaves' of the Royal Family; but we still see each other as humans.
 
Putting my thoughts aside, I concentrated on the others when my heart suddenly skipped a beat.
 
A circular hole floated above the ground. I recognized it as a transportation gate, but didn't understand its properties.
 
In front of the gate, an assassin was standing with the unconscious prince on his shoulders. Both were bathed in an orange glow; grasses and trees becoming visible behind them.
 
Gritting my teeth I started running towards the assassin. He noticed the noise of my armor and dropped the Prince, letting him fall onto the ground as he threw a Flame Tongue at me. I raised my shield and blocked it without slowing, and moments later I felt that the air suddenly grew fresher.
 
Then, I felt a burning pain shoot through my left arm, I immediately dropped my shield as if by reflex. From the corner of my eyes I discovered that it has caught on fire, and even had a deep cut through the middle. I quickly stepped to the side in case another Flame Tongue would come at me. Nothing!!
 

I locked eyes with the assassin as he took out a knife. He’s not using magic anymore? 

He thrust forward at an incredible speed. With a step to the right, I dodged it but my left flank was still grazed by the attack. Fast! I didn't even have time to lift my sword. He then immediately kicked my right hand, disarming me. 

[Assassin] “No one can stop us, brat! Give up!” A feminine voice ordered me, her voice filled with a thick accent. 

Disarmed and at the woman’s mercy I take the bet that the King has started acting on his own. 

I took this opportunity. I lunged forward and catched the assassin in my arms, tackling her to the ground. As we fell, I clearly felt and heard four impacts on the back of my cuirass. Hopefully the knife didn’t pierce through. 

We rolled on the ground, fighting for the upper hand. We struggled for about a minute; she’s trying to stab my chest while I am attempting to block her off. 

Luckily my strength was superior. I managed to pin her down and with all my might, bashed her, head to head. Fighting the blur caused by the shock, I blindly ran my hand along hers and took possession of the knife. Then grabbing it with both hands, plunged it repeatedly into her flesh, unaware of where I stabbed. Only after the tenth hit did she stop moving. 

I felt her last breath; the fading grip of her hands on my arms; and the sudden calm of the aftermath as she silently died. 

[King] “Hurry lad! The portal whilst last but a minute!” The king suddenly shouted. 

I came back to my senses and rushed to my feet, still dizzy, and walked towards the portal. I’ve never staggered so much in my life. 

The King was trying to pull his son’s body back into the castle with the gate slowly shrinking in size. With the Prince’s body halfway through, the gate’s size shrunk so that the Prince’s body barely fit in between. 

I fell to my knees on his right and lifted his legs, bending them against his stomach. The King grabbed him by the belt and pulled the Prince all the way through, securing his son’s life. 

Then, I was suddenly attacked by a wave of dizziness, I tried to stand but instead fell on all fours. Was I always so weak? 

[King] “Son, hast thou given up thy life?!” 

[Rhod] “M... My apologies your majesty. I… May have been poisoned.” 

[King] “Enough blabbering lad, make haste!” 

I stood up again and approached the portal, but I’m too late. The portal has narrowed to the point that even without my armor I would not be able to pass.

I took off my helmet, letting it fall to the ground. Fresh air caressed my sweaty face as I resolutely locked eyes with the King’s against all protocol. 

[Rhod] “I am beyond salvation you highness…” 

[King] “Son…” 

[Rhod]“Your highness… despite my condition, serving you was my greatest honor." 

Branded servants die whenever they are a certain distance away from the King. Therefore, if a branded servant runs away, the brand will petrify his heart. I was indirectly showing my resolve to die an honorable death for him. 

[King] “Son… it is never too late.” The King took off a ring from his right hand. 

“Nothing ever forced thee upon Our service, only loyalty hast. But thou did, and even saved our son’s life. We are indebted to thee.” 

The King… is indebted to me? How much shame will I be forced to bear before I die? 

[King] “Son, We shall pay this debt. From this very instant, We free you from our control, and bless thou with the title and possessions of our kingdom’s knights. Live up to our expectations.” 

[Rhod] “Si- Your majesty-… How could I ?!” 

The King threw his ring through the sliver of space remaining on the portal. It’s still two meters tall, but its width is barely the size of an eye. 

[King] ”We have always been proud of thou. Also, son, thy parents- “ 

The portal suddenly disappeared, interrupting the king. 

Too many things just happened… 

The gate closed before the King could finish his sentence. What about my parents? Why did he free me? A knight? This… doesn’t make any sense at all… 

Also, this ring… A knight’s ring. I am surely not worthy of such a treasure… Once again, what am I supposed to do? Another responsibility bored down upon my shoulders. 

I would have warmly welcomed my forced death. 

Too much has happened. I need to find out where I am. I must remember my training; secure my surroundings, then think. I grabbed my sword and took a look around…. 

Twilight was visible by the edge of a forest. This night will be the first where I would stay outside without being tracked by someone or something.

In this world, I must honor the King and live up to his expectations.

 

 

 

Written by Lionsennel Senpai
Edited by Panda