Chapter 32: A Rat’s Pride
She was praying desperately to the God of Heaven. She begged and cried endlessly.
「Ah, you’re the one I got caught together with…Helot…I wish I had been caught with Helot Stanley instead…!」
I was not the one that she begged for on that prayer.
My breath was hot. That scorching air created by my lungs went through my windpipe, and it felt as if my whole body was burning and melting. This excruciating heat kept circulating through my insides without stopping.
Did I felt these hateful feelings…this unbearable heat…my disgust with the whole world, when I was traveling with the Filaret la Volgograd of the future?
I did felt them back then. Yes, even in this timeline. My feelings didn’t change even after I went back to the past.
I remember. I remember everything that happened to me before, every painful memory. The powerful Sorceress. I never recalled a scene where she begged and sobbed like this. Naturally, she wasn’t swayed by such feelings. She wasn’t distraught or upset by anything. Yet, I remember that every time I saw her eyes, she was always looking at someone else and not me.
…Ah, why did this always happen to me. I wished I had been Helot myself.
The heat was so strong that my fluids boiled inside my stomach. I let out some foam from my mouth. Strangely, my body was steaming.
Of course. It was absolutely natural. I was bound to be a rat no matter where I’d go. There wasn’t anybody else other than Filaret that continued to give me such feelings. For her to give me that type of evaluation… How wonderful. Yes, how wonderful it was that my life hasn’t improved yet. How ironic was it, really.
The flames of the candlestick made of pottery projected only our shadows so far. Soon, I noticed that the flames showed a large shadowy figure on the wall as well. It came closer to us while making a loud noise as it walked on the marble floor. It was a soldier covering his face with a helmet. This man was probably a leader because of his robust armory and strong-looking sword.
「…C’mon, stand up. Our Holy Mother demands that of you. Have you finished your prayers?」
Apparently, they got rid of the impeding hindrance. Still, I really wondered if they really captured the two remaining people that were still running freely through the passages of the underground temple. Perhaps, they intended to kill one of us to serve as an example for others.
Filaret’s voice trembled. She could barely speak. Her face was pale blue. Without any signs of hope. I was impressed to see this type of defeated expression imprinted on her face.
It was natural that her evaluation of me, regarded me as a rat. For Filaret, this evaluation would probably never change. Okay, no problem. I made up my mind. I’ll gladly receive this designation.
However, there wasn’t any way to suppress my other feelings. The hatred that I felt when she begged for someone else. Not me. These feelings were about to crawl from my spine to my mouth. My eyes became widely open and I took a deep breath.
「Whatever. You have been always like this. You never change, do you, Sorceress. 」
The shadowy figure projected on the wall shook and stood up.
The pottery candlestick never fade out. The flames burned incessantly because of the monster fat in it. The small wind pressure made it look as if the flames were dancing. If I dropped what I had left in my pocket into the sparkling flames, it would probably increase the heat dramatically.
I stood up quickly just as the soldier demanded me to. Filaret stared at me with teary eyes. I looked at her as well. My mind wanted to stop me. But, my heart wanted to say express my feelings into words. I didn’t know anything anymore.
「I am sorry. But, as you can see, I’m just a mere rat. No matter if it’s now or in the future. That’s why I won’t be able to rescue you brilliantly like Helot Stanley.」
My hands were tied with a rope behind my back. The soldier looked at me, stood up quickly and distorted his expression. He looked at me with strange and suspicious eyes. Still, he didn’t show any intention to harm me just yet.
Even so, the soldier guarding us probably had his own orders. If I were to move recklessly, he would probably kill me immediately. In addition, there were five or six guards in this room besides this robust soldier. The odds were against us. They outnumbered us. Even if I tried to do something, the probability of failure was quite high.
Ah, this frustration. This was insulting and nerve-wracking. The fluids inside of my stomach were burning. My mind was in turmoil. That man. Yes, that particular man. Ah, if I were that man, Helot Stanley, would I be able to come up with some sort of plan and be able to rescue my fellow comrades successfully?
My mind was having foolish thoughts. It were equivalent to delusions. I had to get a grip of myself. I pulled the rope as I pushed my elbow. The flames of the candlestick, which I could see under my eyes, seemed strangely flickering.
I see. Power could be weak if one had the strategy to deceive it. Besides, I had to be the one to do something in order to change their perception of my persona.
「However, Sorceress. A rat has the pride of a rat. Please, take a proper look at this. You should be able to escape once I give you the chance.」
I slowly twisted my fingers to take what was hidden inside my pocket. I tried to be discreet so that Filaret was the only one able to see it.
It was a sticky liquid made of a monster’s mucus. I bought it back in Garoua Maria. This liquid was originally used as an adhesive. Therefore, it could be easily purchased as a daily commodity. Knives, armor and gold were far more important for quests. No one would place his or her eyes on this piece of junk that anyone could to buy.
But for me this was something useful. Of course it was something convenient to use because…it burnt extremely well and rapidly.
The plan was quite simple. If I couldn’t cut the rope because they took my knives, I had no other choice but to burn the rope… Or to burn everything in the surrounding area. Luckily, I still had the handkerchief from Ariene. I could use it to cover my hands while I tried to burn the rope. If I were to be successful, they would need to find water. Their attention wouldn’t be upon me.
…Okay, I need to push the candlestick with my elbow. I thought that I did something similar to this a long time ago. It was a memory form when I was taken as a prisoner.
I was immersed on an old nostalgic scene. For a moment, I forgot about everything else. But, soon, my feet stood strong on the ground and my senses came back to reality.
I pushed my whole body to the side. I tried my hardest to push my elbow towards the pottery candlestick. I had to press it hard in order to smash it.
At that moment, I had a glimpse of Filaret’s figure, on which she moved her lips slightly. But, I couldn’t hear her words…
The pottery collapsed with mild sound.
I felt intense pain throughout my entire body, not just the elbow. The pain was strong enough to make me feel like my body was split into two parts.
The pottery fell on the pavement of the floor when I smashed it with my elbow. Ah, that hurt badly but my arm was safe from external injuries.
At the same time, I felt a burning pain. Yes, the flames were so hot that it hurt my skin. It no longer felt like just sparkling flames, but real fire.
The mucus was acting as a fuel. Because of its properties, the fire spread quickly. It freely burnt everything it touched. My clothes almost got on fire, and the whole room was caught on fire.
The moisture-free and dry accessories flared up in an instant. It was as if the candlestick was hiding a very special kind of fuel, a fuel of destruction.
Naturally, the force of the fire also fell upon me. It ran through my arms to the waist and started to burn all of my cloth.
Ah, it burns. It kept burning without stopping. Everything was scorching hot. What if the fire really burnt me to death? At least, it would also burn my unwanted feelings.
I heard Filaret’s high-pitch voice amidst all of this chaos. The guards started to shout aloud when they faced the continuous spreading fire.
Ah, so pleasant. Who would have thought that this could be so pleasurable? They underestimated me. All of them really underestimated my character.
The one that looked at me had a very frustrating expression on his face. The robust soldier stood in front of me. He held his strong-looking sword, but it was too late. Yes, too late to get me or to eradicate the fire. Therefore, he put his sword away.
「Bottles of water! Bring bottles of water…! 」
I had already burnt my rope.
I managed to come between the flames and got hold of the soldier’s sword. And then…
…I approached him through the raging fire and I used the sword to strike between the eyebrows of his helmet. The sword cut through the flames and pierced right up at his neck.
It wasn’t the move I aimed at, but it confirmed his downfall. It was the only move that I’ve managed to accomplish amidst the madness of this situation.
The flesh of the soldiers was torn, and Blood spilled everywhere. The cervical spine was severed. It was cut made across the mouth towards his torso. The corpse looked like the remnants of a devil.
An expression of fear would be visible on anyone’s face if the observed this scene. As it should be it. Those who dared to come here, all looked at this place with the same expression. The most visible feeling. I only saw fear. Yes, I could take advantage of that. After all, I knew very well how fear could transform a person.
The black coloring of the fallen soldier’s sword strangely matched well with the crimson color of the burning flames.
Die. I mustn’t die. Yet, there was no doubt I was probably on the verge of death. Maybe, if I put it in another perspective, this could mean the real end of my adventure through the past timeline. I could easily die here and now.
I had convulsions. My throat felt sore and hurt. I almost fell to the ground. I could hear screams and fear in the air. Like me, the flames caught up with everyone else. If I were to die here, then I wished that all of those people would die along with me.
My throat got worse. I exhaled the burning smoke of the flames. It was painful every time I breathed. Still, the heat wasn’t comparable to the heat I felt inside my body. It was far from being similar. Ah, I wasn’t feverish yet. This heat was too weak to go against the power of hatred that dwelled inside my body.
…Nonetheless, my physical strength had reached its limit.
I could no longer feel the sensation of my damaged left arm. I was being exposed to the heat. I should be feeling pain. But, I couldn’t feel anything anymore. Everything burned on the ground from behind my back, but nothing made sense to me. I was starting to lose my consciousness.
Every time my senses got numb, my vision also got dim. I wasn’t strong after all. I had my own limitations. Even my ears were numb. Somewhere far away, I felt that I could hear the voice of Filaret. But, it was distant. The sound faded away.
Ah, so this was how it felt like. These were the feelings that a fragile human body could feel while being whipped out by the burning flames. The senses became weirder with time. The numbness increased and my field of vision almost black it out.
Well, I didn’t mind dying now. After all, I didn’t give up in the end. At least, one positive feeling would remain on my heart as I finally gave in. I shall die with the heat now. There wasn’t anything else I could do to avoid this predicament. Ah, nothing really.
Please, Filaret. This was your only chance to escape. Please, run away from this place. Your arms were still tied up with a rope, but your legs were free. I had hoped she forgot about her fear. Please, don’t let her be scared and shivered. Don’t give up. Just get away.
I was never capable of saving people. I wasn’t Helot Stanley neither a hero. I was just Lugis.
And, the black shadowy figure that brought me to this era. Did you see me? I, Lugis, shall perish here and now. I used an unconventional way in order to save just one woman. I made quite a mess, didn’t I? Actually, to tell the truth, this wasn’t how I envision a hero.
Yet, isn’t what I’m doing a bit too great for a mere rat?
…Yeah, you’ve done a great job.
I listened to a far distant voice inside my earlobe. Soon, I could hardly breathe and everything became pitch-black. On this moment, I lost my consciousness and my body fell on the spot.
So hot right now… Damn heatwave…
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