Chapter 39: My Accomplice
No one was around when Filaret La Volgograd woke up.
She slept in a familiar bed. It looked like the dormitory of her school. Filaret twinkled her eyelids several times before realizing where she was.
Her surroundings were rather ordinary. There was nothing inside the room, except for laboratorial equipment and piles of books. Filaret’s mind was not clear yet. Therefore, she shook her head slightly.
“…Maybe that was a dream.”
Filaret’s chest hurt and she felt a strange feeling. An emotion without any context. Was it real or fake? The scenario projected through her eyes didn’t change. It remained as an ordinary scenario. A normal moment in time. In other words, the moment of a regular morning. Filaret thought, “Yes, I must have dreamed. There was no way that, that dream was true… It would be impossible. Why on earth would a stranger sacrifice his own life to save my own? What a stupid dream. I didn’t need a savior. I was strong enough.”
“It was a bad idea to go to that local Guild. I thought that it would open up a whole new world for me. But, I made a mistake and I regret it.”
Filaret closed her dark eyes and took a deep breath. She tried to calm down her impatient thoughts. It was a just a small whim after all. Filaret heard of a particular Guild and thought that it could provide an opportunity to venture outside of her comfort zone and discover the world. To make a name for herself. She just wanted to be successful and show those who mocked her that she was someone capable of doing great things. Yet, it was a foolish wish. Yes, a foolish action. A temporary feeling.
Filaret was not born in the city-state of Garoua Maria. Unfortunately, she wasn’t allowed to register in the official Guild for Sorcerers from the city-state. This Guild was only used for national interests. It meant that the only people that could register were the sorcerers born in Garoua Maria, and Filaret was an outsider. Therefore, she wasn’t legible to be a part of Garoua Maria’s Guild for Sorcerers.
Well, it seemed that everything remained the same as always. Today was going to be the same as yesterday. And, tomorrow would be the same as today, and so on and on. Filaret was supposed to join Helot Stanley in the morning. Then, attend a magical lecture and, afterwards, work on research. That’s all. However, something felt different today. She thought, “Why does my heart feel so empty? My everyday life has been the same since forever. Nothing changed. Then, why is my heart shaking with pain?”.
Filaret wasn’t feeling all right. Her unwanted emotions didn’t go away. She was supposed to meet with Helot, but it was impossible to face him like this. Her heart didn’t stop beating painfully. She was suffering. Filaret thought that this could be the first day of her life that she would miss a lecture about magical properties. She has never been absent from school before. Yet, who cares? No one would care about her. She was treated like a trivial subject. An unimportant person.
「What the hell am I doing… 」
Depressive words came out of Filaret’s mouth unintentionally. She put her feet on the floor, got up from her bed and went out of her room. Afterwards, Filaret walked around in the city without any meaning nor destination. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Nevertheless, she felt that her heart lacked something important.
She felt a very suffocating feeling. She didn’t want to go back. She didn’t want to return to that boring routine. A life that made her want to “rip her heart” apart. It was an excruciating emotion. She didn’t want to be hated anymore. She wanted everybody to think differently of her. To respect her opinion and look up to her. But, her life was not made of such things. Her heart secretly wished for something different. To cast away her repetitive life.
“Still, I have nothing”, she thought. Filaret’s heart sighed with disappointment. She felt bad for not meeting up with Helot. She left him behind at the school and went out on her own. He probably waited for her. She thought that it would be better to return to the school and apologize to him. Perhaps, even ask him to join her in the ongoing research.
“…Helot Stanley is the only one who has been by my side.”
Filaret shook her dark hair and sighed loudly. Then, she returned back. However, she stopped by the gates of the city-state. She went close to the gates because her feet moved on its own. She stood by the entrance that connected Garoua Maria with the outside. Filaret leaned against the stone gates and looked at the scenery. She looked at the outside world as if she was looking for a long-wishing dream.
“It was here. I met that man on my dream at this precise location because of that local Guild’s quest. And then…”
Filaret’s eyes became wider and bigger. She saw someone familiar. A girl with green clothes carried a large barrel with her. Next to this girl, stood the man from Filaret’s dream. They went towards the “Poor People’s cave” district outside of the city-state’s walls.
“My dream. This shall be the continuation of that dream”.
「It’s just as you say…A secret meeting of a villain…Why did you come here instead of staying in your beloved Garoua Maria?」
Filaret heard that man’s voice. Yes, Lugis’ voice. At the same time, her gaze towards Lugis changed into a distrustful look. She probably sought Lugis’ explanation. Upon feeling this emotion, Filaret suddenly remembered what the man of her dreams did to her. It was as if the cloudy sky in her mind suddenly became clear.
“He saved me. Lugis risked his life to preserve his pride and dignity. So, what happened wasn’t a dream. I lived in a delusion for a short moment. My brain created an illusionary day-by-day comfort from my common lifestyle.”
“He certainly existed. And, he spoke directly to me. Or was his words part of a nightmare? I couldn’t believe it.”
Filaret’s black eyes stared suspiciously at people in the room and, slowly, she opened her lips in order to speak her own thoughts.
「…This meeting doesn’t make sense. Or perhaps…Are you having this meeting because you’re a spy from another country?」
Upon hearing the question of a pale-looking Filaret, Lugis just shrunk his shoulders.
「The Saint Woman that you met at the underground temple is obsessed with Maria. I proposed a deal with that woman in exchange for my life.」
「Do you mean that you’ll join hands with the Heraldic people? That’s even more insane. In the past all of the people involved with them had unfortunate endings. Oh no, this is wrong. You mustn’t cooperate with them even if everything looks relatedly well on the surface. 」
Filaret sounded as if Lugis was making a pact with the enemy of the entire world. Her voice was quivering and she looked somewhat frightened.
“Just thinking about it was horrifying.” That thought crossed Filaret’s mind. The New Faith ruled most of the surrounding countries. There were, of course, differences in regards to the degree of persecution and repression of the Heraldic Order. However, it would be a different story if Garoua Maria fell by the hands of this unwanted faith.
The main jurisdiction of the New Faith, the Cathedral, won’t miss the opportunity to annihilate the Old Faith if they knew where the Heraldic people were staying at, even if it were Garoua Maria. If that were to happen, it would bring serious consequences because every King or Emperor would like to put their hands on the autonomous affairs of the city-state. It would mean that Garoua Maria would enter a period of political, religious and military crisis.
No doubt about it. The historical attack that happened in Garoua Maria failed. Nevertheless, if they were successful this time, the Heraldic people would become enemies of the whole world. Filaret’s legs became stuck as if she was grabbed by something. Moreover, her body looked petrified as if her stiffness was due to a maddening state.
「You must be kidding with me. It’s all a joke, right Lugis!? I know that you made this deal in order to survive. But, do you really think that that Saint woman and her people would really care about your life!?」
That strange man and the barrel girl were in the room while Filaret made that bold statement. Both of them stiffened their faces. Their eyes and their overall expressions were intimidating. It was as if they tried to warn Filaret about her rashly behavior. To not cross the line. Yet, she didn’t care. Yes, she didn’t care about it anymore. What happened in the underground temple hasn’t vanished from Filaret’s mind. She remembered vividly how Lugis body burned in order to save her life. Deeply on her heart, she said, “Ah, I hate it. I don’t want to see such a scene again. I don’t want to feel that I’ll lose Lugis again. Yet, these crazy people want to use him or even kill him for the mad delusion of recapturing Garoua Maria.”
Filaret returned her gaze to those people in the room. Her eyes were determined. They were so daunting that it could freeze everyone that looked directly at her eyes. Filaret’s dark eyes took the strange man and the barrel girl aback. The light in her eyes showed that her will was so strong that she wouldn’t dare to be “defeated” that easily.
「You must remember that you’re an adventurer. If you do this, you’ll be deprived of your identity. You won’t be able to lead a normal life anymore. Participating on this villainous’ scheme is a huge mistake.」
That’s right. An adventurer was a “small” existence that could disappear from day to night. If everybody knew that Lugis was part of the Heraldic Order’s plan to attack Garoua Maria, his life would be over. Poor and ordinary people didn’t have second chances unlike the aristocrats and high-ranking people that got opportunities to reclaim their honors upon failure.
Lugis’ cheeks moved slightly. Filaret wondered if her words reached him. However, Filaret no longer contained her unsettling emotions as large tears filled up her eyes. She hated this. She truly hated how this all turned out to be. He wasn’t “lost” yet. Usually, those who died earlier than expected where those who did their very best to survive. But, no. This fate had to be avoided. There should be a way to avoid this entire perilous situation.
“…How could I tolerate the death of someone who risked his life to save mine?.”
Filaret’s black hair hanged down on her delicate shoulders. Her breath was rough and her whole body trembled because of her resilient emotions. It looked as if her body was filled with heat. Blood boiled like crazy as if it were contaminated with poison.
After waiting for Filaret’s breathing to settle down, Lugis slowly took his chewing tobacco from his pocket, and opened his mouth to answer her.
「I wasn’t blessed at birth, you know. Therefore, I don’t have any talents nor have I received the love from God.」
The three people in the room rounded their eyes after they heard Lugis’ words. He didn’t respond to Filaret’s questions nor did he have reasoning. It was a confusing talk. Rather, it sounded like a deep monologue.
「I faced many hardships before. Many people despised me and others deceived me. Ah, but it can’t be helped though. I have no choice, but to endure all of this. I can’t do anything except accepting this fate.」
Filaret couldn’t respond because she was speechless. He was probably the one that knew better about humiliation and scorn. However, he had no choice but to live among this hateful people. To live in this horrible and miserable world.
「If I have no choice but to accept this fate, then I’ll gladly walk through the path of thorns. I’ll do it even if my limbs get sore and bloody. I am sick of my days of pretending to be fine. I would rather step into a den of lions than keeping a facade in order to walk the easy path that everyone walks on.」
Those words made everyone feel very self-conscious. It was as if Lugis already experienced all of those paths before. It seemed that Lugis’ heart was afraid of repeating his past failures.
「I made up my mind. Yes, I made a decision. If that Saint woman wants to use me, then fine. I’ll use her too for my own advantage. What about you, Filaret?」
Upon hearing those words, Filaret’s mind went in chaos. What had happened just now? Filaret thought, “What does he want me to decide?.” She thought that this was too much for her to choose. Yes, too much hurdles. Helot was the only one who had protected Filaret up until now. Wherever path she chose, Helot was always there to guide her. However, he wasn’t here now.
In front of Filaret, stood a determined Lugis. He continued to speak.
「You look puzzled by this entire situation. But, in fact, you were quite enthusiastic about finding the relics and the old structures of the Heraldic Order. Back then you were extremely excited in the underground temple. But, you never thought that some people still followed the Old Faith. Both of us underestimated this people…Of course, its fine if you refuse your participation in these negotiations. They humiliated and almost killed us after all. You can run out of here and return to Garoua Maria.」
Lugis spoke with a different tone from his usual unperturbed demeanor. He talked to Filaret without stopping.
“Ah, that’s right. My views didn’t matter that much. I had to make a decision. Either be it a yes or no, Lugis still respected my will.” Filaret´s black eyes twinkled nervously. Her throat was dry and her shoulders moved up and down repeatedly.
「…However, I hope that you’ll take my hand. 」
Then, Lugis stretched his hand on Filaret’s direction. His eyes were resolute. His soul showed an unwavering spirit. His words proved his confidence and determination. He probably went through many hardships during his life. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have that sort of expression on his face. An expression of someone that experienced too many turbulent times.
“I don’t mind. I really don’t mind if I were to take his hand. To be honest, I’d rather accept his offer and become an enemy of the world than live a boring life with regrets. Yes, it’s fine. Just this time. Yes, I wouldn’t mind to take risks if my only one wish came true.”
On that moment, Filaret’s hand moved upward to reach Lugis’ hand. The fear and uneasiness that clouded Filaret’s mind disappeared instantly. Her thoughts became clear and her heart became content. She thought, “Ah, refreshing. What a refreshing feeling I have now”.
「It’s an honor, my employer…No, I shouldn’t be saying it like this. Welcome, my accomplice Filaret.」
“…Yes, I didn’t mind. Actually, I would be very pleased if he were the one to stay by my side forever.”
Thank you to the Patrons for the continued support!