I stand firm, gripping the hilt of my sword as if it will make my situation any better. There, just a few steps away from me stands the Saint Wizard herself. My muscles ached at how tense I am. My whole body threatened to start trembling just from the immense power I sense from her.
But... although she is our kingdom's enemy, there's still very little we know about her. Nobody has truly seen her in action and all those who survived her onslaught were too traumatized to tell us anything.
Nobody knows what she looks like either. All survivors tell us the exact same thing. That the Saint Wizard wore a black hooded cloak that covers her whole body, leaving nothing seen. And they're right. That's exactly what she's wearing now.
The Saint Wizard suddenly raises her hand, making me tense up to the point when I had frozen in place. My mind kept telling me to run but my body seems to have other plans. It makes me wonder if she'd casted any paralysis spells to prevent me from moving.
I am surprised, however, when the Saint Wizard removes her hood. But it is when my mind registered what she looked like when I go into shock. Why? Why does she look like a female version of me? Her long white hair, her piercing blue eyes. If someone were to see her
and me together, they would completely mistake us as twins.
I shake my head furiously, denying my thoughts. There is no way I am related to a monster. There is no way I have a sister who can kill thousands of my comrades with one whim. She's just playing tricks on me. Is my immediate thought. That's right. This must be what she did to all the survivors.
"It has been a very long time, Leyland.." She speaks up, her tone completely opposite to my expectation. She sounded authoritative but at the same time friendly and it's not the type that's pretend. It's making me lose focus, damnit! I am supposed to be killing her!
I gulp and despite my better judgement, I muster the courage to glare at her. "I am not going to fall for your tricks, Saint Wizard!!" I yell at her. "Die!!"
I charge at her, completely ignoring my instincts to run and my mind that's telling me how stupid I am. Both are probably right. I might be charging right into my death.
When I'm near enough, I slash at my opponent while at the same time ready myself for either death or intense pain from her counter attack. I am surprised, however, when my attack connects with her armor-plated arm and I feel no sort of pain at all.
My eyes widen, realizing that I had stopped and stared at her for a good five seconds. I immediately leap away, giving as much distance from her without her thinking that I'm running away. The next thing I need is being chased by the very person whom I should be killing.
"You're good at handling your weapon at least." She says, her lips curling into a proud smirk. "Your emotions are in display, though. It will do you good if you work on that."
"Why?" I decide to ask her of her intentions. "Why are you talking to me so casually? You're supposed to be a monstrous being! You're supposed to be killing whoever it is you see!"
"Is that what they say about me now?" She asks, looking quite amused despite the things I just said. "That I am a monstrous being? That I kill whoever I see?" She shakes her head in what seemed like amusement. "Demis Kingdom has become quite desperate. Have I delayed their quest that much?"
I blink at her words. "W-what the hell are you talking about? What quest?" I question, brows scrunched out of confusion.
“You’re not an idiot, Leyland.” She states. “I’m sure somewhere deep inside that clever mind of yours, you’ve questioned things Demis did. You don’t actually believe most of what that kingdom has told you, do you?”
“Tch!” I grit my teeth and glare at her. I don’t like how she actually got that right. Does she have some sort of power to know what I’m thinking? “Shut up, Saint Wizard. You have no right to question my loyalty. Stop pretending like you know me! Just kill me like you did to my comrades!”
She sighs heavily. “I guess just talking to you won’t convince you, huh?” She muses and then suddenly lights up. “I know!”
With one snap of her finger, our surroundings turn into a blur. I bring my guard up but an intense dizziness suddenly hit me, making me fall on my knees. And then, just as fast as it came, the dizziness disappeared once the blurry surroundings turn clear once more.
“What the hell did you do to me?!” I glare at her, my guard on full.
“Relax, Leyland.” She shakes her head and then gestures to our surroundings. “As you can see, I just teleported us elsewhere.”
I look around and find that she’s telling the truth. We’re on some cliff that overlooks a village. It’s heavily-gated with gigantic wooden posts but inside the gates, the people all looked happy and for some reason, the village made me feel calm. Why does it feel like I’ve been here before?
"You feel it, don't you?" The Saint Wizard speaks up. "The nostalgia."
I look at her seriously, sheathing my sword since I don't think she'll suddenly decide to kill me now that we've made it this far. I wouldn’t stand a chance against her anyway.
"What is this place?" I ask.
"This is home, Leyland." She says, giving me a smile. "The very village where you and I were born into. The place that I am currently protecting from Demis."
Part of me didn't want to believe her but a bigger part did and for some reason my mind just went along with it. There’s still one thing I’m wondering about, though.
“It doesn’t matter where I was born. My loyalty is to Demis. Why would you come for me, though?” I decide to speak out my thoughts. “You are a very powerful being... making me side with you won’t do you much good. You might as well just kill me.”
“Why is it always killing with you?” She rolls her eyes. “Is that what they taught you in Demis?” She shakes her head. “No matter... I’m sure you’ll soon see the truth behind all the lies Demis told you.”
I don’t say anything but in my mind, I kept convincing myself that she’s only trying to get into me. “You didn’t answer my question, Saint Wizard.” I state, narrowing my eyes at her. “There are plenty of stronger and more skilled soldiers in Demis whom you can convince to side with you. So why me?”
“Why you?” She lets out a soft chuckle, seemingly amused by me. “Do I need to state something so obvious, My dear twin brother?”
"T-win b-brother.." I mutter. I didn't know how to react now that she had said it. I wanted it to be a lie but our appearance is not at all helping my denial. I shake my head again. "You’re lying!” I yell, mostly because I didn’t want to believe it. “If I’m your brother, why didn’t you come for me before I became a soldier of Demis? You just want to use me, don’t you?!” I glare at her. “You want to decrease Demis’ military power by removing me, don’t you?!”
She shakes her head, the amusement showing in her expression. “Oh please, Leyland.” She mutters. “Even if you were to be removed, Demis would find someone else to replace you. You are nothing but a replaceable pawn to them.” She sighs. “That’s also why I have chosen to come talk to you now. Remember that time when you so strongly questioned your higher ups about attacking your neighboring kingdom just days ago?”
“H-how did you...” I can’t help but feel shocked by her question. “You were there?”
“How else would I look after you if I didn’t pay close attention?” She smirks before one after the other, she transforms into many different people. All of which I had met for a short period of time but had helped me a lot. The last person she transformed into was one of the higher up’s most trusted men – Aiden Goddard.
“A-aiden?!” My eyes widen in disbelief. “The general’s right hand man?!”
“Indeed I am.” The Saint Wizard says as she drops the transformation, waving her hand dismissively. “Now back to the matter at hand. Your higher ups didn’t like it when they were questioned so they made arrangements to get rid of you.”
She flicks her hand and a mirror-like image appears from her raw mana, showing me the general’s table where a map is lying open. She points to a portion of the map. “In three months, they are aiming to attack another kingdom and this time they plan to make you lead their first assault.” She tells me. “That kingdom is heavily fortified. Your chances of survival are slim to none.”
“Or… I could always go and save you if you end up getting in trouble.” She utters as if it’s some normal thing to say. “But… as the Saint Wizard, I’d like to maintain a good relationship with that kingdom. I also tend to get carried away and end up destroying a whole lot more than intended so I’d really prefer it if it didn’t come to that.”
I can’t help the disbelief I’m feeling. We’re supposed to be enemies and yet she just told me things about herself like we’re close friends. Is the Saint Wizard supposed to be this care-free?
“You don’t have to force yourself to come to a decision right this instant, of course. That'd be similar to just kidnapping you.” She says, shrugging. “You still have three months before they send you to wage war on that kingdom. That should be enough time for you to observe the actions of your kingdom and see through their lies.”
"Y-you mean..." I look to her, partly glad that she won’t drag me into the village right now. I’m confused though. "You're just going to let me go? Aren't you worried I might tell my officials about this?"
She seemed amused at my question. “Oh… you won’t do that, Leyland. You’re not stupid.” She states knowingly. “Instead, you would keep this to yourself and pretend nothing happened while you go about your life, extra observant of your kingdom’s actions.”
I gulp, impressed at how she actually got that right. I won’t tell her that, of course.
"So! Shall I put you back where I found you?" She asks, smiling casually at me.
"Y-you're really just letting me go?" I ask, still not believing that this is happening.
"Of course." She mutters, unaffected by how much I'm doubting her. "Contrary to what your kingdom might've told you, I actually keep my word."
"S-sorry." Is the first thing I say and I inwardly cursed at myself for apologizing. She’s an enemy. I shouldn’t be apologizing to her.
She just smiles. "Well.. Brace yourself." She says. "I forgot to warn you last time but the teleportation causes intense dizziness if you're not used to it."
I nod and with a snap of her fingers, the surroundings turn into a blur. I close my eyes and wait for the dizziness to pass.
"We're here, Leyland." She says and I open my eyes. We are in the same spot where I first saw her. "Remember not to mention anything about me. If they find out you are a survivor, they will interrogate you. I don't want to end up destroying half of your kingdom just to save you."
I give her a grateful nod, still having a hard time believing if she'd actually do what she said. She doesn't wait for me to wrap my head around everything and immediately turns to go.
"Wait.." I call out to her, which makes her stop and turn back to me. "You haven't told me your name."
"I figured Saint Wizard might be good enough for you until you make your decision." She says, giving me yet another friendly smile. "Well.. Since you asked.. I am Leviathan Citrion but you may call me Levia for short." She bows slightly. "Stay safe, Brother."
And just like that, she disappears.