Volume 2 Chapter 1
Note: The story is now written in third-person point of view.
Witsen had many questions in mind, but he knew they had to wait as caring for Karile’s injury was of paramount importance. He could only wait for the boss to speak up, and thankfully the boss did not betray his expectations.
Witsen followed the boss as they walked through the corridor and down the stairs to the main hall, which was now closed and had just a few employees cleaning the place up. The boss walked to the back of the bar counter, then started to touch the wall as if he was looking for something. After a short while, he pressed a brick, which sunk into the wall. The floor creaked and opened up to reveal a hidden passage leading underground.
The boss lit a torch he took from a nearby shelf and led Witsen down the hidden passage. As they walked, Witsen felt chills on his back. For some reason, the paintings hanging on the wall made his blood run cold. The passage led to a room filled with books and laboratory apparatus.
“Young fella, you’re not from this world, are you?” The boss asked after securing the torch onto a wall.
“Right,” Witsen answered in surprise.
“Truth be told, I’m not exactly someone who belongs to this world either. See these apparatus? Beakers, test tubes an such, you can easily tell these things don’t belong to a fantasy world.”
“A fantasy world? There’s magic here?”
“The mark on your arm is magic in itself. Are you acting dumb now? You’ve already used magic yourself.”
The boss looked all over the place and came back with a book in hand.
“Young fella, this is a book from my world. In that world, this book itself is history, but here, it’s a prophecy. It speaks of a young man who comes from a foreign continent, a young man who shall rescue the Obsidian Princess.”
“The Obsidian Princess?”
“I’m sure I don’t have to say it out loud who the princess is.”
It was only then that Witsen realised the severity of his situation. He had to find someone to save Karile right now.
“Come,” the boss signaled Witsen over and left the room together. Once Witsen got out, the boss tossed the torch into the room, burning the pile of books.
“You…”!” Witsen was utterly confused.
“You’re already here, which means the books are now useless. I already told you about Karile’s identity, and that alone has already nullified history itself. You’re literally making history yourself now. Oh, here, take this,” The boss said while handing over what seemed like a potion. “This can heal her temporarily, but it is by no means a cure. Don’t let her use magic, or else her situation will worsen.”
Witsen went back to the room and fed Karile the potion. He sat besides her and dozed off as he waited for the potion to take effect. All of a sudden, Witsen jerked up and opened his eyes.
It was a strange sensation; he was no longer in the room, but instead lying down on a battlefield, donned in armour. The soldiers in the surroundings roared and shouted as they hacked and slashed at one another. Arms, legs, heads, and various body parts were scattered all around, and blood was pouring just as heavy as the rain was, forming a red river. Witsen stood up just in time to see an enemy soldier who was about to slash him. He sidestepped and counterattacked, stabbing his sword into the enemy and lifting him up.
The stabbed soldier shrieked and struggled. However, almost as if he had merged with the sword stuck in his chest, he could not pull himself off the weapon. He cried and shouted to no avail, his skin gradually shrivelling due to Witsen’s spell. In the end, the poor soldier had all his vitality drained and turned into a dried corpse.
Witsen flicked his sword to drop the corpse to the ground. With a face void of any expression, he charged into the enemy lines, killing everyone in his path as he dashed through the enemies. Blood splattered onto his armour, only to be washed away by the rain.
All of a sudden the ground started to shake. A troll stepped out from the rear, creating loud bangs and tremors every time it took a step. Its arms laid limp by its sides and swung in large motions as it walked towards Witsen. Despite its clumsy appearance, trolls were actually known to be considerably agile.
Witsen though, remained unfazed; this gigantic monster was nothing more than a corpse. He threw his sword at the troll, it piercing into the monster’s chest. The monster was shocked at first, but immediately started to laugh.
The troll heard the terrible spell Witsen had chanted and turned pale immediately, its mocking laugh turning into a look of terror. Starting from where Witsen’s sword was, its body made cracking noises and eventually turned into a stone statue. Witsen walked over and pulled his sword out. The troll statue crumbled into dust and scattered into the wind.
“Witsen, Witsen,” Karile said as she patted his face.
So that was just a dream…
“Were you having a nightmare just now?”
“No, not really a nightmare I guess,” Witsen answered and slapped himself to make sure he was awake.
“Um… Thank you.”
Witsen was about to reply ‘don’t mention it’ when he suddenly thought of the boss’ words last night. More specifically, about Karile being the Obsidian Princess.
“That aside, there’s something I want to know. You… how did you become a ranger, and what is your true identity?”
Karile started to stutter. “This… Why… why are you suddenly asking this?”
“The Obsidian… Princess, right…”
Karile’s mind went blank upon hearing the three words. She could only murmur in a small voice, “So… it still has to… come to this… in the end…”
At this moment, all the pent up emotions within Karile broke out like a busted dam. She understood that her fate was never in her hands. No matter how much she hid, how hard she ran away, fate had always managed to find her in the end. Just like how a person would eventually meet the end of his life no matter what, fate was waiting for her to arrive at a preset destination the entire time.
Tears filled her eyes, and she no longer had the willpower to hold them in. Drops of crystal-clear tears glided down her cheeks. Karile despaired; she felt that she was nothing more than fate’s puppet. She was a princess the moment she was born, an identity she never asked for in the first place. The mark branded onto her soul was a painful one, one that reminded her of an unwanted identity every second.
Karile hugged Witsen tightly. He was the only person she had, and the only person she could cling to right now.