As I opened my eyes from being enveloped by a bright light, I immediately searched for a mirror and when I took a look on my new body, I frown. Yes it’s because I turned into a 3year old child with white hair and deep golden eyes. But it also meant that I could see my mother. I immediately went out of my room and was going to search for my supposedly mother. But then before I went outside, I heard some talking’s and when I took a peak I saw my step father, yes this day and time is the exact day that the previous Vermillion saw his mother being taken by Demon lord Marcus.
As I watch my mother being taken by Marcus, I took a look on the village elder. And I saw that he was relieve. And upon seeing his relieve face it struck me (maybe this is the time and the turning of fates.) as I realized that after two years from today, Marcus would come back here again on this village and he will take me with him and will name me Vermillion. And of course it will be the time where jealousy and hatred will be born around my life.
I then made my resolve and decided to leave the village and go as far as I can until the fateful day has come to pass. As I finish my preparation and rations that I needed to bring with me I then slowly walk inside the forest, the further in I walked, the more the light behind me gave way to the blackness. it seemed that light cant penetrate this forest, since I am already on what I think is the center of the forest, which is the thickest part of this forest, giving me only about six feet of weak vision which revealed wet, damp brickwork occasionally invaded by the roots of trees breaking through the arched roof of the tunnel. Other than our nervous, echoing giggles there was not a sound until; suddenly the ground beneath me shook violently and there was a sound like heavy thunder behind me.
“Oh damn!”I mumbled. I should have waited another 2years before I made this daft idea. But then again I mumbled “It’s not that bad I guess”, not believing the words that had stumbled out of my mouth. The sight that faced me was nothing more than a vision of impending doom. The forest is now or rather almost completely covered in darkness, most of the darkness is blocking my field of vision which is weird because I found this little adventure of mine thrilling, in my excitement, For once I am again a young, and vulnerable children, and a fearless explorer if I may say so myself. Since I have a complete confidence in my magic. And I made wind magic as my specialty. I can clearly remember the feelings that came over me when I first used my wind magic to cut my step mother up, and the main reason of my confidence is because I was sent back in this time and in this age, that means I am an irregular and it also means that there is now 4demon lords, the 4th one is me. And I could say that reason I was sent back by my father is to enjoy my life and live a full life…probably.
As I waited until my eyes adjusted from the darkness. I realized that I was not alone in this dark forest.(of course I am not alone in this forest, since this forest almost cover up 15% of land, and another 15% is plains and mountains. the rest of 70% is still undiscovered or rather unexplored by the people that I know of) since I have access to Vermillion’s memories and it also seems I am him from the day I absorbed his soul, I can easily access such basic information about this world, and by the way the name of this world is Erthus, it has two moons, and it seems that Erthus is 10x larger than Earth.
As my eyes got used in the dark, I could now continue my…umm adventure?
Oh and the reason why I did not use a fire magic in order to make it easier for me to pass the forest is probably because I don’t want to attract attention. I have learned it all from my previous life as a military commander, it seems the best way to avoid trouble is to not stand out. And holding a fire or casting it would make me the center of attention in this dark forest.
As I resume my walking, on and on i went, dodging the odd tree root or stumbling over the occasional, hole in the ground, or avoiding some branches that falls from the tree’s I had a feeling that I am going down… but I just shrug it off because I though (huh? Why would I have a feeling of going down? I entered a forest not a cave…), and then I stopped because I heard below my feet there was a brittle crunch. As I looked towards my feet “oh shit” I said in a whisper. A moment of panic has hit me because, on the ground revealed rotting, and broken bones!
The breath went out of my lungs for a short while and I found it difficult to breath. I gasped as I saw a human bones and some rotting corps in front of me, and around me. “Walk on and don’t look down no matter what” I whispered to myself as I made my way deeper into this forest, you must be wondering how I could see in the darkness? Well since my eyes got used to it, and there seems to be some glowing mushroom that glowed dim low of light all over the place. Shortly I came to a dead end. The way ahead seemed blocked with trees.
When I went closer to the trees that was blocking my way… I saw a door on one of the trees, and decided to open it. And to my dismay, since I am still 3 years old, I can’t seem to have enough strength to open up the weird door. Then my stomach rumble from hunger, so I sat in the corner and decided to eat the rations that I brought with me. All I brought was one bottle of water and a bag of dried beef jerky. Since bringing more would tired me immediately. As I ate, I also pondered on how to open the weird wooden door, and after I ate I found a solution.
As I stood up and tried to open the wooden door again, this time I held my hands and gathered air using magic on the palm of my hands compressing and compressing it until I felt it’s powerful and good enough to blast the wooden door to smithereens. I then slammed the compressed spherical air magic into the door. Which ended satisfyingly for me, and the next thing I saw made me wonder. (A stairs? So I was really going down huh…)
Ahead of me was a flight of steps reaching upward into the darkness. I don’t even know how far these stairs reached for. I could see that the first 6 feet was all I could see, but beyond that was complete and utter blackness. Up and up I climbed; glad at last to be leaving the oppressive darkness of the creepy forest behind. The higher I climbed, the sweeter the air became, giving me a false but welcome promise of hope. As I puffed and panted my way upward, I reflected upon the bones, and corpses that I saw in the forest. (Hmm I am glad that no monster attacked me on the forest, and I don’t even know how long I was walking until I found these stairs, since no sunlight could be seen) “All I can think about right now is getting out of here” I whispered softly to myself. as my lungs burned from fatigue, I still kept on climbing the well-worn slippery steps.
After what seemed like an eternity, I eventually reached the top of the staircase. Before me stood yet another rotten old wooden door, sagging forlornly on its rusty old hinges, how did I know it was a door? I will call it intuition I guess. As I gathered anther compress wind magic through my palms in order to slam it through the door, but when I leaned forward. It seems like it opened on its own making me fall up front.
When I opened my eyes I saw that I entered on what seemed to be a large vaulted cellar; water had formed, dripping from the ancient brickwork, small stalactites that clung precariously to the roof. The air was damp but cool and clean, with still a hint of breeze which I gratefully and deeply breathed.
As I examined the area around me, I could see different kinds of things, but did not dare touch any of it, (it’s better to be cautious for now). And I saw another stairs leading upward again… which made me think (how did I end up down there?) when I turned around in order to confirm the stairs that lead me to this place. When I turned it shock me, because what I saw was only a wall. The stairs vanished…, (…omg where the hell is the stairs?) as I was in a deep though I heard loud noise, like a glass had fell and got broken. And it came from the stairs leading upward.
As I cautiously walked upward, I saw another door, but this time it’s not a rotten wooden one, but a sturdy wooden door, with gold linings all over it. I heard voices, which made me nervous all of a sudden. So I slowly opened the door, but failed to do so, since the door made a loud *Clack* sounds, and maid the voices quiet all of a sudden. I did not chicken out because I can’t even if I want to, since there seems to be no other exit but towards this one.
As I open the door, I slowly took a peek, when I had gotten a look, my eyes widen. Because what I saw was a beautiful woman with her hugging with her daughter. The both of them where trembling, then I realized why, it’s because of me. Yup who would not? I also realized that I somehow had gotten myself here in their home through that weird forest…
As I was still peeking, suddenly the door was being pulled by a somewhat strong force and I, who is leaning from the other side of the door and peeking came falling up front. And when I took my self and, mange to stand on my two feet after the fall. I saw a bearded man with a crown on his head. And then I took a look towards the two woman who stopped trembling. I saw that both of them also is wearing a crown on their head. While the mother look towards me and kind of gave me a smile and then it made my frozen heart throb, the next moment I am starting to lose consciousness. Damn I think I am losing consciousness a lot, but I guess now is kind of different I guess. It might be I felt safe and that the fatigue is now coming on me. I don’t really know how long I was walking on that forest and how going up on the almost never ending stairs. As I felt unconscious I felt that I was being carried.
In some brief instances when I had flashes of awareness, I heard a voice that was always urging me to rest and heal. At times I was aware of movement, noise, and changes in light, but nothing of substance for a long while. Eventually, I heard voices that I could distinguish, and then words that I could understand. With that understanding came a bit more awareness, at least for short periods.
At one point, I had a beautiful dream about an angel that came to take me to Heaven. She was soft, warm, and gentle, and oh so kind. I felt her tears on my face, as she soothed and comforted me. At times I could hear soft music and the rustle of clothing, but I was unable to connect those sounds to anything solid.
There was one moment when I felt myself lifted, momentarily weightless, and then cool water splashed over me. The coolness, combined with the gentle hands touching me, had a calming effect on me. It brought me unending joy, until I felt myself settled once again in my little cocoon of warmth and darkness.
What must have been few hours later, I saw my angel once again. She spoke but her words didn’t register. I knew I loved her – that she loved me – and I wanted to fly away and be with her forever. She reached for me, and I lifted both arms and drew her near, kissing her lips – thrilled to taste the tongue of an angel. “You’re back! You do love me,” I cried in my heart, because I had no voice.
She smiled beautifully at me, holding my face gently in her loving hands. I reached for her healing touch, when I tried to rise up, my angel gently lifted my hands away, crooned words of love, and settled me back down. She placed each arm back on the bed, where they stayed of their own accord.
The exertion exhausted me, and once more I slept deeply. Darkness was always near; ready to claim me for a moment, but wanting me forever.
It was much later. The place where I lay was dark, which meant hours and hours had passed. I heard voices, this time much closer, and nearly understandable.
<><><><><><><><><><><> Aika’s POV<><><><><><><><><><>
Like any other day, as I was having a bonding time with my parents suddenly a forbidden door on our house suddenly made some clacking sounds, like it was being opened, me and my mother immediately cuddled together and my father immediately was going to call for the guards. But since my father did not want to leave me and my mother alone he decided to get his sword and waited on the side just in case some dangerous creature came out of the door, or even assassins.
But to my surprise it was a small boy with white hair, maybe around my height and age. I saw his head taking a peek through the quarter opened door. And his golden eyes seems to shine on the dark. At that moment it’s like I fell in love at first sight at him. Then my father immediately pulled the door. And it seems the whitehaired boy had fallen upfront and immediately stood up eyeing me, my mother and my father. And he again took a look at my mother, and my mother seems to gave him a warm smile. And after that, the whitehaired boy seems to relax and suddenly collapse until now.
“Aika my child. Your devotion to this young man is admirable even though it’s your first time meeting him, but he will not be conscious for some time”
“The fatigue he receive is invasive to even consider him waking for several more hours. I have a hunch on how this young man has manage to appear on our basement ((or secret room?)), as you and your mother know, our basement is connected to a special entrance to the forest of death, which compose 30% of the remaining land that our world have not manage to explore, we should ask this young man on how he manage to find the door ((or portal?)) that would lead him here, and I am amazed that so far he’s survived. As you know, the forest of death is a dangerous place, and I heard that, that forest is some kind of prison for 3 demon lords that was sealed on that forest 300years ago and once they escape or manage to get out we would know since, the forest will give us a sign, don’t worry about any other being coming out from the portal, since its only a one time use and seeing this boy came out from that door, it seems the portal is now gone. And also don’t worry my child, this young man is only sleeping due to fatigue, he will wake up sooner or later”
“Ok father, but I want to stay with him for a while, since he is so little like me, and all alone, I feel somewhat sorry for him father since I think he does not have a parents”
“Oho? Aika, how can you say that for certain that he does not have a parents?”
“wellll… you said it once to me father, that no parents would let their young son’s or daughter leave their sight for even a moment without assurance of their safety, and it seems that he was not safe and he got hurt” my tone became a little bit sad thinking about the poor boy.
“We’ll keep him comfortable then, but don’t get your hopes up it’s not like he would just wake up and ask your hand for marriage”.
“wha-what are you saying all of a sudden father!”
As I blush beet red, my father seems to gave me a smirk and then continued teasing me.
“Aika, to me it seems like you have taken a liking to this young man. And here I thought that my daughter is a boyish girl” again my father looked at me, and gave me smirk. And then he got serious all of a sudden and said.
“But Aika, you know that I will only accept a man that is worthy to become the next ruler. Or the man that I will choose to be your fiancé. And also Aika, your still 5years old… it’s too early for you to thinking about marriage.”
“Wh-what are you saying father! I-I am not thinking about marriage, and I don’t like this boy” I pointed at the white haired boy laying asleep on the bed. “I-I just feel sorry about him, that’s all, hmp”I then stormed out of the room with a beet red face.
<><><><><><>back to Josh Vermillion POV<><><><><><><><><>
That conversation stuck with me, even as I faded out. I knew my body was caving in, but it was too dangerous to sleep on that forest, that’s why I keep walking and walking, I don’t even know how many hours I walk… or days?. It was all I could do to stay upright, right up until I couldn’t.
My head ached from the newest set of incisions, and I could definitely feel the soreness of my body. Any movement, no matter how slight, caused terrible shooting pain to my body. The level of pain was tolerable since I have had it worse in the military. It was clear from their conversation that no one expected me to wake up soon.
It was uncomfortable to be alert, yet incapable of physical response. The dream angel must have been the little girl that I saw together with her mother. Realizing that Aika wasn’t a real angel made me depressed.
Bright sunlight. What a nice change from dark and silent.
I opened my eyes and Aika’s face swam into my field of vision. She was smiling I knew that look. I’d seen it before. Yes it’s like how Arya smiled at me, I wonder what she is doing now. I remember meeting Arya at school when I was 12years old. And decided to let her live with me when her parents died because of power struggle, but I guess I won’t have to worry about her going to become orphaned since I literally did not exist right now on that Forest of death and I did not inherit the demon lord title on this time line, because I am already one myself. And I also heard that the forest encircling the 30% plains was the place the 3 demon lord was sealed… oh well it feels like a one very big country than a prison.
“How are you feeling? You slept like a log for a day” said Aika while giving me a warm smile
“Umm. I am fine thank you” I eyed Aika, and I could see that she is a beautiful girl with blonde hair that reach her back, and sapphire blue eyes. And it also seems like she is around 4ft of height.
“Great, now come with me and let’s have breakfast together. And it seems like my father has a lot of question to ask you so be ready, ok?”
I nodded in agreement and went together with Aika in order to have breakfast.