Chapter 44 Cheating Death – Beasts of all Sorts (Part 4)
“Why don’t we find a place to rest now” Daichi said while looking at the mare
Noticing his intent on changing the subject from himself, the shorter mare responded “Very well, we should leave this place anyways. Too much blood will attract others.”
Glancing at him from the corner of eye, the shorter mare had been intrigued by this skill of Daichi’s.
She had noticed it the first day, but wasn’t sure who had activated it or what it was. There had been a mana fluctuation but she couldn’t pinpoint it at the time. Now she had confirmed that it was Daichi.
Leading the group, they ended up venturing towards a stream within an hour.
Using that that time while there was still some sunlight left, the group began to wash some of their clothes off from the blood and to clean up. The mare in particular went away from the group so they could clean their entire bodies and hair.
The others merely cleaning off a few pieces of clothes and their weapons.
Walking back towards the group the mare now looked completely different. Their hair now wet, slicked back and dripping. No longer matted and dirty, made their appearance even more striking.
They were far more beautiful and if they weren’t wearing rags, their appearance would look even more breathtaking.
Noticing their gazes, the shorter mare let out a light giggle of amusement before returning to a more passive expression.
Noticing yet another show of emotion, Hannah couldn’t help but ask “Why are you so much more… Human now?”
“We have had our fill of mana since yesterday, as such our emotions are less dampened.” the shorter mare responded as if it was only natural and pushed forward through the group and away from the stream.
“So what happened?” the taller mare asked as they began walking with the others following.
“Eh… What do you mean?” Daichi asked lifting one of his eyebrows coming off a little awkward
“After your mana revolution. Have the humans and their knowledge evolved even beyond?” the taller mare asked completely indifferent to the previous looks.
Completely confused the looks at each other before realizing the mare were referring to their conversation from yesterday.
Wanting to push past the awkwardness Kaden took the lead “Nothing happened I guess. Once the gods made that announcement about peace and the mana in the world thinned out… I guess it became harder to make advancements with the field of mana or even to gain personal insights. Who’s to say? I mean, since peace and tranquility followed no one seemed to care. Everyone began to live in bliss so what’s it matter right?”
Ava was the one to respond to that rhetorical question “It does matter… Our bloodline was once very important to us, but when that peace followed… Even though everyone was happy, even though prosperity came to everyone. Everyone just sort of blended in with one another. Maybe it’s only because it’s been so long, but if you think about it. How many cultures and customs have been lost over the years because people fell into a state of unity?”
Ava’s grandfather had constantly drilled into her father the losses their family had taken since the melding occurred after peace became widespread and multiple kingdoms collapsed as the people spread out no longer bunched together in the cities for safety.
As such, her father had drilled this same sense of loss into her since she was a child. Ava was taught to look at the peace of the world from a different perspective. The Kajiya perspective was one of blacksmiths. A perspective of those that thrived on war and advancement.
Hannah gave Daichi what seemed like a prodding look as she gave him a chocolate bar as they walked. She had not been distracted by this random question from the mare.
“Hah… I mean we probably shouldn’t be eating chocolate for dinner, don’t you think?” Not getting the response he was looking for from any one, Daichi decided to voice one of his true thoughts, albeit while censored.
Looking forward, “I always felt like the peace in our world was boring. I mean… Everyone always seemed happy… But I always felt that it was tranquility rather than true happiness. With no bad days how can we appreciate the good ones? I guess.” Daichi said…
Even though in his mind he was secretly thinking about how bored he’d always been, and how an era of bloodshed like the one he was now experiencing was infinitely more suited to him.
He’d been bored because he didn’t feel much of anything. Now constantly in danger, without any rules to impede him. Daichi lived in excitement and everything was new. In a sense, it was what he’d always wanted
Of course if he he said that out loud, he’d probably be ostracized considering their general dispositions.
Daichi tried to smile but ended up making an awkward and forced expression that even he could feel, so he just dropped it altogether and ate his food.
The others continued to exchange pleasantries for a little while longer before finally reaching a small set of clustered woods where the mare stopped.
“The sun has gone down and the moon is up. Continuing to travel would have increased danger. This is as good as any place to sleep, we sleep in shifts and nothing will harm us.” the taller mare spoke
After their previous experiences, Hannah and Ava decided to just sleep on the ground. Everyone but Daichi had found it hard to sleep in the trees for fear that they would roll or fall over in their sleep and die.
Walking away from the group for a bit to get some air. Daichi needed a moment to himself.
Daichi was still feeling a little off from earlier. He wanted to leave altogether and explore the forest a bit on his own, but he knew if it he did that it would be extremely hard for him to find his way back.
Away from the group for less than a few minutes, Hannah had walked over.
Hannah hesitated, but thinking about Kaden, she finally got the words out “I may not have said anything about it then… But what you said the yesterday may have been a bit overboard.”
“Overboard?” Daichi asked
“It feels like you crushed Kaden. He hasn’t been the same today. I thought it was fine in the morning but he hasn’t been as upbeat as he normally is. He’s just seemed so out of it. It’s not like him. I think it’s because of what you said yesterday when the mare showed up.” Hannah said said while forcing herself to make eye contact with Daichi.
“I said what I needed to say, for everyone.” Daichi said.
Noticing Hannah’s defiant look, Daichi felt compelled to elaborate “We talked about it before the night ended. I made it clear where I stood and he made it clear where he stood. We don’t have to like each other, but we do have to work together.”
Still making eye contact with Hannah, and seeing her unchanging expression. Daichi sighed and turned around, “We talked it out, it’s fine. Besides I may not have told him, but I respect him for what he believes.”
Feeling less pressure now that Daichi had turned away from her, she exhaled and let out a breath she’d been holding in.
“Why would you respect him for it? No offense, but you don’t seem to value life at all.” Hannah said with a hint of trepidation.
Hannah had always thought Daichi was colder than he even seemed. She liked that about him, but also knew that it was what should make her afraid of him.
“Hah… I don’t particularly value life. Not anyone’s but mine or those that can help me in some way.” Taking one last glance at Hannah
“But… The way Kaden values a concept, more than anything. The way he values life, ironically enough so that he would risk his own and even yours…” Daichi let the words out before taking a breath.
“If he were willing to die for that ideal of his, or even you… Why wouldn’t I respect someone for something I can’t do myself?” Daichi spoke in a slightly more monotone voice, as he walked back to the group.
Daichi could not even imagine the concept of caring for someone more than his own well being. It seemed so idiotic to him. The more he thought about it though, the less he could get behind it. The intellectual side to him though, loved to play devil’s advocate.
As he thought about that aspect, the ability to sacrifice for an idea or another, was honorable in it’s own right.
Daichi wasn’t particularly honorable either. He was pragmatic. That didn’t stop him from admiring a set of rules one set for oneself, in order to be the kind of person one wants to be rather than the person one is.
Staring at his back in confusion. Hannah was torn between believing his words or taking them as a mockery of her brother. He respects Kaden because he himself can’t value life? Value anything?
Clenching her teeth. Hannah inhaled a big breath and then exhaled slowly trying to ease her mind.
Taking a second, she erased her thoughts and put them behind her.
Thinking about her problem and not unimportant things, she considered; If what Daichi said isn’t what’s been making Kaden look so ghostly depressed, then what is?
Leaving her thoughts at that. Hannah began wondering about what else it could be as she walked back to the group.
Daichi spoke to the group and decided that tonight, Kaden would take one watch with a mare and he would take another watch with a mare. This would allow the others to get some rest.
Taking the first watch with the shorter mare. Instead of making any small talk Daichi just looked up the stars and the moons.
The three moons together made one another look even more amazing, brighter, fuller.
Daichi had never seen a night sky quite like the one tonight. He had never taken the effort to truly appreciate the beauty of the sky, and even know acknowledging and appreciating it were two different things to him.
Still, this sky represented proof of his beliefs.
Death, chaos and strife can give birth to some of the most wonderfully beautiful things the world has to offer.
Daichi marveled at the sudden realization that for the first time in his life, he had found and appreciated a form of natural beauty from an artistic perspective. Daichi had never held appreciation for anything, this sudden realization made him feel connected to something more than just himself.
Enjoying the smell of the leaves, the light of the stars, the feel of the ground. Daichi allowed himself to just enjoy. Enjoy this new wonderful world.