In another place, in another time, four people were summoned into a different world, a different reality, with one sole purpose to save it from complete annihilation… These people were called the four legendary heroes.
But among them, one shined far more than the others… This Hero carried no weapon. Unlike the other three he wielded a shield, something that could hardly be called a weapon... After all the only thing that a shield was good for was to protect, and protect he did… He, who was hated more than anyone, who was despised simply for being chosen by fate, who was entrusted with an impossible mission, and tasked with facing immeasurable odds, rose to the challenge... That was the rise of the shield hero… and this, is not that story…
Because in another place, in another time, instead of the bow hero being someone, who's sense of justice and pride blind him from his duty, another was chosen… Someone that by all rights should never have been picked… Someone who as far as he was concerned - things like multi-universe theory were just that, a theory, and concepts like reincarnation were better left to those who believe in them… This person, who in his life hardly ever wielded a weapon, was picked to wield one. With a complete average fate before him, was chosen for something greater… Summoned to be the hero he never wanted or was meant to be… His name was Takuma Ryou, who for better or for worse would herald the tides of change… This was the rise of the bow hero… And this is his story…
Another day, different events but the same monotony of life for the past one and half year… These, were the thoughts that echoed inside Ryou's head, as he laid in bed listening to music. Some opening from an anime that he couldn't be bother to remember. Long, were the days where his music library was composed of only metal, and rock now-a-days the only thing in his smart phone were anime music: openings, endings or just some original sound track.
Turning his head to look at the clock that was on the bedside table, it showed that it was a quarter to seven.
"'Five hours and fifteen minutes till the end of my day off, huh" He commented with annoyance. It had come and gone in a blink of an eye, without doing anything productive as most of his off days tend to go, not like his working days were any better, if he were to be completely honest with himself. But he did have stuff to do, like calling his sister to see how she was doing, and he did have to go outside, since his cigarette pack was on its last legs, and no amount of godly intervention would make him get up from bed earlier then he had to, just to buy tobacco before work. Besides, at the time that he normally got up the sun would still be a couple of hours from showing, and that would mean a twenty minutes' drive to the nearest gas station, the only place open at that hour and very much in the opposite direction from his work.
With strength he hardly had, Ryou finally heaved himself into a sitting position, picking his smart-phone, finger scrolling down his contact list, far too long in comparison to the numbers he actually used not counting birthday, and Christmas messages that he sent once a year. Finally stopping on the contact he wanted, with two light taps the call was underway. The phone ringed a couple of times, while he fought to pick everything he needed and stuff it in his side bag. Finally, a voice greeted from the other side.
"Helloes!" The receiver said with excitement oozing from her voice.
"Sup shrimp?" Ryou questioned, while searching his desktop desk trying to find the infernal house keys, that had a habit of disappearing into another dimension whenever they left his hand.
"Hi Big Brother! You will never guess what happen?!" His younger sister asked, and he could almost picture his sister hooping from one leg into the other. Finally, after raising the keyboard, the infernal keys were found, and after stuffing them in the bag he was out of his room.
"What happen?" The older Brother questioned, while he fumbled with the keys in one hand to lock the door.
"We are going on vacation next weekend! To Canada for two weeks." She exclaimed, and he finally understood the reason behind her excitement, she, like himself, had never left the country and the few vacations that they had, back when they lived in the same house, where always to the countryside, far away to be called vacations, but close enough that the trip could be made in a couple of hours.
"Well that is pretty cool, but be careful not to be eaten by a bear even if you don't have much to offer in terms of sustenance, being all skin and bones!" Ryou teased, knowing full well that statement was more than enough to set her off, and exactly has predicted the response was less then kind.
"You are one to talk, you stupid, fat, ugly, idiot of a brother!" She snapped, and had anyone else been hearing their conversation, they might have thought that she had really been angry, but knowing her, Ryou knew, at the very worst, she was just annoyed.
"I find it quite ironic that you can call me both skinny, and fat in the same sentence." He joked, that was something she had begun to call him a few years back for whatever reason, and like many other things about is sister, had no logic to it. Finally, coming to the street, he noted that there were a lot of people out and about, truly the sign that summer was upon them, since in any other season there were far less people who would leave the house, unless strictly necessary, the temperature would have seen to that.
"Yeah, well you are so stupid that you can be both fat, and skinny at the same time." Once again, his sister made no sense what-so-ever. The sun was already more then halfway in the sky, orange hues starting to appear on the horizon. Crossing the street, he continued his trip to the coffee shop, hoping to finally get the source of one of his addictions.
"But seriously now, be careful and listen to our aunt... You can be quite the airhead, and don't bother denying it." He warned, since he knew full well how she could be sometimes, getting lost in her thoughts, just like Ryou himself.
"Okay, okay, don't worry or your hair will be all grey before you hit thirty." Now was his sister turn to joke, but he knew the message had been received. Taking another turn at the end of the street, the coffee shop, the only one near that was open on a Sunday, finally came into view.
"Believe it or not, I actually take some of my duties as an older brother semi-seriously, and that includes worrying about you." Ryou said, in a mocking tone, even if he did worry about her, she was his last true direct family after all, even if he knew his sister was well looked after.
"Pfff semi-seriously, righttt…" She laughed, and that put a small smile on his face, knowing that she was doing well, probably much better than he was.
"I will come to see you Thursday after work, maybe get some dinner or late lunch okay?" He questioned. He did want to see his sister before she left on vacation, and it had been a while since he actually spent time with her.
"Okay, I will let aunt know, and is everything alright with you? Any news to share like a girlfriend or something?" She asked, and although the question had been asked offhandedly, he knew that now was her turn to worry about him, young she may be at fourteen, but stupid his sister, definitely was not.
"No, nothing new, everything is the same, work, work, and some more work, and no there is no new girl just like the last five times you asked." Wondering why was it, that his sister who as far as he knew, had never been in a relationship, was now so worried about is love life, or lack of it, off all the things. Entering the coffee shop, that contrary to the amount of people outside might indicate, was quite empty. Ryou quickly walked to the counter, and made is request for the cigarette pack, and for a coffee. Caffeine, is other addiction that he could not live without.
"Be careful, if you keep this up people might assume other things about you, brother." She teased with a laugh.
"Let people assume what they want, its not like I care." Was his slightly annoyed reply, not at people assuming whatever, but at her for saying it. Paying for the expense, he picked his coffee and made his way outside, sitting on the first free table he could see, so that he could smoke the last cigarette on is old pack.
"Yeah, you never really did care about what other people thought of you, did you." That had been a statement, not a question, made on a more somber tone after a slight pause. He knew she was not talking about his previous response, she had been referring to something else in the past, but this, almost threaded into territory that he had no wish to revisit, so he quickly attempted to steer the conversation away from that topic.
"Yeah, I'm that kind of guy after all." He joked, though his tone had clearly force, and he wondered, if is sister had picked up on his uneasiness through the phone.
"Yup, you are. So, Thursday after-noonish...?" And it had been apparent that she had, since his sister had let the topic drop. Lightning the cigarette, he breath it in, letting the relaxing sensation fill his body before replying.
"Yeah, I will call you before I leave, so you can get ready." Before taking a few more sips of his coffee.
"Okay, see you Thursday then, take care!" Her high-pitch voice went back to normal, so things were good.
"Yeah, you take care of yourself too shrimp." And that was that, with a light tap of his finger the call was over, and he finally took notice of the group of teens that were sitting across from him. Quite noisy teens he added, as an after thought. Not wanting to spend more time than necessary, listening to the world ending woes of a group of teenagers, his sister had a free pass, she was family, these guys not so much. So, he quickly finished the coffee, put on his ear-buds, and went on his way back home.
At the sound of music, he began to wonder what would he have for dinner, but rapidly made his decision to settle for the barbecue pizza still in is fridge, that would be both, quick and wouldn't involve much work. After that he could go watch some anime, there was still the third season of Sword Art Online to see, that had been on is watch list for a while, same for Steins Gate 0.
So entrenched was he in his thoughts, that he forgot to take out one of his ear buds as he reached the crosswalk, and that, might have prevented the sequence of events that would come to pass next.
The sun had been low, so any driver coming would have a hard time seeing anyone on the street, of course that had been no excuse to drive above the speed limit in such conditions, but Ryou hadn't even bothered to look, and that had been his second mistake, he would later consider.
The only warnings that he had, came as a flash of something on the corner of his vision, and a slightly familiar sensation of dread that locked is body in place. Having only time to turn his head a little, since what he knew, was coming, was already on top of him. The only thoughts he had, before darkness claimed him, were that it was bigger than last time, and was coming way to fast, the sound of something heavy hitting another thing, did reach his ears, but by then, he might has well been on the other end of a pitch black tunnel.
The first thing that Ryou realized, was that it was dark, far darker than any place he had ever been before, that, and the fact that he couldn't feel anything besides his own thoughts.
It took a little bit to re-collect himself, and to understand that he had in fact, for the second time in his life, been hit by a car or whatever it was that had hit him, it might have been a Jeep or a Truck for all that he saw of it, and he was pretty sure that the first time that it did happen, he had passed out after his head become intimate with the ground. There was no recollection in is memory of being able to think while unconscious, so whatever "this" was, it was definitely new. So he was either in a coma, or worse, and since as far as he was aware, coma patients, didn't have conscious thoughts, like the ones he was having right now, there was no option but to acknowledge the worst-case scenario.
I'm dead… He thought, numbly. And that was the most likely scenario, or rather the only possible scenario. Although, that didn't make any sense, since the process of thinking was done in the brain, and if he was in fact dead, why was he able to think?
Can souls think..? Not that he particularly believed in souls, reincarnation, paradise or any of that crap. His family had been mostly catholic, believing in a 'benevolent', higher power or being, but he himself believed in science, sure he could give the benefit of the doubt to this, higher power, but calling it 'Benevolent', 'Kind' or whatever attribute people like to associate with it, was crap. If anything, it was a neutral observer, very much like watching fishes in a fish bowl, seeing what they are doing, but very rarely interacting with them. This was of course, coming from the conclusion that creation hadn't spawn from nowhere, there had to be someone or something that had started it all.
Besides, believing in God didn't save either my parents or grandmother… He thought bitterly, and perhaps his distaste, and dismissal of the notion that God was, 'Kind', and 'Benevolent', might come partly from there, after all if he was that good, why had his parents and grandmother faced such a horrible end...? Not even questioning how many people starve to death daily in the world.
Thinking about his parents, was something that he, unfortunately did quite often when alone, even if only two and half years had passed since that horrible day, thinking about them always came with all the agonizing pain he felt during that time, and eventually, it would lead his thoughts into everything that he did wrong in is short life. Lots of what-ifs, some small, some great, but at the end of the day, might have changed that outcome. That was probably something everyone thought daily, the what-ifs, the regrets of doing or not doing something. Regret was after-all, a companion he knew, something that prevented him from moving forward with his live because after everything where was he supposed to go from there? After his parents died, his life had almost stopped, and he keep on living but hardly putting one foot in front of the other.
Now that he was most likely dead, Ryou did wonder if his parents had come here to this dark place, where there was nothing but one's own thoughts. That though, did made it a slightly less bitter pill to swallow for some reason.
Not sure why, it's not like I was doing anything with my life anyway... He considered, and that was reality. Every day was the same, waking up, going to work (a shitty one at that), even if the pay was enough for him to live more or less comfortably, yet he never had the motivation to go back to college and finish his degree, instead he spent his free time watching anime, and reading manga, the very few things that still motivate him.
Looking back, I probably should have invested a little bit in my mental health… He thought with some amusement. His sister had in fact called him boring quite a few times, and from boring to depressed was a very small jump, in this context at least. Thinking about his sister, brought yet another saddening thought.
She is probably going to cry… Ryou thought sadly. He had never wanted to cause his little sister more pain, their parent's fate had been enough, and even if she was doing better now-a-days, he knew from personal experience, how bad it had hit her.
She would cry, yes, and morn but hopefully she would pick herself back up, keep moving and eventually be happy. His aunt, and uncle would continue to look after her like they did after his parents had died, and if he was being honest, between the two of them she had always been the strong one, and that, he thought, was the best he could hope for.
It was after a while, alone with is thoughts, that he began to hear something or maybe he was feeling it, he couldn't really tell. A soft humming that was definitely not there a moment ago. Wondering about the strange sound or vibration, Ryou definitely notice it was getting louder. That, wasn't the only change to his current situation, it was definitely getting brighter, a mystery on itself, since he was pretty sure that those who were dead, had no eyes. Maybe rather then seeing it, he might have been feeling it.
After a few moments, the humming got so loud Ryou might has well been standing in the engine room of some ship. Eventually, both the humming, and the brightness got so intense that he couldn't even hear himself thinking, and at last he lost all sense of self, engulfed in both a immeasurable light, and a deafening rumbling.
When he finally regained his senses, he felt like he was floating. Opening his eyes Ryou noted, a myriad of golden lights streaking all around him, and finally coming to the conclusion that, he did have a body 'again' one in a far better condition than he had been expecting.
Turning his body downward, to get a better understanding of what this place was, he had about half a second to close his eyes, as his face planted itself, in a rather spectacular way.
"Ouch! Fuck, that hurt!" He hissed with his hand reaching for his face, until the realization hit him.
Pain...? Yup, definitely in pain, it hurts... Does this mean I'm not dead...? He wondered, and unfortunately whatever next revelation Ryou was going to reach didn't happen, because a voice that must certainly wasn't his, interrupted those thoughts.
"We… We did it? Success!" The voice shouted, in what appear to be both equal measure of delight, and excitement. After blinking away the pain, Ryou realized that there was something very wrong with what he was seeing. First, were the green lights all around him, next was the strange pentagram or whatever that thing was that was glowing under him, and finally, looking towards where he thought he heard the voice, eyes squinting, he finally was able to see several blurry figures before him, beyond the lights.
The owner of the voice that had spoken before, continue to shout in excitement,"Oh! The summoning was a success."
Finally being able to focus his vision enough, Ryou was able to get a good look at what lay before him. It was a group of people, some looking in awe in is direction, others had their eyes closed and their hands clapped in a praying position, there were some with hoods obscuring their faces, and in front of them stood a man with a tiara or crown in his head, all of them where wearing long green robes with golden trimming.
What...? Was honestly the only thing Ryou could think, extremely confused as he raised himself into a standing position.
"Where am I?" Another voice questioned, and this one, happen to be nearer. Looking down he found the owner rubbing his head, most likely having suffered as gracious as a fall as he had. The person in question appeared to be in is late teens, most likely around the same age as Ryou himself. Hair as long as his own, and wearing a green shirt. The most peculiar thing however, would be what he had attached to his arm, a pentagon made of metal, with a round shining green jewel in the middle.
That, looks familiar… But before he could take a closer look, the owner of the previous voice spoke, now identifying the voice with the men with a tiara.
"Ohh brave Legendary Heroes, please save our world." The man plead clapping his hands in a prayer position. Ryou for his part, could only look stupefied to what lay in front of him, that being some form of witchcraft pentagram that somehow shined and emitted green lights, some random kid with a metal pentagon on is arm, and finally some cultists talking about a summoning. Dry swallowing, he finally found his voice and what came out was…
"What in the name of the holy fuck is going on? Legendary what!?"
In hindsight, Ryou would later realize, that, hadn't been the best way to start a conversation, cultists or not.