The woods were quiet again. Not like the demon king was bothered by it, he was barely bothered by anything at this point. It wasn’t like he had a choice in the matter though. With a sheathed sword, a red flame burning brightly at his face, and wounds he never mind, he marched on. His lack of sleep didn’t bother him, he taught himself to live off of three hours a day. He just had to survive, survive, and, most importantly, dominate the world.
The chirping of the crickets gave the forest an uncharacteristic sense of ease, but he couldn’t afford to take the crickets’ offers. He wasn’t too sure where the safest place to rest would be at that moment, nor was he too sure if he was truly alone. His wounds from the previous battle needed to be treated, but he’d deal with them later. Wanna be heroes can come out of nowhere, some more surprisingly stronger than others.
His father was a threat too. Creasion consistently damned Rchimedes for being able to pop out of seemingly nowhere. Of course their win ratio was always “how many times have we done this same song and dance again” to zero, but it was always those fights that got him out with more wounds than the average wannabe knock off.
He loathed heroes.
The demon king continued marching on, hoping to find some shelter to sleep in before burning the kindness he’d been offered to the ground. He’d take anything, anything but sleeping outside again. He’d done it before, but that didn’t mean it was preferable. He loathed the feeling of helplessness against the world, and would constantly sleep with his guard up. Shelter is what he desired more than anything when it came to resting. Even if he thought resting was just an unnecessary thing.
The trees were seemingly endless, but he continued onward.
He blessed his high pain tolerance.
The demon king did not falter on his path, unfeeling and cold to the world around him. The chirping crickets would never lull him into an unsecure rest until he truly felt he had no choice in the end.
He thanked his sheer will for continuing on, with the only noise behind him being the crinkling of the leaves and the flicker of his flame.
“Eh? Is someone here?” asked an unfamiliar voice, coming from somewhere and breaking the quiet. Creasion’s defenses immediately went up, unsure if the voice came from some average bystander, or someone after his head. He unsheathed his sword, got into a fighting stance, and let his mana maker blaze brighter..
Creasion tensed as the rustling got louder and closer, tightening the grip on his blade. His eyes narrowed, and waited for the thing in the bushes to make its appearance.
Said thing stepped out and made its appearance, and the hero made for the attack. He took three quick steps with sharpened eyes with a bright blaze, blade in hand ready for the kill. The thing yelped as Creasion moved the tip of the sword for its neck, backing it into a tree close enough to pierce the neck ever so slightly, drawing blood.
“Mister, what are you doing?” the thing asked, cocking its head out of confusion. It didn’t appear to be aware of what exactly the situation was, but it didn’t appear to mean any harm. Creasion paused at the voice of the thing he was attacking. The thing appeared to just be… a boy. A boy with maroon hair in a black t-shirt with a raised collar and shorts of the shade. He didn’t appear to have anything on him, nor did he appear to have mana on him. He was just… a regular boy.
Creasion sighed before lowering his blade. He slid the sword back into its sheath, before attempting to walk away. He figured it wasn’t worth it. However, the boy followed, grabbing ahold of the edge of his violet cape.
“Are you lost, Mister? Do you have a place to stay?” the boy asked, “I haven’t seen you around here before, are you a traveler?”
He looked at the naive annoyance before him, did he know who he was? His stoic face didn’t change though, and just stared at the boy’s stupidly innocent face with his bright blue eyes. The boy just stared back though, seeming to expect an answer out of the man. It was an eerie silence as the two merely observed each other with blank stares.
The boy looked up at the flame burning, now softly, next to the worn fighter’s face. The vermillion light seemed to paint a vivid picture of the two in each other’s eyes. He seemed to be entranced by the flame, and it was as if the spark crackling at his face ignited one within the curious boy’s eyes. He seemed tempted to let go of the cape to reach out and touch it in amazement and curiosity, not minding the fact that he was told to not touch fires by the people around him. Even if a mana maker wasn’t exactly a flame.
Creasion couldn’t exactly pinpoint why he didn’t want to kill the boy right then and there.
The boy’s eyes wandered around the current sorry sight of the man, taking in his entire appearance. From his dingy rags called clothing, to the bright blaze burning right at the top of the side of his face, to the sharp, bright blue eyes that didn’t match his dark and worn expression.
The boy’s maroon eyes widened as he let out a shocked gasp, grabbing onto the man’s hand and looked up to him. “You’re hurt! We shouldn’t let those wounds go untreated! Come to my village, my mom’s house has a spare room you can stay in for the night.”
Creasion seemed to jump at the boy’s sudden kindness with widened eyes, unsure of how to react to the boy.
Well, at least it was a place to stay.
“Okay,” the demon king said emotionless. The boy merely beamed, before grabbing the man’s hand tightly and lead him further into the woods.
The demon king seemed to be caught off guard by the boy’s sudden emotion change, and his bright smile. The hand that intertwined with his own seemed to overwrite his cold self with an unfamiliar, but welcoming warmth. Well, not exactly welcoming. His old and worn days never let himself trust a welcome ease, and if anything it put him at a sense of distrust and an uncomfortable slight sense of fear ran down his spine.
This boy wasn’t exactly threatening in anyway, he didn’t seem to have any bad intentions. You never seem to know with anyone what their true goal in the end was, it was an obvious fact to Creasion, and he believed it should be an obvious fact to anyone really. Yet, there was a boy in front of him, wearing his heart on his sleeve with a bright grin on his stupid face. The fact that he could tell that he had no bad intentions, blindly letting him into his home with a warm smile, made him only the slightest bit fearful of him.
It was a weird feeling, knowing that blind kindness is the thing that made him more fearful than any of the knock off heroes or their recruiter, his father, could ever manage.
As the young boy ran for the village, Creasion tried to keep up with him as best he could, running in pace with him. He couldn’t exactly get a good look at his face, but judging from the amount of energy he had, he could only speculate that he was grinning from ear to ear with joy as he lead him.
“Our village is so deep in the forest, we almost never get visitors! So this really is a treat for me!” he said cheerfully, continuing on the trail. “I don’t know anyone outside of our village, aside from my dad, but he’s the only one, and he spends a lot of time traveling.”
Creasion could only nod, not too sure on just how exactly he should react to the boy right now. It did make sense to him why this boy didn’t know who he was now, but that still didn’t mean he shouldn’t have been wary around him. He was sure that he looked a bit more than suspicious to the average nobody, or somebody, on the streets. Like he shouldn’t have been trusted. He wanted to ask this boy, why was he being so kind? But, well, he didn’t want to exactly come off as suspicious to this individual who mistakenly trusted him so easily.
“My name is Alba by the way! What’s your name Mister?” asked the boy ever so kindly.
He also didn’t exactly know how to reply to this question either. He risks giving away his identity by giving his birth name, or his now name, he makes up a name, or he just doesn’t say it. Shion, Creasion, something, or nothing.
“Wanna… make it a game?” he’ll play with him a bit.
“A game?” the boy stopped where he was, turned his head around, before continuing to walk as he led the man to his village.
“Yeah… a game. You guess my name and if you get it right before I leave, I’ll show you something cool… if you don’t, by the time I’m rested up I’ll leave as though I was never there.”
The boy didn’t seem to falter in his answer, giving it to Creasion without a delay.
“That sounds fun! I’m in!” he agreed with a beam that the demon king wouldn’t have seen if it weren’t for his mana maker.
“So… uh… do you know the way to your village?”
“Oh! Yeah I do! I’ve lived my entire life surrounded by these woods, was born and never left. I just know my way around them now, especially since I do a BUNCH of odd jobs around these parts! Just to help out my mom here and there!”
Creasion still didn’t understand why this boy wasn’t afraid of him. Even after being attacked by him, a man with a tiny flame sparkling right by his head, with a worn appearance and rags barely making an excuse for clothes, he was still being lent a hand that made him feel warm. Here he was, trusting him with a game with an end result him not even learning his name, and a promise of something cool. Sure it wouldn’t matter in the end as, at the end of the day when this all is done, he was gonna burn down this, probably, small village when he was ready to leave.
He was feared as the demon king. A title only given to him, not because he was truly the king of demons, but because he was doing acts terrifying enough that could only be from someone anything but human. People were after his head. He threw away his humanity long, long ago, and the common human would have known this.
This kid isn’t even uncommon either. He was… just a naive, annoying soul. A soul who didn’t question a man with a flame-like object burning near his face, or wasn’t in the slightest bit suspicious of a man with bright, piercing blue eyes, hidden behind a worn, cold, unfeeling face.
And annoying soul that caused his heart to want to be filled with a warmth known as joy. It was as if… there was a connection.
A connection he didn’t want to make.
And as that vermillion flame continued to lightly flicker as their only light, the two continued through the woods to the village. Creasion knew he was already getting a bit attached to this boy… this boy named Alba.
And just like he was somehow scared of Alba, he was scared of the tiny attachment he already had.