Chapter 20 – Pigs on the road
After 2 hours of smooth ride, the convoy’s carriages began to travel through bumpy roads. They had left the main road to go through a smaller path in the forest. Supposedly because they had to keep a low profile in case of foreign spies. Well, they thought that their cover had been blown away early this morning so there should be no need for this, but since the others insisted. Actually, if one was attentive enough, they would have realised that there were already rumours going around in town even before this morning.
Today, the otherworlders were all calm and silent. They kept replaying this morning scene in their mind. I had a life, I had things I wanted to do… Be a Hero? I don’t fucking care! I don’t give a shit about your world dying because nobody gave a shit about what I wanted and how I felt.
They had been so caught up in the novelty and the excitement of being able to be extraordinary that they forgot to really think about what they had left behind. Some had loved ones and felt heartache. Some were not so social to begin with and only felt a bit nostalgic toward their former world. Now, they knew how one of them felt, they couldn’t help but think on things more seriously.
Unfortunately, most of them missed a really important point in their reflection. They were Heroes who came to save the world from a foe. They were weapons of war. Therefore, their life would revolve around blood and corpses. And they would have to kill anyone who stand against their country, whether they like it or not.
The convoy stopped briefly for a lunch break. The self-reflection had been quickly put aside. They were used to comfortable cars with air-conditioning and leather cushions, hence traveling in carriages for them was uncomfortable at best, painful at worst. Those primitive vehicles didn’t have suspension, they kept on being bumped around and the air inside was stuffy. When the caravan stopped, they all escaped those crude wooden boxes.
Rikku remained inside, Ran was still asleep and no amount of shaking managed to wake her up. He took out some bread and jerky he had in his item box and started to eat. Belle came around and offered some wine but she was promptly ignored. She grinded her teeth and left with a constipated expression.
Parvian stopped by his carriage to chit-chat, “She slept all the way?” He was a bit impressed, because he has been complaining about the discomfort all along.
“She cried too much. She was under a lot of stress from the beginning,” replied Rikku.
Parvian nodded, “If she leaves, will you follow?”
Rikku thought for a bit, “Even if I wanted, I wouldn’t be able to.”
He looked at the elf and was about to say more when he noticed Kan Yune walking toward them.
“This trip may be a bit more dangerous than expected. I wanted to make sure that you and Ran-sama had your ring on,” Kan Yune smiled softly.
Rikku soundlessly raised his hand and showed off the middle finger with the ring on it. Parvian coughed to hide his laughter. Kan Yune’s smile froze, he was a bit surprised that he had it on and didn’t make a fuss. He watched as Rikku showed Ran’s hand before turning around.
Rikku looked at Kan Yune’s back with a deadpan expression, Parvian asked, “Why are so reluctant to wear the ring?”
“Who likes to be trapped?” Rikku simply stated, he saw surprise turned into a frown on the elf’s face. He smirked and added, “We already have such well-trained watch dogs following us around, now we even have a GPS. Aren’t we like pigs on the road to the slaughterhouse?” He smirked, then closed the curtain and his eyes.
Ran had started to rub off on him a bit, before he wouldn’t even say such things to others, but now…oh well, his little heart had already turned a shade darker, might as well join in the bandwagon. It wouldn’t be fun if he was the only one being watched closely. He felt some goosebumps, and his eyes opened wide just in time to catch the slight smirk on Ran’s lips. He snorted and threw a small pillow.
Parvian stayed rooted without moving for a long time. His maid who had stayed further back came closer and asked if everything was alright. He stared blankly at her face while frowning hard. He glanced at his hand and recalled this morning. He suddenly turned away in disgust and walked fast to his own carriage in silence.
The maid ran after him in confusion but didn’t dare to say a word. She didn’t hear the conversation and the abrupt change in the elf made her nervous. She made a mental note to investigate.
Parvian had lost his appetite after that conversation with Rikku, hence why he just went and sat inside his carriage lost in thoughts. He recalled everything that happened since they arrived and felt something was amiss for the first time. He laughed in self-ridicule, he had been so caught up inside his little bubble that he didn’t think further. It was ridiculous. He was really too naive and too trusting.
He was somewhat grateful for his luck, if he hadn’t made the first step to talk to Rikku, he would have been fooled like the others. He stared at the magic ring, and fiddled with it. To his horror, the ring wouldn’t budge an inch. He tried for a while and even applied force, but the ring couldn’t be taken off. Frigid air escaped from his body making the maid standing outside the door shivered.
“Parvian-sama, is everything alright?” She asked. She waited but no sound came out, “Parvian-sama?”
Her hand touched the door and a sharp yelp escaped her mouth. She had stabbed herself on an ice shard. Her finger didn’t even have time to bleed as it was frozen solid. She held her finger in her hand and tried to circulate her mana to get rid of the ice. However, as soon as mana flowed in her frozen finger, the ice exploded together with the finger.
“Parvian-sama!” She panicked.
“Shut up!” The harsh voice of the elf sounded. “I have a headache. Disturb me again and it won’t be your finger that you’ll lose.”
The maid shuddered and kept silent. She didn’t know what to do. After waiting for a minute in silence, she left the carriage behind and headed to Kan Yune’s carriage. She didn’t see the cold stare that followed her every step. Thus she missed the moment Parvian’s eyes turned ice cold as the coldness spread within his heart. Watchdogs. He repeated the word under his breath.
Are we really pigs on the road to the slaughter house?