Chapter 18: A Faltered Step
(It took a long time to write this. Granted, it's not my average length for my chapters, but I experimented with description. Future chapters will have more description and a lot of backstory)
18: A Faltered Step
Hours passed since Heku left the military institute of Lumisade in shambles. Flins, Shiro, and Aremi still lay on the floor, unconscious from their skirmish with Heku. A cool breeze lightly grazed Flins' wounds. It stung slightly, but the pain forced him to awaken.
His vision appeared blurry, but he already knew that the fortress surrounding him had been bathed in the blood of its soldiers. He forced his weary body to stand, yet his fresh wounds anchored him to the ground. Nevertheless, he arose.
Flins could not keep his right eye open, for his eyelid drooped half-way from a cut near his eye. His left arm had been broken, yet his left fingers twitched wildly. His breathing became raspy and rapid. He could not keep his balance, and teetered left and right. He felt lightheaded from the immense loss of blood.
Flins glanced at the mangled bodies of Shiro and Aremi, who also endured the same injuries. They did not awaken, but the both of them lay silent and motionless on the icy floor. Flins weakly nudged them, but he could not awaken them.
"Shi…ro." He called out, exhausted. "...A...remi…"
They did not respond.
Flins called out to them once more.
Flins knelt to the floor, crying in a mixture of agony and uncontrollable rage. He forced himself to stand. Using his short sword like a cane, he struggled to walk, despite his broken bones and withered, frozen muscles. His hands trembled with every step, while his body slowly froze while it wavered in the Lumisian winds. He approached the door and opened it with his blood-drenched, shattered hands. He barely had enough energy to even grasp the brass handles.
When he opened the door, Heku stood before him, almost like a grim reaper waiting to drag another soul to the depths of Hell. Heku gave an icy stare to Flins.
"Why… are you… still here?" Flins said. "Why… did you have to kill them?!"
Heku replied, "They still live."
"Why? Why not just… kill us?"
"Even insects deserve the chance to defend their endeavors."
Heku walked away from Flins.
"Return home." Heku said. "We merely exist to follow an unchanging stream; I intend to play my part, even if it means completing a task that involves a pointless waste of life."
Return home? Flins thought.
It has been more than a month since Flins and Shiro ever heard from their family. To hear the birds around Roman singing a tranquil melody, to enjoy the laughter of children, to be normal, all of it became a fervent dream of a madman ever since Flins voluntarily enlisted on that day. Flins desperately wished to escape from the turmoil and chaos of Lumisade and Vesisade, but he already began to play his part.
Flins collapsed to the floor. He lost too much blood. Too weak to stand, and too exhausted to cry for assistance, he lay there helplessly. His hands trembled while their color began to turn into a pale white tinge. His veins could not be seen anymore, and soon he could not move his hands entirely. His eyelids grew heavy, and his entire body fell numb.
Flins' eyes closed.