Chapter 17.5 – Alae's Point of View

 

When I was born in a village called “Aldenaf”, I was called Alae by my mother. She was a beautiful woman with long straight black hair and gentle brown eyes. My father on the other hand was a chubby merchant who often had to leave to go sell his goods in other towns.

Despite this, I grew up happily in a loving and caring family. Daddy would always come back with gifts for me, things that the other kids in the village didn’t have. Mommy was always nice with me, even helping me with school homework and she’d always welcome daddy home with a happy expression on her face.

 

Until I was 11 years old, that is.

 

I remember it well because it was the day of my 11th birthday. Daddy had been gone for one month at the time and he had come back especially for my birthday.
As always, I was wondering with impatience what kind of presents he’d bring me back.

 

Usually, mommy and I would be waiting next to our house’s door for daddy to return but this time, he came back earlier than predicted.

I remember being very happy about it, so happy that I ran towards his carriage.

However, one of the horse saw a rat in the street and suddenly panicked. This caused the carriage to go out of control and…

 

It fell on me.

 

From my feet up to my chest, everything got squashed.

 

Blood was split everywhere around me and mommy and daddy started screaming. I didn’t understand why they seemed so shocked, I mean I could hardly feel any pain at all. My breath got rougher and I thought I was about to die.

 

However, instead of dying, something else happened : an intense pain suddenly appeared in my lower body and the squashed meat that used to compose my body started regenerating at a horrifying speed.

 

1 minute later, it seemed like nothing had happened to me.

 

It is only later that I understood the origin of this miracle. Daddy… wasn’t my real daddy. Apparently, back before mommy married him, she had an affair with an Elf who worked at the hospital in the town where mommy and daddy used to live before moving to Aldenaf.

Apparently, I had inherited Elven genes, which contained the Regeneration attribute. This means that as long as my Mana wasn’t totally empty, my cells would regenerate by themselves in case of an injury. That was the very basis of Healing Magic.

 

However, even a normal Elf wouldn’t regenerate that quickly. Most of them would even die from such an accident. I was what the world called “Hybrid”. Apparently, Hybrids benefit from reinforced attributes and an abnormally high reserve of Mana.

 

A child born from a human and an elf is usually impossible due to the high incompatibility of the two races. That’s why even among Hybrids, I was one of a kind.

 

I heard about all this from mommy, who knew from the very start I wasn’t daddy’s child. She thought she would be able to conceal the fact that I was a bastard child from daddy thanks to me not having any apparent Elven features such as longer ears, golden hair or emerald eyes.

 

After hearing all about my origins, I came to understand one thing. My unusually high supply of Mana in addition to my strengthened Regeneration attribute made me pretty much immortal.

 

I think it is correct to say that most people are afraid of death. However, I came to treat immortality as a curse instead.

 

This was all because of daddy’s behaviour. After hearing the story from mommy, his personality that used to be gentle and caring did a sudden half turn. Mommy was apologising to him as much as she could, saying things like “But you are the one I like !” or “I would never do it again !” but it seemed that it didn’t have much of an impact on daddy.

 

A few days later, daddy started drinking.  A lot. When he came home after going to the tavern, he would be violent and start beating both mommy and I.

He would punch and kick mommy until she fainted. He also locked me in my room and forbid me to ever leave the house. I couldn’t go to school or play outside anymore.

 

Everyday, he would come back from the tavern and beat both of us up. This became a daily routine for us. Mommy was the one to bring me food in my room. However, as the days passed, I noticed that daddy’s violence turned more and more into cruelty and mommy looked worse every single day.

 

One day, she entered my bedroom and looked at me with a heinous expression. Her gentle face was nothing but a memory. She came up to me and said “it’s all your fault.”.

 

This made me fall into further despair as my only ally in this world had finally betrayed me.

 

This all continued until that day, two years later.

 

Mommy had entered my room around noon to give me my pitiful lunch. Just before she left the bedroom, we heard explosions coming from the central place.They were loud enough to make the walls tremble.

Daddy didn’t have work today so he was resting at home but as soon as he heard the explosions, he went outside to check what was causing the ruckus.

Mommy followed him in a hurry and forgot to lock my room as daddy had instructed her.

 

Finally being able to escape for the first time in two years, I immediately rushed outside only to notice that the streets were desert. It seemed like all the villagers had gone to the central place.

 

I also headed there. It’s not like there was anything else to do anyway. If I had gone to the guards, I thought that they would probably send me back home, only to get another beating from daddy. Same if I had knocked to any other house in the village.

I made my way through the crowd and looked up, and saw a slick man about 1m85 tall wearing black and white clothes as well as a monochrome mask covering his entire face except for his right eye. He was shouting to the crowd.

At first, I couldn’t hear what he shouted but after a while, I caught up to what he was saying.

 

“Here is the choice : you may either leave the village safely and never return, stay here and become part of my kingdom or you may refuse to abide and die here ~”

 

Who was this man ? Was he crazy ? But it seemed he was the one who had cast fireballs in the sky earlier. If he really did that, he was probably someone that shouldn’t be underestimated…

 

Despite this, some villagers started arguing and opposing him. The man laughed a bit and used some kind of unknown magic.

 

I didn’t know what he had just done but I could clearly witness the result. The man that was standing 5 meters away from me on my right was beheaded and fell on the ground.

 

Only when I saw his face rolling on the ground did I understand who that man was. It was daddy.

 

Mommy started screaming like an idiot. I, who should have been horrified from the sight of having my father killed before my eyes, felt empty.

Or, rather… relieved. Saved from an inescapable misery. Why was mommy crying anyway ? Did she really like being beaten by that man so much ?

 

Well, never mind that. That man standing on top of the rock platform took down a few other villagers as well as all the guards that came after him. He, alone, forced all the villagers to leave the village and stood up against all the guards.

 

As a 13 years old girl, the natural reaction should have been to be afraid of such a dangerous man. But instead, I only felt admiration. I only felt affection. I only felt grateful.

 

This masked man was my saviour.

 

Furthermore, according to the choice he gave us earlier, I was allowed to stay by his side.

The man called himself Joker. It was obviously not his real name and I was dying to know it. Joker… I wanted to stay with him forever. I felt that if I was with him, I would be safe and secure. No more pain or hopelessness…

 

When he looked at me, I felt petrified. I couldn’t see his entire face but only the sight of his blood red pupil made my whole body feel hot. It felt like an electric shock went through my whole body as my heart started beating faster and faster.

 

The two twins that had stayed in the village clung to me and hid from Joker.

He approached them and talked to them to reassure their safety.

 

“Well, well, boys. No need to look so scared. I’m not going to harm the very first citizens of my kingdom now, am I ?”

 

I wanted to tell him what I felt but he left before that. He started using this weird Magic again all around the town while I was just standing there, staring at him.

Just before finishing, Joker took a glance at me.

I returned his glance and then ran away in the nearest house while blushing furiously. I couldn’t let him see me in such a shameful state. I had just wet myself after all.

 

After cleaning myself, I went outside only to notice the sky had changed colour. The bright blue sky was now… pitch black.

From afar, I heard Joker shouting to the twins.

 

“Transfer complete ! Ha, ha, ha. Welcome, my new citizens, in the Kingdom of Shadows !”

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