Farewell to the Hero
While the Berneze were so happy that they started dancing, my subordinates and I did not feel like celebrating to that degree.
I was happy that Demon King Dagon had been defeated, and now his army was scattering.
It was a good thing. However, when I saw the back of the archer on the battlefield, I could not express that happiness.
And so I walked up to him and said,
“That was a brilliant shot.”
“I could say the same for you and your magic.”
Silence followed for some time after that. Surprisingly, it was Robin who finally spoke.
He forced a smile and then said,
“This battle. It was all because of you that Dagon has been defeated. Thank you.”
“It was also because of your courage on the field.”
“Perhaps. Still, that ends today.”
“Are you leaving?”
“Aye. I’m tired of fighting.”
Robin cast his bow aside and turned away from me. But I called after him.
“Will you return? The Ashtaroth army will not settle for anyone else when choosing captain of the archers.”
Robin stopped once and said, ‘thank you.’
And so I walked up to him and asked to shake his hand. I also wanted to embrace him.
“What’s this? I don’t swing that way.”
Robin said jokingly. But I was serious.
“In my homeland, friends shake hands, embrace, and promise to meet again. Please allow me to keep that tradition.”
“I’m sure your homeland is a wonderful place, but I cannot do that.”
“Because I have no right to shake your hand or receive an embrace.”
“I’ll be the one who decides that.”
“No, I will. After all, I tried to kill you multiple times during battle. I was going to kill you and save Fiana. I was waiting for an opportunity to betray you. Such a man is not worthy of being a friend.”
“I see. I’m glad that you confessed that to me. Now Robin, I want you to hit me.”
Robin was at a loss for words, and asked if he had heard that wrong.
“No, I am not going to hit you. I asked you to hit me.”
“Shouldn’t it be the other way around?”
“No. In fact, I doubted you as well. Up until the very last moment, I wondered if you wouldn’t target some other part of my body instead of my heart. So I too do not deserve to shake your hand.”
And so he should strike me.
“I should be saying that to you. You should hit me first. It was I who had the spirit of rebellion first.”
Robin insisted. And so I slammed my fist into him without hesitation. I knew that this was the best way to reciprocate his trust. It would help build a friendship between us.
The heavy blow landed on his cheek. Blood ran down from his mouth. His lips and gums had been cut.
“I haven’t hit someone in a while. My hand hurts.”
“Of course. Your fists were not made to hit people.”
“Now, it’s your turn. Hit me, Robin. Do your worst, so we will have the right to shake each other’s hand and embrace. Let us be friends.”
And like that, I was punched by him. He did not hold back.
There was a loud sound and I felt dazed, but I regained my balance and smiled.
“You took that well, Demon King.”
Robin said. And then we shared a passionate embrace and shook hands.
“I will return one day. And when I do, allow me to join your army.”
“I look forward to that day.”
After this interaction, Robin continued on his journey. But for some reason, the Carbuncle that usually never left his side, stayed by my feet and would not move.
Like this, Robin and I went on separate paths. But while we would be far from each other, I felt as if our hearts were now connected in some way.