Monday, February 13, 2017
The First Alchemist - Chap 33
Chapter 33 - Revenge
Trees blurred past Sorka Bo. By the time he came to a stop, he didn't know where he was. He had never been this deep in the forest before.
But he wasn't afraid. Anger was still surging through his veins at the thought of that cripple becoming the next village chief. There was no way he was going to allow that to happen.
He punched a tree. Seething, grinding his teeth, Sorka Bo was so distracted by his rage that he almost didn't notice the sound of something moving through the snow, something that didn't bother trying to hide its presence because it didn't see him as a threat.
Sorka Bo turned around. Right before him was a Colossus Bear.
"Shit," he said, barely above a whisper. He didn't want to do or say anything that would spark the beast into attacking him. He tried to think of a way out of this. He had no weapon so fighting wasn't an option, and his profound energy was nearly depleted to the point where he could only run a few feet before he tired himself out, letting the bear catch up and claw through his back.
What was he going to do? If only his fellow hunters were here to help him. Even the weakest one could at least serve as a meat shield, giving him time to escape.
But Sorka Bo ran out of time. The Colossus Bear roared, then charged at him.
Just as Sorka Bo was about to try to escape, out of nowhere a white crescent light flew past him and struck the bear’s neck. Blood splattered over the clean snow as its severed head fell to the ground.
"Wha...?" Sorka Bo said, his mouth agaped. Then he saw his father walking towards him, sword in hand. "Father!" he shouted, deliriously happy to be alive.
Sorka Jiu wasn't smiling. The moment he stopped in front of his son, he struck Sorka Bo across the cheek. "Damn fool! How many times have I told you to never go into the forest alone? Especially not this deep! Do you think you can take on these beasts by yourself?”
Sorka Bo rubbed his cheek, more surprised than hurt at being struck. “Father, what are you doing here?” he asked.
“I followed you, of course. Do you think I’ll let my only son die out here? Come on, if you’re done sulking, let’s head back to the village before we run into anymore desolate beasts.”
Before his father could turn around, Sorka Bo shouted, “Wait!”
“What is it?”
“Why?” Sorka Bo asked. “Why are you allowing that cripple to replace you? Why are you allowing him to become the next village chief?”
Sorka Jiu looked at his son, and sighed. He knew that Sorka Bo would need time to get over this, and although the forest wasn't the best place to discuss it, he guessed that they would have to hash it out right here. "Son, it was agreed that if Chem Al's champion defeated you, he would become the next village chief."
"Yes, I know we agreed on that, but father, you're still stronger than Chem Au. You're still the strongest person in this village. You don't have to retire now. Keep your position as village chief for awhile longer, just until I become strong enough to prove myself worthy of being your successor."
Sorka Jiu sighed again. "I'm tired, son. Even if I wanted to continue being the village chief, I no longer think that I'm the best person for the job. It's time to retire and let the next generation take over."
"No!" Sorka Bo shouted. "I won't allow this. They cheated! That's the only explanation. I am more talented than they are so the only way that cripple and his brother could beat me is if they used some kind of cheat!"
"And what's wrong with that?" Sorka Jiu said, thinking of the Primary Profound Pills that Chem Al showed him. “Son, I’m sorry that you lost, but even if they used a cheat to help Chem Au become strong enough to win, don’t you see what this could mean for our village? We are weak, barely surviving on the outskirts of the Continent. Being the most talented or strongest person in this village means nothing. We’re a frog inside a well, unable to see how vast the sky is. But now, with the help of the new village chief, we will have an advantage. We can all become stronger." Sorka Jiu smiled at his son.
But Sorka Bo was still scowling. "That cripple is weak," was all he said.
Sorka Jiu groaned, then placed a hand on his son's shoulder. "I know that traditionally we needed a strong village chief to protect this village, but does that matter now? Who cares if he is weak if he can make everyone else strong."
Sorka Bo didn't say anything, clearly unhappy.
"What's wrong?" Sorka Jiu said. "Don't you realize what this could mean for you as well? Along with everyone else, you can become a lot stronger than you are now."
When Sorka Bo continued to keep his mouth shut, his father kept asking him what was wrong, what was he unhappy with. The pressure from these questions built up and up until Sorka Bo saw red. He exploded.
“I want to be the strongest! Me and me alone!” Sorka Bo shouted, finally admitting something he had barely admitted to himself. “I want to be stronger than anyone else. I want to be the only one who can protect this village. If the villagers are in trouble, I want to be the one that comes in at the last minute and save everyone. I want all the women to love me and all the men to be jealous of me. I want everyone else to stay weak so that I can be the hero!" After that outburst, Sorka Bo slowly breathed in and out, settling himself down. He looked ashamed.
The forest was quiet.
Sorka Jiu stood there, unable to believe what he had just heard. How did his son become like this?
"I want to be the hero, father," Sorka Bo whispered. "I want to be like the heroes in those stories you told me while I was growing up. I want to stand above everyone and crush anyone who opposes me. I just want to be the hero."
"Yes, but ... wanting everyone else to stay weaker than you?" Sorka Jiu said.
Sorka Bo looked away. He didn't say anything else as he brushed past his father and walked back towards the village.
"I am disappointed in you, son," Sorka Jiu said.
Sorka Bo tried to drown out those words, but instead they burrowed into his mind, fueling his hate. But it wasn't hate towards his father, it was directed at the cripple. This was all the cripple's fault.
But even though Sorka Bo knew that, there wasn't anything he could do about it. It seemed like the cripple would become the next village chief. And ... that's fine. He would allow the cripple to enjoy his time under the sun for now. But one day, Sorka Bo declared, he would have his revenge.