Author: Boomerkid PM
An infamous rogue swordsman yearns for vengeance, and a colorblind princess-cum-magus seeks a purpose. Within Serra they are caught amid factions of an empire at war, where a dawning age of enlightenment could signify an end to the current era. Traversing two distinct routes, both of them chance upon parentless children, before the intersection. Graphic violence. Sexual themes.Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Drama - Chapters: 12 - Words: 55,473 - Reviews: 21 - Favs: 5 - Follows: 5 - Updated: 05-08-13 - Published: 04-25-12 - id: 3016695
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A person can only see the world through their own two eyes. That is why there are so many different perceptions of the world, because people decide for themselves what they want to see of it.
But our perception of the world is not limited to sight alone. All the other different senses, taste, smell, hearing, touch. And these are only the physical senses.
Everything we know of this world is what we ourselves decipher of it, through knowledge and experience that we have in our grasp. What we have learned from others, what we ourselves think of it, our likes and dislikes. How we see the world is limited to solely the knowledge we, as one individual, has of it.
That is why, no one knows of the true world. No one knows of the vast, dark, empty void I traverse.
The true world is the void. But then, this is still merely my own perception of the world through my own understanding. I see a world of only gray. Food is tasteless. Those are some of what I decipher of this world. My own, unique representation of everything.
Wouldn't it be not surprising then, that my perception of the world as the void, is not of the true world as well?
Why, do I run?
How did I end up in this empty place once more?
Wasn't I in the middle of a battle somewhere?
A field of irises. Two Crimson children. Two sides fighting a skirmish below the hill.
Hey, because each and every person in the world has their own representation of it, doesn't that mean we are the rulers of our own, respective worlds?
We believe what we see in our world. We believe what we sense and perceive of our world. Everything we know is true. Everything we know exists, because we believe it to be so.
We want to believe. That is why what we know of this world, could merely be what we want to believe of it.
People move forward, because they believe.
Knowledge through belief. Existence through belief.
Doesn't that sound like, the basis of faith in God?
Realization of worldly possibilities. Realization of miracles.
What is scientifically possible. Theories of what are scientifically possible.
Didn't all of them start out as notions put forth by individuals, or specific groups of individuals, with their own unique understanding of the world as well?
Science is a pursuit where knowledge is ever-changing and expanding. Things thought not to be possible years and centuries ago are now everyday occurrences.
Enhancing one's physical appearance was once fantasized as a form of magic. Fictitious tales of witches-cum-seductresses luring men with false beauty, made possible through forbidden magic. Old folktales of times long since passed.
There was, one fairly notable text. A story of a poor, bland girl toiling long and hard every day on the fields of a manor. No man looked at her. No one acknowledged her no matter how much she worked for her lord. A charismatic, dashing lord she loved from the bottom of her heart. He saw little worth in her, he never once gave her a second glance.
One day she discovered magic, and transformed herself into a fair, beautiful maiden. Her lord took one look at her in her finest garments, and fell head over heels for her. She was happy. She had the love and affection of her lord, and was recognized with worth by the townspeople as the wife to a noble.
Everyone looked at her. Everyone would attend to her and acknowledge her, proclaiming her the most beautiful woman of all the lands.
Magic that made the impossible true. A plain, dirty girl along the boondocks, one day given beauty surpassing that of the most fine and elegant princesses.
It was a miracle. A happy ending to a simple, insipid tale.
Then came the knowledge and use of cosmetics, and now everyone can enhance their physical appearance with just a handful of coins.
Science, technology, evolves. Science is a system of acquiring knowledge, and also refers to the organized body of knowledge gained through using this system.
Science is not fixed forever. Knowledge is not fixed forever. Just because we cannot explain something through the temporal knowledge we currently have, some are inclined to call it things like magic, a miracle, or the intervention of a transcendental entity. Many baseless assumptions on how things were once thought to work, have already been dismissed through discovery and the advances of science.
Isn't it not surprising then, that what we believe to be miracles right now, could turn out to be scientific, worldly possibilities in the near future?
The true world. This is why no one knows of the true world.
I guess in short, we mostly perceive what we are able, and want, to perceive. Our own, unique beliefs and knowledge about the world.
That is one of the base components of individual.
But, when do we begin to acquire knowledge? When we are born, do we already have preset beliefs?
My… own childhood.
Innocent, happy children. Spending quiet, peaceful days amid the breeze of the afternoon sky.
A young boy took my hand, grinning, and pulled me up to my feet. Every time he came by, he would always greet me with a huge wave and a wide smile. Always leading the way when we got to play outside. Showing me new things, teaching me new things.
"No matter what anyone says, the world is beautiful."
We overlooked the view of Iris Bay from the hill of iris flowers, his hand gently squeezing onto mine.
"No matter what happens, everything will be alright in the end."
His arms that enfolded around me, his warmth that enveloped me.
"We'll grow up together. We'll always be together."
His innocent, grinning face fringed by the glow of the setting sun.
"One day, we'll become Emperor and Empress!"
All the times I ran over to him just before he and his caretakers had to go back to Yade. Those same words of encouragement, the casual hugs he gave me.
He was always positive.
… always looking forward.
"You are a leader."
A faint memory of when I was just six years old. Father's soft words as he knelt down before me, resting a hand on my shoulder with a stiff smile.
His expression was often solid and cold, but there were times when gentleness would show in his eyes.
I, always liked his kinder face.
"One day, you will lead the people, with your own vision."
For as long as I can remember, I was always studying magecraft, a couple other subjects pushed to the side. At times, Mom would be there to guide me in that dark and stale, stone room. Always firm, but never overbearing. She read with me, taught me many things in the easiest ways to understand.
Every time I succeeded in learning a new spell, or met her expectations in improvement or any other goal she set for me, she would always praise me with a thin smile and a flat "good". She brought me novels to read, alongside the reading materials for my studies and the Holy Scriptures.
I always liked the novels the most.
"You are blessed with a gift, Alice. Such remarkable magecraft. We of the Wolfgang Royal Family should always treasure these gifts. Use your gift to its fullest potential, polish it continuously with time.
"Never throw away or neglect the gifts you have received. Always be thankful for what you have."
Ariel always got more time with Mom and Dad. She sat closest to both of them along the dining table, was inside their bedchambers more often. The court nobles and servants spent more time with her. At times when I played in our courtyard alone and threw a sidelong glance, I would catch a glimpse of her always encircled by people.
But, as I peeked into her bedchamber one day, I realized as I beheld the stack of tomes, papers and books atop the mahogany desk that stood before her.
She had… so much more to do.
"Alice, I am afraid we are at dire times."
Mom's solemn voice as she sat atop her bed, her shoulders curled with a hand over her forehead. I stood close to her near the candlelight, looking up at her with my hands clasped in front of me.
"If we do not bolster our military forces in the coming week, our city will fall to the Cadwallon Branch Family. They, have backing from the Adler Faction, and Crimsons in their ranks.
"They, are sure to cease this opportunity."
My lips stayed lined as I stared up at Mom. I didn't understand what she meant. I just listened to her soft, somber voice.
"Our treasury is currently low thanks to our funding for mercenaries provided by the M.U. But I am afraid that it will not be enough. We need, to take very drastic measures."
"Mommy?" My fingertips touched her hand resting atop her lap.
She looked at me, and took the fingers of my hand in her own, her gaze downcast. "Alice. I want, to use you on the battlefield."
"Yes." Mom rested a hand behind my back, setting me closer to her as her voice cracked. "There is nothing decorated about it. I am not saying that everything about what I am going to ask you to do is justified, but…
"… I will need you, to kill people, Alice."
She bit her lips while turning her eyes away from me. But, I still looked up at her, holding her fingers just a little tighter.
"Mommy. Only I can do it, right?"
Her eyes magnified, her lips parted as she stared upon me.
"Is it something, only I can do?"
"Mommy said that, I can do something other people can't."
Children of the Wolfgang Royal Family, are born to lead people.
"I am a leader, right?
"A leader should always stand amongst their people."
All these words, all these beliefs, I learned from Mom and Dad.
My thoughts were on Ariel as I spoke. Then, she was only fifteen, and yet was already aiding Dad in leading major projects for the advancement of Iris Bay's national power. Everyone regarded her as someone with worth, news bulletins would feature her. She was proclaimed a genius in politics.
I was ten. And even as a child of the Wolfgang Royal Family, I hadn't accomplished anything.
"I want to help." I looked up into Mom's eyes. "I want to help."
Her lips fixed tight, and set me up against her lap, before giving a light squeeze with her arms wrapped around me.
Her body shook as she cradled me.
That was, the only time I remember Mom hugging me.
The only time, I thought she shed tears.
But, I was going to help the people. So why would Mom cry?
"Look, first, you expect me to provide you more troops with that amount of money even though you are obviously the losing side." A mercenary lord's voice, flat and stern as he spoke to Mom at the far corner of one of the otherwise crowded army encampments, "Secondly, you are placing some inexperienced seventeen-year-old in the position of commander-in-chief. And thirdly–
"… you expect this child to fight alongside us?"
"Hey, hey." Another man came up, cupping his hand on the fuming mercenary lord's shoulder. His rugged countenance, the casual expression in his eyes, was the same back then as it is now.
"Trent, I don't care if you and your band would love to commit suicide." The mercenary lord shook Trent's hand away. "But me? No, no, I will not work for someone who exhibits such rash and ridiculous planning, yet expects to pay my men just the standard fee even though their own military is being screwed from all sides."
"Please, Mister Caelum." Mom's hand curled into a fist beside me, her head leaning forward toward the mercenary lord, "Just one-thousand troops, I just need one-thousand more of your troops. I understand that your share of the M.U. has some of the best warriors in the whole of this world!"
"Do not treat me like some runt." The mercenary lord clenched his teeth as he turned his gaze to Mom. "If you really expect one-thousand more of my people to fight in a war where they will be outnumbered five-to-one, I expect you to pay at least eighty more shillos for each and every man."
Mom's body stiffened, her eyes widened. "Are you mad? Multiply that by a thousand, and add the standard fee, then that will be-"
"See? My people don't want to go head-on against an avalanche that is this losing war, if you don't provide them some very good compensation!" The man threw his arm to the side with a feral glare, and I flinched before shuffling my feet behind Mom. "I can't risk losing any more of my people. You think we don't have costs too? You've killed off too many of my men and for not a good reason at that! And I have no reason to continue lending my hand to your cause."
"Wait, hey pal." Trent seized the mercenary lord's arm just as he snapped around toward his steed. "Maybe if you were to take position as a captain, the Vivian Branch Family could stand a much more definite chance of winning. You didn't even lend your own strength to this conflict in the first place."
Trent narrows his eyes, frowning with no trace of his casual air. "I believe that if you were to participate from the beginning, our situation wouldn't be so dire. You aren't even that much older than the new commander-in-chief, so don't just write him off."
"Then I would just be one captain among dozens. You really think that would change anything, seeing that even two good captains I had for them have been killed?" The mercenary lord slapped Trent's hand off him, glaring over his shoulder. "Victory in warfare is the product of thorough, competent, well-managed and well-executed, team effort and leadership, and I surely do not see that right here. I am leaving and Trent, you will not summon me back here unless it is to take you and your sorry men's posteriors back home. There are more important things for me to take care of.
"And I have absolutely no respect for any leader who would actually resort to using a little girl on the bloody battlefield."
I froze as I looked up at the mercenary lord, and for a moment, he snorted with grinding teeth as he stared down upon me, before shaking his head.
"Ah, My Serene Highness Princess Geraldine. I thought you should have understood by now that mercenaries are motivated by return."
Hearing a man's smooth and soothing voice, I swiveled my feet around, and spotted a person strolling towards us.
"Whereas we of the royal family, take into account duty, self-realization, and most importantly, the welfare and well-being of our people."
"Prince Heathcliff, of the Donworths," Mom said in a croaking voice, staring upon the young man dressed tidily in fine clothes standing before us.
Donworths. Then he, was the man I came to recognize as Harry's elder brother.
I gazed up and down at Heathcliff as he smiled at me, his build tall but slightly lanky, his eyes soft and gentle in the face of the noise and dirt of the army encampment.
"Oh, you the new commander-in-chief, eh?" The mercenary lord's voice sounded from behind me. "You don't even look like you belong on a battlefield, are you sure you're up to the job?"
"Never judge a person's skill and abilities by his appearance or personality, Havoc Alas Caelum." Heathcliff turned his eyes towards the mercenary lord, his smile not thinning one bit as he stood straight and calm.
"Interesting." The mercenary lord named Havoc straightened his back. "So you're the kind of kid who believes he can make miracles happen, that so?"
"Oh no no." Heathcliff waved his hand in the air with a casual grin, almost a chuckle. "Please do not use terms such as magic and miracles when discussing my methods of operations." He closed his eyelids for a moment, inhaling quietly, before returning a piercing gaze straight at Havoc. "I'll just win with what I do best. Strategy and tactics."
My hands clasped to my chest while I panned my gaze between Havoc and Heathcliff. Havoc's eyes widened, and after a slight pause, a short snort escaped through his nose, followed by a burst of laughter as he snapped his head to the side.
"Hahahah! Hah. Hah… looks like I was wrong about a few things." With a small grin as he dropped his head low, Havoc turned away from Heathcliff. I stared after his back as he strode away, before he carefully mounted the top of his horse. "Seems like you don't need me after all. You can trust your new commander-in-chief, I'm serious here."
Havoc threw a glance at me as he turned his horse toward the exit of the encampment, and I backed up with my hands curled into fists at my chest.
"Young princess, take care of yourself, alright?"
His hand waved in the air as he spread a little smirk for a moment, and I jumped as I lifted a hand up towards him.
"Warfare isn't fun and games." His head turned away from me, his gaze distant as his lips thinned. "Remember that, and I wish you well."
The last words I heard from the mercenary lord, before he departed the encampment.
"Alice vi Wolfgang, is it?" Heathcliff bent down in front of me, his fair and firm cheekbones raising a little as he smiled. "Are you willing to fight for us? To do everything you can to protect your nation and its people?"
My hands twitched as they clasped behind my back, and I inhaled while looking up at him. "I will fight." My voice shook. "I want to fight."
"Are you willing to kill people?"
My shoulders jolted as a keen look glazed over his eyes. I blinked once, and with my hands clutching onto one another, I looked straight into his gaze. "Yes."
"Good. Then…" Heathcliff knelt over, and placed a gentle hand atop my shoulder. A soft, yet cold touch. I shivered as he parted his lips. "I will be placing you at the front lines."
I was inducted into the army with the pretense that I was Heathcliff's protégé, only serving food to the soldiers at dinnertime. In truth, day and night at the army encampment, there were two other things I was instructed to drill by Heathcliff. My magecraft, and my usage of the dagger.
"You must always be certain when facing the enemy." Heathcliff's voice as he watched me alone at the furthest corner of the encampment, crows cawing in view of the evening sky. "With each strike you take, envision yourself annihilating the enemy. You must see yourself as justice's hand, the hand which will bring victory and peace to our people."
My hand held a stiletto dagger in a forward grip, and with a sharp exhale as I thrust out my arm, the steel of the dagger sank skin-deep against the bark of a tree.
"Do not let your breathing go shallow. Take soft, natural breaths. If you are to face the enemy, do not exhibit hesitation. Strike dead center with the tip of your dagger.
"You must be certain. Be certain and conscious the moment you are about to destroy the enemy."
I am justice's hand. Justice's hand must be certain.
"Remember, you are a leader."
A leader should always stand amongst their people.
"If you truly want to lead the way for your people, first ensure that you can take the lead of your own actions."
Take the lead. Do not give up your lead to the enemy. With the lead, you can control and dominate all aspects of combat.
"Everything is for the sake of the people."
Then, for the sake people, I will kill.
The sky, rained blood, as I took position at the highest point of a vassal lord's castle walls. My spears pierced the dozens of soldiers that took to the ladders up toward us, their figures limp as they collapsed down to the distant ground below.
My hands stayed still. My breath stayed still. My feet stayed still as I beheld the many specks of people beneath me decorated with splatters of blood.
Destroy the enemy. Destroy the enemy. Destroy-
"Victory! The Cadwallons are retreating! Commence the defeated warrior hunt!"
"Good work, girl, you can rest now." Trent's hoarse voice, before he raced down one of the ladders of the castle walls.
My, first battle. The first time I saw the distorted eyes of people just as I laid death to them.
My breath shook ever so slightly. My hands trembled as my lips tightened.
I won. I did it, I won.
"There's Captain Turner! Princess, you're up!" A young noble's voice within the wagon I sat, another one of the very few who knew of my actual purpose. I stood up from my seat, the floor shaking with each step of our horse as gunfire from arquebuses blared in my ears.
The curtains drew open, and I stared upon a vast field of blood and corpses, roars of warriors sounding in harmony with the shattering of bones and tearing of flesh. I outstretched my arms, held out my palms toward a knight in coat of arms atop his courser.
"Now! Do it now!"
A long spear embedded itself into the center of the knight's heart. He tumbled off his horse, crashed onto the wet grass, and his body shook as dozens of our own men on horseback trampled upon him.
"The last of their captains is down! The Cadwallons are falling back, start defeated warrior hunt and take all nobles and Crimsons prisoners!"
"Our work's done, we're getting the hell out of here." The noble then shouted orders to the horseman, and we turned away from the shouts and cries of the battlefield.
"Princess, do you need anything for your anemia? Hey."
Something tightened within my chest, my shoulders shook even as he grabbed onto my arm.
A soft giggle escaped my mouth, my fingers curled as they brushed against my lips.
Nightmares of me standing amid a field of squirming carcasses. Blood seeping out of them as they murmured low, all huddled together and staring straight at me.
Their faces. All those distorted faces, tears seeping out of their bulging eyes.
My chest shivered as I snapped awake inside a tent, panting with sweat staining my palms as small candlelight flickered beside me.
My head snapped to the side, and my gaze settled upon Heathcliff turning his body toward me from his sleeping mat.
My hands clutched to my arms, my shoulders stiff as I nodded low. A rustle stroked my ears, and warm fingers brushed against the side of my head as he patted my back.
"It'll be over soon. Just a few more battles, and Iris Bay will finally have peace." His familiar, delicate smile. "I will end this war as fast as possible.
"I will achieve absolute victory."
At thirteen years old, I was still on the battlefield.
"We are happy to announce that we have finally liberated the Vivian Branch Family's territories from Cadwallon's hostility." Just days after the successful defense was confirmed, Heathcliff exclaimed from the podium of his audience chamber to rounds of applause and cries of joy.
A tactical genius. A prodigious commander. Heathcliff became renown among the royal family as an intellectual in warfare.
I was still without achievement. My identity, as a manslayer, had to be kept hidden at all costs.
"However, we cannot allow the hostile Cadwallons to stand any longer." Heathcliff's voice lowered, his eyes thin as he took in a quiet breath. "We have lost too many men and women, friends and families to their greed for domination, despite our best efforts to negotiate for even an entente. The many emissaries we have sent forth to even bestow gifts upon them, they replied by sending back their heads wrapped in cloth.
"To make this short, we of the Donworth Branch Family, have reached a mutual agreement with the Vivians regarding our strategic objective." His hand curled into a fist, his gaze flickered, "To conquer every, single, last territory belonging to the Cadwallons."
Wake up, kill, eat and bathe, sleep. Wake up, kill, eat and bathe, sleep.
My body, atop a Crimson captain. My stiletto dagger, held in one hand in an icepick grip as rain poured down under the windy, night sky.
There are three areas above the shoulder that the dagger is sure to cause fatality when struck. One is stabbing up under the chin, where the weapon will lead up to the center of the brain.
However, he was beneath me. I was above him.
His choking voice played in my ears as I sank my dagger between both of his collarbones. My arm rose up again before coming down upon him, my breathing quiet in the midst of his voice.
"Just… a child…"
Tears trickled down his cheeks as his body shook. Coldness welled up within me as I beheld the shrunken pupils in his widened eyes. My hands shivered as his lips parted, and once more, I lifted my arm.
His heart, his kidneys, blood splattered all over them as my dagger pierced through. The hisses of flames razing the enemy encampment, the tightness clenching my chest as I gritted my teeth.
Why won't you die? Your arteries have all been severed. Oh why won't you die?
You are the enemy. I am justice's hand.
My lips quivered, my eyes magnified, my vision hazy as I set both hands onto my dagger.
Something warm brushed against my cheek. A soft gasp left my lips, as I shot my back upright.
There, I stared upon the man's hand, a weak smile on his face as his fingertips slid against my cheek. His hand shook as his arm fell limp, and his eyes rolled back into its sockets.
My arms stayed at my sides as I looked upon his body. My fingers brushed against the corners of my eyes, and my heart shook as I beheld a small patch of iris flowers blooming beside us, covered in blood.
"The iris flower, is most beautiful when it rains." Heathcliff looking up into the overcast afternoon sky, sitting beside me at Iris Bay's royal castle garden, irises in full bloom. "Even, if it were to rain blood, the iris would still look beautiful in it."
My memory of that night, ended with the iris flower.
"You've served us well." Heathcliff bowed before me at the threshold of our castle, patting my shoulder before turning his back around. "Having you made my operations much easier. I could not thank you enough."
I just stood there, hanging my head low.
"Alice?" Mom reaching out for my hand, her voice soft as her brows wrinkled.
I just sat atop my bed, hanging my head low with my hands clasped at my lap.
"Lunch will be served soon. We will come here to pick you up. Take care, okay?"
My fingers twitched slightly, and I gave a short nod.
"Alice…" Her hand cupped against my knuckles, another stroking against the side of my head as she planted a light kiss to my temple.
I stayed still, staring upon my lap in silence.
… I believed, that I was a hero.
No one looked at me differently. Even though Heathcliff became highly recognized, I was still regarded as the same.
But no, I should not mind.
Everything, was for the sake of the people, right?
My arms wrapped around my body, my knees drawing up to my chest as I lowered my head.
The nightmares. The dark, empty void, every single night. Sitting atop my bed, looking down upon the mattress, I clutched my arms against my body, shaking.
Am I, right? All those words I've been taught, all those beliefs I've been taught.
"Everything is for the sake of the people." Then, what have I done for myself?
"You must see yourself as justice's hand, the hand which will bring victory and peace to our people." And we bring about this victory and peace, by destroying others?
"If you truly want to lead the way for your people, first ensure that you can take the lead of your own actions." Did I ever think, about whether all those actions were right?
The beliefs that were instilled upon me. My mind blanked, my body shivered as I questioned them.
I am my world. My world consists solely of my own knowledge and beliefs.
"You are a leader." To think that, a leader is able to make so many individuals come together, to share one, sole vision.
"A leader should always stand amongst their people."
Come to think of it, their people varies between leaders, haha.
Sitting there, at times I would chuckle as I thought to myself.
To think that, I can kill people, and still manage to laugh after all of that.
Ah, there were two Crimson children, waiting for me.
Their bright smiles, innocent laughter as we reached atop the hill of iris flowers. Believing that whatever happens, in the end, the world is still beautiful.
"No matter what happens, everything will be alright."
It's no wonder, I fell in love with him back then.
"We'll grow up together. We'll always be together."
To always believe. To always move forward.
Children living peacefully, amid a simple world. Simple beliefs, a cup of knowledge unfilled.
Just a simple, happy world.
My vision goes hazy, my hands limp as I lie sprawled against the irises.
Something, pricks at the center of my chest. My gaze shakes as I stare upon my bosom.
Ah, seems like, there's a hole there.
No voice or sound enters my ears, only the faint scene of blood across the field registers in my senses.
One… two… more than a dozen bodies lie motionless. All atop the hill, with figures encircling me as I look up at them.
Oh, I understand now.
I did all of this.
Maybe, somewhere in the middle of everything, I managed to feint surrender and make an assault at Trent. There's no other way to explain this hole at my chest.
Ah, then that's means I saved Kate, didn't I?
A small breath leaves my lips as I search my line of sight for two little figures. A few of the taller ones kneel down beside me, their mouths parting and closing with one placing a hand over my wound.
Somewhere behind all of them, a soldier holds two children by his sides, standing completely still in the distance.
Aha. I guess I've won.
Their figures darken and blur as lightness comes over my body. My eyelids close, the fingers of my hand twitching as warmth wells up in my heart.
I'm, really tired. Goodness, I've done too much today.
Lying atop a bed of irises, so cozy.
A short nap here, would be good.
April 1, year 2418 of the Serran Calendar.
Act Two – The Princess Who Sees Only Gray
Act Three – Man and Weapon
Vermillion and Andy reach Port Sarrow, a portside town at one of the most southwestern parts of the Central Continent. There, as Vermillion seeks more information on the man he dubs Invincible Under the Heavens, he comes across a rather chatty pirate who through finding out his identity, persists on having Vermillion work for his crew for some reason or the other.
With the irritating pirate on his tail, our murderous rogue swordsman still has to find out what to do with the boy that has tagged along with him. And the moment he contemplates on finding an orphanage for Andy, there through the gaps of people in the crowd, he spots a man with a sheathed katana by his belt, displaying a huge banner for everyone to see. And written on it, the words that shake him cold: Invincible Under the Heavens.