1 Not Now

As the flaming sun dipped below the horizon, the silver moon and its luminescent glow uncovered the sparkling stars, bringing its beauty to the night. The people and townsfolk all left the bustling market streets to hit the sack. The once busy roads were filled with small shops, adventurers, and pickpockets, but as the sun disappeared, so did everything else.

In the center of the city, stood a castle which watched over the town. For once ago it was also lively and were this any other day, the dining halls of the castle would be filled with royals, nobles, and playboys, but it too was silent.

The moonlight was darker today than any other; for the Ruler of Etheron King Terrice, the moon was a god, and it was watching him. Terrice knew the moon was covering the light for the creatures outside the walls, giving them stealth to crawl over the castle walls.

Just a few hours ago, he had received a report from a scout that an army of monsters was approaching and would arrive at the dawn of night. Terrice believed with the help of his army and the hero, they would be able to wipe the monsters before the civilians should even lay their eyes on them.

But they were completely demolished. Only a few kilometers away from the city where the two opposing armies fought was a battlefield layered with people. Terrice had thought that even without the hero, they would be able to eliminate all the monsters, but the hero was missing.

Terrice had watched as his entire army was surrounded by monsters, and they were given no peace even after death, as the monster army tore apart their body parts and devoured the soldiers to grow stronger.

As the monsters slowly inched down the castle wall, Terrice could see veins on the wall moving like it was alive. Because of his arrogance, he had only set a few guards on duty, but before the guards could alert the sleeping soldiers, they had died.

The darkness lurked closer from all sides, reaping the life from everything they passed. By the time the first cry of help emerged, it was already too late. Despite the madness of the raid, the king knew.

Five days ago.....

"Please, MY KING!" exclaimed the prophet as he tried to release himself from the soldiers who had his arms "The city will fall before a week should pass"

"Nonsense! For my kingdom to fall, the heavens must send their greatest army!" The king, whose maidens lay sprawled around him, proclaimed, laughing to the sky.

"I foresee a future of which the kingdom ceased to exist, and you, my king, will, unfortunately, be poisoned to death on the throne in which you sit on right now!" pleading, the prophet doesn't resist the soldiers any longer, hoping for a change in the king's mind.

"I have the support of the strongest hero! For my kingdom to fall would be preposterous! I sentence you and your family to be hanged for Treason. It shall be in the city center a week from now,"

In disbelief, the prophet was dragged away, his eyes continued to stare knives into the foolish king, and were his arms not held, he would have attacked the king at this moment.

Turning his head to a corner behind him, the king explains "Right? Hero Cane, with you here, nothing can harm the kingdom," After receiving no response, the King squinted his eyes as he tried to look closer into the corner, but he saw no one. "He was there just a moment ago," he thought to himself.

The Hero, Cane Flayer, was only twenty years old; he was a businessman without business, and he was summoned by the king a few months ago but compared to his initial delight of experiencing the kingdom, he uncovered the wrongdoings of the king and the nobles.

Despite their outward appearance of kindness and power, they had hidden away from the hero, a sight of disgust and ruthlessness. Most of the nobles, which included the royals, had a secret dungeon where they kidnapped and tortured civilians.

After one report of a noble being assassinated, Cane looked around the noble's mansion for clues only to find a stairway leading to a prison cell. In the cell, he found a young girl, only 13 or 14 years old collapsed on the ground without a thread of clothing on; her body was covered in bruises.

Looking closer he saw a pile of dead bodies lazily laid on each other in the corner. All of them had cuts and bruises, tattooing their entire bodies.

In the castle, as Cane was on his way to report to the king, he noticed a soldier carrying a dead body away from the throne room. Cane followed the soldier, hiding behind corners to discover cellar similar to the one he had found before. The only difference was the size.

Cane waited until the soldier left before he looked around and saw in dismay, a cell filled with heroes. All of which had the same badge the king had given him on his first day. If he had told the king of the sins of the noble, he would have been an addition to the pile.

On the night of the monster attack, he hid on the roof of the castle, and next to him was the daughter of the king Catherine. She was only 9 years old and compared to the other nobles, she was still innocent and ignorant of the corruption.

"Are you going to save everyone," Catherine looked at Cane, expecting a cool response.

"No," Cane watched as a savage wolf broke out of a house with a man's torso in his mouth.

"I thought you were the hero," almost pleading with her eyes, Catherine looked at Cane.

"Yes, I am," calming replying Cane, eyes still on the monster raid.

"Why are you not saving everyone?" Catherine's eyes were watering as she heard the screams of people. She peered down to see that the monsters had completely surrounded the castle.

"Not now," Cane glanced up now at the dark moon, which almost seemed to smile back at him.

"Why not now?" Catherine could hear the screams getting closer to her. She could see large spiders climbing the castle. She turned to look at Cane.

Cane was gone.

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