If nothing was stopping Carson, he should be fine leaving with Virgil tomorrow—that was what he thought, as he remained on the bed, alone. Virgil was doing his own thing downstairs, and he only told Carson to get a good rest. With all the things that remained unsolved inside his head, resting wasn’t his priority.
After worrying about Markus for a while, he could finally think about his family and face questions he wasn’t ready to answer again.
The only certainty about them—was how Carson hadn’t met his missing parents for years. If they were even alive, he wouldn’t know how to face them. With any justifications that explained why they hadn’t met—he didn’t know if he could handle all those ideas. Their death would be an easier pill to swallow for him. But in the end, he just wanted to know about their whereabouts, so Carson could finally rest easy, and it’s over.
Everything about this could’ve ended tomorrow, and he didn’t know what to do next afterward. Just the thought of finally knowing about his family’s fate made him uneasy. He could’ve spent a few more years obsessing over this topic, seeking the entire truth, and maybe having his revenge, too.
Now that he thought about revenge, Virgil returned to the bedroom.
“Hey, could I ask you something?” Carson asked as Virgil laid down next to him.
“What’d you think about revenge?”
While Carson was expecting Virgil to ask something like why would Carson ask such a thing, Virgil crossed his arms as he closed his eye. “Hmm… Honestly, it might sound satisfying in theory, but it’s not worth it.”
“Huh. Were you speaking from experience?”
“Haha…” Virgil loosened his arms. “Not a good time.”
Leaving the conversation with tense silence, Virgil seemed to notice how Carson said nothing, so he spoke up. “Yeah, that part’s pretty personal. I’m still angry about it, but I’ve stopped trying to seek revenge.”
“I see… What stopped you from that?”
“Hmm… Honestly, I felt like there wasn’t any point to any of this. It wouldn’t undo any damage done, either. So I thought: why bother with it? Then I stopped, focused on my job, and tried to act better. And say, remember the book I asked you to borrow?”
“The charms one?”
“Yeah. Something to help me act better, or so I thought. I might tell you what I’m doing with that book sometime.”
Now that’s one thing Carson could look forward to, once he was done with learning about his past. Despite the uncertainty that awaited the next day, that alone was enough to make Carson relieved for tonight.
“Cool, guess I’ll just sleep now.”
Carson had the map, while Virgil had the compass. And as they navigated into the forest by the west of the Ashen Volcano, Virgil pointed something out.
There were only both of them traveling along the woods. No bandit camps, no adventurers, no one else, except Carson and Virgil. If it were nighttime, Virgil would’ve already suspected they were inside a haunted territory—something Carson thought was something to scare the kids, considering how many folklores he had heard about the woods in this damn continent.
Without expecting it, they arrived at unnamed ruins, similar to what Carson’s map depicted. Each wooden structure of this place was destroyed in one way or the other, with chars remaining on every building’s walls.
Carson and Virgil stepped inside a house, and they were welcomed by a foul scent and several bodies scattered around the place. While that sight alone paralyzed Virgil, Carson walked past a few bodies, taking notice of the weapons and all the accessories remaining on each of them.
Aside from death, there was dust—and Carson blew them away with his Wind Magic as he explored the room.
“How’d you… handle all this?” Virgil asked, as he caught up with Carson.
“I just do?”
“Oh.” After being surprised at Carson’s answer, Virgil followed him, and spotted a table with stacks of yellowed papers on it.
As Carson skimmed through each paper, they were documents regarding people whom Carson didn’t recognize, until he spotted his parents’ names. Aside from all the basic information he had already known, their guild name was marked as important in ink, just like the others who shared the guild name in their documents. Though, it didn’t describe what kind of guild it was—and it was exactly what he hadn’t learned. His parents’ exact job. They had only referred to their job as working for the guild, but what exactly did they do? Carson did not know until he asked Virgil.
“Oh, it’s one of those bounty hunters guild. Pretty sure this one was backed up by the Magic Council, too. But somehow, that guild never got big outside of the Eastern Magius.”
“…Nope, nothing. I hadn’t moved there when they were still around, from what I’ve heard.”
“I see…” Virgil looked at Carson’s papers regarding his parents for a moment, before pointing at a direction behind both of them. “I think I’ve seen those two over there.”
As Virgil arranged the papers on the table, as Carson headed to the direction Virgil saw his parents. And once Carson noticed the amulets on a pair of bodies, he knew it was them. He remembered their matching amulets—shaped like they were meant to be pieced together like a puzzle, but Carson didn’t care too much about it, as he looked at their bodies.
As he stared at his parents’ resting bodies, he blinked—as if he felt nothing, with the sight right in front of him. Rather than the overwhelming feelings he first expected, he felt rather empty. Too empty. Even if it was his parents, he didn’t sense any sorrow inside him.
It took a few shoulder taps from Virgil, until Carson turned back to him. Virgil’s startled expression was like the time Virgil asked him about handling this place, but with more shaken sorrow pressed in his eyebrows.
“What’s wrong?” Carson asked.
“You okay? You’ve been staring at them for a while…”
“I see… Are you done here?”
Carson turned back to his parents again, looking at their amulets. Inside his head, he couldn’t envision what kind of puzzle they would form, so he took the amulets off their neck and pieced them together.
Despite their strange individual shapes, they formed a perfectly round shape once connected. He felt stupid for not seeing this coming, but now that he had their amulets on his hands, he realized something.
This could be the only possession he could’ve retrieved from his family.
- Take his parents’ amulets home.
- Return the amulets to his parents.
i should write carson sit down and eat some nice hoagie sometime
just something nice, after stuff that happened in this and the past chapters
oh yeah remember the part where rael threw hands with kat and almost got drowned to death (in story simulation’s chapter iv)? that was one of the parts where i had a blast writing it
and this was another one of these moments too
writing emotionally straining stuff is fun in a way, somehow