Broken Eternity

For centuries, Kaizo and Griffin have fought in a constant cycle of reincarnation with no end in sight. Kaizo as a hero and Griffin as a villain - figures of legend.

However, one cycle, they wake to find themselves in the wrong roles, unknowing of how they ended up in their positions and lacking memories of their former cycle. Now, they need to find out the truth and the reason behind their sudden swap.

But do they even want to know the truth? And can they ever return to their eternity fighting as hero and villain, or to the normal life they once knew?


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5. Chapter 5

Despite the situation, Kaizo’s nemesis didn’t seem fazed. In fact, he never did.

The golden-haired man took a seat on the chair Kaizo set up for him in the main hall, glancing at the empty throne. “If you’re not sitting on my throne, can I?”

“Can’t.” Kaizo slanted back against the winged stone chair. “I’m the Overlord of Evil now, so Shinkicker and Aynos won’t let me.”

Felica’s foot collided with his side.

Kaizo yelped. “Amended to Sidekicker!”

Felica rolled her eyes, but didn’t kick him again, instead heading to the side of the room and leaning on the wall.

“Then why don’t you sit on it?” his rival asked.

“Too many memories.” Kaizo tossed his dagger into the air and caught the hilt. “Plus, I’d be treading on your toes. What’s your name for this cycle?”

“Griffin. Yours?”

“I’m Kaizo. I’m surprised we got decent names.”

Griffin averted his gaze at the comment.

“…You changed it, didn’t you?”

“None of your business.” Griffin glared.

Kaizo shrugged. “Sure. Now, important stuff.”

“‘Important stuff’ meaning why you’re wearing my crown?”

“His,” Aynos said. “Symbol. Mikros say no.”

“Plus, I like the circlet.” Kaizo fingered the diadem, smirking.

Griffin sighed. “At least give me a cape. I can’t stand these heroic colours without something decent to offset them.”

“Don’t see why not. Shinkicker, can you grab one?”

Felica pursed her lips, but left the room.

Griffin watched the door for a moment. “Is she a decent henchman?”

Kaizo nodded. “You would like her, I think. Kicks me in the shins a lot – hence the nickname.”

“I guessed. Perhaps I received decent allies this cycle – except you’re the Overlord now, and I’m stuck with a snarky rapier-wielding princess and an archer she said would shoot my face if I angered her.”

Kaizo laughed. “And I’m stuck with a woman who calls me a buffoon and uses my shin as target practice for her kicks and Aynos here’s a scientist.”

Griffin raised an eyebrow, glancing towards the chestnut-haired boy. “Hmm. Interesting. Is he sane? Villainous ones tend not to be.”

Aynos glared. “Don’t.”

“Don’t call him mad.” Kaizo’s fingers drummed on the tiles beneath. “He doesn’t like it, Griffi.”

Griffin blanched. “How did you –”

Kaizo chuckled. “So, Lady Goddess called you Griffi?”

Scarlet spread into Griffin’s cheeks. “Be quiet, otherwise I’ll have a good reason to throw a fireball at you.”

“Sure, sure.” Kaizo waved his hand in dismissal. “But there’s more important stuff to talk about now.”

“Last cycle,” Griffin said without hesitation, a frown developing on his face. “Do you remember anything?”

Kaizo folded his arms. “I thought you knew. No, I’m blank.”

Griffin groaned.

“Question.” Aynos’s voice echoed through the chamber. “You are a mage, correct?”

Griffin nodded.

“Is there a spell for swapping bodies?”

Kaizo and Griffin exchanged glances.

The latter pulled out a spell book, leaned back in his seat and flicked through the pages. “Such genius,” he mumbled.

“But I like my body!” Kaizo protested.

Aynos shrugged. “Suggestion.”

“Kaizo, I don’t care whether you like the body or not.” Griffin’s blue-eyed gaze remained fixed on his tome. “If we can’t swap places due to the mikros crowning you and half the population seeing me as the hero, this is our best option.”

“…That’s an explanation?” Kaizo puffed his cheeks and let out a deep breath. “…Fine. Being a villain isn’t fun…”

Griffin glanced up. “…You remember this place, don’t you? From earlier cycles.”

Kaizo nodded, stare falling to the ground. “…She died here. Your minions murdered her in front of my eyes, no matter what I did to try and make them stop.”

Griffin grimaced, adjusting his gold-rimmed glasses. “I know.”

Visions flashed in Kaizo’s mind. He remembered the scene well, all too well. The rough hands holding him back as he screamed. Her cries. All while Griffin’s incarnation during that cycle laughed.

His fists clenched as he shoved the memory to the back of his mind.

“…I’m sorry, Kaizo.”

“Apologies won’t bring her back.”

He breathed in deep, trying to swallow the tears forming. “No. I don’t want to talk about this. What’s done is done. We couldn’t be together, not with me trapped in this cycle of reincarnation.”

“Kaizo –”

Kaizo glared. “Have you found the spell yet?”

Griffin recoiled, but remained silent as he flipped through a few more pages. “Yes.”

“…Then let’s go on with it.”

A series of murmurings came from the golden-haired mage.

Kaizo pulled his legs to his chest.

Praying, hoping, the hell he was trapped in would end.

Flash.

He expected… something. A rush. An energy. An out-of-body experience.

But he felt nothing.

And his gaze was still on the obsidian tiles in front of him.

He glanced up to Griffin.

A Griffin who remained the hero.

Griffin cursed. “Why d-didn’t it work?!”

Aynos cleared his throat. “Goddess in charge, correct? Villain is hero and hero is villain. Ordained by fate, perhaps.”

Both Kaizo and Griffin stared.

The door slammed open, and Felica strode in, a length of velvet cloth over one shoulder. “…Yeah, something went wrong.”

“…So, we can’t go back?” Kaizo wasn’t even sure who he targeted the question at, but continued. “I can’t be the hero?”

“Perhaps,” Aynos said. “No guarantees.”

“What happened?” Felica threw the cape to Griffin, who caught the fabric and slung it around his neck.

“They tried to swap their bodies,” Aynos explained. “Fail.”

“Spell won’t work.” Griffin fumbled with the cape’s sable button.

“Don’t you two have a goddess?” Felica leaned against the wall, frowning. “Couldn’t she fix it?”

“We haven’t seen her for at least fifteen cycles,” Kaizo said, “unless we did last time and don’t remember.”

Aynos cocked his head. “Goddess live in northern shrine, no?”

“Live, no.” Griffin shoved his tome back into his leather bag, scowling. “But she does appear there some –”

He stopped. “…You’re suggesting we go to the Time Shrine to go see her?”

Aynos nodded.

Kaizo’s breath hitched in his throat. “…Crazy awesome idea.”

“Go back to our old roles and find out what happened last cycle.” Griffin tapped a finger to his chin. “Fulfil two tasks with one easy enough quest.”

“Maybe they’re connected, too,” Felica said. “What if something happened last cycle to cause this?”

“But what?” Kaizo asked.

Silence.

“The princess girl would know,” Griffin murmured. “I bet she studied this and could explain in a heartbeat. She’d be useful right about now.”

As if on some sort of cue, an arrow whizzed through the air and embedded itself in a crack between the bricks, mere centimetres from Kaizo.

Griffin groaned. “I didn’t mean that!”

Aynos slammed his head against the wall.

Two figures leapt down from above (from where, Kaizo didn’t know), one a black-haired woman wielding a rapier and the other a redhead archer.

Griffin sighed. “Hira, Sonnet, please. I. Do. Not. Need. Rescuing.”

“You’re our current hero,” Hira snapped. “So, yeah, no. A teleportation spell would be useful right about now.”

Griffin pointed at Kaizo. “But he’s the hero!”

“With evil’s crown,” Sonnet said. “S-Sorry…”

Griffin stared, mouth agape.

Mikros charged into the room, claws unsheathed as they let out howls –

Smoke clouded the chamber in an instant.

Kaizo burst into coughs and tried to cover his mouth as voices echoed through the fog.

“What the hell –”

“Come on, we’ve got to go!”

“I told you, I’m the villain!”

“We can’t have two villains! Hand over the spell book!”

“It’s dangerous to use magic when not trained –”

“Sonnet, grab the spell book!”

What?!”

“I told you, you can’t use magic when –”

Footsteps resounded over Griffin’s muffled curses. “Well, Sonnet’s trained and you’re our hero whether you like it or not. Suck. It. Up. Sonnet, now!”

“I can’t read through the smoke – no, I’ve got it –”

Brightness radiated over the smog in a momentary burst.

And moments later, the thick cloud itself disappeared.

Griffin, Hira and Sonnet were gone, as mikros pattered around the room, beady golden eyes wide as they sniffed the floor.

“…What the hell just happened?” Felica’s eyes narrowed. “…You threw a smoke bomb, didn’t you, Aynos?!”

Aynos shrugged. “Perhaps.”

“Perhaps?!” Kaizo demanded. “We get an idea in mind of where to go, and you allow my supposed-to-be allies escape?!”

Aynos met his stare. “…I have no obligation to answer. But I will – the scene dissolved into chaos long before I activated the smoke. We don’t need fighting now.”

Kaizo gaped.

“…You’re more defiant than I am,” Felica said.

“Well…” Kaizo said, fumbling for words. “…We’re going to the Time Shrine ourselves. With or without Griffin. We can sort this out on our own.”

He stood. “Come on. We’ve got work to do.”

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