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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6. Chapter 6

Heroes were not supposed to rescue villains, especially when the villain in question didn’t want to be saved.

Griffin broke free from Hira’s grasp as the scene around them melted into the border between the Daylands and the Nightlands. No more mist lurked in the area, allowing the sun to shine upon the dewy grass, yet the ground remained slick with thick mud. Nearby, a rope bridge stretched across a canyon, swaying in the wind.

An island cut the bridge in two, however. Piles of stone covered its dust-ridden surface – yet, the place seemed almost… familiar, to him.

But no, ruins weren’t important.

“What the hell did you do that for?!” He whipped around to Hira and shooting her a glare.

Hira shrugged. “Like I said, two villains won’t work.”

“Who said I’d be the villain?!” Griffin crossed his arms. “I’m far more concerned about reversing this situation first, but you barge in and drag me out without giving us a chance to fix things! And don’t you ever dare to clamp your hand over my mouth again!”

“How were we supposed to realise any of that?” Hira asked.

Griffin stopped.

“See?” Hira scowled. “There’s no proof saying you aren’t the hero, despite your poor attitude –”

“Poor attitude?!”

“–and we need one. Plus, aren’t you and the ‘actual’ hero rivals?”

Griffin sighed, averted his gaze. “When you go through hundreds of lives with them as your opponent, you grow closer than you may think. Though sometimes we hate each other, most of the time we fight due to the cycle and our roles.”

“…Are you forced to be the villain?”

Griffin glanced towards her. “Pardon?”

“She m-means if you want to be the villain,” Sonnet said. Hira nodded.

“…Yes and no.” Griffin adjusted his glasses, frowning. “I… I don’t really know. But it is… part of our lives, now. We can’t turn back.”

“…So, if you wanted to, could you not be evil?”

Griffin’s eyes widened. “What?! No! Goddess Nirvana would never approve of such an act!”

“…I understand,” Hira said. “Where to now?”

“Back to the Nightlands.”

Hira stared at the mage. “No.”

“But –”

“No.”

Griffin groaned. What now?

An idea clicked in his mind.

“The Time Shrine,” he said. “We’re going to the Time Shrine.”

Sonnet blinked. “The… Time Shrine?”

“It’s where the Goddess Nirvana lives,” Hira explained. “…You want to ask her why you’re stuck as the hero?”

Griffin nodded. “And what happened last cycle.”

Hira hesitated. “…Last cycle?”

“…Neither Kaizo nor I remember what happened during our last incarnations,” Griffin said. “Both of us have a blank space of time in our minds, and neither of his henchmen remember.”

Sonnet frowned. “Kaizo?”

“The hero,” Griffin said. “…Hira, I thought perhaps you might know.”

Hira shook her head. “Father told me about your cycles, but when I asked about the last one, he said he’d tell me one day. He never did.”

“I’m n-not sure, either…” Sonnet mumbled.

Griffin sighed. “Where’s the shrine?”

“Northward, I believe.” Hira glanced towards the gorge. “If we follow the canyon, we should get close with its guidance.”

She strode off. “Let’s go!”

“Can’t he teleport us?” Sonnet asked.

Hira turned.

“No,” Griffin said. “Teleporting requires knowledge of the location, and Goddess Nirvana appears to us outside of the shrine. I don’t know where it is myself, so I can’t go there via magic.”

“…Well, that’s a shame,” Hira replied. “Then we walk.”

She headed off.

“…Why did she agree so easily?” Griffin murmured, strolling off after her.

“Part of her duties,” Sonnet said from beside him. “The king ordered her to be your guardian when you woke up, and she won’t let herself fail.”

Griffin frowned. “And you?”

Sonnet glanced away. “I’m her friend… And I’m a peacemaker. I could ask Goddess Nirvana if she knows how to achieve eternal peace.”

“…All right. Let’s go.”

Without another word, Griffin headed off to Hira’s side.

Yet, somewhere inside, a question lurked.

What if I didn’t play the villain?

 

***

 

Two days passed before they reached the end of the canyon. By then, Griffin still didn’t have an answer to his questions and the blisters rubbed with each step, despite his reasonable shoes.

If he wasn’t a villain, what would he be? Kaizo desired the normal life – a life where the world didn’t rest on his shoulders, but the urge never infected Griffin.

He just didn’t want to lose the stability being the villain each cycle gave him.

But, no matter how much he racked his mind, the questions over his new role as a hero, a non-villainous future and his missing memories remained.

“Found something.” Sonnet pulled back her bowstring, gaze trained on an object in the distance. “Brown, maybe a bird…”

Griffin perched beside her as Hira tended to a smouldering fire behind them. Woods surrounded them, but remained silent with few signs of animal life. In the distance, a patch of chestnut mingled with the leaves.

He squinted. “What are you talking about? There’s just blotches of colour.”

“Far,” Sonnet said, not paying him a glance.

“Can you hit it from here?”

“Probably, yeah.” Hira tossed a third bundle of sticks on the pile. Flames lashed upward, licking at the wood. “I’ve never seen her miss a shot.”

Sonnet released the string.

The arrow shot through the air, and another followed moments later.

They faded out of view, despite Griffin adjusting his glasses in attempt to spot them.

Hira headed up to them, gaze on Sonnet’s target.

Paleness enveloped her face. “…I think we just made a huge mistake.”

Sonnet blinked, turning to the princess. “What do you mean?”

Hira glanced at Griffin. “Do you have a spell to enhance eyesight?”

Griffin raised an eyebrow.

Now.”

“Not by memory.” He took out a spell book.

Biting his lip, he flicked through his tome’s pages.

Glimmers of emerald and sapphire appeared in the corner of his vision.

Griffin whipped around to face the source.

He reeled.

“You shoot?” Aynos demanded, standing on one of the branches high above with his hand against the trunk, eyes narrowed.

And two arrows were embedded in his rucksack.

Sonnet and Hira whipped around at his voice.

Hira sighed. “Knew it.”

“So, you’re trying to take us out?” another voice hissed – Felica, Griffin realised, glancing around for the girl. “Fine. Battle you want, battle you get!”

She lunged out from the bushes, a balsa staff in hand.

Hira swung and countered with her rapier. “Can’t you see we don’t want to fight?!”

“If you didn’t want a battle, why did you shoot at us?!” Felica swiped.

Hira dropped under the blow.

“Both of you, please!” Kaizo’s voice echoed as the silver-haired man came into view, high up in one of the trees with his dagger in hand. “We can’t charge in like –”

His gaze fell on Griffin. “…Is this all a misunderstanding?”

Yes!” Griffin shouted. “Get these two under control!”

“Same goes for you!” Kaizo called back, dodging a stray arrow from Sonnet. “Why are you firing at me, princess?! I’m the hero!”

Sonnet recoiled. “P-Princess?!”

“Habit!” Kaizo sidestepped another arrow. “Can you please stop firing at me?!”

Sonnet sighed, spinning to face the duel between Hira and Felica.

However, she aimed above the fight, rather than at Felica.

Aynos leapt from the tree and grabbed another branch to avoid the arrow. “Not fighting!”

“Why not?!” Felica shouted, slamming her staff against Hira’s blade.

“Scientists not fight!”

Sonnet lowered her bow, grabbed a tree, and climbed.

“Stop fighting!” Kaizo ordered.

“No!” Felica and Hira answered in unison, parrying each other’s attacks.

Griffin groaned. “Fools…”

“This is a blatant disregard of my authority –”

“YOU’RE NOT THE OVERLORD!” Felica cut Kaizo off mid-sentence, glaring as she countered Hira’s blow. “You’re an incompetent buffoon of a hero who tries to play a villain and fails miserably!”

Kaizo flinched.

“Can you at least listen to me?” Griffin flicked through his tome for some spell to subdue them.

“No!” Hira leapt back to avoid a strike. “You’re a callous jerk! How can you be a villain when your own minions aren’t on your side?!”

“T-That’s not my fault!” Griffin protested, staring with widening eyes.

“Felica, Kaizo! A hand, please!”

Griffin glanced up.

Aynos stood at the edge of the branch, Sonnet with an arrow aimed at his chest.

“If I must kill you for eternal peace,” Sonnet hissed between pants, “I’ll end you here, mad scientist. I hear the rumours. So, I rid this world of your insanity now!”

“Eternal peace doesn’t exist!” Aynos yelled, his own breathing rapid. “Fighting won’t end!”

Sonnet’s eyes narrowed. “You’re too far gone to do anything good, insane scientist!”

“I’M NOT INSANE!”

Sonnet’s momentary recoil gave Griffin the chance to chant a lightning spell and throw a white-yellow bolt between the archer and the scientist.

Aynos slammed back into a tree and grasped its bark to avoid falling, while Sonnet grabbed a branch and held on like the wood were a lifeline.

Someone seized the tome from Griffin’s hand.

“What the –”

An incantation in Hira’s voice rang through the air.

A flash of white appeared.

Then blackness.

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