The Rusts and Ashes

In this world, humans challenge themselves to compete against the creatures from myths and folktales. These creatures provide valuable resources that may worth as much as a mansion. In order to slay these beasts, one would have to train in martial arts, learn magic, or earn through nontraditional methods. However, because this society was purely strength-oriented, the level of corruption and discrimination toward those who weren't able to protect themselves was sickening. This is the story of the human who would define honor.

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13. The Winter Solstice(7)

The Rusts and Ashes

The Winter Solstice

Inside the head of the monstrous being, the owner of the body, Galahad, was restrained under iron chains that were connected to the ground. The chain dragged him down whenever he closed his distance with the doppelganger of himself. That doppelganger in front of him was obviously the monster who is wearing his flesh right now. Galahad kept his calm because the only creatures this monster slaughtered were the ones who deserved it.

However, once the monster revealed its canines at the snow elf, the boy immediately closed his distance with his doppelganger and the same light gathered around his right arm. There, he aimed at the torso of the doppelganger, hoping that he would have the same vital as him. At that instance, something felt odd about the doppelganger standing in front of him and there was something inside of him far more precise than an instinct that changed the course of his aim from the doppelganger's heart to his arms. 

When the doppelganger's arm was severed, Galahad immediately felt the excruciating burn originating from his right arm. He tried to touch his shoulders to know what wound caused it, but then, he realized that his entire right arm was torn apart. Galahad couldn't help himself but to scream uncontrollably under this maddening sensation. There, with his knees and elbows down to the ground, he glared at the doppelganger with despising eyes.

"What? It wast thy choice to inflict harm on thyself?" The doppelganger turned around for the first time and he kept closing his distance with the boy. Galahad felt uncomfortable from the chains choking him.

"Yourself? What are you talking about? You art nothing but a tyrant wearing mine flesh!" Galahad tried to resist with his all will, but he still couldn't break free from the chains that was depriving him of oxygen.

"Thou art I and I art thou," The doppelganger put his knees down to the ground and placed his hands between the boy's head while his hand was desperately trying to reach for the chain that dragged his neck to the ground.

"Haven't thou construed that this is thy mind? Thou should have been possible to remove thy chains at once. Thou and I art one. An imperishable pair that will venture throughout this world, wreaking havocs and defying the wills of the heaven. I am the lord of all that exists within the sea. None hast been able to penetrate through my scales nor restrain me by any means. By the words of the Leviathan, I command thou to finish the elf," The doppelganger blocked the boy's sight with his hand.

Galahad already knew that there was no chance of him winning in the first place. If he were to harm the doppelganger again, then he would be receiving the same damage as him. In other words, he would also die if he were to kill the doppelganger. On  the other hand, if he were to do nothing, then he would be letting loose a beast that will destroy everything. It didn't take long for Galahad to confirm his resolve. 

"What took me this wrong?" Galahad held his arm for the final time and the light gathered into his hands again. The doppelganger, who knew better than anyone what he was planning to do, tried to stop him, but it was too late. He crushed his own heart and his consciousness begins to fade away. The doppelganger couldn't retain the inner consciousness anymore. 

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