With a splitting headache, Wilbert slowly stirred from his sleep. Probably due to the emotional trauma, he body was racked with weariness and a dull ache.
As he opened his eyes, he heard people on the street around him. 'The local militia?'
He surveyed the surroundings, and to his surprise, the bodies and corpses were gone. Instead of the gut-churning, gruesome scene that he expected, instead of the soldiers clearing the corpses… the street looked almost exactly as it had done before the attack!
The ground was perfectly clean; the stalls were all open; the hawkers were shouting for people to come to their stalls; the blacksmiths were hammering; the children were running through the streets playing their games.
Everything was just as it was before, except…
'Why don't I recognise anyone? Who are these people?'
Everyone in the village looked like they belonged there, like they had lived there all their life. However, none of them were people Wilbert knew. The villagers walked up to purchase goods from the hawkers as if they were old friends, the dashed through the stalls and through the crowds like they grown up there, and foreign faces filled the familiar family stores.
While Wilbert sat there in a daze, not sure if this was all a dream, if he had died already, or if this was just a prank.
"Thanks for coming over, bro. I need someone to keep track of my progress now that Oldest has gone offline."
At that moment, a gnome and a human were descending the hill, heading toward the village.
"No problem. Why are we both coming down? I thought it's a solo challenge," the human replied with a thinking emoji.
"I just want to survey the area, check for any hidden danger. Don't want to end up dead like Oldest." The Pu55yDestr0y3r stopped to perform the [Rolling on the Floor Laughing] emote.
"Where'd he find out about this?" the human asked. "And can I have a go after you?"
"Yes, of course, but we'll have to wait five minutes for the village to reset. And he heard about it on YouTube. You know how he's an amateur streamer—he likes to keep up with this sort of thing."
"Oh, yeah, he's a streamer. So how did he die? Aren't streamers supposed to be good?"
The gnome sent yet another laughing face. "He was celebrating and missed a child. The child landed a critical hit with a wooden sword."
"…" That was too ridiculous, but after a moment's thought, the human typed, "Did he record that? That kind of dumb mistake has the potential to go viral."
"I don't know. He probably did, but I doubt he'd want to get famous from something so dumb."
By this point, the duo was in the centre of the village. From looking at their map, which covered the whole town, they could see that there were no strong enemies.
"So it really was just bad luck, huh? Well, I guess it's about time for me to start."
As he typed that, he turned his character around to pick the perfect person to start with. Suddenly, his eyes gleamed as he spotted a boy sitting dumbly on the floor.
"Look, it's the kid who killed Oldest. It seems like fate—I shall start with him to avenge Oldest."
'Village reset? YouTube? Streamers? What the hell is he talking about?'
On the floor, Wilbert was busy processing what he had overheard from those two strange beings. Naturally, when he noticed them walking into the village while talking extremely loudly, he had paid close attention to them in case a similar tragedy happened again. What he would do if something did happen, even he did not know.
'They mention me killing that monster, so they should know him. I'll need to move lest they start looking for trouble.'
The human and gnome walked down the main street at a constant pace. Not once did they reply to the greetings of the hawkers or passers-by, nor did they even glance at the stalls. As if ever being in the village was beneath them, they simply walked while talking to each other, ignoring all else.
Suddenly, the gnome turned his way. A frightening aura exploded out of him as he sneered, "My, look who it is, the mere child who raised his sword against Oldest. Fate must have brought you before me—I shall sacrifice you first then send the rest of this village to their graves in memory of my comrade!"
The gnome's words boomed throughout the village, but other than a hint of fear in their eyes, none of the villages moved.
Coming to his senses, Wilbert yelled, "What are you waiting for? Run!"
But the villagers ignored his warning too, continuing with their business as if a dreadful being had not just sentenced them all to death.
Wilbert looked around frenziedly, but there was nothing he could do—all these people would die.
As the gnome drew closer, Wilbert realised he would have to run away himself, but before he could even turn around, the gnome's companion—a human with an even more frightful aura—said imposingly, "Mom's calling us for dinner. We need to go now."
Annoyance flashed across the gnome's face as he turned to his companion. "Do I have time to try this? It shouldn't even take five minutes."
"I wouldn't," the human replied in a deep, authoritative voice. His tone was almost regal, demanding those who heard it to follow his command. "She's angry we haven't done any homework tonight. Just do this later."
And with that, the two bizarre, monstrous beings disappeared into thin air.
'What just… Where did they go?'
Looking around him, it seemed that no one else was surprised by the duo's disappearance. In fact, it was as if they had not noticed it.
"Watch out!" Seeing that a young woman was about to walk through where the gnome had just stood, afraid that the gnome might just be hiding, Wilbert rushed forward to push the woman out of the way.
"The fuck do you think you're doing?" the woman snarled.
Noticing the commotion and the boy's weird actions, the villagers crowded around him.
"Just leave the young girl alone, will ya?"
"You've been sitting on the ground like the village idiot all day, and the first thing you do is attack someone?"
"We should call the guards. This is assault!"
The crowd hurled insults and angry comments at the young man, who simply took it silently.
Once the crowd's yells diminished slightly, he looked up and asked, "Did none of you see what just happened? A man threatened everyone here and just vanished!"
"Are you dumb, boy?" The crowd was clearly having none of it. "The only one threatening people here is you!"
Their reaction threw doubts into Wilbert's mind. Ignoring the crowd, he forlornly wandered down the street toward the village entrance.
"Have I gone crazy?" he muttered. "Has the trauma made me hallucinate, or is there something else going on?
"I need help…"
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