Chapter 16: The Kind and The Crybaby
Acting on impulse, Brigan hurriedly placed his hand on the server wound he saw of the large gash going across Elber’s torso diagonally. “Wake!!!” He shouted while a violet glow intensified on his hand.
“Wake!!!” He shouted again. And yet, there still was no response.
Just when he was preparing his third attempt, Elber’s body convulsed before his eyes shot wide awake. But even so, the healing had done little help so far. “Argh!!! You are… Young Brigan?” He barely managed out painfully.
“You can’t be talking right now Mr. Elber! Conserving all your energy is the priority! If you don’t, I can’t guarantee I can heal you!” He explained quickly.
“Where…” He began before awareness set in as he shut his eyes in anguish. “I failed… I failed everyone!” He whispered with tears forming.
“Quiet! You’re not dying! I got this!” Brigan reassured.
Becoming delirious, Elber paid little attention to Brigan’s words. Instead, he began reflecting on his mistakes in life and how things came to be what they are now.
Immersed in his depression, he focused his vision on the person shouting wake repeatedly. Thinking further, the dame he kept to himself enduring the suffering alone broke at this moment.
Tears fell as he faced Brigan with utter despair. Upon closer inspection, in his eyes was a soulless gaze, showing that the fleeting hope he once had to carry his emotional burdens were entirely ripped and shattered from encountering the shadowy figure’s retaliation.
“He would have never become like this if only I had realized sooner. Even now, I regret not shielding him.” He said nostalgically.
Brigan listened to Elber telling his past regarding the shadowy figure as he continued healing him.
“When we were younger, he always cried…”
In Sunless Village about forty years ago stood a boy defending a five-year-old boy who was crying loudly in a playground area. Before them with the sun high in the sky and the heat blazing down was a large group of children around the same age.
“Tell that crybaby to shut up!” One yelled angerly.
“Yeah! His crying always stops our playtime!” Another agreed.
With his arms spread out, seven-year-old Elber glared at the group. “Leave him alone! He fell and hurt his knee!” He said defensively.
“He falls and hurt something every day! You’re only taking his side because he’s your brother!” A third child accused.
“Since you like sticking together so much, we will beat both of you up.” This time, the speaker was an eight-year-old Jehan with his arms crossed over his chest.
Grabbing his little brother’s hand, Elber pulled him along as he made a run to escape their rage.
Sitting at a dinner table, the two brothers waited for their father to serve food. On the side, Elber spotted his little brother’s eyes watering.
‘Hold it in!’ He prayed inwardly.
Walking to the table with a few trays held in hand, Elber’s father sighed at his youngest son. “What’s wrong now? Are you crying again because of the wait? You know you are five now right?” He asked, helplessly sighing and at a loss on solving the issue regarding his sensitive son.
“That’s not it father. We got beat up, and he’s still feeling the pain from the bruises.” He quickly covered for his brother.
“What?! You were bullied?!” He shouted in outrage.
“They were mad that I interrupted the game…” He replied looking away.
Giving a hard stare at Elber, Elber’s father looked at his youngest again while searching for a sign on how to solve the problem he was sure Elber had no cause within.
His thoughts were then broken.
“Waah!” cried Elber’s little brother, holding his finger as both Elber and his father shifted their heads in panic. Once focusing on the source, they saw a fork chipped on one side smeared in a small drop of blood. “Waahhh!” They heard as his crying grew.
Jumping to stop the bleeding, Elber’s father inspected his youngest son’s hand before giving out instruction for Elber to provide help. “Elbie, go grab the first aid kit!”
Returning with the supplies, Elber’s father took them as he got to work on treating his son. “There, all finish!” He exclaimed as he got off his knees to stand up. “I just got the best idea ever! Rikky, man is supposed to be strong and tough. How about this, if you feel like crying, do this!”
Watching their father, Elber and Rikky saw him place his thumb in his mouth. “Scee, nlo sonsh!” He told them as he tried saying ‘see, no sound.’
Bam! A seven-year-old boy hit the dirty ground as he was surrounded in the small grass field.
“Waahh… hmm hmm!” Rikky cried with his thumb in his mouth.
“Look at the little itty bitty baby! Crybaby, crybaby, suck your thumb, you won’t get any bubblegum! Hahaha!” A boy teased.
“Stop!” Elber shouted to help his brother. However, he was blocked by Jehan standing in his way. “Move!”
“No! The crybaby is annoying. He even asked to hang out with me. If I did that as the village leader’s son, Father would be shamed.” He stated calmly.
Growing mad, Elber pushed Jehan aside before arriving next to his brother. “Ignore them! Father said it was okay right? Don’t feel disgraced; you’re not alone!” Encouraging his brother, Elber also placed his thumb in his mouth. “Scee!”
With his legs popped up, thirteen-year-old Rikky was resting in a chair on Melody’s porch as the mature woman healed his legs. “Little Rick, now that you and Little El are the only men in the house don’t keep such bad habits. Also, keep my ability a secret. That means you too little troublemaker!” She warned as she moved his thumb from his mouth before glaring at Jehan who was trying to stay hidden.
Elber on the after hand look onward with a sad expression. His brother was still being bullied, and the matter got worse since their father’s passing.
The two brothers now in their late teens could be seen entering the village. At the head to welcome them was a small crowd of adults and Jehan with his father.
“How did it go? Are you two now God Candidates?” The village leader asked.
Before Elber could say anything, his brother with a calm look but hidden hatred in his eyes, beat him to it. “Just me! Elber is a failure though. Can I be Village Head?”
The village leader shook his head in the negative. “No! Jehan had already achieved the qualifications two years ago. He also has the strongest God Weapon!” He informed them.
Elber was worried after witnessing his brother’s concealed hate for the village. He decided to help elevate the harboring rage. “Is there nothing to determine a fair opportunity? Maybe the two could battle to decide.” He suggested.
Hope and glee flashed in Elber’s little brother’s eyes. This was his chance to turn everything he had experienced around. Everyone would look at him differently.
Looking around, he saw the crowded adults stand confused as a small commotion spread. After some time, the village leader nodding his head. “Very well! Jehan will have a private duel with him. However, whoever loses will have to serve under the winner. This is all to keep the village safe.” He explained.
Brigan sighed as Elber was no longer in grave condition. And having listened to his past, he could understand Elber’s brother using resentment to destroy the village.
But regardless, he did not believe the actions in the past warranted the harm of others uninvolved. “Your life is out of danger now. Just relax and let me take care of the rest.”
Still shredding tears, Elber grabbed Brigan’s arm sleeve. “Please! Let me be the one to end it. I don’t want to be hateful too!” He begged selfishly.
“Okay!” He said since he had no problem on letting him deal the finishing blow.
As he agreed, a figure holding on to the village leader Jehan’s broken body appeared. “Elber! You really are still alive! If this idiot didn’t show up, I would have been here sooner.” The shadowy figure said.
After speaking, Brigan was again shocked at the disbelief following next. Jehan’s body shuddered before becoming dazzling specks. These dancing specks then entered the shadowy figure’s body.
“Oh! You made it out boy?” It said surprised while walking into the bright spot that sunlight was illuminating.
There, in clear view was…