This Time, I'll Marry You - Prologue
380th year of the Alsisar Dynasty
The land appeared to be in the waves of fire in which the sun submerged. Some parts were covered by ashes, painting the world in grey. The once fertile and lively had now become a desolate, infertile barren land. Even the remaining fresh air of this barren land had been consumed greedily by the golden flames. Arriving together with the golden flames was no other than a doom with heavy footsteps. But Augustus didn’t know that he was the one to open the door to that doom.
The once-proud Alsisar Empire had now fallen apart to the state of ruins, totally being left in rubble. Augustus and a handful of survivors were barely left alive with just faint breathing after encountering the unimaginable catastrophe. Defeated by the enemies, whose powers were strong beyond words, Augustus and his men were gradually left hollow.
Though his body was in immense pain, Augustus had to get up. His work was not done yet. He still had the reason to continue living.
Him being one of the only few left, a tremendous responsibility fell upon him automatically. Right now at this moment, neither he nor his body dared to give up.
Ironically, even in this state of his, he remembered someone rather than something. A young man who said that he would wait for him always, right before his departure. Holding his hand tightly, that young lad who vowed to marry him had received a cold shoulder.
Recalling it, Augustus couldn’t dare to feel helpless.
But he felt terrible. Soon his cursed mind started creating ‘What if’ scenarios. ‘If only I had denied this request.’ ‘What if I had treated that young lad with a bit of kindness?’ ‘What if….’
These ‘what if’ questions were bombarding in his mind, making his eyes go blind for a while. So, he couldn’t see what’s in front of him and fell. Expecting to land on the hard surface filled with stones and boulders, he was met with a surprise.
Unlike his presumption, he landed on what he’d call an endless sea of bodies, dead specifically. That unknown body that his hand carelessly fell onto was half burned, half bitten, making him recall the terrifying event that had died down not a long time ago.
Briskly, he got up. Again this devil mind of his was luring him, making him question himself on whether or not he had the right to be alive. But painstakingly, he got rid of them, or rather, he shoved them somewhere to the corner of his mind. He didn’t dare to drop now.
No! He couldn’t. Being alive here meant he had to reach the capital as evidence to explain what terror lay beyond the mountains. And what might attack them? He gathered himself and helped everyone that was left alive.
Where did it go wrong? He couldn’t tell. Nor was it the right time to think about it.
Assembled were just a handful of them now left along with him. Vastly different from when there were at least two thousand people in the front line, getting ready for the war. All now burned, defeated and rested together on this lost land.
As a team, those alive moved forward. They had little to no time to waste. Shoving, pushing or destroying whatever came in front of them, whether it was a boulder or a dead man’s decaying body.
Augustus and the others had a mission and they wouldn’t stop until they completed it.
But that was not how destiny worked. Time and destiny went hand in hand. Especially when making now, the history and the future, a present.
Sweating and out of breath, just as the team was about to take a breather. The rubbles below them started to bounce little by little and soon shook the entire area. A few of them, losing their balance, fell onto the ground.
“Get up. GET UP!” Augustus shouted, knowing exactly what followed behind the clouded wind that lied in front of them. Just as he was about to shout, the thundering of hoofs of hundreds and thousands of horses were heard. And following them were the voices telling their kin to search for any breathing being.
Hiding behind the mountains of the dead, they realised there were many more of them, the soldiers of Alsisar. But they were engulfed under the sea of the dead. Augustus could hear them being interrogated, trying to find out if there were any more of them alive. He didn’t fear getting caught, but he did fear the upcoming result if they all got caught.
There would be no messenger to report on this unfair war.
“Sir, we are sorry that we can’t follow you anymore. Now this journey is yours alone to take. We would stay here and distract them.” One of them said and the others supported the idea with a nod. They didn’t bother continuing. How much pain they must have been under, before coming to such a conclusion? With a heavy resolve, one by one they went out, knowing what awaited them was only death.
The last one who was waiting for his turn was a young boy, no more than fifteen. Augustus looked at him, he seemed scared, knowing that death was the only way.
Augustus couldn’t help and without looking at him said, “You can come with me.”
The boy, with hope in his eyes, looked at Augustus and firmly said, “No Sir. Two would crowd the path. I’ll wait here and kill as many of those bastards as I can. We cannot let them kill you, only you can arrive in the capital without much difficulty.”
This unknown boy was much braver than he could ever be. Conflicted, Augustus didn’t know if abandoning them was morally right. He was losing confidence in his faith and work.
“Boy, what is your.…”
“Sir, you must hurry. Go, go now-” The boy gripped his spear tightly and again looked at Agustus, fear long gone from his eyes. “I will protect you and block the entrance.”
Not looking at the boy any longer, Agustus entered the narrow pathway. The stench of death followed every turn he took. His back was getting heavier and heavier as if itching to tell him, ‘Danger! Danger! DANGER! What lies ahead is nothing but danger.’
A sudden white light illuminated the whole path and from that light emerged out a shadow, forming into a human. Augustus pulled out his sword, ready to fight until his last breath.
But what shocked him was the person standing in front of him. Was it death? Or was he dying? Because it isn’t possible to see yourself standing right in front of you with the same bewildered look as you on his face.
Does death come with the same face as you?!