A single man is burning.
In the middle of the piled up heap of firewood, a log is erected with a person affixed to it by iron chains. The raging flames, spurred on by the oil, are tormenting and teasing him. He is burning at the stake. He is being executed by flame. With a rumbling sound, the blaze causes a searing wind. His meat is grilled and his life is snatched away.
The spectators erupted in excitement: young and old, men and women, rich and poor, every one of them roared with wide open eyes and mouths. It is the agitation of a crucible. Within this spectacle where sanity has vanished, the expressions of no more than three men and women were dyed in a different colour of emotion, contrary to their surroundings.
“Oh flame, hurry up and rise into the air! As this is a purification! It is a punishment following the flame’s judgement!”
A single person amongst them, a middle-aged man who’d grown fat, wearing a luxurious priest garb and standing upright on a similarly pompous balcony, announced in a thick and sonorous voice causing all eyes to be riveted upon him.
“This is the man who plotted to murder the truly gracious saint-like hero! This is an act of a devil! Above all, this is the proof that this man is an evil person! Our sorrow is God’s sorrow! Our rage is God’s rage! This is his judgement!”
As he fervently gestured, sweat and saliva were scattered around. Nevertheless, he spits out words from his mouth, endlessly. This pouring of oil onto this blazing scene fanned the agitation; even screams are beginning to occur within the roars of the spectators. It is a feast of the mad. If devils were a reality, then this extolling crowd would be exactly like them.
There is a little girl overlooking the scenery with a ghastly pale face. She is one of the previously mentioned 3 people. With a special seat by the window, perfectly situated for viewing as it is located at the second story of a building facing the plaza, she is trembling slightly without even being able to blink. Her body is wrapped in a neat and clean high-grade dress. Even the ornaments she wore were the same. There is a guardian knight keeping the perimeter secure.
“God, please take a good look at this! And then God shall give us his blessing! The one exposing the scheme of this man and the one giving us the honour to subjugate this evil man, the princess! The princess who is known to be wise! Bless this worthy woman who stayed resolute despite the loss of her beloved hero!”
As they turned their enthusiasm, as if raising a howl, in the direction of the window, the little girl made a small leap. She was attacked by tremendous dread. Her eyes, widened to a perfect circle, became blank as she tightly pursed her lips causing them to become purplish.
“… Su-Such a thing… because of me… ”
She murmured those words with a weeping voice. The voice is weaker than a single drop of water before a great quantity of heat.
“Be-Because of me… not… such… ”
There is no one listening. There isn’t even a place her voice reaches. It is as if she barely managed to produce a feeble tone on top of her tongue. With a “plop” her legs gave in without the girl being aware of stepping back.
“Such… I feel sick… ”
If those words had reached the last person, that person might have died in a fit of anger. In front of the blazing mountain currently roasting a man, a single woman was held down by soldiers. While having her face pressed onto the stone paving, she is peering up. Wearing the attire of a village woman, her swelling muscles and body structure betray that she is no villager. She even had no trouble using the sword laying close-by.
Both pupils of her widely opened eyes were red. This didn’t stand out as the whites of her eyes have become blood-shot. She was gritting her back teeth with a *gishiri gishiri* at the time he was dying. Her face, looking as if producing an Oni’s expression, has a natural darkish complexion. Her silver hair reflects the colour of the flames. She seems to be a descendant of a minority.
She was the sole person in this place trying to rescue the man from being killed by the flames.
Her current state was the result of that. Unable to move, she had no other choice but to gaze at the situation in front of her. While receiving the tremors of the spectator’s footsteps excitedly dancing without rest, her own soul is scorched by this hell-like spectacle.
Above the crowd … in the middle of the orange-coloured scorching heat, something resembling a visibly black pillar collapses. Suddenly cheers of joy erupted. A stampede of footsteps erupts. Dishevelled hands and feet move about. That great tumult enjoys the misery of the corpse. Even the woman doesn’t leak a single word.
“Oh! The judgement has been handed down! Rather than our flame, the evil person has now perished without a doubt!”
If this place is imitating an orchestra, this man garbed in priest’s robes, will be the conductor? He is manipulating the wild enthusiasm of the crowd using his hands and mouth.
“From today, this day will become an anniversary of glory for sure! It is fine to sing, sons of god! And isn’t it a reason for celebration?! On this day, at this time, the suffering up until now has become a thing of the past already! Now then, let’s exchange sake cups together!”
People in white robes went around and distributed sake cups to each and every person. It appears they brought in an immeasurable amount of wine barrels in advance. It is completely like a festival. No, in reality, this is doubtlessly a festival. The blank space left behind by the subsided force of flames is filled with cheerful orchestral music, the singing of songs and the dancing crowds. The remaining amount of heat was beyond the control of mind and body … throughout the night.
A single man’s death.
It has become a grand feast before and after his death.
The entire city is raising a victory song into the night sky similar to a single bonfire.
Pretending that all of this is someone else’s problem, several dark lines are extending outside, from the city. They are the irrigation channels and sewerage paths; both of which merge into one long, large flow. The flow is gentle; scattering nourishments to the surroundings while on the other hand gathering nourishment from the surroundings, it reaches the ocean before long.
With nothing but the dark starry sky being reflected below the water’s surface … the thing was even darker than the shadow of the night … small black-coloured fishes were chewing continuously. While countless numbers of those same fish were swimming here and there, they are having their meal. Something looking like both small and large pieces of charcoal broke away as they are eating. Originally a figure of a single person now resembled the trash being thrown away from the city.
Pecking at the gathered lumps, stuffing their cheeks with each of the fragments dispersed by the water current, the small fishes didn’t grow tired of devouring the charred remains of the corpse without leaving anything behind. Even this was rather courteous. In the end, they cut into the important, precious interior of the corpse … during the night, before even dawn came, it began to walk.
It walks. At first one. Then another one, having grown legs, show up underwater. Fish bodies with 2 ill-formed legs, heading towards the coast with unsteady steps, they are forcing their way through the weeds. They increased their speed in order to escape the draft of the river. At the start, they had a poor half-fish half-man appearance, but gradually their shape was changing. Now they are running, sprinting black-coloured creatures, resembling rats.
Their way of movement crossing over the hills and passing through the moonlit plains was similar to a gust of wind completely sweeping up the soil. Countless numbers of black-coloured things filled with the scorched remains are rushing into the forest. Without minding the presences of the wriggling creatures, they ran at full speed to that place, an ominous and dreadful cave. They rush inside. Inside there is a flickering light. They hurry up. It is a flood that doesn’t make a single sound … The specks of darkness jumped into a jar on top of the stove.
A hoarse voice started to spin a song.
“How many years has it been since I saw such a blazing soul… it is even astonishing for a magi… ”
A small-built figure appeared, wearing a hood low over their eyes, in order to gather the torn pieces assuming the shape of a shadow. While leaning over the stove, a green, mysterious fire started to lick the jar.
“Blood is wisdom… Red is a curse… Gratitude and Grudge… Fate and Reluctance… ”
The fire’s blaze changes its colour from green to blue, from blue to purple and from purple to yellow. The darkness within the jar is boiling; however, it isn’t hot. This is no normal fire. The ingredients aren’t normal either.
This is magic.
Eventually even the song withers, the fire has used up many colours and the jar develops a crack too.
The final product, a gooey liquid, has been created in this world. It was sealed within a small bottle.
This story will raise its curtains once this appears in the common world.