“Oh~ I know!” He snapped his fingers, a eureka moment as if a brilliant idea crossed his mind. “I’ll decide your power or I’ll send you without one.”
In any case, both choices were terrible in their own right. It wasn’t his problem if he was sending me to reckless abandon. Opposing him wouldn’t do me any good, either. Maybe it was better to hold my tongue this time because everything was going from bad to worse.
“If you don’t give me an answer within 5 seconds. I’m sending you down there without my aid.”
“I’ll leave it to you,” I quickly replied under duress.
“Great!” as if the tremendous pressure had lifted, he went back to his affable personality. He swirled his hand in the air and at a moment’s notice, there was a tiny black box in the palm of his hand.
Bad things come in small packages…
The front design had gold embellishing which had weird symbolism. He opened the box and my eyes went wide when I saw cards that have familiar designs.
Are these Tarot cards? From what I could remember these were used to bullshit people into thinking their fate was sealed and were baited to make you buy random crap to overcome it. In short, it was a scam.
Saklas seems to notice my dubious look as he defended.
“I know what you’re thinking. Each of these arcana cards represents a power that is tightly knitted to an individual’s subconscious.”
He held out a card. A Fool. The image depicts a vagabond wearing nothing but multiple patches of ragged cloth while carrying a stick on its back. Despite the vagrant appearance, the clothing was uniquely designed to be a tad clownish.
Seems fitting for him.
"I want you to find people who can become the pillar of the world to maintain peace. That way the results would be pleasing and long-term. You just need to educate them."
I was more perturbed by his definition of “educate” when he offered me the box.
"I'll be honest with you. After all the past failures, I think it was about time someone got to teach the natives of my world peace. There is strength in numbers, after all."
"Do you really think I'm the best person to do that?"
I mean I’ve had a history of torturing and killing multiple people.
"Of course not!" He scoffed. "You're probably going to be a failure again."
Wow, I feel so burdened by your high expectations of me.
I can see where he's coming from. I can’t bring order to a foreign world alone. Using the right methods, I could just find someone to do my bidding as I am technically still involved in doing my penance. If the cards deem them worthy enough then they get to have some sort of power, right?
So should I put my trust in those cards? Are they sentient beings for them to be able to judge a person's character?
I was still reconnecting my thoughts, and recreating possibilities that would effectively benefit me in the long run. I could also try manipulation. Maybe it wasn’t a bad deal.
"Oh! Looks like one card has taken quite a liking to you!" They excitedly pointed out a card. I looked up and saw what was hovering over me. I read and saw the upturned golden letters saying-
'XXI The World'
"Huh?" I was confused, as it slowly descended upon me and disappeared out of the blue.
"Right, The World, huh? Looks like you can link to your past self," he peaked curiously as I was still in a blank state.
"The World card connects you to your past life kind of like an invisible link. This might be harder to explain for your small brain, but I'll show you: Can you think of anything that reminds you of your past life? It can be an animal or an inanimate object but you can't summon people."
When I thought of my past life, all I saw was war and death. Frankly, the war was so terrible that it pretty much overshadowed any good memories, if I had any.
"Ah, I see... You haven't repented, have you? Do you want to sightsee into that hellish abyss again?" Saklas's dismayed voice entered my hearing.
What was that threat though? Who in the right mind would want to see into that shit again!?
Remembering the scalding shock I received a few moments ago, I shook in fear. What did I do? I only just thought back to my past memories. Why was he—
I did what they told me, as I turned, my eyes widen in surprise when I saw a huge battle tank sinisterly looming over us.
"I-It's not on purpose! I swear! It's just that I had way more bad memories from the war that I couldn't think of anything decent," I justified as he sighed.
"Think of an animal then."
I immediately thought of bunnies.
"Oh~? How cute!" He fawned over the white rabbit that suddenly appeared out of nowhere.
"Hmm~ I also have seen something similar in Eden," he commented as they summoned another... bunny?
"Lookie! Isn't it adorable?" He held it up to my face proudly.
I was silent when I saw how the 'bunny' had a feral look in its yellow eyes, you could almost see its bloodlust. The luscious white fur was covered in... red stains. It generally looked like it was in the middle of feasting on something. The bunny I summoned was cowering behind me as Saklas held the snarling creature.
I was suddenly hit with a growing concern about what type of creatures will I be seeing there.
"Sure it is," I answered monotonously in contrast to their content attitude.
He nodded happily, but before they could set it down, the feral pet kicked at his face as he let out a pained moan. The scary pet ran away from him and disappeared into dust when it got far enough.
He didn't kill it, did he?
“Well then, shall we continue?”
This guy sure has a lot of free time…
I could only stare at what I had summoned, feeling contented and safe that maybe this wasn’t a bad deal. After all, maybe you could persuade people to stop fighting. Worse comes to worst, I’ll need to resort to nuclear power if they weren’t cooperative enough.
However is it really alright for me to get this opportunity so easily?
Aren't there other people with the same circumstances as mine? If so, then why me out of all people? Sure, I was decent at maneuvering on the sidelines as long as it benefitted me but I wasn't exactly a genius at politics and society. I am also not exactly a very righteous and goody-goody either.
I killed, maimed, and stayed apathetic throughout my life. I wasn't exactly the type to become the peace-bringer, to begin with. I don't even know if I was even capable of feeling empathetic toward people anymore. That inherent goodness seemed to have vanished when I lost the people I loved and saw the inhumane nature of humanity as well.
I was not confident that this would be an easy journey... but I guess that's the whole point.
"Are you ready?" He asked while preparing a portal towards my said rebirth. I breathed deeply.
“Good, good. Love your confidence,” Saklas deliberately ignored it.
I don't know how much time I've stalled just from being hesitant. I don't know if I have digested every single knowledge before I go to this foreign world. I don't know if I'll be even successful, but I won't waste this lifetime opportunity that Jem wished so hard for me.
As if noticing my hesitancy, Saklas’ next words surprised me. “If you’re that worried. Why don’t you consult me?”
I stared at Saklas who was all smiles and kept pirouetting around in circles. I haven't even started yet and besides, I'm not sure if it's wise to consult about moral wisdom from this guy.
"I may not be as high ranking as the Supreme Being, but I'm still a god. I'm intrinsically good in nature."
Really? I just couldn't believe that at all.
"Wait, then if hell exists, there is most likely heaven, right? If my mission is successful then, would I just get rebirthed again?" I asked quizzically before I could step into the metaphysical portal he created.
I just need to confirm that so I could at least have some form of aspiration, instead of the fear-inducing threat of being thrown into the fiery pits of hell.
"There is heaven, but only the ones who are truly good, at the level of a saint would be able to enter. So, it's impossible for you to enter," he shot it down before I could even say anything.
"You don't know that."
"Oh, trust me, sweetie. It's always been like that..." Saklas trailed off quietly, "...It's always been like that.
"Even if you do succeed somehow, you'll just get reborn into a new life. No memories, who knows your family had their memories wiped out clean too and if you got reincarnated you might marry one of them unknowingly," he added as my face distorted.
"This has always been a cycle to maintain the balance," his tone was not in the slightest bit disturbed.
As I stepped into the portal and readily prepared to welcome my new life with nothing but unsettling thoughts.
“Oh! I forgot!” Saklas turned towards me, there was that itching thought that what he was about to say would not be good news due to his inappropriate timing, and sure enough—
“You can’t kill, okie? So be on your best behavior,” he winked, “Godspeed, [▢▢▢▢▢],” then gave me a terrifying adieu, but before I could an edge of protest, he shut the portal.
— This was bad.