Ragnar was experiencing many firsts. First time to see the ground, first time to see the trees, first time to see the skies… first time to see what humans really are.
But beyond all of this, there was something Ragnar wished he was experiencing for the first time — the taste of human flesh. He remembers it now; it was all a blur; nothing but a patch in the darkness.
Alfhild's legs and her arm — she fed it to him. His mind chose to forget, but now that the taste was once again encapsulating every corner of his mouth, he remembers.
He remembered how his mother told him that it was alright.
How his mother told him that it was fine.
But it wasn't. Nothing was fine, nothing was alright.
Ragnar then took in a huge gulp, swallowing the flesh of one of the men that killed his mother. It felt weird; truly weird.
It almost seemed like he was feeling his entire body change — it was painful, but with the hurt that he had endured all his life, this was nothing but a comfortable massage that was trying to put him to a deep sleep; singing a lullaby through his flesh, through his bones, through his mind.
It felt… right.
"..." Ragnar then woke up from his little stupor, only to see the three men staring at him; their legs and eyes, trembling. And even though it was the first time he was seeing them move like that, he knew what it was.
Something Ragnar was very familiar with due to all the stories Alfhild had told him. It was an emotion reserved… for monsters.
So he was right — he is the villain of this story.
"I… I thought the boy doesn't have mana!?"
"He… he didn't!"
"I can clearly sense mana from him! It's… it's too small to notice but it's there!"
"S… shit. You… you think we… did all of this… for nothing?"
"We… we should report this to the village first! So… so we know what to do."
"But… we already killed the mother."
"Let's just go!"
And just like that, while they thought Ragnar was still completely in a trance, the three remaining men all started to argue with one another; ultimately deciding to leave as they couldn't reach a conclusion.
Ragnar watched. Watched as they slowly faded into the woods — but before they could completely disappear, Ragnar once again carried his mother on his back…
…and followed them.
"Don't worry… mama," Ragnar then whispered as he rested his cheek on his mother's cheek; closing his eyes as he prevented any more tears from falling.
Ragnar was wrong.
These people, they killed his mother. His mother, who had done nothing but take care of him. His mother, who even in her weakest breaths, told Ragnar that there were kind people out there.
There might be… but Ragnar was sure that the men he just encountered weren't them. They were the villains. Only a villain would kill someone as precious as his mother.
Ragnar was wrong.
He might be a monster, but he definitely was not the villain in this story.
"Don't worry… mama," Ragnar repeated, "I am going to show you… I am going to show you how I avenge you… like the heroes… mama… I'm going to be the strongest mage. I…
…am going to kill evil."
"Chief! Chief Gunnar!"
It didn't really take long for the three men to return to the village; with them hurrying up, they were able to return before there was any noticeable movement with the moon.
And with them screaming and roaring as soon as they arrived, those that were already getting ready for their supper could not help but leave their houses and be won over by their curiosities.
And with the three incessantly shouting without end, their chief, who lived in a hut right at the very center of the small village, could really only scream in frustration as he stepped outside; a somewhat funny smell partnering his entrance.
And if one were to peer over his hut, one could see the several naked women inside. But of course, the three men didn't really have the leisure to even peak as their breaths were nearly at their limits.
"...What happened to your arm?" And although Chief Gunnar was somewhat annoyed that he was interrupted with what he was doing, his eyebrows quickly furrowed as soon as he saw one of the men's arms bleeding — and with his age, the wrinkles that formed between his eyebrows were probably enough to trap a small child.
"It's… it's the devil's spawn!"
"He… he's not a deviant! We… we made a mistake! We… we sensed mana in him."
"...What? Where is he?" Chief Gunnar's eyes slightly widened as he heard the men's words, "...And what does that have to do with your arm?"
"It… it's like this… We… we didn't mean to… but we killed his mother."
"And then… and then the lizard got angry and… he killed Ornulf."
"He bit my arm!"
"What? How?" Chief Gunnar has probably gone through all the expressions he could as he continued to listen to the men's words.
"I… I was going to shoot the boy, but I missed and I hit his mother."
"Can you three morons stop mumbling!?" Chief Gunnar could no longer help himself as he slapped the one nearest to him on the face, "How could a child with barely any mana kill Ornulf!?"
"He… he moved like a beast."
"Maybe… maybe it… it's a spirit? He… he couldn't have survived that long in the cave."
"A… spirit?" Chief Gunnar's eyebrows furrowed even further as his frail legs almost gave up, "A spirit taking revenge on us? We… we did cause the death of an innocent child."
"W… what if it's a Hound?" The man whose arm was bitten, took in a small gulp as everyone looked at him as soon as he said that.
"Nonsense!" Chief Gunnar's lips slightly trembled, "A… A Hound is only born when too much Death Mana collects in one place! Even our entire village dying will not give birth to a Hound! Where is this child now!?"
"We… we left him."
"You left a child alone in the woods!?" Chief Gunnar's legs once again trembled, "Y–"
And before the Chief could continue his discussion with the men, a loud scream from one of the village's women reverberated throughout the entire village. Chief Gunnar and the three men looked at each other for a few seconds, before rushing to check what happened.
"W… wait for me, you ingrates!"
Of course, slightly leaving the chief behind due to his old legs. It took a while for him to reach the commotion, as it seemed to be just right outside their settlement, but as soon as he arrived there; his eyes widened in shock.
He has seen many things in his long life, but a little boy carrying his deceased mother… whose limbs were all but gone?
It… was a terrible sight. Truly terrible.
And they caused this to happen just because they thought the little boy was a Deviant.
"L… little boy, you–"
But before he could finish his words, Ragnar started to move towards the nearest house — gently placing her beside a wall, before looking at all the villagers gathered in front of him.
Women, elderly, children; everyone was also looking at him.
"I'll let you watch as I become the strongest mage and a hero…
…by eradicating evil."
"Fuck… what do you think happened here?"
"Is anyone alive!? Search the houses!"
"We've already searched them, it's a fucking slaughter!"
"...Even the children?"
"Do you think it's bandits?"
"You think bandits did this? Some of these people are missing their guts."
"How do you explain that woman killed by an arrow?"
"Fuck, I don't know."
"You think it was a Hound?"
"...Fuck off. It might be a loose mana beast. It—"
"Guys! Someone's alive! It's a child!"
"What!? Call for the Healer, quick!"
"He… he's weak, I…
…I can barely detect any mana in him!"