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Advent of the Three Calamities

Author :Entrail_JI

1 Prologue [1]

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Emotions.

A strong feeling (reaction) deriving from one's circumstances, mood, or relationship with others.

I never fully understood them.

They weren't foreign to me—Anger, Sadness, Fear, Guilt…—I've experienced them all. Plenty of times before.

As humans, we were inherently designed to feel them.

...But merely experiencing them didn't equate to understanding them.

[Don't worry. I'll make sure to make it quick.]

A certain voice hung in the air. It was gentle, yet carried a gravity that drew my attention.

Two lackluster gray eyes seemed fixed on me.

Or… felt like it. I knew that it wasn't possible since the one talking was inside the TV screen.

However, as I gazed into those eyes, I had a sudden thought—'Why does it feel like they're looking right at me?'

"Pftt."

I shook my head.

Stupid.

[This is the last step, right? ...The last step before my hell is finally over?]

He stood solitary, amidst the wreckage. The landscape lay strewn with debris and shattered structures. The world around him seemed to have halted, frozen in a moment in time.

In that instant, the dullness in his gaze faltered, and what appeared to replace it was something akin to... anguish.

Grief?

[...Hah]

The man clutched his shirt, slowly wrinkling it as his lips slowly curled into a hazy smile.

[I'll do it.]

His head lowered to meet another gaze.

[...]

With black hair, this person knelt on the ground with their back faced against the screen, gazing up at the gray-eyed man. No words escaped their lips; they simply stared.

Perhaps he wanted to say something, but couldn't. After all, a large gaping wound was present on his back.

[Ah, yes... I shouldn't drag this out.]

The gray-eyed man lifted his hand, unveiling the cold gleam of a sword. His lackluster gray eyes quivered ever so slightly as the blade descended down in one fluid motion.

SHIIING—!

[I've waited far too long for this.]

The screen turned black.

"Umm… So what do you think?"

I heard a familiar voice call out to me, and I lowered my gaze.

"Not bad, I guess."

While I inherited more from our father, it was evident that he had drawn more from our mother. His auburn locks cascaded gracefully to his forehead, and his green eyes gazed back at me.

This kid, who was my only remaining family, was my brother; Noel Rowe.

lightsΝοvεl ƈοm

"Not bad? Just that…?"

"What do you want me to say?"

I wasn't much of a gamer. In fact, I never had the time to play games. There were things I needed to prioritize in life; however, leisure was not one of them.

It shouldn't come as a surprise that I found the game uninteresting.

"I mean… You can lie."

"And why would I do that?"

"Because it's my favorite game."

"Right…"

What sort of reasoning was this?

I blinked slowly before reaching for my drink.

"You know… I think it's best if you don't drink."

"I don't care."

Taking hold of the glass cup, I felt its coarse texture beneath my fingers before slowly bringing it towards my lips.

As the glass drew nearer, my attention fixated on the brownish liquid it contained. It was whiskey, a choice that seemed fitting for the moment.

As I cast my gaze downward, my reflection stared back at me, giving me a glimpse of the person I had become.

Hollow eyes, a vanishing mane of hair, protruding cheekbones—my visage had become something I wasn't able to recognize.

Even my hand quivered as I clutched the cup.

'I've had better days…'

I smiled bitterly to myself.

Stage IV Lung Cancer.

Not a pretty disease.

I still remember to this day the numerous emotions I felt during the day I received the news. I was just 24 years old. How was it possible for me to get cancer? But there was no denying what was inside me.

So…

I just accepted it.

Acceptance didn't come quickly. At first, I fought. I changed my diet and underwent Chemotherapy. But my life became miserable from that point on.

All my savings started to drain, and each day seemed more hollow than the other.

That was when I accepted my situation and just stopped everything.

Okay, fine. I'm dying.

Still.

*Sip*

Why make what remained of my life a torture?

I might as well enjoy what remained of it. Even if it made my life shorter.

"B..itter."

My chest burned and my hand trembled.

Despite that, I kept a firm grip on the glass and continued to sip on it. Every breath I took was laced with pain, yet the pain at the back of my throat held a strangely comforting allure.

So I focused my attention on it.

Relished it.

"…Brother, are you really just going to drink like that?"

Noel's worried voice reached my ears.

But despite his worry, I continued to drink.

"Let me... be."

I closed my eyes and savored the pain at the back of my throat.

Only this way could I forget about the other pain that was constantly invading my body.lightsnovel

*Sip*

It hurt.

I felt so tired. I could barely move. And I felt so useless.

But...

"Haaa..."

I felt comfortable.

Yes.

This is how it should be.

"Cou…gh."

I was caught off-guard. I wasn't able to hold it. My chest pounded fiercely, and my hand visibly shook. It took every little bit of my willpower to not drop my glass.

"Brother!"

"I'm… Cough! F-fine."

I opened my eyes to see Noel staring at me with a worried look.

My vision shook, and my hand almost gave out, but I held it in.

Staring back at him, I only felt guilt. He was only 16 years old. Our parents had died a long time ago, and I was his remaining family.

…I didn't want to leave him alone, but what choice did I have?

If I chose to stay longer, with what money was he going to survive?

In a way, stopping Chemotherapy wasn't just because I didn't want to prolong my suffering. It was also a way for me to leave him something before I left.

Rather than leaving him in debt and dying, I'd rather die and leave him with something to lean on.

It was my duty.

My duty as his brother.

Drip. Drip.

Tears streamed down his face as he gazed at me. The incessant buzzing in my head made it difficult to discern his words, but it appeared he was trying to call an ambulance.

I stopped him and shook my head before pointing toward the TV.

"Tell me… Tell me about the game."

"Game?"

Seeing his reaction, I managed to force a smile.

"Yea-h. Tell me why it's your favorite game?"

He wouldn't stop talking about it.

"That…"

He looked unsure of what to say, but after glancing at me once more, he wiped his tears and started to recount everything.

"The game is called Rise of the Three Calamities, and the main character is called Leon. He's an orphan and the story starts at Haven. An institute, or more like an Academy where cadets are trained for the future of the Nurs Ancifa Empire. One of the four great empires..."

To be honest, I was only able to make out a couple of words. After a certain time, all I could see was his mouth moving, but I just nodded along.

For the sake of it. I had to pretend to be fine.

So just...

'Let me die faster.'

Time seemed to flow endlessly and before I knew it, Noel was standing by the door of the apartment.

"Brother, I'm going to go grab some Lunch. I'll bring you your favorite."

That… I could hear.

And just as his hand grasped the door, his feet came to a sudden stop.

"I'll see you soon… okay?"

"Okay."

I answered back, albeit weakly.

"Good."

Clank—!

The door closed and silence filtered across the room.

"…"

For some unknown reason, the silence brought a smile to my face.

My eyes slowly closed, and I relished in the silence.

"Cough! ...Cou..gh!"

Yet that tranquility proved fleeting as I was seized by uncontrollable coughing. When I reopened my eyes and gazed down, I caught sight of my hands which were stained in blood.

My blood.

"Sh...it."

A clink resonated in the air.

The cup in my grasp had finally tumbled to the ground, and the world began to whirl around me.

'Looks like I can't maintain the facade any longer.'

Whiskey spilled onto the floor, and my chest throbbed intensely with pain.

I had managed to hold back before, but such a thing was no longer possible as all energy drained from my body and I leaned back on my chair.

'It's good that he didn't see me in this state.'

Sometimes, one suffers in silence not out of embarrassment, but out of necessity.

How could I allow my brother to see this?

"Ha.. Aha…"

I felt my chest tremble as something pierced right at my heart. It wasn't the same pain that I was accustomed to, but a different pain.

Anger.

Regret.

Sorrow.

Sadness.

Emotions.

That's what the pain was.

I felt them vividly.

I could tell them apart.

I was familiar with each and every one of them.

But I didn't understand them.

…And with these last thoughts, my eyelids gradually closed.

"Ah…"

That's when I took my last breath.

Or so I thought.