~ Side Story: The unlucky Baruga ~
[Sapherya's point of view]
Oh~, how easy it was to look down upon the mortals and claim to know what their sins and joys were. So easy in fact that most gods seemed to have forgotten why they became gods in the first place.
I held no offense against these fellows of mine. They knew not what they did. The same thing happened to me when I created my first world, for only through failure and hardship some of us pesky gods learned, while others were lucky enough to merely listen to our tales to understand what they had to do.
My first world, if I were to describe it, it was bright and beautiful, it was filled with hopes and dreams, a shard of happiness in an albeit forsaken Universe. Yet, in my foolishness, I had forgotten how mortals were and what their purpose was. I forgot how things really worked... and of how complex the freedom of choice and the need for survival could be.
For you see, my job was but one: to ensure the survival of my world no matter what dangers befell it.
My first world was destroyed by natural cataclysm. The civilizations I helped nurture took too long to reach a stage of evolution from which they could guarantee their own survival. My second world was ravished by alien forces. My third world was set ablaze by its very own people. My fourth world barely tasted the joys of an advanced civilizations before it was struck down by plagues of their own artificial design.
But now, one my fifth world, I hoped to do so much better for I had learned from the mistakes of the previous four. All those worlds reached such tragic ends only because my time as their governing god or goddess had expired and I was forced to leave them fend for themselves.
Like a helpless mother who saw their young take a step into the world and then see them get struck down by disease or misfortune, I cried for them.
I cried and mourned the children I failed to protect. I wept for their tragic fates and apologized for not being able to do better at that time.
All the gods with at least two names knew of this pain, and we were the ones who knew best how merciless the fate of a world could be if her protective gods failed to nurture her properly. Of course, some cataclysms, events, and other situations were far beyond even our control, but we were powerful and wise enough to make the difference between the two cases, those which we could prevent and those which acted as tests.
Now, in this world which blessed me with the name Sapherya, I took on the mantle of the Patriarch of Darkness and the mantles of the Matriarch of Light so that I may properly guide these fragile mortals on a more favorable path.
An example of this guidance of mine could be the fate and life of the human named Baruga.
In the eyes of those around him, he was an insignificant insect, an unlucky warrior who constantly failed to reach for the heavens and carve his name on the Wall of Honor. In my eyes, however, he was more important than the King of the Ashura Kingdom located North of Lukrentia Kingdom.
If made to choose between the two, then I would choose Baruga without batting an eye.
This poor, unlucky man was favored by the Patriarch of Darkness and pitied by the Matriarch of Light. Opportunity after opportunity was granted to him only for him to ultimately fail to seize it in his grasp.
Baruga was born as the first son of an Ashura Duke, but two months after his birth, his father was killed in a conspiracy and his mother sold as a slave. The baby of no more than two months of age was cast off in the plains outside the capital city. He was lucky that no monsters came near him until some wandering nomads picked him up. They took pity on him and raised him as their own.
At the age of six, he nearly died because of mushroom poisoning, then at the age of 10, he was bitten by the family dog. Luck and misfortune continued to dance around him at every step he took in his life, yet no one but the gods would know that every single reaction he had to these strange events would lead to a domino of events that would change the world.
A single smile could make philosophers wonder about all sort of existential matters or even reach some sort of epiphany. A question addressed to a random stranger could change a series of unfortunate events that would have befallen him. A battle with a weak monster could hold the fate of kingdoms in balance or divert entire hoards of monsters through a chain of events.
Such was his cursed fate. Yet, on the night when another of my most beloved mortals had a life and death battle, Baruga's life would change the world's fate for the final time.
Earlier that night, Baruga chased down a giant spider back to his burrow atop the peak of the mountain that was soon to be carved out by Leonidas' beam attack. This spider and its kind were the spawns of a mutated enormous brood mother spider.
While giant spiders were not uncommon on this world, this one was different because of its potent venom and highly aggressive nature. On top of it, the current generation was in a stage that favored rapid mutation, which would have led in the future to numerous variations in the spider breed, among which one possessing a high regeneration similar to that of Leonidas and his sister Cassandra.
I had numerous ways of dealing with this rapidly growing threat, but Baruga was crucial in all of them. His stubbornness and skills helped him survive and even overpower the spider he was chasing, but most of all, he was also naturally immune to this species' highly potent venom.
As for what he was doing all the way up there on the frozen peaks of this mountain, he was merely chasing his dream of fighting with honor against powerful monsters so that he could rise in fame and glory.
I watched this mortal as he climbed the peak of the mountain that was soon to be struck by Leonidas' attack. The spider Baruga was chasing already fled into his nest and went straight to his mother. The man's misfortune activated as soon as he stepped into the nest and stirred every single spider in there.
To put this into perspective, Leonidas would have managed to stir only half of the spiders in there even if he went there with this exact aim in mind.
A single pebble he struck hit another, then another, then another. Those pebbles hit other pebbles, some which struck metal breastplates of fallen adventurers while others the rusted swords, metal ores, or even other spiders. The resulting noise was so loud and so annoying for the spiders, that all of them were alerted of the impertinent fool who tried to enter their lair.
Frightened by the sudden rise of activity inside the cave, Baruga tried to flee, but he stumbled on a rock and gave enough time to the spiders to block the exit with their webs. Knowing that he wouldn't be able flee through that way, he turned around and ran deeper into the caves, hoping to find another exit. On his way, he fought bravely against the spiders, succeeding in killing several of them, but all this did was annoy the brood mother, causing her to let out a terrible shriek that gathered the army of spiders near her.
Now, Baruga was faced against her full onslaught. He fought bravely until his entire body was covered in wounds. I watched him struggle against this unthinkable army until he couldn't even stand any more.
Baruga was far from being someone who didn't deserve a place on the Wall of Honor. He was brave warrior, one of the finest, but his life had a far more important role for my world than he understood. That was why I watched this mortal as he struggle in his last battle against a foe far beyond his abilities.
Yet, by fighting there, at that time, he managed to gather all the spiders in the cave into a single point.
As Baruga finally understood that it was there where he would take his last breath, Leonidas' beam cut through the mountain with unstoppable power and with it took all the spiders who stood in its path. That day, the threat of those mutated spiders came to an end and my world was safe once again.
The mortal was left alive, standing on the precipice of the mountain, with no path to climb down and no energy left to fight off against the cold winds. In his dying moments, I let myself be seen by him and showed him a gentle smile.
“You did well, my child. You save my world...” I told him.
Baruga cried as he gave his last breath. The tears he shed were tears of joy, and once his soul parted with his body, I let him know of how much I valued him. I promised him that his next life would be one he would enjoy.
“Baruga...” I told him “you will be reborn decades after your death as the son of a renowned hero. Your fate will be yours to command as long as you don't stray on the path of evil.”
“What is the name of my new father?” his gentle soul asked as he moved on the path of his new reincarnation.
I showed him a smile and then replied “As Baruga, you never had the chance to meet him, but if you did, you would have found it honorable to spar against him or fight beside him. But I want to let you know that through your sacrifice today, you gained more honor and glory in the eyes of the gods than any mortal before you ever did. You are an unknown tragic hero, but a hero nonetheless.”
My words, as expected, brought great joy to his warrior heart.
The one thing he never asked about was what became of his remains. That was probably the one question I wouldn't have wanted to answer... After all, he died sitting in the lotus position and his remains were mummified thanks to the biting cold up there. As a result, more than a century later, when the inhabitants of this land discovered his body, they would end up worshiping him as the Saint of Marriage.
Countless made-up tales of his adventures would be told, and he would acquire even a fake name, but no one would be able to attest for the truth behind them, for all who knew him would be long dead.
The irony of it all was that Baruga died as a 69 years-old virgin... Truly a tragic hero...
Note from the author: Thank you for reading this chapter, I hope you enjoyed it! Oh, and be sure to check out my other stories too.
This is not the first chapter of Vol 2, I know, but this Side Story is meant to offer a bit of info about Sapherya. She is much more cunning than she lets out to be, but is it possible that she was able to foresee when and how Leonidas was going to fire off that beam attack? O_O
As for poor Baruga, I was quite itching to title the story: Bad Luck Baruga.
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