This is a concept piece for the upcoming visual novel Fifth Love.
Atop the mountain, I gaze out at the loneliness around me with a bored look on my face. I adjust the sphere on my shoulders, trying to re-position the muscles I use to prop up this uncomfortable weight of titanic proportions.
When was the last time I stretched my back? When did my back start feeling more normal propping up the world than nicely stretched out?
While I ponder this meandering train of thought, I notice something happening below me. Looking past my toes which perched upon the narrow summit, I see something—or, someone—struggling to climb up.
The young man, bruised and cut from what he already completed of his treacherous journey, drips blood from every limb as he scaled the steep, rocky slope.
Hope he slips and falls like the rest of them.
And yet this thought masks the immense curiosity piqued by the spectacle before me. This boy has made it farther than anyone else has ever since I stood here; this marks the first time since my eternal curse that I could make out a human face.
Hours pass. I am still observing the face of the young man, only marginally larger in my field of view than before.
A simple face, twisted into a pained grimace. Yet also a look of earnest drive, of an overpowering frailty.
Of flawed yet captivating humanity.
What a fool.
The sun had already set and risen, and yet this young man did not stop once during his dangerous climb.
Even after an entire day of intense focus, I still take in every small movement he made. The way his legs quiver with every step, the way his arms tremble trying to pull up his tired body, the labored gasps of air which escape from his parched mouth.
Then, at the one moment I start dozing off, I jolt from the sound of a desperate cry.
Dangling from one arm, the boy darts his panicked eyes around, trying to find some way of recovering from this fatally hopeless position. He swings his free arm and his two legs like a madman, as if trying to will a ledge or foothold out of nothing.
When he miraculously avoids the seemingly inevitable fall and once again treks upward, I realize that I had been bracing myself to jump down and help him.
At some point, I had started cheering him on.
You’d better make it. Or I’ll never forgive you.
Who knows how many endless days passed like this?
I didn’t even realize he was this close. At some point, I stopped judging the distance between us and started studying every feature of this strange man.
Every healed cut. Every fresh wound. Every wrinkle. Every protruding hair.
When he finally took hold of the rocky ground my feet, I already knew everything about him that could be discerned by just my eyes.
And yet, I didn’t even know his name.
And will never find out.
“Congratulations. Need a hand?”
I shift the entire weight on my shoulders off to one side so that I could slowly crouch down and offer my free arm to pull him up. He must be tired from his journey, I thought.
He earned at least this much.
And yet, the man swats my hand out of the way as he pours his remaining energy into standing up on the summit in front of me.
“Let me hold it.”
I stare at this man, not understanding his banal request.”
“Holding up the world on your shoulders is not a task for one lonely girl…”
He stumbles over to me, seemingly trying to take the weight from me.
“I can manage this on my own. You need some rest.”
“Don’t tell me what to do!”
Summoning more energy than what possibly remained in his beaten body, he lunges forward as if trying to push me out of the way.
For the first time in a few eternities, I rid my shoulders of the massive sphere. Throwing the entire world into the air, I dodge to one side and guide the man’s trajectory to let his momentum move him right past me.
And right down the edge of the summit’s small plateau. A bloodcurdling scream takes him into the abyss, until the obscurity of silence erases any trace of his being there.
Nimbly catching the airborne weight and shifting my feet in anticipation of bearing the burden of the Titan for a few more infinite lifetimes, I try to cheer myself up, lest I cry tears that I cannot reach up to wipe:
At least I finally got that back stretch I wanted.
Unfortunately, it was just as I suspected, it felt more normal before.
I really hope you liked this short parable!
Lot still happening; between piano and working, I have been playing through many more VNs and am currently diving through the universe of the Fate franchise. (Saber best girl <3)
I also got a cat. There’s that.
See you next time!