254 The only answer
"..." Evlin was not reacting.
Knucker kept waving his hand in front of her waiting for her reply but the girl was acting like a corpse.
She couldn't stop thinking about Hana desperately begging her to kill Knucker like her world would end if she didn't do it so.
Evlin finally understood why she was so persistent on this. This being wasn't just dangerous, he was, simply put, the absolute worst.
"I know you can hear me, so I'm just going to make this very simple for you... I can either send you back home right now... You and your niece... And we can all just live our lives happily while knowing we will never have to see each other again... Or you can stay... And continue your torment..."
Ashley wanted to push that guy away from her but she wasn't sure if she should make any sudden moves with Evlin in the state she was in right now.
"If she leaves... What are you going to do...?" she asked.
"Now that I've sealed the gods... All that's left is getting rid of the remaining trash..." Knucker replied.
"All of those that have blood from another world inside of them... I'm going to hunt every single one of them down and end their lives... I'll make sure another 'Evlin' situation can never happen again... No more terminal energy mixed with blood from another world... No more babies that grow up to kill me... No more kids that become inspired by some hero and decide to rise up against me... I want all of my nuisances GONE so I can rule over this world in peace!"
"That... That would result in the death of-"
"Millions... Yeah, I know... Gods have been summoning people here for quite a while now... It will take some time, but I'm sure with some positive attitude, I can get it done in five to ten years, give it or take..."
"I... I can't believe this... Evlin!! Evlin, say something!! You can't just-"
One look at Evlin was all it took to realize she had no more energy left to argue with anyone. Knucker might not have even touched her but he caused more damage than any other opponent she ever faced before with all the information he shared.
"That's right, Ash! keep putting her on the spot! I'm sure it will help!" Knucker joked, "Oh! By the way... No pressure or anything... But If I were you... I would leave this world as soon as possible..."
Ashley glared at him, "Is that a threat!?"
"No, dumbass... It's a suggestion..." he corrected, "Do you know why I'm so calm right now?"
"Because the truth is... I don't really care if you leave or not... I just wanted to shove everything in your face and see how you would react..."
"W-What!!?? But you said-"
"That I wanted her to go home... And I really do want that... But I'm fine if she wants to stay as well... I already won this fight!"
"What do you mean?"
Knucker approached his sofa and took a seat while crossing his legs and looking at the ceiling, "Your little sister is going to die..."
Evlin finally lifted her face and showed a reaction, "what...?" she whispered.
"You saw them... Didn't you, mage girl? The living fire..."
"Little Evlin is starting to access terminal energy on her own right now... Probably a reaction from being combined with the red girl for so long... But terminal energy is not just another form of power... It's alive... There is a whole world of these things battling with the rest of my kin right now somewhere out there...
And one of them is being born inside of Evlin right as we speak..."
Evlin began to think about her powers taking shape and talking to them in the white void, all yelling 'Let us out!' over and over again while trying to lock her in the dark void.
"These flames will continue to grow... The longer she stays here and breaths this air that has been touched by Hana's tree... The stronger they will get... Until they finally turn into a new terminal being...
And burn Evlin's body in the process..."
"..." Evlin has silenced once again.
"Evlin..." Ashley gasped, "Evlin is gonna die if she stays here...?"
Knucker shrugged, "Maybe? I don't know, I'm not a doctor... Do people usually survive being burned alive?"
"But this is what it is... So... Back to my suggestion... Go home, stay there, and live your life! Forget about this horrible little world that has done nothing good for you and start searching for your own happiness!
Find the guy of your dreams, buy a house, earn your diploma, have some kids, preferably ones that have nothing to do with magic, grow old and in peace, and get the happy ending for your story that you so much deserve!
Sounds good, right?"
"Deal? Just say the word and I can get you back right this instant!"
Knucker then glared at her, "Refuse... And I'll not stop until you are forced to watch everything you care about crumble into ashes on the palm of your hands... I'll be your enemy until the day you burn yourself to death arrive, and I'll watch you perishing while eating popcorn and drinking soda...
There is no situation where you win if you try to go up against me!"
"Evlin...?" Ashley whispered.
The mage had many things happening inside her head right now, but she still knew she needed to give Knucker a reply. She then took a deep breath and looked him in his terrifying orange eyes.
"... I never liked gambling..." Evlin finally whispered.
"... What...?" Knucker mumbled.
"I always had such terrible luck... " Evlin continued, "I always felt that for every one good thing that happened in my life, five or six bad things would happen later... So I always tried to avoid gambling my luck as much as possible... Always assumed that the universe wanted me to lose... That maybe I was some bad person deep inside that deserved to be punished...
I mean... How could I not...? Everyone always tells me that I'm violent and aggressive and angry with everything... I took it as a joke at first, but after a while, I began to wonder... Maybe I suck... Maybe I am a bully as well and don't deserve to be happy..."
Ashley stared at her in silence.
Evlin began to think about all the bad things she did to others during her life. The time she used her re-creation magic to make a huntress of monsters unable to move her hands, the time she left Xadi to live the rest of his life as a frog, the time she shot Mia in the heart, the fact her friends went through an entire war to rescue her but when they needed her help to go after Knucker she was ready to turn her back on them.
She kept telling herself she had reasons to do what she did, but crimes are still crimes even if one has the best of reasons to do it.
"I tried to prove I wasn't bad... I tried to save kids who couldn't save themselves... But I think deep inside... Maybe I was just trying to be the hero that I never got when I was a kid in need myself... And you can't really be a good person if you're doing something for a selfish reason, right? So maybe I am bad after all..."
"..." Knucker also didn't say anything.
"So... It came to a point where I just assumed... This was my life... And I should just get used to it... Just... Try to do the best you can to stand it and be the best you that you can be... Maybe one day things would change... And maybe one day... Things would be better..."
She began to rub her arm.
"But things never got better... Things just continued to find a way to gut me whenever something good would happen...
So I was reaching a point of giving up... Accepting that, life sucks... And I just gotta deal with it...
But then... Something happened...
I... I meet this little girl... This kid that nobody liked... This kid that was lost and in pain... That everyone treated like a monster... So she ended up becoming one herself...
She reminded me of myself... Alone... Angry at everything, angry at life... Surrounded by people who wanted her dead because none of them knew her situation... People that treated her like the bad guy because of some unfortunate events that happened to her...
She probably thought to herself 'Screw it... I'm the bad guy anyway in everyone's eyes, might as well just go all out with it...'
And... I saw that... I saw that and tried to be that one person... That one person that would give her another chance, to offer her a helping hand... The helping hand that I never got when I needed help... Which is basically my entire life's motto... To help kids in need... To be their hero...
And... I... Just couldn't do it in the end...
She needed my help... And I couldn't help her...
And until now... I was blaming myself for it... People were partying, dancing, celebrating that she was gone forever and would never come back... It felt like they were celebrating my failure...
I wonder if when I left my school because of that terrible event people celebrated as well... The bad girl is gone! We won! Is probably what they were thinking...
This girl died crying... And everyone was glad for it... Because none of them saw her the way I did...
I mean... I'm not going to blame them, she did many terrible things, and while her old self is gone, we got a new one, so that makes everything ok, right?? Right?? Haha... Ha... ...
And... I just kept asking myself... Should I be sad that she is gone...? Should I be happy that she is gone? Am I the weird one?? Should I cheer on her death as well??
I just keep looking at Dia... This new girl that has no idea of what happened... And I get these mixed feelings... Should I be happy that this good girl is here? Should I be sad that this bad girl is gone??
Am I even allowed to be happy?? Maybe this is my punishment for being born with bad luck??
But the thing is...
I am not bad... And I am not unlucky..."
Knucker and Ashley continued to watch as Evlin slowly started to rise.
"It was all you... Wasn't it? My own personal little devil...
You and all these people that just spout the word 'Die!' like its the simplest thing... 'I wish that guy would die! I wish that person would die! I wish that one dude would get punished as he died...'
You wanted me to think that my fight wasn't worth it... Because It seemed like nothing good ever came out of it... You made me hate my life... All because you didn't like me...
All this time I just believed that I had terrible luck when it comes to making gambles... But...
Luck doesn't exist... Gambles aren't real...
In the end, it's all about picturing what you want, and how far you are willing to go to get what you want... That's what you did, right?
You wanted me gone so much... That you dedicated every second of your life to destroying mine... You hate me that much..."
Evlin began to tear up and wiped her face before continuing.
"But here is the thing...
I may not be invincible... Or immortal... Or have eyes that can see how the future will turn out...
But I just refuse... To let you beat me on this one...
I will not be defeated by some loser that spends his whole day sneaking around and messing with a girl just because he is not man enough to properly face her...
Because I know now that I have the right to be happy... And I'll fight for that happiness... I'll live the happiest life of all... And there is nothing you can do to stop me!
I'm not afraid of you or your eyes... I'm not afraid of what you planned for me or afraid of this energy that will try to burn me to death...
You won't be defeated by my kids or anything... It will be me! I'm going to find you... The real you... I'm going to beat you... And I'm going to build my own perfect future myself... And this, you will never take away from me... Because I will never stop fighting for it until I win!
I am the hero of my own story... And I'll save anyone that needs me, even myself!"
"..." Knucker just continued to stare at her. He took a peek at Ashley and noticed that she was crying as well while hiding her mouth with the tip of her fingers.
The dragon hiding behind a human's face just sighed and looked at Evlin again.
"Is this your final answer...?"
"It's the only answer!"
"... I saw that something like this could happen... But I still hoped we could reach an agreement... Oh well..."
Knucker then snapped his fingers and a group of vines began to appear out of the shadows of the room, and after that, a young lady with green skin that had tentacles for legs and wearing leaves over her body.
"Dria!!" Ashley gasped.
"Hey, girlfriend!" Dria replied while waving her hand, "How did it go boss?"
"The plan failed... She's going to stay..." he replied while rubbing his head, "Go have your fun..."
"Finally!!!" Dria replied as she turned her arms into blades and jumped on top of the two.