Wuxiaworld > The Bleak Walker > 68 Rainy Broken Masks

68 Rainy Broken Masks

He was sitting under a giant tree. Snow fell along with rain in this queer rainforest. It was a different world and biomes like this are a dime dozen.

Nolan didn't come here just for sightseeing. A few steps away from him were the hanged men that he caught trying to rob a merchant caravan. He was hunting down those who knew the vents that purify the underground cities of the demon-kind and monsters. He was no saint and he'd rather kill them all out of anger. But he was not that stupid to give them a vendetta.

The hanged men swayed along with the win. Snow and rain gave a strange coldness that wrapped the whole forest into a thin mist.

He was hugging his knees. The cloak of his received all the brunt that the world can offer. The snow and rain fell down like a stream of water. There was puddle being made under him but since he was wet already. He just stopped caring.

Nolan was holding his right rib. His dull face coupled with blood and dirt made him barbaric. He was injured all over and the leftover weapons of those who he hanged stayed. There was a trail of someone dragging a person violently left over the scene, but it was slowly being washed by the obscene snow and rain.

His eyes flickered, his fist clenched so hard that veins popped in his wrist. He gave a long and tired breathe as he looked at the swaying men that he hung out of fury and disappointment. He felt hollow inside and his heart was stiller and stiller as moments passed.

He moaned painfully. He held to his rib and pulled a flask containing a dull green liquid. He drank the content of the liquid and put the container back for reuse. His dead eyes stared at the snowy rain. It was like he was staring a thousand yards away. The giant branches and bushy leaves were not noticed by him at all. As if he could see through it all.

Rain dripped down like clockwork along with the snow. Tiny snowflakes would land on top of his hood, only to drift away when the rains smash upon his head. Crickets started making loud noises along with the monsters that were hidden somewhere.

He took another flask. This time he spread it around him to give a scent that is intolerable to the monsters. After spreading the concoction he pocketed the bottle and started at the hanged men again. There was a ringing voice inside his head, screaming, despairing as if it wanted to get out.

His eyes were widening and dilating. He was stiffed all over but he did not move an inch. As if he became a statue sitting under an ancient tree along with a few hanged men. They are men killed by Nolan's self-righteous justice. His own self-righteous justice was going awry. He felt delusional and he was feeling dead inside.

"Not going to move?"

Tania materialized in front of Nolan. She took a step on the puddle rain and turned like a ballerina. She was looking like a fairy of a lake. She would be if it wasn't for the thin mist and the horrible view of a dead men hanging, swaying from the wind.

"Go back."


"I said go back before I zap your soul and make it hurt."

She giggled like a malevolent devil.

"Threatening me when I am now connected to your soul?"

Nolan gritted his teeth hard. His corpse looking eyes started dead at Tania.

"What do you want from me?"

"Nothing, I just feel like you are sad. You might have tortured me. Made me your personal power slave for your own selfish benefits, and now eternally trapped within the confines of your soul. It may sound odd that I, who is supposed to be resentful for you is asking my hateful torturer this."

"I don't understand."

"You won't be able to."

He lowered the corner of his mouth. His fierce eyes showed righteous anger as he stared at the Tania who materialized into her human form. Tania smirked like a mischievous child who was trying to tease a friend who just hurt his knee.

"I do not need you to ask that."

Nolan wasn't falling for her tricks.

"You did well. You hunt down those foolish men and gave them justice. If they were taken to any civilized place they would have been mobbed and killed. The Outer Lands are quite cruel, and their brand of justice is astonishing. You should be proud of that but here you are, mopping like a depressed man. I do not understand why someone like you is doing this."

She floated and crossed her arms. Her appearance was longer the same. She was pale white. Her hair has turned as silver as it could. Her eyes were as red as pigeon's blood. She still wears her old outfit but it doesn't quite match with her colors now.

"Then try not understanding anything at all. Did I ask for your help? I don't need it. I am fine sitting under here."

A wind blew and carried it over the corpses of the hanged me. Tania's face was still. She was looking at Nolan without any hint of expression.

"Do you really think that you can make me talk by looking at me like that?"

"No, I do not."

"Then go back inside my soul."

Nolan smacked his lips. He stared at the ground while pulling his hood forward.

"I thought you'd let that girl come with you. Instead, you told her to carry those people back to safety. She'll be waiting for you like a patient little sister. Those two were quite angry at you too. Waking up with the person who made you suffer is quite something. It's funny how easy it is to ruin their good expressions on you. If that was your goal then I admire you."

She paused and looked down at Nolan with her cold red eyes.

"But really to think that one day I would see you like this. What is that expression of yours Nolan Salvatore?"

Nolan's face was twisted up. His crumpled expression seethed and before he knew it he was growling at Tania.

"I have lived my life with a mindset that everything is ephemeral. What I do and say and think is because of that thought. To live each day as if it was my last – without pretending to be other than what I am. That thought that this life of mine was the only life that I would have and that I will get no chance."

He broadly smiled up at his ears. His eyes were laughing and cackling.

"But what is this madness? Every single time that I die would go back. Knowing that then how do you expect me to live like this? I should be happy that I have an endless life? That I can do things differently by knowing beforehand and by dying? Then that does mean that I am the greatest savior? A future seer could fix anything that will go wrong."

He stood up despite his wounds.

"But what is this Tania!? Why do I feel so empty? Why does my heart feel so miserable? Why do I feel like gouging my heart?"

He lowered his head and shoulders.

"Memento Mori, remember you will die. I lived knowing that I would end up like everyone. I do what I do and face whatever there is because of this relief that one day I will die. Living is suffering. I wake up every day knowing that I have to face my troubles. I have this bullshit mindset that as long as I don't expect anything everything will be fine. Hope is opium and I don't want to rely on it to live. But what the heck is this Tania?"

The stern face of Nolan broke. The usual mask of his fell and shattered along with his words.

"There are times that I wanted to die. And now you are telling me that the mindset that I built throughout my life is getting shat on just like that? Humans are needy and greedy because they know that they don't have enough time to see the world as it is. We have many precious things in the world and knowing that our time for them is not eternal and that our time is limited."

His mocking laugh seems like he would tear his cheeks up.

"I grew thinking that. I looked at the world with neutral eyes knowing that I have to take it all in. That even at this large world at least I would think that I have done my best. That despite my smallness I am able to take in what the world has to offer and have fond memories."

The Bleak Walker was gone. The mask shattered like glass and turned into ashes. Nolan, the human who was lost in a parallel world was standing in front of the person he trapped inside his soul.

"Do you know my fondest memory of late, Tania?"

He said without any care for secrets.

"When I died seeing the sun again. The feeling of reaching the end and knowing that all those hard work and suffering didn't amount to nothing."

Then his face contorted in despair.

"Now it's all a joke to me. It feels like fate came to me personally and told me that she'll be pissing me off. Now I am in this infernal echoing of constant suffering. I will be repeating this and that when I die. I would have to live so many years and by the end, I would wake up back in time over and over again. A small part of me believes that there would an end to this. I hope for a sweet release that would allow me to rest."

He balled his fist hard.

"I would have to start again and built relationships again. I would have to lie in front of their faces that I do not know them. I have to build their trust over and over again."

He stared at the sky with his eyes peering at a distant sky.

"I lived my life as the best as I could because of those who I lost. I believed that there was light somewhere and reaching that was cathartic for me. I have Ciara and I can return to her. Even if we get back together I will have to think about the day I would die. I would have to see her die over and over again. At my death, I would return back and I would have to repeat this endless cycle."

He lowered his head.

"I don't think I can last an eternity. I am just a human who got lost in this world. I've built my beliefs during and now I cannot apply them. The beliefs that made me what I am now had become like gutter trash. It is meaningless and now I don't know anything."

All the false masks broke. Nolan who was complaining to Tania ranted despairingly.

"I don't know to live eternally. I don't know what to feel about having to repeat the actions. I believed that I would meet death and die confident knowing that I'll have my rest. I should be happy about these many chances. I would be able to see them and befriend them again. To some, it is a blessing but to me, it is nothing but a damning curse."

Nolan Salvatore yearned for death too many times before he became a Bleak Walker. Only because he became a Bleak Walker that he was able to suppress the thoughts inside his head and formed a stoic mindset. But now all of those he learned are now useless.

Nolan Salvatore's beliefs were shattered at this area. Tania of the Obsidian stared at Nolan without any change of expression.

She knew that the person in front of her has his beliefs and ideas shattered. The stern mask of his was gone and now there was only the face of a despairing figure who realized the endlessness of his suffering, it was no blessing and was more of a curse for him.

"What am I suppose to believe now?"

"I don't," replied Tania. "I am sorry. It seems like I have nothing to say."

Nolan deafly nodded. He went back to where he was sitting and stared at the skies. There was no life in his eyes and that he was indeed firmly broken.

The brave mask that he cultivated for years fell in silence.