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.She sat upon her mother’s lap with a bright smile on her face, as if she were having the time of her life.She waved her spoon about cutely until their mother calmed her down by guiding her hand to the food.“Where have you been?” his father asked, his eyes on his food as he began to spoon some corn into his mouth.His black beard had been trimmed to stubble.His blue eyes flickered across the table at Keimaro’s mother, and he cleared his throat.“You’ve been coming home later than usual these past couple of weeks.”“I went out for a walk.”“Where to?”“Since when is it any of your business where I walk to?”“Since I became your father,” his father snapped loudly, turning his head abruptly to his son.“Now, when I ask you where you were, you’ll tell me.Were you doing something suspicious, Kei?”“Why would I have any reason to do something suspicious?” Keimaro muttered, running a hand through his hair as he sighed.“There’s nothing to do in this damned village anyway.”“Where did that come from?” his father said, raising an eyebrow.Keimaro shrugged and shoved some peas into his mouth, chewing slowly before finally swallowing hard.He began to speak without making eye contact with his father.“Father, will you teach me how to fight with a sword?”Silence reigned at the table.The only sounds were the crackling and popping from the fireplace.When Keimaro peeked from the corner of his eye, he saw his father frowning at him.The older man put his fork down on the wooden table and scoffed.“I’ve already been teaching you how to defend yourself with your fists.Why would you need to learn with a sword?”“I was walking around the perimeter of the barrier today,” Keimaro said simply, “and I saw a beast outside of the barrier.I knew that he couldn’t get in, but I was still afraid.I couldn’t move.I simply watched as the beast bashed into the barrier over and over again….”“What the hell were you doing at the barrier?”Keimaro ignored his father’s words and continued with his fake story.“It made me think, what would I do if the barrier weren’t there? Would I run, only to be hunted down again? This barrier won’t be here forever, father! Don’t you understand that? If I don’t learn how to fight, then I will never be able to face the horrors of the world! Whether it be another mage that takes down this barrier himself or some psychotic fool that assassinates all of the elders of the village, the barrier will eventually come down!” He slammed his hand on the table and glared at his father with a look filled with confidence.“Do you simply expect for me to sit here and watch my family’s life be put in jeopardy when those monsters finally do break in? When it comes down to it, nothing is going to protect us except ourselves.You can’t place all your faith in the damn invisible shield that surrounds us! Everyone in this village looks around blindly and accepts life in this miserable, isolated, piece-of-crap land that we own.Hasn’t anyone else wanted to see the outside? The barrier will come down someday, father.When it does, wouldn’t you want me to be able to defend myself against the cruelty of the world?”“The barrier is here so that we can be isolated from the cruelty that is the world,” his father snapped, shaking his head in disbelief.“You have no idea what’s out there, Kei! If the barrier ever broke down … you would die no matter what.Even if I taught you how to fight—”“Then you’d prefer me to just accept my death rather than fight back against the forces that would take my life?” Keimaro snapped.His father was silent for a moment and closed his eyes, massaging his temples as he tried to calm down.“I refuse to teach you a useless technique that will only get you into trouble and, even worse, give you another way to hurt yourself.Leave me to eat in peace.At least allow me that luxury in my own home.”Keimaro ignored that last comment and continued to shovel food into his mouth forcefully before he finally picked up his plate and brought it to the sink [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]