A Letter of Hope

You have been chosen as the Hero of Sygamir! My world desperately needs you to defeat the accursed Demon King who has waged war on the entire planet! Do you accept your role? If you do, write ‘Yes’ on the line underneath this text. If not, please reconsider! The role comes with great perks! You’ll become famous! Women will fawn all over you! The King will want to marry his daughter to you! You’ll have more money than you’ll know what to do with!


“Again?” Quinn said as he stared at the open letter. “How does this keep showing up here?”


He tossed the letter into the trash and moved on with his day. It had been like this for over a week now now. He’d come home everyday and this letter would be on the dresser next to his bed. The rewards had been increasing in scale recently as well, as if the letter knew he was ignoring it. As he left to go to his day job, Quinn knew in the back of his mind that when he got home it would still be there waiting for him to respond “Yes”.


That day he arrived home, went to his room to relax from his overly tiring and monotonous job, and sure enough on top of the dresser sat the letter, waiting to be answered once again.


I, Princess Sophia Erutia Elucidean of the Kingdom of Elucidean, beg you to save us! My father and I have already offered you everything we are able to offer. I truly do not know what to say to you to make you reconsider your choice other than to hope that your soul knows what the righteous choice is. Please reconsider your choice.


“…” Quinn’s face contorted with sadness and unease. “It’s hard not to take this seriously anymore. I guess I should do some research on what that world might be like if they’re seriously begging me that much…”


Quinn picked up a pencil and began writing on the bottom of the letter.


What is your world like? What is the state of technology? How far has medicine advanced? Why me? Why do I have to be your hero? Why not someone who knows how to fight?


Quinn put the letter back on his dresser and continued on with his day.

I am willing to answer all of your questions with the promise that you will at least finally consider becoming our Hero. As for why you instead of someone who knows how to fight, you were chosen because you do know how to fight. I do not know why you deny your abilities, but I have personally witnessed  your final battle against your mortal enemy. Your victory is what assured me you had what it takes. Please consider our deal.


“Damn it…” Quinn muttered after reading the letter before getting ready for work. “How the hell’d they find out about that?” He glanced over towards a golden medal on his wall. His first and last Olympic Gold medal for fencing he had won three years ago.


He remembered the roar of the crowd that day as he prepared for his fight against his opponent, the French participant Rémi Souchon. He had been Quinn’s rival for several years. He had fought against him at least three times in the Olympic finals before finally defeating him. The strife he had felt, the shame of losing so many times in succession, the pain of training for seemingly no real reward; all of these were finally paid back by their weight in gold. All of it was worth it. Remembering the brief rush of happiness made his heart flitter.


“Those were the days…” Quinn sighed. “Wish I could go back to being that guy.”


After his victory and the initial surge of happiness, there was an abrupt feeling of sadness and lethargy. It was as if his joy was sucked away. Rémi had congratulated him on his win, but Quinn couldn’t feel happy at that moment. He had finally won, so why did he feel so unhappy.


Even after the match, when he was interviewed by hundreds of people, he had a hard time being energetic.


How do you feel about finally defeating Rémi Souchon after three years? One interviewer had asked after the match.


“I feel like I’ve overcome a great swordsman in this match, and for that, I’m incredibly joyous. However, I can’t shake this impending sadness of missing that great wall to overcome,” He’d replied.


When he had said that, he had realized just what it was that was eating away at him that was making him so sad. He had lost his goal in life.


Quinn picked up his pen and began writing on the new letter.


Fine, I’ll consider your deal.


He placed the letter back down on his dresser and began to get ready for his day again.


Thank you for your consideration. Now, regarding your questions, I shall answer them all for you as far as I can. I’d say our world is normal, but currently thrown into multiple violent wars as everyone struggles to defeat the Demon King. Regarding technology and medicine, I was able to receive clearance from my esteemed father to inform you of our greatest advances. Our top secret project has just been completed, which will allow us to master the art of iron. As for medicine, our best alchemists have just developed a medicine to hold back some of the symptoms of the Red Death as well. I hope this information will be helpful to you in making your choice and deciding to save our world.


“Red Death? What is that?” Quinn said with a confused frown.


Quinn quickly sat down at his desk where his computer sat and turned on his computer. He immediately pulled up G***le and typed in the search entry “When did the iron age start?” He clicked on the first link, a link to a W******** article on the Iron Age, and began to read. After browsing through the document, he leaned back in his chair and let out a chuckle.


“Sometime between 1200 to 600 B.C. huh? Talk about dated. I wonder what life was like back then. Guess it would depend on the region, huh?”


Quinn picked up his pen and wrote on the letter.


What is the weather like in your country? Is it normally hot? Normally cold? What is the terrain around your country like? Is it surrounded by mountains? Deserts? Oceans?


Quinn put his pen down and looked back towards his computer. He typed in another search entry regarding the other important thing mentioned in the letter: The Red Death.

Quinn felt it sounded a bit familiar, but he couldn’t quite put his finger on it until he saw what W******** revealed to him. It was a fake disease.Fiction.. Made up by Edgar Allen Poe in one of his poems.


“It’s fictional, huh? At least I can be sure that this world definitely isn’t historical Earth…” Quinn said as he picked up his pen once more.


What is the Red Death? What are the symptoms? What is the mortality rate? How common is it? Also, what are the Demons like? How do they fight? What strategies do they use?


Quinn set the letter back down and went to bed, patiently awaiting the new information.

Regarding your previous questions, I am willing to answer them. However, after I answer your questions, I would like a definitive answer. Preferably yes. Should you say no, I will pester and beg you until you get so tired of me you say yes.


“Ugh…” Quinn muttered as he read the first part of the letter.


Now then, first off I will describe my country as you desired. Our country is normally quite hot year-round, however it gets quite cold during our winters, though never enough to “snow” as I’ve heard happens in other countries from visitors. It gets so hot, in fact, that during our summers we have to stay inside midday to cool off. To the north of our country, about three days carriage ride, is a large mountain range. To our south is a vast ocean. To our east is a neighboring country that we have maintained a relative peace with and one of our ancient enemies lies to our west.


As for the symptoms of the Red Death, they are brutal and violent. It causes immense pain and red spots to appear on the skin, as well as causes those afflicted with it to spit up blood. It has been fairly widespread among our population and its symptoms areknown to the populace as common knowledge. They’ve even gone so far as demanding us to do something about it, as if we can do something about the gods punishment.


When it comes to the Demons, they are vicious, ruthless monsters that will stop at nothing short of destroying humanity. When they overrun a village, not a person survives. We often find the bodies seemingly tortured at the sites, the monsters. Their general strategy is fear and numbers. Their brutality strikes fear into their enemies and their sheer numbers overwhelm. Their armies were once estimated to be 500,000 strong at a single point in time, with at least 3,000 of those being dragons. There is simply nothing we can do against them, and it’s inevitable for all of humanity on this planet to be wiped out if you do not save us. I’m begging you, hero. Please save us.


Quinn, too stunned to even speak, simply put the letter down. There wasn’t even anything to think about at that point. What else could he possibly do?


“There’s no way I can do this.”


Quinn quickly wrote his stern reply of, I see. If that is the case, then I am afraid I simply cannot help you and your world. I do not believe I have the power to defeat your enemies. Please find someone else, and tossed the letter in the trash bin by his bed.


“There’s definitely no way I could do something like that. It’s simply too big… a… wall…” Quinn spoke aloud as he began to realize what he said. “No, no, no. Some things are not meant to be overcome. I mean, fighting dragons? Like hell I could do that! Though… it does sound kind of fun… What the hell am I saying?!” He shook his head and walked into his bathroom.


He splashed his face with water as cold as he could to clear his thoughts. He wiped his face off and looked at the mirror. He saw his warm, discerning eyes burning with a passion as he imagined fighting on a battlefield. The roar of battle resounded in his ears as he saw himself in the mirror charging into battle against all sorts of ghoulish fiends, hideous monstrosities, and dragons, only to surpass all of them by the skin of his teeth. His imagination subsided and he saw his true reflection in the mirror once more.


“No, you idiot!” He yelled at himself as he splashed his face with cold water yet again. “War isn’t really like those fairy tales you used to read as a kid. You don’t even really know what you’ll be getting into! And what happens if you aren’t able to live up to the challenge? You read that letter! The people were tortured! Do you really want to die for a world not your own?”


Should you die for a world not your own? A voice spoke from the corner of his mind. Are you really going to let everyone in that world die just because of your own cowardice? Just because you’re too scared of “what might happen” should you fail. And what of all the people that will die because of your own selfish decision? Thousands, maybe millions of men, women, and children will end up just like those tortured corpses that you’re so scared of turning into. Do you really have the right to condemn those people to such a horrible death?


“But what right do they have to pull me into their issue?! What gives them the right to intrude on my life and pester me until I save them?! What do I owe them that I would risk my life to save theirs?! Why can’t they just save themselves?!”


You know they tried that. You read the letters. There are constant wars going on in their world and they are still being completely overwhelmed. They wouldn’t reach out to you unless they absolutely had to. Unless it was their last option on the table.


“How do I know if it’s even real?! This could all just be a prank that some brat’s playing on me. All of the things they talked about, the Red Death, mentioning the Iron Age, etc. All of those things were easy to look up and research.”


You don’t know. Not until you accept their offer.


“But I won’t accept their offer.”


Oh, please. You know that you want to accept this offer. You got so excited about the thought of overcoming an insurmountable hurdle that you started imagining the battle in your head like you were a kid again. Is that not why you wanted to learn swordsmanship and took up fencing? So that you could be like the knights in those fairy tales? This is your perfect opportunity to do that. Why are you running from it? Why do you deny yourself of your life goal?


“Why… am I running from it? …because I’m scared. Scared of what lies on the other side of winning the battle. Scared of losing before I can face the strongest person in that world. I know what happens when you overcome your greatest wall! I’m already there! And what happens if I die before that? That world will be dead if I go anyway. My death will be in vain!”


When did you become like this? How did you lose your way? Your greatest wall, greatest challenge to achieving your dream, to become a knight like those in the fairy tales of old, was not your opponent for the gold medal three years ago. Your greatest wall is your fear of taking this step. The knights in those fairy tales would have charged in head first and defeated their opponent. Who cares what happens afterwards? Stop thinking of the downsides, and think of the positives. Sure, the worst thing that could happen is you die, but think of it this way, the best thing that could happen is that you save an entire world! You may have this feeling again, but you will be filled with a new one. A feeling of satisfaction of doing the right thing and ridding a world of a great evil.


“…Damn it. Aaaargh!” Quinn yelled as he knocked down everything on the sink to the bathroom floor. “Fine! I’ll go! I’ll save that damned world! If only to shut myself up!”


Quinn quickly ran over to his desk, retrieved the letter he had thrown away, and changed his answer. He wrote, on the straight line on the letter, I accept your offer.

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