The_English_Student t1_j4pol2z wrote

"Hey, mom?"

The Witch of The Plains looked up from her cauldron. It wasn't her potions cauldron, luckily. Rather, it was the one she used whenever she was making soup. It was much smaller than the potion one, and therefore much easier to handle.

"Yes, dear?" the witch responded. She cast an emerald eye on her son. She received him when he was just a babe, given willingly as the payment for her help from years before. "You know I don't like to talk when I'm making dinner."

The boy, whom she named Kinni, fidgeted before he spoke. He averted his gaze several times, glancing off at the other corners of the room. The Witch frowned.

"Come now, you know I didn't teach you to be that way. Tell me what's on your mind, child."

Kinni still didn't seem as if he wanted to talk, but eventually he managed to gather his nerves. He turned his eyes, which weren't blessed with magic as of yet, that shone as blue as a cloudless summer sky. "Mom. Do you ever... regret... that the Queen gave me instead of the crown princess?"

The Witch stopped her stirring of the soup and looked at her son. Her eyes flashed green for a moment, shining in the shade of her house.

"What do you mean?" she asked, a dangerous glint in her tone. "Who put such an idea in your head? It was the fae, wasn't it? The mischievous little things were always little troublemakers. I told you not the hang out with them. They're not to be trusted, you know?"

Kinni rolled his eyes, already tired of the conversation that his mother was bearing down on him. It was one that she had tried to convey to him multiple times, and one that he was sure to ignore once more.

"It wasn't the fae," he said. He thumped his fingers against the table, a habit that his mom knew meant that he was nervous. "It's just... something I was thinking about. I was roaming the capital city earlier this month and..."

"Why were you wandering the capital city?" the witch snapped, her attention fully wrested from her meal now. "I told you not the enter there without my permission. You really were with the fae, weren't you? They're the only creatures around here brave enough to ignore my words!"

Once again, Kinni ignored her. He rolled his eyes once more and turned his gaze out the window. It was a wonderful day. The sky was practically clear and the sun was shining bright.

"Mom, that isn't the point right now."

The Witch glared at her son before slowly starting to mix at her pot once more. "Be that as it may, it will be a problem later. I will not forget about this. Are we understood?"

Kinni didn't answer. Instead, he continued. "I was walking through the capital city earlier this month and I overheard the people walking through the streets. They were talking about how the wise queen outsmarted an evil witch into giving her the first son..." His voice trailed off as his nerve left him. The Witch stopped staring once more to stare at him. His nerve returned. "... was I... an accident? I mean, I don't know why you would choose me over my sister. Unless you didn't know... I mean, it's okay if you didn't know. I hear that most other kingdoms have men as the leader. So I understand if you didn't mean to get me and..."

The boy's mouth closes, wispy purple lights floating around his lips. This wasn't the first time that his mother had cast magic on him, so he wasn't surprised by it. He just stared at the table until he looked back up at her.

"Shush," she said, her voice a whisper, "Of course I knew about your sister's claim to the throne. I know that I don't look it, but I was born and raised in this kingdom. I've always known about the order of succession. It was taught to us in grade school."

Kinni looked like he wanted to protest, but his mouth was still kept shut by the magic. She listened to his muffled words for a few seconds before waving them off.

"Listen, I have no need of a princess or a monarch. But I do have need of a child. While a little princess would have been nice, I would have had to fight an entire kingdom that would have wanted her back. If I took a son, however..."

The witch trailed off, her attention returning to the pot. She stirred at it once more before grabbing some diced herbs off the nearby table and dropping them carelessly into the pot.

"... well, if I took a son I wouldn't have to worry about anyone coming to get you. I could raise my son as I wished. And... well... I don't suppose you don't know how they treat the male royalty in this kingdom?"

His confused face told her everything she needed to know about that. She sighed.

"If I left you there, you'd be little more than a slave, milling about to be used as either your mother or your sister pleased. You'd maintain your freedom and you'd have all the luxuries of being a royal member of the family, but that would all be in name, only. Are you telling me that you would rather a life like that?"

Kinni pondered the question, before shrugging. "I don't know," he said. "Maybe. If I lived there."

The witch didn't have anything to say to that. She grabbed some spices from the cutting board and added it to the cauldron. It bubbled for a few seconds before turning a slightly lighter shade of brown. The smell that bubbled into the air made Kinni's stomach grumble.

"How much longer until lunch is ready?" he asked.

The witch cackled. "Depends. Are you still entertaining those silly thoughts in your head?"

Kinni rolled his eyes as he rose from his seat. He went to go and gather their bowls and set them on the table. They spent the final few moments of the afternoon in silence, simply enjoying the day.

"Oh, and don't hang out with those damn fae ever again."

Kinni rolled his eyes.


The_English_Student t1_j23ju5s wrote

Jul'rad and Kerian sheathed their swords, and I marveled as the world--once resplendent in marvelous lights--started to dim back to the natural gloom of the midnight moon. Hellreaver in particular, a nasty flaming sword that both cut and burned through swathes of enemies, had a tendency to light up both cave and nighttime alike. Hellreaver belonged to Jul'rad, and he earned it from a Fairy Queen while he was on his first adventure.

How I envied him. His sword was spoken of in legends and envied even by kings.

Of course, that didn't mean that the rest of my comrades didn't have impressive swords. Kerian had Spiteblade, the Drinker of Souls. Like its brother Hellreaver, Spiteblade wasn't forged by human hands. Born in a land far from us and made by fae that were no longer among us, the magics that gave birth to it were strange and undecipherable to us. All we knew was that it had the capability to deal catastrophic damage to the undead, who were nigh invulnerable otherwise.

While it didn't glow in unholy hellfire like its counterpart, it did glow a slight, ethereal blue that captivated me in the late nights when Kerian decided to tend to it. There was no source of the glow, Kerian wasn't quite so experienced in magic, but that didn't stop the blade from glowing all the same.

We had a running bet that it was glowing from the power of the souls that it devoured. I tried not to think about that.

"Well, we might as well set up camp, then," yelled Charmy. She was a chipper young dwarf that barely came up to our waist. Unlike the rest of her kind, she was bouncy and bubbly, and never without a wide, face-splitting smile on her face. She had come to us rather early in our journey, and invited herself into our party most handedly. "We won't be moving much further without any light and the local monsters don't seem to like us moving at night."

The other two grumbled amongst themselves, but they eventually relented. It was an arguing match whenever I decided that it was time to camp, but for some reason they were always willing to stop when Charmy called for it.

I didn't know whether it was because of Charmy's goodwill, or her inherent beauty, and honestly I wasn't going to ask. She was an easy way to keep them in line, and for that I was grateful.

"Get your things unpacked and set to doing your jobs. I'll start to work on the campfire."

The three of them nodded at me, before getting to work on their own tents. As a druid, I personally didn't enjoy tents. I enjoyed sleeping under the night sky and feeling the forest dirt on my back. I watched as they set off, making sure that they were doing their things, before sitting down.

Spirits of the forest, heed my call. Let the fallen branches be recall.

The tittering of field mice and the low, droning hoot of the single active owl responded to my plea. They arrived shortly, carrying old, dry branches that I could use for the campfire. I nodded and thanked them for their service before letting them back into the forest.

One fire spell later and the campfire was set.

"Charmy. We're all ready for you."

The young dwarf looked up from her project, her telltale smile already on her face. Again, she was a bright and kind and bubbly little thing, who didn't look as if she could hurt a fly. The sword she was currently sharpening, however? That didn't fit her visage at all. It was a large broadsword with nasty jagged edges and a black and red tinted blade. There were magic insignias forged directly into the metal, and they glowed with every stroke of the whetstone along the edge.

It was a truly nasty weapon, one I only got to see in action once. Charmy did not enjoy fighting, another trait she did not share with the rest of her brethren, but she did enjoy creating weapons. Her most recent weapon, Dragonstooth, was her shining masterpiece, and she took meticulous care of it.

It was already a legendary blade. I was sure of it. She said that she had made it from the scales and claws of an Ancient Dragon. I couldn't even imagine what it was like to face an Ancient Dragon. Even their corpses radiated enough strength to taint the land for centuries.

"Gotcha! I'll be right over!"

I nodded as I watched her carefully sheathe Dragonstooth, a blade that cared very little for whatever was placed in front of it. It cut and sawed and tore through any and everything it touched, and Charmy was surely a terror on the field as she carved a path through her enemies.

The stark difference in behavior was so jarring that I had to remind myself that Charmy in combat and Charmy out of combat was the same person. Rather than dwell on the thought, I rose from the firepit and made my way into the forest. If the others saw me go, they didn't say anything. They were already used to my own antics as a druid, and they understood how I preferred the company of the local flora.

As soon as I was surrounded by the oaks and far enough away from the fires, I took out my own sword. It wasn't a legendary blade that could glow in the dark and capture souls, or burn with eternal hellfire. It wasn't a legendarily crafted blade that could slice through anything with a single swing.

Rather, it was a normal shortsword. One that was surely too short for me. It was more akin to a dagger in my large hands, and since I fought with magic it wasn't something that I ever used in combat. I doubted my companions even knew that I had this. If they did, they would ask me why I carried around something that I never used.

Of course, I couldn't use it. A single swing would have been more than enough to snap it in two. And I couldn't have that. Not again.

"Glorious Starlight, Jeff," I whispered. My voice, which would rouse dryads and inspire forest nymphs to dance, was barely strong enough to spur the errant blades of grass that I trampled underfoot. "How went your day?"

I unsheathed my sword, and I smiled as a faint glow, barely stronger than firefly light, emerged from a crack that ran through the middle of it. This was a short sword that I had in my youth, and I used it liberally alongside my best friend as we travelled the forests of our hometown. I had wanted to be a swordsman, you see. As did my friend. Things... did not work out in our favor.

"My day was fine, old friend," Jeff responded. "I reckon it would be better if you tell me what we did while I was stuck in your sheath."

I smiled at the familiar snark in his voice. It was comforting, if not sad to hear. Still, I did owe the old goat a rundown of the day, so I sat myself on a log and prepared myself to tell a story.


The_English_Student t1_j1to6po wrote

I stared at the girl, her hands on her hips as she stared down at me. The fight in me was gone, thoroughly beaten out of me by the barely five foot girl in the frilly outfit that barely protected her modesty, let alone her vital organs from attacks.

"Excuse me?" I asked, incredulity lacing my voice as potently as destruction laced my magic. "Can you... can you repeat that once more?"

The magical girl, whose name I labored to remember as Alice, puffed out her cheeks and stomped her feet as she regarded me. "I said that I don't want you doing bad things anymore! Think of all the people whose feelings you hurt!"

I was sure that I hurt a lot more than people's feelings. I hurt their bones, skins, and souls as I rampaged across the land, bringing darkness and misery to all that I encountered. I had killed many magical girl before this girl, and that wasn't even accounting for all the civilians I had murdered both before and after those magical girls had failed.

And... and yet this young child thought bonking me on the head was a valid enough punishment? I was a psychopath bent on world destruction, but even I thought that such a reaction was lenient. Putting it lightly. Did she think me some sort of errant child? Did she think that a stern talking to and a time out to be sufficient to cow the entity said to be the Herald of All Darkness?

Apparently so, because she raised her staff again, intent on bonking me until I agreed.

"I understand," I lied. Because I was a supervillain, and lying was not outside of my realm of evil. "I will stop doing bad things."

"And you will never do so again."

I stared at the girl. This time my incredulity could not be tamed, and it showed clearly on my face. "Excuse me?"

"Did our last clash blow out your ears or something? I want you to promise me that you won't do any bad things ever again!"

First off, our last clash had enough power behind it to destroy reality twofold. The only reason I survived the backlash of that attack was because I was too much of a coward to dedicate all of my energy to it, and instead redirected some of it into a shield to protect myself. Second off, even if I had lost my hearing, I would have assumed that I had because what in the Nine Realms was she asking of me?

"I... will not... do bad things ever again?" I repeated, unsure if this was really happening or if I was hallucinating vividly. Perhaps that last clash had been enough to give me a concussion or something. I didn't actually have a brain--I was a mass of collective magical energies given a consciousness--but I didn't have a better excuse for this madness.

Alice beamed, her smile bright enough to light every corner of the cosmos. She floated away from me, stardust leaking from her very pores, as she turned around and prepared to fly home. She had grown strong enough to do so, a far cry from when I first started observing her. Back when she was a high school girl of little renown and even less power.

Now, she was a universe destroying powerhouse. Insane what could change in a month.

"Now, I'm going to trust you," she said. Her words confident despite having no real reason to do so. "But if you start acting up again, I'll be coming right back to stop you!"

If I started acting up again, millions of lives would be lost in the blink of an eye. That would likely go against her code, something that only confused me more. She should have evaporated me, and yet she was just flying away?

What was going on?

"Alright," Alice said, apparently satisfied with my words. "Then I'll go off! Hopefully we never see each other again!"

As she turned her back to me, I waited a few moments to make sure that she had well and truly lowered her guard. Then once I was sure she was exposed, I raised my hand. I channeled what little power I had left--just enough to destroy a galaxy--and aimed it at the retreating back of my enemy.

She was a fool for believing in my words. I was an evil entity bent on the destruction of the world. I was a liar, a cheater, and a villain in every sense of the world. What even was evil, anyway? Everything was relative in a universe as big and varied as our own. As my attack finished charged and the magical girl was none the wiser, I smiled at how, after everything, I would finally win. There was no one left to challenge me once Alice was gone. I would finally be able to...

... and then it happened. A large, distinct pain where my heart would be if I were human. It didn't start off as most pains did: stinging and painful and maybe burning if it were of a certain magical variety. Instead, it started off dull, echoing in my core for a few seconds and delaying my attack.

"What... what is that?" I asked myself. It was unusual. Like an invisible barrier that stalled my actions and muddied my thoughts. It was so abstract that I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but after concluding that it wasn't magical in nature I relented. I refocused my sights on the still retreated magical girl and aimed.

... and the pain returned, echoing from my core but much stronger. I found myself not only unable to focus, but unable to bring forth my magical energies. The dark magic bomb I was preparing began to fizzle out, and the last vestiges of my magical strength started to leak away, evaporating uselessly into the cosmos.

"W-what is... going on?" I gasped. My breath, something that I hadn't found the need for until now, was coming out labored. I found it hard to talk, even to think, and it only seemed to grow worse the longer I focused on the magical girl.

Had she managed to inflict me with some kind of magic that even I wouldn't know about? That was unlikely. As powerful as she was, she wasn't as intelligent as me. She was just a little talented with her abilities and far stronger than she needed to be. Kind of like a baby with a nuke. She wouldn't have had the time to do the research necessary to learn how to place a powerful enough magical curse. At least, to place one that I wouldn't be able to detect.

No, there was nothing wrong with me magically. So why couldn't I shoot down this damned girl? She was retreating further and further away, and soon enough she would be out of my range.

"Damn it!" I cursed, my voice loud enough to echo off the asteroids and broken debris of the planet we destroyed. "Just... go!"

I focused all of my energy into my palm again, fashioning it into a spear rather than a bomb. She was too far away for me to toss a dense magical bomb, but a sharp magical spear was more than enough to overcome the distance and kill the girl. I reared it back, preparing myself for the massive effort required to spear that girl, when...

Right. The pain was back, and this time it was overwhelming. I nearly fell to the ground from the pain it had cause, and this time my focus was shattered so completely that the dark spear broke apart immediately, bleeding out into the cosmos and likely unwilling to return to me for quite some time.

I had lost. Utterly and completely. And for some reason I couldn't strike down the hero. Had something gone wrong? Were the magical circuits that made up my being damaged from our last attack?

I didn't know. I couldn't know. And I was all the more confused for it. I laid down, closing my eyes as I thought on my predicament.

All my thoughts kept coming back to whatever reason it may be that I felt so incredibly bad whenever I felt like attacking Alice, and going back on the promise I made to her.


The_English_Student t1_j1hj6ny wrote

"Where is he? He's taking forever!"

Relia stomped her foot, her eyes darting around as she tried to look for me. I could see the way her cape fluttered in the wind, and the way the sequins on her shirt glittered in the mid-afternoon sun.

"It's not like him to be late," John responded. I believed he changed his name again, so calling him Omni-Man probably wasn't accurate anymore. I think I'm going to call him John for now. "He's usually punctual. Sometimes he even shows up before I do."

I'd never shown up before him. Not a single time. Every time he thought I'd beaten him here, he'd actually been talking to someone he saw on the street.

"You'd think that he'd be a bit more respectful," grunted Charlie. She was a huge, towering mass of a woman, with a forearm thicker than my entire head. She had her arms crossed as she glared at the people walking around below them. None of them had the slightest idea that, if she wanted to, this woman could sneeze all of their lives away. "Today is the day of his induction into the League. He could afford to at least show up on time."

In truth, I had been here from the very beginning. I was just as excited to join the League as she expected me to be. As per usual, I had arrived exactly on time, and John, of course, arrived sometime before me. I sat down, saying hi to the man before pulling out a sandwich and starting to eat.

Charlie came shortly after I took my first bite and Relia came shortly after her. They had all said hi to me, then started talking amongst each other.

The instant they took their eyes off of me, they had forgotten about me. They didn't bother to spare a glance at me, and their eyes roamed over mine as they looked around.

Honestly, I couldn't blame them. That was simply the nature of my power. People started to forget my existence the instant they couldn't directly perceive me. I needed to grab their attention manually if I wanted to speak with them.

"Should I call him?" asked Relia. She pulled out her phone. It was an outdated thing, not even touchscreen, but it managed to get the job done. "I think I can reach him if I called."

She had actually called before, and I told her where I was. They all looked at me afterwards, then turned to each other to ask if anyone had seen me arrive. The instant they did, they forgot that I was there.

"I think his phone died," John responded. That was, of course, untrue. But that was also the nature of my power. It came up with excuses for people to not question my absence. More likely than not people didn't even question my disappearances, even when the event was focused solely around me. "I think I remember him telling me that this morning."

"The boy cannot even keep his phone charged?" Charlie asked, both her eyebrows and her tone rising with her indignation. "I'm beginning to regret the decision to add this man to our ranks."

At this, both John and Relia turned, dissent rising on their tongues. It was time to stop messing around, it seemed.

"I'm here," I said, my voice tired and hoarse. Believe it or not, having a superpower this strong was tiring, especially when you couldn't turn it off. I had become comfortable with not interacting with most people, but when the situation forced my hand I found myself screaming to keep their eyes on me. "I've been here for the past half an hour."

Once again, the trio of people turned to me, their eyes wide as they finally noticed me sitting with them.

"That's impos-"

"Yes, I know it's impossible," I said, cutting her off. If I kept her talking, then she would turn to the others in order to confirm with them whether I was here or not. I couldn't have that. I didn't want to wait another half an hour to get this over with. "Can we cut through the chit-chat and get this over with? I want to get home in time for my favorite stream to come on."

The three were about to look at each other. I could see it in their body posture. I snapped, bringing their attention back towards me.

"Hey, listen. I know I'm being rude, and I'm sorry about that, but I need you guys to listen to me. My power is to make others forget about me. I'm something of a self-protecting meme. No one can really keep an image or a memory of me in their head unless I will it to be so, and especially not if I don't want them to. This is the third time that we've had this conversation, and I don't really have the time to keep this up for a fourth time. So can we please hurry this along?"

They were lost for words. That was normal. I snapped my fingers again and drew their attention.

"Are there any regulations that I need to join the League? Any important documents that I need to sign?"

Charlie shook her head. She started to turn once more, but I snapped my fingers. The thing about the finger snapping was that it only worked once or twice. Any more than that, and the effect started to wane. I could already see Charlie's eyes drifting towards my teammates. I had to be quick.

"Wait," I said, my voice frantic. "I just ask that you keep your eyes on me. I know that it sounds ridiculous, but my power only works once you stop paying attention to me."

My ability also made it so that any feats I attained would remain in the minds of the masses if enough people remembered it. Except, of course, the nature of my ability. I once explained it to a live audience and a camera that broadcasted it to millions of people. I was sure that it was on every streaming service and there was even a video on Youtube.

And yet, of course, no one seemed to remember.

"Can you just give me the registration form, or whatever?" I pleaded. Charlie nodded, then reached inside her cape. She pulled out a sheaf of paper that was thicker than my hand from thumb to pinkie and handed it over.

"Thank you," I said. I then pulled out my phone and took a selfie with the packet of papers. "I'm going to send that picture to you guys as soon as I'm gone. It won't be enough to remind you of everything, but at least you'll all know that you can go home."

I walked over to the edge of the roof. I sat on the edge, then waved at them.

"Bye," I said, then leaned backwards until I was falling off. I heard them yell after me, but both their concerns and their voices died out as they lost sight of me and I ceased to exist in their minds.

I sighed. It was a deep, heavy thing. My ability was powerful, but only so much in that I knew how to use it. On every other day being the most forgettable man was annoying. It was why I didn't even have a superhero name. I didn't even have a secret identity. No one would remember it, anyway.

As the ground rushed towards me I sighed again, then blinked as I suddenly stopped falling.

It wasn't like I had anything to fear from falling, after all. It wasn't as if gravity would remember to act on me.