Master of the Loop

Life in a fantastical world didn’t add up to everything Sylas thought it would be. There were no pretty ladies goading him, there were no overpowered items and abilities tossed his way, and there was no calm and peace. Instead, he was tossed directly into a hellhole some few hours before it was to be invaded. That was it, he figured. His fantasy adventure in another world would be a short-lived one. He’d die and that would be it. Except... You have died. A ‘Save Point’ discovered. Loading… You will be returned to the ‘Initial Save’ point. Read more on my Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/beddedO

beddedOtaku · Fantasy
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210 Chs

Prophets Made of Sand

Chapter 184

Prophets Made of Sand

Strange silence befell the two, with varying degrees of confusion shared between them. If Asha wasn't part of the Queen's plan, Sylas realized, then she was just a cosmic coincidence. No, he inwardly shook. Universe isn't that kind.

"You sure?" he asked again.

"Fairly certain," she replied. "I am as surprised as you are, to be honest. Prophets... are rare things. In fact... scholars have started considering them either a myth or at least extinct."

"How so?" Sylas probed further, frowning.

"While there are occasional reports of Prophets," the Queen replied. "They are never truly confirmed. And though the stories speak of men and women who could whisper the Gods' wants, there are also stories of men whose lips could spit fire. Does not make either of those stories true."

"I have seen her do things," Sylas said, frowning still. "Melt snow. Appear food and drinks from nowhere. Have visions... visions of my life."

"..." the Queen's eyes momentarily lit up, though she merely smiled. "I was mistaken. Yes, I do recall a Prophet."

"Haaah," Sylas sighed. "This entire world is hellbent on fucking me till I'm spitting its cum."

"Heroes face walls, Sylas," she said. "Tall and seemingly unbreakable walls. When the rest of the world sees that wall, we falter, crumble, and shrink. What makes heroes who they are is that there is no wall tall or impregnable enough to make them cower. Most, admittedly, do not bend their head into the wall for lifetimes on end, but... lesser men than you would have failed even at that."

"... both you and that step-son of yours far overestimate me," Sylas shrugged. "I have failed. The fuck do you think it took me lifetimes? Given enough time, there ain't a man or a woman alive who wouldn't become a hero. Especially when there's no other choice. Though, admittedly, calling me a hero is as perverse as calling yourself a footnote."

"... my late Mother had a saying," the Queen said, smiling charmingly. "A man's a bucket of dreams, and us women are plugs keeping them afoot. Admittedly, she was a woman who liked wine and sanctity of a walled mansion, never having to fight for anything she believed in. As both you and I know, we all have dreams. And we all need anchors. You claim anyone could have become what you are given enough time... but you are wrong."

"I very seriously, highly doubt that."


"Unless..." noticing the strange look in her eyes, Sylas' mind came up with a horrific idea. "This... isn't the first time?"

"It is," she replied. "For us."

"... for you?"

"But not for the world. There are very, very, very few heroes, Sylas. No matter how far back in time you go. No, perhaps calling you 'heroes' is perverse, as you put it. The world is blighted by the way children view heroes--pure, incorruptible, ever-shining, bastions of morality and goodness. There never was nor will there ever be a man or a woman who can live up to the ideal of a child's hero. But men and women like you... they come close."


"Do you want to know truly why you were the one?" she asked suddenly.

"Why... I was?" Sylas frowned. "I... I thought it was... random."

"Because we knew you would not run," she said. "No matter what happened, you would have stayed."

"You couldn't have possibly known that."

"You stayed with them," Sylas shook. "Through everything. Even when it hurt beyond hurt, you stayed."

"... I'll take your word for it," he said, feeling angry for some reason.

"Then do. We all falter here and there. As Gods are my witnesses, I have faltered many times in my life. I have grafted a fate for a child I love beyond love that had him cold and terrified. He should have had a simple life, one of opulence and calm. But... I have been part of a choice to deny that from him. For the greater good, we said to ourselves. Whispered into each other's ears while our pillows bled tears. We live with that every day and it nearly kills us. We cannot imagine what it is like for you. A lifetime after a lifetime."

"... not a picnic," Sylas said. "Why would you love another woman's child? Weren't you betrayed?"

"..." she merely smiled faintly before suddenly standing up. "It is time for you to go, Sylas. Please, do not seek me again. I have told you all that I could... and even a little that I should not have. You have found your purpose, your reason. You know what to do. The only thing that is left... is to do it."

"To what end?" Sylas asked, standing up and stopping in front of her. "What the fuck's the point of it all?! Even if I put Valen on the throne, you think this shithole will get any better? It won't! Civil war is imminent, and putting a cripple on the throne will do fuck-all to change anything!"

"... please," she said, her eyes growing slightly watery.

"... fuck," Sylas sighed, sliding to the side. "Just know," he added just before she left the room. "Nothing will ever change. Human nature isn't fixable. Soon enough, Ethernia will be ashes. And from its ashes another shithole will arise. And, that too, will eventually burn. All the sacrifice, whatever-the-fuck-deal you made with the devil... it's all for nothing."

"It is not," she glanced back at him. "If you truly knew Valen at all, you would know that. Farewell, Sylas. May we meet only once again, when the bells begin to ring solemn."

Sylas stole some wine from the party and climbed one of its many towers, sitting on its top, overlooking the nightly, misty world around him. He sipped the wine slowly, perusing the conversation he had with the Queen. Though she never said anything explicitly, she confirmed many things for him--namely that it was likely her and the King who summoned him here, or at least exercised some kind of a deal with the Immortal who summoned him.

Furthermore, it would appear that his selection wasn't entirely random. For whatever reason, they chose him--of billions of people on Earth, people far more skilled, knowledgeable, and resilient... they chose him. He cursed under his breath, cursed many a thing, but the curses rang hollow. The truth was... he didn't care. He hadn't cared for a while--a long while.

Taking a sip, he hung his head low and thought the thought he least wanted--Asha. She wasn't set by the bedeviled duo. And yet, it seemed as though the Queen knew something. In the end, he chose to ignore it. He had to. She was his anchor, his last thread to whatever human was left within him. Without her, he'd simply become a mindless drone, going through the lifetimes of loops until he had his perfect run. A machine who had learned the perfect behavior after endless failures.

If it meant turning a blind eye to something that might cost him... he was fine with it. She earned it, he mused, well enough. Looking up, he saw the moon just creep out past the clouds. It was crescent, defiantly glowing in the dead of the night. Its shine framed the world around him, embossing the edges of everything.

"Back at again, I suppose," he slammed the bottle of the wine, breaking it, and stabbed himself dozens of times, everywhere. He consciously held back the energy from healing him--and though it fastened the death, it still took him nearly four hours to bleed out.

You have died.

Save point 'Death' has been initialized.

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!" the entourage began their preparations while Sylas worked himself to the bone, growing as strong as he could be as quickly as he could.

"You should relax for a bit," Asha walked in on him relentlessly swinging his sword around the castle's back. "You've been going at it for days."

"Has it really been days?" he glanced at her, asking. She was the same as she always was. Bright-eyed, soft-spoken.

"You lost the track of time?"

"... I met the Queen."

"Eh? When?!" she quizzed, shocked.

"The last loop," he replied. "Went a bit deeper into the Kingdom, found her at some festival."

"And? What'd she say?!"

"... nothing of import," he said. "Though she did let it slip that, apparently, I was chosen--specifically."

"... and that bothers you?"

"Just makes no sense," Sylas sighed.

"As a completely objective and in no way compromised observer," she smiled as she walked up and hugged him from behind. "I disagree. It makes perfect sense."

"Oh? I was perfect for selective, temporal torture that lasts for seemingly all eternity?"

"... no," she spoke gently. "But... if I needed to pick someone to save a Kingdom... yeah. I could see myself picking you."

"Looks like the years with me have really brainwashed you," he chuckled, bending over slightly and picking up the gourd of water.

"I'm just saying," she rolled over and sat on one of the tree trunks. "You need a hero? You summon Sylas."

"You really think I'm a hero?" he asked, smiling still. "Man, you're worse off than I thought."

"Maybe," she smiled back. "Love has a funny way of mystifying the world. You sure look the part, though. What with muscles upon muscles and a beard months unshaven."

"Yes, but where's my glistening, gilded armor? The sword that shines and shit? A white mane that can, for some reason, fly without wings? And where's my parade of maidens cheerin' my name? Eh?"

"... you asked about me, haven't you?" she suddenly asked, causing his upper lip to stiffen.


"It's noble, choosing to have faith in me. Or stupid. One of those."

"I thought it a nice, romantic gesture," he sighed helplessly.

"... I love you, Sylas," she said. "And from the bottom of my heart, I hope that's enough for you... for now."

"For now?" he repeated, walking over, crouching down and grabbing her hand. "Forever."

"... now, that is a romantic gesture."

"It is, isn't it? I do have my moments."

"You have them plenty," the two laughed for a moment. "I promise you--it will all make sense, one day. And on that day... you can choose whether to love me or hate me."

"... if seemingly the entire world can, for some reason, put their faith in me of all people," he said. "I can put some of mine in a girl who stuck with me through everything. Well, not everything. You did find me when I was... drifting, though."

"... come on," she pulled him up to his feet. "They're having the last supper in the castle. How many of those will we get to experience?"

"If any of my previous experiences are to go by?" he replied, letting himself be dragged. "Thousands, probably."