Watching the disappearing vapor trail,
We run away terribly, turning us weak.
We haven't changed since that day.
I regret that the touch was not there
To change what could have been.

~"Tori no Shi" LIA

Saka Ogawa

If I ever happen to be a wise prophet, my most valuable phrase would be that no one ever lies. We are lies. The lies we live in are the masks we pull over our faces to forever hide who we really are. But sometimes something slips and you snap, and everything you've hidden becomes visible to everyone around you. And they will never again accept your lie.

And then you have two choices left. Either you die along with your lie, or you create a new lie for yourself. Or both.

My lie was a pleasant one. Garlan was a quiet and serene village since the day I remember. Things got a little rowdy when Mother brought Ryuudo to this godforsaken world. Mother and Father died shortly after he was born, and little Ryuudo didn't seem to remember them at all. Fortunately. Would be such a shame to see innocence stained by death.

I loved my little brother. He was so cute when he'd quietly knock on my door, so polite when he'd asked if he could sleep with me tonight. I would let him in and I would cover the blankets over us and I would coax him into telling me about his reoccurring nightmare. "The Bear Dream." I could understand his fear. A bear is eating him; what's to like?

We went fishing together a lot too. Ryuudo caught his first fish when he was only 5 years old. He was so happy about it that he threw the fish back into the lake and attempted to catch it again. Like catching a fish was a trip that he didn't want to let go. But he had to; he never did catch that fish again. It made him so sad that he walked to me sniffling, pulling on my shirt in that "look at me and tell me what I should do" way. I patted his head and caught that fish myself and we broiled that bastard for dinner. Ryuudo loved it; it became his favorite food.

After that day, I began taking sword lessons. I felt that Ryuudo needed a role model who was strong at will and energy. A few years later, he joined me in my practices. I would see him with his best friend Gatta, playing innocent games of swordfight with a little dash of tag.

And a few times I heard him promise to Gatta, or maybe to himself, that he would be as good a swordsman, a man, as I was. How cute.

How depressing.

For some reason I despised Ryuudo's lie. He was so happy and energetic and friendly, almost just like me, except a little less mellow. He had a best friend and a temporary pet dog he named Bear (he decided to see what was on the other side of the mountain 3 weeks after we got him). He was generally a happy little boy. But that's not what I hated.

I hated his lie because it contained a brother named Melfice.

Feeling completely undeserving of this beautiful, innocent baby brother, I drowned myself into my practices. I thought that maybe if I become better, the best, he would scare himself away and quit practicing. But it backfired; my improvements only inspired him to work even harder.

Days like those I went out to the top of the windmill. I would sit there and watch the sunset and the moonrise. And I would contemplate on what I wanted to do with my lie. I had always wanted to meet a nice girl, someone beautiful on the inside and out. Marry. Have children. Get a dog. The standard man's perfect lie.

And then Ryuudo would find me alone up there. "Melfice! What'cha doin' up there?" he'd asked. I was tempted to tell him the truth, but he was too young, too innocent, too naïve to understand. He would climb up the ladder and sit down next to me and we would talk about what could be on the other side of the sunset or what could be beyond the stars. After our conversations, we would climb back down and we would head back home and we would dream about being on the other side of the moon.

That windmill became a little tradition to us. Once Ryuudo climbed up the windmill and waited for me. I didn't know about it until a friend told me he was up there crying his eyes out. When I got there, the whole village was crowded near the windmill. Ryuudo had only been up there for a few minutes, but he called out to me, crying for me to help him climb back down. The little critter was afraid of heights; how cute.

How depressing.

So I climbed up there and he grabbed onto my back and we lowered ourselves back down on the ground. I expected him to give me a hug like he always does, but this time he just rubbed his eyes with his sleeve, muttered a thanks, and ran through the crowd and into the house. He was embarrassed by the whole ordeal. A sign that he was starting to grow up.

Apparently so. He beat me at meeting a girl. Soon after that event, a girl his age was selling flowers and gave him one for free. He asked why, and she said, "Because you're cute." Just like that.

Soon after, they began to see each other by the windmill a lot. I kept an eye open for him, just in case something out of the ordinary happened. Or maybe I was just being a nosy bastard.

Or maybe because I was jealous. That windmill was supposed to be Ryuudo and mine's. Now his adolescence dominated it. Though I was happy for him, something in the back of my mind told me that his relationship with Millie was wrong. Horribly wrong.

They seemed like any other normal, cute, blooming couple. They laughed at each other's jokes. They enjoyed making fun of the old aged villagers. They got in trouble together. They even started holding hands when they thought they were alone.

A few months had gone by. Everybody in Garlan knew of and accepted their relationship. They were the perfect couple.

They had to be stopped.

This girl was weakening him. Since she came by, Ryuudo had stopped coming to his sword practices. He had been skipping out on his chores around the house. And most of all, he stopped coming up to the windmill to talk to me.

One time I climbed up there by myself and watched the sunset, and I waited for him. I wanted to talk to him. Not about meaningless lies beyond the sunset, but the lie that I had been living. I wanted to tell him that the only thing I want in this damn world is for him to become strong. He can't have petty things like promises and heights and love blind him from that vision. I won't let him. He will become strong.

I had a speech planned. But I never used it. He never showed up. And I sat there and watched the moonrise and I sniffled quietly, wanting to call out to Ryuudo and ask him to help me down the ladder. But I had to climb back down myself. Even though this time Ryuudo wasn't on my back, I still felt a heavy burden follow me all the way down.

I hated to admit it, but it felt good to let myself go. I guess it's okay to be weak once in a while.

The next day, I told Millie that I was playing messenger: Ryuudo never wanted to see her again. His smiles, his laughs, his touches - all were a lie.. She looked at me with a glint in her eye that said that I was a liar. I glared right back at her.


I am a lie.

She ran away from me and towards our house. She pounded on the door, ordering Ryuudo to explain. The minute he opened the door she pushed her way inside and slammed it shut. I ran over and peeked through the window.

She yelled at him for lying to her, for leading her on. Ryuudo, boggled could only describe his expression, stuttered out fragmented sentences of confusion.

Then she screamed, "Melfice wouldn't lie, Ryuudo!!". And he blinked. Twice.

Millie ran to Ryuudo and embraced him one last time. She whispered a goodbye, stormed out of the house and left the village. She never came back, nor has anyone heard from her since.

That night, I saw Ryuudo waiting at the top of the windmill. He was hugging his knees and sniffling, just like the day he got stuck up there.

I stood under him and asked if he needed some help down. I chuckled a bit to try and keep the air lighthearted. Ryuudo peered down, and looked at me. I could feel him boring his eyes into mine. Dark as it was, his eyes were glistening mysteriously.

Don't feel bad little brother, I thought. I was only doing this for you.

I heard him start to say something, but it was caught in his throat. I thought he'd might feel more willing to talk if I was up there with him, so I started up the ladder.

"D-…Did you say that to Millie, Melfice?"

I set my foot back down on the ground. I held onto my heart and said

"Don't feel bad little brother."

I was only doing this for you.

Ryuudo exploded at me. He demanded an explanation. He asked how could I find the heart to do this to him. His own brother. He totally snapped.

So I climbed up the ladder and I sat next to him and I explained my lie. And I used my speech that I planned the other day as I put my arm around him. He scooted in closer and started talking about what he liked about Millie. Her bright green eyes, her hair that was just as fiery red as her temper. He liked the way she laughed, the way she touched his hand, the way she insulted him. Everything about her.

So I kissed the top of his head and told him that Millie was a lie he didn't need.

He sniffled. "But I liked my lie."

I know. Me too.

You're my lie, little brother. But I can't stand the fact that I'm you're lie as well. This lie is in your way of becoming what I want you to be. The stronger I become, the weaker you become…

So we both climbed down the ladder, walked back home, ate broiled fish together, and went to sleep. We talked and laughed just like old times.

And the next day I made myself fall for the new villager. She was a beautiful girl, inside and out, and just my age too. Perfect. We hit it off instantly.

Leena loved Ryuudo like he was her own little brother. She always offered her attention if Ryuudo ever needed to talk about something, mostly about girls, and he would nod and accept the offer and they would climb the windmill and talk for hours. Leena told me that he loved talking about how girls are so weird, how fish are so tricky to catch, and how strong a man I was.

As the months went by, his compliments stopped. Leena said that Ryuudo feels like he's getting stronger everyday. Good for him.

Good for me. Must mean I'm getting weak. But that's okay; anything for my little brother.

Even then, I continued my sword training. It encouraged Ryuudo to do the same. He seemed to take the practices more seriously than before, and I was proud of him.

One time I saw him practice by himself; nothing but him and the sunset. Such a glint he had in his eyes. Total determination. I was proud. Of him, and me.

That was the night I proposed to Leena. What other way could I bore myself into the ground than by settling myself with a woman? If it'd allow Ryuudo to be stronger than me, than I'd do it. In a heartbeat.

Besides, Leena would be a very nice lie to live. Maybe we could have children. Get a dog. Have picnics together in the sun. We'd all laugh and play and be weak together. How nice.

Leena and I both announced our engagement to everyone in the village. Ryuudo gave the biggest smile I've ever seen and ran up to Leena and hugged her tight.

And he raised his eyes to mine and gave me a gaze. I could read his eyes. I could read his mind.

Is this strong?

No, this isn't. Wanting to be weak is not strength. I was a coward, little brother. I wouldn't be able to live if you were a weak person, but I've turned myself weak in the process… I was afraid to be strong for you. Afraid…

Yes. Weak. What a pitiful man I was. I could change, couldn't I? That would be easy. Just break off the engagement with Leena and Ryuudo and I would've lived happily ever after. Right?

No… how could I bring back 14 years of weakness? I couldn't. I felt like I had no choice.

But I did. Two, actually. Break off the engagement and make the sacrifices as they come

Or be strong. Now. Right now. Right this very minute.

Oh, the consequences. Be weak or strong… be happy or lose the only love I had in my pathetic little lie. Maybe it was for Ryuudo's sake, that I prayed to Valmar for strength and power. Maybe it was for Ryuudo's sake, that I was willing to cut veins and shed blood for Valmar's power.

Maybe it was for Ryuudo's sake.

Maybe it was for everybody's sake. But most importantly, Ryuudo's.

I had little time left. The minute I felt my blood rushing through my body, the heat piercing through my bones, I ran home to tell Ryuudo. I walked in and I saw Ryuudo, kneeled down, his face dangerously closed to Leena's, who was sleeping cutely on the futon. He pulled away quickly, surprised to see me.

I understood then.

"Melfice, I… you…"

Yes. I, you. We're both the same.

We're both weak, aren't we?

But don't worry little brother. This lie will forever be gone from you, and you can be strong. You can.

I walked to him and I kneeled down and I hugged him. I struggled to talk but power was rushing through me too rapidly. I couldn't control myself. My words came out as stutters and grunts.

"Melfice!" Ryuudo gripped my arms hard. Maybe he was hoping if he squeezed hard enough, my words would flow. "What are you trying to say?!"

So many things, Ryuudo brother. I wanted to tell you that I love you, more than anything. You gave meaning to my lie, and I was reluctant to part with it.

I had to tell him that. I pulled from our embrace and I leveled my head and I gave him a sweet kiss on his lips. I felt him mumble confusion, and I pulled away.

So many things I want to tell you. But now…

I violently pushed Ryuudo, making him slam into the wall. I grabbed Leena, awakening her with a startle, and made my way for the door.

And I made one last look at Ryuudo. My little brother. He stared at me with confusion and love mixed in his expression. The last feeling I had was love for my little brother.

Then nothing. I spat at Ryuudo and ran out into the dark, rainy night, with Leena hanging over my shoulder.


I wanted to tell you that I'm creating a new lie for myself.

And that your lie named Melfice died that day.