Owen Liddell started it slowly and as calmly as he could. It wasn't easy, even if a child couldn't fully comprehend the meaning of death yet, but it was the truth in this world. "Your brother Toby is…"
"Thank Eemis, I'm finally home. Can you guys imagine—wait, what happened here?" the sound of a rattled young man's voice echoed into the inn.
Owen stared up at the presence of the young man.
It made little sense at all—Tobias immediately dashed forward to them. He shoved the young man away and grabbed at his mother's hand, squeezing it tightly and looking worriedly at her face before he threw a look at him. "What did you do to them?!"
"Toby, you're home!" Nire stretched out her arms to him, waiting to be picked up. "Don't get mad, but you have lots of leaves and dirt on your clothes, Mama will get mad at you."
"You're home, Tobias." the Innkeeper's eyes welled up with tears. "What happened to you? We were so worried about you and your satchel was with him—"
Owen Liddell rubbed his forehead. "I saw it. The satchel and the large meat being grilled in the fire was around human size—"
"Well, you can see that I'm perfectly fine. Where's my satchel?" Tobias grumbled, albeit in a less harsh tone since his mother and sister were both around. "Don't just go jumping to conclusions."
"...Yes, I shouldn't." he said. He wanted to say something, try to defend himself, but eventually he just shut up and stepped back away from them. It wasn't his place to meddle into something like this.
This was like people reuniting after they had thought they lost some, emotions were on an all-time high.
It was a useless thing to argue that it was the logical answer for him to jump into when he had been there and seen the fire. All the goblin spawns toying around with the items in Toby's satchel and the look of salivating hunger of those cooking and the sickness that overcame him at that time.
Logic and rational answers could not reach those focused on feelings and other heartfelt emotions swaying the people and their thoughts.
Maybe he had also gotten stringed along with it—immediately assuming that Toby was dead and didn't search properly? "Stupid." Owen said underneath his breath and looked around the inn.
More or less, the people had already settled down now that they saw that Tobias was alive and not actually dead, as he believed the man to be. But now, it was easy enough to see some looks thrown into his way.
A frown on an old man's face.
The slips of murmuring between a group of women and hushed conversation.
Owen Liddell clenched his fist and turned away. He dropped the satchel onto the table and slunked upstairs back to his room—knowing full well what those hushed whispers were. And maybe it was just him imagining them, but he fully knew that it seemed like a stupid stunt.
Idiotic. Dumb. Good for nothing. He threw the door open and then barely held himself from slamming the door behind him as he plopped down his bed to breathe and rub his face. Owen Liddell immediately looked up and grabbed for his pack of things, throwing out clothes and other items aside for another one of the bottles he had brought along.
It was just a drink to calm himself down.
The first gulp was a bittersweet feeling down his throat, and he let out a heavy sigh. "I tried to do something good, and I only made it worse. Great job as always, Owen. Great. Great job."
He hung his head and placed the bottle aside to lie back down on his bed to relax. A short grumble escaped his lips as he closed his eyes. "The bed's not as great as the one back in Kraelonia Academy—but now I'm just whining like a little ass, aren't I?"
He wasn't talking to anyone.
At least not anyone he could see. Maybe the walls? To himself, really. Whatever the case, the young man disliked the feeling settled in his chest. The uncomfortable sensation of being wrong, causing some stupid and terrible incident to happen because he wasn't careful.
Its weight was something that made a young man like him turn to bickering and self-hatred. This was the only thing he knew—well, he could also stand up right now and pretend that everything was alright, and yet sulking was easy.
He was used to it, and it only made himself hate himself even more.
The irony of it made him laugh bitterly.
It was an endless cycle that only kept happening. He raised an arm and rested it against his shut eyes. "Did I really honestly think that by moving around to somewhere else new—I'd get a chance to restart from absolute zero? That I'd stop being the guy who drank all day and night and was a burden to my grandparents? I can't believe I was stupid enough to consider it, and now here I am. In the middle of fucking almost nowhere."
Way to go, Owen.
He could have moved anywhere.
A place more exciting than this sleepy village.
Somewhere to the very ends of the Yegarian Kingdom, or maybe try to hitch a ride beyond the Endless Passes and try to see if he could get to the land of the Elves, Dwarves and Fey. Maybe he could have gone to the Sharkteeth harbor and tried to escape even this very continent that he was on—
"But I'm always stuck with myself. Can't exactly escape me, can I?"
This was the truth of the matter, and it was the most laughable thing ever.
The closest thing to reaching the sweet bliss of escape had been his drinking. Owen Liddell wanted to drink, but simply held on to the bottle and closed his eyes. Soon enough, the man began to doze off—
[ Drinker Level 3! ]
[ Skill - Drinker's System Efficiency obtained! ]