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A Hero's Burden on Everyone Else

Thunder King

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Mali was resting at home, during the holiday break. Normally, it was a wonderful time for her, a time to relax, enjoy the holiday, and gather her energy for the coming year. This was not a year like that. The future was uncertain, with her duties with Young Freedom taking her somewhere else, an alternate universe under the iron grip of the Nazi regime. As such, it was tough to enjoy herself.

She walked into her father's private office and sat down. He was reading, something he often did when he had a quiet moment to himself.

"Dad, can we talk?"

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Annan, her father, was briefly startled, making an obvious conclusion. "Is this about a boy..."

Mali shook her head. "No! I mean, no, it's not about that. I mean, um...okay, so, I might be doing something dangerous, or, I'm probably going to end up doing something dangerous. I'm worried...I mean..."

"Go on..." Annan said, curious.

"Okay, so, basically, I'm going to go with some friends, to another world, and save some people from Nazis."

"That...that is different, yes." Annan said. "And you're scared that something might go wrong?"

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"Well, yes and no. I mean, from what I hear, trips to alternate universes are almost routine, and that part is kind of scary, but it's like skydiving. You can't help being a little scared, even when you trust the equipment. It's more that...well, these are Nazis, dad."

"And you paid attention in history class." He said.

"Yeah, exactly." She looked down. "I don't know what kind of things I'll see, I mean, I've seen pictures of war zones, battles, bodies, but nothing like that up close."

Annan reached forward and put his hand on his daughter's shoulder.

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"I doubt you are the only one worried, Mali." He said with a smile. "It will be hard, but I have faith in you."

Mali nodded. "I know dad, I just..."

"Who are you?"

"Mali Benjawan..." She said, confused.

"No, that is your name. Who are you?"

"Crimson Tiger."

"No, that is your heroic name. Who are you?"

"I am Mali Benjawan, daughter of Annan and Apsari Benejawan, and great granddaughter of the hero Anuman Benjawan, also known as the Black Tiger. I am the Crimson Tiger." She said, fire in her eyes.

"You do not carry this burden alone." Annan said with a smile. "You are strong, you carry the spirit of your family in you. It will be tough, and you will have trouble. You may see horrifying things. But you can be strong enough, and you will. I believe in you."

Mali smiled, stood up, and hugged her father.

He was right. This would be very difficult. All the horrors she had seen were that much more of a reason to help the people on Erde. With her resolve strengthened, she left the room and resolved to go to the workout room.

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