THE BEGINNING OF ALL STORIES(2)
The space of truth in his mind expanded infinitely over time. He added knowledge and created new knowledge in the seemingly endless space, filling it with the truths pursued by pioneers and explored unknown area, never explored before.
He lay down in bed to sleep but the thought that suddenly sprang into his mind made him fall into contemplation. He couldn’t sense the sun rising in the sky or the day darkening to night. He felt like he was floating aimlessly, like the air around him had changed into a space with no gravity.
He lamented and abruptly opened his eyes. His eyes flickered with a golden light. He was overwhelmed with an indescribable sense of joy and looked down at his trembling hands. There was a faint light lingering around his hands. The change that had shown up on his body felt very mysterious to him, so he carefully closed his hands, opened them, then flipped them back and forth to examine them.
The light coming from his hands gradually began to spread all over his body. And the energy streaming from the light gradually began to gush forth and wrapped around him, as if wanting to swallow him.
Pop! There was no actual sound, but he could feel the sound of something popping all over his body. And a golden beam of light burst from his body, piercing the ceiling and into the skies. Like that, he lost consciousness.
It was the awakening of a Great Archmage.
* * *
When he opened his eyes, he found unfamiliar people gathered around the bed he was in. As he sluggishly sat up, a luxuriously dressed woman began to speak to him.
“You’re up. How do you feel?”
He frowned, wondering who this familiar but unfamiliar woman was. When he didn’t reply, the woman’s face darkened, and she spoke like she was embarrassed.
“Aren’t you going to greet your mother after seeing her in a long time?”
Mother? He barely managed to remember. Was this woman his mother? The mother in his memory always looked coldly at him with thinly veiled contempt. His mother was ashamed whenever she saw his young self because she couldn’t believe she had given birth to such a useless thing.
“Don’t rush the child too much, he just woke up.”
A man beside the woman added, and because of the woman who introduced herself as his mother, he quickly remembered who the man was. It was his father. The father who always clicked his tongue icily whenever he saw him, was now talking as if he was very worried about him. It was a strange sight.
“There has been no precedent of magic power manifesting late like in your case. Everyone saw your pillar of light. It was really beautiful. I am very proud of you, my son.”
Ahh. He finally understood what was going on. He looked at his hand and clenched his fist. He could feel strong power coursing through his entire body. The energy was so powerful and bottomless, it felt like he could have the entire world in his grasp.
The child, who was abandoned for his uselessness, was actually a radiant jewel covered in mud. When the mold trapping him was taken off, and his true self was revealed, they came to find the child they had abandoned. He couldn’t hold back at all and burst into laughter.
His parents were initially pleased to see him laugh but as they noticed the madness in his laughter, their expression slowly hardened. It was only when the people around him began to exchange serious glances that he stopped laughing. His expression was extremely cold.
“Where is this…no, where is Martha?”
Martha? Who was that? No one knew who he was looking for.
He had already forgotten this fact, but Martha was a commoner. It was a title with the meaning ‘animal’ in it, a lowly thing. Perhaps they didn’t even know that a commoner had a name. He felt uneasy for some reason.
“I’m talking about the commoner who waits on me. The old woman.”
“You do not need to be served by a commoner any longer.”
“Agreed. You can’t have such a lowly thing around you.”
“I said! Where is Martha?!”
“If you’re talking about the lowly thing that dared to stop us from taking you, it has received the appropriate punishment.”
The answer came from the mouth of a certain man. He remembered this man. It was his brother, the one who tormented him viciously and the party responsible to putting him close to the jaws of death. The man smiled crookedly and spoke in a mocking manner.
“I see you didn’t learn properly because you lived with such a lowly thing. How rude of you to raise your voice at your parents.”
“By appropriate punishment…do you mean you killed her?”
The man scowled.
“Saying it that way isn’t right.”
“I asked if you killed her.”
“I merely passed down punishment. Commoners are originally awfully weak.”
Something snapped in his head and he closed his eyes. His heart froze over but at the same time, it began to burn with hot rage. When his eyes opened again, they were filled with golden light. He felt the power in his body boil and overflow. He indifferently watched as shock filled the gazes of the people around him and he unleashed all of his power.
* * *
“We hereby command you to forfeit the family name of Hawkes, and to be banished forever.”
He was given the most severe punishment for killing more than ten people, his parents and brother included. He was harshly punished to wander a desolate land with nothing but his body.
A restraint hung from his neck. It was a stigma showing that he was a criminal and it could never be removed for the duration of his punishment. Since his crime was so severe, he received a life-time sentence, which meant he would never be able to take it off, in addition, expulsion magic had been added to his restraint. The criminal wearing this restraint could not approach any borders where the influence of the Madoh Empire reached.
He accepted his punishment. Not because he acknowledged his crime, but because he had no attachment towards his family and the country he was born and raised in.
There were the commoners who weren’t treated as people simply because they weren’t born with power, and then there were the imperials who saw themselves as gods and would never pass down the punishment of death no matter how serious the crime was. He felt something was wrong with this world.
No matter how powerful your magical power was, you would die if you didn’t eat. When imperials who were used to being waited on for everything got banished, they couldn’t last long and would starve to death. Outside the borders of the Madoh Empire was a wild wasteland filled only with beasts.
He walked on endlessly in his exile. The knowledge he gained from being around commoners from a young age helped him survive. He knew how to distinguish between some edible weeds and using a mousetrap he made, he caught rat for food.
He continued to contemplate and explore endlessly, only stopping to eat and sleep. He grew thinner and his skin became rough due to exposure to wind and rain, but his gaze grew deeper. One day, he chanced upon a building that was falling apart. It was a temple made of stone and he guessed it was made in ancient history. He decided to settle down and live there. It seemed to have been built with a solid foundation because the basic structure was still remaining.
The pendant-shaped restraint on his neck wasn’t one that restricted his ability, so his magic power grew more powerful over time. He used his magic to make a stone doll and controlled it to renovate the temple into a mansion. The doll he made was gradually able to perform more detailed instructions and was able to do basic tasks such as cooking and cleaning.
Since he no longer had to worry about his survival, he spent all his time studying magic. It did not matter if there were no books or experimental materials with him. There was already boundless knowledge in his head and everything around him could become test material.
As he lived estranged from the world, not noticing the passage of time, he suddenly discovered something strange. He had casually taken a look at his face and realized he looked very young, around twenty years of age. He hadn’t counted the days, but he knew that at least 10 years had passed. He wasn’t sure how, but time was leaving him untouched. Now, even the flow of time could not disrupt his passion for learning.
One day, he broke the sturdy wall surrounding him and gained new, tremendous power.
He found himself in a place that could be described at pure-white, or pitch-dark. He was standing on a golden path that stretched out for miles with no end in sight. He slowly walked along the path and watched as countless fragments of time flashed by him. Day, months, and decades of time swiftly flew by. Absurdly colossal events left afterimages in his head in the blink of an eye.
He saw a future in which the Madoh Empire disappeared and the magic in the world dispersed. A future was coming where the commoners founded a new country and ruled the world, a future where the imperials were trampled by the commoners whom they disdained so much and not even a trace of them was left.
The restraint around his neck could no longer restrict him. He could take it off if he wanted to and return to the Empire at any time. But he continued his life as a hermit.
He had no attachment to life but the more he knew, the more he couldn’t abandon his desire to see the end of the seemingly infinite truth. And so, he prepared for the day things would end. He set up a barrier around the vicinity of the mansion and gathered magical power. The barrier would protect him and the mansion even if the magic power in the world dispersed in the distant future.
Then a very long time passed; a time so long that he couldn’t even guess it.