A never before experienced sense of dexterousness surged from Garen’s hands. Raising his hands, he made a few poses.
Following the sound of his hands cutting through the air, his fingers created apparitions where they moved.
"What speed! This level of dexterity is only a foundation in being a Luminarist?!" He observed his own hands. With his current proficiency, he could form three complex gestures in a second.
Basically he could finish any gestures in an instant.
"I guess, it’s Tactics next." Garen retrieved the handbook and pressed against the tiny wrinkles on the cover. "Teacher Emin said if I want to continue the study, I’ll need to go to his place. I can’t leave the manor yet, need ideas…"
His Intelligence had already returned to his normal level, so his thinking speed is really fast.
"Right now the manor has three Luminarists, the Obscuro wouldn’t provoke us for the moment. But Vanderman would know that already. They’re in a sticky situation at the moment, if the RAL could request for reinforcement, so could the Obscuro. If they clashed then, I’d be in even more danger."
He estimated that if he requested to go out, Vanderman wouldn’t oppose to it after giving it a little thought. The Luminarists wouldn’t pay much attention to a nobody like him anyway, there shouldn’t be much problem if he hid himself appropriately.
In a town a few thousand kilometers away from the Lush Forest district.
The setting sun sent its rays onto the streets, bringing out a sense of warmth and peace.
Children chased after each other in front of the fruit stall. Among the townsfolk coming home, some mercenaries walked with their weapons. Occasionally there were a few people from the upper class too.
In a yellowish private building made of some sort of wooden material.
The door opened with a creak before letting in a young man with a slightly pale face. His youthful, beardless face was accentuated with his calm, bright eyes. He wore a black set of suit with an equally black bowler hat, a black feather in his breast pocket, and a black walking cane in his hand.
He entered the hall and looked at an enchanting young lady sitting by the bar.
"Berlina, is teacher back?" He said, gazing at the staircase toward the second floor.
"Upstairs. He’s waiting for you, go quickly." The lady was combing her long red hair with a small comb and answered him nonchalantly.
The man hung his hat on the rack beside the entrance and rushed to the second floor.
"Beckstone? Come in." An old raspy voice came from inside.
The door opened by itself, leaving space for the passage of one person.
The man in black entered.
It was an average-sized study. Bookshelves took up most of the wallspace. Everywhere, the floor, the desk, were books and opened notebooks.
Sketch papers were filled with random notes, complicated formulas, symbols and shapes.
An old man sat in front of the desk by the window. His silver beard was so long, it drags from the desk to the door, spooling in front of it. It measured about twenty meters.
"Your beard has grown out again." Closing the door, the younger man avoided stepping on the silver beard and approached the older man.
"This is a curse, one that I can’t ever undo…" The old man put aside his notebook, leaned back against the chair and sighed. "Compared to killing that person, I am willing to pay this price."
"Do you have any orders for me?" The younger man asked politely.
"Beckstone, when you were still a baby, I saved you from the stream. Even then you were able to understand my words. You promised me, don’t hate the world, don’t antagonize your parents who left you. Were you able to do that?" The old man stared into the young man’s eyes, his own sparkling with evaluation.
Beckstone stayed quiet for a while before he answered with hesitation.
"I am working on it...:"
"You couldn’t, I know…" The old man sighed, once more. "Life is constantly changing. You’ve lived in this town for the past nineteen years. Hatred can only create more hatred. At this point, I can no longer restrict you from doing anything. Your talent frightens me, I’m afraid that you will bring damage to mankind if you lost your way. Unfortunately, this is not something you can control."
"No words. Maybe you will become the strongest Luminarist in the world, but never forget this. Your hatred, your desire, your choices, everything you do will bring about huge impacts to the world. You may bring light and hope, but you may also bring suffering and pain."
The old man looked at the young man whom he taught for twenty years, his eyes kind.
"Go, it’s time for you to leave here."
"Leave?" Beskstone was lost for words, "Where should I go?"
"Wherever you want to go."
Beckstone wanted to protest, but his vision blurred, and the next thing he knew, he was standing outside the building, his hand posed on the door, preparing to enter.
"Teacher… is this what you wanted to say to me?" He murmured, let his hand fall to his side, and left.
Creaking, the door swung open, an enchanting red-haired lady stared at his leaving with a weird look.
"Hey! Don’t you wanna keep teacher company?" She hollered.
Beckstone waved with his backhand, and soon he disappeared into the crowd.
A beautiful face emerged from the depth of his mind.
"I will find you, and the person who took you…" Beckstone’s grip tightened on itself.
Lush Forest district
Manor of Aquarius
Clink! Clank! Crash!
Aquarius swept the vases off the table in her fury. Some of them crashed on the wall, some landed on the floor, but they all broke into pieces.
The room was a galore of her wrath. Crystal statues, life-size models, furnitures, flowers, everything was strewn around in the room.
"Dammit dammit dammit dammit!!"
Aquarius’ face was in a state of contortion, her anger bursting out of her facade of divine beauty.
"Barr! Baphje!" She clenched her jaw as she tugged at the tablecloth, throwing it on the floor and stepped on it in frustration.
"Royal Alliance, you’re pushing your luck! This is Lush Forest district! Obscuro’s territory, MY territory!" Her rage was seething so much, it made her tremble. Her eyes were filled with killing intent as dense as mud.
However, being furios is one thing, sticking to the plan her higher up gave is another. The overall arrangements in different countries have yet to be finalized, and she’s just a very small part of it. Even Barr and Baphje, the two district-level people in charge from Royal Alliance of Luminarists, were only considered as a small price to pay in exchange for their operation’s success.
"Shouldn’t jeopardize the whole situation. Or else I won’t have my revenge, the higher ups will also…"
"You won’t be seeing the last of me… just you wait!" Aquarius felt as if her chest was drowning in the air, her displease nowhere to be displaced. "I will remember this, but next time! I will throw you all in the sow barn, naked!"
Outside the opened door, one of her subordinates shivered as she heard the words.
"Re- reporting for duty!"
"What!" Aquarius yelled back in her fury.
"Two news…" The subordinate replied with hesitation, "A missing General-level in Lush Forest district had been found. Only bones were left behind by the wolves…"
"Oh? Those useless imbeciles! Not bad, Vanderman-" Aquarius’ face was wild, as if she’s going to break out. "What’s the other news?"
"Master… Lonave is here."
"Lonave…" Aquarius was going to respond when she recalled her assassin Diaz’s pursuit of that idiot Master Acacia through her blue-scaled snake.
"Interesting… What kind of elites does Vanderman have protecting his son? I wanna know!" She licked her lips and barked her order at her subordinate.
"Tell Lonave, compared to his boorish self, I’d rather have a handsome fellow like Vanderman’s son Acacia. Tell him to never bother me again!"
"Yes… Yes…" Her subordinate didn’t wait any longer as she backed out immediately.
Three days later.
Every few days, there will be a team escorting exchange materials from the territory of the Trejons to the district of Hanna on the other side of the Red River.
The procession marched past a small bridge under the afternoon sun. The river itself is the border between districts, the carriages cast their reflections on the stream, seemingly calm and peaceful.
In one of the white carriages, Garen wore a white hood to hide his face, but he was by himself among all the cargo.
The captain of the team is Banq, a shrewd businessman. His official job is the leader of interdistrict exchange, but in secret, he’s also a spy of the Trejons family.
This team looked like they’re sending goods to another district, but their real motive is to escort Garen away from his manor. It was getting more and more dangerous, that’s one of the main reasons Vanderman agreed to let Garen go.
His destination will be at the other side of the Red River, his aunt’s house in Hanna district.
Staring at his own reflection under the bridge, it was like looking into a mirror.
A red maple leaf drifted slowly onto the water surface, creating ripples that spread out and disturbing that reflection.
Garen rubbed his hands lightly as the weather cooled.
At every period of peacefulness, he would think about the life he had on earth.
He kept going forward with his special ability, there was no pauses or stagnation. As he reached his goals, he kept thinking, what are all those for, but he had no answer.
"Maybe as I moved forward, I will return to earth one day." Garen fantasized, breathing out a cloud of white mist.
Only with enough power, he can feel safe. Sometimes he also doubted his motive of learning Martial Arts in the first place. Was it because he had fantasized it for the longest of time, or was it because he wanted to not be afraid anymore?
Afraid of disappearing.
Countless planets in the universe, countless civilizations, he wondered how many were stronger than the Luminarists. Even the powerful Warlocks had completely died out.
"What exactly, is forever…?" Garen lifted his jaw, looking at the orange sky.
A skein of geese flew past them, forming a V-shape.
A platinum-gold silhouette slowly appeared beside Garen, mirroring his action of staring at the sky.