Chapter 161: The First Mystic Declaration
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Thales was stunned as he looked at the ‘invitation’ in his hands. His thoughts were all over the place.
‘This cannot be.
‘Is this genuine or fake?’
He blinked in disbelief to confirm if everything in front of him was real.
‘Is this a practical joke?’
A few seconds passed before he put down the invitation. He took a deep breath.
He tried to understand the situation.
‘First of all, wasn’t he already… by Yodel?
‘Plus, Aida is just next door.
‘Wya and Ralf are taking turns guarding the door.
‘There are the soldiers and troops in the diplomatic mission, the countless guards in the entire Heroic Spirit Palace, and even those cool looking, so-called White Blade Guards, how can he just…
All of a sudden, a wave of palpitations surged within Thales’ chest.
He stopped breathing.
Thales realized that something was off
He turned his head, and his scalp felt numb.
He cast his gaze on the window.
And at that moment, the prince’s heart skipped a beat.
His “long-lost friend”, Asda Sakern was standing by the window with his hands behind his back. Thales looked at him and his seemingly indifferent pupils.
Just like when they met for the first time, the Mystic had on a thin yet finely-tailored blue robe. His posture was straight, and a confident yet mysterious smile hung on his handsome face.
‘Graceful as always, and as composed as before.’
In that instance, Thales’ mind blanked out.
‘What about the agreed… fifteen minutes?’
“How are you, my smart, mature, but mischievous little friend?” the Air Mystic spoke in a gentle tone as he nodded at Thales.
Thales opened his mouth and took a deep breath.
“From now on, any sound between us will not travel beyond a single foot from us.” Asda seemed to know what he was thinking. He gradually raised his right index finger and shook it at Thales. “The others will not disturb us.”
Upon hearing that, Thales turned into a deflating balloon—he released the air he just inhaled.
He then dismissed the idea of calling for help.
Asda’s smile was as warm as ever, but in Thales’ eyes, it caused extreme uneasiness.
Thales and the Mystic were not alone in the room
Thales’ heart moved.
Following Thales’ line of vision, the Mystic had a quick glance of Little Rascal, who was deep in slumber by the bed. “Of course, your adorable little maid will not be awakened.”
In dreamland, Little Rascal’s mouth moved slightly, but Thales could not hear any of her murmuring or breathing anymore.
Thales lightly sighed as he turned around. He curled his lips to reveal a grimace. “You’re still the same, so considerate and caring.”
Asda nodded politely.
Thales forced himself to begin thinking about all the intelligence he had on this Mystic.
However, the first memory that popped up was that of the chess room in the central area of Red Street Market. Three people were literally squeezed into the shape of a ball.
The second prince swallowed and forced a laugh or two. He tried to imagine something more acceptable.
‘What about comparing him to the cute Giza?’
“Right.” Thales shrugged his shoulders, pretending like it was effortless. He waved his invitation around, and painstakingly used his most casual tone as though he could not care less, “I thought you were coming in fifteen minutes.”
“You know”—Asda revealed his pearly white teeth—”I like to be early.”
Thales tried to restrain his thoughts and just swallowed the curse worse that hung at the edge of his mouth.
“Honestly… I thought you wouldn’t show up so soon.” Thales adjusted his sitting position and smiled awkwardly. “They… Everyone said you wanted to vanish for a while.”
Asda looked straight at him. His gaze was as calm as the waters. It evoked fear in Thales’ heart.
“The weapon wielded by that masked friend of yours was obviously not complete,” the Air Mystic said. “Otherwise, a perfectly conditioned, fully unleashed legendary anti-mystic equipment should have been able to seal a Mystic…”
Asda’s gaze remained cool, but his next words startled Thales.
‘The legendary anti-mystic equipment.
“Even so, that incomplete equipment could have kept me sealed for decades at least.” Asda smirked. “But I received a little help, so I was ‘released from prison’ this quickly.”
Perhaps it was the curiosity inherited from fragments of memories from his past life, or a natural characteristic, or even the anxiousness about his own lineage, but at that moment, Thales’ heart desired for knowledge on the Mystic’s exuberance. He suppressed his fear towards the calamity’s identity—he longed to know more.
“Firstly, I’m going to congratulate you.” Asda brought his hands up. With his clearly friendly, yet fear-evoking smile, he walked towards Thales. “Thales… Your Highness? Although it was apparent from your performance that you were definitely not ordinary, I must admit that this identity of yours surprised me.”
Thales looked at the approaching Asda. His heartbeat gradually accelerated as he could barely shrug his shoulders. “I remember there being a chair for receiving guests in the room. We can sit down and—”
“No need for that,” Asda shook his head and said nonchalantly.
The next moment, Thales felt his skin crawl as he watched Asda walk up to him, bend his knees, and just ‘sat’ on thin air.
Asda smiled brilliantly as he sat on his transparent ‘chair’. “I brought my own chair.”
As the prince watched this peculiar scene, he controlled his facial muscles resolutely, not allowing them to twitch too much.
“Let’s talk about your future, Your Highness.” Asda anticipated Thales’ reaction.
Thales knew in his heart that although he used the title “Your Highness”, this man before him had no regard for his special identity. It incited a strange feeling in Thales, who after becoming prince had tasted all sorts of judgemental looks.
Thales took a deep breath and forced himself to calm down before he could recognize the situation and protect himself—even if the one before him was a calamity who could not be survived through conventional means.
“Of course.” He recalled his conversation with Ramon. He muttered to himself, “All this while, I’ve thought of every possible method to investigate some things about… umm, Mystics and magic.”
In this disproportional conversation, he had to first grab hold of authority in initiating topics.
“Very good, this will save us a lot of time.” Sure enough, Asda’s eyes lit up. “What did you find out?”
“Not much, but not little either,” Thales carefully selected his words. “For instance, I found out what exactly is magic, and that there are Three Great Magic Towers. I also met a person who quite the avid researcher of magic.”
Asda revealed a look of interest.
After Thales cautiously narrated a summary of Ramon’s words, Asda could not help but lament, “It has been thousands of years since the collapse of the Magic Tower. Even after that and the six-century ban on magic, there is still someone who believes in magic. This has really exceeded my expectations.”
Thales observed the look on Asda’s face, and desperately pondered over his escape plans at the same time.
‘The other party is a Mystic—non-peaceful methods are out of the question.
‘Delaying time is worth considering. If only I can delay enough until assistance arrives, but will assistance even make a difference?’
The other party was probably hoping that he would become one of them—the damned, cursed Mystics.
His best bet would be to deal with the situation on a level ground, and achieve results by concession and humility…
“So, magic exists just as he described it? A kind of sense, a kind of belief?” At this thought, Thales felt his curiosity grow regarding this question. He cautiously asked, “What do you suppose?”
But the Air Mystic did not immediately answer.
Asda’s low gaze remained motionless.
Under Thales’ curious gaze, he crossed his arms again and remained silent for a long time.
“Magic… is not as such, not only as such and not necessarily as such.” Finally, Asda slowly shook his head, but he slowly said, “Everyone has their own understanding of magic. At the same time, everyone believes in their own understanding.”
Thales was startled upon hearing what was said.
Asda raised his left hand to look at his palm. His expression appeared complex.
In that instant, Thales found the Asda before him looking more like an ordinary citizen than ever…
Not a terrifying calamity.
“Magic is a choice.” Asda stared intently at his palm as he slowly clenched his fist. “The choices are not individual or mutually exclusive, and they do not have relative superiority—it aligns with the fundamental philosophies of the ‘Convention of All Magic’ in Soul Tower.
Thales had a sudden thought.
He heard a unique word.
“It’s also one of the magical philosophies I agree with and acknowledge,” Asda plainly said.
Thales raised his hand subconsciously, a habit caused by memory fragments from his past life.
He realized quickly that this was not his past life, and it was only the both of them. As he started to take his hand back in embarrassment…
Asda very habitually and naturally reached his palm out, catching Thales by surprise. He tilted it towards Thales and nodded.
‘Permission to ask.’
It felt like a practice done hundreds of thousands of times before.
Asda came to his senses and smiled. “Very good, it seems like there won’t be a need for me to teach you the classroom etiquettes and habits of a wizard’s apprentice anymore.”
Thales let go of his hand and hastily asked, “Soul Tower? I know about it. But, what kind of magic tower is it? What about its origins?”
Thales did not even realize that he completely forgot about the fact that the Asda in front of him was an extremely dangerous, non-human being.
He even forgot about his original intentions.
In that moment, his thirst for all the knowledge yet to be learned completely outweighed his rationale.
“Soul Tower?” Asda squinted and smiled mysteriously as if he knew that Thales would ask about it. “What do you know about it?”
‘The Soul Tower…’
Thales lowered his head, desperately trying to recall Ramon’s words. “Umm, I remember it having a special symbol… and that the tower causes differing opinions as well as indecisiveness in common people? Also, it seems like it doesn’t get along with the other two magic towers?”
Asda did not comment. He only allowed his gaze to linger on Thales for the longest time.
In response to the other party’s appraising gaze, Thales put on a dull smile.
“Very good. An exuberant sense of curiosity and the will to investigate, qualities worth encouraging indeed…” the Air Mystic slowly said.
Thales could only smile in return.
“Also, here’s some prior knowledge you should already know.” Asda was expressionless, but his eyes glimmered. “Listen well.”
Thales subconsciously sat upright.
This time, the Mystic did not keep him in a state of suspense, instead he promptly replied, “Year 618, Chronicles of the Kings. After the conclusion of the Battle of Survival between humans and the three clans, Wizard Yiri Crescent, a ‘propagator’ who returned from the battle left Ascetic Tower with five students in tow. It was due to a disagreement in philosophies.”
“Along the way, they made their philosophy public, imparted their ways and gathered a lot of wizards who were exiled by the war. Their group increased in number, and their philosophies as well as methods grew increasingly distinct.”
Here, Asda paused and squinted to see Thales’ expression.
Thales frowned. “Then?”
‘Don’t stop halfway!’
Asda stared at him with a deep, meaningful gaze, after which he smiled and continued.
“Finally, Wizard Yiri—we eventually honored him as a master—and twenty-one other sages arrived at ‘Foothill Peninsula’ by the peninsular beach. They built twin towers to reside there permanently and study magic.”
Asda paused again for a few more seconds. His gaze pierced through Thales as he seemingly peered into his past.
However, Thales had no time to attend to the other party’s looks. He was already obsessed with listening.
Averting his perplexed gaze, Asda shook his head and continued, “The newborn Magic Tower attracted many wizards to visit. The atmosphere of novelty, freedom, and equality in magical study gathered immense popularity. That piece of land, with the twin towers as its center quickly became the Wizards’ Gathering.
“Unlike the ascetic’s bitterness and vigilance, or the alchemist’s zealotry and destruction, this residence slowly became the frontier of theoretical study in the magical world. After the proposal of all kinds of unseen, unprecedented magical theories and hypotheses, progressive improvements were made in endless debates as well as arguments. Magic branches initially unrecognized by the two Great Magic Towers were established in succession, forming the Soul Tower magical system that we are exposed to today.
“Just like that, the sages collectively built the third branch beyond Ascetic Tower and Alchemy Tower. It was also the youngest, most special, enthusiastic, prosperous, influential wizard propagator in the world.”
Having said that, Asda bowed his head and heaved a sigh that only he understood.
“After the death of Yiri Crescent, his ash box was suspended mid-air in the middle of the twin towers. The surface of the box had the following words engraved in iron, ‘May every wizard have an independent and free soul.'”
“That was how Soul Tower got its name.”
Asda gently closed his mouth.
Thales composed himself and let out a long breath.
‘The Chronicles of the Kings.
‘The Battle of Survival.
‘”Propagator”, Wizard Yiri.
‘The youngest wizard propagator.
‘The origins of Soul Tower.’
These were all taboo knowledge, which he could not have easily retrieved from the books. Thales’ heartbeat accelerated.
It was as if an unprecedented world just opened up to him.
‘If only Ramon were here, would he kneel and weep in agitation?’ Thales thought.
He continued raising his hand urgently. “What about the Convention of All Magic? What is it?”
“The Convention of All Magic.” It seemed as though Asda had missed the expression on Thales’ face. He continued steadily, his crisp, pleasing voice echoing in the small space as he narrated the world’s most tabooed, lost knowledge.
“This is an important branch of study in Soul Tower.
“It originated during the Empire’s first civil unrest. Officially established in the year 373 of the Empire Calendar, it flourished from the fifth to seventh century. At its peak, at least half of the wizards in Soul Tower came from the Convention of All Magic. Every time a convention was held, even apprentices and wizards from Alchemy Tower and Ascetic Tower would come to listen and comment, tit for tat.”
Asda paused. He nodded satisfyingly as he looked at Thales’ face, which was full of curiosity and desire for knowledge.
Thales’ heart skipped a beat. He just realized that the initiator of the conversation fell back to Asda once again.
He really wanted to know.
The second prince looked at Asda as a sense of contradiction arose in his heart.
The Mystic continued with a smile on his face.
“I cannot conclude using simple words. Summarizing the characteristics of this branch of study is an irresponsibility towards the student, but I can give you a booklist encompassing a dozen of the most impactful books. Actually, no, precisely speaking, it should be twenty-three important writings; that is if you want to achieve a more in depth understanding of the Convention of All Magic.”
Thales’ heart raced once he finished listening to the Mystic’s little speech. An inexplicable sense of agitation filled his brain.
But he calmed down quickly and realized that there was a problem.
“Mr. Asda, before becoming a calamity, you were a wizard, weren’t you? Thales looked at Asda in wonder.
He did not even think about whether his words violated the other party’s taboos.
“That’s a title awarded to a person who has achieved recognized achievements in a certain magic territory—at least, that was how it went in Soul Tower.” Asda crossed his arms, lightly curled his lips and faintly shook his head. “I was just a little apprentice back then.”
Thales’ heart moved. “Ah, so sure enough, you used to be…”
Asda nodded, a peculiar flow of colors appeared in his eyes. “Yes, an apprentice of Soul Tower.”
Thales scowled. “But, didn’t you just say that… it’s been thousands of years since the collapse of Magic Tower?”
‘Thousands of years since its collapse…
“I know what you want to ask.” Asda looked at him and smiled. “One thousand, one hundred and ninety years old—that is my age this year.”
Thales was shocked.
‘One thousand, one hundred and ninety?
In a daze, Thales looked at Asda Sakern—young, handsome, and completely unchanged since the day they first met.
It was unbelievable. He was over five hundred years older than Tormond Jadestar, the King of Renaissance, and the hero, Raikaru Eckstedt from six hundred years ago!
Thales’ mouth hung wide open.
“There’s no need to be surprised. Every Mystic is immortal and indestructible.” Asda could not care less as he looked at Thales’ expression. “This is a very normal age—the oldest Mystic has already been around for more than a thousand three hundred years.”
Thales wanted to search for a notebook, until Asda stopped him with his arms.
“There’s no hurry.” Asda looked up and gazed at him with radiant eyes. “We have a lot more time to spend with each other. Furthermore, I have enough patience. I will teach you from the very beginning, from the basics… from magic to the Magic Tower, mystic energy and everything about Mystics.
“From philosophy to energy, all the secrets of the magical world since its inception will be revealed to you,” Asda’s tone was very enticing. “After that, you will be awarded the prestigious secrets and energy of the Mystics…
“Until you really become a Mystic.”
In that instance, it felt as if Thales was pulled back to reality from an illusional world.
‘Become a Mystic.’
Thales swallowed earnestly.
He recalled Gilbert’s attitude towards ‘calamities and also the drama in the Battle of Eradication at Dark Night Temple.
Then, there was the… insane, unreasonable Blood Mystic.
‘The cursed Mystics?’
The sight of Giza’s disgusting tree roots and tentacles floated before his eyes. He could not help but feel apprehensive and resistant.
Yet, a voice whispered in Thales’ heart, ‘But, I’m so curious
‘I want to know more, learn more, understand more.’
Thales realized that the knowledge narrated by Asda earlier had captivated his thirst and desire for knowledge.
Furthermore, he obviously had an abnormal body—he had to gain more understanding about his situation.
Thales frowned bitterly and probed further, “About that… If, umm, I’m saying if we can take it slow…
“On the matter of becoming a Mystic, how about we discuss it again…”
The Air Mystic did not speak.
However, the prince could obviously feel the surrounding atmosphere intensify.
Thales tried to control the frequency of his breathing. He waited nervously for a reply.
Asda concealed his smile and looked at Thales sternly. In a serious manner, he whispered, “Thales, becoming a Mystic is your fate. You cannot avoid it.
“There is no second choice.”
Thales gasped a little.
‘This looks to be quite bad.’
“About that, how about you tell me first.” Nervousness and pressure started to return to Thales’ heart. He painstakingly smiled and cautiously asked, “Mystics—what are you… we exactly?”
This time, Asda locked his expressionless gaze on him for a long, long time.
Under the Mystic’s emotionless and pressing eyes, embarrassment as well as helplessness crept across Thales’ face.
That was until Asda steadily said, “I can’t tell you the answer to this question, because you haven’t become a Mystic,” Asda’s eyes remained fixed on him, but his tone and words became cold and mysterious. It was as if they had travelled back to that night in Red Street Market. “Only when you become a Mystic, will you understand; only then, you will finally know what a Mystic really is.”
Thales frowned a little.
‘He doesn’t want to tell me?’
“But before that, don’t you still have to tell me some of the fundamentals?” Thales scratched his head. He pondered about his escape plan while he said, “At least, tell me about your understanding; what is a Mystic to you—”
However, before his voice fell, Asda’s expression changed. He suddenly spoke, interrupting him with an unprecedented grimness!
“Not possible,” Asda said heavily. His expression turned cold as he solemnly added, “Absolutely not possible.
“You are not allowed to ask this question again.”
Just like that, it seemed like the worst thing to encounter.
Thales was shocked by the sudden tension coming from Asda.
Did he ask the wrong question?
Thales observed Asda cautiously until he was sure that his skin would not be torn off the next time he spoke. Then, he carefully asked, “Wh-Why?”
Asda squinted, but his expression remained solemn.
“Because, it is one of the Three Great Declarations,” the Mystic whispered.
Thales was absolutely dazed.
‘Three-Three Great… what?’
“Remember this, what I am about to tell you next is top secret. Only Mystics know about it.” Asda knew about Thales’ doubts and he knitted his brows. His eyes were frosted and he had an unprecedented heaviness and solemn tone.
Below Thales’ nervous gaze, he said, “Exposing them equals betraying all the Mystics in the world—believe me, you will not like that ending.”
As his words came to an end, Asda’s eyes cast an icy look on Thales.
‘A secret… only the Mystics themselves know?’
At that moment, it seemed as though the surrounding air had frozen.
Thales simply felt his heartbeat accelerating endlessly.
He could only squeeze out a smile after some exertion, and he finally nodded with difficulty.
After seeing Thales’ response, Asda slowly nodded.
“There are three rules that must be obeyed by a Mystic. These rules are called the Three Great Declarations,”
Thales frowned slightly.
“The first of the three Mystic declarations is to not investigate one another.” The youth in the blue shirt had a stern expression on his face, and his gaze was as sharp as ever.