Chapter 180: Knocking on the Door
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Thales opened his eyes slowly.
Where was he?
This was not important. What he felt was more important.
His thoughts seemed to have undergone some changes, as though they had become scattered and they sounded like a stream, but muffled, as if a veil had been thrown over them.
It was as though he… did not care about anything?
‘Why is it like this?’
Thales vaguely knew what was happening to him, but he did not want to get rid of the feeling.
‘Isn’t this good? It’s as though I’ve entered another realm.’
Thales looked up.
There were a lot of gray… spheres?
Yes, Thales saw a gray pebble.
No, not just one.
It was a gray pebble among countless others.
‘Amazing. These pebbles are so far away from one another. No matter how much time they spend, they will never be able to get even one millimeter closer to each other.
‘But they’re so close at the same time. They’re closer to one another compared to most things in the world, almost becoming one. Will they stay like this for thousands, millions, or even billions of years to come? So near, yet so far…
‘Isn’t the world so magical? That there can be such an interesting and lively relationship between two stationary stones. How about other things in the world? Is there also such an interesting relationship between them? There definitely is.
‘Why didn’t I notice all this before? Why didn’t I realize how marvelous the world is?
‘Perhaps I was too stupid.’ Thales thought calmly.
He raised his gaze slowly. The pebbles moved further and further away from him… or perhaps nearer and nearer towards him?
Still, this was unimportant. The important thing was that the distance between him and these pebbles was changing. Every single moment this change in distance happened, the pebbles also became something else. It went both ways—the position of the pebbles relative to him, and his position relative to the pebbles.
He continued to lift his gaze.
‘Ah, I see.’ Thales realized suddenly. ‘These pebbles make up the surface of a floor tile. A coarse and uneven surface. Such an amazing combination.
‘Even though they are only pebbles, they became another thing because of their position and the special distance between them.
‘Something called “the surface of a floor tile.” Just like human beings. Without their positions and the distance between them, every single person is an independent entity.
‘However, when their positions or the distance between them change, and when they stand together… in the same dimension, area and society, they also become another thing. Something called “crowds”.
‘Wait.’ A little voice in Thales’ consciousness told him. ‘This can perhaps be reversed. Their positions and the distance between them are determined because of their individual existences.
‘Why do I know all this? Forget about it. It isn’t important. The point is that… this is so interesting. I shall continue looking.’
Thales saw it. ‘This grayish-black floor tile is octagonal, and is connected to several other floor tiles that have the same shape.
‘They were put together by humans, weren’t they? This is why the distance between them is so inconsistent.
‘Or perhaps, the person who laid these tiles think that they were placed very uniformly, because human beings can’t perceive the beauty of symmetry and uniformity?
‘Or maybe, this is what they perceive as “uniform”. After all, from a distance away, the floor formed by these tiles would look very even.’
Thales looked up.
He knew that it was ‘daytime’… Because this phenomenon known as ‘daytime’ was defined based on the position of the sun relative to the ground.
It was the afternoon sun, the sunrays forming perfect right angles with the ground.
There was a magnificent, exotic and foreign-looking house in front of Thales, with strange eaves that curled up at all four corners, a front door made of thick agarwood, and windows made of both glazed glass and Crystal Drops. There were also people with black hair and black eyes, in long flowing robes, and went in and out of the house.
All of them looked anxious.
‘Why are they anxious?’
Something crossed Thales’ mind and he knew why.
There was a black-haired, black-eyed young woman in the house. Screaming painfully in a pool of blood, she was surrounded by a group of women.
Her lower abdomen bulged greatly—she was in labor.
They did not have to worry. Thales saw that the living being inside the woman’s belly was strong and energetic, moving its limbs continuously.
‘She will give birth smoothly.’
On the other hand, someone who looked like the woman’s husband, a well-dressed and respectable-looking man, was kept outside the house by a group of men. He looked like he was going through a hard time.
‘I see.’ Thales thought. ‘The inside and the outside of the house are cut off from each other.
‘This is why the one inside is anxious and serious, while the one outside is suffering and in pain. If only they could see each other’s situation…
‘Or even… see that baby girl inside the woman’s belly… Perhaps then, they wouldn’t need to be anxious, worried, terrified, and tormented anymore?’
Soon, the woman stopped her pained wailing. The trembling of her body slowly subsided.
Following a faint cry, a baby girl covered in blood emerged.
Hearing the news, the man outside the house broke through all the barriers and charged inside.
Trembling, the man knelt in front of the bed. Holding his wife’s hand, he nervously comforted her in a language Thales could not understand. The woman wore a smile.
Finally, someone respectfully passed the baby girl to the man. The baby’s eyes were closed tightly.
Trembling, the man held his daughter.
Watching everything from the side, Thales glanced at the excited, black-haired and black-eyed man. He then glanced at the black-haired and black-eyed woman who had a relieved expression.
He felt like laughing.
‘What would they do if they knew the truth?’
The baby girl opened her eyes slowly and looked at the first person in her life.
Seeing the baby girl clearly, the man trembled.
He raised his head in shock and looked at everyone around him with panic. Speaking in a language Thales could not understand, the man seemed to be at a loss for what to do.
Someone walked forward with a frown. Taking a look at the baby girl, the person immediately froze.
An uproar arose in the house.
At that, the woman’s frightened screams, the baby’s wails, the servants’ anxious reassurances and the man’s growls, echoed one after another.
“Hahaha…” Watching all this, Thales burst out laughing.
He looked at the baby girl’s sparkling, crystal-clear blue eyes, totally different from her ‘father’ and mother’s black ones.
‘It probably never crossed the man’s mind that his wife’s daughter might not be his daughter. Hilarious.’
Thales stopped watching. He began churning out thoughts like a machine.
‘If the man could see a few months ago that his ‘daughter’ had blue eyes that were not inherited from him…
‘No, not just that. The baby girl’s skin is obviously quite fair, her hair is curly, and her nose bridge is a little tall. All these could be seen quite obviously even before her birth. Unfortunately, the man didn’t know.
‘If he knew… Would he still have to experience this disappointment, pain and fury, after all that anticipation, worry, and waiting?
‘He wouldn’t have to. But the man can’t see through his wife’s belly, and so, could not see her betrayal. This is why he is fated to go through all this.
‘His vision is too narrow, and his knowledge too limited. This is the price paid for stupidity and ignorance.
‘Such a pity, but oh, so laughable.’
Thales was bored of all this. He turned his head.
‘Hmm? This is not quite right.’
He was anticipating to see the house’s interior. However, what did he see instead?
The morning sun… and…
Black with hints of white?
Black was the color of the water.
The white parts were the foam and the light reflections on the water’s surface.
He was looking at an ocean under the morning sun. An endless sea.
‘Endless? No. It’s too narrow. This ocean… From one end to another, this ocean is too small.’
There was a small island on one side of the ocean, and a long and narrow beach on the other. The ocean was also quite vast, almost borderless.
It was especially so from the point of view of this long and narrow sailing ship, which sailed on the sea like a tiny boat.
Thales stared quietly at the flag on the ship.
There was an image of a white seagull holding an anchor with its beak.
‘Interesting. The seagull and anchor. The sky and the bottom of the sea.
‘It’s like there’s a far and unreachable distance between them, but at the same time, they are so close to each other.’
The sailors on the ship were performing their duties conscientiously.
A beardless young man, who was neatly-dressed and had a polite bearing, stood beside the rudder. He looked out of place among the rough-looking sailors who were drenched in sweat and dirt. As he spoke with the impatient-looking helmsman, he stared excitedly at the water beyond.
This time, Thales could understand what the man said.
“Trust me, the misfortunes before this were only a test from Errol… We have already passed through the Black Whirlpool. According to the nautical chart passed down from my ancestors, we will soon be able to find…”
However, the man spoke the common tongue in a somewhat unusual accent. The rise and fall of his tone and cadence was especially obvious. It was different from the boorish, murmured, short and powerful Northland accent, neither was it like the clear and precise Constellation accent.
‘The young man seems to be a person of status. Is he the captain, or the one who hired this ship?
Thales smiled again. ‘It’s a pity that… the moment he turns his head, he would see the contempt and disdain in the sailors’ eyes.’
“Why would boss believe in what this young lad says? I heard that he’s not a noble, but a gangster from Vallier Gang?” one of the sailors said in a low voice to an old sailor, who was coiling a rope. “Boss even listened to him and took the risk of sailing to such a… place.”
The old sailor glared fiercely at the young man. “Of course he is a gangster. However, his ancestor from a few generations ago was elected for the Thirty-Sixth Seat in Parliament. That ancestor owed boss a huge sum of money. For some reason, instead of punishing him, boss immediately left Crystal Jade City and sailed to this accursed place. He doesn’t even want to go to Evergreen Island, which had been set as part of the voyage.”
The first sailor furrowed his brow. “The Eye of the Sea of Eradication… is this really such an unlucky place? Everyone looks so uncomfortable.”
“Of course, think about it.” The old sailor spat. His expression was unpleasant. “The Final Empire is entombed at the bottom of the sea beneath our feet. God knows how deep it is. Millions of Empire citizens rotting into skeletons from the sea water, and torn to pieces by the fish…
“Legend has it that their lost souls have not been able to rest in peace through these six hundred years, and are filled with hatred and pain… Something strange happens here every year. Something really, really strange…”
The young man could not see what was going on behind his back.
Even when he turned his head around, the sailors hid their emotions and did their jobs with their heads bowed. So, he would never know his true standing on the ship.
‘Why is he so stupid? Doesn’t he know that the heart of the helmsman beside him is beating faster? His blood flow is also speeding up and he’s getting more and more agitated. Why is he still rattling away?
‘He isn’t aware of how almost everyone on the ship contract their pupils when they see him, exuding hatred and disgust.
‘He doesn’t know that one of the logs underneath the ship can no longer bear any more weight and might be thrown off by a huge wave at any moment.
‘Doesn’t he know? Of course…’ Thales continued laughing. ‘Neither can anyone on the ship see that within the mist a few thousand meters away, a hideous battleship with a blood-colored parrot on its flag is sailing head-on towards them.’
In the clamor, ecstasy, wine, and blood, the fierce pirates opened their stinky breaths and counted their spoils from a few days ago. They also dallied with the captives, especially the female ones.
The leader of the pirates even announced excitedly that they would return to the harbor after robbing one more ship.
Polished blades and swords, crossbows, bows and arrows lay waiting in the pirates’ arsenal.
‘That young man and the ship he’s on… Why are they so foolish?
‘Why are they still sailing onward? Such a simple and obvious matter… Why do they not know?
‘Even though they live in such a magical world, they have no clue at all about the things happening around them.
‘Such a waste; how uninteresting.’
Thales felt uncontrollably irritated. He turned his head back around again.
‘Eh?’ He saw a grain of sand under the moonlight. ‘Sand. A marvelous creation.
‘Countless objects of the same kind piled together, forming an entire desert through their intriguing and uniform, relative position.
‘Just like this, innumerable grains of sand grate, squeeze and flatten themselves against each other; they reject and pull apart from one another.’
Watching every single grain of sand in the desert, Thales marveled internally. ‘They form an equally wonderful desert.’
He turned his head again…
…and saw a leaf in the dark.
But he already had experience with this kind of problem.
‘It isn’t just a leaf… but a forest. A dark forest under the night sky.’
Pairs of glimmering eyes could be seen within the forest indistinctly. They were countless animals that were either predator, or prey.
‘And yet, they are so pitiful.’ Thales sneered softly in his heart.
A badger happily dug at an ant nest beside the wet soil. There was a huge beetle in the colony, and this delighted the hungry badger. Unfortunately, it had no idea that a few hundred meters away, one of its mating partners had fallen prey to a lone wolf.
On the other hand, the old lone wolf that caught the badger was celebrating its hunt. It did not know that another wolf that used to be of the same pack was hunted and killed by a panther that pounced from the top of a tree. Neither did the panther know that a pup it gave birth to six years ago was dying under the hoof of a furious, giant rhinoceros.
The giant rhinoceros did not know that a group of fully-equipped humans were excitedly peeling off the skin, retaining the bones, and taking out the meat of one of its relatives. They were doing this upstream.
And neither did these humans know that countless pairs of glimmering purple eyes were staring coldly at them from within the dense wood behind them. Those creatures silently launched their arrows in the darkness.
These creatures with the purple eyes and pointy ears might have never thought that one of their kind at a lookout post in the forest several meters away from this place was frightened, confronting another fair-skinned, pointy-eared creature while using a machete and rapier respectively. At the final moment, the fair-skinned, pointy-eared creature delivered a stab through its opponent’s chest.
The pale, pointy-eared victor spat viciously and left in disdain, leaving the wide-eyed corpse to rot slowly and become the food to a colony of ants beside him.
These ants only migrated here a few days ago. Flustered, they were the losers of another battle. Another strong colony of ants chased them out. However, they would be happy to know that the old enemies that chased them out of their habitat had been totally annihilated by a mischievous badger. This happened after the ants brought back an old beetle’s corpse.
Thales watched quietly as this completed food chain dictated everything that happened here.
‘Don’t the-these creatures know about all this? It’s so interesting yet so sad.’
At this, Thales suddenly felt a strange warmth wash over him… from his entire body… Wait, body?
Thales suddenly noticed a problem: Where was his body?
Then, a wonderful sensation was transmitted to every single sensory organ in him. Several scenes appeared before his eyes at the same time in a sequence like a flowing stream of water… Eaves of unique styles… Sailing ships on the sea… Silent deserts under the moonlight…
A forest full of life.
Thales watched all this with utmost concentration.
‘Interesting. Fun. Marvelous.’
More and more scenes appeared before his eyes. A glacier in a snowstorm, a castle on a sea cliff, a warm, wet land, a prairie under the setting sun, a vast plain in the evening, a fortress at night, the surface of an ocean that reflects the moonlight…
Soon, Thales felt the world before his eyes become clearer… stranger…
He also became more excited, more content. Everything in the world was in front of his eyes, he could see and hear everything clearly.
No. Not just this.
He knew everything.
It was as if he stood at the places where everything was happening. He was present in everything.
He was everything!
Thales became happier and happier.
He enjoyed this sensation very much. He wanted more.
To see more, know more and obtain more.
The scenes flashing before his eyes came faster and faster, becoming more intense, getting shorter and shorter.
The next moment.
It was as if an explosive thunder rang beside his ears.
Thales’ vision darkened momentarily. There were no changing scenes anymore. Instead, everything was fixed eternally before his eyes.
It was as if he was watching thousands of movies at the same time, and the movies showcased everything in the world… As though he was standing in every corner of the world at the same time.
No, not just that. Thales suddenly felt like all his sensory organs were being compressed hard. The next second…
Thales felt an intense vibration!
A dreary sound echoed vacantly within his consciousness. It was as if his consciousness had suddenly hit something.
This sound… it was as if someone was knocking on a door.
His consciousness shook again.
The sound echoed for a third time. Thales trembled a little.
After some time, Thales suddenly felt everything that existed around him move. At that moment, it was as if a door was opened.
He entered a new world.
In this new world, his sensory organs could feel everything with incomparable clarity.
From the slightest granule and the deepest parts underground, to the endless ocean and the vast sky. Not only could he see everything in the world… But it was as though he WAS the world simultaneously.
But an accident also happened at the same time.
He became increasingly conscious of a wave of prickling sensations that irritated his skin. Thales trembled slightly and felt bewildered.
‘What’s going on?’
It was as if his consciousness suddenly ascended into a dark and quiet space.
Almost at the same moment he entered this space, Thales felt something strange… As though it was instinctive.
It felt like there were people snooping on him.
He did not know how he felt it, but his instinct told him that behind the darkness of this space, there were numerous pairs of eyes staring at him strangely. Thales subconsciously raised his gaze, trying to see through the darkness.
The moment he thought of seeing through the darkness, without warning, he felt the nearest being to him.
It was a ball of light. A colorless ball of light.
Another violent knock.
The colorless ball of light that suddenly appeared in the darkness seemed foggy and blurred, as though it could not be touched. Before Thales could react, the ball of light moved slightly.
Lifeless words then rang beside Thales’ ears.
Thales’ field of vision shook.
‘This ball of light… is conscious?’
“Eh?” the colorless ball of light asked. His tone was still insipid. “I have not seen you before. What is your name of origin?”
‘Name of origin? Mystics… Mystic energy… The first declaration among Mystics…’
Thales recalled a few familiar terms from his memory, which felt as though it was separated from him by a veil.
He immediately shuddered violently. But before he could dwell on things, the ball of light suddenly went further and further away from his vision.
The insipid voice became increasingly faint, as though it was shouting from a distance. “Who are you?”
Thales paid no heed to it. He felt as though his consciousness was fading away.
Thales felt his field of vision shake again.
He came across a pile of metallic gray… sparkling debris…?
Different from the ball of light just now, this pile of debris seemed to be lifeless and without consciousness. However, just when Thales became confused of his surroundings…
A brown mist appeared in front of him.
This mist gave him the same feeling as the metallic gray debris. It seemed to be lifeless, and could not speak.
Just when a thought came to Thales, the pile of debris and the mist moved slowly away.
There was another knock. Thales was starting to get used to it.
Soon, a green ray of light appeared before his eyes. But this ray of light had consciousness. The green light kept changing shape, from round and square, to cylindrical and rectangular.
“Oh my!” A gentle but rude voice came from the green light. Just like its owner, the voice fluttered about. “Which idiot is this? Are you retarded? Why are you knocking on the Door?
“The boss, Freuland? The little idiot, Asda? The old ghost, Zarkel? The fierce Kirei? The adorable top student, L? Or are you the flat-chested Giza?”
‘These names… are kind of familiar?’
A few questions appeared in Thales’ mind.
‘This is…? Where am I? What am I… doing? Why can’t I… remember anything?’
“Hey, hey.” The voice that came from the green light continued to laugh. “Don’t tell me that you’re Taurus, the legendary big guy!”
Thinking of these few questions, Thales’ thoughts suddenly became chaotic. Amid the panic, the green light suddenly disappeared before his eyes.
“Haih, why did you leave…? Don’t tell me that you’re really Taurus…”
The green light’s voice echoed from afar.
“Don’t rush off… You are my idol… at least give me your signature first…”
There were two more knocks, and Thales encountered two strange but lifeless and soundless beings—a silver wall of light and a golden cube.
Just when Thales was feeling bewildered and lost, a faint, purple light appeared before him.
This purple light only glimmered slightly, but it seemed sharp. Thales could almost not look straight at it. Its reaction was also very simple.
“Go away!” It seemed to be a bad-tempered being.
“Get lost!” The fierce voice continued. The faint, purple light disappeared after that.
Thales was slightly stupefied. A question appeared within his boundless consciousness.
‘What’s going on?’
The next moment.
After another knock, Thales came before a glimmering, human-shaped outline.
‘A human outline?’ It glimmered with a familiar blue light. ‘Another?
‘This feeling… it’s like I’m flowing endlessly… but omnipresent at the same time?’
A familiar voice echoed slowly from the outline.
“Stop knocking on the Door… Thales.”
A thought appeared in Thales’ mind. ‘It knows me? This familiar voice…’
“All of us felt your presence.”
‘All of them? My presence? Me?’
At that moment, it was as if a lot of memories suddenly returned to Thales’ mind.
A thought appeared in Thales’ mind.
“Wait, you are…” Thales stared at the ball of light puzzledly. An indistinct name appeared in his hazy mind. “You are Asda?”
The blue light’s outline sparkled a bit. Thales confirmed his own guess.
“I am trapped underground. I don’t know what happened to you, and why you can knock straight on the Door…”
Asda the Air Mystic’s pleasant voice echoed from the blue light. He sounded calm and steady, without any extra emotions. “But this is too dangerous. You must leave your basic form immediately.”
Thales was puzzled. “What?”
However, ‘Asda’ did not answer his question. The Mystic anxiously said,
“Listen up! They felt it, too. They will definitely come for you! Before you are completely sealed… Escape now!”