Chapter 277: First Lesson
Translator:?EndlessFantasy Translation??Editor:?EndlessFantasy Translation
It had been six years. At some point in time, the prince had grown to not hate his current way of living: away from conflicts and conspiracies, death and bloodshed.
He had been attending classes, training, reading, playing chess, relaxing, and put under curfew…
He was surrounded by Wya, Ralf, Aida, Lisban, Nicholas, Justin, Ginghes… and that girl.
But Thales knew—a small voice in the depth of his heart had been reminding him of one thing, and it became clearer since Putray’s visit—that his current peace would not last long, considering his fate of constantly experiencing hardships.
Destiny would not show a sign of good faith for no apparent reason. Accidents often occurred without warning.
The prince sighed and flipped open “The Light of Humanity: The Beginning and End of the Temple of Knights”. He took out a familiar blue invitation.
Thales looked at the beautiful cursive writing on it; there were only three words.
The prince shook his head, looked up again, and gazed at Asda, who had appeared across the table all of a sudden.
The strange thing was, even though a living person had emerged just like that in the state room, right opposite the prince… everyone present, like Wya who stood behind him, Ralf, Justin, even the countless soldiers on the street and building right across from them, did not appear to see him. They glanced over at the Mystic’s position every now and then, but did not react.
It was almost as though the person did not exist.
It made Thales uneasy. He adjusted his breathing, controlling his heartbeat.
It was not the first time.
‘Calm down,’ he comforted himself.
“Don’t worry. They cannot hear my voice or see me—air is an interesting thing. If altered slightly, miracles will occur.” The Air Mystic did not even look up. He was toying with the chess piece in his hand.
“After all, there is only one Black Sword in the world.”
Asda was as good-looking as before. His curly, dark brown hair was still pleasant to the eyes. His robes looked clean and new, as if he had just travelled through time from six years ago, skipping the passage of time in between.
“Yeah.” Thales frowned slightly. “He was quite the memorable one.”
“You’ve grown up.”
With blue glows flickering in his eyes, Asda lifted his gaze and said, “And you seem rather relaxed. You don’t seem to be quite aware that you’re a hostage of a country.”
Thales did not look at him. He picked up a pawn and moved it forward by a square. “Should I whine and weep, hoping that a certain world-wrecking calamity would come and save me?”
Asda did not mind his mockery. His gaze was focused on the boy, but a pawn belonging to the Mystic moved towards Thales by a square on the chessboard.
“I hope you still remember your identity. I mean, your real identity,” the Air Mystic said softly. “Don’t get too involved and don’t act too flashy too, or else it’ll be difficult for you to get out of your current situation.”
Thales whistled, shaking his head.
“Back then, the fellow who almost destroyed the entire Dragon Clouds City just to take me away was you, wasn’t it?” Thales moved the pawn forward by a square again.
Asda did not speak. His facial expression remained unchanged.
Testing the waters, Thales took a deep breath, and asked, “Being the person who disappeared for six years, and brought nothing but an invitation five years ago after all that time, you don’t seem to have the right to say that.”
‘I almost thought he had been sealed again.’
He had assumed that Asda was sealed until he received an invitation from him five years ago. There was only one sentence printed on it: [Prepare the classroom. Wait patiently.]
Thales glanced at the blue invitation, which had appeared out of the blue the day before yesterday. He let out another sigh.
“There’s a reason for my disappearance.” Asda’s gaze returned to the chessboard. His second pawn moved forward in a gentle, eerie manner. “Giza’s appearance is no small matter. The Queen of the Sky was not the only one who visited. In the past six years, many entities have visited Dragon Clouds City in secret or otherwise. That included enemies you and I should be wary of. I didn’t have the confidence to come unnoticed.”
Thales caught onto this term.
“Hence, I needed to lay low and wait until the most dangerous times were over.” The Mystic peeked at his surroundings. “During the time I was gone, you did quite well. You found a good place.”
Thales exhaled, then moved his pawn to capture Asda’s chess piece before he turned the pawn into a knight. “I planned cautiously for three years to obtain this venue, which would not bring about any suspicion, and I prepared for a suitable excuse.”
For the past five years, Thales had been testing the waters with countless possibilities to have a safe, private conversation with Asda. He spoke to himself in Heroic Spirit Palace, read in some quiet place, hid in the library—but all of the options were too dangerous or brought about many inconveniences, be it unwanted attention or the guards in Heroic Spirit Palace, who were everywhere.
He needed a special venue, a public venue that was far away from the others and would not draw suspicion.
Like now, who would have thought that the Prince of Constellation, who was playing chess by himself, was actually talking to a calamity while everyone was watching?
“This is the misery of being bound by worldliness.” Asda moved his third pawn, seemingly unbothered by Thales’ knight. “I will ask again: why don’t you consider coming with me? Then you won’t have to worry about preparing the classroom.”
Asda raised his head and gazed at Thales with a profound look.
The prince rubbed his fingers. He picked up a shield warrior and moved it forward diagonally by a square, attempting to block his opponent’s three pawns.
“I thought I have been very clear about this,” Thales said, sighing. “You need a king to achieve what many could not achieve before.”
“But you’re in a difficult position.” Asda did not hesitate to move his knight from behind the empty spaces left by the three pawns. He did so to restrict the movements of Thales’ rampaging swordsman and shield warrior, who was ready to block him. “Frankly speaking, even if your performance is remarkable, I still think that the possibility of you successfully ascending the throne is high.”
“If you just want to say such nonsense to me, we can end this session earlier,” Thales spoke faster, feeling displeased. He picked up a catapult, skipped over two chess pieces, and placed it on a spot, which threatened his opponent’s knight.
Asda smiled in a chilling manner. Thales had seen it before.
“Where’s the equipment?
“The one that sealed Giza six years ago,” the Mystic said softly. “I thought that when you came to see me, you would at least bring it along, for your safety,” he said in a low voice.
On the chessboard, one of Asda’s pawns suddenly advanced by a square, becoming a knight.
If it had been the Thales of the past, he would have felt a thump in his chest.
But this Thales knew very well what entity he was facing—Asda could sense the moving air pressure in his target’s body from afar.
“It is where it should be,” Thales said mildly. In his body, the Sin of Hell’s River flowed through his lungs and veins like warm water, maintaining his normal breathing rate and the rhythm his blood vessels’ dilation.
The prince placed his shield warrior within the range of attack of the opponent’s knight.
This time, Asda stared at him for ten seconds.
After a while, the Mystic’s cold smile faded away and he shifted his gaze to the chessboard—his shield warrior’s position just happened to be in the range of a counterattack from his opponent’s catapult. “Very well.”
‘Very well about what?’
Thales peered at him in silence. He did not ask the question.
‘I have controlled my body’s responses with the Sin of Hell’s River…’
All of a sudden, Asda gently said, “Are you ready?”
While deep in thought, Thales did not manage to react to Asda’s question. He moved slightly and lifted his chin. “Ready for what?”
The next second, Asda straightened up in his chair and no longer bothered himself with the chessboard in front of him. It looked as though he was at a solemn occasion.
“Before we start, we need to lay out some clear rules,” Asda said impassively.
Thales was slightly astonished. “Rules?”
Asda nodded slowly. Thales did not know how he could possibly read the Mystic’s emotions from his blank expression, but he instinctively felt that Asda was being particularly serious. “During the lesson, you are supposed to take notes, but considering our current situation… First of all, you need to ponder over every sentence I say. This is a form of respect between me and you. Similarly, I will treat what you have to say seriously.”
Influenced by his attitude, Thales nodded subconsciously.
“Secondly, you may ask questions anytime, even retort my statements. I may refuse to answer some, but that should not be the reason for you to respond with silence—that is the worst kind of student,” the Air Mystic said this in an even, steady pace. It was uncommon and the opposite of his odd rhythm of speech and habits.
Thales straightened his back instinctively, nodding in a serious manner.
He seemed like the sincerest student.
“Thirdly, you have to think carefully from my perspective before you speak out, knowing how I will respond. Cut out the meaningless utterances and get straight to the point to save time.
“Fourthly, you are not allowed to express your views with similes and analogies in my classes. That is the laziest method to learn something.”
Thales’ face tensed. He just kept nodding. His gaze was focused on Asda’s similarly serious eyes.
“Most importantly, be humble,” Asda said softly. This time, his calm voice seemed to be laced with something else. “Not to me, but to the knowledge you are about to acquire—Be respectful to the things you disagree with first, then ponder over it, find out the differences, and at last, question it. However, you cannot just question the other person, you have to question yourself too, in terms of your own presumptions. It is recommended that you use fewer words, which make you sound as if you are certain about your views. Instead, you are encouraged to use hypothesis and conditional statements.”
Thales moved and instantly grasped his right hand—he was afraid that he would not be able to keep himself from raising his hand or looking for a pen out of habit.
Asda noticed his reaction. His lips curled up slightly as he let out a soft hum.
The prince felt rather embarrassed.
“Of course, when you ask a question, you should also be mentally prepared to receive a question in return,” the Air Mystic’s speech continued. He seemed to be speaking instinctively, “If any fellow peer asks…”
Thales’ expression changed. He found something slightly odd.
Asda sensed that something was off almost immediately.
He paused all of a sudden. The rest of his sentence abruptly turned into silence, as though it was rudely cut off.
The atmosphere became calm again.
The soldiers and guards surrounding the state room appeared unaffected. None of them had noticed anything at all.
But within the narrow space between the two sides of the chessboard, Thales captured a slight shudder on the Mystic’s face that very instant. The latter’s left hand had also tensed up a little.
Thales’ jaw dropped in astonishment.
It was the first time he had ever seen such reaction from Asda since they knew each other.
Asda did not speak. He merely peered at the chessboard expressionlessly. He did not move.
He seemed to be staring into the distance.
Thales suddenly got the illusion that the unreasonable Asda before him actually had a humane side to him.
Three seconds passed.
Asda closed and opened his eyes. He seemed to have composed himself.
He lifted his gaze again, and his eyes sparkled. “That’s all.”
Thales inhaled softly, pushing the questions that crept up the back of his head to the back of his mind.
The prince became focused. Filled with irrepressible anticipation and anxiety, he nodded slowly.
“We shall begin now.” Asda did not waste any time on small talk. He blinked his crystal-clear eyes. With a cold voice, he went straight to the point, “Today, in your first lesson of your journey to become a Mystic, I want to talk about three things.
“First, what a Mystic is—pay attention, we’re not talking about what mystic energy is.
“Second, the position and stance of Mystics in the world.
“Third, our enemies and allies.”
Under the sky of Dragon Clouds City, the Air Mystic’s voice rang gently only in the Prince of Constellation’s ears.
His voice was as soft as the sound of crickets, almost inaudible.