Chapter 279: Traitors
Translator:?EndlessFantasy Translation??Editor:?EndlessFantasy Translation
The Existence Mystic.
When he heard the name, Thales’ heart skipped a beat, and an inexplicable coldness spread through his spine.
‘Existence… If we’re going by this literally!’
He gently picked up a chess piece and took it away from the chessboard. A swordsman immediately went missing on the board.
Thales clenched his right hand, covering the swordsman with his fingers. The swordsman vanished before his eyes.
He gently opened and closed his palms, and repeated this several times. The swordsman was hidden from view, then visible again.
The young prince looked up with interest at Asda who was?fiddling with his pawn.
“So let me guess, just like L, you too don’t know what exactly B is, including why he has such a bizarre name of origin?” This time, Thales was not as surprised as before, he was skeptical.
“The Existence Mystic?”
Asda just leaned back and stared at him wordlessly, seeming totally uninterested in answering his question.
Thales, who just made a fool of himself, put down the chess piece and subconsciously moved it to the next square.
“As you said, B started a war against the world, destroyed the Magic Tower and the Final Empire, then split the known land into two halves.”
“Why?” the prince raised his cup and said cautiously, “Why did he do this? Why did the Mystics declare war? And the war… How did it happen?”
Asda rubbed his fingers gently, and a guard began moving on the chess board.
“I thought that, after having six years of living in a special political situation, it should have given you some inspiration.” The Mystic said faintly, “The cause of the war is quite complicated. To date, there is still no one who has managed to figure it out,?because once we finally realized what was going on, it has become reality.”
Thales took a sip of water and frowned. ‘Again, such strange manner of speech.”
Asda said plainly, “Perhaps we should be talking more about ‘how the war happened’ than ‘why the war happened’.”
Thales puckered his lips and whistled silently. He picked up one of the opponent’s chess pieces.
“Well, why did the war happen?” The prince raised his hand and asked, like a student. He had already understood what Asda wanted to do. “Why did Mystics want to destroy the world?”
Asda did not immediately reply. The Air Mystic gently stretched out his fingers and picked up the pieces ‘in-person’ to make his next move, a rarely seen action on him.
“I am sitting here, leisurely moving the pieces, watching the sun rise and fall, listening to countless Northlanders breathing and talking.” His tone was very calm and the movement of his fingers very gentle. Under the afternoon sun, he gave off an air of laziness.
There was a sudden and crisp sound as a pawn was pushed down on the chessboard by Asda, startling Thales.
At the same time, Asda’s eyes flashed instantly with a blue light and his presence changed to a fierce aura.
He said through gritted teeth, “But in the next moment, I can extract all air from the world… Or I can make the air in the world so thin that no one can breathe.”
Thales was shocked, he did not even take note of the water on his hand, which he had spilled from the cup he held. He subconsciously asked, “What?”
Asda ignored him, but the light that shone from his eyes caused Thales to be unable to help but think of another Mystic.
“Imagine that, in the next second, from here to Dragon Clouds City, Eckstedt, the Western Peninsula, and the whole world… All lives on land are suddenly no longer able to breathe, and everything will fall to their demise in an instant.”
Asda stared at him and whispered in a tone so fervent it was unnatural, “I only have to move my fingers… and No one can live and nothing can exist.”
“How does it feel?”
Thales stared at his—in that moment—unusual teacher. He remembered Dragon Clouds City and Shield District on that night.?He remembered countless citizens holding their hands over their throats in the air, trying to breathe while they were in pain and despair, suffering in the silent hell.
After a few seconds…
“The whole world?” The prince’s voice was a little hoarse. “Can you do it?”
Asda still gazed at him, but the scary glare in his eyes was slowly fading.
“It’s not just me.” The Mystic leaned back against his chair and said faintly, “Every Mystic in the world can use their own methods to easily turn the tables with a flip of their hand, and all of them…
“…can destroy the world in an instant.”
Thales’s eyes flickered and he cried out in surprise, “What?”
Then he stood in silence for a few seconds, gaping, before he responded,
“…Then why is the world not destroyed yet? Why is the Battle of Eradication—”
Asda tapped on the chessboard, interrupting him. “Because not every Mystic is willing to pay that price.”
Thales was stunned. “What price?”
At that moment, the hand which the Mystic used to hold the chess piece froze for a moment.
Asda shook his head and made another move on the board. “You will know… when you become a Mystic.”
Thales sighed and suppressed the frustration in his heart.
“Really? We’re doing this again? I was starting to wonder if you really want me to become a Mystic.” the prince asked discontentedly.
“Of course.” Asda turned his gaze back to the chessboard. He still looked as composed and indifferent as ever, as if he had said nothing just now. “If you come with me now, you will know more. I swear, I will bare all the secrets for you without holding anything back.”
Thales sighed and wisely returned to their current topic. “So, each of you has the ability to destroy the whole world in the blink of an eye…”
He leaned back against the chair and massaged his neck, which had been aching because he had been leaning forward for a long time. Then, he said with certainty, “But all of you wouldn’t do such a thing, would you?”
Thales recalled Asda’s words. ‘Because of “that price”.’
Asda shook his head. The Air Mystic said slowly, “But the world doesn’t think that. Thales, this world, they do not hate us…
“They fear us… To the point of wanting to forget us entirely. They can’t wait for us to disappear into the pages of history. It is not our behavior that they won’t forgive or accept…”
Thales had a vague feeling that there was a deep wave of scorn hidden in Asda’s words, despite his calm face.
“It is our existence. It is the possibility that we can destroy everything in an instant…
“… It is the calamity.”
The prince lowered his head and his expression became solemn once more.
‘So this is why. If it is really as he says… If it is true that all Mystics contain power of this scale, and they’re all existences who can instantly overturn the chessboard that is known as the world…’
“I think their worries are probably not unfounded.” Thales sighed and swept his gaze over Lord Justin and Wya, and the numerous other soldiers and bodyguards outside the terrace.
“This is our position and our stance in the world.” Asda followed Thales’ line of sight to look outside. “Be careful, Thales. Your two identities are not a trivial matter, but a thousand-year conflict between the world and the Mystics which can never be solved. Once they discover you…”
The Mystic shrugged, an action rarely seen on him.
A gust blew past the terrace and some of Thales’s hair got blown about slightly.
“Do you still have that confidence?” Asda seemed to resume to a relaxed state. He said lightly, “As a king, can you find a way out for Mystics so that we can have a safe, stable place to call our own in the world?”
Thales gnashed his teeth together, feeling as if he could not wrap his mind around the matter.
“Of course,” he forced himself to say. “It’s because of the hardships that make it worthwhile, isn’t that right?”
What else could he have said? “Sorry, I was wrong. I was young and frivolous. I give up now.” Like this?
Thales shrugged to himself. Asda was still in the same spot. His gaze stayed on him for nearly ten seconds.
He said gently. “Ah, I look forward to that day very much.”
“Ha…” Under the eccentric gaze of the other party, Thales got quite uncomfortable and had to turn his attention back to the game. He said perfunctorily, “Just you wait, I will succeed—”
But Asda interrupted him.
“No. Thales, what I am looking forward to is not your ultimate success.” He waved with his fingers, still training his eccentric gaze on the boy in front of him. The Mystic’s tone then changed, becoming weird and gloomy.
“Instead, it is when you are wedged between the Mystics and mankind, between calamity and the world, between your own nature and the views of others, between the inescapable future and the past, which you will find difficult to cast aside…
“Ultimately, you will be torn by contradictions, destroyed by conflict, and devoured by regret. Then, in the end, you will bow your head to us.”
Again, either end of the chessboard sank into quietness. There were only two people looking at each other, speechless.
Thales resisted the twitch in his face. He stared at Asda for a full three seconds before he spat out two words,
‘How very reassuring of you, seriously.’
Asda’s words had not ended yet, he continued in an airy voice, “If there comes a day where you find a new path using a completely new point of view, a path where only you alone can have complete grasp over… Do not hesitate. Accept yourself. Seize fate by the helm and reverse it.”
The Mystic’s gaze was like two swords that pierced through Thales’ pupils.
“Remember my words. Each and every one of them. Engrave them deep in your heart… Thales Jadestar.”
The prince let out a long breath. He only felt incredibly awkward in this situation and did not know how to respond.
‘Engrave them deep in my heart? This…’
“Ah, I still have one question.” Thales laughed drily as he raised his finger. “How did B and his five companions get defeated? Where are they now?”
“One of them was sealed by you,” Asda said very simply, “The rest… their outcome should be pretty much similar to hers six hundred something years ago…”
‘Sealed.’ Thales clutched his hands together as he remembered the delightful yet terrifying maiden and how she finally turned into ash.
During that moment, the Mystic lowered his voice and looked somewhat desolate.
“Otherwise, the world would probably not have become what it is today.”
Asda shook his head. “During the days of the Battle of Eradication, I could sense that the number of times they knocked on the Door were as numerous as the sounds of other people breathing. They were just too reckless.”
‘As if you need to breathe,’ Thales replied sarcastically in his heart.
Asda raised his head and nodded. “If B’s group come to you one day, remember this: Almost all of them are crazy. They may not be your enemy, but they are absolutely not your friends. Think about Giza.”
Thales lowered his head and pondered deeply.
“So, you are not one of them?”
“No, I’m not. Several people, including myself, think that B’s response is too extreme. We call them ‘Extremists’.” Asda snorted. “Subsequently, they call us ‘Moderators’. They even have worse appellations for us.
Thales thought of the confrontations and quarrels between Asda and Giza in Shield District.
“If only it was that simple.” Asda shook his head again. “The Moderators are not the same the Extremists, who shared uniform ideals and moved together. We are just a bunch of scattered Mystics who refuse to choose war. Even after the war, we were still scattered everywhere and fought against each other.”
Asda clutched the chess piece in his hands. The atmosphere suddenly became grave.
“As for the real opponent of the Extremists, they were two other Mystics in the Battle of Eradication,” the Mystic said coolly, “They chose to stand on the opposite side of the battlefield and face B and his followers, whether they were Mystics or ordinary people.
“At one time during the war, the situation was six against two.”
Thales inhaled a deep breath, a sudden realization came to him.
‘So it was like that. Two Mystics who stood up for the world… against the Extremists.
‘The books in Raikaru’s library… and the girl also mentioned the calamities who stood on our side… so they are…
“The Empresses,” Thales said a strange word.
This time, it was Asda’s turn to raise his eyebrows. His expression changed slightly. “You know them?”
Thales looked up at Asda with a confident gaze.
“There are two Empresses, correct? In the histories of the Ancient Empire and the Final Empire, no one has ever been called the ‘Empress’, but I always heard it on various occasions, and it has been mentioned once or twice in books.” Thales recalled a handful of occasions where he heard this word. “Even some of the great nobles in both countries know of their existence. They sound as if they stand at a position much more superior than other people.”
Asda stared blankly at him, remaining motionless.
“So these alleged Empresses are actually Mystics,” Thales said probingly. “It was the Mystics who stood for the world during the Battle of Eradication that helped us. I mean, they were on the side of the world, defeating the Extremists led by B, so now, they enjoy a status where they stand above all others, and were even known as the Empresses.”
Thales exhaled, “So there are actually Mystics who are still able to coexist peacefully with the rest of the world, right?”
Even as his words faded away, he noticed Asda watching him with a thought-provoking gaze.
Thales blinked. ‘What is it?’
Asda then shook his head again. He coldly denied Thales’s words. “No.”
The prince was startled. ‘No? But the Empresses…’
“The two Mystics who stood on the opposite side of the battlefield thought they were still members of the human race. That was why, right up to the end, they stood against the Extremists.” Asda sighed as he shook his head. “They were just two pitiful people who just jumbled up their past and their present.
“We usually call them ‘Obscurists’.”
‘Obscurists?’ Thales stored this word in his mind. ‘The Mystics who thought themselves as human?’
Thales had a calm expression, but there was a very large question mark drawn in his heart.
But Asda did not stop there; it seemed that the mention of the ‘Obscurists’ was just a small interlude. The Mystic continued,
“As for the two Empresses you mentioned… They were not them.”
At that moment, Asda balled up his fists tighty.
During that crisp sound, a red king jumped abruptly on the board, took three steps along the clear path on the board, and kicked a knight off the chessboard. Thales frowned.
“They are a much more horrible existence.” Asda’s words had only then reached his ears.
The knight that was knocked out tumbled off the board rocked back and forth on the table.
Filled with doubt, the prince raised his head, and suddenly grew nervous. The Air Mystic’s eyes shone with a strange blue light. It masked over his pupils, but could not hide his killing intent and chilling gaze.
“The two so-called Magic Empresses: Blood Spike and Hellen. They are truly Mystics.
“But they were Mystics who suddenly switched sides during the end of the war. They betrayed all their peers overnight, pushed the Mystics into a dead end…”
Asda forced out the word through his clenched teeth.
“They are the traitors.”
Even when he faced Giza, Asda’s words had never been so cold. It was so chilling, so full of hatred, disgust, fear, and… dread?
Thales stared dumbly at the Mystic for a long time before he came back to his senses.
‘The traitors.’ The prince repeated it in his heart.
“How did the two Empresses betray all of you?” Thales sucked in a breath and tried to calm his heartbeat, which was racing because of Asda’s unusual behavior. “They are more terrifying than the legendary anti-mystic equipment?”
The Mystic snorted and the blue light in his eyes receded.
“Hah, they are much more terrifying than the legendary anti-mystic equipment. Anti-mystic equipment are inanimate objects, after all, and they—”
Thales narrowed his eyes and felt somewhat disturbed.
‘Much more terrifying than the legendary anti-mystic equipment…?’
“And they…” At this point, Asda’s words came to a stop. His gaze returned to Thales, and he changed the topic. “Do you really want to know… about our deadly enemy?”
Thales widened his eyes and shrugged his shoulders, displaying a look that said “yeah”.
“Of course. You said so yourself, about learning to differentiate our enemies from our companions.
“Moreover…” Thales placed his hand under his chin, and with a frown, he pondered about the news and intel he had just learned. “The ones mentioned earlier, the Extremists, Moderators, Obscurists, and the two ‘Empresses’… Then, what did the Obscurists think about this?”
“And until now, how many Mystics are there left? What are their names, thresholds and abilities? And…”
Thales touched his chin and muttered, “Just now, you kept mentioning Taurus… Who’s that?”
The corner of Asda’s lips curved upwards, another action rarely seen of him.
“To finish talking about all of this would take up too much time,” the Mystic returned to the calm man he usually was and continued to delude him.
“So, do you want to follow me? Accept your own nature and wholeheartedly embark on the path of a Mystic. You will be able to acquire this knowledge more systematically, more efficiently, more comprehensively, and more conveniently.”
Thales suddenly froze.
Thales sighed and ignored the Mystic’s eager gaze once more. “Thank you for your re-invitation, but I still feel that… a?successor to a kingdom with a delicate status is better than a Mystic who hides everywhere, unable to show his face in public. This is more beneficial to our future.
“So…” Thales raised his eyebrows and urged himself to continue. “The two Empresses’ betrayal?”
Asda revealed a faint smile.
“All right.” The Mystic first shook his head gently, then nodded slowly. Asda sat up straight, his eyes were piercing and his face was solemn.
“Now that you know of the existence of the two Magic Empresses, it’s time to tell you the most interesting part of our lesson today.
“It is the part I was most fascinated with when I was a wizard apprentice…”
Thales held his breath and waited for the Mystic’s answer.
‘The two Magic Empresses. In the Battle of Eradication, they are the existences who betrayed all Mystics and whom Asda is still wary of up to this date.
‘How did the betrayal happen? How terrifying was their power?’
“Class dismissed,” Asda said blankly.
Thales did not respond for a while, but in the next second, the Mystic’s figure completely disappeared into thin air. Both sides of the chessboard fell into silence again… until the place was slowly filled with the sound of the prince’s breathing.
Thales blinked incredulously as he stared at the seat Asda had sat on.
‘Class… class dismissed?!’
The prince stared at the seat for a minute. However, except for the game of chess on the board, which had, at some point of time, reached the end, with Thales losing, Asda did not leave any trace like he was ever there.
Thales stared incredulously at the empty seat, his mouth agape in amazement as if he saw the Mystics’ indifferent, fake smile.
He recalled what Asda said before: ‘”The most interesting part of our lesson today… It is the part I was most fascinated with when I was a wizard apprentice…”‘