Chapter 38 – The truth

 

“Please, please ! I’ll tell you whatever you want to know but stop it ! It buuuuuurns, haaaaaa !”

“Oh, come on. Ha, ha, ha. I want you to stay sane for now so I’m not even using one tenth of the power you used on me back then.”

“Haaa…. haaaa….”

“Ok then. Alae, heal him. It’s time to tell me what you know, Porcephone.”

 

At first I thought that Alae may be against torturing Orth Porcephone but after I told him he’s the one who burnt me back then, she looked like she enjoyed his screams even more than I… What a fearsome woman.

 

“Too bad my healing Magic also negates pain… I wouldn’t mind this piece of thrash suffering more.”

“Ha, ha, ha, my Alae. We can’t have him die from the pain. So, Orth. I’m waiting.”

“Yes… haaa… Even if you tell me that… what exactly do you want to know ?”

“First, tell me all about Arcadeus, the First Sage.”

“Well… he’s been around for as long as I know. He regularly met with my father. For my fifth, tenth and fifteenth birthday, he came to meet us. Also, when Vladimir Stalford was appointed as the Archmage, he also travelled all the way from the Dorua continent. He was also there during the Magic Tournament where you got arrested.”

“Oh really ? Now that’s interesting… what does Arcadeus, an elf, has to do with the Porcephone Emperors ?”

“From what I know, Arcadeus has worked closely with every single Emperor ever since the creation of the Porcephone Empire and when I became Emperor, he made sure to come and greet me as well. I don’t know what his aim is but I also know that he is the one who told Father to arrest you back then.”

“He was watching the match ?”

“Yes, the finals only.”

“Hum… what else do you know ?”

“There is one other thing… it’s about a certain – uuurg… haaaa…”

“What’s wrong ? I haven’t started burning you again.”

“Argg… haaaa…”

 

Orth’s face became distorted by an expression of awful agony and the golden ring on his left thumb starting vibrating.

Then Orth’s body blew up. Literally.

 

Alae and I were standing far enough from him not to get splashed by the blood but the room  we were in – one of the underground rooms of the castle in Aldenaf – was now dyed with red stains. And flesh.

 

What emerged from Orth’s ring, which had fallen to the ground, was none other than Arcadeus himself.

 

“We meet again, Kreizig. Or should I call you Joker ?”

“Tsk, so you killed him off just so that he wouldn’t talk ?”

“Not really, I broke him because he was of no use to me anymore. The Porcephone Empire has already fallen after all, all because of you. Besides, being able to master Xii by yourself to the extent of creating your own world… You are truly as terrifying as Master Ox.”

“Xii… I’ve heard that before… Is that how you call Creative Magic ? The Magic that doesn’t use Cindril ?”

“Yes, that’s right. Now, we are about to have an inevitable fight to the death.”

“Ha, ha, ha, you’re quite blunt about it.”

“I can feel that your power is nothing compared to the level you had back in Dorua… Back then I acted prideful in front of the other Sages but this time I feel that you are roughly on the same level as me.”

“That’s because you allowed me to heal back to full health. You should have slayed me when you could.”

“Indeed. And since the outcome of this final encounter is uncertain, I have to tell you… the truth of the world.”

“Huh ? Aren’t you there to silence me ?”

“I am. But there is a chance, even slim, that I may die in this battle. And if that happens, at least one person needs to remain aware of the dark truth.”

“I see… I’m listening then.”

“Before that, you’d better tell the woman to go elsewhere. You wouldn’t want her to end up as a collateral damage would you ?”

 

I nodded and signed to Alae to leave the room.

I was now all alone with the First Sage.

 

“Good. Now allow me to start by reintroducing myself. I am Arcadeus Sigitor, student of Master Ox and the one called as the Living God and First Sage. But these titles are just usurped you see.”

“Usurped ?”

“I guess my real title would be Arcadeus Sigitor, the Fake Sage. The real First Sage was my Master. He is the one who discovered how to manipulate Xii and Cindril. All this happened about 2000 years ago. Now let me tell you the story of Ox, the First Sage.

Once upon a time, 2000 years ago approximately, a man was born as a Hybrid from two Hybrid parents. You could say that this combination was almost impossible considering the high incompatibility of Hybrids with other Hybrids but he was an exception. Hybrids are born with an abnormally high amount of Mana but as a child from two Hybrid parents, his Mana pool was on another level. An almost endless amount of Mana, coupled with the Healing attribute he got from his mother, and other attributes inherited from his father.

Healing attributes bloom when a woman reaches her eighteenth birthday and when a man reaches his twentieth. As our cells constantly regenerate, Elves age very slowly and can live very long.

But he was different. His control over his attribute was so strong that he could affect his own cells, meaning he could become older or younger at will, also making him immortal.

Master Ox spent hundreds of years experimenting on his own body until one day he managed to draw a line between Cindril, the natural Magic and Xii, the life Magic. The first thing he did when discovering such a thing was to write books about his research and take an apprentice to pass down his knowledge – that is me.

He taught me all he knew about both Magics. Then one day, he said that he wanted to share his knowledge with the rest of the world. Before I could argue anything, he sold his books and started to talk about teaching the world Magic. I was against it however. I believed that sharing his knowledge of Xii, which was a much more powerful and destructive Magic than Cindril, would cause wars and end up destroying the world. However, Master Ox argued that he would avoid all conflicts by acting as a living god. That’s when I realised just how much of a threat Master Ox was for the balance of the world.

Just like you, Master Ox had managed to create different realms thanks to Xii. Seven of them actually. But although he was powerful, he was also very naive. He had only created fourteen beacons to teleport between his realms and this world, all of which I destroyed. I knew I had no chance to win in a fair fight against him so without him suspecting anything, I drugged his meal and manage to critically wound him. However, that was useless. After all, he was immortal. When critically injured, he would automatically teleport to his fourth realm, the one called Eternum, which was basically a gigantic bath full of water imbued with Healing Magic. But since I had destroyed his only three beacons, he could no longer come back. In other words, I had successfully sealed him away. Or so I thought.”

“What happened then ?”

“I made the mistake to forget about one more beacon. Ox had printed an enchanted tattoo filled with Magic on my back the day he took me as his apprentice in order to raise my Magic capabilities but since it contained some of his Magic, it could also be used as a beacon. Ever since, I had to express an enormous amount of Mana control to suppress the Magic contained in the tattoo by overwriting it with my own Magic. Do you get it now ? If I die, the seal on my back will come undone and Master Ox will reappear once again.

Anyway, after I took care of Master Ox, I tried to erase all traces of him. I tried to recover and burn all of his books but some of them escaped my grasp and ended up lost. Since it was too late to completely erase his existence, I took up the name of the Living God and First Sage and acted as if I was him all along. That’s how I got to become the leader of all the Elves.

After that, I used my influence and political power to place a human, Miro Porcephone, on the throne in the Sill continent. With my help, he became the first Emperor. I kept all the Emperors after him under my control as my puppets to make sure that no one who knew Xii would ever rise. Then one day, you appeared. Since I deemed you dangerous, I ordered Elasius Porcephone to put you under arrest and kill your entire family. I also recommended him to burn the library of your town since there was a great chance it contained one of Master Ox’s books. After all, Xii is too dangerous to exist. That’s why I erase all traces of it, including you.”

“I see… So now, either I let you kill me to preserve a peaceful world or I kill you and Ox comes back to this world ?”

“Yes, that’s right. Now that you understand that, surely you would sacrifice yourself for the future of the world, right ?”

“Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha… The world  has only brought darkness upon my life. It’s about time I make the world pay. I don’t care about peace. All I have left is a cold heart and my own intentions. You will die here, Arcadeus.”

“I see. There is nothing left to say then.”

 

We both readied ourselves for what was going to be one of us’ last battle.

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