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In the middle of a night with full moon, inside a dimly illuminated apartment, a woman with tired eyes was breathing roughly as she laid on her bed. She looked around until she found her grandmother and aunt.
“I-I don’t hear him… How is he?” → Woman
“He is fine… However, he seems to be just as tired as you.” → Grandmother
“Are you sure he’s not dead?” → Aunt
“Aunt Lara-! Ugh…” → Woman (Mother)
“Ah, stop wasting your breath now. Your son is not dead but as healthy as he could be.” → Grandmother
The grandmother explained, then looked at the sleeping child in her arms. Her eyes shone with admiration when she looked at the head of the little baby. The aunt saw her reaction and got closer to examine the baby.
“Hm? T-that! What’s that on his head?” → Aunt
The aunt shouted while looking terrified. On the child’s head, the skin was much thicker than anywhere on his body, making him look as if he were wearing a little, thin helmet on his head.
“It’s a Cait…” → Grandmother
“A what? What’s that?” → Aunt
The aunt asked while sounding somewhat annoyed at the grandmother’s reaction. The mother was just as confused as her aunt.
“In the ancient Carpathian legends, there were talks about children with a thicker layer of skin on their heads. That skin is called « Cait » and appears only on children who are either geniuses or demons.” → Grandmother
“D-Demon? I won’t permit to have such a thing in my family!” → Aunt
“Don’t you dare touch my son…” → Mother
The mother grabbed her aunt’s hand and breathed out the words in a threatening but tired voice.
“Hah… Both of you calm down. This child won’t become a demon.” → Grandmother
“And how are you so sure of that?” → Aunt
“Well, these are not the eyes of a demon.” → Grandmother
The child slightly opened his eyes and looked at the grandmother. All that ruckus made him gaze around in a daze for a few moments.
“My great-grandson is not a demon, I can guarantee it.” → Grandmother
The grandmother said with a warm smile. She observed his beautiful green eyes until they close and he fell asleep again.
“T-then! Does that mean…” → Mother
“Yes, he’s a gifted one… but… unlike the other talented children, yours will be tested by the gods and spirits. The more tests he passes, the more talents he will receive. But nobody said it will be easy.” → Grandmother
The old woman felt like cursing the heavens for giving her great-grandson such a painful destiny.
“Grandmother, what are you trying to say?” → Woman (Mother)
“Child… Your son will feel the sorrows and sufferings of life even before experiencing them himself. He won’t even be able to have a normal childhood because devils will hut his sanity.” → Grandmother
“D-Devils?” → Mother
“Devils are just as real as the angels you’re praying to. Your son’s soul isn’t like the other’s and because of that, these devils will try to eat him when his spirit is at the weakest.” → Grandmother
“She’s crazy. There are no such things as devils!” → Aunt
“But there are demons?” → Grandmother
The grandmother looked at the aunt with questioning eyes. She herself was mad at aunt Lara for wanting to get rid of her great-grandson the moment she heard he might become a demon.
“Ugh…” → Aunt
“… Will I be able to help him in a way or another?” → Mother
“In just one way. These kinds of children know exactly what they need when the time comes. However weird it may be, just let him do how he wants. Interfering with this child’s choices will only burden his already cruel destiny.” → Grandmother
“Hmph! You’ll just spoil him rotten!” → Aunt
After the aunt left like a hurricane, the grandmother gave the child to the mother and said in a low voice tone.
“You should take good care of that child, dear. Be sure to show him my books, he will need them for the future.” → Grandmother
“W-wait. What do you mean by that? Won’t you be there to teach him?” → Mother
The mother’s voice quivered after understanding the deeper meaning of her words.At the question, the grandmother did not answer. She just looked back with loving eyes and left the room quietly not to wake up the child.
Two years later, the grandmother passed away due to her old age, leaving behind only a library for her granddaughter and great-grandson. After the funeral had ended, the mother rushed home by foot, while the other family members drove their cars back home without minding the lone mother. She had left the child with her cousin and since she had financial issues, she couldn’t waste money on a taxi. Regardless of the other’s coldness, she didn’t care about her family members’ indifference. Her eyes were filled with sadness for her loss while her steps rushed back home, wishing only to reunite with her son.
After she finally reached the apartment, the mother was surprised to be welcomed by an eerie silence. With an uneasy feeling, she rushed toward her son’s room.
– CLANG, CLANG, CLANG –
Her son was playing around with his toy cars, hitting them against one another or even trying to look inside them and see how they’re made. He was so preoccupied with what he was doing that he didn’t even notice his mother walking into his room. The thick skin on his head had already disappeared while a blonde and curly hair took its place.
“W-where is Antony?” → Mother
As she realized that nobody but the child alone was at home, she hastily rushed toward the landline and called her cousin.
“Antony? Where in the world are you? Why is my son alone?!” → Mother
“Uh huh? What? I just left for a drink 5 minutes ago.” → Mother’s cousin
The voice of a drunk man resounded from the other side of the phone.
“Two hours. I asked you to stay with my child for only two hours! Are you not able to do even that much?!” → Mother
The woman was furious. She never wished to ask for her cousin’s help, but other than him, she couldn’t depend on anyone else. Her own husband was working overseas because of the financial difficulties they faced. Over the more than two years since he left, their family was able to at least get out from poverty, but his contract was for another two years. Until then, he won’t have the possibility to see his own son or wife.
“Hey, I only left at 4 PM, how much is now? Four and five or ten minutes?” → Mother’s cousin
“It’s 5PM!… You can forget about the money for babysitting. Bye.” → Mother
“Oy common –”
* BEEP BEEP BEEP *
While letting out a long sigh, the mother looked at her son who was playing on his own without even caring about the fact that he was left alone. With teary eyes, the mother sat beside her son and hugged him, still saddened by the death of her grandmother.
The son was surprised at first but after seeing his mother so sad, he gave her a toy to make her feel better, then he got back to his work with the same serious face. Seeing him resuming what he was doing, made the mother let out a light laugh.
Just like his great-grandmother. Nothing will disturb his work, not even his family.
The mother then left the boy to do as he pleased until lunch. After his mother left, the boy pushed the toy car in front and waited for a while. After not even one minute, the little car would roll back toward the child on its own.
After another six years had passed, the boy started to play outside. A big smile was etched on his face while playing with his friends of the same age. But when the sun set and made room for the dark, the smile on the child’s face also disappeared and gave away for a tense and scared look. After entering the apartment, his mother welcomed him with loving eyes.
“Are you sure you don’t wish to sleep with me?” → Mother
“No! I-I can’t d-depend on you forever!” → Son
The young boy shouted while shaking his head and looking at his mother with resolution. Even though his voice trembled, his eyes remained firm.
“Sigh… If you’re too afraid then come inside my bed whenever you wish, all right? It’s not good to let nightmares keep you awake.” → Mother
Since her grandmother taught her about the world of spirits, she was aware of what her son was able to see. However, she still didn’t know how to help him other than to calm him down when the fear was too much. After the boy entered his bed and turned off the lights, not even five minutes passed and eerie sounds and quiet whispers resounded in the room.
– Hushh –
– Step, step, step –
– Creak –
– Knock, knock, knock –
– SNAP! POC! –
Shadows jumped around the walls, making all kinds of sounds and in the places where he was looking, red eyes would suddenly flash, trying to scare him even more.
Ethereal laughs then resounded, loud enough for the boy to hear.
“Ugh… Leave me alone!” → Son
The child said while covering himself under the blanket. All kinds of noises made him unable to sleep, fidgeting around in bed. After only one hour had they finally stopped, but this was only the beginning.
After the child fell asleep, his breath became rougher while his brows furrowed. He started to sweat while he was getting more agitated in his sleep.
– THUD –
Suddenly, the boy was thrown off his bed by a strong wind, making him crash violently and having his breath cut.
The shadows continued to laugh and knock on the furniture to keep him awake. Every night, he would experience the same things over and over again while in the daytime, he would try to forget by playing around with his friends outside. Only after the age of twelve, have the shadows disappeared and the voices stopped. Even so, the knocks on the furniture still resounded but not as upsetting as before.
After another two years, he suddenly didn’t feel like playing with his friends anymore. Instead, he wanted to read the books his mother showed him and at the same time, practice mixed martial arts from a nearby dojo. Not even his mother was able to understand the sudden change in his behavior but she left him to do as he pleased. From those books, he learned about the possibility of meditating, the idea of growing his mental power, about what the shadows that tormented him were and why they disappeared.
One night, he tried to meditate and focus his consciousness to the back of his mind. He tried to reach deeper inside his own consciousness when a sudden vision appeared in his mind. He saw a strong looking man practicing martial arts in the woods right beside a village. The man had well-proportioned muscles and his moves were nimble like those of a feline.
The young boy was amazed by the man’s martial arts skills but because of that, he lost focus and woke up from his meditation. The next day at training, he found martial arts to be much easier to learn than before as if he had already practiced all the moves beforehand.
After that one experience, the visions would flood his mind with or without his consent, looking more life-like and appearing for a longer period of time than when he did it at first.
Because of this, the young boy would suddenly wake up from his dreams while shaking and sweating profoundly. His tears wouldn’t stop flowing while his heart would beat as if wanting to jump from his chest.
What is this? Why do I keep on have such visions? I can’t even see myself in them… I think.
The child trembled and tried to calm down his heart. He just had a dream about how he had to kill his own beloved master for treason. That was not even from this world, it was with a medieval thematic while at the same time there were flying ships. On such a flying ship, the young boy observed a young man killing his own master with a pained face.
After having more and more such visions, at the age of 16, he finally found out that those memories are from his past lives. The one who told him this was also himself.
“Who are you?”
Inside the vision, he saw himself talk to a huge Roman muscular warrior. The warrior had the same curly blonde hair with green eyes and a handsome smile. He was more than 2 meters tall and with only one hand, he waved a great sword as if it was a stick.
“What kind of question is that? I’m you, but from two lives ago.” → Warrior
“Me? Then the other visions I had until now…” → Son
“Those are also parts of your past lives, memories which resurfaced from your supra-consciousness.” → Warrior
“But why? Why is this happening? Why does it happen only to me and not to the others as well?” → Son
“Huh? This happened because I, I mean you, asked for it right before being born.” → Warrior
“I did?” → Son
“Yes, now listen up, me. You normally had no reason to be reborn into this world again. But this time, besides the complicated destiny that I have no rights to talk about, there is a test for you and you need to pass it with flying colors, or else we will stay on this boring world for who knows how many other lives.” → Warrior
The warrior explained as he reached out and another sword appeared in his hand, this sword was only for one hand.
“Ah. Are you talking about that ghost? Yeah, I remember her… or him. I really don’t understand what that ghost wanted from me.” → Son
The young man remembered the dream where a white ghost told him that he needed to live his life without killing or else he’ll fail his test. Once failed, his soul will be locked inside the abyss for millions of years.
– CLANG –
The warrior threw the smaller sword at the young man’s feet and said with sharp eyes.
“Now, I don’t have much time. I told you what I had to, let’s get to work.” → Warrior
He then walked towards him with steady steps. The young man was surprised. He took the sword in his hands and asked.
“Hm? What’s with this sword? What do I have to use it for?” → Young man
“That, my friend, is the symbol of war. The symbol that is engraved in our very essence. And you, being born in these tedious times, will need to learn from me what it feels like to kill and have your life in peril.” → Warrior
The huge warrior said and then he threw a strong kick at the young man’s side.
– POW –
The boy was sent flying for around 10 meters while rolling on the ground for a few times. After stopping, he got up with his breath rough.
‘The pain… is real!’
His eyes shone with the will to fight and survive.
“For what do I need to kill? Isn’t that test still valid even now? If I kill someone then I will fail, right?” → Young man
The young man took his distance and walked with care. The sword was incredibly heavy and he was barely able to swing it.
“That’s right. But that doesn’t mean you don’t need to know how to show some killing intent. This ability is extremely useful for someone who wishes to be left alone like you, right?” → Warrior
“It’s not like I want to be alone, damn it!” → Young man
The boy swings his sword at the warrior with all his power. Because of the ridiculous weight, he had to use both his arms and his weight together.
“It’s just that I see no reason to waste my time by playing around!” → Young man
– CLANG –
The warrior swung hard and hit the young man just as he wished to slash at him. Even though he was able to guard against the great sword, he was still pushed back for 2 meters.
“That doesn’t matter. Until the right time comes, you will be alone, fighting against your devils and the world around you. Going against all and everything, this is the path of a warrior, the path that YOU chose.” → Warrior
The huge man then stabbed the young man right through his chest. He rose him with one hand as if he was a feather and gazed into his eyes.
“I bet you must be tired of all the looks of superiority and ridicule they send towards you, right?” → Warrior
The young man was growling from the pain of having his chest stabbed through. Even so, what disturbed him even more were the warrior’s words. He hated how everyone interpreted his views upon the world as arrogant, idiotic, naïve, impossible and even cowardly. His eyes then shone with a red glint.
– SWING –
The young man suddenly swung his sword with incredible speed, slicing the warrior from the shoulder until the plexus area.
The warrior let go of the sword and the young man took it out from his own chest while gritting his teeth from the pain.
“See? I knew you could do it. Your bloodlust is even stronger now because of all the past-lives experiences. But let me tell you one thing, don’t necessarily wait for the other party to kill you first. You won’t be able to strike if you wait for that.” → Warrior
“What is this ‘fighting’ anyway? Why do I need to know how to fight when if I land a hit, the others will simply run away?” → Young man
“Heh. That’s because you only met children. Wait until you’ll meet true warriors and wild beasts.” → Warrior
The warrior said with a fierce smile.
“As for what ‘fighting’ really means… Since long before the mythological era, we as humans fought between ourselves for control, dominance, and for supremacy since times immemorial. Beasts fought beasts for different reasons but the one thing that remained the same until now was to kill the enemy and survive. They would use everything they had; their environment, their bodies, their soul and spirit, only to kill the other one and remain as a victor.” → Warrior
“So basically, ‘fighting’ means the resolution to show superiority over the other ones, to be determined to kill?” → Young man
“Indeed. But the most important part is to know yourself that you can kill and rule.” → Warrior
“What. Are you preparing me to be a king?”
The young man asked with a self-ridiculing laugh.
“… No. I, or better said, ‘we’ are preparing you to be a « Sura ». A true War God.”
The warrior then walked right beside the boy.
“This is the last chance you have to reach the rank of God. Don’t fail like us, young one.” → Warrior
Suddenly, from behind the warrior, more and more silhouettes appeared. Some females but most of them were males. They all were tall and handsome for males, while beautiful and well developed for females. What other similitude they had, was their bodies were full of scars, while in their hands, all kinds of weapons were held with a lot of dexterity. They either had swords, spears, clubs, staffs, knives, long fighting rods and one of them even had gloves with iron spikes. They looked to be from all kinds of occupations: wizards, warriors, crusaders, assassins, bandits, monks, imperial guards and there was even a ninja.
“… Who are they?” → Young man
The young man looked at the group of around 20 people with wide open eyes. Every single one of them emanated a strong and imposing aura, looking battle-hardened with a wisdom of a lifetime.
“They, together with me, are your past-lives that failed the test.” → Warrior
The young man looked amazed, he didn’t know what to say. Suddenly, his vision started to blur.
“There is no more time for us… Young one, remember this: accept the visions and learn from them, learn from our mistakes so you won’t have to experience them again!” → Warrior
The young man then woke up and looked at his own chest. Some lingering pain was still present, making him frown. ‘…learn from the visions, pass the test…’ The young man recalled the conversation and, from thereon, he became more focused on his visions.
One more year passed by with his visions becoming more life-like the more he accepted them. He would dream about death, murder and loss of loved ones. In between these life experiences and heart-tearing tragedies, he would learn martial arts and receive knowledge of about what seemed to be magic from another world and sometimes even from this one. However, the stronger the visions grew, the fewer their number was.
“Huff, huff, huff…”
After the age of 17, while resisting the overflowing emotions of rage and sorrows from the new memories, the young man suddenly has a vision in which a young beautiful girl appeared. She had white hair, silver eyes and wore a white-blue dress. She looked like an angel and she would always smile at him when they made eye contact.
This time, he was not experiencing the past, he was himself from this life.
Suddenly, he appeared on a wall of a huge kingdom that was built from a mountain. The kingdom had a huge barrier around it, while from all directions monstrous beasts tried to break it from the outside by slashing with their long and sharp claws, by biting with their terrifying rows of fangs or even using different forms of spells of all elements. The kingdom stood tall while the barrier was unwavering, but he was still feeling uneasy. Outside, there were still humans struggling to reach the gates.
“We need to save them.”
The angelic girl said with worried eyes while looking at the rushing humans.
“We can’t! If we get out now, we’ll be monster-food.”
“It’s alright. I’m strong enough to resist them… I think.”
“Don’t go! Do you hear me? Don’t even think about it!”
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The young man wanted to grab her hand but he found himself unable to move because he was the one who powered the barrier. A huge white pillar of light shot out from him and charged the barrier in intervals of seven seconds, making him unable to move a step from his spot otherwise the barrier would shatter.
“I’m sorry. I need to go, I can’t take it to see so many people in danger while I’m being sheltered.” → Angel girl
“NO! Someone! Please save her! Anyone!”
Monstrous beasts rushed at the girl, trying to eat her. The girl cast great spells of lightning and fire, burning and killing the monsters around her. Even so, there were too many of them. Right when she reached beside the other humans, a demonic beast shot out its tongue and stabbed the girl through her heart. Afterward, more and more beasts engulfed the group, decimating everyone.
The young man shouted out while tears of blood fell down his cheeks.
“HUFF! Huff, huff… Ugh.”
The young man woke up again, trembling and with an unbearable pain in his heart.
Was that… a premonition?
The young man trembled while getting up from his bed. He walked beside his window and looked outside where it was snowing calmly in the night. Suddenly, in his head, his own voice resounded.
‘That’s your own destiny. Do you accept it?’
The young boy felt frustrated while frowning and screamed in negation.
‘Do you wish to change it?’
‘Then it is time for you to grow stronger.’
‘Learn from your past and study anew. Strong is not the one who knows, but who understands. Use your memories for your growth.’
“… More than half of them shows information on magic, does it even-“
‘It’s more real than you are, so do not think magic is false when you yourself still exist.’
The voice interrupted him instantly.
“…And who are you?”
‘Another part of you, your second will that won’t give up even when you will fall into chaos. I am born from your spirit, a measure to protect you from yourself.’
The young boy then stood in silence with resolute eyes, he started to move around the same way as in his visions.
Two more years passed while he was studying and training, shortening his social life to a bare minimum and fighting against his fears of shadows and darkness. After he finally finished school on the same day as the last exam, another door opened in front of him.
[No! Why have you done this?! This wasn’t supposed to happen…]
His new road had opened toward the place where his memories and knowledge will prove to be his strongest weapon.
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