Chapter Seven: Lost
Black Wind retrieves the map he was given by Sage George from his bag and examines it, looking at how he can get to the capital. Fortunately, it seems that although the capital is some distance away, he should be able to reach it within a days time if he uses full speed. However, since he doesn’t want to attract attention, he plans to travel at full speed only at night, when it’s unlikely that others will notice him.
As Black Wind is about to head off, however, he hears a soothing female voice in his head, the same voice he last heard when Neath spoke to him. She says, “You’re not yet ready to go to the capital. Just because you beat some 2nd rate bandits doesn’t mean you wouldn’t get killed by a first rate magician. You need to learn more about this world before you’re ready to take on the capital.”
Black Wind is slightly surprised at hearing this goddess speak to him out of the blue, but answers her nonetheless. “That’s why I want to go to the capital, to learn more about this place. If that’s not good, tell me. What do you want me to do?”
The voice seems to sigh, sounding tired. “I didn’t want to keep this from you, but my power had previously been too weakened to contact you directly. But recently, there was an event which let me return a bit of my previous strength.” After a short pause, she continues onward.
“I summoned you here because I need your help. You earlier heard from that Loreena woman my tale. It’s true. My lover, Gaios, was a hero of the human race, having helped overthrow a tyrant ruler that was oppressing the people. He did many great things, including killing the vile necromancer that was working for the tyrant, and went through many life threatening situations for the good of Humankind. I joined him in his journeys as a priestess of life, and we grew to love eachother. After the new king was installed and a ceremony was thrown for Gaios, we settled down to live together and I got pregnant.
“We lived happily together for a few months until a request came from the new king. He said that an undead dragon, the legacy of that dead necromancer, was rampaging around the country and he needed the hero’s help to put it down. Of course Gaios couldn’t refuse, being the paragon of justice that he was. I wanted to come along, but because of the child within me, he made me stay behind. But I couldn’t bear the thought of him going into danger, so I scryed on him with my skills from when I was a priestess…” Neath trails off here, sounding melancholy. “I watched as he was betrayed by the kingdom he fought to protect. The new king was no better than the last under the surface. He was cunning though, and learned from the previous tyrant’s mistakes. On the surface, he was a good king, kind and thoughtful. But he sold his own citizens as slaves, embezzled funds, worshipped pagan gods, and made live human sacrifices for them. He was scared of Giaos, the hero, finding out and killing him though, so he plotted to have him murdered.
“I was in such grief at seeing this but being unable to do anything, that I got a sickness of the spirit and our child that was within me died. Powerless, I vowed to find vengeance and cursed him. Because of my hatred, the curse was powerful enough to rise me as a so called “vengeful goddess.” But even as a god, I didn’t have to power to go against the pagan gods supporting him to kill him. That’s where I needed you.
“You are strong and not of this world, so the pagan gods can not affect you. You must go to the capital and carry out my vengeance for me! But not now. You are new to this world and vulnerable to magic. Go to the Konani Academy of Magic and slaughter them. In doing so, you’ll certainly be enlightened in how to fight against magicians.” Neath gives this bloody mandate and Black Wind feels compelled to act. However, he quickly comes to his senses because of his conflicting sense of values.
“I am not afraid to kill, the path of the swordsman is a bloody one.” Black Wind says to her. “But this is a school? I am against killing innocent children.”
Neath feels frustrated that her powers are still so weakened right now and replies, “They are anything but innocent children. This school only accepts those who have reached their coming of age at 15 and also uses despicable methods to train them. They are endorsed by the king, the same king who killed my beloved! Kill them all!” As she speaks, she slowly starts infusing her divine power into her words, planting mental suggestions in Black Wind. As Black Wind hears her reasoning, it all begins to make sense to him and he nods.
Black Wind gets up and starts moving in the direction Neath shows to him.
~ ~ ~
A while later, Black Wind reaches a forest. He stops outside of it, noticing that there is a mysterious fog hanging over it, which he is unable to see through even after enhancing his eyes with qi. The path directed to him shows that the academy is hidden within this forest though, so he cautiously enters in.
In case anything dangerous or unexpected happens, Black Wind moves much slower through the forest, moving at only twice a normal man’s running speed. After traveling through the forest for a little bit, he can no longer see the outside and it has gotten much darker, thanks to the density of the fog covering the forest. He feels that something is wrong, and takes a moment to stop and look around.
Sharpening his senses with qi, Black Wind observes the surroundings. Nothing seems to be wrong. Unlike the Silent Forest where he first awoke, this forest has the sounds of occasional animals and feels much more alive. The wind blows gently through the trees, making them sway rhythmically. In fact, watching the trees sway, Black Wind’s mind goes blank and he forgets his unease. He decides to press onward, hoping to get to his destination sooner.
~ ~ ~
A while later, Black Wind reaches the edge of the forest. He stops outside of it, noticing that there is no longer a mysterious fog hanging over it. He is now able to see clearly, without even enhancing his eyes with qi. But the path directed to him shows that the academy is hidden within the forest, so he cautiously enters back in.
He moves slowly in the forest, at only twice a normal man’s running speed, in case anything dangerous or unexpected happens. After a while of traveling through the forest, Black Wind feels uneasy. He can no longer see outside the forest when he looks around. But the sound of animals and the gentle swaying of the trees comforts him and he keeps moving.
~ ~ ~
A while later, Black Wind once more reaches the edge of the forest. He stops outside of it, noticing that it feels familiar. But since the path directs him that the academy is inside the forest, he prepares to head back inside. But at this time, he is stopped by an annoyed sounding voice in his head. “Really. You can’t even get past this simple kind of illusion? The Forest Maze spell is one of the first illusion spells taught to mages. If you went to the capital like this, you’d be dead in a heartbeat.” Neath then sends a bit of her divine power into Black Wind’s head, dispelling the white mist shrouding his consciousness.
At this, Black Wind realizes that he had previously been walking in circles. As soon as he reached a certain point in the forest, he was enchanted to move right back outside. Without Neath’s help, who knows how long he’d have been stuck in this trap.
This time, as he’s entering the forest, Black Wind puts a field of qi around him, sensing the surroundings with his qi instead of using his eyes. He walks in with his eyes closed and focuses his mind entirely on his qi field, drowning out any other senses. He discovers, shockingly, that although he had been previously hearing the sounds of animals, when he probes with his qi, there is not a single animal anywhere in his surrounding. Instead, there are two people standing watching him move. As he moves they follow, making various symbols with their hands. The shocking thing is that these two people were in plain sight of him the whole time.
Assuming that they are the ones responsible for messing with his head, Black Wind quickly draws his sword and two flashes of black are sent out. The two people fall to the ground, dead. Black Wind finally opens his eyes. Around him he still sees the forest, but the trees no longer sway rhythmically and he no longer hears the sounds of various animals. The fog still hangs low over the ground, though.
Looking at the two people, Black Wind sees that they are two young adults, likely between the ages of 18 and 22. Conflicting feelings occur to Black Wind. At once he feels an extreme bloodlust, mad that these mere youngsters tricked him like this. But at the same time he feels a grief in his heart at ending the lives of two people who had not even harmed him yet. Upon realizing that he carries these conflicting feelings, Black Wind starts to think about it when another splitting headache sends him to the ground, writhing. This headache is worse than previously.
Lost in his emotions and unable to think about it too deeply, Black Wind swears. He takes a moment to meditate, hoping to subdue the headache before moving onward. As his consciousness once more enters into his dantian, he still notices no abnormalities in the lower and middle dantian. Checking the upper dantian, he notices that the second soul is still there and feels stronger than before.
Feeling doubtful, Black Wind leaves his meditative state and stands to continue to the academy, now that the illusion is gone.
Note: Sorry all for the lack of updates! I decided to take a one day break after finals, because you all know how stressful those things are. Anyway, I’m back! I’ll be working on another chapter right away to try and apologize for being gone for so long. Hopefully it’ll also recoup some of the lost views. haha