1. I’ve Been Betrayed
Translated by End
“A poison that neutralised the Mana in the blood vessel,” recited the blonde, middle age Emperor ‘Ragnar Greenriver.’ He was the history’s first Emperor to have united the Continent under his rule.
“The poison’s effect last for several minutes at most. For you that is.”
He was close friend with Humanity’s first 8th Class Magician, ‘Ian Page.’ Together, the two childhood friend’s mark on the world created numerous songs, planted countless poems, and written scores of epics.
Though it was still true, till, at least today.
“Still, if I try bland some other poison…”
“Uh, for what reason…..?”
The 8th Class Magician, Ian, who had returned to his hometown to spend his remaining life in quiet solitude, spoke as he swallowed the thick blood in his mouth.
“Do you not know already?”
The Emperor’s voice was surprisingly unconcerned. Even though he had fed a deadly poison to his friend of several decades.
“Your strength, that power has been no help for the days after the Unification. In war time it may have been different, but right now, it is something that causes unease. Those words you spoke back then.”
Doubtless, it was all true.
The unfathomable power that could easily wipe out a minor nation single-handedly. That was the power of the 8th Circle Magician.
“As long as Ian Page lives as an ally to the Empire, that fact alone is enough to light the fire of rebellion. Therefore, I shall go back to my hometown and live the rest of my life in penitence. I am sure you said it in such lines.”
Fear entered the Emperor’s eyes.
Of all things, why fear? The one who had ingested poison was Ian.
“Do you know, Ian? I do not fear a rebellion. No matter what, rebellions are a work of man. This is within the scope of man’s understanding.”
“But you, what about the power you possess? Is this the work of man? Do you surely see this power as something beyond the ken of man?”
Ian dearly wanted to respond.
This power was what made you Emperor.
That this very power shaped the Unification of the whole Continent.
The power that was maintaining the very peace right now.
Ian could not project his voice any longer.
The very counterflow to his blood was difficult to cope with.
“I am afraid. Afraid of Ian Page. Afraid of the 8th Class Magician. My old friend….. Damn it! Yes, I am maddened by fear of my old friend! Me, my kingdom, you are a savage monster that can take it all from me! How so can I let such monster live?”
The Emperor, exposing his bout of madness to the world, stopped his soliloquy and looked toward his dying friend, Ian Page. Sorrowful but satisfied, the Emperor’s expression was difficult to read.
“By all means, do not…. do not forgive my actions.”
That was the end of the Emperor’s words. As he left the cottage, a fire erupted all around. Did he think that the poison was not enough?
Ian, meandered in his thoughts.
The Emperor. His old friend Ragnar Greenriver’s transformation. His decision to leave for the countryside. He thought if he was out of sight, the situation would have become better.
‘It seems I was too complacent.’
Ian could have never imagined it would have come to this. He could have never imagined the depth of madness the Emperor fell into.
From his bosom, Ian took out an object. At first glance, it looked like an ornate dirk. Decorated from the tip of the blade to the handle with jewels and engravings. Rather than a bladed tool, it looked more like a decorative piece.
Even then, the sound of it’s unsheathing said otherwise. Just the sound told of it’s sharpness.
‘It seems like I wasn’t the only one complacent, Ragnar.’
Engraved letters covered the blade of the dirk completely. So small were the letters, that it could not be read by the naked eye.
‘This is the repentance I have desired. ’
The blood on his hands, he wanted to wash off what little he could wash off with this.
‘For the numerous that dies with my magic, for them, I would lead my life in repentance.’
All of it was true. Only the method was different.
Surpassing Humanity’s first 6th Class, 7th Class and even reaching the 8th Class, the unprecedented Arch Mage Ian. Wasting away the years praying was something that could not fill Ian’s bowl.
‘Setting back everything as it once was.’
The moment he decided to leave for the countryside, Ian had decided to research ‘Time Magic’ with all his might. If it was possible to turn back time, it was possible to reset everything.
‘And make better choices.’
Of course, it was not easy. Rather, it was close to impossible. There were only unproven, unfinished theories.
‘This will possibly be the very first test.’
The time to agonise perfection and improvement had long passed. Even if there were an adverse reaction, what more than death awaited? No, in the end, he had to die.
‘To save what little Mana I have, there is no other way.’
There was only one place that the poison had yet to affect him. The place that regulated all Mana within the body, the small core within his heart.
At that very place, he pierces the formulaic dirk, to drain all possible power source that was called Mana.
Before long, a brilliant blue light engulf Ian.
(Ra……. Husu……… Ekiro……..)
Simultaneously, Ian had started his chant. One by one, words were spurted out painfully. By no means did this sound came through his voice. Nor was this a common chant.
The Dragon that was commonly known as the ‘Initiator of Magic.’ They had created the ancient language, ‘Dragon Chant.’
In the heart of the mountain, when the echoes of the reverberating Dragon Chant was about to come to a close. The dirk crumbled into dust and scattered. The intense blue light gradually hid the trace of the last vestige. Of the Great Arch Mage Ian Page.