Chapter 1.0: Candle lit night

Arc 1: Shaping

“Such a pain in the ass, why does he have to be such a good-for-nothing coward?” a black guy asks quite annoyed the other two.
“Man, this is so boring! If he is like that, I can just give up on my dreams right now. Was I really that bad of a guy to deserve such a traumatizing afterlife?” a blue guy comments.
“Hohoho, why don’t you younglings calm down a bit?” an old man requests from the other two “He’s still young, why don’t you give him another 10 or 20 years?”
Suddenly Blacky outrages “Old man, are you serious, if I need to watch this idiot for another 20 years I’m gonna kill him!”.

Hohoho people nowadays really are eccentric!
The Old man sighs.

“Wait no, don’t do that, did you already forget about my dream, besides this is maybe your last chance to get your honor as a warrior back, HERO.” the blue guy provokes the black guy.
“Don’t you dare mention that again, crazy technician or do you want me to remind you of your death cause again?”
“Huh? Go ahead if you dare!”
“Died because of ridiculous forgetfulness.”
“OI, so you really wanna die, eh? – Oh, wait, where are we?”

Out of nowhere, the usually tasteless, completely gray scenery, changes into a lively city. Greenery is adding a relaxing feeling to the loud tumult and commotion coming from the inhabitants.

“Hohoho I think we’re in his dreams. Look it’s the young child and he’s opening his eyes.”

***

All of a sudden, I am suddenly laying in midst a crowded city.

For me, that is a true nightmare. I just can’t stop imagining every single accident that comes in my mind. What if someone throws out his excrement and I stand coincidentally below it? What if a brick falls down, or how about the foundation of a house gives up? Not to mention getting caught up as collateral of a fight between two overly strong people or someone looses control over his magic and the explosion ends up killing me?

I know those are not the problems of a 5 year old toddler like me… but I’m a natural genius, so I naturally think about these things first.

Wuah~! I’ll gladly resign from being a genius, please, just end this suffering! Mummy, help me! Wuah~!

Because being intelligent means knowing how SCARY something really is!

***

“Ha! God finally rewarded us with our patience; let’s kick this arrogant brat’s ass for not wanting to fulfill my dream!” the blue guy cries out in a frenzy.
“Yeah this time I have to agree, lets kick his ass to regain my honor! …but did he ever say he wouldn’t want to fulfill your dream?” the black guy remarks.
“He did, and it already makes me mad thinking about it” the blue guy replies “This brat said he doesn’t want to break rules…  this rightfulness makes me wanna puke! …but what honor would you regain from kicking a brat’s ass?”
The Hero bawls out “Obviously I can regain the honor he shattered when he was respect less towards me by not listening to me at all during all these mind wrecking years!”.

The old man just can’t hold his fun in anymore and laughs out loud “Hohoho humans are really funny after they lose their power!”
Not delighted about being made fun of, they both exclaim “Shut up Old man! Go away with your perfect life, why are you even here?!”

***

As I’m despairing in a corner of a backstreet after unsuccessfully attempting to leave this dangerous city, I suddenly notice three people steadily heading towards me.
Ahh, I need to run away. What if they want to beat me up?

Sadly, I can’t escape this blind alley from those mean looking people.

What now? Why is my mummy still not helping me? Could it be she’s not always right? No, that can’t be, there must be a possibility of me coming out of here unscathed! She promised me, she would never let me get hurt as long as I’m in her care!
Ahhh, what do they want from me? I need to find a chance to escape!

“W-Who are you? S-Stay away, if something happens to me, my f-father will come and kill you!
L-Let me go now, kidnappers, my father is a strong a-adventurer! H-He will come here and save m-me before you know it!” I yell at them.

What is with them, are they having some kind of grudge against me? But I’ve never seen them in the village before! H-Heeelp!

“You stupid arrogant coward, how dare you label us as kidnappers after we called out for you for over five years!?” two of them complain with an angry tone.
At last the third one, the only one who doesn’t seem to harbor any ill intentions or grudges, begins to speak
“Hohoho calm down, both of you. Hello Silver, I know that you’re probably a bit surprised with this situation, but we’re no kidnappers. We don’t even have a body.” 

Whoa! So those things from my mother’s fairy tales called ghosts really exist! It appears to be the truth, since one of them stands inside a wall talking about having found glitches in some game with excitement in his eyes and the blue guy isn’t even paying any attention to me. Are they perhaps not kidnappers after all?

Even so, the no body thing really piques my curiosity, so I decide to question them
“Then how am I able to see you, are you ghosts?”
“You stu-mmppfhhmnnm” all of the black guy’s excitement turns into pure anger in a single second. Luckily, the old man grabbs their collars preventing them from approaching any further.

What’s wrong with them, they are even more scary than real bad people! Are they good people, or bad people? Can I relax, or not? Do I need to give up everything in order to escape or is it better to just listen to them until they’re satisfied? Considering they are good people, I could make friends with them by listening to what they say and have them lead me out of this horrifying city. But if not…

“Hohoho, you could say that, but the reason you can see us, is that you’re currently dreaming.” the Old man attempts to explain.
“So… you’re only my imaginations?” I suggest.
“Here he goes again, casually disrespecting his seniors and calling them mere illusions. Please respectful elder, let me teach this green boy a lesson for his future.” the blue guy starts begging the old man.

Since those two don’t seem very nice, I prefer to communicate with the old, white haired guy
“Why are they so mean? I would understand if only you were my imagination, but there’s no way I would imagine people like those two.”

Woah, I don’t think I should have said that, those two really are about to explode right now! They start insulting me like this: “%§$”&”&&§%§”, but providentially Old White keeps calm. I literally feel like I can relax besides him.

“Hohoho don’t mind these two, they’re simply nervous since it’s their first time in over five years to interact with the outside world.” Old man implies.

What? Does that even make any sense? How can they be here without having talked to anyone in over five years? What are these people? Either way, I just have to hope they aren’t people dragging me into danger. Like my FRIENDS.

“What do you mean, Old man?” I don’t want to get involved with them, but I can’t deny the curiosity vibrating through my body.
The Old man responds soon after “We all are not just imaginations, but souls somehow having ended up in your body after their death. By the way, their death is truly intriguing; you should listen to their stories while we’re at it.”
The two meanies immediately jump at the old man “You want do die, eh?”
And once again, Old man is dominating them.

I know my next question is going to be really childish, but I seek to display myself as a normal child. This should convince them I’m nothing special in case they are slave traders I read in a book about, who sweet talk people in order to make them subservient with magic.

At first I wasn’t aware what sweet talking means, but since it included the word ‘sweet’, I looked it up.
“So are you some terrifying, arcane, extremely powerful beast which got sealed inside my body and wants to sweet talk me in order to go on a rampage again? … my mom told me a story about that once.”

Unexpectedly, the black guy promptly cries out laughing
“Are you serious? Hahaha
! Hey coward, I need to hear that story as well! Should that thing really exist in this world, we seriously have to propose friendship!”
Then Old man tells me “Don’t worry, their stories should be enough evidence that your fears are unnecessary.”

“Wait, at least tell me your name first!” I demand from him.

“Hohoho, my name is Fionn Liam, just call me Fionn.” he kindly replies.

The whole name register containing thousands of names I once read doesn’t list his name, not even any alike, but its sound is kind of relaxing. Since it is giving off a genuine feeling filled with warmth, just like his voice and his smile, I repeated it several times in quiet.

For some reason, the Black guy speaks up “Yo little coward, how about you listen to my story first?” he inquires.
“No I want to hear Old man’s story first”
Woah, he is just ignoring me!
“Since you’re already so excited, let me tell you I know a story like this too. Take this, it is a copy of my memories about that story. … Oh yeah, I was supposed to tell you my story… ah no, I just lost interest, you wanted to hear old man’s story right?”
Suddenly, Fionn gets angry and punches him on the head. “Don’t just make people excited for nothing. Shameful.”

“Auaa! T-Thank you elder for your guidance, I wo-won’t make the same mistake twice!
Well, let me introduce myself first.

I’m an experienced magician called Hero or Blacky by others, but my real name is Komoru Fumio; so better call me Komoru.

I was once living in a world a thousand times further developed than yours, but just when I was accepted to the university of my dreams – after I learned to the point where I questioned the relevancy of my bitter life – I was summoned to another world in order to slain the demon king. I was like: I bet they want me to slay the evil demon king, but I won’t dance at their words! Well, but then, you know, the king suddenly told me in case I accept this request I would become a hero beloved by everyone. At the same time as I noticed a little cat girl!
And as I bled through my nose, I couldn’t avert being hypnotized by the king’s devilish tricks and accepted. And consequently, being a man of my word, I had to somehow survive this harsh path. Eventually, the final battle took place and I succeeded in slaying the demon lord.”

“But then how did you die? By the way, your personality is even worse than I had imagined.”

Subsequently Komoru turns mad while trying to stay calm “Well, while being in a pinch I heroically offered my life to deal the final blow.”

I look at him with doubting eyes.

“…. You stupid kid, stop sticking your nose into other people’s business!”

This time the blue guy nearly dies from laughing.
He intervenes “Hahaha, this idiot died on a goblin after getting too careless since he just killed the demon king, Hahaha!”
The black guy called Komoru directly shoots back “Shut up you with your ridiculous death!”
“Wanna fight eh? %$&$/$&$” the Blue guy requests.
Stop right now! Don’t they know how dangerous fighting is?

“Hohoho, don’t mind these two, they’re still youngsters.” the Old Fionn explains.

Wait… what? No I’m over thinking, it is probably one of his traits to call all people younger than him youngsters. Howbeit, this is a good opportunity to ask them for their ages as well!
“Really? … but they look pretty old already, how old are you people?”

Komoru responds first “I lived 20 years in my world, 10 years in the other world and another 5 years in your body. …

… I’m 35! Dammit, you’re even dumber than the average 3 year old child!”

After that, it is the blue guy’s turn “Well don’t mind his temper, but I’m -”
“but aren’t you the same as him?” I argue.
His glare starts to indicate a death wish, but he surprisingly keeps calm.

I’m 55 years as of now. Just call me Time.” he says.
Time? Who would call himself ‘Time’?
“Hohoho, why don’t you tell your story first, Bluey?”
So, Fionn calls him Buey… I see, that should work considering his all-blue getup.

I interfere “But how old are you, Fionn, if you call them youngsters?”

Old Fionn replies “I’m 1001 years, but regardless of that, we are still missing one story to convince you of our genuinity.”

“Well… I lived in a world a thousand times further developed than this guy’s first world, which was called earth. But rather than world, you should say further developed galaxy. A galaxy is the accumulation of all the stars and planets you can see in the sky. And don’t even think of referring to me as Bluey. Call me Time.”

Planets, what’s that? Maybe it’s something like the moon? Or the sun? Wait, does this mean that there is more than one sun and one moon?  And there’s no way I’m gonna call him Time, I mean, seriously!

“Planets?” I repeat “And by the way, it can’t be helped if you have blue hair, blue clothes and a blue book in your hands.”
This blue guy who calls himself Time explains “Sigh~ I guessed you wouldn’t understand. To put it simple, those things are –
 like stars – in a place further away than the sky, the space.
In space there are two types of heavenly bodies. The first kind shines, like your sun, and is called stars. The second kind are like the world you are currently standing at, called planets. In a galaxy there are millions of planets, which you can all visit, each unique and different to every other.
We all could travel through the sky, the space and to neighboring planets faster than light. … And you can’t call me Bluey since I have yellow eyes and …
Wait, what has a book to do with that?!” Bluey complains and continues

“Tragically I died just when I had finished my ultimate work, the Star Destroying Robot; it exploded because of the intervention of an evil organization the same moment as I first tested it out.”
“But how can a star-destroying thing get destroyed so easily?” I try to understand.
“Ahem, well…”

This time, Komoru intervenes Bluey.
“Hahaha, you can’t even imagine how stupid this guy is, his planet had some magnetic field change, and therefore they announced over ten times a day that you shouldn’t use technical devices without the proper protection during the time of its change. … and he tested his robot at exactly this time, Hahahahha!”

Haha, are they for real? They both laugh at each other although they are just the same! There’s no way they are actually intelligent at all! But what are they even talking about? I don’t understand anything, but one thing

 “Oh, so you guys are even more stupid than I am! I already don’t wanna hear the last story anymore.” I state.

Finally, I overdo it and they loose their cool and both start complaining in consonance
“$&$&/§/§$&! Yeah, it’s better you don’t listen to his stupid story, which’s like the ultimate dream of anyone! You really don’t wanna hear of his perfect life!”

Suddenly Old man begins to grin proudly. And so, he begins to reveal his past.

“Now, finally let me tell you my story. I was born in a martial arts continent, where strength was law. I was born into a poor house with an average talent. While training harder than anyone in order to make my family happy and to not let myself get ordered around, I sought to understand the perfection of nature.

My friend, Ruby, accompanied me over a thousand years, through ups and downs. Being with me all the time, even when I secluded myself in order to cultivate for hundreds of years, his faith never wavered, not even once. Finally god bestowed me with a natural death, directly after my little friend fulfilled my last wish.”

What? Why is he here as well? He’s so different from those idiots!
“…And you’re really not lying?” I ask.
“No.” He happily confirms.

He really isn’t lying, those squabbling people just stare at him in their madness. But why are they all together? Don’t they hate each other? And if I were Old man, I would just leave them be. I need to investigate a bit more. Ah~, but around him life’s so comforting!

“I really didn’t expect that… well then, you three were in this space since I was born?” I question them.
“Yes. But now little coward, we need to get back to reality again!” Komoru tells me.
What does he mean by ‘reality’? Oh, now I remember, Old Fionn told me I’m currently dreaming. And before… No… don’t tell me…

“How will you erase our regrets if you die here in this forest?”

Like this, he reminds me of my extremely dangerous current situation.
Wh-what if a bear already found me and is about to eat me a-al-a-alive? NOOO!

As I slowly realize the current, extremely dangerous, situation, I begin to tremble. Lost fear slowly enters me once again.

“What are you doing?! Stop trembling right now, you’re in a cave with a blanket of leaves. Old man successfully controlled your body during your sleep. We three can easily make you the strongest in the worl-”
Suddenly Komoru begins to glow in proudness and he starts to speak up smiling with sturdy confidence
“No, not just the strongest of some tiny world… rather the strongest in the universe! What’s one bear?
After a month he will fall at your hands!
After 3 months he will beg for your forgiveness!
After 16 not even a hundred will be able to harm you!

The only thing you need to have is determination! As soon as you promise us to work harder than anyone else and to listen to us no matter what, we will promise to be your teachers and make you the strongest!”
Sotto voce Bluey whispers “Like hell am I gonna train such a rightful scaredy cat!”

Soon after, I wake up finding myself in the edge of a cave under a warm blanket of leaves and first of all start questioning myself and my determination. After some hours I finally understand:
If I want to get out of here I definitely need to become stronger and rely on the help of my teachers. I just have to agree to their offer for the sake of living!

“Hmpf. Just wait, I’ll survive this!

After that I walk out… but as soon as I see the giant forest, ending into sheer darkness in all directions, with scary sounds coming from everywhere, I can’t help myself from running into the cave and crawling myself into an edge, while I’m covered in tears and fears. I sit there for hours.

But eventually I begin to realize, that a half-assed motivation wouldn’t get me anywhere. I see a mirror of myself in the heavy rain outside. I am shocked by my own self! I don’t see me, I don’t see someone my parents could be proud of and I don’t see someone I want to be.
Instead, I see the words “weak, burden, unworthy, pitiful, helpless, stupid, laughable, despair, anxiety, successless, futureless” and many more. Even though I am a natural genius!

Despised of myself I think about what would happen if I had determination. This time I see the words “friends, strength, fun, freedom, excitement, respect, honorable, thankful, successful, dreams” and many more.
I starts to laugh at myself how stupid I was to not notice it earlier.

No matter whether you take risks, or evade them, it’s always about luck, whether you overcome them or not. Taking risks is the first step to protect yourself from them; but this is a paradox. Since that’s the case, the only remaining factor is luck.

Then why don’t I just live my life to the fullest until fate wants me to drown?

I scream out loud gathering determination to the limit. Then I swear inside my thoughts:

What do I want? Obviously, I’ll enjoy everything what life has to offer and become the strongest of  them all!

What do I do with that? Obviously, I’ll overpower fate and travel the universe!

How do I achieve that? Obviously, I keep training until I die!

Exhausted of this long day of mixed feelings I fall asleep.

“Yo, there you are, wanna tell us something?” a familiar voice infiltrates my mind.

It’s those guys again. Ugh, the impulsive Black guy stares at me again. However, now I can partly understand his behavior. Having to watch some idiot like me for over five years is not something a normal idiot can endure.

“Haha, I’m really sorry for making you suffer by making you watch a pitiful crybaby like me for a whole five years.” I apologize.
“Well, as long as you understand.” Blacky forgives me.
“And I promise you to never wrong you and to work like no one else, so please guide me!” I beg.

Please don’t deny, you guys are my only hope!

Old Fionn finally announces “Hohoho, you should be proud of yourself, getting enlightened at such a young age! Then, as promised, we’re now your official teachers! Let’s immediately start training! At first, you will need to concentrate once you wake up and try to find us in your consciousness.

Good luck!”

Next chapter: Chapter 1.5: Escaping The Forest

 

Last Chapter: Chapter 0.4: False Friends

 

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