Three years have passed since Enlike met Ganbanzel.
There were about ten boys on a sandy beach with seagulls flying ahead and crabs crawling around.
They were all clad in the same kind of worn-out military uniforms. Everyone was sitting on the beach with even intervals between them. The one sitting at the very end was Enlike.
The sounds of waves on this windless day sounded pleasant to his ears. Sometimes, this sort of moderate background noise sharpened people’s minds better than silence. The waves extended all the way to Enlike’s knees and slightly wet his trousers.
He closed his eyes, listened and kept calming his breath. He focused his consciousness on the axioms flowing through him.
A man stood behind Enlike’s group.
He was a middle-aged man wearing a military uniform that was slightly higher-quality than theirs. The lower half of his face was concealed by a curly black beard, and the upper half was covered by a quirky black hair. Looking at his face, one could only see small parts of his eyes and nose. The man’s name was Boramot Mafe. He was the cloth controller that once stood by Ganbanzel’s side.
Adding his large build, he looked like a clothed bear from afar.
“Magic begins from your mental image. You need to destroy the order of the world inside you, while at the same time destroying your order inside the world. With the power of imagination you can give shape to the chaos inside your consciousness.”
Listening to Boramot’s words, Enlike enhanced his concentration.
Enlike’s group was learning about Magic now. It was so they could turn into monsters just like Ganbanzel said.
What was Magic? In order to explain, Boramot first presented them with a glass full of seawater. This was quite soon after Enlike came to the island. When he arrived, there were already several dozens of boys there. He was the last one.
“If I were to tilt this glass, what would happen to the water inside?”
“It would spill.”
One in Enlike’s group said.
“…Because it’s just like that?”
“Please explain in more detail.”
The boy faltered, and thus Boramot kept talking.
“It is because it was established as such in this world. Tilting the glass would make the water spill. Letting go of the glass would make it fall. Birds fly in the sky, fish swim in the sea, the sun rises every morning and sinks every night.
In the past, the Overseer of the Beginning and the End established the world like that when He created it. Everything in this world was made according to those principles. No, it would be better saying that the section made to be that way by the Creator Deity is the world.
As humans were also made by the Creator Deity, they obviously operate under those principles as well.
Therefore, no matter how strong humans are, they can’t lift a boulder weighing a ton, and no matter how good they are at swimming, they can’t swim faster than fish. They can’t produce light from their hands or breathe fire. It is natural. The Creator Deity made humans this way.
Fundamentally humans are just a bit smart but have no abilities. However, this isn’t everything about them.”
Boramot talked while presenting the glass of water to Enlike’s group.
“The Creator Deity made humans to be the sole existence in this world that could defy His established principles.
The right to defy the Creator Deity;
A deviation from the axioms organizing the world;
Those are what humans refer to as Magic. Tilting this glass would make the water inside spill… but that kind of rule can also be negated. Like this-”
After saying so, Boramot muttered something under his breath and turned over the glass in his hand. The water inside had stuck to the inside of the glass as if it were ice.
“It isn’t difficult at this level. Anyone can do this if they were trained to some extent. And the phenomenon itself isn’t a big deal, because if I want to keep the water from spilling, I could simply cover the glass.”
Then, the water that was stuck inside the glass spilled on the sand as if it suddenly lost its support.
“The Magic you brats need is something like this.”
This time, Boramot’s clothes started shuffling around noisily as if they were alive. The boys started getting alarmed, but Enlike wasn’t surprised. He saw him crush a caretaker on the ship using this.
“This is my ability. Magic that allows me to freely control clothes in contact with my skin. Even I wanted to teach this, it cannot be learned. I am the only one with the right to use this power. ‘Boramot Mafe can manipulate any cloth he touches at will, surpassing the laws of physics’ – I thus overturned the world’s principles.
Currently almost all of those who are first-class warriors can control this kind of Magic. This is a Magic that only I can use and nobody else.
Even you brats must learn it. Right now, this is the best method for you.”
“By the way, it is extremely rare, but there are people who are granted a Right from God while they are born. Those kinds of people are also born with unnatural hair colors.
For example, there’s the famous Ever-Laughing Witch who had striped hair… but well, this doesn’t have anything to do with you brats.”
“Remember that you are all here only so you can become of use for Ganbanzel-sama. You were kept alive only for his noble purposes. You are nothing more than that. Do not forget this.
I’m strict. But I’m doing this for Ganbanzel-sama and not only for you. If you are able to acquire powerful Magic, you will become monsters. The most important thing is for you to produce something noble and thus become noble.
But until that day comes, you are all trash. I will not allow you to talk back to me. Is that understood?!”
Everyone, including Enlike, nodded in unison.
Ever since that day, the group started their Magic Deliberation.
Enlike, while sitting on the sand, kept sharpening his focus.
He shut himself out to shield his consciousness from the outside world. He connected his subconscious with the Present God inside and led his consciousness to the deepest parts.
In his mind, he started reciting the words of the Magic Deliberation he learned from Boramot.
‘Those who go will not go, and those who come will not come. The moon is the sun. Birds are fish. Living beings become corpses. Steel becomes weak. All of reality becomes dreams, and illusions become all of reality. Existent things cease existing, nonexistent things exist, everything is defined as false, and thus I undergo the Magic Deliberation.’
The Magic Deliberation began.
Enlike pushed his way through his deep consciousness, held his intentions and began rewriting the axioms of the world. He started eroding the axioms governed by the Present God like how carnivorous insects would feast on their prey, and then rewrote them according to his own wishes.
‘Enlike Bishile controls lightning.’
‘Enlike Bishile controls even stronger lightning.’
‘Enlike Bishile controls even stronger and more precise lightning.’
While chanting this inside his mind, Enlike changed the principles of the world. He imagined his Magic to be stronger and more precise. As he imagined it, he started turning it real.
He changed the world’s axioms. The Magic Deliberation ended.
Enlike opened his eyes and stretched out his hand. Together with that action, a blue flash came surging out from his hand. About five meters ahead from him on the sandy beach, a cloud of dust rose where the flash pierced it.
Enlike sighed in relief among the swirling sand. The power he used was lightning. He could freely emit it from his body and control it.
Coming this far wasn’t easy.
It all started from imagining himself shooting lightning. He materialized that image and refined it. And he believed from the bottom of his heart in bringing forth this lightning. Discarding his hesitation and grasping the world’s axioms in his hands took him a year.
It took him another year until he could freely control that lightning. When he couldn’t control it, he burnt his own body again and again. Being able to use it like this to attack was a recent development. Since then, he repeated the Magic Deliberation countless of times to improve his precision and power.
The boys around him opened their eyes. They directed startled looks towards Enlike and the traces of his lightning.
“So you raised your power further.”
Boramot said and gave a piece of cloth to Enlike. He wiped the sweat and sand on his face.
“Lightning, huh… such an amazing ability. Trying to master it is hell, but once you can use it you will unleash this hell upon your enemies.”
Boramot looked at Enlike’s body. Never mind his fingers or arms, there were also burn marks all over his body that was concealed under his clothes. He went through the danger of dying countless times.
“You have done well to survive this far.”
Boramot clapped on Enlike’s shoulder.
“This is enough for today. Everyone rise.”
Enlike and the rest of the group stood up. It was already close to sunset.
Every day they conducted their Deliberation like this and strengthened their Magic. The only one who was able to complete the Deliberation and strengthen the power of his Magic today was Enlike.
“Enlike’s progress lately has been remarkable. However, the rest of you slackers make me want to cover my eyes. Do you have no shame?”
All of the boys other than Enlike lowered their gazes.
“Do not forget you have been left alive by Ganbanzel-sama. In exchange for your lives you should all have enough guts to acquire Magic. We’re done for today.”
After finishing the training, Boramot walked alone to a house located inside the forest. None have followed him. Boramot had said that the status of those who were Meats, like Enlike and the rest, and his, as a False Man who served Ganbanzel, was different. Boramot lived inside a wooden cabin that was built when they first arrived on the island. The residences allocated for Enlike’s group were caverns on the cliffs.
With only a lamp and beds inside, it looked like a dwelling from the Paradise Era.
Enlike had no issues with that treatment. It was unexpected for him, who previously had to pick up bread crumbs from the ground, to get such a promotion.
“Is it over for today?”
One in the group mumbled.
“We’re just going to eat and sleep now.”
Someone answered him.
Enlike’s group returned in front of the cave. On that cliff, which had holes here and there as if it was cheese, there was a small plaza. At its center a small bonfire was burning. A lone girl was tossing firewood inside one at a time.
She was around seventeen years old. She was a petite girl that could only reach up to Enlike’s chest. Two braids of hair were hanging from her small head.
“We’re back, Qumola.”
One in the group raised his voice towards her. The girl turned around and greeted Enlike’s group with a timid voice.
“Good work, everyone.”
Her name was Qumola. She was a maid on this island from before Enlike came there.
Enlike and the rest sat around the bonfire in a circle. Qumola moved quickly around the center. One by one, the group received oil paper-wrapped packages around the size of a Book from her. After she finished distributing the packages, she started giving them boiled water inside iron glasses.
“Once in a while we should eat something different.”
Someone’s voice was heard inside the circle. Because everyone thought so, no one answered.
The group’s meal was a military ration of beans and flour kneaded together. Chewing it inside their mouths, together with its half-baked saltiness, it tasted terrible. If Qumola hadn’t given them hot water, they wouldn’t have been able to eat it.
Finally, she put boiled water in front of Enlike. Then, she went to seat in a small distance outside the circle.
As if on cue, one of the people in the group started speaking.
The one talking was a tall boy called Kayas. He was the youth who had the most lively voice and expressions among them. He naturally ended up becoming the group’s leader. Kayas began the usual greetings in a jesting tone.
“Well then, good work for today. Our meal tastes like crap but let’s eat it to our heart’s content, you bastards!”
As if in response to Kayas’s joking words, everyone started eating.
While eating, everyone began chatting with one another.
Conversation topics for them weren’t numerous. The main topic was of course fighting. Today they talked about one of their friends, a boy named Lonkenny.
“I still think there’s a defect in your ability.”
Joined a boy called Sasari.
“Mm, is that so?”
Lonkenny answered bashfully. He was a slightly introverted boy.
The Magic he used was controlling fire. He could ignite a powerful flame inside his mouth and shoot it out in the form of a fireball. It had tremendous power; he could thoroughly burn a large tree with one blow.
“It doesn’t matter how much power you have if you can’t hit. You have to shoot it faster.”
Kayas said to Lonkenny while eating his disgusting military ration.
“Right. There’s also the range. You have to make it go far.”
“…Yeah, I’m trying my best.”
“Anyway, you have to alter your thinking itself.”
As Kayas and Sasari kept talking, all the others joined them in criticizing Lonkenny’s abilities as they pleased. He looked down in embarrassment but listened to his friends.
Among them, only Enlike hadn’t said anything. He kept chewing his military ration in silence.
“What do you think, Enlike?”
Kayas casually passed the conversation to Enlike.
At that moment, the relaxed atmosphere suddenly became tense. The gaze directed at Enlike was different than the ones exchanged among the group of comrades. He was instead met with fear, awe, and a slightly concealed killing intent.
“I don’t think anything.”
Enlike, receiving the others’ gaze in silence, answered just this.
“How unusual to hear Enlike talk.”
Sasari shrugged. He sent a hostile look towards him.
“Even a prodigy killer will answer if you’ll speak to him.”
“Stop that, Sasari.”
Kayas tried keeping Sasari, who provoked Enlike, in check.
“I’m telling you to stop.”
This time, the dispute began between the two of them. Enlike didn’t get involved. He just stayed silent and kept chewing mechanically.
Among the group of ten or so boys, he was the least talkative and the strongest. He also loved killing and battles more than anyone else – this was how the group evaluated Enlike. This evaluation wasn’t favorable in the least. They have feared and alienated him.
Enlike had spent his days in a detached manner as if he didn’t feel the gazes of fear directed at him.
The idle talk kept after this, and mealtime was almost over.
“Well, thanks for the meal.”
Kayas was the first to finish eating. He still had some leftovers in his hands. He threw them on the cloth lying next to the bonfire.
Following him, the rest also threw the leftovers on the cloth.
“Thanks for the meal.”
Small leftovers, none of them larger than a single bite, were placed on the cloth.
When everyone except Enlike finished eating, Kayas pinched the four corners of the cloth and picked it up. He brought it to Qumola who sat at the edge of the circle.
“Here, Qumola. It’s your share.”
“Thank you for always, everyone.”
She quickly lowered her head and received the package. Then, while she was sipping the remaining hot water from a ladle, she began eating the leftovers everyone gathered for her.
Enlike kept looking at their actions while thinking they were strange.
He couldn’t remember when this started.
At some point they gave their leftovers to Qumola like this, and it became a habit.
While looking at Qumola who pinched the food and continued eating, Enlike swallowed his last bite.
Even after the meal, the group kept chatting together until the bonfire would run out. Only Enlike kept silent inside the circle. He didn’t join the conversation nor did he listen to it; he simply stayed silent. Nobody turned their eyes towards him.
Their conversation topics were incredibly silly. The weather, the sea, their friends, and Qumola.
Enlike felt extremely uncomfortable. He couldn’t understand why those guys that were talking in front of him could be so calm. What will come out of getting along? Was there any value to this fake harmony? Eventually, everyone will die and they’ll stay alone.
While thinking so, Enlike stared at the group with gloomy eyes.
Before long, the bonfire went off and they started gradually getting up. Enlike rose listlessly.
“Hey, Lonkenny. Think a bit more about your Deliberation tomorrow.”
Kayas started saying.
“I know, Kayas. I’m working hard.”
Lonkenny smiled bashfully. Enlike then approached him from behind.
Lonkenny flinched at the sudden voice directed to him.
He muttered in a fearful tone.
“Tonight. Me and you.”
Enlike said only this and immediately left.
Lonkenny looked at him with his legs trembling. Without paying attention to him, Enlike went inside the cave which was like his bedroom.
“It can’t be… after this… but then…”
He could faintly hear Lonkenny muttering so.
It was during the middle of night, when the full moon rose high in the heavens. Enlike and Lonkenny sneaked away from the cave. The two stood on the beach and faced each other. The distance between them was about three meters. The moon’s light was bright, so they could clearly see each other’s faces.
“Boramot is late.”
Enlike said. His face was completely expressionless. He calmly looked directly at Lonkenny as if he was staring at the deep darkness.
Lonkenny was looking at the sand with bloodshot eyes. His eyes were like this after crying until he tired of it. In contrast with Enlike, he wasn’t calm at all.
“Aren’t you afraid?”
Enlike replied as if not answering at all. He then looked towards the direction of Boramot’s hut. He thought about going to call him, but immediately decided against it.
“I don’t want to do this. I don’t care about Hamyuts Meseta at all.”
“I want… I want to stay with everyone.”
Enlike calmly answered.
“Yes. If you won’t become a monster you’ll just die.”
Enlike stated a simple fact indifferently. His way of speaking was unbelievably blunt.
Lonkenny abruptly raised his face.
“Enlike, do you enjoy killing?”
Enlike thought for a while before answering.
“Don’t you enjoy it?”
Lonkenny shook his head.
“It’s not fun at all.”
The two went silent again.
More importantly, Boramot is late, Enlike thought. Should we just start without waiting for him?
Just as this crossed his mind, Lonkenny suddenly drew closer.
“Hey, Enlike. Will you please take this?”
Lonkenny put a hand inside his breast pocket. Enlike was slightly confused about what he pulled out. It was a seashell. A shiny scarlet seashell of the sort that could be seen from time to time on the beach.
“I don’t need it.”
“It’s not for you. Can you pass it to Qumola?”
Enlike just became more confused.
“Please. This will really be my only regret.”
Enlike received the seashell without any real interest.
“I wonder if I could have lived more comfortably if I became a killer like you.”
Lonkenny muttered. Then, they heard a voice.
“So you came. We will begin immediately.”
Boramot was walking on the beach.
“Let us commence the battle training.”
From time to time, under the moonlight, when everyone was asleep, these kinds of matches between two comrades would occur.
On paper, they were battle training. However, in actuality it was harvesting of the strong. Those with weak abilities or low potential would be erased, thereby giving experience to the strong. This was the method devised by Boramot.
Boramot said while grinning. Enlike’s body scattered blue sparks. A red flame lit up inside Lonkenny’s mouth.