Chapter 138 – Legacy (Part 3)
Anything to distract himself from what he knew was inevitable. He knew he wouldn’t be able to stop himself from reading the rest of the book, he knew he had a need to read the theory, the theory written on the last two pages of the book. He knew it… But he didn’t want to do it. He was at odds with himself and he wouldn’t admit it, because deep down he understood that reading that theory now, would be akin to accepting his father’s apology.
And… He wasn’t sure he was ready to do that.
He wasn’t ready to even think about it. So he began studying the the courtyard trying to understand how the mana could be so much thicker. He spent hours, but he couldn’t understand it one bit. In the end frustration won out.
“ARGHHHH!!!” as he screamed at no one and for no particular reason.
He wasn’t sure if he didn’t understand anything even hours because he felt so distracted due to how conflicted he was whether he wanted to acknowledge it or simply unable to figure it out due to his own inadequacy.
He’d spent years in the mist all alone and unable to do nothing but improve his own comprehension, with no help and with only the barest of essentials. He’d developed a certain amount of arrogance due to his own accomplishments and so he didn’t believe he couldn’t understand the reason behind the change in mana in the courtyard. He ended up attributing it to being distracted.
‘After so many hours I should have been able to glimpse at least an idea of the -why’ he thought to himself as a sardonic smile was plastered on his face as he casually gave a brief glance back in the direction of the book on the floor.
He’d been avoiding it like a plague as he’d tried to focus on something even he himself knew wasn’t that important.
He felt like he was in turmoil, and he didn’t want to look inwardly to find the reason why. All he wanted to do was ignore it, so that’s exactly what he did. He ignored the things he knew he shouldn’t and focused on the things he figured didn’t matter as he placed extra importance on them.
Three days later.
Daichi was pacing back and forth in the grass with gritted teeth and bloodshot eyes. His mind was a mess as he was suffering from the repercussions of sleep deprivation and his own obsessive personality.
He was pushing his mind and body to their limits and ignoring it.
Pacing back and forth Daichi would suddenly begin to stare off into what seemed the air in deep concentration only to be followed a loud bellow of frustration briefly followed by a quick glance back at the book, still lying on the floor where he’d left it. His glances were brief, as if he was trying to hide his intentions from someone else.
A cycle of the same events continued until eventually the exhaustion caught up to him as he sat down on the grass and closed his eyes for a moment. His body was forcing him to rest his eyes and he was finally yielding in compliance ‘Just for a second though…’ his eyes closed and only a moment later did his body topple over onto the grass into deep sleep.
Daichi had failed to realize how ‘mortal’ he was due to the time he’d spent in the mist. He’d spent the entire time awake, separated from his body. His mind was completely clear and lucid and free from the shackles of the needs of his body. He’d failed to realize that now that he was back, sleep was a necessity. Something he couldn’t do without.
He’d slept every when the others slept and ate when the others ate on his way back from the forest to the city, but that was more out of instinct. They did so, and so did he in an effort to fit in. Now that he was alone, that placid belief that he didn’t need to such human things was something far beyond him. Something that he only realized as he sunk into a dream.
When Daichi opened his eyes, the world around him was entirely different. He was sitting on a pillar so high into the sky that he was engulfed by the mist created by the clouds around him. Instead of panic, there was a tepid understanding. His location felt natural, the world felt mundane, and his mind was at peace. It was if it was a sight he’d seen every day of his life, a place he’d always been, it gave him the feeling of belonging.
Without sitting up, he begun to look around him as a familiarity he didn’t understand enveloped him. Although the mist obstructed his vision, and the height and distance from the ground made it hard to see anything. Daichi felt confused. No matter where he looked it was as if he knew what was there although he himself couldn’t see it. Before turning his head, he knew what he would see, were it possible for him to see into the distance.
Daichi’s confusion didn’t lessen as he looked around, as that familiarity that gave him a sense of security only created further chaos in his mind. Through the confusion something else began to occupy his thoughts. He couldn’t sense the mana in his surroundings. Something he had grown to be able to do as a second nature. Instead of feeling panic, it felt so… Normal. That was what gave Daichi a jolt of fright as he opened his eyes back on the grass completely drenched in sweat.
‘What a weird dream…’ the thought had barely formed before it gave way to a look of surprise. A wistful smile crossing his lips at the realization that for he’d just had his first dream in over a hundred years.
Then only moments later as he wondered why he’d had such a strange dream, he suddenly realized that although he remembered, or thought he remembered that the dream was strange. He couldn’t recall a single detail. Only a mixed lingering feeling of belonging and confusion.
‘Strange… So strange…’
Drenched in sweat, Daichi felt disgusted with the way he felt. Without waiting he took off his clothes and entered the small “house” and begun looking after the small tub in the corner. He filled it with water from the nearby well, heated it up and cleaned himself up. Although the dream couldn’t have been considered peaceful, it was certainly not a nightmare. Although he’d woken up drenched in sweat, he’d also awoken completely refreshed. It was an odd experience but something that had helped him settle down.
Daichi stayed in the tub as he stared at the door and the book laying there.
There was a strange calm to his gaze that confused him. All of the things he was ignoring and trying to push away were now at the forefront of his thoughts and a clarity that came along with them. Instead of running, he simply acknowledged something to himself he’d refused to do in years. He’d always wanted something he believed would never get. He’d been no different than any other child when he was young, he wanted a mother he’d never known and a father to love him who never had.
Everything about him had been normal except his perception. He’d understood more than most people did, which was especially true for someone his age. When he’d come to understand what he saw in his father’s eyes was a deep rooted regret and even hate, that perception had led him to make a choice that likely no other child would have been able to make regarding his life. He’d chosen a path as a child and stuck with it ever since.
Now he allowed himself to acknowledge that the truth was, he didn’t want to accept anything from his father now because it meant questioning the path he’d already walked his entire life. Perhaps someone else could simply read the book and think nothing towards someone who’d treated him the way his father had. Perhaps someone else could feel as if he owed him nothing, because his father had failed to show his son what any good parent naturally gives – love. Perhaps somebody else could do those things but Daichi could not.
He himself knew that although he didn’t consider himself a good person, he did consider self a person who repaid what he owed, only took what he needed and considered himself fair. He’d already begun forming his own code of conduct, a code of how believed a man should act. A set of philosophical principles that would dictate what he could or couldn’t do, not for any other reason than to help him become the type of person he wanted to be.
Reading that book came with strings attached, but as of this moment he finally felt at peace with that. A sense of peace washed over him as he took his time getting out of the bath, and putting on his last set of clothes.
‘I’m going to need to go shopping for supplies…’ he thought to himself as he realized how little he had now. Too many clothes had been ripped or torn, ruined or worse in his travels. Although food held up longer when they were placed in an interspatial device, it didn’t hold up indefinitely and virtually everything left was now spoiled.
He took his time getting ready and walking back over to the door frame as he sat down cross-legged and lifted the book of the floor to rest it on his knees.
‘I’ll accept your apology. Not because I think you deserve it, or because you’ve made up for my childhood with words. I’ll do it so I can put this behind me. I think I’ve held on to this for too long.’ Although years ago he believed that he’d put it all behind him, he was wrong. All he’d really done was bury it so deep it was no longer a concern. Opening that book and reading what his father had written, especially for him had made him realize the demon hidden in his heart for so long.
Now he felt the need to unburden himself, his father was a human. Humans make mistakes and he’d suffered due to one of his, except now something was different. He knew his father was dead, there was no longer any point in letting himself be affected over something or someone long since dead, and long since in the past.
Daichi even chuckled wondering to himself why he’d been so aggravated before as he opened up the book back to the page he’d stopped at before.
The only thing that Daichi didn’t realize is that this entire train of thought and eventual sense of peace he’d reached was all due to the strange sense of belonging he’d experienced in his dream. Something as of now, he had no recollection of at all.