This chapter was brought to you by AnmesicCat, Masadeer, and StellarAshes.
Side Story: Misery
“Bar-bar, where is papa?”
A golden-haired, blue-eyed, and a cute child everyone would love, asked timidly. The bearded man, who was sitting next to him, was writing down some magic notes. He helplessly put down his pen, and turned around to look at the child.
“If you call him papa again, he will definitely slap you.” Barbalis advised helplessly. The old and young sitting in his bedroom were both stubborn. The old wanted the young to call him master, and the young called the old nothing but papa. This would continue until child abuse would happen, and when Susanna finds out about it, she would angrily run off and abuse the old one.
Gle’s abusive and masochistic actions had never stopped since Mizerui could speak, but the end result had always been the old and young resulting with bruised faces. And afterwards, they would squeezed together and fall asleep on the same bed because they were too tired. Gle’s habit of lying on his stomach had never changed, and little Mizerui’s habit of lying with his face down on top of Gle hadn’t changed either.
Barbalis looked at this scene until Mizerui turned seven, when a sudden holiday called “Aklan Crazy Four’s Graduation” had appeared. The whole academy held a banquet for three days and three nights to celebrate the Crazy Four’s graduation, while the four of them glared at Mizerui and argued for three days and nights.
Susanna insisted on taking Mizerui with her. Her reasoning being, if Gle took Mizerui, no one would know if he would even live to the day when the four of them promised to meet up the following year. Barbalis had also strongly agreed with her.
However, Mizerui, himself, insisted on staying with Gle, ignoring Susanna’s heartfelt pleads. Finally, the other three could do nothing as they saw Gle taking Mizerui away. This event had caused the other three heartfelt regret for the next dozen of years to come.
The next year, Gle really did come empty handed by himself.
“I lost him.” Gle shrugged.
For the first time ever, Barbalis joined Susanna in her actions to fix up Gle.
A dozen years later, Mizerui suddenly appeared out of the thin air, but during this period of time, where exactly had Mizerui gone to? It had always been a mystery…
* * *
“Papa, what magic circle are you drawing?” Mizerui was sitting on the ground, staring at the all powerful Magician father as he had to, for the first time, use a magic circle to cast magic. What kind of magic could it be?
Gle gave him a knock on the head as usual and corrected, “It’s Master!”
“Oh…” Mizerui held his head. Deciding to completely skip the name, he asked again, “What kind of magic circle is this?”
Gle said triumphantly, “This is a time magic circle, and I will use it to travel into the future.”
“Future?” Mizerui didn’t understand what future was. Nevertheless, he was very interested in the magic circle. He was very curious as to what magic spell it could possibly be to force Gle to use a magic circle.
Gle was on the ground for a long time, drawing the magic circle, to the point where his back was starting to hurt. The circle was indeed difficult to create, and even Gle didn’t have much confidence on its success, however, he also didn’t want to experiment with his own life. Gle commanded Mizerui, “When I say go, grab something and throw it in.”
Mizerui looked around excitedly. He finally grabbed Gle’s long sword, and fumbled to the edge of the magic circle, awaiting Gle’s signal. Gle began to infuse large amount of magic into the circle. It was a difficult spell, and he wasn’t going to hold back, he was going to give it his all.
Magic was quickly drained out of his body, and even for Gle, the rate of magic loss had caused his face to turn pale. However, as the magic circle began to glow, his heart was filled with excitement. It continued on until the magic circle grew blindingly bright, and Gle had used up all his power. He was weak but he still yelled loudly, “Now!”
A crisp sound of metal striking the ground could be heard. This made Gle frown. Theoretically, the sword should have disappeared, and therefore not emitting a single sound.
Did he fail…? Gle was unhappy, he had never failed before. When the blinding light gradually faded away, there was, surely enough, a sword sitting in the center of the magic circle.
“What the hell! How could I have failed? You must have thrown it too slowly, Mizerui. I’m going to beat you until your head is covered in bumps.”
Gle’s eyes circled around the room, but he didn’t see Mizerui’s little body. He froze briefly, then raised his head to look at the door: the door was locked in several places, and it was locked from the outside; therefore, Mizerui couldn’t have gotten out.
Gle turned his head back to look at the magic circle again, and he froze for a long, long time…
* * *
Two moans of pain could be heard in unison. Mizerui held his head in pain, with tears rolling around in his eyes. Luckily enough, since Gle had often beaten his head, he could handle this bit of pain. On the other hand, the man Mizerui hit complained for a long time.
“What a little runt! You want a beating?”
Mizerui raised his head to look. A man with green hair reaching his shoulders was looking back at him angrily. The man was wearing a Magician robe.
“Who are you?” Mizerui asked curiously. Wasn’t he just in papa’s room, watching him use a magic circle?
The green-haired man was obviously more curious than he was. He snapped, “Are you freaking serious, you fell out of the sky on my head, and you ask me who I am? Shouldn’t that be my question? Don’t tell me you’re a small Magician who just learnt levitation?”
“I’m not! I’m a very powerful Magician, the Magic genius Gle’s only apprentice!” Mizerui protested loudly.
“Uh? Gle?” The green-haired man widened his eyes, clearly in complete disbelief of what the child said.
“That’s right.” Mizerui raised up his chin.
“What’s up? You are yelling loudly.”
Mizerui looked at the direction of where the other sound came from. A man with black hair reaching his hips and handsome look was walking towards him, with a brilliant crown on his head. Mizerui thought it strange, and despite his young age, he knew the only person who would wear a crown in the world, and it was the Dragon Emperor.
Could his papa’s magic circle have sent him to the Dragon Continent?
The green-haired man said with a strange look, “Some strange child says he’s Gle’s eldest apprentice.”
“Gle’s eldest apprentice? Isn’t that Mizerui?” The handsome, black-haired man seem puzzled.
“I am Mizerui!” Mizerui was confused.
“Speaking of Mizerui, this child looks quite like that guy Mizerui. Hehe, could this be his love child?”
“Huh?” The green-haired man turned around, but could no longer find the child.
* * *
Many, many scenes quickly flashed before Mizerui’s eyes, as if he was sitting on a moving train, and the views slipped by quickly. Mizerui looked at them blurrily, and then he couldn’t resist using his hands to touch those pictures. As soon as he touched one of them, Mizerui was quickly sucked into one. When he finally recovered from the shock, he was again standing in a strange place.
He saw two groups of people confronting one another. On his left, there was only one man dressed in a purple robe, and several people to the right. The man with black hair in front seemed somewhat familiar to him? Mizerui narrowed his eyes, and yelled, “Ah! Those eyes…”
As soon as he made a sound, a hand suddenly covered his mouth. The smell of blood barged into Mizerui’s nose. He raised his head to look, and saw the person covering his mouth was drenched in blood, his golden hair was messy, and his clothes were soaked in so much blood that it was hard to tell what color they were. He could vaguely make out some black and white stripes…
“Shh! You can’t help with anything here. Leave now.”
The gold-haired man seemed to treat his wounds as nothing, and he still acted with class. He smiled as he pushed Mizerui, who then fell into an abyss. Now, the scenes were beginning to move vertically.
Mizerui floated in the air. While bored, he desperately flung his limbs around, putting his hands and feet into an unknown scenery. This time, when he rolled out, he fell securely into a seat. He was clueless as to where he was. He saw people around him standing and sitting, but strangely enough, everything else was completely transparent, and there was nothing there other than people. Mizerui timidly lowered his head to look, and saw there was nothing under his butt, even though he was sitting upright.
Mizerui’s attention was drawn by a loud yell. He saw a green-haired young man talking excitedly with another man.
He had no idea what the green-haired man whispered to the the black-haired man. The green-haired man raised his head and said immersively, “If we catch him for the bounty, I wouldn’t have to worry about food or clothes for a long while.”
The black-haired man looked in Mizerui’s direction. At first, Mizerui thought they were looking at him, but after paying attention, he realized they were looking at the man sitting next to him. This man with a gold-framed glasses seemed rather familiar. The man didn’t look back at him, but rubbed his head, instead.
His eyes were looking at the two man. There was disdainful look in his sharp, golden eyes, and a sinister smile was on his mouth.
“Get off at the next exit.” The black-haired man said as if he was both talking to his companion and at the man with the gold-framed glasses.
The man with the gold-framed glasses pushed Mizerui again, putting him back into the boundless list of endless sceneries.
Having seen this again and again, and being raised by Gle after all, Mizerui had already figured out what was happening. In fact, just based on the fact that Gle drew a temporal magic circle, Mizerui had already predicted what would happen. He just didn’t know why he would fly around like this, and when he could actually stop.
Although a bit worried, Mizerui was still young, and he faced such a situation with a rather playful attitude. He sneaked into one scenery for a while, then run into another in the next. After getting back many times, Mizerui began to play without any worry. As soon as he came back, he went into another scene.
After a long time, Mizerui began to feel tired. He sat quietly in the darkness, watching the pictures roll by. Even though each of these scenes had many people, Mizerui always felt alone. He would often be sent back without saying a word, so it made no difference whether he saw anyone.
“Can I not go back anymore…” Mizerui finally began to worry. He sat and stared blankly in the darkness, not knowing what he should do. Though he knew of magic, he was far from knowing things like temporal magic. In fact, other than Gle, there might be no one who could come up with something as terrifying as temporal magic.
Suddenly, a white hand broke through the darkness and grabbed Mizerui by his ankle. With a sudden pull, Mizerui didn’t even have time to scream before he was pulled into someone’s arms.
Mizerui paused, then raised his head. A man wearing a long robe was smiling while looking back at him.
“Who are you?” Mizerui asked.
The man examined him with interest as he answered, “I’m Mocha.”
Little Mizerui frowned, “Mocha? Are you trying to trick a five year old? Let me tell you, I’m already seven, and I’m not so easily tricked. Don’t think that I don’t know Mocha is a kind of coffee.”
The man looked awkward as he tried to explain, “But I really am called Mocha. I have two younger brothers, and they are called Latte and Cappuccino.”
Mizerui heard, and looked very skeptical. He examined Mocha, trying to find evidence of lying on his face. After all… what kind of parents would call their children Mocha, Latte, and Cappuccino?
“You haven’t heard of Dragon Emperor’s three coffee princes?” Seeing Mizerui’s expression, Mocha asked angrily and jokingly at the same time, but then he frowned, “Right, perhaps you really didn’t know. Which space and time do you come from? Why were you floating around in the spatiotemporal tunnel?”
Mizerui’s jaws dropped. He remembered; he had indeed heard of the three coffee princes, when he heard the eldest prince had a celebration for his hundredth birthday.
“Prince Mocha… h-how old are you this year?” Mizerui asked anxiously.
“Me? A hundred and fifteen.”
“Huh?” Mizerui yelled in shock, “Did I go fifteen years into the future?”
“Crap, I don’t know where papa went. I saw a lot of strange scenarios and I want to tell him about it.” Mizerui sighed.
“Strange scenarios?” Mocha smiled and said, “You have seen the past or the future, right? But how did you enter the spatiotemporal tunnel?”
“My papa drew a temporal magic circle.” Mizerui suddenly looked at Mocha, “Prince, how did you put your hand there?”
“I am a fortune teller.” Mocha immediately saw Mizerui’s skepticism as soon as he finished. He explained patiently, “In fact, this was a gift. When I close my eyes, I can often see the situation in the spatiotemporal tunnel, and all the pictures flowing through the tunnel.”
Mizerui suddenly realized, “So because you would often see the future, everyone thought you could predict the future?”
“As long as you could tell them the future, who would really care how you actually knew?” Mocha answered with what looked like a smile.
“But that’s fine too. Wouldn’t you know everything then? And you would never do the wrong thing.” Mizerui said with a bit of jealously.
Mocha looked deeply at Mizerui for a while, before finally leisurely saying, “Child, you must have seen the future too. I think it’s my duty to tell you, being able to see the future doesn’t mean your life isn’t without its questions. I am often vexed over whether I should tell the prophecy. Many prophecies turned out to be self-fulfilling. Had I not said anything, perhaps things wouldn’t have happened at all.”
Mizerui was thoroughly confused. With his curious nature, he asked, “Such as?”
“Such as…” Mocha turned around, so this child wouldn’t see his pain through his eyes.
“I saw… that my future younger brother would kill my father, but I don’t know if my telling of this predicament could cause my father to hate my brother, and therefore my brother would end up killing my father, making my prophecy to be the culprit. Or perhaps if I don’t say anything, but the reason for my brother killing my father had nothing to do with my prophecy. If that’s the case, would I be neglecting to help my father?” Mocha said as if he was stating, yet at the same time asking himself.
“So are you going to say something or not?” Mizerui became more and more vexed himself.
Mocha looked outside the window, and his voice sounded far and near at the same time.
“Indeed, am I going to say something or not?”