Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
This was the story of a little boy that had happened a long, time ago.
He was nine in that year. His father was the chief technical supervisor of a large company while his mother was a writer who worked at home. He also had a sister who was four years younger than he was, and the four lived at a small nation in the middle of the continent, their lives peaceful and untroubled.
His father was tolerant but often busy, just as his mother was always home but strict. Although his five-year-old sister was usually clever sensible, she would occasionally stir trouble in the family. The boy’s life was not exactly perfect, but certainly not pitiable—it was simply normal, with an ordinary family and ordinary happiness.
But something always troubled the boy, and that was the expectations his parents, teachers, even classmates and playmates held toward him.
—What do you want to be in the future?
What are you interested in?
My child, you’re so clever. You would definitely get into a good college in the future.
( Boxno vel. co m ) My student, your results are not too bad. You definitely could strive in this respect.
Such was the norm of Simboans: they enjoyed order, favored the predictable and controllable living. From society projects, nation building down to grooming children and planning the future, they would always enjoy preparing elaborately beforehand whatever the case may be, putting all their thoughts into action through various technology and arrangements . 1
Indeed, the Simboans could put any idea they had into motion, even when it comes to the world—such was the boast of the central government in the news then, and in that period, the Simboans had developed facilities that could control weather and suppress tremors, allowing them to brag that they had grasped Nature in their hands.
That was how Simboans were: you should do this, you should do that, you should be such a person, you should be that kind of a person—thanks to his parents’ arrangements, the young boy learned mathematics, practiced musical instruments, considered theories and study physics. He would make company with books in tuition classes, copy notes in schools, running back and forth everywhere, everyday to become the person his parents expected him to be, learning disciplines after disciplines as they demanded.
He did not have his own opinion then, and he did not mind that since he was not troubled over an arranged life planned by others. Most Simboans were like that: they would obey parents at home, teachers in schools, chiefs, and superiors when they started working. It was a societal norm for most Simboans to lived as others wished.
And the boy was not unhappy about that. He solemnly listened to the suggestions of his seniors and accomplished everything they expected him to do. Live hence continued amidst that mundaneness, and the boy would eventually become a high-class technician like his father, become a part of elite society—if nothing unexpected happened.
Nevertheless, that peaceful life did not last long.
It was a peaceful summer night. A great meteor rain that enshrouded the night sky or perhaps all of Simboa’s heavens descended out of nowhere—their appearance appeared to be beyond the prediction of the central meteorological department, and was completely unprecedented.
As pedestrians exclaimed in wonder, streaks of flashes darted over the horizon. The myriad colored asteroids that were of completely different colors seemed to have appeared out of thin air just as they disappeared into it—everyone clearly saw the meteor shower, but nobody found even a single shard.
It was the boy’s tenth birthday on that day. On the balcony of their home, when he looked up at the meteors with his parents, he saw a speck flickering in dark-blue radiance, dropping down to the space between his eyebrows.
And the world changed on the very next day, as ‘Ultrahuman’ that only existed in legends and movies had truly appeared upon this world that had been devoid of miracles.
The so-called ultrahuman were simply wielders of ultrahuman ability, with the first to discover that power being a drunken middle-aged man. Likely thanks to fraternizing, he set off a blaze after over-consumption of alcohol in his sleep. The raging flame had shot out from his nostrils as he snored, incinerating half of the district around the bar and killing hundreds—society itself fell into great panic, while the Central Government rapidly raised their alertness.
The entire world was either greatly yearning or incredibly fearful towards the indescribable powers: They wished to attain that power and yet did not wish for others to attain it. When that middle-aged man had been put on trial with a death sentence at stake, his attorneys had ignited an extended attritional warfare in the Simboan Court, drawing heated debate amongst society.
But soon, no one paid that many any attention—other ultrahuman of various ability were appearing.
Some of they would display ultrahuman physique, ability to control water or turn themselves into lightning, while others could become invisible or fly. Psychokinesis, frost, mind-reading, memory alteration, gravity repel or transformations: such ultrahuman appeared in every corner of society. Some were elite members of the Central Government, just as there were tramps who lived in some alley. One way or another, society’s order was broken after the ultrahuman appeared.
There were those who commit evil or spread kindness with their ability, and for various reasons, the ultrahuman quickly started to fight each other. The Central Government were helpless even as they fought on the streets or city squares—although the police and armies still held sway over the weaker ultrahuman, they were helpless against the powerful ones who no longer fear ordinary weaponry. Missiles and lasers were useless, and long-ranged ambushes would often be detected by some unique sixth-sense: the strongest ones might not even die after taking the brunt of an atomic bomb.
The appearance of and conflict between ultrahuman rapidly affected the stability of society, even as the government began widespread recruitment of the more ordinary ones. With incessant numbers of ultrahuman awakening with no pattern that did not lack in criminal elements, lunatics or anti-establishment fanatics, their very existence left the Central Government overwrought. Meanwhile, Simboans without ultrahuman abilities fell into collective terror, finding their peaceful lives spiraling out of control, just as their lives fell into the grasp of ultrahuman who could be lunatics.
Even so, the boy became considerably leisurely. The tuition classes on the streets were now mostly closed for good, and with most schools having lost most of their educative capacity, countless students were forced to wait for the day classes resume that appeared nowhere in sight: the relationship between civilians and ultrahuman was gradually radicalized.
As long as a body had intelligence and personality, contrasting perspectives and thoughts… As long as ‘difference’ existed amongst bodies, then there would certainly be conflict between bodies.
And the tremendous superpowers brought would escalate the conflict by a thousand times.
When two persons argued in the days before superpowers existed, neither would fight as long as it was not too severe. Even if they did, they would both have an equal chance of getting hurt and punished.
But now, if one side embodied ultrahuman abilities, he just needed to lift a finger or stare out a few streets away or simply send their powers into their opponent’s body, bursting when the timing was right: he could easily destroy the fellow who annoyed him, and no one could find any evidence. Ultrahuman abilities were simply too convenient and powerful: mortals were no bigger than ants before them, and that was for the typical energy-class. When it came to spiritual-class, a simple glance would destroy one’s self utterly, turning one into a bootlicking puppet.
And if such conflict happened, would the powerful not act? Perhaps, for there would always be those who would believe in others, betting their own lives on the morals and self-control of others.
Still, the world now hung in a fragile balance. There were tensions in the relationship between ultrahuman and mortals, just as the ultrahuman could not live in tandem due to radical conflict.
But the last straw that crushed that fragile balance was the revealing of a simple piece of information.
Following one battle after another, the more powerful ultrahuman realized that their ability would actually rise when they kill other ultrahuman and absorbed the source of their ability. At the same time, thanks to clues that someone had spilled, they discovered that the Central Government was secretly researching an ‘Anti-Superpower Disturbance Field’, having the intent to solve the ultrahuman problem in one fell swoop.
Thus, war was promptly and unnaturally waged amongst ultrahuman, as well as between ultrahuman and civilians.
The boy was twelve that year. When the fighting started, he and his parents were at home, celebrating his sister’s eighth birthday on the second floor. But as he cut the cake and ignited the candles, the boy had distractedly looked outside the window to see a searing red ray streaking through the left side of his house to the right, tearing down every wall on that floor.
Without the time to even cry out, the boy’s house was completely destroyed as the houses on the entire street crumbled. But just as the moment turned dire, the boy noticed that his body that had shrunk from fear was unfurling, sensing a mysterious power spreading within his body and making him so exponentially faster that he actually evaded all danger, while everything around him unfolded in slow motion.
At that moment, the boy’s eyes were glinting in dazzling blue light that spread energy—the distinct attribute of ultrahuman!
Time appeared to stop for the boy then. He quickly turned towards his family, having sensed that his home was attacked by ultrahuman—his parents’ feet were crushed beneath the collapsed ceiling, their faces on of sheer bewilderment and terror, and appeared to be screaming.
As for his sister, she was buried beneath a heap of rubble, leaving a protruding little hand.
The coldness in his heart slowly became hopeful. For some reason, even though he did not know what his power was, the shivering boy knew then that he may have the ability to help his kin. In that very second, he simply wanted to save them, and he quickly ran to his sister, who was the closest to him, and that heap of rubble. He tried to move them and save his sister, but he finally understood the truth after moving a single huge chunk of debris after exerting extreme effort.
He could not save anyone.
Even with his ultrahuman ability, he was only a twelve-year-old boy.
‘Young man’, his instincts told him then, ‘ you can’t maintain this state for more than five seconds, you can’t move the rubble on top of your system in five seconds, nor could you drag off your parents from the crushing weight of the ceiling…’
You can’t change a thing.
The rocks crashed down extremely slowly, just as his sister’s hand twitched in sa imilar fashion. At a loss, the boy turned towards his parents: even when accelerating, he could see the emotion in their gazes, changing from helpless fear and terror into…
Facing the bewilderment and dread when ambushed while failing to understand his own awakening, sensing his family’s panic in the adversity and that brief delight of the possibility of saving them, and now his own helplessness as the final moment loomed—there was no use to extending time: he could not change a thing other than extend the duration of his own torment.
The boy roared. He would never acknowledge such a truth!
Frantically, the boy tried to move the debris over his sister while bellowing as if his life was at stake. When he threw the boulders behind him, time began to flow again when the timeframe of his ability passed—there was simply little time and too much rubble. Sanguine began to flow out from the rocky gaps, and the little hand that still had cake butter on its fingertips spasmed before ceasing to twitch at all, whereas his parents agonizing groans echoed around his ears.
The boy plonked himself down amidst the debris. He was exhausted, a fatigue that came out of nowhere having spread throughout his body. He stared blankly at the heap of shattered stone where fresh blood flowed, and the little hand poking from the stone. He looked at his parents whose feet were crushed, listening to their cries of anguish while his mind turned blank… It was late at night. There were infernos and tremendous explosions echoing in the distance, the luminous fiery light making its surroundings appear as bright as day. Beneath the illumination of that orange-yellow light, there was a fluctuating blue light in the despairing and tormented gaze of the boy.
Beneath his pupils, the hands of the clock turned. It may be slow, but it would never stop.
Like destiny itself.
And this was war, and the prelude to the boy’s story.
In the vast hall of a palace, forty-two majestic metallic pillars held a towering dome aloft, extending rows of complex and mysterious runes upon the slightly sunken floor, towards the center which was hidden in the shade. A magical formation formed from endless orderly patterns were at present glinting in pale blue light, and as energies surged, infinite photons dispersed into the air, beautifying the palace hall into a near dreamland.
But now, a ‘person’ slowly stirred at the throne in the center of the hall. He slowly opened his eyes, an indiscernible ripple remaining in his pupils that flashed in dark blue radiance.
The hands of the clock turned.
Soon, however, the rather saddening ripples dispersed, turning into unparalleled apathy.
The tender voice of a young girl rang beside his ear. It was a dainty Soul Puppet that was floating in the air, speaking with a calm and slightly undulating voice. “The three-hundred and nineteenth World Line Switch has failed. Your observation has failed, thereby falling into a dreamworld of possibility where the River of Time would collapse.”
“Is that so.”
On the throne, the man fell silent. Some time passed before he turned and spoke with a cold yet serene voice identical to that of Soul Puppets.
“I had a hopeless dream again.”
The palace hall was promptly quiet again as the man fell into another spell of silence. The soft hum from mana flow echoed beneath photons of magical energy and the dark dome, and their radiance were weakening visibly as if having lost the support of something vital. The sensation akin to a dream emanating inside the hall was rapidly diminishing as well, just like it was returning from an unknown domain back to reality.
And just as the light was about to utterly vanish, he spoke again.
“Commence the three hundredth and twentieth.”
Another calm utterance, but time around him seemingly stopped at his words. Whether it was the darkening light of mana or the diminishing dreamworld, everything was freezing and stagnating apart from the dainty Soul Puppet floating beside the throne.
Then, the Soul Puppet reverently lowered its head and half knelt over thin air. “As you command, your Majesty,” it said, “Fattrovi, ‘the Time Shifter’ and ‘Ruler of Destiny’.”
“Commencing preparations for three hundredth and twentieth World Line Switch. Extending link to River of Being, Light of Genesis. Activating ‘Observer’ system.”
Endless starlight shown in the vast and imposing palace hall. Light blue radiance shone magnificently as wondrous sheets of runes cascaded, forming two great streams of light. One surged, while the other had not a single ripple.
And upon those two streams, the dome shrouded in darkness and gloom began to shine. While millions of luminous specks that appeared to be souls were ignited, billions of starry radiances blossomed consecutively, and the dome that now appeared forged from stars presented its own marvelous form.
As starlight flickered, it appeared to shroud all things in the world, reflecting it and the Multiverse.
And beneath the shroud from the dome, the river of light that did not ripple as if it stagnated began to oscillate as if a water droplet had fallen into its surface. Waves of concentric circles hence unfurled across the River.
It was then that the Soul Puppet’s flat voice wafted.
“Three hundredth and twentieth observation commencing.”