Side story 2: The Coward Mage (part 1)
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Haven't completely double-checked this chapter, but... enjoy.

 

Side story 2: The Coward Mage

 

*****

 

I was born in a Magic Tower of the Northern Continent, and I was born blessed with an enormous amount of mana in my body.

And I am one of the Tower Master’s son.

 

Magic Tower. The tower was so huge and high; there are 21 floors, tens of research laboratories for magic spell and magic tools development, and there were more than 50 rooms—including forbidden rooms.

Half part of the magic tower looked fancy, clean, and presentable. But those parts of the magic tower were mostly for guests.

However, we, the tower master's children, weren't allowed to step our foot in those places. Besides, some parts of the Magic Tower were forbidden even for ordinary mages to enter because you need a special magic spell to enter those places. 

I didn’t know what people outside thought about this tower — as I never saw this tower from outside for over 10 years.

But in our point of view, this place was... hell.

Being a child of 12 siblings and the Tower master's children — was not a pleasant life, to be honest; trapped, treated like a slave, had to be starving before I could master one magic spell.

But aside, I’m quite lucky because I was the only child with the highest amount of mana. Thence, they said I would be the next Tower Master after my father.

However, that news seemed to be bad news for my older siblings, as most of them hated and got jealous of me.

But I was known as a cowardly kid. Although I was good at controlling my mana, most of the mages and my older sibling looked down on me and sometimes made fun of me. 

For that reason, I never had confidence in myself.

***

“Brother Conrad! Teach me how to do teleportation magic!”

“Yeah, me too, brother!”

“I want you to teach me new magic to attack a bear!”

Aside from most of my older siblings who hated me, I still had my younger siblings who were always excited whenever I teach them magic.

I have 4 older siblings and 7 younger siblings. And yes, we have different mothers, but we have the same father, the Tower Master.

My oldest brother once said that we have more siblings, but they died one by one mysteriously.

I wondered… but nothing I can do—as they told me not to find out anything about that.

“I will teach you. But keep it a secret from father...” I whispered, and all the three siblings nodded simultaneously.

There were 3 rules for us, the Tower Master’s children.

One, we were forbidden from entering our father’s private room. Two, don’t teach each other magic spell, and Third, we were not allowed to be close to each other.

Contrary to speaking, we often broke rule number two and three. Although I was sure that my father knew about this, he feigned ignorance about it. 

***

When I was ten years old, my biological mother gave birth to my younger sister. Surprisingly, my sister had more mana than me.

But a week after my mother gave birth, she died because of an illness. Well, the room where we stayed was so rundown and unsanitary. For that reason, we were siblings even get sick quite often.

 

“Conrad, my son, remember… please protect your sister no matter what.”

The last words escape before she breathed her last. I almost broke down then after seeing the only person who was always waiting for me after I came back from my training, the only person who cheered me on besides my siblings, died before my eyes.

She's actually been sick for years, but my father never cared.

However, a small and cute laugh escaped from a dark blue-haired baby who had the same eyes color as me, rose me up again.

‘Yes, Let’s stay alive until we could see the real sky and play under the sunlight.’ I thought, holding my sister’s small hand.

 

Why did our father have so many children but he never took care of us seriously?

I always wondered.

 

“You can’t even use fly magic in your age, so you are not allowed to enter the dining room!”

Shouted one of my father’s underlings to one of my brothers, Stevan. He was 3 years older than me, but his control towards his own mana was still lacking.

Another rule for us to use any facilities in this tower; we must master the selected magic spell to use all the facilities. Like, if we couldn’t even fully control our mana, we were deprived of sleep on the bed.

And so far, only 7 of 12 children could sleep on the bed.

The rest would be sleeping on the floor, with only a blanket and a hard pillow. Although I feel bad, especially towards my younger siblings, who were only around 5 and 6 years old at that moment — I couldn’t do anything.

Even if I tried to help them, I would be tortured for an entire week, and I don’t want to experience the hell side of the Magic Tower for the third time.

 

I was twelve when the first time I heard my little sister called my name. I never had a feeling to protect something this much before, as whenever I tried to protect my younger siblings from different mothers, I need to remember the consequence.

But Stella, my younger sister, was special. I want to protect her no matter what. Even if I need to experience the hell side of my father—again.

 


 

Two years afterwards, I got the news that my oldest brother, Stevan died—mysteriously. 

“Conrad, listen to me,” my brother, Felix, grabbed my shoulders. “Don’t go outside the dormitory tonight,” he continued with shaking hands.

Felix was the oldest of all of us. He was brave and a genius — unlike me, who was a coward. Although I realized that I’m stronger than him, he never showed his envious or his weak side towards me.

“Wh-what happens to Brother Stevan?” I asked.

I could tell if brother Felix knew something about everything in this tower, but he just couldn’t tell it to me.

He looked around, activating soundproof magic around the corridor where we were at. “Berick, Gabriel, and I will try to escape from here. Tonight,” he stressed as he stared at me.

I had my jaw dropped as there was no single word that could leave my mouth. 

"Everything is ready, but I couldn't tell you now."

“W-why are you telling me this brother? And what about the others?”

“Conrad, you are the only one among us who could use teleportation magic on a large scale. We will try to break the barrier, and once we succeed, teleport the rest of our siblings. I will send the coordinate soon.”

It was all so sudden. I always thought about leaving this place to see the real sky instead of the magic sky and see the outside world like what I’ve read in books. 

Well honestly, seeing the outside world was mostly our dreams from the time we were born in this hell.

But at that moment, questions filled my mind.

‘Can I do it?’

‘Will we succeed?’

‘Can we really escape from this hell?’

‘Can I see the real sky with my younger sister?’

“Conrad?!”

Shouted Felix, breaking my reverie.

“Wh-what if we fail?” I asked, shaking.

“Till when you will be this coward?! You are strong enough to protect all of us! Do you want to keep staying in this hell?!!”

His shout seemed to wake me from my fear. I gulped my dry saliva before responding.

“Give me the signal as soon as you broke the barrier.”

Felix smiled proudly and let go of his hands from my shoulders.

“You can do it. I trust you.”

The last words I heard from him made my heart feel calm and certain.

‘I can do it!’ I repeated in my mind.

***

It was almost midnight. All my siblings and I were in a corridor in areas my fathers rarely reached. As the oldest of the group, I wasn’t a good leader, to begin with. But fortunately, my younger siblings were a good listener and also a pretty good young mage.

Yawn. Brother Conrad, where will we go?” Said my younger sibling, Willy, an 8-year-old-kid.

“Just wait a bit longer,” I replied in a low voice—as I was holding my 4-year-old sister’s hands tighter.

I didn’t know the plan. Breaking the barrier of the magic tower wasn’t easy as it used special magic, and I was sure that it needs at least three mages to break the spell.

‘Can Brother Felix and the others do it?’ I just couldn't help but wonder.

One second felt like a minute, standing still in this corridor as if I was standing on a twig above the ravine. I didn’t know what would happen if we fail and get caught.

I just wanted us…to be out from this hell.

And it was at that moment…

Buzzz…Buzzz

The magic communication device I stole, buzzing, and twinkling blue.

‘A message!’

“We will start breaking the barrier. Prepare the transportation magic spell.”

A short message I got from Felix before then I immediately prepared my magic spell.

“Is it’s the time, brother?”

“Not yet.”

I was 14 years old when we tried to escape, and I was still… a coward kid. If I wasn’t with them, I was nothing. I would never get the courage to escape.

There weren’t that many mages in the magic tower, to begin with, but those small numbers of mages were strong enough as they were mostly selected mages who worked under our father.

‘How will they pass the guards?'

‘How will they break the barrier?’ 

I wondered. Even though I knew well brother Felix and the others weren’t as strong as me, but Felix was a genius mage.

I was sure he figured out how to break the spell.

 

Meanwhile…

 

“Is it working, right?” asked Gabriel, after casting the magic spell together with Felix and Berick as they were on the gate between the Magic Tower's barrier and the outside world. 

“Of course it is,” answered Felix in confidence, brushing back his orange hair in the process. “I have waited for more than 7 years to steal this parchment and a year only to solve the puzzle.”

“I think the barrier will disappear for only 2 minutes,” Berick chimed in. 

Felix nodded. “Use sprint magic to escape as soon as the barrier disappears,” ordered Felix in excitement as he couldn’t hide his smile anymore. 

Trapped in a tower for more than 18 years. Being tortured just because he helped his younger siblings. Needed to enjoy rotten foods after he failed to learn new magic.

And last… seeing his own sibling being eaten by their own father. 

‘Fuck this place. We are only foods of mana for him!’ 

“Alright, let’s go!” Berick beckoned, and they were moved as fast as the wind. 

“Will you send Conrad the coordinate now?” Gabriel asked as they were moving fast. 

“I’m sending it now.”

There were no more than 50 mages in the magic tower including Tower Master’s children, and Felix and his groups had prepared various kinds of magic devices so that they couldn’t sense their mana leaving the tower. And They even had prepared everything a year before that day. 

That's why Felix would do anything to make this escape mission success. 

 

Buzz… Buzz

Conrad finally put a faint smile on his face after receiving Felix’s message. He looked around his siblings before lifting his right hand to cast a spell as his other hands were still holding his sister’s small hand. 

“We will escape from this place,” he said and a magic circle appeared from both sides; above and on the ground.

Then slowly, they disappeared from that corridor. 

“Not much time left,” said Berrick, guarding the surroundings. 

“They will come,” said Felix, gripping the communication device in his hand tighter. 

And it was at that moment, two voices from two different sides could be heard by the three siblings in the forest of the Alas City.

“Brother!”

“Who will come?”

One voice was from the rest of the siblings who had just been transported in the forest, and the other voice was from the Tower Master, who just arrived out of nowhere. 

Felix had left disturbance magic around the tower except for the corridor where Conrad and the others were staying. It was a powerful disturbance magic tool that he had been creating for more than 5 years.

“What a genius son you are, Felix… but too bad you are blessed with little mana."

 

*****

 

Side Story 2: the coward mage, to be continued...

I split the side story because this is so long.

 

 

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