Side Story 2: The Coward Mage (Last part)
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The Coward Mage (part 2)

 

*****

 

Mana and aura exist in this world, but they aren’t the same thing. Mana is something that you earn since you were born, and Aura is something that you can gain.

The better the mages could control and use their mana properly, they could also improve their mana quality. Improved in terms of strength.

Unlike someone who could use aura, their aura couldn’t get stronger or weaker. The strength of the aura user depends on the user. How effectively they can use their aura.

But mana users, mages, they can continue to grow and get stronger.

However, can someone absorb other people’s mana?

No one could — except they are dark beings.

Some dark beings can absorb mana, but the person whose mana absorbed must be dead first because a dark being could only absorb dead mana.

Other than that, there is another way to absorb mana for the human being, it is worshipping the dark being. A human being who worships the dark being and gets their power could absorb mana without killing them or turning it into dead mana first because they can absorb mana directly from other humans.

However, there are still some exceptions. The level of difficulty in absorbing Mana, depending on the physical strength of the person whose mana being absorbed.

The weaker they are, the easier their mana being absorbed.

And the reason the Tower Master let his children learn lots of things, so they still have a willingness to live and see the outside world. If he didn’t do it, their will to live will also decrease, and if they became sick, it would affect the quality of their mana.

“Hahahahahahahaha,” his crisp laughter echoed the underground prison, watching all of his children were chained with restriction mana chains.

All the children just had their heads down.

“Do you think that coward would help you escape from here? How foolish…” he said before taking a sip of black liquid in his wine-glass.

 

A few hours earlier…

 

Felix clenched his fist and had his head down, thinking about all his efforts that turned to be useless.

He had to purposely pretend that he couldn’t use any of the magic circle or spell on every test, in order to spend his punishment time in the basement for weeks or even a month. Even forced himself to eat hard bread only to survive.

He did this far because his twin, Fani, died before his eyes.

Fani was also like Conrad, had an enormous amount of mana. But unlike Conrad, she was cheerful, brave, and genius.

She was a curious and stubborn girl, to be honest. But maybe if it wasn’t her, Felix wouldn’t know—if tower master’s children only his mana supply.

When he was 10 years old, he found his twin, Fani, was caught discovering Tower Master’s secret room. Fani was about to say something about what had she had seen, but it’s too late—and she died horribly as his father absorbed her mana. And Felix found out about this because he peeked into the room where his sister died. 

It was the worst nightmare that he never wanted to remember, yet he always did.

5 years.

It wasn’t a short time to create and develop magic tools; magic disturbance, multiplier, barrier and—bomb, in order to escape from this hell. Every tool he had developed was twice stronger than the magic tower had created.

Moreover, Felix had created a magic bomb that didn’t exist yet in that world. It’s all thanks to a foreign book stolen by Fani, his sister.

He even needed 1 year to read that book in a language he believed was not from this world.

Before he started this escape plan, he had already determined the time when his father would not leave his room.

The magic disturbance was already installed, so no alarm would sound. They also installed the magic multiplier in the dorm, so his father could sense if his siblings’ mana didn’t leave the tower.

However, would all this effort be for nothing?

 

“I didn’t know that you even used multiplier magic to fake the mana of your siblings. And even developed a magic disturbance tool that is thrice stronger?” Asked a black-haired man in his 50. His crisp voice sounded as if a nail thrusting their ears.

The tower master looked at his children one by one before he continued.

“Are you planning to escape? Or playing hide and seek with your father?” he asked, smirking viciously that made Felix and the other get the goosebumps.

Felix took a step forward as if he protected all his younger siblings, even though his hands were shaking as he couldn’t hide his chaotic heartbeat.

“I will tell you my answer if you tell us what’s our purpose trapped in this place…” Felix gulped before he continued. “Or I’ll tell the truth about what happened to Stevan, my twin, Fani, and the other of our siblings!” 

Silence fell—before someone’s laughter echoed the forest.

“Kahahahahahaha… What truth are you talking about? Do you think your weak threat will hook me? — How stupid…” The Tower master took a step forward and smiled mischievously. “I thought you could be a genius mage and be my right arm, Felix, my son…”

“What bullshits,” Felix unconsciously barked. He fed up with every sweet word that came out from his father.

Felix and the rest of his siblings were actually feeling both scared and joy. It was their time steeping their feet on the ground outside the magic tower area, and it was their first time seeing a night sky that filled with stars.

However, all of them forgot the fun as fear was the only emotion they felt at that moment.

‘Will we be tortured for months now?’

‘I don’t want to sleep in the basement!’

‘I don’t want to eat rotten foods!’

Those were what they were thinking at that moment.

But that aside, some of them were thinking. ‘What happened to brother Stevan and the other of our siblings, actually?’

Especially Conrad who had a strange feeling from the beginning couldn’t help but wonder. On the other hand, Felix’s other plan that he received by message made him even more nervous.

‘Activate the barrier magic tools and create some magic shields… what are you planning to, brother Felix?’

The tower master kept smiling mischievously, observing all terrified expression shown by his children. “Alright, it’s better you guys go back to your dorm… before it’s too late.”

Conrad felt all his hair on his body stood after hearing how creepy his father’s voice was. 

“Brother, there wasn’t any mage around. But… father’s mana is overwhelming now. He doesn’t seal his mana!”

Conrad’s shaking voice could be heard inside Felix’s mind, which made Felix bit his lower lip. He put his right hand to the back as he secretly gripped one of the magic bombs he had created.

He gulped, taking another step forward.

‘I only have two chances!’

“Alright, we will do it, father,” said Felix that sounded as if he gave up.

But it was at that moment…

Swoosh

Conrad used fly magic for all his siblings and flew further back.

ZING… ZING… ZING… ZING… ZING… ZING…

Three golden transparent shields appeared, and another three were from barrier magic that turned out to be three powerful shields.

‘One more!’ Conrad tried himself to create one more, but he had reached his limit.

All the children got closer to each other inside.

“Father, fight me,” said Felix and activated one last barrier that was even stronger than the other three—in order to lock up his father, who raised his eyebrows while seeing all those shields.

Click.

Swoosh….

The flowing mana from a magic stone could be felt by Conrad, which made him feel all the hair on his body stood.

“BROTHER FELIX!!!” he shouted, casting a magic circle to pull Felix inside the shields.

But it was pretty late, and the ground already shook and the wind blew hard when a tremendous explosion occurred.

BOOOM!

The children covered both their ears, curling up to each other.

Crack… crack… crack…

Three of the shields cracking and 2 of them were ready to break with only a single flick. Both of Conrad’s hands trembled, trying to hold the shields. But the sight in front of him made his legs feel so weak to stand.  

Felix lost one of his legs from his knee to the bottom.

“Ah…. My legs… ugh,” Felix groaned, trying to stay away from the explosion that was around 10 meters away.

‘The second bomb is more dangerous as I use a high-grade magic stone!’ said Felix in his mind before lifting his gaze to look at Conrad, whose face seemed complicated.

Conrad couldn’t let a single word. First, he could not imagine if Felix created such a weapon. Second, he never felt this terrifying before. And third, he didn't know what to do in this situation.

He was scared.

He gripped his sister’s hand tighter, while the other hand was maintaining the shields he created as they were in the front line.

Berick and Gabriel protect the other siblings about three steps behind Conrad. But after the explosion, Gabriel approached Felix, who laid on the ground with his injury as he couldn’t completely dodge.

“Felix!”

“Run! Go run now!” Demanded Felix while moaning in pain.

“Bu-but!” Gabriel stopped talking as Felix raised his hand.

“Conrad,” Felix called in a low voice. He then grabbed his magic bag and offered it to Conrad. “There’s some stuff in there, and a coordinate. Please transport everyone to that area. I still have another bomb,” he continued.

Conrad took a step forward, taking his hand off his sister’s hand for a moment.

“Hurry!” said Felix before coughing blood. “There’s still the second barrier of the magic tower,” he continued.

“W-what?”

It was the truth.

All his siblings looked at him in shock, scared, and sad. But in Felix’s point of view, he felt a kind of proud. Because in this situation, they didn’t let out crazy or frightening screams, or any panic noises.

Well, they grew up prohibited from making noise—let alone shouting, if they broke the rule, they will be whipped.

‘I don’t know whether I should be grateful.’ 

Conrad then saw the faint smile on his brother, as if he tried not to make all of them worried. He clenched his fist.

‘You always know and hide everything by yourself. Even in this situation, you still didn’t show any of your weak sides.’

“Conrad, you can do it. I trust you,” stressed Felix that sounded he forced himself to speak.

‘I can do it!’ 

“No, you cannot go anywhere…” a chilly voice could be heard, but no one knew where was the source.

That voice just echoed everyone’s ears.

But not long after, that crisp voice broke the silence. 

“I can’t believe that you invented such a powerful magic weapon, Felix, my son…”

As the cloud of dust that covered the sight slowly disappeared, there was a single man, glowing as he covered his body with golden mana, which he used as a shield. He was about 5 meters from the children.

“And it’s right. You can’t transport to the outside of the Alas city because the magic tower’s barrier covered the entire city.”

The children had their body shaken and couldn’t let a single word to respond. 

“You cannot go everywhere… I’m waiting for this moment for so long that I don’t need to eat you one by one secretly. And now, you just got caught in my trap, poor rats,” said the Tower Master, shaking his head before heading his gaze towards his eldest son. “Should I thank you for planning such wonderful escaping?”

But it was at that moment, Felix’s uplifting voice could be heard.

“I still can break it for them!”

Although he lost one of his legs, it was a surprise that Felix could act so bravely like that. But his siblings felt hopeless, seeing their oldest act that way. 

Especially Conrad, who was in a complicated state. But then, he flinched after hearing his sister’s voice again.

“Brother, let’s go.”

He looked around before glaring at his father, who never showed his affection towards his children.

“Hahahahaha,’ I never knew that you guys wanted to play hide and seek so badly,” said the tower master.

“Berick!” called Felix, and Berick nodded.

They both preparing their magic circle, trying to break the second barrier.

Conrad already glimpsed at the coordinate inside the spatial bag. Then he swept his gaze toward Stella, who had prepared her small shields for everyone as they stood on the magic circle Conrad had created; ready to transport anytime.

“You think I couldn’t find you even though you are transported to another world?” The tower master shook his head. “How foolish,” he commented, watching Felix and Berrick breaking the barrier.

“Berick!”

“Yes, I know!” Berick replied to Felix’s call.

And in 10 seconds after they cast the magic circle to break it. They broke the barrier—

—but not completely.

“How could it’s different from the first?” said Felix in shock before he shifted his gaze towards someone who laughed.

It was their father.

“Gahahaha… what interesting kids…,” he formed a creepy smile, lifting both his hands and said, “Capture them all.”

“What?!!” Gabriel shouted before seeing towards the sky and gasped.

Hundreds of mana arrow ready to shoot towards the children.

“Are you going to kill us?” asked Gabriel as her eyes shook in fear.

“Well, I think it is better to eat all of your mana together rather than one by one,” answered their father, shrugging.

“You evil!” shouted Gabriel, created a shield, and the other followed as well. “Conrad, can we transport now?”

“We can’t!”

It wasn’t Conrad who answered.

“There’s no magic could pass this barrier if it’s not completely broken,” Felix continued, having his head down.

Gabriel bit her lower lips, feeling both her legs so weak, she fell and unconsciously shedding tears.

There was no sound. No matter how scared, happy, anger they felt, they were forbidden to make any single noise.

After seeing all his siblings became down, accepting that they would die, he heard a voice from Stella who was still grabbing his clothes.

“Let’s fight him, brother,” said Stella softly, but her eyes looked so certain, brave and stern. 

‘I can do it!’ Conrad repeated those words in his mind and slowly releasing his mana into max power.

Both Conrad and his father had the same color of mana, but Conrad’s was brighter.

“You want to fight me?” said the tower master as his hands were ready to kill all his own children.

“Stella, step aside,” said Conrad, walking forward and passed Felix and Berick. “I don’t know to break this barrier, but I can make it make it even more broken so we can escape,” he continued which made Felix and the other had their eyes widened.

One hand lifted, and three powerful shields appeared, protecting his siblings. And the other hand was creating an orb of mana.

‘I didn’t know how Felix’s weapon could explode like that. But I can make something that could explode without magic stone,’ Conrad said in his mind.

He stood about 5 meters from his father; with not just one but two orbs of mana in his right hand.

“Conrad, my son… do you know that you are so naïve?” The tower master tilted his head before continuing as he smiled mischievously. “Capture them.” he lowered his hands in the process.

BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG!

The sky was covered with the golden and dark cloud as the tower master’s mana arrows hit Conrad’s shields, and those arrows were so powerful. They kept hitting while Conrad only had one shield left as his other two shields plus Stella’s had broken.

But it was at that moment he heard Felix’s voice in his mind.

“Left us here, Conrad. Escape from this place. You still can escape with a limited number. So, take your sister and go to the coordinate I gave you. Then, find someone from that place who could help us. You could read my diary in that bag regarding this magic tower. You are the only one who could escape and save others. The tower master couldn’t kill us because he couldn’t absorb our mana if we die.”

Conrad’s hand that was holding the shield trembled. He looked at the two orbs of mana that were ready to explode. He was about to use one of them to destroy the barrier and one to distract his father. 

But after realizing if his father still didn't use his full power, yet his mana arrows were so powerful, Conrad couldn't help but doubt himself.

And now, Felix told him to leave them alone?

Well, Conrad obviously opposed that decision. How could he abandon his siblings in this hell? Even after knowing if his father would kill them.

‘I won’t leave them here,’ He thought, taking a step forward.

He kept replacing his shields whenever it’s broken by the mana arrows. Taking another step forward, he heard Felix's voice in his mind which made his movement stopped.

“Conrad, you must go now. You know well if you cannot defeat him. So leave us and come back with someone who could save us and take care of this place. This is my last and only wish for you. We still have a chance to leave this place, and you can make it happen.”

Conrad then had his head down, biting his lower lip as he was mad at himself. His hand that was creating shield was getting numb, and everyone could see if his shields were getting weaker.

After contemplating and convincing his decision, he raised his head and looked at the two orbs in his right hands. He doubted.

Can he do it? Can he escape? Will he come back and save everyone?

‘Can I do it?’

“You can do it! I trust you! Come back and save us. Trust me. I will do anything so we can survive here. I trust you, Conrad.”

Felix’s convincing voice could be heard again. Conrad let out a sigh, raising his chin to look at his father, whose mana rampaged around his body.

‘I can do it!’

Conrad creating one last big shield before he flew back to get closer with his sister, Stella. The two orbs were still floating in his right hand, but he united them into one, bigger and stronger.

“What are you planning now, coward kid?!” asked his Father viciously, lower his hand again and more powerful mana arrows hitting Conrad’s huge shield.

But it didn’t really affect Conrad as he felt more confident and determined, although his shields started cracking.

He wanted to transport all of his siblings, but he knew he had not enough mana to do it.

Conrad clenched his teeth, forcing himself to hold the shield from the arrow attacks, while the other hand started to lift.

All his siblings had no idea what Conrad was planning with that powerful orb of mana in his hand. But they could feel it as that orb was stronger than Felix’s first bomb.

Conrad glanced at his siblings before saying something that only they could hear it.

“I promise that I will come back. So, wait for me.”

After he said so, the mana orb flew in an instant towards the magic arrows that were coming from the sky.

Conrad wanted to destroy both the barrier and the arrows.

Then, a big bang occurred in the sky, which made the night sky turned bright for a moment.

BOOM!

It scared Conrad. But he knew it wasn’t the time for him to be scared. He grabbed his sister’s hand after taking a glance at the coordinate from the magic bag. He cast a magic circle for him and his sister, and in two seconds it would transport them.

However, the moment Conrad and his sister were about to transport, the Tower master, their father, grabbed Stella’s hand.

“You can’t go, my little dear.”

“Brother!!” Stella called, apart from the magic circle as the tower master grabbed and pulled her hands from Conrad’s grip.

However, it was too late. Conrad’s body was slowly gone.

“NOOO! STELLA!!!!!”

Conrad was the only one who left that terrifying night in Alas City.

***

Conrad POV.

I was a fool. I wasn’t supposed to leave them that night.

And now… I was scared, and I am scared.

After I transported, I don’t know where was I as the only scene around me was trees. I knew it was in the forest, but I did not know where it was. Plus, it was raining so hard so that the surrounding scenery was barely visible.

I was lost, broken, and sorry… I couldn’t protect my mother, sister, my siblings. I was too scared to decide what should I do to help them.

Despite the pain and sorrow I felt, I decided to read Felix’s diary, trying to find out any clue so I could come back and help them.

Dark beings, human trafficking, corpses in the forbidden room, dead mana, and mana supply.

“What is all of this?”

I couldn't help but left in curiosity, scared and shocked after reading the diary. Besides, I found a book and some texts in a language that I couldn’t recognize. No, I never saw that language in the library.

But I still remembered one message from Felix, my brother. Because he wrote on the last page of his diary. 

“There would be someone around this coordinate who can help us.”

But who is it? 

 I didn’t know. I didn’t even know where was I at that moment.

I was scared to go back or find someone Felix was referring to. It scared me to go everywhere or meet someone.

But after a few days of spending my time in that forest by only eating some fruits or edible leaves, it seemed my father sent someone to look after me.

For that reason, I left that forest and hid. Hid my presence and mana. I kept moving to different places so they couldn’t find me.

I felt that I had become one with my fear because it was the only emotion I felt during my escape and hiding.

I kept moving from one place to another. I even avoided meeting people—because I was scared. I feared literally everything.

Until I accidentally bumped into someone who helped my hiding.

It was a week since I left that terrifying night, and that man turned me into a unique creature.

At the time, I was soaked, dirty, and smelly as I hid beneath the oak tree. Although I have a high sensitivity to sense something, I couldn’t really sense this man. Especially his power—because I never felt such power before.

 

 

“Why I smell something rotten around here?” asked that man with an irritated tone sounded from the oak tree, which shocked Conrad.

Conrad curled up his shaking body. He was scared like usual.

That man was sleeping on the big tree trunk of the oak tree, but he couldn’t see Conrad at that moment.

He then woke his body up and yawned while stretching his body.

“Well, it was a good nap,” he said and came down from the tree.

He cleaned his clothes from some leaves before lifting his gaze and saw a young man with a dirty mage robe that looked even worse than a beggar.

“What are you doing here, little kid?” His irritated voice was actually made Conrad even more afraid of him.

Conrad closed his face as he curled up and didn’t want to let a single word to respond. 

Seeing that reaction, that man let out a sigh and rubbed his head irritably.

“Lift up your face. Di you think I have a scary expression? And why you look even worse than a beggar. Tch.”

Conrad slowly lifted his gaze and captured the sight of a man in his 20. He used a white robe with silver embroidery, and his long white hair was so shiny. Plus, with those blue pupils that looked so pretty and clear. His appearance was so holy and handsome.

However, his face and expression somehow looked like he was annoyed.

“Let me ask you once again, who are you? Are you from the magic tower?” asked that whitey-man in his typical irritated tone.

Conrad could feel if this man in front of him wasn’t dangerous. But he kept being scared towards his annoyed tone and expression rather than his power.

Afterward, Conrad introduced himself and so the whitey-man.

“I am Gaurleen, and I am the most important person in the Kyrios temple, or even this kingdom or even… this continent,” introduced Gaurleen so arrogantly.

Conrad just blinked several times while chewing his soft bread.

Then, they had some time to talk, but Conrad couldn’t reveal lots of things about his identity and the reason he was hiding.

“Sigh… those bastards from the shitty magic tower indeed need to be fucked up. But now I couldn’t do it, because I need to continue my sleep,” said Gaurleen, shaking his head. “But I can help you to hide.”

“H-how?”

“Do you want me to seal your mana? I could seal you into a different form,” Gaurleen suggested excitedly, which made Conrad couldn’t help but feel iffy.

“C-can I turn into a human again?”

“Of course. But it’s only me who could do it or someone who had one of the divine items that could change form. Since I will change you into a divine creature.”

Conrad had his head down, contemplating whether he should accept this offer. 

After a moment of silence, he slowly lifted his gaze and started to respond.

“Then, please turn me into that creature.”

However, Gaurleen’s expression was even more shocking, which made Conrad couldn’t help but feel hesitant. Because he grinned that looked like both excited and vicious.

“Alright. After this, I will go to sleep for such a long time…”

Said Gaurleen, before turning Conrad into a divine creature.

 

*****

The side story of the Coward Mage: end.

Spoiler

Like always... I edited published chapters again

[collapse]

Holy moly... this chapter has 4.4k words, which is twice longer than a normal chap. Anyway, hope you like this chapter and you can guess who is that handsome and rude whitey man!
Again, thank you for all your supports!

plus, I was shocked after checking the number of favorites, ratings, and readers. You guys are amazing!

Anyways, check out these 2 amazing novels too!

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