Gentala saw Ammar opening the shroud. The boy’s body trembled and fell as he saw three corpses lied on the floor. It was the toddler’s dead body and both of her parents. The boy covered his mouth before vomited foods they ate at the restaurant. He could relate to that though. It was similar to the first time he killed someone. The boy should felt guilty after he failed to save her.
The other Gentala beside himself frowned at him. “You don’t stop him?”
“It is good now when I can keep a good eye on him then later,” He replied.
“You aren’t his father, are you?” The other Gentala asked.
He just nodded; the other Gentala nodded too. It seemed he could guess what he was doing with the boy’s father as expected of himself. “Ammar must be tough if he wants to learn the path. Now, that you realize what’s going on, what are you going to do?”
The other Gentala looked up. “What else? Even if I am just a fantasy, I am still you. I shall complete the meaning of my existence. That is our path.”
As the other he turned and walked to the door, he tapped his shoulder. “Why not help me then? If you do, our task in real life will be easier.”
The latter stroked his thin beard. “Fair enough. What do you want me to do?”
“The serpent’s sign in the east. It lies in the deepest area of Green Lake. I want you to fight the Batara that guards that place. I want to know how strong she is, so I can calculate how much I need to nurture Wayang Baya to be strong enough to defeat her.”
“I shall comply. In return, you have to fully pass our mentor’s skill to that kid. I think you need to console him too. He won’t stop hugging that toddler’s body.” The other he sighed. “You have finally found the right person. Mentor must be proud of us if he is still alive. Our brothers haven’t found their successor yet.” With that, he left the room.
The real Gentala—or he should call himself Gentala in Ammar’s father’s body—knelt beside Ammar and patted his shoulder. The boy put the toddler’s body gently and turned to him. The boy embraced him. Somehow he felt guilty and hatred for himself to force a ten-year-old kid to go through this experience or it might be the feeling of the original soul he possessed, the soul of Ammar’s father.
Gentala hugged him back as a silent apology. Sooner or later Ammar would experience killing others with magic. That was how the world of wizards worked; ruthless and indifference. Firstly, Ammar needed a strong mentality. Besides, he wanted to test his conviction. Alas, he was just a normal kid even though he was gifted. Ammar didn’t have the principle of life yet.
Ammar let him go after he had calmed. “I have failed again. My whole life has been wrong. Silent may be gold, Papa, but it has the form of a needle and I am a magnet.”
His father’s soul ached; Gentala experienced what he felt. A few memories flashed in his eyes. They were scenes when the father always told his child to be patient. Regret filled both of them. Gentala gritted his teeth. Stop affecting me, Old Fellow. I will do everything to erase your regret as per our contract but before that.... He smacked Ammar’s head. Let me teach this child of yours ... with a little violence of course.
“You can’t be this pessimistic, Idiot. You don’t have determination at all.”
Ammar looked at him in shock. His father’s soul couldn’t calm down at all and struggle against his soul. Gentala knew this old fellow never hit his child. Maybe that was why the old fellow was furious at him, but so what? Sometimes a little violent could solve some problems. After he thought that, the old fellow’s soul rebelled even more.
Gentala clucked. “Shit, fine. I will get rid of this disguise, so your image in your child’s eyes is still good.”
Gentala’s hair got longer and curled. His skin became slightly brighter. Thin beard grew on his chin.
“You … mentor? What are you doing to my father?”
“You sit and I explain.” Gentala folded his arms on his chest as he sat cross-legged. “First, stop crying already, damn it. This isn’t even your real world.”
Ammar nodded and wiped his face. “My papa, what happen to him? So, did my experience with papa wasn’t real?”
“You need to know first. This world wasn’t generated from your memory alone. I and your father’s soul took part in the creation of this fantasy world, so that’s why you get the information you don’t know in real life. Your experience with your father in this world was real, at least, until you met the other me; that time your father’s soul had weakened and I took control of the body.”
“How did you get my father’s soul?”
Gentala sighed. “I don’t do anything bad. You have to thank me. Your father would become a vengeful ghost if I didn’t save his soul. I am an expert in necromantic magic. You can easily find Kliwon Merchant than looking for me. Anyway, you can stop regretting over something trivial. Your task as a kid is just to learn and practice.”
Ammar looked away. “I am not confident. If I can’t deal with my regret, how can I feel freedom?”
“Your way of thinking isn’t like a free man. You are shackled by the values your father has taught you. No offense, but, look at what he has become. He was full of regret after he passed away. He nearly became a vengeful ghost. If that time I didn’t recognize he had similar soul with yours, I wouldn’t even spare his soul; I’d disintegrate him.”
Gentala paid attention to Ammar’s reaction. Luckily the boy didn’t get offended or it would become a pain in the back. The boy just looked down. His father usually would feel ache if he hurt him, but his soul kept silent.
Gentala felt bad for real; it was his real feeling. He scratched his head. “Aw, man, I’ll give you a hint. Your desire for freedom is recognized by the path. You formed the path’s road when you faced the other me. There won’t be a real practice from now on, you just need to think; how can you get away from your regret? If you figure it, I ensure the road will appear again. I need to go. You can’t go from this world before you complete the first stage of the path.”
Gentala closed his eyes and controlled his breath. As he awoke, he came back to reality. He was sitting beside Ammar who was meditating as they leaned to the boulder. He put a glowing purple ball, a soul of Ammar’s father, into his sleeve and went to the shack, leaving Ammar with the trophy that contained the demonic egg; he was save with it.
Gentala was just left to relieve his thirst; However as he came out of his shack, he saw Wewe Gombel peeked at Ammar from the top of the boulder. She hadn’t given up on him yet. She was a pain in the ass, but he couldn’t do anything to her directly and no one in this city could even Lord Asmaralaya.
“Nah, at least Wayang Baya can scare her away.” Gentala put a flute to his lips and blew it. The demonic egg beside Ammar immediately emitted bloody red aura. Wewe Gombel screamed and turned into smokes.
Gentala sighed. How long the boy would be haunted by her? He should help his disciple. He didn’t admit it loudly, but he had attached to Ammar. It was like having a little brother.
“I am curious. Did he already come term with his regret?” He took out a soul from his sleeve. “A kid shouldn’t worry about things like that, don’t you agree?” He looked at the demonic egg. “Wayang Baya, please watch us. I want to check Ammar again.”
Gentala performed Sanghyang dance. His consciousness dimmed; the soul in his hand got brighter. In a short time after his body kept spinning, he realized the world around him changed and he stopped moving. His appearance changed into Ammar’s father. The boy stood before him with a sharp look on his face.
“Mentor, I have come term with my regret and have formed my road.” As Ammar said that, a blue road appeared below his feet and advanced far away.
Gentala grinned. “In a short time? Good! How did you do it?”
Ammar said, “You said to get away from my regret. I asked myself after that; can I throw away my feeling easily like that? The answer is no. My father teaches me many things, but what I hold the most is a man must have a value. I shan’t throw away my feeling, Mentor!”
Gentala could feel happiness from the soul inside his sleeve. His father should be proud his boy still held his teaching. “Your path is a nameless path of freedom. How can you stay true to your desire if you are shackled by your regret?”
“It is easy. Regrets won’t restrain my path of freedom. I just have to think like that.”
“I don’t understand. Isn’t that the same as throwing away your feeling?”
“Like I say regrets won’t restrain my path of freedom. I don’t throw them away. I carry them along with my path because they don’t restrain me at all.”
“Prove it,” Gentala demanded. “Walk along your road. Your will shall be tested.”
With confidence, Ammar took a step on the blue road. At the same time, the scenery around them disappeared. There were only Gentala, Ammar, white space, and the blue road.
Ammar didn’t face difficulty when he walked and Gentala followed him outside of the road. As they appeared at the end of the road, a gale pushed them.
“Ammar, this is the last stage. You have to overcome this tribulation and then your path will be recognized!”
Ammar closed his eyes and stopped walking. The gale disappeared, but a barrage of wind scythes flew towards them immediately. Gentala could easily dodge them, but Ammar was injured. His clothes were ripped and his skin got cut. Gentala could deal with this gale, but he would interrupt his disciple’s breakthrough if he did so. He could only watch from the distance.
A giant wind scythe flew toward Ammar. Gentala worried. If he was dead while facing the breakthrough of the path, his soul would be injured. As he would interfere, Ammar stepped slightly, dodging the incoming attack. After that, several wind scythes approached. The boy ducked, leaped, and did anything to dodge all of them.
Gentala shocked. “This is the animal instinct. He can activate his innate ability as he pleases now. He just leveled up to be a top talent! Does it mean….”
Ammar opened his eyes and walked again. This time, a powerful gale and barrage of wind scythes came together. The gale didn’t slow his step and he could easily dodge wind scythes.
“Mentor, doesn’t wind remind you of freedom? It can be a breeze or a powerful tornado. It can be anything. I think my path will be named after wind.” As he said that, a new road formed from the end of the first road.
Gentala laughed. “You did it, Ammar. You overcame the bottleneck and gained enlightenment. What’s the name of your path, Boy? Tell me quickly. I want to see the manifestation of your path. Quick, quick!”
Ammar beamed. As he dodged several wind scythes, he advanced a few steps, entering the new road. “A simple, yet majestic name. A fitting name for my desire for freedom. The name of this path is….
“The Path of Silver Wind!”
As Ammar said that, space shook and the road below him crumbled. Suddenly a crack appeared out of nowhere, revealing a black hole. From it, alphabetic letters flew out and approached Ammar.
Gentala watched as Ammar’s body glowed. “Those are universal codes. Your will is recognized by the universe.” He smiled and realized his presence wasn’t needed here. His body disappeared from the fantasy world.