Chapter 1: Innate Talent – Wisdom Root
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Chapter 1: Innate Talent – Wisdom Root

When there is nothing to look forward to, one can only stare at the past. But to an orphan with no memories, how could the bleak past be any different from a dreary future?

Ain lost his family, along with his memories, during his early childhood. Even the destitute orphanage he’d ended up in showed him the door. With just a basic education, he survived by doing odd jobs here and there.

So far, he’d trudged along in solitude, living day by day in Everlite City’s gloomy slums, and yesterday was supposed to be no different. However, unbeknownst to Ain, the stars were feeling rather magnanimous that day.

He’d just returned home after completing a herb delivery to the pharmacy when an extraordinary sensation suddenly drowned him. A mystical power began flowing through him, gently caressing his body. It hadn’t taken long for Ain to realize, amidst his extreme disbelief, that he’d awakened his innate talent.

His innate talent was Deep Insight, providing him with a cognitive boost. It seemed rather lackluster, but Ain was overjoyed at the opportunity.

Every teenager between the ages of sixteen and twenty hoped to awaken, regardless of their status. Awakening your innate talent and gaining the ability to control aether was the foundation to become a spirit master. Ain had also wished for such a miracle, and yesterday, the halo of a spirit master unexpectedly crowned his head. His dreary and cold future was suddenly paved with warm lights and vibrant flowers.

Warm and vibrant. Just like the pool of blood in which he now lay dying.

On the frigid stone-paved ground, Ain’s eyes struggled to remain open as he turned his head, laboring to gaze past the crimson blood flowing through the crevices. Across from him stood an ancient stone monument, reaching several meters into the dim lifeless sky. A large piece of writing was etched onto the gray stone, occupying the entire monument’s cold surface. Two figures stood below the monument, talking among themselves.

A man in worn-out leather armor with a dagger in hand observed a bowl-shaped stone pedestal beside the ancient stone monument. He petted the dark green snake loosely coiled around his neck and asked, “What do you think, Carl? What are the chances of success?”

The other man, dressed in similar garb, carried a gray ferret on his shoulder and glanced at the bloody object in his hand doubtfully, “I don’t know. We need something with the time aspect to activate the monument. This kid condensed his aethercore using the time aspect meditation technique on the monument so the aethercore should have the time aspect.”

“But what if it doesn’t work?”

“Mason, why the hell do you think I would know all this? It’s impossible for us to get our hands on time-aspect resources or artifacts. This is the only way I could think of.”

“Alright man, chill. I was just asking. Remember, even if we don’t find any treasures, we still have to pay the guards for finding us a newly awakened spirit master.”

“Yeah, let’s worry about that later.”

The two men didn’t mask their conversation, so it naturally reached Ain’s hazy consciousness.

So that’s why…

On the precipice of death, the regret and despair shrouding his heart gave way to some semblance of solace upon learning the cause of his current predicament.

While it was rare for the slum’s residents to awaken, he’d witnessed a couple of cases over the years. During both occasions, the city guards led the two ecstatic teenagers towards the ‘true’ Everlite City. At that time, he’d watched from afar with veiled envy.

Awakening an innate talent and wielding aether were just the foundation. To truly become a spirit master, a meditation technique was required. This was common information in the slums, alongside the instructions to report to the city guards upon a lucky awakening.

Ain’s course of action was no different, but the outcome wasn’t as he expected. He wasn’t guided deeper into the city but was knocked unconscious by the guards instead. When he opened his eyes, he was already in this secret realm, accompanied by these two crooked spirit masters.

From what he was told, the treasures in this secret realm could only be obtained by a spirit master that condensed their aethercore using the meditation technique inscribed on the ancient stone monument. As long as Ain accomplished this task and helped them obtain the treasures, they would set him free.

Ain was inexperienced in many facets of life, but he’d still lived a decade alone in the slums. He knew that survival was unlikely even after helping the two strangers. However, after a futile struggle to resist, he could only latch onto the promise of freedom, which ultimately led to his current plight.

Ain’s aethercore was extracted soon after it condensed, leaving a gruesome, bloody hole in his chest. Taking in his dying breaths, his hand tightly clutched a dull black stone. It was the only relic from his forgotten past, a source of spiritual comfort.

“I hope this works. We’ll be rich if we get these time aspect treasures.”

The two spirit masters – Carl and Mason, supported hopeful expression as Ain’s aethercore was placed into the bowl-shaped stone pedestal.

Ain watched on reluctantly as his eyes slowly dimmed. The hope for the future that’d just been ignited was snuffed out in a single day. Maybe the stars’ magnanimity was just a pretext for this tragedy.

A blinding explosion that often appeared in his dreams, the only memory alluding to his forgotten past, surfaced within his thoughts. The dream that’d always been so vague was unusually clear today.

As the dream gained clarity, Ain’s blurry vision was suddenly overcome with a bright light, and he seemed to hear the two spirit masters shouting.

Right. In the dream, he also lay on the ground with a bloody hole in his chest. Blinding red light from an explosion had similarly drowned his vision. There were shouts and screams all around as well.

The pain encompassing his body was becoming exceedingly familiar.

Unknowingly, in similar circumstances, twelve years apart, Ain’s final thoughts aligned.

I… don’t want to die…

Blinding light drowned everything, lasting for a few seconds before receding. When the secret realm regained its color, the ancient stone monument was once again revealed, with no one else in sight.

 

The three visitors from before had vanished.

“Ugh…”

A subconscious groan escaped Ain’s lips as his eyes twitched. His blurry consciousness gradually grew clearer as he slowly opened his eyes. The first thing he noticed was a vast canvas of stars, shining brilliantly across the ink-black sky. It seemed to be snowing as he noted tiny white specks slowly cascading down.

Ain basked in this beautiful sight as his body gradually regained its sensation, causing him to shiver at the frigid air around him. When he sensed his hand, he realized that there was a dull object clenched within.

The Prismatic Void Stone…

Wait. Prismatic Void Stone?

This brief thought was like thunder in the silent night, instantly jolting Ain’s dazed mind. He immediately sat up with a jerk and looked around vigilantly.

Under the cold starry sky, only the falling snow and large expanse of white sand entered his vision. Taking deep breaths, he ignored his surroundings for now and stared at the black stone resting in his palm. Information suddenly manifested and organized itself within his mind.

[Name: Prismatic Void Stone]

[Aspect: Void]

[Rank: Rank-1]

[Description: A stone originating from the Ink Domain. A Rank-0 Ink Revenant is sealed within. Injecting aether into the Prismatic Void Stone will release the Ink Revenant while transmitting an unknown signal.]

“Where did this information come from?” Ain gazed at the black stone, the Prismatic Void Stone, with a stunned expression. He momentarily believed that his memories had returned, but his assumption was swiftly proven incorrect. No matter how hard he tried to remember, nothing came to mind except for the explosion he’d often see in his dreams.

Ain was utterly confused but before he could ponder, he realized another pressing issue. He hurriedly glanced down at the bloody hole in his chest, except, there was no bloody hole in his chest. There was only torn fabric soaked in blood, revealing his fair skin underneath.

“Why am I still alive? I clearly remember dying after my aethercore was extracted…” Ain patted his smooth chest that was devoid of any wounds or injuries. He examined his body to the best of his abilities and found that the minor scratches and scars that had accumulated over time had disappeared as well. His skin was now as smooth as the skin of a newborn baby.

Ain glanced at the black stone in his hand before observing his surroundings.

The bejeweled sky above was still breathtaking as white particles floated down to join the sand. Contrary to his initial judgment, what cascaded down wasn’t snow but the same white sand underneath him.

For a moment, he couldn’t help but contemplate if he had actually died and that this was the afterlife. It’d explain the surreal scenery. But one look at the Prismatic Void Stone quickly dispelled such thoughts. How was it possible for this thing to follow him to the afterlife? Moreover, Ain was naturally resistant to the thought of death. He would rather believe that he was still alive.

“My body has been healed, and I can still sense the aether around me… Aether… Can I still become a spirit master?” As he muttered to himself in a daze, Ain realized that although his aethercore had been extracted, he hadn’t lost his ability to control aether. In fact, his state was no different from before he condensed his aethercore.

Just as Ain was pondering, a stream of information suddenly manifested within his mind again.

[Quest: First Step]

[Description: Reach Rank-1 and form a spirit pet contract.]

[Reward: Heavenly Whisper x1]

“Hmm? Where did this come from? And what’s a Heavenly Whisper?” Ain was taken aback by the anomaly that appeared out of nowhere but before he could scrutinize this information, more knowledge suddenly flooded in, as if in response to his doubts.

[Name: Ain Weisman]

[Species: Human]

[Rank: Unranked]

[Innate Talent: Wisdom Root]

[Heavenly Whispers: 0]

[Description: A newly awakened spirit master whose aethercore was extracted. An unknown power saved you from the embrace of death and mutated your innate talent.]

As soon as he comprehended this information, Ain's skepticism morphed into surprise. He was instantly attracted to his description. “What unknown power? What exactly happened to me?”

It was one incident after the other, piling up more confusion. Ain couldn’t help but feel vexed at the unanswered questions. This awful feeling of ignorance had accompanied him throughout his life as he often wondered about his past.

He shook his head to dispel the bubbling negativity. The questions were many but there was only one Ain. Although he found it possible to think of them collectively, he still focused on his innate talent first.

Spirit masters possessed an intuitive understanding of their innate talent and its effects. Only a single thought was required for Ain to confirm the validity of his description. The relevant information manifested, albeit, organized in a familiar manner.

[Wisdom Root: The root of wisdom that encompasses the Heavens.]

[Ability 1: Passively enhances your cognitive abilities.]

[Ability 2: Scan lifeforms and objects to derive basic data.]

[Ability 3: Issues quests to guide your spirit.]

[Ability 4: Use Heavenly Secrets to seek knowledge from the Heavens. Heavenly Whispers are required to activate Heavenly Secrets.]

All the events leading up to this point left Ain’s emotions in a jumble, but his lips still couldn’t help but curl up after discovering his new innate talent.

The information in his description was correct. His innate talent was no longer Deep Insight. It was now called Wisdom Root, and its abilities were a little mind-blowing!

Wisdom Root connected numerous dots as some of the puzzle pieces finally fell into place.

When he awakened Deep Insight yesterday, Ain had already felt his mind become sharper and more precise. That’s why he initially didn’t notice a difference in his innate talent. But upon further investigation, he realized a stark contrast. His memories, beginning from the dilapidated orphanage, had never been so vivid.

The boy that stole his food during his first day at the orphanage wore a gray shirt. He continued wearing the same shirt for four days before switching to a dirty white one. Going forward, Ain could recollect every single shirt he had seen the boy wear.

With just a thought, minute details like these were available at his fingertips. This was a direct manifestation of Wisdom Root’s first ability.

Ain then thought back to what he learned about the Prismatic Void Stone, and himself, and attributed them to Wisdom Root’s second ability. He had possibly activated this ability unknowingly earlier.

The quest he received not long ago alluded to the third and fourth abilities. The third ability was pretty straightforward, as he’d seen an example already, but the fourth ability was a little bewildering.

“The quest reward is one Heavenly Whispers, which is used to activate Heavenly Secrets… and Heavenly Secrets can seek knowledge from the Heavens? So, it’s a transaction to gain knowledge?”

Ain understood the basic concept but ‘seek knowledge from the Heavens’ seemed a little vague. He couldn’t fully fathom the breadth of this ability, but he placed great significance on it. After all, there was only one thing he had sought since childhood.

“Maybe it can help me learn about my past…” Ain’s thoughts lingered on his past as determination appeared in his eyes. The quest offered a Heavenly Whispers as the reward so it wouldn’t be long before his wish was finally fulfilled.

Discovering his past was an obsession he had formed over the years. He would constantly think of the possibilities of what his life could’ve been. This obsession wasn’t rooted in his yearning for a family. Without memories, any emotional attachment had lost its anchor. It was the yearning for an identity and an extreme curiosity that fueled him.

“Phew...” Ain let out a frosty breath to relieve his nerves before finally getting on his feet. He’d been seated on the chilly white sand this entire time. He brushed off the sand granules while giving some quick thought toward naming his new abilities, or rather, his second ability as it was the only one that required a name.

Ain wasn’t feeling particularly creative at the moment, so his thought process was rather straightforward. "This ability can scan lifeforms and objects, so I’ll just name it Scan."

Scan, alongside Wisdom Root’s other abilities, addressed most of his confusions and concerns. However, two questions still lingered.

The foremost was the 'unknown power' revealed by his description. He speculated that everything was connected to this unknown power. Not only had it mutated his innate talent, but it had also saved his life twice.

That’s right. Not once, but twice.

As Ain struggled to maintain his consciousness earlier, clear recollections of his usually vague dream suddenly appeared in his mind, eliciting a sense of déjà vu. This wasn’t the first time he had ‘died’ due to a hole in his chest.

Nonetheless, any attempts Ain made at investigating the unknown power turned up fruitless. He could only be certain that his forgotten past was the key to everything. Failing to make any progress, he soon turned his gaze back to the Prismatic Void Stone in his hand.

He hadn’t forgotten what he learned from its description.

Hello everyone!

I hope you enjoyed the first chapter of Epoch of the Wisdom King. Some may already know but this is a reboot of my original story: Forsaken Haven.

I've briefly explained the reason in the final announcement of Forsaken Haven so if you're interested, please check it out. You don't need to read Forsaken Haven to enjoy Epoch of the Wisdom King!

The update schedule is 3 chapters a week, usually on the weekends. Please let me know of your thoughts as I very much appreciate any feedback!

If you'd like, you can support me and read ahead at: patreon.com/SkyLimitless

Enjoy!

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