IRNDGL - Chapter 40: Fate's Choice
Wilde once had two disciples. This was when he was still an ordinary Pandemonium-rank black magician and even before he got the name 'Faceless Black-scaled Man'.
As the source of a black magician's power was through language, it was extremely rare for self-taught black magicians to emerge. Practically all black magicians had their own teachers.
Language had to be spread via communication. Accuracy of pronunciation would determine the resonance with the aether as well as the strength of the incantation. This also signified that the passing on of skills amongst black magicians required a great deal of communication.
Without a responsible teacher to hold one's hand and provide face-to-face guidance, self-taught black magicians would only be able to exhibit some shoddy incantations such as 'Slippery Ground' and 'Candle Extinguishing'.
Who could imagine that the true form of such piteous incantations were actually 'Corrosive Swamp' and 'Windbound Seal'?
Moreover, compared with the tightly wrapped writing and sigils of white magicians, black magician's languages had the lowest learning threshold amongst extraordinary beings. The only requirement needed was just 'producing a sound'.
This was the reason why there were so many black magicians of the lower rungs that were completely insignificant. It was little wonder that the Church of the Dome blacklisted black magicians from treatment due to how broke they generally were.
Black magicians without rank yet did grunt jobs for other factions were a dime a dozen.
However, because of this black magician tradition of imparting, the relationship between a truly reliable teacher and student was extremely close. Most of the time, the trust between teacher and student was even greater than blood ties.
Wilde naturally had his own teacher as well.
One of the three Supreme-rank black magicians in the Truth Union's rankings list. 'Ancient King of Sacred Sound', 'Black Emperor', 'Dragon Linguist', 'Last Descendant of Giants'— Slater Augustus.
It was really difficult to keep track of how many apprentices this legendary black magician had mentored. However, one thing was certain. All of the black magicians he mentored eventually became reputable powerhouses.
Wilde had always thought himself fortunate that a person of insignificant status like himself could become the student of such a great being.
His final graduation piece was the stone gargoyle he had presented to Lin Jie.
Wilde remembered the overwhelming gratitude he felt all those years ago when he went before his aged teacher to present his final work.
Augustus' huge shriveled body was practically fused to his throne—That throne was the last domain of his native homeland, the Giant Kingdom which he had no way of leaving.
The old black magician reached for the stone gargoyle and studied it for some time before flashing a kindly and gratified smile and saying, "Fate has already made its choice. My dear disciple, from today on, you have graduated."
Young Wilde hadn't thought too much about these words and only proceeded to inquire his teacher's evaluation of his work.
After receiving the evaluation that this was "close to a near-perfect masterpiece", Wilde was so excited he couldn't sleep for a few days as he completed the necessary formalities and graduated from his apprenticeship.
Those words of little significance said earlier were tossed to the back of his mind. It was only when Wilde's inspiration was overflowing from reading Corpse Devouring Sect, Rites & Ceremonies did he once again dream of his old teacher's words.
"Perhaps, Teacher had already seen my fate where I would receive Mr. Lin's guidance and present the stone gargoyle to him. Perhaps this was the true answer that Teacher was very satisfied with," Wilded muttered as he got up and stared at the random notes strewn all over in a daze. He suddenly picked up a draft and uttered, "Burn."
A flame sprung up and devoured the paper bit by bit.
In this dark room, a moth was attracted to the flame and caught fire.
Wilde watched pensively as the paper started to curl at the edges, wrinkle, and eventually turn to ashes along with the moth and crumbled to the ground.
He once had two disciples who were as close as sons to him.
On the day when Wilde had formally graduated from his teacher, he returned to the orphanage where he had grown up and brought away a child who was like him the most; one who was a loner that lurked in the corners.
That child’s name was Charles, and also Wilde’s first disciple.
Regrettably, it was perhaps Wilde's favoritism towards Charles that caused him to lose the alertness a black magician ought to have.
In the end, this led to Charles dying at the hands of an enemy of Wilde's.
Even though Wilde had exacted revenge for his disciple later on, he had been unable to find Charles' corpse and soul.
Without these two components, it would be impossible to resurrect his own disciple even if he sought out Augustus’ help.
Wilde wasn't willing to share his innermost thoughts with anyone and even harbored the feeble hope that 'perhaps Charles wasn't dead, he had just run away'.
"Thinking back, rather than saying I had taken on a disciple, it would have been more appropriate to say that I adopted a kid only to worry about him all day long," mused Wilde.
He then brushed away the ashes, lit up an oil lamp, and sighed, "I really don't know what was going through my mind then."
A sudden knocking echoed.
Wilde paused and halted whatever he was doing as his gaze went upwards and he sent out a scouting spell.
He was currently in the basement of this dwelling and the knocking had come from the main door on the first floor.
This was his apartment in Norzin, and also his safest secret hideout. At present, nobody knew about it.
Even after Uri's betrayal, this place had never been exposed before. Because, the only people who knew about this place were himself and... Charles.
Aether projected by Wilde produced an outline of the person at the door.
Wilde's eyes widened as a look of disbelief took over his entire face.
How... is this possible?!
"Teacher, it's me. I've returned!" A weak voice sounded beyond the door. "It's me, Charles. Are you there?"
Wilde got up from his desk in a rush and his large actions caused the chair to flip.
The heavy winds and rains outside continued to rage on as he climbed up from his basement. Meanwhile, Charles called out, "Teacher, it's been three years... I've been thinking of you all this time. You probably know that the black magician Fred wanted to take revenge on you by killing me. However, I didn't die and so he tossed me into a fissure of the dream realm.
"I recalled Dream Realm Guide which you let me read before. This was my guidebook that saved my life! It is also the reason I'm able to return here!"
His shouts became gasps as if he was getting tired and the voice got softer and softer. "Are you there? I'll be here waiting for you, just like that time where you appeared before me at the orphanage..."
Wilde opened the door. Half lying on the ground was his young disciple as per his memory, just that cuts and wounds covered the entire body and he was unconscious.
Wilde's aether already covered a radius of one kilometer around and he didn't detect any anomalies.
A complex expression appeared on that scary and ice-cold face of his.
"Welcome home, Charles."
Special thanks to Tetra & Aco for editing and pr-ing
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