『… oma… Souma…』
Who? Who’s calling out to me?
『… Souma… Com-… Summoning… Souma…』
Who? Who is it?
Getting the feeling the someone was calling his name, Kizaki Souma stirred from his slumber.
He was in his room.
Today, high school had been closed, so he had been lying in bed, reading his weekly magazine which he had purchased from a convenience store that afternoon, and had seemingly fallen asleep. The room was a mess, full of clothes he had taken off and manga scattered about; before he knew it, his room was dyed in a madder red by the evening sun sinking in the western sky.
As he lifted his head, a page of the magazine that clung to his cheek made a tearing sound as it peeled off.
Souma took the table mirror located at his bedside and looked into it; what it reflected was the face of a drowsy-looking boy.
A somewhat short-cut black hair and black eyes revealing his timidness. His looks, which makes others sense his childishness, are evaluated as cute by elder women, but he had gradually reached a point where he felt embarrassed about it.
However, now with the imprint from the page of the magazine on his cheek that he had gotten from sleeping with it, his face looked more idiotic than cute with the circles projected on it.
Whilst rubbing the ink from his cheek with the back of his hand, Souma let out a great yawn, left his room and descended his staircase.
“Mom! Did you call me?!”
“Oh, you’re up Souma? Your mother didn’t call for you.”
From the kitchen, his mother’s voice could be heard along with the sound of oil popping from frying food. Souma wondered whether he misheard after all.
“You’re just in time, Souma. I’ve run out of tofu to fry. I’m sorry to ask this of you, but your mother is currently making tempura and can’t leave at the moment. Would you mind going to buy some more?”
Souma put on his shoes at the doorway and took the key from the key hook next to the shoe holder for the lock of the bicycle that his family shared.
Then, as he reached out his hand to open the door—
Out of nowhere, his vision blurred.
Souma thought that he was still dizzy from just getting up, but the dizziness grew worse and worse. Eventually, he could no longer stand and had to sit down, but the dizziness didn’t go away.
Due to the alternating feeling of suspension as if his body’s floating and a heavy pressure as if he’s pushed down, Souma felt as though he was being played with.
“Souma, you forgot the wallet—”
Souma tried to respond to his mother’s voice, but his voice felt plugged due to a nausea that seemed to gush forth from within his stomach. He wanted to get help by going to his mother and thus he extended his arm out to grasp the doorknob to pull himself up.
『… Souma… Come, Souma…』
While once again hearing the auditory hallucination, Souma’s hand stopped in mid-air unable to grasp the doorknob.
“Souma, you forgot the wallet… Souma?”
At the time when his mother came to the door with the wallet, only the key still being stuck in the door and the key for the bicycle, which had fallen to the side, were left; Souma was nowhere to be seen.
Alongside a *bam*, a strong shock ran across Souma’s back.
“Ah… Ow… Ahh.”
Groans and cries escaped from Souma’s mouth.
Apparently his back was strongly hit by something, spreading a damp pain across his entire back. However, rather than just pain, a feeling of dizziness, fatigue, and nausea spread throughout Souma’s whole body, causing him to groan in agony.
At that moment, the sudden sound of people stirring could be heard from around him.
Faintly opening his eyes which were shut tightly from anguish, the vicinity had become dim, making him wonder just when the sun had set.
He thought that he just didn’t notice it as he had lost consciousness, but he immediately realizes that this was not the case.
Facing upwards, he saw a dim ceiling with needle-like rocks that clung to it — there was an innumerable amount of different stalactites which hung from above.
Furthermore, the situation is much more unusual than that.
While writhing in agony, he frantically surveys his surroundings. Even though he was supposed to be at his home’s doorway, his location changed into a limestone cavern he had never seen before.
Stalactites similar to thick pillars rose amidst the cavern, which was vast enough to fit an entire house inside. Being bathed in the light of candles which had been placed everywhere, a fairytale-like scenery was created.
And, among the stalactites, dozens of men and women, completely garbed in black robes, stared at Souma with expressions of amazement while kneeling on the ground.
“… Where… am I?”
To Souma, who had spoken with a weak voice, an old man in the front row of the group spoke up.
What came out of the old man’s mouth were words with an intonation Souma had never heard before.
“Diha noiha? Fero ran dirarn noiha!?”
What is this guy saying? Where the heck am I? Where the hell is this place?
Though these questions are running through Souma’s mind, he can’t think straight due to the crushing bad condition of his body as he desperately tries to get up.
The feeling of being intoxicated and his fatigue worsens over time. His entire body is hot just like the time when he gulped down whiskey, after being encouraged by his relatives half in jest, on New Year’s Eve. He also has a throbbing headache which pulsed throughout his skull, a pounding which violently resounded in his head as he tried to move.
Additionally, as Souma fell over face-up from the agonizing nausea in his stomach, he noticed a woman looking down on him and let out a small scream.
No, it wasn’t a living woman.
It was a statue which had been shaved out from a stalactite.
Sharp, pointed claws are growing from the fingers of her hands, which were stretched out as if she’s trying to embrace Souma, and sharp fangs which poked out from behind her lips. Rather than a woman, she looked like a demon disguised as a woman.
Suddenly, someone’s hand touched Souma’s forehead.
Before he knew it, the old man was down on one knee overlooking Souma. Once he brushed aside Souma’s forelocks, which covered his forehead, with a trembling hand, only the two eyes within the old man’s face with its deep wrinkles engraved all over opened widely while shining with a glitter.
“Uz yakha kiha! Uz migou seiha!”
The old man exclaimed with excitement as spittle flew from his mouth.
“Uz migou! Uz migou auranos!”
As the old man turned back to face the crowd, he threw his hands up and rose his voice with delight. Joyous cheers arose from the crowd.
“Magluna Aura! Magluna Aura! Magluna Migou!”
While listening with his entire body to their delighted voices, which echoed loudly inside the confined limestone cavern to a degree that it might deafen his ears, Souma’s consciousness suddenly descended into darkness.
The old man was a loser.
Once upon a time, the old man had wielded a powerful authority in an extremely noble and beautiful place on this earth. However, being caught in a trap by a group of cowards, he lost everything he had obtained: honour, rank and wealth.
At that moment not only those who were hostile to him, but even those who used to be obsequious changed their attitudes quickly and the old man was driven out of the capital with stones thrown at him. Being abused in an evil way by even those of low birth who were despised like trash worms, the old man had no other choice but to lead a small number of his clan members and escape to a remote region.
For the body of the old man, who lived a life without any discomfort while being being waited upon by many people, that escape was something painful and harsh. Even so, when he was finally able to arrive at this place, all that was burning in his chest was hatred and fury.
How can I dispel them!? This anger! Hatred! Humiliation!
The only thing supporting this old man’s body and willpower at this point was his desire for vengeance.
What the old man, who was possessed by his resentment, clung to was the description in a certain book he once discovered in the great library of the capital.
The records in there wrote about a being who is the greatest and strongest in this world.
The old man and his clan depended on that being to defeat those who drove them out and to regain the clan’s glory once again.
Kidnapping the daughter of a low-birthed farmer, they offered her heart, which was overflowing with warm blood, and earnestly prayed.
To the limits of their resentment they prayed as if continuing for an eternity, and at last a change occurred.
A boy whom they had never seen before suddenly appeared inside their sanctuary, where no one but the clan members were supposed to be.
The old man only raised his voice, unable to form any words due to his astonishment.
They have left lookouts at the entranceway of the limestone cavern which serves as their temple, making it near impossible to be intruded upon if they aren’t discovered. Moreover, nothing like a secret passage existed here. And yet, within the cave in the innermost part of the temple, this boy just appeared as if suddenly spawning.
“Who… are you? How did you get in here?”
Asked the old man, however the boy doesn’t show any sign of answering as he only groans in anguish.
He has heard about it in rumours: black hair like the savage tribe living on a distant, remote island, and odd clothes he had never seen before. Even with the information of the old man, who prided himself in possessing extensive knowledge, they couldn’t grasp the boy’s true identity.
When the boy rolled over facing upwards, writhing in pain, something caught the old man’s eyes.
Cautiously reaching his hand out, he brushes aside the groaning boy’s forelocks, exposing his forehead.
What’s on that forehead isn’t a mistake of the old man but what he expected. No, rather the thing he hoped for was actually there.
“This is, a seal! This person is the Divine Child!”
The figure that was apparently a combination of the numerical characters 8 and ∞ faintly shone on the boy’s forehead. With it just being bathed in flickering candle light, the figure seemed as if two serpents were entangling their bodies and biting each other’s tails while squirming. It was an eerie seal.
“A Son of Heaven! Aura’s Divine Child!!”
The old man, whose body trembled with excitement and joy, turned around to the clan members and yelled out loudly.
The clan members, who attentively watched the developments until now while holding their breath, all at once burst into cheers upon the old man’s words.
“Aura the Great! Great Aura! Great Divine Child!”
Everyone cried with great joy, cheering until their throats grew hoarse.
At last, Aura had granted the clan’s wish. Finally the time has come to realize the clan’s ambitions!
Everyone rejoiced with excitement.
The greater the hardship experienced so far, the greater the joy due to the backlash.
And then there was the old man whose unsightly expression distorted in ecstasy more than anyone else’s as he released a loud laughter.
“Perish! Those who tricked us, scorned us, and drove us away! All of you bastards getting destroyed will be great! Wahahahahahahaa!!”
It was for this reason that he did not notice the reverberating, intense sounds coming from
the cavern’s entrance.
Alongside that command, an innumerable amount of arrows was fired all at once within the narrow cavern. The old man was eventually struck by one in his chest, returning him to his senses with a burning pain.
The cavern’s interior became a maelstrom of pandemonium.
Fully armed soldiers with swords and spears in hand surge in through the entrance, killing the old man’s family members one after the other. The clan members, who had no other choice but to rely on Aura as they didn’t have the strength to fight while holding weapons to begin with, are defeated by the soldiers without even attempting to resist.
“Annihilate the evil adherents! Let no one escape!”
“These vile heretics!”
“Kill them! Allow no one to get away!”
Basked in the flickering light of the candles, countless shadows are swaying on the cave’s wall as if dancing. Among them, the old man was unable to do anything but to simply watch in a daze as his clan was getting killed.
A captain with a light brown tess attached to his helmet, which stands out when he’s among the soldiers, sprang out in front of the old man. In his right hand he is grasping a sword which is dyed bright red with the blood of the clan.
“You bastard are the leader here I suppose! I shall take your head!”
Due to the sword swung alongside the voice, the old man’s head, which still had its eyes wide open in shock, dances high into the air while raising a fountain of blood. The captain grabs hold of the white hair of the old man’s head which rolled under his feet and held it up as high as possible.
“I killed the leader!”
In the cavern, the soldiers erupt into cheers.
The soldiers search for those still breathing faintly and deliver the final blows. The damp sounds of the spears gouging out flesh and the low groans of those, who were finished off, reverberate within the cave.
As the captain watched attentively over the operation, he heard a low groan from his rear.
Unsure as to whether an evil adherent was still alive, he draws his sword and cautiously surveys his surroundings.
Thereupon, he discovered a painfully groaning boy facing upwards at the feet of a statue of a repulsive evil god.
There was a survivor after all, huh? The captain raised his sword overhead, but then his arm stopped.
The boy had black hair and wore a strange attire he had never seen around here before. He can’t believe that he’s a comrade of the evil adherents, but likewise he doesn’t seem like a child that had been abducted from a nearby village.
The eyes of the captain, who hesitated in his decision how to handle this, perceived something gleaming slightly on the other side of the forelocks which were covering the boy’s forehead. Warily he used his sword’s tip to clear away the boy’s forelocks. And then he became speechless.
No matter how often he blinks his eyes, the thing on the boy’s forehead doesn’t disappear.
“This is… an engraved seal?! This child is, a Divine Child?!”
The captain opened his eyes widely with a shudder and stepped back involuntarily.
In the report, submitted by this captain, about the situation at that time, the following is written:
『On this day we finally discovered the stronghold of the evil adherents who had gruesomely killed the children and young girl they had abducted from the surrounding villages for some time now.
Alongside the twenty-four soldiers under my command, we first shot the two guards standing watch at the cavern’s entrance to death, and then stormed into the cavern.
A suspicious scent was wafting about inside the cavern, and a large number of evil adherents were in the middle of a bizarre ceremony.
Raiding that place together with my soldiers, we mopped up forty-two evil adherents, including an old man which appeared the by their leader.
In the midst of doing so, I came across a boy at the feet of an evil statue considered to be the object of their faith.
On the forehead of the boy with black hair and foreign-styled strange clothing was a seal I had never seen before. Unable to know if he’s any kind of heavenly child, I decided to bring him back to the fortress in order to allow for a better judgement.』
Thereafter, he pondered as to whether is was unsatisfactory or not; although it was an extremely short account, this was the first ever formal document of Souma Kisaki.
Many heroes and sages had carved their names into the long history of the Seldeas Continent.
Among those who accomplished that, many of the so-called evil heroes, such as tyrants and slaughterers, have been included as well.
Driven away after implementing a reckless reform which led to tens of thousands of people starving to death, [Foolish Emperor] Kashnal.
Having poisoned several people such as her husband, lovers and family for the sake of leading a luxurious life herself, [Lady of Deadly Poison] Mary Selenar.
Decapitating all the enemy nation’s prisoners, he routed the enemy army with fear by building a protective wall with those heads, [Decapitating Official] Baga Yang.
Many more names of evil heroes besides them are known.
However, even throughout the many noteworthy evil heroes, there is the name of a man whose name was deeply etched into the history of this world.
Even now, that name, which is given praise for being loaded with hatred and wrath, causes everyone to distort their mouths as if having tasted poison once they mention it and makes everyone’s expression stiffen in disgust and dread once they hear it.
The number of those who died due to the chaos orchestrated by him climbed into several hundred thousands. And even after his death, an uncountable number of humans are currently dying due to his influence.
<Atrocious Emperor> Gurla Gumeshis, who devoted himself to slaughter as much as possible by overthrowing all the enemy nations as well as the commoners and retainers who rebelled against him, has been aware of his arrogant speech and conduct, but even for him he was a man that made Gurla say 「If compared to the number of people killed by that man, something like the slaughtering I accomplished he has probably done countless times」.
Having extinguished numerous cities from the earth with a new bomb he developed and also having repeated nightmarish human experiments on prisoners, the director of the empire’s science division who was also a commissioned officer of the army. To the mad genius scientist Otto Seidenbecher, he was a man who made Otto praise him with 「I destroyed people and cities, but he destroyed the world」.
He appeared on this Seldeas Continent all of a sudden one day.
And then he spread his influence on the entire continent in the blink of an eye, rebelled against the empire which ruled the continent at that time and at last destroyed its foundation, inviting turbulent times that continued for several hundred years after that.
Everybody harbours disgust, hatred, dread and fear towards him and calls him:
『Divine Son of Destruction, Soma Kisaki』—