PART SEVEN

One thousand and fifty years had passed since he broke his sphere and let the magic enter his veins. Like Louisa and Nerva the magic had retained his youth and prolonged his life, but that was the only thing he could get from it. He could never wield his powers properly, and it was like that even after he destroyed the sphere's barrier.

He was in a worse condition. Ever since he had the power he suffered from an ailment—a mysterious disease brought by magic and suffered by her wielders. His body was being eaten away by something called Mana Failure—a sickness that brought high unstableness on the brand of magic one wields, and it had a gruesome effect at the motor and sensory neurons.

He couldn't cast his spells without taking horrible damages onto himself. There were times that his magic was so high and reactive that he tended to destroy everything he touched; or otherwise he felt very, very weak that he thought he was dying from it all.

Louisa tried to help, obviously, but her magic could not provide a cure no matter how hard she tried. Nerva wanted to help too, but he simply didn't have any space for any magical cure—instead he spent his free time looking up likely cures from his books or otherwise venturing to Daema and asking High Priests there if they could give even the tiniest help.

He was suffering…suffering because he pushed on, knowing it was not the path for him to take…and now he was reaping his rewards…

He was sitting atop the highest tower of the Sorcerer Guild's castle, a secret place found in an island that cannot be found on maps and globes. He was looking way out to sea, listening to the peaceful squawking of the seagulls and the melodious splashing of the waves against the steep and rocky cliffs.

His hands were bleeding again. His ailment was at its peak; thirty minutes ago his Mana went hyper again, this time giving him ultimate pressure sensitivity, so that everything close to him within a five-meter radius was crushed with tremendous pressure. He climbed up here on the rooftop to avoid more damages, and to his relief, his Mana calmed down again…

Louisa appeared out of nowhere and sat down beside him, looking more beautiful in her Sorcerer regalia. She merely looked at him with her clear blue eyes.

"The sea is calm," he said.

"Yes." She replied. "It is peaceful."

"I envy the waves." He said. "They could go up, reaching forever, trying their best to get to the mainland. Even if they fail and don't go farther than the shores, they persist still. They retreat…then attack…retreat…and attack…"

She did not speak, so he continued.

"I ask myself now," he went on. "Had I digressed, would I have to suffer like this? Had I taken the white sphere, would I enjoy things? Had I not harmed my friends and forsaken them, would I be lonely? Had I not pushed on…would I…be well…?"

Louisa could not answer. She dropped her gaze to the roof's tiles. He turned to her, his sunken eyes widening.

"I am in regret, you see." He told her. He wasn't even sure why he was telling her these things, but the urge to speak had not overwhelmed him like this before. "I am in very deep, painful regret. This ailment that slowly destroys me from within reminds me every second, every minute, every hour and every day. The pain it brings shatters my conscience and echoes reminders in my mind that, had I listened, I would have—I would have…"

"You knew what you were getting yourself into." Louisa whispered.

"Human nature," he said. "But…I had every chance…to turn from it…but still. Now I regret when it is too late, when there is nothing left for me to do but to wait until this disease finally puts out the flame that is my life."

A slight, cooling breeze blew.

"I'm dying, Louisa." He said sadly. "And it is my fault that I am dying. I killed myself. I've killed myself ever since I took that sphere."

And she knew it was true.