Novel Name : Remember The Name

Remember The Name - Chapter 69

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Lucid stopped running and turned around to face the bird. Its head and beak were almost completely buried in the mud, unable to move save for a few twitches every so often. Its legs were flailing about wildly, scratching the surface of the mud but not able to make any process in straightening back up. Its huge wings flapped and flapped against the mud, but even that hardly did anything.
Was it asking for help?
He was still quite wary of the creature, but he also felt bad for it, watching it struggle so hard as it tried to get up, and he also couldn’t ignore the strange feeling he had gotten when he had looked into its eyes before.
“Oh!” he exclaimed as a thought crossed his mind.
The mud trapping the bird still had a coefficient of zero, as he had forgotten to cancel the magic. Was that the cause of its struggle? He quickly canceled the magic away, and the bird promptly planted its large wings down, supporting itself on them as a human would with with their arms when trying to get up. After stumbling a couple of times, it finally got back up. It shook its head a few times and straightened back up, as if to regain its earlier elegance (could a bird even think that far?), but this was ruined by the fact that it was absolutely covered from head to toe in the icky mud. Its feathers were ruffled and tangled everywhere, and their beautiful blue coloring was hidden away by the ashen goo. The only thing that had remained unaffected were its eyes and the way they were fixed on Lucid.
“I’m sorry.”
He felt as though he had to apologize. As things were, there was little that could go wrong just by apologizing to the bird. He had acquired quite some distance between himself and the bird, and apologizing could potentially lower the chances of the bird attacking him. The bird flapped his wigs dramatically, not taking its eyes from Lucid. Was it trying to shake the mud off? If so, just flapping and flailing wouldn’t be enough to get the job done. If only there were running water nearby.
“I’m sorry, I truly am. But I’m in a hurry right now. I hope you can understand.”
Of course, there was no way that the bird could understand, but this was all he could do to atone for what he had done to it. It was also the only way to get rid of some of his guilt. Maintaining eye contact with the bird, Lucid slowly stepped back. This time, the bird made no move to follow him, instead just watching him as it first had.
And just like that, Lucid walked backwards all the way out of the marshes. As soon as he stepped out of the mud, the bird turned around slowly and began to walk eastward. Lucid couldn’t shake off that strange feeling even as the bird left, and so, he stared at it leave, just as the bird had watched him leave.
“Was it just bored?”
Though he doubted that that was the only bird in the marsh (it was a huge marsh, after all), he could understand if it felt bored by itself. He could understand, yes, but that still didn’t mean he could stay with it and keep it company. They spoke no common language, and they were a human and a bird, first and foremost. What could they even do together?
Besides, he had no time to waste like that. He had to move on. Lucid turned around and made his way towards the steep, rocky mountain. Be it attachment or pity, he would shake off the strange feeling he had gotten and leave it behind here, in the marshes. Lucid stepped forward with determination.
The path going up to the mountains was quite close to the marsh, though he wondered whether it even qualified as a path in the first place. There, at the foot of the mountain, surrounded by huge boulders, was a small gap, barely wide enough for one person to squeeze through. Even the alleys in the peasant town had been bigger than this. But it was either that or climbing up sharp boulders with barely anything to grab onto, so realistically, Lucid didn’t have much of a choice at all. But that also didn’t mean he could just go through the narrow path without a second thought. He would need to be prepared.
First, he dried off the mud still clinging to shoes, and once it was baked to a crisp, he scrubbed his shoes clean on a nearby rock. Once his feet were nice and light again, he began to look around for any possible clues.
Strangely enough, this mountain truly seemed to be made out of just rocks and boulders, without a trace of vegetation around (save for the few weeds peeking through at the base). It was almost wondrous. Mountains were bound to have a few plants around, or some flowers at the very least, but even the weeds were only a bunch of leaves. He would have to ask a teacher as soon as he got the chance.
Even more perplexing was the clear lack of traces of life, be it human or animal. He looked around some more, hoping to find at least some bird footprints, but to avail. This was his first time seeing such a mountain.
Rock fragments were scattered all over the ground, and countless boulders stood from the ground, depriving Lucid of even one comfortable spot to rest. Looking up, he was suddenly struck by the full might of the mountain. It appeared to be just cliffs upon cliffs, all one on top of each other, so much so that Lucid wondered whether there even was a path to the top. Even if he were to follow the narrow gaps between the rocks, who knows what obstacles he would have to face along the way.
This was entirely different from what he had anticipated when he had first looked at these mountains from a distance. Up close, they were much more terrifying and intimidating, and he realized that getting to the top wouldn’t be such an easy feat. It was almost a fortress, a fortress of pure, solid rock.
“Could they really have come this way?” he wondered, sighing heavily.
It hadn’t even been a full day since he had made up his mind and worked up his determination, but here he was now, faltering for the second time. Was he really so weak-willed? He was ashamed of himself.
“This isn’t why I came here.”
But blaming himself for his shortcomings wouldn’t help him through this. Taking a deep breath, he looked up at the sky, and saw that it was past noon, with the sun already making its way to the west towards the Great Mountains. Daylight truly was short in the fall, and he had taken too long to cross the marshes. If he rushed into this rock of a mountain, he could end up being the one in need of rescuing. What to do, what to do.
No matter how much he had studied and learned, and no matter how adept he was at magic, fact remained that he was still just ten years old. He had many physical limitations, and his mental capacity was still that of a child. There was no way he could climb this mountain without absolute certainty and unwavering determination. Thankfully, he was self-aware enough to know that he lacked both.
As such, he looked for a crevice he could fit into so he could spend the night in relative safety. Though it was still a long time until sunset, it might not be enough to fully prepare a proper shelter, and he didn’t want a repeat of what had happened at the marshes, where he had been caught unawares by an unwanted visitor.
Luckily, he found a decent spot a few paces away, next to a hill on the side of the mountain. Reaching it meant having to climb, but he was willing to do it if it ensured him safety at night. Lucid crawled and jumped from rock to rock, steadily making his way up to the crevice he had found. He was still at the foot of the mountain, so the rocks weren’t big enough to really trouble him yet, and he soon reached his new shelter.
Standing in front of him was a huge boulder, big enough to look like a cliff on its own, with a split at its base that got larger and larger the farther down it went. Just large enough for Lucid to squeeze in and be protected from the elements. Though Lucid wasn’t particularly concerned about the cold anymore, that didn’t mean he had to stay out in the wind for no reason. This gap would serve him well enough. In times like these, he was quite glad to be on the smaller side.
Lucid opened his rucksack and took out a waterskin. This, too, had been “borrowed” from his neighbors. He had had quite some trouble going from house to house in search of clothes and a useable waterskin, but luckly enough, he had found everything he needed. He had already sweeped through the houses last time he had come, so he had had to go through houses that were farther away from his house. Still, it wasn’t as if he was stealing, per se, since the homeowners were no longer there. On the contrary, he was doing all this exactly so that he could find said homeowners, so he had had no qualms about taking everything he had needed.
“Phew,” he let out a deep breath as he gulped down the water. The cold water felt good as it went down his throat, and it helped to calm his nerves. The crevice he had found was facing north, so it also shielded him from the afternoon sun. As he laid there in the dark, he closed his eyes and fell asleep shortly. He woke up from time to time when his warming magic wore off or when the cold win wafted in, and he recast his magic accordingly.
The wind whistled as it passed through the gap in the boulder, waking Lucid up. Opening his eyes, he realized that everything was dark. The whistling continued. He turned his head towards the sound and realized it was coming from above, where the rock was solid and in one piece. Perhaps there was another gap that Lucid had failed to notice. Deciding to take this chance to go outside and figure out what time it was, Lucid left his little shelter, making a small orb of light in his hand to illuminate his path as he crawled out. Looking up, he saw that quite some time had passed since sunset, as the sky covering the Great Mountains now shone in the faintest of purple. The cold wind from the Great Mountains rushed by, caressing Lucid’s cheek and escaping through the gaps in the rocks.
The more he stared at the last traces of sunset, the more it seemed warped. The faint purple light was fully swallowed by the dark, and the peaks of the Great Mountains began to spin their veils of mist.
Lucid felt that tickling inside again. He had felt this before inthe marshes, and now it was back.
What was it?
He still didn’t quite know what it was, and this confused him. Surely, it was happening to him, inside of him, but still, he had no idea what it was. It was frustrating. There was no one there he could turn to for answers, no one there to help him. What if this was an illness? Was he getting sick?
Lucid put a hand against his chest, and the feeling disappeared. He remained like this for a while, but nothing else happened. He had an inkling, an idea of what it was, but it was just out of reach from his consciousness. It was frustrating, and it was maddening.
“Forget it,” he muttered.
He would just turn his attention to more useful things. More efficient things. A better use of his time. For example, he would think of the easiest way to get to the top of this rocky mountain.
Lucid was now just barely 140cm (4’7″), which meant that it would be difficult for him to climb the mountain in any efficient way. Not only that, but even the smallest of mistakes could result in a devastating injury. This was why he needed to figure out a plan. Besides, he had his magic. Surely it could come in handy.
The issue was that he wasn’t quite sure what magic he needed to use. Right now, the most useful magic he could recreate was friction magic, but he didn’t know whether that would be particularly useful in climbing this mountain.
He had wondered about this before, but now he was certain of it. He needed to learn new magic.
The tickling came back. It was familiar to him, but he couldn’t put his finger on it. A mist danced in his mind.
What was it?
Determined to pursue it until the end, Lucid focused on the faint image forming in his mind, though it was covered by a thick mist that seemed eager to shield it from his consciousness.
One particularly cold winter day, Lucid had been tasked with waking up the stubborn Myeong-su. Back then, he had had to tug and pull at the thick blanket with all his might, and when he had managed to fully reveal the curled up Myeong-su underneath, his friend had laughed, a silly smile plastered on his face.
Much in the same way, he now had to reveal the unknown something hidden away by this stubborn mist. He had to uncover whatever was curled up inside. That was the only way to get rid of this frustration, Lucid thought.
Adventure (3)End.
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