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In those four months, I had obviously grown closer to the Glice family.
Kaylith had started to treat me like his own nephew. Esmeralda was the same, or maybe even more caring.
Jason and Kylie had grown fond of me and Irium, who had already known me for a while, had ended up becoming like a little brother to me.
Me being how I was though, I hadn't realized those things. I hadn't realized how much I cared about them all. I hadn't realized anything at all.
Grimma had though. She had realized – everything.
She had realized even the parts I didn't want anyone to.
And so, on the night I had told Kaylith and her that everything was set, she told me that she had something important to talk about, and she wanted to talk about it alone.
"Why are you helping us so much?" She had asked as soon as we were alone.
"Well, it had started-"
"I know how it started, Cartel. I know you came here thinking that all this was your fault." She said, with a slightly agitated voice, "But know that you know that wasn't the case, know that you know it was entirely my fault, why are you still helping us?"
The parts of me I didn't want to confront, I had no idea that she had a made a vow to herself to make me confront them that night.
"Well, can't I do something good? I mean, we kinda know each other for a while and … it is a fact that if I hadn't given you those books, this wouldn't have happened so soon but at a time when you were better prepared to handle it. So, it wasn't completely your fault."
That was the best I could do in the name of an excuse. Looking back on it now, the sheer number of hypocrisies in it would make me laugh.
"Really?" And she, hearing the entire BS I spewed, just asked that with an unconvinced face.
And – that was enough. That was enough to make me bite my lips, make me realize that there was something amiss in all my excuses.
"What do you want me to say?!" I asked, hoping she would somehow back down. But, she wasn't about to.
"You seek someone who cares about you. Why is that so hard to accept?"
Maybe it was because while living in that orphanage, she too had sought someone who cared just like me, she was able to pick up on something that even adults like Kaylith and Esmeralda couldn't.
And maybe also because she had gone through a similar phase too, she could realize why I was not ready to accept it.
"You are just a simple human being. It doesn't matter what planet you come from, that still holds true." She had said to me, "So, it's obvious that basic desires like love and warmth will be things you desire."
"No, that's not the case with me." As you'd expect, I denied it. For someone who was always at the top, I just couldn't accept a statement like, 'you are just a simple human being'.
"My, my!" An unwanted visitor appeared before us. "Isn't that a touching scene?"
Dues ex machina, someone who specialized in destroying people's lives, appeared out of nowhere, leaving the two of us surprised.
We had run away from that shrine, and then we had run away from the place we had hid in after the shrine. It was all so no one could find us. But, none of that worked on her. She could still find us pretty easily. The question was though – why did she show up?
"What do you want!?" Gritting her teeth, Grimma asked.
"What I want is someone who can change the past and make Roswaisa the weapon I need her to be. And I have a feeling this boy could be the one I need." She had stated while pointing at me. Neither of us knew back then who Roswaisa was. Neither of us cared either.
"I don't care about your plans. Get out!" Grimma yelled at her.
"What she said!" I did so too.
But, it had no affect at all. "Well, that isn't how you talk to your elders, is it?"
She said as chains made out of shadows came out from the ground and bound us both. It was an ability called Shadow Authority. I could do it too. Hence, I thought that I'd be able to break those shadows. But, her power far surpa.s.sed mine. Even if we both could do it, she could do it much, much better than me.
"I did come expecting some resistance so how about this," She asked with a twisted smile, "I take this girl hostage so you do whatever I tell you to."
"Like h.e.l.l!" I said as I made the ground beneath her feet tremble, making her lose her focus on Shadow Authority for just a second, and using that second, I got as far away from her as I could using the best speed-increasing abilities altogether.
"Good, good! That was good." She laughed as she said, "These kinds of tricks are exactly why I want you to be the one, Cartel Hopkins."
"f.u.c.k you!" I cursed and ran away.
Obviously, I had taken Grimma with me, who was in a daze because of being carried through the air with super-speed.
"Now that's not something you should say to an elder either!" Dues said and disappeared from where she was, appearing right in front of me and stopping me with a single punch.
I ended up falling and rolling on the ground alongside Grimma.
"You think you can deny my words, Cartel Hopkins?"
Saying that, she stopped suppressing her aura. And then, not just the two of us, but everyone in a large radius around us fell to their knees with terror and shock.
I realized right away – there was no chance of me defeating her. Not a single chance.
And so, my superiority complex, the complex formed by always being on the top, crumbled like dust. And as it did, I came to realize, that b.i.t.c.h had a similar complex too. And perhaps – I could use it.
"Dues!" I yelled as I got up, fighting through her oppressing aura. "You made a mistake by crossing me."
At that moment, I didn't care about all the superficial feelings in my heart. I only cared about the fact that people I had come to care about were in danger.
"You might be powerful, but I am a prodigy acknowledged by Lucifer himself."
While she had been listening silently and mockingly for the most part; as soon as she heard Lucifer's name, her eyebrows twitched.
Why wouldn't they? A person who knew Lucifer would know that if he acknowledged someone, he would make sure to teach that someone in a way that the guy only ever loses to him or someone else he had acknowledged. Basically, Dues knew as soon as I mentioned Lucifer that I had a card up my sleeve.
But of course, if I thought there was a way for her to stop me, I wouldn't have said so anyway.
"Now!" I yelled even though I didn't need to, "Forget me!"
It was an ability Lucifer had taught me called 'Blank'.
It would make someone impossible to pry on. If that someone had been in your memory at any point in time, that memory would be destroyed and your brain will construct something else in its position to maintain the balance. Also, if you ever try to pry on that person, you wouldn't be able to.
The only way to interact with that person – was by meeting them in person, using no supernatural means at all.
I had been saving that ability so I could one day use it as a trump card in my plans. But, at that moment, none of my plans mattered more than saving Grimma and her family.
I knew though that just by making her forget me, she would not go away from their family. So, as soon as Blank started working, I came to Grimma and said, "It's quite embarra.s.sing to admit, but you were right – about everything."
Saying so, I teleported her, along with the rest of the five of them, far away.
I figured that since she didn't remember me, and won't see them when the pain from Blank subsided, it would at least buy me a little time to do something more.
And to do something more, I decided to disappear for a while. Little did I know that by the time I was ready to do anything, all the siblings except Irium would have met some tragic fate, and Kaylith would have had to tamper with Irium's memories.
And so, when I returned and saw all that, I knew what I had to do. I reconnected with Kaylith and told him to send me as a spy in Remedy.
It was no longer my superiority complex driving me, but I knew I had to get to the top of the mage-world anyway.
The purpose? To dethrone the b.i.t.c.h who considers herself a G.o.d.