Chapter 9 - Guide To Understanding
Finally, I was going to get the answer to all of my questions. There was just one problem with that.
"It's a PDF," I said as I stared at the new message in my email. "They have a god damn PDF."
Anna did say something about sending me an informational brochure, but I didn't really think about what she meant when she said that. But here it was, a colorful report for beginners to the world of magic.
Literally, that was the title: A Beginner's Introduction to the World of Magic.
I ignored my teacher's lecture and began secretly reading it behind a book of mine. It was a bit risky to do so, but my curiosity was burning at this point, and I really wanted to know what was going on.
The PDF wasn't that large, only a couple of pages touching on the fine points of a couple of topics.
A Beginner's Introduction to the World of Magic.
Congratulations on discovering the hidden side of society! Welcome to the world of the awakened, a world that deals with the supernatural sides to humanity from behind the shadows.
This brochure will touch upon the basics that can be explained in emergency scenarios, as it is most likely you have just encountered the supernatural for the first time in your life, and you are still processing the collapse of your previous worldview.
But what do I know? I'm just a stupid brochure whose job is to tell you how ignorant you previously were.
My eye started twitching madly. This cheeky writer, who the heck allowed them to write this?
Now that you have realized the depths of your stupidity, I'll finally explain a few important things to you.
First off, you might have noticed that the color of your eyes isn't the same anymore. Only those who have awakened experience this phenomenon, and to the mundane, they'll only notice your normal eye color.
This is because those who are awakened see more than others. You know that saying 'eyes are the window to the soul'? That's literally what's going on, the color of your eyes actually shows a glimpse of what your soul looks like.
My soul? So the color of my soul is silver?
But that's something that deals with a lot of complicated stuff, so that should be enough information to satisfy your curiosity for now.
Next, let's talk about the existence of magic. OOOHHH!!! Magic is awesome, magic amazing! Well, let me be the first one to tell you that magic isn't really anything special. So don't get a big head just because you discovered that magic is real.
Because magic is narrative in nature, it is hard to pinpoint exactly when magic first came about. The stories we learn about in myths and legends may be true or not, but we have no way of determining if so. That is because the existence of magic makes it so that all myths and legends exist in some capacity.
Huh? What the heck is that supposed to mean?
Magic is a miracle granted to those who are awakened to the truth. But what people consider the truth is subjective, and it's more accurate to say we're open to the infinite potential of the human imagination. Basically, magic is something that makes illusions reality through a limited application of mental suggestion.
Because of that, all the myths and legends become real in some capacity. Unless you have absolute proof that something isn't real, then it's possible that they actually exist by the definition of magic.
So while there's no such thing as H**ry P**t*r since we know he's just a fictional character, there are several eye witness accounts from a few awakened that confirm the existence of Santa Claus (yay, I've managed to give hope that Santa Claus actually exists).
And if you give it a few hundred years or so, even H**ry P**t*r might become real due to the theory of magical existence.
...holy saints, Santa Claus is real?!?!
But let's ignore that revelation for now and talk about you.
Now that you've been introduced to the world of magic, you're probably going to be cursed to live an interesting life from now on. It's what happens to every awakened since they can never again ignore what they thought was false before.
I highly encourage you to learn more about the intricacies of magic and get more experience on how to avoid certain mistakes that a lot of other newly awakened went through.
So try to play nice with whoever gave you this brochure. It could literally mean the difference between life or death.
Um, that doesn't sound good. I'm pretty sure I pissed off Anna by quite a bit. And didn't she try and kill me in the last timeline?
But if you're stuck in a crazy situation (and let's be real, if you're reading this brochure, that's almost definitely the case), then either you're gonna end up dead or your benefactor will probably find a way to see if you can get help.
So that should be enough for a simple explanation. Good luck, and survive whatever's happening to you. Who knows, we might even meet someday, and I hope not. Most people who do always complain about my brochure (this is the fourth version by the way).
And that's all. Have a nice day and try not to die so soon!
Well, that was an interesting read.
But seriously though, I feel like I just read a middle schooler's version of an opening to a crappy story. It's kinda hard to take it seriously despite everything that's happened to me over the past few weeks.
So what did I learn?
I learned that souls apparently exist and that Jung was probably onto something with his thoughts on synchronicity. Because this is either some kind of messed up coincidence, or something paranormal is at play here.
I also learned that every story of mythological beings I've read is probably true to some extent. And that was either really exciting or really terrifying. Because that meant that Lovecraftian creatures are probably real, but that must be the universe giving balance to a world where Santa Claus actually exists.
And lastly, I'm pretty sure that I'm screwed.
"Oooooohhhh, I'm in so much shit."
Reading the passage made me realize something. Text intentionally directed me to Anna, who had clear signs of being part of the supernatural world. So that meant that Text was also somebody on the supernatural side.
And that did not bode well for me after what I've just read.
Because either Text was a powerful magician, or he wasn't human. There was just no way somebody with the powerful ability of time travel could be normal in any way.
"You've read it then?"
Anna's stoic face greeted me when I met up with her at lunch. I nodded and sat down next to her, taking a bite out of my sandwich after doing so.
She stared incredulously at me as I ate, and my face flushed. "What?! I'm hungry, and I brought this from home, so I didn't even waste time to buy it."
She shook her head and sat down, and I couldn't help but notice she didn't have anything to eat with her. Maybe she was just hangry.
I offered a sandwich. "Want one?"
Or she was just a serious person who wanted to get this over with. That probably made more sense.
I lowered my hand awkwardly and tried to think of something to say.
"S-So... you're a magician."
"Yes," she replied. "But people like us are usually called the 'awakened'. A magician is just a label for what kinds of skills I'm proficient in."
"Does that mean that not all awakened are magicians?"
She sighed. "To be awakened just means that you've opened your eyes to the truth. Some become magicians, others become martial artists, and a few even go into religion. After all, gods are real to some extent, so faith is really easy to cultivate since they actually have proof of their existence."
"Does that have anything to do with apostles?"
"Somewhat. An apostle what we call is an awakened person who is in a contract with a supernatural being. Depending on the terms of the contract, they can grant a wish of yours and bestow upon you a miracle."
"And you think I'm an apostle?"
"Definitely." Her eyes sharpened. "You said that you have the ability to go back in time. Humans are not magically inclined creatures, so that kind of ability is impossible for us. Unless you have an ability granted to you by something far more powerful than a human. That means that you're in contact with something capable of distorting time, and that kind of favor isn't something given away lightly. How does your time travel ability work?"
"I'm not sure. The first time, I traveled back in time by about five years to the first day of school. I didn't know that I could still time travel until two weeks later when I was sent a text telling me that I've 'failed' something. The next thing I knew, I was back on the second day of school, where you... erm... shot a fireball at me during break. Speaking of which, why did the previous version of you try to do that?"
"I think I have an idea." She stood up and looked at me. "I'm going to pull out my lighter now. I promise on my honor that I will not harm you after I do so, so do not fear."
"Y-Yeah, sure. Go for it."
Now that I had the chance to actually see it, it really was a regular utility lighter. The ones that you bought from the store for only a couple of bucks. She held it away from us and began to chant something.
"For breath — the walls of my heart rise."
A mound of dirt rose from the ground, creating a wall-like structure that covered the two of them from view. I stared in amazement at the second usage of magic I've seen so far.
"This is a creation made entirely out of magic," she began to explain. "But even though this wall is made out of magic, you wouldn't be able to tell the difference just by looking or feeling it."
Next, she lit the flame on the lighter. "The lighter doesn't do anything normally. I only need it for this one particular spell of mine."
"For breath — the flames of my will are born."
It was the same spell she used to attack me before. A small fireball sprung to life, but this time it was only the size of a golf ball.
"Now, this is what happens when the two spells interact."
She flung the fireball at the mound of dirt, and I watched in horror as the mound suddenly combusted in flames when the tiny ball of fire made contact with it. The mound burned away far faster than it should've, and in only a few seconds, nothing but a charred spot remained.
That scared the crap out of me. "And you wanted to shoot that at me?!"
She scowled. "You idiot, can't you tell? It only affects magic. The spell is only made to destroy magical constructs and contracts, it wouldn't have done anything to you. I was probably trying to destroy whatever contract you were under."
She put away her lighter and sat down. "A being powerful enough to distort time can't casually use that ability whenever it wants. There are certain rules and restrictions on higher-level supernatural entities. Thus, to circumstant around that, they must make a contract with a chosen human. Think of it like making a deal with the devil. In exchange for a wish of yours, they get something in return like your soul or service."
"Are you saying that I have a contract with the devil?" Because I could definitely see Text being one. "But I definitely don't remember signing anything."
"Do you?" She gave me a look. "Beings like these are tricky. Even a vague answer from you can count as an agreement to enter a contract with them. You said he contacted you by text?"
"Yeah, but I don't have the conversation anymore. It's saved on the phone I had in the future."
"A pity, but I figured it was something like that." She sighed again. "And I'm guessing that my previous self was unable to destroy your contract before you returned to the past?"
"Actually, I looped right before the fireball was about to hit me."
"So it has its own defense mechanism. I can't remove your contract because you'll just travel back in time if I do."
So what she was saying was that she couldn't help me. Or at least not with dealing with Text.
"So now what? I still don't know what Text wants with me, and I'm apparently stuck repeating high school over and over again."
"That's what I call him since he never introduced himself."
She rolled her eyes. "Of course you would. And I'm not sure what I can do to help you. You said that you're from five years into the future?"
"Yeah. But my memory of this time isn't really the best."
"I suppose most people wouldn't recall a lot of things from several years ago." She sighed. "But this 'Text' must want you in the past for some reason. Something that would benefit from your actions affecting the timeline."
"I thought so too. But the only clue I have is that he might be interested in making sure I met you."
She blinked at that. "Me?"
"Yeah. I got a vision from what happened in my first run through high school. I saw a vision of you being escorted away by the teacher, and that was how I noticed that your eyes were a different color."
She looked intrigued by what I said. "What exactly happened in this vision of yours?"
So I told her about what happened that day, how the school was evacuated because of a prank call telling the school about a bomb threat. I even showed her my super list of events that were supposed to happen over the next month, and she studied it with a strange look in her eyes.
"This... bomb threat. You say that the police caught the culprit?"
"Yeah? But I also remember that for some reason, you transferred out of our class after that incident. So I can't really say for certain that it might have nothing to do with you or not."
At first, she was silent at what I said. All of a sudden, Anna started to laugh out loud, shocking me at the unexpectedness. The laughing continued for a good while before she calmed down.
"To think that only after one day in my investigation, proof that something is amiss would show up."
She stood up and gave me a big smile. "Now, Wren was it? I think I have a possible solution for the two of us?"
I didn't trust that smile, and I began to have a small suspicious feeling that I wouldn't like what she said next.
"What is it?"
"How about you join me in my investigation of this school? In exchange, I'll see if I can help you figure out this situation you have with the being you're contracted to."
That feeling was getting stronger. "And what exactly are you investigating?"
She laughed. "Why, I'm here to find a demon lord. Apparently, one of the students here is supposedly its apostle."