Return of the Fallen Volume 9 Chapter 24

Zephris felt his rage boil over. After everything, he had gone through after everything his family had suffered and it all could have been elevated in an instant by his Aziria.

Just as he was about to lose it, he caught his father’s glare.

“Boy, show some respect to your teacher. As much as I do not like his reasons, I still understand why he did what he did.”

Zephris was surprised. His father nearly died multiple times and yet he was basically saying that he needed to back off.

(Why is father acting like this?)

Zephris then turned to his mother for support but even she added.

“Son, your father is right. Hear Aziria out first.”

Zephris was at a loss. In the end, all he could do was swallow his anger back down and slowly unclench his tightened fist.

“Master, why?”

Aziria thought for a moment before going with honesty.

“To answer so simply, the reason you will not like. I just didn’t care…originally. However, that has changed as of late. Selfishly, on my part, it has changed. Zephris, what relationship do I have with your parents and little sister that I would risk anything to save them?”

Zephris was taken aback.

“What relationship…? You…um.”

(Master has no relationship with them. They are not friends nor blood relations, there are no ties. The only thing I can think of is me. I have a student-teacher relationship with my Master, and I have a relationship with my family. None of that binds Master to my family though. Still, isn’t this too uncaring.)

“Then why did you save them in the end. If they have nothing to do with you in the first place, for what purpose did you rescue them.”

Aziria sipped at his tea before pointing at Zephris.

“It should be obvious to you but you are very emotional right now and aren’t thinking clearly but the reason was for you.”

“For me?”

Chela pat Zephris’s hand.

“That’s right dear. Aziria did it for you. You see, he knew how it would affect you going forward if your family was…gone.”

Aziria nodded.

“Chela is right. You see, this situation you are in, this is not the first time something like this has happened. I told you a while ago the reason why I was searching this forest. I was looking for something to help me, something that would allow crops to grow at an extremely fast rate. Something that could help prevent starvation, which I would hope would also prevent many pointless wars. A boy losing his family due to an invading force. A boy who would take that deep into his heart and become bitter and angry at the world and its unfairness. A boy who would eventually grow into a terrible man who would unleash his built-up rage against those that have nothing to do with his childhood. A tale like that is way too familiar as I was that boy. The many things I’ve suffered and the many things I’ve made others suffer through, many of those things could have been prevented if my childhood did not end the way it did.”

“Than you saving my family, it was so I would not become like you?”

Aziria nodded.

“Correct. As I watched you unleash your cunning mind and magic, I admit I was more excited than I should have been and became lost in that intoxication but the more I watched the more similar you seemed to be to me.”

Aziria looked at his hand and grimaced in disgust.

“Zephris, I am not who I am meant to be. I became this way because of misjudgment and clouded thoughts. I regret deeply who I am and before I die, I wish to try and set the world on a path for the better. Growing up, I wished for power, untold power that I could use to crush the world and dominate all beneath my feet. That was the wishes of a sad and angry child who had to bury his parents and siblings right around your age now. I found alchemy and it allowed me to gain power at a costly and devastating price but at the time I didn’t care. I got revenge on those who took my family away and so much more. Still, after my revenge, I felt empty and hungry for more and more and more. The more powerful I became, the more untouchable I was, the more guarded I became, and again the more empty I felt.”

“But Master with all of that power couldn’t change the world to the way you wanted. From what Is aw today, you’re the strongest person I’ve ever seen in my life. You could be a king of a whole country with strength like that. What’s wrong with wanting that kind of strength?”

Aziria shook his head.

“Boy did you not hear me. Everything comes at a cost. All of my abilities, the different blood, they all came from many different beasts. What do you think that does to a body. As I said earlier, my blood contains many cures as well as many poisons. How can a poison coexist with a cure? I am imbalanced. My body is constantly fighting my body. It is tearing itself apart and regenerating over and over again at every given moment. Because of this I have neither slept nor had a single moment of freedom away from pain and I know it deep down to my very bones, I can not last for more than a few more years before I meet my end.”

Zephris was stunned. He saw Aziria’s power and thought it was absolutely incredible but now finding out that he was in constant pain and that he was also dying, this was hard to take in.

“What would I being king do exactly? I could rule for a while but then what? After I die, there would be more fighting for what was once mine. No, power is not something I desire. I wanted everyone to be able to live, eat exist together in peace. Besides After traveling these lands for most of my life, I found that the strength I possess is nothing in front of a true powerhouse. One day I accidentally met such a figure. In front of a Titan, my so-called power is laughable. At that time it seemed as if everything I ad did up until that point was a complete waste. For the first part of my life, I had none outside of my goal for revenge. After that, I just wished to rule everything and gain power. Once I gained power I realized how foolish it was to rule over others and once I tried to gain more power and met a Titan I again realized how stupid and pointless things had been for me. That was not a power something a regular person could ever hope to touch. No, even if you are a genius among geniuses, to those with real power, you are still nothing more than an ant, even less than that.”

Zephris felt as if a heavy weight was upon him. Everything his master was saying, all of it was changing everything he had ever known about the world around him.

“When I saw you fighting with everything you had, struggling for every minute of every second to get back to your family. I realized at that moment the devastation you would experience when they died. I realized that if I didn’t step in you would be following the exact same path as I and you too would end up becoming…a monster. I saved your family because I did not want that for you. The amount of untapped potential you hold, how much of a waste would it be were you to be lead around by anger and sorrow for the rest of your days. What kind of joke would it be for me your master to allow you to come to my exact same end and learn of how pointless all of it was. That was the first reason I saved them, it was for you. The second reason I saved you, my selfish reasoning, it is because I wish for your potential to be fully explored and unlocked. I wish to teach and pass on every ounce of my knowledge in hopes of you doing what I never could.”

“Do what Master never could?”

Aziria nodded sincerely.

“Yes, Zephris. All that you are, all that you could be, the limits holding you, I wish for you to break past them all. I want you to see the world with untainted eyes and judge for yourself what is important. I wish to cut all of the shit away and tear down any falsehoods and illusions. I want the veil covering the world to fall so you can see the harshness, so you can see the unfair and cruel reality. I isolated myself and became bitter because of my own issues. I don’t want that for you. Instead, once you have seen all of this, as I said, I want you to do what I could not. I want you to help the people of this world.”

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