Chapter 20:

Ch 20 - The Itinerary

St Chaos Healer

We’ve been instructed to wait inside our rooms until we get our bracelets. Until then no one is permitted to roam outside their rooms. People found roaming in the carriage without their bracelets will force the rail guards to take strict action.Bookmark here

Hence, we have been holed up in our room for half a day now. Bookmark here

My father fell asleep like a log on the sofa chair. Being in the Ceremony Express didn’t affect his sleep, whatsoever.Bookmark here

Meanwhile, my mother took a shower and got changed into a new set of clothes. After that, she even gave me another quick set of instructions on what happens in the Ceremony train. Followed by a long lecture on how to behave and mannerisms about how to interact with other kids. Bookmark here

After the lecture was over she also went on to take a little nap. I tucked the blanket over my parents to not let them catch a cold.Bookmark here

I had nothing to do so I just started exploring every nook and corner of our room. Looking if there was any secret spying artifact hidden in our room by the authorities of the railways to spy on us. The train is well guarded so they may have taken such drastic steps, who knows.Bookmark here

I searched for half an hour but didn’t find anything, thankfully.Bookmark here

I was starting to get bored as hell.
I wasn’t feeling sleepy, unlike my parents. There were books that mother brought along to pass the time, but I had already read all those like a gazillion times. Bookmark here

Meanwhile, the scenery outside the windows has since changed from plains into a land filled with trees. Currently, we are passing through some dense forest and it’s been an hour since I can only see trees and more trees. I thought maybe some stray mana beast from the forest might launch an attack on our train forcing the Ceremony train to take action. I wanna see the train’s defense in action.Bookmark here

But to my disappointment, the forest was deadly silent. I didn’t even see a bird flying over this forest. All I saw was trees spread like a big blanket over these lands.Bookmark here

Hence I was getting so bored that I was really itching to go outside my room and explore this carriage to uncover its secrets.Bookmark here

But we still haven’t been given our bracelets. If I was found loitering around without my bracelet, the rail guards would take strict action against me and they might even punish my parents.Bookmark here

‘Strict action’ for all we know the rail guards will just dispose of us.
All the rail guards I’ve seen are just looking to squash us like bugs. They are just waiting for the signal. The only rail guard that looked a little friendly was our wagon manager but I still find him quite fishy. For all we know, it’s just his facade to let passengers drop their guard. Nowadays, it’s not easy to trust people at face value.Bookmark here

My parents had already informed me about the events held on the Ceremony train. Although they had traveled on this train a long time ago, they still tried to retell me a little something they could remember.Bookmark here

According to them, the Ceremony train authorities hold a test within the train itself to see if the children have developed a mana core. The child who develops a mana core will be able to participate in the main ceremony. Meanwhile, kids who fail to manifest one cannot participate in the main ceremony but they can still participate in the smaller ceremony held for such kids. There are more events held on the Ceremony train to entertain as well as inform kids about the kingdom and the ways of the mage.Bookmark here

The big ceremony held in the major cities is actually a tribute to Goddess Revia, the goddess of children. According to the local citizens, it’s said that their goddess Revia actually determines which kids can manifest mana core and which cannot. So basically she’s revered as a mother of all mages in the mortal realm.Bookmark here

Hence, the kingdom hosts this ceremony to give tribute to Goddess Revia thanking her for her blessing to the citizen’s children especially for kids who manifested a mana core. The kingdom takes this ceremony a little too seriously. I mean I get it, more mages mean more military strength for the Kingdom.Bookmark here

All this goodwill that the kingdom shows by letting commoners and even the slaves and servants join the ceremony is just a big farce. Telling how they care about them. But everyone knows that they just wanna recruit as many mages for the sake of the kingdom’s military strength. They don’t want any mage to miss their big net called the ceremony. With this ceremony, they fish out potential new young mages for their own gains.Bookmark here

Our nation, the Zephinya Kingdom is one of the major 9 nations in the mortal realm.
The royal family in power is the famous Radiz clan who houses some of the powerful fire element mages in the entirety of the mortal realm. Bookmark here

It’s also rumored that the Radiz clan are actually descendants of the legendary phoenix.
The phoenix is revered as legendary monster birds even as powerful as the dragons. In a manner, the phoenix birds are even more mysterious than the dragons. The only information available about the phoenix is that it is an immortal bird and it possesses a powerful fire that can burn down anything to ashes. There are not many records left about those mysterious creatures.Bookmark here

The Radiz family bloodline has given birth to a lot of powerful fire mages, hence it’s rumored that they are the descendants of that legendary bird. I can’t say if it’s true or not.Bookmark here

I remember five years back then I had seen a young fire mage at the Waterfall cliff. I don’t quite remember his name, as it was a bit flashy but he did say he was from the Radiz family. Young and powerful despite having manifested mana core not long ago. On top of that, he can create fire without the magic circle, a genuine wizard.Bookmark here

The Radiz family chugging out mages like it’s no big deal.
Maybe the rumors have some truth after all.Bookmark here

Even I, as the Overlord of the demon realm, had never seen a phoenix bird in person. Only read some historical records which didn’t have much information, to begin with. I met a lot of scholars who were researching about the legendary bird in pursuit of discovering immortality.Bookmark here

I wasn’t too fascinated by immortality back then so I didn’t research deep enough. I thought it would be a waste of time. I mean we demons already have a big life span as it is. I was already 800+ years old and in terms of a demon’s life span, I was still counted as one of the younger folks.Bookmark here

There were also a few older demons who were about 2000 to 3000+ years old. Although, such old demons tend to live in seclusions.Bookmark here

Thankfully during my campaign, not all of these old demons opposed my idea of uniting the demonic realm. But there were still a few who did oppose my idea and straight on declared war.Bookmark here

Even if they were old, it wasn’t easy putting those old fogeys back in their graves. I along with my demon generals had to fight alongside tooth and nail. I don’t know how many times we were almost killed by those old demons.Bookmark here

It took almost a decade-long war to put those opposing old demons down in their grave. We had a lot of casualties in our hands but we still won the war and united the demon realm. But the happiness of victory didn’t last long.Bookmark here

Anyway, the reason why not many demons live for long like these old fogeys are because demons in nature are quite violent beings. The demons usually look for little excuses to fight to prove themselves. This results in many of the demons dying young because of infighting.Bookmark here

The weak demons die before they can grow old and only powerful demons can survive till the end. The demon realm has the jungle law, only the strongest can survive. The weak ones either choose death or obey the strong folks. Bookmark here

I learned that rule the hard way myself back when I was just a snot-nosed demon brat. I actually didn’t mind living in that ruined city. Every day I would go to steal food from military barracks and then would be chased by those soldiers. I didn’t even care if I lived and die in that wretched city. The adrenaline of being in danger was like dopamine that made me feel alive.Bookmark here

I lived like a stray animal without any social contact, that is until I met this woman. She was not in a better condition than me but she still went out of her way to look after me and even taught me how to talk. Bookmark here

She was the only first person that was ever gentle to me. The warm feelings that I perceived after meeting her were something very different. I usually have this burning hatred to attack and kill those bastard soldiers camping near our ruined city. But for some reason, she was gentle and kind even after I scratched her arm when she tried to approach me.Bookmark here

Today I can clearly tell that warm feeling was in a way similar to how my current human mother shows me.Bookmark here

Sadly she was later murdered by some militants. And that was the turning point in my life. It’s when I decided to join the military to seek vengeance and hunt down those bastards. First, it was just for the sake of revenge but then later I met more people that I cared about like my wife Gloxinia. Bookmark here

With twists and turns, I later ended up as the Supreme Overlord. I know how crazy that sounds.Bookmark here

Just when I was in the middle of thinking.
There was a knock on our door.Bookmark here

I got up from the sofa chair and hurried towards the door.
My mom woke up from the noise and quickly got up from the bed.Bookmark here

But unlike us, father was still in deep slumber snoring loudly. He fell asleep wearing his glasses on his drool leaked from his mouth.Bookmark here

My mother pinched my father’s cheeks to wake him up. The two quickly straightened and tidied their clothes. My father wasn’t aware of the drool still hanging down from his mouth yet. My mother had to wipe it from her handkerchief.Bookmark here

Once we were all ready I finally opened the door as my parents stood behind me.Bookmark here

As I opened the door, I was greeted by a young woman dressed in a maid outfit.
“Greetings Almond family. The Ceremony organizers send their regards. Your designated bracelets have arrived and you must wear them at all times until you return back to your home. Before handing out the bracelets I would like to have your family head’s signature in this agreement please.”Bookmark here

She then hands a paper with a lot of words.
I grabbed it and started to read all the contents thoroughly.Bookmark here

It stated that the wearer of the bracelets must follow and adhere to the city’s laws. Failing to do so will lead to severe punishment. And many more such clauses were written on it but before I could read it, my mother snatched it and handed it in my father’s hand.Bookmark here

“Now Benji, Miss Maid here have other things to do. Let your father sign it already so that she can return to her duties.”Bookmark here

They didn’t even bother to read the agreement and just signed it blindly. The maid said nothing but smiled like she was some kinda doll without any other emotions. It was downright creepy. Is everyone working on these railways are oddballs? I have yet to see a normal person.Bookmark here

After the agreement was signed and handed back, my father stepped forward and took three bracelets like it was a prize award.Bookmark here

The maid also handed me another paper leaflet,
“This is the event itinerary of the Ceremony express, all the events that are about to take place are written down in this pamphlet. If you have any other questions please don’t hesitate to ask.”Bookmark here

“Thank you for your hard work.” replied my mother with a bright smile.Bookmark here

After hearing that the maid gently bowed her head,
“Then I wish you a wonderful stay. I’ll take my leave now.”Bookmark here

After the maid left we went back inside our room.Bookmark here

My father handed me the bracelet and I glanced at it quite curiously. He even instructed me with the set of instructions on how to wear it.Bookmark here

My parents wore the bracelets without any hesitation. It didn’t cross their mind to check if the bracelet was rigged or faulty. I let out a sigh, maybe I am just a little too cautious.Bookmark here

I was a little curious about this bracelet so I first inspected this thing before wearing it.
The bracelet was a simple purplish metallic bracelet with some rune text embedded on it. The bracelet itself was quite sturdy and looked like your ordinary bracelet. Nothing that looked out of the ordinary. After examining for some time I finally wore the bracelet.Bookmark here

As soon as I wore it, I felt as if something pricked my wrist. It was just a tiny little feeling like getting stung by a mosquito, it lasted for just a mere second. There weren’t any changes on the bracelet or in my own body.Bookmark here

“Benji!” Soon an excited voice of my mother came to my ears.Bookmark here

She grabbed my shoulders,
“You need to suit up because it’s your big day. They are about to hold the mage ascension ceremony this evening. They will be testing all the kids who manifested a mana core or not. Things might have changed since we last came here but all you have to do is behave in a good manner.”Bookmark here

“I always am on my best behavior.” I replied confidently, “But that information… Was it written down on the itinerary? Can I have a look?”Bookmark here

My mother handed me the itinerary and I started reading it curiously.Bookmark here

“Listen, Benji, I know you have been working hard ever since you were a kid to become a mage. But… I don’t wanna sound discouraging but I just want to tell you that even if you don’t manifest a mana core, you will still be our dear son. So...~ Hey, are you even listening.”Bookmark here

“Huh?!~ Ah... Yes. I-I am listening.” I replied meekly.Bookmark here

To be honest I didn’t hear a single word my mother just said. That’s because I was busy suppressing my shock after what I just read in the itinerary. I can’t believe it!Bookmark here

I tried to calm down and not let the excitement and shock be revealed in my face.Bookmark here

“I don’t think you listened to a single word that I said just now~ huh? What’s the matter? Where are you going when we are having such an important conversation.” my mother scowled at me as she stopped me while pinching my earlobes.Bookmark here

“Ah! I am very sorry but I can’t ignore nature's call.” I replied and freed myself from her clutches.Bookmark here

I rushed into the bathroom and locked the door behind me.Bookmark here

“Hey! At least give back the itinerary” my dad shouted back.Bookmark here

I didn’t bother to reply.
I just went inside and sat on the edge of the bathtub to re-read the itinerary.Bookmark here

The itinerary was a paper card-like leaflet with ceremony express written on the front side in bold letters. Inside the leaflet, there were various events listed that will take place in this train itself to entertain the guests.Bookmark here

The events are written quite in an orderly manner.
The event name with the details jotted down here, along with the precise date and time of when it’s about to take place. So that the passengers can make sure that the children will be prepared to participate in these events without making any delays.Bookmark here

The first event is the mage ascension test that will be held this evening. They will segregate the children with and without the mana core by this evening. Those without mana core will be instructed to shuffle carriages.Bookmark here

The next event will be held tomorrow morning which will be the Present ceremony.
In this event, the kids will be handed down presents in a lottery manner. The contents of the present will be a secret.Bookmark here

There were more events like Mage Dual Demonstration, Memory Stone exhibition, Historic Event lecture, and many more.Bookmark here

But what caught my attention is a particular event that is going to be held on the 2nd day.Bookmark here

This particular event is named, The Fall of evil Demon King.
This event is going to be held by a puppet mage who’s going to demonstrate his puppeteering skills to show how the 12 heavenly Virtues managed to slay the demon king. From the looks of it, the event transpired not much long ago.Bookmark here

I mean slaying the Demon king should be a pretty big event. It should already be spread all around the world. But it’s been a decade since I came to this world, yet not a word I had heard about anything of this until now.Bookmark here

Are they really talking about me or is it some other demon king?
I still don’t get why the demon generals let the human heroes take credit. What will they benefit from this deal?Bookmark here

I still can’t wrap my head around it. I have to wait until this event takes place.Bookmark here

The only stories about these heavenly virtues are stories and lore praising their heroism. Many of them were just right out saying the heroes are equal to gods. Whatever the heroes do and think are just. Bookmark here

Not interested in one bit of these stories praising these heroes. Most of them are just full of lies.Bookmark here

I know this new tale is also just another lie but I wanna see how much they are willing to share with the world. Is the demon king they are talking about, is me?Bookmark here

The more I think about this, the more questions arise.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.