Chapter 1:

A Bright Light

The Everyday Occurrences of a Stranded God

The light wind buffeted my scarlet cape, as I appraised the tremendous army that had amassed before me. Some of the soldiers were carrying weapons, though most of them could probably kill you in about ten different ways using only their bare hands. They covered the horizon, draped across the soft curves of grass-covered hills. Five colored flags dotted the army, their contrasting colors waving in the breeze and separating the army into distinct sections. The seemingly unending sea of soldiers gave off a sense of majesty, like some kind of almighty beast with its gleaming muscles rippling. And there, in front of it all, stood a man reading from an open scroll. Dressed from head to toe in silky purple robes, he was someone who managed to look both puny and imperial at the same time.

“Donnelius Conqaide.” The man spoke in an obnoxiously elegant voice. “In the name of the five kingdoms, our rulers have unanimously decided that you are a threat to the prosperity of human civilization. You are to be put to death, by the hands of the Royal Infantry.”

If I’m being honest, I didn’t really blame them for thinking they could best me, as the Royal Infantry was a force to truly be reckoned with. It was a military force made up of thousands of the kingdoms’ elites, with enough destructive power to wipe an entire island, maybe a small state, completely off the map. It would be a reasonable assumption to think that the Royal Infantry was the world’s trump card, something that could be used as a last resort to instantly solve any major conflict.

This infantry required all five kingdoms, who were all usually on bitter terms with one another, to simultaneously acknowledge a great danger and pool all their strongest mages into one unstoppable slaughtering device. It had only ever been called together a select few times since the formation of the kingdoms, and for every instance it was used, it would shake the very bones of this planet. Just as an example, it was summoned to suppress the great Pirate Clan, or to drive off a group of seven unbelievably powerful blue-haired mages and their hordes of fanatical underlings. It would almost be unthinkable to unleash it upon a group of less than a thousand. So, naturally, never in the history of this world had it been called down to stop a single person.

That was, until now.

I narrowed my eyes. “Look, I have a whole list of things I want to do today, so we can skip the grand opening. You going to start or what?”

The man curled his lip in distaste, and seemed to give a command. Slowly, I watched as hundreds of mages raised their hands in the air. Masses of glowing white energy coalesced around their palms, and as the man with the scroll gave the order, they spoke as one.

“Razing Energy!”

Countless streams of pure white erupted out into the air, twisting and turning to lock on to a single target.

I raised a single finger. “Crystalline Barrier.”

For a second the sky was filled with nothing but a blinding light, and then it all settled down. The earth around me in a roughly half-mile radius was scorched and blackened, with thousands of tiny cracks spiderwebbing over the decimated hills, glowing orange. All but the tiny spot of earth I was currently hovering over, where a tiny patch of grass still wavered to the wind. There was complete silence on the battlefield, as smoke and embers drifted aimlessly. Thousands of men stared at me in total shock, and I just had to crack a smile. It’s always so amusing to see their first reactions.

Dropping my finger, the faceted shield in front of me dissipated into the air. Giving them a smirk, I lifted my palm so it faced the army. “Nice effort. Now… I suppose it’s my turn, isn’t it?”

I’d start out with a bit of a weaker attack, just to toy with them a little. Maybe something along the lines of a Tier 7 spell. “O High Powers, grant me your strength. Drag the darkness of the boundless abyss from the heavens down to me, and unleash a deluge of shadows onto my enemies. Come forth, Tidal Oblivion!”

At my words, a flood of translucent blackness rolled out from behind the hill, covering the landscape and washing over a corner of the army. As the wave of dark faded away, there was a moment of tension, or maybe anticipation. Either way, a moment later, the entire section of the army fell to the ground unmoving.

There’s always that one special second of a battle which makes fighting regular humans so amusing. That instant where the enemy first begins to comprehend just how large the difference in power is, where reality finally begins to set in for them. It’s when a person acknowledges just how insurmountable the gap in strength is between the two parties, and finally gives in to their most primal instincts, falling deep into the grasps of despair.

A frenzied cacophony of screams rang out, and soldiers started clambering over one another, just to get away from me. At this, a chuckle started to leak out of my mouth, which morphed into a booming laugh that echoed across the hills. The man in charge just stared at me, as if his body had been paralyzed. How quickly his expression had changed only made me laugh harder.

“Those were nine – no, ten thousand healthy soldiers.” The words that exited his mouth were nothing more than mere whispers. “What the hell did you just do?”

“Don’t you worry about your mage friends, shorty. I didn’t kill them or anything; they’re just unconscious,” I said, giving him another wide grin. “When they’re going to wake up, though, is another question.”

The man backed away slowly, his face falling slack. “You… what kind of goddamn monster…”

“No, no, don’t say such ridiculous things. ‘Monster’ is such a harsh term, wouldn’t you agree?” I hovered above, my levitating body casting a huge shadow over his terrified body. “Yes… I’d much prefer it if you called me a god instead.”

The man’s face turned to one of pure terror, before he turned and quickly stumbled off into the rest of his fleeing army. This response was reasonable, I guess. I bet he’d never seen anything that could survive the Royal Infantry’s assault, much less toy around with it.

Even so… I gazed at the scene in front of me and sighed. My original plan was to have a bit of fun messing with the army, then to knock them all out and send them into the middle of a snowy plain buck naked. Right now, though, they were all just running away. No fun in that.

“Volcanic Gate.”

A pillar of reddish-black fire erupted just ahead of where the end of the Royal Infantry stood, and it spread to form an impenetrable ring. The army’s frenetic movements stopped immediately, and the soldiers hopelessly moved to face me as they realized that they couldn’t escape. Even from a distance away, I could see a few men drop to their knees and sob, cradling their heads.

“Come on. Isn’t the Royal Infantry supposed to be the top of the top? The kingdoms’ final weapon?” I sighed again, louder this time so that I could be heard properly. “I mean, this isn’t even a challenge. It’s nothing more than a disappointment.”

The army stood frozen, as if they didn’t know what to do to appease me, what they could do to keep their lives. There was nothing they could possibly do against such a devastating, overwhelming power.

“Tell you what,” I floated down to where the army stood, petrified in place, “since you’re all being such spoilsports, I’ll let you get a free hit in on me. Alright?”

As no one responded, I decided I had to move things along myself. “Who’s the most powerful magic user you have here?” I paused. “Actually, I’ll be lenient. Who are the five strongest mages you have? I’ll take your attacks, without defending myself at all.”

It would be interesting to see if they could cause me to feel even a little pain.

Five robed men were forcibly shoved in front of me by their own comrades. Three of them were holding wooden staffs, while the other two were barehanded. They all seemed to be high-leveled magic casters, fully dressed in proper robes and topped off with a head of blue hair.

I looked them over, furrowing my brows. In any other situation, these men seemed to be the kind to look down on people, the kind to abuse their own strength. Well, not much different from what I’m doing right now, but whatever.

They stood in a semicircle facing me, and four of them started raising their arms, no doubt attempting to summon another flashy, destructive attack like Razing Energy. But as they prepared to launch their attack, the one remaining wizard seemed to come up with an idea. Hurriedly explaining to the other four, they looked like they had reached an agreement. This time, they formed a small ring, all of their hands reaching in.

“O High Powers, grant us your strength. Allow us to channel this energy, and command it to do our bidding!”

A collective attack? I raised an eyebrow. If these men truly were the strongest mages in all the five kingdoms, I might have to watch out.

My clothes could even get a little dirty.

Magic runes appeared above the five men, turning clockwise faster and faster. A huge white ball appeared on top, gradually increasing in size. I could see the army behind them look on in awe, the faintest glimmer of hope appearing in their eyes. These were the most powerful mages they had ever seen. Besides me, of course.

The men finished their chanting “Come forth!”

I spread my arms out wide and deactivated my automatic Magic Shield, ready to accept any attack they could throw at me.

“Dimensional Warp!”

And then a beam of light burst out from the radiantly glowing sphere, and everything went white.


I awoke to a horrible smell, something truly sickening.

Groggily looking around, I saw that my body was submerged in a pile of rotting filth. Dragging myself out from underneath, I stumbled onto solid ground, trying to get a sense of my surroundings.

It looked like I was in a thin alleyway, the sides of which were filled with whatever garbage I had just stepped out of. On one end of the alley, I could see a bright light, spilling into the darkened path I was in.

Teleportation magic? It was a futile attempt at stalling me. I’d expected something flashier, something more entertaining.

Maybe I’d do a little more than just maroon them in a tundra, considering they’d just dumped me of all people into a heap of trash. Raising my arms, I prepared to warp myself back to my previous position.

“O High Powers, grant me your strength. Grace my body with your light, and deliver me to my destination. Spatial Reposition!”

A warm white light basked my body for a second, before promptly disappearing.

What? My eye twitched.

It appeared as though those crafty mages had performed an Area Lock. As in, their magic bound me to this specific location for a limited amount of time, effectively cancelling my teleportation spell. At this revelation, I released a hard breath. There has to be a limit on how much these humans can piss me off.

Turning towards the exit, I cooled down. There wasn’t any sense in getting mad now. I’d just wait out my time in wherever they sent me and wreak mayhem on them all later.

Though, first of all, where even am I? I had already tried casting observation magic to find out more about my surroundings, but apparently the Area Lock had disabled that too. I’d have to resort to just asking the humans, then.

Stepping over to the mouth of the alley, I looked around at what kind of place I was in. A large bridge made of some grey material towered high above me on the left, while in front was a plaza that seemed to be constructed of the same material. In the distance, groups of humans walked about, minding their lives.

I narrowed my eyes. Although everything looked normal, something just seemed off, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was. Just then, a woman happened to step right in front of where I was standing. Ah, perfect.

Walking out in front of her, I held out my arm. “Could I have a moment, please?”

The young woman froze, startled, then turned to face me. She looked surprised, a little scared even. And, yet… she isn’t kneeling.

I raised an eyebrow. Wasn’t it common sense that if you were a normal human you should kneel, or at least bow, to show respect towards a high-leveled magic caster? And even if she couldn’t immediately understand my status, she should have at least recognized me as a person with blue hair, a sign of high magic potential. So, it was definitely strange that this mature-looking woman didn’t even attempt to present herself appropriately. Interesting.

The woman opened her mouth and attempted to say something, but all I could hear was a garbled mess. Ah, right.

I closed my eyes for a second. “Decipher.”

Suddenly, the words of the woman became clear. “… what you’re saying.”

“I apologize for that,” I said, furrowing my brows. Hadn’t I already learned every dialect in the five kingdoms? Those mages must have cast me somewhere really far away.

The woman’s look turned to one of confusion. “Wait, no. I can understand you.” She paused. “But a second ago, I swear I heard…”

I continued. “Would you mind pointing me towards the nearest message guild?”

She hesitated for a second, before responding in a nervous voice. “Sorry, I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“What do you mean, you don’t know?” I responded irritably, and the woman flinched back.

What was there to be nervous about? Even if I was a high-leveled magic caster, I wouldn’t have any real incentive to hurt her. Still, I reduced my tone of voice. “What I mean is, there has to be one around here somewhere, right?” This doesn’t seem to be a small settlement, and every village, no matter how isolated, always has a message guild.

Her eyes flickered from me, to my robes, to my hair, before finally shaking her head. “Why… are you dressed like that? You know this isn’t really a safe area, so could you at least pick a different place to do your dress-up act?”

Now what is this woman talking about? Isn’t this the way mages are expected to dress? I frowned. Now that I looked closer, her clothes were very different from the clothing normal women wore. Maybe it was the unique fashion of this village.

But, above all, she was worried about my safety? If anyone was going to get hurt, it would be a defenseless commoner, not a magic caster like me. “Look, girl. I just need to find a guild, or a tavern where I can stay for a while. Or maybe there are some bandits causing trouble around here? That could keep me entertained for long enough.”

The woman turned away from me quickly, hoisting up her strangely translucent bag of groceries. “I… really have to go.”

I scowled. I’d been so courteous to her, yet she, a commoner, would walk away from a high-leveled magic caster? I was done with being polite. Reaching out my hand, I was about to stop her when I heard a rough voice behind me.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing, freak?”

I turned. Behind me stood three stocky men, all dressed in the weird garments of this village. The one in the front was carrying a crude metal bat. As far as I could tell, it wasn’t imbued with magic of any kind.

“You think you can just wander around here dressed like that?” The man in the front tapped his bat to his palm. “Did your mommy get a new outfit for your birthday party?”

The gang of men around him started to laugh viciously, and I saw the woman who tried to run away turn her head back, frightened.

“Hey! Hey, girl!” The man roughly beckoned towards the woman. “You with this guy? You’ve got some weird tastes.”

The woman looked left and right, as if she didn’t know where to go, with me in front, and the thugs behind.

What is with this damn town? These thugs are trying to pick a fight with me, a high-leveled magic caster? Not to mention, they aren’t even using any magic of their own. Furrowing my brows, I eyed them down in suspicion. Things were just getting weirder and weirder.

I was honestly debating whether to just leave this random isolated village and not start any trouble, since that was exactly why I’d been sent here in the first place. But I was still annoyed at those mages for sending me here, so I decided I could blow off a little steam on these pushovers. Swishing my cape for dramatic effect, I turned to face them. “My name is Donnelius Conqaide. If it’s a fight you want, so be it.”

The men paused for a moment, then burst out laughing a second time. The bald man in front brandished his bat. “What, is this clown trying to defend his little girl? Isn’t that adorable.”

I exhaled. “Can we get this over with? I don’t like wasting my time on people like you.”

A vein on the man’s glistening head twitched, and he grit his teeth. He was definitely annoyed.

“What is it with you damn humans? First you send me off into the middle of nowhere, and then you try to pick a fight with me using nothing more than a metal stick?” I clenched my fists, getting more irritated as I carried on speaking. “To be honest, I’ve about had it with your foolish antics.”

Humans? The hell you talking about, freak? You think you’re above us?” The man was really being riled up. His meaty hands gripped the bat like he was trying to crush it, so hard that his knuckles turned white.

“Of course. Who do you think I am?” I glared at him. “I am a god. Know your place, scum.”

He’d had enough of my taunting. The man roared, leaping forward and swinging the bat at me in genuine anger. The woman yelped in shock, pressing herself flat against the wall. I calmly pointed my index finger at him. “Perpetual Shock.”

From the tip of my finger, there was a brief flash of brilliant yellow light, and three thick tendrils of energy ricocheted off the walls of the dark passageway, illuminating the darkness and covering the brick walls with a warm glow. The tendrils pierced through the three men, and the smell of ozone filled the air. I smiled as the crackling of lightning echoed through the alley, mixed in with the satisfying sound of their howls. After several seconds, the men dropped to the floor, their clothes slightly singed at the edges.

I brushed my hands together, then dusted them off on my clothes. “That’ll teach them one basic rule in life: not to piss off a magic caster.”

Turning to leave, I started walking until a noise sounded behind me. I looked to see the woman sitting there, her groceries spilled all over the floor. She was still pressed up against the wall, her eyes unfocused through her slightly smudged glasses. “That… wasn’t magic, was it?”

Raising an eyebrow, I tilted my head back to look at her. “It was. What about it?”

“So that really…” She gripped her hands into tight fists, pressing them against her forehead. After a moment, she then pointed at the three men sprawled over the floor. “They’re not dead, are they?”

“No, they’re just passed out.” I gazed at their bodies, admiring my handiwork. “But they’re not waking up anytime soon, either.”

“What am I doing? Why am I even talking to you?” Blinking, she turned her head over to me. “Hey, I’m not insane, am I?”

“What?” A sudden realization finally dawned on me. “Wait… have you never seen magic before in your life?”

The woman shook her head slowly.

“But there’s got to be at least one high-leveled magic user around here,” I said, gesturing at the strange wheeled vehicles speeding around in the distance. “How else are those chariots moving on their own, without anything pulling them? Or what about the monster barrier around this town keeping monsters away from your homes?”

“Chariots? Monsters?” She shakily got to her feet, letting out an unbelieving laugh under her breath. “You really aren’t from around here, are you?”

“And where would ‘here’ be?”

The woman stopped, then opened her mouth to speak, but she was suddenly cut off by another voice behind her.

“Hey, what’s with all the commotion?” A tall man had appeared at the mouth of the alley, with a multitude of gadgets I’d never seen before strapped around his waist. And although he was dressed just as strangely, he didn’t seem to be associated with the thugs that had tried to attack me.

Frowning, I surveyed the man. From the way he talked and stood, I assumed he held some sort of authority in this messed-up place. What could be interpreted as a blue uniform covered his skin, and a gleaming badge was proudly propped up on his chest.

This man wore a wary look on his face, which justifiably turned to alarm as he spotted the three men on the ground. He quickly reached for his belt, pulling out a black gadget I’d never seen before, and brandished it at me.

“Did you do this?” The man demanded loudly.

I grinned. “I sure as hell did. They were getting on my nerves.”

His tone hardened, and he crept forward, looking out for any sudden movements. “I’m going to need you to get down on your knees, hands on your head.”

I blinked, and for the first time, I realized the gadget was a weapon. My face contorted as a sudden wave of anger washed over me.

“What is the problem with this place? I’d thought maybe the authorities would show some sense, but you’d go so far as to threaten me, a magic caster?” I swept out my right arm, clenching the fingers into a fist. “Very well then.”

I turned to the woman, a hard glint in my eyes. “If anyone asks, tell them a magic caster had to assault this man in an act of self-defense.”

Her eyes widened in horror, and she grabbed on to my sleeve, frantically attempting to pull me back. “What? No! No, you can’t!”

“Get off me.” I pushed her arm off my robe. “Or do you want to get hurt as well?”

The man in the uniform slowly turned his weapon to the woman. “Are you with this man? I’m giving you both five seconds to comply.”


Feeling her arm go slack on my sleeve, I looked back at the man. Lifting my arms out, I began reciting. “O High Powers, grant me your strength.”

“Four!” The woman had knelt on the stone path, her hands on her head like the man had requested.


I continued my chant. “Allow me to channel this energy, and command it to raze my enemies to cinders!”


I thrust my palms out in front of me. “Come forth! Eternal Flame!”

A massive wave of pale-blue ethereal flame erupted from my hands, swelling out and blackening the walls of the alley, before reducing the man to nothing more than stray ashes in the wind.

At least, that’s what should have happened.

With a tiny fizzle, the smallest patch of blue sparks popped from the tip of my fingers, before disappearing into the air with a puff of smoke. I had the span of a single second to contemplate this, before I heard his words.


My body twisted and went rigid as veins of sparking energy coursed through every last muscle, and my vision went dark for the second time that day.

Joe Gold