I don’t remember what was the trigger. All I know is that ever since I can remember, I’ve always yearned after “powers in the shadows.”
Was it because of anime? Manga? Or movies? Actually, it doesn’t really matter. As long as it was a power in the shadows, it didn’t matter what it was, I loved it.
Not the hero. Nor the last boss. I’m talking about those existences that work their interference and flex their true strength only from the shadows.
I adored them, and wanted to be one of them.
What heroes were to everyone else was what powers in shadows were to me. That’s all that was.
But unlike those children who adored heroes, mine was not a short-lived passion. It was something much deeper, something that burned from the depths of my heart, and it continuously propelled me forward.
Karate. Boxing. Kendo. Mixed martial arts. And more. To become strong, I threw myself into learning everything I would need, all while hiding my strength. For the sake of the day when I would get to reveal myself.
At school, I was mediocrity itself. Harmless to man and beast, one and all. Mob character A.
But on the flip side of my everyday life was grueling training.
That was my youth, and that was my school life.
But as time passed and I grew older, unease pressed upon me. It became time to face reality.
The reality that all my effort was meaningless.
No matter how many martial arts I master, I would still be far from the overwhelming power possessed by those powers hidden in shadows depicted in stories.
The most I could achieve would be the strength to beat up a few punks. If firearms came into the picture, things would get tough. And if I got surrounded by soldiers wearing full equipment, well then, that’d be game over.
Power in the shadows that gets beaten up by soldiers. How laughable.
Even if I spent several more decades in training, even if I became the world’s strongest martial artist, if I got surrounded by soldiers, I’d still get beaten up. Mm, or maybe I would be able to handle it somehow. Perhaps, with enough training, humans might possess the potential to beat up soldiers even if originally surrounded.
However, even if I could beat down every single soldier, if a taepodong fell on my head, I’d get vaporized. That is the limit of being a human.
(T/N: ‘Taepodong’ is a North Korean ICBM.)
This alone I could say with utmost certainty. The power in shadows that I adored would not get vaporized by a mere taepodong. Which means that I, too, had to become a human who wouldn’t be vaporized by a taepodong.
What is it that I needed such that a taepodong wouldn’t be able to vaporize me?
A sturdy body?
Of course not.
I would need something different, an altogether different kind of strength.
Magic, mana, qi, aura, anything was fine. I would need to acquire a mystical power of some sort.
And that was the answer that I had arrived at, after facing reality.
If there was someone searching for real magic, I’m sure everyone would doubt that person’s sanity.
So would I. Of course he’s insane.
But, well, how is it really?
In this world, no one has yet been able to prove the existence of magic. But on the flip side, neither has anyone been able to disprove, with utter certainty, that magic does not exist.
Sanity would not grant me the strength that I sought. It for sure is something that lies beyond the realm of insanity.
From that point on, my training became much more difficult.
Magic. Mana. Qi. Aura. No one knew how to learn any of these.
I meditated Buddhist-style, I meditated under waterfalls, I meditated quietly, I fasted, I mastered yoga, I converted, I sear
There was no correct answer. My only option was to keep going down the path that I believed in, all alone in the darkness.
With the passage of time, I finally approached the last summer of my high school era.
I still had yet to find magic or mana or qi or aura……
After finishing the usual training, I realize that the sky has become completely dark.
I put on the underwear that I’d dropped next to me before threading my arms through my school uniform.
I still had yet to grasp a mystical power. However, I feel like I’m making some progress in my recent training.
Such as right now.
Having just finished a training session, there is a bright light flickering on and off inside my head, and my vision is wobbling unsteadily.
Either magic…… or perhaps aura……
I am definitely feeling the effects of either one of those.
I can say that today’s training was meaningful indeed.
By taking off all my clothes while in the forest, I was able to feel myself becoming one with nature. By continuously banging my head against a thick tree trunk, I was able to purge my mind of distracting thoughts AND stimulate my brain to encourage it to awaken to mystical powers.
It is a perfectly logical training menu.
Aah, my vision is blurring over.
It’s almost as if I’m suffering from a cerebral concussion.
With floating steps – it’s as if I’m almost floating through the air! – I come down from the forest.
Abruptly, I see a swaying light.
Two lights actually, swerving through midair.
How mysterious they are! They seem to be guiding me, inviting me.
“C-, could it be…… magic?”
I approach with tottering steps.
It must be! It’s magic!
Finally! I have finally found a mystical power!
Before I knew it, my steps have turned into a dash. There are tree roots in my way, but even when I trip I continue rolling towards the lights, simply plunging forward like a wild animal.
“Magic! Magic! Magic! Magicmagicmagicmagicmagic!!!”
I jump out before the two lights, and grab……
The headlights dye my world pure white.
The sound of screeching brakes reverberate inside my head.
The shock penetrates my body, and I…… my…… magic…………
In conclusion, I did find magic.
When I woke up, my surroundings was filled with magic. It’s a bit different from those two lights that I saw at the end, but hey, who cares about the insignificant details.
Oh right, and another insignificant detail is that I apparently reincarnated. Perhaps it was because I found magic that the gate of reincarnation opened for me. Or whatever. Again, who cares.
At the moment, I am a baby of several months. It was only recently that I came to be fully aware, and my sense of time is still a bit blurry, so I’m not sure of the exact details.
Above anything else, I don’t understand the language. All I do know is that this world has a medieval European-like culture, which, well, I suppose is good enough.
Because what actually does matter is that I have finally gotten my hands on magic.That is the be all and end all. The process and other extra details are of no interest to me.
As soon as I’d come to, I had noticed the magic. The sight of those glittering particles floating around in the air is exactly like what I had felt while running through a field of flowers buck naked as part of my training in my previous life.
That training was by no means pointless. The proof of that is the fact that I’d immediately been able to sense magic, and that now I’ve become as proficient with it as with my own hands and legs. This feeling is just like that time when I had affixed myself to a cross while buck naked…… no, it is like when I had repeatedly converted religions and danced in prayer while buck naked…… I’m sure every bit of my training is now bearing fruit.
I’ve already confirmed that physical strengthening is indeed possible.
Pouring all the free time that a baby is blessed with into training, this time for sure I will become a power in the shadows…… ah, gonna poop.
Speaking of which, I’d learned somewhere that birds are incontinent, but so are human babies. No matter how much my reasoning tells me to resist, my instinct screams at me to let it out. However, with the physical strengthening that I had spent days and nights training up, I constrict my anal sphincter to buy time, during which…..
…… I call for help.