༺ Regression (2) ༻
Siwoo was deeply engrossed in thought as he made a certain posture that tied deeply with philosophy.
The newly acquired knowledge and power occupied his mind.
To the current him, the process of dissecting and reinterpreting those knowledge was more captivating than any kind of entertainment.
It was enough to make him forget about the throbbing headache and the stinging pain on his left eye.
Suddenly, he looked up.
He felt a disorienting sensation as the space around him trembled.
When he looked around the area, the massive old trees of the Latifundium were nowhere to be seen.
The mana-reflected light, a phenomenon that occurred due to the rich mana in the atmosphere covering the moss on the ground like carpet, had also disappeared.
Instead, he seemed to be inside a room that resembled a grand cathedral. Its wall was made of polished marble, radiating a solemn light through the stainless glass.
The rock he was sitting on was gone, replaced by a soft sofa.
Accompanied by the sound of shoe heels, someone approached him.
He slowly raised his gaze and looked at that person.
She was a woman. Her face was blurred, making it difficult for him to see clearly.
Colors seemed to scatter around her like light passing through a prism, creating a vibrant view.
Despite this strange phenomenon, Siwoo felt a strange familiarity towards her.
She reminded him of the fractal tree he previously touched and examined.
He stood up from his seat.
With firm steps, he approached the witch and stood in front of her.
He reached out his hand, grabbed a lock of her hair and began to sniff it.
With a light chuckle, the witch extended her pale hand and gently lifted his chin.
It was as if she was handling a puppy.
Intoxicated by the smooth scent of her hand, Siwoo lightly nibbled on her fingertips.
‘How good will it feel if I were to embrace this woman’s body right now?’
‘What kind of interesting knowledge does this woman possess?’
His instincts were shouting those questions at him.
The magic he had consumed before was utterly inadequate compared to what belonged to this witch.
His eyes were bloodshot with excitement he had never felt before.
He grabbed her wrist and pulled her body towards him, as if he were about to devour her.
“Are you going to violate our body too?”
As she had sensed earlier, looking at him was akin to looking at a beast in heat.
Keter had witnessed everything that transpired today.
From Siwoo engaging in battle with an Exile to him violating that same Exile and stealing her magic away.
It was an interesting spectacle that managed to distract her from the monotonous life that was brought by her long years.
If she were to say that she wasn’t interested in seeing this new way of utilizing magic that even herself hadn’t seen before, then she’d be lying.
However, the method that he used would end up destroying his own body eventually.
His talent was something excessive, something that was too much for a normal human to bear.
He’d keep on overclocking his feeble brain to its limit in ignorance.
If he remained like this, he wouldn’t live for more than three years.
Just before Siwoo could wrap his hand around her waist, she poked his forehead.
At that moment, his body stiffened.
It was as if time had come to a standstill.
Every creature in the world would return to dust eventually.
There was no reason for her to feel sympathy for a man whom she hadn’t had any connection with.
The reason why she harbored goodwill towards both him and Baroness Marigold was that she found them useful somehow. Though, truthfully, most of the reason was because she found them amusing.
In a world where history and events kept repeating itself to the point that it bore her, ‘encountering something for the first time’ like this was an incredibly valuable occurrence for her.
“Will your existence serve as a precursor to another tediously repetitive event or will it become the beginning of something new? We’ll look forward to it.”
A magic circle began to spread out beneath her feet.
A massive tree began to sprout behind her, as if growing from her shadow. It resembled the fractal tree Siwoo had been drawing on his wall.
As the swaying tree enveloped Siwoo’s body, it soon began to radiate a brilliant light.
Duchess Keter added an appropriate explanation regarding Siwoo’s current condition.
His transcendent ability, which was awakened through this accident, ultimately came at the cost of his lifespan.
It would cause an overwhelming burden on his brain that will eventually snatch away his life.
The moment she heard those words, Amelia no longer considered respecting his wishes.
The Duchess’ handwriting glided smoothly across the paper, as if she had anticipated the answer.
She continued without giving Amelia a chance to reply.
Amelia knew that there was no way a favor that came from someone like her could be considered simple, but she had no intention to nitpick the person who was holding her only lifeline.
The most important thing here would be to find a way to restore Siwoo to his original state.
Things like misunderstandings and how their relationship went astray, she could work on that later.
But, if he were to die…
She knew more than anyone that people wouldn’t come back from death.
Her answer stunned Amelia.
Regression, or turning back time.
A magic she had never even heard of.
Did that mean the Duchess was able to defy the natural order?
Rather than saying it was ‘magic’, something like turning back time was already bordering the realm of ‘miracles.’
There were still a lot of questions she wanted to ask, but the Duchess abruptly cut off the conversation, as if the matter between them had already been settled.
With that cryptic final remark, the letter disintegrated and turned to fragments.
She gave no further explanation about how the healing process would unfold.
If anything, she had only given her a notification rather than an explanation.
The torn fragments of the letter formed a distinct pattern on her desk.
In Amelia’s eyes, those patterns were devoid of any magic spell. But, they suddenly let out a light and vanished before being replaced by a small glass bottle.
Inside the bottle was a milky white liquid and a tag was attached to its lid.
‘Feed him five drops a day.’ was written on that crude tag.
She only stared at the bottle in a daze.
Driven by a desperate hope, she wrote a letter to Duchess Keter, fully aware that it was a feeble attempt with little expectation of receiving a response from her.
Yet, not only did the Duchess reply to her, she also assured her of his recovery.
‘Maybe my anxiety overwhelmed me to the point that I’m starting to experience hallucinations?’
Ironically, such thoughts felt more realistic to her.
‘Should I be happy? Or should I be sad?’
Amelia only stood there blankly, not even knowing what emotions she should feel.
She lowered her gaze, fixating on the glass bottle that served as proof that all of this wasn’t a dream.
Suddenly, the tag was flipped over, revealing the writing on its back.
Seeing that, Amelia decided that she didn’t need to contemplate anymore.
She began running at the fastest speed she had ever reached in her life.
Her figure resembled that of a cheetah.
She stormed through the mansion’s doors and ascended the stairs.
No one could accurately measure the limits of Duchess Keter’s power.
However, Amelia believed that she was the witch closest to the realm of the ‘Witch of Creation,’ someone who was capable of effortlessly performing inexplicable miracles.
‘Could it be that she had completed the healing process in such a short time?’
‘I can talk to him like we used to?’
She was about to burst into Siwoo’s room, but as soon as she touched his doorknob, she froze.
Her fear crept in.
As her desire to see him grew, her fear also grew.
Amelia hadn’t received any definitive answers about what Siwoo would say or how their relationship would progress after he regained his senses; this was why she felt so uncertain.
The sudden progression of the situation gave her a sense of urgency that she couldn’t keep up with.
Amelia took a deep breath.
She tidied up her disheveled hair and clothes before quietly twisted the doorknob open.
What came to her sight was a wall with magic formula inscribed on it.
A bed that was positioned in a way that would make checking up on him easier.
And on that bed, Siwoo was there, his body covered up with a blanket.
Amelia stood by the bedside with a pounding heart.
Then, she felt a hint of unease.
‘Was his body always this small?’ she asked in her mind as she noticed the size of the figure under the blanket.
Her hands started to tremble with anxiety. She slowly pulled the blanket away and what she saw was…
A charmingly adorable young boy.
She watched in astonishment as her mouth became slightly agape.
The Siwoo she knew was a healthy twenty years old young man.
However, the person who was lying sideways while sleeping soundly on the bed was a ten years old boy.
But, they didn’t spend five years together for nothing.
Whether it was the bridge of his nose, the shape of his intact eye or the corners of his mouth.
It was clear that this boy was Siwoo.
But, this was clearly a younger Siwoo, not the Siwoo she had always known.
When she heard the word ‘regression’ from the Duchess, she thought that she’d bring him back to the time before he received his wounds.
‘She went too far back…’
The young Siwoo tossed and turned in front of the dumbfounded Amelia.
He frowned in dissatisfaction, probably because Amelia had taken his blanket away from him.
The boy then opened his eyes and looked around, revealing the pajamas with sky blue polka dot pattern that he wore.
When he saw Amelia, his body stiffened.
His expression showed not only fear but also a sense of distance.
He was undoubtedly a spitting image of the Siwoo that Amelia knew.
A bright gleam of rationality filled his eyes that had always been gazing into empty spaces as of late.
His previously expressionless face displayed a hue of emotions.
Amelia felt her chest tightened.
He had returned.
Siwoo had returned.
It didn’t matter what form he was in, he had finally returned.
Amelia unconsciously reached out and gently stroked his cheek.
His soft and pliable skin exuded warmth.
His voice sounded more youthful.
It was as if he hadn’t gone through puberty as his voice had become so delicate that it was almost indistinguishable from a girl’s.
“Do you recognize who I am?”
Siwoo shifted his gaze between Amelia’s hand, which was gently touching his cheek, and her face, which was uncomfortably close to his. He stammered for a while before finally speaking.
“You are… Amelia…”
Tears welled up in Amelia’s eyes and streamed down her cheeks.
She shouldn’t have done this.
What she should have done was to confess her past mistakes and seek his forgiveness in a melodramatic manner.
However, instead of doing that, she hugged him.
There were so many things she wanted to say to him.
She promised herself that she wouldn’t be making any mistakes, and she had rehearsed and organized her words countless times but there were still words that she couldn’t express properly.
It was as if all the words and phrases she came up with were stuck in her throat.
But, she at least managed to utter a single word of apology.
“I-I’m so sorry…”
Tears blurred her vision.
She held him in a tight embrace, in fear that he might disappear and leave her again.
Her confirmation of his existence brought forth a torrent of tears as she could do nothing but weep.
A smile formed on her face.
Even though she was supposed to feel sadness and guilt.
Despite the tears streaming down her face, a smile graced her lips.
“Thank you…for coming back…thank you so much…”
After a while, Siwoo, who had been tightly embraced by Amelia, cautiously spoke up.
His words left a dark thread in Amelia’s heart, though the reason for that was different than the last time.
“Amelia, d-did I do something wrong…?”
Siwoo asked with an innocent and timid voice.
A hint of fear was evident in his voice.
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