194 Truth of the Pas
"Hand over the boy!"
Max frowned when heard what the people surrounding his mother were after. They had been after him and not his mother?
"You cannot hide him from us forever witch!"
"Tell us where you've hidden him!"
Backed against the tree, surrounded by enemies, Naomi only had a pleasant smile on her face, as if she wasn't worried about a thing.
"You ask a mother to give away her child? Never! I would suffer through a thousand deaths and still never give him to you!" Naomi said to them, determination in her eyes.
Max didn't understand how they had all missed him lying there on the ground. Strangely the people that had surrounded his mother were avoiding his body as if there was a physical object in the way. Naomi must have placed some kind of illusion on him when she put him there.
Finally, the leader of the group stepped out to confront Naomi.
"Be reasonable woman! Your son's blood can save my entire family from extinction! Give him to me and I will make his death painless!"
"Even if I believed you, and I don't, I would still not give him to you." Naomi said firmly. "I know you aren't after him to save your family. You only are after his gift, his power. You are only a greedy man reaching for the stars far out of your reach."
"Hmmpf! If you will not tell us where he is, then we have ways of getting that information from you, one way or another," said the man threateningly.
Naomi only smiled and said, "I'm afraid after tonight, you won't even remember he exists."
Suddenly the air around her lit up with thousands of magic symbols, gleaming white and shining in the darkness as Naomi closed her eyes and activated some kind of magic spell.
The people around her had a look of shock on their faces for a moment, then terror as they all tried to turn and run, their leader included.
As the chaos unfolded, Max heard a whisper, so faint that it may not have even been real drifting from the light where his mother stood.
"Max, I love you. Please understand that none of this was your fault. This was my choice."
Then, Naomi finished casting the magic and with a brilliant explosion of light the spell went off, spreading out into the surroundings and leaving not a single person in the city of Brumau untouched.
When the light faded, Max saw his mother's form slumped against the tree, both of them in flames, burning together in one final resolute display of a mother's love for her child.
"She cast a spell many times more powerful than she was capable of. As a result the backlash killed her. The spell erased the memory of you and her from everyone it touched, basically making it so you never existed."
The voice in Max's head explained what had happened, and he heard what the voice said, but he showed no reaction. He only stared at the burning tree and his mother, searing the image into his soul and promising himself never to forget it ever again.
Then, the memory faded away, leaving him standing before the impenetrable wall of his prison with bloodied fits at his side.
Max took a deep, shaky breath and released it as his body trembled. He was struggling with what he had seen. His mother had given her life to protect him, and even though it was her love for him that had guided her actions, he was blaming himself for what had happened.
But she would not have wanted that. The whisper he had heard, and what he knew about his mother told him that she would not have wanted him to blame himself for what had happened. Besides, she could see the future to some degree, which meant the end that she had chosen was likely the one that gave him the best chance to live.
It took him a while, but eventually Max came to grips with what he had seen, accepting that it was now in the past and his mother's choice. He had to move forward and live his life, and he had to forgive himself, like his mother would have wanted.
"So… what is this gift of mine, and why were those people after it?" he asked the voice, his eyes cold and determined.
"Look to your inner world, and you will find the answer," said the voice with a rumble.
Max knew from listening to Zoey and his grandfather that anyone that achieved Rank 1 would be able to look inwards and find their inner world. But Max knew he was unranked. He had yet to reach Rank 1, so how could he look to his inner world?
Well, he had nothing to lose by trying, so he closed his eyes and did as Zoey and once described to him and looked inwards.
For a moment, he sensed absolutely nothing, then suddenly he experienced a falling sensation! He opened his eyes in shock to find himself falling through a grey sky as the wind rushed past him! He quickly realized that he was inside his inner world and no longer looking at the world outside, but why was he falling?!
His surprise and curiosity were short lived, because he suddenly realized he was falling towards water! Below him was a vast expanse of deep blue, an ocean of water that spanned out in every direction as far as he could see!
But Max didn't have much time to look at it as a few seconds later he closed his eyes and curled up instinctively as he approached the water. He experienced a sudden shock as he hit the surface, the impact slamming the air from his lungs and submerging him deep under the waves.
He experienced a moment of panic as he reflexively gasped from the shock and his lungs suddenly filled with water.
He was drowning! Max struggled to swim up to the surface, but he was disoriented, confused. He didn't know where he was and he could not tell up from down! His lungs were full of water and he couldn't see!
Max felt his consciousness slowly start to become hazy as the water suffocated him, his futile struggling slowly becoming still, leaving his body floating motionless in the water, suspended in the endless expanse of deep blue sea.
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How sad, he thought to himself with his final thought. How sad that he had so much left to do, but had been drowned in his own inner world.