3 -Decision-


I woke up with a groggy head as I wasn't able to sleep well the night before. Mainly because my mind was replaying the scene of Hubert and the other gardener, who both passed away in the garden.

Hubert's eyes alone spoke a thousand words, and the flowers seemingly complemented his thoughts, and I was amazed at how chaotically beautiful it was.

'Is there a way? I don't think I should use humans, not even mentioning how morally questionable that would be in the eyes of others if they ever found out, that would bring the hassle of planning out a foolproof plan of how to execute it secretively and my fath-'

Wait. My father, Theodore Devereux, the Head of Internal Security in Atrua. If I were to describe him in one word, it would be 'efficient'.

My father had always been distant, not speaking very much, especially to me as I had never followed the traditions of the Devereux household like my two older brothers.

That tradition being; training like a dog in the fields of investigation, combat, psychology, and everything else needed to root out any internal problem in Atrua and eliminate it.

The visible reason I did not get forced into training was that my mother begged my father not to do so. Ever since I was young, my mother had doted on me and she also saw how I was more interested in things like poetry, art, and music.

Personally, I thought it was because my brothers were said to be so talented that an offspring like them only came once every century.

Thinking back to yesterday, my father and some of the top guards should have taken notice of the incident way before I did.

I heard that people who Awaken have peak senses and there was simply no way my father did not hear Hubert's cry for help.

'So, why did my father not help him?'


'Did my father cause the accident in garden? Or was it a genuine accident and my father just watched on? If so, why? Is it because the life of a gardener is simply no reason to lift a finger? Or did he have an ulterior motive?'

I took a deep breath to clear my head as my thoughts were going too far off in speculation. I decided to think further only when I found more information.

'What if I also followed the footsteps of my brothers? Won't I also be able to take advantage of my line of work to see if there really is a chance I can find beauty in the correlation of human emotion and art?'

I decided to finalize my decision by the end of the day.


In another part of the house, an egg-headed man sauntered confidently in a hallway towards a grand double door with a large insignia of the Devereux household.

Upon reaching the door, he bowed.

He pushed open the door to see a tall man, looking out the window, with broad shoulders, and white hair that flowed down to his waist. The man wore a sophisticated suit made of black silk, sparse with gold ornaments here and there.

The man slowly sipped wine from a glass in his hand. He was Theodore Devereux.

The egg-headed man walked towards a chair in the corner and sat down, "Boss, you know, I've got more important things to do than killing some servant. Anyone slightly competent could have done what I did, please don't bother me with small things anymore."

He had been tasked to kill a servant who had seen Amadeus in the garden, smiling at the corpses.

He looked to his left, on a small stand was a wine bottle with a glass beside it. He picked up the bottle and whistled, "Wow, 1349 Dolcetto. Don't mind if I do."

He poured himself a glass and sipped audibly.


He showed a happy expression and looked toward Theodore, still standing beside the window like a statue. After a few moments, Theodore slowly said,

"Gamay, only you and Lowell know about this."

Gamay, the egg-headed man, showed a surprised expression.

"You haven't told any of the other squad members too? Why? It's not like Amadeus's sociopathic nature is an outlier among the Devereux, not even mentioning all the insane people out there."

Theodore turned his head and stared at Gamay, his white pupils boring into him.

Gamay choked on his wine and stuttered,


"O-okay, I won't tell the others. Jeez, whatever. Anything else?" He just wanted to get out of there and be done with.....whatever this was.

"How are they?"

Upon hearing the question, Gamay returned to his jovial expression again, "Oh, they're monsters all right, the Devereux's future has no limits! Rest assured, they are doing exceptionally well."

Theodore stared outside the window again and simply nodded. Gamay got up from the chair, bowed, and bid farewell.

After Gamay left, Theodore developed a faint smile on his face. If anyone saw his smile, they would find it extremely eerie and unsettling. It looked unnatural on his face.

"Monsters, huh? They'll have someone else joining them soon."

He drank the entire glass and walked away from the window.


The moon hung high on the starless sky, clouds floating by slowly, often eclipsing the moon entirely. I looked out the window of my room and wondered what my path would be from now on.

My mind told me I had a soul akin to a calm lake, no compass pointing to where it flowed, no fixed personality. I felt like I was still a blank paper, others my age must have developed an ambition or at least an inkling of what they wanted.

Be it riches, power, love, or happiness. Although, how to achieve it would be another matter.

I had neither ambition nor something I wanted. Yes, I adored art, but was it something I had ambition for? It was not like I wanted to go out to the world to experience all forms of art, find beautiful mountainscapes, or meet the most prolific artists.

It had always been something that provided me peace and contentment, but that was enough.

My inner self was just something that had existed by virtue of simply existing. And I would be lying if I said I had not planned for it to turn out that way.

'So, what now?'

The incident yesterday had tugged at something inside me, not because of the sight alone. But by the infinite potential that it showed.

This was art unlike anything before, one where I could be the painter, composer, and director.

Sometimes Hubert smiled instead of showing the expression he had. A different flower, different placements, sometimes another person altogether.

I found combinations of certain emotions that would go well with a particular flower along with melodies and different kinds of instruments. I felt the urge to feel it in real life.

Was it ambition? No, but if I wanted to plant flowers, I planted them. If I wanted to live the scenes in my mind, then I will.

'Is there anyone out there who thinks like me?'

The moon shone faintly, the clouds no longer there. I prayed to find my people, maybe on the open roads, plains, or mountains.

'Nothing to lose, nothing to gain, nothing that is desired, except to make our lives into a work of art.'

I looked at the clock on top of my bed.

It was almost midnight.

I had decided.


"Come in."

I opened the door to see my father sitting on his chair behind a desk. Paperwork was arranged neatly, and everything about the room, including the man in it, was immaculate.

'Nothing has changed.'

"Good morning, father."

"Good morning."

I sat down on a chair in front of the desk. I decided to be straightforward, "I'm planning to awaken my mana."

My father stared at me for a while, then agreed,


He did not look surprised, even if he was, I doubted he would show it on his face.

My expression did not show change either, we just stared at each other for a bit, neither one letting anything up. I already had my share of suspicions and speculations, my father must also know I did.

'Is that why he's not bothering to asking me anything?'

I decided to push further.

"I'd like to attend an academy of my choosing."


I watched his expression closely, not intending to miss even a slight change of expression. Alas, he remained astute as ever. A long time seemed to pass before he asked,


"I want to experience emotions as others do, I want to create art and find connections between humans and art. Maybe, if I can, experiment with new things. I can't do that here in the estate, surrounded by maids and guards and no peers. I'd also like it if my identity was hidden wherever I go."

I added the last part because I didn't want eyes on me when I left, that would be troublesome for what I wanted to do.

I never once told a lie, it was just the truth covered in different clothing. I doubt I could fool the Watchdog of Atrua by lying when his sole job was to catch people who did.

"The next opening for admissions is in 4 months for most academies. Would you like to wait or go now?"

"I'd like to wait."

It did not matter how good a cover was, if I went in during a session, I would still be an outlier, attracting unwanted attention.

"Okay. On one condition. You will spend the four months here training."


I agreed, this was something I had nothing to lose out on. I continued,

"I'd like to awaken tomorrow."

My father nodded, which was something not everyone would do.

Although everyone had innate mana, potent enough to give the power to activate low-grade stones that helped them in their daily lives, Awakening it was a different matter.

First of all, Awakening mana was something only one out of a thousand people could attempt. But attempting and surviving was a different matter.

Aside from the pain, the largest reason there weren't many who survived was simply that no matter how tough a person's willpower was, their body might not be able to take it.

Training the body since birth was something that would help alleviate the problem, and many people used this method.

Next, was the resource needed to Awaken, a high-grade stone to kickstart or supercharge the mana to 'wake' it up.

Hence, not a lot of Awakened could be seen walking willy-nilly around the streets.

My father agreeing to my request of Awakening without much preparation showed his trust, not in me, but the blood of Devereux.

A failure in Awakening would be a stain on our family name. But my father didn't protest.

This was confidence in the bloodline that had flowed on top of others for millennia. I, too, had no contradictory thoughts.

'I guess tomorrow will be an interesting day.'


Edited By: WorthyAdversary

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