"I'm dying…" That was all that Alex could think to himself as he lay on the cold ground.
The wind was whistling loudly around him as they harshly pelted the surroundings with thick, white snow. This sight can be considered to be cool for those who lived in the tropics, but for him, what he could only see was his possible graveyard.
While his eyes were still open, he could see only thick piles of snow starting to pile up around him. To his dismay, the height of these snow piles only continued to increase as time went on.
This sight managed to shake off Alex's lethargic feelings, as he began to feel scared for his life.
"Move, d**nit!" He muttered to himself angrily as he forced himself to move.
But no matter what he did, his body refused to budge, as it already gave up under the effects of hypothermia.
He could feel his extremities starting to turn cold and his heartbeat starting to slow down. He also realized that he was slowly losing his consciousness.
He knew that if he could even survive right now, his fingers and toes will have to be amputated, due to the effect of frostbite on them.
"From the looks of it, there is no way that I can survive right now…" The downed man thought to himself as he let out a cold sigh.
"I have done a lot of things in my 17 years of life, and the place where I will die is actually on a cold, snowy road? What a fitting and ironic end for me."
At this point, he knew that there is no way out for him now.
His whole body was wounded on numerous places, and the cold had already penetrated deep in his body.
"Not even the best doctor can save me now…" Alex thought to himself as he closed his eyes in resignation.
His life then began to flash before his very own eyes, with him seeing all the mischievous and daring things that he had done in his life.
He could also see all the friends and enemies that he made, and all the love and hate that he accrued.
"My life is so fulfilling, and yet it is also so lacking…" Alex thought wryly as he began to feel sleepy.
He knew that this is the final stage of hypothermia, where the victim will start to feel sleepy. He also knew that if he slept right now, he will never wake up.
This meant that sleeping now will mean his absolute death, something that is enough to scare him before.
But he knew that struggling for his life right now is already futile, so he just decided to end it all now.
"Is there an afterlife? Well, I will know the answer to that after I die…" He thought as he wearily closed his eyes.
But before he could enjoy the final moments of his life, he suddenly heard the sound of crunching footsteps on the snow.
This surprised Alex so much that he was able to muster the will to open his eyes.
He looked toward the source of the sound, and what he saw made him slightly disappointed.
He saw an extremely disheveled man walking towards him.
The man looked around 30-40 years old, but his face looked older because of his messy hair and scraggly beard.
Even if his surroundings were covered by white snow, Alex could see that this man was extremely dirty.
"He's a homeless person." He thought to himself as he began to lose interest on this man.
But before he could close his eyes again, he suddenly heard a voice speaking towards him.
"You think that I am a homeless person? Well, from the way that I look right now, you are actually right. But even if I look clean, I am still technically homeless…"
Alex's eyes opened wide with shock as he realized that it was the homeless man that was talking to him!
"Oh, it seems like you cannot speak due to the cold." The homeless man said, much to the latter's irritation. "Well, your vocal cords internal organs are also busted, so I guess you don' have much time to live too."
Alex's irritation quickly turned to anger after hearing this additional comment, and the nonchalant way that this old man dismissed him had just made him even more incensed.
But before he could start cursing homeless man, he suddenly realized something weird.
Because of his current condition, he had no way to speak. His comment about this homeless man being homeless was only made inside his mind.
But this homeless man somehow had managed to catch his thought about him being homeless!
"Can this guy read my mind?" Alex thought amusedly to himself. "Oh, there is no way that it can happen. Maybe I am just hallucinating right now…"
"Oh, I can read your mind, young one." The homeless man suddenly said as he sat beside him. "I know that your name is Alex, so you better believe that I can read your thoughts."
"What the hell!" At this point, he was already sure that this homeless man can really read his mind! "He can actually read my mind? How did he exactly do this? Did he-"
"You do not need to think of more things, young one." The homeless man seemed unperturbed by Alex's shock, as he just casually talked to him, as if the latter was nothing more but an acquaintance to him now. "You are already dying, so just focus on dying, ok?"
"Yeah, so what if this old man can read my mind? I am about to die anyway, so I do not care about that anymore." Alex thought deprecatingly as he realized chatting with this homeless man might not be that bad.
If he was in his normal condition right now, there is no way that he would believe that this old man can read minds.
But right now, with him nearing his end, he decided to believe this homeless man.
After all, what else might go wrong even if he believed him? "
"Oh, so even if you are dying right now, you still wanted to chat to me? What a humorous person!" The homeless man chuckled as he continued sitting beside him.
"So, you are not going to help me out?" Alex thought drily as he saw that the homeless man did nothing to dig him out of the snow. "You know, for someone that can talk to minds like you, digging me out should be just easy…"
"Why should I save you, young one?" The homeless man said as his gray eyes stared at the young man.
"Young one, I could clearly feel that you are fine with dying right now. I can feel your resignation. I can feel your desire to just sleep."
The homeless man then stood up as he let out a weary sigh.
"I will not save you, as you are already prepared to die…"
"Do you think I really am prepared to die? I still have a lot of things to do!" Before the homeless man could leave, Alex found himself declaring these words angrily, as if what the homeless man said had made him snap.
"You think I want to die? Of course not! The only reason I am fine with dying right now is because I felt that there is no more hope for me to live!"
His eyes even turned red as he spoke, as if the homeless man's comments have brought his emotions to the edge.
"Homeless man, since you can read my mind, then come and read my whole life inside my mind! Once you see that, you will realize that I really am not prepared to die!"
These words by Alex seemed to have stirred the homeless man's eyes, who only stared at him with an interested expression.
"You really are interesting, young one. Since you said that, then allow me to read your whole life!"
"!!!" Alex then felt a searing pain inside his mind, which managed to wipe all of his drowsiness away. This pain was so much that he wanted to just scream and flail around in agony, but his body would not respond to him at all.
This painful ordeal of his had lasted for around a minute. with each second making him want to end it quiclky.
"F**k!" Alex only stopped cursing once the pain inside his head began to disappear. He gave the homeless man an accusatory gaze, as he blamed him for that sudden pain.
"Hahaha! This is splendid!" To his surprise, the homeless man suddenly started to laugh uproariously, as if he just found the greatest treasure in his life.
"Your life is extremely interesting, young one!" The homeless man said as his empty gaze at him earlier turned into a praising one.
"I never expected that someone like you could have existed in this realm!" As the homeless man said these words, Alex suddenly saw something more mind-boggling.
Everything around him and the homeless man have literally stopped. The snow lay suspended in the air, while the roaring winds earlier have all disappeared.
"What the hell is this?" Alex thought to himself as he began to stare at the homeless man with horror. "This is definitely not normal!"
"Young one." The homeless man continued talking to him, as he just ignored his shocked countenance.
"If you were given a chance to live right now, what is the first thing that you will do?"
Alex suddenly felt himself wanting to answer that question honestly.
It was as if there was a hidden power inside the homeless man's question that prompted him to answer truthfully.
This compelling desire to answer was so strong that Alex forced his stiff lips and freezing throat to give his answer.
"I…. I want to travel…" He croaked out of his mouth.
"Excellent answer, young one." The homeless man smiled, seemingly impressed with his answer. "You really did not let me down."
A bright object suddenly flew out of the homeless man's forehead, which buried itself right into Alex's forehead.
"Hiss…" He could not help out but recoil in pain as he felt heat on his forehead. This pain just continued on increasing until he could not take it anymore.
"...….." Before long, Alex's consciousness collapsed as his head lolled to the side.
He was truly asleep now, although he is still much alive, compared to his dying state earlier.
As for the homeless man, he watched Alex's ordeal with satisfaction as he turned around to leave.
The snowstorm then continued its assault as the homeless man walked farther away.
"Young one, I have already given you a chance to fulfill your wish." The homeless man muttered to himself as he continued on walking away. "But don't think that you will have a peaceful life after this. Everyone branded with the symbol of the Endless Monarch is now destined to live chaotic life!"
A symbol suddenly glowed at Alex's forehead, illuminating the surroundings around him.
This symbol was like a series of knots which seemed to be unending by itself.
A few second passed by, and the glow disappeared, along withhiss body.
The snowstorm, not knowing that its latest victim had escaped its grasp, continued its assault on the hapless town.
"Ughh…" Alex held his head in pain as he woke up with a start. The beating, maledicting pain in his head continued until he felt that is was somehow bearable for him to move.
"What the hell?" After looking around him, Alex realized one thing. And that is that he is not in the snowstorm anymore.
He saw that he was inside a room, with a modest bed and table.
There was also a piece of bread and a glass of water in the table which he observed with wariness.
While he was looking around him warily, he suddenly remembered about his encounter with the homeless man in the snowstorm.
"That homeless man did something to me that brought me here…." Alex thought to himself as he cupped his chin in thought.
But before he could further observe his currently weird situation, he suddenly heard a crashing sound behind him.
As he looked behind him, he saw the door of his room crashing down to the floor.
A figure then entered into the room, and his breathing almost stopped when he saw his guest.
His unwanted guest was a black-haired woman wearing a black sleeveless dress and black skirt that reached until her knees.
She also wore long black socks and black shoes.
Her body seemed to be fit and also sexy, as he could see that this woman all had the right curves for a healthy female.
As for her face, Alex could not see it as this woman was wearing a mask. Buthe was sure that this woman's face is that of a peerless beauty.
But the reason for why his breathing almost stopped was not because of this woman's beauty.
It was because he could feel an extreme sense of danger just by looking at this woman.
"You have been identified by the World Diagram as a Class-S Intruder." The woman coldly said as a katana suddenly appeared in her hands. "As such, I have been sent here to eliminate you."
"What?" That was the only thing that Alex could say before the woman slashed her katana towards him.