Knock, knock, knock.
Someone knocked on a wooden door.
No answer came.
The door opened slowly, and an immaculately dressed person stepped in. It was a man with white hair, but it was a bit difficult to discern his age.
Even though he had white hair, there were no wrinkles on his face. If one only looked at his face, one might believe that he was rather young.
However, appearances didn't always accurately reflect the truth.
If someone heard of this person's age, they wouldn't be able to believe whoever told them.
The man looked around the room with a professional expression.
It was a small study filled with all kinds of books, scriptures, tomes, and papers. An unbelievably soft, violet carpet was strewn across the ground, and a cozy fire crackled in the fireplace.
The man's eyes looked at the back of the room.
Another man was sitting on a chair behind a mahogany desk. Several papers were strewn across the desk, and the man practically lay in his chair, his head looking upward.
The man at the door slightly shook his head and walked over.
He slightly kicked the table.
"Oh, wha- huh? Oh, good morning, Wester," the man who had just been sleeping said after recovering from the shock. He was an old man with gentle facial features, and everyone that saw him would believe him to be a nice grandpa.
"It's evening, sir," Wester, the butler, said to the old man.
"Oh, already?" the old man asked in confusion as he looked around his room. "I was working on this year's reward for the Big Tournament. Guess I lost track of time," he said.
"Mhm," Wester uttered, deciding not to comment on how he had found his master napping.
"What? You don't believe me?" the old man asked with an offended expression. "Look! It's over there," he said.
A tome started to float from the desk and stopped in front of Wester.
Wester took the tome, opened it, and scanned through it.
"An Element-Neutral King Rank Spell," Wester commented. "You didn't read the dossiers about the candidates, did you?" Wester asked.
The old man felt like he had been found out.
Wester put his hands on the stacked dossiers on the table, making it impossible for the old man to peek at them.
"Fine! Fine!" he groaned, "but it doesn't really matter, does it? Element-Neutral Spells are worth more than Element-Specific Spells anyway."
"Sir, if you keep creating Element-Neutral Spells for every tournament, the other Empires will start believing that we don't care about the tournament," Wester commented.
The old man groaned again. "Fine! I'll just create one for every Element, and you can choose whichever you want to hand out in the future tournaments."
Wester put the Element-Neutral King Rank Spell under his arm but didn't comment on the old man's words.
The old man felt a bit awkward as his butler only stood before him, not saying anything.
"Do you need something else?" the old man asked.
"The Child of Calamity has vanished," Wester said.
The old man was a bit taken aback as he looked at Wester with skepticism. "Vanished? Did he flee? Why would he? He had money, freedom, status, a family, everything. What happened?"
"We don't know," Wester said. "When our people arrived at his home for their monthly visit, he was simply gone."
"Did you search for him?" the old man asked.
"Of course, sir," Wester answered. "I sent the seventh legion to search through every particle of the surrounding 50,000 kilometers. As a mere Apprentice, he couldn't possibly have traveled further, and we would have noticed any spatial fluctuations. However, we still couldn't find him."
The old man scratched his chin in thought. "Not even the other Empires could have hidden something like that. Additionally, they would only be shooting a fireball in their own faces by taking him away. I'm certain that he hadn't had any help."
"That only means that his Affinity has claimed his own life. That would also explain why you can't find a trace of him," the old man muttered.
Wester nodded. "That is also our assumption."
The old man also nodded. "I presume you need the seal?" he asked.
The old man gestured with his hand for Wester to give him something, and a piece of paper appeared in the air, which then floated to the desk.
The old man looked at the paper and read it.
Then, he put his finger at the bottom of the piece of paper, and his finger shone with purple lightning for an instant.
"As always," the old man commented as the paper flew back to Wester.
"As always," Wester said.
Wester turned around, left the study, and wished the old man a good evening.
After Wester left, the old man looked with furrowed brows at the middle of the room.
The old man waved his fingers. Some water gathered in the air, and a clear pool formed.
The old man looked into the pool, and the pool reflected a seemingly infinite world.
The old man's eyes moved with rapid speeds as he scanned through every hidden corner of the world in the pool.
Ten seconds later, the pool vanished, and the old man laid back on the chair.
"Sure enough, he's gone. No trace of him. That's a new one," the old man mumbled to himself. "I mean, Affinities can eat up their owners, so it's not really unbelievable. It just hasn't happened with the Child of Calamity before in the past 100,000 years. This smells fishy! Something's different this time!"
The old man scratched his chin for a while longer, but then he put his head back in a sleeping position.
"Well, doesn't matter. The legions will find the new Child of Calamity anyway," he commented to himself as he closed his eyes.
Meanwhile, Wester was walking through a dimly lit hallway made of stone. Every step he took seemingly pulled him forward for hundreds of meters. It was difficult to discern what was more surprising, the fact that Wester was moving this quickly or the fact that the hallway was so long.
After some seconds, Wester arrived in front of a wooden door, which he quickly opened and walked out of.
Wester arrived in a grand hall.
The hall was two kilometers long and 300 meters high. Powerful weapons and adornments were on the walls as imposing, violet flags hung down from every column. The flags had white lightning bolts imprinted on them, and a gigantic table was in the middle of the hall with some chairs surrounding it.
Right now, the hall was empty.
Wester went through another door and down another hallway, this hallway being far bigger and grander than the previous one.
Wester walked through another door.
This room had several tables and chairs. Many different kinds of magical equipment could be found in the room. Several papers and different objects were on the desks.
"Good evening, sir. Do you require something?"
A blonde woman with ostentatious purple robes stood up politely. Electricity sparked around her as space seemed to bend around her.
She exuded incredible power.
"Oh, Sarah, perfect, I was searching for you. Everything going well?" Wester asked politely.
"Yes, sir. Thank you for asking, sir," the woman spoke politely.
"Sarah, I need you to do something for me," Wester said politely as he took out the paper the old man had signed earlier.
The paper floated over, and the woman looked at the paper.
Her eyes widened more and more as she continued reading. "Yes, sir," she said.
Then, she took the paper and walked over to a wall. She spoke complex and unfamiliar words that warped her surroundings.
Ten seconds later, an outcropping in the shape of a piece of paper appeared on the wall.
Sarah put the paper in the outcropping, and the paper burned away.
DING! DING! DING!
Three bells rang throughout an unfathomable distance, their sounds ignoring the upper limit of the speed of sound.
"Have a good hunt," Wester commented politely as he left the room.
"Thank you, sir," Sarah said with a bow.
Sarah was engulfed by a bright light, but the bright light vanished just as quickly as it had arrived.
However, Sarah had undergone a world-shaking transformation.
Her purple robes were replaced by a shining silver armor, covered with different runes. Golden wing bones were on the back of her armor, which were quickly filled out by bolts of lightning, resembling the feathers.
A two-meter-long spear appeared in her hands, also crackling with lightning.
Then, Sarah seemingly vanished.
She had teleported away!
Sarah reappeared in the grand hall through which Wester had gone.
However, the hall was no longer empty.
10,000 people in golden armor with golden staves filled the hall in an orderly manner.
"We greet the general!" the ten people at the front of the army spoke in unison.
Sarah exuded irresistible power as she looked at the gathered army.
This was the sixth legion, which was responsible for reconnaissance.
"Men and women of the sixth legion," Sarah said, her voice echoing throughout the grand hall. "The Ancestor has given an order!"
"The Child of Calamity has vanished, and a new Child of Calamity must have appeared in the world. The sixth legion will comb the world. Every child in the world below the age of one must have their Affinity tested with a blood test! If any child tests positive for an unknown affinity, the child will be brought to me personally!"
"I expect you all to finish by the morning!"
"Yes, General!" all the soldiers echoed.
SHING! SHING! SHING!
All 10,000 people teleported out of the hall and reappeared in the air outside the building.
Below them was a magnificent purple castle, built on top of several mountains of unfathomable height.
The castle itself was several kilometers wide!
Lightning crackled violently on the storm clouds below the mountains where the castle was built on.
Nothing aside from an endless sea of clouds filled with lightning could be seen.
The 10,000 people in the air crackled with lightning as their bodies shone in golden light.
Then, with an explosion, all soldiers transformed into lightning as they shot into the horizon.
Their speed was impossible to follow with one's eyes.
On this night, many humans would notice golden shooting stars in the sky.
On this night, all babies below the age of one would gain a tiny red dot on the fingertip of their index finger.
This was where the blood was drawn from for the test.
No one but the peak powers would notice that this had even happened.
The entire world had been combed in but a single night and no one had noticed.
Yet, the Child of Calamity had not been found.