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Methodius Buslaev. The Midnight Wizard
Dmitrii Emets

Methodius Buslaev. The Midnight Wizard
Дмитрий Александрович Емец

Мефодий Буслаев #1
В Книге Судеб записано, что Мефодий Буслаев пройдет лабиринт Храма Вечного Ристалища в день своего тринадцатилетия. Мальчишка, родившийся в минуту полного солнечного затмения, впитал тайный страх миллионов смертных. Именно тогда в нем пробудился дар. Благодаря своему дару, не осознавая того, он аккумулирует в себе самые разные энергии окружающих: любви, боли, страха, восторга, злости – и трансформирует их в абсолютную магию. Его дар и то, что он вынесет из Храма Вечного Ристалища, нужны стражам Тьмы, нужны и стражам Света… Как, сделав выбор между Светом и Тьмой, остаться собой? На этот вопрос Мефодию придется искать ответ самому…

Dmitrii Emets

Methodius Buslaev. The Midnight Wizard


Tibidox. Office of Sardanapal.

Three years after the birth of Tanya Grotter and seven years before her appearance on BuyanIsland.

A fire was blazing in the fireplace of Sardanapal Chernomorov, the head of Tibidox. The pithecanthropus Tararakh was sitting by the fireplace and roasting shashlik threaded on a sword. The meat was sizzling tastily and intermittently shooting drops of fat. “Of course, it’s not bad mutton, but no comparison to mammoth nonetheless, some tears!” Tararakh grumbled. “And what am I roasting with? Seven magicians in the school, all smart – horror, one is even an academician – and you’d think at least someone could find the time to conjure up a normal skewer. Thankfully, Two hundred years ago I took away Marshal Davout’s sword. A good sword – just right for twelve pieces.”

Tararakh did not exaggerate. In the office of the academician were actually all seven Tibidox instructors – Sardanapal himself, the Great Tooth, Yagge, Slander, Medusa, Nightingale O. Robber and Professor Stinktopp. Moreover, they were in a situation, which could not be called pleasant in any way.

Sardanapal’s moustaches intermittently trembled hopelessly. A gold clip firmly kept their rebellious tips at the back of his head. This was a sure sign that the head of the Tibidox School was disposed to a serious manner. “I have two pieces of news: poor and abysmal. Which one should I begin with?” the academician asked.

“Sardanapal, take pity on an old woman. Begin with the poor. I’m finishing knitting a cap for Yagunchik. If I make a mistake now, I’ll have to take apart a lot,” Yagge remarked carefully, raising her eyes from the knitting needles.

“No-no, don’t be over-modest! Don’t age the old folks, they’re younger than fine young folks! Has she forgotten how to charm knitting needles so that they knit by themselves?” the Great Tooth smiled.

“My Yagunchik doesn’t like conjured caps. He said that his ears cannot find room in them,” objected Yagge. Little Yagun, lively like mercury, was the pet of Granny and a big problem for the rest of Tibidox. He could not stay in one place at all. They had removed him several times from the vacuum half way to Bald Mountain, and once they found him by the Sinister Gates, which he was trying to open with a nail, using it like a master key. A minor detail prevented him: the nail turned out to be a centimetre short. “Yes, Yagunchik’s ears are rare. I won’t be surprised if the boy plays dragonball well. They’ll allow him to decrease flying speed rather well, gradually and smoothly, and make sharp turns,” nodded Nightingale O. Robber.

Sardanapal reproachfully gave a cough. “This morning I finished some calculations. In three days, at 5 p.m., there will be a total solar eclipse. It will last seven-and-a-half minutes – the maximum astronomically possible duration for solar eclipse. Here, on Buyan, we will see nothing. But then Moscow will find itself to be completely in the dark shadow. From one outlying district to another. For seven-and-a-half minutes the city will be submerged in darkness…”

Tararakh licked the fat off a finger and examined the meat. “In my life I’ve seen a number of eclipses. And never anything… Except somehow during Palaeolithic times a brisk young fellow from a neighbouring tribe took advantage of the panic and robbed me of an outstanding rock axe.”

“Tararakh, the eclipse, which I’m talking about, is not ordinary. Even The Ancient One warned about it. And The Ancient One was not inclined to senseless panic,” said Sardanapal.

“As far as I understand, the eclipse – it’s also the promised bad news. And now I’m beginning to get a bad feel!” Medusa said.

“Really. He will be named Methodius Buslaev. He will appear on Earth two minutes after the sun is hidden. The Ancient One was convinced that the boy will have the gift.”

“Many babies will knock on the door of the world in those seven-and-a-half minutes. It’s possible someone else will have the gift,” Medusa objected reasonably.

“No, Medi. I’m convinced that precisely he will have the gift. There are too many coincidences. The arrangement of the stars, place, and time of birth, the eclipse, and, most importantly, the blood. Among the boy’s kin were numerous magicians. In the Middle Ages they burned one of his great-great-great… at the stake. With a look she inflicted the plague on her neighbours and did this more often than normal courtesy required.”

“And is there any hope that Methodius Buslaev will not become aware of his gift?” Medusa carefully asked.

“Hope is eternal. However, in the given situation it has passed away even before the appearance of the boy in the world,” the academician joked darkly. Sardanapal got up and, not looking at anyone, began to walk around the office. “White magicians? Wonderful! Black magicians? Remarkable! But we have forgotten those, whose power exceeds our sorcery and incantations many times! Those more ancient than the Egyptian pyramids! The guards of Gloom! The guards of Light! Here are the ones who need his gift!” he said with conviction.

“But Sardanapal! You are probably exaggerating. It’s possible the guards of gloom and darkness know nothing about Methodius Buslaev,” the Great Tooth carefully said.

Slander Slanderych and Professor Stinktopp exchanged ironic glances. “Zey know eferyzing about ze boy, if his gift is vorz at least one kopeck!” Stinktopp muttered.

The clip came off Sardanapal’s moustaches, and they began to jump, conducting an invisible orchestra. “Yes, Professor, yes and again yes! In the last centuries, we were all criminally negligent! Magic books, incantations, dragonball, fights with ancient idols not wanting to calm down – it has become our world. But this…” here the academician lowered his voice to a whisper, “why deceive ourselves? On the day when the boy is born, the accursed spring again will begin to turn, so that in thirteen years… I don’t even want to think about this.”

“The guards of Gloom…” Medusa said thoughtfully. “Only imagine that there was a time when I didn’t see the difference between magicians and guards. But later I understood. Magicians – white or black – do not depend on moronoids. Their world exists separately from ours. We don’t interfere in its history and only strive to keep moronoids from finding out about us. The guards of Gloom are a totally different matter. They need the moronoids… Their thoughts, their feelings, especially their eide…”

Slander looked at her sombrely, “Exactly, Medusa! There is a monstrous difference between simple magicians, such as us, and the guards of Gloom… Like between chickens and turkeys. Some fly, and others… others fly…”

“It’s because we, even the darks like Stinktopp and Deni, are not injected with the power of eide,” said Docent Gorgonova.

“If we put aside morals, the renunciation of the use of eide has its minuses. The gift of each magician – white or dark – is assigned primordially. It’s possible to learn to manage it, to learn several hundred incantations, but the gift itself will not become bigger with the years, just slightly more polished. Take at least our students. Among them are strong magicians, but also such, who only know how to force a stool to grow buds and to bloom. And we are also forced to take them!” Yagge beat around the bush.

“But a ring? An artefact? Really, don’t they intensify the gift?” Tararakh naively asked.

Nightingale O. Robber began to laugh, “They strengthen. But only until you master them. An artefact is like a club for a pithecanthropus. Does it make him stronger?”

“You bet! Indeed, I know! Especially if a good one appears. Entirely smooth, even, and with a bulge at the end. With a twig or something there also,” Tararakh assured him. Nostalgia clouded his eyes. “In my opinion, if you strike a sharp blow with the club, it won’t seem like anything. But what’s with eide here? What is it in general?”

“Eide are what the guards of Gloom strive to keep in their darc in order to become stronger!” the Great Tooth explained.

Tararakh minced words, “Great! I adore you, Deni! You have the ability to analyse and pigeonhole so understandably. Imagine, I don’t know what such a thing as a ‘mouse’ is and I ask you. You answer, ‘Dear Tararakh, they catch a mouse with a mousetrap.’ ‘And what is a mousetrap?’ I ask. ‘A mousetrap is what you use to catch a mouse.’ Now I understand why your students dread your lessons.”

“Eidos, which guards of Gloom hunt for, is this nucleus, the essence of spiritualization of material, the ticket to eternity, the key to immortality, the soul. The most essential and important thing there is in each moronoid, in you, and even in Yagge, although she’s also a goddess. Everyone only has one eidos. One that can’t be counterfeited or copied with the help of magic. A moronoid who has lost his life and body but preserved his eidos loses nothing. But a person who has lost his eidos loses everything even if his body, reason, and life are out of danger,” explained Sardanapal.

“Hmm… And how does it look?” Tararakh asked.

“Almost not at all. Eidos doesn’t have a weight, a form. Or it has. Magicians have been arguing this already for several thousand years. Absalom the Flattened considered that eidos is an invisible precious stone thousands of times more valuable than any diamond, even the largest. Ekril the Wise was certain that it’s the second, the main heart, which governs the beating of the first heart. Hugo the Sly foggily asserted that eidos is ‘that is, which is not.’ In other words, eidos does not exist until each concrete individual is aware of its existence. Only then will it appear. However, the majority of scientists, including your humble servant, concurs that everyone has an eidos, independent of whether he is aware of it or not. An eidos is like a small bluish spark or a grain of sand. This spark has enormous incomparable power, precisely attaches us to eternity, and doesn’t leave after death of the flesh that rots. Eidos is the eternal element of existence, in a word, a part of The One who created us. It can’t be destroyed by either a division of gargoyles or nuclear explosion or loss of the Universe – nothing. And even one eidos has this power!

“Specifically, this is also how guards of Gloom earn their living. The more eide in a guard’s darc, the greater his ability and, therefore, the higher he stands in the hierarchy among his own. It troubles the guards not in the least that they take away eternity together with the eidos from the moronoid. To them it’s the object of the hunt, nothing more.”

“They take eide away by force?”

“Eidos cannot be taken away by force. But it can be voluntarily given away. It’s possible to present it as a gift, to sell or exchange it for a diamond, an empire, a bite of an apple – whatever one values it at. There is already nothing to be done about this. For hundreds of years millions of moronoids have already parted with their eide migrating to the darc of the guards of Gloom,” said Sardanapal with sadness.

“And the guards of Light? They don’t need eide?” the pithecanthropus asked.

“Guards of Light are summoned to protect the eide of mortals and not to steal them! They don’t obliterate someone else’s eternity. The Ancient One, however great he was, never encroached upon a single eidos. Although now and then it seems to me that he was not simply a white magician. I do think that…”

“…he was one of the guards of Light?” Slander finished for him.

“Possible,” Sardanapal answered evasively. “Guards of Light rarely shout about themselves in everybody’s hearing. They respect the freedom of choice and prefer the role of observers.”

“But why is this boy so dangerous, Sardanapal? Why must we fear Methodius Buslaev?”

Sardanapal sat down at the table and, after dipping a goose feather into the ink, made an intricate flourish on the paper. “What do you know about The Ancient One? Not as the wisest magician, the founder of Tibidox, but about the man of flesh and blood? Not much, right?”

“Very little. He didn’t like to mix business and private life. And generally, when I was acquainted with him, he behaved like he was out of the body. He could pass by a half metre from you and not even notice you. It seemed that all the time his thoughts were somewhere in astral,” said Medusa.

The academician nodded, “Approximately how the matter stood. Especially in the last years, when The Ancient One reached such enlightenment, when he saw both the past and the future. And when you see both the past and the future at the same time, the present somehow comes up short. And you, of course, didn’t know that The Ancient One had a son?”

“I, no,” said Medusa.

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