LILIA HELSTEA’S POV:
I’m shopping with Mommy and Lady Alice and Ellie. Ellie seemed a little bit disappointed that her brother didn’t want to join us so I was holding her hand to comfort her.
“Hey Ellie. Do you like your big brother that much?”
“En! But he’s a meanie for not shopping with us. I wanted to dress him up more,” she pouted.
“Do you like me better or your big brother?”
After some time of thinking she just responded, “Umm…I like both!”
“Kukuku. Lilia, what are you asking Ellie?” My mom asked, pulling my other hand. “Lilia, what do you think of Arthur?”
“Uuu he’s a little scary. How is he so strong, Mommy? I thought kids like us couldn’t be mages until we’re all grown up?” It wasn’t fair. I’ve always dreamt of becoming a mage and making Mommy and Papa happy.
My mom looked at Lady Alice, “I guess it’s because he’s a very gifted child. But Alice, do you really have no problems with everything he told you? I don’t mean to butt in on your parenting but doesn’t it just seem a little too weird? How did he get so powerful during this time? You’ve told me that he was pretty good at fighting even before the bandit attack.”
I saw Lady Alice shake her head. “Of course I know he’s hiding a lot of things. He probably doesn’t know but it’s pretty obvious when he’s lying. He tends to focus his gaze on one point and his voice turns monotone when he lies. It’s pretty cute how he thinks he’s being sneaky actually. ‘Sigh’, Tabitha, I know he’s keeping things from us and so does Rey, but we agreed on giving him some space until he’s comfortable enough to tell us himself. I guess that’s just what it means to be a parent. I know he doesn’t mean any harm so all we can do is just support him until he’s ready.”
“Lying is bad!” Little Ellie declared.
I agreed with her on that. “Yeah Ellie! Lying is bad!”
ARTHUR LEYWIN’S POV:
I start concentrating on my mana core, distracted by a series of unexplainable sneezes. I was getting too impatient with my training. I wanted to hurry up and get to the previous level in my past life but that wasn’t happening as fast as I wanted it to.
The little fight with Director Goodsky made it all too real for me. I was too inexperienced and weak. It didn’t really affect me until now, but I’m wasn’t used to fighting the way mages fought in this world. The fact that there was nothing like conjurers in my previous world made fighting one a lot more difficult.
My concentration wavered while my mind flashed back to my past life. The scene on that foggy night when the orphanage’s head caretaker, the closest thing to a mother figure I had, was shot. I was still young at that time, but if I think back now, that was probably the reason I had started training like a madman. Head Mother was the one that picked me off the streets, giving me a steamed bun. After that, she took care of me, taught me how to read and write, scolded me and taught me basic manners.
I didn’t want to become a king; I just wanted vengeance. I just wanted to be strong enough to kill the ones responsible for the death of the person who had taken care of me… who had loved me. It was never as simple as that, though. It had turned out that the ones responsible for killing the orphanage head caretaker, along with other leader figures of the various orphanages, were the military from another country.
I realized then that no matter how powerful an individual was he was still just one person. I needed authority along with my power. Becoming a king then served its purpose. The first thing I did when I was appointed King was destroy that country. I bloodied my hands with the corpses of hundreds of thousands of soldiers and millions all together. The cruel thing, though, was that no matter what kind of revenge is taken, it didn’t change what had happened to her. She still had died an unjust death.
This life was going to be different. I wasn’t going to let the ones I treasured suffer.
Sylvie nudged her wet nose at me, a concerned gaze fixed on my eyes. ‘I’m here, feel better’ was what she seemed to say to me.
Petting her head, I stirred myself out of my unpleasant memories.
I washed myself off, laughing at the crying Sylvie who still hated getting wet. I was glad I had her by my side. It wasn’t healthy for me to be alone thinking by myself for too long.
Just on time, the girls got back from their shopping trip by the time I had finished dressing up. I hopped down the stairs to greet them.
“Hmph! Brother is a meanie!” My sister just puckered her lower lip with her arms crossed.
“Is it because I didn’t go shopping with you, Ellie? I’m sorry.” I patted her turned head, which made her tense her face as she forced herself to keep from smiling.
“How was shopping Mom, Lady Tabitha? Did you guys buy a lot of stuff?” I asked, my hand still on my sister’s head.
“We didn’t buy much, just a couple of new outfits for Ellie and Lilia,” my mother responded.
At this time, I heard a storm of footsteps coming toward us. Vincent arrived beide us with an excited look on his face. His eyes were a little red and he had an uncontainable smile on his face.
“You guys are finally here!” He said picking up his daughter and kissing her cheek.
“Honey, why are you so flustered? Have you been crying? “What is going on?” Tabitha had a bewildered look on her face from confusion and worry. Vince did look a little crazy right now.
“You didn’t tell them yet, Arthur?” He faced me, the goofy smile still pasted on his face.
Shaking my head, I chuckled, “I just got down as well. I was about to tell them.”
“Tell us what, baby?” My mother had a look of concern as well. Mothers never liked not knowing what was going on.
“I discussed with Mr. Vincent about teaching Ellie and Lilia mana manipulation starting today. Of course, only if Lady Tabitha was okay with it.”
Tabitha just shook her head, looking at her husband. “W-wait, hold on. Is this some sort of prank? If it is, it’s not funny.”
“No ma’am. I know both you and Sir Vincent aren’t mages but it is possible for Lilia to become one.” I gave her a sincere look.
“N-no way. I’ve never heard of a method for teaching someone mana manipulation. I’ve been taught that it’s up to the child’s innate talent to awaken by herself. Why haven’t I heard anyone else teaching kids then?”
Tabitha had a lot harder time believing that Lilia could become a mage than her husband. I didn’t blame her though. Vincent didn’t even question me, which was surprising. The biggest worry for a mother from a noble family was the future of her children and in a society where mages are the elites, the Helstea’s lineage, no matter how rich they were, would get more than a few looks of pity.
“I’ve never heard of anything like teaching a child mana manipulation either, Art. How do you plan on doing this?” my mother quizzed.
“Mom, you guys all know how I awakened at the age of 3 right? I still remember what happened and why it did. I’m going to do what I did on myself to them. I’ll have to test them before I can even start but for Ellie, I’m 100% sure she’ll be able awaken and for Lilia, around 70%,” I answered. The probability was higher than what I said for Lilia but I didn’t want to get their hopes up too much. There was still a chance she wouldn’t be able to awaken.
“Heavens. T-this is. Give me a minute. I need to sit down.” I noticed Tabitha’s knees were wobbling as she made her way to the couch.
“This isn’t going to be an instant thing. It’ll take a few years for them to awaken on their own after I teach them.”
The Helstea parents just nodded at this and I turned to face the confused Lilia and Ellie.
“Ellie, Lilia, can you guys sit down on the floor over by the fireplace?” I instructed, guiding them into the living room. “I want you guys to sit in your most comfortable position, back to back. Leave some space so I can sit in between.”
Ellie was still a little clueless as to what was going on, but Lilia had gotten the gist of what was happening and I could see the determined look on her face. Ellie sat down with her legs stuck out in front of her while Lilia sat in a more ladylike position with both her legs tucked in to her left side.
“Okay. Before I do anything, I want you guys to close your eyes and concentrate. If you try really hard, you’ll be able see some spots of light. Do you see it?” I placed myself between them now as Tabitha, Vincent, and my mother were all staring intently.
“N-no… I don’t really see anything,” I heard a murmur from Lilia. I expected much but I turned to see everyone having looks of panic on them. Ignoring them, I turned to face my sister and asked her the same thing. I was less afraid of her seeing the light, but not recognizing what to actually spot.
Thankfully, she responded, “Bruhder, I think I see a small pretty light!”
The next step involved doing something that only I was capable of doing. I had to will mana of all four elemental attributes at once into their bodies. Doing this, they would be able to see a lot more clearly the specks of mana that were scattered in their body.
“Okay I’m going to start now. You guys will feel a little feverish but I want you guys to endure it and just focus on the specks of light.” As soon as I said that, I willed my quadra elemental mana into them.
The reason that all four elements had to be exerted unto them was because the mana that had yet to gather and form a mana core was at its purest form, meaning that all four elements needed to be exerted at the same power into their bodies to trigger any sort of responses from the dormant mana inside them.
“Eep!” “Hng!” Lilia and Ellie yelped out a little in surprise.
“I-I think I see some of the lights! They’re so pretty!” exclaimed Lilia.
“Wow! So many!” Echoed my little sister.
“Okay, this part is important, I’m going to help you guys with this part but your job is to try and connect all of the little lights okay? Do you get that Ellie? Pretend that all of the little lights are friends and they need to meet together. Can you do that for me, Ellie?” This was the trickiest and longest part and I had to make sure that they understood what to do.
“O-okay! I think I get it!” “The lights are friends? Okay!”
I remained in my position for over an hour to trigger the dormant mana in their body, at least to the point that they would be visible enough for them to manipulate and gather.
Taking a deep breath, I removed my hands from their back, instructing them to continue gathering the little lights until the lights disappear.
“How is it? D-do you think Lilia will be able to become a mage?” Both the Helstea parents are a mess. They had anxious looks on their faces while Vincent was nervously chewing on a fingernail. I looked at my mother and even she had a hint of uneasiness in her eyes.
I responded with a wide smile. “Don’t worry, both Lilia and my little sister should awaken as a mage within a few years. My plan was to do this with them every day for the few months that I’ll be home. By then, they should be capable of training on their own to form a mana cor…”
Tabitha didn’t even let me finish as picked me up into a big hug. “Oh thank you thank you thank you. My baby will be able to learn magic! Oh my goodness I was so worried what her future would be since both of us aren’t mages. *Sniff* Uuu… thank you so much, Arthur.”
Vincent’s face was streaming tears as he kept his gaze on his daughter meditating. My mother patted my head silently, giving me a proud smile.
It wasn’t as big of a deal for Ellie to become a mage since our whole family could use magic. The chances of her never awakening would have been slim to none even if I didn’t do anything; I was just speeding up the process. I had figured the faster she learns magic, the faster she would be able to protect herself.
The two girls lasted a couple of hours before the mana I exerted dispersed out of their body. Surprisingly, Lilia actually lasted longer than Ellie. She definitely had more willpower than my four-year-old sister.
My father came a bit after from the Guild Hall and was ecstatic for the Helstea family that they were going to have their first mage in the family.
Picking up Eleanor and rubbing his beard on her cheek, my father just cooed, “Aww, my little baby is going to be strong like her older brother! Promise me you won’t be stronger than father, okay? Or he’ll be very sad.”
My mother just laughed at this while my sister just giggled, pushing Father’s face away. “Papa! Your beard tickles! St~op, hehe!”
We had a great dinner party that night. Vincent and Tabitha went all out on the delicacies leaving my mouth watering and Sylv drooling right next to me. We ended the night with everyone merry, Vincent going around offering drinks to even the maids and butlers.
The following days had consisted of condensing my mana core and my elemental skills along with my dragon will’s powers. This was a mind-numbingly slow process and I felt myself stagnating because of the lack of stimulation.
I spent a few days out of the week sparring with Father but I could tell he was afraid of hurting me, always holding back even when it was unnecessary.
Besides my training, I spent a couple of hours everyday watching over my sister and Lilia while they continued their journey to form their cores. It was a strenuous process and I could see my sister being a bit more impatient with the training but I did my best to help her through it by making games out of it.
During this time, I got to talk to my mother about her abilities as an Emitter. I asked how she was able to learn it and train it when there were so few Emitters and she smiled at me mysteriously, saying how a woman needed to have a few secrets of her own.
I guess I would have to ask her again when she was feeling less secretive.
Two weeks before my birthday and the start of my career as an Adventurer, I was startled by loud, obnoxious knocks on the front door. Opening the door, the faces of the all too familiar group made my lips curl up.