It has been five days, no, five days and nights since I woke up from my slumber.
“I told you, don’t think! Don’t use your common sense!” Celes shouted as she pointed her finger at me, standing above the lake’s surface.
Yes, it has been five days and nights. Twenty four hours straight of trai- no, torture, yes, torture.
“It’s. Not. That. Easy!” I replied while I try to balance myself above water. “At least let me rest! I may be fine physically thanks to the link, but I can’t take everything mentally!” I cried. “Please! Naps are not enough!”
These past few days, I have been training under Celes continuously. Normally, it’d be impossible to train without a proper rest, but a human’s common sense doesn’t work on a being on the level of a God.
It’s impossible. I already gave up… I thought in despair. I feel like something is slowly dying inside me…
“No! You’re not resting until you finish this course!” She replied.
“Sigh…” I breathe out. “I can do it now you know…”
“You can do it, but that’s just standing above water. You start sinking the longer you stay,” She pointed out. “Use my mana unsparingly, that way, you can familiarize yourself with control.” She continued. “I won’t be lending my mana after the training. So grab this chance!”
“I am!” I said as I started sprinting while forcibly pouring mana under my feet. “But isn’t this absurd?!” I shouted while I erratically move my sight on the water’s surface. “It would have been easy if you’re not attackiii-!” I was cut off by a large column water suddenly erupting at front.
Concentrate! Pour! Mold! Then Compress!
I slipped through pillar instead of dodging. Before I slipped inside, I formed a small layer of mana in front to act as a barrier.
Heavy! I thought as I felt the torrent of water against the barrier, squinting my eyes. But not yet!
After passing through the pillar, I concentrated mana on my feet and let it spread thinly to act as a foothold. After I landed, I formed another barrier around me.
Immediately after the barrier formed, water on my left and right sides erupted. It erupted with a force enough to slowly crush me in between.
Just keep on pouring! Then reform!
I continuously repaired the mana wall.
It would have been better if I could process this mana into actual magic barriers!
‘Familiarize yourself with the flow, learn to mold it as if you’re breathing, and learn to compress it to form an object.’ Was what Celes suggested.
Before I was crushed in between the torrent of water, I moved forward to let the crushing force propel me forward by using the barrier.
Success! I thought as I started sprinting again after escaping.
As I ran, thin pillars shot out of the water randomly. I twisted my body to the right, to avoid the pillar to my left. Quickened my pace to get ahead of another. Halted and changed direction to avoid the one in front.
When the pillars died down, the water surface started trembling.
Not this again!
“Yes, it is!” She responded.
As soon as she finished, the water started gathering in three spots around me. As it sucks water in its surroundings violently, three towers slowly emerged.
“These giant tentacles again!” I protested as the towers gradually increased in height.
“Of course! It’s because you love it soooooo much!” She said smiling brightly from a distance. “It’s a special service!”
“Who said I love it!?” I replied. “You’re the one who keeps on making it!”
“Oh, is that so?” She mischievously smiled as he brought a finger to her charming lips. “I’m mistaken then. I thought you love it since you let it hit you every time.” She giggled.
Ah… There’s no use arguing… I’m not even allowed to hide my horn these past few days… I hopelessly thought.
I approached the nearest pillar before it started moving.
Haah… I won’t slash at it like a fool this time! I thought.
I took out a shard from my pocket, as soon as I neared its base.
“If illusion doesn’t fool you, then I’ll try this!” I said as I overloaded the shard with mana to make it continuously manifest a ball of wind.
As I continuously fired, drops of water continuously scattered to the surroundings.
“You finally found a way to chip it,” She smiled. “Honestly, looking at you meaninglessly slicing the pillar with your rapier is cute. You should try it again sometime.”
“T-that’s… Not happening again.” I meekly spoke as I recall that embarrassing moment.
As I continued moving while overloading the shard, the water below darkened. It’s the shadow of the pillar before me.
Without waiting for the second beat, I immediately moved around it. But as soon as I reached the other side, a whip of water approached from my right.
“!” Surprised, I unconsciously bent backward and did a back handspring to dodge.
Ah! My arms sank a little as it threw me off balance.
As I adjusted myself, another pillar whipped downwards. As it falls, I started moving towards the left side of the pillar. Then, I formed a barrier above me slightly tilted to the right.
As I defended, water rushed from the side forcing me to bend my knees to hold against it. Slowly, my feet sank up until my knees until it subsided.
I barely got through…
As I try to lift my feet onto the water surface, the water around me darkened. When I looked up, it was there. Two large pillars slowly falling to my direction, determined to crush anything at its wake.
Ah, I lost the shard… I realized.
In despair, I ran towards my left and prepared a barrier above. I ran desperately, but before I reached the end of the shadow, the pillar came crashing. It was a direct hit.
The force of the pillar crushed the barrier and whipped at the back.
“A-” Before I was able to scream in pain, I was already submerged. Nothing else came out of my mouth other than countless bubbles.
Not… Again… I thought as I sank deep into the lake as I slowly lost my consciousness.
How long has it been? I thought as I stroke Amelia’s hair as it glowed faintly under the moonlight. Since the last time I was able to get this close to a child…
I looked over the lake’s surface and looked at my reflection. The moon’s reflection.
Elena… Your descendants have grown well. I thought as I recalled my first born human child. I hope that you’re happy somewhere out there. Like always, I’ll properly look over your children throughout this world’s life.
I moved my sight towards the soundly sleeping Amelia, curled up like an infant, with her head on top of my thighs.
“You’re so warm Amelia,” I muttered expressing a warm and gentle smile.
I’m sorry I have to force you this way. I thought as I placed my hand on her cheek and felt her smooth white skin. But this is necessary. You have to stay strong.
“Celestia, what are you planning.” A voice sounded from the back.
“Nothing,” I replied without turning my face to the person.
“Nothing? Yet, you want me to test her?” The woman spoke passively.
“I just want her to learn how to think faster than how she currently is,” I replied. “And for her to take a hint as to why am I giving her pointers regarding mana manipulation.”
“Then why don’t you tell her how to do it instead?” The woman asked.
“Thea, telling and teaching are two different things,” I answered. “She’s better off understanding the principles herself.”
“…” Thea stood quietly.
“And besides, I have no plan of telling her everything.” I continued. “Amelia learning to think beyond what she is capable of would be best.”
“Isn’t that too cruel? This child had grown with the thinking of a human.”
“True, she’s still attached to what she had learned in Academia,” I answered. “But that’s fine. Knowing her, she’ll definitely realize it soon.”
“What makes you think that?” She asked curiously.
“Normally, only a few would think of using shards in battle, but it’s different in her case,” I answered. “She’s compensating her limited capabilities in the light and dark affinity by using shards,”
“Then why don’t you teach her the secrets of light and dark?” she asked.
“afufufu,” I giggled. “I wouldn’t mind you know? That is, giving birth to a monster that even you would fear.”
“…” She responded quietly. “I guess you’re right. But wouldn’t that be what she would become in the future?”
“I guess? I guess not?” I tilted my head side to side in response.
“Why? Can’t you see the future?” She asked confused.
“Thea, you’re overestimating me,” I answered with giggling. “Even I have some problems when I try to meddle with time. What I could do is try to predict the possible future by thinking of countless possibilities.”
“Isn’t that pretty much the same?” She answered. “Nevertheless, you’re far too capable.”
“There are things that even I could not predict though? And what do you want me to do? I was made to be at least this capable. This world would have been long gone if I was not.”
“To think that they’d call me the Absolute Shield despite paling in comparison to you is frustrating.” She stated in agony.
“Oh come on, you’re still hung up with that?” I answered with disbelief. “You’re doing a good job serving as the shield of Randia against that foolish snake.”
“You’re the only one who thinks of Gandr as a snake Celestia…” She answered exhausted.
“He’s just a huge snake though? I’d give more points to the Levias.” I said earnestly.
“I give up…” She said. “Anyway, why are you staying here? Shouldn’t you be out there cleaning?”
“They’re too afraid to approach,” I said with a wide grin. “They’re gathering their forces, but that would take time,” I continued. “And besides, I’m here to look over Amelia, and to anticipate that.”
“What do you mea-” She stopped.
Then I felt the ripples caused by droplets falling into the water.
“See?” I grinned.
“I didn’t expect them to do it now.” She said as she looked towards the north. “Are they that desperate?”
“Yes, I think they are,” I answered. “In any case, they sure are lucky this time.”
“True, to be able to summon four this time,” She agreed. ”I guess that’s more work for you.”
“Not yet,” I answered. “I’ll have to wait to check whether the seed sprouts.”
“Celestia, are you enjoying this?” She asked.
“Of course not,” I answered. “Why would I enjoy eliminating those who were forcibly summoned in this world just to be used by those good for nothing Gods as vessels? And besides, it’s not like it sprouts in every single human hero summoned.”
“You have a point…”
“Thea we are done here for now,” I said to end the conversation.
“Yes, I’ll be waiting at the appointed place.” She said as she left quietly.
A monster huh… I thought as I took out the necklace within the pouch Amelia brought. To think that she’d value your necklace this much…
I held the sacrificial crystal in my hands and modified its structure.
Really, Randolf, what were you thinking? Making your own Granddaughter go through all this… I thought as I recalled the painful events Amelia was forced to go through. Are you trying to make Amelia an actual monster? What are you after? I can’t understand you…
I’m sorry Randolf, I’ll have to meddle with your plans. I thought as I continued to meddle with the crystal.
You have already robbed Amelia of her childhood, so this much as compensation would suffice.