When I approached the gates of the Tribe’s residence, I raised my left hand to show the proof of the proving, the bracelet. After confirming the bracelet, the elven guards escorted me to the previous lodging.
“Thank you.” I thanked the elven guard that escorted me.
In response, the guard bowed before leaving.
“At last. Mmm, Ummm…” I muttered as I stretched my body after closing the door.
With heavy footsteps, I approached the nearby table and placed the sack before taking a seat. On the table, with closed eyes, I laid the side of my face with my arms stretched.
“Finally a decent rest…” I muttered as I imagined myself sleeping peacefully on the bed without anything to worry about other than sleeping for the rest of the day.
Knock! Knock! The door sounded.
Why now… Exhausted, I thought.
Lazily, I stood from the table and approached the door. “Coming.”
When I opened the door, an unexpected guest greeted me.
[Good afternoon Amelia.] The guest said. [Apologies for visiting at this hour, but we need to discuss something.]
The guest had long pointed ears, a light green hair, and had his long hair tied at the back.
“Oh, Sylvar.” Surprised by the sudden visit, I said. “Please, come inside.” I gestured as I moved aside holding the handle.
[Thank you.] He replied as he passed through.
After I offered a seat to Sylvar, I sat on the opposite side facing his direction.
[Now then.] Sylvar started, placing his clasped arms on the table. [First, congratulations Amelia.]
Silently, I sat upright and placed my hands over my stomach. “Thank you.” I replied.
[Hmm… It seems that you are not surprised despite the lack of a proper welcome upon your return.]
“It’s true,” I answered. “I didn’t expect it in the first place.”
[And why is that?] He asked smiling.
“It’s because that the proving has no proper duration.” I answered smiling. “In that case, the celebration or the welcome for the successful participant would be held at a later time.” I continued then asked for confirmation. “Is it right?”
[Yes, the celebration for the return is usually done a day after the return of the participant.] He confirmed. [But there’s one thing you are mistaken.]
“And that is?”
[As much as possible, we ask the spirits to keep track of the participant,] He answered. [In that case, we can at least be informed of the participant’s well-being.]
Then, if that is true…
“Then are you saying that the spirits failed to keep track of me, which is why you were not able to prepare a proper welcome?” I asked based from what I concluded.
[Precisely.] He answered. [So in advance, we apologize that the celebration would be delayed by another day.]
“No, it's fine,” I answered with a wry smile. “I can use that time to rest.”
[Now,] He said. [Will you tell me what happened?]
“I’d be glad to,” I answered hinting of exhaustion. “But I believe I’ll need a proper rest before I could properly narrate my story.”
I’m sorry, but I don’t think I can tell you yet, nor do I plan on telling everything.
[Indeed.] He answered. [But please do tell me if possible, especially about the recent thunderstorm that occurred.]
“Please do anticipate it.” I answered as I stood.
[No.] He gestured me to stop. [I will help myself; you may go and take your rest.]
“Thank you.” I answered as I sat back on the chair and waited for him to leave.
Spirits unable to track me huh… I pondered. The only cause I could think of is Celes.
After he left, I stood from my seat and took the sack with me and went up the stairs.
The fact that Celes hid it from the spirits then it’s as if she’s telling me that it’s a secret.
As I entered the room, I placed the sack down and began removing my clothes.
In the first place, what would they think of me when I tell them that I’m no longer just a human?
I sat on the bed and took out the last fruit from the Tree Mimic and began eating it.
Could I even tell Mother? I moved my sight to the window and viewed the setting sun as I partake of the fruit. Then how about Erina? She saw me back then, but would she even believe that I traveled back in time?
I shook my head to dismiss the thought. I should think about how to confront Sylvar.
Leaving nothing but the seeds, I placed the remains on the metal cup I took from the sack and placed it on a nearby desk.
Before I went to sleep, I thought. Maybe I can grow Tree Mimics with these seeds.
By morning, I woke up feeling refreshed. After coming down, I ate my morning meal, took a bath, and cleansed myself. After the bath, I sat down near the hearth and waited for Sylvar’s arrival. When he arrived, we immediately proceeded with the talk at the table.
“Do I have to mention what happened after the ritual?” I started.
[No, it is fine, we all know that the spirit of the water lend a hand to deliver you down the waterfall so you may leave it as that.] He replied.
I nodded. “First…”
It took some time for me to explain what and how things happened. Nevertheless, I completed the task.
[…] All the way from the start to finish, Sylvar listened silently.
“And that is all.” I ended.
[Let me summarize.] He said. [On the night of the first day, you met the divine beast of the lake?] He asked. [Then it gave you a trial which took you two weeks to complete?]
So Celes is called the divine beast of the lake…
“Yes.” I confirmed.
[And as it wished, the contents and result of this trial cannot be disclosed?] He asked.
[Then afterward, you met Amalthea and again were given another trial?]
Again, I nodded.
[And your proof?] He asked without batting an eye.
Prepared that my story is not believable at the very least, I took out a pouch and opened it before Sylvar.
[This is?] He asked while his smile twitching and his expression visibly crumbling.
“These flakes are the shedding of Amalthea’s horn.” I said with an infallible smile. “It’s a reward I received from Amalthea herself.”
[And do you expect me to believe that?] He said without stuttering despite being visibly shaken.
“Yes.” I confirmed. “As a guess, I believe you can immediately confirm that this is genuine.”
[Ahahaha.] Sylvar laughed weakly. [To the Tribe, we worship Amalthea.] He narrated. [Without a doubt, this is genuine, and this is confirmed by spirits attracted to that unimaginable material.]
Spirits huh… I can’t see anything though… I thought as I looked at the flakes. Anyway, he’s too attracted to the material for him to care about Celes.
[My goodness…] He said as he leaned his back on his chair with his hand on his forehead. [I can’t believe you’re still alive.]
Me too. I thought silently.
[For that Amalthea to give you a trial and survive it…] He muttered as he fixed his posture. [Anyway, let me get this straight, Amelia.] He said as he leaned closer. [Can you give us the shedding, no, at least some of it?] He asked with excitement on his face.
Without hesitation, I replied. “Yes, but only a small portion of it.”
[That’s good enough for us.] Sylvar smiled brightly.
“But of course with a proper compensation.” I continued.
[Then, would you like to discuss that now?] He followed.
“No, not yet.” I answered. “I wish to assess its value before receiving a fitting compensation.”
[Ahahaha.] Sylvar laughed. [Amelia, the value of a material from a divine beast cannot be assessed normally.]
And the fact that the Tribe worships Amalthea would make its value higher than usual…
“True.” I answered as I stood from my seat and approached Sylvar. “Then, let’s just consider it as a debt of the people involved in the processing which I could claim whenever I find the need to.”
Sylvar stood from his seat and approached, [That is indeed a good suggestion, but I hope you wouldn’t claim it all at once.]
“Of course,” I replied as I brought my hand forward for a handshake. “I would claim it in small portions at different periods.”
[If you could promise that, then there is no problem.] He answered as he grabbed my hand and shook it.
Letting the Tribe process it as a reference would be a great benefit to me.
[But who knows that you’d be able to pass the trial of two divine beasts at the same time.] He said as he removed his hand from mine. [With that, you’d easily be recognized by the residents of the Tribe as a competent chief.]
“I do hope so.” I answered.
[Well, then. I’m sure Garfin would be overjoyed to hear this.] He said. [And one last thing, I want you to come with me for a moment.]
“Where to?” I asked.
[To Garfin’s workshop.] He answered.
“Understood.” I said in agreement. I better let Garfin check the rapier while I’m at it.
While we were walking outside, “There sure are a few people at this hour.” I said.
[That’s because it’s still morning, most elves and dwarves are out doing their respective jobs.]
“You mean mining and hunting?”
[Yes,] He answered. [But of course, there are others who had an interest in the suggestions you made.]
“And those are?”
[Alchemy is one.]
“Ah, yes,” I muttered. “I did suggest that and included some books detailing about the foundations of alchemy.” I continued. “Then that means someone in the Tribe has learned the language of humans?”
[Yes, and it all started with Randolf.]
“So Grandfather sent a book about the language of humans too?” I asked walking beside Sylvar while looking at the surroundings.
“Then does the Tribe have books that could teach me the language of the elves and dwarfs?”
[That has already been prepared so rest assured.]
“That’s good to hear.” I said as I waved at an elven child peeking from the window.
[The suggestions and drafts you have sent is quite intriguing, especially about the various crafts related to magic.]
“Most of those are formulated from the things that I have found in Academia.”
[True,] He said, glancing at my direction. [But those are still your ideas, and those ideas of yours affected the Tribe in a good way.]
“I’m glad that I’m of help.” I said returning a smile.
[Specifically to us elves.] He said. [Those shard tipped arrows are quite helpful.]
“But the idea of using shards as the arrow tip is simple.”
[Simple it may be, the effect towards hunting is tremendous.] He refuted. [That alone increased the chances of taking down larger beasts.]
That’s an idea I used to test out breaking shards from afar…
[In addition, the dwarfs liked the idea of placing shards or crystals at the swords handle to make an artificial magic sword.]
But that too is a simple idea I formulated from accessorized magic tools…
While I was deep in thought, Sylvar halted. [We’re here.] He said as he opened the door without knocking.
“Is it fine not to check whether someone is inside first?” I asked puzzled.
[Don’t worry, I already made an appointment with him,]
Not before long since we entered the large brick layered workshop, I started to feel the heat from the large furnace on the other side of the room. Inside the workshop were several swords, axes, spears, bows, and different pieces of armor displayed here and there. On one side of the workshop were different pieces of ores piled up untidily.
Among the prominent ones inside the workshop were hammers of different sizes and shapes, large metallic containers containing different liquids, whetstones made of different materials, pots of clay, tables made out of steel and iron, different blacksmithing tools lying about anywhere ,baskets of shards and crystals, and a dwarf wielding a hammer about three times the size of his head.
[Oh, looky here.] The dwarf, Garfin, said as he approached.
[Garfin, you should let go of the hammer.] Sylvar suggested.
[Not listening to you.] Garfin answered. [Well, what brings you here?] Asked Garfin smiling after placing his hammer over his shoulder.
[Amelia, can you please show that?] Sylvar asked looking to my direction.
[Hrmm?] Garfin grunted.
As Sylvar asked, I brought out the pouch from my pocket and showed the contents to Garfin. Garfin, curious of the content of the pouch, approached and appraised it.
[Hrmm…] He muttered. [This sure is not an ordinary material. What is it?] He asked.
“The shedding of Amalthea’s horn, Grandpa Fin.” I answered in a childish tone accompanied by a smile.
Surprised, Garfin moved his sight towards Sylvar and asked for a confirmation. [Yes, the spirits can confirm this.]
[Really?! What a great find! Hahahahaha!] Garfin laughed heartily.
[But this shedding is a reward from Amalthea to Amelia.] He added.
[No, that’s fine. It’s my Granddaughter after all! Hahahaha!] He continued laughing.
With a wry smile, I stood there silently until Sylvar managed to calm the laughing Garfin.
While Sylvar and Garfin argued where to use the material they would be given, I looked around the workshop and checked the completed weapons and armors. When they were finished, they agreed that they’d take an eight of the shedding. They also promised that I’d be involved all throughout the process as I ought it to be. After discussing the details regarding the use of the material, I left the rapier and the dagger for a proper maintenance.
After the visit, Sylvar told me that there’s still someone else that I have to meet. Since I have no plans for the day, I agreed. After passing through the gates, we walked for several minutes until we reached an open yet rocky area.
[We’re here.] Sylvar said.
“Oh, Lia’s here.” A female voice said as she dropped from a tree.
“Eh?” I muttered surprised of the language spoken.
The girl, no, the woman, who looked like a child, sported a short orange hair tied into a ponytail, and clear green eyes.
“Hmm… Lia probably forgot about me.” The female enarf said. “But that’s fine, we’ll be together for quite a long time anyway, we can always build up our relationship again!” She said energetically as she ran to my direction and embraced me.
“I missed you, Lia!” She buried her head below my chest. “Ah, an older Lia is a great Lia…” She muttered in bliss.
I, unable to comprehend the situation, received everything wearing a confused expression.
“Umm… I’m sorry, but you are?” I asked as I tried to peel off the female enarf.
“Don’t!” she shouted at Sylvar. “My name is Kanna!”
“Umm… Kanna, I don’t think I remember you.” I said.
“I knew it! it’s all Randolf’s fault!” She declared. “And that pesky animal!”
Unsure of what to say, I remained silent.
[Kanna, you should let them meet now.] Sylvar intruded.
“She’s not the person I have to meet?” Puzzled, I asked.
[No, she’s one, but she’s not it.] He answered. [Kanna give her the whistle, I’m sure that too is excited to be reunited with his foster mother.]
Eh? Me? Mother? Eh? What?
“Fine.” Kanna answered frowning. “Lia, here.” She handed a small wooden whistle. “Use it over there.” She pointed a few meters away from where I stood.
Unable to piece anything together, I reluctantly accepted the task. After reaching the said location, I blew the whistle.
“Huh?” I muttered. “Why is there no sound?” I asked.
“Don’t worry!” Kanna shouted. “There’s a sound, but you can’t hear it!”
A sound that I can’t hear? I pondered.
After a few seconds, a shadow accompanied by a sound slicing through the wind passed above me. In response, I looked above but was unable to catch a glimpse of the beast.
Immediately after that, a loud roar echoed to the surroundings.
Wait, Isn’t that?!
Followed by the roar was a powerful gust of wind that made me close my eyes.
“Don’t worry, it’s going to be fine!” Kanna shouted.
Soon after the gust of wind died down, I heard a heavy thud accompanied by a low growl.
After opening my eyes, I was greeted by a tongue filled saliva.
“Euhhh…” Visibly shaken, I stood there wiping the saliva off my face. Without mercy, I was licked again and again until I fell to the ground sobbing. “I surrender…” I cried.
What’s wrong with this wyvern...