Two days have passed while I informed Ark and the servants of their responsibilities in the Tribe, and now...
“How is it?” Asked Erina.
“Hmm…” On a stool, I sat as Erina combed my hair.
Quietly, I began reviewing the contents of the parchment once the servants had settled in the lodge.
“Is there any problem?” She asked.
“Nothing,” I replied, “I just find it surprising that Libet would announce that they miraculously summoned four heroes in a single time.”
“The fact that they announced it themselves meant they are not trying to hide it.”
“Yes,” I answered. “They’re not trying to hide that they have four heroes as puppets.”
“Isn’t that a harsh evaluation?”
“I could only assume unless they broke free from Libet and the church at their own will,” I said nonchalantly. “Libet and the church will start by promising continuous support as they add a spy among their party members to control their movements. The fact that they allowed to let their princess and a high-priestess to join the heroes party is a testament of this.”
“Do you mean that they’re all males?”
“No,” I shook my head. “There are two males and females. Quite balanced, I say. For the female side, I could only be proud on one of them.” I smiled. “She snuck out and left a message behind.”
“And it says?”
“It says that ‘I’m going to live quietly on my own. I don’t want to fight some crazy demon lord or whatnot.’”
“She chose wisely.”
“She did, but I wonder how she’ll fair on her own, but perhaps, her blessing gave her the confidence to leave.”
“What did Libet and the church do about it then?”
“They suppressed the rumors,” I answered. “As expected, they reasoned that the hero wished to travel in incognito.”
“The reason for summoning?”
“Brent became a border kingdom.”
For a second, she paused. “What grave news.”
“Indeed,” I replied in pity. “I hope that the sons and daughters of the late King of Niveria find reprieve in Brent.”
“Was the reason for their fall stated?” She said after placing the comb to a nearby desk and started tying up my hair.
“Yes,” I replied. “They’ve let the Beastmen slip into the capital while the siege in Nava Fortress is prolonged. It would’ve been easy for Niveria to eliminate them, but the ones who got inside seems to be on the level of the heroes of old.”
“For the Beastmen to have such a card…”
“It’s not surprising given the fact that we are able to summon heroes, what reason do they have for them to not have the same capability? Besides, I’m more interested in the reason why they appeared now.”
It’s not strange if they really did. Given that the Gods selfishly cherished the race they created, it wouldn’t be strange if they were given a similar parting gift by their God…
“And what makes you so confident?” She asked.
“…” Silently, I realized. I’ve been had…
In a reassuring tone, she spoke. “It’s fine if you don’t wish to tell me.”
Quietly, I’ve let Erina tie up my hair into a braided bun, similar to that of the one I had during the unofficial banquet. Without a single mutter, Erina moved to the bed made of cotton and sat.
“Erina,” I called as I lifted my face.
“Erina, will you… still, accept me? If for some reason… I changed?”
It’s already the 1st day of the 3rd month and it hasn’t come yet...
“You’re late asking that question now.” Gently smiling, she replied. “Whatever happens, as long you live, I will follow, stand beside you, and support you till the end. Even if I have to betray the kingdom, I will always, always, be by your side.”
“That’s just appropriate as your second mother, right?”
Upon hearing her words, the feeling of hesitation vanished into thin air as if she understood what I meant.
“Y-you…” I stuttered. “Remember?”
“Unlike a child who can’t remember a part of her past,” she answered, “my memory remains sharp.”
“Then…” I manifested my horn. “Do I… Look human?”
“Of course not.” She answered unperturbed and began approaching. “There’s no human with a horn, but it’s beautiful.”
“R-really?” I asked. “Isn’t it repulsive?”
She reached her hands towards my horn and tried to grasp it, but failed as her fingers went through. “Sadly, I can’t hold it.”
“I-it hasn’t physically taken root yet… But aren’t you-”
“Like I said, I’ll stand beside you no matter the case, human or not.” She said, looking directly into my eyes. “I’m not the kind of mother who’d push away my daughter just because she’s different. Besides, you were always different from the others since the beginning, so what’s new?”
“Sniff. You’re so mean…”
“There goes the crybaby.”
“I can’t help it,” I smiled. “I’m a fragile maiden.”
After my conversation with Erina, I moved into Argent's room.
“You seem energetic elder brother.” I chuckled with a hand over my mouth.
“Want to go out and play? I can teach you how to fly a wyvern.” I added.
“Rick and Fae are already outside playing with Kanna,” I said. “Want to join?”
“Want to e-”
“Can’t you see I’m resting?!” Lying on his bed, he bellowed.
“I can’t,” I answered. “I’m facing the other way.” I chuckled then moved my seat to face his direction. “Oh, I can see it now.”
“I hate you…”
“The feeling is mutual.” I smiled.
“Please, let’s do this later…” He said exhausted. “I want to rest.”
“That’s what you get for toughing it out even though you’re not the type to”
“I get it. I get it.” He answered. “I need to”
““Be like father at times, but not always.”” We spoke in chorus.
“Besides, you know the reason I stayed, right?” He asked.
“Of course,” I answered. “Who do you think I am?”
“My troublesome little sister.”
“No,” I shook my head. “I’m your bane, your sorrow.”
“I guess I’ll agree on that.”
“Anyway, you should train more if you want to show your gallantry,” I said. “But then again, appealing to the Guards by appearing valiant despite the need to, serves as a good image to the Guards.”
“Yeah, I know. I’ll start that after freeing up the things to be done in the palace.” He replied. “Anyway, let’s discuss the details later.” Then he returned to face the other side of the bed.
“Fine.” Then I stood from my seat and approached the door. “Oh, one thi-”
Frowning, I unhooked the door and left.
After leaving, I met up with the servants and ordered them to prepare a meal for Argent and the Guards. Afterward, I met with the Guards and informed them of their task. I tasked half to go out hunting with the Elves as training and to procure food and placed the remaining to guard Argent for a day of rest. After confirming their response, I went to meet Kanna who’s playing with Rick and Fae.
“Kanna,” I called
In response, she turned and replied. “Oh, Lia!”
Meanwhile, Rick bowed, and Fae curtsied.
“Hey, Lia.” She said. “Rick and Fae have a few similarities with Randolf, right?”
Knowing what she meant, “Yes,” I played it off. “I think so too.”
At least think why they’d show respect to me!
Without a hint of being hurried, “Kanna, could we talk about the egg for a moment?” I asked.
I moved a distance from Rick and Fae and waited for Kanna to come.
“What about it?” She asked. “It’s far from hatching yet, so we shouldn’t touch the egg right now. Besides, the condition for the egg is perfect at its nest.”
“I know, but don’t mention to Rick and Fae anything about their similarities to the Royals.”
“It’s complicated,” I answered, “now is not the time to discuss it. Just avoid mentioning anything about Royals to Rick, Fae, and Camille.”
“Okay.” She nodded.
Then we began to return to Rick and Fae.
“Rick it’s a little early, but do you want to train again?” I asked.
Enthusiastically, he replied. “Yes!”
“How about Fae?” Kanna asked.
“I… Want to try, but I’m not good with weapons...”
“Wait,” Remembering something, I asked. “Fae, have you started studying magic?”
Shaking her head excessively, “No, not yet.” She said.
“Then wait here,” I said as I left towards the lodge. “I’ll be back in a bit!”
Returning to my room, I passed by Erina, Ark, Camille, the Guards and the Servants and gave my greetings while I actively ran up the stairs. After entering my room, I grabbed a small pouch filled with shards and immediately returned to where Kanna and the others are.
After leading Kanna and the others, I passed by Garfin’s workshop and borrowed a mana stabilizer made of mithril and a wooden sword. Then we went to the open field near the gates.
“Rick, you can start with your warm up while I teach Fae,” I commanded. “And Kanna, here,” I threw the wooden sword which she caught properly. “Anything will do, just keep Rick busy.”
“Hmm… I’m not used to swords, but I guess it’s a good handicap.” Then she began swinging the sword as a test. “Yup, this will do.”
Then they began to move a distance from us.
After confirming that we wouldn’t be interrupted, I started.
“Fae, you haven’t learned your affinity right?”
“First, you have to know how mana flows.” I grabbed her hand and made my mana gloss over her skin. “Do you feel it?”
“Un, it’s a little ticklish.” She giggled.
“Good, now try to remember that feeling.” Then I brought out the mana stabilizer, a mithril ring, then inserted it on her finger. “How about now?”
“It’s like water? Then it flows to the ring?”
I removed the ring and said. “Now try to imitate that feeling.”
“Just try it,” I said. “I know it's vague, but mana is like a sleeping liquid inside your body. You have to feel it and force it to move, and to do that, we have to rely on gut feeling.”
“Un, Okay.” Then she tried letting mana flow to her fingers while I poured mine over her skin. “I-it’s hard...”
“That’s good enough.” Then I placed the ring again to her finger. “Now, try again.”
We repeated the practice several times until a small amount of mana was released from her fingers with the ring's help.
“That’s it,” I said smiling. “Congratulations.”
“I did?” She asked then, “I did!” She rejoiced.
“But we’re not done yet.”
“Un!” She nodded excitedly.
“Next, we have to know your affinity, but the problem is, I don’t have an element stone with me so we’ll have to resort to trial and error.”
Then I took out six shards from the pouch.
“Each one of these shards is embedded with one of the lowest magic circle in each element system. First, my favorite, Stone Mold.”
“Yes,” I answered. “Generally, Stone Mold is useless, but I’m quite fond of them. This magic molds any earthen matter into a shape you want, but it usually ends up looking like a stone.”
“What is it used for?”
“You can use it to level furniture, tip a barrel to one side, and things that you usually can do without wasting any mana.”
“Then why was it created? And why is it your favorite?”
“It was created for the purpose of practicing before proceeding with Earth Spike. Without enough practice or knowledge on how the earth would mold itself, or where it would manifest, it could lead to injury or worse, death.” I warned.
“And the reason why I love it is that it could be used like this.” Then I poured mana into the shard.
“What was that?!” Kanna shouted after tripping from the stone I manifested.
“I won!” Rick shouted in rejoice.
“See?” I chuckled. “You can use it to trip people. It’s especially fun when tripping drunkards or any rude person then accidentally stepping on their hands with the heel of your shoes.”
“Un, got it.” She nodded. “But what is her Highness doing outside to meet drunkards anyway?”
“...” For a moment I froze. “D-don’t mind it. I was just looking for bad people, yes, that’s it. Anyway, here, try it.”
With the ring on, she poured mana into the shard little by little and was able to activate it after 3 seconds.
“Wha?!” Then Rick fell down.
Then Kanna laughed at the fallen Rick. “Ahahahaha! Now we’re even!”
“Fae,” I muttered. “I’m so proud of you.” Then patted her head.
“Ahehehe.” She giggled.
“Okay, let’s proceed with the others...”
After testing all the shards, I found that Fae’s magic affinity leaned on water. Finishing the training between Kanna and Rick, I visited Garfin and asked if Fae could keep the stabilizer for a while, we promised to return it, but Garfin insisted as long as Fae visits now and then.