Chapter 6 ...On My Way..

AN: Well this should be the last chapter in a while since I'll be starting Silly Songbird again.

I hope I did the power levels well, since I don't really know the scaling of the True MT universe. It all seems kind of weird the way Rudeus explains it, and then Future Rudeus says that everything can be done so that's what I have working for me. Some spells later down the line that should cost more cost less and some that are useful are just thrown away so I'll try and remedy that. Also, even after being told that Magic is Omnipotent, Rudeus leaves a whole lot of Chunni stuff out so I'll try to put those ideas in if I have the time.

This is another basically fluffy chapter introducing a character we know and love. I might work on the dynamics more ore move on with the stations of canon so there's that too.

Those are my feelings on this chapter, so without further ado.

Because of several circumstances, my brother and I found ourselves under a Magic Teacher.

"It's nice to meet all of you."

When she finally arrived, our entire family was waiting at the door for her. I know it was impolite, but when she passed the threshold all any of could do was stare. Zenith-okasama, Paul-otousama, Lilia-oneesama, adorable little Rudi, and even me, all we could do was look at the curiosity that somehow accepted the job to live with and train a couple of children in the ways of magic.

"I'll be working as the Magic Teacher starting today."

She was dressed in a magician's robe, like the ones you find in fantasy games and described in the Light Novels I used to read. It was more of an overcoat really and she had something like a short dress on but you couldn't deny the fantasy-like feel you got from looking at her. She had a staff, an honest to god staff with crystals and everything, in one hand while the other held on her luggage. She didn't wear glasses or had the look of a librarian or something like that, but she was wearing a witch's hat to keep her long, super ocean blue, hair out of her eyes.

"My name is Roxy and please take care of me."

A real, genuine, undeniable Witch's Hat and she had blue hair to boot!

There was only one problem.

"You're so small!" Rudeus totally failed to read the situation and spoke like a child.

Well, he really was a child, but it was still painful to have him point it out.

True to what my little brother said, Roxy-sensei was kind of small. She was much taller than Rudi and I were, but Mother and Oneesama were both a full head and shoulders taller than her. It didn't really help that instead of looking like a true practitioner of the Magic Arts, she looked more like a teenager fresh from some sort of convention, I should know when I once used to participate.

"I don't want to hear that from you." She quickly shut him down, but not the way I would have done it.

He was three for goodness' sake, children were more responsive to positive reinforcement rather than punishment. Then again, Rudeus was a genius so there was a chance he understood what Roxy-sensei wanted from him, but I wouldn't put it past my brother to just continue teasing our teacher and her height complex.

Because it had to be a height complex.

There was no way she would think that Rudi was referring to her chest.

"Sorry about my brother, he's just feeling a bit excited." I bowed my head in apology as Roxy-sensei seemed to look at me, then my cheeky little brother.

I didn't blame her for sighing.

"Just to confirm, I'm going to be teaching these two children how to use Magic?" Roxy-sensei sounded a bit more resigned then I liked, but even I knew that teaching children was not as easy as it sounded.

Still, she took the job, so she must have known what she was getting into.

Unless of course, Father and Mother just wrote that we needed a teacher and didn't include anything about the student's information.

If Lilia-oneesama didn't check, that sounds exactly like what they would do.

"Yes, you'll be in charge of these two." Mother, I love her very very much, was unrepentant when she pushed both of us forward.

I gave her my most apologetic smile while Rudi, sweet and ignorant Rudi, stuck out his tongue and winked at her cutely.

Roxy-sensei was not impressed.

"Well this does happen from time to time." Our would be teacher grumbled to herself. I will never know if we were meant to hear that or not, but we did. "Sometimes, Idiot Parents would think that their children are Geniuses and start too early. One might be possible but both is too much."

Well, excuse me for being reincarnated.

I didn't even want you here in the first place! If it wasn't for my little brother wanting to seriously study under a teacher, you wouldn't be here.

"I'm sorry, I didn't quite hear that." Mother seemed to have heard as well since her smile was getting a bit sharper.

"It's nothing, I was just wondering if any of them have any form of understanding regarding Magic." Well, well, well Sensei. It seems like you can lie easily.

And for the record, Rudi read a book while I learned everything I knew from experiments, thank you very much!

"That's no problem, my Daisy and Rudi are both brilliant after all." Mother, I know that you love us, but can you please stop ruining your case?

Then again, maybe she was gushing to show Roxy-sensei her displeasure, like one of those passive aggressive types. If that was the case then I finally found out where Rudi and I got the ability and tendency to play coy.

"I understand then, leave them both to me and I'll do my best to teach them." Roxy-sensei sighed one last time before finally looking at my brother and me. "Our first lesson starts now, we'll first see how much you already know and work from there. Come on, children, let's go outside."

Lilia-oneesama took Roxy-sensei's luggage, and the little shorty better be grateful for our eldest sister's service, and our teacher, my brother, and I made our way outside. Well, at least our teacher and I stared moving immediately while Rudi was surprisingly stiff. I wasn't the only one who saw my brother's strange behavior but I knew for a fact that he loved helping Mother out when she was tending to the garden. He had played there with Father too, sometimes to Mother's exasperation whenever they would be too rough with her plants but Rudi had no reason not to want to go outside.

What changed?

"We're going to stay in the garden, Rudi." I offered, snapping him out of his stupor as he answered with a nervous laugh.

"Oh right, the garden." It was a careful whisper, a crafted reply, but I wasn't fooled. "Roxy-sensei, you should really see the garden area behind the house! Mother and I have been taking good care of it and it's so beautiful now!"

His excitement did nothing to shake off the cloud I felt looming over us. Even, when he spoke, when he moved, it was too forced, too stiff, so there had to be something bothering my little brother so much.

My hand shot out as he tried to lead us out of the house, gripping his in a gentle but firm grip when he seemed to be rushing. He couldn't hide from me, and I didn't want him to; I needed him to know that no matter what, I was here for him.

"Don't worry, Rudi." I pulled him closer, not so much pulling him than meeting him half way ahead of Roxy-sensei. I whispered so that the teacher wouldn't hear, it wouldn't do to embarrass my brother when this teacher was looking down on us. "I'll protect you from the Big Bad Outside."

"I'm fine, Daisy."

My brother tried to smile his way out of this one but I could feel his hand squeezing mine much harder.

I just squeezed back.

"Alright then, Daisy, Rudi, I need you two to listen to me." Roxy wasn't as bad a person as I thought when we finally found ourselves in the middle of our large garden behind the house.

I say large garden but I guess it wouldn't be a stretch to call it a field of some sort. Supposedly, before Rudi and I were born, Father would bring some men from the Village Patrol to train here for open field combat since Mother knew High Ranked Healing Magic. She finally got Father to stop when she walked out and found her precious plants somewhat bruised from the scuffle.

The Legends say that the man who hurt her precious flowers still feels the pain to this day, though everyone saw how Mother healed him perfectly.

"Please watch carefully. I'm going to perform a basic spell, then you two will have to match it."

Anyway, back to Roxy-sensei, she was surprisingly more patient when it came to the actual lesson proper. She spoke in a way that commanded authority, she knew her place as the teacher, but she never made it seem that she was an unreachable or god-like existence. She wanted us to listen, but she made us, me personally, feel that it was important for our benefit rather than hers. It was clear that she knew more than us, that she was above us when it came to this, but it was also clear that she was making an effort to share what she knew, even when she wasn't sure that we could learn

"We'll continue until we find your limits and then we'll start the real lessons from there."

I don't know if that was because I was mentally older, but I could appreciate the way she taught.

"Here we go." Roxy tapped the ground with her staff and the wave of power that emanated from her brushed my hair aside and ruffled Rudi's.

I didn't know if that was just a showy display, power that was added by her staff, or something she just did all the time, but that wave of air blew up dust clouds from the usually damp ground, threw her cloak and hair as high as it would go, and set the crystal in her staff aglow.

I could feel a significant amount of magic coming from Roxy-sensei, and if my brother could be described as something monstrous when he used Magic, I was sure my teacher wasn't human. There was a certain quality that came with using magic, and a fearful as my brother's was in terms of magnitude and flavor it was at least similar to Mother's. Roxy's aura was strange, alien in the way the eyes of an insect were so far from the eyes of a human being, or any mammal for that matter. I wasn't afraid, not when it was still inferior to my own maximum when I seriously tried to find it, but it wasn't exactly a pleasant feeling when I experienced it for the first time.

And then she started chanting.

"Bestow the protection of water to the place where thou demands, let the crystal clear stream appear here."

What I felt from her suddenly felt so much worse as the words flowed like water. Again came the terror of the ocean, the rising tide and the squalls of the high seas. It was almost threatening to drown and consume me, and this is when she was using something like a Basic Spell. Even when my brother, using an Intermediate Spell, wasn't this fearsome and I couldn't help but grip my brother's hand harder when the Magic came to alter the world. Water was pulled from the air and forced in front of my teacher's staff, and even if I wasn't the target of the spell, I could feel something terrible threatening to crush me.

The only thing that made me feel better was the way she twirled her staff before she aimed it.

At least I knew that was part of a show.

"Water Ball."

The sphere of water hurtled towards the tree at least fifteen meters away. I noted that it was Mother's favorite tree when the sphere crashed into one of it's branches, pulping instead of cutting the base of the branch and separating it from the main branch.

There was no question in my mind that I could have easily stopped it, but the strange fear that overcame me was only dispelled when I realized the more terrible danger that awaited us if Mother were to see this.

And if I could recall correctly, she was due to come out with refreshments anytime now.

We were so dead.

"So what did you children think?" Our teacher, our poor ignorant teacher, flipped her hair arrogantly, obviously proud of herself for what she did, but we knew better.

When a grown man, a full fledged warrior, cowered before the wrath of my mother, just how well will our childish teacher fare?

We were lucky that my brother was calm enough to address my teacher before I started shouting. I would have probably alerted her to our sin that way.

"That's our mother's favorite tree. She told me that she carefully raised that tree from a time even before we were born." Rudi told our teacher with a cheerful tone and a bright smile, as if he was bragging, and I immediately understood that he was still angry at her for belittling us. Rudi, of all the times to be petty, why did you chose the life and death situation?! "I'm sure that she'll be furious that you broke one of its branches."

"Ehh!" Sensei please don't be so loud, you'll only make it hurt more. "Really?"

"Oh yes. I remember one time, Father was practicing too close to it and accidentally bent one of it's branches." Rudi explained patiently, nodding all the while before his voice hitched with fear. "I don't think I ever saw Mother so angry ever since then."

"That means I'm screwed!" Like an experienced adventurer, Roxy-sensei identified the problem, or the threat to all of out lives, and immediately addressed it.

She didn't care that she dropped her staff, in a burst of quick movement, she hefted up the broken branch and stood on the tips of her toes to align it to the place where it was broken.

Roxy then began a spell that was most familiar to me.

"Uu... let the power of God be converted into a bountiful crop, and bestowed into one's who had lost their strength to stand up once again."

The familiar warmth came back, but not as powerfully as it did the first time I felt it. It was still there, still pleasant, but a bit more subdued, a bit more subtle when Roxy-sensei used it to heal the tree. That could be because I wasn't the target of the spell, but something told me that maybe I only get those heavy impressions when I really concentrate on the feeling the spell inspires in me or when it's the first time someone makes a mark on my magical radar.

Well, I didn't need a conclusion now, Rudi was due to cast a spell soon and I could verify the intensity of the impression then.


I could only watch as the tree responded, the area pulped by the spell growing new branches and regenerating before my very eyes. Even the broken branch sprouted new roots and like hands they grasp each other, anchoring the branch on the trunk once again before restoring it to it's former glory.

Healing Spells apparently worked on all living things; you really do learn something new everyday.

Roxy-sensei and I sighed in collective relief while Rudi smiled without a care in the world.

Maybe he truly believed that Mother wouldn't get too angry at us, since we're her innocent children, but I didn't want to take the risk.

"Amazing, Sensei can also use Healing Magic." The teasing in my brother's voice was almost painful, but I was still recovering from the near death experience so I allowed it for now.

"If you train properly, anyone is capable of this much." Finally, Roxy-sensei spoke respectably, brushing off the compliment but making sure to let us know that we could reach such heights. Still, there was a smile on her face and her voice, though firmly professional, had a slight tinge of happiness in it so at least she recognized that my brother was praising her. "But now it's your turn. Rudi, since you're so excited, you can go first."

"Alright!" My brother was excited, so much so that he was jumping and moving every which way as he gathered his magical power. If I didn't know better, I'd say he looked like he was warming up before casting the spell, but suddenly the excitement just left him. "Sensei!"

"Yes Rudi."

"What was that chant again?" I almost fell on my face when my brother asked something so stupid with an innocent smile on his face. We both knew he had that chant memorized, he was very good at remembering words when our parents or our older sister say them once, so he couldn't hide his little prank from me."

"Bestow the protection of water to the place where thou demands, let the crystal clear flow appear towards here." Roxy-sensei wasn't phased in the least, though I could appreciate the fact that she didn't seem to groan or sigh when it looked like we were just a buch of stupid kids of idiot parents.

I guess it was fine, it would make the look of surprise on her face more delicious.

"Bestow the protection of water to the place where thou demands..." He had a grin on his face and fire in his eyes when he began but flinched halfway though.

It looked like he bit his tongue, and due to the pain he shouted more than spoke his next few words.


The projectile my brother created was visibly smaller and moved visibly slower than that of our teacher's so it wasn't exactly that bad of a spell, but there were some things that made it's inferiority more obvious. It was like the density of her Magic was so much higher than my brother's was even if it was clear he could match her, and from that I could tell that this spell would fly a shorter distance if you compared the two. The feeling I got from my brother when he used it was also less defined, as expected, but to a degree that surpassed my expectations; it didn't really feel like anything, my radar just told me that someone I could uniquely identify as my brother was casting Magic.

The last one was that it was heading straight for-


"ARE YOU AN IDIOT?" I screamed like a woman possessed, taking my brother by the shoulders and shaking him for all that I had, even if it wasn't much. "IT'S LIKE YOU'RE TRYING TO GET US IN TROUBLE!"


"Relax, Nee-sama." My adorable idiot brother tried to calm me down. He was stronger than I was, so the shaking was easy for him to stop when he grabbed my own shoulders and looked to the side. "I don't understand... why..."


"Now do you see it?" I pointed at the tree my mother loved, something she had even before she thought of having children. "You already told Sensei about Mother's beloved tree and you were going to break it yourself!"

"Children" Roxy-sensei, who was being ignored while I berated by idiot little brother for trying to go so far with his petty revenge plot, spoke firmly to get our attention.

"Yes, sensei?"

"What is that?" She pointed to the tree, or more specifically the perfect sphere of water my brother produced that hovered around a meter away from the trunk.

My brother's spell was smaller, slower, and overall weaker than our teacher's spell, but it was still something that could cause a lot of damage. The tree mother loved, it looked like a pear tree but I didn't know if they had pears in this world, was still a young on, something so small it's trunk could barely hide my tiny body when I wanted to hide from Lilia-oneesama. That meant that if the two of them met, the tree would definitely lose that clash.

As impressive as it was to know that my brother had the power to cut down a tree in a single spell, I would prefer if he cut a tree that wasn't so precious to Mother.

So I stopped the Water Ball well before it could destroy the Sacred Pear Tree.

I wonder why Roxy-sensei seemed so surprised though?

Deflecting other spells or just cancelling them out were other plausible responses, but wasn't it so much more efficient to take hold of the opponent's spell before it back harder?

"It's my brother's Water Ball." I responded offhandedly. I was still in the middle of lecturing my brother, something I rarely did, so let me finish please. "He was about to hit Mother's Tree again, so I stopped it."

"And, Rudi, you were able to shorten the chant back there?" She was asking as if finally realizing that, no, Mother and Father weren't idiots and yes, we actually did have some skill when it came to Magic.

"I don't usually use incantations, they're too hard to remember." And there was my brother, innocently shattering her expectations. I would have been behind him all the way if he didn't aim for Mother's Tree. "Don't you know how to do that?"

Did you here that sound?

That was Roxy-sensei's shattered expectations.

May they rest in pieces.

"You both can use Voiceless Incantations?!" Though Sensei looked like she was about to have a heart attack, my brother and I calmly nodded. "And Daisy, you're not getting tired at all?"

"Well..." I considered Roxy-sensei's question seriously, cradling my chin in my hand as I paused for a moment.

In the background, the Water Ball was divided into six comets, complete with faint trailing tails of mist, before they started flying every which way around our vast garden.

It wasn't exactly the most difficult feat of Magic I knew, molding clouds meant that you had to coordinate a lot of water droplets. Just to give you a sense of scale to that, a normal water droplet in a cloud is around 1 milliliter divided by twenty, and you would have to coordinate a grand total of around half a thousand tonnes of the stuff simultaneously. The specific volume of water, for ease of use, is a million milliliters to a tonne, so as you could probably tell by now that was a lot of droplets.

I don't know how a total novice from that one western anime managed to mold clouds into the shape of a skull so easily, but that was a work of fiction I guess.

Six fake comets with collective volume of about a couple of liters was child's play.

Pun intended.

"Not really." I allowed them to fade away before giving our teacher an innocent smile. "Rudeus doesn't usually use words either, so I tried to copy him!"

Though I proclaimed it proudly and gave my brother a hug, he too began looking at me with a newfound sense of awe.

Serves him right for trying to get us all into trouble.

"So what do you think, Roxy-sensei?" And as if on cue, Mother came out with a tray containing cups of what I knew to be lightly flavored water. I didn't think she knew what happened and what could have happened since she had a superior look on her face when she looked down on our much shorter teacher. "My children are brilliant, aren't they?"

"I'd admit that maybe I was too shortsighted when I spoke a while ago. Please accept my sincerest apologies." Roxy-sensei bowed to my Mother, who in turn nodded before offered her a glass which Sensei accepted. "Your children are definitely worth training and polishing if they can already do this much."

"I'm glad to hear that. I used to be an adventurer too, so I know the feeling of having people say things that aren't true and then get the entire party into trouble." Mother smiles at Sensei as she reminiscences of days that have passed. She then went to my brother and I to give us our drinks, apparently oblivious to what had happened. "Make sure to take care of your Magic Teacher and listen to everything she says."

"Yes, Mother/Madam."

We all replied in unison before taking a sip of what she gave us.

"And don't try to use my trees for target practice again."

And we all choked in unison while Mother innocently entered the house.

It was afternoon when I found out something was wrong.

The trees were much bigger than I thought they would be, the branches much thicker and the leaves much darker than I could remember from before. The air was clearer, cooler, but more humid, and uncomfortable at the same time and when I breathed I could feel the wetness of it. It was dimmer here, much more sinister than I thought, something like one of the clearings you'd hear about when children tell stories of ghosts around the campfire or where folktales tell of yokai playing with humans. The grass was the tall and itchy kind instead of the low, soft, comfortable blades that cover the rolling fields, and the soil was damp and sticky instead of the soft earth that you could lie on.

It took me about five minutes of wandering to figure out that I woke up in the forest.

There was a funny story to how I got here.

It had been around half a year since Roxy-sensei started living with us, and let me just say it was fun.

I was surprised when she allowed me to skip learning the chants so long as I could perform what she wanted me to do. We spent a few minutes always checking the limits of my control, the fun stuff like playing with water, freezing and melting it, making it into all those shapes and sizes, and moving it in strange and fun maneuvers. More often than not I would do something even more complicated than what she asks, like making a caricature of my father chase a rough humanoid figure around, but even if she would shake her head, I could tell that she was enjoying our antics.

My brother needed a chant to familiarize himself with a spell, but after doing it once, he had that spell in his head forever. I didn't know about his control, but for all intents and purposes, I had the upper hand there. There was also the matter of generation, since he needed gestures that centered around the hand to cast magic while I did that just for show. I had more flexibility, higher raw output, and better control, but it looked like my brother was a bit faster than I was. We had a test to create a Fire Ball and he managed to make one about half a second faster than I could, but then again I was carefully controlling my output.

Even if I was better all around, I couldn't help but be in awe of my brother for besting me in that one area. I still had decades of scientific knowledge, that surprisingly hadn't faded, over him as well as forty years of experience so I was a miracle that he could keep up as well as he did.

Still, our morning fun had to end before lunch and after, Rudi would start training with Father.

Of course I tried to squeeze myself in, but my brother and Father loved me too much to risk hurting me.

It was sweet, and totally my fault, so I accepted his decision but that ultimately left me with nothing to do.

Roxy-sensei offered to train me during that extra time, but Rudi insisted that I shouldn't widen the existing gap between us, so that was out.

The Mana Burn recovery time had finally been shortened to about ten minutes, so I couldn't even fake sleep anymore during the free time that I had. Two Mana Burns over three hours was still the safest bet, but over time I couldn't help but feel bored as the days wore on. For the first few months, I continued to do as I always did, but whenever I woke up to my brother and Father practicing I could feel the sense of adventure rise within me.

Getting better at Magic was all well and good but I started to feel burned out when it looked like I could do everything I set my mind do.

Yes, I could finally lift all the furniture in our room using just my mind when just a few weeks ago, I was struggling with just a chair.

Maybe it was a power issue after all...

Anyway, it only took half a year before I was bored enough that the child in me won out and I ran away from home.

I know, it was irresponsible, my parents would worry about me, and I was much too young to do something like that.

But I had my Magic at the ready, my parent's worries were unfounded since I could throw about a thousand tonnes of water or earth at will, and I was almost fifty years old mentally.

I would be perfectly safe, in the sense that there was probably nothing in the immediate area that could kill me.

Thinking that, I decided to use my newfound freedom to the fullest.

The surrounding region was composed of either farmland or meadows and they were beautiful. They rolled from horizon to horizon, with slight, picturesque shifts in the landscape that were hills small enough to run up and roll down. Trees were scattered here and there and using Magic to climb them, I could see them go on forever. From hill to hill, field to field, I was reminded at how wide the world was and how fun it was to experience new things as a child.

I never thought that in my hours of wandering, I would find myself lost somewhere in the forest.

Trying to wrap my body in Wind Magic, I found that I could travel much farther much faster but that just meant it was much harder to find my way back.

Don't get me wrong, the forest wasn't exactly the most frightening of places. It was kind of creepy, sure, but even if there were monsters lurking about, it wasn't much of a problem for me. If a high ranking adventurer, Roxy-sensei, is impressed with a fraction of my power, then I thought I would be alright. Getting out wasn't that much of a problem either, since turning around and putting one foot in front of the other was bound to get me out of the gathering of trees.

And that's actually what I did.


The air pushed me forward instead of holding me back and when I ran as fast as I could, I was outside the forest in seconds but that was never the biggest problem.

It was getting home.

There wasn't a path anywhere, only rolling hills, wide open fields, and far away mountains under the great cloudless sky. It was beautiful but that didn't help me at all.

I could see it now; Mother would be the one checking on me as I slept and she would find my bed surprisingly empty. She'd call Lilia-oneesama and together they would look around the whole house, maybe even pulling Roxy-sensei into it if she wasn't doing anything. It would look like a game at first, of me hiding and them seeking but as time passes and their calls grow a bit more frantic, they'll pull Rudi and Father from their training and search the entire house from top to bottom.

They'll soon find out that it wasn't a joke, and if I'm lucky the sun would still be in the sky.

Father would take the horse with mother behind him and he'd head to the barracks while mother goes to the temple to find people willing to help look for me. Roxy-sensei would either take to the air and search as well or join Rudi and Lilia-oneesama worrying back at the house.

It could take a few hours at best and maybe an entire day at worst, but I'd eventually be found and taken home.

Then I'd die at the hands of a furious family.

That was a fate I had to avoid at all-


For the record, I didn't scream when something beside me spoke.

I was combat ready, with fire all around me and water called forth behind just in case I went to far.

I didn't jump backward with an awkward yelp or trip myself to end up on the rough grass.

"Are you alright?" A child, no younger than four years old, came up to me to offer a hand and once again I was reminded that this world was vastly different from mine.

Magic was a big reminder of course, some of the things you could do with it were just plain impossible after all, such as cancelling out wind resistance, form defined shapes at will from a fluid with apparently nothing to support, or encourage regeneration at mildest or time reversal at most severe and call it healing. But that was wonderful stuff after all, and supposedly though science, people once said that such miracles would be open for us. Cloud manipulation though seeding was already a thing, the same with gathering power from the wind, air, and water so it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to be able to mentally control such phenomena given a few more advances in technology.

The green hair and very long ears were straight out of a children's picture book.

I fell in love all over again.

"Pretty." I didn't reach for the child's hand, but his hair was calling to me with it's rich downy green.

It was like the meadows that stretched into forever and were just as soft.

"You too." The child, a boy because no girl would give complements that easily, smiled in a way that shouldn't have been allowed as his own hand felt though my long, naturally blonde, hair and laughed like my little brother did whenever he found new magic. "It's like the sun... but not hot."

"And yours is just as nice as the grass." I not so smoothly replied with a giggle that wasn't all laughter. God, as clumsy and annoying children were at their worst, they were so bright that you couldn't help love them. "What's your name?"

"I'm Luffy, and Mother finally allowed me to bring Father his lunch." The adorable elf, because he couldn't be anything but an elf, proclaimed is accomplishment like he told me he just killed a dragon before looking at me in challenge. "What about you? What's your name? Why did your parents allow you near the forest?"

It was as adorable as a kitten sizing up a large ball of yarn.

"I'm Daisy. I was playing around in the fields and I got lost." I admitted honestly, at the same time trying to fight down the urge to dote on this child like I would my brother. "I think I might be in trouble."

"Don't worry, I'll get you back to the village!" Luffy, again, spoke with such enthusiasm that if he told me that he just solved the Unified Force Problem, then I would have believed him. "You should know your way back from there right? I'll just tell Father and-"

"No wait!" He was startled, but the chances that his father would know mine were so high that I didn't want to risk it. "Why don't you just tell me which way the village is and I'll go there myself?"

"Oh." Why did you have to make me feel like I kicked his puppy. "Ok, the village is supposed to be that way, just behind the trees." Even if he was sad, he probably didn't take that rejection well, Luffy still pointed out a place in the forest that seemed thinner than the rest.

"Thanks, Luffy!" He looked like a sulking kitten, so I gave him a quick snuggle before running toward the direction he pointed out. Even if he was wrong, at least he gave me a place, and he did seem like he knew the forest better than most children. I looked back to flash the surprised little boy a bright smile just before I broke the treeline. "Come back tomorrow and we'll play!"

It wasn't even close to evening, but I felt like I was looking at the sunset when he grinned.



Paul and Rudeus had just entered the house when Lilia decided it was time to check on Candace.

Zenith had gone to the village temple and had volunteered to get the supplies and in turn Lilia was left to manage the house.

Specifically, she was told by Zenith to make sure that Paul and Rudeus didn't destroy any part of the garden, Roxy was comfortable even as she did her own research in her room, and Candace wasn't sick enough to sleep though dinner again.

Of course she would do those things to the best of her ability.

Rudeus was getting stronger as any boy would when he went through Magic and Sword Training. She couldn't spot any trace of Paul's prodigious talent in the little boy but he was shaping up to be a real, if not average, swordsman as the months dragged on. She was reminded of how she used to oversee students when she still trained with the sword, and how she was expected to help them when instinctive types like Paul had trouble guiding them.

It was fine though, over the past months, all Rudeus was learning was how to swing the sword as well as how to train his body.

They had not reached the point where they sparred yet.

Candace, thankfully was progressing much better when it came to training. She didn't get too tired, which was their first fear when the family chose to cultivate her talent, and she was slowly exhibiting the same energy she had when she was still a child. She still slept quite a lot, but she hadn't been losing consciousness at random times of the day like she used to. She was also growing into a Magician that Roxy could barely keep up with when it came to pure application that even the stoic Lilia made a face when the teacher reported that Candace refused to learn the proper chants.

Lilia had seen what the little girl could do; the control to summon six Water Balls and modify them was already well beyond a newly crowned Advanced Rank Magician.

To do so without chanting at all was unprecedented.

It was hard to believe that the same sickly little girl Lilia spent all day watching over had such potential when it came to magic.

It definitely made Lilia feel proud, but more than that, she was relieved that the little girl wasn't born helpless.

Soon enough, the little girl she loved, the fragile but cheerful flower would bloom like any other.

"Oneesama." A small voice came from the window as Lilia opened the door. She had to blink twice to make sure her eyes weren't playing tricks on her. "I can explain."

"Why were you climbing in from the window?" Her voice was curious more than accusing. "And on the second floor no less, when you should have been sleeping?"

"I was bored?" She tried using those traitorous eyes of hers to crush the Warrior Maid's resolve but Lilia had every advantage.

She was an infant, she couldn't have known that Lilia trained young women to use that very same technique to send Nobles to their knees, drunk on affection.

Lilia knew the ways women would guide men into their beds, how to speak, how to move, and how to look at them to ensnare their hearts.

She had spent more years fighting battles of wit and guile than with a swords, and she had mastery over her heart that not even the sliest of nobles were able to bed her with honeyed word, wondrous promises, and sweet nothings.

"Please don't tell Mother and Father."

"Tell me everything." Lilia crumbled like a house of a cards before a little girl she loved as a daughter.

"I love you Oneesama."

Even if the little girl saw her as an older sister.

If any of you saw that coming, props to you guys.

I'll see anyone still here next update =))