A former court wizard was forced to become a little girl after his plan was ruined
A man clad in black robe was running frantically between the trees in the forest just north of Gullaf Castle. His robe was tainted red from the hole on his stomach. His breath was erratic and his energy was seeping away at an incredible speed, not only because of the wound he suffered but also because he was an old man in his late 50s. He only made it this far because he was a trained magician, and he tried to heal his wound as he ran. However, he knew that that wouldn't be enough, he was dying. But he couldn't stop there, because if he did, then his death would be certain, for his pursuers were gaining distance each second.
Gullaf was just a small kingdom with low population, but it was quite prosperous thanks to the various specialties ranging far and wide from food to weaponry. Gullaf was also bordering another two countries, which, the only way to get from one to the other was through Gullaf, thus making Gullaf the central trade point. Adding several generations of great leaders to that, Gullaf was in it's golden age. But then he, Moldna, came. Being a greedy magician, he wanted to have Gullaf for himself. He was determined, but patient. He befriended the current King of Gullaf for nearly 20 years, earning him the title 'court wizard' for Gullaf Kingdom for the last 7 years, until finally he made his decisive move. Several weeks before Arthur's, the only prince of Gullaf kingdom whose mother died giving birth to him, coming of age ceremony at 13 years old, Moldna did his long thought plan, murdering the king while successfully making it seemed natural. He was going to announce it as death from old age, and everyone would believe him. He was the court wizard who was also responsible as the castle's healer, after all. He planned to postpone Arthur's coronation after the king's death and, eventually, disposed him. Everything was supposed to go as planned, if only Arthur was not around.
Not realizing that Arthur was playing hide and seek inside the king's chamber, Moldna killed the king, plainly visible by Arthur. If Arthur screamed or moved or did anything that made his presence known at that time, Moldna wouldn't hesitate to kill him right away. It would bring complications and questions, but nothing that Moldna couldn't handle. But brave little Arthur didn't do any of that. He knew that his father couldn't be saved even if he screamed for help. So instead, he kept silent and waited. Once Moldna was gone, Arthur slowly crept out of his hiding place, hugged his father's body while crying for a minute, then wiped his tears and ran to the only other person he trusted the most in this castle beside his father.
Moldna spread the news of the King's death throughout the castle. Several important people such as the ministers and military figures gathered in the king's room. Moldna smiled inwardly as everyone believed his story, but his joy was short lived as Gullaf Kingdom's general, Baldr, came rushing in with several of his men. He spoiled Moldna's evil deed to everyone present in the room. When Moldna denied this accusation, Arthur himself ran inside and shouted about him witnessing the murder. Soon, Moldna was in a very grave situation. Adding the already present military people to Baldr's men, he was definitely trapped and outnumbered. But Moldna wasn’t in the mood to be executed just yet, so in an attempt to made an escape, he suddenly summoned gusts of wind. Guards around the door were thrown out, and Moldna didn't waste the opportunity. As the other people present were busy shielding their eyes from the wind, Moldna made a run for it. He made it out of the room, but then he felt a pierce on his stomach. Baldr was there, stabbing him from the back, seemingly almost unaffected by the fierce wind. In a rage, Moldna threw a fireball at him, hitting Baldr squarely on his face. Once Baldr no longer became an obstacle, Moldna started to ran again.
And there he was, running around with lethal wound and Gullaf's army marching behind him. He was at his limit. He knew he couldn't last much longer, so he stopped and sat down to concentrate. In his more than dozen years of service to Gullaf kingdom, sucking up to the king was not the only thing he did in his spare time. He was researching vigorously. On what? Anything. Moldna was truly a 'magic freak' in a sense that he was interested in learning all kinds of magic, which made him a very powerful magician despite didn't have much talent to begin with. Sometimes his researches were fruitful and he came up with or mastered a new spell, sometimes they only wasted his time, and sometimes the method of the spell was too ambiguous or dangerous to try. The spell that he was about to try was one of those in third group. A spell that, supposedly, could give one an eternal life by taking over the body of other living entity. But this spell had many dangerous sides, so he had never tried it before. For starter, there was no turning back since after the spell was done, you'd turn into a ghost-like state that couldn't return to your former body, as it died immediately after. And there was a time limit on how long you could be in the ghost state before you disappear into nothingness. Also, even if you could find a living body that you desire, as long as it had a soul, you'd have to battle for the body, mentally, with the real owner. If you win, great for you, but if you lose then you die. But at this point, Moldna was willing to try anything. He just hoped this spell wouldn't fall into the 'time wasting' category after he tried it.
Moldna started his chant. It was a very long spell, but he had memorized it all, just like all of his previous researches. He even still remembered the time wasting ones. Once he finished chanting, he waited for an effect to happen. After 10 seconds of waiting that felt like an eternity, nothing seemed to happen. But before Moldna could shout in desperation, he was dead. His soul (or ghost) suddenly ejected itself from its body. Floating above his now non-living carcass, Moldna seemed to be in a daze for a moment, before realizing that his spell worked. Remembering that he had a time limit, Moldna didn't waste any time. He wasn't sure he could win a mental battle against the people from the army. So, not wanting to waste his precious opportunity of a second life, he flew towards another direction, a small settlement with only a dozen or so houses deep in the forest that he knew.
Moldna felt his time ticking; he gradually lost his form for every second that passed. But fortunately for him, he was able to reach the settlement before he ran out of time. Before he arrived at the village, though, he saw two kids standing by themselves under a big tree. Curious, he went towards them. There were a boy and a girl, probably just a little younger than Arthur. They were standing in front of a small grave, and the girl was crying.
Is that their pet? Moldna asked outloud.
Normally it was loud enough for the children to hear, but they wouldn't hear anything even if Moldna screamed right beside their ears right now. He then hovered around them, noticing that the boy got dirt all over him. He was probably the one who dug the grave. He didn't look as sad as the girl, just looking at her with sympathetic eyes. From the old parchments Moldna read about that spell, it would be easier to dominate a soul that was in its weakest state, such as the girl in front him. She was his best chance for now, as he didn't have much time left. Without much hesitation, Moldna flew right into the sobbing girl.
Moldna phased inside the girl softly but quickly. The girl definitely felt something as it jolted and yelped when Moldna entered, interupting her cries. Her body then shuddered and fell to the side as she lost consciousness. The boy seemed panicked and called her name while shaking her, but neither the girl nor Moldna could hear or feel that since the two of them were retreated deep into the girl's 'soul chamber', if you may call the place where someone's soul resides that. In this seemingly endless empty space, Moldna's soul slowly consumed the girl's soul, there was no battle for dominance as the soul was weak compared to Moldna's sheer determination to live. Moldna lost track of time as he absorbed the girl's memories, mannerisms and abilities for himself. Finally, when Moldna finished his 'meal', he lost consciousness once more.
Sometime later, he... No, she woke up. Opening her eyes, everything was quite dark, but she could still see well. Probably it was around early morning. Slowly sitting up, she surveyed her surroundings. It appeared to be a small room, very modestly decorated as it only had a bed that she was sitting on, a small table next to the bed, and a chair with a small boy sitting on it. She was surprised at first, but quickly regained her composure. The boy was the one from yesterday, currently sleeping soundly. He probably stayed up late waiting for her to wake up. Part of her thought that it was a useless act, but another part, which was based on the little girl's memory, was happy. Smiling a bit, she shook the boy gently.
"Hey Lute, wake up. Wake up, Lute..." she said softly.
Lute, the boy, groaned. He woke up quite easily, probably because sitting on a chair wasn't the best position to sleep. When he opened his eyes, he looked surprised.
"Fio! You are awake! I am so worried! Are you okay?" Lute said with concern both in his voice and on his face.
"I am okay, Lute. Thank you..."
"*sigh* You really scared me... I don't know what I'd do if I lose you too," Lute said with teary eyes.
Moldna, or now Fio, reached out and hug him, "it's okay, brother. I'll always be with you"
Lute and his little sister Fio lived on their own in that tiny village. Their parents died around a year ago when a landslide happened near the village. They were harvesting herbs and picking up dry woods when it happened. The siblings lived by the mercy of their neighbours, but that little village was far from rich, "if you want to eat, you have to work" kind of environment, so Lute and Fio had to do some errands everyday. However, all of the villagers were nice people, so they treated the kids well. The 12 years old Lute got more errands than his 10 years old sister, but he never complained. He swore that he would take care of her in his parents grave, afterall.
For a while after their parents' death, Fio was depressed and Lute did everything he could to cheer her up. One day, when Lute take her for a forest stroll, something they often did before the accident, they found a wounded forrest cat. They decided to took it home and treat it. Although being vigilant towards them at first, in the end the cat got attached to them and vice versa. Everything went well for almost a year, the cat became their pet, and Fio was cheerful again. But suddenly the cat died. They decided to bury it under a big tree near the village. Fio was devastated, and that's when Moldna came. She was fainted for a full day, and when she woke up, it was no longer Fio that Lute knew.
Lute wanted his sister to stay at home and rest that day, giving that she had just woken up from a mini coma, but she insisted on going out to the woods. Lute relented, saying he would accompany her as soon as he finished doing his daily errands for the villagers. Fio just nodded, and took off after eating breakfast, a small piece of bread and a glass of milk, the usual thing.
Once she was deep inside the forest, she 'flipped a mental switch' and Fio's original persona was suppressed, enabling Moldna's real one to come to the surface. The old parchment said that for sometime after the fusion, changing persona back and forth between the two was the only option if he wanted to impersonate Fio. But overtime, the other persona would be assimilated by the other. Moldna must be careful not to become engulfed with Fio's persona, though, otherwise he would essentially became a new person.
Taking a deep breath, Moldna checked his new body. A very young and undeveloped girl, it wasn't much of a sight to see. But Fio was certainly beautiful, so Moldna expected... Herself, to grow up wonderfully. Moldna was initially bothered by the fact that he became a girl, but he thought that he should be grateful that he at least managed to win the small chance of gamble with that reincarnation-like spell. Next, Moldna checked Fio's magic ability. As expected, the difference between his old one and Fio's untrained body was like heaven and earth. It would be difficult for him to use even the lowest level of magic now, so redoing the reincarnation spell was out of the question since it need an enourmous amount of mana.
"I guess I'll be stuck in this girl's body for a long time..." Moldna muttered grimly in Fio's cute voice.
However, there was someting that piqued Moldna's interest. It turned out Fio had a much, much larger affinity and latent ability (or simply called 'talent') to magecraft than he was. If he was very patient and very diligent, with much training, he would be able to surpass his old body in around 10 years. It was something that Moldna looked forward to.
"Well, this might be fate, a body with magic talent that I had always wished for is now mine. Relearning all those spells will be a pain, but if I could be stronger than I was it will be worth it. Just wait, Gullaf Kingdom. Someday, you will be mine!"
And so, Moldna's new life as Fio had begun.
As Fio was determined to become a great wizard, she started practicing straightaway. At first, she tried the most basic and common offensive magic, [Fireball]. Fio tried to focus her mana onto her right hand. Having done this countless times in her previous life, it wasn't very difficult. A few seconds later, a fireball was floating on her hand. However, it's size was comparatively very small and the old Moldna could conjured something almost three times as big instantly. Not pleased with the result, Fio tried to direct more mana towards the flame. The fireball lit up and increased in size, but her mana was decreasing rapidly every second, so she quickly threw the fireball. Where? To the air. Starting forest fire was a bad idea. A little over a dozen meter later, it started to descend, but then it dissipated into nothing. Fio took a mental note on the fire's durability and travel distance. Fio started making another fireball without making it bigger, once again throwing it up above. This time, the fire disappeared even before reaching peak point. Next, she tried the spell after chanting the verse.
"Fiery ball of destruction; [Fireball]," she muttered.
The fire was bigger, mana efficient, and also durable when Fio tried to throw it. The onIy drawback was the time needed to conjure it because of the verse chant. It had been a very long time since Moldna ever chanted the verse of basic level magic, or even intermediate ones. A spell's verses functioned as a catalyst to strengthen the spell up to a certain point. The stronger the spell, the longer the verse. When someone already mastered a spell, most of the time the chant would be skipped to fasten spell preparation. Nevertheless, chanting the verse would always strengthen the spell.
"So I will need to keep chanting verses for every spell now. What a pain," Fio sighed to herself.
With her current amount of maximum mana pool, conjuring those big fireball without chanting would depleted her mana in around 5 tries. Deciding that trying to make the fire bigger without chant had more loss than benefits, Fio stuck on using the chant. She made and threw another 20 fireballs before she was completely exhausted and had a rest. Draining mana pool to the limit was something that old Moldna hadn't done in many years due to his vast mana, so Fio welcomed the nostalgic, tiring feel once again. Her mana regeneration was quite slow, unfortunately, and she was forced to wait for around ten minutes before regaining all of her strength. Soon, she started making fireballs and threw them up again. During her 6th run, about an hour later, when Fio had yet again depleted her mana pool as she threw another fireball, she was thinking of trying another spell after her next rest. But her train of thought was disrupted when she heard Lute's loud voice.
"How did you do that?!"
When Fio looked at him, Lute was standing there with his mouth opened wide. Fio didn't expect him to be there that soon. He must've been rushing to get the works done so he could accompany Fio.
Switching back to Fio's old persona, she said, "Lute, you are quick. Have you finished the tasks?"
"Yea, I have. But never mind that," Lute was approaching Fio fast, "how could you do that?"
"Do what?" Fio tried to play innocent.
"C'mon, I saw you make somekind of fireball and threw it above. It must be magic, right? How did you learn that?" Lute grabbed Fio's shoulder.
"Umm... I don't know," Fio softly answered.
"What do you mean you don't know?! Tell me!" Lute started to shook his sister a little.
"I don't know! When I woke up today, I suddenly can do it! Why don't you believe me?" Fio shouted, getting frustrated herself.
Do you know what a 10 year old girl often do when they become frustrated? Cry. Tears started to build up around Fio's eyes. Lute saw this, and softened his grip on Fio's shoulder.
"I'm sorry, Fio. I didn't mean to scare you. I'm just afraid you would hurt yourself"
"Um, that's okay, brother. I'm sorry, too, for not telling you. I'm afraid you would get mad"
The truth was Fio didn't want Lute to find out because she didn't know how to explain the magic's source. But it turned out a little girl's tears easily solve that problem. Just then, Lute realized Fio's irregular breathing as she was tired out from her last set. He took her to a nearby tree stump and sat down. While waiting for her mana to recover, Fio humored Lute by having a discussion on the source of her magic, obviously feigning ignorance, and then settled to agree that it was given by their dead pet. If Moldna's persona was the one on the surface, Fio would've been laughing uncontrollably. Then, Fio heard an amusing question from Lute.
"Do you think I can use magic too?" He asked expectantly.
Old Moldna was never the type to take pupils, apprentice, subordinates, or whatever you call it. More often than not, they hindered him and his research, so he often dismissed or 'banish' them after several days or weeks. He only had one long-term apprentice, currently staying at Gullaf's capital. He was probably being questioned about his involvement in the murder of the king, but Fio couldn't care less about him. On the other hand, if Lute turned out to have similar talent in magic as his sister did, then he would be more akin to fellow aspiring magician than subordinate or apprentice. Having a friend could be more fun than doing it alone, Fio concluded.
"Let me check, Lute"
Using an identifying spell, Fio assessed Lute's magic affinity. It turned out Lute also had quite a talent in magic, better than old Moldna (which grew the envy towards the siblings even more) but lower than Fio. She pondered on the best action she should take. Should she lie and tell Lute that he had no talent or should she tell the truth and teach him some magic albeit with some difficulties?
"'...Well?" Lute impatiently asked.
"Umm... You have some talent..." Fio finally said.
"Oh yeah!" Lute shouted in joy.
His joy was cut short, "but?"
"But it would take a lot of hard work and training to master magic. I have decided that I want to become a great wizard someday, so whenever I have free time, I will practice my magic. That means no more playing or lazying around. Are you sure you want to do this, Lute? Don't regret this and stop midway, please... I don't want to waste my time," Fio added the last part inside her mind only.
Lute looked troubled. For children, the prospect of not playing and practicing everyday wasn't something fun to do, Fio realized. The other kids used to bully Moldna for the same reason, until he made them taste some of his magic.
"Are you sure I can be a good wizard too?" Lute asked.
"Yes, if you want to work hard together with me," Fio answered confidently.
"...Alright! Let's do our best together!"
From that day on, the two of them work really hard. As expected, Lute was quite a fast learner. He managed to understand the basic of mana control, the ability to feel and focus on his own mana, in just 3 days. A week after, he could create a condensed energy ball made out of mana appear on his hand, just one step behind [Fireball] without fire element. Fio then taught him [Fireball] spell.
"Why don't you just tell me the spell from the start?" Lute complained.
"Without understanding of mana, using magic spells is dangerous," Fio simply answered.
Fio, who decided to keep practicing [Fireball] until Lute was able to keep up with her, finally had a flame-throwing partner. They moved their practice ground to a nearby riverbank to minimize chances of forest fire, settling on a huge rock in the middle of the river as target practice. The act of repeatedly draining mana to near zero by using magic gradually increased their spell mastery as well as maximum mana points.
For almost a couple of years, they had almost the exact same routine; helping the villagers in the morning, practicing magic in the noon, helping the villagers again in the afternoon, and finally training once more before they went to bed. It’s a wonder how they didn’t collapse from overwork, juggling between working for the villagers and magic training. The siblings kept everything in secret since they didn’t know what the villagers would do if they found out that Lute and Fio could use magic. They had mastered several basic spells and each had begun practicing two common intermediate spells. For offense, Fio stuck to fire based spell [Firewall], while Lute focused on air based spell [Wind Cutter]. For support, Fio practiced intermediate healing spell [Cure] and Lute practiced [Haste]. He often used it when doing errands to speed up his work, giving him double practice time. Contrary to that, Fio couldn’t have much practice on her healing. So instead she secretly (even to her brother) practiced curses as well as scaled down [Firewall] on forest animals and then heal them back. Since they had been emptying and refilling their mana pool numerous times every day, by the time Fio reached her 12th birthday, their maximum mana had been more than doubled from when they started.
One day, something peculiar happened. The village was in trouble as a huge bear, nearly twice as big as others, appeared near the village. The villagers weren’t sure on what they should do, but finally decided to send word to the city so that they could deal with the bear. On the meantime, the villagers chose to stay indoors as much as possible. Lute and Fio was forced to suspend their training in order not to arise suspicion. A week had passed after the request had been sent, but no help had come yet when the worst possible case happened. Somehow, nobody noticed when the bear ‘visited’ the village and it immediately attacked someone. The man managed to escape instant death, but he was injured. Panic ensued in the small village as the women rushed inside while the men hesitated to help the wounded villager as they were afraid to become the bear’s next victim. As the bear approached the man to feast, Lute and Fio decided to do something. Looking at each other before nodding, they both rushed forward before anyone could stop them.
“Wind spirit Kane, grant me speed! [Haste]!”
“Fiery pillar of flame, scorching the enemy; [Firewall]!”
[Haste] increased overall movement speed by 50% for a short time, enabling Lute to swiftly dash towards the wounded man. The bear noticed him coming, but before it could react a wall of flame was erected in front of it. Fio’s AOE (area of effect) was a little off as she meant to attack the bear directly, but nevertheless it succeeded in distracting the bear. Even though Fio’s magic quickly dissipated, being surprised by the fire, the bear took several steps back. Lute picked the man up and forcefully dragged him towards safety. Regaining its composure, the bear moved to chase, but Fio launched fireballs repeatedly and managed to stop it in its track. Lute returned with the man.
“I’ll leave him to you and buy you some time,” he said to Fio before dashed back towards the bear.
Fio understood what he meant and proceeded to heal the man, “spirit of light Rumina, grant your mercy upon this soul; [Cure]!”
The man’s wound slowly closed up. Meanwhile, the bear was busy trying to pounce on Lute without success. Lute was trying his best to avoid the attacks; it was really difficult even with the effect of [Haste]. In just two minutes, he was already tired since [Haste] didn’t increase one’s stamina any bit. Forced to retreat, Lute moved far back to avoid getting hurt.
“Fio, are you done yet?!”
The man wasn’t fully healed, but he was no longer in mortal danger so Fio decided to leave him to the other villagers and help Lute. She closed in, not wanting to miss again. The bear now also acknowledged Fio as an enemy and now charging towards them.
“Fiery wall of flame, scorching the enemy; [Firewall!]”
This time, the spell was right on target, the. The bear roared as the fire engulfed it. The spell was burning for a few seconds before it disappeared. However, there seemed to be minimum damage as the bear looked mostly fine, only its fur was a little blackened.
“This bear… It is not an ordinary bear, is it?” Lute muttered, quite shocked that Fio’s spell didn’t work.
Lute was right, this bear was officially called [King Grizzly] by the adventure’s guild; a level 27 mid-boss type monster. It’s not your run-of-the-mill mob monster, level 16 [Bear] or its slightly stronger variants [Brown Bear] and [Black Bear]. Intermediate spells would work on those mobs, but not this one. Getting angrier than before, the bear once again prepared to charge forward. Fio and Lute took several steps back.
“Thin draft of wind, slicing anything ahead; [Wind Cutter]!”
Despite being discouraged, Lute fired his magic. As he expected, it didn’t do much damage to the monster, only made it flinched and stopped for a few seconds before charging again. After all, despite being what you could consider prodigies, Lute and Fio hadn’t mastered their intermediate spells yet. Another wizard with mastery over the same spell should do a more significant damage to the monster than both of them. Moldna? He could pulverize that bear in three seconds, albeit with spell stronger than intermediate level magic. But Moldna wasn’t there, there was only Fio. Fio racked her brain for options. Her weaker self practically screamed ‘run’, but to where? The bear would catch up immediately with its superior speed. Hiding was also not such a viable option; the simple houses in the village offered meager defense against the bear’s brute strength and the forest was the bear’s territory so it should know its nook and cranny.
I didn’t cheat death and then practiced like hell in these past two years to become bear food! Fio shouted in her mind.
Lute glanced at her sister and saw that she was preparing another attack. He wanted to run so badly, but he couldn’t just leave his sister there. He swallowed his saliva nervously and turned back at several of the villagers that were still around.
“Everybody run! We will hold it here!” he said as he mustered his mana.
The villagers seemed a little bit too shocked at the two magic throwing children to move, but Lute paid no mind to that and stepped forward in front of Fio. His idea was to attract the bear’s attention when it closed in so it would focus on attacking him as he used [Haste] to parry.
But then Fio tapped his back and said, almost whispered, “create another [Wind Cutter], use all of your mana to strengthen it”
It wasn’t a request, it was a command. There was no room for debate as the bear was getting really close, so Lute nodded without looking back. Pouring more mana to his spell than usual, Lute chanted.
“Thin draft of wind, slicing anything ahead; [Wind Cutter]”
The blade hovered on top of Lute’s palm and kept growing in size and intensity as Lute kept pouring more mana into it. Lute had only managed to exhaust a little over half of his mana when the bear was already a few steps away. He got a terrible urge to throw his spell at that moment, but he stopped himself and kept strengthening his spell. He believed that Fio would do something. She didn’t disappoint him.
“As rigid as a rock, as mute as the dirt; [Paralysis]! Ice to water, solid to liquid, weaken power and shield; [Feeble]!” Fio shouted from behind.
The bear suddenly froze, unable to move its limbs as the effect of [Paralysis]. It staggered forward, landed on the dirt and slide for a distance from the sudden brake. It wanted to roar, but only managed a growl while staring at Lute and Fio intensely. There was a faint dark blue glow around its body, a signal that [Feeble] was working as well.
[Dual Cast]! Lute thought excitedly. Fio once told him that only experienced wizards could do it as it need sufficient aptitude, otherwise it would be dangerous for the user. For example, just then Fio chanted a total of 5 verses for her spells. 5 verses spells were low-level advance spells, but casting one of those advance spells would be easier than casting two intermediate spells with a total of 5 verses at the same time. She said to Lute once that they couldn’t do it yet, so Fio doing it now excited him, thinking he might be able to do it himself.
Fio snapped him back to reality, “hurry up, my spells won’t last long”
Lute nodded. Feeling that more mana draining would be dangerous for his life, Lute finalized his spell. He threw the spell from his right, making it travel vertically. The bear could only stare helplessly as it was sliced from its forehead up to its back before the spell dispersed. Lute breathed a sigh of relief, and looked at Fio while grinning. She just smiled back bitterly. As if reading Lute’s mind, she started to speak.
“If you are thinking of trying [Dual Cast], don’t. I was gambling and that was lucky”
Lute stopped grinning, “*sigh* Okay, then…”
“Don’t worry, we will be able to do it perfectly someday. Good job, Brother”
“You too, Fio”
Lute and Fio heard someone. When they looked, it turned out the villagers that Lute told to run hadn’t budge at all. They both approached the villagers.
“Why are you still here? Hurry, we must tend to his wound,” Lute pointed to the bear’s victim.
One of the villagers seemed to pay no mind to Lute’s advice and instead asked, “You two… How did you…”
He never finished his question as loud deafening roar cut it short. Quickly turning back, Lute and Fio saw that the bear was staggering, trying to get back on its feet. Blood was dripping from the open wound along its body. Anyone could tell that it was actually half dying, but its appearance (with all those blood) was even more menacing than before. Once fully off the ground, it let out another roar. That finally made the villagers ran away. Both Lute and Fio though, felt as if their feet were bolted to the ground. It was [King Grizzly]’s skill, [Intimidation]. It gave [Fear] status through its roar and Lute and Fio received its full effect, being only several feet away. Despite this, their brave hearts quickly regained senses and they both prepared a spell.
“Thin draft of wind, slicing anything ahead; [Wind Cutter]!”
“Fiery wall of flame, scorching the enemy; [Firewall]!”
However, nothing happened. Their spell failed to activate. Not their mistake, their body naturally refused to cooperate as they had nearly exhausted their mana and the cost for the spells were more than what they had. Had they forced it, they most probably would die. In the small moment of their shock, the bear managed to close in, still moving with great vigor despite the terrible wounds. It was too late to turn around and run now, the bear would catch up with them soon enough. All hope seemed lost on them, but suddenly they heard a faint voice, the end of a chant.
“…striking the enemy; [Thunder]!”
A stream of light pierced the bear from above, followed closely by the booming sound of a thunder. The bear was sizzling from the burn, but amazingly still standing. Fio and Lute fell back on their butts, too surprised to stand. A moment later, a man blurred past right between them, instantly closing in on the disoriented bear. Drawing his sword downward, he then stabbed it at the bear’s throat, piercing the bear until the sword appeared on its head. A second later, the man retracted his sword and the bear fell down dead. The two children were still stunned to say anything when the man swung his sword to the side to throw out some dripping blood and sheathed it back on his left waist.
“That’s another job well done,” he said.
He turned back towards the children, visibly grinning. Fio finally recovered and recognized the young man. Not actually knew him, but judging from his attire and speech, he must be from the adventure guild and he’s there to take the quest from the village. He was lightly armored, breastplate over black shirt, thin metal gauntlet on his left hand, grey pants and boots. The sword was his only visible weapon Still grinning, he walked towards Lute and Fio.
“Are you two okay?” he said, extending a hand to Fio.
Fio took it and stood up, “yes, thank you”
Lute already stood up before her, still quite dazed, saying, “thank you for saving us”
The young man laughed a little, “don’t mention it. You children should run away if you see bears like this, they are very dangerous”
Fio rather dislike him because he seemed a little too prideful. She wanted to retort something when she felt a magic wave hit her. It wasn’t an offensive spell, but she still felt anxious. It came from her back so she turned around to see a woman dressed in white tunic covered with a green cloak. There was a jade-decorated necklace visible on her breast. She held a staff on her right hand with a jade gem on top, and a pointy green hat adorned her long blonde hair. Everything on her screamed the word ‘wizard’ and 'green' to anyone who looked. Fio met her gaze as the woman blinked in surprise, seemed surprised that Fio realized her approaching. But then her face showed a realization, before she smiled at Fio.
“Don’t be so full of yourself, Jack. These children aren’t that weak,” the woman spoke.
So the magic I felt was her measuring my ability, Fio thought. It was a basic spell [Scan] that could measure others' ability up to a certain degree.
“What do you mean, Gladys?” the young man called Jack replied.
“Look at the monster carefully. There is another big wound which is not from our attack. Besides, do you think just the two of us could one-shot a [King Grizzly] like that?” Gladys spoke while pointing at the bear with her staff.
Jack turned back and looked more carefully, “whoa!” he shouted, “that’s [King Grizzly]! And there is a big slashing wound on its back!”
“*sigh* I already told you that just now. Also, you attacked without realizing that it was a [King Grizzly]? How reckless…”
“Umm…” Jack turned back to the two children, ruffling his short grey hair, “so, are you two the one who did that?”
Lute nodded while Fio stayed still.
“Wow, cool. How did you do that? You don’t seem to have any weapon,”
“Magic,” Gladys was the one who answered, “I am amazed that you two are strong enough to inflict great wound on [King Grizzly]. Who taught you two?”
Lute looked at Fio for an advice, but Fio shook her head lightly, signaling him not to answer.
“If you don’t want to answer, that’s okay. Just remember, never use it for bad things, get it?” Gladys said, with quite a stern tone.
“Okay,” Lute and Fio replied softly.
Then, later that evening, Lute and Fio was administered as the member of the adventure guild in Gullaf’s capital. For the next several years, they worked as apprentice adventurers and finished various quests around the city, training their magic in the process. They became good wizards in relatively short time, compared to others.
Hmm… Maybe I should rewind for a bit, just in case you were wondering how they got into the guild. Well you see, when the villagers found out that Lute and Fio could use magic, they got scared. I mean, really scared. They were so scared that they drove Lute and Fio out of the village. Ungrateful? Definitely. But these isolated peasants knew no magic, it was alien to them. And people said the origin of fear was fear of the unknown. Having nowhere to go, Lute and Fio were quite at loss. Fortunately, Jack and Gladys invited them to the guild. Since they got some ability, the guild master approved the new recruits. So Lute and Fio got lodging in the guild hall and became official members.
What’s that? There is something else that is bugging you? Oh right, Moldna as Fio; why would she risked her life trying to save that one villager, right? I mean, based on the beginning of this story, Moldna was a cunning, evil man who would do anything for his gain. Did he have an ulterior motive for saving the villager? Actually, no. I told you earlier that overtime, the two personalities inside Fio would assimilate each other. In the past 2 years, they had completely merged together, Moldna’s and Fio’s personality. Though Moldna retained most of his old personality, some of Fio’s… Err, ‘purity,’ for a lack of better word, managed to influence him. Thus, the new Moldna in Fio had most of his old-self’s ambition, but not as cruel as he was. Well, still not that good of a person, actually. Just… Just stick around for a part two for you two find out. Explaining this is a hassle, you know?
Chapter 1 End