Chapter 21: A New World
The unbelievable discovery, together with the clear flow of mana circulating around Nisha continued to shake her with emotion.
Firstly, she had once again accessed her soul space, it was a very convenient space to store materials, daily necessities and food. She missed being able to carry her treasures and the preys she had killed when she was still in her dragon form.
Secondly, the dragon girl had been able to achieve the first mana rank, her first step on the path of cultivation, and it was one step closer to her goal, the old elf Eldrin.
And of course the most important thing: at last, the dark veil in front of the blind girl’s eyes had been torn away, the world flared in the gentle gleam of an opaque light, drawing each and every wonder it had to offer in a faint silhouette.
Eldrin looks exactly like I remember him. It feels so good to see again after all this time.
Tears ran down the small girls face, passing her short nose and dripping from her ecstatically smiling mouth.
“I can see you … I can see you again, grandpa!”
Throwing herself into the old elf’s embrace, her tears stained one of the official robes that she remembered to be grey, and she was unable to form coherent words to convey her discovery despite her initial outburst.
Somewhat overwhelmed from the joy that his granddaughter had been able to achieve the first mana rank, the elf clearly did not grasp her words, and he wordlessly stared at her.
“What … what did you say? You can see me? But how? Your eyes are still closed …”
Attempting to get more information out of the small girl, Eldrin did his best to calm her down and provide her with support.
Prospects and hopes of Nisha’s eyes healing on her own flourished in his head, each thought equally as joyous as they were terrifying.
“Tell me when you are ready … but for now, I’m just happy. Happy for you, if you can truly see again.”
Comforting each other with their presence, grandfather and granddaughter stayed in the same position for a long time, and it was enough time to alert Lydia and Anna when they returned to the cottage after taking care of the animals; it had been the sisters turn to do the chore today.
No breakfast awaited them when they entered the lobby and there was no aroma of frying ham in the air. They checked the kitchen and the other rooms on the first floor, before checking upstairs.
Upon moving to the door of Eldrin’s room, they put their ears against the smooth wood of the door and they heard low noises coming from the room, they tried eavesdropping on the things happening inside.
When even the tiny noises disappeared, the two sisters could not bear it anymore and rushed inside the room to see what’s going on.
Inside the room, the first thing they saw was the old elf hugging Nisha close to his chest, pale rivers of tears ran down his cheeks as he had a blissful smile on his face.
“Sir Eldrin, what happened?”
Cautiously approaching the scene, Anna assessed the situation more calmly, while Lydia rushed over to them to fuss over the drained dragon.
“She … she can see again! She can see again!”
His euphoric whisper sounded like a father who just got the news of his newborn baby, it was a principal collection of pure bliss.
The reaction of the two older women swayed between hopeful excitement as well as careful doubt, seeing as Nisha’s face was spilling tears, yet her eyes were still closed.
“Sir, is that true?” “What happened?”
Bursting out with their questions at the same time, the revelation filled them with the same joy that Nisha and Eldrin were experiencing. And then, they quickly kneeled down in front of the bed, each of them taking one of Nisha’s hands, shedding tears of joy as well.
Their little sister had once again given them a huge surprise, one very pleasant wonder in a long row of wonders.
“Tell us all about it, tell us everything that took place. What has changed with your eyes?”
Having calmed down somewhat from the life altering experience, the small girl started to recount her ordeal, starting with showing off the achievement she was happy to finally obtain.
Chanting in a low voice which was coarse from crying, Nisha summoned a small flame on top of her palm. It was not big enough to threaten anything more powerful than a wooden board, but it was a flame nonetheless.
I am officially a magician now. A real, authentic witch.
“You finally did it! I knew you would catch up in no time, our little sister is amazing!”
Manipulating the small flame, the dragon girl led the magic spell around the four of them, creating a complex trail of flames in the air and demonstrating a high amount of control about her own magic power.
“The [Fireball] is now hovering in front of Lydia … and now it’s circling around Anna. I can see it! My eyes aren’t healed, but I have gained another sight! I don’t know what to say, I’m just so happy.”
Explaining her newfound ability took the larger part of the morning and early afternoon, testing out the limits of the [Spirit Sight], the name Nisha wanted to call the skill.
Everyone missed out on breakfast and lunch, yet no one complained, they were all too excited about the youngest attaining a way to deal better with her inability and achieving the first mana rank at the same time.
“Based on your description of the world lighting up during your meditation, I don’t think your mana rank and the [Spirit Sight] as well as your soul space are unrelated.”
The elf presented a can of cold water to the three women sitting and panting on the ground. Now that Nisha had achieved a better vision, she was eager to give training with wooden weapons a try, a discipline that was considered too dangerous for her so far.
Compared to hand to hand combat, the main component of aura training along with the rounds around the clearing, fighting with a weapon was a novelty to her.
Swinging around something that was designed to replace the claws and fangs of a dragon, piercing the enemy and tearing down his defenses, a sword felt unfamiliar in comparison to her own natural armaments.
Despite Nisha using a wooden stick for the first time, the spar had no clear winner. Even when the aura user of the second rank, Lydia, faced off in a one on one confrontation with her younger sister, using speed and brute strength to go toe to toe with her.
“The timing is just not something that can be a coincidence, a soul space and unique ability are something every magician strives for.
Unlocking one’s soul space so early is unheard of anyway, truly a miracle.”
Annabelle looked up at this point, very interested in the topic, since she herself aspired to walk the path of a mage as well.
“Sir, if you don’t mind, please expand on the issue. What is a soul space anyway?”
Without a formal teacher in the field of mana before arriving at the cottage, she wanted to learn more about the method that would allow her to protect herself and her sister if anyone dared to attack or act maliciously against them. Personal power symbolized the perfect protection against anyone, and assured respect wherever one went.
“Hmm, let’s see. A soul space is a peculiar thing, and a closely guarded secret of the magicians, although people in positions of power and high ranking guild members are usually aware of them.
A magician trains in the ways of mana by meditating and gaining more control over their soul, increasing their mental fortitude and control.
At the same time, they achieve a very high degree of mastery, some individuals gain the same ability, which has been named the [Soul Space].
Depending on strength and person, the space possible to use is different, but the ability itself works in the same way.
As long as no opposing mana or aura is dwelling in an object, it is possible to store away items and dead bodies, a perfect way to hide important objects or store personal armor and weapons. It is a talent highly valued in any business.
I myself trained long and hard to open my own space at the sixth rank, and I was regarded a prodigy in the royal army, a feat that made me one of the more prominent court mages.”
Grandpa is incredible.
Helping each of them to get up, the small family transitioned into the lobby, attentively listening to the impromptu lecture on mana.
Admiring the light of the world again, Nisha ran around a bit more, circling the three slowly walking persons in the middle of her rounds. She was enjoying the feeling of perceiving the world around her despite her fatigue.
“I’m sure you figured it out by now, but when Nisha arrived here, she did not have her current form. There should have been many questions about her features and our relation, but you never said a word and eased up only after a certain amount of time, so you should have seen her true form.”
The stern gaze of the elf that accompanied his rather strong tone fixed the sisters in place, who guiltily looked to the ground, not daring to look at either the little girl who stopped running at his words, or Eldrin.
“It’s true sir … when her three siblings arrived, we were awake and heard your conversation. We did not want to conceal it, but we had no idea what you would do once you found out we know her true heritage.
Forgive us, I know you would never hurt us just because of this, and I truly think of Nisha as a sister, so please overlook our misdeed, it won’t happen again.”
Putting the confession and the sound she heard when entering the house with her dragon siblings together, Nisha suddenly realized that the two former maids had always known who she was and they never treated her any differently. She ran up to them and embraced both of them.
“Didn’t we agree to speak more openly about our feelings just a while ago? What do you think I’d do to my own big sisters, I love you after all!”
So they had the same worries as me. But I adore them like real sisters, just as they do with me.
Eldrin only smiled at the scene, mending the relationship of the women under his domain had always been one of his goals, although he did not think anything would work out so smoothly and he did not mind the interruption in his explanation. He had always known who spied on them when the lizards visited, and the lack of any questions only confirmed his observations.
After a few moons of observation, the old elf did not sense any falsehood in the two girls and he decided to fill them in on Nisha’s past, trusting them with the important confidential information.
True to his expectation, the time the three girls spent together allowed them to open up to each other and get close. At least the elf had no doubt that Lydia and Anna would never betray the little dragon.
“If you don’t mind me continuing with my summary – feel free to stay like that – the delinquent who broke all common sense and makes me doubt everything I know about magic is my dear granddaughter.
As I have already explained the degree of mastery over one’s magic and soul is important to gain access to one’s soul space, and the earliest case of anyone achieving this feat I know had been shortly after arriving at the fifth rank.
Nisha however seems already able to enter her own space.”
To supplement Eldrin’s explanation, the blind girl pulled one of her sun dresses out of the empty air, holding it in front of her and passing it to Anna to let her feel the fabric, so she knows that it’s a real thing and not an illusion. Anna then passed it to Lydia afterwards, eagerly looking at the elf, urging him to continue with his explanation.
“If you look into the deepest storage room behind the kitchen, you will find a room filled with precious materials, metals and an assortment of other precious treasures. All of these were stored inside of Little Flame’s space when she was still a dragon, the lie I told you about her mother was to conceal her origins, but that is her original name.”
“They are my treasures! But now I have something much more precious, so I don’t need them anymore.”
Interrupting the speech one more time, Nisha happily beamed at her family, valuing each of them more than any mountain of gold or treasure.
The old elf returned the smile in a kind way, not chiding her for cutting him short.
“Nonetheless, she had them stored all away in her [Soul Space] with only the second or close to third mana rank at the time. If opening the space at such a young age and rank was already impossible, the second anomaly is the extreme large amount of room our little girl can fill.
At my rank, I might be able to store a few of my robes, my staff and a few litres of water to trek through the Wilderness.
Storing a full room of items is way beyond my capability, but if my hunch is correct, Nisha should be able to store away all the items away again in her space.”
Following this hunch, the inhabitants of the cottage waited until the women finished their emotional moment and headed towards the storage room.
To Nisha’s great astonishment, she was not only able to see things in front of her, but everything in her surroundings, as long as it was not more than one stone throw away from her. Getting used to the change in perspective still needed more time, but when she was blind, she had memorized each and every step in the house, keeping her from stumbling around.
Arriving at the treasure trove hidden deep into the pathway, the two former maids gawked at the mountains of gold, items and valuables. Never in their lives had they seen anything close in value.
“This … is incredible. So much money on spot. And you say this all belongs to Nisha? How?”
The sheer amount of valuables concentrated in a single spot had left Annabelle speechless, she knew the approximate real value of the heap, while Lydia only admired the shiny items and inquired where their little sister dug out all of this.
“You see, every now and then, a small amounts of coins or a few items would appear overnight in my chamber or the ones of my siblings. Through trading and bartering with the Fairy Queen and the Harpy Queen, we amassed quite the amount of treasures, most of it was with me after I put it into my space, but Little Terra, Little Stream and Little Breeze together have almost the same amount as me combined, either in their rooms or spaces.”
The thought that roughly the same amount of wealth was out there in the Wilderness seemed to even shock the elf, an incredulous look on all three of their faces.
I don’t get why they think this stuff is so important. It’s sparkly and from what Eldrin told me quite expensive, but it’s only stuff after all …
Walking through the room, Nisha quickly swept up the different items, the coins, the herbs, the metals and everything else that was scattered around.
Just like before, she did not feel any strain, even after clearing up the whole room, she just threw everything into her space where she ordered it with her mental fortitude and concentration.
“All cleaned up! Can we go and prepare lunch now? I’m hungry.”
The defeated elf just sighed and ushered the two older women out of the room, knowing better than to inquire about the impossible deed the dragon had just performed, but a single mutter escaped him, unheard by anyone but him.
“And people wonder why dragons are so rich …”
Armed with her [Spirit Sight], the old elf had allowed Nisha to leave the circle of the clearing. She had proven herself more than capable to enjoy hunting again.
Sitting on the branch of a tree she scaled, the dragon girl observed a small number of [Grey Furred Wolves], a monster species of the second rank that roamed the Wilderness in great number. She clutched a simple wooden bow to her chest, evaluating the strength of the wild animals against her own, admiring the smoothness of the arrow in her hand.
The small circle of her unusual sight proved to be insufficient if the concealed hunter wanted to consider the situation with the input provided by it alone, but based on the smell of the forest, the absence of other animal noises and her intuition, Nisha considered the fight to be in her favour.
Balancing herself on the branch, she drew the bow to the utmost limit and took aim.
As soon as the iron headed arrow left the string, Nisha sheathed the bow onto her back and drew the short sword strapped to her waist on the right. She kept a weapon on each side, her training revealed that she had no problem handling or firing a weapon with each hand, so she just kept one spare on her and she fought with whatever hand was not busy at the moment.
Jumping from the tree, the hunting girl arrived only seconds after the arrow buried itself in the neck of the lead wolf, he was marked by his large stature and the fact that he was the only one chewing on the dead deer carcass.
Imitating the flight path of the projectile, Nisha used her sword to heavily land on the back of another wolf, severing its left front leg and knocking its head away with her knee.
Grinning from the rush of adrenaline and the joy of the hunt, she carefully observed the three remaining wolves in her own special vision. The alpha was already out of commission, it was struggling to draw out the arrow that nailed it into the ground.
Spreading out around the lone girl, the remaining wolves eyes turned bloodshot, full of anger and hate against the predator that just killed one of their own and severely injured another.
Using their formation, they hoped to entrap her and slowly wear her down, at least that was the impression Nisha got from them.
The sword strike contained no technique, no finesse.
Just strength and pure speed.
A silver flash cut through the air when the body of the dragon girl burst into motion, severing the head of the wolf on the left in a flash, the [Taurith Short Swords] she prefered to use shimmered in a silver-bluish glow, where the attacking dragon had to stumble a few steps from the momentum after finishing her strike and landing behind the two remaining future preys.
Staring warily at the two remaining enemies, Nisha recalled the advancements she made in the past moon.
Getting the approval from her grandfather allowed her to venture into the woods every now and then on her own, hunting leisurely as long as she promised him to respect the strength of her enemies and not take any unnecessary risks.
The wolves were very wary by now, the small opponent that they deemed harmless after their initial shock, turned out to be a predator who did not need the element of surprise to be their enemy.
Torn between running away and leaving their alpha behind or joining paws to defeat the enemy before them, the large monsters waited a moment too long, their indecisiveness costed them their life.
A wolfish smile playing on her lips, Nisha shortly licked her lips before exploding into a rush again.
Bringing the short sword above her head, she treated the weapon like a much larger one, using both hands to bring the especially sharp edge of a tier five weapon down on the wolf on the right this time.
Using a weapon way above the rank of the intended prey usually took some enjoyment out of the hunt as there was no fight once the blade hit true, but the blind girl was still too engrossed in the thrill of moving about freely once again and interacting with the world to impose a self inhibition like only using weapons of the appropriate tier.
She would stalk through the forest clad in a shroud of dark aura, wielding a weapon like her old claws, slashing and hacking at the enemy. Although Eldrin and the girls called it brutish, outsmarting death one more time and taking down the prey she aimed for instead, she called it the the ultimate rush.
Bisected cleanly in half, the halves slid down from her blade, not moving in death anymore.
The last wolf clearly feared her now, seeing the dragon emit her true pressure.
The body technique she used for moving unseen throughout the forest also compressed her pressure, hiding her from the more formidable beasts when she sensed them enter the area, the tune of the forest quieted down in these situations, her ability to escape and go unseen one was one of the big arguments for her to be allowed to wander around alone.
Unfortunately for the Nisha, she lost herself in memories while hunting down the last wolf, who had now turned around and ran away, leaving behind the alpha wolf to die. Angry with her prey escaping, the dragon girl sprinted behind the wolf, relying on her powerful physique to catch up with it.
After long hours of training and motivated by the success of advancing to the first mana rank, she had aspired to reach the first aura rank as well. She had still not decided whether she wanted to be a fighter or a mage.
Eldrin had advised her that it was too early to definitely decide which path of cultivation she wanted to walk, clearly the elf had seen through her goal of pursuing his path as a mage of the seventh rank and he didn’t want her to be limited to a single option.
Three days ago, she finally broke through after refining her body with the aura she had accumulated through arduous physical training and sparring with the sisters, who gladly entertained their little fighting demon.
The red star Nisha managed to light up warranted a day of celebration and enjoyment, and this was her first hunt since the feast.
Itching to test out the new limits of her body, the blind girl strained herself more and more to catch up with the wolf, who was driven by the fear of the cute reaper behind him managing to run faster than ever before in its life.
Wrapping her small wings, tail and legs in sparkling embers of her fire aura, it enhanced her already strengthened body from the dark sheen that veiled Nisha completely, a flash of ingenuity prompted the dragon girl to try out this particular double strengthening.
The wolf must have felt the sudden rise of power behind him, a miserable howl escaped its maw.
Erupting with a newfound speed, the blind girl flew through the forest, avoiding trees right and left, holding the sword in a reverse grip before her chest.
Whenever she used aura to enhance her body, her usually soft and lithe scales turned as hard as steel, protecting her from some of the wooden blows in sparring sessions, and they were now defending her from the sharp edge of her sword.
A flaming shadow dashed by fleeing animal, taking off its hind leg, sending it tumbling to the ground.
At this moment, the sound of desperation it gave off earlier resounded in a different tune from all sides.
While the [Grey Furred Wolves] preferred to travel in small packs with a single alpha wolf, there were simply too many of them travelling through the forest.
The distress call from the fleeing wolf gathered the different travelling packs in the direction of their injured brethren, and over fifty wolves of the second and third rank surrounded the scene of the dying wolf and the young girl standing on the side of it, Nisha was not sure how many of the animals were there based on their sounds and presence alone and they had yet to enter the range of her [Spirit Sight].
With a wicked expression on her face, the dragon looked forward to the confrontation and readied her sword.
Stained completely in blood, the victor of the skirmish walked back to the first Alpha she slew, recovering the arrow that was still nailing the dead body to the ground.
Taking a canister filled with water out of her space, Nisha started to wash away the blood on her body. Eldrin would worry if she showed up back at the cottage drenched completely in the sanguine liquid and scold her, and maybe he would even postpone their lessons on the wish she made.
Dressing herself in one of the spare dresses in her collection, she picked up the bodies of the alpha and the first wolf she killed, strolling back in the direction of the cottage with the sun shining down on the forest.
She enjoyed the warm rays on top of her head, the song of the woods and the sweet aroma of summer, completely unfazed by the battle she just fought.
Nisha was a predator and hunter, just like Little Flame.