Chapter 20: Everybody Wins
“No! Absolutely no way! Arthur! Do you know how dangerous it is to become an Adventurer? You’ve just gotten back after we all thought you were dead and now you’re saying you want to go get yourself killed out there? No way! Absolutely not.”
My mother was on the verge of tears while saying this. She’s never been good at controlling her emotions. Eleanor is besides her, clutching onto her leg.
“Mama, don’t be angry. Brother not bad a person! Uuu… Mama, don’t cry.”
Director Goodsky left the manor after my announcement. I could tell she still wanted to ask me a lot of questions but we excused ourselves to have a family talk. We were currently inside my parent’s room with my mother standing up in front of me, forbidding me to even think about doing anything remotely dangerous.
Father was a bit more rational. I could tell he didn’t like the idea as well, but he couldn’t really see any reason for me not to be an Adventurer besides my age.
I wasn’t going to debate with my mother. She was saying all of this because she was worried and I don’t blame her. It was something I expected and I wanted to slowly ease her into the idea but I guess that plans out of the bag now.
After being silent the whole time, my father finally speaks up. “Honey, let’s hear Arthur out at least. I’m not saying I agree to him becoming an Adventurer but don’t you think we should at least listen to what he has to say?”
My mother stops her protest and just quietly sniffles.
I grab my mother’s hands. “Mom. I wasn’t planning on leaving tomorrow. I was looking forward to spending a couple of months at home with you guys anyhow.”
Her face softened at that and I just gave her a warm smile, Sylvie following suit and licking her hand.
“What I meant by becoming an Adventurer was so that I can get some experience. After being in the Elf Kingdom for three years, I missed a lot about what I should know about this world of ours. I just thought that becoming an Adventurer would be the best way to gain some practical experience.” I say, not letting go of Mother’s hands.
“I understand where you’re coming from Arthur. Although I was a bit older, I was also itching to get some real life experience in fighting as soon as I awakened as a mage.” He reminisced. “But your mother is also right in that it is dangerous.”
My mother nods her head vigorously at this.
I think for a little bit.
“Dad. Mom. What if I were to have some sort of guard or supervisor with me? Would that make you feel a bit more at ease with this whole idea?”
“Hmm… You know, that’s not a bad idea.” My father’s head winds as he starts thinking of different ideas.
“B-but… I still won’t be able to see you for months!” My mother begins to protest again.
Shaking my head, I say to her. “Mom, I’m not going to go on long trips or go on dangerous missions to faraway places. I’ll try to come back every so often, maybe even more frequently than that, depending on what I do.”
“Brother, are you leaving?” My sister looks at me as if she was just told that Santa didn’t exist.
I start to panic. “Nono Ellie I’m staying here. You’ll be seeing your brother a lot from now on okay?”
Apparently, both my mother and father have told Eleanor a lot of stories about me and how strong and smart I am. One of Ellie’s favorite bedtime stories was how I saved her from a bunch of bad guys on top of a cliff and that I got hurt so it’ll take me some time to come back home. Eventually, I became a sort of hero figure to my sister.
I look back at my mother. Her face was considerably more at ease after talking about this. I guess she just assumed the worst-case scenario and thought I wanted to slay the world’s strongest evil at the age of eight or something.
“Why did you want to be an Adventurer before even going to school anyways? Isn’t it usually the opposite?” My mother softly mutters.
“Dad’s reason was a part of it in that, I want to test my skills out in real life situations. Also, Mom, I want to at least try to fit in with everyone when I go to school. It will be a lot harder to fit in if I begin school at the age of eight. I don’t think I’ll be able to make much friends with such a big age difference.”
For once, Mother gives me a look of approval. A mother’s worst nightmare is her child becoming a loner.
I say this while thinking of Sylvia’s dying wish. She wanted me to enjoy life and have a life not just of training. This was a promise that I planned on keeping no matter what.
“Besides, I’m going to be here for a couple of months anyway. Who know, maybe you’ll get sick of me by then and throw me out before I even get the chance to leave.” I wink at Mother.
That earns me a thump on the head but she chuckles as well. “You! You’re just like your father at times like these. Thank God you at least have my intelligence.” She gives me a big hug, leaving me with a warm feeling inside.
“Hey! What about my intelligence! He was gifted with my adept abilities in fire too!” My father protests.
“Hmph! MY son got his deviant powers from me.” Mother just turns me away from my father and just sticks her tongue out at him.
“Ellie too! Bleh!” My sister copies my mother and sticks her tongue out at my devastated father.
“Sniff! No ones on my side.” He just playfully cries, trying to hug his my daughter.
This leaves us all in a fit of laughter.
The next day is a Sunday, leaving my father with the day off. Both the Leywin and Helstea family are dining together for breakfast.
“So did you guys settle on what to do about Arthur?” Asks Vincent, half chewing on his omelet.
Tabitha shakes her head; “I swear. Sometimes, I have such a hard time believing you’re a noble with your horrible dining habits, dear.
“Kukuku, don’t worry. At least your husband’s better than mine. Remember that one dinner party where Rey spit out his food from laughing so hard? I had to use Ellie as an excuse to leave the table because I was so embarrassed.” My mother just sighs.
“Cough! Anyways! Yes, after talking about it yesterday night, we agreed to let him become an Adventurer under some conditions, Vince.” My father just lightly blushes as he tries to switch back the topic.
“Oh? What conditions?” Responds the curious Tabitha as she’s cutting the omelet into smaller pieces for Lilia.
“He’s not going to become an Adventurer until after his birthday, which is in 3 months. We also decided on having a guard with him on his missions. Besides that, I feel like he’ll be smart enough to manage the rest on his own. Of course, the last condition is that he’ll be visiting as often as possible.” My father explained, working on the rest of roast beef.
“Do you have anyone in mind for who his guard is going to be? Heck, is there even a guard that is capable of guarding him? I feel like Arthur is going to be the one protecting the guard!” He just chuckles at the ridiculousness of an eight year old protecting a grown, veteran Adventurer.
My mother answers him, looking at my father, “We haven’t really thought of a person that fits the criteria. Rey and I thought we could use one of the Helstea Auction guards, but we couldn’t really come up with anyone right?”
“Can I have more omelet please?” My sister chimes in with her fork raised in the air.
“I got it!” My father stands up from his sudden revelation, making me almost choke on the piece of meat that was in my mouth.
“The Twin Horns will be coming back from an expedition in a dungeon soon. I received a letter from the Adventurer Guild Hall that says they should be back within two months! It’s perfect! Why did it take so long for me to think of this? We can just have one of the Twin Horns to look after you. Arthur! You still remember them right?” My father’s eyes shine in excitement.
“Hey! That’s not a bad idea!” My mother says from the kitchen, her voice implying the rarity in my father having a good idea.
Handing a piece of meat to Sylvie who’s perched on my lap with her front two paws on the table, I respond too. “Of course I remember them. That sounds like a great idea Dad. Do they know I’m back?”
“No, unfortunately, I haven’t had the chance to send a mail to them yet. I was planning on doing that today.” My father sits back down, scratching his head.
Vincent chimes in on the conversation after finishing off his breakfast.
“Arthur, you said to Director Cynthia yesterday about not showing your powers to anyone until you enroll into Xyrus Academy right? How are you planning on doing that while you’re an Adventurer?”
“Ah yes. I’ve been meaning to get to that.” I say wile I pick up a strawberry with my fork. “I plan on keeping my identity hidden as an Adventurer. I’ve read that there are many members of the Adventurer’s Guild that go by aliases, not revealing their identities to the public.” Unfortunately, since there is no way of masking the appearance of Sylvie, I’ll just have to do a good job of hiding her. Thankfully, she’s small enough to fit inside a cloak if the pocket is big enough.
“Mmm… I see.” Both Vincent and Tabitha nod at this.
With that, breakfast ended and we all separated.
Father went to the Guild Hall to send a letter to his old party members while my mother and Tabitha went shopping, taking Ellie and Lilia along with them. They asked me to come as well but I politely declined the offer to endure the suffering they call a pastime event.
I washed up and headed towards the right wing of the manor, where Vincent’s office was.
“It’s Arthur.” I respond.
The door opens and I see a curious look on Vincent’s face. “Ah come in! What brings you here Arthur? You’ve never really come into my office before.”
“Ah yes. There is a certain matter I wish to talk to you about today, which is why I visited.” I said while looking around. He had piles of documents on the floor and on his desk.
VINCENT HELSTEA’S POV:
Is this child really only eight years old?
Shivers ran down my spine at the tone of his voice. Why am I nervous at the mention of a ‘certain matter’ he wants to talk to me about?
“What sort of matter is it?” I just ask, my face turning a bit more serious.
“I would like your help in obtaining a few items that might be hard to find elsewhere.” Continuing, he sits down and says with his eyes looking straight at me. “I need a sturdy hooded cloak or robe and a mask that can cover my entire face. It’s imperative that the mask has the function of changing my voice.”
It wasn’t hard to figure out why he wanted these items. As the owner of the famous Helstea Auction House that attracts even the highest of nobles and even the Royal Family, it shouldn’t be too hard to get these items. The mask might be a little tricky because a Sound Elemental Artificer would need to be the one to make this but it could be done.
Yet… why is there such a heavy feeling in this room?
I couldn’t quite place my finger on it…
Why is this eight-year-old child giving off the same aura as the time I was next to the King of Sapin himself?
No. The atmosphere now is even heavier than that.
He was clearly asking me for a favor. But it feels as though he is gauging me, almost as if he’s trying to evaluate where to put me on his list of ‘people to keep alive’.
I’ve never felt this from him, but that was probably because I’ve only ever seen him with his family.
I quickly reply, wanting to get it over with. “Sure, it shouldn’t be a problem getting those things. The mask might take a bit of time but I’m sure we’ll have it before you become an Adventurer.”
His slight nod actually fills me with relief. I have nobles that wait in line to introduce themselves to me but this kid…
“Is there anything you would need my help in for in exchange? I would feel bad just asking for this without any compensation.” He responds.
I feel a little sweat forming above my brows. “I-it’s fine really. I owe your father a lot actually. He may be working for me but the way he trains my guards have really lessened the number of problems that happen during the auctions.”
This was the truth actually. Rey has become an irreplaceable part of the Helstea Auction Houses. His leadership and charisma amongst the guards he trains is first class. I owed him when he saved my life and I owe him and his family now. With the generous salary that is well above the average and letting his family stay in our house, I feel, is actually a bargain on my part. Both Tabitha and Lilia have been happier now than ever after Rey moved in with Alice and had Ellie. I was always filled with guilt for not being able to spend as much time with my family as they wanted but things are now a lot better.
“Hmm, speaking of training, that actually gives me an idea.” He says while looking down.
I’ve noticed quite a while ago that, when Arthur starts thinking, he has this look… this look where his gaze focuses afar and his brows furrow, the subtle crease near his lips and the slight twitch on his nose that make him appear to be thinking of something above what normal human intelligence is capable of; the look of a true intellectual. Sigh. It’s hard to believe that he’s the same age as my little Lilia.
“Allow me to start training your daughter to become a mage.” He puts down this landmine as if he was just talking about the weather.
ARTHUR LEYWIN’S POV:
“I’ve been meaning to start teaching my baby sister in mana manipulation soon. It wouldn’t be too much trouble to include Lilia in these lessons. I noticed that both you and Lady Tabitha are not mages so it might be impossible for her to awaken by herself, but if we start now, I think she’d be able to awaken around the average age.” I say.
My statement is met with silence. I look up to see Vincent drop the stack of papers he was fumbling his finger with nervously. His face is frozen in place and I hear his heart beating faster.
“C-can I truly believe what you just said? Can you really allow my daughter to become a m-mage?” He says after a seemingly long moment of silence.
“Sure. It’ll be a long process but it’s definitely possible. Er… I will have to ask you to keep the lessons on a low profile though. I would hate to be bombarded with doting parents asking to make their children into mages.” I just chuckle.
He nods furiously, not finding the correct words to answer verbally.
“Sincerely… there would be no greater happiness than seeing my daughter become a mage.” He manages to stammer out, tears on the verge falling down.
“Great! Then I’ll leave the items we discussed to you! Now, allow me to excuse myself out. Sorry for intruding in on your work.”
I leave, picking up the sleeping Sylvie from my lap.
I’m glad that worked out well.