Chapter 5: Let the Journey Begin
I hear a *clang* that drowns out the silence as my mother drops her fork onto the plate.
“What?? Reynolds! Arthur isn’t even four yet! No! Besides, you said if our son is an Augmenter, I thought you said you’ll be able to teach him!”
“I also never expected our son to be this much of a prodigy in mana manipulation. Who has ever heard of an awakening at the age of three!
“But that means he’ll have to leave home! He’s only four Reynolds! We can’t have our baby leave home this early!”
“You don’t get it. When I observe his body while he meditates, I can’t help but feeling all of this is natural for him. Alice honey, I’m holding my son back by trying to teach him something he can do in his sleep.”
Thus began my parents’ quarrel.
They went back and forth, basically repeating their initial points; mother saying I’m too young, father saying they needed to let me reach my full potential blah blah.
In the meantime, I was playing a game of war with my food, the peas attacking for the Mother Empire while the carrots of the Father Nation desperately defending their land.
Finally, my parents settled down and my father asked me,
“Art, this is concerning you so you have a say in this as well. How would you feel going to a big city and having a teacher?”
I applaud the effort for trying to make this fair but you do realize you’re trying to make a 4 year old make a decision that will ultimately change his life right?
Trying to conclude this little argument, I said, “Can I at least try meeting some mentors and have them see if I need to be tutored or not?”
Did I step on a landmine? Was I not supposed to be this articulate in my sentences at my current age? Are they mad because I didn’t choose a side?
Having no confidence in keeping a poker face, I looked down and waited for their response.
Thankfully, none of my fears were on their minds. My mother finally spoke, quietly she muttered, “We’ll at least formally have his mana core and channels tested. We can figure out what to do from there.”
As my father nodded in agreement, we began making preparations the next day. When I said what I did last night, I assumed that we’ll be going to a nearby town or a city a day away to have me tested by a qualified mage, but boy was I wrong.
We were making preparations for a three-week-long journey. A journey on a carriage pulled by a couple of horses through the fucking Grand Mountains to a city called Xyrus.
A book that I read popped into my mind. I recall reading about a floating city built by an elite organization of Conjurers for the sole purpose of housing the most prestigious Mage Academy. The city was later built around the academy, both the City and the academy named after the leader of the organization, Xyrus.
How is it possible to keep a piece of land, hundreds of kilometers long, afloat? Magnetism? Then the land beneath the city will be affected by it. Does the city have it’s own different gravitational field?
This journey was going to be long. It’s times like these that I wish modern sources of transportation existed. In order to get to the city, we’ll have to enter through one of the designated teleportation gate in the Grand Mountains, otherwise, it’ll take months traveling across towns to reach the gate below the actual city which is floating near the border of the Kingdom of Sapin and Darv.
One reason why my father pushed for us to go on this journey now was because his ex party members were here and were on their way to the city of Xyrus. Going now, with them, meant that we had three Augmenters and two Conjurers along with my mother who was a rare Emitter and my father, a B class Augmenter. While the mountain range didn’t have any mana beasts, there were still the potential dangers from bandits and wild animals.
While my mother and father took care of packing all of the necessities, I packed my wooden sword and two books (Encyclopedia of Dicathen and Foundations of Mana Manipulation) for the journey.
By mid morning, we were ready to head out.
Tying my knapsack, with my books and a couple of snacks, to my back and strapping my wooden sword to my waist, I held my mother’s hand and followed my parents to meet their ex party members.
Although I’ve heard about them from time to time from father, I never visited the home while they were helping rebuild it so it would be the first time meeting them.
The information I learned from my father of the party Twin Horns consisted of:
Helen Shard: Female Augmenter specializing in magic archery.
Adam Krensh: Male Augmenter whose main weapon is the spear.
Jasmine Flamesworth: Female Augmenter who specializes in speed with dual daggers.
Angela Rose: Female Conjurer specializing in Wind Magic.
Durden Walker: Male Conjurer specializing in Earth Magic.
We reached the inn they were staying at in Ashber and saw them out in front, near the stables.
My father, hugging his ex party members, exclaimed, “Guys, I want you guys to meet my son Arthur! Go on Art, introduce yourself.”
Giving a slight half bow while looking up at them, I introduced myself.
“Hello. My father has told me great things about his fellow Twin Horns members. Thank you for traveling with us to Xyrus. We’ll be in your hands.”
“HAHAHA, what is this? Such manners! Are you sure he’s your son, Rey?”
The one to respond was the Spear wielder, Adam. Taking a closer look at him, he seemed like the energetic, talkative type. While fairly good looking, with bright red hair tied in a messy poof at the end, almost like a flame, and a couple of bangs escaping from the hair tie, he reminded me of some sort of vagabond. His eyes were bright and almost seemed like they were always laughing. The first thing I noticed though was the scar across his nose, reaching both cheeks.
I felt myself getting picked up.
“Awww…Isn’t he just too precious? You should be glad that he doesn’t look like you Reynolds”
Peeling my face away from what felt like a memory foam death trap before she suffocated me in those gigantic breasts, I took a good look at the woman who was trying to kill me. Boy was she pretty. I mean, while not as pretty as mother, she gave off the whole “royal princess” vibe with her long blond hair that came to a curl at the ends and radiant green eyes that curled down and out.
Just as my hands were about to give away and my face about to enter the twin abyssal hills, a strong hand grabs me by my knapsack and takes me away from the well-endowed woman.
“Angela, you’re hurting him.”
There I hung, like a kitten being carried by his mother from the scruff of his neck, unable to move.
I looked at the giant.
Easily passing two meters in height with a staff strapped to his back, he put me back on the ground and tidied my clothes gently.
A gentle giant!
Can I ride on his shoulders the whole way? I looked up at him, my eyes getting bigger and almost sparkling. I feel so safe in his hands.
He had very narrow eyes and eyebrows that slanted down, giving him an almost innocent face, compared to his gigantic body. The short scruffy black hair on his head completed the shaggy dog look on him.
Dusting my clothes off, I turned to face the woman that looked slightly younger than everyone else. Straight black hair, back half tied up with a ribbon and she had red, half-open eyes and curt-looking lips, making her seem very brusque.
“mhm” she slightly nods and then turns away.
Ah… a woman of few words. How charming.
Looking as she walks away towards the stable, I see two short daggers strapped to her lower back, just above the hips.
The last member of the Twin Horns is Helen Shard. She pats my head lightly and smiles charming smile at me. The word that would describe Miss Helen in one word would be sharp. Sharp eyes, sharp, perky nose, thin red lips, and a flat chest, almost boyish with her shoulder length hair tied tightly in the back. I can’t help but get charmed by her charismatic ambience. She seems to exude this “we can do anything if we believe” atmosphere from her pores that makes her almost glow. Clothed in light leather armor covering her ches… I mean breasts, and her bow and arrows strapped to her back, I couldn’t help but compare her to an elf, but quickly abandoned that thought after I see her rounded ears.
I hopped onto the back carriage with the help of a little mana reinforcing my legs. Lately, I’ve gotten the hang of using my mana in reinforcing my body. Although I never got the chance to fully test what I’m capable of, just in case I do too much and give my parents heart attacks, it’s getting more natural to direct my mana from my core through my mana channels.
After our party finished loading in all of our travel necessities into the two carriages we were taking, we strapped in what I thought would be horses. It turns out, this world has domesticated mana beasts called Skitters for transportation. These giant lizards with spikes across their backs and powerful claws are D class monsters that are a lot more efficient to use, and more expensive, than horses when travelling mountain terrain.
Let the journey begin!
By nightfall, the once distant mountain range seemed to have doubled in size. I wonder how big the Grand Mountain range will be when we reach the foot. I’m excited.
We made camp at a small cluster of boulders. Nearby were a lot of scrap wood from fallen branches to use as campfire.
One thing I detest about this body is how much sleep I require. I slept most of the way and I still feel a bit sleepy after being awake for a couple of hours.
After setting up a couple of tents around the fire, my father and mother began talking to the Twin Horns about old times when Helen sits down next to me and says nonchalantly, “I heard your pops say that you’re some kind of genius mage… Is it true you already awakened?”
Not knowing how to answer, I just told her the truth. “Yes.”
She began asking me how I felt when I awakened and what color my mana core was. By this time, a couple of curious ears perked up and Adam said, “Hey Reynolds, do you mind if I test little Art?”
Both my father and mother seemed a little hesitant at first, but trusting their old comrade, my father just said “Alright, but be careful. I haven’t had the chance to teach him how to properly fight yet. We’ve just been doing light strength and mana exercises ‘til now.”
Adam gets up from his makeshift log seat and looked around until he found a short stick he felt satisfied with.
“Come here Kid. Haha, let’s see what you’re made of!”