Chapter 86: Winding Down
TESSIA ERALITH’S POV:
Tell me I’m dreaming…
Last thing I remembered was trying to release the first phase of my beast will. Grandpa had been really surprised after he checked my mana core, saying that my body was somehow already fully integrated with the Elderwood Guardian’s beast will.
I didn’t fully understand why Virion had been so surprised, but I remember Arthur taking a few years to fully integrate with his beast will.
Hehe… does this mean I’m catching up to him?
No, we were just kids at that time, but he was able to smoothly integrate. Grandpa told me how amazing that was.
It wasn’t fair.
Every time Grandpa talks about Arthur, all he has are words of praise. If it was any other person, I would be jealous.
But it’s okay; he’s mine anyways…
Well not yet…
Soon he will!
Stupid Arthur! I wanted to impress him by being able to control the beast will he gave me.
So much for that… I completely failed and even destroyed part of the castle!
Oh my gosh… Mother and Father aren’t going to be too happy when they see this.
And then he showed up…
Arthur just had to make his appearance at the worst possible time.
Now he’s holding my like some sort of damsel in distress! I guess it wouldn’t be ‘sort of’.
I can’t look at him in the face. I know if I look at him, I’ll start blushing.
Don’t look Tess! Don’t look! Don’t-
Dang it, I looked!
“Hi, there.” Arthur gave me a charming wink with his blue eyes.
I can feel my own face burning like a candle but I can’t seem to peel my eyes away from his gaze until we land.
“Sh-shouldn’t you put me down now?” I managed to stammer out, giving it my all to keep my voice from cracking.
There was a twinkle in his eyes as he playfully smiled at me while he put me down. I knew he was enjoying my embarrassment.
“Are you okay, Tess?” Grandpa caught up to where Arthur and I was. He was sweating and had minor injuries from where my beast will’s aura hit him, but thankfully, otherwise, he looked fine.
“Yes, Grandpa. Sorry for causing all of this mess.” My gaze lowered to see that Arthur’s right leg was bleeding through his pants.
“Oww! Wha-?” I stared wide-eyed at Arthur who suddenly flicked my forehead.
“I’m just glad our troublesome princess isn’t hurt. Right, Gramps?” Arthur said.
Even though he teased me like this, his worried gaze couldn’t help but make me feel warm inside.
“Yes, my troublesome little granddaughter is fine. That’s all that matters. Who cares if she destroyed half of a historic mansion passed down in our family,” Grandpa smirked.
“Hnngg…” I felt like I had shrunk half my size in embarrassment as both my grandfather and Arthur broke out into laughter.
ARTHUR LEYWIN’S POV:
It took a while for Tess to be able to look me in the eyes after letting her back down. As soon as Gramps called the guards back, we left the manor for them to keep watch. Since the royal family’s mansion wasn’t exactly in a suitable shape to stay in, we had a carriage to take us to a nearby inn.
“I should let my son know about what happened in case he and his wife come back early from the meeting. They’ll probably assume that the worst case scenario,” Gramps let out a deep sigh as he said this.
He was rubbing his temples as we sat down on a leather couch at a separate lounge in the first floor of the Spiral Ivy Inn.
I won’t lie. It was a pretty enjoyable sight once we got inside. Since it was just around dinner time, the inn was filled with indistinguishable babble and clatters of plates and utensils. Once they saw us, it felt like someone muted the entire inn as baffled faces of the inn workers and customers that were once eating dropped everything, including their jaws, witnessing the former king of the kingdom with his disheveled appearance carrying his granddaughter, the princess of their kingdom, enter the inn with an unknown human beside him.
Fortunately, the inn manager quickly raced out, beating all of the nearby elves and merchants courageous enough to horde us, and escorted us to the VIP lounge.
“I must apologize for this, Elder Virion. We weren’t expecting a visit from someone of your status or else we would’ve surely made accommodations.” The manager’s posture was deliberately lowered, one hand cupping the other. “Might I ask what brought you to our humble inn? Is there anything I can do for you to make your stay here more comfortable?” he continued on.
“The manor is a bit… messy at the moment. We’re fine here for now; just have a room for us to stay and we’ll be okay.” Gramps waved the manager away after setting down Tess, who had fallen asleep on the way here. On the other hand, you can almost see the tail fiercely wagging from the ever-attentive manager as he nodded like a puppy that just got a treat from his master upon receiving Virion’s directions.
I got myself settled on the couch facing Virion’s as I set down Sylvie who was quietly snoring in my arms by the time we got here. “So what happened back there, Gramps?”
“You wouldn’t believe this, brat. I examined her mana core the other day and guess what… her body was already fully integrated with the Elderwood Guardian’s beast will!” Virion leaned in forward. The excitement in his sharp eyes contrasted how softly he spoke to not wake Tess up.
“You can’t be serious… How can her body be fully integrated with an S class beast—” I stop what I say as Windsom pops up in my mind. Were the orbs that he gave to Tess responsible for this unprecedented phenomena?
“What’s wrong? Why did you stop talking all of a sudden?” Virion raised a brow.
“No, it’s nothing. I was just thinking. Gramps, is that why Tess tried to release the first phase of her beast will?”
Virion let out a wry laugh at this while he scratched his cleanly-shaven chin. “We both got a little ahead of ourselves in thinking that Tess would be able to control her powers because her body was already integrated.”
While the integration between the beast will and the host was essential in order for the body to fully adapt to a mana beast’s will, especially for one that was at a higher stage than their own strength, it was also a training process of sorts. Through the integration process, you become accustomed to how the beast will might affect your body and how you can control its powers, even if it’s a little bit.
Tessia was able to skip this long and arduous process, whether fortunately or not, preventing her from becoming exposed to what effect the beast will can have on her when released.
“It’s fine now that everything is settled, but Tess needs to be more careful when using her beast will.” I sank back into my seat as I said this, taking a long look at the princess’ sleeping self.
“Mmm. I was thinking the same thing. Maybe getting a seal for her until she’s able to better control her beast will. It’s a shame that there’s not specific seal for beast wills; I worry that she wouldn’t be able to protect her while she had her seal on. Even if it was removable, she would be practically defenseless without mana protecting her,” Virion let out a deep sigh.
“You could always give her some sort of protective artifact. If that’s not enough to keep peace in your mind, I’ll be there too, Gramps. I won’t let anything happen to your precious granddaughter,” I nodded.
“Oh I’m sure you’d protect Tessia even if she wasn’t my granddaughter,” Virion shot me a teasing wink as he said this.
We discussed a bit more about the potential powers that Tessia’s beast will might have until the both of us were too tired to continue on. Tessia stirred awake every now and then while Sylvie was so deep asleep that the only indication that my bond was still alive was by the rhythmic expanding and contracting of her belly.
We found ourselves in a luxurious suite with more than enough bedrooms for each of us upon reaching the uppermost level of the inn. The rooms were lavishly decorated in ornaments and trinkets with the walls intricately laid out with vines, giving the place a very fairy-like ambience.
Virion set Tess down inside one of the rooms and came back out to the living room as he poured himself a concoction from a bottle that I assumed to be some sort of liquor.
After wishing him a good night, I tossed Sylv on the bed as she kept sleeping, unfazed, while I changed into the loose silk robe that was hung up on the robe. Taking a deep breath my mind ran through the events of today. Finally having some time to think, I divulged myself to what I seemed to have forgotten to do since being born again into this world. I began to strategize.
When I wasn’t training my own strength, I was constantly strategizing. It was essential to come up with a backup plan in case things went wrong and a backup for the backup plan in case things went horribly out of line. I hated to admit it, but there were times when I catch myself digressing in the way I handle things. As the world around me became some sort of exaggerated fairytale, my mindset also turned into an immature and shallow child-like protagonist.
Streams of if-then scenarios played out in my mind as I thought back to what I discussed with Windsom. If things were really happening as the Asuras made it out to be, then I needed to prepare in advance. Advancing my mana core would be the easy part. I was more worried about what I’d have to leave behind, at least temporarily, while I started training.
Before I leave, I’d want to make sure that my family, Elijah, Tess, Grandpa… that they’d all be protected enough so that when the war starts, they can be relatively safe if I’m not there.
I thought about my sister, Eleanor. She was still making progress on awakening but it’d still be maybe a year or two before she’d be able to start learning magic. She and Mother had the protective charm I gave them, but that was just for that one, life threatening situation. It wouldn’t save her repeatedly.
After running through different options, an idea dawned on me. It might be better at this point to maybe find a bond for Ellie. But it couldn’t just be any bond or there wouldn’t be any meaning to it. The mana beast needed to be strong enough and protective enough so that it could protect my sister’s life…and maybe occasional discourage the weak-willed boys that are audacious enough to try and woo her.
The more I thought about it, the more I came to like the idea.
Hey, it seems pretty normal for a loving brother to get his younger sister a pet that could potentially maul anyone that gets within 3 feet from her, right?