The Beginning After The End - Chapter 21 - Everybody Wins
My mother was on the verge of tears while she said this. She had never been good at controlling her emotions. Eleanor was besides her, clutching onto her leg.
“Mama, don’t be angry. Bruhder not bad a person! Uuu… Mama, don’t cry.”
Director Goodsky had 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 could never blame her for that. It was something I had expected and I wanted to slowly ease her into the idea, but the meeting with Director Goodsky threw the timing off of everything .
After being silent the whole time, my father finally spoke 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?”
“How can you still say that after what happened that day!” my mother yelled, breaking down into a fit of sobs.
I looked to my father for answers, curious about what she was talking about, but he simply shook his head and comforted my mother.
It seemed like a good hour before she had calmed down enough for us to speak again.
I grabbed my mother’s hands. “Mom. I wasn’t planning on leaving tomorrow. I was looking forward to spending a few months at home with you guys.”
She was still silent, but her face softened a little at that and I just gave her a warm smile, Sylvie followed suit and began 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 urged, 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, and unpredictable.”
My mother nodded her head vigorously at this.
I stayed silent for a little bit as I pondered.
“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.” I could almost see the gears in my father’s head wind as he began thinking of potential candidates.
“B-but… I still won’t be able to see you for three years!” My mother began 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 few months, maybe even more frequently than that, depending on what I do.”
“Bruhder, are you leaving?” My sister had an expression as if she had just been told that Santa didn’t exist.
I started 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 had told Eleanor a lot of stories about me and how strong and smart I was. One of Ellie’s favorite bedtime stories was how I saved Mother 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 had become some sort of hero to my sister.
I look back at my mother. Her face was considerably more at ease after talking about this. I guess she had 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? Wasn’t it usually the opposite?” my mother softly muttered.
“Dad’s reason was a part of it; 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 would be a lot harder to fit in if I began school at the age of eight. I don’t think I’ll be able to make much friends with such a big age difference.”
It was a very pitiful excuse, but, for once, my mother gave me a look of understanding. I guess it was a mother’s worst nightmare for her child to become a loner.
It wasn’t a complete lie because I said it thinking of Sylvia’s dying wish. She had 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 winked at my mother.
That earned me a thump on the head but she chuckled as well. “You! You’re just like your father at times like these. Thank God you at least have my intelligence.” She gave me a big hug, leaving me with a warm feeling that I still wasn’t used to.
“Hey! What about my intelligence! He was gifted with my adept abilities in fire too!” My father protested.
“Hmph! My son got his deviant powers from me.” Mother just turned me away from my father and just stuck her tongue out at him.
“Ellie too! Bleh!” My sister copied my mother and stuck her tongue out at my devastated father.
“Sniff! No ones on my side.” He just playfully cried, trying to hug his my daughter. This left us all in a fit of laughter.
The next day was a Sunday, leaving my father with the day off. Both the Leywin and Helstea family were dining together for breakfast. “So did you guys settle on what to do about Arthur?” Vincent asked, half chewing on his omelet.
Tabitha shook 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 sighed.
“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 blushed as he tried to switch back the topic.
“Oh? What conditions?” responded the curious Tabitha as she was cutting the omelet into smaller pieces for Lilia.
“He’s not going to become an adventurer until after his birthday, which is in three 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 his 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 would be the one protecting the guard!” He just chuckled at the ridiculousness of an eight year old protecting a grown, veteran adventurer.
My mother answered 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.”
“Can I have more omelet please?” My sister chimed in with her fork raised in the air.
“I got it!” My father stood 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 shined in excitement.
“Hey! That’s not a bad idea!” My mother said from the kitchen, her voice implying the rarity in my father having a good idea.
Handing a piece of meat to Sylvie who was perched on my lap with her front two paws on the table, I responded 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 sat back down, scratching his head.
Vincent chimed 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 were you planning on doing that while you’re an Adventurer?”
“Ah yes. I’ve been meaning to get to that,” I said while picking up a strawberry with my fork. “I planned on keeping my identity hidden as an adventurer. I’ve read that there were many members of the Adventurer’s Guild that went by aliases, not revealing their identities to the public.” Unfortunately, since there was no way of masking the appearance of Sylvie, I would just have to do a good job of hiding her. Thankfully, she was small enough to fit inside a cloak if the pocket was big enough.
“Mmm… I see.” Both Vincent and Tabitha nodded 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 answered.
The door opened to reveal Vincent with a curious look on his 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 at the piles of documents on the floor and on his desk.
VINCENT HELSTEA’S POV:
Was this child really only eight years old?
Shivers ran down my spine at the tone of his voice. Why was I so nervous at the mention of a ’certain matter’ he wanted to talk to me about?
“What sort of matter is it?” I just asked, 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 sat down and said 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 Helstea Auction House that attracted 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 was this eight-year-old child giving off the same pressure as the time I was next to the King of Sapin himself?
No. The atmosphere now was even heavier than when I was with the king.
He was clearly asking me for a favor. But it felt as though he is gauging me, almost as if he was trying to evaluate where to put me on his list of ’people to keep alive’.
I had never felt this from him, but that was probably because I had only ever seen him with his family.
I quickly replied, 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 filled me with relief. I had nobles that waited 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 responded.
I felt 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 had 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. Even with the generous salary that is well above the average and letting his family stay in our house, I still felt that it was 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 had always been filled with guilt for not being able to spend as much time with my family as they wanted but things were a lot better now.
“Hmm, speaking of training, that actually gives me an idea,” He muttered while looking down.
I’ve noticed quite a while ago that, when Arthur started thinking, he had this look… this look where his gaze focused afar and his brows furrowed; the subtle crease near his lips and the slight twitch of his nose made him appear to be thinking of something above what normal human intelligence would be capable of. It was the look of a true intellectual. Sigh. It’s hard to believe that he was the same age as my little Lilia.
“Allow me to start training your daughter to become a mage.” He put down this landmine as if he was just talking about the weather.
ARTHUR LEYWIN’S POV:
“I had 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 said.
My statement was met with silence. I looked up to see Vincent drop the stack of papers had been fumbling with nervously. His face was frozen in place as I could 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 asked 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 chuckled, trying to lighten up the tension.
He nodded furiously after failing to form a coherent sentence..
“Sincerely… there would be no greater happiness than seeing my daughter become a mage,” he managed 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 walked myself out of the room, picking up the sleeping Sylvie from my lap.
I’m glad that worked out well.