Chapter 14:

Ch 14 - One last glance

St Chaos Healer

Mother and father were taking their sweet time, so I was helping out the driver to store the luggage in the carriage. It was a bit awkward for the driver and he seemed to avoid looking me in the eye.Bookmark here

My mom and dad were squabbling out loud and it was very loud and clear.
Even I felt a little embarrassed.Bookmark here

Just when I was in the midst of helping-Bookmark here

“Ben!” I heard a girl’s voice.Bookmark here

Turning my head, I saw a young girl almost the same age as me who was dressed in a blue frock. She had bob-cut black hair with a blue lily flower just above her ear. One of her arms was made of a wooden prosthetic arm. Meanwhile, her other arm was behind her, as if she was hiding something. She wasn’t wearing any shoes, again barefoot.Bookmark here

But her beautiful brown eyes were round and moist staring at me as if she will cry any second now.Bookmark here

It was none other than Heather.Bookmark here

I leaped down from the carriage and went to meet her.
“Good morning, I never thought you would wake up soon,” I said with a sneer.Bookmark here

“You are such an asshole! You told me you will wake me up first thing in the morning,” she replied angrily.Bookmark here

Oh yes, I did promise her something like that.
It almost slipped my mind.Bookmark here

Heather isn’t a morning girl, she always tends to wake up late almost at noon. She was pampered a lot by her mother and daughter. But her father is a downright alcoholic jerk sadly. She learned all the foul language from the time when her father used to abuse her mother.Bookmark here

Two years ago the domestic abuse escalated to such an extent that the town elders had to get involved. Later the townsfolk helped put her father into a rehabilitation center with the help of using a guild request. From then on her upbringing has been a lot better ever since.Bookmark here

But sadly she had already been infected with a foul mouth personality, thanks to her abusive father.Bookmark here

I lightly hit Heather with a chop on her head,
“Language.”Bookmark here

She suddenly burst into tears, sobbing like a child all of a sudden.
She knitted her eyes and wailed out as if someone had died or something.Bookmark here

Hey, I know I have been strength training and my physique is better than an average kid. Not bragging or anything. But I know that chop hardly hurts her.
It was just light pat.Bookmark here

Even the driver now started giving me this weird look.Bookmark here

I grabbed her shoulder,
“Oi, that was just a light chop. What’s with all the crying and drama?”Bookmark here

Heather didn’t respond, just wailed and sobbing loudly.
This went for a minute.Bookmark here

“Alright, alright. I am sorry. Now stop crying.” I apologized and rubbed her head, “Did it hurt here?”Bookmark here

I glanced and even the driver was staring daggers as if I was someone who committed a heinous crime in public view. I had no choice but to apologize.Bookmark here

Heather shook her head.
She was still crying but at least she was quite down.Bookmark here

She looked at me with teary eyes,
“Do you have to go?” she asked me.Bookmark here

“Of course I have to go. I had told you yesterday.” I replied.Bookmark here

“I hope you don’t become a mage.”Bookmark here

“Heather!” I exclaimed angrily, “You know how important this is for me. I have been training for so long. Now I finally have a chance to see if I can be a mage and exact my reven-”Bookmark here

Heather knows better than anyone how hard I trained. She’s the last person that I would want to say such a thing. I have been working so hard to become a mage so I can exact my revenge. She really ticked me off this time.Bookmark here

I stopped midway and turned around,
“If you just wanna say such a thing, you shouldn’t have bothered coming here.”Bookmark here

I turned around and walked towards the carriage.Bookmark here

Meanwhile, the driver was glaring at me and shaking his head as if trying to reconcile with her. Most of the adults see Heather with her prosthetic arm, they feel a lot of pity and sympathy for her until she opens her foul mouth. This driver will react the same way if he knew Heather.Bookmark here

I ignored the driver and just walked towards my carriage.Bookmark here

“Ben!” Heather grabbed my shirt sleeves, “I~I am sorry.”Bookmark here

Heather had stopped calling me ‘big brother’ and started calling me by my nickname ‘Ben’ since last year, for some reason. There was only one year difference between me and Heather, so I didn’t mind.Bookmark here

I stopped on my feet and just glanced at her frowning at her.Bookmark here

She lowers her head,
“I~I didn’t mean like that… It’s just if you become a mage then who would hang out and play with me. Also, you don’t know how to make friends. So isn’t it better that you just stick around and train here like you used to? That way I will continue to help you train you by placing practice targets, collecting stray daggers, and-and-”Bookmark here

I let out a sigh and turned around patted her head,
“You silly girl. If you feel lonely, you should just try curbing your foul mouth and make more friends instead.”Bookmark here

The previous anger dissipated.
I know she didn’t mean any harm and I shouldn’t lose my temper for such a silly thing.Bookmark here

Heather’s eyes glared at me angrily,
“I don’t want any other friends. I am just fine with you. If you stay, I will~ I will… I will promise to not say any more foul words from now on~ I swear for real this time! So please!”Bookmark here

She looked at me hoping that I would agree.Bookmark here

There’s no way that I can stay here anyway.
Children after their 12th birthday must participate in the ceremony. This is actually mandatory for every citizen living in the kingdom. They even go so far as running a special train just so every common folk can participate. People who don’t participate in this event have been charged with a capital offense.Bookmark here

It’s because every kingdom sees every potential mage as the nation’s assets. If I become a mage I will have to pledge fealty to the nation and work like a dog for this kingdom’s welfare. If only I could promote to a high-tier mage class then I might break from these shackles and be free to roam around to some extent.Bookmark here

But that’s a long way to go, I must just focus on what’s in front of me now.
Right now in front of me is a sniffling little girl begging me to stay here.Bookmark here

I took a sigh pondered for some time to adjust my words,
“Listen, Heather, next year it will be your turn to take part in the ceremony. When the time comes, you train hard and become a mage as well. Once you become a strong mage we will make a party and go around adventuring.”Bookmark here

Heather looked at me with puppy eyes,
“You think I can become a mage too?” Bookmark here

She then frowned and became gloomy and glanced at her wooden prosthetic arm.Bookmark here

Heather’s prosthetic arm was just a namesake, it was just a wooden arm attached to her amputated arm. The only thing that prosthetic arm was to slap someone. It actually looked quite hideous, to be honest. But her family can’t afford a real prosthetic arm.Bookmark here

I thought for right words,
“Of course! You can become a mage! If this time I could successfully become a mage, then why can’t you? After all, you were watching me train close by, so you must have also gained some insights to become a mage as well.”Bookmark here

Of course, everything I just said is horse shit.
Becoming a mage depends on luck if you can manifest mana core or not. I am just trying to say sweet words just so she won’t feel bad. It’s not like this is the first time I fooled this girl.Bookmark here

She quickly cheered up in an instant,
“Alright, if you say so it must be true, then I can also become a mage too. We will form a party and go on an adventure together, that’s a promise, right?!”Bookmark here

“Eh~ Sure, why not,”Bookmark here

She finally cheered up chuckling happily.
I looked at the driver and he was also smiling nodding his head as if telling me that I did the right thing. I glared at him fiercely and the driver quickly averted his eyes.Bookmark here

“Ben!” suddenly Heather spoke again, “Here have this.”Bookmark here

I looked in the front and finally Heather holding a wooden disk with creepy carvings on it. She was hiding this thing behind her back all this time.Bookmark here

“This is?”Bookmark here

“It’s a good luck charm talisman that I made myself. This will bring you 100% luck and guarantee to be able to become a mage in that ceremony,” she said proudly holding her arms on her hips.Bookmark here

I just smiled wryly,
“Sure, a strange voodoo talisman is just what I need.”Bookmark here

“Well, I also have another similar talisman that is connected with your talisman. So that I can always send my good luck blessing directly to you through the charm.”Bookmark here

“I see~ I guess, thank you,” I replied and patted her head.
What kinda witchcraft stuff is she into nowadays?Bookmark here

“Stop treating me like a kid,” she said while shoving my hand away embarrassingly.
I have been patting her head for some time already, it’s just now that she realized that.Bookmark here

“Oh, what we have here.” suddenly a female voice came from behind, “If it isn’t Heather here so early in the morning.”Bookmark here

It was none other than my mom.Bookmark here

She finally was here.
She was wearing a lovely red frock matching her beautiful with frilly ends with matching high heel boots. Her beautiful red hair was up tied like a ball with a lovely butterfly hair clip. She even put on bright red lipstick giving which increased her beauty overall. In her hand, she was wearing gloves holding an umbrella.Bookmark here

She looked like a goddess dressed all in red.
Meanwhile, my dad looked… Bookmark here

It’s hard to say but he looked like a hobo who stole clothes from some rich guy and imitating them to be one. The two people if I had not known wouldn’t even guess they were a couple. Someone would just mistake my father to be just her servant tagging along.Bookmark here

I agree with mom, dad should cut his unkempt hair.Bookmark here

My father noticed my gaze and started smiling,
“Love my new suit? Haha, I picked this myself. When you grow up, you will get a chance to wear it too.”Bookmark here

I just sighed and shook my head.Bookmark here

“Dear Heather, you woke up early to see us off or just to see off Ben. You also dressed up so charmingly for this occasion.” said mother as she embraced Heather while winking at me with derogatory innuendos, “I also want to have a daughter, just like you.”Bookmark here

I rolled my eyes. My mother has always been teasing me like ever since.
If she knew that I was at least 900+ years old demonic overlord, I don’t know how she would react then.Bookmark here

I never had a sibling so I was a bit happy having Heather as a little sister. But adults have to shove down some romantic meaning behind every little thing.Bookmark here

“Of course not, I am also here to see uncle and aunt.” responded blushingly while glancing at me a few times, “Who wants to see this smelly jerk!”Bookmark here

She really changes color like a chameleon.Bookmark here

“Well, I hope you will look after our home until we return.”Bookmark here

She held her prosthetic arm on her hip and patted her chest with the other hand,
“Leave it to me. I already noted down what fertilizer and quantity to put each plant in the garden as well. When you return your garden will be full of lots of vegetables and fruits that you won’t even recognize.”Bookmark here

My mom patted her head,
“Well, you sure have grown up, Heather. You can pluck and share these vegetables with your mom. It will rot away until we can return, just taking care of my garden is enough.”Bookmark here

Leaving her garden is like abandoning her child.
But she wanted to escort me into the ceremony with my dad. It was once a lifetime opportunity to ride on the train. She had to depend on Heather and Martha for tending the garden.Bookmark here

Soon enough we met with Heather’s mother and sister. They exchanged a few words. Elder sister Martha also wished me luck and I thanked her in return.Bookmark here

Finally, the driver hustled the carriage and went on the road heading to the train stop.
Heather and her family stood at the road waving at the carriage. I peeked out of the carriage and waved my hand in return.Bookmark here

I then glanced at our house which was built inside a giant old tree. It was a beautiful and lovely house. If only you could remove those creepy dolls and masks hanging all around it. It would be a perfect sweet home.Bookmark here

I looked at it thoroughly to preserve it in the memory.
Maybe I might not be able to see this again for a long time.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.