St Chaos Healer
“My little Shaun here is an art student. You should sometimes come to our household and see his paintings. With a single glance, you could tell his paintings are such beautiful art pieces that anyone could tell he is a natural-born prodigy.” said the plump woman standing beside Shaun.
“Oh, that’s so nice. But do you know my son, little Benji here, he actually started training when he was just a six-year-old kid. Now he can easily pulverize an adult human being with no problem. Oh did I mention how good his aiming skills are? He can hit a bird in the eye with a knife on a tall tree with ease.” a beautiful woman with red hair beside me with a brazen victory smile.
Suddenly it felt like a clash of thunder crackles coming from both women's eyes as they stared at each other. Of course, the thunder is just a personification of how intense the staredown was.
The plump woman praising Shaun was none other than Shaun’s mother, Mrs. Frugal.
And the red-haired woman standing next to me as she sang my praises was none other than my sweet mother.
“But my Shaun won the town art exhibition contest when he was just 5. The last painting that he made is now in a display of our town mayor's office in the front entrance. Famous art professors came by to the mayor’s office, just to take a glance at his painting. Shaun did make our family so proud that I can’t describe it in mere words.” said Mrs. Frugal as she caressed Shaun’s hair.
“Oh, that’s cute. But my son actually fought with a gray wolf to save me. A stray gray wolf had once broken into our town after the field-protecting array was breached. My son actually confronted the gray wolf when I was under attack by that murderous beast. A son risking his life to rescue his dear mother. Now that isn’t wonderful then I don't know what is.” replied my mother as she patted my head looking proud as she smiled.
Mrs. Frugal looked at me with wide eyes as if she can’t believe what she just heard. I mean no normal person would actually believe if they heard this. The story itself was right out of some fantasy novel or something.
In this day and age, where mana beasts are at the top of the food chain. If it weren’t for Mages, normal people like us would have already extinguished long ago.
Now all of a sudden a small young brat with no mage skill like me killing a mana beast wouldn’t be just unbelievable but be treated as some joke. Meanwhile, Shaun was staring at me with twinkling eyes showing admiration. Kids are very gullible, so he believed my story within a heartbeat.
Mrs. frugal suddenly frowned,
“Now Mrs. Almond, your imagination is getting a little too wild.”
My mother frowned back,
“Huh, I speak the truth. It was actually I who dealt with the finishing blow after Benji managed to injure him. I know you won’t believe me but you can even go to our town and ask the villagers there~ Oh right, our town chief is just right over there. If you don’t believe me you can go ask the town chief. My son was awarded and praised for his bravery by everyone in the village.”
“Oh, then it must be a small gray wolf’s cub or something. But yes that is heroic. You know when Ron, my husband used to bring some live mana beasts at our house, after all, they make some exquisite dishes. But they need to be cooked right away after they are killed, hence they are brought home alive. So you can say I have some experience killing mana beast myself, like the river rabbit and the three-clawed rock lobsters which had huge claws like my arms.`` She replied with a cynical smile.
“But what we fought was a full-grown adult Gray wolf. And I nearly died by its jaws!”
“Oh, then you must have some scars left from that attack. Would you be kind enough to show me?”
“I did but a nearby top-tier healer healed me with regeneration skill. So sadly I don’t have any scars to prove it.”
“Haha. Mrs. Almond, your imagination knows no bounds. Why don’t you ever try to be a fiction writer? I am pretty sure your books might fetch quite the sales.”
“Huh? Do you think I am lying?”
“I didn’t say that you were lying. I am just stating that your imagination is a bit more creative than normal people.”
“What exactly are you trying to say~ Am I mad?”
“Come on now, Mrs. Almond. Now you're just putting words in my mouth.”
A geez. I am tired of their ramblings.
It’s been half an hour since the two ladies started chatting and don’t know how the basic conversation from ‘hi’ suddenly leads them to each other’s throat. My mother and Shaun’s mother were getting along just fine while waiting in the queue at the platform. Even while waiting in this lobby it was going smoothly, that is until they started talking about their kids’ talents. The two women were competing while bragging about their kid’s talents.
Shaun who's an artist meanwhile I am a bit of a warrior-type fighter kid. So of course there is no point in comparing with each other’s talent. We two have different skills pursuing different fields.
As the two ladies were having an intense argument, Shaun, I don’t know when he hid behind his box luggage while peeking-a-glance at his mother, time to time. Even he can tell that his mother’s mood wasn’t right. He just sat quietly as a rock.
I looked around the lobby hall.
My father and Shaun’s father were still in the queue at the receptionist’s desk. Shaun’s father had a bit of an uneasy expression while my father looked excited with his natural oomph. In his hand, there was once again his favorite antique shop catalogue.
My father once again went in full salesman mode. Darn it!
Our mother here is bickering and on the other side, my father was creeping out Mr. Frugal. After this encounter, the Frugal family won’t have anything to do with the Almond family anymore.
I just then glanced around the lobby hall.
There were a lot of families like us waiting. Most of the couches were occupied. In one of the couches, I spotted Moses and his gang. Of course, he is the town chief's son who has a bit of background. His parents, the town chief, and her wife roamed alongside the rest of the villagers who were acting as bodyguards. They looked like some gang of thugs rather than passengers. I am pretty sure they just snatched the couches by the means of sheer number.
I still don’t get why my parents didn’t stick with the rest of the town folks. I mean I don’t wanna associate with them but I am sure my parents would agree to team up. For some reason, the town chief didn’t invite my parents along with his little group. I am pretty sure it was that asshole Moses might have said something.
Whatever, we are just fine as it is. I don’t wanna associate with those dumb kids anyway.
Suddenly I turned my attention back to the conversation between Mrs. Frugal and my mother were getting more heated.
“I had this friend of mine who also likes to get her hair colored. And one day, just before her marriage she decided to get her hair colored in blood-red color, for her marriage ceremony. But before the night of the marriage ceremony, she lost all her hair, and the marriage was called off by the groom’s family.”
“I am sharing this experience not to ridicule you, I am saying because I am concerned as a friend. Coloring hair most of the time leads to a woman’s destruction, I am just saying-,” replied Mrs. Frugal with a friendly smile but her eyes seemed as if they were mocking.
“Excuse me, Mrs. Frugal. You should know that my red hair color is actually natural, alright. See my son here inherited from his mother’s genes. So don’t just jump to the conclusion” replied my mother while flicking her hair like some fashion diva, “If you wanna exchange some concern I got something for you too. You know, I also had a ‘friend’ who was fat but she died of a heart attack.”
“Excuse me, Mrs. Almond! Did you just call me fat?”
“In a matter of fact, I did.”
“Pardon?” Mrs. Frugal was quite shocked.
“Oh, didn’t hear me the first time? Maybe the fat has grown to such an extent that it started blocking your ears. You poor thing.” my mother repeated as calm as ice.
“Excuse me! I am not fat, I am just a little chubby, that’s all.”
“Just like how I buy my pork meat from the supermarket.”
“Now you are going too far, Mrs. Almond.”
“What you gonna do about it-”
I finally stepped in between,
“Mom, Mrs. Frugal, please stop it already. People are staring at us.”
Their lovely conversation was getting louder and started reaching other people’s ears. I don’t mind letting them bicker to the end but now it’s starting to attract unwanted attention from other people. I like to keep a low profile, so I had to intervene and stop them. I don’t want other people to take pleasure in this drama.
Both my mom and Mrs. Frugal noticed other people’s gazes and stopped immediately. There was a deadly silence in the atmosphere that you can cut the tension with a knife.
After few minutes of waiting, my father finally returned along with Mr. Frugal.
My mother welcomed my father’s return meanwhile Mrs. Frugal dragged her husband’s arm along with their son. She didn’t want to stay here for a mere second. They didn’t speak with us and already went towards where there was an elevator that led to our rooms.
“Oh see you around, Mrs. Frugal.” my mother waved while smiling eye to eye.
Mrs. Frugal just glared at my mother with animosity and walked away without replying.
“What’s the matter with Mrs. Frugal? Why was she also acting a bit weird?” asked my Dad.
“Oh, it’s nothing dear. I guess I teased her a little, nothing much.” replied mother giggling.
A little tease, right.
My mother suddenly turned to me and grabbed my shoulder,
“Listen, Benji, if you ever get a chance to pulverize her son. Don’t need to hold back.”
I gave a thumbs-up,
“If I get a chance, I will turn her son into a painting that they can later hang at their house for his memorial.”
My mother looked at me weirdly,
“Hey! You wanna head to the prison so early. I just told you to brush him a bit. Just to give him a little scare.”
“Beth, did you see that! Benji has been affected by your violent personality.” snorted Dad as he facepalmed.
“Hey! When did I have a violent personality?” retorted mom.
“Umm.” I interjected, “I was just joking.”
“Kids shouldn’t be joking about something.” saying so my mother chopped on my head.
Head chopping on a kid is actually a violent personality.
Later we also headed to where the elevator was located.
Our room was located on the 2nd floor, there were about 5 floors in total in this carriage. There was a working elevator that helped passengers to reach their rooms. Just press a button and it takes us, right to the floor we selected. I gotta say, the mortals in this world have quite useful things that we demons don't possess in the demon realm.
But as soon as we reached in front of the elevator, I saw a long queue as the newly arrived passengers was eagerly waiting with their luggage to board the elevator same as us.
Now standing in the queues started to be like the usual norm. We also spotted the Frugal family but they had no intention of talking. My father was trying to spark a conversation but was stopped by my mother.
After waiting for some time, we finally got inside the elevator.
The elevator itself was spacious as the Frugal family also got in the elevator along with some other families. There were 5 buttons for each floor along with help and alarm buttons for emergencies. In the elevator, there was soft music playing from god knows where the sound was coming from.
Everyone was really silent in the elevator like they are marching to war or something.
The Frugal family went on the 1st floor without even bothering to say bye.
After a few seconds, we also arrived on the 2nd floor.
As soon as we left the elevator, we met with long corridors with lots of rooms. The desk lady had assigned us a room key in exchange for all three of our tickets. The rooms were also organized in alphanumeric numbers.
The lady also instructed us that we will be given bracelets as a means to verify our participation in the ceremony. We have to wear those bracelets all the time until the ceremony was over.
I was a bit puzzled and I enquired what the bracelet was about.
That’s when my father informed me it was a means to let people in the major city distinguish between us and the citizens of the major city. He didn’t talk more about it but I get it. It’s just a means of way to tell common folks apart from the high-class citizens living in the major city.
Discrimination at its finest.
After strolling around and asking some people, we finally arrived at our room.
The room key was a bit weird. It looked like a regular key but had a green jewel stone embedded in it.
As soon as we inserted the room key into our door, the stone shined and opened the door.
Our room was pretty nice.
Two wide windows lit our room. There were two double beds with fresh blankets, tidied up. Some little weird art pieces hanging on the wall as decoration. Painting, more like some kid scribble with crayons. There were two sofa chairs and a coffee table placed at the side. We also had a spacious bathroom with a big bathtub.
As soon as I entered, the first thing I did was to peek-a-glance outside the window. The window can’t be opened as it was sealed tight but I can see the view of distant fields zooming away at high speed.
The train runs on a bridge made up of tall pillars, so you bet we got a good view of the outside. Right now, we were still in the plains, so nothing but a dozen miles of a wide field of plains as the view. I should wait until there is some change of scenery.
What’s weird is that I couldn’t even feel the minuscule amount of jolt coming from this high-speed train. The window looked more like just an illusion. It felt like the window was just a painting that animated the feeling of moving plains while we were actually stable in place.
This whole train was a magic engineering marvel. People calling this train a moving palace does justice to the title. The railways of the Zephinya kingdom are actually envied by many other kingdoms.
After I had my fill of window gazing, I checked on my parents.
My mother went to take a shower meanwhile, father resting on the sofa chair was sound asleep.
These two never failed to amaze me.
They already started to make themselves feel at home.