I Was Tasked With Defeating The Demon Lord, But For Some Reason, She Is Now My Girlfriend!?
I was nearly thrown from my seat in an instant.
The day had started out so serene and peaceful, but now the road we traveled on was so gnarled and unkempt, it made me regret even waking up.
The last pothole in the road popped the cart I was riding in up and forced me to grab hold of the window frame in the horse-drawn carriage’s cabin. I watched as the scenery flashed by at a faster speed than one would expect.
The horses were pulling with all of their might at a near full gallop. “Hyah, keep on galloping! Hyah!”, the cart driver, an older man from a distance village, whipped the reins to keep the horses moving at this brisk pace.
“U-uhh? Sir? I-is there any way… m-maybe, we c-could go a little… slower?”
I was amazed at how soft my voice was. I was trying to raise my volume over the whipping wind, but I fell quite short of the mark.
“But we are already so far ahead of schedule, Mr. Larkdale,” the driver called back amazingly, having heard me, “We stayed off the main roads and made it here a day faster than expected, we should be to the capital shortly. Trust me, this is an old trader’s route. Made the trip several times myself. Just keep a hold on your seat, the road is a bit worn out."
A little late for that advice, don’t you think?
“Actually, there are the castle towers in the distance. Can you see them?”
I eased my grip on the wood as the horses did slow to a more manageable speed. Breathing an air of relief I leaned out the open window, carefully, of course, and took in the vista before me. Between the hardy green treetops and the deep blue of the sky above I could easily make out the tall gothic spires slowly peeking their way upward.
The capital of the human nation; Stalvart. A massive fortress of a city with impenetrable walls and defensive measures surrounding the ultimate symbol of human authority. All commerce, ingenuity and advancement in knowledge in the human realm centered on this impossibly massive singular city. Nothing happened here without affecting the rest of civilization.
“There it is. Thank you for getting me here. Safely, too!”
“Oh not at all!” The driver laughed leaning around the edge of the carriage to talk to me better, “This is just my way of thanking you for tutoring my daughter earlier. I am sure now she will pass the exams to make it into that magic academy that you teach at. She won't be trapped out in the boonies now.”
“I haven’t actually started my career there yet, sir. But I am sure your daughter will pass. She was showing great talent before I arrived. I only worked with her for two days after all.”
The driver flashed a large grin and then turned in his seat to face forward. “Yeah, she is pretty special, isn’t she?”
I had only known this man for a few short days. I had accidentally wandered into his village after desperately getting lost on my way to the capital from my home in the far realm to the south. And in that short time, I had learned one thing about him; when it came to his daughter, he couldn’t stop gushing over her. A doting father for sure, but a loving one on top of that.
I began to tune him out, because it didn’t matter what I interjected to his ramblings, it wouldn’t change his train of thought for a second. Instead, I looked out on the horizon as the stone walls of Stalvart came over the surrounding forest’s canopy.
My heart actually began to pound in my chest. I was so nervous and excited to be there.
It had been years since I had been there last. I attended the prestigious magical academy, Thamaturgis Academy, in my early teens. After graduating, I left to continue researching magic on my own. Unfortunately, I lost my way several times when trying to get from city to city.
I finally settled down in Alfred Magnus’s, my head professor, home on the edge of the human territory and spent every day for about a year reading as many ancient texts as I, or my professor, could get our hands on.
Over that time, I guess I became one of the most informed on the history and make up of magical spells. So, it came as no surprise when Professor Magnus had invited me to teach at Thamaturgis as there was an opening with one of the professors retiring soon.
But then came the problem of getting there. There was a spell, yanwæ, that can transport a person and their belongings in the area of effect from one place to anywhere that person can locate the way there in their mind. You are off on your mental directions, you could end up falling down a ravine or find yourself deep underwater. And thus my problem, I can’t find my way around a corner to save my life normally.
Even a levitation spell isn’t a good option for me as wind-natured spells are not one I am gifted enough in. I am normally only able to perform simple water-natured spells, like water sphere; orbis, with ease. I know what it takes to perform most spells, I just don’t have the abilities to produce them.
Some mage I am…
But I have been told by many of my peers, and others, that when I have helped them study that I make everything easier to understand than any other method they had tried before.
I guess I am not that bad a fit for a teacher?
Regardless, I still had something I was asked to do before I arrived. Rifling through my rucksack of a traveling bag, I found my magic glass, a communication device for mages. I moved my hand over the panel and focused on who I was trying to reach.
Suddenly, the image of an elderly man with fading hair on his head but a long white beard to make up for that appeared in the mirror's surface. His brow was furrowed and his eyes focused on the papers before him with a quill pen flicking about as he wrote.
That man was Alfred Magnus, the most famous mage in the world. The one human to bring down a Demon Lord on his own in all of history.
Did I forget to mention that earlier? My bad...
But suddenly, he happened to look over at me.
“Oh, Lawrence, my boy, I see you there!”
“Hey, Father, how are you today?”
Did I also forget to mention that he is my adoptive father? I should do better next time, I am sorry again.
“I am busy as ever. The work of the chair-head of the academy is never ending. My old wrists are getting tired. I worked so hard not to be a corporate slave and yet here I am, again.”
“I have no idea what you are trying to say again, Father.”
“Right, right, my apologies.”
My father occasionally says things that no one understands. One of his favorite things to talk about is his supposed previous life. In his previous life, he came from another world with only humans and no magic that we take for granted. I don’t know what he is referring to, but it always entertained me when I was younger. But now I am wondering if maybe he may have been losing his mind, even back then.
“I still don’t know why you couldn’t have come and got me yourself. I mean you are the master of yanwæ. You invented it, after all.” He actually invented a lot of the spells that are considered high-class in his youth. Again, he is the most famous mage in all of the land.
“No can do, my boy,” he wagged his finger at me through the magic glass, “It was a test on you yourself. You need to become more mature in the world on your own. And finding your way around it is a great way to start. You can’t rely on your old man to bail you out all of the time.”
Not all of the time, just when I get lost, please…
He leaned back in his chair to sit up right. “But if you are calling me like this, I assume you have made it to Stalvart safe and sound, and earlier than expected on top of that. Congratulations, Lawrence. I am proud of you”
“Thank you, Father,” I blushed, trying to hide my happiness.
“Maybe, I can marry you off after all!” Tears streamed down his face as he clenched his fist in a sign of victory. And, there went my happiness.
“Can you please drop it already!”
He has been trying to make me ask out every girl I had ever spent more than 5 minutes talking to since I was a young child. It had gotten so bad, I now get nervous and trip over my own words when just being around women my own age. I wish that wasn’t the case and that description perfectly fits many of the top mages in the world. Magic seems to be easier for women to grasp than men on average. It will be hard to work with my colleagues if I can barely talk to them. Thanks a lot for that one thing, Father.
“Ahem,” he coughed trying to bring us back on topic, “Anyway, you have arrived early. So early in fact, I don’t have an opening for you at the academy yet. Your room is ready, but there isn’t even a desk for you to work at until tomorrow.” He ran his hand over his beard as he thought deeply.
Then, a gleam sparkled in his eye. “I guess you have the whole rest of the day off. Go explore the city. Oh, and maybe go visit an old friend while you are there? You know who I am referring to.”
My face flushed red.
“I-I don’t think that would be such a great idea, Father. I-I-I mean with guard duty, I don’t think-”
“Alright, sounds good. I will let you know where you two can meet up.”
I was not only cut off, but completely ignored. I don’t know if I can handle this. Why do I keep calling him my father again?
“Don’t keep that worried look on your face, my boy, it’s not good for your looks. Anyway, Lawrence, keep your head up. I am sure good things are about to happen to you. I have a feeling your future is very bright.”
I don’t know how he does it, but he can quickly get me back to feeling like he is the best father I could ask for, even after questioning everything.
“Thank you, Father. I am approaching the capital’s gates. I will talk with you later.”
“Yes, my boy.” He smiled back at me with a proud look in his eyes. “We will talk. Don’t get lost until then.” And with that he waved his hand over the glass on his desk, cutting off our communication.
I smiled then looked back out at the high walls of the capital looming ever closer. A renewed sense of invigoration took hold of my chest and I clenched my fist much like father would when he was ready to go on a new adventure.
Maybe, this will be even easier than I thought it would be.