The Demon King Reborn as Twins
Azura watched her other self mature day after day for the first few years of their new life. Every physical feat a toddler could achieve Seth did well before her. Walking, running, and climbing all came naturally to him as breathing. His stubbornness even allowed a high degree of pain tolerance after a terrible fall from the top of the stairs.
Physically, Seth would be limited in the end. Human bodies could only handle so much abuse and compensated for that weakness with innovation and magic. Azura prioritized regaining access to their magic over creating a stronger body. After all, the potential of sorcery was far greater than the potential of the human body.
“Book.” Azura looked at her mother and pointed to a bookshelf in the living. It was filled with old tomes and encrusted leather-bound manuals on the top shelves. There was a chance something useful about magical theory was in one of them.
“Yes, baby. What? The Holy Lion? I’ll read it to you later.” Clet said missing the point as usual.
“Hag,” Azura muttered loud enough just to be heard and walked off. She went to find Seth and request his assistance. She found him in the room climbing up and down on a chair. Probably another form of exercise that he’d taken to condition himself.
“I’m trying to get one of the tomes on the upper shelf. The priestess has once more proven useless.”
“Doesn’t she read to you?”
“Not of arcane theory or magic application. Just prophecies and fiction.” Azura walked over to her bed which was wrapped in pink floral sheets and watched Seth continue his workout.
“Then we get it ourselves. We’ll wait for a day Sieg goes hunting and Clet deals with her garden.”
Just like clockwork, the day came and Sieg kissed both Seth and Azura on the forehead before leaving to slaughter Greater Beasts for coins. Clet was already dressed in her garden apron with a pair of shears in hand. She kissed her husband and wished him a safe trip before he left. Shortly after the demon king duo feigned exhaustion and gave Clet the perfect excuse to enjoy some wine and gardening.
“I think she’s been outside for at least fifteen minutes,” Azura said.
“Perfect.” Seth rolled from his bed and landed in a low, hunched crouch. He looked every bit ridiculous in Azura’s eyes but she decided that telling him would only upset them both. He crept cat-like over the floor, displaying a type of muscle control more common among night prowling creatures than humans. Even after he grabbed the small chair from their playroom, his footsteps were barely a whisper and carried it into the living room.
“Get the broom,” Seth said as he placed the chair in front of the shelf and climbed into the seat.
Azura didn’t bother with the overly cautious movement, not that she could have mimicked it anyway. She simply moved as quickly and lightly as possible to the kitchen, grabbed the broom, and gave it to Seth. Lifted it easily and began moving above his head like a divining rod as Azura guided him.
“No. Not there. Left.”
“Yours or mine?”
“We’re both facing the same direction.”
“Oh.” Seth moved the tip of the broom over until Azura told him to stop then down and forward until he caught the bottom edge of the book. With a quick flick backward the book flew from the shelf to the floor. The leather-bound kicked dust about the air until it came to a stop a few feet from Azure. She quickly went to retrieve it while her other self returned the chair and broom.
“And you’re sure this will help us?” Seth asked.
“Human bodies. Human arcane theory-craft. There might be something we’re missing.”
“Then I’ll leave it to you. I’ve got three more sets to do for my afternoon routine before I begin my evening exercises.”
Just as quickly as Seth ran to assist her he ran off again to continue molding a harder body. That was part of the shared drive that pushed them to the top of the demonic kingdom. It was never enough to settle, they must always adapt and improve. Azura was committed to improving themselves too and she believed the first step towards that was magic.
Back in her room alone, Azura looked over the cover of the book; it was rather plain with only the title framed in white on a brown cover. ‘Alzo’s Esoteric Manual’ was written on the front and along the bulky spine of the tome. The name Alzo had attracted her to the book at a glance because she knew it. He was a mage that died, not by her hands, fighting the demon army over a century ago. Before that he’d written some interesting arcane theories on dimensional interference and inter-dimensional shifts. That knowledge had been useful during his war against humanity and the Goddess Alliance, now she hoped that this manual could help her better understand her inability to manipulate mana.
Bit by bit over months Azura read the book when she was alone or late at night. The basic theory of mana was covered, which didn’t change anything. Mana was universal, primordial energy that the zealots say was granted by the Goddess. It permeated reality itself and could be gathered through several methods. The two most common methods were largely called Consumption and Cultivation. The book claimed that Consumption was the primary method among demons who preferred live prey. Propaganda at its finest.
“Points off for that, Alzo.” Azura thought.
Most demons could cultivate mana from birth, but consumption of mana-rich Greater Beasts was encouraged to increase strength rapidly. That was a big difference between demons and humans she discovered. The book mentioned causally that the best time to train a young mage was during puberty when they first begin to feel the flow of mana.
“When do humans reach puberty again?” Azura thought. “Another question for the priestess. She’s more knowledgeable than the Goddess’ chosen knight.”
The new information left Azura with much to contemplate. She was over three years old and had been training her ability to perceive mana. She was ahead in her development for magical practice and that thought made her swell with pride a bit. Yet she pushed further, so to test her limit she needed to cultivate a pool of mana for spellcasting. The first spell she’d cast as a human.
One morning, bright and early, before the raise of her mother and father Azura walked through the house. Every so often she paused and scanned the area with her senses to feel the flow of mana. At one point she stopped by a sealed closet in the hallways that radiated with mana. It was practically banging down the door with how much mana was stored inside there. Seth had once thought there were weapons within but now Azura knew it wasn’t just weapons, at least not any ordinary ones.
The mana, however, was difficult to manipulate because it was already infused into other objects so she moved on. Eventually, at the backdoor inside the kitchen, she felt there was a significant flow of mana. It was a bit of a mana nexus between the house and the garden. She was unsure of the reason but the mana felt easiest to direct right there.
Azura inhaled deeply and invited mana inside her as best she could. As a demon drawing in mana was as easy as breathing but it felt awkward in her human body. The hairs on her head felt charged and warmth like a heated bath flowed over her. She pressed the sensations down, compressed them until they bent to her will and for a moment it felt like the tiniest drop of water formed in the void space of her soul.
“Now I’ve got to cast something. Keep it basic. A quick flame, there and gone in an instant.”
A simple Creation of Flame spell would work. Even Alzo’s manual mentioned it as a perfect starter spell. Azura held her hand in front of her and concentrated on producing a simple fire, one small enough to fit in her toddler-sized palm. As she pulled the mana forth to charge the spell it felt…different. Somehow she had gotten more mana out than she’d put in when she began. It was impossible and yet it was happening. The spell was ruined and it would proceed one of two ways; the first option was ideal because it could collapse into nothing…but it did not.
“Fucking shit!” Azura thought as she hurled a ball of fire bigger than her head out the backdoor a second before it exploded and her world went black.