Reincarnated with an omniscient grimoire
Being stuck on a carriage on a journey to a new (first) adventure with a band of misfits? That calls for bonding time!
What dark secrets may loom over us?
What hidden past are my companions hiding from me?
As I mused about how to break the awkward silence that was only interrupted every now and then by the clattering cart and the maniacal laughter of the old lady who tried to dissolve the very laws of physics, I came to realize, that I might be the only person to be really hiding anything at all.
I mean sure, a princess certainly had a couple of skeletons in her closet.
And there had to be a reason Raynard was so wary of ... well everything it seemed.
I was leaning against the back corner of the cart, brushing my hand against the grimoire hidden behind my body.
I think I should just be transparent about this thing. I thought. I mean it’s just a book, how much havoc could it wreak if Raynard knew about it? I get that there’s people like Ebony that would be after it, but I think I can trust him? I mean I’ve only known him for a day, but he is kinda sweet actually, and if we want to work as a team, we should be honest with each other.
[Beside the fact that I am not a mere book ...]
I flinched at this sudden remark. I was so lost in my thoughts I totally forgot I was sharing them with someone.
The princess, who was actually buried in a book she had brought along raised an eyebrow at me, but I simply waved both of my hands reassuringly.
[Dare I say, I might have some thoughts on this matter?]
The fact that you seem to gain more and more of a will scares me, but go on.
[It is one of my duties to solve any problem that might bother the one who bound me.]
[After all, if the one who bound me ceases to function properly I too will cease function.]
So what you’re saying is, you’re willing to help me as long as it benefits you? What the hell are you even?
[I am a grimoire.]
You really aren’t a big talker. But okay, if you have a solution to this “problem”, speak.
[I agree that it would be best for your teammates to know of my existence.]
[I also agree that you should not reveal my existence recklessly.]
[Thus I have a proposal.]
[I disguise myself as a wand.]
[I have the ability to change my appearance.]
[I will make myself look like a book, that is used to channel magic energy.]
I needed a couple of seconds to fully understand what the grimoire meant by this. But then I remembered the city guard I saw a couple of days ago, that channeled his mana inside his brass knuckles.
Same thing, huh?
[You would have to convince everyone that you use me as a wand.]
[That way, you would be allowed to take me anywhere without anyone really questioning it.]
Having a book as a wand would still be on the unusual side of things though ... but what else is there to do. Okay, I guess it’s settled then.
I took the grimoire from behind my back and put it on my lap.
Do whatever you see fit.
And with that the grimoire changed its appearance in front of my eyes. The weird symbol on the cover disappeared and what was left, was a plain brown leather cover.
“Okay, so ... maybe we should talk?” I said squinting my eyes lightly, still not quite sure of myself. The heads of four other people turned my direction.
“What about?”, the princess asked.
“Well, I think it would be best for everyone here to be on the same page about everything. Raynard, I have no idea what exactly that’s supposed to mean, but this is a grimoire.”, I said, showing the grimoire in his direction.
“Wait you can’t just blurt it our like that!”, Shelly who appeared to be asleep suddenly shouted.
“I’m sorry, but if we want to work as a team, we should be open about it. Besides trying to hide it would just result in a lot of awkward situations ... and possibly death.” I emphasized that last word because why not.
“Yeah right.” He squinted his eyes. “Grimoires definitely look different.”, he then added. Why Shelly’s reaction did not prompt him to believe me immediately was beyond me.
“Oh of course.” I immediately took a look at the totally normal book in my hands, and commanded it to turn back into its original form.
“Oh my ...” Raynard’s eyes widened as he witnessed the magic. “Was that some kind of illusion spell? Must be an advanced one, I don’t remember learning anything like this during my first two years.”
I shook my head in exaggerated desperation. “No it’s not, it is a grimoire, just like I told you.”
“... Can I take a closer look?”, he then asked leaning over towards me.
I crawled over to him and handed the grimoire over to him. He took it and first swept across the cover with his right hand, and then proceeded to do the same thing to examine the back.
“Can I look inside?”, he asked.
“I think that falls under taking a closer look.” I chuckled.
He just tilted his head in response.
“Umm, that means yes, you can look inside.”
He opened the first page stared at it for a couple of seconds and then said: “I don’t understand a thing.”
I just let out a confused “Huh?” and then took a look at the page he wasn’t able to read.
“Oh, it says ‘This Grimoire has established a bond with: Nathan’.”
“Wait a second.”, he exclaimed. “You can read that gibberish? Or are just kidding?”
“What of course I can read it! Is the literacy rate in this world that low?”
Princess Abc also joined our circle and took a look at the page my name was written and then said: “Sorry to break it to you Nathan, but that is definitely not a writing system that is used in our kingdom. Or in any kingdom actually. Maybe it’s the writing used on the Isles of Beast to the west of Lectus Dei, but I highly doubt it.”
“No it’s not.” Raynard slowly voiced his opinion. “I know that scripture, I think it’s some ancient language, that has been lost over the centuries.” He sheepishly looked up and continued. “Um, my older brother is a historian, and I’ve read quite a few of his works on grimoires. He’s still in the middle of researching this ancient language ... but Nathan!” He suddenly faced me. “You can read this, can’t you?”
“Yeees?” I did not like the way he said this.
“You could be an important asset in my brother’s research and-”
“Nope!” Shelly who observed this conversation from afar suddenly cut him off. “Nathan, this is exactly why I wanted to keep this a secret.” She suddenly stood up, managing to maintain her balance for some reason.
I did not know how to respond to this. I knew where she was coming from, but still I stuck to my opinion.
“I mean you are the reason, we are in this situation, aren’t you?”, Princess Abc suddenly accused Shelly. “After all, you told us to form a team.”
Wow, does she finally abuse her status as a princess? Wonderful!
Although she was not quite in the right I appreciated her trying to defend me.
“Besides I think Nathan is right. It’s best for everyone to know what’s up.”
“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have suggested something like this.” Raynard responded with his head hanging down, and returned the grimoire.
“No, it’s alright ...”, I tried to cheer him up. He really was overapologetic.
Shelly was still standing sporting an annoying look on her face that was directed at our group. Suddenly Raven was hanging over my shoulder.
“I don’t really get what’s going on, but I don’t like the way you look at my master.”, he said in a threatening tone. I imagined he was thinking about how to kill her most effectively, and it made me smile for some reason.
“Woah, where did you come from?”, Raynard flinched and it felt like he cleared a hundred meters in a second.
“I was flying around enjoying the view, when I felt my masters unease suddenly.”, Raven responded over my shoulder.
“I- uh ...” Raynard made some indecipherable stutters, until I motioned Raven to back away a bit.
“Raynard are you afraid of Raven?” It was obvious. I mean who am I to speak, I am inept of reading facial expressions a lot of times, but Raynard seemed like an open book to me.
“Ugh, it’s not him. It’s ... he’s an Incubus, right?”, he said maybe a bit too loud.
“Go on.”, Princess Abc said, after I remained silent.
“Thing is ... I ... The town I’m from, has a bit of a strained relationship with your kind.”, he now said, directly to Raven. “There was this group of outlaws a couple of years ago, mostly made of Succubi and Incubi. Back then they targeted our town, because we were rather prosperous compared to other towns nearby. I-” His voice suddenly cracked, and his mouth motioned trying to find his words, until Princess Abc suddenly joined us and gently put a hand on his lap.
“Are you all right?”, she asked him. “You don’t have to talk if you don’t want to. We understand.” She glanced sideways towards me.
“Y- Yeah. I’m sorry for making you do this.”, I suddenly felt the need to apologize even though I did nothing wrong. But the way she looked at me worked like magic.
“N-No it’s not your fault.”, Raynard suddenly looked me in the eye. “I’m sorry, it’s just- every time I see him, I see images of back then, and I feel like ... crawling into a corner and staying there until ... I’m sorry, it’s really not your fault, I’m just ... stupid.” He gave us a bitter laugh, and I gave him a bitter yet sympathetic smile.
“You’re not stupid.”, the princess said on the contrary. “You’re brave. You must have carried this with you for a long time. And I bet it hurt. But you survived. You’re fantastic.” Now she smiled too. “Also I think you scored better than me on the last test.” That last sentence sounded rather mischievous.
“Haha, no way, the princess not being number one? Shelly you were right, nobles are spoiled these days.” I called out to her, remembering what she said the other day. Her face had no traces of anger left.
“You said what?!”, the princess exclaimed raising furiously from her squatting position, only to stumble back onto her behind. Raynard caught her back with an extended arm saving the princess from falling off the carriage.
“Please, don’t tell me it’s not true.”, she replied deadpan.
“No you’re right, but I really don’t want to be compared to my useless cousins for example. So glad they don’t go to Ataraxia, their presence would embarrass me the entire time.” She shook her head in desperation.
Of course, what would royalty be without thousands of cousins to marry.
We actually came to enjoy this ride a lot more, than we initially thought. The awkward silence had long passed, and the princess, Raynard and I ended up sharing a lot of stuff. Although I avoided telling him that I am from another world. He would have labeled me as a lunatic. I also avoided making up some bullshit excuse like having memory loss or anything, because that would have caused problem in the long run.
Instead I just talked about my past, like everyone else, but avoided speaking about stuff like any kind of technology, for hopefully obvious reasons.
My past ...
It’s already been a few days ...
My though process was interrupted by the sudden halt of the carriage, that made us all tumble forward and onto each other. Not even Shelly was standing where she was anymore.
“What’s the meaning of this?” Shelly asked, supporting herself on her arms. “Why are we standing?”
“THE HORSES NEED TO SLEEP!” The crazy lady shouted. “GOOD NIGHT!” And with that she went completely limp and proceeded to snore at least as loudly as she was talking.
I took a look outside and only then realized that the sun had already set.
We untangled ourselves and looked at Shelly expectantly.
“What, I didn’t know, we would halt.”
“I mean, thinking about it, it does make a lot of sense ...”, the princess said, lamenting her own stupidness it seemed.
We just grinned at each other and then set up a camp for the night.