Chapter 22:

The Birth of the Hero (Part 3)

Death's Rhapsody

“Argh!! This is so hard... “

It had been a week since they started training together. Leo watched Rui as she let herself fall to the ground with an exhausted face. Meanwhile, Aron continued swinging his sword, following what he was told earlier by Leo while completely ignoring his complaining sister.

Leo looked on with wry amusement.

During their first day of training together, Leo did his best to teach them as much as he currently knows about the basics of his daily training. While he realized that it was so much difficult to teach someone when you're currently in the process of learning yourself, he tried to be considerate and patient with them.

After all, he had difficulty trying to learn the steps when he was just starting out. Which is why he knew full well that it is not something anyone can learn and be familiar with over a short period of time.

At least for him, he had taken almost around 2 years of repeating the same process until he got the hang of it. This means that he started at the age of 10 while both Rui and Aron just began their training at this time. Though he can’t say that it would also take the same amount of years for them to learn, he knew at least that it would take a considerable amount of time and effort.

Of course it was likely that they would be able to learn much faster than he did. That is because they were training together, with Leo guiding them through the steps. Unlike Leo who mostly practiced by himself ever since he started out. Though he might’ve learned two or three things from his father, who is an experienced swordsman, it was only during the days his father was free. And those times were far in between.

This time, there were three of them, all learning together.

Leo took a break and went over to Rui who lay face upwards on the grass.

“Your clothes will get dirty if you lie on the ground.”

Leo offered his hands to help Rui stand up. Rui stared at his hands for a second before taking it and brought her body upwards.

After she stood up, Rui couldn’t help but let out her frustrations.

“This is so hard!” she repeated. “Leo, are there any tricks you could share?”

Leo looked on with a troubled expression. Even if he wanted to, he wasn’t really aware of such tricks to give some sort of a shortcut. Sword training, or rather training in general, takes several amounts of effort in order to produce results. The only way Leo knew was to repeat the same process over and over again until you get the feel then slowly start making variations along the way.

Although that was the only way he was able to think of, he probably wasn’t sure how to tell that to Rui, imagining her reaction if she were told that it would only be difficult going onwards. In the first place, if he knew such tricks or any tips that could help her, he would’ve told her by now or even before they started training.

“How about we take a break? I’ll go get us something to eat.”

Seeing that it wasn’t going any better like this, he figured that they should take a break first in order to refresh their body from exhaustion.

After hearing that they would take a break, Rui suddenly beamed with a smile and sounded eager.

“Yes!” said Rui like she was waiting for this moment. Leo must’ve noticed and simply made a faint chuckle to himself.

Seeing that they were going back inside the house, Aron also took a break and came along with them.

After getting inside, Leo made his way to the kitchen to prepare some food and refreshments. The time was around the middle of the day so it was sunny outside. In addition to the weather’s heat, they were all exhausted from training. Leo was used to it but it wasn’t the same for Aron and Rui.

I never thought I would be doing my sword training with others.

It was something he had come up with himself. His reason for training was simply to get strong. Not just his body but also his mind. Perhaps, he wanted to become strong so that he could help his father with his work as an adventurer. Perhaps he himself wanted to be an adventurer. Perhaps it was both.

Regardless, he wanted to do something while he was young; he didn’t want to just stay at his house doing chores. In this world where monsters and demons are constantly attacking people, he couldn’t afford to lay comfortably at his bed, watching and waiting. Especially when the kingdom is at war.

For a boy at his age, it was unusual to think about the happenings of the world. Feeling uneasy about things beyond his understanding and capability. Usually, a boy at his age should be playing around outside with friends or maybe learning simple and trivial things other than wielding a sword.

For adults, they might think that children like Leo are some kind of hope. Someone they could leave the world’s future with. Someone that thinks about the future especially at a young age. But isn’t it the adult’s responsibility to make the world a better place for the children? Or was it that the world was just so cruel that it forced children to fight for their own future?

In the end, it was Leo’s choice to become strong. Strong enough that he could make his own future. In this world where people still had a glint in their eyes, Leo was just one of the hopeful ones.

“I still can’t believe that you were doing this everyday.”

After Leo prepared the snacks, he went back to the living room and shared them with Aron and Rui. Aron helped himself to the snacks as he talked to Leo with pure amusement.

“I’ve gotten used to it.” answered Leo with a casual tone.

“This is tasty.” said Aron as he munched down the snack.

Rui also reacted the same as she took a bite. “You're right. It’s delicious.”

Leo simply smiled. “I’m glad you like it.”

It was just snacks specially saved for times like this. His father usually bought them from stores as snacks and food for his work. Since his father always bought extra, there were a lot of leftovers in the house and ever since Aron and Rui came visiting, it proved to be handy.

Even if he didn't make them, he was glad that he could still offer something. Though he did make the orange juice that was brought together with the snacks.

Aron gulped down the juice then after that, he left out a satisfied face.

“This is refreshing.” said Rui as she also sipped from the glass of juice. Leo also did the same and indulged himself as well.

“I had heard from my parents that your father is one of the adventurers but even so, I didn’t think that you would be alone in this house so often.”

Aron took another snack from the table and put it in his mouth in a casual manner.

“I’m used to it already but I heard that something came up with his work causing him to come home much later than usual these days.”

“Does that mean you own the house almost everyday? That’s so nice, I wish I could do that. My parents always order me around the house. I'm so tired of it!” said Rui.

Leo simply smiled awkwardly as he sipped his glass of juice. I wonder if it’s okay to say that in front of her brother... With that thought, he took a brief glance at Aron and as expected, his cheeks were twitching.

Knowing what would happen next, Leo silently watched and took a snack on the table, unconcerned.

“Hah? I’m the one who gets ordered around because all you do is complain. And even if you do something, you somehow always make a mistake.”

“Huh?! What are you talking about? I do my work properly and correctly. Excuse me?!”

There at it again... Once they argue like this, they won't stop until one of them decides to or someone wins their little argument. It was mostly the latter though. It had been one week since they both started coming over to Leo’s house and it seemed that they often started arguing with each whenever and wherever. Leo had gotten used to it already. Having to forcefully watch them every time.

“Then how do you explain that time when you used fire magic to cook the food and somehow ended up almost burning the house?” Aron pointed.

Magic? Leo’s hands stopped for a brief moment and his attention was caught at the conversation they’re having.

“Ugh... that's... “ Rui made a flustered expression as if she remembered something that she couldn’t deny.

“That's because... I-I just made a tiny mistake on my control that time. Tiny!” Rui cried out.

“Just admit that you can’t control your magic and that you made a blatant mistake.”


Suddenly, Rui looked away from Aron and made a pleading look at Leo.

“Leo, please help me!”

Leo was caught by surprise that he faintly coughed out the juice he was just drinking. He made an extremely troubled expression as he struggled to catch up with the situation.


“Leo, ignore this girl. She just can’t admit her own mistakes.” Aron said with a somewhat triumphant smile.

“Ugh... Leo... !” Rui still couldn’t accept her defeat and was practically crying in front of Leo for help.

“Umm... “ What should I do?

For some reason, Leo was caught in the sibling’s quarrel. Both stared at Leo waiting to give his verdict.

Unable to figure out what to do, he pretended to ignore the subject and tried to change the flow of the conversation.

“...Before that, can I ask a question?” he asked anxiously.

“What?” the two said in unison. Please don’t look at me like that...

“Umm, you mentioned magic earlier... Does that mean you two can use magic?”

Aron and Rui looked at each other and blinked.

“Yes, I can use wind magic. Though, I can only do simple stuff like producing small wind.” said Aron.

“As for me, I could use fire magic.” said Rui as she put her finger against her cheeks and tilted her head in a curious manner.

Meanwhile, Leo widened his eyes.

The two noticed his surprise and asked. Rui was the first to open her mouth.

“Leo, could it be that you can’t use magic?”

Leo looked away, embarrassed. It seemed Rui had hit the mark. However, he didn’t expect Rui’s reaction next that he was left dumbfounded.

“So you can’t use magic?!” Rui peered closer to Leo almost as if she was happy.

“H-huh... ?”

Aron nodded to himself. “I see. Even though you’re so good with the sword, you can’t use magic. I see, I see.”

Why is it that I feel like they're messing with me? And I’m not that good at the sword either...

Rui tilted her head, while staring at Leo.

“What’s wrong? Your face is red, you know?”

Leo once again looked away and tried to hide his embarrassment. This somehow feels humiliating...

Although he didn’t say anything yet about being able to use magic, it seemed that they had already seen through him without the need of hearing his answers. It was during this time the two worked together on something.

Just then, Rui’s face brightened up and come up with an idea.

“That’s it!”

“...What?” Leo swallowed his breath nervously.

Aron reacted in a way that showed that he’s in agreement as well. Why are they unusually cooperating with each other at a time like this…

“I’ll teach you how to use magic while you teach me how to use the sword! That way we can all learn something new together and it’s also fair!” said Rui cheerfully.

“Correction. We’ll teach you. I don’t want to leave Rui teaching you magic when she doesn’t even know how to control her magic herself.”

“Huh?! Says the one who only knows how to blow a candle!”

And the two once again argue to themselves. Which leaves Leo in a predicament while he scratches his cheeks with a wry smile.


In this world, magic exists.

But before magic, there is also an energy that exists within nature and all living existence. That special energy is called essence.

The essence of nature and life. The essence of oneself and even the world’s essence itself. Magic revolves around the use and control of essence. In order to use magic, one must also be able to use essence.

Being able to control your essence enables you to use and alter the essence that exists everywhere around. In the end, you’ll be able to use what you call magic or a phenomenon. Those who can use magic could therefore control a specific aspect of life itself. While there’s no restriction on the amount of different elemental attributes you can use, every use of magic requires a specific amount and quality of essence.

In general, the bigger a scale of magic you use, the larger the amount of essence you’ll need. There are those who try to learn all different kinds of magic but end up failing due to the difficulty of controlling the essence required. Because of that, people who could use their essence well chose to learn a specified attribute suited to them.

That being said, not all people could use magic. Simply because being able to control your own essence, even if it’s just a little amount, is a difficult task in and of itself. It’s like trying to see inside a closed-box, not knowing what could possibly be inside. It could be something big or something small.

Leo, Rui, and Aron were back outside of the house. Rui held out her hand while Aron and Leo watched quietly on the side. Suddenly, essence gathered on her hand and a small fire burst out.

Leo watched in amusement. “Amazing... “

Hearing that, Rui smiled widely as if she had just won. “I can do this as well.”

Just then, the small fire turned into a small bird. It flapped its small wings over her palms and as it did, it flew above and right through the sky. Reaching a certain height, the bird made of fire burst out like fireworks, small sparks rained.

“I do admit she has great talent for things like this. It’s just sometimes she can overdo herself.” Aron muttered that only Leo who was standing beside him could hear.

It would be better to say that to her directly instead.

Leo thought as he watched the performance Rui made.

“How’s that? I’m amazing, right?” Rui cheerfully said as she asked for compliments.

“That was amazing, Rui.” Leo commented.

Although she was the one who asked for it, she was still somewhat surprised that she got a compliment from Leo that her cheeks faintly turned red.

“I-is that so? Well, I’ll gladly teach you how to use fire magic then.”

Aron then pondered to himself.

“While it’s fine to teach Leo fire magic, don't you think we should first know what attribute is it that he can actually use? How about wind magic then?”

“You just wanted to teach him wind magic instead.“

“Umm, may I ask something?” Leo raised his hands.

“Oh, did you perhaps decide on what attribute to learn?” Rui excitedly asked.

“...Isn’t it that you need to somehow control your umm, essence to a certain point before you could use magic?”

He was told that earlier before they started showing Leo how to use magic. While he was shown how to produce magic, there was one thing he still hadn’t figured out.

“I don’t know how to control my essence. Rather, I can’t even feel it even when I try to...” Leo hesitantly said.

Rui and Aron blinked before opening their mouths.

“What?!” They both said in unison.

“Leo, you can’t use your essence? I thought you could at least sense it since you were training all the time... “Rui was both surprised and confused.

“I thought as well... looks like we’ll need to figure out that first.”

“Sorry.” Leo looked downcasted with an apologetic look. He didn’t think he wouldn’t be able to sense his own essence.

Aron patted his back. “Don’t worry about it. Since you’re helping us train, we’ll also help you learn how to use magic.” Aron briefly glanced at Rui hoping that she would cooperate.

Rui wanted to say something to Aron but held back. She instead agreed in a cheerful manner. “Of course, we’ll help you, Leo! Let’s learn some magic and swords together!” Rui raised her hands in the form of a ball.