I was Born the Unloved Twin
Good news, I snuck out of camp.
Bad news, I couldn't do it alone. To be more accurate I didn't exactly sneak out as much as I deceived the adults. I say adults but this batch of raid troops consists mostly of college aged young people. They look and behave as such too, especially when excitedly passing around soda pops and the contents of their own flasks.
Something tells me it's not water in there.
Can't blame them, I was the same at that age. Besides they're adventurers, fighters and scientists on an excursion, not parents or nannies.
Now that I think about it my own parents are around that age too, huh. That's explains some things.
It's not uncommon behavior among non-nobles but the troops are more similar to modern people, careers first, settling down and making families later.
The oldest besides grampa may be a little over 30 and they're busy watching over these crazies. Like some poor TA or tired college dorm heads. To them, a little kid like me is considered very calm well behaved in comparison.
They're all smart and strong folks, don't get me wrong. If I tried to physically break out there's no hope.
But if I say with big wet puppy eyes that I want to go play with 'my two big brothers' well then, there we go. Much more effective.
"Well if those two are watching over you..."
"Wait I don't want to be on babysitting duty- ack"
I'd feel insulted but this is Lukas here and I've come to figure out he's just like that. It will be fine with a quick kick and if I just wave another soda in front of him. Honestly it's very typical behavior for a 5 year old boy.
Amar however has an even stupider looking face on. It's all big sparkly eyed and open mouth in shock.
"Waaah you never called us big brother before!"
"....really now. You just must not have heard."
"It's always just the others, hey hey Rosalia say it again."
Well, this is awkward but if it gets him to shut up and play along till we get out of here then I'll do it. Big brother shits, you all should be calling me big sister.
But it works, and we're allowed to 'go play' in the surrounding woods. I'm just reminded to keep away from the area of the Gable's home for now. They really enunciated on that.
It's not like they can even see where the gate is anyways.
But hey I'll just go around the back or the sides, that should throw them off. The only thing is that I have to take these two children with me as a cover.
Talk about babysitting duties.
"Hey can you call me big brother again?"
To shut them both up I give them each another soda. Is 3 a day too much for children? Who knows, it's not like this is real soda with any added sugars. I wonder if there are any stack up effects on them, since they are technically internal health potions.
"So where were are we heading?" asked the darker boy, genuinely curious.
If not for personal experience, he seems like the easy to bully type. Or the too nice type. He handed over half his latest soda to his friend, who gulped his share down too fast.
"Thanks *burp*, but does it even matter? Wait why are we letting the baby lead?"
"Because she gave us sweets? Also you have someplace in mind, right Rosalia?"
"Oh yeah, wait where are we going~?"
It's framed as a question but the psychology of mischievous children is the same. Lukas already has a shit eating grin on his face and I'm sure Amar has long ago figured it out. How convenient it is to not have to explain.
I wonder if this makes them smart or troublemaking kids?
"When adults say to do something, what should we do?" I bait and lure. There's no need to play tricks when we're on the same wavelength here. The boys snicker and answer correctly.
Unlocking the latch is easy work with my hooked staff. How much security do you need when no one can see your place? Amazing work, as expected of Sir Gable. I've led them up the along the gate for quite a while and they've noticed nothing at all.
That very illusion starts dispelling with the movement and I can tell when it's all the way gone from the way their eyes widen and take in the sight. It's nothing fancy, just a simple twisted wood that looks far past it's prime. But it must be magical, that's the impression the gate leaves alone even without the sudden appearance from invisibility,
Even I think so, I can see the gate.
"Whoa cool!" exclaimed Lukas.
"So this is Mage Gable's hide out?"
We haven't even crossed yet and the boys are in awe. They'll be disappointed if they're expecting g anything flashy out in the garden. All the good stuff is underground.
"Stop staring and come on."
I need to close the gate after us after all. I'm not sure how the illusion magic works but certainly I need to close the door after myself at least. I think it will go back up after I lock the latch and true, the lines of the gate blur into a transparent fog right after.
See Gable must be expecting me if he left the gate partly visible.
By the time i slide my staff back in the bag the boys were already wandering through the garden cautiously. I thought they're would be running around, especially Lukas but they're not normal careless civilians. They explored and poked at things but carefully, the way one would checking for booby traps.
Definitely experienced in dungeon raids.
"Does he live out here or is there an inside?"
"Yeah I was expecting more of poof and a whoosh and a bling bing bam!"
"....I'm sorry a what now?"
"Boom boom pow, you know, aren't mages supposed to be all sparkly and fancy and stuff. With their books, beards and stuff? Right Amar?"
"I don't know, we haven't met that many mages. Besides lots of people wave swords and they're not all the same."
"I don't...think Gable is like that, he doesn't have a beard at least. He has lots of books and is kind a neat freak though."
Somehow I understood all that. Maybe my brain is more childish than I thought. Oh well it's good to keep a youthful spirit, I don't really want to be an old lady just yet.
Personally I think Gable is more of a sparkle sparkle sound effect like shoujo bubbles accompanied by a refreshing breeze.
"Hmm I guess, Rosalia you would know right? You're a baby and all but you probably meets lots of people with your grampa. "
"Yes but I only really know and talk to Gable, even then I've only just met him."
I reply, even in the last life memories it's not like I met many of them myself. I even further avoided them if they were affiliated with the church in any way and vice versa.
"Ah I guess mages are just a mystery then."
"Comes with the job description I suppose, sorcery and mages with their secret worlds."
"Wait they have a secret world?"
To be honest I'm not sure what the distinction between a mage and any other magic use is. A magic user is rare but mages are even rarer? I don't know how this works I'm just a normal person. But oh boy would these kids enjoy the tale of Harry Potter. They're a little older than Lilyanne, maybe I'll get to fangirl and tell that particular series.
I lead them up to the hidden hobbit doorway, looking as cute as ever. With twist and a push the door creaks open and we enter.
"Whoa." exclaimed Lucas, quieter than I've ever seen him, while Amar spins around appreciating the sights and objects of mystery. I remember my own starstruck first reaction to the witch's cottage part of the hobbit house, how strange and mystical everything looked. How so obviously magical.
Wizarding World of Harry Potter, eat your hearts out.
Cautious and well trained as always the boys look back to be to confirm for any traps up ahead. As long as they don't meddle into the research stuff it should be fine, even I don't know what's explosive or not in here.
Besides the really fun dangerous stuff is deeper underground, so I was warned.
For now though we should just locate gramps and Gable.
Yuna isn't exactly dying but he was bit by a strange unidentifiable creature and is running a drunk fever. Isn't that sort of thing detrimental to a developing teen's brain? I don't know why but I kind of like the pissy kid, reminds me of grumpy cat. Even if I didn't don't want him to just straight up die in front of me.
"Gable, grampa I'm back!"
Huh funny, no responses. They must be here, I saw their shoes at the doorway. They must be downstairs if they can't hear me.
"Follow me guys." I instruct, don't want them touching anything they're not supposed to. We take a not so quick trip to the stairs since there are just too many distracting things to gape and stare at. I play a good host and answer questions where I can but it's not like I even know half this stuff is!
It is really cool looking though, it seems this house always has stuff I've never seen before, no matter how many times I look.
For safety reasons, we don't touch anything. Normal children don't have such good impulse control but no one here is a 'normal' child, me especially. As curious as Amar is or unwilling as Lukas seems to be, they both have strict control and know what lines can and can't be crossed.
I'm not surprised at their discipline, you could easily die by touching the wrong things in a dungeon.
The staircase with its glowing stones in contrast with the darkness brought forth some more ooohs and aaaahs. It's not even my own property but I can't help but shamelessly feel a little proud at showing it off. Gable's taste and design skill sure is amazing.
Speaking of which, where are they? I call down the empty hall and am left unanswered again.
I hope they're not in one of the further underground rooms, those are off limits to me. But I mean, this is an emergency here, kind of.
"Let's keep looking then."
"Are you sure we're allowed to come down here?"
"Sush don't be a kill joy Amar."
"Of course, it's all perfectly fine."
AH, must have let a suspicious smile onto my face. I'm not normally so giddy and Amar must have caught up on to that. Still, it's 2 against 1 here, a little exploration never hurt anyone. I'm just not allowed in the locked rooms but I was never technically told not to go down the hall. Or to the other stair case.
"Hmmm sure if you say so."
Cautious I see, but he needs no further convincing and comes along easily. It's fine, as long as we don't go in a locked door and get eaten by some carnivorous plants or cursed all our lives we'll be fine.
The boys do sense something is up with my little white lie though as we've switched positions. Them both taking the initiative to step in front flanking while I stay a step behind. How gentlemanly, unnecessary but very appreciated.
We easily pass the kitchen and bedrooms spaces, going further down the hall. There are no voices, no creaks, nothing that sounds like anyone's home at all.
That can only lead to the second set of stairs.
Author note: I admit- I often just forget to update. That and I roll around in writer's block a lot.