Chapter 9:

Departure

Re Mari : I'll find you even if death did us apart!


I was 8 years old when Mary got selected into the Royal Academia. It was on a scholarship from the neighboring city. Because of her father’s duty in war, they had given her a chance to qualify for the interview. 

Apparently, Mary wasn’t only good at hitting people. I was happy for her. She had always taken care of me as her brother.

The Academia was a prestige institute. Normal education was provided by the church but to learn magic and sword you would need to attend the Academia. The Academia was a place filled with world-class wizards and knights. I decided that once I am old enough, I’ll try for the Academia too.

Soon the day came when Mary had to depart for the Royal Academia. Mary’s father Arthur also returned from the war. He had sustained a fatal injury on his left eye. The family was still happy that at least he was safe.

Arthur Roseblood, The Roseblood household used to be very prosperous in the past. Maybe a few centuries back, now they were just small-town village chiefs.

I greeted Arthur with the utmost respect. He found out about me from Anne, he wanted to talk more but he had to prepare for the trip to the Capital. That’s where the Royal Academia was located.

“Can I bring brother Vance with me?” She grabbed me tightly while crying. Martha intervened because Mary refused to let me go. Everyone was crying. Mary the rowdy girl of our village was going away.

They had a few carriages that were going to the big city. Mary’s father Arthur was going to accompany her to the city. Mother Elie was rather calm in that situation.

She told Mary to always be on her guard and even gave her some money. She had been saving up that by working at a tavern.

When it was time to go, Mary looked for Anne.

Anne wasn’t there to say goodbye.

“I’ll go look for her, but don't wait for me,” I told Mother.

Ah, I knew you would be here.

Anne was sitting at our old tree. Her knees were scraped, she probably tried to climb it by herself. I didn’t say anything, just patted her back. She was close to my age so she would be honest around me.

I wish I could say something impactful.

We sat there for quite some before coming down. Anne was hoping that the caravan going to the city would be gone by that time. I was feeling a bit empty too. My relationship with Mary might change too, I was feeling rather lonely.

When we reached the village entrance, I saw the caravan still there.

Mother was talking with the caravan owner. It looked like Mary didn’t want to go without seeing Anne. Mary ran to her and hugged her.

They both ended up bawling their eyes. Mother was very influential so the cavaran owner didn’t argue with her further. They decided to leave early in the morning the next day instead.

Mother must have convinced them. My Mother sure is cool.

I ended up tearing up too. Even though, I was trying so hard to hide it. Both sisters noticed me weeping right away.

They both opened their arms and I ran in them. We cried our heart's content while hugging.

It was decided that for that night caravan would make a stop at our village.

Arthur was thankful to Mother. He specially invited both of us to have dinner with them. It was the last dinner together before Mary went away.

“I heard you are a swordsman.” Arthur turned to me. His voice, His demeanor, everything about him was screaming a great seasoned warrior. He was speaking with utmost sincerity even with a child like me.

“Yes, I am just a novice for now.” I nodded in respect. It looked like Mary had told him this, she and Anne were giggling.

“I don’t have a son, but it appears my family has already accepted you.” Arthur’s voice turned a bit sad. He got up to get his bag from the wall. Everyone was sitting there with curiosity.

He put his hand on my shoulder.

“There were few times when we had to go to the front-lines. I have fought countless enemies, I even came across many sellers in the wilderness. A strange woman gave me this sword in return for saving her life."

He took out a silver sword, the edge was chipped in some places because it was used so much. It was rather small for a long sword. The handle had very old wooden carvings. It looked very heavy but swift to swing.

“I wanted to give this to Mary, but she told me Brother Vance needs it more.” He smiled at Mary. She went red from embarrassment. It seemed she wanted this to be a secret gift after she had left. I thanked her but she just hid her face.

“Now, I don’t know how good you are, so how about this? After dinner we do a sparring match with wooden swords, if you can land even one hit on me. I’ll give you this sword.” His eyes were serious. I need that sword, I can’t always use Ivan’s steel sword.

Sorry Ivan your sword is cool but I like this one more.

“I accept.” I looked at Mother. She was proud. It was also a good chance for me to see how good I have become. I was glad Arthur was treating me like a swordsman instead of a kid. My respect for him grew further.

“Will Brother Vance go away in war?” Anne asked worriedly. She thought we were talking about fighting.

I grabbed her hand, “Brother isn’t going anywhere. This is just a game. Right, Dad?” I turned to Arthur.

He was a warrior so he forgot to think about how would Anne react.

“Yes Yes.” He was in a tough spot. Mother and Martha both cleaned up the table. Their house had an open space in the backyard.

Mary grabbed my hands in her hands.

“I’ll be gone for two years because it's hard to travel back and forth.” Her eyes were moist, “I want you to protect Anne when I’m not here.” She had faith in me.

“I’ll definitely win because Mary is supporting me.” I smiled.

“Me too. Me too.” Anne came running and hugged me.

“Hey, is no one on Dad’s side?” Arthur showed his sad expression.

“I’m,” Mother raised her hand. “If Vance fails to land even one hit, it would just show he's not ready for the real world yet.”

“Well then let’s go outside.” Arthur handed me a wooden sword.

Anne was excited even though it was her first time seeing a sparring match.

Mother was looking determined. My always gentle mother wanted to see how much I had grown.

I know she is blaming herself for my lack of magic power. I’ll show her how far I have come.

Guess it's not just a sparring match anymore.