“Huh?” Alex asked, blinking in surprise at his teacher’s unexpected statement. “You’re saying I can form a contract with a Spirit of Life? Is that… possible?”
“If it wasn’t possible, I wouldn’t have mentioned it to you, my dear student,” she replied with a wink. Then she looked sad and admitted, “However, the problem here is that I don’t know how to make a contract with a Spirit of Life.”
“Has anyone managed to do it before, miss?” He asked out of curiosity.
She nodded in agreement and replied, “Yes. The members of the council mostly.”
He widened his eyes at that and exclaimed, “Seriously? Wait! Does this mean that they’re able to use Voiceless Incantation because of their contract with a Spirit of Life? Is that it?!”
Lucia smiled sadly and said, “Yes.”
This made Alex look momentarily shocked before he looked angry as he clenched his fists and complained, “Man, what the heck?! Keeping all the knowledge to themselves and leaving their people to rot. Just what kind of people do that to their own citizens?”
“People that are afraid that they would become needless once that knowledge escapes from their grasp and lose control over society,” his teacher replied sadly. “The feelings of paranoia, the fear of becoming forgotten, and that… fuels them to do this.”
Alex looked up at his teacher in confusion and asked, “Why would we forget them, miss? They’re our leaders!”
She blinked at him in amazement by his statement and chuckled before replying, “Before I answer that, let me ask you a question, Alex.” When he nodded, she continued on by asking, “After our lessons are over, and I’ve taught you everything I know, you’ll go off on a journey of your own, but when you do that, will you remember me?”
He looked shocked by her statement and said immediately, “Yes! I would never forget the kind teacher that taught me magic when It seems like I couldn’t do anything else!”
His words caused Lucia to blush in embarrassment and say, “Honestly, you’re praising me a little too much, Alex,” but she smiled nonetheless in happiness.. “Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is will you remember me regularly, and by that I mean every single day of your life?”
Alex opened his mouth to reply, but he suddenly faltered as a doubt blocked his words, making him feel unsure of himself. He wanted to reply, “Yes! I will!” but something stopped him from saying it, making him wonder whether he truly would remember her on a regular basis.
As he continued to think, he came to the realisation and thought, “No. I wouldn’t keep remembering my teacher on a regular basis because I have a life of my own to focus on, and I will eventually forget her until I meet her again or encounter something that reminds me about her.”
He looked sadly up at his teacher and replied, “No. I wouldn’t do that.”
In contrast to the sadness on his face, his teacher beamed at him and said, “Of course, you wouldn’t be able to remember your teachers daily. I mean, come on! You have a life of your own to lead, and how can you do that by constantly remembering from the past?”
Alex nodded glumly and asked, “Is that why the council members govern such secrecy because they’re afraid to be forgotten?”
Lucia nodded and said with an exasperated expression on her face, “Yes, but it’s silly. Very silly. I mean, any teacher would know they should feel proud of the achievements their students make after graduating from them, not feel left out.” Then she raised her fist into the air and said, “One day, I will right this system and make a better society!”
Alex looked up at his teacher in awe for a few seconds before remembering something and asking, “That’s great and all, miss, but how would you possible do that when we don’t even know how to make a contract with a Spirit of Life?”
“Ugh,” she groaned, feeling like she was stabbed in the chest, moving her hands to place them on her chest as if it hurt. “Alex, you didn’t have the ruin the moment you know?”
“Sorry?” Her student asked, tilting his head a little and looking confused.
“Nevermind,” she said and sighed wearily. Then she straightened up and said, “But you’re right! The problem is making a contract with a Spirit of Life, and to do that we need to meet someone who knows how to do it, which is the tricky part.”
As they fell silent thinking about it, Alex suddenly got an idea, and he asked her, “What about your dad, miss? Could he possibly help us?”
“My old man?” She asked, a little surprised before looking doubtful. “I don’t know, Alex. He’s a stubborn man who does things his way that tend to be complicated and annoying at times. I don’t think he will help.”
“Do you really think he won’t help?”
Lucia looked down at her student and said, “Scratch out what I said earlier. I believe he won’t help because he doesn’t want me to spread the awareness of magic to everyone.”
Alex looked at his teacher in surprise and thought for a moment before asking, “Miss, you said that the children who are unable to use energy are conscripted into the army, right?” When she nodded, he continued on to ask, “Okay. In that case, doesn’t it seem like he taught you magic despite your failure in feeling your energy for your own sake?”
“Yes, Alex. I’m aware of that myself as well,” replied Lucia, rolling her eyes to the heavens. “I feel it’s unfair that only I get this special treatment when all living beings should be treated with equal respect.”
Her student nodded in understanding, continuing to think through things before asking again, “You told me you had to walk out of your home because he refused to help you, right?”
“Yes!” Lucia replied firmly, looking cross at the mention of her past. “Like I said, my old man’s stubborn and wouldn’t do it, and kept telling me to drop the idea. I mean, how could he just dictate what his child should or shouldn’t do after they come of age?”
Alex looked up at his teacher and asked, “Isn’t he probably doing it for your own sake?”
“What?!” His teacher exclaimed, looking down at him with a sharp look that he had not seen her wear before. “Listen to me, Alex. My father’s a stubborn old fashioned man with weird principles. I mean, he let me walk out of the house after we argued about my choice to spread awareness. If he was truly a caring father, he wouldn’t have let me walk out like that!”
She stopped and took a deep breath while trying to calm her racing heart. He could tell simply by looking at her that she was deeply hurt over the fact that he simply let her leave home by herself. It made him feel sympathy towards her, but he also wondered about the ‘if’ that existed on the other side of this scenario.
“Well, there’s no harm in meeting your father and asking for help, right?” He asked her with a smile.
But his teacher refused bluntly by saying, “No way, Alex! I’m not meeting my old man! Besides, he will just refuse and make a fool out of me!”
“Miss,” her student began in a reasonable voice, “you’re thinking a little one sidedly.”
“One sidedly?!” She exclaimed, rounding on her student looking stricken. She waved her hand in the air while saying, “Alex, my father let me walk out without even trying to stop me! Fine, I may have been angry and unreasonable, but he should’ve tried to stop me, right? No! Instead, he didn’t do anything, and I got hurt because of that!”
She took a deep breath and breathed out to try and calm down before speaking again to him.
“Listen, Alex. My father’s not worth our time. Let’s instead focus on perfecting your magic first before moving onto experimenting with that letter magic idea of yours. Who knows? Maybe you’ll perfect your magic that way.”
She smiled at him, but he could easily tell the difference from the way she normally smiled at him. It was a forced smile that she was showing him in an effort to try and divert his attention away from her father.
Alex could understand the pain she felt at feeling betrayed when her father did not do anything to take her back in. This caused her to place a mind block that did not allow her to accept the idea of even meeting him, let alone request him for help. He understood this, remembering the experience he had when Luna’s feelings got hurt because of a stupid decision he made.
“Still, you’re running away from the problem, miss,” he thought sadly as he watched his teacher going on about how to use magic in a different manner to quicken the execution.
He finally let out a sigh and told her, “Fine, miss. I understand you have a problem meeting your father. In that case, I’ll have to get an appointment to meet him on my own.”
“What?!” His teacher exclaimed, widening her eyes and looking thoroughly shocked by his statement. She slowly smiled as she believed he was making a bad joke while asking him, “Y-You’re not serious, Alex?”
“I’m serious, miss!” He replied to her, stunning her in the process. “I’ve got to find out a way to make a contract with a Spirit of Life, and the only man from the council that could help me is your father. Since the two of you seem to have an issue to sort out, I think it’s best that I meet him with dad. I think my dad’s friend, Luke, will help out too.”
Lucia looked aghast by the decision her student had come to, forcing her to kneel down and look imploringly at him while asking, “Come on, Alex! What makes you think Luke, your dad, or you could request a meeting from an important person like my father?”
Her words made him suddenly look doubtful, which caused her to feel triumph. However, it did not last for long as he looked at her and smiled sweet at her.
“You’re right, miss. He wouldn’t listen to just anyone, but if you came along and requested him for help, I’m sure he will assist,” said Alex coolly.
Lucia’s mouth fell open in shock, and she exclaimed, “Seriously?! Were you not listening to me just now?!”
Alex looked at her keenly and asked, “Miss, what’s the problem with trying?” When she hesitated, he smiled and asked, “The worst he could do is tell us to leave, right? In that case, let’s leave. We’ll be left with the satisfaction of trying and failing, which is much better than giving up at the prospect of a failure.”
She remained silent and blinked at him with her mouth hanging open in awe as she struggled to process through what he told her due to the mind block she had placed regarding her father. Her student saw that she was hesitating, and decided to put in more pressure to make her give up any resistance.
“You were the one who told me, miss, to never give up at the prospect of a failure without trying,” he told her with a smile on his face. “If I had believed that I might fail at using magic, I wouldn’t have come this far, and even though I knew I might fail at carrying out my idea, I still did it because I wanted to know for certain that I can do it or not.”
“That and meeting my father are two separate issues,” she said, finally finding her voice and imploring to him.
“Then let’s try and fail, miss. It’s better than giving up,” he told her coolly, causing her to sigh and stand up before looking up at the sky.
“God, please help me with this kid! He’s being too stubborn!” She called out to the sky in a helpless voice.
Alex laughed and said, “Don’t be silly, miss. Even God would agree with me on this one.”
Lucia sighed and looked back at her student before saying, “Fine. Let’s go meet him in the afternoon but don’t expect him to be waiting with open arms. Okay?”
“Yes, miss,” replied Alex triumphantly, grinning broadly as he succeeded in convincing her.