Elaine lost.

Elaine Soreille, the youngest member ever to join the Mage Council: a council which consisted of the 10 best magicians. That very same person; lost in a street fight just the previous night against an Extinct Formulae Magic user.

Although the morning was cheerful, although the sky was clear and the sun was shining brightly, Elaine was not the least happy when she woke in the room she shared with Freya in The Hearth. As she woke up, she recall the painful memory of having to run away, to show her back to an opponent she was supposed to be able to beat. At times like those, Ray's mocking rang through her mind. 'Again and again I told you: Elemental Magic Mastery means nothing and I advise you to just abandon it entirely.'

It's not nothing... Elaine thought, making a fist and clawing her palm with her nails in irritation. I lost because I lost the initiative, that's all.

'It means nothing,' his voice, his irritating voice echoed through her mind.

Shut up. Elaine placed both hands on her head. Shut up. Shut up. Shut up.



Unable to control her magic because of her emotion, all the glass around her area shattered to pieces. All the glass windows of The Hearth shattered to pieces, so was the candle glass, drinking glasses, and plates inside The Hearth's kitchen. Realizing what she had done, Elaine went to the window to see if anyone was injured because of her. She looked down to see Freya and Ray at a grassy field near The Hearth with swords in their hand. Thankfully, there was no one else under the shattering windows except them and Freya was unharmed. Elaine breathed a sigh of relieve.

'Elaine!' Freya shouted when she saw her head popped out of the window. She waved her left hand to her cheerfully despite Ray continuously attacking her. 'Join us!' She invited her for morning training, not giving a single care to Ray's attacks; for she was able to fend all of them, nor the sudden shattering of windows. So carefree...

Elaine gave a slow nod in response and went away from the window. When the tension went away, she felt a sharp pain on both her palms. She looked at it and realized that she had clawed too deep; to the point that her palms were bleeding.

... I'll just wrap it with bandage while getting coffee...

Elaine then changed into a simple clothing she had from her luggage. A simple white one-piece dress. Easy to use and easy to move on. She then grabbed the bandages which was inside Freya's luggage and went down to the first floor. Freya wouldn't mind, she told me that I could grab whatever I needed from her luggage.

As Elaine went to the first floor, she greeted the owner of The Hearth and explained what just happened. Thankfully no one was harmed because of her and she apologized for what she did. She then paid the owner for the damage she had caused from her own pocket. After that, she asked for coffee, which was given in a wooden mug as the cups were all broken.

Searching for seats, Elaine spotted Dunnford sitting in one table, polishing his sword carefully with a cloth. Feeling the need to talk to Dunnford, she decided to join him.

'Can I join?' Elaine asked with a dejected tone. She was still unhappy by what had happened. That she had lost a fight; and that she lost control of herself temporarily.

'Good morning Miss Elaine,' Dunnford greeted her politely with a smile. 'Please do.'

He was about to stand up and pull out the seat for her, but Elaine dismissed him with a wave of her hand. 'You look happy Dunnford,' Elaine said as she sat down. She started to wrap her hands with bandages under the table.

'Me? But of course Miss Elaine. I was shocked when I returned to the inn to see that Master Ray was on his bed, operated by a doctor in the dead of night. Knowing that he is well enough this morning to want to train in swordsmanship with Freya despite his wounds makes me more than happy. I have offered my gratitude for all that Freya had done for Master Ray, I must say that she is a humble person as I have offered her rewards and she rejected it instantly.'

Elaine wasn't interested with the detail. All she cared about was that her own disciple had won against an Extinct Formulae Magic user, while Elaine who was supposed to be her teacher lost. No, even worse than losing, she ran away. 'Speaking of which, I heard that you also encountered an Extinct Formulae Magic user yesterday night-- and came out victorious.'

Dunnford's expression of sudden realization was saying: Ah, so that's why you look dejected. It was easy to read Dunnford's expression; as hiding his facial gesture was something he didn't need as a knight.

'My victory is only because of my Special Magic and experience, Miss Elaine. I must also confess that that wasn't the first time I fought someone fast, strong, and durable. I've experienced such battle a few times and I've gotten myself a general idea on how to deal with them. That's all there is to it.'

Experience... something that I lack... Elaine couldn't continue the conversation and only looked down to her wooden mug of coffee.

'Miss Elaine, perhaps your mood will brighten up if I tell you this story,' Dunnford said.

Elaine lifted her head up.

'When you returned yesterday night, you wouldn't believe how relieved Freya was. "I'm glad she's back," she said. I can not agree more with her. What's most important is that you came back safely Miss Elaine. That's all that matters.'

Elaine, listening to that, stared at Dunnford for a while. She then lifted his mug of coffee and chugged the whole coffee down her throat and slammed the wooden mug hard to the table. 'Is that really supposed to make me feel better Dunnford? Really? Do you know what truly happened to me yesterday? That I got very much dejected this morning?

'I searched for information regarding the stolen books. Out of the blue, a person enganged me to a fight, stole the initiative, and I wasn't given a chance to unleash my magic. No chance to breathe. My quick magic doesn't pack enough fire-power and I wasn't given a chance to cast my heavy magic as it requires time. Instead, I had to run away, I had to show my back to my opponent. Isn't that shameful Dunnford? An absolute embarrassment. A stain in my name.

'I kept on thinking after that: maybe I am not worthy being in the Mage Council. Maybe-- maybe Ray is right. That Elemental Magic is useless, which makes ME useless. My disciple can beat Extinct Formulae Magic user without magic; why can't I? I can't help thinking... that I'm a failure...'

Dunnford offered his handkerchief for Elaine to wipe her tears. Not wanting pity, Elaine rejected it harshly by slapping his hand away. Dunnford didn't show pain when Elaine slapped his hand. Why would he show pain? He got Special Magic which made him invincible. Something-- which she didn't have. Special Magic such as his couldn't be attained through training...

'What is-- so wrong about losing?' Dunnford asked. 'As someone who have been in many battles, I don't see any wrong in losing. What is wrong when it comes to battles: is dying. When you die everything ends. No second chance, nothing! Nothing comes after that!

'When you lose however, you still have a chance. With that loss, you can learn from it and grow as a person. I've lost a lot of times, so much that I can't keep track of that number. However, from those losses I learn, I improve. That's why I was able to win yesterday night. Failure is only failure when you give up and stop trying. Miss Elaine, think of your loss as a stepping stone for you to improve.'

Again he offered his handkerchief. Elaine was still for a moment, but she accepted it.

'I guess you really are the oldest of us all.'

'I'm still 26 Miss Elaine, I'm still young.'

'You're already wise though...' Elaine wiped her tears with Dunnford's brown handkerchief. 'Ray also lost yesterday night right?'

'Yes, he was saved by Freya.'

'I imagine that that's embarrassing for him.'

'Very much so. He was really ashamed of himself.'

'And yet... he's training now with Freya... to make sure that he won't lose again... I can't just sit here doing nothing,' Elaine stood up from her chair. 'I will win next time. For that I will work hard. Most importantly: I will make that jerk of a Prince change his mind and admit that Elemental Magic is not useless. I need to go.'

Elaine left the table.

'Best of luck to you Miss Elaine,' Dunnford said.

Elaine turned her head before she left the inn. 'Dunnford,' she called.


'Thank you.'

With that, Elaine left the inn and went to Freya. She was sparring with Ray on the grass field beside the inn with the sword. Ray's movement was still hindered because of his wounds and it was clear that Freya was going easy on him. When Freya spotted Elaine however, she quickly ended the spar by landing a blow on Ray's forehead with the sheathed Celeste.

'Great timing!' Freya said to Elaine, she seemed joyful to see her. 'It's about time I switch opponent to a magic user.'

Ray was dead tired, lying on the soft grass, while Freya was still brimming with energy. 'Aren't you tired?'

'What? From sparring with Ray? That's nonsense Elaine.'

That sentence was definitely a critical hit for Ray. Elaine could hear him grunt, as if he was just stabbed by sharp words. Elaine smirked.

'You know Freya, you won yesterday's fight and yet it seems to me that you're the one training the hardest. Why is that?'

Freya tilted her head, confused by her question. Her expression was saying: the answer is obvious. 'Elaine,' Freya said, 'I can't use magic like you. So I need to work hard to make up for it.'

'... I see.' Freya's words made Elaine smile.


About the author

Novaldy Felix

Bio: Any form of reviews or critics, kind or unkind, is greatly appreciated! Thank you!

Things happens, updates Freya at least once a week at EST Saturday 19:03. (If I don't get the timezone wrong)

Oh hey, speaking of which:
Some stuff arises during the holiday, things I need to deal with.

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