“Lalala la la”
A cute blonde girl around six years old was humming a simple melody while skipping. She wore a very expensive dress that was beautiful enough to overlook the price with pink and white colors as the main theme and her hands were covered with soft long gloves up to her elbows. There were many frills and ribbons on the dress, so one could only imagine how much time it took to make it. If it was anybody else, people would look at the wearer with contempt, as it would look very gaudy and give the feel of vanity. But for some mysterious reason, the dress looked perfectly natural on that girl, no one would even have the slightest hint of scorn in their hearts after looking at her. In fact, they would feel charmed and happy to have seen something so beautiful.
“La la laaa~”
Her voice was crystal clear and, even though she was humming, the melody caused the illusion that everything was right with the world. Anybody listening would feel that they have obtained the truth of the world, became enlightened and rose above all things mundane and worldly. They would think that the girl was an angel, an apostle of some God of Peace, promising everlasting happiness and joy in land far far away…
A simple melody, but so many emotions would well up in the hearts of listeners! Such a scene could make people lose themselves in their own sentimental thoughts.
Well, it would, if not for the small and insignificant fact, that still was very hard to overlook, that the said girl was skipping and humming in the air while bashing the living lights out of the bloody and battered bag of meat that used to be the strongest disciple of the Everlasting Emperor sect without a hint of merci or hesitation.
And it’s a lovely day again! The sun is shining, the trees are swaying in the wind and the fragrance of the flowers growing on the meadow bellow is tickling my nose! Oh, there’s also a fun punching bag training partner I can torment to my heart’s content have a spar with!
You are probably wondering what is going on at the moment, right? Right? You definitely want to know without fail, amiright? No? Let’s pretend I didn’t hear that. So, you want to know how I, Lavenna Lapress Meliac, has been living for the past two years, right? Well, since you are so persistent I have no choice but to tell you!
Well, the time when I was four went by pretty smoothly. There wasn’t much that happened, nor was there anything outstanding that I have accomplished. Well, I did train in this world’s magic and cultivated qi in my body in secret and that was it. Mother brought a magic-sealing tool that I’m still wearing on my right hand. It’s a golden bracelet with many geometric patterns. I tried to study it and understand what those patterns meant, but it was all for naught. I moved pure mana through them, I moved arcane energies too, I used all kinds of combinations of those energies, I even stooped as low as to chant the super embarrassing incantation to summon a ball of light! The result was: either the thing isn’t real, or I somehow broke it. I can cast magic with no interference from the thing, it does nothing! It emits some negligible amounts of purple aura, a kind of arcane energy found in old cursed items, but there was no effect!
I thought the reason was that gold was such a bad material for alchemy, so I tried mithrill borrowed from the armour stand in our guest room, old piece of high-quality wood from a dismantled toy, I even got my hands on a small diamond and refined it into a mystic gem! None of the materials worked. For now, I decided to give up on this world’s strange methods of enchantment. Pretending to be a little child ignorant of the world really limits your resourcefulness.
When I was five, mother started to teach me basic knowledge like reading, arithmetics and etiquette. While I didn’t really need to do this, since mother took education into her own hands, even though she has many responsibilities as a Duchess and a court magician, I played along and it was really fun for both of us. She made such a happy smile each time I made the right answer after pretending to have trouble, I think it was worth the time.
Also that year I was tested yet again, this time for my cultivation aptitude. I wasn’t surprised that this world also had the knowledge on cultivation, though what got me surprised was that they gave me, a noble with a very high aptitude for magic, that test. In my previous world, and in many others too, cultivation was mainly the way for the common folk to get stronger. It was a necessity in the military, but those who had a talent for magic usually looked down on cultivation, at least in the normal world where normal mages and humans lived. While cultivation could and would allow pretty much anybody to be able to do some crazy feats, like moving mountains, splitting the seas, tearing space itself apart even, that process was very long and only those with unwavering hearts could obtain the godly benefits of using qi.
There was an entire realm full of people, in a broad sense, that have absolutely broken through the mortal limits of cultivation, just like us witches and wizards broke through our own humanity with magic and stepped onto a higher level of being. The realm of those cultivators had many names, such as Hell, the immortal desert and many others. I called it the infernal plane, where the Infernal Legions resided. The inhabitants there were called demons. They had their own rankings and rules and culture so I won’t go too deep into this topic. I’ll just describe the common points of all demons: they all don’t have a lifespan. You can kill them, but they will never die of old age. They all have a human appearance with some different traits mixed in. Demons are monsters that cultivated qi and obtained a relative mastery of their bodies. They can change their own forms, but they commonly choose to look human, with some animalistic traits mixed in for others to differentiate. They all are very strong. When it comes to physical strength pretty much all immortal creatures, like spirits and witches, for example, are leagues ahead of mortals, but the demons are even stronger than that. Good thing their realm is sturdy, otherwise it would be gone long ago. And the last point: they all love to talk funny. Sometimes you talk to a demon and most of the conversation try to make sense out of the things they say. Well, I call it funny, but it’s just that their language is full of idioms and sayings that they generously incorporate into their normal speech. A culture shock, people call it?
“The heavens shattered and the hells wept when his strong power was shown:
“Stay there, brat! This daddy will teach you a lesson! You have eyes but don’t see Mount Tai! I shall give you no face this time!”
The void tore and rivers began to flow into another direction from his heaven-defying anger! Truly, the boy didn’t know how vast the world was when he behaved so inappropriately, showing off his skills in front of an expert! The mysterious and profound truths were being emitted from the expert’s sword, the killing intent also rose and froze the seas!”
This was an example of normal speech from the Infernal planes. I actually have a few friends there and even my own familiar, who used to be a normal cat originally, is a Demon Marquis there. Well, don’t mind the details. I think I went off of track. Sorry. What was I talking about again?
Oh, right! So they gave me that test that looked at my qi veins and told me how good I was. Since I am no stranger to arcane energies and all, as I spent countless years of research on the topics, I pretty much mastered all possible vessels in my body that can carry anything related to mana. And, you guessed it, my qi veins were also mastered. Though my knowledge on cultivation was very shallow. I mean, basically, cultivators refined their bodies into good all-purpose enchantment canvases where they could use their qi to make those enchantments. I did the same thing to my soul, only with all types of arcane energies and on a much larger scale, so why would I ever need to try and cultivate qi? So, I simply gathered and circulated qi inside my body, waiting for things to happen, and it simply made me super strong, fast, my defenses and resistances were high and I could fly, more or less. I couldn’t use cultivation magic, or as they’re officially called on the infernal plane “martial techniques”, so I was pretty bad at this entire cultivation thing-y. Good thing was, my body could hold a ridiculous amount of qi, so I still could give a beating to anyone who, as a proper demon would say: “didn’t know the immensity of Heaven and Earth”.
Well, it’s hard to tell how much qi a person has, unless they have a skill like spirit sense, so no one knew I was a small little monster. But they found out I could become a small little monster! So, mother got excited again and showed me a private beach where our household’s servants trained. Also, I found out that our household’s servants are all experienced military personnel, but it didn’t really matter to me. What did matter to me was that I know had a “legal” reason to be strong. So I played and had fun trained! And in a year I showed some good “progress”, though I really just showed my power. Cultivating wasn’t dangerous if you had the money and resources, and money we had, so mother was all in, when she found out I could be safer. She’s quite selfish, but no one complained, though I think there’re plenty of problems with the way she gave me the resources to become strong enough to punch off a head of an average human.
And somehow, the news of my genius progress spread, this and that happened and I defeated some renowned martial artists and now some sects let me torture and torment spar with their prodigies to knock them off their high horses if their success got to their heads. Oh, and a sect is an organization that gathers people to teach them how to cultivate and use martial arts, nothing religious.
Mother somehow didn’t mind this whole ordeal, she even diligently took me to the sects and watched all of my fights. Perhaps it was because I had no friends of the same age and there isn’t much to do at home? Anyway, this and that happened, I guess.
When I became six, my soul showed some signs of recovery. It’s still too early to do anything about it, but I can have a few benefits, such as increased mental capabilities. In fact, the whole time I was retelling the story, the lass I just punched towards a big oak tree had only shifted by a meter in the air.
Well, let’s finish it up, shall we?
When the disciple was violently punched in the gut, his body flew toward a big tree with a very high speed. But before his body touched the bark, Lavenna appeared right in front of him. She stood in the air with her arms on her waist and her head up high, like an overbearing tyrant. When the distance shortened down to a meter, Lavenna kicked the air in front of her and the shockwaves caused the already fainted disciple to fly back. With the speed a normal human’s eye couldn’t see, Lavenna appeared above the poor guy and slammed him down with both of her hands, with enough force to bury him three meters under the ground.
After all was said and done, I could finally enjoy some peace and quiet. I flew towards where my mother and my maids were. The battle was on the territory of this… Everlasting Frost sect I think? It’s around two days by carriage from the capital but we got here in an hour with mother’s help. They gave us a piece of land to set a small camp and even offered us a house to stay during our time here. They even wanted to make a welcoming ceremony because mother came but it would take too much time so she dismissed them. I’m a bit tired. I want some warm tea.
“Young lady, would you like some tea?” My third personal maid, Lesha, offered me a cup. Lesha is the tallest amongst my maids and her figure is quite mature. Her hair is crimson red, which is the most uncommon hair color as far as I know, though she herself, like the rest of my maids, has a quiet and obedient character, which doesn’t quite suit her hair color. I’ll have to admit, my mother is very good at hiring personnel.
I take the cup and have a sip. The slightly bitter taste spreads through my mouth, the flowery fragrance isn’t too strong, but not too weak. It’s lacking, compared to the tea I had back in my own palace, but it’s still delicious.
Mother is looking at me with shining eyes again. She isn’t behaving like at home, she has an image to keep, after all. But I can still feel her love and affection. It’s pretty quiet right now, a few crickets can be heard and some people outside our small piece of land can be heard chattering, but it’s still peaceful. And it’s summer now, the skies are clear and it’s warm.
I think I have an idea.
I come closer to mother and put a few chairs closer to her. Well, I try to but it seems that my maids understand my intention and do it for me. I lay on the chairs and put my hair on her lap. Her warm hand is stroking my hair and I can’t resist and fall asleep. People want to talk to me and mother? Who cares, let them wait. Not like I want to talk with them. I want to say that but my mouth can’t open due to drowsiness. Still, my intention was understood and I see two maids moving towards the guests while the rest take care of me. We really do have good servants…
“Rise and shine, my little sweetheart!” I hear a voice somewhere on the edge of my conscience.
“Un…” I muster up a reply and go back to sleep.
“Don’t be like that, wake up, wake up!” Ouch! Don’t pinch my cheek! I’ll wake up, okay!
“I’m awake…” Even if I’m awake it doesn’t mean I can’t be sleepy, mother. And why are you holding me in your hands?
“Good. I wanted to show it to you, look!” Only then do I notice that the scenery has completely changed. We’re not on that “Something something” sect’s territory anymore, we are in some valley of sorts that’s surrounded by small mountains now.
There’re many trees of all kinds, though the middle of the place is a small grassy plane. There’re a few flowers here and there, but not too many and not too eye-catching. There’s a small and neat wooden shack with a pale red roof that doesn’t look like it was made by professional builders, more like something you would find in a village, though it has a charm of its own. There’s even a clear pond close to the hut, with a small wooden bridge hanging over it!
“Where are we?”
“I took a vacation and decided to spend some time together with my adorable daughter, and this, my dear Lavenna, is a place I made a while ago, even before you were born, to relax and have some time to myself.”
Is it alright? I don’t know the duties of a duchess or a court magician, but something tells me you don’t have that thing called vacation? But I don’t really care, and it sounds fun.
“Mama made it? So awesome!”
Not how a noble girl should speak, even at the age of six. It somehow ended up being a habit to speak like this when I’m alone with mother. She doesn’t seem to mind it, so I think it’s okay too.
“I know, right? It took me some effort to raise the mountains here and make a pond, but I think it was worth it.”
You meant this whole place when you were speaking about the place? I didn’t know mortal mages could do such things. Or, I mean I knew they could, just no one would bother to waste their sweat and tears to make themselves a neat and cosy personal resort like this.
“Alright, let’s come inside the hut!”
Mother put me down and we walked towards the entrance. I took in the scenery and enjoyed the natural sounds. I always loved natural landscapes and the view here was top-notch! The Sun was shining from behind the mountain to the left, dying its peak in a pinkish hue, the leaves on the trees nearby reflected the light, making it look as if they were made of gold. The pond mirrors the view perfectly, as the mountains here block the winds, making the water in the pond stand still. What a lovely place!
When we came close to the hut, mother knocked on the door three times and the entire thing lit up with many weird geometric patterns and I heard a distinctive clicking sound. When the lights dimmed, mother pushed the door open and we were greeted with a rather sad view as the whole hut was full of dust. Mother’s smile froze for a second but she quickly recovered and said:
“I didn’t think about it. Lavenna, could you wait a minute, please!”
Of course, I complied. She went into the hut, closed the door and through the window for the next few minutes I could see many different lights. ‘Is she using magic to do something?’ I wondered.
When it was over, she opened the door and now had a much more natural and relieved expression.
“What a blunder! Sorry, let’s come in now!”
She took my hand and led me in.
Inside the hut became much cleaner than before. It looked cosy. There was only a large single room with a big bed to the right, a few shelves with a few books and some small miscellaneous items like a lantern, some small paintings were hanging on the wall to the left. There were a table and two chairs right beside the entrance and a big stone fireplace that stood proudly across the door, which told me that she probably came here during winter as well.
I wonder how long we will spend here. It doesn’t seem like there’re many things to do, it’s a small little personal paradise that was meant for the owner to have a stay for a day or two and bond with Mother Nature and laze around, probably, so I don’t think it will take too much time.
Mother took out some items from her spatial ring, a rare artefact among mortals that allows the users to store a lot of things in a place with frozen time. It’s good for carrying things as its weight isn’t much but I heard that it uses a lot of magic power from mother.
After she was done she sat on the big bed and patted the place next to her, inviting me to sit with her.
She then hugged me and lowered my head on her lap and, while stroking my hair, she began to talk:
“Lavenna, you are such a clever child, I’m really proud of you, you know? So, that’s why I decided to have you stay here with me for a few days as I have to tell you something really important and then make sure you won’t tell anyone about it in the future. Promise me, you won’t tell anybody, okay?”
While she was speaking very gently, I could still sense some seriousness from her, so I made a nodding motion with my head that was still on her lap.
“Good. So, the thing I wanted to talk to you about was our bloodline. You probably noticed how you were much stronger than all the people you’ve beaten up. And you probably wondered why it is that many of them spend countless years perfecting their techniques and growing steadily, while it took you but a year to achieve results much higher than them, right?”
I didn’t, sorry. Is it not because of my knowledge and experience?
“You may not believe me, but we are not human. And I don’t mean that we have some elves or beastmen among our ancestors, no, our race is a race that’s a big secret to most people. It’s not recorded in books and only some kings and emperors of a few countries are aware of its existence, that’s how big of a secret it is.”
No, I believe you. I’ve always suspected that I wasn’t born human as a human body wouldn’t be able to handle the power of my soul. Only something truly incredible should be able to safely become a vessel for it. So, what’s so special about our race?
“I was going to have this talk with you when you were older, but, even for one of our kin, you have shown incredible growth, so I’ve decided to talk with you now. The children of our race usually develop mentally much faster than humans and other races, that’s why you haven’t had any playmates your age, as I was afraid you would notice that you were different and it would affect you somehow… I’m really sorry”
I’m actually quite thankful, y’know. I would really hate to hang around little brats. I don’t hate children, but it doesn’t mean that I love them.
“It’s okay! I love spending time with mama more than anybody else!”
“Aaawww, you are so adorable! Mama loves you too!”
And then she began to hug and kiss me. Why is my mother so easily swayed? It’s not that I hate this situation, but don’t forget about what you were talking about, please!
“Oh, right. I was talking about our race. It’s very important. Yes, where was it where I left off… Right! So, our children develop mentally a lot faster than other races’ children. But that’s not all! In fact, while we look like humans, we are very different from them. Humans have their own limits. They can spend ten years mastering some skill and pushing it to the limits of human mastery, but such a limit doesn’t seem to apply to us. Be it physique, magic, mental power, or pretty much anything else, as long as we put in our effort, our growth will not stop, or at least it seems so. And, most importantly, we are immortal. A human will live and in a century or two will die and will be considered to have lived a long life, while to us it’s but an insignificant moment in the endless river of time. To balance it, our race almost never has children. When you were born, all of our brethren from all over the world were surprised. Even the very old members of our race who have grown weary of living and went to slumber woke up, just to see you! Isn’t it amazing?”
To me, it sounds like you have put a huge burden on my shoulders.
“You are our race’s beloved princess! The only one across thousands of years! Speaking of princesses and royalty in general, you might wonder why we haven’t taken over the world, or why our country’s king is a human in particular, and the answer to that question is: we do rule the world!
“Many countries are secretly controlled by us. For example, while the status of our Mehliac clan is but a Ducal House, in reality, the king is our vassal. It’s often the case in many other countries, that’s why there aren’t that many big political conflicts happening. We prefer to be unknown to common folk as being known usually brings either extreme worship or extreme hatred from the common masses. Neither is desirable by most of us.”
Somehow it reminds me of how we witches and wizards usually handle things, only with more people and on a smaller scale.
I wonder how the people from our race will react when their “princess” will move from this world, as I’m planning to go find Stella when I stabilize my powers which should happen by the time I’m around a hundred. I could go once I recover my powers, but my previous experience taught me not to be overconfident. It’s best to make sure I’m safe before I do anything. I also have to persuade my mother to go with me too. In these short six years I got quite attached to her, though before I reincarnated I didn’t plan on making any bonds. Though it doesn’t matter now, as she seems to be on the second level of immortality. By the way, immortality is usually divided into three levels, first is when you just won’t die of old age. The worst kind of eternal life, as you still age, get hungry and sick and in the end you end up as a moving shadow. Literally. The second is more common, the one where you don’t age, get sick and basically overcome the limits of your flesh to an extent. I was at the peak of the second level and almost broke through to the third. The third is where you become absolutely immortal. Even if your body is completely destroyed, you will either restore yourself or your body is indestructible in the first place. It’s the realm that you achieve usually when you become a necessary part of the layer of existence you occupy. You can’t kill the concept of time, you can’t kill me. True Gods are on that level.
In a way, I now have achieved that level too, though not in the way I desired. Even if I die, I will simply reincarnate again, no memories lost.
“But not everything is as good as it sounds. Being immortal allows us to be a part of the world mortals don’t know about, there’re many other immortal creatures apart from us. Some of them are much more frightening than us, so there’s a system of seniority among us immortals.”
Yeah, that’s not news to me. I was hoping that it wouldn’t be the case, but it seems that someone claimed the rights to this world already. Damn. I’m not a bully, I’m not going to take it away from them. If they behave.
“I will teach you about it later, but now it’s more important to tell you about the changes in your body you will inevitably face when your bloodline awakens. First, it’s the wings. All of our people have leathery wings. We can fly with them, we can move things with them, we can use them as shields, but most of the time they are a nuisance. I hope to awaken your bloodline here to teach you how to control them and how to hide them. Then, the fangs. We have very long fangs. We don’t use them for anything though. They can also be controlled.”
She smiled and her fangs began to grow longer and sharper. Though I didn’t believe that my race in this life is a vampire, but maybe I was wrong somehow?
“There’s also a very special racial trait of our race that needs to be controlled very carefully. It’s called “charm”. There’s always a risk that you may accidentally take control of someone’s heart, and it’s extremely dangerous! The longer the exposure to “charm” the victim has, the closer they get to becoming mindless marionettes. You shouldn’t have developed it yet, so I will teach you how to control it.”
That’s new. Vampires don’t have something so convenient. What am I then?
There are many questions I have now.