“How long do you think I have to train until I can have one of these magic caches too?” Darren asked Lachlan. When he had tried to open his magic cache, he disappointedly found out that it was nonexistent.
The man scrutinized the boy for a few moments and then did the same to the girl before replying, “Essairyn definitely overwhelms your trace of magical ability when close to her. But it’s undeniable that it’s there. I imagine, with consistent training, you’ll be able to create the most basic magic cache in two weeks. And in another month, possibly even basic magic spells.”
Darren’s eyes brightened. “Great! That’s shorter than I expected.” He couldn’t help letting his gamer side get the best of the bleak situation. If Akari were here, she’d likely grouch over having another game fanatic on her paws.
“Compared to the first humans in Sol’h’meyr, I suppose you’re better off.” Lachlan deduced with a thoughtful gaze on the two travelers before him. “Humans’ magical ability increased slightly from generation to generation. Children became stronger than their predecessors. So human mages were slow in the making. Although you won’t be able to reach the magical level needed to be considered a ‘Mage,’ your talent lies in becoming a ‘Knight.’ Like most humans, your magic is deeply embedded in your body, enhancing your physical strength.”
Both Darren and Essairyn were engrossed. This free lesson had truly been insightful. However, the ever analytical Essairyn questioned why travelers skipped that evolution process. She wondered if some humans were brought over for a reason. When she asked Lachlan, he pondered a moment before answering.
“Since humans were originally forced into Sol’h’meyr, it would seem that it was just an unfortunate, unseen consequence of the war. However, some travelers have acclimated well and are glad to have left Earth. Of course, others became distraught, but with the creation of Neu’arth, they soon feel right at home because of its similarity to Earth. Not to mention, we get travelers from various cultures and time periods, so there’s a place in Neu’arth for everyone. And because of its magical barrier, people can live in Neu’arth without worrying about stray magical creatures or other dangers. That also includes a health care system that can treat any kind of illness.”
Essairyn’s mouth dropped open a little upon hearing of Neu’arth’s magical barrier and health care system. “That’s amazing. So you can’t use magic in Neu’arth? But they can treat any kind of illness?”
Lachlan nodded. “The magical barrier prevents any kind of magical discharge, so upon entering Neu’arth, you automatically agree to these terms. The only ones who can use magic are the Secret Service Protection Agency, or the SSPA, who protect Neu’arth. And when you become a citizen, you give up any magic generated beyond your regular m’u. In return, you receive free treatment whenever you get sick. Not to mention, magic combined with human technology has greatly increased the standard and ease of life.”
“Wow,” Essairyn gasped, “so magic can be used in such a way in society.” Thinking back to Earth and its countless wars, it seemed that finally, some place had gotten it right. Magic was the key to human peace.
Lachlan smiled with a shade of stoniness. “Yes, it’s quite an example for the rest of Sol’h’meyr. However, not everyone will agree to such a construct of society in a world of magic.”
Essairyn knitted her face disconcertion. For sure, it was counterintuitive to bar magic in a world where everything was composed of it. Humans were also the foreign race in a land where the elementals had lived for thousands of years prior. So, some elementals were bound to find Neu’arth distasteful, to say the least. Thus, no matter what kind of world it was, she deduced that as long as intelligent beings resided in it, power struggles were certain to transpire. And for Sol’h’meyr, magical prowess was authority.
“All that aside, what are you two going to do now?” Lachlan posed. Naturally, he was now invested in the two and curious to their plans. He was especially fascinated by Essairyn.
The two looked at one another, and Darren spoke first. “Since there’s no way to return to Earth, I guess I’ll head to this Neu’arth…” Hearing Darren’s answer, Essairyn scooted to the edge of her seat toward him.
Lachlan inclined his head in agreement. “I suggest traveling north to the city of Byar’non. The Academy campus there has a knights facility while Reisparte only has a standard educative school. It’s a short distance and can be traversed by foot in less than a day. If you decide to join the Knight’s Order, then you’ll get free training which will be helpful for surviving in this world while traveling to Neu’arth. The main campus right outside of Neu’arth too, if you wish to practice your magic and learn more about Sol’h’meyr.”
The man paused to gauge Essairyn’s possible response to his next words. “And be careful showing your magic in public places. A shady group has been causing trouble around As’pyze lately, and they seem to target mages. As long as you don’t use magic though, you should be safe.”
Essairyn pursed her lips. “Can’t they recognize my magical ability like you did?”
“No,” Lachlan assured, “only high class mages can. And don’t worry, I’m not a dangerous person.” He added that last part upon seeing a glint of suspicion flash in the girl’s eyes.
“Well thank you for teaching us. I really appreciate your time,” Essairyn nonchalantly smiled as she got up to leave. She picked up the small history book with the loose paper tucked inside and waved it in the air. “And thanks also for this book.” She opened up her cache and placed the booklet inside.
Just as Darren was about to stand up, they heard a scratching noise from the window nearby. It was Akari who was standing sideways on the window ledge. Essairyn looked at her in surprise and walked over to open the window.
“Where were you?” she questioned after lifting the glass.
“Do you have any idea how hard it was to find you?” Akari interjected. “Actually, I figured you’d be in a place like this, but I hate walking around in public unnecessarily by myself.”
Essairyn laughed as the fox jumped onto the table and trotted over to Darren. Akari leaned into his shocked face and stared at him intently. “You’re rather handsome, aren’t you?” she remarked, making him open his mouth in speechlessness.
He edged back in his seat and pointed a finger at Akari. “A-A talking animal!”
“Hey, didn’t anyone teach you it’s rude to point fingers?” Akari huffed and twirled away.
“Who? You know this.. fox?” Darren gawked at Essairyn. She smirked and nodded.
“I met her in the Spirit and Demon Forest. She tried passing off some pursuers to me, but in the end, we decided to adventure together.”
Akari licked her paw. “What? A god’s gotta survive.”
“A god?” Darren exclaimed.
“Yes, I am the almighty god Akari!” The fox haughtily puffed out her fluffy chest. “I just recently reincarnated, that’s all.”
“I just said I was, oh smart one,” the fox piped sarcastically.
“Your face is going to stay surprised forever if you keep that up,” Akari dryly joked.
“What the—” Darren shot up from his chair and held his head in disbelief as he backed away from the table. “Shhhit. This is crazy. I’ve gotta be crazy.” He laughed and stared incredulously at Akari. She just looked at him unamused. He propped a hand to his chin and placed a hand to his hip. “You really talked,” he stated very seriously. “You know, it really didn’t strike me that I was in another world. I still felt like I was on the set of some historical fantasy movie even after—” He cut short and felt his cheek. Even after she… He discreetly side-glanced at Essairyn. “But you talked; I swear you did! Ughh…. Shhhit.” He sunk dramatically to a crouched position with his forehead perched on his knees.
“Well yeah, duh.” Akari rolled her eyes.
The furriness, the intelligent eyes, the smirk on her face… It was like seeing one of the those smiling animals in funny cards walk right off the paper. Except, she was even more realistic and indisputably three dimensional. Darren abruptly stood up and strode over to Akari and swiftly picked her up into the air.
“Oh, hey! Hey! What’re you doing?! Put me down!” the fox shrieked.
“Holy shit you’re real.” Darren goggled at Akari.
Essairyn snatched Akari away and held the fox in the crook of her arms. “Be gentle with her.” She petted the fox on her head.
“This is more touching than I had come here for,” Akari groused under her breath. “Just wait till I get stronger, and you won’t be able to pick me up..”
Lachlan finally spoke up. “The god Akari you say? You have quite the dangerous traveling companion.”
Akari huffed haughtily, “Yes, I was quite notorious in my previous reincarnation.”
“Are you sure you want to travel with someone like that? You’ll likely get no favors for being with her,” Lachlan advised. This entire time he had been watching their reunion. Of all things to add onto the abnormality of Essairyn, she yet again surprised him by being friends with Akari. Just who are you? He couldn’t stop the shiver in his heart. The nagging intuition in his gut whispered that Essairyn would shake Sol’h’meyr to its core. Perhaps, it was finally time.