Back at the house, they ate the mushy stew in silence for some time. Essairyn roved through her mind for possible causes as well as fixes. Although she expected more demons to pursue Akari, not all of the incidents directly connected to her like with that humanoid demon. Thinking back to the reptilian jaguar, the valguarkin, it was possible that it had raced over to the tent in the middle of their battle because of Akari. Otherwise, there was nothing in the tent that could possibly entice it over an injured, defenseless human. And with these wolves, they must have been targeting the barn and only redirected their aim to the farmhouse because of Essairyn. They were smart enough to know where the humans lived. She needed more clues. After eating, she would have to inspect the barn with Akari.
“Mr. and Mrs. Welfort.” Essairyn broke the oppressive silence. “I’m sorry that this happened to you again. I have an idea how to protect the farm from any further instances.”
The couple cut in before she could continue. “No no, not at all Essairyn. It’s not your fault that this happened again,” Mrs. Welfort assured with commiserative concern after which Mr. Welfort added, “Those demonically possessed wolves might have been chasing after the ones from last night. If I think about it now, those wolves from yesterday looked like they had been running away from something. Perhaps some rogue horde of demons attacked their pack? I can’t imagine any other reason for them to leave the forest in such a panic and not care about crossing over human territory.”
Essairyn listened intently with a partially closed hand resting on her chin. “I actually encountered some demons before this, and I think they were acting bizarrely too. It’s possible that it’s as you said. Something is causing the demons to go rogue.” She flicked her eyes to Akari for the briefest of glances. The almost imperceptible action was not unnoticed by the fox.
“Anyway,” the girl continued. “I can try setting up a magical barrier system around the farm. Demons seem to dislike my magic, so it’s possible that it can ward them off.” Essairyn faintly gulped. It felt odd pronouncing that demons were averse to her magic. She felt like she was boasting about that as well as being able to set up a defense mechanism; even though, she really wasn’t sure about either being true.
“Can you really do that?!” The couple started back in astonishment. “What rank are you if I may ask?” They were sure that Essairyn couldn’t have been anything less than C-rank based on the abilities she had displayed.
The girl hesitated before replying, “Umm, I’m not sure to be honest. I just arrived in Sol’h’meyr the other day…”
This news further stunned the elderly couple. They would’ve never imagined that the gifted human mage was actually a traveler! They were surely lucky that she had been put into their path as the wolves might’ve destroyed a great part of their living. Agog, they turned to Darren expectantly. He hadn’t shown any magic, but his strength was rather high too.
Seeing the couple on tenterhooks about him, Darren sweat-dropped. “I just arrived a few hours ago and met Essairyn…” He oddly felt defeated by the girl whose frame was rather petite. Although he knew he wasn’t the most skilled even back on Earth when he played basketball or anything competitive, he still prided himself on being one of the best. This prick of envy about another person was unfamiliar to him.
The couple nodded in understanding with mouths somewhat agape. They finished eating while Essairyn explained her plan. She would cast a spell on the fence so that if demons came near, it would activate and expel them from the premises, much like a warning. Should the demons continue provoking it, the system would go into combat and eliminate the threats. The system could be supplied with magic, and it would save on magic by remaining dormant as long as demons didn’t come near.
When Essairyn inspected the barn with Akari after dinner, the fox queried, “That magical system you were talking about before, are you really able to cast such a protective spell?”
The girl honestly replied, “Nope. But it doesn’t hurt to try. I never guaranteed the Welforts that I would be successful anyway. And if worse comes to worse, I can probably make a magic sword or weapon for them right? Will it be useable by them even after I leave?”
The fox sighed. She really didn’t know why she even asked such a question as Essairyn’s answer was exactly as she had expected. This girl was always trying to do the impractical. Akari wondered if that was why her magic was so anomalous. Magic had a direct connection to the soul it was bound to. Although lineage was important, a stronger spirit often related to a stronger magical ability. This was one of the rationales for unlikely talents.
“Yes, that magic weapon creating ability of yours is a skill only demonstrated by full-fledged Knight-Mages. Ugh, you wouldn’t have to be an incarnation of the Knight-Mages of old would you?” The fox peered at Essairyn with jesting, suspicious eyes. The girl merely shook her head with a light, entertained smile. She had been born on Earth, so there was no way that she could be connected to anyone living in Sol’h’meyr.
The fox clicked her tongue and continued, “Items created purely out of magic will eventually dissipate into the magical atmosphere. But they can remain intact for a long time depending on its creator and the effort used. Anyone can use them, but they can’t directly hurt the creator. The weapon will just sink back into the body. The only way to possibly cause harm to creators is if the amount of magic returned by the weapon greatly exceeds their magical control and capacity, including any amulets or magic storage devices. The sudden over-abundance can cause them to overheat and faint while the body tries to expel excess magic.”
Essairyn let out an enlightened breath. “So that’s why I couldn’t maintain two magical objects like the flying disk and scythe. My body wouldn’t allow it because of the magical strain.”
Akari gave an amused scoff. “That’s only because you’re creating the magic circle through an unconventional means by first creating a flying disk, an object as you said. You can actually cast the flying spell directly and be able to equip any weapon too.”
“Oh. Ahahah…” Essairyn felt like she lost some smarts. She was doing everything the hard way instead of the easy way. She really needed to learn about how to properly cast magic.
Seeing the ruffled girl, Akari tittered. “Anyway, let’s finish up this investigation. There has to be something leftover from yesterday’s wolves that attracted the demonically possessed ones to go after the barn instead of chasing after the previous wolves.”
“So it’s not at all because you’re here?” Essairyn couldn’t help asking the question no matter how distrustful it sounded. She needed to know in order to prepare for future incidents.
Fully expecting the question to be eventually asked, Akari calmly replied, “No. I do suspect that the valguarkin from yesterday was sent after me. They sure are quick.” A glint of resentment flickered in her orbs. “But these wolves aren’t related to my pursuers or even the fact that I’m a spirit. We might naturally oppose one another, but that doesn’t mean we can’t live in harmony like most in the Spirit-Demon forest.”
For a moment, Essairyn felt abashed for interrogating her. Didn’t you decide to trust her for now? But she was glad that the fox was nonchalant about it. “That makes sense. So what should I be looking for in here?” She surveyed the dimly lit barn and resting animals.
The fox trotted over to a pen and jumped up on the fence. Sniffing the area as she walked forward from pen to pen, Akari suddenly halted. “Essairyn!” the fox seethed as her hackles rose. “There’s a demon in here!”
At her shout, the ragged outline of a shadow manifested in the gloom. Unblinking crimson eyes opened and a sawtoothed smile spread across the face of the demon. “Ah-kar-ee? Ss-pir-it? W-weak?! Hehehe!” The demon lurched toward the fox in delight. Akari leapt away onto the ground while Essairyn sprinted at the unveiled demon in alarm.
“Akari!” the girl shouted as she hurtled a blade of magic at the demon who narrowly dodged the abrupt attack.
The demon frowned with serrated teeth showing. “H-human, m-mage?” It confusedly edged back from the girl and then cast its gaze back on the retreating fox. “M-must eat, ss-pirit! Strength!” It charged at Akari with a cavernous mouth.
Essairyn raised a barrier in front of the demon’s beeline toward the tiny fox. But Akari had managed to leap away at the last second even without the girl’s help. Granted, Essairyn was successful in injuring the demon which had crashed through the barrier. The demon roared out in agony and spun around in wary fury. Red cuts were sprayed over its body, and a seared splotch smoked in its center.
“E-elmental?!” The demon cried out and darted toward a spooked animal. The poor cow bellowed in fright as the demon latched onto it and began ripping through its side.
Absolutely appalled, Essairyn dashed toward the aggrieved cow. She couldn’t send any magical attacks from afar without possibly hurting the animal, so she materialized her sword. Vaulting over into the pen, she whisked her blade onto the gorging demon. It swung over onto the other side of the cow and grinned tauntingly at the girl who missed. Frustrated by the speedy demon, she hooked the sword up by the handle and stabbed it on the other side. But the snickering demon evaded and latched onto another animal a few pens away.