A note from kosnik4

Patron is 8 chapters ahead, just saying.

Silvia’s (Aaliyah’s Mom) Point of View:

I make my way over to the headman’s front door after I give my husband a farewell hug and kiss goodbye.

I knock on the door three times before I turn my head to see my husband and daughter vanish out of my sight. Be safe you two.

The door swings open and Nicolas’s eyes go wide when he sees me here. “Welcome Mrs. Silvia… what do I have the pleasure of helping you with today?” He still looks a little tense when he sees me.

“I need to talk to Camden, is he available right now?” I smile at the young man causing him to flinch.

“Father and mother always have time to meet with you.” Nicolas moves to the side and waves his hand, motioning me in.

“To the drawing-room, correct?” I look over my shoulder at the boy. I wonder how Richard is doing right now? Has he grown as much as Nicolas since I’ve last seen him? I can’t help but frown thinking about my little boy, I miss him terribly.

“Yes please, Mrs. Silvia. The drawing-room, if you’ll please.” He rushes past me to open the door for me. Why is he? Oh, my frown.

“Don’t worry, sweety. I wasn’t frowning at you.” I make my way past him and take my seat in the drawing-room.

Nicolas closes the door gently and once it’s fully closed I hear him running down the hall to get his parents. I’m not in that big of a rush.

It isn’t long before I hear more even steps coming from the other side of the door. Nicolas opens the door again and Camden and Sarette walk into the room together.

“Silvia! So nice to see you again!” I quickly stand as Sarette wastes no time in moving in for a hug.

“Always good to see you too, Sarette! Camden.” I greet Camden over Sarette’s shoulder while we share a quick embrace.

“Missus Silvia.” He looks just as nervous as his boy. My feelings might get hurt at this rate. Just because we had a few spats over the last week doesn’t mean I hate the man.

Me and Sarette break apart and all of us take our respective seats.

Before Nicolas can take his place behind his father, Sarette calls out to him. “Nicolas honey, can you prepare some tea for us?” Nicolas quickly nods his head and moves for the door.

Camden starts making polite small talk after his son leaves the room. “How are you doing today, Missus Silvia?”

“I’m doing ok, I suppose.”

“Wonderful!” *Cough* He tries to clear his throat after almost shouting that response at me. “Excuse me, I meant to say I’m sure you’re happy now that your daughter has returned. I’ve, umm… missed your daily visits.” Sarette shoots him a glare. He tries to recover but only continues to put his foot in his mouth.

“I talked with your daughter when she got back. Did she mention my sincere apology at all?” He looks hopeful for a positive response. His eyes are so focused on me he doesn’t see the displeasure on Sarette’s face.

“She mentioned it briefly. I have a different reason for coming here today.” Camden’s smile slips for as second.

“Our families are becoming closer by the day. Tell me what I can do for you?” He tries to recover.

Before I can answer him, Nicolas returns through the door carrying a tray with a teapot and four cups.

“Wonderful timing dear. Pour Silvia a cup first.” Sarette smiles at her son as he sets the tea set down.

“Yes mother,” Nicolas responds. With practiced grace, the young man expertly pours a cup of tea and gently hands it to me.

“Thank you, Nicolas. You always make the best tea.” The young man smiles at my compliment.

“He’s gotten quite good at it since you first started coming over, hasn’t he?” Sarette offers her own compliment as she takes the next teacup offered to her.

“He has,” I offer back before I take a sip of my tea.

When I first started coming over to become better acquaintances with Sarette her son could barely make tea without it being too strong or watered down.

I keep my house spotless leaving me with too much free time on my hands. After Richard left with Sandra it became apparent, I should become better acquainted with the Downs. Back then I had no idea I would have so much in common with Sarette.

She helps her husband manage the village’s finances and being raised in a merchant household makes me one of the few women in the village who can understand and talk about her work.

We’ve spent hours discussing our children and husbands over the years. Our friendship has become strained this last month but we’re slowly mending the gap between us.

When Aaliyah told me, the headman’s been watching her progress during the past five years, I felt betrayed by Sarette. We may have discussed our children’s jobs and hobbies but I’ve never mentioned her level or her magic talent. A part of me worried she only accepted my friendship to better spy on my family.

I confronted her with my fears after everyone left on the goblin extermination quest. She admitted to being aware of my daughters’ level but promised that wasn’t the reason she wanted my friendship.

It was hard to believe her but we both ended up comforting each other while our families were deep in the woods.

She even took my side when I almost throttled Camden for letting my little girl stay behind while they all retreated from the forest.

I may not have completely forgiven her yet but I’m not against mending the broken bridge between us.

“So, what’s the reason you decided to stop by, Silvia?” Sarette sets her teacup down on the drawing table and elegantly crosses her legs. Camden almost looks relieved that his wife is taking over the conversation.

I take another sip of tea before I also set my teacup on the table and answer. “My daughter and husband just left for the forest to gather firewood for the village.”

“It’s sweet your daughter still takes time to spend with her father.” Sarette smiles at me.

“Yes, it is. She’s going to spend the next few days home with us, thinking about her recent actions.” Sarette chuckles at that.

“It’s hard to punish children that mirror or surpass your level, isn’t it? It’s a sign of a good mother when we’re able to adapt to raising such children.” That’s another similarity we have. We both have children that out level us.

“She’s with Darrius right now but I was hoping she was going to spend the first day home with me.”

“Oh?” Sarette has a confused look.

“You see, Richard tried to have one of the hunters go with him into the woods yesterday but was refused by everyone. So, my daughter had to volunteer to help him gather firewood last night.”

“OH, my.” Sarette covers her mouth with one of her hands. I send a disappointed look at Camden and he sinks back into his seat.

I turn back to Sarette and give her my full attention. “We’re coming up on winter and I believe people have forgotten their need for firewood with the goblin threat looming over their heads. Aaliyah might be able to help Darrius one or two days a week to gather firewood but she has her own job. I hope you see the dilemma the village faces if my husband can’t gather enough wood for everybody.” I reach over and pick up my tea.

Sarette mimics my action and we both sip our drinks in the momentary silence.

“I see your point, Silvia. It’s a good thing you brought this problem to us so quickly. I’m sure my husband will find a solution by tomorrow. Right?” We both look over at Camden sitting in his chair.

“Of course, I will. Consider the problem solved, with me Nicolas.” Camden springs to his feet and escapes with his son from our combined gazes.

As soon as the door closes behind them, we both break out in laughter.

“You know he’s really sorry about letting your daughter stay behind.” Sarette offers once our laughter subsides.

“I know, Aaliyah made it abundantly clear it was her idea. I can still be mad at our husbands for going along with it though.” I finish off my first cup of tea.

“Let me refill that for you.” Sarette leans over and pours me another cup. “Is she doing ok? I was worried when I was told about the magic beasts in the forest.”

“She’s fine. The fire she usually has in her eyes was burning even brighter when she left this morning.”

“New toys tend to do that,” Sarette quips.

“You heard about her new weapon?” I sit back in my chair.

“The whole village knows about her new sword. It’s orange and looks beautiful, it stood out the moment she carried it through the village.”

“I’m worried she might be going overboard since she returned. A lot of the villagers are paying attention to her now.” I frown at Sarette.

“She slayed a horned hob single-handily, what did you expect would happen?”

“It was a newly formed horned hob.” I correct her.

“It doesn’t matter. She demonstrated her superior ability and saved lives. The days of her quietly walking through the village are gone. She’ll have to get used to it sooner or later.” I watch Sarrette fill her teacup. “I’ve slowly spread the word she values her privacy amongst the village but even our family doesn’t have the ability to stop every whisper in the village. With the ability’s she has at her age it’s no wonder everyone is impressed. If they were aware of her magic talent, they might believe she’s secretly a monster in disguise.”

“I would appreciate it if you didn’t call my daughter a monster… no matter how true you are.” She smiles at my joke.

“The talent between our children is startling. Nicolas is almost as good with managing the village as his father was at his age. My boy Braddon is considered an excellent hunter and my daughter is expected to return as a mage in springtime. I’m told your son is a direct apprentice under the best builder in Drey and your daughter has too many accomplishments to mention. We might just be the luckiest mothers in the world right now.” Sarette’s smile is infectious and soon we’re back to our usual conversations from before the goblin expedition.

“Are you sure you don’t want to stay a little longer?” Sarette tries to gently pull me away from her front door.

“No, I need to get home and prep dinner. I’m sure Aaliyah and Darrius will be back soon and I’m guessing they’ll be hungry after working so hard.” I slip my hand out of her grasp.

“Alright, go then. But don’t wait until you need to tell us something important before you come to visit me again.”

“I won’t. Thanks for the tea.” I lean in and give Sarette another hug before I leave her house and make my way back home. It was nice spending some time talking to her.

My walk home would be considered uneventful if I ignored all the whispers as I walk past my neighbors. I keep my stride even and pretend I don’t notice their questionable and envious looks.

I haven’t felt like this since I was a young girl back in Aurorast. I hope Aaliyah doesn’t freak out when she finally notices just how much attention she’ll receive now.

At least we live in a small village. It doesn’t take me more than a few minutes to make it home and put the gazes of the villagers out of my mind.

I change my shoes and make my way over to our counter. I can prep tonight’s stew and place it farther away from the fire so it’s ready by the time Aaliyah and Darrius make it home. I can’t wait to hear about their day and for all of us to spend time together. Tomorrow will be even better.

I know Aaliyah will want to make a sheath tomorrow but we’ll have plenty of time after that to spend together as a family.

Smiling and humming, I hear the door behind me open. They’re home early!

I set the veggies I’m peeling for the stew down and wipe my hands on a nearby rag. “I’m happy you made it home early. Did the two of you collect enough firewood?” I turn around with a smile on my face to greet my beautiful Daughter and handsome husband.

My smile vanishes when I see the blank look on Aaliyah’s face. The fire in her eyes is gone, replaced by a void I can’t bear to look into.

She kicks off her shoes and doesn’t bother to put her house slippers on. She walks past our table and starts making her way to her room.

“Aaliyah, sweety,” I call out to her. The blank look she gives me hurts my heart.

She looks down at herself. “Oh, sorry mom.” I don’t think she even realizes how upset I am right now.

She makes her way back over to the entryway and Darrius moves to the side giving her a wide birth. He can’t look at her empty face either.

“Ahyt ls weem appiss!”

She chants her cleaning spell and I watch as the dirt from the forest falls away. She isn’t as dirty as she usually is but… is that blood!

The bottom of her pants have bloodstains on them! The stains quickly fade away from her clothes but I can see blood on her shoes she kicked away a minute ago.

As soon as the light fades, she starts walking to her room again. “Aaliyah,” I try to call out her.

“I’m going to lay down.” She shuffles to her room without looking back.

What happened to my baby!?

I start to walk to her room but Darrius wraps his arms around me before I get to far. “I think she needs some time alone,” he whispers in my ear.

I turn around in his arms and look into his eyes. “What happened, Darrius?”

My poor girl is hurting and I don’t know what to say. “What do we do Darrius?” I look up at my husband sitting across from me.

“I don’t know. She ignores all of my questions when we go into the forest.” He glances at Aaliyah’s door down the hall.

“She’s going to hurt herself if she keeps pushing herself like this.” I wipe a tear away from my eye.

I’m used to my daughter pushing herself constantly but this is taking it to far. It’s been three days since she returned with Darrius from the forest and she’s been running herself ragged ever since.

The only time she stops training her magic in her room is when she trains outside. Every morning before dawn she leaves the house for her morning run. Instead of returning with a smile like she usually has, she’s covered in sweat and scratches, barely able to stand.

She’s pushing her stretching routine to the point she has tears in her eyes. I’m worried she’s going to dislocate her arm soon.

And that new sword!

Three times a day she goes outside and swings her sword until she can no longer hold the thing. She focuses on her swings so deeply she doesn’t care who watches her practice anymore. The village is terrified seeing her swing the blade every day like she’s possessed.

Her eyes are hollow and we can hear her waking up gasping for air in the middle of the night.

She eats dinner and cleans the kitchen if I tell her to but if we don’t say anything to her she just secludes herself in her room. I was never blessed with any magic talent but even I can feel the mana she’s constantly covering herself in.

I tried waking her from one of her meditations only to realize I couldn’t touch my baby girl. There was a barrier covering her entire body.

How many times are goblins going to hurt her? I can’t understand why she would feel bad about killing those pests. They do nothing for the forest and only cause problems for the villagers.

“You’ve helped her before Darrius, can’t you try again?” I plead to my husband.

“I tried talking to her yesterday when she went with me to the forest. She followed all my instructions but she pretty much ignored me the whole time. Maybe Del can get through to her? She goes back the day after tomorrow.” My husband says into his hands. He’s burying his head in his arms in defeat, not giving me any hope idea will work.

“I’m more worried about what she’ll do when she goes back to Del. She’s been pushing herself like crazy the last few days. What will happen if Del can’t do anything and she does the same thing while blacksmithing? She’ll hurt herself!” What do we do?

“Can we even do anything to stop her?” I freeze when I hear Darrius.

“What!?” I can’t believe what I’m hearing.

“She’s reached her level through sheer dedication and hard work. I don’t think either of us can match her anymore. It’s hard to admit but we’ve seen this coming. Since she distributed her status points, she’s started acting defiant. She’s making her own choices now and I think we have to respect them.” He’s keeping his head buried in his arms. How am I supposed to take you seriously if you won’t look at me?

Slowly, I push my chair out and stand up.

I make my way around the table and stand beside my husband. The strongest person I’ve ever met looks like he’s about to crumble in front of me.

“Aaliyah is our little girl. No matter how strong she becomes it’s our job to impart our wisdom when she’s troubled, it’s our job to hold her hand when she’s sad, and it’s our job to tell her when she’s wrong, but most of all it’s our job to understand her and keep her safe even if it’s from herself.” I start walking to Aaliyah’s room.

“You might have to make dinner tonight!” I yell down the hall.

I open Aaliyah’s door and see my babysitting on her bed. She sits so still, almost like a statue. Even with her eyes closed, I can see the signs of exhaustion on her face. Her arms are crossed with her palms facing up.

Her beautiful hands are covered in blisters and cuts, how hard did she grip her sword? Even after years of blacksmithing she’s never come home with so many injuries on her hands.

I reach down and try to grasp her hand.

Once my hand reaches two inches from her skin, I feel the magic barrier covering her body. She’s sealing herself off from the world.

Can I move her? I place my hand up against the part of the barrier covering her arm. As soon as I put pressure against the barrier my hand slides away. So, I can’t move her.

I can try breaking the barrier.

No, I don’t know if that would hurt her or not.

I’ll wait.

I’ll wait for her to notice me. I’ll make her pay attention to me. I won’t leave her alone in this room.

Very carefully, I move behind my daughter. I spread my legs to either side of her and wrap my arms around her waist. The barrier makes it feel like I’m hugging a giant egg.

When was the last time I hugged my little girl, four days ago?

When was the last time I’ve held her like this? She took after her father and is bigger than me now. I remember when I could pick her up in my arms.

It feels like it’s been forever since I’ve been this close to her and still this barrier separates us. I’ve yelled at her so much this last month, I hope she knows I only did it because I care so much for her.

“I knew you were special the moment I held you in my arms. The beautiful girl I’ve always wanted. I remember those curious eyes you’ve always had whenever I picked you up. Can you hear me right now?” Her stone-like appearance doesn’t change.

“I also knew raising you was going to be a challenge. From the moment you started rocking yourself back and forth you’ve never stopped moving, never stopped improving.”

“Do you know what the scariest moment in my life was? The moment I didn’t see you standing next to your father when everyone returned from the expedition. I collapsed and felt my heartbreak when I didn’t see your smiling face next to him. You’ve scared me many times since you were little but never like that. That time you were a baby and cried until you passed out was hard, seeing you injured after your first tip into the woods was a nightmare, then that time I heard about Del attacking you and your father. I remember it all so clearly.” I try to strengthen my grip around my daughter. I feel myself being repelled so I have to loosen up a bit.

“I’ve consoled and berated you many times in the past. You’ve always acted so mature for your age, reckless but mature. Whatever weight you’re holding in your heart let me help you carry it. I need you to let me in.” The barrier surrounding my daughter starts shifting and retracting until my arms are pulling her close to me.

“Mom, what are you doing here!?” My daughters astonished voice brings tears to my eyes. Her body tenses for a minute but relaxes in my embrace.

“I’m training, mom. I need to be left alone.” The emotion once again drains away from her voice.

“We need to talk.” I say in her ear.

“I’m busy.” She says in a low tone.

“I know you are but I need to let you know how much I’m proud of you and how much I love you. I can’t watch you hurt yourself anymore.”

“I’m not hurting myself, I’m…”

“Training? I don’t think so.” I cut her off before she can continue lying to herself. “I want you to tell me what happened in the forest?” She shakes in my grip.

“Ask Dad, he knows what happened.”

“I know what happened in the forest. I want to know what happened to you, sweety?”

“I killed some goblins.” She refuses to go into detail.

“I heard you let some of them go.” She twitches in my arms.

“I did.” A silence falls between us.

“Did they remind you of the horde?”


“Did it remind you about your nightmares?”


“Did you feel bad for them?”

“No! I mean, I don’t think so?”

“Then tell me what happened in your words.” I pull my baby as close to me as I can.

“It was just some weak goblins, nothing like the ones in the horde.”

“I wanted to try out my new sword.”

“They didn’t even fully attack us; they froze in front of me.”

“I could have scared them away with my skills if I wanted to but I didn’t.”

“I took the opening.”

“I slaughtered them so easily, mother. They died before they could scream.”

“I wanted to kill them. I wanted to kill every last one of them!”

“Two of them ran away and I froze. I never killed indiscriminately like that before. I was a monster!”

I could tell from her muddled speech how much this was affecting her.

“I don’t believe a monster would have let them flee.” She won’t stop shaking in my arms.

“That was my second problem. I let them live. In the future they could attack the village when they’re stronger. After so many died at the hands of goblins, I let them live. Now I need to be stronger for when they attack again! I can’t let more people die from my mistakes. I can’t let people die because of my weakness! I need to train more, let me go!” She tries to break out of my grasp.

“Let me go mom!”

“No.” She stops thrashing for a moment. She’s strong enough to break out my arms but she knows that she would hurt me while doing it. Even now she’s thinking of my wellbeing, that’s supposed to be my job.

“I said let me go!”

“You could escape if you wanted to.” She growls in frustration and finally stops squirming in my arms.

“You’re such a sweet child, so caring, so compassionate. You did the right thing letting those goblins flee.” I hear her sniffle. “Do you believe those goblins will be stronger than you in a few years, I don’t think so. Killing is considered the fastest way to level in this world. No one would blame you for taking that path, but I don’t think it suits you. You enjoy creating not destroying. You can protect yourself and others when you need to without having to kill every possible threat.” I start stroking her hair with my right hand while I feel her tears falling onto my left that’s still holding her in place.

“You don’t need to give up on your morals to save everyone and you don’t need to kill yourself to obtain power. You’re level 60, right?” She nods her head. “How far away from 61 are you?” She doesn’t answer me. “Knowing you you’re already halfway there and it has only been a little more than a week since you reached level 60. Not even goblins can match your progress. Keep practicing but don’t overdo it. You can’t spend your whole life training. You need to have time to rest properly and enjoy the world around you. Understand!?” She nods her head again.

“I want to hear you say it!” I push harder.

“I understand mom.” She’s bawling her eyes out now.

“Give me a hug, sweety.” I release my hold on her and she turns to face me.

She wraps her arms around me and I start to sway us back and forth. “It’s ok,” I repeat to her. I can’t help but spilling tears of my own.

We stay like that for hours before she falls asleep in my arms. It may be a little cramped but I lay down with her on her bed. I continue to stroke her hair just like I did when she was a baby until the world goes black for me as well.

Being a mother is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It is also the most rewarding job I’ve ever had. I’ll never stop worrying about my children and I’ll never give up on them. No mater how painful something is I can endure it for my daughter.

“That’s good, mom. Now bend down and touch your toes, like this.” Aaliyah easily folds herself in half and touches the ground.

The muscles in my legs protest this new motion as I try to mimic her.

“29, 30. Alright, that’s enough stretching. Ready to run?” Her bright smile makes this time together even more precious to me despite my muscles complaining. I’m happy I agreed to participate in her morning exercise routine.

“Let’s go.” I follow her into the woods closest to our house.

How long has it been since I used my Running skill? I glance to my side to see my daughter setting an even pace for us.

“Don’t you usually run through the village? Why are we running in the forest?” I try to sound inquisitive rather than sound like I’m complaining.

“I changed where I run so I can scan the woods surrounding the village.” I’m reminded of the possibility that we might have giant invisible spiders surrounding our village. At least I know she hasn’t spotted any close by or the whole village would be in an uproar.

I swerve around a tree in my way. My daughter looks like she’s gliding through the forest. Her feet avoid the roots and divots in the forest floor without even looking.

“You can go on ahead if you want to?” I wheeze in between my breaths. I know she’s slowing herself down considerably for my sake.

“I’m fine. I’m happy you joined me, it’s nice running with someone for a change. And just because I’m going slower doesn’t mean I’m not practicing my skill. Practicing to keep an even pace is a large part of running. I’m also using different skills while maintaining our current pace.”

I save my breath for running.

“Want to see something cool, mom?”

“What, sweety?” I prepare myself for whatever she’s about to do. I can tell by the look on her face she’s going to try and startle me.

“It’s a new skill I used to defeat the horned hob…” My daughter who’s running a few feet to my right vanishes!

“It’s called Flash Step!” I hear her directly behind me. I jump but make it look like I was hopping over a rock.

I won’t give her the satisfaction of thinking she got me. “That’s an interesting skill, sweety.” I down play my astonishment. It’s a good thing my father drilled the importance of keeping a straight face while negotiating.

“Did dad or Del tell you about it? You don’t look surprised at all.” She quickly takes her previous position at my side. She now has a few droplets of sweat forming on her face.

“Does that skill use a lot of stamina?” I question my daughter.

“Yeah, but I’m working on it. It lets me shift position and cover a small amount of ground incredibly fast. It might be the most fun skill I have.”

“Why is that?” I can tell she wants to talk more about it. I have to keep my responses short while we’re running.

“The feeling when you move that fast is indescribable. You feel weightless and the world slows for a brief moment. I can run really fast on a flat ground, maybe even reach Drey in a single day if I push myself hard enough. But Flash Step goes above that. It’s allowed me to taste the future of my Running skills.”

“You could quit blacksmithing and become a messenger if you like running so much.” Aaliyah stumbles at my suggestion and looks accusingly at me.

“Very funny, mom.”

I stop while I try to breathe and laugh at the same time.

“Are you ok?” Aaliyah stops running and moves to my side.

“I’m just not used to running.” I can’t believe I couldn’t make a full lap around the village.

“That’s ok. Let’s walk until your stamina recharges.”

“That sounds like a good idea.” I quickly take her up on her offer.

“Hey, mom?”

“Yes, sweety?”

“I’m sorry about the way I acted the last few days. I made you worry about me again.” She lowers her head.

Despite my low stamina, I quickly move over to her and bring my arm around her. “That’s in the past now. We don’t need to mention it again. You just need to remember your father and I will always be here to help you. Whether you’re hurt or troubled about something you can always tell us and we’ll help anyway we can.”

“Thank you, mom. I love you.” She gently rubs her eyes.

“I love you too, sweety. We have the rest of the day to relax together and your father said he would try to make it home early for dinner. We haven’t had time to talk just the two of us for a while, so tell me your plans for tomorrow. Are you going to make something exciting like your sword?”

“I don’t have enough magic ore to make something like that again. I have something I want to make for our house but I’ll keep that for a surprise for tomorrow night. The main thing I need to work on are spears.”

“Oh, why spears?” The glow her face gives off when she talks about blacksmithing is truly beautiful.

“I realized when we were fighting the goblins, swords and other weapons don’t win battles, spears do. If we had more spears maybe more of the villagers wouldn’t have died.” I give her a comforting squeeze with my arm.

“Kervin wanted weapons that he could sell to Fort North Ridge but ever since I distributed my status points, I haven’t had time to make anything for him.”

“Why are you rushing? You can just sell more to him next month. Do you need money, your father and I have some saved up if you need it?”

“That’s ok, mom. I can earn my own coin. Besides, I need gold coins and I don’t think you and dad have that much saved up. I know you gave brother part of your savings when he left with Sandra.”

“What do you need that much money for!?” She’s talking about spending a fortune for someone living out in a village like this one.

“Master gave me a list of supplies I need to try enchanting.”

“What, enchanting! That’s a pit mages throw their money into when they’re bored! Wait… I thought you said Del can’t use magic, how is he supposed to teach you enchanting?” Is he trying to get her to waste her hard-earned money?

“Master Del has already warned me about the cost and told me he can only teach me the basic principles of enchanting. I wanted to try learning it. Del keeps telling me I’m a monster when it comes to magic and blacksmithing so I figured I would try to fuse the two if I could.”

“I’m sure you can do it, sweety. You’ve never let your lack of formal magic training stop you from reaching your current abilities.” My daughter never lets anything stop her. I know she’ll figure it out if she puts her mind to it.

“Thanks, mom. You ready to run again?”

“Sure, I think I’m getting better at this.” We both share a smile. No matter what I’m doing, if it’s together with her I’ll cherish the time we have.

“Would you mind if I run with you in the mornings from now on?” I try to watch my daughter while paying attention to the forest floor.

“I would love for you to join me.” She gives me one of her beautiful smiles.

I’ll do my best to make sure that smile never disappears. Family supports one another. Memories of my own parents flash through my mind. I wonder how they’re doing?

Maybe I should send a letter to them? I’ll have Kervin deliver it when he visits again, and maybe ‘politely’ discuss the prices he offers to my daughter.

A note from kosnik4

5,850 words.


Hope you enjoyed the chapter and as always, be safe.

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