Rain came pattering down. The winds howled, accompanied by sounds of the rattling weathervane above. All of a sudden, a bang ruptured from behind. Ruth turned to look. The source was the window shutter slamming into the wall. She made a shrug, unperturbed, and went back to scribbling in her book.
In her eyes, she wasn't drawing, she was writing a magic spell. A super duper powerful enchanting spell that would enrapture the world, killing all the monsters that came to harm people!
'Just like how father does it!'
As she continued scribbling away, a human shadow flew pass. Ruth paid no mind, maintaining her intense focus, directing it to her current 'important' task at hand.
If she could make this spell work, then salvation will be brought upon the world. People would rejoice! There would no longer be any fighting! Monsters would be destroyed to a pulp and the everyone would live in peace!
The shutters flapping wildly, were pulled in, conjoined pins folded down to lock it in place. Natural light from the outside no longer poured itself inside, the room turned dim.
Seeing as a shadow loomed over her book, Ruth took to the culprit.
It was mom!
Alyna stood there with with her arms crossed. With blueish-black hair tied in a braid, her eyes locked on Ruth looking displeased. Ruth herself stared back, with an unwavering gaze.
"Ai... Ruth, how many time do I have to tell you. Pay more attention to your surroundings," Alyna's upturned mouth formed a bitter smile. "It's raining, you should've shut the window just now."
Ruth blinked a few times, her cute face showing innocence. Tilting her head, her short hair touched her shoulders. "Sorry mommy, I was busy writing a spell," she felt a little sad, realizing that she didn't take heed in her mom's advice.
Alyna knew that Ruth wasn't the naughty child type who'd deliberately go against her advice. She properly understood her role in the family. It was just that, at times— when she was too focused on something, she would disregard everything else around her. And Alyna didn't think it was a good habit for her to continue practicing.
Ruth paced her gaze between her book and Alyna, unsure of what she should do.
"So, what kind of spell did you draw this time," Alyna walked over and sat beside her, leaning a little to the side so that she could coil her hands around Ruth.
Ruth pulled Alyna's arm to point at her scribbles on cheap paper. The charcoal marks strewn across the page like a hail storm; The queer, indecipherable symbols represented the notes.
Alyna smiled anyways. "So~ What is this spell about?"
Alyna was someone who possessed magic talent. Her husband, Elliope possessed the physically enhanced talent. The first daughter they had together turned out to be of a magic talent, just like Alyna.
And she had an amazing affinity for magic.
Because of this, Alyna though that she should have another child, perhaps a boy with physically enhanced talent, to level off the playing field. Though, she knew that such an opportunity wouldn't come any time soon, because it didn't need to.
"It's a spell to scare off monsters away, so that people don't need to always keep fighting," Ruth dragged Alyna's finger round the page, explaining each part of the charcoal land mine.
Alyna thought she soon needed to find someone to teach her magic professionally if she was serious in becoming a mage in the future. The school Ruth goes to does provide the the necessary basic education to help her develop her magic, but that itself may not be enough for this talented child.
After a while, Ruth settled down.
She took a deep breath, and like a conductor, she waved her tiny hands in the air. A small bead of water appeared.
Alyna couldn't help but laugh. For an eight year old, to be able to cast a spell without the aid of an instrument could be said as incredibly impressive.
Poof. The water disappeared after swirling around Ruth's figure twice.
"I did it! The spell lasted a little bit longer!" Ruth hugged Alyna.
"Good girl. That was an impressive spell. Now, shall we prepare dinner? Father is going to come back soon," Alyna caressed Ruth's back.
Based on her calculations, their arrival shouldn't be too long now.
They proceeded into the kitchen. Alyna busied herself with cooking, while Ruth helped to set up table.
She noticed that her mother had given her an extra set of tableware.
The sound of the key entering the door keyhole could be heard, followed by the mechanism of the twist at the door.
Alyna spoke, "Go greet father first," happily humming as she stirred the stew.
Ruth rushed to the living room, leaving the extra set of tableware aside for now.
"Father welcome h.." before Ruth could finish, her words stopped at the sight of a boy. Black hair, cold blue eyes peeking from below his eyelids, a twirl of hair above his head and a brown coat that draped around him. Most intriguingly, there was a blue pulsing crystal in his hands.
"I'm back sweetheart," Elliope lifted Ruth up into his arms. For someone whose occupation involved fighting creatures many time the size of humans, Ruth was pretty much as light as a feather.
"Nice to meet you," the boy said in a crisp tone, to Ruth who had her head behind her father's shoulder.
Ruth sucked air into her mouth, making it puffy, in cute confusion. Her eyes glaring at the boy.
'Is he going to steal feather and mother?'
"Welcome back dear," from behind Ruth, Alyna spoke, "Ah, so you must be the one my husband talked about, Curtis correct?" for a second Alyna though she may have chosen the wrong words to greet the boy.
The boy, nodded. "Pleased to make an acquaintance," he bowed. "And—thank you very much for all this."
Alyna almost choked on herself. She wondered if the heavens could explain how an 11 year-old boy was able to speak in this way?
Elliope had already informed beforehand, so Alyna knew about the gist of his situation. Though, his actions were unexpected. She was inclined to think that her verbal slip back then was from this unusual aura of maturity she felt the moment she landed her eyes on Curtis.
"What's that," Ruth who didn't even bother to greet Curtis pointed a flying star in the air.
The moment the golden star disappeared, the mana crystal Curtis held subdued into a soft dim glow.
"A grimoire," Curtis replied.
Ruth blinked a few times. No quite understanding what he meant.
"I'll explain it better next time," Curtis muttered.
Elliope stowed his equipment away while Curtis explored the home. Curtis noticed that many places were lit with unusual lamps that weren't plants, instead, utilizing magic stones that he had never seen before in Elfian Dynasty. He would need to get used to living in this environment as he would probably live here for the next few months����� or years.
Busying themselves, Alyna told Ruth that Curtis would be her brother from today onwards.
"Thank you for the food," Curtis placed his hands together and bowed slightly. The food on the table glittered in a blue dust, quickly disappearing afterwards.
"Huh? Oh, right. I forgot, in short it's something like a blessing.." Curtis tried to explain to Alyna. Elliope had already seen Curtis do this once before so he wasn't all to surprised seeing it the second time. "A little mana is sprinkled over the food. It helps improve circulation in the body. I suppose it's a cultural difference.. do you mind?"
"No, not at all," Alyna thought how mysterious it was for the food to suddenly sparkle. "Then.. thank you for the food?" She cooked it herself, so in short, she was objectively thanking herself.
Elliope smiled, and from underneath the table, secretly held her hand and gave her a light grip as a gesture of approval. This meant the food should be fine to eat?
Ruth kept looking at Curtis. From her inspection, he was undeniably taller and older than her.
'So.. big brother?'
Throughout the meal, Alyna noticed how peculiar Curtis was, even eating in an oddly refined manner, with proper rhythms to each step—even though there were only 2 kinds of utensils present.
"Daddy, who is Curtis," Ruth who sat beside Elliope whispered into his ear.
Elliope thought for a while, "Curtis, how about you introduce yourself? My daughter is here seems to be quite wary of you."
What Alyna found weirder was, her husband didn't think that there was anything wrong with talking to this child as if an adult.
Curtis nodded. There was a light shimmer, then a part of his hair turned grey. From behind his hair, his ears extended to a sharp tip.
"Curtis Shun," Curtis began a little hesitant, "Prince of Shin Fe..." referring to the unsettling gazes of Alyna and Elliope, excluding Ruth who looked naive as ever, Curtis realized that he used the wrong manner to greet them, "..I'm sorry, my introduction came out weird."
Curtis lowered his head and sat back down, trying to come up with a better introduction that would suit normal people better.
"An elf," Alyna gasped with her hands covering her mouth.
Ruth merely looked at Curtis.
His gaze met hers, and at that moment, usually, one would try avert eye contact. However, Ruth kept her insidiously gaze locked in place. In the end, Curtis was the one to break off the uprising staring contest.
After a short contemplation, Curtis began again.
In short, he was an elf. And he met Elliope in the mines, and was fortunate to have him allow a place to stay.
"Thank you for everything. I am truly in your debt. If you have anything you need my help in, please don't hesitate to ask... within my boundaries of course."
Elliope and Alyna exchanged gazes.
Elves were regarded as fictional creatures, and did not exist in their world. It was no different than saying that unicorns could fly in the air, without wings.
If what her husband said was true then that would mean that, he wasn't from this world.
"Can I ask why you came to our world?"
Curtis expected that, "To cut it short, I was teleported here with the wrong coordinates— A complicated story," Curtis tried to shake away the stifling feeling in his chest, "I'm sorry, I don't feel comfortable talking about it in detail."
This boy was an 11 year old, his conduct and speech were totally misaligned. He must have been through a lot. Alyna thought she should ask a casual question to change the topic, "Do elves normally have grey hair?"
"Hair?" Curtis tugged at his own hair, but couldn't see anything off about it.
"Yeah, I too am curious about why a part of your hair turned white," Elliope chided.
"White?" Curtis looked like he had just seen a ghost. "Do.. do you have a mirror?"
"Wha.. what's wrong, did we say something inconvenient?"
Ruth ate quietly, continuing to stare at Curtis. She wondered why he was shivering when he saw his own face through the mirror.
Ruth was 'scribbling' again out at the garden table. A few friends would pass by to greet her and see what she was up to, joining her for a bit and leaving right after.
With the trees as shade and dandelions drifting in the wind, Ruth wore a school blazer fit for an 8-year-old.
Ruth had friends that would becoming immensely curious whenever she was 'creating' a magic spell. While most other older kids thought that she was doodling, she didn't pay any mind to their praises towards her 'art'. To her, this was precious time she would spend to improve herself.
"Ruth, who is that?" Megan asked curiously. She had noticed Ruth's parent bringing along another older kid into their school.
Ruth blinked at Megan, "I don't know," and turned back to her book. She was correct, since she had no idea who Curtis was at heart.
"That isn't convincing."
Elliope and Alyna who came out from the entrance of the school, called out for Ruth. With Curtis' registration done, most of the requirements for Curtis to live in the Earldom had been fulfilled, at the same time—Curtis wanted to puke blood.
He was going to such a school?
Before this, Elliope went through the trouble of obtaining an identity certificated for Curtis. The excuse where Curtis 'may-be' a lost slave should suffice. Curtis didn't mind, yes, as long as it was convenient. Clearly not showing whites in his eyes—
"Take care in school alright? I'll come pick you up later, so just wait here once school is over." Alyna first ruffled Curtis' hair, after that came Ruth.
"Take care sweetheart." Elliope kneeled down to pat Ruth. Treating Curtis differently, he said, "Have fun," sounding more like a scoff.
If anything, Elliope had witnessed before, Curtis slaying wild creatures in the mines with impeccable magic. Bisecting them cleanly into two with what he called 'simple' wind magic. Elliope's eyes almost fell off.
'School would be a breeze for this kid.'
Elliope thought that Curtis was already an adult. He was an elf after all.
"OK," while Ruth replied as such. "Bye bye mommy, bye bye father."
"Thank you very much for going through all this trouble for me. See you in the evening," Curtis spoke before they slowly disappeared from sight.
"Hm?" Curtis turned around to look at the student who did that, then at the numerous curious, glittering eyes smothering him. "Ruth—" He was a prey among predators. "I'm not good with kids..."
And that was coming out from the mouth of an 11-year-old looking boy.