What first greeted him was the soft sunlight, streaming past his hair and unto his eyes. He winced, letting the glare shone his eyelid red.
He sighed. He should have chosen the brown one, it had larger brim. The one he wore? Well, it seemed to be the correct choice at the time. After all, he was going to ride a carriage, and it was silly to tip over your hat on the entrance because of a too wide brim.
Now the sun reminded him how his choice was ... well, wrong.
“Will you need to be waited, sire?”
A crisp, plummish voice inquired him from behind.
“No, thank you, Cam. Say my gratitude to Miss Restia, will you? Her hospitality is the most generous.”
“Certainly, sire. Young miss would be most pleased,” he heard the man replied. A moment later, an almost imperceptible tap, a slight swoosh-shuffle, was heard. He didn't knew what was the first, but the second should be the sound of the rein being pulled up. He had ride enough carriages by now to recognized that particular one.
“Have a pleasant morning, sire.”
He imagined that if he was to see him now, the man should have just finish tipping his hat, flashing her gentle, serene smile as he marched the equine to leave. Yet as for now, he was still very much blind, waiting for his pupil and its slow rhodopsin to conclude their final dance, their last cascade.
And it not until twenty-thirty seconds later when the steady clip-clop of the drawn carriage growing ever more distant that his bleached vision turned back to color.
At last. He drew a long breath, taking a good look at the gold drain he bought for a smatter peace of mind.
His new home.
It was lovely... He supposed. The fence was this sinuous-wave pattern with thin metallic high, The black luster of iron demarcated the enclosure contrast from the paved road. Then as he pushed the gate, passing the stout, deep red posts, a wave of floral notes hit him, a delicate hint of jasmine intermixing with the prominent musk of earthy, after-shower geosmin.
Oooh, a garden!
And it was filled! Filled to the brim! Trees, hanging vines, decoratives. All were enclosed by polished stones and what seemed to him to be this world version of topiaries; box-shaped green shrubberies with a bowl-like dimple in the middle.
Look at that! The flowers — they were nothing like he'd ever seen, he'd ever smelled.
A patch was green, six-leaved with a hint of mint. A stretch was lilac-like, fluffy, almost floating. Others were just starting to blossom, their red-blue-white buds opening halfway. All those magnificent splendors were laid on a perfect emerald carpet. Clipped grass without tarnish of puddles or muds.
And tying the whole ground together were these marble-white steps. Cut through the center heart, bringing guests —and him— to the receiving patio.
He laughed to himself. How silly! Of course, the house was empty. It supposed to. That gnome had assured him they had been finished yesterday —repaired, cleaned, furnished.
Which meant, barring him, there were no one here. This he insisted under the penalty of twenty percent purchase fee.
Yes, yes. He insisted. There was no way, he spent a third of his gold, and voila! Problems. This was a test. A canary in the mine to tell whether in three days after use, he’d found god forbid, termites. Or worse, structural problems like the supporting pillar in bad condition.
“Well, it’s doable for now.”
He hummed to himself. Checking every fixture. Scrutinizing every corner and found that yes, everything was in good condition. Well, the foyer wood-paneling was too yellowish to his liking. But that was not a reason to make a fuss. It was nothing a good carpeting couldn’t fix.
And look at the fine furniture! He spent a whole minute each, touching, examining every nook of every visible one he saw —side tables, shoe rack, coat hanger. All were expertly polished. Glistened wood without cracks nor rough edges. He nodded, satisfied. One of the worst things that could happen when getting a new place was having improperly shaved furnish. He refused to get infections from something as preventable as wood chips. And was that a hint of sandalwood he smelled?
“Now what do we have here?”
He walked to the protruding structure. A sharp right-angled iron pole repeating themselves in the wall.
Oh it was the light!
He recognized the similar decorative pattern from the streetlight he saw on the streets. Touching the odd diagram he felt a slight tingle in his finger. Was this the source of the magic?
Intrigued, he took a closer peek. At the light, at the iron cage, at the mounted pebbles. Since his “experiences” he had this intuit about what magic or not. And this was definitely one.
Glowing soft was the pebble inlined by a double concentric circle, etched in grooves. He felt the buzzing, funny tickle flowing from the pebble center to a diagram below. A diagram of simple square containing one singular symbol, one character.
The odd thing though... He had seen it before.
But, where?
It was not Chinese, that much was given. Not Japanese. Definitely not runic, Viking-runic that was. Hmm, the closed curves here, the line there. A Sanskrit touch?
And now he could read it. Where did that come from?
It was on [Chronicle]! He saw it when he was buying a floating light orb for the Sunk Ship dungeon run. The developers insisted that since the ship did sunk, it was 'realistic' for it to have the worst lighting imaginable.
He tried cheaper option of course —pushing her computer screen to a full brightness. Which did nothing. Nothing. It was like differentiating between shades of grey. No pun intended.
So like remaining player, he sucked up and bought the obvious cash grab.
This — this ...character ...rune was similar? No, no. It wasn't similar. It was the same. Exactly the same. An inscribing of equidistant triangle with reversed capital N superimposing the below edge.
Did it mean the rune system also carried over here?
That was amazing!
At the very least he could have heating pad, abjuration ward, or goodness! A refrigerator! He almost thought he had to recreate those olden days sawdust icebox to get some decent cold water by using [Ray of Frost]!
It wasn't like he wanted to, he didn’t even wish to touch magic if he didn’t have to.
He knew he knew. It was stupid. And so far there was nothing bad had happened. Supposedly. PTSD though was very much given. But the other times? Well, there was none. None if he discounted those darkquakes.
Yes, yes darkquakes. As in dark and full of earthquakes. What else he should call that place? It was dark. And he always got hit by earthquakes. He meant he could call it the mind realm or something equally pretentious as Thought Chamber or Mirror of Inner Self.
But dammit! He deserved to name it something snark after all that happened to him.
Back to the magic again. While he was excited —who wouldn’t be?— [Calm Emotion] hit too close. Way too close.
It was like the flower all over again.
He sighed.
But it wasn't like he could stop using them. Magic was the only clue he had. And not practicing it? Well, he might as well gave up.
He guessed, he could always start small. Something that possessed little to no danger. No immediate harm. Although that criteria ruled out most evocation, with the exception of probably [Ray of Frost]. Which seemed to be relatively safer. Perhaps. Freezing should be more doable than full-blown conflagration right?
Thick mittens, warm blanket, a hot water bottle, crackling campfire, and a fifteen minutes to prepare himself for the eventual plunge into the darkness should be enough precaution for both the frostbite and the despair that might follow.
Compared it with for example, [Fireball] or [Lightning Blast], for that he needed helper who knew how to treat burn, burn medicine (if any exist), and knowledge about germs.
That wasn't realistic.
That was why, if he had to try evocation. Like really, really need to try it. He'd proceed with the [Ray of Frost]. Although, if he filtered the evocation. Hmm... There should be something — Ah! Here it was! [Create Distilled Water], a skill from his Alchemist list. Conjuring distilled water. That sounded more promising.
Anyway, he needed to finish looking around first. Just in case there was something wrong with the house. He meant that even on earth, not every places got robust consumer protection law. He couldn't just 'return' the house later, he needed to inspected it now, before the day ended.
He moved his hand from the runes, the lamp. Glancing at the windowsill toward the streaming sun and its half-casted shadow.
He ran toward the window and frowned. By the ten minutes he was in, a towering cloud had been approaching. White top and dark below. It stymied the sky with curl and roll. Frayed strings stretching half east expanse. Billowing.
“And a big one at that.”
He sighed at the odious weather. It seemed this town due for another storm. And just when he thought today was sunny. Deciding to not waste his time anymore, he turned left. And left. And left. And left until he reached the most back room. Opening its outer door, he found a pair of stone structures.
The first one was a well. A tight layered river stones forming a hollow tube, topped with drawing rope, bucket, and rudimentary pulley. Which what was he looking for but— what was that one? That wasn't a well. Taking a look at that larger, shallower structures, he pushed its wooden lid to the side, revealing a large basin of filled water. Still, clear water. A fallen leaf rippled its surface.
Some kind of basin? A cistern?
Nodding, he took the provided bucket beside it and brought two, perhaps three pots worth inside.
He’d do the magic investigating later.
For now he needed to get ready — he still had the staff coming this afternoon after all.
A note from CookieCrumble

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  • A day-old cookie baked with love.

Bio: A piece of crumb from a much bigger gooey cookie. Have the ability to spot a genuine choco chip from sea of raisins.

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