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I was now back on my Earth form. The body was in my late twenties, the one I had before I died, listening to her yapping around as I cocked my eyebrow at her.

Wearing a white, flowing dress that made her look like a fairy out of a fantasy novel, Mariana greeted me with a warm, toothy smile. “Ari! I miss you, you never contacted me since the last time so I waited for this day to come and--” She stopped rambling when she noticed how I looked at her. “Ehem. Well, I dressed.” She showed me her dress and twirled around three times. “Huh?” she asked happily, waiting for praise from me.

“I could see,” I deadpanned. She was beautiful, I admit it but it’s still frustrating thinking how she just whipped my soul and dragged it wherever she wanted. ‘Urgh! Now that I’m thinking about it, she’s not that beautiful. Psh!’

Her smile faltered. “I did it since you didn’t want me naked.”

“This doesn’t make me hate you less.”

“Oh, come on, please. I’m trying to change here. I’m doing what you want. I didn’t even contact you these past few months since I figured you would hate it.”

“Good intuition. I hoped you used that before putting me here,” I sarcastically said.

“Ari!” She stomped her foot down and pouted.

“Ari~” I naughtily said, mocking her by mimicking her tone. “So, what now?” I said in my normal voice.

The smile went back on her face as she started rambling again. “Well, today is the day of your first evaluation, which will determine whether or not you’re capable of inheriting the powers of any of my children,” she informed me. “If yes, a person might become an Elementalist or a Peculiar. If a person isn’t eligible to inherit any power but has a high affinity for magic, they might even become an Enchanter or a Wielder. All come with boons and banes but here comes another problem…”

“Oh, I’m not surprised anymore, so spill it. Shoot.”

“Remember the curse? Your magic is kinda linked to that curse sooo I can no longer do anything about it.”

“And what is this magic of mine?” I crossed my arms.

“There’s not quite a name to it, you see...”

“Few minutes and you’re already giving me a headache.” I told her as I massaged my temples.

“I’m sorry?”

I rolled my eyes out of irritation. “Are you asking me if you’re supposed to be sorry? Well, you should be because-- urgh! Whatever! Do what you need to do so that I can get out of here already.”

“Well… as a member of the royal family I’m supposed to name you--”

“Iris. Name me Iris.”

“What? I-I mean, sure... Iris. Your name now is Iris,” she said.

“Are you done now?” I asked impatiently, not wanting to see her face for another second.

“Yeah, I mean, no. Not yet. You see, I also need to give a blessed name, and I was thinking of giving you the name Cylian as it is the name of this place and I was created here but if you want to be called Ari then--”

“Stop talking and do whatever you need to do already, you’re starting to get on my nerves again.”

She sighed before dejectedly putting her hands on her chest. Her eyes glowed golden and her hair blew away as if the wind just passed her. She closed her eyes and her body glowed with a mix of colorful rays. As my eyes involuntarily closed because of the blinding light, it transported me back to the Assessment Hall.

The High Oracle, who was now on his knee, stood up and lifted me up onto the stone table. He presented me once again to the now normal statue of Kismet. He faced my parents and said, “Kismet has blessed this child the name of Iris Cylian of blood Maoridom y Lazuli, daughter of Adrian Benedictus of blood Gracia y Lazuli and Luna Elicid of blood Alanis y Maoridom of house Lazuli.”

Mother gasped when she heard that my official name included the name she had given me. She sobbed silently in Father’s arms. Father helped her stand up as she found it hard to support herself while he himself did his best not to tear up.

“Iris… my little Iris…” Father said lovingly, smiling widely at me while caressing my cheek.

I grabbed his finger and smiled back at him. During my stay here in this world, I witnessed how loving this man was towards my mother and me. He’s not the usual cold, misunderstood father that I usually read in comics. He’s real.

“Look, she caught the attention of Ningning.” Mother said, looking at the string that I didn’t even realize I was wearing.

The single bead indicated the deity that wanted to lend me their power. The unbreakable string would stretch as I’d grow older and won’t be removed until my last evaluation when I turned eight unless the deity changed their mind.

“Black orb encased in a bigger white pearl that signifies the power of Ningning. Without its light, everything would fall into darkness. When everything is dark, everything will cease to exist. When utilized properly, the Inheritor can control the life and death of every mortal.” I heard Mariana’s voice ring in my head.

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Manyana Hobbit

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