If you find mistakes, pls tell, thx. I don't like mistakes.
I was asked about reading my work on other sites.
The answer is simple: Currently I am not active in any other networks than royalroadl.com. Only here, I correct mistakes and errors.
If you read it anywhere else and have to pay for it, or have to deal with an annoying amount of advertisement, You Are Being Betrayed.
You would do good if you make other people in that network aware of it. This is a free project of mine for the purpose of having fun. And if people try to make money with it you shouldn't bother visiting their website.
I have no problem with translation and reposting of the story, as long as the person in question isn't doing it for money or stealing my identity.
The only one whom I actually allowed to have my work on his website is Armaell who invested the time to compile them into pdf.
“Never make wishes, they always come with a price.”
- The Journey to the Afterlife
***Kingdom Newerth, Capital City***
Four weeks. I managed four weeks without getting bored and playing pranks on people! I think that may be a new record. Well, I had a lot to do... so maybe not.
I spent the rest of the first night in Jimmy's apartment, which was filthy, so I forced him to clean up until morning came. It didn't take long for one of Don's messengers to appear at Jimmy's doorstep. I suppose it was only logical that they would keep an eye on me after I left Don's office. The messenger had all my documents including the certificate for the store. So I gave them the platinum.
The rest of the day was reserved for hammering the details of my new identity into my brain. I grew up in an orphanage, parents unknown. Then I worked as an assistant, travelling to different places and doing all kinds of odd jobs. The last three years I stayed in the capital until I hit it big with an investment. From the money I bought the store to realize my dreams.
The biggest problem was memorizing all the different locations I worked at.
Once our transaction was done I didn't hear a single word from the criminals. Except for Jimmy. He is handling the gangs which remain in my territory, or better, he is organizing their retreat from my part of the city.
I on the other hand had better things to do. Like remodelling the old store into a nice coffee shop. We bought all kinds of chocolate and cakes, and I even arranged for a little garden area in front of the shop. There is an apartment for me in the second floor and it turned out to be quite cosy. I forced Jimmy into a butler uniform and now he is working at the shop. It's probably the first decent job he ever had in his life.
Once the pathways reach this city I immediately have to send word to my father. He'll never forgive me if I don't make that a top priority.
They have chocolate in this world.
That alone is a reason to invade them. But that will take another eight to nine months, so until then I am in dire need of something to do. I certainly won't return to the mana storm just to send a message. The newspapers say that they added additional troops to stop any further spirit incursions. But the pathways grow on their own. Once they reach outside the military zone I will be able to send messages back to Dedessia. I just have to be patient.
So setting up the shop took one week, then I spent another week with drawing runes to protect the apartment and to practise hearth magic in the shop. The small apartment above the shop is probably one of the safest places in this town. I simply needed a place to lean back and relax. I filled the whole building with so much of my magic that it is safe against any method of spying I can think of.
All of that took me two weeks. The rest of the time I was sitting on my ass, reading the newspaper and drinking coffee while keeping a low profile. It makes me crazy. Especially since I can't allow myself to have any close relationships. I simply don't know enough to play a person from this realm. There are still some things which give me away. Like figures of speech or my accent. Luckily the people I talked to so far didn't notice, but according to Jimmy I am always lisping when I have to deal with the odd consonants.
I myself don't notice it, but apparently the natives will catch on during long conversations. I need an explanation for that.
In absence of a better solution I put up some wards which divert interest from me. I can't have anyone getting the idea to befriend me. It's subtle mind magic, so I guess it won't be a problem. There is more than enough interference from the city. The people of this realm are using magic for almost everything in daily life.
I sigh and scratch another rune into the park bench. The magic doesn't make me invisible, but it makes me less noticeable. People still see me, but the fact that I am there doesn't bother their minds.
I always visit the park in front of my shop when playing waitress or shop owner gets too annoying. The green is my safe haven and since I excel in life magic the plants feel like a part of me. The forest around the mana storm felt even better, but I suppose I can't have that in the city.
Suddenly a girl sits down right next to me. I am not sure what startles me more, the fact that she somehow managed to break through my wards, or that she is crying and sniffing like a baby. I look around to see if there is someone who could be the reason for her emotional outbreak, but there is no one. This is pretty much the centre of the park. It takes about twenty minutes to walk here, so not many people head this deep into the Royal Park. I am still a little baffled that the nobles allow public access to their greenery.
I return my attention to the girl. She is maybe sixteen or seventeen? Her hair is brown and she has a nice mouth with full lips. Maybe she is a little on the plump side, but certainly not ugly. She is still growing, so that could solve itself in two or three years. Of course only if her emotions don't drive her into an eating frenzy. Back at home I knew a girl who grew to the form of a balloon because she drowned her troubles with snacks and soft drinks.
The girl raises her hands and I feel her magic. It gathers in her hands and forms a sphere of water. The spell is poorly executed and soon fails because she is unable to counteract the wave-front which is caused by the city's magical interference. A typical beginner's problem. The sphere splashes onto the ground and the girl covers her face with her hands. Another crying outburst destroys my peace and I take sip from my coffee, then I try to read the newspaper.
I really try my best to ignore her, but somewhere deep inside me there must be a soft core. Otherwise this wouldn't bother me at all. After five minutes of continuous crying I give up. “Oh, shut up! I am trying to read!”
She shrieks and jumps a good metre into the air. “Oh, gods! I didn't realize that someone else is here! Something must be wrong with me.”
“Something is wrong with you. What happened? Were you raped?” I ask.
She pales. “N- n- no!”
I study her uniform. “Are you a student at the Royal Academy?” Maybe I can use a young and stupid child like her to get accustomed to the people of this realm? She should be less receptive to my slip ups. Young folks always try new stuff, especially when they didn't regain all their memories.
She bows and wipes the tears from her face. “Yes, Adea Milowies.”
“Seria Havenforst, sit. Want some coffee?” I pat the bench next to me. “If you want to talk, I have time to listen. It's better to share trouble than to bottle it up. At some point you will break.”
The girl sighs and sits down. “You will probably laugh at me. I just had a really bad day with my teachers and my schoolmates aren't accepting me and the boy I have a crush on doesn't even recognize my existence and my Mom-” Adea stops for a moment. “Sorry, it simply became too much.”
I nod and slurp on my coffee. “Then why aren't you doing something against it?”
“I am trying, but it seems like I am a dud. When the academy tested me and it was revealed that I have potential to become divine... I had hope...” Adea continues to spill me her life story. It's like a dam broke. I listen dutifully, mainly because it's the first time I get a glimpse at the workings of this realm's high society.
Adea's mother is a prostitute, although, that's too harsh a word. It's closer to a geisha. She is paid by men to service them for the evening. That can include sex, but mostly only means that she is cooking and playing wife for them. Adea doesn't know her father, but it stands to reason that he is nobility because she tested positive for divinity.
Her mother claims that she never served a noble, but we all know how these things go. That bastard probably has a nice little family of his own and when his wife learns of his adultery... snippety snip! It's unlikely that he will ever step forward on his own.
The people of this world rank the strength of their fighters in seven categories. That's warlock, immortal, archmage, spiritualist, demigod, deity and divine. The nobles of this world rank at spiritualist and above. Anything less and you are dirt on someone else's shoe.
There is only a handful of people who rank as divine. I suppose those guys count as really strong.
The fact that Adea tested positive for divine potential puts her in a complicated situation. It means that her father most likely was someone with power. We don't know the exact reason, but gods very likely give birth to other gods. It's very unlikely that a god is born between two immortals, or lows, as they are called in my world.
At home we have it much easier with our ranking system. You can blast a few people, you are a low. You can blast a city, fine you are a mid. You can obliterate a mountain and reshape landscapes? You are a high. Easy. I don't get why they need so many ranks. Maybe to elevate a few more people to nobility?
Back to topic. Adea was tested and forced to join the academy. If someone has the potential for so much power, he or she needs to learn control. Add in the fact that she will be enlisted in the DF and forced to fight spirits. But because of Adea's uncertain lineage she is treated like mud. Her mother's job doesn't help her reputation either.
Adea hoped that the school would open perspectives for her, so that she and her mother could get out of their social situation. But Adea is doing really bad at school, she fails at the simplest tasks while her classmates have no problems with classes.
By now it looks less like a bright new future and more like training for the shambles. Maybe I judge them too early and they will give her a desk-job, but it doesn't sound that way.
Everything came crushing down on her when she fell in love with the third prince. They had a nice conversation and she fell for him because he didn't judge her. But because of her situation she is too ashamed to speak to him. And the fact that he is always taking advanced classes means that she only sees him during theoretic lessons. In other words, she doesn't even register on his radar.
Her crush is only the tip of the iceberg. I understand that it can come crushing down on you when you exist like this for years. And she is a teenager with her hormones going rampant. A good hour of crying doesn't seem that wrong.
From time to time some people come close to us, but my wards quickly make them turn around. I totally ignore them and concentrate on Adea's story. I can say that I learned a lot about the people of this realm.
“...sometimes I wish I had been born normal. Then I wouldn't be in this damn school and they would never send me out to fight spirits.”
Now that she mentions wishes, that gives me an idea. “That's a pitiful story. You have my sympathy and I really want to help you. Hmmm.” I twirl a lock of my hair between my fingers. “So what if I grant you three wishes?”
Adea looks up. Her eyes are still red from crying, but now she has a wary expression on her face. “Why would you grant me three wishes? Just like that. We don't even know each other.”
I tilt my head. “I listened to your problems for over two hours. I have the feeling that I know you well enough.”
Adea shakes her head. “But I know nothing about you. And you are grinning like a Cheshire cat. Something is up. Are you a jinn? They can grant three wishes, but the wishes you make are always warped and come with a price!”
I pout. She saw right through my intentions. Maybe she isn't that stupid. “Okay. But that's simply the nature of the world. If you wish for something big, you have to be prepared for big changes. And big change more often than not means that something comes back to bite you in the ass. The question is, are you smart enough to make the wish you need?”
Adea's eyes widen and her lips quiver. “You are a jinn!”
I shake my head. “Not really, but does it matter? I offer you three wishes to have fun. Let's play a game.”
Adea grabs the cloth of her trousers and focuses her attention on the ground. I can see the gears in her head working. “Get me...”
I ready myself. Probably she will ask for money to free her mother from her job.
Okay, maybe she is the unreasonable type and goes for the big prize? Something like make me a divine?
I drop the coffee cup. “Teach you?” Now that's something I didn't expect.
“Yes. The others in school are just better than me because they have gods as parents who teach them everything they know. I only get instruction from my teachers. You are clearly at least a spiritualist, if not higher! I am currently ranked as an immortal and you easily played some kind of mind trick on me. And not only that, you also bewitched all the other people who came here. Or did you think that I didn't notice two of my teachers abruptly turning away after they already headed for this bench?”
I bite my lower lip. “Okay, you might be onto something. But you aren't allowed to tell anyone that I am tutoring you.”
And I certainly won't tell you that that's the worst choice you could have made.
“Why not?” Adea asks.
“Because that's my restriction. Because you made such a tiny wish?” I return the question. “And regarding the other wishes-”
“I won't make them until I need them!” Adea intercepts.
I purse my lips. “Pardon me? I am the one who is doing you a favour.”
She nods and gets down to her knees to bow to me in dogeza style. “And I am very grateful that you are helping me master, but my mother taught me that I should only play my cards when I really need them.”
That's certainly a good advice. “Okay. Though I will make you wish that you had never asked me to teach you. Do you know the coffee shop vis-a-vis the park entrance?”
Adea looks up. “The new one?”
“Exactly. I am the owner. Find me there every day after you are done with your classes. We will go over your homework and your training schedule. I have to know what the academy expects from you.”
And I will learn the skills of this realm. It's always good to know the opponent's capabilities.
She furrows her forehead, but says nothing. So I continue. “First things first. Show me that awful water spell again. And tell me what you intended to achieve with it.”
“It's a meditation technique. We are supposed to levitate the sphere above our hands without losing control. For that purpose...” Adea launches into an explanation of the spell matrix to create the water sphere, and the subsequent telekinesis matrix to hold the sphere in the air. At least her theory is good. She learned it by the book. Unfortunately theory and practical application are two different pairs of shoes when it comes to magic.
“I want to bang my head into a tree.” I answer when she is finished.
That causes yet another furrowed forehead. Probably I am running into communication problems. “Don't worry about my speech. I am not from here. But why are your teachers making it so complicated? First we will train your mana manipulation until you can hold the spell formation despite the interferences.
“Then we train the basic elements until you can summon them in your sleep. Once that's done I'll show you some short-cuts with the spells. If you have control problems, all you have to do is to compress the spell matrix to basic commands. Your teachers are teaching magic by the book, but that's not a good starting point for everyone.”
Adea turns all teary eyed and I already start to fear that I said something wrong. But then she hugs my legs.
“Thank you, thank you... you are such a nice jinn!”
“Gods! Let go of me! And I am not a jinn!”
I am something worse!