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Author's Comment:
If you find mistakes, pls tell, thx. I don't like mistakes.


Author's Comment:
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.
(http://armaell-library.net/author/andur)




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“Hearth magic is the ability to infuse items with your mana. It allows the user to claim a place as his own. A big part revolves around making food with magical effects. Most witches practice this form of magic. The users of hearth magic can't do much without their items or while they are away from their source of power. But challenge them on their own turf and you are in for a surprise.”

- The Journey to the Afterlife




***Kingdom Newerth, Capital City***
***Seria***



“Seria, why are you always reading newspapers and books about history?” Adea asks me. She is sitting in a comfy corner of my coffee shop. Since I started tutoring her, she is spending a lot of time in my shop. My lessons started two weeks ago and I have to say that I am very pleased with her progress. I won't complain about her presence since it is the easiest way to tutor her while I keep an eye on my business.

Raising an eyebrow, I place the dirty cups in the washing machine. It's a simple box with a rotating cylinder which is powered by magic. Nothing too complicated, but it does the job. “I simply like to know what's going on. Like how the DF is doing with the spirits, or how our country is related to our neighbours. It pays off to know the political situation.”

Adea whistles while she levitates five pencils above her hand, arranging them to different formations. It's a technique to learn control. I am also trying to teach her memory techniques in order to unlock her memories faster, but that would require far more serious training. I am not sure if our relationship is up to that. She is making good progress anyway. As long as she catches up to her classmates it will be fine.

Back at home I would have thrown her into a pit to fight some monsters. There is nothing better than a near death experience to regain some memories.

“I am sorry, it just makes you seem kind of old, Seria. How old are you anyway?” Adea frowns.
I smile and answer cheerfully, “Twenty-four.”
Adea snorts. “You know that's not what I meant. I wanted to know how much of your memory is unlocked?”

I shrug my shoulders. “Don't worry about it. I am sure that once you unlock enough of your memories, you too will avoid talking about them. Now get on with your exercise, or is it already too easy for you?”
“No!” Adea answers and finally concentrates on her exercise. The pencils form a star, then they change positions to outline a cylinder. The point of the exercise is to move them simultaneously without collisions.

When the washing machine is full I sigh and survey the shop. We have ten tables which are separated from each other with sight screens. Another ten tables are in the garden area in front of the shop. I've decorated everything with flowers, but the scent of chocolate and coffee is dominant nonetheless.
The bar is to the left side of the room and behind it is the stairway which leads to my apartment.

Jimmy is outside to serve the customers. So far he is doing a good job. Maybe he found his destiny in this line of work? I am paying him starvation wages, just to keep him alive.
I take a look at our account. We made a small loss during the first month, but I expected that. I find it more surprising that we are almost in the black. Normally a new business has it very hard during the start up phase. Maybe I should take that as a good omen?

Since the academy is nearby we have a lot of young nobles here, that's why I am betting only on high quality food. There are also some businessmen from the surrounding offices, but they are the minority.
It still pays off to simply listen to the people. They talk about their daily lives and current, interesting topics regarding the country.

Newerth is quite big. Maybe they control an area which is equal to a planet? There is also some form of assistance treaty with neighbouring countries. The treaty's main concern is assistance in case of spirit invasions. Something which can turn out quite dire if I trust the rumours.

My thoughts are interrupted when three students enter the shop. Two boys and one girl. They search the tables and immediately head for Adea when they spot her. Adea, in turn, drops her pencils when she notices them.
I grab a kitchen knife and a towel. The mana inside the knife immediately responds to my feelings. Then I follow them, pretending to clean the knife.

“Look who is here? Finally we know where the bane of the class is running off to when lessons are over. Have you forgotten that you are supposed to copy our homework?” The speaker slams his hand onto the table and makes Adea flinch.
So she was investing her time in writing the homework for four people? No wonder that her theory is so good while the application is bad. If she uses all her free time to write, then there isn't much left to practice magic.

“I- I- won't do it any more. I have to invest all my time in keeping up!” Surprisingly Adea shows some backbone. The boy scowls and raises his hand which surprises me a lot.

Before he can hit Adea I tap the boy on the shoulder. “Excuse me, what's your order?”
“We aren't here to order something,” he answers. But a least he drops his hand.

I frown. “Then you aren't a customer? Get out. You are annoying paying customers. That's not happening in my shop.”
“Don't interfere, servant!” The boy shoves me away and I drop the heavy kitchen knife. It responds to the attack by spinning and orienting itself. Once it has acquired its target, the knife accelerates further to add to the force of gravity.

Hearth magic is semi-intelligent and acts on its own once the spell is in place. It is a very stupid idea to attack me inside my own house. I had a lot of time to enchant everything. No matter what form an attack might take, instant retaliation is guaranteed.

The knife lands with a heavy 'thud' point first in his foot. It was of course an accident. The room is completely silent while the boy stares in shock at the knife which penetrated his shoe and sank deep into flesh, pinning him to the ground.

I hit him before the screaming starts. His nose flattens with a satisfying crunch and he blacks out. To keep him from falling, I grab his collar and retrieve the knife.
Pulling him with me, I realize that I have the attention of all the customers. They are looking at me. I raise the limp body for everyone to see. “He didn't buy anything and was annoying a paying customer. We are running a decent business. The price includes that you aren't annoyed by stupid troublemakers.”

Finally the background noise of talking people and chattering tableware resumes and I head for the front entrance. Once there, I guess the distance from here to the pond which is across the street and behind the fence of bushes. Maybe twenty metres? I toss the troublemaker in a high arc towards the water. He wasn't hit that hard, so he should wake up once he impacts the cold water. A distant splash tells me that my aim was true.

His two friends dash past me to rescue their comrade.

I return my attention to more important stuff. Jimmy is staring towards the park where the hooligan disappeared out of sight. He isn't working, so I flick my fingers. “Jimmy, do something useful and call the authorities. We have to file a report before those idiots run home to tell their parents a totally different story.”

Turning around, I find Adea in front of me. “You will get in trouble for this. Their parents are high ranking nobles.”
I shrug. “What can they do against a full room with...” I hurry to count the people in my shop, “fourteen eyewitnesses. He caused a ruckus and attacked me, right guys?” Most of the people nod.

I'll never again complain to my mother that hearth magic is useless. It may not be capable of outright brainwashing someone, but it smooths the feelings and eases the heart. When used properly, it can even create a strong feeling of loyalty towards a certain place. I make it a rule to enchant all my food and the place as a whole. There isn't a single customer who doesn't leave the coffee shop relaxed and with renewed energy to work for the rest of the day.

To everyone who visited my shop more than once, I am an angel who brings light into their dark lives. I am an oasis of peace and righteousness in a dark and unfair world.

Maybe the fact that the shop is already going so well shouldn't surprise me after all.

“Did I allow you to take a break?” I study Adea's conflicted expression until she yields and returns to her seat.
Two minutes later two officers from the DF arrive. There are a lot of them in this part of the town, so the reaction speed isn't surprising. They start asking questions right away and I hurry to bless them with coffee and a smile. Everything on the house of course. It's not like I am trying to win them over. I am influencing them, just a little.

None of my customers betray me and when the three brats return five minutes later, it is they who are shackled and led away by the officers. I take the chance to fuel myself with some coffee and to take a look at Adea's progress.
But when I approach her, she wears that wary expression of hers. “Who are you?”

I smile. “Seria Havenforst, owner of the Hearth Cafe, your tutor and, according to your wild fantasies, a jinn. You have two wishes left.”
“Why did you help me? It's not like you had to... and they will surely be back,” Adea mumbles.
“I am not so sure of that. And how am I supposed to tutor you when most of your time is consumed by their homework? Aren't your teachers supposed to do something against bullying?”

She presses her lips into a thin line. “Most don't bother with the students. A few care, but they can't be everywhere at once.”
I play with my ponytail and study Adea. It turned out that she is a troublesome pet. “Tomorrow we will start with combat training. You have to be able to protect yourself. At least long enough until help arrives. We should have done this sooner, but I didn't realize that you have them ganging up on you.”

“But I am just one person?” she answers questioningly and without confidence.
“You are supposed to have divine potential. Nobody is able to bully a god unless they are prepared to lay waste to the city. Once you reach that level, all you have to do is ignore them,” I answer confidently.

Adea starts playing with her fingers. “There is something I wanted to ask you.”

“What?”

She looks away from me, avoiding eye contact. “There is a party next week. No, more like a ball. They celebrate the end of the semester. Every student got a free ticket for their parents. My Mom, well, she doesn't want to go since all the adults there will be at least spiritualist rank or higher. I thought that you... maybe... ahem... the ticket is anonymous and they didn't specify that it has to be given to the parents.”

“Okay. I'll go.” What a nice surprise. I'll be able to listen in on the conversations of the nobles and get some first-hand impressions of them. It seems like taking Adea under my wings was a good decision. “Just what is the formal dress code for such an event?”

Adea stares at me as if I just went full demon mode and ripped off my clothes.

“It was a joke. I have a proper dress.” I hurry to correct myself. Jimmy will have to do some research for me. I have to know the code of conduct for such an event. Maybe he can organize some pictures to make sure that I don't violate the dress code.



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Andur

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