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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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“Persistence hunting (sometimes called endurance hunting or cursorial hunting) is a hunting technique in which hunters, who may be slower than their prey over short distances, use a combination of running, walking, and tracking to pursue prey until it is exhausted. Grey wolves, African wild dogs, spotted hyenas, lungless spiders, and humans are adapted to using this hunting strategy. A persistence hunter must be able to run a long distance over an extended period of time.”

- The Journey to the Afterlife




***Kingdom Newerth, Capital City***
***Marcus***



I squint my eyes at Seria. A day passed since we saved my little brother and Adea. But something happened yesterday night between Seria and Adea. Unfortunately I have no idea what it was. Now she is going even more buddy and tutor on Adea, even though the girl almost lost it. That's not the right reaction towards a flashback. This academy has the purpose of helping its students slowly along their path to divinity. We do everything to avoid an uncontrolled change to one's spirit form.

Only the strongest of us can control the instincts which come with an altered body.

My little brother informed me that Adea is shocked, but doing fine... if you take into account that she got messed up by those monsters. Stupid kids, I hope they learned something from the experience.
At least Seria wields very potent healing magic and patched them up right away. If she wanted to, she could surely make an career as a healer.

At last Seria spots me at the edge of the training field. She calls an end to the training session and starts skipping in my direction. The woman looks at peace with herself and the world. Somehow I wish that she would smile like that for me. I huff and cross my arms in front of my chest when she reaches speaking distance.
She raises a hand in greeting. “Hi, did you have a nice chat with the DF investigators?”

“I informed them of what happened. And ordered that they follow those things. We should know soon enough where their hideout is. And then we go and get some answers,” I say.

Seria nods and attempts to walk past me, but I hold her back. “Have you reprimanded Adea for her loss of control?”
“No. Why?” She looks up at me, puzzled.
I almost double over. “She had a flashback! What if she had shifted into her spirit form?”

Seria tilts her head. “So what? I held back in helping her, just so that she would remember something about herself.”
I draw in a sharp breath. “Do you hate her? If she shifts into her spirit form and loses control, we would have to put her down! I thought she means something to you!”

Her mouth opens in shock, as if to say something. Then she closes it again and bites on her lower lip. She definitely was about to spill something she didn't want to say.
Realizing my chance, I try to force her to answer before she can think about yet another lie. “Well, what's your answer?”

Then her cool demeanour is suddenly back. “I can use my life magic to control the shift. If she had gone out of control, I would have stepped in. How do you think I managed my time as a rogue when I had no teachers?”

I feel my eyebrows arching in disbelief. If it wasn't common knowledge, I would have said that Seria doesn't know that spirit forms are uncontrollable. Everyone who shifts completely, goes mad and is taken over by his spirit form's instincts. Most times the person in question ends up no better than a spirit. “You really can stop people from shifting against their will?”

Seria smiles. “Of course.”

Let's say that I simply swallow that point without further questioning. It still sounds strange to my ears. “What exactly happens after a shift?” I ask.

Seria's smile stays plastered to her face and she doesn't answer for a long moment. “They go fubar?”
Her answer sounds uncertain and questioning, like a student who simply guessed the answer. And what does fubar mean? Did she just invent that word to confuse me?

I don't allow her to back out of the discussion so easily, remembering my father's words. She is hiding something, so I stare her down. Seria's lips form a thin line. After a while she breaks. “Do you remember that I hid my flashbacks from the people around me?”

I nod.

She spreads her hands and sighs. “Turns out that the ceremony to unseal my memories failed. It's normally meant to stop the developing personality from being overwritten by an old one. I was an orphan and an individualist, so nobody realized when I woke up one day and whoever lived my life before me was gone. It took me a while to search the room and puzzle together what happened.”
She sighs and shrugs. “Honestly! I asked myself several times why nobody caught on. Did you never ask yourself why the girl who lives a lonely life as a part time worker suddenly cut off all her past ties and opened a coffee shop?”

My eyes widen in horror. Such a thing is almost unheard of. There are some cases, but it happens just about once every fifty years. And then the media goes all crazy on the one who fucked up or forgot about the ceremony. I clench my fists. “When? Which drunken bastard performed the ceremony on you? No, forget it. I'll find out. Such failure is a serious crime-”

Seria flicks my forehead with a finger, smiling. “It's a statistical error, I checked. All the other children from my orphanage are fine. I doubt that he did it on purpose. Seriously, I wondered why nobody ever asked me about my sudden change in profession.”

I feel the corner of my eye starting to twitch. “Of course I read your files. They said that you got lucky with some investments. Everything looked like it was in order.”
She snorts. “Yeah, sure. I, the average shop assistant and saleswoman suddenly know about investment fronts and market prediction. Why should I even do that out of nowhere in the first place? The previous me had no qualifications whatsoever in that direction. Once all the attention was on me, someone should have noticed.”

Raising both hands, she gestures with her fingers to signal that all alarms should have gone off at that point. “I came to myself two weeks before I made the investments. So I don't really know much about this world, except for the things which I learned through self study.”

I draw in a sharp breath. “At least that explains why you allowed nobody access to your mind.” And  it also means that she is a perfect actor. When I uncovered her as a rogue, she went all emotional on me.
My eyes flick down to her. She is standing close, staring at the ground and sulking. Then she grumbles, “How should I know that spirit forms are bad? This society treats the whole issue like one, big taboo!”

I am being played! She is playing my strings, I know it! But her story makes perfect sense. How is she able to come up with this stuff on the fly? Think! Think! Think! I already have all the pieces, I just can't put them together the right way. I am sure of that.

She pokes my chest and draws a small circle on it. “Coffee at my place? I promise to tell you who I was in one of my previous lives?”
Urgh. It's gone. Whatever was on my mind is gone! And why should one of your previous lives be important to uncover your mystery? I need your current secrets.

“Why do you keep spinning a web of lies? I am sure things can be sorted out if you just give us a chance.” I reach down and cup her hand in mine.
She rolls her eyes. “For the same reason I tried to hide. My previous reincarnations had enemies and I am just trying to get a grip on this world before someone manages to use my ignorance against me.”

I close my eyes and drop my head. Seems like today I won't get anywhere either. But I like the chase. If I can't catch her quickly, then I have to use endurance to chase her down. No matter how smart she is, at some point her house of cards has to come down, and then I'll be there to catch her.

Turning her around, I force her to take the lead, only to encounter Trebor! He points at Seria. “You! You were the one who tore my office apart! I know it! You'll pay for this.” Balling his hands into fists, he continues. “And I don't know how you managed to persuade the director to change my lessons to eight in the morning and five in the evening.”

I purse my lips and squint my eyes at Trebor. “Actually, I was the one who suggested for you to take the odd lessons. Since you have the leisure to mess with someone else's time table, I figured that you could also take the lessons which nobody else wants.”

The man starts gasping, turning red. But since I am royalty he doesn't dare to do anything. I know him. He is the backstabbing type, only using open confrontation if he feels like he can't lose. Or is totally enraged.

Seria lifts her finger. “It's insulting to accuse me of such a childish prank. Do you have proof? Isn't it much more reasonable to assume that a few students searched your office for the answers to their next test? If I were you, I would make sure that nobody got a hold of your documents. Teachers who don't manage to keep their materials under wraps have their pay grade reduced. When I got the job, that fact was pointed out several times.”

Trebor gasps like a fish, then he turns and flees the scene.

Seria snickers at my side, covering her mouth with a hand. Why do I have the feeling that several copies of Trebor's documents are already circulating around the campus?



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Andur

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