Chapter 8

Mary frowned. “Aren’t you being too harsh on Vur?” she asked Celia.

Celia turned to look at her patrol companion. The patrol and the elders were gathered in a hollowed out tree trunk. “I don’t think so,” she replied while shaking her head.

“He could’ve died,” Mary said. “How is that not being too harsh?”

“He wouldn’t have. Not from that,” Juliana said. “I was keeping watch over him the whole time; he thought he could trick us with play dead. Play dead lets him cease all metabolic movement; it was essentially a week-long time-out for him.”

“But the curses-”

“Are there to keep his strength in check. If you haven’t noticed he can carry a behemoth bear for who knows how many miles without getting tired,” Juliana interrupted. “His diet’s been the blood and meat of behemoth bears ever since he was born. Not only that, but he has the imprint of a dragon which practically makes him a dragon in a human shell.”

“The spanking?” Mary asked.

“It’s to show him we can hurt him and that there are consequences to his actions,” Juliana replied. Celia looked down and her stomach churned. Vur had been healed, but he still avoided her like the plague.

“Couldn’t there have been a better way to show him?” Mary asked. “I still think-“

“We’re not trying to be his friends, Mary,” an elder said. “If it weren’t for the matriarch, we would have executed him. A human living in the village of elves is unheard of, much less the human who destroyed the sacred tree. We’re here to teach him how to control his magic, a favor for the matriarch.”

Another elder snorted. “I don’t even understand why the matriarch would imprint a human. Humans forced her father to the brink of death and killed our clan leader,” he turned to look at Celia, “your father. There’s no need to feel bad for beating him. The dragons have never imprinted an elf before, but the matriarch decides to imprint a human? That’s just unforgivable.”

Celia bit her lip. “Wasn’t it the demons who did that?” she asked.

“They’re the same,” the elder replied with a wave of his hand. “The demons only started sprouting horns after they forced the fairies out of their mana source and claimed it as their own.”

“Bu-“

“Vur escaped,” a sentry said as he burst into the room. The patrol looked at each other and stood up.

“How? Wasn’t he cursed?” an elder asked as he turned to look at Juliana.

Juliana stroked her chin, “It’s possible to escape a curse if it’s dispelled, but I cursed him with silence too. Did someone dispel him? Could he have learned mana manipulation?”

“Didn’t you say you were watching over him?” Mary asked with narrowed eyes.

“I was for the punishment; I thought a guard would be enough this time since he was harmless,” Juliana said while looking at the sentry.

The sentry rubbed his head and looked to the side. “One moment I was standing by the door, and the next moment I collapsed. I couldn’t speak or move and he just left,” he said.

“Aren’t you glad you gave him more spells to play with?” Mary asked as she looked at Juliana with a smile.

###################################################################

“Firebolt!” Tafel said as she mimed a throwing motion. An orange ball of fire flew out of her hand and hit a boulder in the distance.

“Well done,” Dustin said as he nodded. “Want to learn something new? It might be difficult though if you don’t have talent.”

Tafel looked at Dustin with squinted eyes. “What is it?” she asked.

“Silent casting,” Dustin said with a smile. “Another term is mana manipulation.” He raised his hand and made a flicking motion. A fireball similar to the one Tafel just conjured flew out and hit the same boulder.

“How did you do that?” Tafel asked with wide eyes.

“When you cast a firebolt, the mana moves around your body in a special way unique to that spell,” Dustin said. “I just copied the mana flow for firebolt. It’s very useful for sneak attacks or when you’re vocally silenced.”

“Vocally silenced? Is there another type of silence?”

“Mana flow silenced; it’s an interrupt that disrupts your mana making you unable to cast for a few seconds,” Dustin said. “It’s not something you can do. I’ve only seen dryads and fairies capable of doing that.”

Tafel nodded and closed her eyes. She felt the mana flow and build up in her hand. She opened her eyes and made a throwing motion, but nothing happened and her hand tingled as the mana dissipated from her hands. “It didn’t work,” she said while looking at Dustin.

Dustin laughed. “It takes practice and you have to be familiar with the spell. It takes me months to learn a new spell silently. You might be faster than me, since your control over mana is better than mine,” he said with a smile. “Keep practicing hard and you’ll be strong enough to ignore your parents and become an adventurer. Don’t tell them I said that.”

###################################################################

“Can I explore a dungeon, Dad?” Rudolph asked. He was sitting at a dinner table with his father and mother. Servants stood by the walls waiting.

“No. Absolutely not, you’re too young,” his mother said.

Rudolph made a face. “But demons get to become adventurers when they’re my age, sometimes even younger,” he said.

“You’re not a demon,” his mother said. “Talk some sense into him, Randel.”

“Hmm, I don’t see why not,” his father replied.

“Randel!”

“What? He has Johann. We can send some royal guards to escort him; experience is a very good thing to have,” the king said.

“Yeah, Mom. Johann’s been getting fat recently. I think he needs some exercise too,” Rudolph said.

His mother sighed. “An easy dungeon, okay?”

Rudolph grinned.

###################################################################

“C’mon Snuffles, let’s go find someplace to sleep,” Vur said. He was naked and dragging a behemoth bear corpse with him.

“We haven’t really explored this part of the mountains have we?” Vur asked. Snuffles shook his head and oinked. Vur laughed and headed towards the base of a cliff. “Let’s dig a cave out over there,” he said and pointed. The duo walked over and saw that there was already a cave with torches lit by green fire.

“Doesn’t this kinda look like home?” Vur asked as he tilted his head. Snuffles oinked and headed inside after sniffing the entrance.

 

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