"So, lets talk about the car problem." I raised my head and saw a face I thought Id never see again. "E-Eliza?" I fell out of my bed, crashing to the ground. "H-hey! Are you OK?" Tears streamed down my face. "Im back... I missed you so much." Her soft, loving hands caressed my face. "I missed you too, sweetie."
She helped me up and I sat on our bed. "What happened with Rodrigo?" I asked. "Im not sure. Hes gone, though. I know that for sure..." I fell back, spreading my arms out wide. My arms were back to their normal length, but something was very different. There were no more holes in my arm from drugs, and I quickly swept my hand over it.
I should have known... "This isn real, is it?" She went quiet before sighing. "Sadly, no." I smiled softly before sniffling and sitting back up. "Why did you join Rodrigo, sweetie?" I caressed her face. She began to cry and I held her tightly. "Please don go..." She pleaded. "Im sorry, but I don have a choice. I hope I can see you again." I released her and smiled before everything flashed white.
Trickling water was the first thing I heard when I woke up. I opened my eyes and saw my body was riddled with bruises, and I could tell my ribs were broken. I decided to lay there and groaned loudly my throat burning. How long was I out? It was early morning when the attack happened, and now it looks like the sun is about to set.
I managed to flip over, and the river splashed my face. I looked around and saw trees covering the place. How did I get out of the cart? Where even was it? Where were my parents and Kasan, and are they OK?
I drank some of the water and pushed myself onto all fours, and then sat straight up. I groaned in pain, but I managed to finally stand. I tried to take a step but fell face-first into the dirt. I heard footsteps across the river and I turned my head. I saw a little girl with cat ears and a leopard tail. Whats a beastman doing here..? She looked like a normal human, besides the ears and tail. Her hair was yellow with black circles on it in multiple places, and almond eyes.
She leaped across the river and kneeled at my side. She started speaking, but I couldn understand the language. I groaned in annoyance and raised my hands. Do you know sign language? I signed. Her face lit up and raised her hands. I do but we call it Ancala. Are you alright? I groaned and shook my head. She bit her lip and cleared her throat. Wait here, Ill be right back, She signed hastily. Before I could respond, she had already gone back across the river and into the foliage. Im going to die here, aren I?
Every so often, I heard something rustle in the bushes, but only a mouse would pop out. Finally, I heard the little girls voice again. She appeared, holding the hand of a manly beastman, whose eyes and hair was the same as hers. He nearly gagged at the sight of me, but she seemed insistent on something. She says you can use Ancala, is that true? He signed. Yes. Can you help me? He looked down at the girl again, who was giving him the biggest puppy-dog eyes.
He sighed and picked me up. He carried me in his arms until we reached a small village in the trees. He jumped up and we landed on a platform. Everyone looked at us with curiosity and disgust. I feel like Ill learn why they
e behaving this way...
Finally, he entered a hut and set me down in a chair. In front of me stood an elderly beastman. The two conversed in their tongue until the elder looked at me. You are unwell? He signed. Correct. My family and I were going somewhere until we were attacked. I was knocked off of the road and down what I think was a small cliff.
The elder ran his fingers through his beard. He spoke to the man who carried me, who nodded in response. We can take care of you for now. You will have to leave sooner rather than later, though. I nodded. The man picked me up again and I was taken into a hit next door. He set me into a bed and left the room. I guess I could sleep, seeing as Im in a bed.
I woke up the next morning, and my body still ached. I felt down my torso and could tell I was healed in some capacity. The door to the hut opened, and the man entered. How was your sleep? He asked. Well needed. Did someone heal me while I was asleep? I signed back. Yes, our tribe leader sent someone to heal you. I think it worked too well, seeing as you slept three days. My eyes widened. Three days? That was a long time to be unconscious for!
You are feeling better? He asked. Yes, but I am still unwell. I apologize for having you look after me. The beastmans eyes widened slightly. It isn a problem. You seem mature for a human. This slightly irked me, but I suppose he has his reason. Im only two and a half, so I don have much experience in life, I explained. You have a large vocabulary for someone that young, He complimented. My mother read to me a lot.
The door opened again, and the little girl from the other day walked in. Are you well? She signed. The man laughed slightly. She came and visited every day while you were out to make sure you weren lonely. Her face turned red and she began beating on the man. I am grateful for her, then. Are you a mage? I asked him. He nodded, I am, along with this little one, are you?
Not yet. Im supposed to be when I grow up, though. He huffed out of his nostrils. Right, humans have a ceremony to tell if they can use magic. I nodded. Do you know what you can do? I shook my head. My parents planned to get me a tutor, but then the attack... I looked down. I hope they
e doing OK...
Right. You need some food, so Ill be right back. He exited the hut, leaving the girl and me alone. Why did you decide to help me? I asked. Well, I saw that you were hurt. I think thats reason enough. I nodded. So, whats your name? I wasn sure how to sign it, so I just said it. "Balere." She tilted her head. Thats your name? I nodded. Nice to meet you. My name is... She then realized she couldn sign it either so she sighed. "Pardalis."
Ocelot in Latin, I think. Nice to meet you too. I laughed softly. I get in an attack by these people, and Im already making some of them my friends. I then realized something life-changing. Do you have a mirror? She tilted her head to the side, and her ears turned with it. What is that? I shook my head. Something reflective? Her ears went straight up and she went under the bed I was laying on.
She came out from under it and handed me a piece of glass. Yeah, this is a mirror, alright. After two and a half years, I can finally see what I look like. I lifted it to my face, but it immediately shattered. Thats a load of bull... I looked over at her. What do I look like? She looked closely at me. You have a face with two eyes, a nose, a mouth, and two ears.
No, like my hair and eyes. She raises an eyebrow. You have them..? I sighed and pushed all of the shattered glass off of the bed.
The beastman entered and handed me a bowl of soup with a spoon. Thank you. I got a spoonful of the soup and put it in my mouth. This is either actually good, or its my starvation. Either way, Im enjoying the hell out of this soup. They talked to themselves as I ate. Once I couldn spoon anymore, I put the bowl to my lips and drank the rest.
I set the bowl on the table next to me. Once again, thank you for this. The beastman smiled softly. By the way, whats your name? He asked. "Balere," I croaked. I grabbed my throat immediately. Does crystal water only help for less than a week? I drank so many flasks of that stuff, and yet my throat is still jacked up?
Whats wrong? Pardalis asked. My throat is unwell. It has been like this since birth. It was fine for a while, but now it has gotten bad again. I sighed. Anyway, whats your name?
Laurence. I nodded. A bit strange, but its a nice name. I knew a couple of people with his name in my past life, but I never got to know them that well.
How long do you think I will be able to stay here? I asked him. Not long. I nodded and looked over out a window, which was just a hole in the wall. Can you help me up? He nodded and picked me up by my sides, and placed me on a chest. I looked out of the window and saw the beastmen working, and swinging from tree to tree. It must be nice living here.
Finally, I turned back around and was brought back to bed. The door opened and a female beastman walked in. She spoke to Laurence, and I crawled under the covers, going back to sleep.
For the next few days, I wasn awake for very long. I would speak to Pardalis and Laurence, eat, and then fall back asleep. Finally, I could tell I was fully healed.
I was already awake when Laurence entered. Is something wrong? He asked. I am finally healed, so I should be leaving soon. He nodded and sat next to me. You know, I have been speaking with Elder Garnett. He asked me to tell him everything you have talked about. I raised an eyebrow. What does that have to do with anything?
He smirked and stood up. Let us visit him. I stood up and exited the hut with him. I held onto his torso tightly as we hopped down to the lower level. We entered the elders hut and stood before the elder. This time, it seemed like most of the village was there.
Good morning, child. Please take a seat. I shrugged and sat in front of him. How old are you? I got a little confused. Two and a half..? He nodded. And your name was?
"Balere." The people in the hut gasped, looking around at each other. What was that about? Laurence has placed his trust in you, something rare for a beastman to do with a human. Do you know anything about the two races relationship? He asked. Not much, sir. I know only that I was attacked by them, and that King Vito was thinking about banishing them.
I have only one more question for you. How is your voice? I looked over to Laurence, who just nodded. Since I was born, my voice has always been a bit croaky. I had been drinking a special type of water that helped it, but unfortunately, that was at my home.
He stood up and talked to his tribe. I saw their expressions turn from happiness, to fear, and then back to happiness. They started cheering, then Elder Garnett lifted me. I looked over to Laurence, who began translating for me.
This boy will stay here and train until the correct time comes! Hail Adive! Adive? I was put down and he looked at me. We would like you to stay here to train your magic, whatever it may be. I slowly nodded. Excellent! Would you like to stay in the hut you were staying in, or a different, more extravagant, hut?
The one I was staying in would be fine. May I ask why your mood toward me has suddenly changed? He looked down at me and rubbed my head. Youll know when the time is right. Now then... He turned back to his people and began talking again. Laurence grabbed my hand and led me out of there.
When we got back to the hut, I saw Pardalis whistling while swaying her legs. What did you do? I accused. Why do you think I did something? I looked around the room, and a cool sensation, opposite to the warmth from the ceremony, spread across my eyes. I could tell that the pillow was moved, and the sheets on my bed were moved, even if it wasn apparent.
Were you on my bed? She smirked. You caught me, Ace Detective. So, how did the meeting go? Can you stay? Laurence put his hands on her shoulder and told her the news in their language. I could tell she started freaking out and tackled me.
After she calmed down, Laurence looked at me. I will be the one training you. First, we have to figure out what type of mage you are. We can go over that tomorrow. For now, get a good nights sleep. Pardalis hugged me. I didn have to see her hands to know that she was happy I was staying. Wait, how old is she? I signed to Laurence. He put up seven fingers and I raised an eyebrow. Really? He nodded.
They left my room and I sat down on my new bed. From drug addict to mage in training. What a glow-up! I looked down at my hands and sighed. I swear, if I ever see Rodrigo in this world, Ill snap his neck!