The Grassy plain was a place that Naell had complicated feelings for. His shoulders trembled at remembering how painful those said times were.
Owly and Lily saw Naell shiver, and for a second thought the cold finally got to him. Yet they quickly came to their senses when Naell removed his coat with no care.
Their thoughts weren’t far from the truth, as Naell really did shiver. Yet not because of the weather but because he remembered the sleep he had put off, and the hard work he had to endure to learn magic.
‘’Ah… atleast now, I’m rich. Thank you magic.’’
Lily and Owly could only sigh in silence as Naell was having his odd moment again. By then they learned to just go with it anytime he was in his own world.
For Naell, if it weren’t for the friendly bout he and his sister were to have, he would have appreciated the calm morning under the icy atmosphere with a cup of hot chocolate in hand.
Afterall, although the snow covered the entirety of the land, its ambiance and beauty had always captivated him.
"Here I go--- swift dash!"
Hastily, Lily rushed towards her brother who was caught aback by what she said. Neither he nor Owly detected her buffing incantation, as a result they were both impressed with how well it was concealed.
Instantly she striked, and quickly did he avoid. The same happened to each attack that followed.
Not long after, Naell took a different stance, alarming Lily. He then with a smile and a flick of his finger, summoned two glistening water balls.
“Woah.” Lily said upon seeing the orbs.
It was her first time witnessing her brother’s real magic on the battlefield, and not just as gifts or conjured items for his travels.
The water balls then began encircling her path and with several waves of spiralling splashes, it bombarded her routes.
‘’That was a great effort dear sister but unfortunate---’’
Yet before Naell could even finish his sentence, vines of dark thorny magic crawled to his location. He managed to avoid it as his detection magic in the nick of time kicked in.
Still it surprised him how faint it was. Impressed, he smiled as he said,
“Well done sister. You’re really great at hiding your mana.”
Of course, in a real battle, most would detect it as they wouldn’t be as complacent as Naell.
The fight continued on as Lily attacked with her sword, and with every step imbued the ground with dark magic.
Unlike the previous magic, she was now using a greater amount that covered far more ground, making it detectable yet only more tricky.
Even with Naell’s levitation to avoid stepping on it, being in close proximity would trigger the magic to attack or entrap him.
‘’Your magic is incredible like that fat--- Owly’s.’’
Naell was able to mince his words as Owly’s glare made him think of the unfair 2 v 1 that could occur.
Lily’s smile was gleaming as she nodded in response. She continued dashing around him and spreading out more vines, all in hopes of entrapping him inside her magic zone.
Still, when it came to control and actual battle experience, Naell managed to best her.
That was why after some time, as her magic was either dodged or destroyed, Lily was left exhausted from the battle.
The same could be said with Naell whose hangover managed to crawl its way back to his system. Nevertheless, the outcome was clear, she lost the friendly bout.
‘’Well done Lily. Your spells are really flexible.’’ Said Naell as he handed her a cup of hot chocolate.
“Grandpa taught me that... yet I couldn't even hit you even once."
The three of them had rested post-battle in a comfy igloo Naell made for them. Owly had already munched his way with the sweets they had brought, all the while Lily seemed sad.
Sensing that, Naell patted her hair as he added on,
‘’You did great, and I’m certain you’ll do better in time.’’
Lily in response smiled and thanked her brother before taking a sip of hot chocolate. As soothing as the warm drink was, she couldn’t help but sigh and speak what was on her mind,
‘’I’m just disappointed.’’ She admitted while gazing at the white snow outside their igloo.
‘’It’ll take time dear sister, but have faith in yourself and sensei’s teaching. You’ll have incredible control before you know it.’’
Lily then explained to him that she got the idea of crawling vines from school.
“Brother, my magic cannot crawl very far on its own.” She thought for a while before continuing,
“In the start I even had to scatter traces of dark magic on the ground, just so my vines knew where to crawl to.” She said softly.
“You did? That’s really smart, Lily.“ Naell said to her enthusiastically. He was truly impressed with his sister’s ability to compensate for her lack of experience.
Further, he praised her in a doting manner, explaining that she possessed one of the rarest forms of magic.
Not to mention, its unique attributes such as sealing and its superiority in concealment.
“...But ice and snow are very beautiful.” Lily muttered softly under her breath.
From the moment of her awakening, she had already felt disappointment. Afterall, her mommy Alicia, grandpa, and dearest brother, all wielded the same two elements: wind and water.
Seeing her dismayed, Naell once again patted her head. He then smiled softly and comfortingly said,
“The night is made beautiful by its moon and stars, in the same way darkness is made beautiful by those who possess it.”
Lily was flustered, on the other hand, the proud owl was already boasting what he heard.
This evolved into a banter of gibberish that made Lily giggle. It was only then when Owly recalled the two’s bout did they stop.
‘’Lily, I thought your elemental magic was purely dark, HOOT."
Naell also nodded as he remembered how his sister chanted [ swift dash ].
[ dash ] is a known wind magic that was often used to amplify the speed of its caster.
Beginners would often use it until such time they could learn levitation magic.
They would then meld both into [ swift dash ] making elemental wind mages faster than other mages.
‘’Oh, that was just a bluff.’’
‘’What do you mean dear sister?’’ Naell asked, thinking he misheard Lily but she quickly responded with a cheeky grin.
‘’I made that up, it is kinda funny how we need to chant spells loudly anyway.’’
Naell and Owly could not respond for some time. Deep inside they also cringed with how they loudly chanted spells.
Yet again, chants were often necessary to visualize one’s spell especially when one was in a real battle.
‘’But the way you planted all that magic skillfully was impressive.’’ said Naell as he tried to erase what Lily had just said from his mind.
‘’True, I thought that noob--- Naell, was done for, HOOT.’’ Added Owly who immediately minced his words.
Afterall, the shelter, drinks, and food were all provided by Naell.
Lily blushed once more with all the compliments she was getting. So with a soft grin and waving hands, she then said,
‘’Thank you brother, you too Owly, but stop you’re making me embarrassed.’’
With that, they all laughed and enjoyed the morning’s ambiance.
Naell spent most of his time escorting his mother and sister around town, naturally Owly tagged along to happily join the three.
They went to different places and even near several villages, trying different sweets and exploring stalls that had already spread.
All of it was paid by Naell who discussed to his parents how he got the funds. Initially, they were shocked upon learning that he and Owly managed to earn that kind of money.
Of course, they knew of the golden apples but only to some extent. The same went with the herbs that they had scattered over winter.
Naell also didn’t forget to revisit the estate’s library. Although not much changed from before he left, he didn’t fail to notice how the facility was much cleaner, more organized, and home to far more books.
He assumed it was in Klata’s favor and that she herself had improved the library’s ambiance.
Little did he know, his father had actually ordered those modifications, bringing forth gladness to bookworms such as Naell.
Sometimes he would accompany Sebastian and his father to navigate their territory. Other times, they would just train his magic with them, although far more often they would just rest and talk.
Drew and Andrea would also frequently visit their home, they would then proceed to rant on how much they missed their son. In response, Fharom would exasperatedly tell them,
‘‘Aren’t you guys the one who told him to stay with his friends.’’
‘’Boo, you don’t understand Fhary.’’ Replied Andrea while pouting her lips.
Drew also happily joined and booed his irritated friend. Truth be told, when they visited Andrew, they saw how he was enjoying his youth, thus they decided to simply make him stay.
This led to the protagonist’s party choosing not to visit Beryldot and instead simply train under the Duke himself, the so-called 10th swordsman.
Sebastian, Lilia and Lily smiled at their friendly yet silly interactions. The only one who was busy at that moment, was Owly who was enjoying his treats.
Naell also smiled to himself as he thought it was all in his favor. On the off chance they visited Beryldot, it would be his family’s duty to guide the young miss of Arigare, young master of Raal and the princess of the Easterside Empire.
‘That would be such a hassle…’ He thought as he calmly sipped his tea, enjoying the cold yet warm afternoon inside the Beryldot’s mansion.