Vol. 1 Chapter 5: Neglectfulness leading to consequences
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Just wanted to clarify that when I use "**" it means a time skip and when I use "——————————————" its a change in perspective/POV. Though it was probably obvious to some I can guess it might of caused a little confusion. Welp, please enjoy the chapter!

 

“Ahhhh-hhaaaaaa!”

I yawned as I was so tired it was causing me to fall asleep, the only thing currently keeping me awake was the rattling and bumping of the carriage wheels against the gravel road.

We were currently on our way to the event site of the hunting competition, the coachman informed us that the journey would take around 12 hours. I would’ve preferred to be alone but I must babysit Rose per my father's orders because of this we sat in awkward silence.

“Hey-” *BANG* “Kyaa!” Rose immediately covered her mouth in embarrassment and shock at the sudden noise of something crashing into the carriage window. “Pff” I laughed a tiny bit and then opened the window, as I did that an obsidian black bird followed by a loud “Caw!” came flying in and landed on my shoulder. It was Noire, Rose looked at the crow sitting on my shoulder with curiosity as she had already forgotten what transpired all those years ago when she peeked in on him summoning it.

I could almost feel Rose’s stares of curiosity and excitement, but I stayed silent and soon I would succumb to my fatigue and fall asleep despite the rattling of the carriage.

——————————————

I can’t believe I let out such an embarrassing scream in front of big brother! I could only guess my face was as red as a strawberry! it was just a pet bird why did you freak out?!

I stared at brother wondering why a crow had flown in and landed on his shoulder and wanted to ask him about it but brother doesn't like it when I talk to him. So I just stared hoping the answer to my curiosity would just reveal itself.

I have two big brothers but I only consider white-eyed brother as my brother because grey-eyed brother bullies me! And grey-eyed brother is ugly, but big brother is handsome unlike him. Big brother may not like me but I like big brother! Big brother may look cold and uncaring but I know how kind big brother is! And I know this because I’ve been watching him for 4 years now!

Mean brother doesn't like big brother and tries to hurt him! So, I have to protect my big brother from mean brother! Because if I don't who will?! For some reason, father seems to like mean brother more than big brother so that means he won't protect big brother from mean brother! Because father is useless I need to protect big brother!

Hehe! I giggled because it seems that big brother has fallen asleep! This is my chance! When big brother sleeps like this it means he's really tired, which means he won't wake up easily! So this is the only time I can get really close to big brother!

I sneak over to big brothers side of the carriage hoping I don't wake him. Now that I’m sitting next to him I take a closer look at the crow on his shoulder. As I stared at it so did it stare back, it was a creepy bird, apart from being the bird of death it felt like it was thinking. well, more than a usual animal.

“Caw!” croaked the crow.
“Shh! Don't wake big brother up!” I whispered to the crow, It looked at big brother for a moment then looked back at me and “Caw!” but this time very quietly. “Hehe.” I giggled at the funny crow “I don't know your real name so I’ll just call you Blacky!” I said quietly to the crow. It turned its head from me as if to scoff at what I said, but I don't care! You are now blacky!

Big brother still being fast asleep meant this was the perfect opportunity to take advantage of him! I look up at big brother’s drooped head and reach my hands to touch his face. What! Big brother's skin is so soft! I thought it would be more… More…. Rough?’

I stick my fingers on the corners of his mouth and push them up into the shape of a crescent moon “Pff!” Big brother's smile is so awkward! Blacky looks at me with a look that for some reason shouts ‘pathetic’ but I must be wrong because that would be rude!

I then crawl onto the seat and lay my head on big brother’s lap, and it's surprisingly soft! Way too soft! I might just fal- *yawn* asleep…

**

The next thing I know I’m jolted awake by the sudden stopping of the carriage, almost falling out of my seat I see big brother sitting in his seat. Wait, didn't I fall asleep on his lap? Seeing as I was back in my seat it seems that big brother woke up! He's not mad, right? 

I didn't notice any change in his facial expression so he must not be mad, right? Hehe, that means big brother carried me over to my seat instead of waking me up and telling me to get off. Which means he cared enough to let me sleep! Which also means big brother loves me! Well, maybe that's a tiny leap in logic, but let me believe!

The coachman yells “Young Master, we have arrived at the venue!”
Brother gets up and opens the carriage door letting Blacky fly out and into the great bright blue sky and soon after stepping out himself. Brother is quite quiet, maybe he’s just awkward! This means I need to take the initiative and start the conversation.

As we begin walking I try and start a conversation “Hey, Big Brother! When did you get a pet crow?”

I’ve been ignored;;

*sigh* “See, this is why you don't have friends Big Brother! But don't worry, I’ll be your friend so now you have one friend! Me!” I said while beamingly cheerful! If I stay on the offensive big brother will eventually open up to me!

‘Is that the child?’
‘Probably, look just like that person said, she has white hair!’
‘The illegitimate child of a duke!’

Most wouldn't hear, but me? I have reeaaally good hearing, big brother doesn't seem to have noticed but I did, their stares, their belittlement, their contempt, I can feel it all directed at me.
*sniff* Just because I was born! No matter how hard I wanted to stop it, I couldn't stop the tears from rolling down my cheeks. “Heuk...

——————————————

*rattle* *bang* I was shocked awake by the carriage running over what I could assume to be a rock, and another thing, Rose was gone! My confusion only lasted a second before I felt the warmth that seeped into my lap. 

*sigh* Children.
“Noire, why didn't you wake me up?” I asked my summon whose job it was to keep watch.

‘The little miss said to be quiet as to not wake you!’ Argued my crow, “Since when did you start taking orders from her?” ‘I take orders from whomever I desire!’

“Except you don't! You are MY summon!” ‘Meh, stop sweating the details.’
Ugh, I don't know how this crow fits that enormous attitude into its tiny head.
Why did it ever have to gain the ability to talk? Well, talk isn't the right word. More like he's able to telepathically send what it wants to convey to my head and it gets translated from what exactly? I don't know, maybe some crow language.

Now, what to do with this trespasser who made a bed out of my lap.
She’s relatively light so I scoop her up into my arms and place her down on the seat adjacent to mine. I take care to not wake her as I don't want to listen to her talking.

**

Heuk…” Hm? Is she crying? Why?
‘The illegitimate child of a duke!’
I see…

Hic…” *sniff*
I glared at the gossiping nobles that we passed which quickly shut them up, letting grown men and women make a child cry left a bad taste in my mouth.

By the time we reached the family tent Rose’s tears had run dry. The ‘tent’ was barely a tent, it was the size of a house with multiple rooms! The tent was a deep vermilion red as it was the family colour it also had the vermilion crest decorating the front, the tent was as tall as a regular house and branched out to the left and right into separate rooms.

As Rose and I entered we could see father sitting at a desk in the middle of the tent; before we could announce our arrival father ushered us in a deep voice “You two will stay in the left wing of the tent, and you will stay there.” “Yes, Father.”

Rose and I then entered the side room that father had directed us to and it was relatively small, it had two beds and a sole desk. There was also a weapons rack with a variety of weapons that ranged from bows to maces and even shovels?

‘This year… comp… is…’ hmm? I can hear people talking outside our tent, I walked to the edge of the tent to eavesdrop on their conversation. And as I listened in I heard something interesting. “Did you hear? Magical beasts are a part of the hunting competition this year!” 

Monsters? Magical beasts or monsters are creatures that are affected by mana and are strengthened by it. What allows monsters to easily make use of mana to strengthen themselves is their mana crystal or commonly known as the monster core. I’ve always wanted to get my hands on a mana crystal so that I could experiment on it!

I look at Rose and curse my luck, I have to watch Rose but I can't just bring her into the hunting fields! Well, the competition begins tomorrow so I have around 16 hours to figure something out.

**

As I open my eyes after getting a good night's rest I am greeted by clear, cloudy white pupils staring directly into my soul. I blink a few times to check if I’m just seeing things but no, I wasn't.

“What are you doing?”

The curious wide eyes blink a few times and the words “Nothing hehe!” leave the little girl's mouth. *sigh* I get up and change out of my sleep ware and into hunting clothes. I wore a simple leather chest piece and a pair of metal vambraces for each arm, black leather boots and brownish-black pants. I didn't wear gloves as I feel they hinder my movement.

As for my weapon? I don't know, I probably should've started training with a weapon earlier but I was focused on studying magic and anything else I could get my hands on.

I walk over to the rack of weapons in our room and I grab two simple daggers and attach them to my belt. I then grab a spear as it's easy to use and has a lot of range. “Big brother what are you doing? Are you going hunting? Can Rose come too?!” I look at Rose who bombarded me with questions whilst having a giggly and excited expression on her face with a wide smile that seemed to reach from one ear to the other.

“No. You will stay in this room and not leave for the entirety of the time I am away.” Her face went sullen and she yelled “But I want to come!” while pouting. “I don’t care. Stay in this tent, hunting is not for children.” I look at her with clear annoyance and she barely agrees “Fine! I’ll stay in the stupid tent!” Good, now that I was done with that I prepare to leave with my daggers on my belt and spear in hand.

**

I’ve been wandering the hunting grounds for five minutes now and I’ve encountered nothing! But, I continue on in hopes of attaining a mana crystal.

*rustle* *rustle*

I whip around towards the origin of the rustling leaves and I laid my eyes on my very first monster! It was a goblin, well, two goblins.

Goblins were a weak species of monster but they were quick and many in number and that was precisely why they are dangerous. Goblins alone may be weak but when they group up they can be dangerous because they overwhelm you with sheer numbers and speed.

I was lucky that there were only two.
“KRAAAHHHH!!” One of the goblins screeched at me in its hideous voice and begin sprinting, 7… 5… 4 meters and then It lunged at me!

I pull my spear up and pointed it towards the goblin flying at me!
The goblin unable to change its trajectory mid-air simply impaled itself on my spear, its gooey green blood coated the top of my spear and dripped down the pole covering my hands in its blood.

I pull the spear out of its chest dropping the body on the ground. *rustle* *rustle* I messed up, I didn't keep my eye on its partner! Now it's running around using the bushes as cover.

*rustle* *rustle*

I quickly turned myself to where the sound was coming from and launched my spear towards it.
“KRAAAHHH!!!”
“Shit!” I missed! The goblin then lunged at me while bearing its yellow and crooked teeth!

*Clang!*

I swung my arm in front of me to block it and the goblin bit down on my metal vambrace denting it. The goblin flailed its arms around trying to scratch me with its sharp claws, it succeeded and dug one claw into my chest.

“ARGH!” I yelled in pain but quickly grabbed one of the daggers on my belt and plunged it into the goblins skull causing its green gooey blood to splatter all over me. “Ha haaaaaa!” I’m exhausted! I thought two goblins would be easy!

I lay on the ground catching my breath, feeling the cold grass brush the edge of my face along with the cold winter breeze. After I’d caught my breath I wiped the blood off my face and dragged the two goblin bodies to a flat area and began examining them.

Now, where was the mana crystal again? They call it the monster core so it should be in the centre, right? So… Somewhere between the stomach and intestines. I grabbed my dagger and began dissecting the goblin starting just above its belly button, there was barely any blood as for some reason the goblin's blood had already coagulated! Seems that there's a compound in their blood that speeds up the process after they die.

After cutting a sizable hole I reluctantly stuck my hand inside the goblin's body, I sifted around in there until I felt my fingers touch something hard. It was crystal-like! I immediately clenched my hand around the object and yanked it out and along with that… Mashed goblin parts….

After having the mana crystal in my hand I noticed how beautiful it was! Even with the green gooeyness surrounding it; it had a slight glow with a green hue!

After admiring the crystal I begin sending slight amounts of my mana through the crystal to analyse it. It worked similarly to how mages scan areas with mana and recreate the area in their heads. Except what I was doing was something I created myself! The techniques are similar but I applied it on the microscopic level! Though there are too many atoms to visualise each one individually all at once I just simplified the information given to me, though if I focused on a particular point I could theoretically create an image of its atoms.

Though the inhabitants of this world couldn't possibly recreate what I’d done because they neglected science to the point that they hadn't even discovered atoms!

Ok, I’ll stop explaining now and just tell you what I’ve found. Contrary to my belief, mana crystals don't contain that much mana at all. I’m not even sure it's even a crystal… I mean it looks like a crystal and is structured like a crystal… But it functions as a magic array! There are magic arrays structured into it at such a small size it's invisible to the naked eye!

But that would mea- “BIG BROTHER WATCH OUT!!” Before I could even react I felt two small hands against my back and with a considerable amount of strength they sent me tumbling a few feet! “What are yo-” I look back and all I could feel was my stomach twist and sink.

Before any sound could even leave her mouth Rose was sent flying as a wooden club of tremendous size swung into her back with enough force to break a boulder.

Before I could even react I hear a blood-curdling cracking and snap and her frail little body slammed into a nearby tree. Like a rag doll thrown by a child, her body lay limp on the ground.

 

To Be Continued.

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