The East Mountain
“There you are.”
“Ah…you’re awake then.”
“Something roused me. And you were gone.”
Daniela said as she tossed a stick into the fire.
“And then I detected five humans a short distance away. One of them was you.”
“But now they are gone. …Were they bandits?”
“Their base is somewhere halfway up the east mountain. We should be careful that we don’t bump into them…”
Daniela pulled at my sleeve while I talked. What? And so I sat down next to her.
“You must be tired. I will take the watch from here. You should rest.”
“My time’s not up…”
“It is fine.”
Her arm went around my shoulder and pulled me down so that my head landed in her lap. It seemed that there was no room for argument…
“I am not such devil as to force you to stay up when you look like that. Get some sleep.”
“I look fine.”
“Not to me.”
She slowly ran her fingers through my hair. If I fell asleep like this, she would end of with rather numb legs. But I didn’t want to move… Her hands made all of my thoughts melt away. And like that, I fell into a deep, dreamless sleep.
“Asagi. You are more tired than you know. It is on your face. I am here so that you are not crushed. Not broken. Rely on me while you are alive. It is one of my joys in life.”
I thought I could hear Daniela’s voice.
□ □ □ □
Morning. I woke up feeling quite refreshed and with my face on Daniela’s thighs. Maybe I really was that mentally drained… I could only be grateful to her.
I thanked Daniela as I got up and then took out our breakfast from the hollow bag and then handed it to her. It always felt good to watch her enjoying her food. Now, to eat mine.
“Mmmm… We should arrive at the mountain before midday.”
“It did seem like the bandits had walked here.”
They had probably used a telescope to find us. Damn it… What if they attacked while we fought the dragon? That would be terrible.
“Well, there is no point in worrying about that. We will start searching from the top when we reach it. Can I count on you?”
Our discussion on magic defense tactics continued as we walked.
“What about ice and water? Have you come up with any good ideas?”
“Yeah. There is something I’ve been thinking about using in the tournament. But it’s more support magic than defense magic.”
And so I told Daniela about the mist spell I was thinking about using.
“There is something like that. Rainy Mist. You use it to blind enemies with mist.”
“So it already exists…”
I was horribly disappointed at the revelation that I hadn’t invented it. And this had happened before as well…
“You could use that as a starting point and alter it?”
“Starting point… I see.”
Creating mist alone was simple enough. If you could use water magic, anyway.
So, what could I do? I would have to give it some thought.
First, using multiple spells of different attributes at the same time. I had assumed this was impossible until recently. But if I could use ice and water simultaneously, perhaps I could create something that was easier to control.
For instance, freezing mist. A tornado iceberg. Shaved ice…ice cream…no. My mind was going to weird places. Hmm. My head hurts. I hate thinking about these things. Magic was often about your imagination, but I wished it was simpler.
And so I practiced using multiple spells simultaneously as we walked. ‘Jack of all Trades, Master of None’ was quite useful here. I could see the swirling current of magic within my brain. And there, I would create the colors of ic and water. It reminded me of that first time Daniela checked what magic I could use.
A rushing river. It was cold, frozen. But then it started to melt from the water beneath it. And then it flowed on without stopping. My magical energy. Towards the exits. My left and right hands.
“I did it…”
A block of ice was in my right hand and an orb of water in my left. I kept them there and then slowly moved them. They floated away from my hands and then orbited around me like satellites. They could go up or down. I could adjust their speed. They could reverse their course. While this wasn’t particularly useful, I now knew that I could do it.
With a sigh of relief, I deactivated the magic. And then a wave of exhaustion rushed through me. It used a lot of energy…