Chapter 12 – A Walk in the Forest
Ashen’s Age: 10 Years Old
To take out my frustrations, I go exploring in the afternoons. This way I can do practical magical training as well as having fun.
There is a village not too far away from here, but I’ve been leery about approaching it. Whenever I’ve broached the subject with father, he warns me against exposing myself. Is it because he thinks I can’t hide my true (mental) age? When I ask mother, she will put on a displeased face and tell me that there is nothing good about going there. It seems she feels that she is mocked whenever she visits the town, but cannot retaliate due to her new position. Amelia is indifferent, and says it is alright as long as I don’t tell people my surnames.
Because of this, aside from Chesney, I don’t really have any friends my age.
Such is solitude.
But! There is a playground! The playground of a fantasy world! The Forest. The forest is about a mile away from our home and I have gotten in the habit of heading out there every afternoon.
There are magical beasts living in the forest, but they are no match for my magic, muahahahahaha.
The walk through the forest gives me time to contemplate my thoughts. I think of new spell formations, look for interesting things with my magic eyes, and try and figure out a counter play towards Chesney. I know he is older, so I of course should lose in any sparring match, but the sheer hopelessness is overwhelming to me.
I feel like I know what I should do, but I can’t do it. I can’t do it in time. I can’t do it with enough power. Whereas he can do it without effort.
I think this to myself as I walk down the cobblestone road that leads from our mansion towards the town. Occasionally I will pass by merchants on the road going to and from town in their horse drawn carriages or wagons, but I aside from a jovial wave of affirmation, I pay them no real heed. Eventually I reach the fork in the road that leads to the forest. I say road, but it is really more like a dirt path, or a desired path, to the forest.
Once I get to the forest, I will occasionally run into hunters on the periphery, and I’ll hide and observe them. My stealth skills are getting a boost. From cover I can observe them and see how they fight the wild beasts.
There aren’t any magicians among them. Usually they are archers and axe men. They get together as a party and attack large beasts that look like large guinea pigs. Capybaras, I think they were called in the other world. They run from the magical ones, though.
When they run into the magical ones, the fights get heated, and if they are not careful they can get out classed, especially if reinforcements come. When that happens, I stealthily help them from the shadows. I can trip them up with earth magic, push them off balance with wind, or give them wounds that seem to come from nowhere with ice magic. This way, the hunters won’t know I am there. Hehehehe.
I reminisce while I glide into the forest path that I wander every day. Glide? Yeah, glide. Back in my old world, I used to ride a hoverboard to work all the time.
When I got here, I wanted to create a magical tool to do the same time.
But, I don’t know how to create them yet.
It’s something I will need to study in the future. Does this world have schools? Or at least a governess? My parents seem to be of the opinion that since I have my past memories, I already have the knowledge I need to survive.
Still, I feel in the dark, though.
But yes! Hoverboard! I can’t build a hoverboard yet, but I can do the next best thing-do it myself.
I found a peculiar property of magic when playing around.
If I create something with magic and hold it in front of me, I can hold that magic in place with a significant amount of force. It is way stronger than if I physically held the object.
However, as soon as I touch the object I created, that force disappears and I bare the weight of the item.
So I can create a sword, but I can’t actually swing it with my hand.
Wait, there is a line of thought there…
Where was I? Ah yes, hoverboard.
I tried creating a ball of magic under my feet, and used it to lift myself a couple inches in the air. When I did so, it was like I was flying!
Well, floating, really.
In the past, I had a hoverboard that let you have one on each foot. That was hard to control because they could zoom off in opposite directions, leaving you with the splits. Plus, you could only go backwards or forwards at a time.
But this way, I can have my feet go in any direction I want to. And since I am the one controlling which direction I am going at anytime, there was no danger of the splits. Yep, it was easy. I totally didn’t fall on my ass for an hour straight, yep. Didn’t happen.
Once I got used to it-I mean, I was already used to it!-I was able to get going. I can glide along with surprising speed and maneuverability. I can even go backwards or sideways at a whim!
It even works well in the forest, despite the overgrowth, as my magical buffer between me and the ground does not care about the smoothness of the surface of the ground under my feet.
I still have to hop over hurdles like tree roots, but it has surprising agility and speed.
Oh, and since I am using mana for it, it burns fat as well, so I am all clear for being lazy and not walking! Mauahahahah!
The forest around me is lush and green. It feels like an evergreen forest, rather than a tropical jungle. I keep my magic eyes posted and look around as I go. I want to keep an eye out for magical beasts. Occasionally I will see glimpses of little balls of magic that seem to take a look at me, then flit off. They are too fast for me to catch up to follow, though.
The canopy is green and of full cover, with trickles of sunlight filtering through. There are mossy trees along the path I’ve carved for myself here.
Usually I follow my path around in a big U, going about a mile into the forest then turning back around. It’s become my afternoon walk.
But this time I want to go off the beaten path.
There is something I’ve noticed.
It’s really hard to see it in the forest, but there is something here. Like a bubble of fog. It filters through the trees and gets denser in one direction. Until now, I have been afraid, I mean, reluctant, I mean, I haven’t considered following it, but today is the day. Anything to keep Chesney’s smug face out of my mind after beating me down all morning. Grr….
The fog is magical, btw. You can only see it with magic eyes. I don’t think anyone else has noticed, as it does not extend above the tree line, so you couldn’t see it outside of the forest.
I hop along towards where I perceive the source the fog is coming from. Because I haven’t beaten this path before, I have to skip over roots constantly, and in many cases between trees.
The cattails and spiked bushes are annoying, though.
Strange. The farther, I go, the fewer magical beasts there seem to be. Well, except those aforementioned puffs of magic. They keep peering at me from behind trees, but skitter away when I look in their direction.
I’ve laid a trail of magical breadcrumbs behind me to make sure I can find my way back. Just drips of mana here and there wherever I step. I can see them with my magic eyes. But, they’ll evaporate in a few hours, so I don’t have much time, though. I just have to avoid getting lost in the forest. Disorientation would be bad, right?
Still, it is quiet.
“It’s too quiet.” I mummer to myself.
Shit. Did I just self-trigger a flag?