As I begin to make my way out of the forest I hear a sound. It’s a very annoying squawking noise coming from one of the trees that had been destroyed earlier. I walk over and see a nest with a bunch of broken eggs with dead baby birds and a mangled crow. I look it over and realize this is a completely normal crow with no mana or anything. It can't even be considered a 7th tear beast so I can't help, but to wonder how it got all the way out here in the first place. I carefully bend over while trying to make sure I don't worsen my injuries and I poke the crow but it just squawks at me. An egg falls out of its mangled wings and I realize it must have been the only egg it could save. I pick up the egg and the crow starts squawking even louder at me. It’s really getting on my nerves and there no way I will nurse this bird thats stupid enough to set up a nest in a 3rd tier beasts territory. I pull out my dagger and stab my knife into the crow to finish it off. I was going to smash this last egg, but I decided that I can raise this crow to be a companion for me so I don't always have to travel alone. I move the egg into my hidden right hand since it will be warm there and I continue to make my way out of the forest. A couple of minor beast had tried attacking me, but I either out ran them or swiftly killed them.
I finally made it out of the forest and reached the city gates. Everyone that saw my beat up appearance seemed surprised and kept staring at me. I ignored everyone as I made my way straight to my inn. I thought I could turn in the three mana hearts I have, but I would rather go and take a rest to treat my wounds. I know my special constitution will survive the poison and other injuries, but I still have to keep using my mana to control the poison. I reach my inn and head straight for my room. I enter it and begin undressing myself after closing up the windows and locking the door. I wear my underwear and only a shirt because it's easiest to treat my injuries this way. I place the crow egg in a makeshift blanket nest as I sit in a chair in the room and closed my eyes to meditate.
While meditating I hear a knock on my door. I open my eyes and I can tell it's now night time. I don't know who it is, but I am not in the mood to deal with some thugs or the city lord. I don't even feel the strength to get up right now, let alone put up a fight. So I decide to just speak from where I am.
“Who is it?” I yell at the door with a slightly hoarse voice.
“It is me number 17. I have some things for you.” Shadow Guard 17
“Come in. I am sure a locked door won't keep you out.” I pull up my mask and use a blanket to cover the right side and lower half of my body. Shadow Guard 17 easily unlocks my door and enters me. He seems a little shocked at my appearance. He closes the door and approaches me.
“Princess what happened to you?” Shadow Guard 17
“Never mind that. Just tell me what you have. I want to keep resting.”
“Well, I have some news about Lemuria and your family. I also have a letter, but let me pass the news onto you first.” I nod my head in consent and he continues. “First the Prince has started to take his studying seriously since your duel and Roland was supposed to be apprehended, but he had simply disappeared before anyone could catch him. There has also been some activity around the borders, but nothing major has happened. Another thing is that we have seen a lot of individuals that we believe to be dragons in their human form wandering around the capital asking about you and the rest of the royal family. Eventually a dragon did come as an ambassador and has since been staying in the palace. We still aren't sure what they want.”
Damn lizards can't just stay in their holes. I guess for now they are just monitoring the capital, but they're probably waiting for me to show up. I will probably stay away for now so I can avoid them for a little longer. I am also glad that George is starting to behave, but Roland disappearing does worry me as I don't know what an annoying guy like that will do. The mention of borders makes me remember the town that disappeared so I decided to see if 17 has heard anything.
“Do you have any information about that missing town on the border two years ago?”
“Yes, the information that was passed onto me then because we thought it might be related to your disappearance. We had found your trail at a nearby town and we thought we might have finally found you, but instead you disappeared and all we found was a mana beast corpse and some mass destruction. We also found a piece of your weapon so we knew it was you. As for the town we couldn't find any information on it. Instead several other towns started disappearing. It actually happened mostly on the border for the dwarven kingdom and the Anerris Kingdom. Those border towns were considered our first defense so we aren't surprised that both kingdoms seem to be making moves, but we doubt either will go towards war. Thats pretty much all the information that I can give you now princess.” Shadow Guard 17
I nod my head and take a second to think over everything that he has told me. I hope there isn't a war. If a war does start I don't think I will have much of a choice, but to return and fight with my people. I hold out my hand towards 17 and he hands me a sealed envelope. I hand it back to him and look at my right side and he seems to understand as he open the envelope for me and hands me the letter.
I know you probably think that we can't understand why you would run away or why you still haven't returned, but we do understand. We could tell you were silently suffering all the time as you were. You were always such a happy child until you had your forceful awakening. We knew you were unique and we always tried our best so you understood that we loved you no matter what. You became incredibly strong and also became so self reliant that we would feel as if there was nothing we could do of you sometimes.
We hoped that you could make some friends and people you could trust at the academy. Instead it seems like you only suffered more there at the hands of those we thought would be your friends. We wouldn't have sent you to the academy if we knew it would lead to this. Instead we would have supported you here at home. We were really glad when we heard that you got rid of the Roland problem while trying to set your brother straight. It was only after that we learned that you ran away that we were devastated.
We spent six months without a single piece of news from you. Shadow had mentioned that he was proud about how well you're sneaking capabilities were so we locked him up in the dungeon for a week. After that we learned that you had been spotted near the border but when they went looking for you they only found destruction. It almost broke us down with worry. It wasn't until another six months later that we heard that you were with the dragons of all people. We couldn't get any information from them about you besides that you were alive and wouldn't be able to return yet. Even now we don't know why you were there. We had only just found you again when Shadow Guard 17 spotted you in Yanlin. He said you are a completely different person now. He says you show your hair, but hide everything else.
I don't know what has happened to you in this time. Whatever has happened does not matter to us. You have missed so much since you have been gone. Lora has grown into a splendid young lady and has turned into a miniature version of your mother. She even gained her water affinity. She will soon go to the academy herself and wishes that you will see her off then. Your Mother has been filled with constant worry about you since you were gone. The only thing that kept her from attacking the dragons is your new younger sister. You have a sister that is two years old currently named Anne Lemuria. All these things are what you are missing at home and I want to tell you to return, but I know that I can't do that.
I know deep down that you should enjoy yourself and continue this journey of yours. I know that if I try and force you to come back it would not help you at all. So please only come back home when you are ready. I know your mother and sister would try to kill me if they found about this letter so when you do come home don't tell them we found you in Yanlin. I know if I told them you would see them at your door the very next day. For now all I can ask from you is to please keep in contact. If you leave please inform 17 so he can inform other shadow guards. I know you probably won't like the idea of us tracking you, but it will let me worry less about you. I love you sweetheart so please be safe and come home when you are ready.
Your father Christen Lemuria
I feel the tears running down my cheeks while I read through this letter. Damn it. I truly didn't think I was seen through so easily. This letter has truly answered all the questions that were weighing down on me though. I have been so worried about my family since I left back then. I feel my resolve crumbling just from reading this letter. I didn't even know I have a new little sister. I feel like I need to go back just to make sure Mother and Lora don't corrupt her too. I know that my father is right about me continuing my adventure. Therefore I will not return just yet.
“Come back tomorrow night as well please. I will have some letters for you to deliver for me.”
Shadow nods his head and then leaves shortly after that I begin to write three letters. I am basically telling my mother and sister that I am alive and well, but I don't tell them where I am or when I might come home yet. I talk about random things and I speak about my new style and how mother should try some coffee. I had made to very casual letters for those two while I began to write a serious letter to my father. I write everything that has happened to me in more detail. I include why I was with the dragons and I also describe what has happened to my body. I write heavily that nothing should be done for now. I tell him that for now I just want to ignore those lizards and try and continue my life. Even though I could escape them after a surprise attack, I would not be able to put up a long term fight.
I finish writing the letter and then look at the egg sitting next to me. I feel like now would be a perfect chance to test something that I have had on my mind for a while now. I have always wondered if there was an effect my mana has on things besides myself. I find it hard to believe that my mana is simply black with no other abilities. Sure my flames are hotter and my lighting is more destructive, but that doesn't seem like all there is to it. I know this egg will probably hatch soon because its sibling all looked completely developed when they passed away. I want to conduct this test before it hatches. I don't know what could happen so it's better to not get attached to it after it hatches before experimenting.
I hold the plain white egg in my black scaled hands. It looks like a monster holding a pure life. It's not necessarily wrong, but I would rather not think about myself like that. I slowly release a tiny sliver of my black mana from my mana heart and guide it to my hand and then wrap it around the egg. I slowly try to infuse the mana into the egg, but I am not making much progress. I keep going until I feel the egg start to shake and then I stop. I try multiple methods like splitting my mana into needles and ejecting them or trying to condense my mana and soak the egg in it. Nothing works as I concentrate until I slowly enter a meditative state. I once again see the black flame inside me with the red marking. I focus on the red marking and get an idea. I open my eyes and imagine forming my mana around the egg into that marking and slowly it begins to glow before sinking into the egg. All of a sudden the egg shines with the same red marking from before. It glows timely before it fades away. After that I somehow feel completely exhausted, but I want to keep observing the egg. I was expecting something to happen like the entire egg turning black or even exploding. I focus on the egg and notice there is some small little connection between me and it, but I am not sure what it is. I don't know if my mana is connected or if it's something else, but there is definitely a connection there now.
Hopefully what ever is born from this egg will be a companion to me. I feel lonely traveling on my own and I also get bored so I can teach the bird to poop on people like the city lord would be great. As I am thinking about what to call my new pet the egg begins to crack. It's really small, but I can hear the crow trying to break free. I want to help it, but I know I shouldn’t. If it will follow me around it will have to be strong. Slowly a gap opens in the egg and I try to look into it only to see darkness. Finally more pieces of the egg is chipped away and I get a clear view of the little fuzz ball. It’s completely pitch black and kinda slimy. I grab the blanket I used for its nest and start wiping it down while it squeaks at me. It's looking right at me and I finally notice it has black eyes and my hands shake a little. Even its parent had blue eyes even though it was black. After the little thing was cleaned I set it back on the table and watch it tries to move around. As I watch it I take the end of my hair and hold it to the crow to see they are the exact same shade of black. I feel a little shaken by this, but then I can't help it, so I just pick up the little thing.
“Today you will be named Munin. You will fly with me from now on.”
I check for its gender and see that it is female and I feel more comfortable with her. I have no fear of males, but they are all more annoying and I have had far more good interactions with females than males. I poke Munin a little bit until she starts squeaking at me. I go to my bag and pull out some trail mix I had. I then realize I am going to have to act as a mother for Munin and I feel embarrassed as I chew her food for her before I spit it in a spoon to feed her little by little. When she's done she nestles in my hand and falls asleep. I walk over to my bed and place her on the pillow beside my own before I lay down myself. I am glad I experimented before she was born. I don't think I would have the nerve to do anything to her now.