A day had passed since we came across the caravan group, and now we were traveling alongside them. Ken was in charge of helping with cooking the meals for everyone, Pollux was training alongside the men who knew how to properly fight, and Audrei was learning how to hunt.
As for me? Well, I was being taught by Wuotan, the leader of this caravan group. He was teaching me something called Mana, while I didn’t entirely know what it was— I had seen it pop up in the stories and books I’ve read back when I was a kid.
“Concentrate, Cael.” He’d softly tell me, pressing harder and harder into my back. “Feel the Magicules around you, just close your eyes— and breathe.”
I’d take a deep breath, closing my eyes while doing so— What? There were strange lights as I closed my eyes, the amount of lights increasing with each breath I took. “I see… Strange lights, they look like white dots. Are these the Magicules you’re talking about?”
“How many do you see?”
“Too many to count.”
“Good.” He’d start pressuring my back more, the palms of his hands on my back now felt as if they were trying to sting me. “Now, try putting those pieces together— Sort of like a puzzle, where you arrange the puzzle pieces, you know.”
“Got it..” I’d whisper to myself, I wasn’t exactly sure on how to move them, but I still gave it a shot. It sure was like arranging puzzle pieces, but on a much, much larger scale.
A few hours would go by quickly, even though it felt as if only a few moments had passed.
“I think… I got the jist of it. It’s pretty hard, but I think I got the hang of it now.”
“That’s enough for today, we’ll continue again tomorrow. Good work.” He’d pat my back, exiting the tent. “Let’s get back to the group, before it gets dark.”
Leaving and disassembling the tent, we’d make our way back to the camp— It wasn’t far away, and yet my legs felt fatigued already. I was more so mentally drained than physically. A good change of pace, it was. From lazing around on my bed in the orphanage, barely getting anything done aside from the occasional errands here and there, to learning something called Mana while traveling to the capital of all places,
If I knew what this type of life had offered, and the experiences to be gained, I’d have left a long time ago— knowing full well the risks and dangers of adventuring and traveling.
It felt good. To say the least.
The smell of fresh air with the dawn overlooking the horizon, the wind on my face when riding a horse, it was a feeling I knew very little of— a feeling I hadn’t experienced at all during my time at the orphanage. Was it the thrill of exploring new places? The excitement one finds when seeing the beautiful landscapes and pastures?
To me, it wasn’t as complex as looking at something and finding it mesmerizing, or any of that fancy stuff for the matter.
It was because I was free.
Free to roam around, do what I wanted to do— what we wanted to do. And though the orphanage was our home, we were all shackled by it in one way or another.
Walking all the way back to the camp, after half an hour more or less of walking, I didn’t notice because we were walking inside the forest, but it’d already become dusk. Ken was preparing the food alongside some others, while Audrei and Pollux were resting by the campfire.
It was a long day for all of us here, though it’s only been a day since we’ve joined the caravan group; and yet it felt like we’ve been together with them for ages. Only a few more days ‘till we reach the capital, and from there we’ll figure out what to do with our lives— whether that means joining the wretched military or if we’d take up simple jobs.
But for now, I want to enjoy this— this time with everyone. I’ll just go where the wind takes me, and pray to the gods that they bless our travels throughout the journey.
“Cael!” Ken would shout at me from a distance, “Stop sulking an’ thinkin’ over there in the back and come enjoy with us! We’re trying to see how far we can throw this rock, and obviously— I’m going to win.” He’d exclaim, I can just imagine the grin on his face right now.
Sigh. It’s been a while. Since I’d last seen people this happy. Just days ago we were running for our lives, and now we were here enjoying ourselves with people we had never met— people we never thought we’d meet ever in our lives. And I’m thankful.
Who am I kidding? “Alright! I’m coming!” I’d exclaim at Ken, running towards them with a smile.