A Break For This Overworked Little Girl!
The clacking of wood against wood fills my ears as I look down at the small training area of the mansion. Lilith slowly walks around Wolstan with that wooden halberd aimed at him. Wolstan holds a wooden spear. He points it at the ground as if he’s not taking this fight seriously, but his eyes are dead set on Lilith’s stance.
Lilith’s eyes too… I don’t quite get it, but Lilith’s looking intently at Wolstan, looking for a way to attack him. Lilith suddenly swings her halberd to the side, and then up at Wolstan with the ax side of it facing away from him for some reason.
Wolstan blocks the attack with his spear easily, but Lilith pulls her halberd up, pulling Wolstan’s spear along with it somehow. She swings the halberd down at Wolstan again, but he just grabs it with his bare hand, stopping it completely.
Lilith tries to twist her halberd to get it out of Wolstan’s grip but he doesn’t let go. He holds his wooden spear up, and lightly throws it at Lilith. Before it can hit her though, she jumps out of the way, still holding onto her halberd.
“Alright, that’s enough. We’ll call this a draw.” Wolstan says, letting go of Lady Lilith’s weapon.
“How’d I do?!” Lady Lilith yells like a child seeking their parent’s approval.
“How are you judging distance? I noticed you had more of an idea than you should when you were circling me and with your swings than you should with your eye.”
“Ah! Well, I read up a bit on the “Earth Sense” skill, and figured I could do something similar already if I kept using earth manipulation under you, and moving it so slightly you couldn’t tell. I got your rough distance from that. As for swings, my halberd’s always the same length, so I compared the distance you are from me to its length. I’m going off of math more than sight.”
“A clever solution.”
I really wish that Lady Lilith was putting that passion into something other than swinging a weapon around.
“That practice halberd is based on the length of a standard one. When we get you a real one, we’ll have to make sure it’s the same length so it doesn’t throw you off, assuming you aren’t going to be using your Gift to gauge distance.”
“Oh, about that, I’m really close to getting that detection spell running well enough to substitute pain. After that it’s just a matter of keeping them both running constantly, then I’ll get to try using my Gift for that.”
“Yeah, your brother told me. I’m looking forward to what you think of.”
I watch Lady Lilith sitting in a room, along with Lady Hana and Sir Annei. As for what they’re doing, it just looks to me like they’re playing with clay…
“Remember sis, you have to make sure you get each piece right. If it’s too big it’ll get jammed, and if it’s too small it just won’t fit.”
“Yeah, yeah, I know.”
Lady Lilith continues using her magic to get the clay piece just the right shape. She carefully inserts into a hole of something I assume is meant to look like a human. The piece she inserts is supposed to be its right arm.
“Alright, now remember, these are a lot simpler than the ones you want to use. There are no joints in their arms and legs for one. We’ll move onto that when you get them all walking with earth manipulation.”
“OK, got it. So do I just make them follow me around until I get the skill?”
“No, we’re going to have Hana put them in a furnace first so that they harden. Then we’ll have you move them around everywhere you go. After that, if keeping that up isn’t enough, we’ll either make more, or make them more complex by adding more joints and such. You said you want to have them using hands at some point?”
“Well that’s a lot of joints. There’s the elbow before you even get to that point, and when you do get there, there’s the wrist you have to do. After that, all the fingers have to move independently of one another, and you’re going to have three joints for each finger.”
“I’ll be sure to work hard.”
“Pace yourself. Hana, carefully put all of Lilith’s golems in the oven. Make sure you don’t mess them up.”
“Yeah, yeah, I got it.”
I look out at the garden, watching Lady Lilith again. She sits on one of the benches, staring at her Gift.
I watch her start scratching her skin. She starts scratching it so hard I have to keep myself from telling her to stop hurting herself. I understand why she’s doing this, though. She stops, and says something to herself, although I’m too far away to hear what.
I watch her think to herself for a very long time. She stops this by holding out her Gift and covering up her one good eye. Then she gets up and- starts walking?! Lady Lilith, that’s…
She walks slowly, constantly waving her foot in front of her to make sure she doesn’t run into anything. She starts to walk around the garden, gradually increasing her speed, and somehow manages to navigate without walking into anything. Is she?
I walk up to her, right in front of her, just to check if my thought is correct. When I walk in front of her, her expression changes to surprise. She points her gift directly at my face, far too accurately to be pure luck. She can somehow see.
“I’m terribly sorry, but who are you?” Not very well though, it would seem.
“Leah, Lady Lilith.”
“Ah! Leah! Do you see what I’m doing with my Gift?!”
“I’m assuming you’re using it to see, although I don’t know the mechanics behind it.”
“Yeah, I can see with it but not very well. If my left eye’s like looking through faded glass, looking through my Gift right now is like looking through slightly less faded glass. I can make out walls and stuff just fine, but faces seem to be beyond me right now. I definitely couldn’t write with it right now either.”
“I see. I hope it gets better for you, Lady Lilith.”
“Yeah, I’m going to be working on clarity now. As well as keeping both of my original spells running all the time. Right now though I’m going to try getting to my room just with my Gift. Goodbye, Leah.”
“Goodbye, Lady Lilith.”
I watch as Lady Lilith walks away from me well enough it’s hard to believe she’s technically blind covering up her good eye.
I look over the training grounds again. Wolstan is looking at Lady Lilith, confused. Lady Lilith is being followed around by those clay dolls she made yesterday, but she also has her Gift tied around her head. It’s hanging just above her left eye, and that seems to be the part that’s confusing Wolstan.
“I mean, I know that you’re going for the “Earth Golem” skill, but why is your Gift up like that?”
“Depth perception. It’s still blurry but I can still see better out of my Gift than my left eye. Putting it right here basically acts as a replacement for my left eye.”
“Hm… I see.”
Within a blink of an eye Wolstan is standing right in front of Lady Lilith, taking a battle stance. A single slice of one of his swords just barely misses cutting her face open, but causes her Gift to go flying into the air. Lilith stumbles for a bit before falling over. When her Gift hits the ground she noticeably flinches.
“You OK?” Wolstan asks, reaching his hand out for Lady Lilith.
“I’m… way too dizzy to stand…”
“Yeah, I thought so. As important as it is, your Gift is still a trinket that can be thrown around easily. If you’re using it to see like what you’re doing, it’s incredibly easy to take advantage of that.”
“I’ll try throwing it down a flight of stairs or something to get used to it.”
“I mean, sure, that could work I guess.”
I watch Lady Lilith play with rocks. She slowly chips them down into what looks like pieces of something meant to be bigger before inserting them into each other. She uses earth manipulation to have it move on its own.
It’s several identical pieces of rock all locked up in a chain. She makes it move forward, slithering like a snake with no head. She then lifts it up, and has it move onto her shoulders on its own. It's frighteningly life-like.
More duels with Wolstan. Wolstan uses a practice sword to knock Lady Lilith’s halberd out of the way before charging her. Lady Lilith launches an earth pillar towards Wolstan but he jumps out of the way.
He swings at her far slower than I know he can swing. Slow enough for Lilith to dodge, kick Wolstan in the stomach, jump back, and stab him with the halberd.
“Urgh… that’s a victory.”
“You were going easy on me, I still have a whole lot longer to go.”
Lady Lilith makes more clay dolls. This time, instead of just sticks for arms and legs, they have elbow and knee joints. The head also seems to be able to turn around.
“Lilith, you don’t need to make that many. It’ll be hard to keep that many complex things walking around with earth manipulation alone.
“It’s because it’s hard, I need to do it. The harder things I try, the faster I’ll get the “Earth Golem” skill. Sister, I’m done with these, put them in the oven, please.”
“Your focus seems to be waning, Lilith.”
“Keeping all of these dolls of mine walking around and following me is really difficult. Also, I was throwing my Gift around earlier to get used to just how much that’s messing with my sight.”
The duels go noticeably less well for Lady Lilith this time. No matter what obscure weapon Wolstan uses, Lilith’s unable to keep up. I don’t think it’s Wolstan putting more effort into it…
I walk into Lady Lilith’s room to do basic clean up. I notice her looking tired, and trying her best to write with both her eyes closed. She’s trying to do it with her Gift alone, and while the letters are legible, they’re huge and extremely rough. Like how you’d expect someone just learning literacy to write.
“Lady Lilith?” She doesn’t respond the first time.
“Lady Lilith?” I ask, raising my voice slightly.
She notices this time, opening her eyes and looking over at me. She looks miserable, but she forces a smile anyway.
“Ah, Leah! Are you here to clean my room? Here, I’ll help. I try to keep everything nice and orderly to make your job easier. Here, I’ll-”
“That’s enough, Lady Lilith.”
I grab onto her shoulders as she gets up. She seems incredibly confused, but she doesn’t say a word. Had it been the Lady Lilith from before that night, she would have glared at me and demanded just what a lowly servant like me was thinking touching her.
Yes, a lot of her behavior suddenly took a positive turn after that horrid night, but even then I cannot just sit by and watch her work herself to the bone. I walk her over to her bed, which she doesn’t resist at all.
I pull up the covers, pick her up, and place her in bed. Honestly, with the earth magic training helping her strength, and the skill she’s gotten from fighting Wolstan, if she wanted to resist at all I wouldn’t be able to do anything. Thankfully, she lets it happen. I pull the covers up over her and rub her forehead.
“Leah? Just what’s the meaning of this?”
There’s no malice in her words, just legitimate confusion. Oh Lilith, just how much have you changed?
“A break. You seemed tired, so I put you in bed. Please go to sleep.”
“It’s not even dinner time yet.”
“I’ll have Lady Hana bring you something to eat the moment you request it.”
“Eating in my room?”
“It’ll be our secret. Your parents won’t have to know.”
“But I’m trying to get my Gift just as clear as my good eye is…”
“A break, Lady Lilith. Working yourself to the bone will accomplish nothing. Achieving your goals requires rest, as well.”
Lady Lilith just stares at me. Is she actually contemplating those words? It’s like she’s a totally different person from before that night. I am so grateful for her change in behavior, but I can never forgive the person who did such a thing to her.
“Alright, I’ll go to bed now. I’ll get up early to practice with my Gift and earth magic.”
Ah, she’s nicer, but she remains as stubborn as ever. This is proof that she’s still the same person, I suppose.
“No, no, I cannot have that Lady Lilith. Tomorrow will be your day off. I’ll speak to Sir Annei and Mr. Norsl about it, I’m sure they will not mind.”
“B- but I can’t do that! I have to train!” Lady Lilith yells.
She sits up, but I gently grab her shoulders and push her back into bed.
“Remember Lady Lilith, I understand why you feel the need to train, I really do, but you pushing yourself so hard is not only stunting your development, but worrying the people around you too.”
Lady Lilith just stares at me, blank faced.
“I… I worry people?”
“How do you think your brother feels seeing his sister demand more and more difficult tasks, regardless of how exhausted you seem? What about Mr. Norsl seeing your performance slowly dwindle and dwindle due to lack of rest?”
Lilith stares at me, then looks off to the side. Her expression changes a bit as she thinks, but it’s so slight I couldn’t figure out what she’s feeling.
“Right… I guess I’ll take a single day off then. I’m sorry for worrying you.”
“Don’t apologize, Lady Lilith. I’ll treat you to whatever you want tomorrow as a reward for working so hard. For now though, just sleep.”
“Alright, I’ll take you up on that offer. Good night, Leah.”
“Good night, Lady Lilith.”
I rub her forehead one more time before leaving her room and closing the door behind me. Now just to explain to Sir Annei and Mr. Norsl why they won’t be training her tomorrow. I seriously doubt either of them will have any issues with that, though.