"Mama!? What… what's going on? Are… are you okay!?"
Ragnar violently rolled across the floor as he was flung away by a large, bearded man. Ragnar didn't seem to mind the pain, however, as he was used to it — it's all he has ever known.
Humans have evolved to breathe in mana. Even those that could not, the lizards, the birds; their bodies have evolved to be able to endure the mana around them even if they were not capable of harnessing it.
So what happens if a human, a creature that was born to breathe in mana… was suddenly not capable of processing the mana that enters its body?
Difficulty breathing — as well as pain. Excruciating pain; almost as if one were to breathe in the sand — but Ragnar was used to it, it's all he has ever known. His flesh feels like it was being shredded by a knife constantly, even the coldest water feels like it would scald his skin.
Pain was and is something that he had to live through — he could because he has his mother.
"Shit… the fucking lizard could talk! G… grab him!"
"What!? You grab him! I don't want to be cursed!"
"Why are you so scared!? It looks just like us! I thought he'd have scales!"
Ragnar patted the floor several times as he heard voices he hadn't heard before. He knew his mother worked with people outside in exchange for their food, could it be that this was them?
"H… hello?" Ragnar then stood up; his head very slowly and aimlessly moving as he tried to pinpoint where the voices were coming from,
"Are… are you friends with mama?"
"Y… yeah, we're friends with your mama."
"What are you doing!?"
"What? You want to carry the liza–"
"...Hello?" Ragnar could only whisper as the voices suddenly stopped; he tried stretching his hands to try and see if anyone was near him, but all he could hear were several drumming steps that were circling around him, as well as grunts that stopped as soon they whispered.
And all of a sudden, an embrace enveloped Ragnar as he felt himself being lifted up; it wasn't as gentle, but he knew from the warmth that it could only be from his mother.
"Are… are you hurt?"
"N… no," Ragnar once again buried his face in his mother's bosom; wiping the tears that were coming out of his eyes.
Alfhild patted her son repeatedly to check and see if he had any broken bones somewhere to be sure.
Ragnar had already broken his wrist before, but he didn't know since everything felt the same for him; at first, Alfhild thought that her son just didn't feel pain, but when he later described that he felt the same whenever he moved his joints — that's when Alfhild slowly realized that Ragnar was always in pain; the reason why he couldn't stop crying when he was a child.
"We… we need to leave, it… it'll be okay."
"Where… are we going this time, mama?"
"It's okay, it's okay," Alfhild didn't immediately run out of the house; instead, she rushed towards their bed; immediately flipping it with her free hand and causing all the straws and grains to scatter in the air.
Alfhild didn't mind all the dust flowing around her, however, as she just grabbed the sack that was hidden under the bed — the action, almost second nature to her.
Deviants are treated as cursed beings… evil beings. It was to the point that if one were to be born manaless, one's own mother would strangle one to death. A defenseless, innocent creature… suffering a brutal fate as soon as they come to Earth.
Alfhild thought that he would be able to do the same without any hesitation… but when she saw the way Ragnar smiled as she rested on her bosom; she knew then that she would do anything for him.
And so, she ran. Even with her blood still flowing between her legs, she ran away — and she continued to do so. Every time Ragnar is discovered due to his loud cries, she runs.
Because that's really the only thing she could do — 'run', she thought as she stepped over the corpse of the men that tried to hurt her son.
3 men, all sprawled on the tight floors of their tiny shack; their necks, all slit open. Alfhild then carefully peered her head over the tiny little holes she had all over their tattered walls; her eyes, almost like a hawk as she checked to see if someone else was coming over.
But as soon as she detected no signs of mana lingering outside, she quickly stepped out of the door.
Not before, of course, setting the house they have lived in for a year now on fire.
"What… is happening, mama?"
"It's fine, Ragnar. Just rest… please rest," Alfhild gently held her son's head as she continued to run.
It was quite a dynamic between the two of them.
Ragnar, the one who waits.
Alfhild, the one who runs.
But neither of them, no matter how long they needed to wait and run, complained even once. Alfhild did not even look back as the fiery flames reflected on her back; she just… ran.
The hamlet they were in was quite small, surrounded by a sea of nothing but trees for miles. It was always like this, of course, Alfhild always chooses areas like this so it would be easy to escape if they needed to — and they always do.
The residents should be busy checking out the fire and trying to prevent it from scattering further, which gives her and Ragnar a lot of time to gain distance from —
And before Alfhild could get deeper into the woods, a loud neighing sound thundered through the air; enough to even shake the leaves that blanketed Alfhild in darkness.
All mammals have evolved to live with mana, strengthened by it — and one would rarely find Mana Beasts near any human settlement like this since the royal army is ordered to keep them away; to the point of even building walls that reach the sky itself.
There will be, however, no matter how secure the walls are, mana beasts that would manage to pass through. But horses?
Horses are very sought by nobles… as well as the royal army.
Could it be that soldiers were patrolling the area and they called for them? Just…
…Just to kill her son? What… what has this sweet boy ever done to any of them?
Cursed being? An offspring of evil? Demonspawn?
Ragnar was nothing like that. Alfhild has seen the world, and Ragnar was far from the worse of it-- No. Ragnar was the best of this world; untainted, innocent, and most importantly, filled with hope.
"M…mama?" Ragnar, who noticed his mother slightly trembling, could not help but tighten his grip on her, "Are… are you okay?"
"I'm okay," Alfhild then took in a very long and deep breath as she once again moving deeper into the woods, "We…
…We will be okay."