It's probably been more than a year and all I did was succumb to the infant’s primal urges as I spent my time in a monotonous routine— cry, eat, shit, sleep, and repeat.
Nevertheless, I appreciated the peacefulness of not having to sleep with one eye open.
The reality of the situation had settled in— this was an entirely different world. This time, I was given a much more decent name this time. Elisha Wolfsbane, fairly alright compared to my previous name.
It was quite refreshing that I didn’t have to abuse my dead brother’s name anymore.
Both of my parents are of noble birth. I heard the maids in this place calling them Marquess Wolfsbane, so I suppose that refers to their ranking in this feudal society. My previous knowledge regarding nobility was basic, very much lacking in a historical and political context.
The Marquess couple comes by every so often, sweetly calling out to their daughter, however, they carried with them a sickening metallic odor. My keen sense of smell picked up on that familiar scent.
The smell of rotting blood.
It was not the only odd thing that I noticed about the Wolfsbane family during the course of my infancy.
Every night, I would hear screams and oftentimes, I would forcefully be snapped out of my nap, by the sudden painful howling as it echoed through the walls.
Was there a homicide happening? Or maybe…
Maybe I’m just being paranoid about my past. Perhaps, my mind was playing a nasty trick on me. The haunting curse it has inflicted upon me is that blood and death shall forever follow me.
So I came to accept it, thinking it was just a part of my brain messing with me, but there was a limit to how much insanity you can bear.
In the middle of the night, I shat on my bed, and as most infants do, I cried for help. A maid soon came by, however as she was cleaning me, the screams started again.
Ah, yes, memories.
It felt almost nostalgic, thinking that I was still being visited by my old ghosts…
If it weren’t for the fact that these weren’t just the products of my mind. My eyes observed the deathly pale face of the maid and her shivering hands that proved it otherwise.
Death did follow me.
And it was not a nice way to spend your newly gifted childhood.
This fragile body, which wasn't used to the smell and psychological burden, couldn't suppress an incoming physiological response. Bile rose against my throat, unable to contain the sharp burning taste, I voided this night’s dinner which consisted of just breastmilk.
In between dry heaves, feeling my soul and intestines cry for help, I could only look at my discarded dinner which was now a heaping pile of stomach fluid beside me. The maid who was watching over me panicked and cleaned after me again.
What was her name again? Sarah? Anna? I forgot.
These nightly patterns continually invoked the stress I had from my previous life. And it only took a few nights before I decided that enough was enough.
However, I had no way of confirming it on my own at the moment. In my infant state, my muscles and bones were still underdeveloped and it was fairly hard to move, much less crawl. I could only turn sideways and it took way too much energy just to fling myself to one side.
What I could do was utilize whatever magic this world has to offer in order to move my body.
Saklas explained about how beings from this world utilized their manas.
As Mana comes from three different sources. Pure Mana is manifested from within and varies per person as it’s akin to their life force and is determined at birth. Elemental Mana is begotten from the elements, fire, water, earth, air, light and darkness one has an affinity for. Lastly, is Spiritual Mana. It comes from the power of beliefs and can be given by gods to their chosen apostles.
The majority of the nobility had a form of affinity to a specific element respectively. And this Wolfsbane family favors the Earth and Water elements as I’ve heard from the maids. The reason why they’ve been able to protect the borders of the Arthafas Kingdom was because of its rich rivers and mountain ranges. They already had advantage using the terrain to not only serve as a barrier to enemies but also to be in contact with their respective element.
And since Elemental Mana exists everywhere then even I am capable of manifesting it.
As mana channels through a medium that is the soul. They could rewrite the laws of physics — conjuring a lake in a desert, fire in winter, and grains during famine.
Such a miracle was impossible on Earth, and this unfairness made it difficult for me to accept that such a thing was even possible.
If the people on earth had magic maybe there would have been no wars…
No, rather, it would be a dangerous concept to exist, considering we were so advanced in our understanding of the metaphysical nature. Instead, it would completely change how wars are done.
After all, I am living in a world that blessed them with such a miracle, and yet...
I let out a disappointing huff.
Magic may be a gift for this world but it only bred division among the people and only made things primitive, which leads me to clean up their mess.
Saklas explained that the easiest mana to manifest is the Spiritual Mana, which requires a strong belief in a religion, ideology, or a higher being. And the one he suggested is by praying… to him.
I’d rather not.
Elemental Mana. I took a pile of dirt from a nearby vase and a cup of water from the sink as I tried to compel the mana that’s stored within them to come out. But how do I absorb them so that I can store them within me and manifest them when needed?
I remembered what Saklas said.
“Elemental Mana is a game of chance, genetics, and privilege to determine your affinity to specific elements. To absorb it you just have to feel the river, the air, the mountains, and lavas. Imagine it broken into small pieces. Destroy those pieces to recreate and store them within you. So that you can release water when there is none or fire when there is none,” Saklas explained in a matter-of-fact tone.
How poetic. But how the fuck do I break water?
I was unaccustomed to such a method, considering I was trained to use rational logic in my daily life. Having to use my imaginative mind as a conduit for the elements was such simple and lazy advice.
I brushed my fingertips on the surface of the still water. I watched it create ripples on the aquatic surface before burying my hand deeper.
Break apart. Break apart. Break apart.
I chanted in my mind, trying to imagine the parting of water into pieces. Relishing the feeling of water, flowing between my fingers as I swirled my hand around. There was a big part of me that was unsure if what I’m doing was even correct.
After a solid three hours, I was convinced that this was a complete waste of time. I pulled my wrinkled hand out of the water, my fingertips crinkled from the moisture, a testament to the failed experiment.
“My lady, you shouldn’t play with water,” a maid walked-in carrying bath supplies.
While she was placing the bin of water beside the bed, the powder tipped over accidentally and created a white mushroom cloud as it fell on the floor.
“Oh no… wait a moment. I’ll be back with another bottle.”
The maid left and I was once again alone. I stared at the fallen powder resembling snow and ashes.
Such an innocent accident brought unpleasant memories to resurface.
I stared back at the cold bin of water as I once again placed my hand on its surface.
Although I was more of a soldier than a scientist, I was still informed on the weapons of mass destruction, in principle at least. The existence of an atom and its nucleus splitting apart was called Nuclear Fission.
Still, with that in mind, I doubt it would work on water since atomic bombs primarily used uranium as their source. So I don’t have to worry about it accidentally detonating or releasing deadly radiation.
There was no harm in trying.
After taking a deep breath, I closed my eyes as I imagined the molecules of water and their individual atoms. Picturing their molecular bonds— concentrating my focus on slowly fracturing it apart.
Small sparks emanated from the cracks of the nucleus as it tried to resist the outside pressure.
As if it was suddenly pried apart, it released insurmountable energy.
Before I could even begin to question my sanity, my eyelids twitch, taken aback by the blinding light as it fluttered open before widening in disbelief.
So this is mana.
Small particles of blue light floated around me as I tried to direct the magical wavelength into my system.
However, having complete autonomy over something you cannot physically manipulate poses a challenge even with unwavering focus.
With intense focus, I began to absorb this energy into my core to store it.
I had to factor in the anatomical circulation of mana. Like the blood and the heart, mana passes through channels, which act as veins, that directly go to the core acting as the heart of the system.
Feeling and locating the core, the origin point to garnering mana stemming from the center of the body. It was almost like I was peacefully meditating—
“AHHHHHH!” a scream once again disturbed my focus.
Right, peace had always been short.
Can’t these people just find other ways to make use of their time?
Thanks to the deafening screams, I was still able to continue my experiments without supervision. If I was lucky, I would get a few hours of silence for meditation.
It always ends in a mess, though.
But why does it feel like I’m not absorbing anything? As though my body is constantly rejecting it rather than storing it.
I farted, puked, and shat on more than a few occasions because I was trying to really absorb the energy.
I silently thanked and apologized the maid, who by entering, would scream and gag at the sight and smell of me being surrounded by my own fluids.
Somebody better give that maid a raise…
“You’ve made another mess again!” came her usual rant. The creases on her forehead became visible as she continued to ramble.
Despite having my back turned against her, I can sense her eyeing me to check on my constitution. She’s been doing that a lot lately.
However, she doesn’t seem to be doing this out of worry.
“Haah… The physician says that there is nothing wrong with you. But could it be…”
I craned my ears to not miss any potential info she might say.
“With such a weak body, you wouldn’t survive this place for long…”
“I wonder if they’ll give the first test at dinner…” I hear her mumble under her breath.
Wait. What will happen during dinn—
I felt a sudden jolt directed towards my heart and I vomited.
“My lady!” Marge shouted as she ran towards me.
I heaved and coughed from the sudden acid rush. I shakily assess my hand that was covering my mouth, red liquid spilled from my palm.
As I thought.
My body is rejecting the energy that was supposed to be absorbed.