IS, V3, Chapter 2: Teaching

The morning after my illusory conversation with Michael; the cute little dark-dwarven girl, Ailyn, came to the palace. She didn’t have any particularly unique physical features: white hair, large eyes, with bright grey irises, and she seemed to be a lot more muscular than most; but that was probably because she was a blacksmith.

She was wearing a plain, grey tunic and trousers; her height was only a little shorter than Ethir, so I was at least a head and a half taller than her. Well, that was the case for most residents of Black Mithril at that time, the only thing that was strange about her; was the device she was wearing on her left wrist.

It was something that she called a “Timekeeper” or “Watch” which could keep track of where the sun was, without even having to see it. My other student seemed even more impressed by it than I was.

Our training area was basically just the palace’s courtyard, which was surprisingly small, but there was plenty of room for at least a hundred guards to train along with us. They had just gotten back from escorting the hunting caravan, so very few of them even knew who I was; or what we were doing in the center of the stone clearing.

I had already taught Ethir the basics, so he was able to move small quantities of air around quite easily. However, I decided to get a little more serious, since I had made up my mind about becoming a teacher.

After stretching my arms and legs; making sure that I was mentally prepared, I yelled “Today is the first official magical lesson!” in a clear and stern voice. My outburst seemed to silence the noisy drill instructors and royal guards whom were sparring with each other. Everyone was staring at me with expectant eyes and I felt incredibly uncomfortable, but I didn’t relent in my determination.

I announced “Seven years ago, I didn’t even know how to create a proper fireball. My teaching style is no where near as extreme or ridiculous as what Michael put me through, so I can’t promise that either of you will reach my level of expertise in such a short amount of time. Mainly because he used a technique where we could experience time at a greatly accelerated rate, and learn spells that are literally impossible to practice in reality; without causing incredible devastation. To get over my fear of fire, he spent what seemed like a year, teaching me to use water magic to swim through lava without burning to death.” in a serious tone, as I cringed at the memories of my basic training.

Suddenly, I noticed Nadja standing next to me, everyone’s gaze quickly turned to her as she said “Oh my, that would be pretty damn hard. Constantly creating a water barrier that covered your body would take way more mana than I could muster. But wouldn’t the molten rock harden when exposed to the cool liquid?” in a curious voice.

After a few seconds of silence, I sighed and explained “Yes, for the first few months; that was what I thought that I was supposed to do. Until he finally explained to me how the elements really worked: Fire, air, water, earth, and nature… pretty much everyone knows what they are to a certain extent, even if they don’t know how to cast any spells.” in an irritated voice.

Then I grabbed the least expensive looking, bronze, training sword from a weapon rack that was a few meters to my right. When the weapon quickly flew across the room; into my hand, with their matriarch so close to me, almost every royal guard immediately saw me as a threat.

However, they were all wearing steel armor, so with a wave of my left hand; the whole group was kneeling down. Nadja started laughing hysterically, then yelled “You idiots seriously thought that an archmage as powerful as Raelin would need a copper sword to kill this old woman?! Hell, you morons can’t even stand up in her presence, so sit down and shut up! I’m trying to hear my new teacher’s lesson!” furiously, to her subordinates whom I had immediately released.

With the relatively short sword resting on top of both of my palms, I told them “This is the true form of earth magic; the manipulation of solid objects. To be completely honest… most of his explanations didn’t make much sense to me. Maybe I’m just not smart enough to understand all of the complicated reasons for how and why everything works.” in a dejected voice.

When I easily folded the bronze blade in half lengthwise; a few of the audience members gasped. I smiled and explained “This is what Michael would call, level one earth-manipulation. I heard about how he… killed; all of those dark dwarves on the surface. It isn’t a very difficult ability, but to use it on such a large scale would be… challenging.” as I quickly straightened the sword back to its original shape.

Nadja seemed really interested in what I was doing; so she sat in the front row: to the left of Ailyn and the right of Ethir. I sighed, then quietly muttered “This is the second level…” and my voice was drowned out by the loud and horrible sound of crumpling metal.

Everyone seemed shocked; even the powerful water mage looked very surprised. I heard a decent amount of whispering among the royal guards, but I didn’t really think that crushing a bronze sword into a messy sphere was really that impressive.

Then I nonchalantly stated “As you can see, there isn’t much of a difference between the two. Since the metal is already pretty hot; I will now show you the third level of fire manipulation.” as I began levitating the ball a meter above my hands: to avoid burning myself.

The wood that was covering the simple, originally straight, sword’s handle; immediately burst into flames. In a few seconds, the copper colored metal had turned bright red and started melting down towards my hands.

A few people screamed when they heard a loud popping noise; then saw a glob of molten bronze flying their way. However, I quickly gathered everything back up into the ball, that was comfortably resting on top of my completely unharmed palms.

Nadja yelled “What the hell?!” in confused voice; which mirrored the expressions that many of the other rat tribe were showing me. The first time Michael showed me that ability, I probably looked very similar… metaphorically.

With a small, swirling, ball of molten bronze; resting on my extremely cold hands, I calmly explained “Even though fire might imply the creation and control of flames, there are actually a few more aspects to it. Increasing and decreasing heat, both fall under the same principle of manipulation. While I’m keeping the metal in a molten state, the air between my hands and the material is so cold; that it feels like I’m holding onto a ball of ice.” while expending a decent amount of mana to maintain the two spells simultaneously.

Then I spread my hands out very quickly, tearing the sphere into two gooey halves: There was a decent amount of the thick substance drooping down in-between. Before it could fall too far; I exclaimed “Now this is the second level of water manipulation!” gleefully, while both sides of the glowing ball flew out of my palms and smacked into each-other.

The loud clapping noise seemed to startle everyone and snap them out of their mesmerized states. All of the molten metal was condensed into a swirling sphere that was floating five feet above the ground. Sometimes it bubbled and a glob of fluid ejected; nearly hitting the front row, but I prevented it from escaping too far.

Nadja finally regained her composure at that point and asked me “Wait, if this is level two… what the hell does that translate into for our current system? I’ve been an advanced water mage for the last ten years; but I’ve never been able to manipulate any other kind of liquid. I remember hearing stories about the ancient runic blacksmiths who used to live in this city: they could only control mithril though.” in a serious voice.

I sighed dramatically, then told her “Well, until we came to this city; neither Michael nor I knew about those ranks. In my village we had something that was kind of similar, but what he taught me was much more complicated. There are twenty-one levels for every school of magic, and there are many classes within each of those. Then there are sub-classes… I honestly can’t remember half of the things that he tried to teach me.” while frowning; it was a little embarrassing to admit that to my students.

She chuckled, and asked “Wow! What you’re doing right now looks like it would drain me dry in a few seconds. What kind of monster would it take to use something of the highest difficulty according to that scale?” in an inquisitive tone, while gazing into the molten sphere.

After a few seconds, I replied “It doesn’t really work that way: like I said before, it’s excruciatingly complicated. I couldn’t learn anything past level seven on any type of elemental manipulation; because I just don’t understand the concepts that it involves. He tried to have me remember hundreds of different elements: like iron, gold, silver, and a lot more that I completely forgot already.

“In the end, he gave up and taught me something called a ‘macro’ so that I could just think about the name of the spell; so i could use it without needing to worry about how it actually works.” in a downcast tone, while starting to inflate the relatively small bronze ball; with as much air as it could hold.

When it was at least a meter in diameter, I quickly cooled it and ended up with a shiny copper colored sphere that was deceptively light. Then I cheerfully said “I’ve used up a tenth of my mana, so I need to take a lunch break. When I return, I’ll start teaching you all about affinities; what they are and how to raise them properly.” as I handed the ‘training sword’ to Ailyn, and left the courtyard.

As the week went by, my students had grown in number by a few thousand. Obviously, it was impossible for me to teach all of them by myself: I had to split the classes up into different groups based on their original rankings, mana pools, and even their natural affinities.

When it came to reading auras; Ethir’s eyes were much more accurate than my ears, so I relied on him to do that for me. Aside from Lachel, the red goblin matriarch, there were three more expert fire mages in Black Mithril.

The three palaces were quickly transformed into schools; where citizens of all ages and races could attend… for a small fee. It wasn’t my idea; I didn’t even understand how to use money at the time, but Michael had found a very peculiar mouse-tribe girl to help him out.

She insisted that nothing was ever free; and that it was better to just charge people for things outright, than steal their money through heavy taxes. Lorelei was adorable, even with the snake-like features: I honestly believed that she could have been the reincarnation of one of my daughters.

Although, I didn’t really know that much about my children; other than their unreasonable level of cuteness. Actually, I taught classes filled with hundreds of kids, and even adults, who fit within that category.

My favorites were probably the squirrel tribe: they were so soft and fluffy. It was probably inappropriate for me to hug and pet them, but they usually didn’t seem to mind. My phobia of rodents wasn’t nearly strong enough to overpower my maternal instincts toward adorable children.

Even though he warned me ahead of time, I was so distracted by my new job; that I was still surprised by Michael’s not-so-sudden departure. I wanted to chase after him, but I could feel something holding me back: I didn’t see her… but I could definitely feel that woman’s intervention.

When I regained my senses; a whole day had passed, and I was in the middle of teaching earth magic in the dark dwarven palace’s courtyard. It wasn’t just me either, the five of us who received his mark; had gone to sleep, woken up, and then went about our normal jobs as if he had never left.

It was like we had temporarily forgotten what happened: When we snapped out of it, we all returned to that room. Nadja eventually came in and explained “It was like your personalities had completely changed.

“Lorelei was extremely calm and serious, Beatrix was yelling at everyone, and Ethir wouldn’t stop talking to Ailyn about utter nonsense! It was fucking hilarious! Especially you Raelin, the first thing you did was take off all your clothes!” while laughing hysterically.

She didn’t even need to tell me the rest of the story; because I started to remembered what I had done. It was a spell that I was familiar with, Michael refused to teach “Real” illusion magic, which dealt with telepathically attacking someone’s mind, but there were a lot of imitations that produced similar effects.

One of them he called “Supreme Intoxication” which as the name suggested; poisoned a persons body. I found it strange that he considered it a type of entertainment magic; until he tricked me into using it on myself.

Its effects varied depending on the person: Nadja was barely even tipsy, but the rest of us had a very low tolerance to alcohol. I was influenced the most because blood elves were incredibly weak against most types of poison.

Unfortunately, without my usual self-control; my instincts took over and I began searching for… prey. Lorelei and Ethir smelled delicious and their mana sounded appetizing, but my target was Michael since his trail was still pretty fresh: I was compelled to follow after him.

The clothes I was wearing were uncomfortable, so I removed them; then I left the palace. Luckily it wasn’t a school day, so none of my students were there to see me walking around naked through the palace halls.

However, that didn’t really matter, because a decent amount of them were in the massive crowd that was surrounding the palace gates. Thousands of people saw me standing on that elevated platform; three meters above the ground. Some of Beatrix’s soldiers were making sure that no one tried to come up the stairs, but even they seemed a little surprised by my exhibitionism.

The overwhelming number of different scents and sounds were incredibly distracting in my inebriated state, so I had completely forgotten about chasing after Michael. I used wind magic to quickly escape to the much less crowded, dark-dwarven district.

It only took me a few minutes of sniffing around; to pick up on a particularly alluring scent. She was one of my students, on the days that I taught at the northwestern palace.

Even though she became the matriarch after winning that talent show; Hiwel Golden-Staff continued to live in and run her clothing shop. It was a fairly large building and relatively close to her side job, so it wasn’t that strange.

The store was closed, but I could tell that she was inside: I entered through the open window on the third floor, which led into an extravagant bathroom. I wasn’t particularly stealthy, and managed to make a decent amount of noise with the wind magic I used to infiltrate.

After walking down a relatively short hallway; I found her bedroom. The door was wide open and all of the candles were lit. That beautiful, dark-red skinned, wood elf with long golden hair and silver irises, was laying on her small, yet extravagant, bed.

Her eyes were hazy, but managed to follow me as I moved to the right side of her bed. She was wearing a black nightgown that barely covered her body and was nearly transparent; with her head propped up against a very large and fluffy white pillow.

The white sheets and blankets she was laying on top of; were dyed bright red, from the large gashes down her forearms. I didn’t understand or care why she was in that condition: My only interest was in that delicious crimson liquid that was pouring from her body.

We were both silent, but the sound of her mana was incredibly loud; filled with so much pain and sadness. I crawled on top of her bed, straddling her waist, then I grabbed her left wrist and brought it up to my mouth.

The blood was flowing out at a rather quick pace and it tasted incredibly sweet: much more so than any I had ever tasted before then. I pressed my tongue into the wound closest to her hand and used it to cast a regeneration spell as I ran my mouth gently, all the way up to her bicep.

She let out soft moans, but I wasn’t sure if they were from pain or pleasure; it didn’t really matter either way. It was the same for her other arm, starting at the wrist and ending near the crook of her elbow.

After my hunger was sated; I used twice the amount of mana that I had gained from her, to replenish Hiwel’s lost blood. With my hands pressed against her abdomen, it only took a few minutes for me to heal her completely.

She muttered “It’s that time of the month…” in a raspy voice, while looking up at me with a serious expression. I smirked and then lunged my face into the left side of her neck; biting down onto her tender flesh and slurping out massive quantities of her delicious crimson nectar.

Her muscles contorted and spasmed from the shock and massive blood-loss, but I was forcing her body to replenish just as much as I drank. For whatever reason; she didn’t scream nor struggle against me. The woman, who was about the same size as me, simply wrapped her arms around my back and squeezed my body tightly against her’s.

It was the most pleasurable experience in my vampiric life up until that point, but when I remembered it clearly; I felt incredibly embarrassed and ashamed. Nadja was laughing so hard that she was losing her voice; because Hiwel’s version of events were a lot less… accurate.

We definitely didn’t go any farther than me drinking her tasty red juices. Although, I did spend the whole night in her blood-soaked bed.

If anything else happened in-between; then it wasn’t “me” who was doing those things with her. Hiwel was mostly elf, so my use of regeneration magic didn’t shorten her life-span by a noticeable degree.

I didn’t really know her very well before then, but after that encounter; she actually became one of my closest friends. She was also the person who gave me the beautiful and extremely fluffy red wolf-fur dress that I was wearing: It was a little hot if I didn’t lower my body temperature though.

The most common fabrics at the time were: elven silk, which was made from disgusting little bugs, wool; taken from adorable sheep that lived in the rat district, and cotton that grew from a weird fuzzy mushroom. Leathers and furs were still pretty expensive; since they were just starting to hunt seriously.

Michael was gone and he made sure that none of us would follow after him. He didn’t just poison us, but also chose to enter the labyrinth to the north of the city. With our connection; I probably could have found him no matter where he went, but I knew that he wanted me to stay in Black Mithril.

He needed me to be there; just like the others, and continue doing our jobs: so we got to work. After two months, Lorelei and Beatrix had finished building their base in the red goblin district; had I spent most of my time in the three palaces though.

Ethir came up with the idea of opening a couple smaller schools in each of the districts: They taught the basics of magic, how to increase mana pools, reading and writing in common Lorthon, and even some simple mathematics. That way the few people who could actually teach the more advanced spells and techniques, weren’t overburdened.

He insisted on teaching me a lot of things personally; I was a pretty slow learner though. Every day, he would write down so many complicated things in his books.

Michael never even told me about runic, alchemical, agricultural, or technological magic before; but Ethir and Ailyn just seemed to have come up with all of it out of nowhere. They weren’t the only ones either; Beatrix had an unreasonably high understanding of any combat related spells that I showed her.

The most suspicious one was me: I kept seeing that woman, Iris, in my dreams. Every time I woke up; my mind was filled with new techniques and sometimes I was just getting better at performing the more difficult spells. I was probably the only person who noticed the effect that those seals were having on us… but they didn’t seem to be harmful and I trusted Michael; so I wasn’t too worried about it.

A month later, Lorelei had begun expanding our borders on the surface, and we started to gain more wood elf citizens. There was one person in particular; an adorable little girl that Beatrix rescued from some bandits, who had an incredible natural talent in sensory magic.

Her name was Muissel, and she could hear powerful auras that were hundreds of miles away. Although, because of her condition; she couldn’t actually use spells and her own mana pool was spread so thin that it was almost nonexistent.

When we first met, she spoke as if she had known me her entire life; the look in her bright green eyes reminded me of Laebeth for some reason. I really wished that Michael would have told me some secret method of actually finding my reincarnated children: instead of just giving his usual cryptic advice that.

Practically every single cute girl who was close to the age that my daughters would have been; had reminded me of them. In hindsight, he probably told me that so I would stop moping around all the time: it really did work.

Unfortunately, that incident where I exposed myself in front of half the city wasn’t forgotten… ever. Among the crowd was an aspiring artist; one of my best students in water magic, who was also taking a painting class from Ethir.

It took him four months; but Jensen Steel-Hammer, a seventeen year old dark dwarven boy, created what many people considered a masterpiece. However, to me it was just incredibly embarrassing. The massive three meter wide and tall painting was of me; floating in the air above the palace, completely naked: with thunderclouds in the sky and lightning striking all around me.

Obviously, his imagination embellished the whole event; but his attention to detail was incredibly annoying. My first instinct was to immolate it but… but since it was made on a magical beast leather-canvas, I was able to regain my senses before any damage was actually done.

Jensen was crying and begging me to forgive him, so I decided to let him keep it as long as he promised not to show it to anyone else: It was actually a really beautiful painting. By the end of the week, Lorelei had bought it and was already charging people to view it in her gallery.

When I was about to finally disintegrate the evil artwork; she used my greatest weakness against me. The magic word “Mama” in such an adorable squeaky voice… I had no choice but to spare the horrible reminder of why I had to avoid wine and ale at all costs.

I wasn’t nearly as merciful when I discovered her secret Rae-Rae exhibit, where she kept all kinds of incredibly vulgar sculptures and paintings of me. She claimed her “Big Bro” was the one who created them, but I was pretty sure that she didn’t have any siblings at the time.

Well, I couldn’t stay mad at her for very long: she was way too cute. Ethir seemed a little depressed for a few weeks after that though, but he never did tell me why.

About six months after Michael left; I saw rabbit tribe children for the first time, and they replaced the squirrel tribe on my most adorable races list. They were about the same size as Lorelei; with white fur, bushy tails, and heads reminiscent of their ancestors.

Not surprisingly; they had extremely well developed leg muscles, even at a young age, but they still appeared humanoid aside from their ankles and feet. It was hard to tell underneath their extremely fluffy coats, but a decent amount of the older females seemed extremely obese.

Although, considering that most of them had dozens of children and they were almost always pregnant; it wasn’t really that strange. Other races could get fat as well, but since elves had an extremely high metabolism; it required gluttony and sloth beyond what most people could afford, to just become a little chubby.

The odd thing about the bunny-women was their racial magic: Technically it was a nature spell, but they could convert their excess fat directly into mana. It wasn’t something that they could cast very often, because it would put a lot of stress on their bodies. They typically used the ability in emergencies; when protecting their children from predators in the second ring.

On average, the rabbit tribe’s base mana pools were actually pretty small and they didn’t really know any spells; aside from some simple enhancement magic. Basically, they knew how to reinforce their bodies with water and earth manipulation: Their bones became more difficult to break and their muscles were strengthened to the point; where they could kill a small magical beast with a kick.

Unfortunately, they had no weapons or armor; they didn’t even wear clothes, so they were even lower on the food chain than the squirrel tribe. The reason that so many weak beast races were staying in such a dangerous place; was because they feared the unknown.

They couldn’t go deeper into the forest; since they knew that there were more powerful monsters in there, and they didn’t try to enter the first ring; because they simply didn’t know what would happen to them. There wasn’t a lot of interracial communication, and none of the families or clans that lived in the region had ever heard of anyone returning; after leaving their homeland.

Even if there weren’t many wood elven bandits, that didn’t mean that a well armed village; would have let a possibly hostile horde of rabbit people, who were relatively large and didn’t speak common Lorthon, invade their territories. Humans were much worse, because rather than simply killing the strange looking creatures; they would have captured and sold them as pets or slaves.

I didn’t have a problem with them at first; and their women always seemed pretty nice, but after I heard from Lorelei that she was attacked by one of them on her way to my class… well, I wasn’t the only person who was angry. She was lucky compared to a few other girls around the city, but because of what a few disgusting perverts did; almost a hundred innocent human men were murdered by the families of the victims.

I was happy when that whole mess finally settled down after a month or so, and I was glad that there were no more casualties. The construction on the surface was advancing at a startling pace. There were hundreds of concrete houses being built in the residential district, and a massive shopping center that was designed to look like the Black Mithril Pyramid.

Back then we didn’t have names for the months and days, plus it was a few years BC; before Ethir created the first calendar, so I don’t really remember the exact dates of every single thing that happened.

Anyway, I was spending my weekend with Hiwel in her great-grandmother’s village; Nengel, which had transformed into a rather large town since they became part of Black Mithril, when news about Michael finally arrived.

Wearing a highly reflective, white magical-beast, leather cloak and robe; along with an amazing invention that Ailyn gave me as a present, sunglasses, it was possible for me to walk around in broad daylight without being severely burned.

On the other hand, my friend was wearing nothing but a few pieces of black cloth that she considered a bathing suit. Unfortunately, since the two of us were famous; it was impossible not to stand out as we walked around the town square. We were just shopping for random trinkets and jewelry at various market stalls.

Hiwel’s bodyguard, Julie, was an extremely muscular, middle-aged, human woman: with black hair, blue eyes, and she was nearly a foot taller than either of us. She wore heavy steel plate armor that covered her entire body, and carried a relatively large shotgun on her back.

Nengel was about one square mile and it wasn’t very densely populated compared to the city, but there was still a decent amount of people walking around us. Not just wood elves either, there were a few humans who were visiting from nearby villages: They stood out the most because of their relatively large size.

Dark dwarven and red goblin tourists made up most of the crowd; but there were still quite a few squirrel, rat, and rabbit tribe who were mixed in. Horses, ostriches, oxen and other animals that people normally rode around; weren’t allowed into the town, not just because they took up a lot of space… but mainly to prevent them from defecating where everyone was trying to walk.

Unlike Black Mithril, there were no giant sewer worms or mushroom farmers; that could clean up the streets. Although, with so many farms all around Nengel; it was pretty much impossible to avoid the fragrant aroma of manure.

The local specialties mostly involved fruits, berries, and nuts: from the small patch of forest that was still left to the east of town. They also started fishing a lot more and since they traded with nearby farms; there was actually a decent amount of variety compared to my old village.

They even had a small BCHAA, hunters and adventurers association, building that supplied Nengel with all kinds of raw materials; from magical beasts in the second ring. It was relatively expensive, but I bought a few small vials giant chicken blood: for a silver coin.

Even though it was small compared to the headquarters in the red goblin district; the three story tall and one hundred meter wide building was at least twice the size of the town hall. Unlike most of the structures in Nengel, which were mostly made from wood, the BCHAA was almost entirely concrete.

Using elemental manipulation, some of my best students were construction workers. It was much more effective than building a mold, pouring in the liquid, then waiting for it to dry.

I was actually teaching a class at the time called “Construction Magic” where the main materials that I used were steel and concrete. It was possible to use wood as well; Michael did teach me a few nature magic tricks to make plants grow the way I wanted them too, but those spells were much more complicated and difficult than the alternative.

A hundred mages using that technique, could build something like a giant five-story triangular pyramid; with completely smooth sides, in less than a month. There were still plenty of people who used bricks and wood; the old fashioned way, because there just weren’t enough construction mages, and they were limited by their relatively small mana pools.

The three of us eventually returned to Hiwel’s great-grandmother’s house: which was a large, two-story, riverside elven villa. It’s design was rather simple; a typical rectangular shape and completely made out of logs and wood; it was held together by iron-vine, which was a pretty easily grown plant in the first ring.

Elven villages typically had very little access to metals; so any buildings that were made before they became a part of Alfirin, had to be made almost completely out of wood. Fortunately, there were quite a few trees and plants that could be used as replacements; but even then, the largest structures were small, one-story tall, log cabins.

Since Nengel was so close to Black Mithril, they had been able to hire dark dwarven architects and construction workers… for a little food. The villa was nearly as old as Gwyneth, Hiwel’s great-grandmother; who was at least three hundred, but since it was fairly well maintained, it didn’t look that bad.

When we entered the house, an incredibly loud and high pitched laugh was bombarding my sensitive ears and temporarily preventing me from hearing mana. Julie lifted up her face-plate and was wearing a surprisingly warm smile; she kept her mouth closed though, since she was missing a decent amount of teeth.

Dental hygiene was pretty bad back then… it was practically nonexistent; humans had it the worst, since they couldn’t just grow new teeth. Just living for thirty years was actually fairly impressive; and she was already the same age as me, thirty seven.

In order to use recovery magic, I would have needed her old teeth to make the new ones. I was always much better at regeneration healing: It was simpler and required a lot less effort. There was an alternative, but not many people were willing to donate or accept, interracial organ transplants back then.

Teeth could be grown by a wood elf, then extracted, and installed into a human’s jaw; as long as their relative sizes weren’t too different. The risk of rejection was pretty low as long as a competent nature mage was performing the surgery. Ethir was the one who came up with the idea.

Hiwel was sighing as the three of us walked through the large entryway, and entered the living room. The source of the deafening laughter was standing on top of a giant man’s head.

There was a beautiful, golden-haired, short eared, and brown eyed wood-elven woman, with slightly tanned skin, and far too little clothing for someone who was a great-grandmother to be wearing; doing a handstand on top of a series of wobbling and poorly stacked chairs in the center of the room.

Her face was completely red and she was obviously struggling to hold herself up, then the laughing finally stopped when the tiny mouse-girl saw us. She was wearing her usual: tight leather armor, shiny steel bracers, and a meat cleaver that was far too large for the size of her body, on her back.

After licking her whiskers and glaring at me with her snake-like eyes, she grinned and exposed her fangs. Then she yelled “Rae-Rae, J-Girl and Sticky-Slut! I was wondering how long you three were gonna take! Hey, Granny Gwyneth, your gigantic tits are falling out of your top… is that a tattoo of a unicorn? Anyway, guess who I brought!? Hmm, what the hell was your name again?” in an overly excited voice, while puffing out her chest and putting her hands on her waist.

While I was staring at that man who was directly in front of me; I noticed out of the right corner of my eye, Hiwel casually walked over to the stack of chairs that was twice as tall as me and started shaking it violently. The practically naked, unusually large breasted, tattoo covered wood elf, started screaming as she swayed back and forth; eventually crashing face first onto the fluffy fur rug, with at least seven chairs falling on top of her.

Julie yelled “Lady Gwyneth! Are you okay?!” as she quickly dug through the wreckage to rescue the barely injured woman. After a few minutes, the three of them left the room and it was just me, Lorelei, and that man: His aura sounded almost exactly like my sister’s.

He was at least two meters tall, so he definitely wasn’t a pure wood elf; but his slightly pointed ears, long blond hair, and bright green eyes were definitely reminiscent of her’s. Well, my sister’s ears were at least as long as mine; and almost all wood elves that I had ever met, had light eye color, pale skin, and golden-blonde hair. It was mostly just a gut feeling, but I still couldn’t remember his name or where I saw him before.

The problem was most likely the ridiculously fluffy beard that was covering most of his face: There definitely weren’t any giant half-elven men in my old village. He was wearing a white tunic and brown leather pants, but they were obviously way too small for someone of his unreasonable size.

I could barely see it under the facial hair, but he was definitely smiling when he said “Michael told me to give you a message… ‘Don’t trust Iris.’ but I have no idea what it means. Well, aside from that he also wanted me to tell you how much he loved and missed you; that he’ll be fine, and not to go looking for him.

“It’s been a while Aunt Raelin, at least seven and a half years… so I’m not really that surprised that you don’t recognize me, but you look almost exactly the same. Although, your aura sure is terrifying. Seriously, I guess that’s just what happens when you spend too much time with that horned brat.” in a sarcastic voice, while grinning.

It took me a few seconds to register everything that he had just told me, but then I unconsciously started tearing up. I was probably trying not to think about it for the seven months since he left; although, it was really hard when I could feel him getting farther away from me each day.

Sometimes I could see him in my dreams; fighting against monsters, struggling to survive. I always wanted to help him, but he would just smile at me and say “Rae, do you seriously think that a couple magical beasts can kill me?” in a sarcastic voice.

That was how I recognized that giant man; not from my village seven years before then, but from the visions of my son. I smiled wryly and said “Your name is Conor, right? If my sister saw you with all that hair on your face, she would have probably burned it off with a flamethrower spell.” in a shaky voice.

He laughed, then solemnly reminisced “Yea, I still remember when she tried to do that to dad and nearly lit the house on fire in the process. Well, I did just spend about four months in a place where razors weren’t available. I’m honestly still not completely sure that I won’t wake up in a few minutes and be back in that labyrinth… hell, I thought that Michael was just a hallucination for the first few weeks.”; he was wearing an extremely pained expression.

While we were talking; Lorelei was using one of her various, extremely sharp, knives to shave Conor’s face. I hesitatingly asked him “Is anyone else from the village alive?”, but I already knew the answer.

After sighing, he cautiously asked me “Have you ever seen a little girl was six white wings on her back?” as large clumps of blond beard hair were falling onto the iron-wood floorboards between us.

An image of Talia flashed through my mind for an instant, but I quickly responded with “No, why?” with a trembling voice. My face was flushed and I felt like I was about to cry at any moment, but was attempting to suppress my emotions.

Conor frowned, then revealed “I think I saw a spirit when I was young; she was a child with an incredibly oppressive aura, it sounded like… well, when Michael was angry. Anyway, I would go to see her every night; she called herself Lucy.

“We would play games, nothing too complicated; normal kid stuff, but I always thought that she was just my imagination. I mean, she would appear out of nowhere and then vanish again whenever she got bored.

“She would tell me all kinds of things: what other people were thinking, where to find raspberries, how to cast simple healing spells. It all seemed pretty harmless at first, but then she started to convince me to pull pranks and other stupid shit.

“That night, when Eredhon came to the village… he spoke to her. After slaughtering my mother and father, the two of them had a casual conversation! It wasn’t in any language that I had ever heard before, but I could tell that they knew each other.” in a serious voice.

Before he could get to the point, Lorelei finished shaving his face and sat down on his left shoulder. Then she suddenly yelled “Ah! I know! The perfect nickname! As the leader of Alfirin, I proclaim that you shall forever be known as Coco!” in cheerful voice, that completely destroyed the depressing atmosphere that the two of us had been generating.

I beamed a smiled at her, stood on the tips of my toes, and held out my arms; which she quickly jumped into and hugged me tightly. Her level of adorability was so high, that a single snuggle was all I needed to instantly switch my mood from gloomy to jovial.

Then Hiwel entered the room and shouted “Holy shit its a hottie! I’m sorry Rae, but I don’t think I’m a lesbian anymore!” sardonically, as she walked up next to his left side and lustfully stared up at his clean-shaven face.

After that, Gwyneth ran into the room and furiously yelled “I knew it! You didn’t believe me! There’s no way a double virgin like you could possibly handle something that big; besides, you already have a girlfriend, so he’s mine!” as she tackled the dark-red skinned elf, and knocked her into the pile of chairs that was still laying on the floor.

Conor tried to speak again, but the busty three-hundred year old, but extremely youthful, woman pressed her entire body up against his massive right arm. Then a slightly bloodied matriarch rose to her feet, with a partially broken chair in her hands; she broke it over her great-grandmother’s back without even hesitating.

Hiwel screamed “Don’t go around telling people that I have two vaginas!” in completely serious voice. The fight only became much more violent and vulgar from there, so I would prefer to avoid going into too much detail.

Eventually, the brawling devolved into hair pulling and grappling, until they were too tired and injured to continue. Conor made the fatal mistake of healing them, which just made their duel start anew.

I used to think that they were just acting, like it was some sort of comedy performance. Unfortunately, they were seriously competing with each other over my nephew.

The result was that Julie had to break up the fight and Conor never got to finish whatever he was trying to tell me, because everyone had completely forgotten about it by then. I was happy though; not only did I get to cuddle with my cute little Lorelei that night, but I got to hear a bunch of stories about Michael.

Hiwel and her great-grandmother were both pregnant by the end of that week… well, Gwyneth was still really young by wood elf standards. It was easy for me to tell, because both of their auras sounded completely different by the time I left to go back to work; but my ears were more sensitive than most, so they didn’t find out until a while later.

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