9 Pity, Regret, Sorrow
When I open my eyes once more, I recognize the scene from what feels like years ago. My sister, Lin, is standing in the middle of this darn, dank, cavernous room. Around her are runes, that appear to be interring circles.
I recognize these runes. When I was still in the orphanage and was being "tested" (experimented on) they had chained me down in the middle of the room and wrote these same runes in my own blood. Then it felt as if my soul was being ripped to shreds. After a few hours of my thrashing due to the pain I had passed out. I soon overheard the "test" proctors discussing their results. They had said that I was the only one to have survived this test. The others had thrashed for two minutes then… then they exploded. But as soon as I had left that room, I had felt more power than I had ever felt before. As if I could crush a city between my fingers.
Then the runes surrounding my sister began to glow. Not in the sinister red that I had seen, but instead a warm, welcoming gold. The once dark room was now illuminated by its glow. I could see my sister's tiny little brow furrow up in concentration, it was quite cute in fact.
Then, I saw hundred of tiny golden thread-like strands inside of my sister. I remember Old Man Vajarn had mentioned something that looked like this, meridians I believe they are called. They are the channel through which your mana flows. If you have small meridians then the pace at which you absorb mana is quite slow. I look down at my tiny dUmB nEwBoRn BoDy oF mInE. Sigh, I still can't get over the fact that I am still considered a newborn. There is a good reason that you shouldn't remember your time as a newborn, it can be quite embarrassing at times.
Anyway, I look down at my tiny baby self. Holy shi—. What. The. Hell. I might as well just be a meridian, seeing as they are practically twice the size of me. That's not saying a lot. But to look down at yourself and seeing your body practically glowing gold is kinda scary. Especially when you see that the source of the light is still growing. Sheesh, I was not expecting that.
My mother is still looking excitedly at Lin when I feel a malicious gaze on me. I may be a baby, but that doesn't me I've let my senses decline. Well, Vajarn also never let me relax. Not even when I was asleep!
Soon enough, the warm golden glow of the runes subsided. Lin, practically glowing (again) in excitement turns to my father. "Father, I have opened 51 meridians,"
My father nods at her approvingly, "Good. Better than your elder sister. You'd best train hard in your future. I have high expectations for you."
My mother smiles warmly at her, "Maybe one day you will be able to enter the Mage Academy." Lin begins to beam in excitement at that idea. I mean, it dies sound interesting. A place at which names willingly share their spells. Sounds too good to be true.
A few months had passed and I had accomplished the most arduous skill. The ability to walk.
One year later and I learned and showed off my abilities to read and write. Yet that no good father of mine still does not like me, thankfully he is now able to tolerate me now.
Currently, I am sitting in my room finishing my writing homework. Quite basic stuff. As soon as I finish writing the alphabet, I start my math homework. Why would my tutors assign so much homework to a toddler! Hearing someone's approach, I swing my oversized head around to see a girl. My eldest sister, Ari, I believe her name is. "Ummmm, I was wondering if you'd be able to help me with my homework. My tutors had told me that you'd be able to help." Pathetic. Coming to a two and a half year old for help.
"What do you need help with, Ari?" She walks over to my desk and shows me something even more pathetic. She still can't do simple math when she's nine. Literally simple addition and subtraction, not even double digit addition, like 10+10. No, she's still at the 2+3 stuff. I turn my back to her so I can show her how to work it out.
I sigh and release my inner preacher, "So because the problem is 2+3, you count to 2 first. Now that you've used the 2, you count up three more numbers. It helps if you do it on your hands as well, on your left put up two fingers and your right, three. Now transfer one digit from your right to your left. You should have one on your right hand and four on your left. Now just so that one more time and that's your answer." I turn around to look at her, "So, what did you get for your answer?"
"Huh? What'd you say?" I find her sitting on my bed, using my nail polish, getting the nail polish all over my stuff.
"Did you hear anything I just said?"
"Nope." She spreads her hands out before her and admires her trash work. Half of the dang bottle is on my stuff and the other half is lathered in her nails and everything remotely close to her nails. She turns to me, "So, did you finish my homework?"
"Uhhh, no. You asked me for help, not to do it for you."
"Well, do it now then brat. Or I'll call father, and you should know he dotes on me the most." How does her pea sized brain keep up with her poisonous tongue. I quickly scribble down the answers and hand her the sheet.
This interaction soon became a daily ritual. Everyday at about noon, she would barge into my room, slap her homework down on my desk and walk away. This has been going on for a year now.
Bang! the door slams open, and my sister struts in, wearing her most flamboyant dress as always, and thrusts her work onto my table. "Ari, exit stage, pursued by bear"
I'm almost finished with my work when I hear the familiar tip tapping of my favorite tutor's shoes. (I only recognize his shoes because they are early high heels). Time to put on my game face.
I work up some tears as I hear him near my door, "Youngest Miss Amor, may I come in?"
"Ye- Yes, you may come in Sir Merik." I stutter in a weak voice.
Merik starts to open the door whilst saying "Miss, how many times do I have to tell you. there is no need for hou to call me si—"
Seeing my tear-stained face, he stops mid-sentence, "Miss, what's wrong?" He appears visibly flustered, his face turning from a smile into a serious face.
There is a good reason for why Sir Merik is my favorite tutor, he once was a knight. Therefore he has a good morale compass, a sense of loyalty, and he also doesn't treat me as a child. I turn my back to him and continue Ari's homework. "No- nothing is hic wrong, Sir Merik. Wha-, what did you come he- here for?" I say this while conjuring up more tears and shivering for added effect.
He walks over to my side. "That matter can wait, but miss, you must confide in me please! I will try my best to help you." Me starts to rub my back to comfort me.
"You promise to help?" Plastering on a hopeful, innocent face, I turn to face Merik.
"I promise that I will help to the best of my abilities." I jump out of the chair and into my tutor's. He stands there in shock for a minute before enveloping me into a hug.
A hug. An odd way to show affection, I believe. You wrap your arms around a person and then tighten them. You leave yourself so vulnerable, open for a stab to the back. Yet despite this, I do not feel vulnerable, instead I feel warm and protected.
Anyway, I sob even harder into his arms. Yet now the tears are real. Pity, regret, sorrow. All for my past and present self. A pity of how I died, regret of how I lived, and sorrow for how I will live.
"Miss," Merik looks down towards me and lowers his voice, "can you tell me what's wrong now?"
"It's, it's Ari. She, she's—" I feel myself begin to choke up again and bury myself further in Merik's arms.
"What about your sister?" He rubs my back reassuringly again.
"She- she's forcing me to do her homework… and she always steals my food…" I look up to see Merik peering down at my desk, seeing if my words were true.
He gently lifts me off the ground and walks towards my desk. Shifting me around in his arms, he holds me in one arm and the other hand is used to pick up the worksheet. "Hmmm. You're right, this is most definitely not the homework I assigned you last night. And Ari's name is signed at the top even though it's written in your handwriting." I snuggle into the man's chest, which is surprisingly muscular, as he looks down towards me. "But what you said about her stealing your food…" He sighs and sits atop my bed with me still snuggled in his arms.
"The theft is much harder to prove, but I believe in you."
I believe in you.
I believe in you.
I believe in you.
How hard I worked to hear those words from my Elder's of my past life and my father of this current one. How hard I worked just to be acknowledged, just to be liked. Yet, this man here, Merik, just said such words. This man who I've just met a month ago.
I froze when he said these words, and as if sensing my inner turmoil, Merik hugs me tighter. As if saying I will be here by your side, protecting you.
Neverending tears stream down my face, staining my tutor's shirt. Slowly, I sink into a peaceful sleep. A slumber in which I don't have to sleep with one eye open.