Monday, July 20, 2015

Chapter 2:The Caravan

As he was almost halfway to his travel Sun met a Caravan of merchants resting in a clearing, it seems that they too were moving towards Shard City.

"Greetings young mage." The rotund Caravan master bowed slightly. "Hear my request please." He said. The man had a kind face and a somewhat obese body shape. Sun had a feeling that this person was a good man, if he were to base it on his instincts.

Sun had no choice to hear him out, it would have been the height of rudeness not to and he himself wanted to join the Caravan to benefit from their hired protection if possible.

Sun nodded and gestured for the Caravan master to continue.

"Recently monsters have been attacking the caravan heavily and while we do have an excellent protection detail it would calm this man's heart if you would accompany us as we go." Was what he said. "We would of course give you compensation for this job."

Sun pondered it over for a while. It was true that this part of the journey would have a dangerous amount of monsters and there was no guarantee that his [Poun] could outrun them should they appear. On the other hand, these people would be relying on him if these monsters did come out. It was quite a dilemma.

"I am but a humble mediocre mage, Caravan Master. If you would allow this one to travel with your Caravan there would be no need for any compensation." was Sun's reply. He figured that it would indeed be safer to travel with these people and telling them that he was quite weak should make them rely on him less. All in all Sun would get protection while still having a good reason not to fight.

The rotund man eyed Sun a bit and accepted his offer. For someone like Sun to travel alone so confidently he should have at least a modicum of combat ability. He figured that Sun was only being humble, the money he was offering was probably spare change for this guy anyway.

"Good, I'll let you meet our protection detail. Please follow me and call me Rayu." Said Rayu as he waddled towards the front of the caravan. The caravan in itself was simply a collection of carriages being pulled by [Poun]. Seems that this Caravan had a dozen of carriages, it was quite big normally a Caravan had only half the number.

"There's a lot of carriages." Sun said stating the obvious in such a way that made it seem like a question.

"Ahahaha, you noticed. These Caravan is transporting families. We of the safe travel agency try our best to ensure our clients safety." Rayu chuckled. "We specialize in transportation of families is all. The other carriages are holding their belongings and three carriages are for our protection detail."

"I see." So it was like that Sun mused. The fees must be large for this type of protection so the clients should be rich families.

"You're thinking that these families must be quite rich, huh? I'm afraid it isn't so. This Caravan is a result of the charity organization 'Hope Alliance'." As if sensing his thoughts Rayu added.

Hope alliance, as a merchant Sun naturally knew about them. They were a group of altruistic merchants, warriors and magi. They are well known for these types of actions. Only high ranking personage belong to alliances so this means that there are important people backing this Caravan.

"We have a platoon of [Rank C] and [Rank B] soldiers as well as Levaria-sama." Ray said as he lead Sun to said platoon. A couple of soldiers waved at Ray but ignored Sun choosing to return to servicing their weapons.

Warriors and Magi can be considered as the top jobs when considering battle potential. As a result unless these Magi and Warriors had an existing relationship like being [Party Members] the relation often ranged from bad to hostile because of rivalry. Sun had often gotten in a few altercations with rowdy warriors thankfully he never had to fight one.

Warriors being relatively more common than Magi were often seen as inferior to Magi.This isn't true at all since high rank warriors are as good as high ranked mages, there were just fewer low rank mages because of the requirements to become one and the fact that even low ranking mages were highly valued because of their often rare and unique talents.

"Levaria?" Sun asked Ray, he had an inkling that this Levaria was a high ranking warrior.

"Shield Princess Levaria-sama. I'm surprised you haven't heard of her, she's pretty famous even at such a young age. She's the genius of the Hope alliance, we are truly blessed to have her accompany this caravan." Rayu said praising Levaria quite heavily.

Sun could hear the confidence that Rayu had on this girl, he was secretly glad that there is such a person in this caravan because that meant that there's almost no reason for them to ask him to fight.


Sun's eyebrows rose a fraction as Rayu lead him further in, was it real? The scene before him was as if it were taken from a palace instead of the desert. A table was set up being covered by a single large parasol, this table contained food that Sun knew would cost more than three gold pieces to buy. Levaria was there sipping tea leisurely.

Levaria was a strikingly beautiful girl, she had flowing red hair tied into a neat ponytail. Even though she was wearing plate mail one could still see a hint of girlish figure. Sun estimated her age as close to his, maybe even younger.

Truly, if mages and warriors received special treatment from commoners, Geniuses received special treatment from their fellow warriors and magi. That was how the world worked, Sun couldn't help but think.

Rayu approached her while Sun stood his place. Sun watched as Rayu animatedly explained his decision to take a low ranking mage in.

Sun can't hear much of the conversation but he could deduce that while Levaria wasn't that happy with the decision she chose to accept the reasons presented by Rayu.

Rayu came back to Sun and said "She says it's OK but she wants to talk to you." Rayu then departed presumably to check on the carriages.

Sun approached Levaria and greeted her with a standard "Good morning." choosing not to say anything else because there really wasn't anything for him to say.

Levaria squarely met Sun's eyes pinning him down with her stunning blue eyes. "These people are under my protection, don't expect us to put you above them and I'd rather you don't fight. We don't need you dragging us down." was what she said.

Sun could only stare at her as his mind processes what she said. If he were a real mage then he would have been greatly insulted but as someone who's combat ability is below average that kind of thing wasn't enough to damage his pride.  So Sun nodded to show he understood, inwardly Sun was happy with this kind of arrangement.

"Don't try to rile up the soldiers, I won't stop any trouble you cause yourself." Levaria said then dismissed him, going back to her tea.

Sun rather thought that ended well. He never had an intention of going near the soldiers as they were more than likely to harass him than anything else. Believe it or not though it was often the Magi who instigated fights against warriors because most Magi were prideful and wouldn't stand being looked down upon.


The Caravan had 4 families, These families are handpicked by the Hope alliance. To Sun's eyes they looked to be around between peasants and middle class, briefly he wondered what the criteria for picking was.

"Onii-san, onii-san are you a mage?" A kid of around 7 years tugged on Sun's robe. Sun looked at the kid then swept his eyes around till he found the parents or mother in this case. She looked worried so Sun smiled reassuringly.

Crouching down so that he was at eye level with the little boy. "Yes. I am."

The kid stared at him with awe apparent in his eyes. "Teach me, onii-san! They told me that I can be a mage when I'm older. I want to be a mage now!" The kid excitedly chattered.

So that was the criteria, Sun realized. All the families had children and it looked like the children had potential. It all made sense to Sun now, The hope alliance was ferrying potential powers into their side.

"You're too young right now." Sun said trying to calm the over eager boy. "You will get a teacher when you're ready."

"Then I'll be like Onii-chan right?"

"You'll be better than me I'm sure." Sun said honestly. For someone like him, anyone with a bit of talent would be a better mage.

"You hear that Talia-chan I'll definitely be a good mage." The boy said excitedly, to one of the girls sitting by the carriage.

The girl, a blonde sporting twin ponytails huffed and approached him, she said, "I don't care because I'll be a warrior like Levaria-sama. You can be a mage Domu-kun but warriors are still the best."

The kids started bickering so left them to it.

"They are!" "Are not!"  was repeated in a heated exchange. Children being children were surprisingly fun to watch Sun thought. How long had it been since he was a child their age? Memories of being so carefree seemed like a dream. Sun shook his head slightly as if to dispel such thoughts. Wasn't he still a child did he even have a right to think like an old man?

"I'm sorry for how my son acted Mage-sama." The mother of the boy approached to apologize to Sun bowing deeply but he waved off the apology. It wasn't that Sun enjoyed being respected for being a mage, he just used this image because it was convenient.

"It's OK he didn't mean any harm, besides who knows in the future he might become even stronger than me." Sun said, and the mother seemed surprised from the praise. It can't be helped because Sun looked like a noble, for a noble to praise someone from the middle class can be counted as rare.
It seemed the mother didn't know how to reply to this, if she accepted the praise would that mean insulting the mage's strength? If she didn't would she be insulting his assessment?

Sun saved her the trouble by giving a slight smile and dismissing himself. He needed a place to read till the caravan starts moving again.

He found a sufficiently shaded rock and proceeded to go he was interrupted by a voice behind him causing him to jump in surprise.

"You're not like most magi." the voice said.

Turning around to the voice,Sun discovered that the voice belonged Levaria.

"What do you mean?" Sun said as he forced his heart to calm down.

"Magi don't smile often." She said. "Can it be that you really are quite a weak mage? Have you not started [Concentration] yet? Can you even call yourself a mage?" She asked with a bit of suspicion.

Magi generally had 3 stages of training. [Concentration] was the first stage wherein the mage had to condense the mana in their body. Since Mana is concentrated mental energy the side effect of condensing it made beginner magi emotionally stunted until they finish successfully in condensing their mana into a core.

Was he going to be discovered? Sun furiously tried to stamp down the panicky feeling in his heart and gave the coldest reply he can manage.

"I don't know why you care, it isn't any of your business." Sun said his voice indifferent with no trace of the panic he was feeling.

"My business is the protection of these people. You are an unknown and potentially dangerous therefore you are my business." She said.

"I can show you proof of magic if you want. I am merely here because the caravan master invited me and the fact that I too am heading to Shard city as well." Even though he was still offering to show magic Sun already withdrew the [Firewand++]. With a bit of difficulty he produced an ember.

"Hmph, for someone who barely qualifies as a mage you shouldn't be so cocky. Remember what I told you earlier." Levaria said then left promptly.

Sun didn't even dare to sigh in relief for fear that Levaria was still watching. Instead he plopped down the large stone he found earlier and took out Devon's book. He had to get that encounter off his mind, so he began reading.

---------------------------> Next Chapter

1 comment:

  1. nice one again.
    new typo "Since Mana is concentrated mental energy the side effect made beginner magi emotionally stunted" I get the general gist of it but not the particular.