Chapter Thirty-one: Epilogue

After the harvest festival things returned back to normal in the Liriath forest. Cobal and companions returned to Dionil’s place to continue training. Mana’s progress with magic slowed down significantly compared to the early stages but it didn’t seem to worry her. Dionil wondered if there was some sort of barrier due to her not being from this world. Might never managed to learn magic in his time here, so there really wasn’t any precedent. Cobal on the other hand showed very good progress in getting used to his new weapons. The rapier and dagger that Jerasi had given him were both excellent craftswork. Even compared to the weapons that they had access to as royals they were still really good. Jerasi had given him some practice drills to start off with and he’d instructed Dionil to help Cobal along with the rest of it. Cassandra made steady progress with her crafting and although she still had a long way to go before she actually invented something usable, Mana had been very positive about the work shows so far. Kimi decided that she’d earned a break after her wonderful performance during the festival and no one really argued with her on that point. It was now late winter and a lot of their training was confined to things possible indoors. Cobal did some drills outdoors when the weather allowed for it, but they spent a lot of time indoors. Dionil taught them a lot about his worldview. They’d all sit around the table, drink tea, and talk about abstract and concrete things for hours. It honestly was a very useful and calming time for all of them. Some days Dionil would go to town, and sometimes one of them, or all of them, would go with him. Cobal had quickly become friends with many of the villagers. Before the festival he still felt a bit distant towards them, but after sharing food, drink and merriment there was no such barrier anymore.
Some extra heavy snowfall today made it so they called it a day earlier than normal. Dionil brewed them all some fresh tea and they were just taking it easy now. Although this forest was technically not much further north than the capital city, there seemed to be more snowfall here. According to Dionil it was usually short lived though, and it wouldn’t take long before the weather would become more mild again.
“Either way, I think it’s best if we start focusing on teaching you the basics of different methodologies for magic. The way I teach magic and the way someone from the kingdoms up north might teach about magic are vastly different. It’s just like anything else in the world. There’s a base logic things work on and then different methods of applying that theory. Like I said before, using magic from a book like you’ve been practicing with, is one of the way to do so, but some people prefer to draw magic circles instead or use familiars to cast their magic through. It’s a complicated system, and although it’s up to the individual to find a style of magic that works for them, I fervently believe starting off with one of the more theoretical applications makes for a good base. So that’s what we’ve been doing here.”
Mana thought for a second after Dionil spoke. “So there’s a chance that another way of using magic would suit me better?”
Dionil nodded. “It’s very well possible. A person with the aptitude and training should be able to perform magic in different ways but there are always going to be ways that fit you better. There have even been some cases where very talented practitioners started out being unable to do more than the simplest things until they found out a very specific ritual that allowed them to become the powerful mages they ended up becoming.”
“Is that why my magic feels lackluster?” Mana asked.
Dionil laughed. “It might feel lackluster but you’re not one of those people. Your progress over a short time may feel like it’s not much, but going from a world without magic to being able to get the basics down in less than a year is practically unheard off.”
Cobal saw Mana’s expression and realized what she was thinking immediately. “But it’s not fast enough, is it?” he asked.
She nodded. “It may be fast enough for normal people, and I suppose I am just a normal person, but the things that might be required of me in the near future are far from normal. I’m supposed to be the hero, I can’t do everything at the average person’s pace. I’d be well into my forties before I’d even match up to the people that summoned me here in the first place, then what was the point in all of that?”
Dionil thought for a moment about what Mana said. “I think a hero is more than just the power they can show off. Maybe it’s because I watched Might as he grew into his role, but for not a single moment have I ever felt like you weren’t going at the right pace. No one knows what the future holds. People may call me a sage and some think that means I know everything, but the truth is that I’ve just read a lot of books and then a lot more books. I know a lot of things that happened, and I know about a lot of things that are likely to happen. But I don’t know more than anyone else can know. What I do know is that we all have a role to play and that everyone plays their role at a pace that’s right for them. If it takes you ten years to become the hero you feel they expect you to be, then the people who summoned you here should have summoned you ten years before your services are needed. Sometimes the truth is as simple as that. You’re not responsible for the lack of foresight on the Blueyerd Kingdom’s account.” He looked at Cobal who nodded in agreement. “My father might be a difficult man at times but he’s also a realist. He knows that you won’t be the most powerful person walking on this continent in a few moons. He knows that, and that’s why they’re letting us train here in peace without asking anything of us. It’d be silly of him to have high expectations of you already.”“I couldn’t have said it better myself,” Dionil said with a smile.
There was a sudden knock on the door. “Who could that be?” Cobal asked.
Dionil got up to get to the door and a few moments passed before he called on Cobal to quickly come help him. On the porch were Mirgia and a human dressed in blue robes wearing a messenger’s brooch pinned on his chest. Cobal shot Mirgia a look when he saw the man who was on the verge of collapse.
“He insisted on being brought to you immediately so we obliged,” Mirgia said.
“Help me carry him inside,” Dionil asked. The two of them took the man from Mirgia who sounded like he was trying to say something but didn’t have the energy to do so. Mirgia himself looked fairly tired as well, the weather outside was still harrowing so even the short trek here from the village can’t have been pleasant. It took the man a moment to recover from the frostbite that had started taking hold on his body and it looked like it would leave some permanent damage. As soon as the man was able to speak he looked at Cobal with a worried look on his face.
“What’s wrong? Tell me!” Cobal said to the man.
“I bring news from the capital. The king has declared war on the Rilodar kingdom after your brother was kidnapped by them. He’s requested his son and the hero to return home as quickly as possible.”

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