Ligero approaches me. “Laxus, now it’s the time for your first job.”
“Yes . . . I’m finally getting outta here!” After two months’ of training, I’m getting some well-deserved action.
“Don’t get too excited, you idiot. You’ll be partnering with your brother and sister. Use this opportunity to get closer with each other. Their job will be to observe you. As for yours, you’re in charge of making sure they don’t kill each other.” Ligero continues. “Now here’s your mission. You must destroy a research laboratory, located at Sir Mekanzee’s district in Eastern Draak. Complete this mission without getting caught. Failure is not an option.”
We move to Sir Mekanzee’s district right after the sun rises. Silence is the only thing that I hear along the journey. This is getting awkward. I realise that my busy training has made me interact less with the other members. As for the other four I haven’t yet met, they’ve been too occupied with their own missions as well. I attempt a joke to break the silence but – well. They really have no sense of humour at all!
“Don’t the two of you know how to laugh?” I ask.
Feu’s lips curl back. “I have no desire to laugh with that woman. Besides, we’re on a mission. I’ll laugh when this is all over.”
“I have to agree with the loser. This is not the time to make jokes,” Elsie adds.
“Are you pointing to yourself, my little sister?” Feu snorts before I can
Cue the verbal war. After what seems to be hours of arguments, I find out that their mutual hatred stems from way, way back, and the source of displeasure belongs to a . . . cookie? A cookie! Apparently a long time ago, Feu ate the last cookie that Grimmjow baked for Elsie and refuses to admit it until now. How old are they again? I’m beginning to think that I’m the most matured one around here. Despite my many tries to break the quarrel it seems only to progress towards the worse.
After a half day journey, we finally arrive at Sir Mekanzee’s District. We decide to take a rest first at an inn, where Feu and I share the same room. I jump onto the bed as soon as I enter. Man, the bed is so soft. Again, silence finds its way into the atmosphere. Unable to stand it, I speak.
“Feu, I want to ask you something. How did you get caught stealing that cookie? From what I heard, you were already a thief back then. Aren’t you an expert?”
“Yes, I’m a thief but I never said that I’m a good one gahahahahah . . . I got caught because she put a curse on that cookie. Whoever ate the cookie except for her would throw up for a day. Pah! Can you imagine? Puking for a day. You wanna know a secret?” Feu winks. “Come closer, kid . . . the secret is always answer I didn’t do it to everything, no matter what!”
Wow, I really didn’t expect to talk so much and so long with him. It’s kind of fun! I continue the conversation by sharing my awesome thieving experiences and the punishment I got when I was caught. The more I talk to him, the more I realize that we have a lot in common. Too soon, the time planned for the mission has neared.
All three of us separate to accomplish the task we planned. Elsie makes the first step by eliminating the night watchers. The night watchers have to be eliminated first because if they remember our faces, they will warn their masters. Night watchers are usually summoned beasts that guard a place at night.
“Drakh mekh vakh, GELUS!”
The enchantment that Elsie uses to freeze the beasts is called the Frozen Sword. What a powerful piece of magic! She can freeze a target from a very long range and in a very large area. The beasts can’t even get near her before the spell strikes. It is certainly amazing.
Next, it’s Feu’s turn. His job is to assassinate the guards and leave no witnesses alive. He burns his enemy so easily! The guards can’t even touch him. He uses both offensive and defensive magic simultaneously. The offensive fire spell he uses is the Red Hounds; the spell that materializes blazing fire into a shape of a hound that attacks the enemies without having the caster move an inch. On the other hand, his defensive fire magic is called the Crimson Shield, a magic that protects its caster within a range by burning anything that enters the range of the spell into ashes.
Both of them are truly incredible. Now, it is my time to shine. To turn the lab to dust is the task that I am appointed to do. Like a boss I walk to the center of the laboratory.
“Todo al polvo, Lem pe ra go, IZUCHI!”
Izuchi is a high ranking lightning spell that converts mana into lightning and materializes it into any shape. This magic requires a lot of mana. That’s why Ligero focused on only mana training for the past two months. I never knew that he taught such powerful spells. What remains in front of me is mere rubble. I’m overjoyed.
Feu calls me. “Laxus. Let’s go before the patrol squad comes.”
We ride our horses and disappear into the shadows. Elsie pulls out three bottles filled with purple fluid. She gives both of us a bottle each and asks us to drink it.
“It’s a shape shifting potion that only works for half an hour. Drink it now before we pass through the town.”
Gulp! It really is disgusting. I almost throw up. But it works like a charm. My body turns into that of an old man. Ow! My back hurts. Maybe I took too much. We manage to pass the town but at the gates, the night guards called for us to halt.
“What’s this? An old man and two children riding off in the middle of the night? Where are you going, old man?” one of the guards asks me. My mind suddenly goes blank. What should I answer? Wrong answer leads to more suspicion.
“I have an emergency right now. I need to hurry. My wife is giving birth!” I end up blurting.
“What?!! You should have told us that earlier. Go! Hurry to your wife!” One of the guards gives us the green light.
Thank god they’re idiots. My heartbeat can finally slow down. Feu and Elsie are staring at me like I am the dumbest kid that ever lived.
“My wife is giving birth? Seriously? That’s the best lie you could come up with?” Elsie says.
“I was nervous! Why didn’t you answer it for me then?” I retort.
“Sigh. I cannot believe all of my brothers are so retarded.” She shakes her head.
My pride as a man has fallen. Even Feu won’t stop staring at me with a disappointed look on his face. Must have been the nerves. Perhaps next time I will do better to control them.
Back home, Elsie reports to Ligero. “Mission accomplised. No witnesses left.”
Ligero makes a sound of approval. “Good job and welcome back. Now tell me, how was the newbie?”
“Not bad but still his mana is too little compared to all of us,” Feu says.
It’s hard admitting it but what Feu said is true. I’m so weak compared to them. I literally ran out of mana after I destroyed the lab. I need more training! Ligero seems to have known it beforehand and says he has arranged for another training.
The door opens and three people walk in, none of which I’d seen before. They nod at Ligero, who nods back before turning to me.
“Laxus. There will be more physical training starting tomorrow. I’m sure you’ll love it. Now however, I’d like you to meet Chow, Rosie and your sister, Lucy.” Ligero looks to the three. “Guys, introduce yourselves.”
The guy with eyes like ruby fire speaks first. “I’m Chow or according to the wanted posters – The Ripper. But I’m not actually a bloodthirsty guy. Just . . . things happened and now I’m a half vampire. Nice to meet you.”
The woman with hair like emeralds goes next. “I’m Rosie or as they call me, the Green Witch. I’m actually an enchantress. Got that name because I mastered some forbidden spells. Got the bounty on my head thanks to the king of Hasgerd. I refused to become one of his Royal Guards.” Rosie lets out a derisive scoff. “Serving some fat old guy – no thank you! I’m also Chow’s fiancee.” And she hugs him.
Chow rolls his eyes. “Get off me, you silly woman.”
Cue the second quarrel since this mission began. And a lover’s quarrel at that. There’s a tiny cough and I spot the last person of the trio – a small girl around eight. Can you say adorable?
I coo. “Hey kid. What’s your name?”
She visibly bristles. “Kid? How rude, you imbecile. I’m the master of the wind, Lucy! How dare you speak such to your senior.” She fumes. “Whatever. I’m Ezra’s reincarnation of wind magic. Since I reincarnated a little late I’m at this age. I’m also the only member with no bounties on their heads, so I work as the perfect spy for the guild.”
Her temper fades as quickly as it comes and she smiles. “Pleasure to meet you, brother.”
I do some math in my head and come to the conclusion that now, there’s only one person left for me to meet. Curious, I ask Ligero, “Who’s the last person, bro?”
“Oh. You haven’t met him yet. He is the youngest sword master and has the highest bounty reward among all of us. His name is Ctulhu.”
My eyes widen to the size of dinner plates. “Ctulhu?!”
Even I have heard of the name. His name is known not only in Draak but also in the other neighboring kingdoms. He is one of the survivors of the last war. Back then, he was only seven when he joined. I don’t know what happened but after the war, but many kingdoms placed hefty bounties on his head. And every time they send men after him, no one returns. I’m excited at the prospect of meeting such a terrifying legend.
Ligero invites us all to dinner. “Grimmjow made roasted turkey with black pepper this time.”
“Eeek!” Lucy squeals. “My favourite!”
“Calm down, Lucy.” Lalatina has just entered the room. “Make sure you really finish your plate this time.”
Lucy frowns. “Don’t treat me like a little kid.”
Lalatina sighs. “Sure, sure.”
All of us have dinner together. I have to admit, Grimmjow cooks the best food. There are never any leftovers when he cooks the food. Having a dinner on a table together makes me feel that we are all one big family.
It’s a nice feeling to finally belong, even if this family is one of the oddest I’ve ever met. I laugh silently to myself and tuck in.
author : Anwar Haziq bin Hilmi