10. Life of the Town – 3
10. Resolve is key
A mix of lanterns and magic stones lit the dim halls of the Orphanage, which became still as the children had gone to sleep. A few of the Sisters finished making their rounds through the corridors checking to see if anyone was still awake.
Sister Lia who had set off to meet the Church headmistress earlier that evening was still conversing and pleading her reports. In the Church Headmistress office, Lia explained the information she received from contacts in several towns, she also conveyed Orven’s intentions to teach the children who are willing to learn alchemy.
Finishing up her reports and her request, the Headmistress consented to the classes and gave Sister Lia a mission to set off for. Exiting the office Sister Lia stared in the direction of Arend’s sleeping area.
“I will finish my duty and return to protect you.”
In the late hours of the night, Arend sat near the window having finished one of the books Orven had given to him, “Adventuring the wilderness”. Staring out into the night sky, contemplating his experiences in Alkrga so far, Arend took some time to accept his situation.
“Only a few days have passed since I came here, and I feel like I’ve been a resident here for years. But it feels so distant whenever I remember Earth.”
The sky was lit with stars that have yet to be researched or even mapped. The twin moons that crossed the night intrigued Arend’s curiosity and furthered his goals. Arend breathed a sigh while thinking of Alkrga’s possibilities.
“Orven’s memories are jumpy, but him, Lia and their comrades had saved many people in their time. This world is no different from Earth in terms of war and corruption.”
In these moments of thought, the scientist who became Arend, made his decision to better this world. And while he was watching the moons and the stars, out of the corner of his eye he saw movement from one of the doors outside the orphanage.
As swiftly as the door had opened, he caught a glimpse of Sister Lia leaving the orphanage, having the urge to call out to her, he immediately held back.
‘Why would Sister be out this late at night’, thought Arend. As he watched Sister Lia about to leave the Church altogether, she turned back and her sights landed on Arend. In a moment, Sister Lia and Arend’s eyes locked on to each, briefly, she said something but Arend couldn’t understand, due to the distance. Turning away towards the exit, Sister Lia set off and waved away using her left hand.
Having seen of Sister Lia from the window, Arend decided he would do his best to make a better life for the boy he once was. Resolving to use his knowledge for the betterment of those close to him.
“Rather than save this world full of war and hatred, I will make a Sanctuary for those who will follow me.”
Laughing to himself in the moon lit glow from the window sill, he realized his research back on Earth would be sufficient enough to save the persecuted here on Alkrga. On the verge of a breakthrough, his goals back then and research centered on celestial expansion, living amongst the stars and building new worlds due to overpopulation.
“Reincarnation is real, but our souls are at the mercy of a higher existence. The true test that Goddess has given me, is whether I can fulfill my dream.”
Rather than thinking too deeply about the reincarnation process. Arend decided to move on, he had more to work hard and he couldn’t be bothered by unnecessary idle thoughts. Settling the thousands of questions that rotated through his brain. He wanted to research magic and its possible uses for his dream.
“I wonder if magic can be used outside this world?”
From the time Sister Lia had left a few days already past, several changes happened around the orphanage. The Church Headmistress informed everyone of an additional course to the children’s education only if they were interested.
Besides the addition of alchemy, basic potion creation, material and herb gathering. The Orphanage trained up children to become self-sufficient by apprenticing them as servants or adventure initiates. The children would be released from the orphanages’ care once reaching adulthood, which was the age of 15, so the Trinitas Order sought to achieve this goal.
Concerning Arend, many of the Sisters were informed of his memory loss and were told to guide him into becoming an upright person. When the children who held grudges found out about Arend’s amnesia, they felt delighted devilishly and planned to take advantage of his misfortune.
~”Arend, you forgot to get me my meal.”
~”What’s wrong, we were good friends and you always used to do these things.”
~”You’re not going to finish all of that right, just pass half of your food to me.”
The change in Arend’s personality was a shock to many of the children, who knew him as cold and unapproachable. The Sisters who’ve had a difficult time with Arend’s antics were surprised just the same. But as the Older children took advantage of the oblivious Arend, Nel who watched from sides couldn’t stifle her worries.
While everyone reacted to Arend’s situation in various ways, Arend himself devised that this was the best course of action to reset the mood against him. In order to diffuse the animosity surrounding him, he needed to have everyone believe he was harmless, and the best way to do that was to accept the demands of the older children in the orphanage. While it annoyed him to follow some demands without question, he always did as he was asked, even pushing himself to do the older children’s tasks and chores.
“With this, my goal to hide and train new skills will not be a problem. While taking on extra tasks, I can improve my efficiency in moving around.”
Arend knew about his weak constitution, and from his past life, one wouldn’t become stronger if they had not gone through many struggles. Rather than putting an emphasis on developing relationships, he focused on completing tasks and learning as much as he could while he still can. The faster he can improve, the closer he’d reach his goal of making his empire in the sky.
“This world does not need saving, the leaders are already corrupt as the world leaders back on Earth. I’d rather make my sanctuary and welcome those who will help me and my dream.”
A few days became a week, and after a few weeks, Sister Lia still had not returned back to the Orphanage. But in the time Sister Lia had left, Arend had immersed himself in many subjects and absorbed knowledge like a black hole. To improve his physical condition, he compelled himself to the tasks of others and completed his own tasks in an efficient manner.
The reason for such progress was entirely due to time, compared to Earth, Alkrga had an entirely different scale of time. A day on Earth would amount to 24 hours, but on Alkrga a day was 36 hours. Daytime averaged between 22-25 hours while nighttime was 11-14 hours. Furthermore, a week on Alkrga is made up of 9 days, so with the passing of a few weeks, approximately 27 days have passed since Sister Lia’s departure.
Within that time it was similar to clear skies after a storm had blown over, as the tension surrounding Arend lessened. Many of the children around Arend’s age would not fear him, but at times would ask for his help. As the older children were trying to take advantage of Arend and exploit his docile like nature. Time after time the older children had been passing of their chores and tasks to Arend, many believed he would cave into the pressure.
From the group that held grudges against Arend, many of them began to waver as they looked at themselves disgust. But there were still a few whose grudges instead increased. For the few that hated Arend, they sought to sabotage his work and make life much more difficult.
It was subtle, but a change grew over the children with time, as Arend did not waver in completing the older children’s demands. Arend was told to maintain the Orphanage farm, he was told to gather herbs from the edge of the forest nearby. Sentiment for Arend grew from pity to reverence as he completed his tasks and this made the children and Sister see Arend as dependable.
Arend understood who wanted to harm him, but let things be as they could never do anything within the Orphanage.
“It seems, there are still some who haven’t come around. That’s fine, sooner or later they will realize their mistakes.”
By focusing on different tasks and duties, Arend was able to grasp their way of life here on Alkrga. Arend learned from some of the Orphanage lessons of the different Empires and Kingdoms surrounding the Town of Lankree. Orven had not been admitted to lecture at the Orphanage just yet, but recalling a bit of Orven’s memories, Arend made the connection with the Kingdoms who’ve decided to harm its own citizens.
“When the Goddess claimed this Era to be close to medieval times, she couldn’t be farther from the truth.”
In between classes and lectures, Arend would read the books Orven had given to him and occasionally he’d look through the notes of his assistant to get a better idea of how medicines and cures are produced.
“The theory and application of some of these methods appear wasteful. If I have the chance to gather the right herbs, I’ll give it a try myself and test the results.”
Already, Arend was eager to begin experimenting with his basic alchemy set, Orven had previously provided to him. But even if he wanted to start, Arend had nowhere to do his experiments, the orphanage was out of the question and the nearby forest was currently off limits to him. So for the time being, Arend decided to hold off on testing various potion creation methods.
From the time Arend’s memory loss was brought to everyone’s attention, there was one individual that was worried for his sake. Having been helped by Arend in the past, but unable to anything for him now, left this person in emotional confusion.
“That time was the real truth, I was so stupid…..”
But unsure how to help Arend, this individual just watched as Arend time after time listened to the demands of other children and completed tasks and chores no one cared about doing.
“Why? You shouldn’t be doing that… you never did those things….”
Little by little by watching Arend work hard for others, something inside this person seemed to click in their head.
“If he can do these things for others…. I can do something for others too….”
So this little person began to go to the kitchen more often to learn as much as they could and help the Sisters cook meals for the orphanage.
~ “Hey, why don’t we stop this already?”
~~ “What are you talking about, we need to teach him a lesson on how to respect his elders.”
– “Don’t you think we’ve been taking things too far? It doesn’t even look like he’s suffered by doing the things we tell him.”
~~ “Why are you guys backing out now, didn’t we say he needs to be punished.”
The group fell silent as everyone’s gazes lead to the floor. Initially, everyone who gathered had felt a need to make Arend suffer. But as the days progressed and weeks passed, their feelings of disgust and contempt began to fade. Half of the group soon reflected on their actions and the other half was caught up in deciding to continue or not.
~~ “Aren’t we all in this together, he still hasn’t learned a lesson from us.”
~ “Hasn’t he lost his memories from that time, how is he supposed to know what he did, if he can’t remember?”
– “That’s right, this is meaningless. Arend is different, he’s not cold like before, his eyes aren’t scary either.”
+ “This is stupid, I’m not going to pass off my work to Arend anymore. He’s doing it a lot better than me and it’s making me look dumb.”
* “Yeah, I’m leaving, it doesn’t make sense to keep doing these things.”
As several members of the group started to leave, one by one, they expressed how their actions didn’t prove anything. From nine children the group became five.
~~ “You guys are with me, right? We still need to do something, you’ll follow me right?”
The eyes of the rest of the children turned to pity as they looked on the older child who was still ranting of causing trouble to Arend. From five members of the group, the remaining became a pair.
~~ “Will you leave me too? You know I’m right, don’t you?”
With hope and fear mixed in his eyes, for the last member remaining. Pleading for no one else to leave.
~~ “You’ll stay and help me right?”
~~ “I have some plans that will really teach Arend a lesson, this time, it will work.”
“You should give up on this already…. You need to act your age, were going to become adults soon.”
And with that, the last member left.
Having been left alone, his hope was crushed as he fell into despair.
~~ “It’s all his fault, It’s all his fault.”
Repeating his words like a mantra, his fear turned to fury as he couldn’t think clearly any longer.
~~ “Everyone left me because of you, everyone left meee…. BECAUSE OF YOUUUU! AND YOU WILL SUFFER FOR IT”