Chapter 9: Third Birthday
I've been watching Sebas' growth for over a year now. He thinks he's sneaky, but my credentials surpass his a few thousand years over. However, at his rate of growth I can't help but feel he'll surpass me before he reaches his twentieth summer.
To call him a genius is not quite right. Reckless monster is more like it. I still remember when he kicked himself in the nose while using a chantless air bullet with his foot. Air bullet is a strong non-lethal attack that's quick and easy to cast. At first, I couldn't figure out what he was doing. Or how he was doing it.
Chantless magic is a high-level technique that only a dozen have ever mastered to a practical degree in the modern generation. But he uses it like he's breathing. I know nobody in this house taught him chants or magic. I'm the only mage of any worth in this house. Amelia can heat water and use basic detoxification spells. Van is a muscle-headed swordsman and uses the typical body strengthening techniques that mix with magic after lots of physical training and sword mastery. Iliza is about on par with Amelia, and Hilda has nothing to speak of.
So I ran a test. I used healing magic on his nose and waited to see if he would master it just by seeing it.
I decide to keep his activities to myself; If Amelia found out, her worrying would stifle the child's growth. And whether he becomes an adventurer like he dreams or the crown prince he'll need this rough and tumble exploratory experience.
I can't say I'm never impressed by this child. He doesn't have a mean bone in his body. Yet I see him crash time and time again, running? I think he's trying to develop a way to run faster. But no matter how many times he fails he picks up his tiny bloodied body and tries again.
It takes him almost a year to master running on all fours, not just along the ground but through the air itself. The smile I see on his face is priceless, he's flying. I remember when I was a child I also dreamed of flying by own power, but this child, he pulled it off.
I possess what is known as a "Demon Eye", there are several kinds. Mine allows me to see magic. I can see invisible enemies and even living things through walls if I have to. Every night when the rest of the house is asleep, he persists, then in the morning he trains with his father for a time.
This 'Gaia' person still eludes me, but since he hasn't mentioned them since that day, I won't scare him by prying. It is very possible that Gaia is a powerful spirit that has granted the boy extraordinary potential.
If this Gaia is not a benevolent spirit... no my job is to protect Sebas and encourage his growth. so far there has been no malevolence surrounding him. If we are lucky he'll be one of the next great heroes like those in the legends.
Once he mastered running through the air, he began developing attack magic. It is still chantless and has no form like the orthodox methods the world uses. It is possible that he has an innate understanding of magical concepts and doesn't need a prescribed formula to draw out his magic's potential.
No, that appears to be exactly the case.
I can't hide my smile anymore. If he can do this much with only wind magic, then who knows what he could do with the other three elemental types. I'd be more worried, but he hasn't become arrogant in the slightest and he is always careful to avoid hurting the defenseless wild life.
In fact, he once sliced clean through a tree by accident and went as pale as a ghost. He even hugged the tree and apologized.
My concern is that he's been dabbling with attack magic, if he is not careful something dangerous could get out of control and he could end up hurting himself or someone else. Madam nor Sebas are going to like it, but I think it's time I expose his little secret. With his growth, he should be growing, he should be spouting a third tail soon. I'll take that as a sign.
This morning Sebas is acting strange, he never misses practice in the morning. It is also his birthday.
Everyone assumes he's just sleeping in, but I know better. When it's breakfast he refuses to come from his room. His voice is full of fear.
He even turns Amelia away.
"Husband, what do we do? He has never done this before?" Amelia holds onto Van for comfort.
I think it's good that she truly relies on him like that, but this isn't a situation he's going to be able to give her an answer she likes.
"Iliza, take Madam downstairs." I order. This is a delicate situation and Amelia is too quick to overreact. I nod at Van and he passes Amelia off to Iliza, it takes some persuading, but she leaves.
"Sebas, we are coming in, just Van and I." Van and I walk in and spy a lump under Sebas's blanket.
Carefully, I close the door. I'll be honest, it is very likely that Sebas might react violently to his secret getting out, that is why I brought Van, for backup.
"Sebas-" Van starts to walk to Sebas's bed.
I hold out my hand to stop Van.
"Sebas, show us." I command.
The lump flinches and deflates. Finally, the young scared boy pulls off his sheet. Van gasps when he sees Sebas's third tail.
I smile. This boy... he never ceases to amaze me, he really pulled it off.
"Congratulations, young master. You're a man now." I can't help but feel some pride, as I pat his father on the shoulder. "He's got you beat dad. He'll be chasing skirts in no time at this rate." I laugh. I originally begrudged spending so long in one place babysitting a noble brat, but at this moment I can say that I don't regret a thing.
"So you did know..." Sebas's ears lower with shame. He can't hide this.
"Since before you 'kicked' yourself in the nose." I winked.
Sebas groaned and buried his head under his blanket. "Mama's going to be so mad..."
"That's why you got us, right, Papa!" I slapped Van on the back pushing him forward.
Van took the hint. He pulled the sheet off the poor boy. "Son, you seem to have doing a lot of training on your own."
Sebas's eyes watered.
"Sword training?" He asked as he crouched to meet his son at eye level.
Sebas slowly nodded.
"You haven't hurt anyone have you?"
Sebas sniffled. "I- I cut down a tree..."
Van's eyes widened. "No joke?"
"It- it was an accident. I'm sorry papa." Lines of water traced the child's cheeks.
Van looked at me.
I shrugged, "it's technically still standing, and it'll heal naturally. This forest has good mana."
"Really?" Sebas asked me.
"I'll show you next time we are out that way. Now Van, your son just grew his third tail. Isn't there something a father tells a son when his son accomplishes something?"
Van looked relieved, he pulled Sebas into a hug. "Good job, I'm proud of you son."
Both Sebas and Van cried. I rolled my eyes. This family and crying, is it a fox thing?
I pat Sebas on the head. "Good work kid. How about we go show everyone that excellent third tail and then go outside to show them what you did to earn it."
Sebas clutched Van.
"Don't worry kid, if your mama yells at anyone it's going to be me since I knew and didn't tell her all the dangerous things you've been up to." I explain while hiding the hint of legitimate fear boiling in my stomach.
Van stood up swiftly. Sebas was still in his arms, so the kid's legs dangled while Van glared at me.
I shrugged. "Bloody noses and scraped knees. I would have stepped in if he tried anything life threatening. I'll say this much, Sebas has a knack for healing, never came home with blood on him once since I healed his nose."
I walked to the door and beckoned them. I also prepared myself for the headache I was going to get from Amelia's screams.
Everyone was surprised that the reason for Sebas's behavior was his third tail. Among the foxkin the third, seventh, and ninth tails were important milestones. A third tail was like entering adulthood, this was more important for men since it represented becoming a man who could protect his mate(s). The seventh was the sages tail since many never got that far until they were older. And the ninth tail was the Kitsune God Tail, anyone who attained the ninth tail would be known as a Holy Kitsune and supposedly possessed the power to rival a god. There have only been a handful of kitsune since the beginning of time.
Asmos Teagon was the most recent Kitsune and he was long gone.
At three years of age Sebas could stand against a full-grown adult. He might even win once he gains some experience. Power was one thing, but a weaker opponent with more experience could easily take down a lumbering giant who had never held a sword.
Amelia was distraught. He was only three, but by ancient tradition he could marry. He was growing up right in front of her, and behind her back.
When she collected herself we all stepped out into the back yard. Sebas looked from his mama to me. I nodded, and he got on all fours which confused them until he sped off faster than any horse. Then he bounded through the air doing acrobatic flips and spins. He showed off his attack magic and then came back. He was still on all fours when he sat like a dog in front of a stunned Amelia.
He bowed his head and everything about him was repentant.
"I'm sorry I didn't tell you, mama. I wanted to be strong enough to protect you."
"My baby boy..." Amelia kneeled in front of Sebas. She wiped his tears. "... mama knows you were doing something like this. Do you know how many pairs of pants I had to fix?" She laughed through her emotions. "I love you, but I never imagined you'd get so strong so fast. You're growing up too fast. I just want you to stay my baby boy forever. You're going to be a fine man like your father at this rate." She embraced him. "Just don't grow up too fast. I want to be a mama just a little longer."
More tears. This family... well. I can't say I don't get emotional over my children.
Looking at Amelia crying over her talented child I am reminded of the sad truth; Amelia is barren. Sebas isn't her son and when that comes to light he'll have to leave this life forever. That comes back to why I'm here. I'm not just a glorified bodyguard.
When we finally made it to the breakfast table, everything was cold and it was nearly lunch. Not that any of us really minded.
It was then I breached the subject.
The next phase of Sebas's education.
We already had somewhat of a plan in the works for when he got old enough. we had resolved to start when he turned five or gained his third tail. None of us would have guessed we would be getting started on his third birthday.
Iliza was to teach him etiquette, mathematics, and history. Amelia was going to buckle down and teach him to read and write properly. Van is to build up his practical sword skills. Hilda was to develop his social skills. Namely, take him into town with her when she shops and introduce him to the local children. And I was going to oversee his magical studies.
It is time to start grooming a king.