I slowly opened my eyes and saw that I was lying on the guest room bed inside Erina and The Elder’s house. The shock of losing both of them on a single day still didn’t evaporate from me, but I’m managing somehow to keep moving forward. First of all, they wouldn’t be happy to find me in my sorry state, so I’m only doing what I can to stay like my normal self.
I slowly got out of bed and walked towards the door before opening it once I unlocked it. A flash of bright light hit me full in the face and I blinked quickly while covering my eyes. A moment later, my eyes adjusted to the sunlight in the living room and I managed to walk out of my room.
Seated on the cough was the doctor as it was his house I had slept the night after yesterday’s events.
“Ah. You’re awake,” said the doctor as he heard my footsteps and turned towards me. “Are you feeling okay?”
“Yeah,” I replied honestly with a shred of smile as I thought back to what happened yesterday.
The authorities arrived on horseback and there were a number of them to fight in case of there being multiple of enemies. They surrounded us and quickly began to access the situation while I knelt beside Erina’s dead body. A moment later, I noticed a slight movement from the bundle of wrappings and picked up to see Serina, who had woken up after a long blissful sleep.
“There, there,” I muttered calmly and she smiled happily without having any clue that her mother just died.
Afterwards, I was brought back to the town and I was put in a place where the authorities asked me to recount what had happened. I told them everything that had happened and then received severe scolding from them about the events occurred. Once that was over, I was released and the doctor arrived to take me to his house while Serina was handed over to Erina’s relatives.
I arrived at the doctor’s house while Serina and her relatives separated to go into the house they lived. I glanced once at Serina, who was staring at me fixedly without blinking and it made me remember Erina’s words to look after her daughter. I closed my eyes and turned away to tackle that problem another day as the doctor guided me into his house.
He said to me and I obediently sat down on the chair in the living room while he went to grab something from a room. A few seconds later, he returned with a box and he placed it on the table at the centre of hall. Upon opening the box, he pulled out a pair of gloves and put them on before coming to sit next to me.
“This may sting a little,” he said gently as he got me to roll up my shirt to see my wound inflicted by the Fiend Dog.
He placed his hands on either sides of my wounded arm before he said, “Healing Harmony.”
In an instant, my arm began to glow in reed colour and the wound began to glow in pink colour. The next instant, I felt a prickling feeling near the wounded spot as the opened flesh began to close itself with pink light covering it. The doctor was true to his word because the pain of the healing was stinging as I clenched my fists tightly.
“Relax, otherwise, your hands will go numb,” advised the doctor as he concentrated on healing my wounds.
“Yeah, but the pain is a little… aggravating…” I muttered because of the pain.
He laughed and said, “IF you’re feeling this small pain, then it’s good. You are doing better than I expected.”
I looked at him puzzled as he finished his work to look at me with a sad smile on his face.
“You’ve just lost two people who looked after you for some time,” he said and I looked at him sadly. He looked at me for a moment silently before saying, “You might not be okay right now, but I know you’ll be fine.”
I nodded my head at him and did not say anything because my head was clouded. The shock of losing both The Elder and Erina has left me feeling numb.
“Alright. That’ll do,” said the doctor as he finished administrating healing to my wounds. He rose to his feet and said, “Time for you to rest up and get your energy back.”
I blinked at him in confusion and asked, “Don’t you have a skill to resupply the patient with energy?”
“I do,” stated the doctor in confirmation, “but I don’t like using it because your body has to recover on its own. Only then can you feel refreshed and good as new.”
“Okay,” I replied and nodded my head in understanding before rising to my feet.
The doctor pointed towards the guest room and said, “Go in there, lock the room and get to sleep. Stop thinking about meaningless things because you’ll become meaningless. You got that?”
“Uh… Okay…” I said slowly while blinking at him in surprise.
He a spoken firmly to me with a serious expression on his face and I knew what he was getting to. So, I decided to honestly do what he said and hope for the best as I headed into the guest room to rest.
Now, back in the present, I saw down on a chair next the doctor and said nothing. We remained in silence for a while as he read the newspaper and I just sat there doing absolutely nothing. That lasted until the doctor closed his paper and set it down on the table before turning towards me with a small smile on his face.
“Did you think anything meaningless yesterday as you rested?” he asked me in a curious voice.
“No. I didn’t have the chance to,” I replied honestly and he nodded with a satisfied smile on his face.
“Good,” said the doctor and he clapped his hands together energetically. “Now, I think it’s think you plan what you’re going to do from now onwards.”
“Plan from now on?” I asked quizzically and he nodded his head at me.
“That’s right. A tragedy happened yesterday and you felt extremely upset by it. Now, you have to decide on what to do next because time is calling. it won’t show you mercy and it certainly won’t show you mercy. If you are not marching with time, it’ll throw you back with the rest of the trash.”
He spoke very firm voice with a serious look on his voice and I simply stared at him while blinking my eyes in amazement.
“This might be harsh considering what happened yesterday, but you have to be practical. Even Erina and The Elder would not want you to spend your days feeling their loss.”
“Ah,” I said simply and nodded my head at him in understanding.
I remained silent for a moment as I thought about what to do from now on. Right now, I only have 400 Zen with me and I’ll be needing money to fend myself soon as I don’t wish to burden the doctor. I’ll use my farming, adventurer and doctor jobs to rake up some money and experience points.
“And then…? What…? Where can I stay in the meantime…?”
That’s what I thought when I suddenly encountered an obstacle in the form of my living. The house in which that Erina and The Elder let me stay belongs to Serina, who is now taken in by her relatives. Since that is the case, I cannot life there anymore and I must find a place elsewhere to stay while I earn from my multiple jobs.
“I’ll find a place to stay and start earning money,” I said to him and he nodded his head at me while smiling. “After that, I’ll decide on what to do.”
“You are free to stay here if you like,” the doctor suggested, but I shook my head.
“No, doctor. You’ve done me some a great deal of help, but its time I stand on my own two feet.”
I know the doctor asked me out of concern, but he actually doesn’t get much of a living being just a healing type doctor. It would be rude of me, so I gently rejected his offer and besides, it’s high time I start out on my own. I’m not a kid to always rely on the safety the adults provide for me. The sanctuary I enjoyed these months with Erina and The Elder may be gone, but I’m confident I can build it again, but with my own strength this time.
The doctor nodded at me silently and smiled warmly at me like a mentor seeing his student all grown up.
A while later, I walked out of the house and decided to start my multi-job activities, but before I head over to the Jobs Office, I decided to drop by to see how Serina was doing. I haven’t forgotten what Erina requested off me as her dying wish, but I’ unable to look after her with my low financial position. I’ll think about what to do afterwards when I earn a good deal of money.
Serina’s relatives lived in the next street, so I walked several meters before arriving at their doorstep. While I walked, I met up with several of the neighbours and I spoke with them casually. They expressed their sorrow and while I wasn’t sure whether they meant it or not, I spoke nicely to them and left. I don’t know how much to trust these stranger, so I’ll just behave normally with them.
As I arrived at the door, I pressed the doorbell and heard it ring loudly inside the house. It took a few seconds before the door was opened by a teenage boy, who was the son of the relatives. He looked at me for a moment before turning around and shouting loudly so that everyone could hear in the house.
“Mum! Ram’s here!”
“Wow! That’s loud!”
I thought that because it truly was as I winced a little from his loud voice. The next moment, he stepped aside and gestured me to enter into the house. I hesitated for a moment before entering in because it’s my first time coming in and I wasn’t sure what I would expect to find inside.
Upon entering, I found out that everything within the house was occupied by lavish objects. There were couches that looked very expensive, curtains that were stylishly designed, a ten-seater dining set with stylish chairs and the showcases at the front were decorated with items that looked pretty expensive.
“These people are the complete opposite to Erina.”
I thought that while I observed the house slowly as I walked into the house. Why? It’s because Erina always liked to keep things neat, clean and tidy. She always told me that occupying the whole house with goods, decorations and fashionable items will shrink the house’s beauty.
I didn’t argue because my mom was the same as she did her best to keep the house neat and tidy in my world. Only my dad manages to ruin it all by buying and bringing electronics to our house. He’s crazy about electronic gadgets and appliances, which always made my mother shout at him for filling the house with junk. Their arguments are funny and mom scolding dad is pretty amusing to watch.
“What’re you grinning about?” the teenager asked me while giving me a curious look.
Without realising it, I seemed to have been smiling as I reminisced my parents’ relationship.
“Nothing,” I said and set my expression back to normal as I continued to glance around.
I suddenly heard a sound in my heard and saw a window popup in front of me with a message.
“Your ability has levelled up: Identify II.”
Oh! My ability, identify, increased to level II. Great. I wonder what I can identify with my upgraded ability?
The teenager told me to take a seat on one of their couches and I lowered myself to sit down while he headed away. I was surprised when the couch made me almost rise back to my feet because of how jumpy the seat was. Still, the cushioning feeling was great and I felt relaxed while I leaned my back against the back rest.
A moment later, woman dressed in a nighty walked from the wall while wiping her hands with a cloth. She seemed to have been in the kitchen as the smell of breakfast arose from that direction.
“Hello Ram! How are you?” she greeted me and instantly asked about my health.
I rose to my feet and greeted her by saying, “Hello auntie and I am doing fine. Thank you for asking. How are you and the rest of the family?”
“We are doing great,” she said with a smile spreading on her youthful face.
Her name is Flavia Schumacher and she is the one that took custody of Serina along with her husband, Dirk Schumacher. How do I know their names? They came to meet me and take Serina into their care after I was released by the authorities from their questions session.
“Is Mr. Dirk not home?” I asked curiously and Flavia shook her head.
“No, dear. He has work today.”
“I see. What about your son and daughter?”
“Those two?” she asked and laughed lightly. “Alan is getting his room tidied because he has to go out with his friends. Sana hasn’t woken up yet.”
“I see. They’re on holidays,” I said and she nodded with a grimacing expression on her face.
“Yes, but what good does it do to us family members? Those two keep hanging more out with their friends than with us.” She said critically with a frown on her face. “Tell me, Ram. Any parent wants to spend the holidays with their children because there is more time than in school days.”
I nodded silently with a smile on my face as I was reminded of my own parents from my world. It made me feel sad that I always spent my time playing with friends outside than with my parents.
“Right and what about Serina? How is she doing?” I asked curiously with a hint of worry in my voice.
Flavia blinked once at me and stared at me in silence for a moment before she smiled and said, “She is doing fine. What to see her?”
“Yes. Of course,” I replied brightly and she beamed at me.
She rose to her feet and quickly walked away as I watched her go with a small race of excitement in my heart. Several seconds later, she returned with Serina in her hands and the baby girl seemed to be lying still in her arms without making any sound. I was concerned that something must’ve happened to her, but that was cleared when the woman handed the bundle of wrapping over to me.
“She’s asleep,” said Flavia and I nodded my head in recognition of that fact.
The small baby was indeed sleeping with her fingers closed a little and her mouth opened a little. She looked blissful in her sleep and I smiled in relief as I decided to check her stats with my improved Identify II ability. To my surprise, I saw the rectangular bar thing over her head and it was suddenly filled with colour.
Inside the large rectangular bar were a few other details about the character. Her name was at the top centre part of the rectangular and below it was two smaller rectangular bars; one each for left and right. The left rectangle was filled with green colour and the right rectangle was filled with yellow colour. I assumed the green coloured one was HP and the yellow coloured one.
Up until now, all rectangular bars over people’s head had showed me blank, but it’s displaying me their HP and CON. Wanting to make sure I was not imagining it, I glanced up at Flavia and noticed the rectangular bar showing me her HP and CON, which were at maximum.
Feeling a little happy, I looked back at the sleeping form of Serina and smiled down at her. It was then that I noticed a strange icon separating the two status bars. The icon was glowing in an ominous green colour. The symbol at the centre of the box represented the status Fatigue, buy I didn’t understand why Serina had it in the first place.
“Did she eat anything or maybe had some milk?” I asked Flavia in a concerned voice.
“I fed her milk to drink, but she did not take much,” she replied with a sad look on her face.
“Oh,” I said simply with a surprised look on my face as she continued speaking.
“She kept crying no matter what we did to calm her, so we put her to sleep with a sleeping spell. It seems like she misses her mother so much that it’s not letting her take in much of anything.”
I only made sound from my mouth while looking sadly down at the sleeping Serina. It looks like the little child was missing her mother so much that she’s refusing to get food into her system. That thought made me feel determined to help her out.
“Please, wake her up,” I said and Flavia looked surprised. “Let’s see if she remembers me enough to let me feed her.”
“Uh… Okay,” she said and while looking a little puzzled, she placed her hand at Serina and activated her magic. “Awaken.”
It took a moment for Serina to slowly move her body as she arose from her sleep before opening her small tiny eyes. She took once glance at Flavia before bawling at the top of her voice, which caused me and Flavia to shut out ears in surprise.
“See what I told you?!” Flavia shouted at me over the loud screaming noise coming from Serina.
I merely laughed at her and removing my hands over my ears, I placed them gently underneath Serina’s body.
“Serina! Hey! It’s me! Ram! Do you remember me? Hello…! Serina!” I said loudly to get her attention as I shook her gently in my arms.
Serina opened her eyes and slowly decreased her crying into silence. She blinked at me a few times as if reying to recognise me as someone she knew. Once she did, she started to smile and make funny noises while trying to reach my face with her tiny arms.
“Ah! You remember me? I feel special,” I said happily as I rubbed my nose against her smaller nose.
“Ah. Ahahah. Ahah.,” said Serina said happily while touching my face with her soft nimble fingers.
I smiled at her and aid to Flavia, “Please, bring some milk. It’s time she has her breakfast.”
“Oh… Right…” said Flavia in a distracted voice as she was staring at me and Serina with a look of stunned disbelief on her face.
She quickly rose to her feet and headed into the kitchen to fetch something. It took her a moment before she returned with a baby bottle and its contently filled to the top with milk. She walked over to us, sat down and handed me the bottle.
I took hold of the bottle and in that moment, a window popped up in front of me with information about it.
Wow. I’m able to see these small details as well now. That’s good. It’ll help me identify if there’s poison in any of the dishes. Even so, I doubt it will be help me find the culprit in such an event to back up my claim of there being dangerous substance in the food.
“Okay. Say ah,” I said to Serina and held the tip of the bottle near her mouth.
Seeing the bottle near her mouth, Serina opened her mouth wife and allowed me to place it there. Serina placed her tiny gentle fingers around the bottle to try and hold, but there was no strength in them.
So, I held the bottle firmly there and allowed her to suck a few drops before removing the bottle from her mouth so she could digest. After that, I repeated the cycle once more until Serina drank all the milk. The baby girl was also hungry as she seemed to try and get the bottle back to her whenever I took it away from her.
Flavia watched me in surprise and said, “You’re doing a better job than me.”
I smiled at her and said, “It’s only that she knows me and feels comfortable being with me. You’ll see the same thing once she becomes accustomed to being with you.”
“Yes. You’re right,” said Flavia and she smiled at me.
After a while after having fed Serina the milk, I decided to take my leave. It’s almost noon and I have yet to have breakfast. Despite that, I decided to not tell Flavia about as I handed Serina over to her before rising to my feet to leave.
“If you’d like, you’re welcome to stay in our house,” suggested Flavia generally, but I shook my head at her.
“Thanks, but that won’t be necessary. I’ll be fine on my own,” I said to her with a confident smile on my face. “Please, look after Serina.”
“Will do,” she said smiling as she held Serina in her arms.
“Ah. Ah. Ah.”
Serina was trying to catch my attention as she attempted to reach out to me with her small hands. I noticed her and I walked a little closed to her with a smile on my face. Once again, she began to playfully touch my face and hit me while laughing like any pure innocent baby would.
“I’ll be leaving now, but don’t worry. I’ll drop by every now and then to see you. Okay?”
I said that to Serina and I don’t know if she understood it or not for a baby. Still, she laughed and smiled widely at me with that cute face that made me almost want to pinch those cheeks. I am confident that even the strictest person will find themselves weakened by that charming baby smile and the cute face she has.
“Alright. See you next time when we meet,” I said to both Flavia and Serina at the same time.
“Bye, Ram and good luck,” she said with a wave of her hand and making Serina wave hers’s as well.
I waved back at them before turning around and heading on my way. I was smiling happily after what felt like a really long time. Erina and The Elder are gone, but Serina is still alive. It’s time I accept their deaths and move forward to help Serina grow up into a healthy woman like her mother.
So, I happily walked forward, but I never realised until later that the place I thought she was safe at was actually a dangerous one.
Hey there everyone and thank you for reading the chapter. The last chapter was a tragic one, but it doesn’t last forever. At the same time, happiness is not infinite and that’s because it’s life. It’s full of both. We accept it and keep moving forward to see what destiny has in store for us. So, I hope you liked this chapter and will want more as the story continues! As for Phoenix Rising, I’ll get that back on track later, but I’m focusing on getting this story rolling.