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My Grandfather's Tales

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Apart from going on her own adventures - okay, so maybe as well as - Parin's favourite thing was visiting her grandfather and listening over tea and cake to his many adventuring tales of his youth. She didn't believe half of them - they were simply beyond credulity. Fighting and sealing away a dragon was all well and good - it was the sort of thing you were supposed to do on adventures - but with a drill? Who even enchants drills with mystical powers, anyway?

Still, she liked the bit where he didn't kill the dragon, just forced it back into its own realm. The thing had sounded a little lost and confused, to be honest, and Grandpa had said it was a young dragon, probably about her own age in mentality, and that there was probably some kind of enchantment making it larger and more malicious. She wanted to be the sort of adventurer who thought her problems through and didn't just slay everything in sight, too. That, and she wanted to look gorgeous in a set of robes like Dela Delon.

The thing that confused her the most about his earliest tales was when he talked about his old home, Liberl, before he traveled the wider world. He'd been known as Agate back home. It was a pretty name - she didn't understand why he would change it. Did he just want to start a new life, was there someone he wanted to hide from or a painful memory he wished to leave behind? When she asked, he never satisfied her curiosity, just smiled sadly, his eyes soft.

"You know, back home, I was good friends with a little girl your age. She had long hair like yours but blonde. I was a big, clumsy, stupid young man at the time..."

"Did she have a crush on you?" piped up Parin.

"... Yeah, probably," he sighed. Then his voice gained a slightly dangerous edge, "Why, which young men do you have a crush on, Parin?"

"Oh... um..." she grinned and scratched the back of her head, "Only the ones on posters, don't worry. The boys round here are idiots."

"You find your way in life. Know who you are and what you're doing. It's as important as finding someone else," he advised her, "Hm, we're out of tea. Go and get me some more. And don't forget to tell me if you see any spirits."

She rolled her eyes, wondering what spirits he'd been drinking in secret before he arrived this time. That, and what this Tita had been like. She imagined they would have been good friends.