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The Half-Elf's Spirit

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"E.M.T!" | Speaking

E.M.T! | Thoughts or Writing

~

300 Years Before the Sealing of the Witch of Envy

The low humming of a man could be heard.

Inside a small cottage house that looked worse-for-wear sat an old man with pale gray hair, humming a small tune.

In the house, papers were scattered everywhere. The only furniture was a small bed, a chair, and a table.

The old man had a frail look to him. Almost as if he hadn't been outside for several years. Well, that would be true. He had devoted his life to a project. A project that would change everything.

Creating an artificial spirit.

Suddenly, his humming stopped. He just stared at the papers on his table, going over the several notes. Without warning, he slammed his fist into the table, causing the papers to fly everywhere. "It's all wrong!" The old man shouted. He had a gruff voice. Yet at the same time, it held a hint of compassion and kindness.

He raised his hand to his forehead. "Why won't it work...?" He said softly. No matter how hard he tried, the structure just seemed to collapse. No matter how many attempts he made, he would barely make any progress.

No matter how hard he prayed, cried, begged... It would never work.

A mere human trying to create an artificial spirit was impossible. He didn't have nearly enough mana. He sighed in frustration, forcing himself to take deep breaths, calming him down. Once he was calm, he sat back down in his chair. "Right. I just need some more time." He spoke. "Teacher, I won't fail you." With those last words, he started working.

Creating an artificial spirit is something that was considered impossible. That's what he has been told his entire life. Always. It required immense control, knowledge of the world, and most importantly, mana. A lot of mana.

He was on his last legs. He had lived far longer than an average human. Even with help from his teacher, he still wouldn't be able to live for much longer. He sighed, picking up his notes from the ground. "One step at a time." He said softly.

"One step at a time."

~

Many years later, he still hadn't reached a breakthrough.

Quiet tears fell to the floor. This was his last attempt. His final bravado.

He was sweating very heavily. His throat burned and he felt like he would collapse at any moment. He had been suffering from mana exhaustion for a good while now. Tears in his eyes, he channeled his mana.

He started.

Flashes of his life appeared. His family always looking down on him, finding his teacher, studying, and then... Working for the rest of his life. Overall, he lived a disappointing life. Things could've been better if he had just given up on this project long ago. However, he wanted to leave a mark.

He wanted to be remembered.

A mere human managing to create an artificial spirit.

How many days had he spent working just to earn that title? He doesn't know.

He felt himself being drained of his mana.

"Please..." He begged. He just wanted to rest. "Please!" Tears were flowing rapidly from his eyes.

"Please..." He hung his head low, continuing the flow of mana.

Just then, a bright light shone. The old man looked up, immediately regretting it. The light was blinding. He cut off his flow of mana, covering his eyes.

When the light had finally dissipated, he uncovered his eyes.

There where the light previously was sat a young child with swept-back short black hair, wearing simple rags, and sharp intimidating brown eyes.

The two both stared at each other, not saying a word.

Then, in the midst of the silence came a laugh. It was a very small laugh. It wasn't a laugh of elation or humor. It was one of relief.

The old man smiled. "Finally." He fell asleep, collapsing immediately.

April 1st | Attempt 892,645: Success

~

The old man's eyes shot open. How long had he been asleep? He sat up, looking around the room. What he saw was a young boy walking around the small house, prodding at anything that he could get his hands on. "Huh?" The old man said, confused at the sight.

Suddenly, memories from before he passed out appeared in his mind. Immediately, he felt one thing: Pure elation.

"Wahoo!" The man immediately jumped up, causing the young boy to turn his way with a confused expression. The old man immediately felt a sharp pain in his back from the sudden movement. He groaned in pain for a moment.

After recovering, he dashed out of the small house, leaving the spirit behind. The spirit just stared after him. Moments later, the old man returned, a bottle of wine in hand. "I promised myself I would drink this after I had completed this project. Now... I can finally drink it!" The old man rejoiced.

"Hm, how long has it been? 80... 90 years... Eh, whatever." He quickly brought the bottle to his lips. "Gha!" He let out a sigh of pure bliss as he walked over to his chair and sat down. "That tastes amazing."

The old man then brought his attention back to the spirit. He was currently watching a small ant crawl up a wall. "Now, what do I do with you?" The old man muttered. He didn't really have any plans for what to do with the spirit.

"Hm... I guess I could sell him to someone." The old man murmured. "No, that's too cruel." He quickly brushed the idea off. 'Well, I guess he could stay here.' The old man stood up and walked over to the spirit.

When the spirit noticed that the man was coming closer, it flinched. 'Huh, that's interesting.' The man thought, continuing to move forward. The spirit frantically looked in all directions, looking for a possible escape.

One step... It flinched. Two steps... It panicked. Three steps... It tried to hide.

When the spirit reached the spirit, he crouched down so they were at eye level. "Hello. Can you talk?" The old man said, giving a calm smile. The spirit seemed to calm down a bit, realizing that he wasn't in any danger.

The spirit moved his hand to his throat. "Hmmm." The spirit let out a soft hum, seemingly testing his vocal cords. When the spirit seemed satisfied, he spoke.

"Hello."

That was all the spirit said. Nothing more. Nothing less.

"Alright! That's great!" The old man said enthusiastically. "Hm, let's come up with a name for you..." The old man stood up, raising his hand to his chin in thought. He thought back to his teacher and the teachings.

After a moment, he smiled. He figured out a name. Pointing at the spirit, he spoke in an excited tone. "Natsuki Subaru! That will be your name. The Pleiades constellation is pretty cool, you know."

Subaru stared at the man. "Subaru... Nastuki... My name... is Natsuki Subaru?" He asked. "Yeah!" The old man said, giving Subaru a thumbs up.

Subaru smiled for the first time.

"Natsuki Subaru. I like it."

"Alright!" The old man said. "I've got to go get some work done now. If you need anything, just call me. After I'm finished, we can go out and get you some new clothes." The old man then left Subaru to his own devices.

Subaru honestly didn't know what to do. He didn't know he got here, who he was, what he was doing here. All he knew was that his name was Natsuki Subaru and that there was an old man in this small room.

Subaru walked over to the wood wall. It looked worn down. Running his hand across the wall, he felt the wood. The wood had long become rot due to time.

Soft, Subaru thought. I wonder how long it's been- Subaru's thoughts were cut off by a sudden sharp pain in one of his fingers.

He carefully inspected the finger where he felt the pain. There he found a small fragment of wood that had punctured his finger. He immediately tore out the fragment of wood, causing a small stinging pain.

What was that? It didn't feel very good.

Subaru sighed, moving over to sit in a corner. He tucked his head in between his legs and let himself be consumed by his own thoughts.

~

"Alright!” The old man stood up slowly, making sure he wouldn’t injure himself.

“Subaru, it’s time to go.”

Subaru, who was sitting in the corner, looked up at the old man.

“Ok.” He stood up and walked over.

The old man just nodded and approached the door.

“Oh, right.” He said, stopping before the door.

“This is your first time going outside, right?”

Indeed, this was going to be Subaru’s first time leaving the small house. Honestly, he didn’t know what to expect. He had spawned into existence with basic knowledge of the world, but he had never experienced anything for himself.

“Yeah.” Subaru nodded.

“Are you nervous?” The old man asked.

“Not really.”

He was nervous.

His first experience outside out of the small musty room that he had taken his first breaths in. It was enough to make anybody nervous. What if it didn’t live up to expectations? That would be very, very disappointing.

“Alright then.” The old man reached for the door handle.

“Here we go!”

A soft breeze washed over Subaru’s body. The lush greenery of the land spread far beyond the horizon. The warmth of the sun brings a comforting feeling to those who bathe in it.

It was a desolate location. A small house on a small hill with only a few nearby villages. A perfect location for those that wish to work without interruption.

Subaru stared, paralyzed in awe.

Knowing what something is and experiencing it are two completely different things.

“It really is something, huh?” The old said, admiring the sight. Frankly, he hadn’t left the house too much either. Since he’s started working on his project, he just didn’t have the time. The only exception was for basic necessities. After all, he was a human. He had his limitations.

“Well, let’s go!” The old man stepped onto the grass, crushing it beneath his boots.

“H-Hold on!” Subaru called out desperately.

“Hmm. Is something wrong?” The old man turned around.

Subaru just sighed. He hesitantly brought his foot over the grass and took the step. He felt the grass between his toes. It was a huge difference between the softwood floor of the house.

The old man just smiled.

“We’re going to be going to a village today. You’ll be meeting other humans.”

The old man and Subaru walked down the small hill. The only sound was the grass crunching beneath their feet and the small sounds of the birds chirping.

Tranquility.

Subaru was fascinated with this land.

It was so… nice.

He didn’t know how else to describe it.

“Hey,” Subaru said.

“Hm?”

“The whole world isn’t like this, right?”

The old man sighed. Subaru was quick to figure things out. This one hill definitely wasn’t the whole picture.

“No. Unfortunately, it isn’t.”

“Ah, I see.”

The rest of the walk was silent.

~

After a while of walking, a small village appeared in the distance.

It looked like a small thriving community with only a few inhabitants. This really was a desolate place.

“Don’t worry. We’re not going to be talking that much. It’s just a simple visit for some clothes and food.” The old man reassured, noticing Subaru’s hesitant expression.

Subaru just nodded.

As they were approaching the village, three children ran down the small path, kicking a ball.

When they noticed the old man, they smiled. “Hey! It’s the old man.”

“Hey, guys! You’ve gotten bigger.” The old man chuckled as the children surrounded him.

“It’s been a while since you’ve been here. Are you alright?” One of the children asked.

“Don’t worry, it’s been fine. We’re just going to grab some stuff and we’ll be on our way.”

“We?” The children asked.

The old man smiled. “Everybody, I would like you to meet Subaru.” The old man moved to the side, revealing Subaru to the group of children.

Subaru blinked.

The children’s faces lit up in excitement.

“Woah! Is this your kid?” They all surrounded Subaru, leaving him no room to escape.

“How old are you?”

“Do you want to play with us?”

“Who’s your mama?”

They bombarded Subaru with questions which, of course, left him severely overwhelmed.

“Come on, guys. One question at a time. Leave Subaru alone.” The old man interjected, noticing Subaru’s discomfort with the situation.

“Awwwww!” The children said, pouting in disappointment.

“Alright, run along, you guys. We have some shopping to do.” The old man put his hands on his hips, urging the children to leave.

“Bye!” The children said simultaneously, waving to the old man as they left.

The old man sighed. “Those kids…”

“Hey, Subaru. You alright-“

Subaru had a gloomy aura around him as if somebody just died.

“Eh? Are you alright?”

“People are scary…”

“Ehhhhh?”

~

Walking through the bustling streets of the village, Subaru examined his surroundings.

The village had a lot more inhabitants than he originally anticipated.

There were several houses, children, and people. They also seemed to have a thriving economy as there were several stalls and shops lined up against the sides of the main road.

“Clothes, clothes, clothes…” The old man muttered, scanning the several different stores.

“A-ha!”

The old man walked towards a small shop, Subaru in tow. It was a small building. One story, one window displaying a variety of different clothing options, and a wood-framed doorway.

“Alright, Subaru. We’re stopping here.” The old man pushed open the door, the sound of a bell ringing out through the small store.

Behind a desk in the middle of the store, sat a man with short blonde hair and emerald green eyes, reading a book.

“Welcome-“ The vendor looked up. “Oh, it’s you.” He put his book down and stood up from his chair, approaching the old man.

“What’ll it be today?” He sighed.

“Actually, it’s not for me today.” The old man said, softly pushing Subaru in front of him.

Subaru quickly looked away, not meeting the vendor’s gaze. He wasn’t comfortable with talking with other people at all. The only person he was comfortable talking with was the old man. He could trust him.

The vendor looked at Subaru, his gaze going over his figure. “Alright then, I’ll find something that works. You definitely have to get him out of those rags.” The vendor said, moving towards the several different types of clothing that he had lined up against the wall.

The vendor returned moments later, a huge pile of different clothes in hand.

“Alright, you’ll be trying these on.” He handed Subaru the pile. “Take this and go the back room.”

Subaru nodded, struggling to carry the massive pile of clothes that he had just been handed. He moved towards the back of the shop and entered a secluded room that would allow him to change privately.

Once Subaru was gone, the vendor turned towards the old man.

“So, what’s up with the kid?”

“It’s nothing.”

“A random child popping up really doesn’t seem like nothing.”

“It really is.”

“Come on, man. It’s only been a couple of months since the last time you’ve been here. A couple of months isn’t enough time to fuck a woman, conceive a child, and raise him. Plus, there’s no way you’ll be getting any bitches at this age. Did you adopt him?”

The old man sighed, turning away from the vendor.

“Wow, you’re really secretive today, ain’t ya?” The vendor teased.

The old man just decided to ignore the vendor’s attempts to tease him and indulge in his own thoughts.

Artificial Spirit.

It hadn’t really sunken in yet. He just felt kind of numb. As if the events that had just occurred could’ve just been a dream and that he could wake up any moment.

If he woke up tomorrow and it wasn’t a dream, what would he do with his life?

His project was his life. He had completed his life.

He just sighed, rubbing his temple.

This was quite the dilemma.

The sound of a door opening knocked the old man out of his thoughts.

The source of the sound was Subaru opening a wooden door, and from that door emerged Subaru wearing all the clothes that he had been given. All the hats, shirts, coats, shoes, everything. He literally looked like a ball of clothes.

The old man immediately keeled over in laughter while the vendor stomped over to Subaru, fury in his eyes.

“I meant to try them on individually, not all at once, you idiot!”

“Ah, b-but…”

“No buts! Get your ass back in there!”

The old man wiped a tear from his eye as he watched the situation in front of him. What was once an internal conflict transitioned into pure happiness.

“Well, I guess I can stick around for Subaru.” The old man smiled.

~

Moments later, Subaru was standing in the middle of the store wearing the clothing that he had selected.

Subaru was suited into a pair of black trousers, brown lace-up boots, a white shirt, and to finish it off, an open brown jacket that seemed a little bit too big for him resting upon his shoulders.

“Hm. Looks good.” The old man nodded.

“Alright, we’ll be paying now.” The old man turned towards the vendor, opening up his wallet.

Luckily, he still had some leftover funds from the money his teacher had given him to work on his project.

“Thank you for your purchase.” The vendor said, counting the coins he received from the old man.

“Yeah.” The old man said, bringing Subaru towards the door. After this, they were just going to pick up some groceries and head back to the house.

Before they left, something caught Subaru’s eye.

An orange scarf stuck out from the rest of the scarves.

It looked soft, warm, and comforting.

“Hm?” The old man turned around, noticing Subaru’s sudden lack of response.

When he realized what Subaru was looking at, the old man smiled.

“We’ll take that orange scarf.”

Subaru looked up at the old man in surprise. “No, you don’t really have to-“

“Oh, come on. You want it, don’t you? I can see that look in your eye. Don’t worry, I still have a lot of money left.” The old man reassured.

Subaru just remained silent after that.

The vendor walked forward, scarf in hand. “Here you go.” He handed it to the old man.

“And…” He also raised his other hand, obviously asking for money.

The old man sighed and pulled out his wallet again. “Here you go.” He said, dropping a couple of coins into the vendor’s hand.

“Thanks for doing business with you.” The vendor said, closing his hand.

With that, Subaru and the old man left the store.

Once they left, the old man kneeled down so that he was at Subaru’s eye level.

“Subaru, here you go.” The old man wrapped the scarf around Subaru’s neck. It was obviously far too large for him, being able to wrap around his neck multiple times.

Subaru stared at the old man as he wrapped the scarf around him. It felt so warm.

Subaru lightly caressed his scarf as the old man stood up. “We’re going for groceries now. Let’s get moving.” The old man grabbed Subaru’s hand and continued walking down the road.

Subaru looked up at the old man. He was amazing.

After a moment of walking, the old suddenly halted. Reaching into his pocket, he retrieved a list and started scanning the contents. “Alright! The first thing on the list is… Mayonnaise!” The old man beamed.

“Mayonnaise?” Subaru was confused.

“That’s right, mayonnaise! It’s something that my teacher taught me about while I was studying under them. It’s amazing.”

“Hm, I see.”

“So, we’ll need eggs, oil… Yeah, I’m sure everything’s here. Let’s go!”

~

After buying everything, the old man was left with several different grocery bags while Subaru stood at his side awkwardly.

“Hm, this is quite the haul today.” The old man said, staring at his groceries. “Well, let’s head back to the house.”

The old man started walking always gleefully. Subaru followed.

“Ah, it’s been a while, huh?” The old man said. They had been in the village for a long period of time. The sun had already started to set. The warm palette of the sky brought on a sense of comfort to those that it’s able to reach.

“Yeah,” Subaru answered.

The walk back felt a lot shorter than the walk to the village. After all, it was a really eventful day.

The old man sighed as he walked towards the door of the house and pushed it open, revealing the small and musty room that he had called home.

Dropping his bags, he walked into the house and quickly took a deep breath, inhaling the familiar air of this one room.

“Alright, Subaru. That’s enough for today.”

Subaru walked into the house. The old man helped him take off his jacket and scarf, laying them on the table where he had used to work.

“Ok, I think it’s about time we head to sleep-“ The old man stopped. There was only one bed.

The old man sighed, running his hand through his greasy hair. “Subaru, you should take the bed tonight.” The old man smiled.

“But-“

“It’s fine. I’ve slept in a chair before, just… Get to sleep.”

“Alright.” Subaru acquiesced, walking over to the small bed.

He carefully got into the bed and pulled the blanket over him. It was soft.

“Goodnight, Subaru.”

With that, Subaru fell asleep.