I found it near impossible to learn anything until my body started developing enough to actually start moving.

But thankfully, I managed to move around very quickly.

In my second month, I could already crawl.

By my third, I could even stand and walk around, though not for very long before my stubby legs gave out on me.

I really was like the hero Eyva showed me in the crystal ball, growing freakishly big freakishly quick.

It reminded me of mythology from earth, when heroes like Hercules could do crazy shit like wrestle bears or beat up wolves when they were ten. Honestly, I didn even have to reference mythology for that.

Fighters from my world grew fast, too, with Qi naturally flowing through their veins, nourishing their bodies at the cellular level. Even in the past, by the time I had been ten, I was bigger than most fully grown normal humans.

In fact, I wagered that the way I was growing right now, maybe I had inherited Qi. Though, upon closer inspection, that didn seem true. If I did have Qi, I would have been able to sense it flowing through my body and control it.

As it so happened, whenever I tried to meditate and focus, I felt nothing.

Each milestone made Eyva giddy with excitement, but for all of them, my parents were never there.

My father no longer visited at all.

My mother, once a month, just to hold me for a few minutes and to ask Eyva whether I could use magic or not.

When the
o answer hit her, my mother would stop holding me, despondent, and leave.

I didn care, though.

Life was still so much better.

The nightmares were gone now.

Back in my old life, the same one used to plague my almost every night.

Of a raging, living flame, made of rage manifest, the rage of the countless many I had killed, the of the rage I had once felt in a near constant state of existential pain – pain that I unleashed on others.

This was a byproduct of my training.

The style my master passed down to me was called the Phoenix style.

It almost technique, called the Burning God, required that I cultivate an entire separate personality within myself. One full of nothing but anger and hate and other searing hot emotions.

The principle behind it was to let that personality take over and ecome a burning god, unlocking the enormous reserves of latent strength that humans held back for extreme survival situations.

In this world, however, I never suffered that nightmare. I never heard the raging whispers of the Fire.

Most likely because I had not undergone the harsh training ritual to ignite the Fire within me.

But I was fine with that.

For once, I found myself looking forward to sleeping because I knew in the morning, Eyva would wake me up with a smile and a tray of my favorite fruits.

She quickly figured out I loved sweeter flavors, and she always came back a platter full of the most decadent fruity treats, notably of fruits I had never seen before on earth.

= = =

Once I could show that I could move around, my crib was taken away, leaving me free to explore.

Though I could never leave the confines of my room.

The door was magically sealed shut, the sealing visible from a series of glowing symbols that floated over it whenever I got too close. Said sealing seemed specifically coded to me as it never showed up with the maids of Eyva.

Just in case I ever wanted to try and force my way out.

That ruled out trying to explore the outside to start learning about the world.

At first, that stumped me.

Eyva held off on teaching me anything, probably believing me too young and incapable. But she was the only resource I could turn to.

I didn want to draw unnecessary attention to myself, but I figured I was in an emergency state where I had to start figuring things out quickly.

I uttered my first word, pointing to a bookshelf.

Though I was growing rapidly, I was still too small to reach even the bottom rung of the shelf to retrieve any of the books.

”Want… ” I said.

I chose my first word carefully. It would draw the most attention, and hopefully I could use that to sway Eyva to do my bidding.

”Wonderful! Your first word! ” Eyva almost jumped through the roof in sheer excitement.

One of the assisting maids shook her head. ”His first word, and it is not mama or papa, but want. Such greed. Maybe he truly is a cursed child. ”

”Hush, Clara, ” said Eyva, glaring at the maid, and the maid immediately put her head down. It seemed that Eyva commanded quite a bit of respect.

I noticed that too with my parents. The few times they showed up, they talked to her with more respect than they did with the maids.

”Were his mother and father truly present, I am sure those would have been his first words, ” sighed Eyva.

I pointed at Eyva. ”Mama. ”

This was my ultimate move. A secret technique to try and bend Eyva to my will.

By the way Eyva placed her hands on her cheeks, I knew it had been super effective.

”Oh, what a sweet little leaf you are! ” Eyva rapidly patted my head. Quite hard, too, I almost started to get dizzy. She stopped and wagged a finger at me. ”But I am not your mama. When she comes, I will point her out to you. ”

I pointed at the bookshelf again: my main objective. ”Want. ”

Eyva, now high on affection, practically skipped her way to the bookshelf. She rapidly gestured up and down at the books. ”You want one of these? ”

I nodded. I had an innate ability, it seemed, to naturally understand everyone around me, but that didn mean I knew how to speak their language.

However, by carefully tying specific vocalizations with words I knew the meaning of already, I could piece together how the language worked very quickly.

By now, maybe it was because I still had a childs heightened learning, I could likely hold a decent conversation, though I made sure not to go too overboard.

The other maids already side-eyed me like I was a freak; going too far was probably going to draw too much attention.

The bigger issue was that I could not read or write anything. But I hoped that by pointing out and wanting a book, I could nudge Eyva into teaching me.

”These are useless for you, little leaf. ” Eyva knelt down beside me, taking a book in her hand wrapped in a dark blue cover. On it was golden text I obviously couldn read.

She cracked the book open, revealing pages covered with symbols of black ink that packed together to form an inscrutable, formidable wall of black.

”Want. ” I pressed my finger down firm on the page, overcoming my fears.

”You must have seen me reading and wanted to know what it was all about. Hm. ” Eyva cocked her head. ”I suppose it is not too early to teach you how to write. ”

”Is that wise? ” said another maid. ”The child has only spoken a single world. ”

”And yet knows quite a few already. Look at his eyes, too, he understands the concept of reading from seeing and hearing me read out loud to him.

I am telling you, he is fated, ” said Eyva. ”Honored by the gods with a body and mind beyond compare. None of you have experience with children like these as they are so rare, but as a royal midwife of many kingdoms, I do.

There is no set curriculum for such children as they develop so quickly.

You do not set a pace for them. You let them set the pace for you. ”

Eyva returned her attention to me. ”You may be a fated child, but-, ” A fiery glint appeared in Eyvas eyes. ”If you want to take me as a teacher, I will not coddle you. ”

I gulped, sensing the same harsh drive to train in Eyvas eyes as I did with my master in my past life.

Eyva looked through the bookshelf and nodded, taking a fat one with a red leather cover out. ”This is The History of Oria by Grand Scholar Aurelius. It is a very dry academic text, but by the end of this year, I want you to be able to read at least a page from it.

This is a text that even the brightest of scholars sons would start to read at the age of ten, but I believe in you, little leaf. ”

”Okay, ” I said, resolving myself for some mental suffering. I had never studied books before. It was a type of threat Id never faced before, and that fear of the unknown got to me.

”Thats the spirit. ” Eyva smiled and together, we got to work expanding my narrow brain.

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