Ch. 18: The Great Beast (2)
Asher stared at Keisha, who was sleeping peacefully using his stomach as a pillow, for a long time before finally letting out a long, frustrated sigh. She was sleeping in the fetal position and her mouth was slightly open, gasping for air—probably because she had fallen asleep crying, so it made her breathing become a little irregular and the fact that Asher could feel and hear the feelings of other humans, except for these mother and daughter still boggled his mind.
For him, what was the use of being able to know the feelings of other humans, if he couldn’t feel the emotions of the humans he wishes to understand? But there were more interesting parts than the disappointment because in contrast to Kieran who was bound by a contract with him, both Jeremiah and Keisha could communicate with Asher naturally and as Keisha grew up, she never ceased to fascinate him. Could it be because she’s becoming more and more like Jeremiah? Asher didn’t know the answer for sure either.
But one thing Asher is positive about: he gets the reason why Kieran couldn’t easily open his heart to this little girl was because at some point Asher had been in that exact position as his master; he once also blamed Keisha for Jeremiah’s death. However, at the same time, Asher also understood Keisha without needing to know what she was feeling inside since he seen his younger self in her.
After all, as a spirit, Asher had lived the first half of his life in loneliness.
Initially, it took thousands of years for Asher to hatch from his shell because his egg was so powerful that it would take a very long time to hatch. As soon as it hatched, Asher was so excited; he couldn’t wait to be summoned by a human—a spirit user—and form a contract with them. But Asher was born into a world that had dramatically changed and became very unfriendly to the spirits. Everything happened ever since those bastards started binding humans with contracts under the pretext of taking them as their descendants, making the connection between humans and spirits became impossible, and the bridge connecting the two worlds eventually became unstable.
Then, they make things even worse by establishing a nonsensical rule, a ridiculous rule made under the pretense of equality. Moreover, not long after that, the last hope of the spirits, Megaleions—the only remaining human race that wasn’t bound to a contract with those bastards—the land of mages fell to ruin.
In the end, the connection between the spirit world and the human world was cut off.
Asher thought he would be cooped up in the spirit world for eternity, well, that’s not a bad thing… but spirits are quite fond of humans, along with the special bond that will be forged between the two individuals bound by fate. So, he couldn’t help but be sad, and hopeful; until hundreds of years later Asher’s wishes were answered when a call filled with despair succeeded in reconnecting the spirit world and the human world again.
It’s been over a decade and a half, but it seems like only yesterday when a portal appeared before my and we met for the first time.
Originally, humans need to perform a summoning ritual—with magic circles and so on—to summon spirits into the mortal realm and form contracts with us; the stronger and purer a human’s mana, the more powerful a spirit that could be summoned by them. Generally, only the bloodline of the Megaleio royal family could summon a great spirit—or even a spirit king—due to their unique and pure mana flow.
But at that time…
There was no spirit summoning ritual, and the summoner wasn’t even from the lineage of the Megaleio royal family, only an incomparably miserable cry and the alluring smell of blood yet managed to summon a high-ranking spirit, like Asher.
A pathetic plea for life.
Even without a proper summoning ritual, perhaps it was thanks to him begging for help at the risk of his own life that his prayer reached Elyse, the Sanctum of the Spirits.
After all, he begged to be saved, he begged because he wanted to live.
And because of that too, Asher gladly answered the summons that was filled with despair and thus, the contract between Kieran Eshe Elaine, who was then still the second prince of the Kryfi Empire and Asher, the Great Spirit was formed.
Asher sighed again.
I’m still confused how that pitiful child has now grown into such a cold-hearted man.
But they are both so alike…
When Keisha shouted at Asher because she wanted to see her father, Asher saw Keisha’s eyes exactly like Kieran’s when they met for the first time. Eyes filled with helplessness and desperation, and a screamed asking for help; oddly enough, even her normal baby babbling he usually couldn’t understand sounded so clear in his ears, he could tell what she meant very clearly.
Suddenly, Keisha gave an uncomfortable little wriggle which automatically alarmed Asher. Asher gasped, if only he hadn’t remembered that a baby was using him as a cushion, maybe now Asher had jumped out of reflex.
“Hng…” Keisha groaned in her sleep.
“Does she feel cold?” Asher asked himself in confusion, while tilting his head. Then, without thinking twice, he flicked his tail and the fireplace beside them lit up, the red flames started to flutter gracefully. Asher then smiled with satisfaction as if he had done something great that was worthy of praise and needed to be rewarded with a medal by the empire. However, Asher suddenly turned towards Keisha with a look of confusion mixed with surprise the moment when he heard Keisha let out another groan; it was a choked sound in her throat that sounded so sad, and Asher realized that she was crying in her sleep.
Even in her sleep, this little girl called out to the cold-hearted man, but still couldn’t reach the figure of her father who had gone far away.
“I hate you, dad…” She mumbled.
Asher’s ears flapped, and he gritted his teeth.
“That rascal, I will make you pay for her tears!”
Asher cursed his master with full determination before his eyes suddenly turned sharp and stared towards the door, after all, Asher have been feeling irritated and frustrated because of what his master had done. So, he became over sensitive and reacted harshly.
Someone opened the door slowly and the creaking hinge echoed all over the room. Asher gave them a deep-low growl to the point where his canines were also showing, which resulted in Estelle and the Head Maid Isla got scared out of their wits.
“I don’t mean to disturb your rest, Great Spirit.” Isla said with impeccable courtesy, “I’m here to check on Princess Keisha’s condition.”
Asher turned his head away and wagged his tail once roughly, gesturing that they were allowed to enter. Got what Asher meant, Isla lowered her head once more and said, “Then, please pardon our intrusion and we’re going to enter now.”
Isla, Estelle and Nouvel entered the room, and they started to busy themselves to ensure Keisha’s comfort; they started from bringing in pillows and a blanket to carrying wood in for the fireplace, while still trying to make sure the noise they made was kept low so as not to wake Keisha.
Even though there was nothing left they really had to do, Isla only ordered the other maids to leave, but she still stayed with Estelle and Nouvel to accompany Keisha until she woke up. Waiting for the time to pass, they stood beside the fireplace with each other company in silence.
Enjoy the ride~!