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#26Houren Vanadis 

on Tue Nov 28, 2017 7:35 am

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The manifestation, or rather, Lucian the Fairy Tail mage, threw his head back and began to laugh profusely, much like the manifestation that took the appearance of Houren's younger self it was a wonder how the Fire Dragon Slayer wasn't able to figure this out sooner, and he was actually somewhat embarrassed that he hadn't been able to do so. After all, it was actually really obvious when you thought about it on a deeper level. Their mannerisms were the same, but the Fire Dragon Slayer of Fairy Tail wasn't thinking about when he was talking to the manifestation. In particular, Lucian hadn't changed anything about his demeanor when he was pretending to be the manifestation of Houren's stress, and the identical way in which they both laughed was proof of that. Of course, Houren knew that Lucian was probably doing this unintentionally. He was a great actor, but he wasn't one to pay attention to details. He would be a great actor of the big screen, but would probably not have a very good career for plays. If there were many takes, every scene Lucian would be in would be a painting still, but in a live event, he'd probably give the game away as soon as he shows up on stage. In the end, it was a good thing he was a mage and not an actor.

"It goes without saying that I followed you, doesn't it? I was so surprised when I heard you got a special request from the guildmaster, Houren, especially since you're never around. I guess you could say I was pretty jealous, eh?" he winked a wink that suggested he actually couldn't care less at all and just wanted an excuse to mess with Houren. "Of course, I was worried about you as well so I decided to follow you. Y'know, well, have my projection follow you. I'm actually in the middle of a job back in Magnolia, ya see," Lucian chuckled the rest of his explanation like a hyena, one that Houren supposed he could accept, but there was still something that was kind of bugging him.

"Your transformation into me during my teenage years was spot on, you know. I don't recall having met you back when I was a boy of fourteen or fifteen, so how'd you get it so accurate? Did you just guess or do we have some connection that I didn't know about until today?" the Fire Dragon Slayer asked, rubbing his chin in contemplation. Truly, talking to that 'manifestation' was like looking into a mirror from who knows how long ago.

Lucian suddenly slapped his knee and thought himself to be a riot, laughing about something that Houren didn't quite understand. He finally stopped after a few moments and regained his composure. "Oh yeah, I forgot the real reason I followed you here. I came to tell you that in your haste, you dropped your wallet and I picked it up. It's with me right now, so come get it back from me when you return, alright? There's a picture of you from your younger years in there too, which is a little bit egotistical if you ask me but...." he whistled, his body suddenly changed into the form of Houren's younger self as he did so.

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#27Houren Vanadis 

on Tue Nov 28, 2017 7:59 am

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There was certainly a certain amount of disbelief in Houren's voice as he looked at the projection but honestly at this very moment, the thing he was worried most about was his wallet. He could trust Lucian for the most part, but he was kind of a lazy guy if you couldn't tell already - the reason he didn't like to leave Magnolia wasn't because he had a dependent or anything like that, he was simply too stingy to spend money on inns and stuff like that, and would much rather do his work around Magnolia where he could live rent free with his grandparents. Of course, Houren didn't think he was the kind of person to resort to thievery or anything like that, but having a full wallet like Houren's so close to him, he probably wouldn't be able to resist the temptation to filch a couple of jewels. Of course, Houren couldn't have that now, could he?

He expressed shock at having dropped his wallet in his haste and while he was thankful that Lucian picked it up for him, he was still quite doubtful as to the man's character. "You better not touch a single jewel in my wallet, you hear me? If you do, you're gonna get it when I get back to Magnolia, you know?!" the Fire Dragon Slayer sounded angry, but he was speaking fairly comically and was even waving his fist as though he were some angry old guy from the comic strips that he and Lucian bonded over when they first met a couple of years ago.

The projection mage threw his head back and roared with laughter as he was apt to do, and evne slapped his knee for extra comedic effect. It was strange, but whenever Lucian found something funny, he had no choice but to roar with laughter and whenever they hung out in the guildhall, they'd get strange looks because Lucian couldn't keep his mouth shut after hearing a fairly clever knock knock joke. Of course, Fairy Tail's guildhall was the best place to cause a ruckus since it was a very lively place, but Lucian was the kind of guy who couldn't read the mood. Even if the guild was going through a period of mourning or something, Lucian would roar with laughter if he found something that amused him.

He looked at the Fire Dragon Slayer in the eyes and grinned. "Isn't your reaction a little bit off, Hou? I'm the guy who found your wallet so you should be thankful, right? Why are you treating me like I stole your wallet, hahahahaahaha!!" and once again, Lucian burst into laughter that Houren was surprised the others didn't come bursting through wondering just what the hell was going on.

"If it's you, I wouldn't be surprised if you actually stole it," Houren crossed his arms and looked away, while Lucian feigned ignorance, then pretended to be hurt before bursting into great laughter once again at the Fire Dragon Slayer's expense.

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#28Houren Vanadis 

on Wed Nov 29, 2017 3:42 am

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"I didn't steal it, damn you! And I didn't take any money from your wallet either, damn it!" Lucian's words were harsh, but they were mostly for comedic effect more than anything else. The friendship between the two men was superficial, to be fair, and there was nothing else to it, but at the same time, Houren knew as well as Lucian knew that neither of them would do anything to upset this balance. Lucian was the kind of guy who didn't get along with anybody, really, and Houren was the kind of guy who didn't care what other people thought; as long as he thought they were alright, then he was alright with them and they'd be alright with him. Because of this, it went without saying that Houren and Lucian would become friends, one could even say that friendship between the two was destiny more than anything else. The other man seemed to be going on the defensive by now, so Houren decided to just let him off as is for now, at least for now that is.

"Alright, alright, you didn't take anything and I know I can trust you with my personal belongings," the Fire Dragon Slayer of Fairy Tail who went by the name of Houren Vanadis began to chuckle lightly as he tapped his foot on the ground, and looked up to the sun to see how much of the day was left. If he was lucky, he'd be able to fall asleep in his bed in Magnolia today, or perhaps in an inn in Hargeon if they were a bit later. In any case, the Fire Dragon Slayer couldn't say that he fancied staying out here on this island tonight, especially since there was no buildings or anything like that; not even a guest house and he wasn't really in the mood to camp.

"How long are you gonna be out here anyways? It's getting sort of lonely back in Magnolia, you know? I was pretty excited when I heard you came back, but it turned out you were going to be going away for such a long time again. It's really not fair, you know?'' for a second there, the Fire Dragon Slayer of Fairy Tail who went by the name of Houren Vanadis thought that his friend, Lucian, who just so happened to have projection magic that you could manipulate and transform, was breaking character but was pretty relieved when his friend Lucian with the projection magic suddenly started laughing loudly and slapping his knee as though he had just heard the most funny joke in the world.

Lucian wasn't a serious guy, and that was probably why the Fire Dragon Slayer liked him so much as a friend. With this guy, there were no secrets or no drama or anything like that. Just good times, and good company. That was more than Houren could say for most people, but the current expedition team wasn't too bad, he supposed he had to say.

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#29Houren Vanadis 

on Wed Nov 29, 2017 4:17 am

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"Who knows how long I have left on this island...." the Fire Dragon Slayer of Fairy Tail didn't really want to admit it, but at this rate, he could be here for god knows how long. If he had been tasked to do this quest himself then sure enough, he would have had this done a couple of hours ago. Sure, there were some tricky parts that probably would have given him some trouble like the part with the water. The second generation Fire Dragon Slayer would have been forced to swim across, which of course, would have been hard for him since swimming really wasn't one of the things that he was good at not to mention he had absolutely no affinity with the element of water. In fact, even drinking water could put Houren in a bad mood at times, but of course, that wasn't something that he was willing to admit and that was not a part of his personality that he wanted to show to others, so of course it went without saying that he didn't show that part of himself to others.

By extension, it also went without saying that even Lucian didn't know about this, but of course, it didn't really matter at this point. If Houren got to choose his own members for the expedition team though, he probably would have included Lucian simply for the company. He probably would have been useless, probably even a burden when they went up against those plant and golem monsters. Actually, if Houren had to do the quest himself, he might even have had trouble with them as well, but he didn't think they'd defeat him. Having a team simply meant that the fighting was taken care of faster, but what was the point when they took their own sweet time doing everything else?

Of course, it went without saying that the Fire Dragon Slayer of Fairy Tail was somewhat disappointed in his guildmates, but he supposed it couldn't be helped. Houren was a hero, the kind of person who sped through life and all things in it without a care in the world; in such regards, he probably wouldn't even live past thirty, as befitting a great and tragic hero like those that he admired so much back when he was younger and would read stories about heroes like that. Of course, it also went without saying that it was unreasonable for Houren to try and force his teammates to try and do things at his pace. Perhaps their pace actually was a little bit too slow, but he would seem unreasonable simply on the basis of his own speed.

There was a lot of things that the Fire Dragon Slayer wanted to say, especially to Lucian, but it seemed like the projection transformation mage read the Fire Dragon Slayer of Fairy Tail's mind. He simply laughed lightly to himself, not as hard as was characteristic for him. "Having teammates is tough, isn't it, Hou-chan?" he gave another good hearted chuckle.

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#30Houren Vanadis 

on Wed Nov 29, 2017 4:50 am

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"OI! Don't address me so casually," the fact that another grown man was so willing to use such an embarrassing term of endearment was enough to cause Houren to flush; the fact that he was the one being addressed so familiarly actually sent a shiver down his spine, and instinctively, the Fire Dragon Slayer of Fairy Tail raised a fist to actually hit his friend, even though he was aware that the person he had hit was nothing more than a projection, and the fist just went through like it was nothing. Lucian laughed at this attempt as well, guffawing like he was wont to do when things went his way, and knowing him, things often went his way. In fact, even if things didn't go his way, they were still going his way, since Lucian's motto was ''laugh when things go your way'', and as far as Houren could remember, there was no situation where Lucian didn't respond by laughing. Hell, even when he broke someone's window during a game of pickup baseball and was asked to pay for all the damages, he had begun to laugh. It wasn't like he hit a game winning homerun in that instance either, since it was a foul ball that unfortunately caused a couple of thousand jewels in damage. Lucian was laughing then, and he was laughing now and that was enough to make the Fire Dragon Slayer forget his anger and grin.

The Fire Dragon Slayer of Fairy Tail decided to just stand there for a little bit, and enjoy the company of his good friend who was here but at the same time, wasn't actually really here since he was nothing more than a projection. Houren was still a little bit bitter that the guy had tried to impersonate him, as in, pretend to be a manifestation of the Fire Dragon Slayer's stress, but such things didn't matter when you were in the company of such good company. Sooner rather than later, the others in the expedition team - Winderlin, Kazumi, Tori, and Sael, they would want to carry on with things and when they that happened, he would need to part ways with Lucian in the meanwhile. It wasn't a true parting, but he supposed it made him feel sad regardless. Of course, the Fire Dragon Slayer could have insisted that the projection join them for the rest of the quest, but things would get complicated if Lucian suddenly started thinking he deserved a cut of the loot. There was no way Houren was planning on sharing with him, and that put a grin on the Fire Dragon Slayer of Fairy Tail's face.

"I guess this means you'll be going soon? It's lonely, so it'd be nice if you didn't leave so quickly, you know?" Lucian actually looked somewhat disappointed, but it wasn't really up to Houren anymore, was it? In any case, he probably wasn't going anywhere for at least another little while and he could continue to enjoy his friend's company.

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#31Houren Vanadis 

on Wed Nov 29, 2017 5:40 am

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The Fire Dragon Slayer of Fairy Tail wasn't really sure what to say to something like that. It seemed to him that Lucian probably actually was really looking forward to Houren's eventual arrival back in Magnolia. He had probably wanted to do something with Houren, maybe go out to watch a movie or something like that when he heard that the Fire Dragon Slayer was back in town, but such hopes were probably dashed when it became apparent that the only reason that Houren came back to Magnolia in the first place was to answer a summons from Cecilia who wanted him, and a select few others to go on a quest for her. Lucian probably wouldn't have minded or anything like that if he was actually on the expedition team, but in real life, things don't work out so well. They never do, so Lucian had to stay behind and the Fire Dragon Slayer would be given the chance to go on that quest for the guild master, whatever it may be. As it turned out, the quest was to retrieve a jewel, but of course, Lucian didn't know that and as of right now, he was not permitted to know. The Fire Dragon Slayer kept the jewel well hidden in his back pocket.

The Fire Dragon Slayer of Fairy Tail supposed this was probably a good time for him to say something comforting but that really wasn't actually in his character at all. Even if he wanted to reassure Lucian that there would be plenty of time for the two of them to do things together, he wasn't really too sure what to say and for a few minutes there, there was nothing but awkward silence between the two friends, and their bond was not so strong that Lucian would be able to decipher what it is that Houren was thinking or trying to send to him mentally. In his mind, this Lucian guy with the projection magic that was somewhat special because he could transform would probably think that Houren was just wanting to ditch him for this quest, but of course, that couldn't have been any further from the truth.

"I'll let you in on a little secret since it seems like you didn't go down the tomb with us. You were probably waiting out here the whole time, right?" the Fire Dragon Slayer of Fairy Tail sighed; he felt like he was consoling some little kid that had just been spurned or rejected by the older boys, but then again, Houren had always been pretty good with children, or adults that tended to be childish. That was his strong point, sort of. He considered to himself how he should reveal this, but eventually decided that he needed to be a little bit secretive as well as to not reveal the whole thing. "We already have the thing that the Master sent us here to get. All we have to do is go back on the ship, and we'll be on our way to the mainland. So I'll see you soon, okay?" that seemed to cheer Lucian up.

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#32Houren Vanadis 

on Wed Nov 29, 2017 5:59 am

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He managed to cheer up Lucian which was good, but at the end of the day, there was still a lot of things that they needed to get done, and in that sense, actually when you thought about it, it was unfortunate, but the Fire Dragon Slayer was not completely honest with his friend when talking about this quest. After all, he had stated that the thing that Cecilia wanted them to find had already been found, which was true, it was that jewel that she wanted and it was currently in Houren's pocket after he and the expedition team retrieved it from the tomb when they went down into the tomb and fought those golems and those plants and whatever other booby traps that were there, although Houren found the memory kind of fading from his mind. It must not have been as memorable as he initially believed, but oh well, that didn't really matter now, did it?

With the exception of the fact that the Fire Dragon Slayer was honest in telling Lucian that they had already retrieved the item, he hadn't been entirely honest in another area; that is, to say, the Fire Dragon Slayer of Fairy Tail did not tell Lucian that although they found the jewel, which was the item that Cecilia the master of Fairy Tail was looking for, there were some things that he didn't actually say to him, for example, the fact that there were potential intruders on Tenrou Island in the form of Kerberos. In hindsight, it probably would have been better for the Fire Dragon Slayer of Fairy Tail to actually say something since this means he would be able to make use of the fact that Lucian was also on the island in the form of a projection. He could ask Lucian to be on the lookout for these guys, and because it was a projection, he might even be able to scour the whole island to find them.

Of course, there was the off chance that all of this was planned by Cecilia or something and the fact that Lucian was so close to her, not close as in they had any sort of relationship but in the way that he was in Magnolia where the Fairy Tail guildhall was, and was also a member of the guild of which Cecilia was the master of. If Lucian, ever the cautious man, thought for even a second that something was up then he would definitely tell her and she would definitely worry. At worst, she might even declare this mission to be a failure and Houren couldn't possibly do that to the others who had taken this quest with him. He decided to keep quiet even though Lucian could have been a great help. If that happened, then it would have been pretty bad for everyone involved, and besides, at the end of the day, Lucian was much older than Houren was and treated him as a younger brother, not as a friend he would lie for, for his own good.

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#33Houren Vanadis 

on Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:23 am

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It was a story from a long time ago, not one that had any significance nowadays but even so, the Fire Dragon Slayer of Fairy Tail found himself constantly thinking about those events from so long ago. He had been young and dumb, much dumber than he was now if that could be believed, and much younger too which was obvious since this is a recollection of the past and not a vision of the future, in which case he would probably be older rather than younger, or his age would just be unspecified or something along those lines. In any case, it didn't really matter. Things like his wisdom and his age weren't really relevant to the story, rather than that, other things were important such as the events of what happened back then; he was, of course, thinking about the events that led to him becoming the Fire Dragon Slayer. It was a bit strange how he was thinking about this in the presence of Lucian since Houren didn't even know who Lucian was at that time, but even so, as mentioned before, this memory was one that popped into Houren's head at least two or three times a day.

The people, well, the mage group that the Fire Dragon Slayer of Fairy Tail quested with all those years ago had all moved on from Fairy Tail; that wasn't to say that they left the guild although that was true of some of them, but most of them were older gentlemen back then, but still young enough that they had a great heart for adventure. At least two of them had retired, and the other still hung around in the guild although doing quests were no longer his thing. Instead, he spent most of his time taking care of his child, and of course it made sense that the Fire Dragon Slayer was close to that kid as well, often telling the boy stories of his father from his younger days. Strangely enough, the boy was never all that impressed with his father's achievements even though Houren considered that man to be a mentor of his. He wasn't particularly strong, but he was a good man, a reliable guy who you could count on for leadership in times of need. To Houren, that was just as important as strength.

Funnily enough, the Fire Dragon Slayer's involvement in the quest that saw him become a Fire Dragon Slayer wasn't one that he actually contributed that much to. He didn't really do much in that quest besides tag along, but at the end of the quest, the person who got the biggest reward was him. They had split the monetary reward evenly but of course you couldn't do that to a Dragon Slayer lacrima without completely making it worthless. One of his teammates, the one with the child, thought it'd be amusing to give it to Houren but was quickly rebuked by the others for this completely insensitive comment and suggestion.

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#34Houren Vanadis 

on Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:36 am

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The reason he had been scolded by the others, of course, was due to the fact that implanting a dragon slayer lacrima into someone's body really was no laughing matter. The art of dragon slaying, or dragon slayer magic for short was a coveted magic in this world; because it has been so many years since dragons last roamed freely in Fiore, so long ago that no currently living human (probably) has actually seen or considered these dragons to be commonplace beasts. Of course, the fact that dragons were so rare meant that dragon slayer magic was not one that was readily accessible. Although it was called dragon slayer magic, it was well documented that the only real way to learn dragon slaying magic was from a dragon him or herself. Of course, this also meant that humans would try to create artificial dragon slayers, and this is how the dragon slayer lacrima came into being. In that regard, Houren was nothing more than an artificial dragon slayer than a real one, but the differences in lacrima implanted dragon slayer magic and the actual thing taught by a dragon was probably minimal if there was a difference at all. In any case, the Fire Dragon Slayer didn't think he'd lose at all even if a dragon showed up on Tenrou Island and demanded a fight.

Of course, this is talking about Houren right now as an adult. Back when he was a kid, a mere boy who journeyed with those journeymen mages, he had been quite fragile and small sized. One look at him and you'd assume that he would definitely die if someone tried to implant a lacrima into his body. The adult with the child who had been on Houren's team, the Fire Dragon Slayer even now didn't know what to think of his suggestion. Did he truly believe that Houren would be able to survive the implantation process and become a true dragon slayer, or did he have some sort of death wish for the young boy at that time? Or was he actually just kidding and everyone took his joke too far and were too serious about it? If you asked him now, which Houren often did when he saw him in the guildhall, the man with the child, older now, would simply sit back, stroke his chin and say something along the lines of "I though to myself 'man if it's Houren, then he'd definitely be able to do it,' and I was right. Hahahaha!" and he'd slap his leg and start laughing hysterically like Lucian often did.

This kind of half assed response often put a slight grimace on the Fire Dragon Slayer's face, simply because it didn't actually seem all that sincere to him. Still, even if he wasn't being sincere, it didn't change the fact that he was right. And because of his suggestion, Houren went through with it and the implantation had been successful. If he hadn't said anything at that time, perhaps Houren would never have become this powerful.

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#35Houren Vanadis 

on Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:46 am

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When the faces of all the other people in the group soured, the guy with the child who initially suggested that Houren should implant the lacrima into his body and attempt to become an artificial dragon slayer, immediately retracted his comment and tried to pass it off as nothing but a joke, claiming that he wouldn't ever suggest anything that would put Houren, who was a child at that time mind you, in danger. However, while he did claim that his suggestion was not truly serious, he did not shy away from extolling the virtues and advantages of dragon slayer magic. At that, he started talking about the things that Houren often thought about; about how dragons used to be the fear of all living things and how they utilized a special form of magic that could be taught to humans. The man with the child was one of those that believed dragons were as good as extinct, and if dragon slayers still existed in this world, then they were all second generation (ie. to say that they became dragon slayers from having the lacrima implanted into their bodies), and he believed that Houren could be a good addition to that. He was generally a kind man, but spoke somewhat unkindly when addressing Houren. He claimed that the young boy was still too green, still weak, but dragon slaying magic could make him strong, it could be the motivation that he would need to ascend to greater heights but this did nothing to move the position of the other mages in the guild.

They countered by saying Houren was still a boy who hadn't even entered the stage of life when he would experience the most immense growth yet. He was still a kid, so he could be excused for being weak, he could be excused for not contributing as much as the adult members of the group but of course Houren wasn't satisfied with this reply at all. He didn't want to be a burden, nor did he want to use the excuse that he was still young as a way of justifying his own uselessness. He wanted to be strong, he wanted to be useful, and now, after listening to this argument, he decided he wanted to be a dragon slayer as well. The two groups continued to argue; the guys that thought the idea of Houren trying to become a dragon slayer by having a lacrima implanted into his prepubescent body was the stupidest thing that they've ever heard up against the one guy that thought it wouldn't be such a bad idea and that Houren was strong enough to take it.

As they continued to argue back and forth, the Fire Dragon Slayer to be drowned out their voices by covering both of his ears with his hands and walked over to where the lacrima was. He shouted out to them that he wasn't weak, and that he would prove it to them before attempting to forcibly implant the lacrima into his body much to everyone's shock.

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#36Houren Vanadis 

on Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:13 am

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"Oi, idiot kid, the hell is wrong with you?! Don't do anything stupid! That's dangerous, so put it down!"" one of the guild members who was affectionately addressed as Inoue, at that time, was the first person to realize what it was that Houren was trying to do. The others were confused, and some were even amused by his antics, believing them to be some desperate cry for attention. Inoue wasn't really all that strong, but he had a sixth sense for this kind of thing, a bit like a grandfather type figure although he was old. Certainly an old man in a young man's body kind of thing though, yeah, definitely. He absolutely lost his marbles once he realized that Houren was planning to implant the lacrima into his own body, and knew that if he tried to do it himself, the chances of failure were even greater than if someone else tried to help him do it. After all, it was a lot like trying to do a risky surgery; even if a high level surgeon did it for you, there was still a chance of failure, but if you did it yourself, then the chances of success would be even lower than usual, right? It was that kind of thing, but anyways, there was still something that needed to be said.

The Fire Dragon Slayer to be ignored all their pleas, and because of his small size at that time, he was easily able to maneuver away when they tried to tackle him and take the lacrima away from him. Truth be told, he had actually spoken to the mage with the child before, so he had a little idea of how this kind of implantation thing worked. In one fell swoop, he put the lacrima to his chest and forced it in. He hadn't made any incision or anything like that, but he knew that if he did it right, the lacrima would start to force its way into the body, and that is exactly what happened. The Fire Dragon Slayer to be felt an incredibly sharp pain as the lacrima made its own magical incision in the boy's chest and went into his body.

He wasn't really sure about how to feel about this, but he was quite sure that if people died, then this was probably around the time when they would actually die because he was seriously feeling an immense pain right now. The lacrima continued its way into his body and for a second, it felt as though his heart had stopped although looking back on it now as an adult, he was probably overexaggerating it to make himself sound cooler. The others there, the adult mages who he often journeyed with like Inoue and the mage with the child were now looking worried but they were reluctant to do anything because they knew that if they interfered at this stage, the young boy known was Houren really might die.

#37Houren Vanadis 

on Fri Dec 22, 2017 8:52 pm

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In the end, all's well that ends well.

The Fire Dragon Slayer lacrima that Houren had forcibly implanted into his body seemed to agree with his immune system and basic physiology. They said that this kind of lacrima had a life of its own, and it was clear that it thought Houren's body was appropriate for being the host of a fearsome type of Lost magic. Well, the newly christened Fire Dragon Slayer was more than content with that, and decided that he'd go all the way as a Fire Dragon Slayer now. It wasn't as though there was anything else for him to do, and his previous magic, whatever it was, he couldn't remember it even though it had only been a few minutes since he had it in his flashback, just didn't cut it. After all, could Houren really become a respected wizard who commanded the respect of everyone and anyone if he didn't have a spiffy, Lost magic to go with it?

Probably, but at the time, in the young Houren's mind, that thought didn't occur to him at all. He believed that the strongest person could do things that nobody else could, was in possession of things that others could only fantasize about, but now he knew that true strength was found in the innate ability of the magic user, not the magic itself. He had been struggling with that thought for a while now though, and even though he thought he was convinced, it turned out that he wasn't really all that sure at the end of the day, but that was probably one of the good things that had happened to him since he came to Tenrou Island.

That is, to say, that his belief that true strength was found in the magic user and not the magic itself was reaffirmed when he joined the Tenrou Island Expedition team, came to Tenrou Island, and met Tori. She was a mage witht he same magic as his (although they had conflicting elements, as nature dictated), but in Houren's mind, she was nowhere near his level even though their magics were, essentially speaking, different branches of the exact same tree, or different trees in the same forest if you will. Even if you cut down both trees and created them into wooden weapons, the quality of the weapon wouldn't decide anything. It'd all depend on who was holding the weapon; in this case, him and Tori.

"How unbelievably poetic," the Fire Dragon Slayer chuckled to himself, having been forced back to reality, and by extension, the present day after being surprised by his own sudden feeling of euphoria, one that is completely unrelated to the phony favour of any external forces; rather his enlightenment stemmed from his acknowledgement of his own intelligence, and the affirmation of his belief in pure, cold scientific fact.

Case in point, in other words, there was no better than he was. Not then, not now, not ever. Probably, anyways.

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