183 Trusted allies
Leona woke up that morning feeling pretty exhausted.
It's been a couple of days since she separated from Lilith and her group after they entered Hanna's secret garden in order to increase Ellie's fighting power to have her face off with Mia.
She wondered how their group was doing by entering such a dangerous place with little to no information of what kind of threats it might pose.
After accepting to take care of Claire and Joseph by teaching the two how to perform fire magic, she became concerned if they had taken the right course of action in this development. After all, they were depositing a lot of pressure on these young children who had no idea of what was going on around them right now or how important their mission was.
She moved out of her room located inside the temple of the East goddess after putting on her usual white robe and moved to fetch her newly acquired pupils inside their own rooms.
"Joseph? Joseph, are you awake?" she asked while gently knocking on the boy's door.
The young lad opened up to reveal his tired face, a result of being awake for too long until late at night while talking with his new friend.
"Morning Leona-sensei..." Joseph said while covering his yawn with his hand. He was still wearing his sleeping clothes provided by the temple, showing that he had just gotten out of the bed. On top of his head was said new friend and his second teacher, Xadi, the tempest magician, who right now was just a doll in the shape of a fro with a bowtie and a tophat.
"Morning Joseph. Breakfast will be ready soon, so please hurry up and get changed so we can start the day" Leona replied.
"Aye, aye, sensei..."
"I told you Joseph, you don't need to add 'sensei' to the end of my name..."
"No can do... Adding 'sensei' to the end of the name of someone you admire is the greatest form of respect from where I come from! I learned it from watching Japanese animated shows!!"
"If you say so..." Leona responded. She wanted Joseph to stop calling her sensei since it felt like he was treating things like a game from the way he talked, but as long as he kept working hard on his mission she didn't mind it too much.
Joseph adapted really fast to life as a mage's apprentice. He would spend the first half of the day having lessons with Xadi about thunder magic while Claire would stay with Leona learning fire magic, which they would then switch up once they reached past mid-day.
It seemed like Joseph really enjoyed his lessons with Xadi. Something about being taught by a talking frog just made him feel really excited for some reason, as if he was receiving the kind of teaching he knew no other kid ever had a chance to get.
Leona didn't fully get it, but again, he was doing his job, so she didn't mind it too much.
That's not to say he didn't enjoy his time with Leona. If anything, at times it looked like he might enjoy it a bit too much from the way he would keep eyeing at her. Joseph really did not know how to behave himself around women.
Leona then moved on to the room of her other disciple.
"Claire? Claire, the sun is up... You ready?" Leona asked. She waited a few seconds but got no response.
The woman then decided to open her door to check on the girl but the room was completely empty. She approached the window wich and saw the young lass on the terrain outside practicing her spells.
Leona went after her to fetch the girl but stopped for a moment to observe her movements. She was waving her staff, which was half of Ellie's broken mirror shield, the other half having been placed with Joseph, and conjuring magic in the form of flames all around her.
Both her and Joseph were quick learners. They took a while to get the hang of unleashing a magic spell, but after they finally did, they just kept getting better and better at a crazy speed.
According to the former goddess of the east, the people from Evlin's world had a much bigger connection with their magical affinities. Evlin was a mage whose affinity lied in recreation, while her niece was a mage whose affinity lied in mirroring. Both were rather simple kinds of affinities, but the two had managed to bring them to a whole new level with the way they performed it.
So the first step in Leona's magic lesson was to find out what the affinities for Claire and Joseph were, and how to unleash their hidden power.
"Hey, you started without me??" Joseph shouted while rushing out of the temple. He had finally changed and was now wearing a kids-version of the temple's robe, just like Claire.
"Ugh... I was trying to focus!!" Claire replied, clearly showing a certain annoyance from having her fire spell being interrupted by Joseph's voice.
For whatever reason, Joseph never seemed to go into his goofy mode when he was dealing with Claire. The two would just instantly start fighting whenever they saw each other.
"Just go back to bed your neanderthal! Looking at you puts me in a bad mood!"
"Would you stop calling me that!!??" Joseph shouted while raising his arms in a fit, revealing the other half of Ellie's broken shield.
It didn't take too long for the two kids to start spitting names at each other. This was one of the reasons Xadi and Leona had decided to train then individually. They would never focus when they were in the same room.
"While you kept sleeping like a log and chatting with Mr. frog, I was actually doing something with my life and trying to improve my magic! If you don't want to help, then just go home and keep sucking your thumb so I don't have to deal with you!!"
"As if!! You know how long I've waited to live a fantasy adventure life like this? If you have a problem, then you can go home yourself!"
"I'm not going home until we save our families!! But what about you? Is pretending to be a hero the only reason you're still here?? Because let me tell you, its not a good enough reason when we have an entire city to rescue!!"
"Would you stop trying to ruin my fun??"
"This is not meant to be fun!! Lives are at stake in here!!!"
Claire and Joseph continued to argue for a little longer until Xadi got bored of their discussion and got out of Joseph's head. He then walked towards Leona and started to chat with her.
"So... How's the girl doing with the fire spells?"
"She's developing terrifyingly fast... I never saw anything like it..." Leona admitted, "Just a little bit more of training and she could reach a level where even I would have trouble facing her..."
"You are a worthless sack of garbage who keeps wasting everyone's efforts for every second you decided to keep breathing!!" Claire shouted at Joseph.
"If only she could manage her temper..." Leona added, "What about young Joseph?"
Xadi rubbed his chin made of fur, "same thing... Kid's getting the hang of electric magic much faster than I expected... I'm still not entirely sure of what his affinity is... But it's enjoyable to see someone inheriting my knowledge to such great lengths!"
"Yeah... I feel the same way..." Leona stated. She never expected that teaching an apprentice could be so fulfilling. Every time she saw Claire and Joseph managing to unleash a fire spell under her guidance, she would feel some kind of warmth inside her heart.
"Still... Do you think this will be enough...? To face that crazy girl and her army...?" Xadi pondered.
"Hard to say... We will also have the help of Evlin's niece and her group... I also called some help from a couple of allied guilds... When they heard about the situation and how big the risk of awakening six new demons leaders was, especially after we finally managed to get rid of the one who was ruling over the southern kingdom, they all hurried to get their best mages and knights ready to give their support..."
"So this will be an actual war..." Xadi concluded.
"Indeed... A war whose outcome will rest on the shoulders of two girls..." Leona stated while thinking how crazy it was that this whole thing started with her just trying to recruit the crossbow mage into her team, and ended with her getting caught in the middle of a battle with the descendent of the demon queen and the niece of said mage. Even the fact that she was speaking with a talking frog didn't faze her so much by this point.
"Which is why we need to do our best in order to ease their burden..." Leona added.
She spotted the two kids ready to start seriously fighting by getting their spells ready and quickly rushed to stop them.
"You two! Breakfast! Now! We have a long day ahead of us!" Leona shouted while clapping her hands.
"Yes, miss Leona..."
Xadi hopped again onto Joseph's head and the four started to head back to the temple. Claire them spotted someone waiting at the entrance. A figure of an adult blond man and an older woman with long red hair.
"Who are those...?" Claire asked.
Leona raised her eyes to look at her guests, "Ah! These must be the leaders of the guild who said they were going to aid us!"
Leona rushed to their side to meet with the two, "excuse me! My name is Leona, I'm the leader of the followers of the east goddess! You two are?"
The woman with long red hair extended her hand to shake Leona's while releasing a wide smile.
"Nice to meet you! My name is Ashley, and this is my assistant, Gustav! We heard about your situation and came here to help!"