The Hardworking Girl
"Innie..." Annelotte knocked on the door and entered, handing a letter to her, "He wrote."
"Oh!" the girl exclaimed, grabbing the envelope.
Annelotte looked at the girl earnestly reading the letter with a smile.
"What's he say?"
"He says that they're being counted on a lot by the fort's people. They've done a lot already!" the girl answered, "Sis Eirinn has been learning to become a medic as well. She's now one of the forts two medics."
"Eirinn seems to be blessed with talent," Annelotte smiled.
It had only been three months, but Eirinn had mastered the basics of medicinal healing already, even Annelotte had to admire her determination and ability. With someone like her tending to the party, Annelotte had nothing to worry about.
Innilis turned the page and continued reading.
"They've decided to come back after the winter!"
"Why so lackluster?" Innilis blinked, "I know you're actually really happy!"
"And about what would I be happy?" Annelotte asked, an unnatural expression on her face.
"It's bad to lie, even if it is to yourself." Innilis grinned, "I know you look forward to seeing Big Brother again! You wouldn't come to ask me whether they sent a letter everyday otherwise. I know everything!"
"I have no desire to see that brat." Annelotte said coldly, turning to the door.
"Sis Annie is embarrassed! Hoho, you say one thing but think another!" Innilis pestered.
"Enough. Time for practice. Stop messing around."
"Practice... Oh, okay..." Innilis turned downcast in a moment.
"You should stop with magic. I'll be frank, you don't have the talent."
"I just started late!" Innilis insisted.
"There are many who also start late, but they will at least detect mana within three months. You can't yet. It's no longer a matter of having started late. It's a lack of innate talent. You... you really can't become a magus."
Innilis slowly paled.
Can't become a magus... can't become a magus... can't become a magus...
Annelotte was shocked to see her so white.
"Sorry, Innie, I don't want to hurt you, but this is the truth," she said, hugging the girl.
The little thing sobbed like a wet rag into Annelotte's bosom. The latter wore many layers of clothes, but her skin still got wet.
"Don't be sad... I don't want to hurt you, but it would be a waste of your time to keep trying to force this."
"I know... I know," Innilis sobbed, "I'm sad... I'm so small and I don't have any strength, so I can't become a warrior. I want to be a magus, but I don't have any talent for that either... I'm completely useless... What can I do? What can I do? Aaaaahhh..."
"Alright... Stop crying--" Annelotte wiped her tears with a handkerchief, "--You'll start to look bad if you cry, you know..."
Innilis had a dedicated face, but her tears didn't stop.
It's all your fault! Annelotte's fury at Leguna burned even brighter than before; surprisingly, it was possible. She remembered Innilis's words clearly.
"Can you help me with something?" she had asked.
"I--" the girl fidgeted, "--I want to learn magic. Can you teach me?"
"Learn magic? Why?"
"Because... because I want to stay with Big Brother!" the girl had shouted.
"Well, Sis is so strong, even he has trouble defeating you, and Eirinn is so gentle and kind and is now a priestess… But what about me? I'm still a useless little girl. I want to become a magus as well, as strong as you. That way, I can help Big Brother and stay by his side!"
"Leguna won't push you away even if you can't help him."
She detested saying something that could give the impression she felt anything but contempt for the brat, but the little girl needed to hear it.
"That's not fair. I know helping one another isn't an exchange, but I can't let him look after me all the time. I don't want to be just a rowdy little sister. I want to be better, stronger, and more outstanding! I want to let Big Brother see my strengths! He will only see me as more than a little sister then."
"Alright, I'll teach you." Annelotte finally caved.
She kept wondering, however, how anyone could have any positive thoughts about that bastard.
Innilis, despite showing absolutely no progress, had been working diligently ever since. The little gnome was less that 1.5 meters tall, but she trained mercilessly every day. The only other things she did was eat, relieve herself, and sleep. But fate did not care about determination, dedication, and diligence. It had already decided that she would never become strong. She had neither any physical ability, nor any magical sense. She was absolutely mediocre in every way imaginable.
Even after three months of hellish training nothing had changed and it frustrated the hell out of the little girl. She had a simple wish: to be useful to her god. But fate just would not let her.
Perhaps it was time she gave up. She would no doubt be sad for a while, but she would get over it. It would certainly be better than wasting her days training for something she could never achieve.
Annelotte was still wondering how to deal with the issue, but Innilis had gotten over herself. She poked her big sister and shoved several sheets of paper into her face.
"Here are the exercises you gave me last time."
Annelotte's eyes teared up slightly.
"You still... going to try?" she asked, her voice hoarse.
"I have to," Innilis forced a smile, "I promised Big Brother I'd show him how I grow up. This... this is just a small setback. I can't give up. I promised him, so I can't! I have to keep going!"
"Alright, I'll help you."
Annelotte wiped the tears off her face and checked the little girl's work. She had explained the basic theories of magic to her and made a few exercises to test her knowledge.
Everything was correct. The tests were only of the elementary level, but they weren't easy. For Innilis to get them all right, she had made no small effort.
"You got everything right! Well done!"
"Really?" Innilis asked. She couldn't sense mana, but that didn't mean she had zero talent.
She had a good grasp of the theories behind magic, at least. She easily understood the tomes Annelotte gave her. Her inability in magic was purely a lack of innate sensitivity to magic, but unfortunately that was the most crucial requirement.
"What's this?" Annelotte asked, noticing a lot of notes scribbled on the back of the answer sheet.
"Oh..." Innilis blushed, "You remember that book on potions you gave me? I wrote a few recipes based on what I learned when I had some free time. They're probably wrong, so don't bother."
"Wait!" Annelotte looked unbearably serious as she pushed Innilis's hand away.
"Sis..." Innilis looked at her expression with a hint of fright, under the impression Annelotte was mad at her for not sticking to doing what she was told.
Oh no! I angered Sis Annie! What will happen to me now?!
"Did you write this all yourself?!"
"Using dragonblood grass to replace lavasnail shells and tricolor flower and goldwater leaf as a countertoxin for dragonblood grass... With the other ingredients in there, not only is it much cheaper, the effects are stabler," Annelotte muttered, "There are eight more ingredients in it and the medicine has a slight toxic side effect, but this cold medicine is ten silver coins cheaper! Thirty percent cheaper?!"
"Sis..." Innilis couldn't hold it in. Annelotte's expression was weird, she'd never seen it before. She didn't know if it was good or bad. But the fact that she even had an expression at all was already wondrous.
"Innie!" snapped Annelotte all of a sudden.
"Huuh?!" Innilis jumped.
"Did you really write all this yourself?!" Annelotte asked seriously, "Did anyone help you?"
"Probably not..." Innilis thought, then again, I got most of the inspiration from my dream last night... But it's my dream... so it should be my idea, right?
"Tell me the truth!"
"Yes! I wrote it myself!"
Annelotte stared at her blankly before she smiled. "I think I know what you should become!"
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