22 Reflection

My mother must have quickly used the strongest defensive magic at her disposal to contain the lightning blast and protect me, while being careless and undergoing such a painful recoil.

"B-but, the lightning attack wasn't too big a deal. A defensive spell of intermediate level to absorb its charge would have done the trick. You didn't need to resort to an Advanced Spell!" I said to my mother.

'Anabelle had certainly acted very immature in the past, but even I knew that she had a lot of skill in magic.' My mind rang.

She must have known the basics of the elements and how to counteract an opposing element. Why did she recklessly throw away her life when there was an easier solution.

She could have easily just-

"I-I wasn't thinking, Jared. You were in danger. I had to protect you at all cost!" Anabelle said, coughing in the process.

It appeared as though she was barely hanging on. Looking at the symptoms, I already knew her condition was real.

'She won't die… but she's going to be bedridden for a while.

"I… I…" My mind was going blank.

Conflicting thoughts ran through my head and I didn't know how to feel. I failed as a Magic-User and let my power get out of control. How? I thought I had everything all planned out.

"Even now you're still thinking of magic, aren't you?" Alphonse's loud voice woke me from my inner turmoil.

I was already upset at myself, what did this old man want from me again?

Raising my head to look at him, I was stunned by the expression I saw. The same Alphonse who gave me a mad, intimidating look, was in tears as he spoke.

"Look at your mother, Jared. Look around you… what do you see?" His deep voice was filled with emotion.

My eyes darted everywhere, and I saw them. Servants and employees were all looking at me with worry and fear written on their faces. The destruction caused was one thing. However, no one cared about the damage caused. No, their attention was on me.

My mother, everyone around… they kept looking at me with the same eyes of worry.

"Do you understand now, Jared? Do you see what you've caused? You nearly got yourself killed, as well as your mother. Even the maids and servants could have been caught in the disaster. Yet…"

I slowly grasped Alphonse's words, and as I did, my body quivered as I felt my foolishness.

"… Yet, they're all worried about you. Your mother didn't even think and rushed in to save you. Do you not feel anything even after seeing all this? Is your mind still fixated on magic and magic alone?!"

As I saw Alphonse's seething rage, I finally noticed something I had overlooked, probably because of my deep thoughts on my earlier spell.

'He's injured!' My eyes bulged, noticing the blood spreading on his shoulder.

The crimson-colored liquid dyed his clothes red, yet the old man didn't even bother about it. His eyes were fixated on me, expecting an answer.

I felt an ache within me. My heart pounded, and it hurt a lot. Seeing his tears, watching my mother's caring, yet weak eyes, seeing the destruction I'd caused, and the expressions of all my spectators… it finally dawned on me… how selfish and insensitive I had been.

"I… I…"

I don't know how it started, or how someone like me could do it, but tears dropped from my eyes. My body shook, trembling due to the weight of emotions I was feeling.

The sting of Alphonse's slap still hurt me a bit, but the thumping within my heart as well as my guilt far outweighed it.

"I'm sorry… I'm so sorry…" I cried, bursting out in tears.

Was it because I had a child's body? Or perhaps it came from even the mature soul of a seasoned Sage. It didn't matter either way. Nothing can change the fact that I bawled out, expressing my apologies in the most embarrassing way possible.

"I-I'm sho shworry… hiccc…" (I'm so sorry)

I had finally come down from my high horse and broke down right then and there.

"Without saying any more harsh words, Alphonse pulled me into his grasp and embraced me. My mother also drew closer and joined in our hug.

Just like a family, the hug drew me in and I felt the weight of my faults slowly dissipate.

'I'm such a fool, aren't I? I'm making the same mistakes I made back then…' I smiled at myself, recollecting my past life.

I was surrounded by good-natured people who supported me at every turn. In all fairness, I didn't deserve them. Yet, they stood up for me and believed in me.

They helped me in many ways, and now that I think of it… I wouldn't have been the Great Sage, Lewis Griffith without them!

Even now, after being given a second chance at life, I was blinded by my pursuit of magic that I failed to truly consider the emotions of those around me.

That was my true error!

Next chapter