Author Note: This chapter is mainly filler but I still hid a few hints for things that would happen later. You can skip the chapter, but you'll probably have to come back in the future.
Clutching the Quantaflux-studded bracelet, Elian stood at the edge of turning a cherished dream into something real. This wasn't just any dream, mind you. This was the one that got him into runesmithing and technocraft in the first place.
And it was all about filling a gap he'd felt for years-having a buddy. You could say Elian was drawn into all this magic and tech because he craved friendship, connection, someone to share stuff with. But life hadn't been kind. He had friends once, back when he was five. But a nasty incident flipped everything. His so-called friends were the cause of his misery, and trust? Well, that became as rare as dragon's teeth.
But life had its twists. Lys walked into it, literally under a soul oath that guaranteed she couldn't backstab him. So, they became friends. Sort of. Elian thawed a bit, but it wasn't all rainbows and sunshine. He had his guard up, a part of him watching out for any sneaky turns.
When he was six years old, a year before Lys entered his life, Elian found himself grappling with a profound sense of loneliness that weighed heavily on his young heart. Yet, he possessed the mind of a thinker, and one fateful day, during a tech lesson that sparked his curiosity, inspiration struck like lightning. In a moment of insight, he asked himself a radical question: why spend time searching for a friend when he could craft one?
lightsnοvεlDriven by this newfound purpose, Elian threw himself wholeheartedly into an immersive journey of studying both runesmithing and technocraft. His
commitment was unwavering, fueled by an insatiable thirst for knowledge and a yearning to create a companion to fill the void he felt so keenly.
And then, six months later, his determination blossomed into reality. The fruit of his labor came to life in the form of Zero One, his first 'companion.' Bursting with pride and joy, Elian wasted no time. He introduced Zero One to his parents, eager to share his creation and even went the extra mile, requesting a fully-equipped lab to better accommodate his creation. However, this unveiling had unforeseen consequences, particularly for his father, Marcus.
His parents, particularly Marcus, were taken aback by the revelation. Marcus, an army general who navigated the intricacies of military logistics, was no stranger to the world of runesmiths and technocrafters. However, these professionals were typically of an advanced age, a trend that Marcus had observed without giving it much thought. Until now.
His son, a mere seven years old, had managed to accomplish what seasoned experts often couldn't-a feat that left Marcus astonished and amazed. As Marcus delved into further research, his shock gave way to pride that shone through his smile. He had long been aware of Elian's genius; his private tutors often remarked on his exceptional learning pace. By the time he was five, Elian had already graduated from basic education.
This brilliance was a well-known fact throughout the Kingdom. The private tutors who had the privilege of guiding Elian didn't hide his extraordinary abilities; instead, they celebrated and shared them.
Yet, to become a skilled runesmith and technocrafter in a mere six months was a revelation that transcended even these extraordinary expectations. Mastery in these fields demanded not just theoretical knowledge, but practical experience honed through years of guided training and mentorship. Aspiring runesmiths underwent rigorous apprenticeships, learning under the watchful eyes of those who had trodden the path before them. This tutelage was crucial in preventing potentially disastrous mistakes and building an intuitive grasp of the intricate runic language and its interactions.
Although Marcus was bursting with happiness and brimming with pride, he swiftly quelled the impulse to flaunt his son's exceptional talents. A realization settled upon him, urging caution as he contemplated the potential repercussions that could unfurl if word of Elian's newfound skills were to spread. It was undeniable that the Kingdom would revel in celebrating him as a prodigious genius, possibly catapulting him to unprecedented heights of prominence. However, Marcus recognized that this would be the official narrative-the surface-level perspective.
In the shadow of this success, Marcus foresaw a clandestine undercurrent that could ensnare Elian's future. Unleashing his son's skills into the public domain might inadvertently forge chains that bound him to his own brilliance. Those in positions of power might manipulate and suppress Elian's growth, thwarting his rise to avoid him becoming an influential force within the Kingdom. And should all attempts at control fail, the grim alternative would be to extinguish the brilliance that had lit up the Kingdom.
Marcus found himself in a position that demanded action. While he could have urged his son to cease his crafting pursuits, the sight of his son's rare smile made it clear that such an avenue wasn't feasible. Instead, he took a different approach, implementing a new rule within their household.
A decree was established, stipulating that anyone dwelling within their residence, apart from the parents and Elian himself, would be required to take a soul oath-a commitment to guard the secrets linked to the Thorne family. Although met with initial surprise, the household staff ultimately had little recourse but to comply. The Thorne household's reputation for generous remuneration and bonuses acted as an effective deterrent against any potential resistance. The prospect of endangering their livelihood over a seemingly peculiar request was simply too great.
On the other side, the reactions of nobles and other military houses were completely different. Most of them had spies in the Thorne house so they immediatelly learned of the new rule. Fortunately, Elian new skills weren't known to many in the house and none of them were spies. Back to the other houses, they didn't knwo what to do.
They knew that, for Marcus to enforce such a rule, something had to happen. They were aware of Elian incident but it couldn't be related to that since it was a year ago.
So what happened? You have to know that a soul oath is freaking expensive. Making dozens of workers, who are mostly insignificant people make soul oath was just too suspect. In comparison, among the noble houses, only Dukes and the Royal palace have all their workers under soul oaths.
Their curiosity burned, yet their ability to act remained constrained. While a military house belonged to the ranks of commoners, it enjoyed certain privileges, one of which held paramount importance. Anyone proven guilty of perpetrating an assault or significant transgression against a military house would face severe repercussions. This stern approach was rooted in the recognition of military houses as pivotal components of the Kingdom's initial line of defense. Should their efficacy be compromised by internal threats, the repercussions would be deemed unacceptable.
As the nobility and fellow military houses anxiously awaited answers, Elian immersed himself in refining Zero One and engaging in supplementary inventions.
Skipping ahead to the present, Elian stands at the threshold of an achievement-the pinnacle enhancement to his inaugural creation-made possible by his father's parting gift.