Of Space and Bachelor’s Degrees Chapter 20

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Richard’s grandmother smiled softly. “Now, let us clear up some things first. I am not talking about the kind of magic that you will commonly see in stories, with fireballs and lightning flying everywhere. What I am talking about is a more subtle thing. It is more likely to be called something like ‘luck’ or ‘fate’. It is fine to not know about it or even not believe it. Perhaps having knowledge of it and using it does not cause any change at all.”

“If that’s true, why tell me anything?” Richard asked.

“Well, I do believe there is enough evidence that things change to not just discount it as useless superstition. Since going into the particular details would be both uninteresting as well as unhelpful, I will just summarize your particular case.” She folded her hands carefully, and continued to speak slowly and in her most calming voice. “You have recently found yourself here in this clinic twice, in only about two months. I do not believe that this is a coincidence. That is why I came here in person. I found that you have a particular attraction to trouble.”

“So I’m a natural troublemaker?” Richard wasn’t exactly clear on what she was saying yet, but he imagined she would clarify.

“No. A troublemaker causes problems for themselves and those around them, but there are always reasons for those, based on poor decisions. A troublemaker might not recognize the behavior patterns that get them in trouble, and might think themselves unlucky, but in most cases they cause their own troubles through lack of caution or awareness of the situation. You will just draw trouble to yourself like a magnet. It is not something you have control over.”

“So… I’m cursed?”

“That is one way it could be said, though it is a rather negative viewpoint.”

Richard thought back on the incidents that had occurred. “That doesn’t seem quite right. I could have avoided both of these situations. I could have not helped Elena up, or if I had paid attention and known about Noxians, I could have not gotten her blood on me. Likewise, if I had been paying attention, I wouldn’t have walked into that Ulph guy…”

“Any situation can be avoided, but some more reasonably than others. Certainly, you could have not helped Elena stand up, but it was polite and kind to do so, and normally it would not have been an issue. You do not often find sharp implements on the floor of a corridor. As for this most recent situation… Well, I have heard some testimonies from those nearby, and it seems that he stepped out in front of you intentionally.”

Richard paused to think. “Does that mean he did that because of me? Is it my fault?”

She shook her head. “A person’s actions are always their own responsibility. He was looking for trouble, and it just happened to be you instead of someone else.”

Richard breathed out heavily. “Will this… curse… cause trouble for my parents? Are they in danger?  What about my friends? Jot got dragged into the situation with me…”

“They will be fine. This curse only causes peril for you. Your friends might choose to assist you, in which case they might expose themselves to danger, as with any situation.”

Richard thought about it for a few moments. He wasn’t entirely sure if he believed in this yet, because it could still possibly be a coincidence. Bad things happened, sometimes in succession. On the other hand, his grandmother wouldn’t lie to him, so she certainly believed what she was saying. He also hadn’t known her to be wrong about much of anything. “What about…” Richard stopped himself. “Nevermind, forget I said anything. It was a stupid question.”

His grandmother leaned closer, and took his hand reassuringly. “Go ahead. Ask. It will be good to ask.”

“Do you know… where my parents found me?”

“Of course. You are my grandson after all. I also know how children come into being, and they certainly do not appear from nowhere.”

“Is it… is what happened to my birth parents… and the rest… is that related to me?” Richard found it very hard to say any of that, but he felt the kindness and encouragement almost radiating from his grandmother.

She squeezed his hand to comfort him. “I can say quite simply… no. Sometimes, the magic of fate is stronger, but no matter how powerful it is, no matter the strength of a curse, it cannot affect anything before it exists. That planet was dying, and had been dying for a long time before you were born. At best, the relation to your curse would be that you were born there, where you were in danger. In addition, your curse is personal in nature, so it could never cause something like that.” She paused for a few moments. “That is why you needed to ask the question. It would have been silly to have that thought in the back of your mind, festering. You are not responsible for what happens, in either case, but anything that happens to those around you is not your fault. In fact, it is possible your presence might be good for others. I do not know if this is the case with you, but there have been cases where trouble was attracted to some people so strongly that they actually took trouble that should have, or perhaps I should say most probably would have, happened to others.”

“Okay. Thank you.” Richard paused. “I’m not sure if this talk made me feel better, because before I believe I had just been unlucky, and now I’m worried I might face more danger, but knowing that it’s not my fault is good.”

“One thing, Richard. You can still get yourself into trouble in the normal manner as well. Please make good decisions.”

“Of course.” Richard frowned for a moment. “I’ve been talking a lot, but my ribs barely twinge. Why is that?”

His grandmother smiled. “Would you believe me if I said ‘magic’?” Then she pat him on the head and stood up. “You’re on pain medication, silly boy.” Then she turned to leave, leaving Richard feeling worried, but also very calm. He still wasn’t really sure what to think… but he decided he could work on that after he slept some more. Recovering from injuries was tiring work.

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