Truthful Transmigration 206

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A burst of fire washed over Tirto and all he could think about was how uncomfortable it was. Not painful or anything- how could it be, when produced by someone so much weaker than him and of a supporting element at that. It was just… uncomfortable. Like the itchy feeling of saltwater left to dry on the skin. “I think we should take a break,” Tirto said, looking at Emilia across from him, proppering her body up with her hands on her thighs after her exertion.

“No!” she clenched her fists. “I can keep going.”

“Well…” Tirto drew out the word. “I was just thinking that I’m a little tired. And I have to… reflect on the insights I have gained.”

Emilia puffed out her cheeks, little trickles of flame shooting out of her nostrils. “Fine! We’ll do that.”

With that, Tirto wandered over next to the pond and flopped on his back. Being tired wasn’t a lie… just not the whole truth. His spiritual energy was basically full, as could be expected for someone in the Foundation Phase training with a Spiritual Collection Phase beginner. But he was tired.

Tirto was well aware that he was still a child- maybe old enough to be called a young man in a few circles, but still a kid. Only his spiritual energy was that of an adult, due to no particular work of his own. He trained, of course, but so did Emilia- and her spiritual energy was just barely getting started. His results didn’t really count

Though he was a child, he had some understanding of adults. That was required for him as the young master of a clan, and he was mature enough to understand some things. Like the fact that asking him to train with Emilia was not random. It was a simple calculation about the elemental cycle- a fire element cultivator would be able to support a water element cultivator. The Milanovics and especially Lucanus and Yustina were friendly with his parents and their clans. It was a pretty obvious conclusion. Some day he would marry Emilia, though he wasn’t sure if she understood that yet. He was fine with that… but boy was watching her exhausting sometimes. 

“Whatcha doin’?”

Tirto looked up to see a little kid- something he was comfortable thinking despite his own youth. A girl, clutching in her hands two fistfuls of worms. “Aren’t you a little old to be playing with worms, Verusha?”

“Nuh uh!” she shook her head. “We don’t even have worms at home! I’m learning!”

“And what are you learning?”

“Worms don’t taste good.”

“I think almost anyone could have told you that.”

“The birds like them!” she protested, her hands flailing and flinging earthworms all over. She reminded him of Ursel, though now he was older than her instead of the same age.

“Are you a bird?” Tirto asked.

“I could be,” Verusha crossed her arms. “Maybe I’m a phoenix.”

“Did you hatch out of an egg?” Tirto asked. 

“Umm… maybe.”

“Do you have feathers? Can you create fire?”

“No. Maybe!” Verusha stretched her hand towards Tirto. If she had any spiritual energy or control over it that might have been dangerous but… “Not yet!” 

“You would know if you could,” Tirto said. “And you have to be careful with controlling it. Fire is dangerous.”

“Everyone says that but everyone also uses fire!” Verusha complained.

“And they control it.”

“Maybe I should use water, like you.”

“That seems… difficult,” Tirto said. “There’s not really much water elemental spiritual energy in the Green Sands, is there?”

“Well… I dunno. We don’t have a lake like this, though,” she gestured.

“That’s a pond,” Tirto said. “Lakes are bigger.”

“Nuh uh! Oceans are the bigger things.”

“Oceans are even bigger than lakes,” Tirto said. “I live in one, I know.”

“Okay,” she said, switching from complete rejection to accepting his statement. “When are you going to marry my sister.”

“Uuuugh,” Tirto groaned. “Does everyone know about that?”

“I don’t know. Emilia said that she was going to marry you and then you were going to be my big brother. I don’t have a big brother.”

“I don’t have any brothers,” Tirto shrugged.

“Tell your parents to have more babies,” Verusha suggested. “I’m still waiting for a little brother.”

“More children would be… complicated,” Tirto shook his head. He had no intention of explaining why, especially since Verusha wouldn’t understand. Her parents didn’t manage clan affairs, despite almost certainly the strongest. Then again, Tirto’s own parents weren’t the clan heads because they were strongest, just like when he took over it would be because he was born into it. Which wasn’t necessarily a better plan than letting the strongest rule. Maybe he would be allowed to come up with another plan of succession. Though he’d have to run the Brandle clan for that, so it would have to be after that.

Verusha was still talking, though Tirto hadn’t been listening to most of it. It seemed no responses had been required of him, however. “… and my sister wants to win a spar against you. You should let her.”

Tirto considered that. Emilia did seem frustrated with her lack of power- but it wasn’t unreasonable. The fact that she was training spiritual energy at her age was already an exception. “I don’t know if that would help,” Tirto said finally. “Since it wouldn’t be real.” Seemed likely to just get her angry.

Lying next to his element had been refreshing, even if his spiritual energy itself had not been drained. Sometimes, he just needed to not interact with people for a bit. Though he’d traded one for another, his input had been less required so it worked out.


The triplets were strong enough to train with almost whoever they pleased, but it was often easiest for them to train with each other. It was always odd for them to train with full adults regardless. Since Tirto was occupied with Emilia, Melanthina and Ursel were training together. They were also most familiar with each other’s strength, so they knew exactly how far they could go.

Ursel stood with her stance wide, her club resting on the ground. It seemed like it would be difficult to lift it quickly to counter an attack, but not only was that incorrect, she didn’t necessarily need to. Her sister was good at many things, overwhelming others’ defenses was not among them. With Diamond Defense, Ursel could afford to slip up once or twice. But her sister knew that, so she wouldn’t carelessly commit.

She felt the ground, searching for signs of her sister. Darkness element could erase them, but nothing was perfect. They both had a lot of experience going back and forth. Melanthina couldn’t simply conceal herself from sight or hearing, but if she properly covered up her footprints and the tremors of her movement Ursel had difficulty finding her. That was why the earth cultivator was attempting something new and hopefully subtle enough. It would be obvious she was doing something, but at least the local area had a good mix of earth and darkness so neither of the two stood out too obviously.

Tiny roots grew under the ground, invisible to the eye and easily ignored by most senses. They could not grab or trip anyone, nor was there sufficient power to suddenly increase in size. In fact, they were quite delicate, able to fall apart with too much shock to their systems. That was what Ursel was using them for, hoping to find the pressure of feet or a brief loss of sensation. She continued to turn slowly, occasionally reversing directions so she did not get predictable. If nothing else, it was harder for Melanthina to keep herself hidden if eyes were on her occasionally.

A twinge in the ground, then a bolt of darkness behind Ursel. She spun to face the attack, raising her arm to block. Darkness energy skittered off her forearm, her solid defenses resisting it. Then something came for her knee from behind. She’d half sensed something, but she was too slow to fully prevent the attack. Her automatic response was to shake the earth, sending bits of it up into the air and causing chaos. Though her sister was not immediately in the area, the disruption still revealed her.

Ursel pulled the throwing dagger out of her leg, one which had found its way through not only a weak point in her actual armor but pierced her toughened skin. Ursel hadn’t expected an attack to her lower body, usually safe. Which was, of course, why it came there. 

A series of moves were exchanged as Ursel dislocated the terrain and Melanthina attempted to stay hidden, but ultimately the latter couldn’t keep it up forever. At some point she would just be spending darkness element to be ‘invisible’ while her sister knew right where she was from all the stomping around. She had the quickness to avoid Ursel’s stone club- though the attacks were certainly not slow. And though Melanthina had gotten the first strike, Ursel had the endurance to overpower her. Eventually, the club found her ribcage- the force intentionally distributed to knock her back instead of crush her.

Melanthina just lay on the ground in her defeat. “What’s wrong sis?” Ursel asked, stomping over. “You’re not quite up to par today.”

“Am I ever…?” Melanthina asked.

“Yes! Usually!” Ursel sat down with a thud next to her sister. “What’s wrong with you?”

“What’s wrong is I lost to a peasant.”

“Wow,” Ursel rolled her eyes. “You’re still hung up about that? That was months ago. And you didn’t really lose.” Ursel leaned over her sister, “But if you want to do something specific about it I can teach you to properly headbutt. Because if you’re going to do it you need to know how.”

“I’m the genius young mistress of a powerful clan,” Melanthina ignored the whole thing about headbutts as she vented, “I should be crushing you masters a decade older than me, not losing to people with no background! If only we’d been allowed to train to our fullest all along.”

“This is exactly the sort of thing our parents were trying to avoid by slowing our training,” Ursel said to her prone sister. “Along with injuries, but that’s not the point. The point is… when did you get so entitled?”

This wasn’t the first time they’d had some version of this conversation, but there was always more to learn. Melanthina just crossed her arms. “I’m not supposed to lose.”

“Nobody is supposed to lose. But someone always will, in a competition.”

“Father’s never lost.”

Ursel held her face right above her sister, an eyebrow raised, “Huh? What are you talking about? He loses all the time. To mom or Master Renato or a bunch of other people. And in tournaments too. Mom and dad had to flee a tournament at the same time they discovered she was pregnant with us!”

“… He’s never lost anything important.”

“In that case,” Ursel slapped her palm into the dirt next to her sister, “Neither have you. Because nothing we’ve done is important yet. Except that one time we almost died. That’s just how the world works. Most things aren’t important enough to matter if you lose… until it is, and one side dies and can never win or lose again. We’re on the side that is winning and I intend to keep it that way.”

“Well, uh…” Melanthina just kept her arms crossed, grumbling. “Things can be important and not life or death.”

“Mhm,” Ursel nodded. “But you just want to find a reason because you don’t want to think about the real one.”

“Oh yeah?” Melanthina asked. “What’s the ‘real’ reason, then?”

“Because he’s cute.”

“N-no! No he’s not. Nik is average at best, and his attempt to grow a beard is pathetic!”

“Uh huh,” Ursel nodded. “Sure. Also he’s like fifteen. Of course he can’t grow a beard.” Ursel patted her sister on the head. “You ever think that boys might also want to win against cute girls to impress them?”

“That’s not- none of that is true!”

“If you go a whole month without talking about Nik I’ll believe you,” Ursel said.

“Hmph. Easy. That guy doesn’t even matter.”

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