Richard’s father wasn’t at classes for a week. The official reason for his absence was that he was visiting a conference, but that was quite simply ridiculous. There was no reason for him to go to a teaching conference, especially not during the school year… and also because he wasn’t normally a teacher. Richard found him after he returned. “Can I ask you about why you were gone?.”
“Yes, you can.” Mr. Smith grinned slightly.
Richard stared blankly for a moment, before sighing. “So, why were you really gone?”
“Oh, I had a duel to the death with someone,” Richard’s father said as if it were the most natural thing in the world.
“I… probably would have taken that as a joke before. Now, I can’t tell. Is that even a legal thing? I’m not actually sure if I want to know.”
“No, it wasn’t a joke. Also, I’m quite certain it was legal where we were.”
“Well… are you okay?”
“I’m not dead, am I?”
“Well, no, but people can get injured in duels, I think, even if they win.”
“I suppose that’s true. No, I’m not injured, thank you.”
“Good. You know, I wish you would tell me before going off and doing something dangerous.”
“Of course I would.”
“Why didn’t you this time?”
Mr. Smith briefly got a confused look. “Oh, that’s because it wasn’t dangerous this time. Do you think I’d accept a duel to the death if I could lose? That would be ridiculous.”
“I mean… the other guy should also think he wouldn’t lose, right? Also, why were you challenged to a duel to the death?”
“Actually… I forgot to ask.”
Richard couldn’t help but facepalm at that. “Really? You didn’t ask? Does this kind of thing happen often?”
Mr. Smith shook his head. “Not that often, no. I assumed he had some kind of grudge from the past with me.”
“So what if he didn’t? What if he confused you with someone else, and you just killed someone innocent?”
“Hmm? Oh, no this guy totally deserved it. He was a real jerk and didn’t even politely introduce himself before demanding a duel. People asking for duels to the death don’t make mistakes in who they’re asking either.”
“Hmm.” Richard was silent for some time, thinking. “I feel like I should probably care about someone dying for possibly a bad reason, but I don’t. Does that make me a bad person?”
Mr. Smith shrugged. “We can’t care about everyone or everything. We’d just go crazy.”
“Right. Plus, I do care about you, and since one of you apparently had to die, I’m glad it was him.” Richard pondered how much his life had changed from less than a year ago. It was strange. “You know, I bet normal families don’t have parents that do crazy things like you guys.”
“Normal families? No. However, I bet you would be surprised at how many people get involved in this kind of stuff.”
“Really? How many?”
Richard’s father shrugged. “I don’t know, but I bet it’s surprising.”
“…Right. I’m sure it is.”
With all of the exceptional events happening in Richard’s life, each new one seemed less impressive. That said, Richard still found himself thinking about everything, and whether it was really happening. Of course, the immediate answer that came to mind was that it definitely was. It wasn’t as if anything were hazy or unclear like a dream. He could also feel pain, which also did not happen in a dream. At least, not physical pain. Furthermore, he had considered whether it was really a dream enough that if his life now was just some kind of extremely long lucid dream, he should have been able to affect the world around him by this point. However, nothing changed.
Not that Richard was dissatisfied with his current life as a whole. Although he was not human as he had always believed for the rest of his life, having this strange part of him that was energy seemed to only be an advantage, though perhaps it would be a problem if he didn’t have sufficient food available. He had good friends, strong, smart, and loyal. He even had a good family, even if there were still some details he didn’t know. Of course, he couldn’t complain about his position in life. He was very lucky to be able to get everything he needed, and more than he needed. He could have gone to whatever university he wanted, providing he met the entry requirements.
There was only the slight problem of facing potentially mortal danger occasionally. However, even in this case, he was better off than some. It hadn’t been the case on Utopia, and Maropa seemed prosperous as well… but Richard knew that in some places throughout the galaxy there were wars where people faced death from violence and poverty where people faced death from starvation along other issues people had to face. Some of them were in more constant danger of dying than he was, and there was nothing they could do about it. It was never fun to think about it, but it helped put things in perspective. While Richard would have preferred not to be cursed, he was still quite well off.
In the end, Richard was glad that he had a healthy body and mind, sufficient resources to survive, and that nobody had ever tried to kill him. Except, upon review, that last part wasn’t true. People had tried to kill him, at least once, but possibly twice.
He had been attacked by the angry Ulph fellow. Perhaps he had recognized that his attack would probably kill a human or anything similar, and perhaps not, but he had certainly intentionally attacked. He likely would have done worse if Jot had not been around. Then, there was the other incident. There was that Noxian. Not Elena, because she certainly hadn’t tried to kill him. No, it had occurred after that. There had been a Noxian man whose name Richard didn’t know, who had slapped Richard across the face. If it wasn’t an attempt to kill him, it was at the very least assault with a deadly weapon. There was some chance that he didn’t know how potentially deadly that was to humans… or perhaps he thought he could get away with it. Richard supposed he had, but that was because Richard had thoughts of personal revenge. Realistically, that had been a foolish idea. He should have just reported the incident to the police and gotten the man arrested. For one thing, if Richard did anything himself, it would be outside the bounds of the law, and Richard wasn’t really interested in breaking laws if he could help it. Regardless, the two incidents together added up to at least a single case of people trying to kill him, if not two. Richard thought that number was unusually high, but upon review of his family, it didn’t seem that much above average. That was actually probably the strangest part.