Derek’s first days as a baby were peaceful but far from boring. He had no responsibilities, all he to do was eat, sleep, poop and the occasional baby noise or finger grabbing routine.
That left him with all the time he needed to think about his future.
On Earth it was no mystery that kids had a greater potential for learning than adults, and since his family seemed human, or at least human-like he could hope for that to be true also in this dimension.
From what he could see, his body was no different from a baby from planet Earth. He could hear his heartbeat, his chest inflating and deflating while breathing.
Even the reproductive apparatus was the same.
The same could be said for his new family. If it wasn’t for the existence of magic, he would have simply thought to have travelled through time, but things clearly weren’t that simple.
Derek quickly dismissed all the “what race am I now?” hypothesis as overthinking.
One of the advantages of being a baby was that ignorance was perfectly fine, when the time came, someone would teach him.
He determined that he had two priorities: number one, learn their language. All babies are supposed to learn their native language, and he had only so much time before being considered a retard, so he could not slack off.
Number two, he had somehow to figure out magic, or at least its foundations. And that also had a deadline, since his learning potential was at its peak only until his brain stopped growing.
After that, he would not be different from anyone else with the same talent and disposition for magic.
So, he set magic as his first priority. Being considered a slow learner was much better than being weak for life and forced to take another spin at reincarnation.
Derek spent his first day in the new world in bed, together with his mother, while his father would sleep and rest in the boys’ room.
Whenever someone talked to him, he paid close attention, trying to figure out common words or patterns.
The rest of the time he was not eating or the cloth diaper being changed, he would try to cast one of the three spells he knew: Ekidu, Vinire Lakhat and Vinire Rad Tu.
Every attempt was a failure, he could not feel even an iota of power inside himself. Comparing what he saw from what he knew from Earth’s Dungeons & Looting, those spells had clearly a verbal and somatic component.
But that couldn’t be all, or at least he hoped so, otherwise until he was able to talk all his efforts would have been wasted.
Failure after failure, his anxiety grew stronger. Fear of the unknown and of tomorrow started to build up. Also getting used to poop and wet himself wasn’t a pleasant feeling either.
Thankfully, his mother showered him up with nothing but love and affection, making his day not a total loss. Despite his bias about mothers due to his previous life, Elina managed to make him feel loved and protected. That wasn’t half bad at all.
The final outcome of his first day was zero progress in magic, no progress with language. But his mother seemed to be a good parent, and he finally learned his new name: Lith.
The second day turned his world upside down.
Elina, showing the strength of a wild ox, decided she was sick of resting and got up to help doing the daily chores.
Lith had the opportunity to see her full figure. Despite giving birth the previous day, she was a good-looking woman, in her early twenties. She was definitely well endowed in all the right places, with a fit body honed through hard work. Her shoulder blades long hair was of a beautiful light-brown colour, with shades of red all over it
Just the light of the candle made it look like there were flames dancing within. “Seeing mother with her hair down in a sunny day must be quite a sight to behold.” Derek thought
Maybe it was because Lith was still a baby, maybe because of the mother-son bonding, but Lith felt deeply proud of her.
He also discovered that she seemed to not use bra or underpants.
Once finished dressing, she wrapped up Lith, making impossible for him to move. Then Elina placed him into her sash, using it like a baby cradle so that she could easily hold him with only one arm with minimum exertion.
She walked out the small bedroom and found her older daughter, Eliza messing with the fireplace.
*”What in the Great Mother’s name do you think you’re doing, Lily? The sun is not even out, you should be sleeping. You know you are not allowed to mess with fire!”*
She said with a hiss, trying to not wake up the house.
*”I’m sorry, mom. I just wanted to make you all a surprise. Let you wake up in an already warm house and breakfast ready.”* Eliza’s face showed only sincere concern.
*”There is no need to worry, silly bee. Your mommy is a pro with kids.”* Elina said while ruffling her hair.
Eliza, together with her twin brother, was the eldest child. She was eight years old, and her blonde hair with shades of black was the reason for her moniker.
Elina shooed her away from the fireplace and with a flick of a finger lighted the fire.
“Thanks heavens!” Lith rejoiced. “Once again I had that weird feeling when discovering a new type of magic. This proves I wasn’t just imagining stuff!”
Elina sent Lily opening the windows’ shutters to let the dawn light in while she prepared breakfast.
Elina took several vegetables out of a cabined and proceeded chopping them with a knife. Some had a familiar look to Lith, like some semi potatoes and odd coloured carrots. The others were all a mystery.
The idea of having such breakfast made Lith almost cry. In his past life he never liked vegetables, they were all bland tasting. No matter how much of them he ate, within half an hour he would be hungry again.
Elina shoved everything inside a small copper cauldron and with the help of a hook hanged it on a metal bar over the fire.
Then with a finger-snap she conjured water out of nowhere, filling the cauldron.
Both Lith and Eliza were ecstatic, even though for completely different reasons.
For Lith it meant hope. Spells could be casted without words or precise hand’s movements, and that showed him that there was a real chance for him to practice magic while still being baby.
For Eliza was a reason for pride. Magic was common, but every time Elina casted a silent spell it was like watching a real magician at work.
*”You are so amazing, mom!”* Eliza’s eyes were full of admiration. *”Will I ever be as good as you with magic?”*
*”Of course you will, silly bee.”* Elina replied with a kind smile, while inwardly adding: “After ten plus years of chores, every single day.”
After a while, everyone woke up to have breakfast together. The family consisted of Raaz (father), Elina, two daughters (Eliza and Tista) and two sons (Orpal and Trion).
Lith could then establish with depressing certainty that there was no such a thing as an indoor bathroom.
From what he could see the house consisted of a big room used as dining room, kitchen and pantry with three doors that lead to the various bedrooms and nothing else.
The breakfast was relatively quiet, so he had no problems learning the word for water magic when his father filled some jugs.
After everyone left for their daily routine, Elina moved along with Lith to a rocking chair. During the morning he had to pleasure to discover that in the new world the daily chores like washing the dishes or cleaning the floors were all performed using magic.
From her rocking chair, Elina would simply twirl her index and medium finger while reciting “Brezza!” to generate up to three small whirlwinds that she would move all around the house to collect and get rid of the dust.
Whenever someone would dirty the floor with earth or mud, a flick of the wrist and a “Magna!” would send them back through the same door they were brought in.
Lith was delighted discovering how common the use of magic was. Everyone in the family, even the younger ones, would use magic to make their life easier.
When bedtime arrived, Lith was dying to try some magic. He had waited so long for his hands and feet to be finally free.
Elina fell asleep almost instantly, yet Lith was impatient enough to have the impression of having waited for hours.
After a full day of thinking, he had decided to try only air magic first until he was confident enough in his magic control abilities.
Fire was just too dangerous for a novice, while water and light would easily wake up his mother. He could not spot any dirt to control in the dim light of the room, and was too afraid to mess up with darkness magic until he got a better understanding of it.
So, he twirled his little arm and said: “Eaa.” Nothing happened.
Lith tried and failed countless times before giving up. He did not know how long his baby body would have lasted until falling asleep, so he stopped despairing and started thinking.
Magic was common, whenever he heard for the first time an elemental magic word, something inside him had clicked, like creating a connection with the elemental energy.
Those were all good news, but he still couldn’t make head or tails why he was always failing. He never expected succeeding at the first try, but he had thought that something would have manifested.
A random tiny gust of wind, a magic spark, anything would do.
So, he started thinking back to when the healer had filled him with power. That feeling was not new to him, but he never experienced it so intense.
Lith searched his memory until he found the answer. It was the same sensation that he had when he started practicing aikido, while learning the basic breathing technique.
“Well, I have nothing to lose. Let’s give it a try.”
Lith breathed in through his diaphragm, the anus relaxed, to get the world energy in.
Then he would contract the anus, holding the breath for some seconds to let the energy settle in before breathing out relaxing his whole body.
Back on Earth, he had always thought that the intoxicating feeling he experienced during his first days of practice was just some kind of placebo effect.
His naïve young mind deluding itself that the weak could miraculously become strong just believing and practicing in all that Ki/internal energy nonsense.
But what if he later stopped experiencing that sensation only because his native world energy was just too thin?
After some time, Lith started to feel a tingle all around his body, and then the energy seemed to move and condense inside his solar plexus.
The more he performed the breathing technique, more clearly he could sense the energy getting more stable.
In his old videogames, mana was always blue. So, he visualized a blue sphere settling in inside his solar plexus.
After a while, Lith felt brimming with power. After holding his breath one last time, he twirled his little arm before commanding: “Eaaa!”
The wind generated barely tweaked his mother’s hair, while he had aimed for the blanket.
Yet he could not stop grinning.
“This is really a great start!”