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As new hope filled the whole Oni-elf alliance, they were also fearful that this ‘hope’ they had wasn’t going to last. Everyone was watching over Sen and protected him. Though when it got too excessive, Fideline would be angry.
During his initial growth, everyone was wondering about his parentage and racial characteristic that was unknown. They were so afraid to have this ‘hope’ and the union symbolization be broken.
No matter his parentage, if this child were to only exhibit a race’s specific characteristic, won’t it still be a problem?
This expectation worried Fideline and Osamu who agreed that no matter how Sen would grow up to be, and they tried to do a damage control alongside with the others in the research team who understood how complicated genes could be.
Luckily, they didn’t need to be worried over it for so long, as when Sen was around three years old, Oni horns started growing on his head.
All the Onis cheered on it and they had a celebration for this.
“It’s hurty hurty, why are you happy with this?” Little Sen didn’t understand what was happening and cried because the growing horns felt a bit weird and ached a bit, even.
All the Onis quickly showcased the horns they were proud of having and comforted the little Sen that the ‘hurty hurty’ would subside soon. That all Onis went through this.
When Sen looked at how cool the horns looked on the Onis, he forgot about the weird sensation he had been feeling and was even looking forward to the day his horns would mature.
“I always thought they’d be born with these ‘horn buds’ but turns out the process isn’t without pain,” Fideline was surprised to find out that the growing horns would cause her son to cry out in pain. She had always thought that it’d be natural like gaining height. She had a newfound admiration for the Onis. The other elves were observing the growing horns in wonder, too.
“Actually, Onis would normally start growing horns earlier than what Sen is experiencing,” Osamu explained.
“Ah, that’s why everyone has been keeping a close watch on him and asking when is his horn growing…,” Fideline nodded in understanding.
By now, it was evident that Sen had expressed the characteristic of both races. His Oni horns started growing and his pointy ears were actually not as long as the elves, yet not as short as the Onis.
The research and health team continued to keep a close tab to Sen’s development and whenever he fell ill, it’d cause everyone an uproar.
What comforted Fideline and Osamu was the fact that everyone in the research and health team gave Sen a clean bill. He was healthy and it didn’t seem like the half-Oni and half-elf genes mess up with his health and growth.
With Sen’s presence, everyone felt as if time had passed by much faster than before.
Everyone grew fonder of Sen, given the fact that he was the only child in this group of people, not to mention how his presence symbolized hope for the union.
More and more couples started forming, although there wasn’t a sign of another wedding nor child. Perhaps afraid of the unknown future as well as inspired by Fideline and Osamu, most of the couples would wait until there’d be a child between them before announcing the wedding. After all, they didn’t live in a more organized world, and wedding was now seen as a way to celebrate the forming of a new family (union).
The research and health team had gotten lots of inquiries in regards to Sen’s presence and how the others didn’t seem to be able to follow in Fideline and Osamu’s footprints.
In the end, they surmised that perhaps Fideline and Osamu were simply too compatible or too lucky.
Besides some pairs forming, there were also a heated matchmaking gossips among them. They would try to see any of the Onis and elves that had compatibility and even started to matchmake them.
This was attributed to their boredom over living in this world without developed civilization and entertainment like what they had in their original world.
And the most popular ‘shipping’ happened to be none other than their leaders, Oriel and Nagare.
If their leaders were to tie the knot, wouldn’t this union be taken to a whole new level?
That was their thoughts.
However, Oriel and Nagare didn’t seem to answer to their expectations.
Nevertheless, the avid shippers didn’t stop to keep trying.
They even recruited their little hope, Sen himself.
“Hey, Auntie Oriel, when are you going to hold a wedding with Uncle Shou?”
The six-year-old Oliver Sen who had inherited his father’s white hair and curly horns that grew downward and Fideline’s yellow eyes suddenly blurted out in the middle of his light magic training session with Oriel.
Oriel who was in the middle of demonstrating one of her magic was totally caught off guard and inadvertently blurted out, “Wait, what?!”
“You’re not getting married? Everyone says that you two are a package deal,” Little Sen continued asking.
“We are just friends,” Oriel cleared her throat and said.
“But you two are more in good terms than my father and mother!” Sen pouted.
It was at this moment that Oriel silently cursed Fideline and Osamu who didn’t grow out of their friendly banters.
But obviously, everyone didn’t just matchmake Oriel and Nagare because they were their leaders. They really had this spark and compatibility that everyone could see.
Unlike Fideline and Osamu’s loud and obvious spark that was almost comedical, Oriel and Nagare were so in sync by now that their discussion flowed smoothly and the two of them could almost already guess what the other was thinking about.
When Oriel thought about it, she admitted that she herself had felt a chemistry between her and Shou. She also felt that neither of them dared to cross the line as they had reservations.
In her case, she was still thinking about her bloodline and how she still cared about her family that she loved. She would definitely want to ask for her mother’s blessing before proceeding.
Actually, being part of the royal family meant that she had potential future spouse candidates lined up and the strongest one was actually her childhood friend. But if she could be honest, she saw him as a brother. She admitted that she had more chemistry to the great general of Naraka than that childhood friend of hers, but…
“Anyway, are you going to be serious in your training? If not, I am going to get back to work!” Oriel quickly shifted the topic when she realized she was also about to get carried away.
“Nooo, Auntie Oriel! But it’s your break time now!” Sen protested.
“It’s up to me when I want to work and when I want to take a break.”
“You seem to be having fun.”
“Ah, speak of the devil,” Oriel said to Nagare, who was coming this way.
“Uncle Shou!” Sen quickly approached Nagare, who lifted him afterwards.
Although Nagare was menacing by default, he was still Osamu’s closest friend. Sen had grown up from a baby who had been afraid of Nagare into a boy that liked Nagare.
“Uncle Shou, people keep asking me to ask you, when are you going to hold a wedding ceremony?”
Sure enough, little Sen asked Nagare this time.
“A wedding ceremony? Me? What?”
“Yeah, with Auntie Oriel!”
He let Sen down immediately.
“Aww, what is it, Uncle?”
Oriel immediately started to lecture Sen who was definitely influenced by the other Onis and elves who had tried to matchmake them. Little Sen was too young to understand things like marriage and what it meant, after all.
Nagare thought to Sen’s innocent words.
He knew for sure that he wanted Oriel, but he hesitated because the other party was the elven country’s crown princess, the future queen. Meanwhile, his position was that of the opposing country’s great general.
Although he had no family to think of, he was still a prominent figure in the empire. One of the leaders as well as the emperor’s trusted aide.
Realistically speaking, there was no future for the two of them.
But if they were to never return and stay here, then…
It wasn’t the first time that the thought of ‘How nice it’d be to remain like this forever?’ crossed the mind of the Onis and elves who preferred to live carefreely like this.
But whenever the thought appeared, they’d also remember the family, friends, or responsibilities that they had left in their original world.
Though it’d definitely be harder to hold onto this union spirit back in their original world, perhaps they could try and make it work, and then, they would finally have peace?
The fact that they had no certainty of the future caused all of them to be hesitant to take a step forward.
There was no guarantee they could return home, but there was also no guarantee that they had no chances of returning at all.
If there was no chance of returning at all, though it meant they’d be grieving, it’d set them free in terms of planning for the long future.
Perhaps this ‘hope of returning’ became their shackle as well in this world.
By lunch time, Osamu and Fideline as well as the few others who went out for expedition had returned.
“Mommy! Daddy!” Sen quickly welcomed his beloved parents, who were more than delighted to see him.
Nagare and Oriel followed Sen as they had to talk with Osamu and Fideline.
The others around them were looking at them with tender gaze.
It was a normal, peaceful day to all of them, with nothing out of the ordinary.
As such, nobody would have predicted the absurdity of things that suddenly happened out of nowhere afterwards.
A weird and loud voice could be heard around them, causing everyone to stop doing whatever they were doing, and they tried to find the source of the voice.
After around ten years living here, could it be that a monster that was able to break through their defense finally found their way here?
It was everyone’s horror, so everyone was quickly on alert mode as they finally located the source of the odd buzzing voice that constantly bothered them, as it grew louder.
“What is that?!”
Sen looked up to the sky, towards the source of the voice and pointed to the odd phenomenon happening there.
Osamu, Fideline, and the rest of the people around the vicinity felt that the weird crack in the sky was familiar.
But before they could even process what was happening, the weird distortion of a crack grew rapidly larger as it engulfed all of them, again…