20 Killing Intent  - Lab Rat
”Honey… I think Silas is getting better at the sword!” Lochras beamed as he looked out of the window.
It had been a few weeks since Silas began hunting in the forest, and ever since then, his speed of improvement had been steadily increasing.
Lochras was beyond happy to see his son achieve so much in an art that he himself loved so much.
From the look in his eyes, one would think that he was more proud of Silas than he was proud of Syra, despite one being a mage with an S rank affinity and the other being an amateur swordsman.
“Are you even listening? My period is late! I could be pregnant!” Rhea stomped the ground in anger.
“Really!?” Lochras showed an expression of pure delight.
“Why are you so happy!? Shouldn’t you be stressed? We have another baby on the way!” Rhea gritted her teeth.
“I know! So much good news today, am I right? Syra just reached the pristine onyx core, Silas is finally improving at a pace that I could have never imagined to see him at, and now we have a child on the way! I could not have asked for a better day myself!” Lochras grinned.
“But it won’t be so easy anymore. Silas was an abnormality. I can quite literally count the number of times he’s cried in one hand. Syra is a genius mage so she essentially has her entire future planned out for her. This one might not be so easy!” Rhea tried to argue, but for some reason, she couldn’t look Lochras in the eye.
Despite this, she finally looked up and into her husband’s loving eyes when she felt a hand on her abdomen.
“It’s going to be okay.” He smiled and gently hugged her. They soothed each other with the warmth of their bodies, slowly lowering both of their heart rates and blossoming a smile on Rhea’s face.
“Can you guys be all lovey-dovey somewhere else? It’s really distracting.” Silas sneered while gulping down some water.
“That’s no way to talk to your parents, young man! And don’t think for a second that I’ve forgotten the stunt you pulled at the light festival. I hope you get your butt handed to you so you know to not act so rashly next time.” Rhea lectured, but Silas knew she didn’t really mean it.
Silas looked away in shame, but just like most of his actions, it was just an act.
“Sorry.” Silas bowed in apology and turned around to return to his training.
His mother wanted to scold him more; however, before leaving through the door, he paused and raised his head as if he remembered something.
“Oh, dad. Can you tell me how killing intent works?” Silas asked.
“Why do you want to know?” Lochras narrowed his eyes.
“I read about it somewhere but it didn’t explain how it worked.” He lied through his teeth.
Walking toward Silas, Lochras waved him over to the couch and sat down with a sigh.
Rhea was a little annoyed that she wasn’t the one Silas had asked; after all, she used to be a prominent adventurer before she got pregnant with Syra.
“Silas. Don’t forget you and Syra have to go to town to get something from the chief for your grandmother.” Rhea reminded me before leaving the room.
Lochras pursed his lips and sighed.
“Killing intent isn’t something taught before adulthood. Even my father didn’t teach me how to harness my killing intent until I was 15, but I guess you’re a lot more mature than I was at that age.” Lochras chuckled.
“Killing intent is formed through killing. Every time you kill someone or something, a little bit of your soul is stained by their deaths. You have to go through countless battles to even form a single shred of killing intent, but even though it seems all bad, it’s a powerful weapon when used correctly.” Lochras explained while Silas struggled to keep himself from going pale.
“Okay… Let’s say, hypothetically, there is a man out there who accidentally poisoned an entire continent and killed them all. What happens to their killing intent?” Silas asked with an awkward smile.
“Oh. If that kind of person ever existed, they would have an aura around them so dreaded that it would probably turn most living things around it into wilted forms of themselves.” He laughed.
‘Little does he know that he’s sitting next to a planet killer.’ Silas rubbed the back of his head as a knot of guilt tied itself around his innards.
“With all seriousness though, even though we humans would have a hard time feeling such a thing if we weren’t significantly powerful, a person like that would probably ward off most monsters and animals with their natural aura.
On the other hand, their killing intent would be extremely powerful too, but only for their power level. Killing intent can only be as powerful as its user.” Lochras explained with a more serious attitude.
“I see.” Silas looked down at his feet.
‘Then, what scared all the creatures off before was my naturally bloody aura, not my killing intent. It means that to a certain extent, I had locked away that aura Wait, how do I release killing intent then? Is it as simple as its name? Do I just intend to kill something?’ Silas scratched his chin.
“Silas! Let’s go!” Syra called for Silas while wearing her outdoor shoes and opening the front door.
“Coming.” Silas sighed and stood up before patting his father on the shoulder and leaving with Syra.
“I can’t wait to see all my friends.” She giggled, but as usual, Silas didn’t respond.
It might have been a nature ingrained into him after spending 7 years in complete isolation, where the only thing laying between him and a death parade of mutated monsters was the thin wall and the guns he held.
Over the last 5 years, Silas had tried his best to start communicating with his family, and to a certain extent, his communication skills had drastically improved.
There were two problems, though. Problem one was that he never initiated the conversation unless something piqued his curiosity and unending hunger for knowledge. Of course, it was different when it came to the adults in his family.
He had gotten used to speaking to Rhea, Lochras, and Keira to the extent that he didn’t mind throwing random comments at them in order to stop them from doing something, or to manipulate them into helping him in a certain way.
At the same time, when it truly came to it, Silas knew how to make a speech on the spot. He knew how to speak to manipulate a mass of people. If anything, him choosing not to speak most of the time was a choice he had made rather than a hand he was dealt. Sure, speaking wasn’t ideal for him. He’d rather remain silent.
But sometimes it was a luxury he simply could not afford.
To Syra, it simply seemed like her brother was socially awkward. He always chose to spend time training or reading rather than socializing, but even though she wanted to get closer to him, she understood he was different.
Her personal tutor once told of a disorder called autism. After that, she kind of assumed that her brother had it.
On the other hand, Silas would never admit it, but he enjoyed her presence much more than he enjoyed the presence of the rest of his family. There was something soothing about her ever since their near-death experience.
Syra continued the one-sided conversation until they both saw the front gates of town Uladia.
Reaching the front gates, Silas stared at the guard for a moment. Syra was about to take out a token of some sort to show the guard, but the moment he looked at Silas, the clogs in his head began to turn, causing him to bow slightly before clearing the path for Silas, his sister, to enter.
Syra widened her eyes, but she didn’t say anything.
She hadn’t been to the town alone with Silas ever before. She either went on her own or with her grandmother. Silas was sometimes forced along with them, to his dismay, but even though he only spoke to their grandmother and not her, she still enjoyed his company.
*Clack Clack Clack*
The dull thuds of wood knocking against wood reverberated from a certain section of the town.
Looking over, Silas paused, tapped on his sister’s shoulder, and began to walk toward the sound. Syra quickly followed behind him, but before she could argue against going in that direction, she widened her eyes when several voices called out for her.
“Syra! How come you’re here? Did you not have practice or school?” A girl the same age as Syra asked with a raised brow.
“I’m home-schooled, dummy. I choose when I have school.” Syra puffed out her chest.
‘Well, that’s just a lie…’ Silas rolled his eyes and turned his attention toward the two individuals sparring.
A man covered in leather armor maneuvered on his feet like a pro while struggling to block the attacks of the girl before him, who stood at half his size.
The pink-haired girl was a blur. She danced around her enemy; her movements were as graceful as a swan, while her deadly precise attacks resembled that of a laser.
The attacks of her sword combined straight and curved patterns, making her feel like a storm constantly attacking with the intention of destroying anything that stood before her.
Silas could see the resolve in her eyes, and the hunger that burned within them. It almost made him grin.
When they finally both stopped, the man fell back and let out a loud sigh.
“You’re strong… I have to give you that.” He spoke, panting in the middle of every third word.
“If this is your strength, the other guy doesn’t stand a chance.” The man laughed as one of his friends walked over to him to give him a helping hand.
Silas could feel his sister’s stare land on him for a moment, but he simply smiled as well.
‘At this rate, I have no chance of beating her physically. My specialty is magic and planning ahead. Unlike beasts, humans are predictable. Even though it might not seem like I have the advantage at the moment, they don’t realize-‘
“He’s here! That’s him!” One of Syra’s friends shouted, causing her to receive a deadly glare from Syra.
‘So Syra doesn’t think I can beat her. It’s understandable. My magic is the only thing that tips the scales in my favor.’
“Oh really? Hey, wanna spar?” The man grinned. He had looked Silas up and down, and despite trying to see what Nymira saw in him to challenge him, he simply could not see past the nonchalant demeanor of the child before them.
At least from Nymira, they all felt a deadly aura from her whenever she looked at them. Hell, even Syra felt a little dangerous due to her nature as a mage, but they didn’t feel anything from Silas.
Nymira, on the other hand, had widened her eyes and looked toward Silas with an eager expression. He was too far away from her for her to smell him, but even she felt the change in his aura.
It was as if he was a normal human now.
‘How did I smell him in the first place? He was so far away…’ She frowned.
“You… Want to spar me?” Silas asked with an uneasy expression.
Thinking about the offer for a moment, Silas finally smiled.
‘I can test my new knowledge on him… Maybe he can be my killing intent labrat!’ Silas felt like clapping in excitement.
It had been so long since he had a lab rat.
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