Frieren’s Prequel Novel Chapter 1 part 1



Chapter 1: Days of Peace

Fern feels the warmth of the sun on her face.
As she lifts her heavy eyelids, the dazzling morning sun shines in. She gets up from the bed and stretches with a yawn. Dust motes dance and glimmer, reflecting the sunlight. With a sleepy mind, she thinks, “Looks like a good day for laundry.”
It’s been a while since Fern started living in this house. At first, the hardness of the bed made it hard for her to fall asleep, but now she can sleep soundly through the night.
She steps out into the hallway and peeks into the living room and kitchen. No one’s around. Heiter must still be sleeping.
She’ll go fetch some water, she thinks.
Grabbing a bucket, she heads outside. The gentle sunlight warms her skin. The chirping of birds is pleasant to her ears. This area is mostly free of monsters, so it’s very peaceful.
Walking a bit into the forest, she reaches the river.
Peering into the river’s surface, she sees a familiar face –
purple hair cut at the shoulders, sleepy-looking eyes.
Like scooping up the reflection on the rippling water, she dips the bucket to fill it with water.
The bucket handle digs into her fingers. The water-filled bucket is heavy enough to almost slip off her shoulder. It’s all she can do to make it back home, her body swaying side to side as water sloshes out.
Somehow, she makes it back to the house.
Entering the kitchen, Heiter just comes out of the bedroom, leaning on his cane and walking slowly. Freshly woken up, his white hair is tousled.
Noticing her, Heiter gives Fern a warm, wrinkly-cheeked smile.
“Good morning, Fern.”
“Good morning, Master Heiter.”
She sets the bucket down with a thud, spilling more water. But Heiter doesn’t make any displeased expression – his gentle smile remains as he reaches out to gently pat her head. His bony, withered hand moves carefully, not mussing her hair. It tickles her heart.
“Thank you for fetching the water. It must have been heavy.”
“It was nothing.”
“You’re so capable. Shall we wash your face now?”
Heiter uses magic to levitate the bucket, and they head to the washroom together.

Fern was a war orphan.
With no family left after the war, she had nowhere to go, drifting aimlessly, almost resigned to death.
It was then that Heiter approached her.
“It would be a shame to die now,” he had said.
And so she was taken in by Heiter.
Heiter provided her with warm meals and a clean bed. He also taught her the skills to live independently. Heiter’s kindness carefully filled the gaping hole in her heart left by the loss of her family.
Being with Master Heiter puts Fern at ease.
At some point, she came to want to be of help to him.

  • * *



“Do you see that biggest rock over there?”
Heiter points with the hand not holding his cane to a rock in the distance, across a cliff.
Feeling anxious about the height, Fern nods. The rock stands out, slightly above them on the other side of the cliff, like a landmark.
“If you could shoot a spell and hit that rock, Fern, you would be considered an adult.”
“An adult, huh.”
Trying to avoid looking down the cliff, she readies her staff.
This is not Heiter’s walking cane, but a staff for casting magic – one he has passed down to her. It’s bigger than her own height, and at first it was difficult for her to even hold. But now it fits her hand naturally.
She focuses on the target rock.
A beam of light shoots from the staff’s tip, but it quickly loses momentum and dissipates, blown away by the wind. It doesn’t even reach halfway to the rock. She slumps her shoulders.
“For your first try, that was quite good,”
Heiter says, placing a hand on her head.
“Keep practicing, and I’m sure you’ll be able to hit it.”
“Alright, let’s get to today’s training, then.”
Their daily practice begins.
In the early days of learning magic, Fern was mostly taught minor household spells. But gradually, she’s been learning more battle-oriented magic. Now, the majority of her training time is spent on spells for self-defense.
Heiter is knowledgeable about magic, but he is not a mage.
He is a priest –
one who can heal wounds and dispel curses. So he has never been particularly skilled at offensive magic. But Fern has no complaints about Heiter’s teaching methods, and she greatly respects him.
“Master Heiter, how can I make my spells travel farther?”
“The basics are there, so for now it’s just a matter of repetition. Just keep practicing, and the range will improve.”
Fern does as he instructed.
As Fern kept repeating the same thing, she gradually got a grasp of it. She sharpened her magical power and fired the magic straight without any deviation, more accurately and powerfully. Gradually, the range of her magic extended. By the time her magical power was depleted, the magic could reach almost halfway to the farthest rock.
“You’re progressing quickly,”
Heiter said admiringly.
“Fern has the potential to become a mage. I’m sure you’ll become a great mage in the future.”
“I see”
Fern’s reply was subdued, but she was quite pleased inside. Whenever Heiter complimented her, she felt a warm, fuzzy feeling deep within.
“I’ll work even harder on my training.”
“That’s a good attitude. But don’t overdo it, okay? You have all the time in the world.”
After a break to recover her magical power, Fern trained until dusk. The height of the cliff that had once frightened her no longer fazed her at all in the end.
Fern and Heiter started on their way back. They walked along the dim forest path, the two of them. Fern was tired from using so much magic that day.
“Cough, cough…”
Suddenly, Heiter started coughing.
Fern looked up at Heiter walking beside her.
“Are you alright?”
“Ah, sorry about that. I’m fine. It’s probably because the air has gotten colder.”
Heiter smiled reassuringly at her, but Fern’s mood was not calm.
Heiter’s health was not good. He always said he was fine, but there had been times when he suddenly started coughing or leaned against a wall, looking unsteady. His appetite had also been decreasing lately. It was not an illness, just the effects of age. That’s why there was no cure. Fern just had to accept it.
“You have all the time in the world,”
Fern remembered Heiter’s words.
It might be true for her,
but she couldn’t help but think –
just how much time does Heiter have left?
The thought made her feel a little scared.

When they arrived home, Fern started preparing dinner.
Lately, she had been the one doing the cooking since Heiter’s body had been getting weaker. She started cooking with the desire to repay him, but she found that she actually enjoyed it more than she expected. It’s not that she particularly loved cooking, but rather that she seemed to enjoy taking care of others.
Once the cooking was done, they sat at the same table, facing each other to eat.
“Master Heiter, please don’t leave the broccoli behind,”
Fern said. As she said that, Heiter suddenly stopped his hand. On his plate, the broccoli was pushed to the side.
“You know, Fern, broccoli doesn’t have much nutrition, so it’s fine not to eat it.”
“You’re lying, aren’t you?”
“So you saw through it.”
Occasionally, Fern couldn’t help but wonder if this man really was a priest.
“Why do you keep telling such obvious lies?”
“That’s just how adults are.”
“It’s only you, Master Heiter. You shouldn’t have food preferences. Please eat it.”
“You’ve become quite bold, Fern.”
Heiter gave in and put the broccoli in his mouth, looking a bit dejected as he chewed it. Fern started thinking that maybe she should find a more delicious way to cook it next time – a mother-like worry.
After finishing the meal,
Heiter started boiling water. The heat from the magical flame he created made the kettle lid rattle.
“Would you like a hot milk, Fern?”
“Yes. …Ah, no, I’d like the same as you, Master Heiter.”
“The same as me? Alright, but will it suit your taste?”
“It’s fine.”
With that, Heiter quickly poured out two cups of coffee. The aroma of the roasted beans filled the room.
“Here you go.”
A mug filled to the brim with the dark liquid was placed in front of Fern. Careful not to burn her tongue, she gently blew on it and took a sip.
“…It’s bitter.”
She couldn’t help but scrunch up her face.
“Haha, it seems a bit too strong for you, Fern.”
Heiter laughed amusedly. Feeling a bit annoyed, Fern puffed out her cheeks.
She wanted to grow up quickly and imitate Heiter. But it seemed she had failed. Simply following the form doesn’t mean anything.
“Let me add some sugar and milk. That way, you’ll be able to drink it.”

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