TESSIA ERALITH'S POV:

I kissed him… I k-kissed him!

As I ran out of the room, I could feel the temperature in my face rising rapidly . That was my first k-kiss! I wonder if he liked it? Did I do it right? My face didn't look weird as I kissed him r-right?

I stopped in the hall and looked at my reflection in the window . I stood right in front of it and pretended to kiss Art again to see how I'd looked .

"EEK! NOOO!!" Banging my head on the window in embarrassment, I could only groan at the thought of how weird I must've looked to him . As I looked outside through the window with my forehead still glued against it, I touched my lips with my fingers .

His lips sure were soft . They were a bit chapped since he was so hurt but it felt nice .

"Hehe…"

I noticed that my face in the reflection showed a perverted grin .

Oh God, I'm turning into a pervert . I wonder if I came on too strong? What if he didn't like it? What if he thinks I'm some sort of pervert now?

"UGHHH!" I slumped down to my knees as my forehead slid down the window .

Wait . How was I supposed to face him now? Things were just getting better too! Did I just ruin everything? What if he ignored me now, when he saw me?

A throbbing ache thumped in my chest as tears started welling up in the corners of my eyes . I wouldn't be able to bear it if Art ignored me like that .

Should I go back to his room and pretend it was all a joke? I imagined myself bursting in the room, laughing and pointing at him . "Got you! Hahaha! You really fell for it!"Am I stupid? I groaned again at the stupidity of it all .

No! You did the right thing, Tess! Things would never progress if I left it up to Art! He still treats me like a child every time we're together . It was for the best!

"Yeah!" I fist pumped the air to encourage myself but I still let out a big sigh at the thought of him not liking me .

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"Tch!" Who cares?! If that stupid Art chooses to ignore me, I can just find someone better than him! He wasn't that great anyway! He's just a teeny bit better-looking than average . He's only slightly better than mediocre in magic, right?

Sigh . Who was I kidding? I couldn't imagine myself with anyone else but Arthur . Sure, over the years, there were nobles that tried to impress me and tried to get close but they didn't come close to Arthur .

That stupid Art! He's such a player! "'Don't furrow your brows, Tess . Your face will turn ugly,'

" I said in a mocking tone, imitating him .

Tch! Making my heart skip a beat for no reason! That stupid player!

"GAH! Who cares if he doesn't like you, Tess! It's his loss! What don't you have? You're a talented mage! You're also pretty smart and popular too, right? Not to sound conceited but you're not a bad-looking girl either, right? Arthur is the one that's missing out if he doesn't snatch you up!" I pointed at my reflection as if she's a different person .

I wondered what kind of excuses I could make to talk to Arthur . There were plenty of excuses! His Mother personally asked me to watch over him, yeah! A-And also, the beast core assimilation! I could just ask him to help me with it since he was the one that gave me the beast core! It was only right that he took the responsibility, right?

Sigh…

I took one last look back at where Arthur's room was before I slumped back to my dorm .

ARTHUR LEYWIN'S POV:I k-kissed Tess…

I kissed Tessia Eralith, a thirteen-year-old girl . Wasn't this a crime? Was I a criminal? No, I had to calm down . I was in the body of a twelve-year-old boy . Why did I feel so guilty then? I shouldn't, right?

She was the one that kissed me after all! I was the victim here! Making a move on me while I was in this vulnerable state . . . he sure was smart, that Tess . As I stared blankly at the door she'd left through, my shaking hand finally reached my lips and I just lay there, dumbfounded, touching my mouth as my mind couldn't help but recall the soft, moist touch of her lips .

This was wrong . Yes, I was technically only twelve years old, but with the mental age from my previous life and this life combined, I was almost 50! Even assuming that I had kids late, Tess would still be around the age of a daughter if I'd had one .

Goddammit! All of this was because of this accursed body! These raging hormones in my body right now! The reason I was feeling so guilty was because I actually enjoyed it . It felt nice when Tess kissed me . It shouldn't feel nice and I shouldn't enjoy a kiss from a little girl, but I did .

I groaned, half from pain and the other half from thinking about what was going to happen between Tess and I . Knowing her, she was probably over-thinking a lot of things right now and she was going to be really uncomfortable around me .

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I almost laughed at the thought of what people might think of Tess when she was with me . If someone didn't know any better, they might even assume that she hated me since she was the type to act cold when she didn't know what to do .

Something told me that if I didn't clear things up with her, there would only be more misunderstandings .

How should I clear things up though? It's not like she confessed or anything . Should we date? No, no, no . Did kids our age even know what dating was?

I looked back and thought of the time when I was twelve in my past life . When I was twelve, my life was filled with only training . Being raised in an orphanage and getting sent to an institute solely dedicated to raising duelists, I couldn't say that I really had any experience dating .

We were too young anyhow, right? I was technically only twelve in this body! Was this body even capable of reproducing yet? Oh God, now you're overthinking this, Arthur .

Haa… it wasn't like I hated Tess . I was actually quite fond of her . She was still immature in some senses, but I shouldn't let that be an excuse right?

"What do you think, Sylv?" I poked my sleeping bond as her body slowly heaved up and down with her breaths . I was surprised she hadn't woken up when Tess kissed me . As I played with my bond's ears and paws, my breaths began to synchronize with hers, and I soon fell asleep .

_________________________________________

Over the past couple of days, quite a few people came to visit me while my body was recovering . Curtis came by and asked if I was okay . I only shot him a grin and said that his move was pretty damn strong, making him laugh . Claire Bladeheart also stopped by to check on me and kept me up-to-date committee meetings so I wouldn't be totally lost when I went back .

To my surprise, Kathyln came by herself instead of with her brother . She asked if I was okay and I swore, she had a worried expression on her face . I was more surprised by that than anything else . I could tell everyone had a lot of questions . Curtis looked like he wanted to ask me something a few times but he held back because of my condition . Even Professor Glory came to visit, with basket of fruits in hand .

"I'll tell you now, Lucas has been pretty heated up in class . I can't blame him, though . To him, it must've felt like he was beating you in every sense, but you suddenly disappeared and appeared a few hundred meters away instantly . " She paused before continuing . "H-How did you do it anyways? I've never seen anything like that . You should know that even Director Goodsky isn't capable of what you just did . Instant teleportation was always thought of to be a myth . Yet, here you are, a twelve-year-old . . . "

By this time, I was able to sit up without it hurting that much, so I lifted myself up just enough to be at eye-level with the seated Professor Glory .

"Growth isn't stopped by a lack of talent or a series of unfortunate luck . Growth is stopped once the person limits his own ability to grow . With that said, I believe everyone has a secret or two they wish to keep to themselves . " I sunk back down in my bed, leaving Professor Glory confused and without a means to respond .

Director Goodsky visited once . I asked what was happening to the class I was supposed to be teaching and they said that, for now, Professor Glory volunteered to take on the extra class as a substitute until I was better . She didn't stay for long and came mainly to update me on how Tess was doing .

"As her assimilation continues, she's becoming more and more stable . These past couple of days, she has only had one more fit," she stated .

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"Thanks for taking care of her, Director . " I gave her a smile .

"Don't thank me, Arthur . She is my precious disciple, after all . Ahh, that reminds me . I will be out of the academy for a couple days on some business . Since Virion has gone back, I need you to help Tessia with her assimilation until I am back . Can you do that for me?" she said, not waiting for an answer before leaving through the door, as if the question was a mere formality .

"Uh, yeah . S-Sure, I can do that . " I shook my head helplessly at this . I wasn't sure if Director Goodsky really has errands to run but she was definitely giving me an excuse to meet Tess .

My body's recovery rate was a lot faster thanks to the assimilation of Sylvia's Dragon Will into my muscles and bones . I also spent this time while recovering to meditate and develop my mana core . I was at the threshold of breaking out of the dark yellow stage but it would take a bit more time until I could reach solid yellow . I would still feel a bit weak, but thankfully I planned on leaving the infirmary and resuming normal school life starting tomorrow . My body felt stiff from being in bed for so long .

Hearing a strong knock on the door, I called, "Come in . " I turned my head as Sylvie hopped off the bed and padded towards the door .

"I came to visit you!" My father had a wide grin on his face as soon as he noticed how much better I looked than before .

"Hey, Dad . " I smiled back as Sylvie 'kyus' in greeting before hopping back up next to me .

Taking a seat, my father caught me up on everything going on at home . We talked for quite a bit of time and I realized how comfortable it was to talk to my father . Family sure was different than anyone else . The fact that he didn't have any ulterior motives, no plan, no secrets, was comforting . He just wanted what was best for me .

After a brief period of silence, I asked him something that had been bothering me . "Hey, Dad . How come Mom never really uses her magic? I mean, she healed small wounds for me when I was little and stuff, but that was about it . I remember you telling me how great of an emitter she was . "

Looking at my father, I was surprised that his usual bright face turned a little sullen .

"Your mother . . . she carries a lot of weight in her heart . " Letting out a deep sigh, he continued .

"I know you're mature enough to know this but I want you to be patient . She'll tell you when she feels ready, so I want you to wait for her to tell you directly . " He ruffled before we changed topics .

"How's everyone doing at home anyway?" It hadn't been that long but it still felt like it'd been awhile since I'd spent some time with my family .

"Oh, you know, your mother is busy mingling with her friends . Your sister, though, she's becoming quite a handful . " He chuckles to himself .

"Maybe we had it too easy raising you, but I sometimes just don't know what to do with Ellie . " Scratching his head, I notice some wrinkles that hadn't been there before .

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"Just give her some space . She'll come around . " Patting my father's arm weakly, I repositioned myself as I felt my body cramping up .

"I should let you rest, Son . " He pinched my nose softly and quietly left through the door, leaving me wondering what could possibly have happened with Mother that she became too traumatized to use her powers .

"Kyu?" Sylvie asked me what I was thinking of and I just shook my head . "It's nothing, Sylv . I hope . "

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