21. A World Without Bonds

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- and then, there was light.

"Spring..."

Before he ever had a concept of he was, there was his mother. He was the first thing his consciousness became aware of, and he was his first memory- the first voice, the first sight, the first touch. Before he registered rusty, wooden shack or the muggy Summer heat, his skin tingled into existence with the grace of his mother's tender, slim fingers against his cheek; the scent that came ahead of that first inhale was his natural one, of which clouded his head with the sweetness of homemade treats and daisies. His mother made him "Spring."

From the moment Sunova laid eyes on him, mind blank and fresh without any concept of who, where, or why he was- let alone that there was a "he"- in those first few moments after rebirth, he loved this man that held him so tenderly. Sunova faded in his arms, and he became the child that Mother loved so much. He was his world, the greenhouse that shielded him from the parasites wanting to ruin him and gave him bountiful warmth to blossom. His love of his mother was jealous and dependent, and yet in a pure way that only a naïve child could have.

For nine years, the two of them had each other, and Spring forgot all of the pain of his previous life. He loved his mother. The man taught him everything- about nature, about people, about fantastical things he could only dream of from the stories he read him before bed- and he protected him from everyone that threatened to harm him. The boy could have lived this way, clinging onto his mother's bosom, until he drew his last breath, but such was not the fate that the gods chose for him.

One day, Spring returned from school, and his entire life changed.

"Mom?" Spring called out.

It was dark in the house when he came home from school. Normally, his mother would be waiting for me with that bright smile of his, but now, as he gave precarious steps in his busted shoes on the creaking floorboards, he could see no sign of him. Setting his cloth satchel he had made for him when he started school, Spring wandered the pitch black room in search of his mother. They lived in what many would call a shack on the outside of the city, where many tents resided from people unable to afford the city rent, so if he was there he should have been able to find him.

Suddenly, the shades burst open, flooding the room with light.

"Happy birthday!" His mother chirped. Spring yelped and fell back onto the floor with a thump. "Aw, Baby, I'm so sorry!" His mother giggled, despite his best effort to be sympathetic. He stepped over to him and helped him back onto his feet.

Spring dusted himself off, and as he did so he glanced around the room he almost didn't recognize. Ms. Chaste hadn't walked him home that date due to her having to finish lesson plans, but he could see her handy work in the colorful streamers and banners hung around the otherwise lifeless shack. There were balloons, of which his mother must have been blowing in a hurry since his face was red and he looked as though he was holding back a pant. The boy couldn't help but smile.

It had been a particularly long day at school. His classmates were especially ruthless that day, especially when he walked home from school by himself. Those lonely walks home were always where they concentrated their worst attacks; he was always told by his teacher and mother to run, but that was easier said than done when he had no magic to defend himself with. After all of that, he had completely forgotten that it was his birthday. He was nine years old now. At that thought, Spring grinned and wrapped his little arms around his mom.

"Thank you, Mommy!" He chirped. His mother smirked and kissed his forehead.

"So!" His mother chimed, clapping his hands. "There's a cupcake for you with a candle with your name on it, and you've got a present from me and Ms. Chaste, so what do you wanna do first?"

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