“Haaaa. Another trash roll,” sighed the teenager laying on his bed, trying his luck with a gacha based cell phone game. Just as he was summoning up the courage to try another 10 roll for a rare draw in the game’s event, he heard his mother call out for him.
“Ritsukaaaa~ Are you in your room~”
“In here, mom,” replied the young man as he pulled himself up from his laying position to sit cross legged on his bed. His mother only called out like that when she had something to talk to him about, so he may as well get ready for her.
Opening the door, a deceptively young looking English woman entered the bland bedroom who’s major features were a study desk with a middle of the line computer on it with reference books organized in the corner, and a bookcase with a large number of light novels, DVDs, history and mythology reference materials, and a couple of harmless magic tomes. The long raven haired and blue eyed woman, who’s Japanese had the energetic bounciness of a lively London native, took a habitual look around the room to make sure her son was keeping it neat before pulling a piece of folded and brightly colored paper out of the inner pocket of her business jacket.
“Have you seen this?!”
The mother thrust the brightly colored and eye catching pamphlet in front of her grown child’s face in the same way one would thrust a rapier. The teenager who could be called thin and tall for his age bore a striking resemblance to his mother, except his hair was less glossy and nearly unmanageable like his father’s. He’d inherited the strikingly pure blue of his mother’s eyes however, and a few other less noticeable traits as well. He tilted his head to the side as he studied the words, ‘Incredible Career Opportunity – Chaldea Security Organization.’
The young man named Fujimaru Ritsuka simply said, “Yeah.”
“There were posters at the train station, and some people manning booths on street corners were calling out to people about it. It seemed like some kinda strange new religion, so I didn’t give it much thought.”
“No, no, no, Ritsuka, it’s a proper group. They’re part of the Mage’s Association, you know?”
“Huh? Those pushy salesmen are mages? They seem a little dubious for that if you ask me.”
“Dubious? Nnnn, now that you mention it I remember seeing some guys like that while driving back from work… but they’re probably just hired hands. The Mage’s Association is doing a huge drive for collecting a talent pool, you know? My colleague, who’s a real mage, has been spreading the word to everyone he’s working with. It’s a great opportunity, Ritsuka, you should apply!”
Ritsuka tilted his head the other way in confusion and asked, “If it’s such a great opportunity, why aren’t you applying? I’m still in high school, you know.”
Mother Fujimaru hesitated a moment and stated, “I don’t meet the age requirements.”
“Oh, so you’re too-”
“I don’t meet the age requirements,” insisted Ritsuka’s mother, the pamphlet crinkling a little in her hand. “Just take a look through this, Ritsuka. Please?”
With a sigh, Ritsuka took the garish and suspicious pamphlet and started reading through. Honestly, it seemed overly appealing to the point of feeling like a pyramid scam. “Highly competitive wages… Workplace bonuses guaranteed… College credits and preferential entry… On site studies and research?”
At some point, Ristuka’s mother had sat down on the bed beside him.
“Chaldea is apparently doing some amazing things with mana conversion, is what I’ve heard. Sounds like something right up a particular someone’s alley?”
“And a completion bonus? Completion of what, is what I’d like to know, mom. I dunno, I’m getting a bad feeling from this. I mean, with this many incentives, could this job offer really be safe?”
“This new Chaldea group has the backing of the entire Mage’s Association and the United Nations, honey. They’re completely legitimate. It’s not some shadowy offshoot research group that makes their den in a catacombs somewhere. They have inspectors, safety requirements, and follow international labor laws. And it’s a proper job that people can quit at any time; it’s not like they’re kidnapping anyone.”
Ritsuka was quiet for a long time, staring at the pamphlet, his eyes getting caught by a friendly chibi cartoon of a white haired girl in garishly orange clothing. Finally he asked, “Why are you pushing this so hard, mom?”
Mother Fujimaru blanched a little and turned away from her son, nibbling on her lower lip as she tried to find the emotional center to find the right words she wanted to use. Shortly after Ritsuka worriedly asked, “Mom?” …She spoke.
“You know how I wanted to be a proper mage when I was young, right? And now I’m just a researcher.”
“You’ve made great finds in Shinto Lore, mom.”
“I know, honey, and I’m proud of that… But I didn’t have a choice but to go into magical research because of my… disposition. The same disposition that makes you special, too, honey.”
“I’m fine with being special, mom,” said Ritsuka reassuringly as he placed a hand over his mother’s.
“I know, Ritsuka, and I know you’re not just saying it. But… I want you to have the chance I never did. I want you to have the chance to choose what you’re going to become in the future. And this Chaldea seems to be looking for people with your kind of gift. It’s an opportunity for you to see and experience what being a mage could be like, and maybe a chance for you to become one. A proper one, not like me and your father. And if you don’t like what you see, you’ll still be able to choose to walk away from it.”
“I know it’s selfish of me to ask this, Ritsuka, but… I’d never forgive myself if my circumstances ever held you back. I just… want you to be able to have what I couldn’t.”
Ritsuka’s mother started to tear up, the fluid dangling dangerously close to falling from her eyes; her British sense of self mastery refused to let her cry in front of her child, though. But despite his mother’s best attempts to prevent doing so, Ritsuka was completely emotionally blackmailed.
After giving up on all common sense, Ritsuka sighed and said, “Alright, I’ll apply for the job, mom. After all, the worst that could happen is that they turn me away, right?”