"You have to speak clearly, come on, say it." Icarus spoke while pointing to the letters he engraved on the dirt by his feet with a stick.
"F-forehst" A cute little girl with green hair yelled in an attempt to read the word.
"C-close enough, that's it for today." Icarus flinched from the cuteness as he stamped the words out the dirt with his foot before turning towards Atalanta.
She had a sad smile when she saw how her attempt to read mostly failed.
"It's alright, it takes time and you are getting better." Icarus spoke with a smile to cheer her up while lifting her off the ground, "Now let's go home." Icarus spoke once more while giving her a pat on the head.
She gave a slight nod while covering her face but he could see the small smile on her lips.
A small smile joined Icarus face as well as he thought of his past few months here.
After saving Atalanta that night and waking the next day, Icarus found out that she was more beast than girl at this point, she could barely even speak much less read.
So, while the pursuit for Chiron continued to come up fruitless, Icarus decided to take care of Atalanta for now while searching the forest some more every few days.
She has been living by eating smaller animals and rodents she was able to catch raw and was only able to survive from the rather dangerous creatures due to what he assumed was Artemis' blessings keeping them at bay.
Fortunately, she has had some aid by some hunters that pass through every so often and they taught her how to use a bow, somewhat.
Icarus believed they could have been instructed by Artemis to do so as he could feel that Atalanta's patron was watching over her.....
Unfortunately, she is very pretty and this has caused the hunters to give rumors of her that spread to some rather degenerate people.
'Fuck, this era is full of degenerates, not even the gods are spared from degeneracy, shit they are probably the root cause.....'
'But.....' turning his head and looking at the cute little loli by his side nibbling on some berries that began to dirty her face helped easy Icarus' heart a bit.
They soon returned to their camp, it was a small wooden house Icarus made by cutting logs with Chysia sharp blade and using his alteration spell in tandem to create a mediocre but decent home for them to live in.
The home was decorated with lamps he made from the fat of animals and furnished with the tanned skin of beasts. Icarus and Atalanta both slept in a single mattress made of leaves stuffed inside beast skin.
It wasn't a luxury high rise apartment in the 21st century but, it was enough, for them it was home.
Icarus still kept up his practicing with magic but seemed to have hit a wall. Icarus didn't know his element nor origin, and he didn't know any spells to learn either, so he could only practice.
There is no 'True Magic' during this time period. Any magic technically counts as 'True Magic' simple because people can't replicate it with technology nor understand it, so it retains its mystery and stays as a 'True Magic.'
Unfortunately, Icarus didn't know any other magic nor had any sort of meaningful connection to the gods that he knew of, so he could only continue practicing what his father Daedalus had taught him.
Constructing tool and items.....
'I'm gonna have a mean [Item Construction] skill as a servant at this rate...' Icarus thought with a small smile.
Icarus knew that this world worked strangely and is heavily dependent on human belief, Magic is only as powerful as it's mystery.
The 'world' now is different from the far distant future and isn't restrained by the laws of physics or science but mystery and belief instead.
People at this time period have little to no formal education. So, when someone freely uses magic, they have no idea what is happening and just shrug it off as a mystery, because of this as far as Icarus understands, somehow strengthens the spell.
This is why the more people that know how to use magic, the weaker it becomes. The mystery degrades from generation to generation until it might disappear entirely.
'But what if I used my knowledge of Modern Technology...other than the Gods it's likely no one else would understand it, if I combined it with Magic would it strength the mystery?'
'....Something to shelf for later....'
It's been a few more months and Icarus continued to train and hunt alongside Atalanta. He knew that Chiron wouldn't take just anyone as a Hero, he usually only took in Royalty or Demi-Gods, and Icarus would have to prove that he was qualified to stand among them.
So he refined the little knowledge he had and kept diligent to his practice, constantly using the trips to hunt to sharpen his mind and tactics for use against opponents.
He decided early on to focus on his item crafting for now as it was what he had the best knowledge in and was what he was most likely to gain tools to use in the future with.
Icarus knew where his talent lied, he wasn't strong like Heracles, nor invincible like Achilles or even as charismatic as Jason.
But he had his mind and diligence, where others might beat him in strength he would beat them with mankind's greatest and oldest tool, cunning.
Meanwhile, Atalanta's studies had progressed in a satisfactory pace while Icarus was able to mentally mapped out most of the forest.
'If Chiron is still here he must be at the last place I have yet to explore...'
Icarus had decided to leave towards there and if Chiron wasn't there then he would just leave the forest entirely. No use wasting anymore time, Icarus felt the need to become more powerful and his self studies were getting him nowhere.
"Atalanta!" Icarus called out from the forest, just in time to see a mop of messy green hair jump out from the bushes.
Icarus saw her cutely tilt her head to the side towards him which caused him to smile, until it dropped when he saw what was in her mouth.
"What did I tell you about eating raw meat?!" Icarus yelled out as she quickly bolted away into the forest.
'.....silly girl.' Icarus thought with a weary smile full of warmth before chasing off after her.
"What did I tell you about running off?" Icarus asked as he dumped a small bucket of river water on her head as they stood at the river.
"....Sorry." She mumbled out as Icarus brought out a makeshift wooden comb and picked all the dirt from her messy hair before slowly sorting it with the comb.
"We are going to leave today," Icarus spoke firmly as her body froze. His eyes softened a bit at her reaction, he knew she was afraid of leaving the forest or him in general due to her trauma which she locked deep in her heart.
"Don't worry, we won't be going too far away." He spoke as he noticed her breathing pick up pace in anxiety. Icarus turned her head towards his face as his resolve began to drop due to the teary-eyed expression on her face.
But he held firm and gave her a weary smile and sigh before comforting her with a head pat, "Don't worry, I'll be with you the entire time."
His words seemed to relax her a bit as her breathing became more even and she gave a slow hesitant nod in confirmation.
"Besides, I couldn't leave you all cooped up in the forest alone anyway," Icarus said with a smile.
"....I-I wouldn't mind." She spoke in a mumble in response.
He couldn't help but shake his head at her rebuttal and respond, "But, I do. I want you to grow up and be able to stand on your own one day. I won't always be there for you."
Her body stiffened in response, but she immediately feigned a relaxed state to cover it up. He could feel the anxiety reverberate within her because not only would he not want to stay in the forest the rest of his life, but that one day they could part ways entirely.
".....W-why? I don't want you to go..." She asked in a hoarse voice between subtle sobs, ".....I don't want to be alone again."
Icarus hardened his heart in response, knowing that it was for her own good, '...I'm probably the closest thing she has to family other than the wild bear that fed her milk as a baby. Of course, she would be hesitant about me leaving her.'
Icarus had a bitter smile on his face seeing the little girl he cared for and taught so clearly traumatized and dependent on him to function.
"I want to defy my fate." Icarus spoke up before giving her a weary smile, "I have to become a legend, a hero even, for that to happen. That's why I came here, to find Chiron the trainer of heroes."
He finally told her his true purpose of coming to Arcadia, Icarus had kept silent about it and mostly let her enjoy these past few months with him without much worry as a form of therapy.
She also fell silent from his response as during the night he would often tell her stories of some heroes in the past and she understood where they likely always ended up, dead and alone.
"B-but, you might die." She spoke out once with a hushed whisper.
'With the fates existing here, I'm probably guaranteed to die within barely over a decade. That's why I need to become a hero, so I can free myself from such a fate somehow and the only way to do that is to become powerful enough to change it....I also want to gain enough renown to return to the modern era.' Icarus thought bitterly with what little knowledge he had of the Nasuverse version of Greek Mythology.
"Silly girl," Icarus spoke to her once more as she turned her face towards him while full of tears.
"That's the point, legends never die."
He declared wistfully with a smile before quickly picking her up from the lake while wiping the tears from her eyes before slowly clothing her while she stood in silence.
"Now, let's leave." He said while gripping her hand and leading her towards the next destination.