Derek's first days as a baby were peaceful, but far from boring. He had no responsibilities. All he had to do was eat, sleep, poop, and the occasional baby noise or finger grabbing routine.
That left him with all the time he needed to think about his future.
On Earth, it was no mystery that kids had a greater potential for learning than adults, and since his family seemed human, or at least human-like, he could hope for that to be also true in the new dimension.
From what he could see, his body was no different from a baby from planet Earth. He could hear his heartbeat and see his chest moving while he breathed.
Even the reproductive apparatus was as he knew it.
The same could be said for his new family. If it wasn't for the existence of magic, he would have simply thought to have travelled through time, but things clearly weren't that simple.
Derek quickly dismissed all the "what race am I now?" hypotheses as overthinking.
One of the advantages of being a baby was that ignorance was perfectly fine. When the time came, someone would teach him.
He determined that he had two priorities: number one, learn their language. All babies are supposed to learn their native language, and he had only so much time before being considered a retard, so he could not slack off.
Number two, he had to somehow figure out magic, or at least its foundations. That also had a deadline, since his learning potential was at its peak only until his brain stopped growing.
After that, he would be no different from anyone else with the same talent and disposition for magic.
He set magic as his first priority. Being considered a slow learner was much better than being weak for life and being forced to take another spin at reincarnation.
Derek spent his first day in the new world in bed together with his mother, while his father would sleep and rest in the boys' room.
Whenever someone talked to him, he paid close attention, trying to figure out common words or patterns.
The rest of the time he was not eating or the cloth diaper being changed, he would try to cast one of the three spells he knew: Ekidu, Vinire Lakhat and Vinire Rad Tu.
Every attempt was a failure, he could not feel even an iota of power inside himself. Comparing what he saw with what he knew from Earth's Dungeons & Looting, those spells had clearly a verbal and somatic component.
But that couldn't be all, or at least he hoped so. Otherwise all of his efforts would be useless until he was able to talk,
Failure after failure, his anxiety grew stronger. Fear of the unknown and of tomorrow started to build up. Also, getting used to pooping and wetting himself wasn't a pleasant feeling either.
Thankfully, his mother showered him with nothing but love and affection, making his day not a total loss. Despite his bias about mothers due to his previous life, Elina managed to make him feel loved and protected. That wasn't half bad at all.
The final outcome of his first day was zero progress in magic and no progress with the language. On the other hand, his mother seemed to be a good parent and he finally learned his new name: Lith.
The second day turned his world upside down.
Elina, showing the strength of a wild ox, decided she was sick of resting and got up to help performing the daily chores.
Lith had the opportunity to see her full figure. Despite giving birth the previous day, she was a good-looking woman in her early twenties. She was definitely well endowed in all the right places, with a fit body honed through hard work.
Her shoulder blades long hair was of a beautiful light-brown colour, with shades of red all over it.
Just the light of the candle made it look like there were flames dancing within.
'Seeing mother with her hair down on a sunny day must be quite a sight to behold.' Derek thought.
Maybe it was because Lith was still a baby or maybe because of the mother-son bonding, but Lith felt deeply proud of her.
He also discovered that she did not use a bra or underpants.
Once she finished dressing, Elina wrapped Lith up, making it impossible for him to move. Then Elina placed him into her sash, using it like a baby cradle so that she could easily hold him with only one arm and minimum exertion.
She walked out of the small bedroom and found her older daughter, Rena messing with the fireplace.
*"What in the Great Mother's name do you think you're doing, Rena? The sun is not even out, you should be sleeping. You know you are not allowed to mess with fire!"*
She said with a hiss, trying to not wake up the house.
*"I'm sorry, mom. I just wanted to make you all a surprise. To make you wake up in an already warm house when breakfast was ready."* Rena's face showed only sincere concern.
*"There is no need to worry, silly bee. Your mommy is a pro with kids."* Elina said while ruffling her hair.
Rena, together with her twin brother Orpal, was the eldest child. She was six years old, and her blonde hair with shades of black was the reason for her moniker.
Elina shooed her away from the fireplace, lighting the wood with a flick of her finger.
'Thank heavens!' Lith rejoiced. 'I had that weird feeling I experience when I discover a new type of magic again. This proves that I wasn't just imagining stuff!'
Elina sent Rena to open the window shutters to let the dawn light in while she prepared breakfast.
Elina took several vegetables out of a cabinet and proceeded to chop them with a knife. Some had a familiar look to Lith, like some semi potatoes and odd coloured carrots. The others were all a mystery.
The idea of having such a breakfast made Lith almost cry. In his past life he never liked vegetables, they were all bland tasting. No matter how much of them he ate, within half an hour he would be hungry again.
Elina shoved everything inside a small copper cauldron and with the help of a hook, hung it on a metal bar over the fire.
After that, she conjured water out of nowhere with a snap of her fingers and filled the cauldron.
Both Lith and Rena were ecstatic, although for completely different reasons.
For Lith it meant hope. Spells could be cast without words or precise hand movements. That proved to him that there was a real chance to practice magic while still being a baby.
For Rena it was a reason for pride. Magic was common, but every time Elina cast a silent spell it was like watching a real mage at work.
*"You are so amazing, mom!"* Rena's eyes were full of admiration. *"Will I ever be as good as you with magic?"*
*"Of course you will, silly bee."* Elina replied with a kind smile, while inwardly adding: 'After ten plus years of chores every single day.'
After a while, everyone woke up to have breakfast together. The family consisted of Raaz (father), Elina, two daughters (Rena and Tista) and two sons (Orpal and Trion).
Lith could then establish with depressing certainty that there was no such thing as an indoor bathroom.
From what he could see, the house consisted of a big room used as dining room, kitchen and pantry with three doors that lead to the various bedrooms and nothing else.
The breakfast was relatively quiet, so he had no problems learning the word for water magic when his father filled some jugs.
After everyone left for their daily routine, Elina moved along with Lith to a rocking chair. During the morning, he had the pleasure to discover that in the new world the daily chores like washing the dishes or cleaning the floors were all performed using magic.
From her rocking chair, Elina would simply twirl her index and middle finger while reciting "Brezza!" to generate up to three small whirlwinds that she would move all around the house to collect and get rid of the dust.
Whenever someone would dirty the floor with earth or mud, a flick of the wrist and a "Magna!" would send it back through the same door it had been brought in.
Lith was delighted discovering how common the use of magic was. Everyone in the family, even the younger ones, would use magic to make their lives easier.
When bedtime arrived, Lith was dying to try some magic. He had waited so long for his hands and feet to finally be free.
Elina fell asleep almost instantly, yet Lith was impatient enough to have the impression of having waited for hours.
After a full day spent thinking, he had decided to try only air magic, at least until he was confident enough in his ability to control magic.
Fire was too dangerous for a novice, while water and light would easily wake up his mother. Lith could not spot any dirt to control in the dim light of the room, and he was too afraid to mess up with darkness magic until he got a better understanding of it.
So, he twirled his little arm and said: "Eaa." Nothing happened.
Lith tried and failed countless times before giving up. He didn't know how long his baby body would last before falling asleep, so he stopped despairing and started thinking.
Magic was common. Whenever he heard for the first time an elemental magic word, something inside him would click. As if it created a connection between him and the elemental energy.
Those were all good news, but he still couldn't make heads or tails about why he was always failing. He never expected to succeed on the first try, but he had thought that something would have manifested.
A random tiny gust of wind, a spark of light, anything would do.
He started thinking back to when the healer had filled him with power. That feeling was not new to him, but he had never experienced it so intensely.
Lith searched his memory, until he found the answer. It was the same sensation that he felt when he started practicing ju-jitsu, while learning the basic breathing technique.
��Well, I have nothing to lose. Let's give it a try.'
Lith breathed in through his diaphragm while relaxing the anus to draw the world energy in.
Then he would contract the anus, holding the breath for a few seconds, to let the energy settle in before breathing out while he relaxed his whole body.
Back on Earth, he had always thought that the intoxicating feeling he experienced during his first days of practice was just some kind of placebo effect.
His naïve young mind deluding itself that the weak could miraculously become strong just believing and practicing in all that Ki/internal energy nonsense.
But what if he later stopped experiencing that sensation only because his native world's energy was just too thin?
After some time, Lith started to feel a tingle all around his body, and then the energy seemed to move and condense inside his solar plexus.
The more he performed the breathing technique, the more clearly he could sense the energy getting stable.
In his old videogames, mana was always blue. So, he visualized a blue sphere settling inside his solar plexus.
After a while, Lith felt like he was brimming with power. After holding his breath one last time, he twirled his little arm before commanding: "Eaaa!"
The wind generated barely tweaked his mother's hair, whereas he had aimed for the blanket, yet he could not stop grinning.
'This really is a great start!'
Author note: the story starts in chapter 1. The prologue introduces the MC and explains his background. Feel free to skip it if you are not interested, but as the author, I recommend reading it.