When the clock hands neared four in the afternoon, the last sigh of the mandatory classes echoed throughout the lightning department's campus. While other students formed groups and dispersed, Amon found himself alone, as Julias and the girls were still caught up in additional lessons.
With casual steps, Amon ventured into the city. The vibrant scenery around him felt both familiar and foreign, as he rarely found himself alone amidst such bustle. The colorful shop displays caught his attention from time to time, and he let himself be drawn to them, sometimes pausing to observe, other times entering to explore.
Street stalls wafted delicious aromas, and he, unable to resist, tasted the flavors the city had to offer. Between one snack and another, he allowed himself to get lost in the flow of people, with no set destination, simply letting himself be carried away.
And, in the simplicity of that moment, he discovered a serene joy. 'There's a charm in being alone, in having these moments just for myself,' he reflected. The freedom to wander aimlessly, unhurriedly, and without company was a gift he hadn't realized he valued until now.
Dusk fell over the city, painting the sky with pastel shades and casting gentle shadows on the streets. As Amon moved through the crowd, an epiphany struck him: as much as he loved the company of those around him, there was a certain magic in being alone, in getting lost in his thoughts, and connecting with himself.
The sight of a playful puppy, its fur shining under the last remnants of sunlight, brought to mind the image of Snowflake, the pet under Bianca's care.
Worry sprouted in his mind, a silent question: 'Did she remember to feed him?' But he quickly dismissed such doubts, trusting Bianca's responsibility and the diligence of the household staff.
The aromatic evening breeze brought with it the tempting scent of fresh sfihas. Guided by the aroma, Amon approached a vendor, purchasing a generous serving of the snack. "Uh, thank you," he murmured, holding the stuffed bag.
As he continued his walk, a recent memory came to mind: an alley where children, with pleading eyes and worn clothes, played with an innocence contrasting the harsh reality they faced. Without hesitation, Amon changed his course, heading to the spot.
Upon approaching, the anticipation in the children's eyes was evident, their noses catching the delicious scent of the meat sfihas. Choosing a boy who radiated sincerity, Amon extended the bag. "For you all," he simply said.
The children's eyes shone with gratitude, their voices echoing thanks in unison, saliva forming on their lips in anticipation of the food's taste.
With a tender smile on his lips, Amon watched them for a brief moment before continuing on his way.
Though they wore simple and worn clothes, the children playing in the alley emanated an aura of innocence and contagious joy. Their eyes sparkled, their laughter echoed, and their movements were full of energy and life. They weren't beggars, but rather the offspring of humble families with limited means.
Amon observed, his mind traveling to distant memories of the times he lived with his grandparents in rural areas. There, he also encountered children in similar situations: hungry, but not necessarily starving for happiness.
If someone were to ask him if they were to be pitied, he would hesitate before answering. Because the truth is that happiness and contentment can't be measured by the value of a wardrobe or the abundance on a table. Each human being has their own definition of joy, and it's a mistake to judge someone's life by another's standards.
Lost in his thoughts, Amon was drawn to the joyful sounds of music and dance coming from the central square. A kaleidoscope of colors and movements dominated the space, with people of all ages gathering to celebrate.
He wondered, curious, 'Is it a traditional town festival, or perhaps a special holiday?'
His feet, almost instinctively, began guiding him towards the heart of the festivity, driven by curiosity and the cheerful melody filling the air.
Amon chose a quiet corner in the bustling square and sat down, silently watching the spectacle of colors and sounds unfolding before his eyes. People danced, laughed, and celebrated, immersed in their own happiness. Meanwhile, Amon, with his unique ability, began to emanate a subtle aura of Courage and Calm.
He wanted to observe: how would people react if they suddenly felt an inexplicable bravery? Would they be able to take the first step, approach someone they secretly admired, or perhaps even declare a long-repressed feeling? However, alongside this courage, Amon understood the importance of balance. He didn't want this newfound boldness to lead someone into a hasty mistake. Thus, he blended the courage with a touch of calmness, a gentle antidote against impulsiveness.
It might have been easier, perhaps, to spread a sensation of joy or euphoria. But he didn't possess such emotional genetics. Of course, this didn't stop Amon from having a moment of experimentation, a quest to understand how far he could stretch his gifts amidst such a diverse crowd. More than that, part of him genuinely delighted in observing the dance of emotions and reactions of those around him.
Thus, with keen eyes and a focused mind, he lost himself in the human spectacle, noticing the subtle changes, the faces that brightened, the hesitant steps that became more confident, and the smiles that blossomed more easily. It was like watching a theatrical play, where each individual was simultaneously actor and spectator of their own story.
In a flash, a notification appeared before Amon's eyes, almost like a technological mirage: "[Courage +1]". The notification vanished as quickly as it appeared but left a profound imprint on his thoughts.
Fingers to his chin, Amon pondered deeply. 'So, it's possible to influence like this too...' He considered, for a moment, that he might've just gotten lucky this time. It wasn't guaranteed that he would always be able to evoke the exact emotion he sought, especially if he wished to also influence his own genetics.
Deciding to soak in more of the vibrant atmosphere around him, Amon was about to get lost in his thoughts again when a disarmingly familiar voice snapped him back to reality.
From a corner of the square, a female voice rang out, rich and melodic, tinged with an alluring mystery. "Hey, handsome," she murmured, each syllable laden with a magnetism that sent a thrilling chill through those who heard it. It was as if the voice itself had the power to hypnotize, making hearts race and time seem to slow for a moment.
Turning to the source, his eyes met a face that, although unexpected, was not unfamiliar to him. With a half-smile and a glint of recognition in his eyes, Amon replied, "Ah, it's you." The words carried a mix of surprise and familiarity.
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