“I’m sick of it, you hear me? SICK! Every day, it’s study, study, study!”
“If you’re embarrassed, then get a better daughter!”
You press “End Call” and put your smartphone in your pack.
Why does Mom always compare you to her neighbor’s daughter?
She probably hates you now…
It seems running away from home was the best choice.
It’s been a long time since you’ve seen the sun set, since tutoring always ended after 11 pm.
Maybe you should get some sleep. The bus should reach its destination by the time you wake up.
What was that?!
It’s pitch black outside…is this a tunnel?
“Everyone out of the bus! NOW!”
Was there an accident?
You get out of the bus with the other passengers.
The acrid smell of burning rubber and motor oil assails your nose.
There’s black smoke everywhere.
You overhear someone gasp, “What happened?”
“An oil tanker up ahead got overturned!”
A man bumps into you and runs past.
The oily smell is getting stronger.
You run towards what you think is the direction of the tunnel exit behind the bus.
With each step you take, it gets harder to breathe.
You slip on the floor.
It’s covered with black oil.
*cough* *cough* *cough*
How long has it been? It’s getting darker…
Where is everybody?
Did you kick something?
Looking down, you make out the vague shape of a person sprawled on the floor.
Is this how your life will end?!?
Only one thing…to do…
Fighting back tears, you press the quick-call for “Mom”.
Hurry! Want to…hear you *cough*…one last…time…
“Hello? Hello? Jen, what’s going on?”
“Mom…save me *cough*…please…I don’t want to *cough*…die…”
“I’m sorry I got *cough* angry. Mom, I’m sorry…I…screamed…”
“Jenny! Where are you?!”
You open your eyes…
“What’s wrong, Jeanie?”
Where are you?
Are you…alive again?
Are you the daughter of a noble family?!?
That means…you’ll live a long life without working hard!
The Golden-Haired Elementalist (금발의 정령사, Geumbal-ui Jeonglyeongsa) is a web novel, light novel series and web comic written by Writing & Coating (글비 & 도막, Geulbi & Domag)
Fed up with long days of seemingly endless studying and after-school tutoring, a Korean high school girl runs away from her family by taking a bus out of her hometown. The bus ends up in an accident at a smoke-filled tunnel due to an overturned oil tanker truck. After calling her mother one last time on her smartphone, the girl passes out and dies from smoke inhalation. She is eventually reborn on another world as Jeanie Crowell, the youngest daughter of the Crowell noble family in the Dimitry Kingdom. At 7 years old, she is found to have strong potential for magic and is sent to the Royal Drike Academy, an institution for the kingdom’s brightest. Frustrated with having to study hard once more, Jeanie is a reluctant student at best.
In the Academy’s library, Jeanie accidentally discovers a book about the elementalist, a rare type of wizard who makes contracts with magical spirits. These spirits have the ability to cast spells by drawing upon the elementalist’s mana (magic power). Deciding that this is the answer to her desire for an easy life, Jeanie requests the Academy headmaster for personal education as an elementalist. Three years later, she becomes frustrated with the lack of progress and secretly tries summoning a spirit. The result is a metal spirit she names Ray. Afterwards, she summons an Undine, a water spirit, under the supervision of her elementalist teacher. Jeanie soon gains the favor of the Academy headmaster and the King of Dimitry for her prodigious talent in a rare form of magic.
Later, Jeanie is chosen as one of several representatives for the Drike Academy at the upcoming Weican Festival, a gathering where the students of five countries’ royal academies compete against each other in both weapons and magic. The Festival will take place at the Wienthid Academy in the Elan Empire and the journey would normally take three months by carriage. To save time, the Drike expedition uses teleportation magic at several transit points. During the long journey, the headstrong Jeanie encounters orcs, ogres and even noble-hating terrorists. At one point, she barely survives drowning in a river and is rescued by a friendly group of passing mercenaries.
Thus begins the story of the golden-haired elementalist.
Jeanie Crowell, promising elementalist, the youngest of the Crowell family’s four children and former high school student. Although smart and generally well-meaning, she is headstrong, impulsive and fairly quick-tempered as a result of having died during a rebellious moment of her previous life. Wanting nothing more than a life of ease, Jeanie often looks for shortcuts in magic that will enable her to gather power quickly. Because of this, she rarely considers the consequences of her choices and sometimes gets into trouble. Due to being the only elementalist student at the Royal Drike Academy, Jeanie is shunned by most of the other students but there are a few who try to befriend her.
As an elementalist, Jeanie has the ability to summon spirits with whom she has made a contract. She can also telepathically communicate with them. Since these spirits have to use Jeanie’s mana to cast spells, their power is limited by her mana capacity. Ironically enough, Jeanie has to develop her own mana capacity through training and study in order to allow her spirits to cast more powerful spells. Whenever she attempts to speak about her past life, she is mysteriously unable to give voice to her words.
Ray, a metal spirit and Jeanie’s first contracted spirit. Crafty and unscrupulous, Ray cares for little else besides Jeanie and its hunger for precious minerals. It also gets jealous whenever the elementalist turns her attention to another spirit. Originally bodiless, Ray now inhabits the body of a snake and poses as Jeanie’s pet, since it was originally conjured in secret. As a metal spirit, Ray has the ability to consume and take on the properties of any mineral or metal. For example, it can take on the properties of a diamond in order to gain resistance to heat. Ray can also adjust its density and weight at will, enabling it to crush whatever it coils around.
Undine, a water spirit and Jeanie’s second contracted spirit. Quiet and graceful, it is the most gentle of Jeanie’s spirits. Undine can use several basic water spells such as Aqua Ball (a small missile of water), Drown (encasing a target’s head with water), Purification (purifying water to a drinkable state), Water Breathing and Water Walking.
Ador, a lightning spirit and Jeanie’s third contracted spirit. Bellicose, proud and restless, it claims to have once served a more powerful master. Ador can use spells such as Lightning Hand and Thunderbolt, sometimes in conjunction with Undine’s Aqua Ball to enhance the conduction effect on targets.
The main protagonist of this story is a fascinating character. Originally a teenager rebelling against a demanding life of education and study, Jeanie Crowell now wishes only for an easy, relaxing life. After taking what seems to be a quicker, easier path to mastering magic, she soon realizes that this path is not as smooth as she thinks. The spirits she has contracts with are dependent on her own ability to channel mana, which has to grow and develop from training and study. The spirits also have their own personalities, which sometimes results in conflicts between them and their mistress. If she had chosen to be a regular wizard, she probably wouldn’t have to deal with noisy spirits! Jeanie slowly realizes the consequences of her impetuous choices and she acquiesces to the need to develop as a person if she hoped to become a powerful elementalist.
This situation is similar to how a rebellious teen has to learn about the harsh realities of life on their own. They would realize that education and work is necessary to give them a comfortable life, but they would need to find their own work-life balance so that they don’t need to be miserable. If such a rebel has to take care of children, the demands on their life would be doubly harsh. They might even ironically realize why the discipline they were taught as a child was necessary!
Learning about how ill-conceived decisions can lead to unintended consequences is something that we all go through. Such decisions can harm not only us but also those we care for. For example, smoking and drinking alcohol may seem fun at first glance but both habits have long-term effects that ruin our health. Since childhood, we all gradually learn how to rein in our selfish instincts and how to be more aware of long-term results of our choices, both good and bad. Some become wiser while others…not so much.
Impetuous actions often have unwanted consequences. It is advisable to know and understand the circumstances involved first.