Gender: Male Age: 26 Location: Canada
|Introduction: If you have not read the previous chapters, please go and do that before reading this.|
Here is the first chapter of the third installment to this series.
To everyone who has been waiting a long time for this, I would like to extend my most sincere apologies for the very long wait. There was a very serious personal problem that prevented this from being posted until now. I won't get into too much detail, but the main reason is that there was a death in Mishikail's family. She recently lost her mother to an accident and hasn't been in the best of places for the last few weeks. With the initial shock, the travel back and forth to deal with funeral plans and dealing with the family and then actually being at the funeral prevented us from updating with the situation. Truth be told, it was the last things on our minds.
At the time of the incident this chapter was only half finished and sat that way for a long while. Once things began to calm down I got back into it but struggled considering this story is mostly Mishikail's brain child. She hasn't been in the mood to continue it so I have given her space until she is ready, but I never forgot about the readers. We managed to pump this out with some great effort, but it took a very long time considering.
As it stands now, this story will be on hold until my partner is ready to come back to it. She thinks it will be soon but says that she just needs a little more time. As a bonus for the long wait and the continued hold on this story, I will be posting another project I have been working on in my spare time. So this is a double post.
Thank you for hopefully understanding and once again I am very sorry for the sudden disappearance.
Nightmares of Old and New and The Butcher
'My, aren't you cute.'
The words fell on Richard's ears like weights and reverberated through his skull painfully. He opened his eyes to the bright sunlight and looked upon the cute face of a young girl no more than twelve years old. She had long blonde hair pulled back into a thick and intricate braid and large piercing green eyes that sparkled in the bright light coming from above. She stood a few feet away from Richard and bent slightly at the waist so she could look him directly in the eyes with a sweet and wonderful smile. There were many things wrong with this scene and it hit Richard like a ton of bricks as his brain furiously tried to figure out just what in the world was going on.
First of all, he recognized this blonde girl as a younger looking May. She had the same shining blonde hair, the same green eyes that could trap a man's gaze and hold it, and the same beautiful smile that she had once flashed him on a daily basis when they had been back on Earth. The second thing Richard realized that wasn't right was that she stood taller than him. Now that wasn't abnormal, as she had always stood a few inches taller than he did as she had been (when in her young form) three years older than he was. What was odd was the fact that she didn't look older than twelve years old and she was still taller than him, even though she looked to be no taller than four and a half feet. Richard could have been sitting or laying down, but he could feel his feet under him and the push of gravity on his upright body. So he knew that he was in fact shorter than her in that moment.
'What's your name?' May asked him and flashed him the same smile once more. For reasons unknown to him in that moment, Richard found his body automatically moving away from this young girl and hiding behind a larger and more adult body that had been standing next to him. 'There's no need to be so shy. My name is Monica. Won't you tell me yours?'
'Monica?' Richard heard a childish and frightened voice ask. He had been about to ask that very question but it surprised him when that strange voice seemed to come from his mouth and he stopped halfway through the word. Which made it odd that the voice continued to speak on its own like that.
'Yes, Monica,' the girl replied and then took her eyes away from Richard and looked up to the person who he had been hiding behind. 'Is this boy alright, Joffre?'
'I do not know, milady,' a rough and wheezing male voice said softly and Richard looked up to find an old man dressed as a personal attendant standing before him. This was the man Richard was hiding behind and he didn't recognize him at all; so it was totally beyond him why he would be using this man like some kind of human shield against May. 'I was just asked to bring him from the palace. As far as I know he grew up alone on the streets, so it wouldn't surprise me if this brat couldn't understand anything we are saying.'
'Joffre!' May growled and pointed a small and slim finger at the tall man who stood facing her. 'I will not have you say such horrible things about such a cute boy! You have done your job, now leave!'
'Forgive me, milady,' the old attendant said quickly and bowed. He quickly turned on his heel and retreated from the room, disappearing behind a door and out of sight. Richard watched as the man left, but the action of turning his body and neck were done without his consent. It was like he was simply sitting in another person's body as a passenger and had no control over what was going on around him.
'Don't mind Joffre,' May said gently and held out her small hand towards him, 'he doesn't mean any harm. Now, I believe you were just about to tell me your name.'
'P... people call me R... Roku,' that high pitched child's voice stuttered. A smaller and tanner hand slowly reached out from Richard's body and tentatively grabbed hold of May's as she smiled wider at him.
'I like the name Roku, it really suits you. Do you know what it means in the High Elf language?' she asked and Richard felt his head shake slightly as he kept his eyes glued to this girl before him. 'It means Keeper of Fate. When the High Elf's still walked this world, that name was only given to the best of them. So Roku, how old are you?'
'N... nine,' he answered in the voice that wasn't his and received another one of those intoxicating smiles from the young May.
'My, you're only three years younger than I am,' May/Monica said happily and wrapped her soft fingers around his small hand. She gently pulled him further into the room and then brought him into a soft and warm hug that totally engulfed his small frame. He could smell a light flowery fragrance from her hair and skin and the soft fabric of the white and pink dress she wore felt nice against his rough skin. 'From now on, you and I will be the best of friends!'
'B... but why?' he asked and there was some pain in his voice that he couldn't place. 'That old man was right, I'm from the streets. So why do you want to be my friend?'
'Didn't I tell you not to worry about what Joffre said?' May asked gently into his ear and he felt a shiver run down his spine. 'Besides, you're not living on the streets any longer. Because of Princess Celia, you will be living with my family here in this mansion starting from today. The Princess took a liking to you, as have I, and asked her father to help you. So the King asked my mother and father to take care of you. We can play every day!'
'But why?' Richard repeated the question even though he hadn't really wanted to. He was still furiously trying to figure out just what was going on here that he couldn't think about anything else.
'Because, you're so cute!'
May's words grew distorted and sounded like Richard was hearing a whisper from the other end of a long cavernous tunnel. The image around him began to shift as well and the bright light of the large and luxurious room he had been standing in with May dissolved into blackness and then replaced by another as it bubbled up from the depths of his vision. He found himself standing in an open field with the sun high above his head, a warm and flowery breeze at his back. May stood off to one side and looked a little older, her long hair done in two pigtails that stuck out from her head just above her ears. She was wearing a long black cloak with a crest very similar to the one Aura's family used as their royal crest. Standing next to her in a long purple cloak and short brown hair with narrowed brown eyes was a familiar looking boy.
'Come now, Prince,' May giggled and pointed at the young man in the royal cloak. 'How long are you going to take? You should have already produced a sphere with your Arcane Magic! You really aren't any good at this, are you?'
'Shut it, Monica!' the young man growled and shifted his gaze away from his open hand to stare angrily at the young blonde girl next to him. 'Why must you always patronize me?'
'Just ignore her, Wales,' Richard heard himself say and his voice was no longer childish. It cracked slightly and he quickly realized he was looking at a scene that took place a few years after the one he had just recently seen. The name Wales also sparked a memory deep within his mind and he suddenly had a striking thought: he was dreaming. There could be no other explanation for the strange occurrences. But this was the strangest, most vivid and accurate dream he had ever had before.
'I'm trying,' Wales sighed and looked back towards his open palm where a small amount of purple arcane power was beginning to swirl.
'She just enjoys getting you all riled up so you can't concentrate. If you pretend she isn't here then she will eventually stop.'
'Aw, did you miss my attention being on you?' May sighed with a happy expression on her face and quickly moved behind him and wrapped her arms around his neck and chest as she giggled into his ear. 'If you wanted me to do this you should have just asked! You're too cute for me to deny you this simple joy!'
Wales flashed him a half smile that was in thanks for getting the attention off of himself and then looked back to his open hand held in front of him. May/Monica continued to giggle into his ear while holding onto him tightly like he was some kind of doll and not a living breathing person, which was very much like how she had been back on earth as well. She was always happy when she was teasing him.
As Richard continued to watch Wales he saw a circular swirl of purple energy build up on his open palm and a small ball of arcane magic appeared, sparkling, cracking, and glinting in the sunlight high above them. It was something Richard had seen a million times during class back at the academy so he wasn't that surprised, but as soon as the small orb exploded into a massive ball of pure magical energy the size of a bus he gasped internally in amazement. There was so much raw power and energy wafting from the rotating orb that Richard could feel it in his bones and the speed at which it grew from something the size of a marble to what it was now was so quick and explosive that Richard had never seen anything like it before in his life. If this truly was the legendary First King, Prince Wales, then Richard could see how he was revered as one of the most powerful mages to ever live.
'About time!' May exclaimed loudly right next to Richard's ear and he both physically and mentally jumped at the sudden outburst. 'Now mix your element with it and see how long you can hold it! My record is three minutes!'
Wales grunted in exertion and lifted the massive ball of arcane power higher into the air. His eyes screwed up in concentration and Richard could see beads of sweat rolling down his face and falling off his chin and cheeks. What happened next was just as amazing as seeing the quick expansion of the orb. First, Richard could feel all the hairs on the back of his neck stand straight up and there was an odd burning smell in the air as static electricity built up around everyone. Tiny tendrils of lightning began to appear on the purple orb, streaking over the surface almost like ants walking over a stick in a straight line. The small tendrils quickly grew and became more powerful as the power crackled all over the massive ball five feet in the air and a rush of power exploded through the lawn. It lasted less than a minute and suddenly vanished leaving nothing behind except a sweating and huffing Prince Wales who fell to his knees and clutched his chest as he tried to catch his breath.
'I really thought you were going to do it that time!' May sighed in both sadness and relief. Neither emotions got past Richard and his body looked up into her eyes and saw a small smile on her face.
'I... I'm not as strong as you...' Wales whispered as he sucked in a large amount of air and breathed it out in a low whistle.
'No one's stronger than Monica,' Richard heard himself say and felt the hug around his back and chest tighten as a May smiled down at him, 'but you're still really amazing, Wales. You were the one to come up with the idea of mixing both of your magic's together like that!'
'Thanks, Roku,' Prince Wales smiled up at him weakly. The young man slowly stood to his feet and dusted the knees of his pants off quickly before moving towards Richard and Monica with a depressed look on his face. 'I suppose I need to make the orb smaller next time. Having one that large is too much for me to handle it seems.'
'You'll get there, cousin. You just need some practice!' Monica offered but it didn't seem to help Wales' mood at all. He didn't even acknowledge the words spoken to him and instead looked directly at Richard. It looked like he was about to say something but was cut off before he could by a loud and shrill yell from behind him.
'ROKU!' a young girl cried out and Richard looked over Wales' shoulder to find a young girl around the age of eleven rushing towards them. Richard was stunned when he laid eyes on her; she looked so much like Reiea did that, for a moment he was certain it was her. She had the same long brown hair, the same wide eyes, and the same love sick smile on her face that he was sure he was looking at a younger version of the Queen, but he realized that wasn't right. First of all, why would Reiea be in a setting like this? Secondly, there was something in her eyes that made Richard believe that it wasn't her. This young girl looked more mature in a sense and seemed filled with purpose, whereas Reiea didn't most of the time.
'Great, here comes Celia,' Richard heard Monica grumble and she slowly relinquished her hold on him and moved to stand next to him.
'Roku! Why didn't you tell me you were here?' the young girl named Celia asked and launched herself into a tackle hug that caught him off guard. 'Let's go play in the palace!'
'We're... we're practicing spells right now, Princess,' Richard's body said and the girl looked up into his eyes with a sad look on his face. 'I'll play with you tomorrow, okay?'
'Let Wales and Monica practice on their own! You can't even use magic! Come play with me!' Celia whined and put on quite the display that was topped off by top notch puppy dog eyes and a pouting lower lip.
'Celia!' Wales called out in an annoyed tone but the young girl ignored him and continued to stare at Richard as she took a small step away from him.
'I've been practicing, Princess,' Richard said and held out his hand towards the young girl. 'Watch!'
Richard could feel every muscle in his body tense and he realized he was straining every inch of his body, trying to push the magic onto his open palm. For a few minutes nothing happened, and Celia looked at him with happy eyes, probably because she figured she would have a playmate now. A minute later the first signs of magic appeared on his palm and tiny purple sparks popped into existence before being extinguished. Richard continued to strain as his body tried to hold onto the magic power that was barely there and more sparks exploded on his palm. A low guttural growl was escaping his lips as he concentrated with everything he had and a second later a large shower of sparks appeared in his hand.
'LOOK!' he yelled loudly in excitement and for a split second he let his concentration slip. The results were painful as the sparks suddenly collected right in the center of his open palm and exploded all at once, burning his skin slightly. 'Ow!'
'Roku!' he heard both Monica and Celia yell at the same time and in a flash Celia had grabbed his hand in her soft one. She held it close to her face and looked at it in fear, but that fear quickly changed to relief as she saw there was no real damage done. She smiled softly and gently kissed his hand where the burn was, her soft lips easing some of the pain. Out of the corner of his eye he couldn't help but notice the angry look May was giving the young girl as she continued to kiss his wound.
May's angry glare quickly began to shimmer and Richard quickly realized his dream was beginning to shift again. Everything around him faded to blackness and a bright white light suddenly blazed hard on his eyes. Richard found himself looking straight up into the massive sun and he lifted his hand to block the dazzling and fiery orb out so he didn't damage his eyes. He was once more standing outside, but this time there were more people around him. Besides Wales, Celia, and Monica he didn't recognize the other people, but they all looked very important and their ages ranged from adults to the elderly.
One man especially stuck out. He was incredibly old looking with white papery skin and a long white beard tucked into his simple leather belt that held the waist of his blue robes closed. He stood in the middle of the group and held a long metal staff in his left hand like his life depended on it. Just being in this mans presence, Richard could feel the tremendous magical power washing off him and he had to strain his legs so he didn't try to run away.
'So these are them?' the old man asked and his voice was rough and grating, like dragging your heel through a pile of gravel really fast. 'They don't look like much.'
'I administered the tests myself, Master Rydon,' a middle aged man with a short black beard said and stepped towards the old man. He reached into his long and heavy robe and produced a small scroll with a wooden spindle running through the center of it towards the old man. 'Both Prince Wales and Lady Monica are the most suitable candidates to become your students. They are by far the most skilled mages I have ever seen... besides you of course, Master.'
Master Rydon took the scroll that was offered him and pulled until a foot and a half of parchment was showing. He quickly glanced over it and made an odd clicking noise with his tongue as he read, his eyes darting over the hidden words. A moment later he rolled it up haphazardly and tossed it back to his aide, forcing the poor man to scramble and catch it before the entire thing unrolled in the air.
'I suppose they will have to do,' he sighed loudly and looked between Wales and Monica who stood before him.
Richard was standing a few feet back and just off to the side from his friends and he felt an odd sensation run through his body; it was a feeling of both jealousy and longing. He quickly stepped towards the old man and bowed his head deeply in a sign of respect that his body forced. The tenseness of his muscles led Richard to believe that he really didn't want to be showing this man any kind of respect in the first place.
'I wish to become your student as well!' Richard said loudly and raised his head towards the wizened man. 'Please!'
'Richard!' Monica/May hissed from behind him and he could feel her move closer to where he stood. 'What are you doing? You can't even use simple spells!'
Richard ignored the girls words and continued to focus on the man who was staring at him with a bored look on his ancient face. He stroked a wrinkled and slightly shaking hand through his long white beard and then chuckled softly in his throat before turning away from him.
'Please!' Richard practically yelled in desperation. Instead of Master Rydon turning back to him, it was one of his younger aides that faced him with a sad smile on his face.
'Master Rydon is a very powerful and important man, he does not have time for you. He only takes on the strongest students, and I was led to believe that you have no affinity to magic at all when we interviewed your guardians.'
A surge of anger welled through Richard and he raised his left hand towards the men and women who were starting to walk away. It was then that he noticed a thin golden bracelet on his wrist begin to glow slightly with bright gold light. It didn't take him long to figure out that this was probably the prototype to the golden bracer he was using now.
'I can use magic!' his voice roared and he felt the power of Light Magic pulse through his body and out of the gold bracelet on his wrist. A bright white wall of light the size of a three story building quickly appeared in front of the retreating Master and stopped him and his entourage in their tracks. Before they could even begin to spin around to see what was going on, Richard's body pulsed once more with a more powerful magic feeling than he had ever experienced before and he suddenly found himself floating into the air slowly. Glancing down he could barely make out a small thin disk of white light under his feet pushing him upwards.
'Roku!' he heard Monica and Wales gasp in surprise at the same time; but it was Master Rydon's expression that made him smile. The old man had a look of shock and mild fear on his face when he spun around to see what he was doing and Richard couldn't help but laugh softly to himself.
'I told you I could use magic!' he trumpeted in jubilation at the moment and even the dreaming part of Richard could feel that sense of triumph flowing through his own emotions.
'What... is this?' the old master asked in surprise and lifted his staff in front of his body like he was hiding behind it. Richard realized he was doing this thinking that his life was in danger from this amazing and surprising display of power from such a young child.
'My magic,' Richard answered matter-of-factly and he slowly dropped towards the ground once more.
'I've never seen magic like this before. Where did you learn this?'
'Where did I learn it from? I created it myself!'
The look on the old man's face at that statement was priceless and Richard's emotions soared even higher at the look of sheer amazement on this man's face. Master Rydon slowly lowered his staff and took a few steps closer to Richard, a look of curiosity painting his milky eyes. He continued to gaze deeply at him for a few minutes and then cracked a terrifying looking smile before turning away once more.
'Interesting,' he called back with a wave of his free hand, 'I accept you as one of my students. Do not disappoint me!'
The old man and his aides disappeared into the Royal Palace and vanished from sight, leaving Richard to stand there with the feeling of a wide grin on his face. Behind him he could feel two very serious sets of eyes gazing at him heavily and his body turned in the dream to face Monica/May and Prince Wales, a small laugh of excitement bubbling over his lips as he saw their shocked and slightly impressed looks.
'What exactly just happened?' Wales asked him in a hushed tone and another laugh hissed out of Richards mouth.
'Pretty neat, eh?'
'Roku... what in the world was that? Did you just say you created a unique type of magic?' the young prince asked and Richard's head nodded twice with a wide smile on his face.
'I sure did!' Richard exclaimed and held a small flat disc of condensed light out towards his friends to see. 'I've been working on it for the last eight months, but I am finally ready to show it off!'
'Eight... eight months...'
'I knew it!' Monica exclaimed and launched herself at Richard, pulling him into one of her powerful hugs as she gushed about him. 'Not only is he cute, but he's also a genius! Now I don't have to worry about leaving you behind for six years to train with Master Rydon! Because you'll be coming with us!'
Richard couldn't help but smile, even above the fact that the body he was inhabiting in the dream was already smiling. As he looked upon the happy faces of his two friends, the background behind them began to darken and Richard felt himself starting to slip into oblivion. The only feelings that remained were remnants of hate and pain, the sounds of screams filling his ears as his brain blacked out the one memory he didn't want to relive right now.
Richards eyes fluttered open and he instantly realized he had woken up; the pain in his body and mind was too real for it to be a dream. It felt like he had been run over by a dump truck multiple times and finally dropped into a vat of acid just for the fun of it. His eyes itched, his hands felt swollen, his neck and back throbbed, and his legs felt fractured. He did a quick check by only wiggling his toes and fingers and found that all twenty digits seemed to be in working order. He then slowly shifted his body weight and hoped to god that he didn't feel his spine strain, he didn't know what he would do if he had somehow broken it. Besides the pain he was already feeling he didn't sense any other problems and he slowly sat up in bed, his head pounding brutally as his stomach threatened to hurl its contents all over himself.
He found himself in a strange bed he didn't recognize, in a brown stone room that he couldn't place. He always felt a little lost the first few moments after waking up, but this was really pushing it. He had no recollection of where he was, how he had gotten there, or where any of his friends were. The last thing he remembered was going to the palace with everyone and hoping to meet Daiya there. He was sure there was something else under the surface of his memories, but it felt foggy and like he was trying to view it through heavy static; almost like trying to secretly watch a pornography channel when all you have is basic cable.
He slowly kicked his legs off the edge of the large bed and stood, bracing himself with a hand on the wall so he didn't fall over. Not only did his muscles feel extremely sore but they were also very weak and it took all the strength he had in him just to keep his knees locked into place. Just what in the hell was going on here? Where was everyone and where in the world was he? Being left alone in an unfamiliar place with not a single friendly face around when he woke up was starting to freak him out a little and he wanted to know what in the world was going on more than anything else in that moment.
He found a pair of unfamiliar clothes laid out for him on a dresser against the nearest wall and he slowly put them on. As he pulled his pants up over his legs and to his waist he got a good look at his hands for the first time and he was surprised to find four rings on his fingers. There were two on each hand, one on the pinky and the thumb for each one and they glowed slightly with black light; it was so faint that he could barely make it out with the naked eye. They looked to be made from emeralds or some other kind of green gem and they were heavy. He held them up to his face and examined them for a moment before trying to pull the one on his left thumb off. The strange thing was that it wouldn't come off of any of the fingers. The damn things didn't so much as budge and it almost seemed like they were a part of his body.
'What the hell...' he whispered to himself and grunted as using the minimal amount of strength it took to try and remove a ring jammed on your finger. He waved both hands in the air for no apparent reason and pushed the strange rings from his mind as he focused on figuring out where he was.
He left the room through a large brown stone door and walked out into a narrow hallway that led off in two different directions, the same brown stones lining the walls and floor. He noticed some sunlight coming in from a window down to his left and he slowly hobbled towards it, breathing in a breath of fresh air that filled him with a little more spirit. That spirit was quickly taken away from him when he looked out the window though. Looking down he couldn't see ground below him, only cloudy sky that went on endlessly in every direction he could see. It was almost as if the castle was floating high above the ground, but that couldn't be possible could it?
Richard continued to limp down the hall in the direction he had chosen at random and at every window he found he saw the exact same scene outside. After wandering for more than twenty minutes he didn't find so much as a hint of land below him and he was really starting to freak out now. Random thoughts about him having been kidnapped by May popped into his head and his heart began to beat quicker, a cold sweat covering him from head to toe.
He finally found a staircase after what felt like another ten minutes and he slowly climbed down them, his legs groaning and creaking in protest with each step. He didn't think they would hold his weight much longer and he hoped he could find the end of the stairs soon so he didn't end up falling down them. He came to a landing and quickly got off on it, heading into another hall that was much wider than the one he had just come from on the floor above. This area of the castle seemed to feel like it had been lived in more and had a warmth to it that the upper floor didn't. Richard continued to follow down a random hall and noticed random statues and busts with paintings and names he had never heard before. Whoever these paintings and sculptures were of must have been some pretty important people because each one of them was finely made and the busts and statues were all made from precious materials. This place wasn't as nice as the Elysian Palace, but it was pretty grand in its own way.
As Richard continued to walk down the hall he began to hear voices drifting through the empty corridors and they seemed to be coming from ahead of where he was. He slowly moved towards the voices and found a large stone door cracked open slightly, the voices coming from inside. As slowly and quietly as he could, Richard peered inside and found a group of people sitting at a long white marble table with ten seats down the length and a large golden throne at the very head that was left vacant. He recognized a few of the people sitting around the table, like Lillin, Daiya, and Aura; but the others were unfamiliar. There was an old lady with short white hair and white eyes like she was blind, a middle aged woman with shoulder length raven black hair and mud brown eyes, and two younger women sitting next to them. The youngest looking girl was sitting next to the old lady and didn't look older than twelve years old while a woman in her early twenties sat next to the middle aged women. From his vantage point, Richard couldn't quite make out what the two younger girls looked like.
'Has there been any change in his condition?' Aura asked and she directed the question towards a worn out and worried looking Daiya. Her normal shiny brown hair that cascaded down her back had lost most of its sheen in had been pushed behind her long and slender ears. Her once beautiful brown eyes that sparkled whenever she smiled were hard shells of what they had been and her skin was very pale with dark bags under her eyes. It broke Richard's heart seeing her like that.
'No,' Daiya answered through a tight voice and the emotions she was struggling with resonated in Aura's facial expression. 'No pulse, he's not breathing, but he still looks to be alive. What exactly is happening to him?'
'If what you have told us is true, then there is only one thing that could be happening to his body. I've found mention of this type of trauma in the records,' the eldest woman at the table spoke and Richard was surprised to hear her voice sounded young and vibrant; almost like the toll of small silver bells.
'What is it, Master Rio?' Lillin asked and all eyes flashed towards the elderly woman as she stood up.
'Powerful mages from ages long past have also been known to fall into the same state as the man you have upstairs,' she spoke and even Richard found himself leaning on every word, even if he had no idea what they were talking about. 'When a person has a great amount of magical power in their body, it becomes a part of them as much as their heart and mind. Their body relies on it. This is only theoretical because it hasn't happened in over a thousand years, but if a powerful mage uses up all their magic in a short period of time it will have adverse effects on their body.'
'To this extent?' the middle aged woman asked and the young woman sitting next to her nodded at the question.
'From what I have gathered in my research, yes. The last recorded case was a former Master of Fire. He used his magic in a single devastating attack at the battle of Ansai and fell into a near death state. The monks who cared for him wrote that it was like he had died, but his body remained the way it had been before he fell. He had no heart beat and did not breath, but his body did not decay. A week later he awoke from this state and appeared to be unharmed.'
'What are you trying to say?' Lillin asked and her voice was as even and calculating as always. It was almost like nothing surprised her and she was always collected, even in the midst of battle.
'The body of the young man you brought is in a frozen state. Simply put, he's not alive and he's not dead; he just is. How long he stays in that state depends on the nature of the magic in his body and how much of it he used. Judging by the fact that he has been like that for two weeks, I would assume it's safe to say that the amount of magic he used is nothing to sneeze at. Frankly, I'm surprised his body didn't destroy itself if the information you brought us is true.'
'Oh come on!' the young woman sitting next to the old lady snorted with a small and condescending laugh. Right away Richard could tell that this woman's attitude was such that not many people could get along with her. 'What you're saying is impossible, Master. He's a man for crying out loud!'
'What does him being a man have to do with anything?' Aura asked and there was a hint of anger in her words.
'The strongest male mage is the Master of Fire, and he's not even that strong compared to the other Masters! The only reason he is the Master of Fire is because he has a strong connection to that element, not because he has a lot of power in it. Yet you expect us to believe that some little teenager was strong enough to put himself in this comatose state with a single attack? That's a really poor joke.'
'Zya!' the old woman next to her groaned but Zya simply shrugged off the harsh tone.
'It's the truth, isn't it? If this brat is as strong as you are claiming, then how come we have never heard of him until now? He's probably just some fraud looking for fame that will never truly belong to him!'
'How dare you!' Daiya roared and shot up, pushing the small chair out from under the table and slamming a tense fist onto the marble table. 'That is my husband you are talking about! Where the hell do you get off bad mouthing him like that? You have no idea what he is capable of!'
'Oh my, it looks like I upset Princess Matchstick,' Zya yawned in an obviously fake manner. 'I'm only pointing out what everyone here was thinking, so calm down.'
'I swear to god I will roast you alive!' Daiya growled and even from where Richard was standing he could feel her power ripple over her slim and lithe body. He wouldn't put it past her to actually do it, and for a moment he wanted to rush to her and calm her down; but Aura stepped in first.
'Enough! Both of you!' the tall blonde woman barked and both younger women looked towards her with a startled expression. 'Daiya is right, underestimating his powers is not a wise decision. We've already made that mistake once and look what happened to him. You've all read the reports that have come in from the battle!'
The younger of the three women shuffled through a small stack of papers on the long table and produced a single roll of parchment, holding it out in front of her. 'We have indeed read the reports, and they are very troubling. Four different countries reported that a single man entered the battlefield and unleashed a brutal attack that took the lives of nearly eight thousand soldiers in the blink of an eye. They have named this unknown mage The Butcher.'
'There's no proof that the kid upstairs is this mystery mage though,' Zya sighed but her words fell on Richards ears as he felt himself being pulled deep down into his memory.
His mind blacked out the sight of the room before him and his ears began to ring as the sounds of combat over took him. He could vividly smell the scent of burning flesh and blood all around him and he gagged in horror from it, his stomach churning as he began to see broken and twisted bodies lying all around him. The bodies closest to him began to rise into the air, one by one being sucked into a massive black hole high above his head. The screams of those still alive grated on his nerves and he could catch glimpses of terrified faces as hundreds began to get pulled into the massive gravity well. Everything happened so quick as the entire valley he was standing in turned into one giant kill box, and he was the one controlling it. He could feel a horrible power rising in his muscles and the thrill of all the deaths tingled his senses as something much stronger than himself took hold of his mind and body.
'RICHARD!' he heard someone scream and the vision around him began to shimmer and finally explode as light rushed back to his eyes. He was once more standing in the doorway of the large room, but this time the doors were open wide and he was falling towards the ground beyond them. A moment later a pair of arms grabbed him by the waist and he was hauled up, a terrified and weary looking face staring at him intently as silent tears ran down the tanned cheeks.
'Da... Daiya?' he breathed and the woman's big eyes sparkled at her name and she nodded. 'What happened?'
'I was just going to ask you the same thing,' the beautiful Dark Elf laughed softly and helped Richard to his feet. 'You suddenly fell through the doors and scared everyone!'
'D... did I?' he asked and looked around him as he tried to get his bearings. 'I was listening to your discussion and then... then...' he began to say but his brain ached when he tried to remember the vision he had just seen and he winced.
'It's okay,' Daiya said and pulled him into a long and powerful hug that she seemed to need more than he did in that moment. 'I'm just glad you're safe!'
Daiya began to sob silently into his shoulder and Richard wrapped his own arms around his gorgeous wife, patting her back gently. That was when he noticed Lillin out of the corner of his eye, pointing towards them and whispering something to Aura who stood next to her with a concerned look on her beautiful face. She whispered something back to Lillin and nodded in agreement before moving towards him and Daiya.
'Daiya, back away from him for a moment,' Lillin said in a steely tone and was instantly at their side, pushing them apart roughly.
'Wait... what the hell-' Daiya growled but was quickly shut up when Aura pointed towards Richard's hands. 'Oh... Richard, take a deep breath!'
'Why?' he asked in confusion and held both of his hands up to look at them. All four rings on his fingers had suddenly started glowing a bright black and what looked like particles of black light were spreading out from them, blotting out light wherever it went. 'What the hell is this?!'
'Richard, you need to calm down right now!' Aura pleaded and there was a frightened look in her eyes that couldn't be missed. Her words and the look on her face only further freaked Richard out and the rings on his fingers began to glow brighter. 'Take a deep breath and think of something that makes you happy!'
A powerful and addicting strength surged through Richard and he realized that something was terribly wrong with it. Before he had almost passed out while listening outside the door, he had had that violent image of many people dying and he recognized the intense and bloodthirsty sense of dread spreading through his limbs and mind. He didn't fully understand what was going on, but he knew he couldn't let this power surge through him any longer. He screwed up his eyes and focused on the happiest moment in his short life, the day he stood next to Daiya at the altar and they were married. The smile that was tickling the sides of his lips began to spread through the rest of his nervous system and he felt his body physically and emotionally relax as the dark power bubbling in his stomach was quickly pushed away. When he opened his eyes once more he saw relieved faces staring back at him and noticed that the rings were glowing with a slight golden-white hue.
'Better?' Lillin asked and he nodded slowly as he tried to gather his thoughts. 'Well, if nothing else this proves that the rings Master Amelia created are strong enough to withstand the surge of magic going through his body.'
'So far,' the eldest one in the room sighed and eyed the rings on Richard's fingers. 'With the wave of power we all just felt it wouldn't surprise me that the rings will crack or shatter at some point.'
Richard held his hands to his face once more and looked at the slightly glowing rings with confusion. Before, there had been black light and black particles flowing from the rings, but now the light had gone from black to gold. He had no idea what was going on or why they were on his fingers. He grabbed at the one on his left thumb and tried to pull it off but found that it was fitted so tightly that it didn't even budge. It was like the ring was a part of his body and it felt like he was trying to pry off a piece of his own flesh. It actually hurt a little.
'The rings won't come off unless we allow it,' the elderly woman said when she noticed what he was trying to do.
'What are these things?'
'Artifacts that Master Amelia created specifically to keep you and everyone around you safe,' Lillin answered and Richard threw her a dumbstruck look. 'The spells placed on those rings read your state of mind and emotions on a constant basis, and if your darker emotions begin to rise to the surface the rings will release the magic in your body in a constant stream so you don't have another episode.'
'Simply put, it bleeds your power if the rings feel that you are in danger of succumbing to your more vengeful emotions.' Master Amelia explained in an easier way and Lillin nodded in agreement. That hadn't been the part that Richard was having trouble understanding though.
'Another episode? What do you mean by that?' he asked as Daiya once more came towards him and snuggled softly into his side. As anxious as he was to hold her right now, he couldn't focus on her with the conversation that was going on.
'Do you not remember what happened two weeks ago?' Aura asked with concern and he flashed her a confused look.
'Two weeks ago? Not much really happened, besides school and training with Lillin at the stadium,' he answered and he felt Daiya's body tense up.
'Richard, that was a month ago,' Lillin said slowly and she ignored the half smile on his face. He honestly thought she was trying to play some kind of prank on him. 'After the school was attacked you and your friends went to go stay at the palace while Aura, Princess Daiya, and Coni fought at the Northern border. You escaped the palace and flew on your dragon to the battle ground.'
'You're kidding right?' he laughed but was met with serious gazes from everyone present. Even the mouthy and ill behaved Zya had a serious look on her face. 'Y... you're not, are you?'
'You and Daiya fought against a powerful fire mage and-'
'It was May,' Daiya offered and Richard suddenly had a brief vision of seeing her standing in the middle of a battlefield with her hand raised towards him.
'When Daiya was injured by this May person, you lost control of your magic and went into a rage. You destroyed anyone and anything in front of you and then just collapsed in the middle of the crater you created with a very powerful and very unique spell,' Lillin continued.
'You've been unconscious for exactly sixteen days, Richard,' Aura said and Richard felt like the rug had been pulled out from under his feet. His knees began to buckle as he realized that everything they were saying was true and horrible visions from the battle raged through his mind. The one that hurt the most was watching as May thrust a weapon in Daiya's side and left her for dead.
Without hesitation, Richard turned to his wife and lifted the edge of her shirt up and looked closely at both of her well toned and tanned sides. He sought any hint of a wound or scar but was only met with a single patch of skin that was far lighter than the rest of her body. It was just below her ribs and two to three inches long. This was undoubtedly where she had been stabbed but it was very strange that there wasn't so much as a scar there. It had only been two weeks, at the very least she should still be bandaged up. Daiya seemed to notice what he was searching for and she brushed his hands away from her shirt gently and wrapped her arms around his head and hugged him tightly.
'I'm okay, Richard,' she sighed softly into his ear. 'Aura used Arcane Magic to speed up the recovery while we were still on the battlefield. When that area of skin gets some sunlight you won't even notice it anymore.'
Richard softly kissed his taller wife on the cheek and nestled his chin gently onto her shoulder as a million different thoughts flooded his mind like a savage assault. He was having trouble understanding everything that had happened, especially since his memory seemed to be filled with holes and most of the images from the battle were blurry or mostly black and red. Never before had he even been so afraid of a color than he was now. The blackness that cascaded through his mind, the same color that had come from the rings was so evil and powerful that he could still feel that sensation clinging to his heart.
'Wh... where are we?' he asked in a low voice as he directed the question directly to the one woman in the room that mattered to him. He knew the others could hear, but with everything that had happened he didn't know how much he could trust Lillin or the others. Lillin had hinted to a loss of control but never warned him further than that, so he really didn't know what her angle was here and the same went for the others. Aura was there in the room as well, and he knew she would never do or say anything to harm or confuse him, but in that moment he was closest to Daiya.
'Castle Islan,' Daiya answered. 'You're safe here. This is where the Elemental Masters and their students train.'
'Although you and Lady Aura aren't supposed to be in the first place,' the girl in her early twenties gnashed her teeth and Daiya released her hold on Richard to turn to her.
'We've discussed this!' Daiya growled back.
'Alright, calm down you two,' Lillin sighed heavily and Aura nodded in agreement along with the other two women. 'You saw how Daiya reacted to you bad mouthing Richard a few minutes ago, Zya. Richard will react the same way and I can guarantee you that the outcome won't be cut and dry.'
'Oh give me a break!' Zya laughed and stepped closer towards both Richard and Daiya. 'This kid couldn't possibly have that kind of power in him! Just look at him, he's nothing but a commoner and the fact that he's married to the crown princess of the Dark Elf Kingdom is laughable! Daiya must have been pretty desperate!'
What happened after the girls words fell around Richard's ears was a blur, but he felt the flicker of blackness in his body ignite a small amount and the next thing he knew he had his right hand pointed towards Zya as bright white light gathered around his fingers. He could hear Daiya's warnings in his head but the words sounded like they had been dragged through mud. His heartbeat was pounding in his ears and his power was slowly starting to erode his will as the black flame began to grow. It was an image of him slaughtering soldiers on the battlefield that stopped him though, and in the span of simple blink of the eye he shifted his hand slightly above the woman's head and released the magic that had been building. A beam of pure white light shot from his hand and bracer and shattered a large stained-glass window that flickered with blues, reds, yellows, blacks, and greens.
In the same moment the glass exploded in a brutal cascade of jagged shards, Richard's mind cleared and he gained control of his emotions once more. Lillin and Aura didn't seem to notice the sudden shift in his body language though, as Richard suddenly found himself being lifted from the ground as two long purple ropes of arcane magic bound him tightly and tossed him away from the group of people who stared at him with wide eyes and anxious looks.
'Calm down Richard!' Lillin yelled loudly and he focused solely on her emotionless face that sat apart from the others.
'I am calm,' he whispered in answer. 'Sorry. I... I couldn't control myself. I'm okay now though.'
Aura looked him dead in the eyes and released her spell a moment later, but Lillin didn't seem too convinced and kept Richard hovering five feet off the ground and completely bound. It was a weird sensation being restrained by magical ropes and it sent a small electrical shock through his body and nervous system. A second later Richard realized that Lillin was probably using her lightning element to keep a continuous current running through his body so he would have trouble controlling his muscles. It was definitely working, that was for sure.
'What was that?' the youngest girl in the room asked in amazement and she picked up a shard of glass that had fallen to the ground. 'It was pretty!'
'That truly was Light Magic,' the elderly woman whispered. 'The rumors and stories you told us were true, Master Lillin.'
'I'm glad you realize that, now please have a talk with your apprentice about filtering her thoughts around Richard for now. We got lucky and we can't afford to risk him losing control again,' she stated bluntly and then turned back to the man dangling above everyone. 'There are some things that you and I need to discuss. Why don't we go some place a little quieter, shall we?'
Richard didn't even get a chance to answer as Lillin walked from the room and dragged a slightly trembling Richard behind her, the magical bonds still around his arms and legs. She pulled him down a few halls and then opened two large doors that led out onto a very large balcony that overlooked a massive patch of land that seemed to be some kind of training ground. The moment Richard was through the doors she waved her hand towards them and they closed on their own a second before the bonds around him vanished into nothing.
'You need to maintain a calm state of mind at all times, Richard. Another outburst like that and you might do something you will regret for as long as you live!'
'I... I'm sorry. I couldn't stop myself though... it was like my body had a mind of its own and I was just a passenger. What is going on with me?!' he demanded loudly and then quickly took a deep breath as his powers began to rise up within him once more.
'You're letting your emotions rule you. That's a simply as I can put it. To be honest, I really don't know what's going on besides that, and everything I do know comes from old records and stories passed down from one Master to another. If anything, you should know more than me right now because it's happening to you. What does it feel like when the black power starts to take over your mind?'
Richard didn't answer right away; he looked away from Lillin and walked towards the rail at the edge of the veranda and gazed out over the ground below them. 'I guess if I had to explain it, I would say that it feels like two dogs are at war within me. I felt it from the moment I woke up and it's honestly taking all I have right now just to keep the more vicious dog at bay.'
'Two dogs fighting?' she asked for confirmation and he nodded slowly. 'I suppose that's a good way to explain it. Those dogs are the two sides of your emotions; the happy and good emotions and then the dark and angry emotions.'
'Which one will win?'
'Whichever one you feed the most would be my guess. Richard, your magic isn't just manipulating the light around you... it's also using your emotions to create what only you can create. The white magic you have used the most feeds off the better side of your emotions, while the dark power you used during the battle use those darker and more spiteful emotions. The first you went through a similar problem when he was younger as well.'
'Then we should know how he managed to control it, right?' he asked hopefully but the pale redhead shook her head sadly.
'You kept your magic and how it worked a secret, so there is little to no information on it. The rings you are wearing are the only solution three Masters could come up with, and we honestly don't know how long they will be able to dilute and disperse your magic. The truth is that your strength is beyond what we can comprehend and all we can do is apply a bandage for now.'
Richard's elbows were supporting the weight of his upper body on the railing and he lifted both hands to his face and rubbed his eyes as he tried to think clearly. Everything had become so complicated over the last few weeks and he was having difficulty understanding even half of what was going on. He thought he had finally gotten a good life when he came back to this world for the second time. He could wield strong magic that no one else could, he had a close group of friends, a loving mother figure and even two aunts who weren't that bad either. The cherry on the top of this sundae was Daiya. Actually she was more like a whole bag full of cherries and he felt extremely lucky to just be friends with her, let alone actually be married to her. But from the moment they put those rings on their fingers things had gone from good to horrible and he felt lost a sea with no knowledge of how to swim. His magic was out of control, his friends were somewhere else, his family was split up at the moment, and his wife had been badly injured because of him. He might not have been the one to actually stab her, but he held just as much blame because May had been after him.
'What do I do?' he asked after a few minutes of silence and he heard Lillin sigh next to him.
'Everything and anything I or anyone else here tells you. I brought you to Islan for the sole reason to be trained in an environment that was safe and secluded. After your little mishap in the arena when we were training, I knew I had to get you away from the school and the problems of the war. You will remain here until you are strong enough to go back into the world on your own.'
'Look, I know I am a little volatile right now but it wasn't always like this. Maybe after a few days of relaxation I will go back to how I was and have total control over my powers.'
'I know you want for that to be true, but it's not,' Lillin sighed and Richard was surprised to hear a little sadness in her voice. 'I've been keeping an eye on you for a while now and the one thing I have noticed is that your darker and more powerful magic has been building up inside your heart and mind. All it took was a single event for you to lose control and take the lives of more than eight thousand people like it was nothing. You need to stay here until you can gain better control of those powers and suppress them so they never bother you or anyone again. Even if it takes ten years, you will stay here until everyone is satisfied that you won't lose control again.'
'What about my friends? What about the war! I can't just sit here and do nothi-' he yelled but Lillin quickly cut him off.
'What about your friends? If you hadn't used too much of your magic you probably would have tried to kill your own wife and mother! It's safer for them and you if you are here for right now! Do you have any idea what Aura and Daiya gave up to bring you here?!'
The sudden outburst caught Richard by surprise and all he could do was stare at his young master as she glared at him angrily, her cheeks puffed out and her eyes narrowed. That shock was quickly replaced by curiosity as her words rang through his mind and he focused on only a single part of her tirade.
'What they gave up?' he asked and now Lillin's eyes left his face as her face relaxed and almost took on a sad look. 'What did they give up?'
'Castle Islan is for the use of Masters and their students, Richard. Only they know the spells to get through the barrier protecting this floating fortress and it is changed every month so no one can sneak in. However, not all Masters or Sons and Daughters are welcome here anymore.'
'What do you mean?' he pressed her when she stopped talking for a moment.
'Until two thousand years ago, the Masters answered to one person and one person only; the Grand Master. This position was awarded to the smartest and most powerful among their ranks and he or she became their monarch that even other heads of state respected. However, the last Grand Master left the seat vacant after the Great War and it was never filled. The reason for this was that only someone of equal or greater strength could take that title and it had been assumed that no one would ever be a strong as the last Grand Master was. A few people thought otherwise though.
'Twelve hundred years ago, the Master of Fire tried to take the title through force but was defeated when the other Masters banded against him. Since that time, Masters and Sons and Daughters of Fire have been forbidden from coming to Castle Islan. This includes Daiya. Only fifty years ago, the Master of Arcane tried the same thing but was quickly defeated and also banned from stepping foot within this castle, meaning that Aura is also forbidden as well.'
'What are you trying to say?' Richard asked but he was sure he really didn't want to know.
'The only reason Aura and Daiya are allowed to be here right now is because they had to officially denounce their claims to their respective titles of Master of their elements. The night we arrived they gave up their positions all so you could be taken in and kept safe while you learn to control your powers better. So don't you dare let their sacrifice go to waste!'
The two of them sat there in silence for a few moments as Richard soaked up his masters words and tried to figure out what exactly that meant. In all the time Richard had known both Aura and Daiya, the fact that they were Daughters of Fire and Arcane was never brought up much when they talked, so he really didn't know how they actually felt about those titles. From what he had learned from other students at the academy he knew it was a big deal, something that everyone wanted. To be recognized as the strongest in your field was something that only a few select people would ever attain, so why had they just thrown that away so easily? He really didn't like that he was most likely the biggest reason for this fact, it didn't make him feel very proud of himself at all.
'No matter what you say, the fact remains that you will be staying here for an undetermined amount of time. Now I suggest you take what is left of today and relax up in your room, your training begins tomorrow morning.'
'Wait... what about-'
'Don't make your wife wait any longer, Richard,' Lillin cut him off and began to walk back towards the door they had come through a few minutes ago. 'Daiya has barely left your side in the past two weeks and I am sure she is anxious for you to return to your room.'
With that, Lillin opened the door and disappeared from sight as it closed slowly behind her on noisy hinges. Richard stood there and stared at the closed door for a few moments as a weak and warm breeze caressed his skin and carried the scent of flowers. For the first time he realized that he was somewhere warm and not stuck in the cold winter that had befallen most of the continent. He didn't worry about such trivial matters right now though, his heart began to beat faster as his mind shifted to his beautiful wife that was waiting for him.
It took Richard nearly half an hour to find his way back up to the room he had woken up in, but thankfully Daiya was there waiting for him. At first Richard thought they were going to have a heart to heart talk but was a little surprised when she tossed him onto the bed and proceeded to use him as a body pillow for most of the day. Not much was said between them beyond the obligatory I love you's and asking if either of them were comfortable or not. To be honest, Richard wasn't all that comfortable but he pushed that away as he didn't want to bother Daiya with anything in that moment. She must have been really shaken up by everything that had happened to him and she just seemed glad to have him in her arms once more, actually capable of breathing and speaking. He was pretty happy with that as well.
The sun had already vanished from the small window overlooking open air that surrounded most of the castle when Richard finally decided he wanted to talk to Daiya. They had both been nodding off for the last few hours and he knew if he didn't say something now they would end up falling asleep and he would forget about it completely. So much had happened that he really felt disconnected from the beautiful and powerful woman wrapping her arms and legs around his motionless form and he really wanted to get back on good terms with her again. It wasn't that she was cold towards him. She just seemed a little nervous or something. It was hard for him to figure it out to be honest.
'Daiya...' he started but let the sentence that had been on his lips die as he suddenly found two big brown eyes on his face a second later.
'I know what you want to say,' she sighed sadly and hugged him tighter, 'and no, I'm not afraid of you.'
'A... actually that's not what I was going to ask, but that's good to know. I wanted to know why you gave up being the Daughter of Fire just to bring me here.'
'Lillin told you about that, did she? It's pretty simple really, your well being was more important than something that I never really wanted to begin with.'
Daiya's answer took him by surprise and he shifted in her arms until they were face to face, her soft brown skin sparkling in the dying light of the day as she looked at him seriously. 'What do you mean you never wanted to be the Daughter of Fire?'
'Did you see that little girl downstairs?'
'Yeah...' he answered, not really sure where this was going or what this had to do with his question.
'Her name is Louise and she's only nine years old. She and I are very alike in that we were both chosen to be the inheritors of our Masters titles at very young ages. I was presented to the Master of Fire when I was only eight years old, right after I first displayed an affinity to the element, and from that time I have been the Daughter of Fire. Louise was chosen to be the Daughter of Earth when she was four years old so it's not as bad for her than it was for me. But from a very young age I haven't been able to lead a normal life because of my status as both a princess and the Daughter of Fire. I had so much responsibility and so many duties that I never really had a happy childhood. So, to be honest, I am glad I am no longer the Daughter of Fire. As much of a prestigious position that is, I feel like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders and I can breathe better again. I really had no idea how I was going to tackle the job of one day ruling a country and yet having to stay neutral in world affairs because of my position as a Master.'
'Wow...' Richard breathed and hugged his wife a little tighter as she sighed deeply and hugged him back. 'I had no idea it was so tough, but I'm glad you told me.'
'It wasn't all bad now that I think on it though. If I hadn't been of royal blood and considered one of the strongest fire mages on the continent, I probably would have ended up getting engaged to someone else a long time ago. So at least I was allowed to wait for you to come along.'
'Yeah... I guess that's true, eh?'
A less awkward silence fell around the room and Richard once more let himself be swallowed up in Daiya's warm and soft body as the weariness in his body and mind tried to drag him into a deep slumber. Daiya remained quiet for a few minutes but she seemed to be thinking something over because Richard could feel her warm eyes on his face as he tried to keep his own closed. After ten minutes of silence she finally spoke just as he was about to fall asleep, nearly scaring him by the suddenness.
'You're not thinking of trying to leave here are you?'
'Wha... what?' Richard blurted in answer and released his hold of Daiya to move back a few inches to get a better look at her.
'Both Lillin and Aura figured you wouldn't be happy being stuck here while the war was still raging and they guessed that you would try to leave at some point. I... I'll be keeping an eye on you.'
'Keeping an eye on me? Did they ask you to do that?'
'No... actually. Look, Richard, I agree that this is the best place for you to be right now. I want to make sure you get the best training available so you can control your magic better, and this is the best place in the world for that. So please, as a favor to me, just stay here.'
'What do I have to do?' he asked with a sigh and resigned himself to his current fate. He wasn't very happy about having to be away from his friends and some of his family, but as long as he had Daiya there then it wasn't all bad he supposed.
'You're going to get training I never had the chance to,' his wife explained and almost sounded a little jealous. 'You'll be told everything you need to know tomorrow morning, so for now just rest.'
'You just don't want me to get out of bed right now,' Richard joked and Daiya smiled up at him. He wrapped his arms around her tighter and nuzzled in as he let his body and mind relax, the warmth and softness of his wife's body filling his mind as they both began to drift off into a deep slumber.
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