Story I – Chapter IV [Revelations]

Hello everyone!

Wondering where I’ve been, huh? Thanks to exams, a psychological, an interview and becoming an aunt, I am totally swamped which is why I have gone on a hiatus and will hopefully be back in the future-not the near future though-the issues persist till early March! Anyway, I’m here to post the latest part of Story I, and due to the long delay, I am posting the whole chapter here, in one piece rather than three parts! Here, you get the answer to some of your most basic questions about the story and it raises as many more, which are hopefully going to keep you intrigued and interested! I hope you’ll enjoy it and keep your fingers crossed for more!

So, read on for Chapter Four! Please remember that it is completely unedited and any and every criticism is welcome! So keep the feedback coming! Thank you!

To read all previous parts, go here!

Continued from here!

Chapter IV:

Annie watched in what felt like a daze as Ian sat on the floor, worry etched on his face as he watched Su Ae and turned to see Su Ae herself. From the moment she’d walked into the library, everything seemed like a bad dream and now it felt more so like a nightmare because of the way Su Ae and Ian were acting. Looking at her friend now, she could read the blank look on her face, as if she didn’t even know where she was or who was around. Exactly like she suspected Ian felt, Annie felt her heart go out to Su Ae. And even before she realized what she was doing, Annie had taken a few steps towards Su Ae when Ian grabbed her arm from behind, stopping her midway.

“You can’t!” Ian told her, “No one can approach her when she’s like this. It’ll only be worse for you.”

“What do you mean?” Annie asked him, “What is wrong with her? What’s happening?”

For a few moments, Ian was silent, staring at Su Ae beyond her but finally turned to her when she added, “Please tell me!”

“Let’s go to another room-being here won’t help.”

“But how can we-?” Annie began to protest but Ian simply sighed.

“There’s nothing we can do-not until this passes. There’s a lot to be done but not here and not right now.”

Whatever arguments Annie may have made were quelled by the look of pain in Ian’s eyes as he spoke of Su Ae.

“Will she be alright?” she couldn’t resist asking the question that fiercely nagged at her.

“She’ll pull through it.” Ian told her, letting go of her arm, “Once it passes, I’ll be with her.”

“We can talk in the kitchen,” Annie told him and headed out. As she walked in the corridor, she heard the shuffling of his feet behind and the library door close quietly.

By the time Ian made it to the kitchen, he made up his mind about what and how much to tell Annie about everything. Remembering Su Ae’s words about being happy around Annie and thankful for meeting her made the decision all the more easier. This was a friend Su Ae had wanted and would want to keep so he had to do his best to stand by her decision.

After he’d taken a seat on the kitchen cabinet table, Annie placed a glass of water in front of him but he didn’t pick it just yet. He’d no thoughts of thirst right now. Gesturing to a chair opposite him on the table, he asked her to sit. She did, downing another glass of water herself. As she placed the glass back on the table, he noticed she was clutching it tightly, her knuckles whitening because of the pressure. That brought an involuntary chuckle from him and Annie started as she stared at him.

“If you keep holding the glass like that,” he pointed out, “It will break.”

Annie unconsciously released her grip then stared down as if she’d not even realized she’d been doing that. “Sorry,” she muttered.

For a few moments more, silence prevailed as they both faced each other and Ian rattled his mind trying to think of how to begin and what to say. Annie made it all easier.

“There’s something about Su Ae. And you.” Annie piped up, her voice little more than a whisper.

Ian simply looked at her in silence. Annie took a quick look at him before turning her gaze back to the glass in her hands and continued.

“Su Ae and you-there’s so much different. You have no aura and Su Ae barely has some. I asked her about it once. She told me it was because she was different but not more than that. I understand that much myself and perhaps a bit more, although I may be wrong. Humans have auras. You don’t. And hers is not always as it should be.”

Ian was shaking his head with a smile as he realized what Annie was saying. “I should have guessed Su Ae meant more than literal when she called you special. So you can see auras.”

“It’s not just you or her!” Annie spoke quickly, hoping Ian wouldn’t misunderstand her earlier words. “I’ve seen a few other people like you, so it’s not just you.”

“Don’t worry; I won’t mind what you’re saying.” Ian told her with a reassuring smile. “I know what you mean. Su Ae’s half human so she has a different aura than what you see and since I’m not human, you can’t see mine.”

Annie’s mind fixated on the words ‘not human’ and wondered what Ian meant-was it really as she had thought, but he continued and didn’t leave her in suspense for long.

“We’re different, not human. What you see on people, is a human aura. We have our own auras but they’re not visible to the naked eye, especially not to a human. The reason you see Su Ae’s aura, or at least half of it, is because her father was a human like you. She is half human, and half demon.”

Ian could feel Annie stiffen slightly at the word demon and honestly couldn’t blame her for it but had hoped for a different response, if even slightly so. He withdrew his gaze from her for a moment as the wheels in Annie’s head started spinning and her mind fixated on the word ‘demon’ and involuntarily, she shuddered. She withdrew her shaking hands under the table but didn’t fidget otherwise. None of her reactions were lost on Ian as he looked back at her.

“What do you mean demon?” She decided to kill the curiosity at once and asked the question, even though she knew Ian was probably going to address that anyway. “You are that too?”

“The demon race is much like the human race in many aspects. A demon is simply a creature with a different… what should I say? A different build, a different system. We have different forms. Blood flows through our veins too, just not human. Demons have families, friends, enemies, all depending on what kind, and how he or she is. We live, just like you humans live.”

He paused for a few moments, as if expecting Annie to ask more but Annie stayed silent, waiting for him to continue. Her mind was still processing the facts and all she could think was, Ian and Su Ae = demon!

“There is good and bad in everything. Not all demons are bad. You don’t have to be afraid of us-at least not me and Su Ae. Our world, our systems, our laws are as complicated and detailed as people’s.” When Annie still remained silent, Ian added. “She’s still your friend. The way she was before tonight!”

“What happened to her? What’s wrong with her?” Annie hated that her voice shook, but that was a tremor she couldn’t control. It wasn’t that she was suddenly afraid of Su Ae or Ian-she’d already known them for so long but to have this thrown at her out of the blue was a little extreme. Her mind kept shouting all the facts at her and she was having a hard time absorbing the truth.

“Demons have a special power-it all depends on what kind a demon is and what his aura is. Su Ae is the same. But there’s a reason she is even more than that. Her father was a human. More than that, he was a hunter.”

“Hunter?”

“Demon hunter?”

“There are demon hunters?”

“I told you. There are good and there are bad!” Ian sighed. “For the past decade, a peace has been upheld between hunters and demons. There’s no killing on either side. Both people and demons live in peace and harmony.”

Annie was silent for a moment, not because she couldn’t find any words to speak-her mind was rather bursting with questions but because she couldn’t trust herself to speak up just yet. Instead she only nodded as she reached for her glass again, only to find it empty.

“That’s why you have no aura. You’re not human. And she only has some because she’s half human.” Annie said more in a matter of fact tone than a questioning one. “And you live like this-mingled in with humans, just like humans? So all those people I see, the ones without auras-they are also-?” She let the question hang in the air. Ian simply nodded in response to her questioning gaze.

Once again, silence fell for many moments. By now, Annie’s mind seemed to be more at ease and she turned to Ian as if to speak but he spoke before her.

“I’ll take her home.” Ian told her quietly as he rose and turned to leave the kitchen. “The effect usually wears off of her after a few hours, when she’s completed a cycle. Once she’s done that, she’ll fall into a sleep anyway. I’ll take Su Ae back once she falls asleep.”

“No!” Annie quickly spoke up as she rose along and held out a hand. She almost looked panicked and realized it was because she was actually against the idea. “Please, I’m sorry. I… I just… time, just a little, I need to think through this.” She held out both hands, palms up, and shrugged. “It’s a little sudden and… overwhelming. You don’t have to take her away. My parents are away, there’s no one around. She’ll be fine here, won’t she?”

“This is more than overwhelming.” Ian said gently. “You don’t have to force yourself. I’ll take her back.”

“No! Please!” This time Annie’s voice was stronger. “It’s fine. I’m fine!” She caught sight of the clock on the wall at her side and pointed to it. “You said it would only take a few hours, she’ll be alright after that! I can take that time to think.”

Ian simply looked at her and Annie could tell he wasn’t convinced. Su Ae’s smiling face passed through Annie’s mind, followed by the hollow and pale look she had seen on her in the library. Remembering that made the decision for her and gathering her courage, Annie continued.

“She won’t be in the way. I promise. It’s okay here. I don’t want you to take her. Whatever you’ve told me, I need time to process it but you’re right-she’s still my friend. And I guess I really had been expecting it like this, I knew you were all different, just not how much!”

Ian let out the breath he didn’t even realize he had been holding. He’d loathed the moment he’d seen the doubt and uncertainty flicker over Annie’s face as he’d related everything to her, but seeing her like this put him at rest. He hadn’t wanted Su Ae to lose the one friend she did have. This girl telling him to stay was the Annie he’d always seen around Su Ae.

“Thanks!” he told Annie. He’d have approached her and patted her on the back like he would usually do but he could see it was still too soon for that. He just hoped it wouldn’t take Annie too long to be totally comfortable again.

 

 

Daniel was never one to receive news late and this time as well, his sources didn’t disappoint. As Ian and Annie sat in the latter’s house kitchen barely an hour after everything happened, chatting over coffee and the situation, Daniel received the news of Su Ae’s ‘predicament’. And knowing the importance of everything that had transpired and would result from this, he approached his Master at once, without care for the lateness of the hour. And as he had expected, he found the Master in the garden outside his room, taking a stroll-an indicator that even without the news, his Master had worries.

Elijah’s grandfather wasn’t the Master simply because he was the oldest of his kind-preceded only by one, but rather it was because his countless years and actions had brought him wisdom enough that he was officially and unofficially the person few dared seek to anger. If the Council was still dormant and quiet regarding Su Ae and Ian’s matter, even after all these years, it was only because they feared the wrath of the Master Galleran if it were known they were defying his wants. And yet he knew the silence didn’t mean the Council wasn’t already stirring trouble. From the moment the child had left her parents house all those years ago, he could easily count the times he had intervened to make sure the whereabouts of the child remained a mystery. And the reason for his unrest this specific night was a visit from an old acquaintance.

Daniel stopped a few feet away from his Master and bowed in silence before relaying the news he had heard. If he read surprise on his Master’s face, Daniel suspected it was more to do with the timing of the event rather than the event itself and Galleran’s next words confirmed it.
“Things are progressing too fast.” He whispered. “I doubt she is ready just yet. There isn’t even any evidence to suggest she has totally developed into her persona!”

Daniel remained silent as Galleran turned to look at him.

“Any way of stopping the news from spreading?”

“I’m afraid not. The energy released was too distinct to be stopped. And I fear it’s already too late even if we tried.”

“But why now? She’s been so… without incident.” For the lack of a better word, Galleran settled on this.

“I’m afraid we can’t find out, not without making ourselves known!”

“And yet now is not the time we can act rashly!” Daniel thought he detected a hint of resentment in his Master’s voice. “Not yet. Nothing is certain yet! She is still just a child! There is no guarantee for the future!”

“We can expect things to change very soon now!” Daniel told his Master, “Shouldn’t that warrant a move?”

Galleran was lost in thought at Daniel’s words but didn’t respond.

“I’ll think it over.” He finally said after many moments of silence. “You may go. Let me know whatever you hear!”

 

 

Annie and Ian spent the next few hours pacing or sitting in the lounge. He would have much preferred to let Annie be alone but she’d asked him to stay and suspected Annie was purposely keeping him close while she sorted her mind out. She sat at the bay window, alternately peering outside and inside while Ian took advantage of the long sofa and lay down on it, eyes closed. Every now and then, he would open them to peer at the clock. Despite the passive calm and silence in the room, worry for Su Ae clouded both their minds and by the time the clock chimed 6 o clock, they truly felt like decades had passed. The sound of paper and pencil kept steadily coming from behind the closed library door. Many times, Annie asked Ian again if and when Su Ae was going to be fine. Finally, she asked him what exactly had happened to Su Ae and he sat up as he turned to face her and respond to her question.

“Some hunters have the gift of foresight. It is very rare in them-sometimes it comes after generations and it is not necessarily passed down in specific families. No one really understands how and why it works, but it just does. Su Ae’s father was a seer-a man with foresight. He was a hunter- the best of his time and came from one of the most prominent and renowned hunter families. Not many know the exact story but he gave up hunting after he met Su Ae’s mother. Su Ae’s mother was a demon and he had actually been tracking her down on orders of the hunter’s council.”

“He was supposed to find her?”

“He was supposed to kill her. But they say he showed up at the hunter’s council after having gone missing for days and gave up his arms. His family, the whole association dogged the issue-where had he been and why he was suddenly giving up but he wouldn’t say. His family disowned him-giving up hunting meant being a coward in those days. Demons and hunters, neither backed down from a fight, or their heritage for that matter.” Ian fell silent, as if reminiscing memories.

“What happened then?” Annie unknowingly leaned forward, her hands clasped together in her lap as she felt drawn into the story.

“He began advocating the concept of peace, but no one would listen. The hunters kept calling him a coward, saying he was under a curse, a spell-there were so many stories about what he could have been. Anyway, he was soon banished from the hunting community at all. Not many wanted to hear the phenomena of a peace and those who supported the thought couldn’t come forward. It was like a time of internal chaos for the hunters. Same was with the demons too, though, mind you! Su Ae’s mother advocated the idea on her own end. She met the same resistance, except, she was a very important person in the demon community and came from a family of the most influence so no one could openly ostracize her. ”

Ian almost smiled as he saw Annie leaning forward, hanging onto his every word. A sign that Annie had almost come to terms with what she’d learned today, he thought to himself.

“Anyway, the idea was equally opposed on the demon side and although she fought for the idea-she went against the council, and her father was actually at the very head of it, she wasn’t heard. Slowly, things settled down. What must’ve been a few months later, both her mother and father went off the grid. No one knew where they’d gone or what had happened. They were unaccounted for years before anyone ever sighted them.”

“Much changed in the years they were away. First of all, her family was killed and a new member became the Head of the Council. Hunter demon clashes got worse. Things stayed bleak until the May happenings. After that, everything completely changed.”
“May Happenings? What was that?”

“It’s the worst tragedy in the demon’s world. But no one knows what really happened. The family of the head of the council was lost.” For a moment, Ian’s voice dropped to a whisper as he remembered everything he had heard of the events and involuntarily shuddered. Death and darkness were not something taken lightly, even in a demon’s world but what had transpired in the May Happenings gave every sensible demon a chill. “Since then, peace was brokered with the hunters. From then on, things have stayed calm, even though it’s been so many years. Both sides maintain that shaky line defining the peace.”

“What do you mean when you say the family was lost? Did they die or what?”

“It was worse than that!”Ian replied. “But that’s not what we were talking about. Su Ae seems to have inherited the gift of foresight from her father. What we saw inside was her in a trance-a seeing trance. She sees things-can be the future, the past, anyone, anything! And that is what she draws, whatever she sees.”

Annie remembered the drawings she’d seen and the way Su Ae had kept drawing on and on, unaware of anything and anyone around her.

“You said she was in pain. Why would she be in pain?”

“Her hunter and demon self are both still developing. Both develop anytime after a person-hunter and demon, matures-the age of 18 in both cases. She hasn’t matured yet, hasn’t developed and controlled herself so both her personas are at a clash when any one of them becomes dominant.” Ian replied. “Hunter and Demon kind is meant as one another’s enemy. There’s never been a combination of both that’s known to have survived.”

“Never survived? You mean… does that mean she is… that she could die? That she’s going to die?” Annie’s voice was shocked as the meaning of Ian’s words struck her and her voice rose as she asked the question. In response however, Ian remained silent. He truly did not have an answer to that question. For many minutes afterwards, both were silent, unable to voice any thought.

“Does she know?” Annie’s voice was no more than a whisper when she finally spoke up.

Again, Ian never responded and the silence spread around them with somber finality and both simply turned back to their own thoughts.

 

When the clock announced the next hour had passed with the humming of the pencils and papers still ongoing but mightily slowed down, Ian, now back to lying on the couch asked Annie without looking if she wasn’t going to head out for class.

“I think the trance will be over soon. She’ll fall into sleep then! It’ll probably be a good change of pace if you want to go, good thinking time!” he remarked but Annie declined to go just as the doorbell rang.

Both of them turned to look at one another at the unexpected sound and wondered who it could be. After last night, they were both doubly cautious-Annie more unnerved than Ian as she muttered that no one ever came over in the morning-never ever. The doorbell rang again, this time with seemingly more urgency.

“Should I get it?”

Ian shook his head as he asked her, “Can it be your parents? Someone they asked to check out on you?”

Annie gave a bitter smile as she replied. “They’d never come back earlier than they planned, and they’d even less hire someone to look after me.”

Annie’s bitter response irked Ian, who wondered what kind of treatment Annie got from her parents to make her react so. But that was another matter for another time, he thought as another bell rang and he got up.

“I’ll get it.” he told her. “If I’m not wrong, it could even be someone regarding me or Su Ae!”

“How can anyone know you’re here?”

“Last night changed things in more than one way, and I think quite drastically.” Ian headed out of the lounge to the front door as Annie followed him, a few steps behind. She stayed hidden from sight of the door as Ian pulled it open. The voice on the other end of the door surprised her though, and she moved forward to make sure.

“Hi! Is Annie or Su Ae in?” It was Uther’s voice that addressed Ian. Annie moved forward as Ian studied the boy and didn’t have a chance to reply before Annie burst out.

“Uther?” She asked incredulously. “What are you doing here?”

“Uther?” Ian was the one who spoke up and the other two turned their attention back to him. “You’re Uther Avenel?” Before Uther or Annie could eke out a response, Ian moved aside from the doorway, giving Uther the space to walk in and continued. “Today’s quite the day for discoveries!”

“You know him?” Annie asked Ian in an unintentionally loud whisper as Uther walked in.

Ian smiled as he turned to her and flicked a hand towards Uther. “Uther Avenel. Descendant of the Avenel Family-one of the oldest surviving family of hunters!”

Annie’s eyes widened as she flicked a finger and turned to survey Uther, who was looking at Ian with an amused expression.

“I wasn’t aware we’d had an introduction yet!” Uther held out his hand. “But I can safely guess you’re Ian-her guardian!”

“We haven’t. But I know you, and about you.” Ian accepted the handshake with another smile. “I guess last night was a bigger firework than I was thinking.” As he said the end part, Annie thought she detected a note of worry in Ian’s voice.

“A hunter?! Wait! That’s why Su Ae.. You’re a hunter? That’s why…”Both Ian and Uther simply looked at her as her voice trailed off. “Wow, just wow! First demons, now hunters! Is there anything else or anyone else I’m missing?”

“Take it slow.” Uther told her. “It’ll all come around!”

“How come you’re here?” Ian asked Uther.

“Where’s Su Ae? And what happened?” Uther asked instead.

“She’s had an… incident.”

“More than just an incident. The Hunters are in an uproar. She’s the talk all over. Everyone, everywhere knows she’s here. The outburst of energy was hard to miss last night.” Uther told him. “And if hunters know, you can be sure demons do too.”

Ian sighed as he closed his eyes and ran his hand at the back of his neck. Annie thought this was the first time she had seen Ian look so tired since the moment he’d entered the house last night.

“What are they doing?” Ian asked the boy.

“The hunter council has called for reinforcements.” Uther’s tone resonated graveness. “The town is becoming shaky ground now. From what I heard this morning, demons are already on the move.”

“I think it’s over.” He flicked his thumb, pointing to the library door behind and didn’t reply to Uther’s remarks. “I’ll take care of her and be back!”

“I’ll help you!” Annie piped up, not sure how she was going to do it but wanting to. And Uther, reading the atmosphere, offered to put up coffee and then head out to get breakfast for them all. Ian thanked him and headed back to the library, Annie following him.

 

As soon as Ian opened the library door and stepped inside, he and Annie were hit by the eerie silence inside. Looking at the room around them, Ian realized just how worse the trance had been for Su Ae when he saw the papers scrambled all over the floor-not even an inch of the carpet or floor visible below. Pencils and colors were reduced to a bare minimum on the floor. Not only that, one of the walls was also covered in a sleuth of different drawings. The whole room was a variety of color and shapes staring at you from every corner while Su Ae lay collapsed in a corner by the colored wall. Her hands were covered in color and grey charcoal, some also visible on her cheeks and temple, from when she must’ve gripped her head in her hands. Her color was paler than before and expression seemed hollow. Although Ian had seen her like this once before, he was hit with as much sadness as if it were the first time.

“The pain she’s been through.” He whispered to himself just as he heard Annie draw in a shocked gasp as she looked at her friend. Instead of heading straight for Su Ae, he turned back and addressed Annie. “I’ll take her upstairs and take care of her. Which room is yours?”

“Second door on the left.” Annie’s words were a whisper.

“Help me tidy the place up.” He added as he headed to the windows and pulled the curtains closed. “Keep the curtains closed until we clear up the room.” He flicked the light off. “The lights too.” He picked a few papers from the floor and tidied them into a bundle with the colored or drawn side facing down. Annie did the same. He passed the papers to her. “Collect them. Every last one of them. Don’t miss a single one and bring them to me when you’re done. Don’t let anyone see them. That includes Uther. No one gets to see them, not even an inch. Keep the drawing side down and try to see as little as you can yourself. Avoid seeing them as much as you can.”

Annie simply nodded listlessly as her gaze was drawn back towards Su Ae.

“Will she be alright?” She asked him worriedly.

“She’ll be fine!” Ian assured her as he patted her shoulder. “Don’t worry about her. She’ll be better in no time.”

He didn’t wait for a response as he rose and headed over to Su Ae’s side. Moving closer, he could see the lines of exhaustion under her closed eyes, the color marks on her neck and wrists where he knew she must’ve rubbed her hands in anxiety although she wouldn’t even have noticed she was doing it. As gently as he could, he picked her up and resting her head on his shoulder, headed out. At the door, he stopped and turned back to Annie.

“Sorry I forgot, could you bring me some water upstairs? A bottle or a jug? She’ll need it when she wakes.” His voice was slightly more than a whisper, as if afraid of speaking louder lest he wake Su Ae up. Annie nodded as she put the papers she had collected on to her father’s study desk and headed after Ian as he walked out.

He’d been too occupied with Su Ae that he failed to pay attention to the bird perched on the roof of the adjoining house when he’d closed the curtains.

 

Once upstairs, Ian put Su Ae down in Annie’s bed and after covering her with the blanket, finally touched her forehead and neck to measure her temperature. It was normal, perhaps even cooler than he expected. Turning, he headed to the bathroom and was just returning with a towel and a bowl of water just as Annie entered the room. He pointed to the opposite side table and set the things in his hand on the table right by Su Ae’s side. Dragging a chair, he set it there and sitting down there, wet the tower. Withdrawing Su Ae’s hand from under the blanket, he started wiping it and the wrist gently with water to remove the color smeared on it. Annie stood to watch for a moment when Ian turned to glance at her and mouth thanks. She nodded with a small smile and headed back down to gather the papers he had tasked her with. Su Ae was lucky to have someone caring for her, she thought to herself with the same fond smile.

It took Ian the better part of more than half an hour before he had totally cleansed Su Ae’s hands and face of the color. He’d had to change the water more than a dozen times and Annie’s bathroom bowl and sink were already colored a shade between blue and brown from all the water he had dumped in it. He’d heard the doorbell once and Annie had arrived shortly afterwards to inform him Uther was back with breakfast. She’d made three more trips upstairs one after the other, carrying all the papers she had collected from the library.

“What about the wall?” she asked Ian on the final trip.

“I’ll be downstairs in a bit and clean it up.” He told her as he headed into the bathroom again to dump the last of the colored water and to wash his hands. Annie stood there watching Su Ae, who seemed to still be as pale as she was before. Before she could think more, she saw Su Ae groan and stir in her sleep, as if having a nightmare. Unsure what else to do, she approached her friend, reaching out to touch her and perhaps offer her some comfort.

“Don’t!” The harsh command rang out when her hand was mere inches away and instinctively Annie drew her hand back as Ian came back out of the washroom. “Don’t!” he softened his voice as he addressed her again. “She’s still having the after effects. I can’t say what would happen if you touch her.”

Still shaken by the harshness she’d heard in Ian’s voice initially, Annie shook her head as she backed away.

“I’m sorry.” Ian told her again in a whisper and softer tone. “I didn’t mean to scare you. I really don’t know what might happen.”

“No, it’s okay, I wasn’t thinking, I just…” Annie began but Ian finished the sentence for her.

“Wanted to help, I know!” Ian told her gently. “And thank you! Su Ae’s lucky to have you around. Not many can cope with things as easily as you did!”

Behind them, Su Ae groaned again and Ian turned to her but addressed Annie.

“I can help her.” Ian told her. “It’s like inducing a deeper sleep.” He put his hands on Su Ae’s temples and closed his eyes, as if concentrating on something. A moment later, she saw Su Ae’s expression relaxing. Ian removed his hands and turned back to Annie. “She’ll sleep for a few hours now, maybe more. Let’s go down! I’ll tidy up the library, and then Uther and I have some things to discuss.”

 

 

As was his usual custom during lunch breaks and free periods, Elijah was enjoying the solitude on the roof of the main academy building. Since it was a story higher than all its neighbors, he could roam around with little or no concern and look around as much as he wanted. Today, instead of roaming around the roof though, he’d made himself a nice lying spot on the roof of the mumty and lay there for a long while, mind wandering with thoughts, eyes closed but not asleep. And so, it didn’t take him more than a moment to realize the time he wasn’t alone anymore. Still, he remained silent for a few moments. Knowing who it was, he finally spoke with a hint of a smile in his voice, “How long are you just going to stand in the shadows and watch?”

He didn’t open his eyes even as he felt footsteps, rather than heard them and a slight smile tipped from his lips as he continued, “I expected you sooner!”

But the other person didn’t speak up and simply stood there until Elijah opened his eyes and turned his head to face him.

“Hello Lawrence!” Elijah piped. “It’s good to see you again, especially because I suspect you’ve brought me good news!”

“It’s done.” Lawrence responded without a greeting and shrugged nonchalantly, “But you must’ve gotten news already.”

“Yes, I sent someone.” Elijah replied, turning his face back to face the sky, “But I couldn’t find what I was looking for. Her guardian was still faster.”

“Do you want me to intervene again?” Lawrence spoke up. “What exactly is it you’re looking for?”

“No, it’s okay. I can wait a little while more. I expect the results will be out sooner anyway.” He raised his hand, spreading his fingers and watched the sky beyond from the gaps between them. “What have you heard?”

“Word has spread-far enough. Soon, it should be happening.”

“Can he protect the girl? The guardian, can he protect her when the time comes?” Elijah asked him.

“If things go the way you’re expecting,” Lawrence told him, “No.”

“How much do you bet they both would put in? The guardian, will he give his life up for her and her, will she do the same for him?” He prodded further.

Lawrence was surprised at how easily the answer came to him. He had after all, seen Ian and Su Ae so frequently over the years and knew their hearts, perhaps better than they realized-especially Ian’s.

“He will, and perhaps she will do the same.”

“So you can’t be sure of her and what path she will take?” Elijah quizzed his brows.

“From what I’ve seen,” Lawrence took a moment to respond this time but his answer was firm when it came, “The possibility is likelier that she will.”

At that, Elijah’s expression became intense and thoughtful. After a few moments, he withdrew his hand and straightened, turning to face Lawrence. “Perfect!” he whispered. “Good work!”

Lawrence bowed his head slightly and turned to leave when Elijah piped up again.

“Lawrence.”

He turned back.

“Whose life would value more? The guardian’s or the girl’s? Who do you reckon I send to death in this?”

Lawrence knew this wasn’t exactly a question and neither did Elijah need an answer-he’d make his plans his own ways and for his own wants; everyone who knows Elijah realizes that. What Lawrence or anyone else said mattered less and he knew Elijah well enough to understand the meaning behind his words and said as much.

“You want to know which one would be more dangerous or more, shall I say, prone to fall to the need for vengeance? It’s your plan Elijah, your game, your search. You wouldn’t have started it if you didn’t already have the answer to that!”

Elijah smiled at his words and Lawrence was taken aback by it. It wasn’t a downright cold smile, but it was chilling and promised danger.

“You’re smart Lawrence. No wonder your loyalty knows how and where to persist.” Elijah told him.

“I’ll let you know when our acquaintances start pouring in town!” Lawrence dismissed his comment. There were some things, he thought wryly to himself, which even the powerful Elijah was not privy to. With another nod, he headed off.

Elijah sat cross legged after he was gone and lost track of time, staring out into the distance for much longer until Will came to find him at the end of the school day.

 

 

It was past noon when Galleran called Daniel to his study hall. As was his habit, Daniel responded at once and found his Master at the table, composing a letter. Daniel stopped mid-walk as soon as he saw what his Master was doing, so taken aback by the action. Galleran looked up from his letter, pen still writing and smiled at Daniel.

“Don’t look so shocked.”

Daniel composed himself and walked forward. He came to a stop in front of the table, almost three feet away and caught a glimpse of the letter. Galleran had been at it for quite some time since there were several papers already written and he was about to finish the paper he was writing on.

“Just a minute.” Galleran told him with a smile. “It’s almost done!”

“Is it really what I think it is?” Daniel asked him.

“If we’re to do this properly, there’s no other course of action, even you must realize that!”

“Surely it’s not that grave!” Daniel protested lightly but knew his Master was right. Galleran simply signed his name at the end of the letter and started folding the pages together. Daniel moved to the side of the table and retrieved his seal. He held forward the wax and already lit candle when Galleran extended the letter to him. As wax dripped onto the letter, Galleran picked the seal. Daniel withdrew the wax and candle and watched Master seal the letter. After he put the things away, he returned to his old standing position while Galleran still held the letter and surveyed it thoughtfully.

“The Young Master would never approve!”

Galleran nodded gravely at his words and sighed. “If only he would understand, this would be so much easier!”

“I’m sorry!” Daniel bowed his head slightly.

“No, no!” Galleran waved a hand at him dismissively. “There’s nothing we, you or I can do at this moment for him. Time will be too harsh on him, I’m afraid and even then, we won’t be able to do anything for him.” He put the letter down on the table, and laid his hands flat on it. “This is one of the toughest decisions I had to make in my life, second only, I would say, to that night.”

“You did the best you could, sire! You couldn’t save them all!”

“Who knows, maybe I could have!” Galleran’s voice was filled with regret. “But we’ll never know, will we?” He pushed the letter towards Daniel. “I must task you with delivering this and retrieving the item I wish for. I’d go myself, but I’m afraid now’s the not time to afford such caution.”

Daniel took the letter, pocketed it and bowed his head. “I will do my best!”

“Has there been any further word from outside?”

“The Council will call upon you. I’m afraid it will not be pleasant. There has been an alarming rate of movement after last night, most of it headed here. And I’ve received word that the Hunters Council has been convened.”

“I would loathe thinking this is the moment when the peace finally collapses.” After a few moments, Galleran continued but this time, his voice seemed hesitant, as if he didn’t want to be asking the question he was stating, let alone know the answer to it. “And what about him… has there been any word of him?”

“Nothing yet, Master!” For the first time since the day had begun, Daniel felt glad he could give his Master the one answer that would put him at ease and smiled when he saw Galleran close his eyes momentarily and sigh in relief.

“When you return, you must bring the girl to me. So make haste and return within the week so that we may not lose precious time! I must impart it onto her myself, without fail!”

“Is that wise? You said we could not reveal ourselves yet.”

“We have no choice anymore. If the Council has finally grown the spine to go against me, there is no time to lose. I would be glad to leave it until later but Elijah is in no position to be trusted with this either. If only he weren’t so muddle headed!”

Daniel smiled at the obvious affection in Galleran’s voice despite the words. “Someday, he’ll be wiser, sire! Perhaps all we have to do is wait!”

“I’m glad, Daniel, glad that I have you by my side.” Galleran told him as he stared at his familiar. “And gladder still that you have Elijah’s trust. One day you will serve him and he will desperately need you! Be with him, stand by him and never fail to give him what he needs, even if it’s a good slap to the back of his head!”

With that, he dismissed Daniel and the latter set to prepare to embark on the task his Master had set upon him.

 

To be continued in Chapter V!

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About hitomiakiko

Architect and Aspiring Writer

Posted on December 11, 2012, in Potpourri, Stories, Uncategorized, Written Excerpts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. The only bad thing of this is that I want more!!!!! Another great chapter… Annie is such a good friend and I’m already dreading that something is going to happen to Ian…ottoke?

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