May 2019 — Modern Mystic Mother

Everyone keeps saying “may 2019 be….” whatever something or other. Fools. 5th card reading left to right. Therefore 1st card, 2nd row = Apocalypse. The last judgement. Stop it. Seriously. My life is over for Mars has entered the sign of the decisive ram. Mars is the malefic in my natal chart. Pluto and Saturn… […]

via May 2019 — Modern Mystic Mother

On Becoming a Novelist by John Gardner | Review — Memoir Of A Writer

If I could use one word to describe John Gardner’s On Becoming a Novelist, it would be: practical. What Gardner didn’t do was lend to the young writer a bunch of writing advice that would hopefully make them a better writer. Instead, he dives deep into what it takes to be a novelist. What characteristics, […]

via On Becoming a Novelist by John Gardner | Review — Memoir Of A Writer

MoonWell: Chapter 5

I felt you guys earned another look at MoonWell, because it might be some of my best work, besides who doesn’t want to see more of Echoshadow and Scarlet?

 

Chapter 5

After Burn

Bronze sat in his room in the chair, luckily for him big cities seemed to have people at the ready who were capable of calling the rain and healers.  Several children had been injured by his sun burst, he didn’t know what he did but he knew it was his fault, he knew all those people almost died because of him, so he sat in the fetal position rocking like a madman trying his best not to cry.  Bhrooha sat by him on the floor patting his knee. “Poor sun child, you are clearly innocent, how could you have known of that strange attack?” She said trying to calm him. “That was me, I summoned that light, I did one earlier, I didn’t know they explode.”  He explained summoning another and ignoring it. The moon elf looked terrified. “And it only went off when you touched it?” She asked struggling to hide her newfound fear of the child. “Yes ma’am, I’m not just going to hurt you.” Bronze reasoned. “Then you should be fine, we need some of the city guards to talk to you, make sure this wasn’t on purpose but I’m sure it will be fine.”  Bhrooha said feeling confident. “Non mi piace qui.” Bronze whispered as he wiped away his tears and stood up to go face the legal system.

Bronze sat in a dark cold room listening to the sound of water, somewhere in the darkness was a puddle receiving a drop or water every few seconds it was continuous and montenous the only sense of time in that cold dark place.  He was pale his eyes burned but they were feeding him. No matter how much Bronze told the people he was a sun elf and not a moon elf they didn’t believe him, or maybe they did and wanted him to suffer for attacking an orphanage.  Bronze stared into the darkness waiting for anything to happen and then something appeared a shadow seemed to move about the room. Bronze ignored this expecting his mind to play tricks in an attempt to pass the time but then the world around him grew darker he felt like he was falling into a world of shadows then he was on a balcony.   “As requested here is a worthy candidate for your new order of knights.” A voice spoke from the darkness of Bronze’s shadows. “Yes very good, umm and who is this?” A girl around seventeen or eighteen questioned. “He exploded a bunch of children by accident, I figure we can train him to use his powers responsibly save him from going down a dark path save countless lives with his explosive powers.  He was in the dungeons anyway.” The shadow creature explained. “Umm hello, I’m Bronze of the sun.” Bronze said still feeling dizzy. “See, he said he’s of the sun that means they were killing him without even knowing it, they marked him down as a moon elf.” The shadow said defensively as if he expected harsh criticism of his candidate. “I still say the Blade is a better choice.” The girl retorted.  “She’s not the one you announce to the world, this one with a bit of polish can be the public face of your forces. A story of redemption to show your mercy to the people and the might you hold.” The shadow reasoned. “Fine fine fine, I can give Bronze a chance.” She replied. “Umm who are you?” Bronze questioned. “I am Princess Scarlet Blaze, and that darkness speaking in your defense is Project Echoshadow my sworn protector, he will be the one teaching you to use your little sunburst powers for good.”  The girl said with a bow. “You’re the princess?” Bronze said bowing back only to faint from lack of sun.

Bronze awoke on the roof of the palace it was midday, he had no idea how long he’d been left there but his skin was dark again.   “Good you’re up.” Called a voice from his shadow, the voice of that guardian thing he heard about. “Where are you?” Bronze asked.  “I’m in your shadow obviously. Just a little thing I do to sneak about.” Echoshadow said rising from the darkness. He took the form of a human teenage boy, whether that’s what he truly was, had yet to be determined.   “We’re here in this big open area to learn how to control the explosions, you’ll learn to make the smallest booms possible then maybe I’ll teach you some weapons or something.” Echoshadow explained. “Yes Kind, umm your name was Project?”   Bronze asked. “Project is essentially what my kind use instead of mister or sir, you can call me Echoshadow.” The creature explained. “What are your kind?” Bronze asked not understanding what he was talking to in the slightest. “That is a state secret actually, I’m literally not allowed to answer that question.  Which in case you’re wondering is very very annoying.” Echoshadow explained sounding like it didn’t bother him at all. Actually while he sounded like a whispering human in Bronze’s shadow when he was talking to the princess now he merely sounded like he was reading lines off a page which were of little consequence to him.  “I am you teacher now, so how about you just refer to me as teacher?” Echoshadow decided after a moment of thought. “Yes teacher, what should I do first?” Bronze asked. “Eat this.” Echoshadow replied handing Bronze a cup filled with berries. Which the young elf devoure mercilessly. “Good, can’t have you dying on us, I see great power within you, more than I’ve seen in any outside of my family and the princess.  You’re going to be on our side, because I really don’t want to have to kill you someday.” Echoshadow explained still sounding unphased by the events.

Bronze spent the day making explosions with his strange light, bigger and smaller, hotter and colder, even explosions that would make dazzling lights and some dark as the night.  He worked for hours then when the sun began to set the dark being which took him there melted into the shadows and dragged Bronze with him bringing him back to the cell in the dungeon.  “You’re waiting right here for the night the guards still think you’re a prisoner, this will go one for a few months until the princess is the queen then you shall be pardoned and made a knight.”  Echoshadow explained. “What if I don’t want to be a knight?” Bronze asked. “Hadn’t considered, I figured based on my interviews of those you knew. You want to change the relation between Elf and Human of Harmony to see nation before race.”  Echoshadow said simply. “I mean I do but I’m also a mere child, even with power I’m still a child.” Bronze explained. “We can change that if you want.” Echoshadow offered. “What do you mean?” Bronze questioned. “Never mind, just go through the training,  you can refuse the offer to lead the queen’s new order when the time comes, I’ll seek your replacement, but know that you would be perfect.” Echoshadow stated matter of factly before melting into the darkness once more. “Okay, I’m just spending my nights in this dark creepy place, that guy is nice, as is the princess.  I guess I prefer this to the Spider House.” Bronze said shooting out a light which bounced around the room before fading away. “I guess I’m a star crafter now, I don’t know what that means.” Bronze said remembering the description Corona used when boasting of his powers in the hidden chamber. “Maybe if I tell Echoshadow, he can get that guy to replace me.”  Bronze thought with a smirk before drifting off to sleep.

 

 

I liked the part where he still lives in that prison, the dichotomy of fighting for justice while being accused of crimes like that is great.

ECHO ECHO

Apple Of My Eye: Chapter 3

When I said there’s  a lot of apple stuff, I feel like you guys didn’t believe me, so here’s the proof.  this goes on for pretty much ever… Also here’s that girl from Dead Wrong, she’s cool.  I think she was in Sour Apple too.

 

Chapter 3

Traveling With Death

           The moment she left the tower Adelita felt like she was being watched, it was an eerie feeling that made her worry, a little, that maybe Greed was in the brush watching her.  It bothered her so much she called out into the forest. “Is anyone there?” As if in response the young, innocent princess heard soft giggling from directly behind her but when she turned there was no one there. “Just ignore it and blow the whistle, maybe that laughter was Scarlet.” She reasoned before blowing the whistle. It made no audible sounds no matter how hard she blew, at first she thought it was broken but then she heard something: Galloping.  From somewhere behind her the noise came, getting louder, the ground nearly trembling, she turned to see a beautiful deep chestnut mare leap into the clearing, she looked tamed and well taken care of but something about her felt wild and free, everything Adelita dreamed but knew she could never be. “So you’re Scarlet?” The princess asked while slowly walking to the beautiful creature petting and rubbing her muzzle lovingly. “You are so beautiful!” She remarked.  Adelita’s eyes darted from the horse to a shadow on the ground as her eyes moved to what might have caused the shadow she saw nothing there. “I’m going crazy, I finally get a taste of the real world and it drives me mad.” Adelita half laughed while heading towards the tree with the brightest of red apples. “You’ll love these apples Scarlet.” She said, looking around for Abellio, well anyone really, then happily climbing the tree, gracefully, to reach the freshest apples up at the very top. She dropped some apples down to the red mare. She nickered shaking her head, as if in thanks, before eating, as the princess swung down half gracefully dropping to her knees making the mare jump a little and snort at the princess, protesting the disturbance. Adelita giggled happily as Scarlet finished eating and came over sniffing the strange girl, who sat under one of the trees, and snorted shaking her head, her long thick red mane shaking, the mares forelock looking as if it covered her big soulful, brown eyes she picked her head up her ears working hard listening to something she spun over her hocks and ran a few feet off stopping and snorting at some unseen being.
                                                                                “You noticed something too?”  Adelita asked, getting up to run her fingers through the red mane. Scarlet nudged the princess, making her stumble, before trotting a few feet away, shaking her head. Adelita giggled some more getting up and running after the mare, who wanted to play. She caught up to Scarlet and touched her in return getting, gently, pushed down by Scarlets nose, in a game of tag.  They ran around and chased each other, Adelita giggling like mad, for near half an hour, maybe more. The princess sat under her tree catching her breath in the thin winter air, Scarlet laying next to her, her large majestic head in the girl’s lap. A small shiny blue apple fell from a nearby tree rolling towards the young princess. She stretched reaching out and picked it up staring at it, almost studying the royal blue flesh; the fruit looked amazing, so pristine and, tender, she had already tasted many different apples in her short time there, the metallic golden ones were by far her favorites, so she was confident this strange, blue one would be delicious too. Abellio was an apple god after all, why wouldn’t it be ok? She cleaned it against the bodice of the gown she was dressed in and looked around just to be sure there was a tree that bore blue fruit and finally pulled it towards her full, pouty, ruby colored lips, eager to have a taste.  
     “Stop that right now!!” Abellio shouted, in a obvious panic, from the doorway as he exited the tower. She let go of the apple immediately it dropping to her feet rolling away, eyes wide,  staring at him. “I’m sorry I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong.” Adelita said in shock trying not to cry. He picked up the apple showing it to her. “This isn’t your fault, I thought all of those were too high for you to reach, even if you tried to climb. The blue apples are not for mortals. There is too much magic in them, your body wouldn’t be able to handle it.” He explained, pulling her to his chest stroking her hair, trying to calm her down, though she felt more like he was trying to calm himself. “It fell, I thought it looked good. I..I didn’t think it any stranger than a metallic apple.” The princess said softly taking a few deep breaths and staring up at Abellio, realizing he just saved her life. Abellio hugged her to him, again, she felt his heart it was racing.
     “You didn’t tell her to get the cart? You just played with her for too long.” Abellio complained, pretending none of the danger ever happened before taking a bite from the blue apple, for himself. The princess let go of her savior and looked back at the elegant creature, going back and forth between eating what grass was in the clearing and what eating apples she could reach from the low hanging branches. “So my dear Scarlet, have you enjoyed your meal?” Abellio asked while gleefully gliding over to her, rubbing her forehead, earning a nudge from her. “I need you to grab the cart for us; we’re going on another adventure. Won’t that be fun?” He said, almost like he was talking to a child. Scarlet seemed delighted by the idea, nickered and ran into the woods to find the cart, Adelita wasn’t sure why by herself though.  
 “Listen princess, the world is a very dangerous place outside of your castle.  I’ll do my best to keep you safe but sometimes things do happen. I want, no need you to keep that dagger in your boot nearby, but I do promise if you stick with me you’ll get back home safely.” Abellio explained pulling several empty crates from the tower. “H..how do you know of my knife?!” Adelita demanded, her green eyes flashing with anger. “How can one not tell?” He gave her a charming, toothy grin lifting the hem of her long skirts to reveal the pearl hilt of a small silver dagger. Adelita blushed at the contact and shyly stepped away flattening her skirts. “It was a gift from Prince Brenn was it not?” He smiled at her, her face going white for a moment. “H..how do you know that?” Her voice was noticeably unsteady. “Let’s just say I’ve spent time around your family.” He smiled that charming grin again making her nervousness subside.
   After a little while Adelita looked around smiling a little. She pouted for a moment looking at her captor. “C-can I help with anything?” She questioned awkwardly, but her innocent heart was always in good intent.  “No need to strain yourself princess.” He smiled again, handing her the bag of clothes she had left inside as Scarlet trotted towards them with the cart throwing her head in the air nickering. “Good girl.” Abellio cheered while rubbing the horse’s muzzle.  “Now just wait here while I pick a ton of apples, we will be bringing the human with us, I want you to be nice to her okay?” Scarlet snorted a little but nuzzled him. “Thank you Scarlet.” He said while rushing over to start picking apples. “What are you doing?” The princess asked. “I need food for the journey; I’d rather not have to grow new trees if I can avoid it.” Abellio explained, causing her to shrink away slightly, as he picked apples of various colours packing them into the crates.  “Well, I don’t like feeling useless.” Adelita said quietly and she climbed up one of the trees dropping apples gently into a crate. “You’re already being helpful; I can get what I want from your father now.” Abellio said with a smile while packing another crate full of apples, that the princess filled, into the cart. “So you want the kingdom or something?” Adelita asked realizing she never questioned his motives before. Abellio laughed like a madman, stopping what he was doing and doubling over, before answering. “Don’t be ridiculous princess, running a kingdom takes time dedication and effort, you need to listen to people and respond to their needs. I would loathe being a king.” He responded picking one full crate worth of blue apples. “Well, then, what is it that you want?” Adelita asked, swinging down from the tree, landing gracefully next to him. The god turned to her his eyes seemed to change colors for a moment from their normal crisp blue to a dull red. “Revenge.” He growled, his eyes regaining their usual blue hue. “Someone wronged me long ago; the only way to find him is with something your father has.” Abellio explained, seeing her worried look, as he lifted the last of his apple crates onto the cart then stepped up into the seat. He reached out a hand to help the relaxing princess to her seat up front with him.
    She took her place next to him and looked over at the, fairy tale like, tower trying to sear the image of it into her memory in case she didn’t get to see it again before being forced back to the castle.  “Thank you Abellio…” Adelita said quietly as Scarlet began carrying the two off into a unknown world. The two rode in silence as the young princess stared in awe at the white world around her as they moved through the thick of the forest. Scarlet was a natural at moving through the wood, all the branches and roots could do nothing to impede her progress the cart scarcely rocked from the inconsistencies in the ground. Once they emerged from the forest reaching the main road Abellio gently tugged the reins and the mare halted. “What’s going on?” Adelita asked a little confused as to why they were stopping. “I’m afraid I see a checkpoint in the distance, I’ll need you to remain silent.” Abellio responded while tucking her hair under the collar of her shirt pulling the hood of her cloak up and wrapping the princess in several blankets. She merely nodded, her entire form stiffening, frozen more by fear than the weather. She dreaded the thought of being dragged back home before getting to see the ocean. They rode on towards the barricade which was being run by a female knight, tall and skinny her dirty blond hair fell just past her shoulders. “Demon of the forest,” The young woman growled angrily pointing her sword at the cart, as a threat.  “My dear Miss Silverblade, I haven’t seen you in nearly a year. Still trying to make your father and brother proud?” He asked the knight. “Don’t mock me deamon; I will one day deliver your head to the king on a silver plate.” She responded dryly. “Well that’s nice, why are you out in my woods?” He faked a yawn, sounding bored. “I’m here in case the princess passes through she ran away from her engagement party several days ago. Speaking of which, who is that in your cart.” Silverblade questioned, reaching up to the hood that shadowed the small girl’s face. “My meal of course, some fair damsel taken from a nearby village, I have a long trip and never know when will I find need a snack. Best part is, there’s nothing you can do about it, since you need to save your strength to rescue the missing princess.” Abellio replied in a mocking tone laying a blade at her hand as if tempting her to fight. “Please do not play with my food.” He smirked showing his sharp teeth. The rage on the knight’s face was clearly visible, her blood boiled as she allowed the cart to move through, as much as she wanted him dead she had to follow orders and he was right; she needed her strength to rescue her princess. She couldn’t risk losing another fight to him at this moment.
   Scarlet sped up taking them out of the hearing range of the foolish knight.  “Luckily we got her, she’s always been so easy to trick.” Abellio said looking back at the vanishing visage of the lady knight.   “Any other knight and they would have been sure to have checked you.” He explained to the princess who was still silent despite them being safe from the scrutiny once more.  Adelita looked down at her hands letting out a long breath she had been half way holding in and she twirled a rather large diamond ring around her finger lost in sad thought. “If you intend to be silent the entire time it’ll be a very long trip.”  Abellio said looking her over with a slight bit of concern. “Just thinking.” Adelita responded without looking up. “Your ring looks a little big for your finger by the way, try not to lose it.” The silence lasted around an hour until the road lead them past the castle. As they passed her home the princess felt dread and instinctively clung to the man keeping her prisoner.  Abellio couldn’t help but smile as the young lady clung to his arm; he watched the castle thinking about all the time he spent in there searching for the missing page, then looked to her. “Well I hope seeing the ocean makes up for taking you prisoner.” Abellio said, noticing her face draining of color sensing the dread that filled the girl, though he couldn’t understand why.        
    Adelita’s eyes widened seeing the vast openness just beyond the same hill she saw every day while eating her meals in the dining hall. In her entire life all she knew of the world beyond her castle was either from her books or what could be seen from the various windows to one side things were obscured by the dark forest and then the vast openness to the south that was blocked by a few small hills, that is all what one could see that was not already obscured by the high stone walls.   “There’s nothing really to make up for.” She said softly emerging from her thoughts but kept her eyes where there were fixed, straight ahead. She looked up at him the fur lined hood of the cloak falling back enough that he could see her face clearly and she stared intently into his deep blue eyes her pale emerald orbs reflecting pain that had been inflicted on her.
“If you could kill me instead of send me back I would arrange for you to have anything you wished.” Her voice was steady and heavy with truth and pain. She glanced back at the castle  just a moment then looked back at the large diamond she was pressing into the palm of her hand. Abellio watched her out of the corner of his eye. It pained him to watch her try to inflict physical damage to her soft flesh. “Please stop.” He said softly causing her to jump. “I..I’m sorry I was playing with my ring and didn’t notice my hands are so cold.” She lied reaching back to find the fur muff she had brought and using it to hide her intentions continued trying to break the skin of her hand with the large diamond.
   “It’s like she’s following us.” Abellio said under his breath glancing over his shoulder, hoping the princess didn’t hear him. “Did you bring a few books to read at night?” Abellio asked trying not to sound worried, about her nor who he spoke of. “I did, I hope that’s okay.” Adelita responded trying to be polite. “That’s fine, saves me the effort of finding more words to say.” He hoped that switching her attention to him speaking would bring her out of whatever dark thoughts she was having and direct her to her stories.  “The closest thing I’ve had to a human friend in near a decade is not killing that annoying knight when she tries to hunt me down.” Abellio said with a chuckle remembering all the times Silverblade had gimped away from a fight, no he refused to kill her unlike her brother and her father who he had no choice being as it was life and death at the time, again near a decade ago. “I’d rather not discuss Sarah or any one of the palace for that matter.” The princess spoke sternly with a slight sniff. “That’s fine, I’m already tired of discussing it, and I’m far too excited about my synthetic blood.” He responded excitedly, earning a choked laugh from the young maiden next to him.     “How long have you been working on that?” Adelita asked trying to switch her focus from her thoughts. “I think about thirty or so years, around about the same time I got to this kingdom actually.” Abellio explained happy she didn’t notice what was following them, even happier still she had quit trying to harm herself. “You’ve been in the region that long? Where were you before?” Adelita asked her eyes, again, sparkling with wonder. “Well I’ve been a lot of places tons of traveling, used to live somewhere south but that ended poorly, we’re actually going to visit a place I once lived on the way to the mountain.” Adelita pressed the diamond into her hand, again, as a flicker of a memory came from nowhere, glad for the cloak, muff and, blankets. She sucked her lower lip between her teeth and pressed harder letting out a breath and smiling as she felt the setting broke the soft skin of her palm then, she glanced up hoping her self inflicted pain went unnoticed.    “How far is the mountain?” She asked after the dark moment passed. “Two day’s journey, so we’ll spend the night at the beach where I grew up.” Abellio said trying his best not to remember how things ended there. She looked up at him. “What’s wrong?” The blood dripping from her hand bled through her muff which she quickly tried to cover, embarrassed, she looked away. “You’ll attract predators that way. There are many who find the scent of royal blood intoxicating. Luckily for you I’m not one of them.” Abellio said while reaching for some fabric to bandage the wounds he’d yet to see. “If that’s what you do for fun in the castle it’s fine but out here any scratch is like inviting death to come visit.”
    “I…I’m sorry…” She whispered softly looking away but offering her hand for him to bandage. In her wrist, he found,  was a labyrinth of scars some fresh some nearly faded away and one long deep one running from her elbow to the base of her palm. She pulled her arm away and held it close to her breast without a word once he finished wrapping her hand. “I’m sorry…” She whispered again looking away. “I’m not looking down on you for that, I’ve done a much worse wound on myself once, though, I woke up without it. My blade, I  stabbed it right through my heart.” Abellio explained as Scarlet suddenly veered off the road and started taking them into an old forest, as if she knew the way on her own. Adelita looked at up at Abellio with almost sympathy. “Why would you have a reason to do so? Surely your life is amazing you’re a god you can have or do anything you want!”
   “Well I thought I could do what I wanted, but what I wanted to do was die, and I couldn’t.” He responded without even trying to look at her.  “Why would a god want to die?” Adelita questioned her confidence starting to wane as the time passed. “I wanted to see my family; I’ll show you what I mean later tonight.” Abellio replied quietly. Adelita looked away sadly thinking wondering why a god would want to take his life though she thought, Why would a princess try to do the same? She traced the long scars in her arm and looked back up to find him staring at her out of the corner of his eyes.  “Life has never been great, but at some point I realized how unbearable it truly was, so I tried to end my suffering, only to find myself safe and sound. Even death is beyond my reach.” Abellio said when he realized she caught him staring. “I’m sorry to pry.” She responded staring down at her own scars. The trees in that part of the forest were old and gray showing they had stood there long past their prime. Scarlet began to slow, as she reached her destination and was preparing to stop at long last.   “Everything that I am, began here, welcome to the Forest of Bone.”
Abellio said happy to show off his homeland even if it were in ruins. The princess feeling a mixture of cold, fear and pure exhaustion leaned against the god unsure how to react to being in a placed called the Forest of Bone.  “Umm.. What is this place?” Adelita questioned as Scarlet finally came to a halt by an old frost covered campsite that looked like it had been abandoned for at least a year. “Where I came from, the Crescent Village. Right over here was the armory, over there was my house. All of it before your family ever imagined to take this land over.” Abellio said happily pointing out spots where structures once stood. Adelita looked down at him from the cart as it dawned on her just what he was actually saying.  Being a god no one could even begin to imagine how long he had been alive, and nothing remained of the place he once called home. “I remember the look in her face.” Abellio muttered sadly as he walked over to a tree and punched it, angrily, the wood splintering where his fist punctured the old, splintering, oak. The young girl jumped more shocked than scared.    “What was that for!?” She demanded angrily. “Firewood.” Abellio mumble, his breath fogging, while pulling off a few branches to burn.  Adelita got closer to the fire as it got darker and colder the winter air chilling her to the bone as she pulled her heavy cloak around herself still shivering. She heard something off in the distance and
she jumped looking around. Abellio laughed a little causing her to pout. “Calm down princess there’s nothing around here but you and me besides the fire will keep you safe for the night.” She got closer to the flame hoping to find warmth and comfort in it. “Here.” He wrapped her in several more blankets and handed her an apple, which matched her hair. “You’re not used to the outdoors.” He said standing over her. “I’m always cold, even in the dead of summer…” She shivered a little even under the pile of heavy blankets. “Doctors say it has to do with the fact I was born sick…” She trailed off a moment her thoughts drifting to her mother then she snapped back to reality. “We haven’t been properly introduced. I learned your name from a book and you have never really asked mine you just call me princess.” She pouted a little dropping the blankets forgetting the cold for a moment as she got to her feet. “Kind sir I am Princess Adelita Rose Destler, daughter to King Harald Destler and the late queen Christine.” She held her skirt in her hands and bobbed a curtsy before him holding her hand out for him to kiss her fingers which he did gently a twig snapping behind them causing her to gasp jumping closer into his arms. “It’s ok princess it’s just Scarlet laying down.” He whispered, pointing at the mare, while holding the girl close.
The princess shivered a little. “Sit.” He said quietly as he wrapped her in the blankets again. “W..will you lay with me Abellio…I’m cold still..” She whispered embarrassed as he went to move a few steps away. “You really will need to deal with the cold on your own eventually, besides I’m going to admire the stars over the ocean.”   Adelita’s eyes widened. “You mean we’re here?” She questioned trying hard to hide her excitement but failing horribly. “My intention was to wake you early so you could see the sunrise.” Abellio explained as he walked away. Adelita dropped all the blankets and, jumping over the deep snow drifts, following him with a smile, cold was just fine with her if it meant finally seeing what held her mind and heart in awe for so long.  “Get some sleep princess, umm I mean Adelita.” Abellio corrected himself trying to sound friendly but just wishing to mourn on his own. “I can’t be expected to sleep on an empty stomach, besides you said to stay where you can see me.” Adelita answered smugly.
    Adelita kept following, ignoring his orders for her to sleep. “You realize I’m going to follow you anyways, right?” She said jogging to keep up with his long stride. As they ventured a little further into the woods between the campsite and the ocean, it grew darker and colder. Her breath forming a fog in front of her face. Something rustled behind her and she jumped grabbing his hand as reassurance she was not alone in the icy, dark wood.       
     She suddenly felt hands closing around her from somewhere in the shadows she nearly screamed until she looked up and saw, Abellio snatching her up and carrying her like a small child who refused to go to bed. “Try not to trip so much, Princess.” Abellio said as he placed her down on some sand and kept marching to the edge of the water. The ocean had a fog drifting over it, the stars were obscured it was an endless cloud above a clear dark mirror reflecting the swirls causing the illusion of endless formless lives begging to come into existence. The ocean was a strange, dark place so unlike anything Adelita imagined but it was just as mysterious. The young princess stared out into the abyss, wordlessly transfixed on the distance where the horizon and the sky blurred into one due to darkness and fog.”The world is endless.” She breathed finally. “You have no idea.” Abellio responded sadly as he stared into the same darkness with sorrow instead of hope. “No matter what I do, I’ll never get back what was taken from me, the world really is endless.” He said quietly.  Adelita was cold, she moved closer to the god, the only source of warmth, and continued to stare out into the ocean still amazed by it. In her mind it represented endless possibilities all the things she’d never do because of her role in life, she almost didn’t even notice how sad he was. After a few moments he looked down at the small young woman standing next to him her green eyes were sparkling and her teeth flashed pearly white against her burgundy colored lips. He smiled a moment her joy reflecting in himself and she looked up smiling. “It’s more beautiful than I could have imagined…” She whispered, as if trying to not disrupt the peace of the night, returning her gaze to the water. “You really do love it here; I don’t think I truly appreciated this place, back when it was possible for me to be happy here.” Abellio said looking at the small human shivering against the salty mist. “What happened here?” Adelita asked starting to grasp just how sad he actually was.
   “I was human once, I had a human family, parents that loved me, an entire village of people who knew me, we didn’t always get along, honestly I probably disliked most of them but I didn’t want them to all be massacred like they were. He came to town one night, a god, he brought only destruction.  I’m just a continuation of that destruction in some ways.” Abellio explained while returning his gaze to the great emptiness. She slipped her hand into his and gently squeezed.”It’s okay…” She smiled up at him. “I understand. I miss my momma and bubba…” She said quietly trying to be comforting but pulled away after a moment embarrassed by how close they were she pulled her cloak around her to fight off the cold trying to think of something comforting to say but nothing coming to mind. Adelita sucked her lower lip and stared at the water for what seemed to her an eternity of uncomfortable silence. “At least you know they loved you.” She finally whispered her voice choking on her words.  Abellio hugged her.
    “You have a way with words that was just what I needed to hear.” He said smiling down at the human girl. She choked back a slight sob and laid against him shivering from a mix of cold and emotion, fighting to keep her heart at bay.  “You must know you’re loved too, that dagger is
something special.” Abellio said with a slight panic noticing her heartache.  The princess looked up at him with a lack of emotion then began to laugh hysterically almost angrily before she became very serious sitting in the sand looking away. “My father beats me, my step mother she couldn’t care if I was dead, she took everything but my dog and a few hidden necklaces, that is all I have left of my mother. She’s nothing but a chambermaid my father got pregnant!” Adelita practically spat out as she threw a shell into the ocean and slumped down into the sand, laying her head on her knees, crying. “My father cares so much that he’s marrying me to a complete stranger for no other reason than his wife told him to” she said barely holding back tears.  “You know who was amazing.” Abellio said noticing Adelita was merely catching her breath to speak more. “What?” She responded feeling confused by his casual response. “Your brother, he could fight better than any human I’ve seen in well over five hundred years. And he kept fighting me so much because he always went back to rescue any of his men who fell in battle, he was great. You must be proud to have been raised alongside someone like him, he was an example for us all.” Abellio explained while pulling her dagger from it’s spot tucked inside the princess’s boot . “Give it back!” She nearly screamed reaching for the knife in a panic. “It’s a beautiful blade, would you like a better hiding spot for it?” He responded while making the dagger vanish.  He smiled smugly proud of his accomplishment. Adelita just stared at him in shock before getting to her feet so angry tears were falling from her long lashes. “Give it back!!!” She screamed at him beating her tiny fists against his chest. “It’s mine! Give it back!!”
    “Look at your left arm.  You already have your blade just like I have mine.”   Abellio said before moving his hand to show his red blade appearing from thin air.  “Perfectly hidden.” The princess looked down at her arm and among the self inflicted scars was a tiny little ‘X’ blended among the rest of her marks. “You see it right? Just go to reach for your blade with your other hand and it shall appear.” He explained while placing the sword against one of his arms so it vanished again. The young princess did as instructed and just as promised her blade was in her hand again.  “Now no one can ever take that from you, your gift to remember him will always be close by.” Abellio explained with a soft smile. Adelita stared at the strange man unsure if she could consider him a friend or an enemy. “How do I put it back away?” She questioned her face still wet from tears but she was no longer crying. “You just place the tip on the little mark. It runs on my magic, so it will stay this way until the day I pass.” Abellio explained demonstrating with his own sword again for her to see. The princess did as he explained and to her delight it worked perfectly. “Just make sure you don’t try to do it with gloves on, they block the spell and you’ll just cut it, or if it’s in you won’t be able to pull anything out.”  Adelita practiced it a few times then smiled almost possessed. “Perfect.” She whispered taking the knife from her wrist and angrily stabbing the sand between her feet in a way that somewhat scared her captor. “Anger issues?” Abellio said with an awkward laugh looking down at his hands thinking about everything he destroyed. “A death wish maybe…” She said looking over the ocean letting out a breath. “I’ve met Death before. Not exactly friendly.” Abellio said laying down in the sand staring up at the dark gray sky where his stars should be. The skies he knew from his childhood, he looked over to the trees remembering each home and who lived in them. The princess placed her knife back in its hiding place and laid against him her head on his shoulder. “I wouldn’t mind meeting Death…it would be more exciting than what awaits me back home…”
    “She’s been following us all day.” Abellio replied pulling an apple from his sleeve. “Death is an actual being?” She sat up a little to look at him. “A girl at that?”
   “Well there are three of them a spooky skeleton in a dark cloak, the big bad Grim Reaper. Then there’s the annoying Angel of Death.  Worst of all there’s the cold embrace, the Lady in White.” He explained. “Why are there three? Why is she following us?” Adelita asked sounding not at all frightened but just excited to learn more. “She follows me sometimes, I just do my best to ignore her, and of course there’s more than one how else would any of them get a break, I’m just shocked there aren’t more.” He replied. “She might try to kill you, just to get you away from me. Please do your best not to upset her.” Abellio said in a serious tone hugging the princess into his chest. Abellio could smell her nearby, she kept changing location as if that would keep her hidden, he didn’t know why she insisted on acting this way when she could just see what was going on from a distance. “I swear she’s toying with me.”  He grumbled.
Adelita curled up closer finding warmth and security in his arms. “Why would she care if I’m here?” She said through a yawn her eyes closing on their own as exhaustion, finally, began to set in. “Why wouldn’t she care?”  Abellio replied sadly, his eyes darting from place to place as he lifted her into his arms to return her to the warmth of the fire. “Why do you care?” She whispered finally dozing off asleep on his chest in his arms. “Why wouldn’t I care? You’re not dying on my watch, I made a promise.” He looked down at her perfect lips as they softened from their nearly constant pout.     “You’re precious, Little Apple Blossom.” He whispered softly. The princess let out a soft moan as her whole body relaxed into sleep comforted by her captor’s presence as he seemed to watch over her. He laid her down on the bedroll and covered her in blankets, adding wood to the fire. Though she welcomed death it was only invited on her terms. “I know you’re listening, do not come here. You will regret it.”
 The fare princess rested peacefully dreaming of a life filled with adventure and love, she awoke with a smile, but this quickly faded as noticed  she was bet much alone. At first she wondered if Abellio had abandoned her but as she looked around she saw him standing not too far away speaking to a small child dressed all in white.  “Why is your prisoner sleeping in your arms then?” The little girl accused with a bratty stomp of her foot. “What I do with those I imprison is none of your concern; she’s not dying so you have no reason to interfere.” Abellio responded dryly while skipping a rock across the smooth surface of the water.  “You know I care about you Abellio, just leave her out here to die and we can go someplace wonderful, would you like me to take you to Paris?” The child responded. “I’m leaving soon, I’m taking her with me, please don’t get in my way. I’d rather not find out which of us is stronger.” Abellio explained marching towards the small campsite and princess. Suddenly  The Lady in White was no longer standing by the god, she was instantly standing over the princess staring down at her distastefully. “You will leave her alone; she is under my divine protection.” Abellio growled his eyes tingeing red. The little girl was close enough for Adelita to see her face as she reacted to the words Abellio said. Her soft features were attempting to harden into an angry scowl, her impossibly blue eyes turned storm cloud gray, as she looked at the princess but her eyes widened in shock when the words fully reached her, after the initial shock she looked almost sad. “Is that so? The heartless god killer has decided to protect someone at long last?” She asked her voice shaky. “That is so.” Abellio answered pulling his red blade out as a threat.  “Fine, I suppose I have to respect your first protected. But I’ll be around.” She said vanishing.
     The god walked over to her, and looked down at the young princess still partially asleep filled with terror, confusion and wonder. “The sun is rising, look upon the ocean as it is set ablaze.”  He said in a soft voice, while kneeling down to be closer to her. Adelita didn’t understand his words as she pushed herself up a little but then she saw it, the sky was golden with the morning sun and the ocean reflected this shine but more than that, the sun seemed to make a pathway of fire as its reflexion was elongated on the ocean surface reaching all the way from the horizon to somewhere near there spot.  She was left speechless, completely bewildered, she just stared at it and hugged the Apple god again for showing her just how beautiful the world could really be. “Thank you Abellio, it seemed so much further away last night.” She breathed after a few minutes of being tongue tied. “It was my pleasure.” He responded smiling doing his best not to show his sharp teeth as he did so. “Let’s get going now, we can stop on the way back.” Abellio said standing up and reaching down a hand to help his captive.  She took it and smiled while rising to return to the cart.  They moved in silence for a while Adelita was clearly not a fan of waking early but she was in too good of a mood after seeing the ocean at both its darkest and brightest to let her drowsiness spoil the morning, even if she was still freezing.  Her mind went over the events of the previous few days repeatedly in her head. She smiled thinking of all the ways Abellio had, unknowingly, helped her, she began wonder what she could do to thank him. “Thank you Adelita, last night was amazing.”  Abellio said without turning to look at her. The princess blushed shyly her heart began to pound as her mind went over the events of the night to make sure she hadn’t done anything inappropriate. “Thank you for not letting Lady Death take me.” She replied, which caused her to think over her encounter with The Lady in White. “Why was she a little girl?” Adelita asked as they finally reached the campsite. “Most gods don’t age once they reach a certain point but she does, she goes all the way from four to eighty something then goes back to four.  I think she’s like seven or eight right now.” Abellio explained. “Are all gods so complicated?” The princess asked, feeling frustrated. “Some more so than others, but humans aren’t much better, I’ve seen humans change entirely over night.” The god responded as he stared at the princess, now a young woman, her oblivious to his gaze. “You want to confuse me, I swear.” Adelita said. They soon rode off towards the great mountain leaving the bone forest, the land long soaked in blood and regret. Abellio seemed distracted as they left, though Adelita didn’t know if he was thinking of his family or the aspect of death which haunted them.  Left to her thoughts Adelita replayed the events of her encounter with Lady Death once more, she thought it was strange how something so final could be spoken to so casually, did Abellio really not care about dying, or maybe like her he would feel himself and the world would be better off if he were dead. After an hour of riding she turned to him all her thoughts having finally coalesced into a single question. “What does under your divine protection mean?” She asked smiling innocently. “What’s that princess?” Abellio replied only half paying attention. “When you said it to The Lady in White she stopped threatening to take me away.” Adelita explained. “It just means I’ve deemed you worth protecting, I’m staking my honor as a god on keeping you safe.” Abellio explained.  Adelita started to blush at the thought, but Abellio was still focused on the road ahead. “Some gods protect hundreds of people, whole towns even.” He continued sounding bored with the topic. “How many people have you had under your protection?” Adelita inquired her cheeks still flushed with red. “You’re my first.” He responded turning to her with a smile as if he only just realized it was his first time promising to keep someone safe. “I guess you must be more important to me than I initially thought.” Abellio said in a soft whisper hoping his prisoner didn’t hear him.
     The cart bounced over something on the road unseen and the princess squalled as she nearly fell out, but Abellio pulled her towards him. “I’ve got you.” He whispered reassuringly while the princess reached for him terrified of falling from the comfort of the cart.  “Why don’t you let me sit there, she’ll be a lot safer in the back.” The Lady in White said appearing in the back of the cart causing Adelita to spring up in fear. “When did you get here?” She screeched at the goddess. “I should be there, he’s MY apple.” The Lady in White said adamantly. “The princess stays in front, you shouldn’t even be here, you have work to do.” Abellio replied refocusing on the road so he could direct Scarlett away from future bumps in it.  “Fine I’ll be good, just let me stay a little longer.” The little girl begged innocently. “If Adelita says it’s fine then you can stay, I don’t want to make her uncomfortable, and you’re not the most relaxing of people.”  Abellio explained. “I am the most relaxing, I help people rest for a living.” The Lady in White responded smugly. “I will stop this cart.” He threatened her. The Lady in White pouted and looked to the young princess. “I don’t suppose you’d mind inviting me to tag along for the day, I promise not to kill you, well for now, eventually all humans meet me.” She remarked hoping to sound nice but still sounding just as rude as before.      
      Adelita folded her hands in her lap. “Lady Death, I am in no place to tell you what to do.” She said softly. “Yay I get to stay, I win.” She stuck her tongue out at Abellio pleased with her victory. Adelita could see Abellio seemed annoyed but she didn’t know why the goddess was terrifying at first but now seemed just like a spoiled brat, someone to be ignored which was exactly what she intended to do.  “So you’ll never guess what happened to Eris the other day at the Olympian ball, she showed up in a dress made of baby dragon scales. Where do you even get those?” The Lady in White explained, beginning to gossip about the gods far too fast. Adelita missed every other sentence and Abellio didn’t care to hear a word of it.  After half an hour of her endless chatter Adelita was beginning to think she knew exactly why Abellio was so hesitant to let the goddess join them. “Do you hear that?” Adelita questioned. The Lady in White was instantly silent listening for whatever the young human could have meant.   “Umm no not really?” She replied sounding confused. “Exactly, I can’t hear anything with you talking so much, I’m just a human I’ll never meet any of the people you’re talking about so it’s all meaningless. Just enjoy the silence.” Adelita yelled tired of the gossip already. “I have to be silent all day while working, the one time I find people who aren’t going to instantly shun me for what I do, you can bet I’ve saved up quite a few words to say.” The Lady in White responded angrily.  “Don’t take that tone with her, or I’ll shut your mouth permanently.” Abellio growled sounding more like an annoyed father trying to control rowdy children then someone dealing with a prisoner and Death itself. “I wouldn’t make such threats if I was you, you do know what day it is don’t you?” The Lady in White replied smugly. “Wait what do you mean? What day is it?” Abellio inquired taking his eyes off the road to look back at the goddess who seemed to soften her features from that of anger to a calm and caring person who was just happy to be there. “Don’t worry my apple, I’ll protect you tonight.” She replied patting his cheek and smiling.  “Oh no that’s tonight? It’s no wonder I was planning to leave next week.” Abellio complained. “What’s tonight?” Adelita asked staring between the two of them confused. “My apple has never been good at keeping track, how many times he fell asleep outside is beyond me, but I’ve always taken care of him when he sleeps.” The Lady in White replied smugly. “No one asked you to do that, it’s kind of creepy.” Abellio complained returning his focus to the road ahead. “I have to; after all, someone could hurt you while you rest.” She responded floating over to lay in the air between the princess and the god. Abellio pushed her back with a single finger on her forehead without looking away as if he knew exactly what she was going to do. “I am not yours, and you are not mine, stop it.” Abellio replied sounding frustrated. “Am I embarrassing you in front of your new friend?” She replied, trying to float back into the spot only to be swatted away like a fly.  “You’re embarrassing yourself, sit down and behave or leave; I don’t care which.” He said his aggravation evident in his tone. “We will wed, I won’t let my dream die. You are my betrothed!” The Lady in White shouted before vanishing. “Idiot, when is she going to let it go.” Abellio muttered to himself. Adelita looked down at her scars feeling the urge to make more, as she did she saw the small x that marked the place of her hidden blade. “I’m sorry Adelita, she’s been a thorn in my side for far too long, I hope she didn’t ruffle your feathers.” Abellio said to her trying to put his hand on her shoulder to comfort the princess, she pushed his hand away doing her best to keep her distance.
      “It’s fine.” She said coldly.  “Something wrong?” The god asked casually.  “Nothing sir, you have been an impeccable host until I am to be returned to my wonderful home.” Adelita said sarcastically, for some reason there was a pang of almost jealousy.   “If it’s that big of a deal, I’ll kidnap you again later, remove you from the whole Noble life, and bring you to some safe village far away from all these people who will inevitably hunt you down.  You can live a normal life.” Abellio said, sounding sad yet wistful. Adelita contemplated the offer, it seemed odd to her that he offered it so readily, was he trying to be nice to her or just pacify her while he prepared to send her to her fate, she didn’t know, she didn’t care she was cold and he was the only source of warmth so she got closer to him.  “Why is it so cold, the sun is is still out.” She complained while getting closer to him, leaning on his shoulder. “We’ve been climbing the mountain for a while, some mountains are completely frozen on top, I don’t know why, you’d think being closer to the sun would warm things.” Abellio laughed while wrapping the princess in his arm to keep her safe and comfortable.  Adelita felt as if everything he did was for the sake of keeping her safe and comfortable, she just couldn’t figure out why, she also had no clue why she was smiling. “Are you really going to marry The Lady in White?” She asked with a shiver. Abellio looked down at the princess still dressed in her simple dress and frock coat; he smiled for a moment, trying to decide how to answer. “I never wanted to marry her,  it was an arranged marriage that I’ve fought against for a millennia, I figured you would understand the concept of wanting to avoid marrying someone.  You haven’t even mentioned your betrothed once.” “Because I hate him…” Adelita whispered looking away. “I know nothing about him beyond he expects me to give him an heir and he expects me to leave Sephora behind along with my all of my story books…” She grit her teeth angrily and looked out across the land pressing the ring once again into her hand easily breaking the already damaged flesh and licking her lips happily letting out a sigh. “Why do you do that?” Abellio grabbed her hand before she could dig the stone deeper into her flesh. “Because I like it. The pain is somewhat comforting…” She looked up to stare him in the eye. “Because it is something I can do to myself because I want to… It is almost mind numbing it takes the emotional and mental pain away… Books and imagination don’t always do what they should sometimes you need something to focus on that is a little harsher.” Adelita snatched her hand away and pressed the ring back into her hand, digging and twisting the sharp setting into her beautiful olive flesh. “I told you I’m not afraid…” But she spoke as if to more convince herself than anything.  “I don’t want you to die, if you don’t wish to marry him then don’t, living your life by someone else’s rules are making you want to die by your own rules.” Abellio explained while urging his mare to speed up. “The road gets rocky up ahead, you’ll want to hold onto something.”
      “I don’t get that luxury. I must do what is expected… Be married to whatever suitor my father deems worthy…give my husband many children, whom of which the only real relations I would ever have with my children is the labor of bearing them, at the risk of being cast away should I be unable to produce a son..I will sit up in the castle pampered by maidens and adornments and be expected to allow my husband any pleasures he wished at any time…if refused I could be put to death.. The life of a princess is not all the fairy tales make it to be. I welcome any form of escape from that life.”  Adelita said before the cart bounced once more jerking her for less than a moment as the god held her steady. “Then I’ll have to kill your suitor, I won’t allow someone to do that to you.” Abellio said sounding quite enraged by the thought. The princess grabbed his arm tighter moving closer to the middle of the seat. “Why does it matter? I will go back you will get whatever it is you want in trade then I will be forgotten…I understand keeping me safe until my return but after…” She shrugged looking away a little sadly. “You are under my divine protection! Besides I like you, you’ve become my friend, I can’t let my friend be treated worse than dirt.”  Abellio said still not calming down in the slightest. “I said I will protect you and I meant it.” He pulled her in closer hugging her with one arm while the other kept on the reins to help guide Scarlett away from some of the larger bumps in the road. “I’ve never had a friend before.” She said with a smile brushing back a small curl that had sprung free from the mass of fire she had tucked into the hood of her cloak. “It’s rare for me too…” Abellio admitted feeling his smile grow too large to hide his sharp teeth. “You’re amazing Adelita, I won’t forget you no matter what the future brings.” Abellio added feeling more confident around her than he had that entire day. “Addie.” She said simply looking away from his sharp teeth.  “I haven’t really had any nicknames I like, people usually call me things like Demon of the Forest or god killer.” Abellio replied sadly before yawning loudly.  “The same one who hunts down little kids who misbehave?” She said with a small devilish grin. “I don’t think you’re a monster.” She said softly leaning on him. “Hunting down kids now? What will they make up next?” He replied while shaking his head in utter disbelief.  “That’s what my nanny told me when I would misbehave, the forest demon would come and take me away and eat me.” Abellio began to laugh loudly. “Rumours get so out of hand so quickly. I have never used a child for my food, I try to only use people who try to kill me.” “I’d let you use me if you needed…” Adelita whispered quietly, half hoping it would be overheard. I mean I can still technically be considered a child for a few more days but I still wouldn’t mind it…if you needed me…”
     “What are you talking about, I can’t use you, not only are you a Royal you’re also my friend.  Have you not been listening?” Abellio asking eyeing the
princess confused. She looked away with a slight pout. “I wouldn’t mind
it though…” She said quietly counting on her fingers. “What’s today?”  “Ten days left until your birthday.” Abrellio replied before yawning again his eyes starting to feel heavy.  “We should make camp soon, I won’t make it to the top.” The princess looked up at him seeing him quickly fading. “Why won’t you make it to the top?” She questioned a little worried, the fact he knew the exact number of days until her birthday slipping from her mind. “I’m tired, I need to sleep soon.”
        Abellio explained as Scarlett found a spot to set up camp somewhere just off the  road. “I’m sorry Addie.” the god said his exhaustion showing in his voice at last.  “Why are you sorry?” She questioned starting up at Abellio worrying. “I wanted to show you the stars from the mountain top, now you’ll have to settle for seeing the sunrise from the top.” Abellio explained while trying to set up a campfire with his eye closing every few moments  “Maybe we can come back here someday.” Adelita said sitting by the fire as Abellio finally got it lit. “If you’d like. Can I ask you something?” Abellio said his exhaustion now evident in his voice.  “What is it?” She asked staring at him still concerned. She never saw him tired before and it bothered her on a fundamental level as if her very core thought it shouldn’t happen. “I trust you not to run away while I sleep, but make sure no one moves my body.” He said as he laid down at long last his eyes shutting finally letting go, finally asleep.   

 

Moral of the story is never sleep, just don’t

ECHO ECHO

Arcane Academy: Chapter 2

I intended Chapter one today but it was far too eager to get  out and ran off ahead so here’s chapter 2? I guess

 

Chapter 2

The Wind and the Stone

 

 “Ignorance is an abyssal frost, a cold that spreads halting progress.  However, with the fires of knowledge and the sparks of wisdom we must ignite our minds to free us all.”  The instructor said his green robes shining as the only window left uncovered formed a spotlight right in front of him keeping his face obscured so the students could only focus on his words.  “What does any of that even mean?” Scarlet complained. “I think he’s being fugitive?” Project Echoshadow suggested from the seat right behind her. “I’m not here to learn poetry, he’s meant to be explaining how geopolitical powers interact with magical forces.” Scarlet complained.  “I mean yes, but this is day one, pretty sure it’s just a speech to get everyone motivated to learn more.” Echoshadow offered. “This is stupid, and you know it.” Scarlet retorted. “Will you both be silent, I don’t care if you’ll have the power to have me executed in a matter of months, or if you’re, whatever you are…” The instructor said furiously though some confusion did slip through when he addressed the guardian.  “This is my classroom, outside of here you two are practically gods on ether, but in here, you’ll listen to your instructor and do as you’re told.” He said sternly. “Why shouldn’t I just leave again?” Scarlet asked her guardian still ignoring the instructor. “I promise you he’s getting to all that geopolitical stuff, just let him do his job.” Echoshadow defended. Scarlet simply shook her head but fell silent waiting for the instructor to teach her something useful.
Class seemed to drag on for hours, after which Scarlet was eager to  get a break from taking everything so seriously she sat in the shade of a tree with her eyes closed her guardian resting in her shadow.  “Who are you supposed to be then?” the man with the flute from the previous day said as he approached the princess. “I’m supposed to be resting between classes.”  Scarlet protested without opening her eyes, how she knew who it was eluded her but she knew she didn’t care to talk to him, at least not yet. “I didn’t mean you, you’re like the sacred light, like that bird they were talking about in history.”  The man replied. “How, flattering, he thinks I’m a bird.” Scarlet said dryly. “A pretty one at that, like those birds of paradise I knew in my youth.” He said with a smile. Scarlet found this annoying, but she was more annoyed by how her face seemed to feel warmer after hearing these words.  “Are you blushing?” Echoshadow questioned rising from his princess’s shadows. “There you are, what are you, like some kind of darkened oceanic fel algae?” The man with the flute asked. “No, I’m Echoshadow I protect the pretty bird.” Echoshadow replied with a bow, Causing Scarlet to giggle. “Shut up Echo,  Just play nice with the crazy music man.” Scarlet ordered causing the created life form’s eyes to glow. “As you command your luminescence.” Echoshadow said his voice full or reverb. “Sick pipes on this one, it’d be cool to have him sing along some time.” the man with the flute said with a devilish grin. “Subject Identified: Student enrolment files Zest Seabreeze, qualifications, is from across the sea of dragons, seems skilled with wind based magic.”  Echoshadow said as if reading the words of a page in front of him. “No seriously, who are you supposed to be?” Zest complained. “I’m the only Echoshadow in existence, so I’m just meant to be me.” Echoshadow protested. “Whatever, we battle now.” Zest replied dismissively. “What, but why?” The guardian questioned. “That’s too bad, the time has come to stand and fight.” Zest shouted as the winds blew Echoshadow up into the air. “Oh I don’t know what to do if I’m up like this, all my combat training are based around me existing at ground level.”  Echoshadow said sounding concerned. “I didn’t expect him to be this light. I can normally only keep someone up for like a second.” Zest explained to Scarlet who was shaking her head. “Surrounded by idiots as usual.” She said half under her breath. “Echoshadow, stop messing with this idiot. Incapacitate him, no marks no cuts. Just knock him out so I can get on with my day, and and that is very much an order.” Scarlet said sternly causing Zest to look confused. “He’s up there and can’t even do a projectile magic as wind spells are designed to negate that sort of thing.”  Zest said sounding confused before falling over unconscious hit with a fist, Echoshadow’s arm stretched to unnatural, even comical lengths. “I’m sorry, it would have been painless but my aim was thrown off due to your wind magic, you’ll have quite the headache when you awaken.” Echoshadow said with a bow before fading back into the princess’s shadow. There was an applauds, apparently forcing someone who looked like a shadow to float in the air was good way to draw a crowd. This crowd seemed to enjoy the short battle between what was clearly an experienced Wind wielder and some sort of new abomination.  “Do you control that thing? Does it have free will?” Asked a student Scarlet had never before seen. “Both I guess, he follows my orders so I try not to give too many, he deserves freedom after all.” Scarlet explained quietly. “Is he able to hear us when he’s like hidden in your shadows like that?” Another student wondered. “We all have classes to go to, why don’t we do this another time.” Scarlet said shyly. Arms rose from her shadow and dragged her into the darkness releasing her within the next classroom. “Echo, don’t do that, I know I felt awkward around that big crowd but I need to get over that if I’m ever to be queen.”  Scarlet said sternly. “I’m sorry, just trying to help.” Echoshadow said sadly. Scarlet frowned then hugged him. “Don’t worry, you draw attention pretty easily for a so called stealth unit, we’ll have other chances.” Scarlet whispered. “Affirmative, I intend to let you spend more time with the other children moving forward.” Echoshadow said with a smile. Scarlet merely shook her head and took a seat to await class.

After that class which was on the history of relations between elves and humans the pair went to the dining hall.  “I think I miss foraging.” Echoshadow said simply while I the form of a black cloak places upon the princess. “Neither of us can really cook so I’ve been enjoying good food for a change.“  Scarlet replied dryly as she sat down with both of their trays. “Are you talking to yourself?” A young blond Human girl asked while taking a seat next to the princess. “I’m talking to my clothes, obviously.” Scarlet said before face palming. “No wait, my friends can alter his forms so I’m wearing him.”  Scarlet explained before the girl could even ask. “He looks great on you I guess…” the girl replied. “I think I’ve seen you before.” Scarlet said confused. “Maybe, my family visits the rainbow palace, or at least we did before… well you’ve probably seen me the Stone family set up that new truth castle.”  The girl explained. “You’re a Stone? My family always spoke more highly of your clan than the others.” Scarlet replied with what she hoped was a friendly and sincere smile. “Let me cut to the chase. I’ve got like no friends because I’m paranoid people are friends because I’m connected to nobility and I don’t wasn’t to just be used.”  The girl started. “Start with your first name so you’re not just a Stone to me.” Scarlet requested. “Yeah, fair enough. I’m Sandy I just want a friend who isn’t using me. And maybe to hear more about your wearable friend.” The girl responded curiously. “I know you’re enjoying being hidden, but come out and eat and talk to this girl.”  Scarlet said simply before returning her focus to her meal. Project Echoshadow took form across the table from the girls. “Identified: Sandy Stone, expertise geomancy, age 16, threat level 5.7 caution is recommended.” Echoshadow said without thinking about it. “What?” Sandy questioned. “Oh I knew a guy with that as his first name.” Echoshadow said returning to his senses.  “Useful information likes to getaway from his stupidity so it rushes forth from his mouth.” Scarlet teased while sticking her tongue out at him. “Threat level five point what?” Sandy questioned. “Don’t ask, he will go into way too much detail.” Scarlet warned. “That’s true, but I do want it on the record I’m surpassed to see a number above two when the highest one I’ve seen so far is head alchemists Wood Spellshield at 3.9.”  Echoshadow explained before pulling his tray closer and covering the food with his hand absorbing out through the flesh. “I told you to start eating with your mouth.” Scarlet remarked sternly while shaking her head disappointed with her friend. “I’m sorry, this is more efficient it merely sacrifices the ability to taste the nutrients.” Echoshadow explained revealing cleaned plates. “what is he then?” Sandy questioned. “He’s not allowed to tell you, I’d explain it for him but I don’t get it either.  They said the school records list him as a miracle of science, which isn’t a species at all.” Scarlet complained. “I’m Project Echoshadow, one of a kind made as part of a pair, that should be explanation enough.” Echoshadow said simply before frowning as if he needed to try not to focus on whatever thoughts rushed in after that statement. The two girls continued discussion of their troubles adjusting to life in a new setting, but Echoshadow was distracted though they’d been at the school less than a week he was feeling,something akin to homesickness.  He didn’t miss his secret facility, but he felt concerned, several messages were sent to them requesting a status update on his elder brother, no response had been given to that point it was beginning to unnerved him in the slightest degree. When his attention was returned three were four as Zest was next to him. “Did you hear me Echo?” Scarlet questioned. “No my liege.” Echoshadow admitted instantly. “This man requested you reveal his threat level.” Scarlet said simply. “Umm, I don’t know. It isn’t coming up automatically, can you order me?” Echoshadow asked sounding confused.  Scarlet was taken aback echo even had threat levels for flowers. “I order you to assess his threat level.” Scarlet commanded. “Identification: Zest Seabreeze, age unknown likely between 15 and 19, expertise unknown, threat level unknown, more information required.” Echoshadow said his eyes glowing blue as he paused and key his head ftp to the table. “Recalculating, error unknown energy signature detected.” He added quietly. “I guess round two goes to me,” Zest said with a smile before getting up to leave. Echoshadow then fainted, losing his form becoming a dark puddle. “Does he do this often?”  Sandy asked. “I don’t think so…” Scarlet said sounding very concerned. “I’m going to go get faculty involved.” Sandy suggested before rushing away.

 

Wasn’t that a magical adventure that doesn’t at all feel like just a Harry Potter ripoff

ECHO ECHO