The Forsaken Race; Darker Times

Reads: 6535  | Likes: 29  | Shelves: 11  | Comments: 8

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 20 (v.1) - Compromising

Submitted: June 25, 2018

Reads: 117

A A A | A A A

Submitted: June 25, 2018

A A A

A A A

 

 

 

"Dammit!" Corelia shouted, angrily throwing a wadded ball of paper across her observatory. The frustrated queen sighed and ran her fingers through her violet-streaked hair.

"Of all times," she growled. "Those damnable gargoyles suddenly stop the trade for no reason? Then everyone else disagrees..."

Corelia began to pace. She was angered, at the moment, primitive rage building within her.

"Harpies, elves, dwarves, and half of one gargoyle race...It's still not enough. Harpies only offer so much, dwarves are mere scavengers for material, and the Petrifs are more like a hired hitman. The elves give the enchantments...but I need more. I need something for not just the Zyreans, but everything else we face. I need as much as possible! I need more magic! More power!"

She picked up a small dagger from the table and threw it at the wall behind her. The blade sank into it, through the sketch of the Storm Twin's crest. She glared at the crest, reminded of what it represented, which only deepened her irate feeling.

"Just wait," Corelia growled. "I've defeated the Storm Twins. All I need is that damnable beta and that traitor..."

That thought, however, made her sigh sadly, and she began to slowly calm down. Her anger was replaced by sorrow. She collapsed into a wooden chair, glaring at the several documents of Zyrean anatomy, religious drawings, or crests. She studied them so many times, but never came up with an answer worthwhile; nothing to provide a new, effective strategy.

"Why did you have to leave us, Kita? You held so much promise. You had such power, even if it was hidden. I did what was best for you, even though it meant risking this. I...I should've listened to Coro. If I had tried harder...I might have been able to..."

'CREaaaa'

The double-doors of the observatory opened, making Corelia stand quickly to face the unexpected visit. She was only slightly relieved to see that it was just Maia. She paused in the doorway, trying to catch her breath while keeping one arm clasped around the middle of her abdomen. Concerned, Corelia spoke in a softer tone when approaching.

"Maia, you shouldn't be up. Get back to your room and let yourself recover."

Impatient, Maia snapped back, "I've been recovering for more than a month. I can't stay in that damned room forever."

"I know, but you must take this slowly," Corelia replied. "That is a very bad wound you received. One more second, and you wouldn't have made it at all. Just appreciate the fact that you're alive, bedridden or not."

"No thanks to that bastard of a demon," Maia spat. "I'm glad he's gone."

Corelia sighed at the thought. "You shouldn't have fought him on your own. Leiytning was a very powerful opponent. If I had trouble fighting him, then you would've had an even harder time prevailing."

"He was getting away with the others," Maia argued. "Was I supposed to let him flee?"

"There were alternative options," Corelia firmly responded. "I've told you that you need to be patient, and this is exactly why. The new enchantments would've been decoded and ready to use only a week later, but you attacked without restraint anyways."

Maia kept her eyes cast down. "I know I shouldn't have fought him on my own, and I know that I should've controlled my temper and retreated when he won- er, when the fight turned out to be a draw. I just got so mad; it's hard when one of your worst enemies is standing right in front of you."

"I know," Corelia agreed. "It is hard to do, but certainly something to learn and practice. If I had not controlled myself during the Extinction Battle, then I would've been slain by either Shadow Star or the twins. Furthermore proof that-"

Surprised, Maia had to repeat the name, "Shadow Star? And the Extinction Battle?"

Corelia nodded in assent.

"But how is that possible? That was so long ago, you'd have-"

Corelia laughed a bit. "I'd have to be more than two-hundred years old?" She joked, "I know, rather charming for that age. But really, think about it. How is it that both you and I look as young as we do? It's the crystals that we use to keep us more 'durable' against attacks from magic creatures. We stay durable by staying young. As long as we use the magic in those crystals, then we are immortal."

"Why didn't you ever tell me this?"

"You never asked, but I thought Atara might've explained it to you. She also uses the crystals, like all the sylph lieutenants, and a few others."

Maia stirred at the mentioning of Atara's name, as if she just then remembered something. She began reaching into the pocket of her dress.

"Speaking of Atara, she asked me to give this to you." Maia pulled out a folded piece of paper. "Evidently, she went back to Aquarus territory, yesterday. I think she was looking for survivors, or trying to retrieve the sylph bodies. Either way, she found something else. It sounds important, too."

Corelia took the piece of paper, a sense of curiosity and concern hitting her as she started to unfold it. The message was hastily-written and short, as if urgent. Sure enough, after reading just a couple of sentences; the proof that Atara had found, Corelia took a sharp breath. She felt like someone had just stabbed her, making her hands shake and mouth fall agape.

Maia was simply confused, and unnerved, by her reaction. "What is it? What did she find?"

Corelia gained a determined look and spoke quickly, "We need a new plan, Maia. Those twins aren't as dead as we thought they were."

 

 

\\\\\

 

 

Taking a deep breath, Mao steadied herself as she took another sip of her tea. She was sitting on the edge of the bed, in her ill-lit bedroom. Naturally, Yuna was with her, sitting in a chair adjacent to where she was. They were both silent. 

It had been like this since yesterday, when Yuna first arrived. Little had been spoken between them. Then again, it was hard to speak through sobs. It was also what they would talk about if so. Neither of them wanted to start something they didn't know how to finish.

However, this couldn't go on long. It took Yuna a moment to acknowledge the silence; the rare complete silent mood. Mao's parents finally stopped fighting, but it would be only a matter of time before something made them tick and start again.

A short time window, Yuna thought, then sighed.

Mao took note of the only sound. "...I don't want to say it, either, Yuna."

Yuna smirked. "So which of us is going to bring it up?"

"Who will be the villain?" Mao murmured.

Yuna set her teacup on the ground beside her, a solemn tone about her. "Mao, we can't stay like this forever."

"Then, Yuna..." Mao's green eyes narrowed to a glare. "Why?"

"Why did I say it?" Asked Yuna.

Mao nodded in response.

Yuna sighed before resting her face in her hands. This was the thing they still couldn't settle. The skeleton they couldn't bury, and the memory they couldn't repress. Still confused about her own actions, Yuna thought back to the confrontation.

At the time, it had been a day since Yuna and Mao returned from the palace; two days after the incident with Kita. The two of them stood in the hallway of Yuna's small, slowly-decaying house. Yuna had already asked Mao to leave, but she was persistent.

"Don't silence me like that, Yuna!" Mao cried. Not angrily or irritated, but more saddened. She was still obviously fighting back tears.

"Enough, Mao," Yuna impatiently spoke. "Your suggestions are crazy. We have to face facts."

"There are no facts!" Mao snapped. "Just a bunch of stupid, worthless theories! Neither of us knows for sure what happened, or what will happen."

Irate, Yuna abruptly spun back to face her. "There are chances. The chances that our friend was killed by some damn monster are pretty damn high, right?"

"They may be smaller, but there's also the chance she's alive," Mao argued, still with her sad look.

"Minimally," Yuna sighed, looking away. "Not even worth inspection."

This is what got Mao to become angry. "Not worth it? You little...Yuna, this our sister you're talking about. This is Kita! She could still be out there, and you're saying it's not worth inspecting? That we just need to give up?"

"As I said, the chances are too low!" Yuna argued.

"They're never too low!" Mao retorted. "Even when there's none, we still fight for her. We still do, because she's worth it. We do anything for each other, and have. Kita and I found you your house and job, we helped Kita get away from that brute of a father, and you two help me when my parents raise hell."

"What's your point?" Yuna impatiently interrogated.

Mao glared at her. "We made a promise, and kept it since. Maybe it was just child's talk to you, but I say nothing's changed! I still keep that promise! If that was you out there, would you want Kita and I to give up on you?"

"Yes," Yuna snapped, then groaned. "No! Just...Look, I don't-"

"Then why do you want to give up on her?" Mao interrogated. "Because it's demons we're dealing with?"

"No," Yuna growled.

"Because you don't want to face your own demons, right?" Mao continued.

"Shut up," Yuna snarled.

"Don't let the past get to you! Do this for Kita, please! We have to-"

"Shut up, you moron!" Yuna snapped. "Kita's dead, got that?!"

Mao took a sharp breath of dread, hurt by the words and Yuna's harshness. Even so, Yuna did nothing. With a dead glare and the same hostility, she turned back around without any hint of remorse.

"The chances are too low, Mao," Yuna grumbled. "just give it up. Then it won't hurt so bad when you find the truth."

 

 

Mao's hurt expression was all Yuna could think of, now. The immense guilt was not residing, and it was still worsening. It had already grown so much that it made her come back to Mao, just in an attempt to fix things. Now that she was here, though, things took a change.

Yuna wanted to remain silent forever, just so she wouldn't have to bring this up again. However, Mao was waiting for an explanation. Yuna lost Kita, and Mao had been gone for too long. In that time of losing both her sisterly friends, she felt as if she were alone in the world, with not even her real brother doing much to break her depression. Now she had the chance to get someone back, and silence would not be the cure they needed.

Yuna sighed. "Mao, I'm so sorry for what I said, really. I...I don't even know..."

"I'll forgive you, of course I will," Mao insisted. "But you need to come clean. Why would you say that? Why were you so willing to abandon her?"

"I wasn't, really," Yuna explained. "I..."

Mao tried to smile, though it was strained. "I won't get mad, this time."

Yuna cleared her throat before continuing. "I think I know why...It's just that I've seen people disappear before. Also people close to me. Their chances of being alive were, like Kita now, so low that one would easily assume the worst at first glance. But still, I held so much hope for them. Only to learn the truth later. And when I did, that was the worst pain I ever felt. So I guess it's because..." She sighed again. "Mao, the longer you hold onto hope, the stronger it gets. If things get worse, then the strength backfires and is used against you. It doesn't kill you, it just hurts like hell. I didn't want either of us to experience that."

Mao gave a slight nod, but still looks unhappy. "I understand, Yuna, believe me. But if we give up now, Kita's chances only get lower. When we keep hope and keep trying to do something, then at least we give hope to more than ourselves."

Yuna laughed a bit. "I guess you've always like to stay positive."

Mao nodded, her smile becoming less strained and more real. "That's right. There's too much bad in the world to completely avoid it. The best we can do is look at the brighter side of things."

"Just like old times," Yuna murmured. "We all came from broken homes, didn't we?"

"At least Kita's father didn't move to the same town she escaped to," Mao muttered, glaring at the floorboards, where her parents were just beyond. They were on the first floor somewhere, probably building tension by having an unnerving silence. It wouldn't be long before they snapped again.

"At least you still have a mother and father," Yuna remarked. "Kita and I can't say the same. So don't give up on them yet, Mao. Do what you do best. Keep your hopes up and be grateful."

Mao giggled. "Will do!"

Yuna picked up her teacup, staring at the translucent green liquid within. She stayed like this for a moment before speaking again.

"We got that off our chests, but there's still one more thing. That's all in the past. What do we do, now?"

Mao clearly didn't like the thought. "That's what I was afraid you were going to ask."

"I personally don't know what to do, anymore," Yuna muttered.

"Neither do I," Mao agreed. "But we should think of something."

Yuna rested her face against one fist as she thought. "I think the problem is that both of us went a little extreme."

"Extreme?" Mao repeated. "What do you mean?"

"Well, think about it. You wanted to charge head-first outside Sybilius to look for Kita, but I wanted to give up entirely."

"Hmm..." Mao took a moment to reply. "I see what you mean. One defeatist, one extremist."

"Neither good for this scenario," Yuna continued. "What we need to do is compromise, somehow."

"Alright, but where is the middle ground?"

Yuna once more studied the tea in her cup, losing herself to the thinking process. Mao remained silent, letting her conspire. This was something that remained normal, probably the only thing that did. Yuna was the brains of their group, after all. She was two years older and loved to study, so she seemed to always have suggestions and answers.

Making Kita and I feel stupid, as usual, Mao thought, but found ironic happiness in that fact.

Yuna took a sip of her tea, then spoke again. "I think I might have an answer, and a very simple one at that."

"Well, let's hear it!" Mao pressed.

"Obviously, we know nothing about where Kita went, nor do we know about her current condition," Yuna explained. "Therefore, we have to be a little more strategic with the risks we take in trying to find her. That's why we'll stay in Lion's Bridge and carry on with our lives."

Mao looked discouraged, her brows furrowed. "That's compromising?"

"Wait," Yuna spoke, raising a finger as a sign demanding silence. "We will hire a messenger, and have him send a letter to Queen Corelia. We'll see if she's willing to keep us updated on what she finds about Kita. No matter how good or bad the news. We can also try the pub or town hall, and see if we can get anything from the traveling guards. Maybe it's not directly helping Kita, but it's enough for us to find out if she's even alive or not. If she is, we'll think of another plan to help her. If..."

"Let's not talk about that concept yet," Mao replied. "I'm not ready."

"Neither of us will ever be," Yuna remarked. "But if it does turn out like that, Mao, then..."

"See?" Mao solemnly spoke. "Not even you know, do you?"

Yuna sighed. "No. We haven't gotten that far, and I really don't want it to come down to that."

Mao took another sip of tea. Afterward, though, her expression changed to one of obvious confusion.

"Something wrong?" Asked Yuna.

"I don't know," Mao answered, looking around the room. "Yuna...Does everything seem alright, to you?"

"What do you mean?"

"Well, I have the strangest feeling," Mao explained. "Is there something about me that looks off? Do I look sick at all?"

"No," Yuna answered.

"Then what is it?"

Yuna confusedly looked around, but found everything where it was. However, she knew what Mao was talking about. It was true that it felt like something was missing. On the other hand, it didn't take long for her to learn what it was. 

Instead of worrying, like Mao was, Yuna laughed a bit.

"What?" Mao said in a defeatist tone. "What's so funny?"

Yuna stood up, quickly leaving the room. 'Wait here' was all she said beforehand. Mao was going to stop her, but she was already gone and showing no signs of returning.

What the...

It took mere seconds for Yuna to rush back and grab Mao by the wrist.

"Come with me," she spoke, half-dragging Mao off the bed. Pins and needles shot through her legs as she stood, after being motionless and sitting for so long. She had to cling to the railing on the staircase to keep from falling. 

Yuna crouched so that she could see through the railed-off space between the upstairs wall and the first couple of steps. Mao crouched too, looking at what Yuna was pointing to. What she saw, she almost couldn't comprehend.

Mao's parents weren't fighting. They weren't arguing or yelling, nor had an awkward tension filled the room. The two were hugging as they apologized to each other.

Enthralled by this, Mao had to restrain happy tears after seeing them in such a way.

"It's been so long," she murmured. "And there's your proof, Yuna. Not everything is impossible, and just because hope doesn't come in great supply, that doesn't mean its gone for good."

 


© Copyright 2019 Raven Akuma. All rights reserved.

Chapters

Add Your Comments: