I stared at him, totally unable to believe the implications of what he said. He pointed at the candle in front of me and I realized it had gone out. When I started to get up to look for matches Leo put a firm hand on my shoulder. I glanced up at him and he nodded at the candle again. Turning back to it I wondered what he wanted me to do. My answer came in the form of a strange order.
"Light the candle without matches."
"How am I supposed to do that? All I really think I know how to do is manipulate an existing flame." I protested looking back at him.
"Just concentrate on the flame as it was and direct it at the candle." He encouraged gently patting my shoulder.
Sighing I gazed at the cold candle. I closed my eyes and willed an image of a small flame to appear. At first nothing happened then a tiny light flared up in my mind. The flame had been created now all I had to do was direct it at the candle. How was I supposed to do that? Suddenly Summer was standing beside me. She looked up at me with her big green eyes and her voice resonated in my head.
"Summon the candle under the flame. The same way you summoned the flame." She purred.
I nodded to her and summoned an image of the candle like she told me to. As with the flame it took a moment for the image to form. Once it did, however, it was a simple matter to push the whole thought into reality. As the image faded from my mind I felt an excited tapping on my shoulder. Opening my eyes I saw that the candle had been lit. Leo was beside himself with happiness.
Looking down at Summer I realized that she was smiling at me. My mouth twitched into a smirk and her eyes flashed. When I looked back at Leo he was talking animatedly in some strange language to the other Angel. The other one didn't seem convinced about something and Leo seemed to be trying to convince him of it. It seemed that nothing would sway his mind and Winter padded up to him. Sitting down she stared straight into his face for a moment and I swear I heard her talking telepathically to the man.
"You did very well Amsel. I'm happy for you and proud to be one of you companions." Summer purred in my head, jerking me back to reality for about the fourth time today.
Looking at her I nodded. Then I realized that she had spoken to me and I stared at her with widened eyes. She sat licking her paw like nothing was going on. After a moment her ear flicked in annoyance and she looked up at me.
"Why do you keep staring at me like that?" she questioned.
"I was right… You are talking to me… I think I'm losing my mind now." I mumbled running a hand through my black and red bangs.
"You are not losing you mind Amsel. We really can talk though mostly only you can hear it. The Earthbound Angels can hear us too but that's only if we let them." Winter purred rubbing her head against my right hand.
"Oh…My…God… This is crazy. I should not be able to hear your vices in my head. How is that possible?" I croaked looking at them both.
"That's an easy one. They are connected to you by a strong spiritual bond. You can hear their voices and thoughts. It works the other way around too. Also you can always tell where they are and the same for them. It makes keeping them close so much easier." Leo explained popping up next to me.
"WAAHH!" I cried falling off my chair when he did. "Don't do that! Please!"
"Hahahaha! Sorry! I'll give some warning next time. I promise." He laughed grabbing my hand.
He pulled me to my feet and helped dust me off. If he were any other guy I would have slapped him for it. Since it was him I held back and was glad I did. Even though he was a guy he didn't try anything inappropriate like grabbing my butt. I was very grateful of that and really glad I didn't slap him.
The smile he gave me was almost blinding but very sincere. With his smile I discovered that my whole world was very quickly being turned upside-down. Just this morning everything was normal and I could care less what was going on around me. Now I was getting scared by the littlest things and had smiled a lot more than I had in years. I shrugged it off when I noticed Leo's guest was coming over to see me.
He was a little taller than Leo but had almost the same build, hair color and eye color. The visitor stared at me for another minute before cocking his head to the right. Once again he turned to Leo and started talking in the strange language from before. Their conversation seemed to have a lot to do with me because there was a lot of pointing in my direction.
At one point I thought that I could understand what they were saying but the moment passed before I could really focus on it. Shrugging I tried playing with the candle flame again. I would douse it then call it back to life, I would see what kind of shapes I could make with it and for how long I could hold it. The whole thing was actually quite entertaining. Winter and Summer even got in on it. They would stand up on the hind legs and swat at the flame as it passed over their heads, just out of reach. Finally Leo and his friend turned back to me. I set the flame back on the candle wick and waited for what they had to say.
"Amsel, this is my Pado, father. He has come to see me because he heard that I had returned with an Empowered." Leo gently explained.
"It is very nice to meet you sir." I said, my voice stiff from using the formal language my mother had taught me.
"You seem like a sensible person indeed. Your fried there tells me you have great potential." Leo's father said gesturing at Winter.
I looked at Winter and she gave me a sheepish feline grin. Shaking my head I refocused on Leo's father. He told me about what was going to happen now that I was with them. Just by what he said I could tell that I was really going to like this place a lot. There were very few rules except for the obvious: no using your powers on others, no fighting, respect your elders and superiors, and take care of your animal companions. They were irreplaceable, no matter how had one tired. Once a bond is formed between Empowered and animal it was for life.
"Do you think you understand all of the rules and other important details I have just told you?" he asked giving me a critical look.
"Yes, sir. I believe that I do. Is there anything else that I should know before you leave?" I asked tilting my head to the left a bit.
"Just one thing; don't leave the oasis without Leo or another Angel. At least not now. Once you have mastered you powers then you are free to do as you please." he nodded before turning to walk out.
After he had gone Leo dropped the formal attitude and was totally relaxed. It donned on me that I liked the relaxed Leo better than the formal Leo. Anything formal was not my thing so it only seemed natural that I would prefer this Leo to the other one. He walked into the living room and flopped down on the couch.
"Ugh! It is so hard to hold that formal attitude when my father comes to visit! I guess it's a good thing that he only comes around once or twice a month. Hey, Amsel! What did you think of him?" Leo asked flipping his head back so he could look at me.
"Well, I thought that he was very proper and that he looked the old ways more than the modern stuff. Is that why the city is so Steampunk like?"
"No, that's not the reason. The real reason is the fact the all the Earthbound Angels are tied to nature but the Empowered liked technology so we incorporated it into the natural order here. This is just how everything turned out in the end. Nothing fancy, nothing flashy. Just natal beauty combined with mortal technology. Don't expect anything too fancy alright." he said summoning another book.
"I had no plan to. Actually I quite like this style of life. It's so much better than my parents' way." I said coming to sit beside him.
The look he gave me said he wanted to know about it. Sighing I launched into my story. As I talked his eyes got bigger and bigger. It was actually quite comical. His eyes were now the size of dinner plates and his jaw was almost to the floor. Winter and Summer were also amazed by my story. They were sprawled out in front of the couch staring at me like I had three heads. I knew I was going to have a lot of questions from all of them when I was done.
"Did you really live like that?" Leo asked having finally gotten control of his dropping jaw.
"Yep. My parents insisted on no direct contact with family members of any kind. It had to be all technologically based." I replied with a nod.
Why did they insist on that? Winter asked pushing herself up into a sitting position.
"That's just the way it was." I shrugged.
The rest of the night went on in the same fashion. They asked every possible question about every possible thing. I started to get tired pretty quickly and Leo put a stop to the questions by saying it was time for bed. Though I didn't say it I was great-full for his intervention. What happened next though I was so not prepared for.
Leo stepped over and scooped me into his arms. He walked easily up one of the spiral staircases to one of the many rooms on the second floor. Without any problems he opened one of the doors and stepped in. Winter bounded in a head of him with Summer following slowly behind her.
"This can be your room. It's a good size and you can do whatever you want with it." He said setting me down on the bed.
"Are you sure?" I yawned.
"Yes, I am 100% sure. You live here now so you have a lot more freedoms than you did before." Leo smiled as he turned to walk out.
"Thanks, Leo. I really appreciate that." I yawned again.
"You are very welcome, Amsel." he whispered stepping out of the room and closing the door.
I was close to slipping into sleep when Summer nudged my leg with her large paw. Looking down at her she motioned to the chest of drawers on the far side of the room. Glaring at her I realized she intended for me to change my clothes before I went to bed. I really didn't want to get up and change.
"You really don't expect me to get up now that I'm already in bed, do you?" I asked looking coldly at her.
"Yes. Yes I do. You can't go to bed in your normal clothes." She scolded gently grabbing my hand with her mouth.
I let her pull me over to the dresser. She then started pulling open the drawers with her paws and fangs. Winter then came over and pulled out the appropriate clothes for me to change into. Once they did that they dumped them on me and forced me to change.
"I am so not feeding you anything tomorrow morning. You have to find your own food tomorrow." I grumbled climbing into the warm bed.
Both of them gave me sheepish grins and curled up on the floor by the door and window. Despite having been up longer than I wanted to be I still fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. There was no way in hell that any kind of alarm was going to wake me up any time soon.
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