“The darkness is rising Z, we need to find Kai to restore the Night realm since the kid decided to drop all his responsibilities!” The eldest prince yelled, slamming his fist onto the stone table.
“Patience, Kai needs time to recover from the deeds done by your family. I will see what I can do, but realize, it was never his fault for leaving nor is it if he doesn’t return, and you must know this.”
“We have no use for the games you play hybrid,” the prince hissed,” You need to bring that kid back and have him fix his doings.”
“You think I am a puppeteer, but the truth is I can’t control the puppet who you think is Kai. No, I pull no strings, for I advise and help him and him alone. If I see urgency I shall talk, but if none I stay away.” The hybrid jumped onto the table and prowled closer to the prince while growling.
“You stay away from Kai, for if not, you will see more than any violent encounter in the battlefield, and no threat is that, for only promises I make.”
I lifted the ink machine from the tattoo and wiped my forehead with the back of my hand. I wheeled my chair back a little to admire the little image that rested on Cassey’s calf. A small rowboat floated gently on a lake and in the distance rose an island where full moon hovered in the sky. I turned to the table on my left and set down carefully the ink machine and pulled my gloves off.
“All done Cassey, why don’t you take a look in the mir-” Laughing, I look to see she was already standing in front of the mirror making the most random poses to show off the newest addition to her calf.
“I fucking love it, Kai!!” She squealed as she ran at me pulling me into a hug,” thank you, thank you, thank you!!!”
“You’re welcome Cassey,” I laughed as she did random poses in the mirror that focused on her now tattooed calf.
“Are you doing anything tomorrow by any chance?” she asked twirling away from the mirror, “I really wanna go to the mall but I don’t want to go alone but I know you don’t like people so it’s okay if you don’t want to because everyone I know is busy or working or-”
“Cassey, calm down and don’t ever make it seem like you are an inconvenience ever, I’m your best friend and will always say yes to hang out,” I said cutting her off and slinging my arm over her shoulder.
“Thank you, Kai,” she whispered with a small smile.
I flicked the lights off and closed the shop doors and locked them. I started my long walk back to my wonderous apartment that resided in the not so nice part of town. Cassey had left a while ago saying it was too boring watching me clean up and she would rather eat. I reached into my leather coat pocket and grabbed the box of cigarettes and a lighter. I lit one up and took a deep breath and exhaled the smoke.
“Home sweet home,” I mumbled opening the apartment door. The living room was before me and it only had two bean bags, a little coffee table, and a small flatscreen t.v.. The kitchen wasn’t better off as it didn’t have any food but cereal, ramen, and some random fruits. I went over to my room, which only had a bed and dresser filled with random trinkets from the years, and grabbed a shirt and sweatpants.
I sighed as the hot water gently pelted my back and relaxed my muscles. I grabbed shampoo and conditioner and washed my hair then my body. The water turned on me and went cold so I hurried to get out. I decided against dinner as I wasn’t hungry and headed straight to my bedroom. I flopped on the bed and wrapped myself in the thick comforter.
I sat up slowly and rubbed my eyes trying to get rid of a trace of me sleeping. Blinking slowly, I realize something was way off. I wasn’t in my apartment anymore, I was somewhere home.
Above me, Pine trees littered the sky as they pointed downwards in a glorious yet threatening manner. Small lakes and rivers made of black goo could be seen outstretched and moving at a slow lazy pace as if they were in no hurry. The ground was pitch shimmery black but filled in with dazzling stars and cosmic colors as they shone below me. The only thing stopping me from falling into the void was a thin water-like surface that could sink you whenever. I peeled the covers back and carefully got out of the bed. I set my feet on the watery surface seeing if I would fall through. I looked around in wonder. I truly have forgotten how amazingly terrifying the Dark realm was, but why am I here?
A shape flashed by in the corner of my eye so I whipped around only to see nothing was there. I tried to take a step forward, but my feet wouldn’t budge. I looked down and fell right through the water and into darkness. I was fumbling and turning everywhere and couldn’t stop the fear that enveloped me.
Breath, breath calm down, focus. The only way to stop is to focus.
I closed my eyes and tried to slow my breathing down. Coldness settled into my veins as my fall slowed down to where I was mindlessly floating in the void. I shot my head up threw the water and gasped for air. My lungs burned and I felt as weak. I was just sitting in a puddle at the edge of a forest. A bench was a few feet in front of me and before that, a drop. I got on my knees and stood up painfully. I never really knew how much effort that was when you weren’t in control. I popped on the bench and leaned forward so my chest was on my knees. I calmed down and wasn’t shaking as much nor gasping for air.
“I see you have forgotten about the fall young one,” a rumbling voice chuckled beside me.
“No dip Z, ” I huffed and looked to my left. An owl with a cat-like body stared at me in return. Z was a hybrid of a northern owl and some random cat breed. He had the face and body of a cat, yet the feathers, wings, and color of an owl.
“Ah, I missed you and your passive-aggressive remarks young one. It’s been too bland and dull here since you’ve left,” he looked down for a moment then back at me.
“Yet it’s also been peaceful for me since all the pestering and questions have ceased,” he teased and I poked him in the flank.
“Haha very funny Z,” I say looking forward,” but in all seriousness, why am I here? I left for a reason and I don’t want to be back,” I glanced at the hybrid,” no offense.” An exasperated sigh escaped his mouth and a look of annoyance and concern filled his yellow eyes.
“I know you didn’t like the people here Kai, but the Night realm still needs someone as its guide. You already know its seeping into the real world. You need to come back. Ignore the light kingdom or me, but please,” Z climbed into my lap and sat down facing up towards me, “Do it so people can live. I know you wish to not hold this burden, and I feel for you, but someone must do it. I wish it were me, but it can’t be. You must guide the Night realm away from the people who tempt it to stray.” Z jumped off my lap and walked towards the forest.
“Kai,” he said looking over his shoulder,” I will come in 3 days Kai, I hope you have an answer by then.” Z then ran into the forest without a sound.
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