The Runaway Magician and the Lost Prince

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Chapter 21

Serena hadn’t noticed when Kakane left the library, and she kind of felt bad for abandoning him to read those books. Even so, she couldn’t help it! Those texts were full of super helpful information. With Mira’s help, Serena edited REAN’s blueprints to make it better suited for combat. It added some weight onto it, but Serena believed that for the better. Oh, if she got her hands on materials the original Atlantean puppets were made of, REAN would be near perfect! It would be a dream come true. But Serena’s main concern, reprogramming REAN without the Laws of Puppetry, was something still out of her reach. To do that, she and Mira would need to go to Atlantis and hopefully retrieve the necessary documents.

But it was getting dark, so Serena resigned to leave the rest of the research for tomorrow. Mira had advised against pulling an all-nighter; after all, Serena had an abundance of time on her hands. Staying up late wouldn’t do her or anyone else any good. After taking a bath and changing into the plainest nightwear she could find, she decided to find and make some light talk with Kakane before going to sleep.

She found him leaning over the railing of a balcony near their rooms. His hood was down, and his horns were gone. He must have fixed that strange crystal of his, but Serena decided against asking him about it. It wasn’t any of her business, after all. As Serena got closer to him, she realized he was looking at the stars. They were reflected in his ruby-red eyes, making it appear he had a crimson galaxy in his orbs. There was something sad and dismal about his appearance, but Serena couldn’t quite place her finger on it.

“Stargazing?” she asked, walking up next to him. She turned to the sky and blinked, breaking into a serene, small smile. “I recognize these constellations. See, to the right, that’s the Mother Gaia, and if you look a little above that, there’s Creator Ouranos. They’re so similar but so different from how they looked in Zetreum Village.”

“Yeah.” Kakane’s voice was filled with nostalgia, but also with deep and sorrowful despair. “The sky remains the same for everyone, no matter where they are in the world.”

“That is true.” Serena smiled. Hesitating a bit, she said, “Look, I can tell you’re uncomfortable, so if there’s anything I can help you with𑁋”

“I’m fine,” Kakane said quickly. “It’s just…” He sighed and began rubbing his scar. “Being here… Reminds me of the time before I was always on the run.”

“Did you used to live in a castle similar to this one?” He hesitated before answering.

“Yeah… It was a castle, and they’re similar, but not the same. I don’t remember too much, but it was tall. Really tall. It was a huge spire that reached up into the clouds in the sky, with people coming and going all the time. It was made of stone. I think it was carved from a mountain. The entire palace was draped in red and decorated in gold.”

“It sounds like a wonderful place,” Serena said. Kakane wasn’t sure if she was being serious; if she believed him or not. Perhaps she was only saying that to make him feel better. Not that he really cared. “It seems like you had a happy childhood,” she added. Kakane laughed hollowly.

“Not really… Not at all.”

“Oh…”

“Don’t worry, I’m over it. Everything that was gone will return, mark my words.” Serena smiled.

“I’m sure you can make it happen. I’ll support you along the way. You’ve done so much for me… If not for you, I wouldn’t be standing right here. I’d be married to a man I hated instead. Let me return the favor, Kakane.” He went still for a moment before smiling.

“Yeah… Thank you, Serena.”

Kakane closed his eyes and let the cool night air blow through his head. It felt nice and refreshing, stirring the memories of his muddled head. His memories from before the age of six he had somehow forgotten after that day. As such, there weren’t many happy recollections Kakane had of his childhood. Yet one was returning now.

He was riding on the back of a huge creature as it flew through the night sky. His mother held him securely in her lap, and his father was there too. His parents were holding hands and watching in amusement as he whooped and laughed, wind rushing through his messy black hair. He remembered them leaning their heads together and touching foreheads as he tried standing up. His mother scolded him for that.

Opening his eyes, Kakane looked back at the sky. Yes, this sky was the same as the one on that lonely, joyful, forgotten night. Even the constellations were the same. Creator Ouranos and Mother Gaia. He did remember his father pointing them out to him and showing him how to find them again.

“You see? See how they’re embracing? And in between them, on certain nights, their child returns to them from the dead. And then they’re one big happy family, just like us. If, one day, you somehow get separated from your mother and me, look for Gaia and Ouranos in the sky. They will keep you company and watch over you so you won’t be alone until we find you. For just one night, they’ll be your mommy and daddy and keep you safe. Promise me? Good! I love you, my son, Kakane.”

What a happy memory… How had he forgotten this? Kakane looked back up to the sky, observing the stars that made up the faces of Gaia and Ouranos as if to search for something of his parents within them. Kakane knew his parents were never going to find him. Yet somehow, he didn’t feel that alone. From the eyes of Gaia and Ouranos, his mother and father were watching him.

Memories were all Kakane had of his family now, so he supposed he might as well cherish every one he had. The good and the bad. The memories filled with laughter and the memories filled with screaming. One would bring faint but bittersweet, nostalgic happiness, and the other would fuel his hatred.

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