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Skewed Destinies- The Flames of Origin

By Keko_the_Hybrid

Mystery / Adventure

A lot of time saved

Chapter 8

A lot of time saved

The green gaze of the Iselia professor of old locked onto Colloyd and his mouth set itself open just slightly in surprise. There was an aura of silence as Kraine and Gesea looked back and forth between the two. Colloyd quickly stood and offered his hand. "Professor!"

Kraine's attention shot to him in question, but he soon realised that the boy wasn't referring to him at all. His gaze was still firmly on the blue haired man as he helped him up. Yuan's shocked face disappeared and he cleared his throat. "Colloyd. How nice to see you. It has been quite some time."

"I know, I know!" Colloyd chirped. "It's great to see you as well!" He started to bombard the man with a variety of questions, including where had he left to, what had he been up to all this time, and what was he doing in Palmacosta. He stopped to breathe for a moment and wait for Yuan to talk when he seemed to realise that he had completely forgotten his manners. "Oh! Professor! These are my friends Gesea and Kraine."

Yuan's gaze lifted to the other two. Gesea looked up him with a somewhat curious expression, while Kraine found himself suddenly getting irritated at the seemingly constant smirk he had. He cleared his throat and decided a better introduction was in order. "I am the new professor at Iselia."

"I see," Yuan said with a nod. "Call me Yuan." He looked at Gesea.

"She is my sister," Kraine replied, his tone sounding a bit more warning than was probably necessary. Silence followed the short exchange between the two Iselia professors, making Colloyd shift uncomfortably and rack his brains for something to say. "Oh!" he smiled to Kraine and Gesea. "Professor Ka-Fai is an elf as well. Isn't that cool?" When neither party looked surprised to hear that, he sighed. "I suppose you all sensed it?"

"You could say that," Yuan said. "Now if you'll excuse me, I am sort of in a hurry."

"Oh really?" Colloyd looked more disappointed than the first time he'd discovered that puppies didn't stay cute forever. "I was sort of hoping that we could catch up." He leaned in closer. "I'm on the journey, you know."

"I am aware of that," Yuan nodded. "The news of the oracle spread far and wide like wildfire." He scratched his chin. "Hm, perhaps it would do some good to talk a little later on. I will meet you at the inn on the west side of town this evening." He pointed to his left.

"Hm..." Kraine mumbled. "I am not sure we will still be here at that-" He saw Colloyd's pleading look and let out a sigh. "Alright. We will see you later."

Yuan's smirk grew even broader at how easily Kraine had caved, but he said nothing and bid them farewell until later, heading for the what looked to be the town circle.

"Where should we go?" Colloyd asked, turning to Kraine.

"I would think it best to look for clues about the whereabouts of the next seal," the Professor imparted. "I happen to know that the Governer-General in this town has a particular book that may in fact come in handy. It is supposed to be the record of Spiritua's journey."

"The first Chosen?" Colloyd's eyes widened. "Would have been so nice to talk to her about all this."

"I'm afraid you are about eight hundred years too late, Col," Gesea commented.

"I know, I know.."

"Still, I wonder whether you would meet her when you become a full angel?" Her eyes glittered with excitement. "I should begin a list of things for you to ask her."

Gesea's musings were innocent enough, Kraine knew, but he also knew that if this conversation was allowed to go on long enough that Colloyd's masked pain would start to show. He decided to step in for his sake. "I'm sure Colloyd will have more than enough to think about without asking Spiritua a hundred questions.. despite how curious I may also be to the answers."

Gesea rolled her eyes and started ahead of the two men. Colloyd shot Kraine a quick glance of thanks before catching up to be by Gesea's side.

xxx

They reached the town circle to discover a bunch of armored soldiers surrounding a group of three. One youngster probably barely out of his teens was yelling. "We didn't do anything! Can you see a book on us?"

"I concur," the older male of the group nodded. "Whatever that Governer-General guy says is a lie."

"Don't play dumb!" one of the guards argued. "You pretended to be the group helping the Chosen and lied to Dorr to get the Book of Regeneration. We heard what you were whispering when you left!"

"We have no idea what you're talking about," a blonde girl around Colloyd's age spoke up.

"Sounds like they're in trouble," Colloyd said. He looked at Kraine. "Should we help them? They sound like they're innocent."

"I don't think that is a good idea," the Professor replied, looking to a set of double doors which had swung open from a large mansion just to the north of his position.

Two soldiers hurried out and to the group of soldiers who were still working at questioning the random group. "Governer-General Dorr said that you may release these hooligans," one of them said. "The book has been returned by a passer-by. These guys must have ditched it when they realised that they'd get caught quickly once we realised they weren't the Chosen."

"We did no such thing!" The older male exclaimed.

Kraine couldn't help but be a little amused. It seemed that this man was trying to be him. The group looked nothing like theirs. It wasn't too much of a surprise that most people thought that the Chosen was a woman however, considering the doctrine that the Church of Martel passed on to its followers. He led the group toward the double doors that led into the Governer-Generals office.

One of the guards escorted the fake group off in the direction that would lead them out of town. If Kilia, the daughter of the Governer-General hadn't been watching the event the whole time from the garden in the circle, he would have given them a few choice words for the smug grins each of them wore at being released. It was like they thought they had gotten away with it.

xxx

"Greetings travellers!" a cheerful voice greeted them as they stepped into the small office. It seemed quite small considering how large it had looked on the outside. Glancing around, Colloyd noticed a guard just like the others he had seen outside standing in front of a door to his left, and another guard standing in front of an open doorway which led down some stairs on his right. Directly in front of them was a large desk that angled off to the sides and around in a short arc, and behind the desk sat a man with blonde hair and robes of purple and blue. Next to him stood another man. He looked less distinguished than the blonde somehow, but he had a more sincere smile.

"We welcome travelers, as per the teachings of Martel. May the blessing of Martel be upon those who journey," the blonde haired man continued from his earlier greeting to them. "I am Governer-General Dorr."

Colloyd waved in greeting and approached him a bit closer. "Hi! How are you? I'm Colloyd and I'm the Chosen of Regeneration. We'd like to see the Book of Regeneration."

It felt good to say it proudly for once, since he knew they would have to tell them anyway to get a look at the book the Professor had declared he had. The shocked silence that followed his declaration made him snort a little and he had to try and hold back his laugh.

"Colloyd might not look like it," Kraine defended for the boy, "but it is most certainly true."

"We had been expecting the Chosen, but I'm afraid I cannot let the book out of my sight again without actual proof of your Chosen status," Dorr said. "We only recently had an incident."

Colloyd felt his cheeks burning, knowing the easiest way to show them. He hadn't taken his wings out since he had gotten them. The door to the exit creaked behind them and a little blonde haired girl stepped inside, walking around the group and behind the desk to hop onto a seat next to Dorr. She looked up at him. "Who are these people Daddy?"

"Oh, Kilia! You're just in time. The Chosen here is going to show us his wings!" It appeared the man had figured out the easiest way as well.

"Really?" Kilia squeaked, turning her head quickly to look at Colloyd, who had blushed an even deeper scarlet than before.

"Go on Col," Gesea said as she nudged him. "We don't have all day."

Colloyd stuttered, seeing everyone's eyes on him intently. He involuntarily took a step back, but lost his footing on a slightly raised floorboard to crash to his backside. As he winced at the pain, he heard gasps from the people in the room. It didn't take him long to figure out why. Somehow his long pink and blue wings had released from his back at the sudden surprise fall as though it were an involuntary action.

"Wow! Father, did you see?! His wings are beautiful!"

"They certainly are," Dorr concurred. He looked to his left at the kind man. "Please could you go into the back room and bring me the book, Neil?"

While they waited for Neil to bring the book out from the room past the door on the left, Colloyd closed his eyes and concentrated on making his large sparkling appendages disappear. The prickling sensation on the small of his back was strange, but it was the tickling sensation the ends of his wings gave him when they brushed against other inhabitants of the room that really irritated him. Dorr took a large tome from Neil and placed it on the desk in front of him. "I'm afraid I can't let it leave this town. However, I would be happy for you to take it somewhere in town so that you may study and take as many notes as you would like before returning it."

Agreeing, Colloyd took the book from the table and headed out with Gesea following. Kraine stood in his spot a moment longer, contemplating whether to lecture the Governer-General on how close he had come to losing a historical treasure to a bunch of thugs. He decided against it and silently turned on his heel to follow the duo back to the business district of town. They were due to meet the "Professor" later that evening, so he supposed it wouldn't hurt for them to book a room earlier in order to study the book. It had been a while since he had been given a safe opportunity to curl up with a book and he was quite looking forward to it.

xxx

Of course, his hopes of being able to read the book and take notes undisturbed were dashed the moment they paid for their rooms and got seated around a small wooden table in their small but cosy quarters. Colloyd had discovered upon opening the thing that it was written almost entirely in Kharlian, the language of the Angels.

"We will need to seek the help of the church in this city," Kraine proposed as he stood and expected the two teenagers to follow. "I know a little of the language myself, but they may be able to read it better than I since we are here." He paused with his hand on the doorknob and turned, wondering what was taking the children so long to follow.

"Actually," Colloyd started. "I can read it. Professor Ka-Fai taught me a while ago."

"He did, did he.." Kraine found himself crossing his arms. "I wonder how he came to know the language of the Angels?"

"I would assume that it may be the same way you did," Gesea replied. "You are both scholars after all."

"Your sister would be correct," came a smug voice from outside the door. Kraine found himself somehow irritated just at the sound of the smirk in the voice. Colloyd jumped up from his spot and stepped behind him to open the door. "Professor Ka-Fai!"

"Hello Chosen," Yuan said. "I apologise for eavesdropping but I noticed your names on the guest list and asked if I could come up to see you all. I was about to knock when I overheard."

"It's no problem!" Colloyd ushered him in and offered him a place to sit next to him, precisely where Kraine had been sitting.

Kraine sat down next to Gesea instead and watched as the blue haired "elf" slid the book across the table to himself and reached to a pocket in his cloak for a pair of thin reading glasses. "The Journey of Spiritua, by Spiritua," he read. Colloyd and Gesea laughed at the name but stopped when Kraine shot them a glare which meant something along the lines of "don't be disruptive." He might not be able to read it himself but he was definitely taking notes. He had already set up his red research notebook and pen in preparation.

Yuan spoke of raging flames in an ancient city deep within clouds of sand overlooking some kind of city and lighting darkness. Then he spoke about a place with pure, flowing water where it seemed like it might be flooding. Colloyd zoned out when he heard Professor Kraine scratching away at his notes as though his life depended on it, before zoning back in to hear about a pillar of the world and something about giving it praise. That one he knew for sure. That was the Tower of Salvation. Thinking about the giant tower that had appeared the day he had 'officially' become the Chosen filled him with both dread and happiness.

"I can't read any more than that," Yuan said as he gently closed the book. He slid it to Kraine, who had looked like he wanted to steal it away from right under his nose.

"I must admit, your knowledge in the field of Kharlian is impressive," Kraine said as he gently opened the book and looked over it himself. The pages were very fragile.

"Professor Ka-Fai taught me a lot when I was growing up," Colloyd said with a huge smile and a nod toward his former teacher.

Yuan shook his head and waved his hand about. "You do me too much praise, Chosen."

Colloyd glanced away uncomfortably. "Could you please stop calling me that?"

Yuan recoiled slightly. "I meant it only as a sign of respect. Forgive me." He waited for Colloyd to smile his usual happy smile before continuing. "I would also ask that you stop calling me by my last name and adopt a more relaxed tone."

"Y..you mean, call you Yuan?" Colloyd gaped as though it were the most shocking suggestion in the world.

Yuan nodded. "We are not in school anymore and you are not my student either." He tilted his head toward Kraine. "You have a new professor now."

Colloyd thought it over for a second and then nodded. "Alright!" He took a deep breath. "Yuan, tell me what you have been doing all these years since you left Iselia."

"I suppose I have just been wandering and exploring this world. It has many oddities that I couldn't help but be curious about," Yuan replied, his smirky countenance actually fading.

"Really? What did you find Prof-uh.. Yuan?" Colloyd laughed and scratched his head. "Going to have to get used to that."

xxx

The late afternoon grew into evening and the evening quickly grew into night. The hustle and bustle of the city dulled and the sound of crickets replaced it. Kraine, having grown tired of listening to the banter of Colloyd and Gesea with Yuan, had retreated outside and climbed a small hedge to the rooftop of the inn. He had been lost in thoughts while he absently counted the stars when the sound of the door of the inn alerted him. From the position of the moon, he figured it around midnight. Curious to see who was going on a moonlight stroll, he sat up and looked over the edge of the roof. A head of blue hair greeted his gaze before the man seemed to sense him and looked up. He smirked and waved. Kraine nodded in greeting, but apparently his curiosity was mistaken for something else because a short time later Yuan met him on the roof and sat down beside him. "Palmacosta isn't the easiest place to see the stars, is it."

"No," he replied to be polite. "The pollution of the city and the lights make it somewhat difficult."

"Still, beats the cold weather of Triet at night."

Kraine didn't reply, making Yuan tilt his head back in a groan. "Look. I think we might have gotten off on the wrong foot."

"Whatever gave you that impression?" Kraine asked. He hadn't meant it to come out sarcastic but the man just put him in that mood somehow. It reminded him of someone.

"I can assure you," Yuan continued without directly answering him, "your precious student will not be stolen by me. I have no intention of overstaying my welcome."

"My-" Kraine cleared his throat and paused to regain his composure. He decided to ignore the awfully sudden dig at his relationship with Colloyd. "In any case, the journey of the Chosen is not one a mere ex-teacher from a small school in Iselia and a scholar should be journeying on."

"Indeed," Yuan agreed. "However the same could be said for yourself and your sister, couldn't it?" He shifted a bit. "Are you just a professor or something more?"

Kraine responded with little more than a 'humph', making Yuan roll his eyes. He opened his mouth to say more when an ear shattering scream broke the calm silence of the night.

"No! What are you doing! Get away from her!"

The sound of a girl yelling from somewhere a bit further down the main street reached their ears. Kraine tensed and looked at Yuan, who looked to be wondering what to do. Curiosity and concern getting the best of them at the same time, they shimmied down the side of the inn and kept to the shadows as they made their way there. When they got close enough to see, both hid in around a corner in an alleyway to observe as though they had done it a million times before.

A brown haired woman around their age was being dragged out of the general store by a group of four Desians; a younger woman around the same age as Colloyd holding onto her and trying to pull her away from them.

"You're lucky that you're getting off so lightly!" one Desian said as he pulled the younger woman away from holding onto the older woman.

"Why aren't the city's militia doing anything to stop this?" Kraine wondered softly to Yuan. "This doesn't seem right."

"I heard that they were all having an overnight training session over at the Ossa Trail," the bluenette responded in kind.

"Hm.." Kraine put his hand to his sword, hidden under his cloak. "It is unwise to attack them. This town could very well become the next Iselia if we are rash."

"I agree," Yuan nodded, sounding as unsure as Kraine felt. Both stood quietly and continued to watch the scene unfold.

"Cacao Mocha, you are under arrest and due to be executed at o-six-hundred hours for defying the wishes of the great Lord Magnius and refusing to provide us with supplies." The Desian talking turned to the Desian on his right. "Go and oversee the gallows being built in the town circle. We'll take care of her." The Desian gave a silent nod and left them.

"No! Please! Stop! Mum!" the girl cried as the Desians made to drag Cacao toward the edge of town and presumably to a human ranch nearby. Kraine glanced at Yuan and caught his eyes. Both men shared the gaze, silently egging each other to be the one to move first and neither wanting the blame of the aftermath on their hands.

"Stop!" yelled a new voice in the commotion, making both snap their heads in the direction Cacao had slowly been heading toward in the custody of the Desians. There a red-clad boy stood, illuminated by the street lamp directly above him and with his arms stretching out far from his sides to block their way. In one hand he spun a chakram, while in the other he gripped the hilt of his sword.

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