The Story Continues

To Have No Fear

Lynus was just about to leave the inn on an errand when the entrance doors were forcibly thrown open. He jumped back in surprise, his hands latching onto the strap of his bag on pure reflex. He, however, became concerned when he immediately recognised the ones standing before him.

The mighty and talented Ronin Shen was the one to have thrown open the doors. Or rather, kicked open the doors in his haste. He could not have pushed open the doors any other way. As sitting perched in his arms, shivering and drenched in water, was their meek but powerful Alchemist, Magnus.

"What happened?" Lynus asked as he rushed over to them, immediately falling into the now rather famous 'mother-hen- mode.

"Magnus fell through the ice on the 12th floor," Shen answered in his usual blunt manner as he moved further into the inn, no doubt heading to the room he shared with Magnus at the inn.

Of course, Lynus followed. His insatiable need to know if Magnus was healthy overpowered every other aspect of his personality.

Shen carried Magnus all the way to their room, uncaring that there were other explorers and adventurers milling about. He ignored them all, even the way Magnus seemed to be blushing so deeply from embarrassment.

Placing Magnus on his feet, Magnus squeaked out an apology before wrapping his arms around his body, unsuccessfully supressing his shivering. Shen muttered something about getting some tea before abruptly leaving the room. Lynus wasn't surprised and immediately began to fuss over Magnus.

After helping the shivering blond out of his wet and still icy clothes and into something warmer, Lynus proceeded to gently towel the ice and water from Magnus' blond hair, noting with a sense of relief that he wasn't shivering anymore. He was sitting on a chair in front of him, allowing him better access to drying his hair.

"Magnus? Can I ask you something?" Lynus asked.

"Ah…Yes," Magnus murmured, not from trepidation, like he had done so many times before, but from curiosity. He turned his head to look up at Lynus, blinking his blue eyes in question.

"I was just wondering," Lynus said as he smiled gently down at him. "How did you and Shen come to meet?"

"W-well…" Magnus whispered before swallowing thickly as his eyes become somewhat hazy as he recalled the memories.

… … … … …

Magnus staggered into a small and empty back alleyway of Lagaard. A sob hitched into his throat as he fells against a dirt encrusted wall. Slowly, his body slid down the wall until he fell to the ground. He pulled his to his chest and buried his face into his knees.

"Keep away from him. He's dangerous!"

"He almost burnt down the entire building!"

"What kind of alchemist can't control his own powers?"

"An alchemist who can't use magic is more than useless!"

"I…" Magnus whimpered as he clutched his head, pulling his knees tighter against his chest. "I'm not useless."

It…It was an accident. That girl…that other alchemist startled him. He was helping the chef with preparation of food. He was to ensure that the fire's temperature was stable, was constant. He was doing that. He could do that.

But…But that female alchemist. She…hated him. They were from the same village, but she hated him. He didn't know why. He never did anything. He…wasn't the strongest. He wasn't as talented as her…But…

"Call yourself an alchemist?" she sneered at him. "You can hardly hold a flame. Why don't you do something useful, like becoming a dishwasher? No one would want a useless alchemist like you on their guide."

He…lost concentration. The flame grew too quickly. He panicked. He didn't know what to do.

He didn't mean it. He didn't mean it.

"I'm sorry," Magnus whispered. "I'm sorry."

A hand gently, but suddenly, was placed upon his head.

Magnus immediately stiffened, his eyes becoming wide in utter surprise. Slowly, he raised his head to peer up through the strands of his blond hair. The hand removed upon his head, fingers softly slipping through his hair.

A shadow fell over him. A man. A Ronin.

"You need training," the ronin said, his voice stoic and fearsome, yet there was a sense of understanding. Hidden just beneath the surface. "That is all. We all need training."

Magnus tried to speak, to ask him why? Why wasn't he afraid? Did he not hear what the others speak of him? He was uncontrollable. His powers were uncontrollable. Why?

Why?

"Come," Shen said as he pushed himself to his feet to stand tall and proud. "You will become a part of my guild."

He then turned his back and began to walk away. And Magnus pushed himself to his feet. Almost as though he was being pulled by some unseen force. Although his shoulders were hunched, his eyes still unable to blink, his voice still unable to speak, he…

He followed Shen.

He stayed behind him, following Shen, matching his every step. The further they walked, the more that Mangus came to realise – Shen wasn't afraid of him. He, a Ronin, had his back to him, his arms by his sides, making no attempt to reach for his katana. He also didn't care that others were whispering behind their hands, all staring at them.

A sharp glare from his dark eyes was enough to shut everyone up.

"You have nothing that would make me afraid," Shen suddenly said. "And you have nothing to fear."

For some reason…Magnus believed him.

Shen…Shen was the first person who wasn't afraid of him.

And he was soon to learn that he wasn't the only one…

… … … … …

Magnus inwardly flailed, making a few squeaky noises of awkwardness and uncertainty. The reason for this was that Lynus had hugged him the second he finished answering his question. He had his arms around his neck as he pressed his face into his shoulder. And he was crying.

"I'm sorry," Magnus instinctively apologised.

But Lynus shook his head as he pulled back, revealing tears lining his lashes. "He's right," he said, referring to Shen. "You don't have to be afraid of your powers anymore."

A soft, beautiful smile appeared on Magnus. And it was a smile of gratitude.

"T-thank you."

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