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Price of a Soul (Excerpt)

By Ranali All Rights Reserved ©

Romance / Fantasy

Chapter 6

Dinnertime was tense for Canaan. Recognizing that she would soon have to spill her own recently-discovered secrets to someone who should be a stranger, not to mention knowing Syrah's past without her knowledge, was eating a hole in her stomach. The girl sitting across from her had no such issues, on the other hand; she talked boisterously about the rising prices of bell peppers and a sale on imported bread.

Her worrying was disrupted when Syrah mentioned meeting a white-haired boy on her way home. While saying nothing, she immediately became alert as Syrah went on about saving him from the authorities. While it wasn't like Sei to steal, Canaan was reminded of the abruptness of him leaving; he didnt have time to pack food and clothes like she had. She looked down at the plate she'd been picking. I wonder what he's doing now, she thought to herself.

"Are you alright?" She broke from her thoughts again to see bright green eyes staring curiously at her. The Witch's mind went blank for a moment. She shook her head, wide-eyed as she broke from her rapture. "I'm fine," she said simply, her voice breaking slightly as she attempted to keep her cool. Syrah smiled mirthfully, biting back a giggle, then went on to tell a different story. Her grandfather smiled the entire time, but said little.

Dinner ended, dishes were done, and Canaan hurried to her room, a curious blonde following closely behind. "You really don't give up, do you?" Canaan asked, acknowledging her only upon reaching her door. Syrah raised her head and peered haughtily at her from half-lidded eyes. "It's not like you can turn me away," she pointed out with a smirk, "So why would I?"

Fighting the urge to roll her eyes, she sends an irritated look to the blonde. Canaan was the taller of the two by a few inches, but she had been tall for her age for a half a decade now; she wouldn't be surprised if the girl in front of her was actually a woman. With a resigned sigh, she opened the path for the shorter one, who walked in with a confident skip in her step. 

For a moment, the white-haired teen found it immature; then she remembered that not even a day ago, she behaved the same way daily. Even Sei wasn't as antisocial as he was after the previous night. How quickly people can change, she marveled, even me.

Syrah sat on her bed, and after patting beside her, folded her hands innocently upon her lap. Canaan sat beside her, slouched over fidgeting fingers. "So," Syrah broke the ice, leaning in to force eye contact. "You can do magic."

"Yes, obviously," Canaan snapped.

"How do you do it?" She asked excitedly, letting her head fall in Canaan's lap. "Teach me your ways." 

The white-haired girl simply kicked her off. "Yeah, right. Why would you want to anyway?"

"For convenience," the blonde said simply, relaxing in her spot. What a strange woman; there's no way she's older than me.

"You'd get discovered and start another Witch Hunt," Canaan said astutely. 

The blond sat up at that. "What are you talking about?" She asked incredulously. 

Canaan turned to her, and within the span of hours, told her the story of her people as she had been told by her parents growing up; She spoke of the Sun and Moon, of their creations, of the Ryuuko's pride and their defeat because of it, and then, for one story begets another, she told of the demon Xia-Lin, the curse put upon her and her brother, and their separate quests for answers and freedom. By the time she was done, Syrah's mood had plummeted.

"What will you do?" She asked as Canaan finished her tale.

"I'm on my way to the Capital; There must be some knowledge on the demon in the Hall of Records." The blonde picked up her head at that.

"You're probably right; The Hall of Records has a copy of every book ever published. But not just anyone is able to flip through its tomes."

"I will find a way," Canaan said, determination in every word. 

Syrah looked at her in silence a moment, then said, "I will help you. I know someone that can get us inside. Once we're in, finding the book will be easy."

Canaan shook her head. "No way. This is dangerous, there's no way I can involve you."

"Then why even tell me about it?" she fumed.

 Canaan looked down, avoiding your gaze. "Your grandfather told me yours; your story, that is."

"Then you know I'll never leave this place alone. Please, take me with you! I'll get you in and then we can go our separate ways. Deal?"

Canaan sighed in resignation. It would be harder getting in on her own, this is true; though she doubted the blonde actually had any connections. "We leave before dawn. Be prepared," she said simply.

 Syrah squealed in suppressed joy, flinging herself upon the Witch. "Oh, thank you! I'll hurry and pack some things," she sang, then dashed out the door before the taller girl could change her mind. 

Canaan flopped onto the bed with an exhausted sigh. That girl has way too much energy...

Sei hurried out the west gate of Sentinel, carefully to not rouse suspicion. He hadn't thought to stay home long enough to gather supplies, and his pride refused him the possibility of sneaking back in or stealing from Clary before starting out, as well; Stealing from merchants on a busy strip was a different story though.

 After being rescued by that nosy blonde, he had stashed the food away and went back to get more, this time making sure he wasn't caught. He even managed to swipe a large bag to put his supplies in; he'd repay the town later, in the Afterlife if need be. But first, he had to be rid of the curse. It wasn't until the city was behind him that he began to relax.

He figured Canaan would have reached Sentinel by now, but the older twin couldn't guess where she'd go next. Canaan was generally considered to think with her heart more than her head, but what would she do, wander the land until she found the demon? And what then? Plead for her life? She might search for a weapon strong enough to kill Xia-Lin first, as Sei was, but he doubted she had any leads.

 I wonder what she'll do now, He thought to himself, but did not try analyzing his sister any more than that.

Instead he turned his focus to his goal; Durandal, the Sun's Judgement, a blade made specifically to destroy those with evil hearts. It is a blade rumored to be housed in the ruins of a fallen kingdom; at least, according to Hunter's history books. Little is documented on the ruins, as there are dangerous creatures lurking about it; Sei wouldn't doubt the possibility of a Ryuuko refugee camp hidden away in the heart of the ruins. 

He did hold his doubts on whether or not the legendary sword actually existed; but something in his gut told him he would have to try.

"It's funny," he said to the sky, "It used to be the other way around, isn't that so? You would follow your gut, and I would follow hard evidence. How quickly I've changed. Have you changed too, I wonder? Can we ever go back to the way things were? ...Even if we somehow get through this, break the curse...I don't think we'll ever be the same.

"I met someone today that was interesting. You probably would have liked her; she reminded me so much of you. Maybe you've already met? Maybe you made friends of your own? If you do make friends, or even fall in love, hold on to that person; Or at least, hold onto that love.

"And whatever you do...Don't follow me."

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