Destiny - Book One in The Bomcard Trilogy

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Chapter Seven - Training Time

As Charles carried Lucas and Elizabeth out of his hut the next morning, other members of the giant village turned to stare at their new visitors in curiosity. Lucas felt embarrassed as they continued to stare in suspicion at the small pair, but also in awe. He had not seen any of this when he first arrived as he was unconscious. It was a beautiful land, the large homes stretching out as wide and as far as he could see. In the middle of the village was a very large table which Lucas realised the giants could all sit around, reminding him of the centaurs own.

Charles carried them past his village to a smaller field where finally he placed them down.

There were small trees nearby, the only place with shade. The trees, though just taller than Charles, were still as large as the trees in the Darkness Forest for Lucas and Elizabeth. A small crystal water lake was nearby, a small island of land floating in the middle. Charles walked over to the trees and sat down. The other two followed and sat down with him, the shade a cooling refreshment from the burning sun.

‘So, what's the plan?' Lucas asked his new friend.

‘You shall train in your power,' Charles answered, smiling down towards them. ‘You will have to tell me what powers you have encountered and mastered. Then we shall continue.'

‘Well, I have used fire and I think I have control over most of it.'

Charles turned around and ripped off a branch from the tree behind him. He held it out in front of him, turned to Lucas and instructed, ‘Light it, but do not burn it.'

Lucas turned to the branch and stared, concentrating like Elizabeth had taught him. Staring at the branch, he felt the power move through him and he held out his hand, feeling the fire reach out and hit the branch. It lit up the branch, but he could not stop it as the branch burnt to a crisp in Charles's hand. He reached up and took another one off the tree.

Charles only smiled warmly at him, instructing, ‘This time, picture it as someone who you would not want to harm. Picture it as a loved one. Concentrate on surrounding them by flames, like the flames are protecting them from danger.'

Lucas tried concentrating, but he did not know which person to picture. Linda? Elizabeth? Tom? Lucy? He pictured them one after the other while holding out his hand and this time, a blue flame erupted around the branch. It burned there, but it did not heat or damage the branch. As the blue flames flickered high above the branch, Charles stared proudly at Lucas.

‘Good. Now, control it. Make it increase and decrease in size.'

Lucas pictured it growing bigger. He continued to stare at it as he imagined the flames surrounding Elizabeth. Nothing happened. Move, he told the flames, move up Charles's arm. He did not think it would happen at first, but then it did. The flames moved up Charles's arm, though it did not seem to burn him as it crept towards his shoulder. Now shrink, Lucas thought to himself. As the words echoed in his mind, his arm still outstretched, the flames began to die down.

I can talk to it, Lucas thought. That is how I control it. He looked up to Charles and then at the flame, slowly extinguishing it.

Charles looked down at him and smiled. ‘Good. Now, I want to see a fireball. Walk a few paces away, then turn and hit the branch.'

Lucas stood and walked away, counting ten steps before turning. He frowned when he realised he would need to go back further than that, so he counted out twenty steps and turned. Charles smiled and held out his hand high, the branch blowing in the light breeze.

Wow, that is high for me, Lucas thought to himself. He stared at the branch and waited. As he closed his eyes, he could feel the wind blowing by him from his left. Opening his eyes, he aimed towards the branch and, concentrating with the wind blowing, threw a fireball at the branch. It hit dead on, and the branch burned.

‘That was very good, Lucas,' Charles spoke loudly. He grabbed another branch and held it out again. ‘Now, throw another fireball, but this time not the one you just used. Use the blue fire. From now on, we will call it the protective flame. The orange fire we will call the burning flame. Throw the protective fireball at the branch. I don't want it burned.'

‘Can I ask why?!' Lucas yelled out. He could hear Charles quite clearly, but he was too far away to just speak normally.

‘What happens if you wish to protect someone from a distance? You will need to learn how to throw the protection fire, no matter how far away you are.'

Lucas stared at the branch. He once again pictured it as someone and then thought to himself that he had to protect the branch. Do not burn it, he thought to himself, protect it. Opening his eyes, he threw the blue fireball and it hit its intended target. The blue flames surrounded the branch and Charles smiled at him. ‘Very good. Come back.'

Lucas ran over to them when Charles asked him, ‘Now, your next power is?'

‘Ah …' Lucas went silent as his mind went blank.

‘You made those harpies go flying back. I think you have telekinesis,' Elizabeth reminded him.

‘Oh yeah,' he mumbled, more to himself than to the other two. He had not given that fight any second thought since it happened.

‘Then we work with that,' Charles replied. He nodded to Elizabeth. ‘Near the lake, grab three rocks of different sizes.' She did as he asked and came back with the three rocks. ‘Now, place them a fair distance away from one another and from Lucas.' Once again, she did as he asked her.

Turning to Lucas, Charles commanded, ‘Now, Lucas, you will move the rocks. Start with the small. Just try to raise it off the ground, just a little. Let it hover.'

Lucas stared at the rock. Move, he thought. It did not budge. He continued to try to concentrate but could feel himself getting frustrated. He tried to remember what happened when the harpies attacked. He pictured it moving, and it still did not budge. He tried harder and harder and he felt the power in him wanting to explode out. He imagined it moving, lifting higher and higher. Just move! He yelled to himself in his head. He could feel his eyes burning hot. Elizabeth dropped her mouth in shock as Lucas' eyes changed as red as blood, and she could feel them burning into her mind. As he shut his eyes, concentrating on moving the rock, something else they had not expected to move did instead.

Charles and Elizabeth both gasped in astonishment as Lucas opened his eyes and saw nothing but blue, clear sky. He looked down and saw with shock that he was no longer touching the ground. He was at the same level as Charles's face. He had not made the rock float; he had made himself float. As he gasped, he lost his concentration and fell. Charles's hand shot out, catching him in his hand and he placed him on the ground. Elizabeth ran over to him.

‘Lucas! You were floating! How did you do that?' she asked with amazement in her voice.

‘I don't … I don't know.' He was more shocked than she was.

Charles smiled. ‘You were hovering in the air. It was incredible. I asked you to levitate rocks, not yourself.'

‘Gee, sorry,' Lucas said, rolling his eyes. ‘Can I try it again? The rocks, I mean?'

‘You shall. First I want you to learn to block out thoughts.'

‘Why are we jumping lessons?'

‘The telekinesis lesson was supposed to be a beginner lesson. We have obviously graduated to advance. I only wanted to see what you could do.'

Lucas smiled. ‘Then let's continue, I guess.'

Charles returned the smile. ‘Elizabeth, I need your assistance again.'

Elizabeth walked over as Charles looked at her and asked, ‘Can you please sit down? I need you to think in your mind, ask Lucas questions or talk to him instead. Lucas, you will then try to block it out. Ignore her thoughts.'

They sat down facing each other and stared at each other in silence. Lucas could not help smiling at Elizabeth as she sat down, but she only frowned in reply. After a while, Lucas's own smile disappeared. He was getting a little frustrated.

‘Stop looking like you are pissed off.'

He smiled again.

She stared at him with a slight smile creeping onto her face as she asked, ‘You can hear me?'

‘I can now,’ he nodded in reply.

She looked surprised. ‘I can hear you too.'

‘Am I doing something wrong?' Lucas asked her, now looking at her surprised. ‘Are you not supposed to be able to hear me?'

‘No. I mean, I thought only when … when you are a telepath yourself.'

‘Do you think it is me?'

‘I do not know. She smiled at him, reassuring him everything was alright. ‘I like it though. It is like a private conversation. Now you have to block me out.'

‘How?'

‘I do not know. How about this: What I will do is I will count down from a hundred. By the time I reach zero, I do not want you to be able to hear me.'

‘Ok, I'll try.'

‘One hundred, ninety-nine, ninety-eight, ninety-seven, ninety-six, ninety-five, ninety-four …'

Lucas closed his eyes as he tried to block her voice out. The only problem was that he wanted to continue listening to her. He did not want to stop. Opening his eyes, he could see her sitting in front of him, her face a blank canvas.

‘Eighty-five, eighty-four, eighty-three, eighty-two, eighty-one, eighty …'

He closed his eyes and tried his hardest. He tried thinking of something else, his mind flashing a hundred different images, but he always tuned back in. He could not help but see how long had past but more importantly, if he could still hear her.

‘Sixty, fifty-nine, fifty-eight, fifty-seven, fifty-six …'

Maybe if he … well, it works with fire, he thought to himself. Stop working, he thought. Stop listening and tune her out.

‘Forty-seven, forty-six, forty-five, forty-four, forty-three …'

Tune her out … tune her out …

Then there was silence. He looked at her and noticed she was still counting in her head, her face still blank but determined. He thought he would try listening again.

‘Thirty-three, thirty-two, thirty-one, thirty …'

Smiling, he tried tuning her out again and it worked. After a few seconds, he listened in again.

‘Twenty-one, twenty, nineteen …'

‘You can stop now. I can control it,' Lucas told her.

‘Amazing, only eighty seconds,' she replied with a smile.

‘Very good work, Lucas. Now let us try the rocks again.' Charles smiled. He leaned down towards the pair and added, ‘Don't levitate.'

Lucas and Elizabeth stood up and walked over, sitting down near the rocks again. As he stared at the small rocks, he wished to himself that he could control it. He did not want to float yet. First move the rocks.

As he stared at the rocks, he concentrated on lifting the middle rock. As he continued to stare at it, it began to wobble softly. Lift up in the air, he thought. Not me, the rock. Move, he thought to himself and as he commanded, it did so. As soon as it was up in the air though, it fell down.

‘Nice work, Lucas,' Elizabeth cheered.

He moved it again and this time, the rock floated there, spinning in a slow circle. He held out his hand and the rock moved towards him. As it sat in his hand, he looked at the other two left. He sent one rock each to both Elizabeth and Charles who both beamed proudly at him.

‘Very good, Lucas. Now, we make it a little harder,' Charles said with a slight, mischievous smile.

* * *

Lucas looked up and noticed the sun was slowly setting. He was happier than he had been last night. He had learned how to move the rocks. He was a fast learner after all. He could now start to move bigger objects but not too big. Though he had not fully mastered his telekinetic power, he had managed to learn how to levitate. Now, he was trying to move from side to side.

Thanks to his training, he was also now capable of blocking out other people's thoughts. He could not pay attention to one separately. He had tried it when he got back to the village. As they got back to Charles's house, he was reminded by Charles not to show any powers in the village.

‘It is not that we do not trust you, but we are peaceful,' the giant instructed Lucas as he walked through the village, his new friends resting in his palm. ‘By showing your powers, you can upset people. They may think they are in danger. Also, do not use your telepathy here, not until you can learn full control. Even then, you should only use it when you have to.'

When they were safely inside with the curtains drawn shut, the small humans walked over to the table. Lucas stopped and grabbed Elizabeth around the waist.

‘What are you …?' she began in confusion.

‘Trust me,' he smiled warmly.

She grabbed onto his waist and in the next instant, they were floating up the table leg towards the top. The moment he was level to the top of the table, he moved to his side and landed perfectly. She smiled and looked at him as he smiled back. They continued to hold each other in silence until they realised Charles was watching, his head in his arms and leaning on the table, his big blue eyes watching them patiently.

‘Please, don't stop on my behalf,' the giant whispered.

They both let go of the other in an instant, both seemly embarrassed, as they took a step away from one another.

‘I'm going to head off to bed,' she whispered, wrapping her arms around herself. ‘Goodnight.'

Elizabeth walked over to her makeshift bed and lay down. That morning, Charles had ripped the hanky in two so now they had a bed each. Within a few moments, she was asleep, Lucas continuing to watch her from where he stood.

‘You should tell her, Lucas.'

Lucas turned to look at Charles who was staring directly at him. His kind eyes were now filled with concern.

‘You should tell her,' he repeated.

‘Tell her what?'

‘How you feel.'

‘Yeah, sure. It's that easy,' he mumbled, rolling his eyes.

Charles sat back in the chair as Lucas floated up and sat on his shoulder.

‘You seem to be getting that under control.'

‘Yeah, it gets easier. I do not have to think about moving things like fire or rocks that much anymore. Sometimes, I just command things to happen. Now, most happen when I want it to. Sometimes I do not even think about doing it.' After a moment of silence, Lucas turned to Charles and asked, ‘Can I ask a q?'

‘A q?'

‘A question. You will learn my slang.'

With a soft chuckle, Charles replied, ‘You may.'

‘Why do you think I'm adapting this quickly? I mean, learning complete control in only a few hours. I don't think it makes sense. It kind of frightens me.'

Charles frowned as he began to think of the answer to his question. Sighing, he answered, ‘It might be due to your elf heritage.'

‘What do you mean?'

‘Well, when elves come of age, they automatically learn their fighting skills. Not all of them will use it and those who do not will forget how to after the first year, but those who embrace it will remember for life.

‘Your powers come from your elf side as no pure human can create an offspring with magic abilities. Maybe the same automatic learning system in you is actually helping you learn control over your powers. You adapt quickly, as you would if you were training with your people. Although only one lesson, for your mind it is like you have taken five.'

‘So, I learn quicker than others?'

‘I believe so.'

‘Is that why we moved on from my telekinesis to telepathy?'

‘No,' Charles replied as he shook his head. ‘I did that because both telepathy and telekinesis are mind controlled abilities. I chose to teach you how to use your telepathy first as that is the easier of the two, so that when the time came, telekinesis would not be that difficult.'

They sat there for a few minutes in silence, watching Elizabeth sleep.

‘She cares as well,' Charles said, breaking the silence.

‘Yeah, but there is something she is not telling me. I just know, but it is … the thing is I do not want to read minds. It hurts my head when I do and it is an invasion of privacy anyway. I want her to tell me, not to hear it by accident, or from someone else.'

‘When she is ready, she will tell you. If she does not want you to know, it is best to respect her decision.'

‘Yeah. I guess I would want the same.'

‘There is nothing you are not telling her?'

‘No. I have told her everything. She knows all about my life before here and has been with me all the steps of my journey in Bomcard. I have no other secrets.'

Charles looked at him as Lucas's face filled with sadness.

‘What is it?' Charles asked.

‘I know whatever she hasn't told me. It's important. I can't help but feel that it will have serious repercussions.'

‘How do you know that? What do you mean?'

‘I don't know how I know; I just know. Kind of like my dreams. She mentioned having fled from her father. Some arranged marriage. It will come back to haunt her. I just know it will.'

‘Your dreams?' the giant asked.

‘I think I can see the future. I saw a giant battle …' Lucas spoke, stopping himself and smiling before adding, ‘No pun intended.'

‘None taken,' Charles smiled back in reply

‘It was massive. There were dragons and goblins and I think those creatures you all call Stalkers.'

‘You have seen the Stalkers? That is impossible. They are extinct.'

‘It was just a dream … except, well, Elizabeth was there. My mother was there too, even though I do not remember her … and I think you were there as well. Except not just you. Other giants were there too.'

‘We giants do not fight.'

‘You were fighting each other.' Lucas looked at him, sadness and concern in his eyes.

Charles turned to him with the same look before confusion filled his face. ‘I do not understand.'

‘You were fighting other giants. I think … I think some were on the bad side. You were fighting the trees as well. The fairies were fighting too.'

‘And you believe this could happen?'

Lucas frowned. ‘I believe it could. How else could I see both you and Elizabeth and picture you exactly how you look if I have never seen you before. How much do you want to bet when I meet my mother, she will look exactly how I saw her, making it a three-for-three?'

Charles turned away from him. He was quiet for a moment before he whispered, ‘If that is true …' He looked back at Lucas as he asked, ‘Have you noticed any of the other giants here in the valley as ones from your dreams? I mean the ones we fight.'

‘No. You all dress … warm. Not warm as in body heat. Warm as in warm-hearted. You dress how you are. These giants were … well, let us just say they frightened me. They wore dark clothes and had scars on their faces. They did not look human friendly.'

‘A long time ago, before the First Great War, some of our kind rebelled,' Charles began.

Lucas turned to him as he realised he was about to hear an important story. ‘Their leader, Edward, was next in line as village elder. He believed that the giants had the right to control the land for themselves. He wished to enslave the humans and other magical folk, reigning over them all. Edward attempted to gain followers and he succeeded in more numbers than we had hoped.

‘These giants decided that if we did not follow them, we were against them, and an epic battle began. In the end, with the assistance of our friends on the outside, we were able to lock them away, for all of eternity.'

‘You locked them away? Where and why?'

‘We do not kill our own kind, no matter the reason. I do not know where they were sealed away. I do, however, know that they are locked away near where Lucifer lays.'

Lucas looked at him, shocked. ‘You locked them away with Lucifer? Are you all mental?'

Charles looked at him, confused. ‘I am not mental.'

‘Has it ever occurred to anyone here that if Barback opens Lucifer's chamber, he can also get to the Evil Giants?'

‘Yes, I guess he could get to … um, the Evil Giants?'

‘Work with me.'

‘Evil Giants it is,' Charles replied, nodding sadly.

‘What happens if they are free? You can't just sit back, can you?'

Charles looked at him sadly, his smile fading. ‘No, we cannot.'

Lucas looked at Elizabeth, ‘If the battle happens, do you believe it will be bad?'

‘Just having us giants fight is disastrous. We are very large. We can cause massive damage, no matter the battlefield. It is why our homes are now enchanted to hold us all in. To prevent what happened in the past.'

‘Do you think many people - magic folk and humans, I mean - will die?'

Charles was quiet for a few minutes before replying. ‘There are always casualties in war.'

Lucas looked at Elizabeth sadly. ‘Is it possible to stop a premonition?'

‘Sometimes, yes,' Charles nodded in reply. ‘However, you should remember that by trying to stop something from happening, you may in fact set in motion the chain of events that will lead to the premonition coming true.'

‘So, by trying to stop this …'

‘You could possibly start it.'

Lucas frowned. He knew that but did not want to believe it until he heard someone else say it.

‘I don't want to be the one who … who starts a war.'

‘The war will eventually happen. It is inevitable.'

‘What do you mean?' Lucas asked in confusion.

‘Lord Barback is already frustrated with us magical folk. He does not like how we exist. He wishes to exterminate us so no one will be strong enough to stop him. As far as we know, he has no idea you are not fully human. He might believe you can only fight him on a physical scale, not a magical scale.'

‘What if I flee home? Maybe then nothing will happen.' He turned to Elizabeth. ‘Maybe no one will die.'

‘It is your destiny to save our land,' Charles replied, turning to face him in sadness. ‘You cannot run from destiny. By fleeing back to New York, you may in fact cause your dream to take place.'

‘And it might not. It might prevent it.'

Charles frowned at him and shrugged his shoulders in response. ‘That is the tip of the iceberg. Fall one way or fall the other. It is a fifty per cent chance. You will eventually cross paths with Lord Barback. That is inevitable. You will need everyone you can gather to support you. His army is great and powerful.'

‘Can I ask you another question?' Charles nodded and Lucas continued, ‘Why does everyone say "it's none of our concern"?' He did not ask it in an angry tone; he was genuinely confused. ‘The centaurs said it to me, as did the elves who found me. No one wants to help me fight Barback. Yet, they want him defeated.'

‘How much do you know about the magical laws?'

Lucas looked at him, confused. ‘Nothing, to be honest.'

‘Well, first off, we magical folk, from the small, tiny fairies to us large giants, are not allowed to harm a human for whatever reason. Lord Barback knows that. He knows that we cannot harm a human, so his army is human. If I could, I would barge into his castle and stomp on his guards for you. Unless he has his own mystical creatures, we cannot fight.'

‘He has a dragon! You told me! So that counts!'

‘We have our own weapon against his dragon.'

‘What do you mean?'

Charles smiled at him. ‘The fairies have discovered an ancient dragon that was placed in a mystical sleep. They awoke him, and he has found his new master. They are currently training, to join you in your fight.'

‘So, because we have a dragon, you won't attack?'

‘Correct.'

Lucas shook his head. ‘Wow. I still don't understand.'

‘Let me try to explain it another way,' Charles smiled warmly. ‘I take it you have heard of our past fights with the past kings? Where magical folk helped him defeat his opponents?

‘No, not really,’ Lucas replied. ‘I know you had wars but that’s about it.’

‘Then I shall inform you,’ Charles nodded softly. ‘The First Great Battle was with Lucifer.’

‘The Lucifer that people don’t believe exist?’

‘I can assure you, he did,’ Charles replied sadly, his voice shaking. ‘It was a devastating war. Many felt they had no part in little problems the king had with other enemies. It did not concern them at the time. Yet this battle with Lucifer concerned everyone, so all species became involved.

‘Lucifer himself had a powerful army. He had the dragons, the werewolves and his own species you have never heard of or imagined. They were called Stalkers and they were his personal assassins. When they selected a target, nothing would stop them. Cut one down, two more appear. They always got their target and when they showed themselves, your hair would stand on your arms.'

‘What did they look like?'

‘They are long, hairy monsters. They would often been seen leaning over, their long necks stretching out from their bodies. Their teeth can rip apart flesh in a second. If you are wearing metal armour when they attack, their teeth will go right through, like a knife through butter. Their legs are as long as their arms and they stand tall on their two legs. They move superfast and their hands are not hands like ours but end in sharp claws that can cut through nearly anything, like their teeth. These Stalkers were his most trusted allies.

‘He did have other creatures as well, some more dangerous and dark than the Stalkers, but not only were they not seen in the final war, they had never been seen by anyone's eyes but had been mentioned continuously as a threat. Through our warriors, whispers would circulate of Lucifer having a backup army, one more powerful than the very army he had with him for the final battle.

‘Many fell on both sides of the line. On our side were the humans, elves, merpeople, dwarves, goblins and centaurs. On their side, they had the werewolves, Living Trees, spirits, Stalkers and the dragons. The fairies and giants did not fight. They claimed that the war had no part in their lives. In the final bloody, epic battle, the dragons were destroyed. Only two survived. They both had offspring shortly before dying themselves. One of them is controlled by Barback. The other's offspring is in hiding.'

‘Why in hiding?' Lucas asked in curiosity.

‘Dragons cannot fight without their masters,' Charles revealed to him. ‘They can breathe fire and roam free, but every dragon has one true master and unless his master says to fight, it will only do so in self-defense. Which means it will fight for no one.'

‘So who is its master?'

‘That is for another time young one.’

‘So, what happened to Lucifer?' Lucas asked, eager to hear the end of the story.

‘Well, no human or mystical weapon could kill Lucifer,' Charles continued the story.

‘Everyone started to panic until the goblins decided to use their skills and knowledge to create an amulet that could seal away Lucifer and his army. In the final fight, King Theodore used the amulet and locked away Lucifer and his army. To ensure no one would open the tomb, the amulet was broken into two pieces. Without both, the tomb would remain untouched. One part of the amulet went to the goblins and the other piece to King Theodore. The goblins had the smaller part which will fit into the middle of the second piece. They were not very happy with the choice, but they reluctantly agreed.

‘When the Second Great Battle came around, this one with Lord Barback, the elves and centaurs helped, but the king was selfish and did not fight. Instead of working with us, the king used us to fight his own battles. The battle was lost because of his stupidity.'

‘I think I understand now,' Lucas smiled slightly in reply. ‘So, then, what are the other rules?'

‘Well, that is all. Just the one rule. The elves are entrusted to follow through on any creature that disobeys.'

‘What do you mean "follow through"?' Lucas asked nervously.

‘You will be punished if you break the rule. No one has ever broken the rule, so no one knows what punishment will occur. We can only speculate.'

‘Do you know where the elves are?'

Charles shook his head at him. ‘No. There is someone in Stelipse who may know. An ally of ours.'

Lucas asked, ‘Can he take me to them?'

‘He shall, though not yet. You need to remain here for two more days.'

‘Two days?'

‘Yes. Before you leave, you will have mastered your powers, or as close as we can get, to perfection. Even your telepathy. It will come in handy, especially in determining your friends and enemies.'

Lucas looked at Elizabeth. ‘Can you help her?'

Charles looked at him, confused. ‘What do you mean?'

‘Get stronger. Learn better control.'

Charles looked back to the sleeping Elizabeth. ‘She does not need to. She is stronger than you think. She just holds back.'

Lucas stared at him and asked, ‘What do you mean?'

‘She holds back her true self and her true power. I cannot say more. It is not my place. And you need rest.'

‘But …'

‘No arguments. Hop down and go to bed, little one.'

Lucas floated down and hopped over into his bed. With the millions of thoughts running through his mind, he did not think it was possible that he would be able to sleep. As soon as his head hit the pillow, however, he was out like a light.

* * *

The next day was just as exhausting as the first. He had now mastered his telekinesis and flight and his fire power was completely in his control. Now it was time to practice his telepathic abilities again. He was in the same field as yesterday with Elizabeth sitting under the largest tree. Charles was sitting with Lucas a little further away.

Charles looked at Lucas and said, ‘It is time to learn complete control over your telepathic abilities. Now that you can shut your mind off, you will practice on me. I can block you reading my mind. Put this on.' He handed Lucas a blindfold.

‘Ah … why?' Lucas asked, confused.

‘Just trust me. It will help you train yourself to listen to an individual thought and not many of them.'

Lucas put it on and the world went dark. He could not hear anything in the field apart from the little birds flying by. He waited but did not hear anything until …

‘Should I? I do not know. What if he knew the truth about me?'

‘Knew what?' Lucas asked casually.

‘I'm sorry?' Charles apologised. ‘What did you mean?'

‘I wasn't talking to you. I was talking to Elizabeth, sorry.'

Charles looked around and found that Elizabeth was out of earshot of Lucas, although not for the giant himself. Lucas should not be able to … no, he could not hear her if she was talking in return, Charles smiled to himself.

‘I do not want to hurt him.'

‘I can hear her,' Lucas told Charles. ‘Should I block her out?' He raised his blindfold to sneak a look and see how far away she was. ‘Wow, that's far.'

‘You can read her mind from that far?' Charles looked around and got an idea. ‘I shall be right back. Go talk to her.'

With that, Charles was up and walking back towards the giant's village. He turned back and added, ‘I mean talk to her, little one.'

Lucas nodded and headed over to Elizabeth. ‘What shouldn't I know?'

Elizabeth looked up at him, confused. ‘I didn't say anything.'

‘You didn't have to. I heard you.'

‘You're reading my mind?' She stood up in anger, her face falling into her familiar cold stare.

How dare you.'

‘I'm sorry! I didn't do it on purpose,' he replied aloud.

‘Stop it!'

‘What aren't you telling me?'

‘Lucas, come back over here.'

Lucas looked up and noticed Charles sitting down again, but this time he was with two other giants. The first was a male, tall and black-haired. He had an angry face on, his dark brown eyes stern and uncaring, and reminded Lucas for some reason of FieryTemper. The second was a female with curly brown hair flowing down her back who was staring at him, smiling. Her light hazel eyes showed only warmth and kindness.

Charles looked up and yelled, ‘Elizabeth! Please join us!'

Elizabeth stormed past Lucas and sat next to Charles. Lucas followed and was instructed to sit down in the middle, surrounded by the giants. They were all staring at him, but no one spoke. After a few moments, Charles began.

‘Lucas and Elizabeth, this is Donald and Marybeth. They will also be opening their minds with me. Your task is to listen for Elizabeth's voice.'

‘What?' Elizabeth demanded. ‘I don't want him in my head.'

‘I am sorry. We need your help.' He turned his blue eyes onto her and she sighed.

‘Okay, I'll help.'

‘Thank you,' he smiled in reply, turning towards Lucas and continuing, ‘Lucas, listen for Elizabeth's voice only. Place the blindfold back on. It will help you.'

Lucas put the blindfold back on and listened. He began to tune in to the thoughts in his head and could hear three faint voices slowly becoming louder as he focused.

‘That is it. Listen to our voices. Find the girl.' Lucas realised this was Marybeth. She sounded as kind as she looked.

‘This is stupid. I have better things to do. Who is this kid anyway?' That must be Donald. Sounds like an idiot, Lucas thought to himself.

‘Listen for Elizabeth. Ignore all other voices.' There was Charles. He could not hear Elizabeth though. All of a sudden, he could not stop listening to other voices. It was starting to hurt his head.

‘Listen! Concentrate. Listen for the girl.'

‘I have better things to do. Boring. Hey, I hope you can hear me. You are wasting my time.'

‘Listen for her.'

‘He is somewhat cute! Oh no! Do not listen to that!'

‘YAWN!'

‘Lucas, listen to me. Hear my voice. I am sorry.'

There she was! He could hear her and as he concentrated on it, the other voices started to go silent until only Elizabeth's remained.

‘I am sorry. I just … my thoughts are private. I did not mean to bite your head off. Please, forgive me.'

Lucas could not help but smile as he replied, ‘I forgive you.'

The three giants looked at each other, confused, as Elizabeth looked up to Charles and explained, ‘He can hear me.'

‘Ah, very good. Now, try it again.'

The giants started again. After a few moments, Elizabeth joined in. Lucas found her easier than before. This time, he was not going to tell them. They needed to talk and he knew how to.

‘Can you hear me, Lucas?'

‘Yes,' he replied. ‘I need to talk to you. Do not say anything to Charles.'

‘Okay.'

He wished he could see her face. ‘Why are you hiding something from me? I can feel it is important.'

‘There are things I have not told you for a reason.'

‘Like your past.'

She was silent for a moment. ‘You know everything. My family and the arranged marriage I fled from.'

‘Where you grew up? I do not know that.'

‘Please … leave it.'

‘Elizabeth, I cannot hide my feelings. I do not quite understand how quickly and how much I have fallen for you. I would die for you.'

He then heard her move. He took off the blindfold to look at her, but she was not there. He saw her running from him towards the lake. Charles looked at her running away, confused.

‘What did you do?'

‘I could hear her,' Lucas replied sadly, looking up at Charles. ‘And I could talk back to her.'

‘You mean, place your thoughts in her head?'

‘Communicate. I could let her hear me and we could talk back.'

‘That is remarkable. How long did it take for you to do that?'

Lucas looked up at Charles, moving his eyes to stare in Elizabeth's direction without moving his head and replied, ‘Ah, well … kind of yesterday.' He looked up at Charles and added, ‘Sorry I didn't tell you.'

‘It is okay, little one, but what did you say to her?'

He stared at Charles with a disappointed gaze as he replied, 'What do you think?' He stood onto his feet and ran after her, catching up with her at the lake and found she was crying.

‘Did I upset you?'

She looked up at him, smiled and replied, ‘No.'

‘Then why are you crying? Girls are so confusing.'

‘You don't understand. I feel the same,' she replied with a small laugh. Wiping away her tears, she looked at him and continued, ‘We have only known each other for a few days, but … see, here in Bomcard, when two souls that are destined to be together meet, it doesn't matter how long they have known each other, they just know. They would sacrifice everything for each other. I feel that way with you.'

‘Then why are you upset?' he asked, his voice letting out a small squeak of confusion.

‘We cannot be together,' she replied sadly as she looked at him sadly. She looked like she was going to cry again.

‘Who says?'

‘Magical laws.'

‘Why? Is it because I am part elf? That should not matter. I'm part human too,' Lucas replied with a shrug.

‘No, because either way I can't be with you.'

‘I don't understand. You're human.'

‘Lucas, I'm not human. I'm … a mermaid.'

Lucas could not help himself and he burst into a fit of laughter. She stared at him for a moment in shock, and then she started laughing to, giving his arm a playful slap. ‘Stop it.'

He stopped himself all of a sudden, the smile disappearing from his face as quickly as the laughter. ‘Oh, you're serious.'

She could not help it and she started laughing harder. ‘Yes, I am.'

Lucas shrugged his shoulders and smiled. ‘So, I don't care.'

‘Our species beg to differ.'

He stared at her, an eyebrow slightly rising as he asked, ‘Do you always do what you are told?'

‘I guess not. But Lucas, this is serious.'

‘Like ditching an arranged marriage and running away from your home is not serious?'

‘What you are asking is … dangerous. It is against the magical law.'

‘The Lost Son is king, right?' Lucas asked with a smile.

‘Correct.'

‘And the king is in charge over all?'

‘Yes,' she replied, looking at him in confusion.

‘So, I change the law. You can be with whoever you want.'

‘It's not that simple.' She turned and started walking back towards Charles and the other two giants.

‘Why not?!' he called out as he ran to catch up to her.

She turned to him and looked at him sadly, replying, ‘My father wouldn't allow it for one, and you are not king yet. Until then …' With that, she turned and walked back to the circle. He followed her in silence and sat back down.

Charles looked at both of them. ‘Is everything okay, little ones?'

‘Yes,' they both replied.

‘Let us continue, then.'

They practiced some more for hours, testing his telepathy with distance and how quickly he could make out a voice. Eventually, he could tune out everyone within a second of when he started to hear voices, and aim for who he wanted to listen to in an instant.

With huge smiles on their faces, even Donald, who had started to warm up but still acted distant to the strangers, the giants and humans walked back to the village. The sun was setting on another day. As they approached the middle of the village, Lucas noticed the massive table now held huge food on it. Apples, pears and oranges filled the bowls, with large loaves of bread on plates lying nearby. Large mugs as tall as Lucas himself were filled to the brim with what he believed to be their form of beer. Foam overflowed from the top, dripping down the sides.

Surrounding the large table were more little tables and chairs so that every giant in the village could sit down. Charles looked down at them and said, ‘Your work is complete, a day ahead of schedule. Tonight we feast and tomorrow, you shall travel to Stelipse.'

As they walked over to the table, Charles leant down and held out his hand. The two small humans hopped on and Charles placed them on the table. They had the same small dish that Charles had used the first night to place their water in. They had one grape on it as well as a quarter of a cracker. There was a small amount of meat on the plate too, small for the giants but too much for one human alone.

Elizabeth sat down and Lucas followed. The giants all took their seats and as the last did so, Charles stood up, his friendly, warm smile on his face.

‘My people, tomorrow we shall farewell our new friends,' Charles's voice bellowed over the village. ‘Their journey will be long and dangerous, but they will have our support, love and prayers. Join with me and pray that they shall remain safe and succeed.'

The crowd bowed their heads and after a moment's silence, they all started eating the large amount of food, chatting away amongst themselves.

After they had eaten, some giants grabbed some instruments and started to play music. Lucas and Elizabeth laughed, sang and joked around with Charles and Marybeth, neither noticing when the sun had set and the stars had come out. They eventually fell asleep on the table and were finally carried back to Charles's house by the giant himself.


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