I have only seen snow three times in my life. Every time I experienced the crunch, the chill, or the glisten that sprawled across the ground, it brought me a sense of awe and giddiness.
Today is the day of the first snow, but it does not bring any giddiness. It brings sadness and disappointment. I stare, laying on my bed, as flurries of white glide towards the land. The window fogs from my breath. A strangled sigh leaves my lips as I watch people walk outside, play in the snow, and hang out with their close ones.
A throbbing heartache threatens to bring tears. It feels as if something sat on my heart, it weighs down, pressing against my chest so I can barely breathe. It’s an awful feeling. And while I lay here, melancholic and all, absolute disaster is unfolding behind me.
“Where is my shirt?!”
“You’re asking me? How the hell should I know?”
“It was a rhetorical question you idiot”
A boom rattles the room. Jordynn has thrown a pillow at Taillon, who managed to duck so that it struck the door. Instead of being the bigger person, Taillon decides to retaliate with a throw of his own. Unfortunately, he isn’t really known for his aim, for the pillow has its trajectory set on me.
The pillow hits my head, so hard that it thrusts me forward and smashes my head against the window. There’s a deafening sound and a constant swirl. The room is spinning.
“W-what the hell?” I cry out, holding my head tight. Fuck, they almost split my head apart! My eyes land on the estranged pillow beside me. “Who threw that?!”
“It was Taillon” Jordynn is quick to answer, pointing an accusatory finger towards the culprit, who stares wide-eyed at my increasingly red forehead. I’m not sure if it’s my stare or the actual damage that scares him, but he quickly makes his way towards me.
“I’m so sorry Yue, t-that was not meant for you. It was supposed to hit Jordynn!”
“You have horrible aim” I give him back his pillow.
“Can I help you pack?” He proposes. His eyes gleaming at the prospect of being forgiven.
I am about to say no, but when looking around my bed, which is completely covered in clothes; a switch flips in my brain. Oh shit, I only have an hour to pack! “Yes, yes you can. But quick, my train leaves in about an hour!”
“And you haven’t packed at all?” Noreen asks from his bed.
I can only shake my head. Today’s misery has kept me from doing anything. Today is the first day of winter and the last of my days at the academy... Winter break has finally come. Three months ago, I would have given anything for today to come quicker, now it’s the complete opposite of that.
Taillon helps me pack and eventually Jordynn and Noreen join too. Apart from my clothes, which Taillon is obsessed with - he keeps pointing out how ‘trendy’ they are, there is not much to pack.
“No way! Where did you get these pants?” He pulls out a pair of jeans. “They are Brad&Mondo jeans, how much did you pay for these?”
“They were a gift, I don’t know how much they cost” They cost a fortune; my brother got them for me when my parents did not want to - Yue does not have any rich brothers though... The lie must go on.
After he lays those jeans down, that is the last of my clothes. A suppressed sigh leaves lips. My eyes travel around the room, my bed, my wardrobe. It has only been three months yet I have grown attached to all of these. Especially to the people around me. To Jordynn, Noreen, and Taillon, to my friends and even to some professors.
Do I really have to leave them behind? Should I just forget about them and go on with my life? That is not right. It does not feel right... Alas, these thoughts need to be put on pause since time is ticking away, alarmingly fast actually. It’s almost time to leave.
Throwing my backpack behind a shoulder and dragging on my luggage, I barely make it to the door before Noreen’s voice stops me dead in my tracks. “See you after vacation!”
I try to force a smile, only it does not work. I’m left with a permanent frown on my face. “Have a safe trip!” Taillon and Noreen pitch in.
“Yeah- See you guys soon...” The all familiar sting in my eyes threatens to release the floodgates. I barely fight back, but when turning on the corner a few strands let loose, gliding down my cheeks and onto the ground below.
I’m going to miss those dorks.
It’s freezing! Beautiful but freezing! How any of these people walk with a simple shirt on is astounding to me! I have armored myself with the thickest clothing I have, which is not of much help since I only have thin, summery clothes. We do not need to cover up where I come from. Walking through the once green and luscious park is astounding, seeing as it has now turned to a white wasteland.
It is beautiful in its own right. Instead of leaves covering the trees, they are newly bent over with a blanket of snow on top and some wild, iced branches pointing out from all directions. The grass is mostly gone too with mud and patches of snow taking up its place.
“Yue!” Oh, there is Èvie. I see her dashing forward like a bullet, straight towards me. I barely have any time to react before she crashes into me. “Ouch!” I cry between chuckles as she throws her hands around my torso. “Y-you’re crushing me... Èvie”
“Oh! Sorry” She lets go. “I’m just bummed I won’t get to see you for a month”
My mouth goes dry and so does my throat. A month... They believe I’ll be gone for a month. I can barely nod as she happily stares into my eyes. I have to advert my gaze, guilt eating away at my heart.
Allura approaches too, dressed head to toe in the thickest clothing I have ever seen. “Damn, where are you going with all of that?” Èvie asks, pointing at her outfit.
“It’s freezing fucking cold, what do you want me to wear? A bikini suit?” At least that manages to pry a chuckle out of me. Just imagining Allura trembling in a bikini makes me want to tumble over in laughter. “What are you laughing at? When you come looking like an icicle”
“Hey! Just because I’m blue that doesn’t mean-”
“-I’m joking!” she laughs. “I’m going to miss you guys...”
A small pause follows, in which we stare at each other, lost in thoughts. In my case, taking in each of their features, the hair, eyes, nose – it might be the last time I ever see these faces again...
“Oh! By the way” Allura perks up. “Yue, I think I saw your uncles at the entrance”
Uncles? Ah! Uncles... right.
“I... I better go then” my voice trembles.
I cannot even look at them in the eyes, always finding something interesting to stare at, that be the ground or their clothes... anything but them. Èvie sighs. “You are the only person to leave today, the only one!” She crosses her arms, “why can’t you leave tomorrow, like the rest of us?”
I should have... unfortunately, Tori argued otherwise, saying it’s much more discrete this way, safer even! I could not argue against that. “My parents, they - they really want me home” a sad smile stretches across my lips. “I can’t stay any longer”
“That sucks... we will miss you Yue” she goes for a hug, before retreating suddenly, “Don’t forget to call!”
“You won’t be escaping us that easily,” Allura continues, all the while wearing a smile.
“Don’t worry guys; I wouldn’t have it any other way”
The train station is barren. Only a handful of people lay around, patiently waiting for their transport to arrive. The snow has yet to stop; I can feel the flurries hitting my skin and I’m honestly tempted to stick my tongue out and catch some, see if they taste like anything.
A hand stills on my shoulder. “Do you want anything to eat?” Tori asks letting go of the luggage he was carrying.
I shake my head.
“To drink, then?”
I shake my head yet again. Clicking his tongue, he lets go of my shoulder before joining Jade in the store besides us. Tagging on my own luggage, I plop down on one of the many benches sprawled across the place.
The station is not anything fancy – three platforms under a domed, glass ceiling. A few shops line the entrance, selling snacks, souvenirs, and all that. Souvenirs... Oh, my Lords! I have to get something for my parents!
Leaving the bench, I hurry towards the souvenir shop. A bell rests above the entrance. When entering, it jiggles and brings the attention of everyone towards me. One of those “everyone” happens to be Danhy himself.
He barely pays any attention to me, paying for his items before taking his leave. How is this guy so cold? Incredible...
“Hello sir, what would you like to buy from our humble shop?” The woman behind the counter says. She has a strange accent, unlike any I have heard before.
“I want to take something back to my parents”
The woman smiles brightly, she points to the wall on the left where dozens of items are left to hang. They are your typical plastic and stone carvings, depicting mountains and buildings I vaguely remember seeing, like the great church in the middle of town.
They do not attract my attention. Something else does... a glimmer in the corner of my eye, when turning; I spot a pair of brilliant necklaces behind the vendor. “What is that?” I point towards them.
“Ah! You have good eyes” She retrieves them. “They are quartz necklaces”
They are strangely beautiful, not only because of the quartz itself but also because of the animal depicted on both stones. “The stones are from mines nearby”
“What is that animal on them?”
“It is a mythical creature, said only to be found in Nefastwald” this creature has the body of an Elden. Its wings stretched out on the form of a deer, but the horns are different, instead of bending back, they arch upwards, conjoining to a single point.
“I’ll have them”
“They are not cheap,” the woman warns.
After having them bagged and given to me, she goes on to say – “If you want to see their true beauty, bury them underground for at least an hour” This intrigues me enough to raise my eyebrows.
Bury them? But they are so beautiful! How could I dirty them like that? Will that not take away from the awe? Never mind, I do not have time for that either way, the train should be here any minute now.
I should probably - “Boo!”
A yell of surprise escapes me. “What the hell?”
Danhy chuckles, lazily leaning on the wall just outside the exit. “I could have dropped the necklaces!”
“You bought souvenirs?”
I nod. “What are you doing here?” I find myself asking.
He looks at me, rather apathetically before responding. “What do you think? Waiting for the train like everyone else”
When he says it like that... it sounds like a stupid question to ask. He makes it worse by actually staring at me as if I were stupid. I don’t have the energy to deal with him, so I simply click my tongue and walk away. Not before wishing him a safe trip and happy vacation, which he does not respond to, of course.
It’s not long before I hear the hissing of the train and soon enough, it appears before me. That is when I know, my stay at Coldruin is officially over.
Off, this was quite the chapter, ey? Very emotionally charged, I feel so sorry for Yuidan and for what he has to go through. It’s not easy saying goodbye, especially when you don’t even get to have a proper departure.
How do you think Yuidan will further react to leaving the academy? Is he going to miss Coldruin? Will he return? Can he even return, though? We shall see...
If you would like earlier uploads, extra chapters and such, check out my Patreon! (Patreon is already on chapter 14)