The Five Wanderers

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Chapter 29

Runi sat quietly in that empty room that only had a table and books as he waited for everyone to discover that Jakob was gone. It wouldn’t be long, perhaps a few hours. The sun had risen already and everyone was likely awake, but they probably hadn’t thought to check on Jakob, yet.


He was locked behind a magical ward, surely he didn’t need a guard.


He flipped through the book without even being able to read the pages. He wasn’t focused enough to read. He had a bruise blossoming on his left cheekbone and the pain reminded him of his shame. He usually didn’t feel too guilty about his choices because he knew they were for the greater good. But in this case, he knew he had used Royse unfairly.


They needed Jakob to be freed, but he should have found a more willing participant. And he shouldn’t have told Royse what he knew about Levant’s future.


He heard footsteps outside the door. They were walking calmly, so they didn’t know what had happened yet. He focused on the page of the book he had opened and saw he was reading a page all about mystical creatures. It was specifically talking about Oracles, and how they existed to help guide the world to a future of prosperity.


He reached out and touched the illustration of an Oracle that was next to the words explaining what it was. The Oracle had a long robe that reached the floor and obscured the outfit underneath. Oracles were mostly women and this depiction was no different. She looked very average for a being of such a supernatural gift.


Had Oracles ever made mistakes like him? Did they ever regret telling people what they saw? Or did they just know exactly what to do all the time?


Did they ever use people to meet an end that they felt was best? He wondered.


He heard a shout that drew him out of his thoughts and he looked towards the door as he heard many thundering footsteps now. There was a panic beyond this room, but he still felt like he was in a bubble of safety and quiet. He knew soon that quiet would be breached by the madness only a doorway away, but he just remained seated calmly.


He turned his face to look out the window and admired the sky as it became brighter with the rising sun. He never got to see views like these when he was a child so he always cherished them. Even when they had lived in their own castle, he’d rarely had time to enjoy views like this. He was always busy training to become a Royal and how to use his powers.


He essentially lost all of his teenage years to that. He wondered if it was worth it now.


The door was thrown open, smashing against the wall with the force of the entrance. Runi didn’t jump or look frightened because he knew this was coming. He looked over and saw Cetas and Luca in the doorway, both looking angry and alarmed. It was an intimidating duo, but Runi wasn’t worried.


“Yes?”


“Did you release Jakob?” Cetas asked as he walked over and slammed his hand on the table. The motion caused the book stack to topple over, the books hitting the ground with a ‘thud’.


Runi tilted his head. “What makes you think it was me?” he asked.


“Royse told me,” Cetas said with a scowl. “He said that you manipulated him into letting Jakob out.”


Well, Runi knew he shouldn’t be too surprised at that. Royse had been angry enough to hit him, so it made sense that he snitched, too.


Runi nodded. “I made him do it.”


Luca threw his hands into the air. “Why would you do this!? You know Jakob’s in a terrible state right now!” he exclaimed.


“Because he had to go,” Runi said simply. “I saw it in my visions. He needs to be with Jeriah. It’d be far worse to have him here.”


“You can’t just do stuff like this, Runi! Even if you are having visions, we can’t just rely on that all the time! Jakob has to pay for what he did to Oriana, and now he’s out there free!” Cetas snapped. “You can’t take the future into your own hands just because you see things that may or may not happen.”


“It’ll happen if I direct it properly,” Runi said with a sigh. “You know so little about what I do.”


“Yeah, I think I'd like to keep it that way. Lately you’re being too frustrating to understand,” Cetas muttered as he turned away from him. “I don’t even know what to do with you. I can’t believe you manipulated Royse, as well.”


“If anything happens to Jakob, you will suffer consequences,” Luca said as he pointed at Runi.


“Nothing will happen to him,” Runi said in his self assured way.


Cetas scoffed. “You are so...self righteous, Runi,” he said as he looked at him. “I have tried so hard to be civil with you over the years, but the past few months have been unbearable.”


Runi smiled a bit. “Yes, they have. I guess that’s what hardship does. It makes or breaks relationships,” he said. “I suppose our relationship was never terribly close to begin with, and now it’s broken.”


“I guess so,” Cetas said as he walked to the door. “I don’t have anything more to say to you.”


Runi nodded and picked up the books that had fallen to the floor and stacked them back on the table. He felt Luca still staring at him, so he glanced over. “Yes?”


“Do you enjoy upsetting others?” Luca asked.


Runi shook his head. “Not really,” he said. “But when I see visions, I follow them. I have to do whatever it takes to ensure that vision is going to come to pass, otherwise I’ll have to bear an alternative future that might not be as good.”


“How do you know? Maybe Jakob staying here would have been better,” Luca said. “You’re young and careless, aren’t you? You care only for what you see, not what others around you feel.”


Runi glanced down. He was probably right. When it came to his visions, that was his only focus. He felt an urgency to follow it and set things in motion. The only time he had ever ignored his visions was when he decided to partake in that poison. He thought it would make them powerful and his vision was just inciting fear. He knew there had to be an alternative that would be better, but he was wrong.


He knew to never ignore his visions again. They were always right.


“If I ignore my visions, something worse may happen. I can endure all the hatred because I know I have saved the future,” he said. “This is how I protect people.”


Luca raised an eyebrow. “You think that’s the only way you protect people? You’re a pretty good shot with that rifle, too,” he pointed out.


Runi smirked. “Yes, I know. But a rifle can’t...stop a shadow from taking away my friends,” he said softly. “I don’t usually see what’s coming. Not entirely. I see angry shadows. If I can keep those angry shadows back, then I’m doing my job. Releasing Jakob made the shadows back off. I knew it was the right thing to do. If he stayed here, he might have caused far more damage. I’m only sorry that I used Royse to complete this task. He didn’t deserve that.”


“Why did he do this for you? That doesn’t make sense to me,” Luca questioned.


“I told him I knew things that he wanted to know,” Runi said as he stood up and began walking to the door. “I lied.” he looked at Luca. “I’m not worthy of the gift I have. I guess I have a bad personality for someone who knows things as I do.”


Luca watched him quietly with his piercing blue eyes. “You can still grow and change,” he said. “You clearly feel guilty over what you did. Maybe you just need to take some time to think on what you’ve done.”


Runi snorted. “You sound like a parent,” he smiled a little and shrugged. “I wish I could meet an Oracle. I’d like to become like they were. They were seen as wise and mighty. I want to be seen that way. It’s how I feel on the inside, but clearly that’s not how I appear.”


Luca shook his head. “We have no idea where they are, so you’re out of luck,” he said. “You need to figure this out on your own. If you want to be a wise sage, then you’re going to need to think of others before you think of yourself.”


“But I do,” Runi sighed. “I am constantly seeing things that are far beyond me.”


“The way you communicate those visions is what shows your selfishness or selflessness,” Luca said as he turned to walk out. “Take some time. Think about it.”


Runi was left standing in the room now to think on what was said. He didn’t think it was going to be simple for him to just become a selfless person. He tried to be, he tried to do things that were best for everyone, but clearly that wasn’t coming through. He wasn’t really doing it very well. He was manipulative and secretive. That’s why his friends had lost so much trust in him.


He walked back over to the table with the book that was open to the page of the Oracle. He grabbed the page and ripped it out and then tucked it into his back pocket. Maybe he needed to do the impossible and find an Oracle.


Maybe when this contract was all said and done he did need to take some time.


Some time away from the Royals. Some time far away.

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