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"Can you teach me magic?"

The last line of questioning which Elissa pursued, which might have affected her most of all, was “Can you teach me magic?”

“No,” was the simple, unequivocal answer.

“Why can’t you teach me magic?” She asked the next day.

“Because there is no magic,” Dark replied, smirking as he plainly dismissed an obvious aspect of reality. Elissa had seen wizards all her life, and she’d seen them perform great feats of magical aptitude. To simply claim that there was no magic was something that she found hard to believe and understand.

The next morning, she couldn’t help but ask, “If there’s no magic, then what are the wizards doing when they seem to produce miraculous feats of power?”

Dark smirked again and then cackled his strange laughter. “Kakakakakakakak! The fools are scratching at a door of knowledge they don’t have the brains to unlock.”

“What door of knowledge,” Elissa asked the next day, frustrated once again by the run around.

“The door which leads to the knowledge that there is no magic,” Dark smirked, making Elissa want to scream and poke her fingers into the dark holes that was his eyes, on the off chance that she might be able to knock some sense into his brain! She was right back at where she’d started, several days before, and not a bit wiser than before!

“So what is the knowledge that the wizards are scratching at, but can’t accept?” Elissa asked the next day, after having given her question a lot of thought.

“The knowledge that there is no magic,” Dark told her, patting her on the head lightly, much like one would a puppy who had finally performed a trick correctly. “There is only the blood.”

His answer was one which left her mind in a state of turmoil all day long as she tried to ponder on what he meant. ‘There is no magic, only the blood.’ What blood? Was magic something that wizards could only do because of some element in their blood? The more she tried to puzzle it out, the more confused she got.

Seeking the answers to her question was a long and laborious process, with Dark giving answers that ran in circles, and required her to rethink and reword them properly. The delay in getting to the truth that she was seeking slowly expanded her thirst for the answer, and strengthened her resolve to get to the core of what she wanted to know, no matter what.

After several long and persistent months, Elissa had finally weaseled an existential truth about creation out of Dark, and it shook her to the core.

There was no magic; there was only blood.

What wizards considered to be nodes of energy – they called them ‘mana streams’ – were nothing more than the veins and arteries of the universe itself, pumping its own unique blood throughout the cosmos. ‘Mana pools’ were nothing more than places where the universe’s blood gathered, much like how it would gather in a human’s heart. Different flows of mana could be understood much like different parts of blood inside a person – white cells, red cells, antibodies.

The universe itself was alive and all the creatures inside it – even Dark himself – were nothing more than parasites living inside their massive host. What the wizards called ‘magic’ was nothing more than one parasite taking a bite from its hosts blood, and then using it to corrupt or mutate the cells around it. Wizards could be regarded as a cancer inside the living truth that was the universe, warping, twisting, and corrupting what should’ve been.

It was after learning this ultimate truth, Elissa shut down. She quit asking questions. She quit tending to her garden or trying to clean. Everything she had ever known or believed had been torn out from under her. Much as Dark only sat and rocked, she simply laid sprawled out in the floor before him, awaiting for him to ravish her however he pleased when night fell.

She was no longer human, and each day she became a little less human. Even her own soul was changing – growing as Dark called it, ‘beyond the limits of humanity’. Her people had betrayed her. The gods weren’t benevolent providers or nurturers as she’d been raised to believe. Wizards were cancerous parasites corrupting reality and wearing away at the life of a creature too massive and too powerful to even comprehend. Justice was nothing more than a falsehood perpetrated by those in power to control those beneath them.

Countless days passed as her mind struggled to adapt and process the destruction of everything she had ever believed in. Part of her mind wanted to lash out at Dark for bringing such turmoil to what had been an iron-clad code of honor and beliefs which she lived by. Had he never told her… Never started his accursed game of question and answer… Resentment started to build in her mind, as Elissa started to blame Dark for all the dark and troubled thoughts in her heart.

Eventually reaching her boiling point, she did the unthinkable – she fought back. Leaping up, she pounced on Dark with a primal scream and beat at his face. She gouged at the dark holes that was his eyes. The chair he sat upon collapsed under her wild attack and she grabbed one of the splintered pieces and slammed it into his chest dozens of times, before leaving it sticking jagged from the center of his heart.

Blood-covered and exhausted, Elissa finally stumbled up and staggered her way to the door; her rage drained out of her, leaving her to feel numb.

“Don’t forget my beer,” Dark called out from behind her, voice cold, emotionless gravel as if nothing had happened.

The last of her strength melted with his words and she sank to the ground and collapsed into uncontrollable crying. When nightfell, Dark ravaged her much the same as always, somehow bringing peace to Elissa’s troubled heart. Even with her outburst, her attack, Dark hadn’t changed how he treated her. He didn’t pull away, nor did he cast her aside. He simply accepted it as it was a part of her.

Elissa fell asleep early and heavy that night, leaving her body a limp plaything for Dark to indulge upon as her mind rested peacefully.

The next morning, she got up and hopped astraddle the arm rests on Dark’s rocking chair and wrapped her arms around his neck. Leaning forward, she pressed her lips against his and kissed him passionate, before resting her head against his neck. “I’m sorry,” she whispered softly, wigging herself down further into his lap. Her legs were bent awkwardly, forced upward even beyond what was a full split, but she didn’t care. Grabbing the armrests with each hand, she pulled her body downward, until her hips popped loudly as they dislocated, forcing herself fully down into Dark’s lap.

Breathing heavily for a few moments, she tuned the pain out of her mind – somehow finding it to be an easier task than she would’ve believed possible – and then she leaned forward and wrapped her arms around Dark as she pressed her bare body tight against him. “Can you ever forgive me for yesterday?” Elissa asked, nuzzling her head into his neck.

“There is nothing to forgive,” Dark told her coolly, as he slowly wrapped his arm around her.

Shock coursed through Elissa for several moments – not from his answer, but from the fact that he didn’t wait for her to ask two more questions before replying first! Shaking her head a few times uncertainly, she finally asked, “If… If the wizards are using the universe’s blood to do whatever they want, can other blood be used for the same results?”

“All blood holds strength and power,” Dark assured her. “What one can accomplish with it is only limited by their will, the amount of blood available, and their skill and focus in controlling it. Even one’s own blood is sufficient for many of the feats the wizards perform.”

“Will you teach me to work and shape the strength of blood?” Elissa asked, not entirely certain what she even wanted the strength for anymore. Her people? Her honor? Duty? All that she’d believed in had been shattered and proven false.

“Yes,” was Dark’s monosyllabic response, and the last of the answers and questions.

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