I awoke sometime later when I felt someone tap on my shoulder. I opened my eyes and lifted my head up to see who was tapping on my shoulder. Mallon stood next to me with a plate of food in his hands. I felt my stomach grumble at the sight of the food.
“I thought that you might want something to eat when you woke up,” Mallon explained as he set the plate down in front of me. “I wasn’t sure what you liked so I just grabbed a little bit of everything. I hope you don’t mind.”
Everything on the plate looked delicious, and my stomach rumbled again in agreement. I thanked Mallon for the food and quickly began eating. I didn’t realize how hungry I was until I swallowed my first mouthful. I ate everything that was on the plate.
When I was finished eating, Mallon escorted me back to the main part of the castle. The sun shone brightly through what was left of the windows as we walked past them to get back to the less destroyed parts of the castle. We chatted idly about random things as we walked through the hallways.
“You were great in there,” Mallon commented as he looked over to me, smiling. I felt my face heat up at such a compliment. I’m sure that he was just nice. But was that all that he was doing? Or did he actually kind of like me? I felt like he was slightly flirtatious but that might’ve just been me. I haven’t been around a guy that kind of liked me in so long.
I just really couldn’t afford a relationship when I planned on returning home after this war was finished. My heart, on the other hand, seemed to have a mind of its own and didn’t want to listen to what I was trying to tell it.
Mallon walked with me all the way back to the greenhouse. We arrived just in time for my next lesson with Aquaphira. She would not be pleased if I were to come late, and not have a good excuse.
“Thanks for today,” I told Mallon as I stood in front of the door to the greenhouse. Mallon smiled down at me and replied, “It was my pleasure.”
Then Mallon grabbed my hand and brought it up to his lips. He let go of my hand, winked at me, then turned around and left. I could feel my heart skip a beat and hammer around in my chest like a drum. Okay, he was flirting with me. All I thought was that he was just a good man and that was it, had vanished.
Oh, I’m in so much trouble. I quickly shook my head to straighten up my thoughts before turning to enter the greenhouse. When I entered the greenhouse, Aquaphira was standing just a couple feet inside the door with the weirdest look on her face. I think that it might’ve been a mixture of confusion and disappointment. But she smiled a brilliantly fake smile the second that she saw that I was looking at her.
“I think that we should work on some more advanced techniques today,” Aquaphira told me as she turned around and walked towards our training spot at the very back of the greenhouse. “Zaval has volunteered to be our…umm…what do you humans call it? Lab rat?”
I shrugged because I didn’t know and followed Aquaphira as she continued to explain our lesson for the afternoon. She said that she wanted me to try to use my fire abilities for a healing purpose rather than a violent one. Apparently, Aquaphira had got this into her head that I might also be able to conjure up other elements.
I thought that she was crazy, but she seemed completely serious. Aquaphira had mentioned that she knew of other people who could conjure up more than one element, so she wanted to test it on me to see if it was possible.
I had no idea why Aquaphria needed Val for this, or even what we were doing. But I went along with it anyway, hoping that it would be better explained as necessary. We walked passed our usually training spot, to the very back of the greenhouse and through a set of large wooden doors that led to almost an arena like a courtyard.
Val was sitting in the center of the courtyard with his eyes closed. I think that he might’ve been meditating or something from the way that he was posed. He didn’t move or even flinch when we came outside. Or when Aquaphira slammed the door behind us.
I noticed Val take a deep breath in and lift his head up towards the sky. As I watched, the wind swirled around him moving faster and faster until it lifted him off of the ground. He went about five meters into the air before he stopped and just hovered there for a couple of minutes before he opened his eyes.
Val looked down at us and smiled. He straightened his legs and floated down until he was about 30 cm above the ground. Then he stopped and walked towards me while he was still 30 cm above the ground.
“Whoa, that’s fantastic Val,” I breathed completely stunned. Val chuckled and dropped to the ground not too far from me.
“Thanks,” Val replied smiling. Now that I got a closer look at him in the daylight, he seemed to be very different from Sally and Avin. In fact, I’m pretty sure that he wasn’t an elf at all.
“Val had asked if he could teach you today,” Aquaphira commented from behind me. Oh, jeez I’d almost forgotten that she was there. “Hopefully, you guys won’t blow too much up.”
I turned around just in time to see her walk back into the greenhouse. I felt something in the air change. I turned back around, slowly, to face Val again. His demeanor had changed, and so did his appearance, well kind of. His hair had darkened to black, and his eyes were a bright gold color.
“You’re not an elf, are you?” I asked my voice calm. I didn’t feel afraid of him; he didn’t seem like a threat to me. No, that wasn’t quite it. From where I was standing I knew he was plenty dangerous, but I also knew deep down that I was more so.
“The Queen adopted me into her family when my village was attacked and destroyed,” Val responded sadly. He dropped his eyes and wouldn’t look at me. I could understand why he was sad, but I just couldn’t figure out why he was completely avoiding me like this. “I don’t even really know what I am.”
He lifted his head up and smiled sadly at me. Why did I feel like there was something that he was trying to convey that was directed at me? Or at least that’s what the small nagging feeling in the back of my mind was telling me.
“This was earlier in the war, much earlier. I don’t remember most of what happened because of a massive injury that I had sustained at the time. But they have accepted me as a member of their family, so I guess it’s not too much of a sob story,” Val explained as he started to lighten up. “So shall we get to work?”
I nodded slowly as I let his story sink in, and then half smiled. It turns out that Val could control two elements; air and earth. Neither of which I could control. But Val pushed me to try to control them anyway.
I tried to push a rock away that Val had set up for me. At first, nothing happened, but I didn’t want to disappoint Val without giving it all that I had. I refocused on the rock and tried again as hard as I could to move that damn rock.
Just as I was about to give up, I felt something click into place, and then a deafening bang. My eyes shot open, and I stared at the spot where the noise had come from. The rock hadn’t moved at all, but behind it, rock spikes had shot up from the ground.
I looked to Val to ask if this was supposed to happen. However, his expression told me something that I didn’t want to know. He looked completely stunned and more than a bit scared. But then his face lit up into the biggest smile I have ever seen.
“Alright, let’s do this!” Val shouted happily. He sounded so excited that it made me want to giggle.
Val helped me refine my fire powers and strengthen my control over my earth powers. We practiced until the sun began to set. That’s when Val decided that it was time to call it a day.