"So how long has it been?"
Noel looked at his master confused. "what do you mean?" He replied. "How long has it been since Olia moved in with you?" The question wrung around in his head. Noel paused briefly and uneasily answered fearing any following questions. "Three months ... Why do you ask?" He slowly muttered. "Oh don't mind me, I was just wondering how your developments been. I know the both of you fight well together, especially since you both have almost complementary tactics, but I was wondering how you feel about her individually with that aside?"
Noel had dreaded the question yet even so he couldn't help but feel shocked at the very idea. "W-well I think she's a very fine girl...very beautiful..if that answers your question. Now shouldn't we get back to training?" He nervously spoke.
"In a moment. Now Noel you do realize that even you can have a date to the festival. It's not like we expect you to purely stand around and provide all the light works, although you and I are the only ones able to use this spell." Noel listened carefully to his master and nodded. "now back to training as you insisted earlier"
Master Leon slowly raised his arms up as if to grab some object in front of him. He calmly closed his eyes briefly as his palms began to glow brightly. Noel watched carefully but doubtful.
"Master are you sure I'll be able to do this spell? I mean I haven't been able to do a single spell at all?"Noel looked down shamefully after admitting his inability to use magic. Leon only smiled at his young apprentice. " Cheer up. You can do it, I know you can. Anyway you've done it once already without any instruction at all." The wise master reassured his student. Noel slowly took a deep breath. "Are you ready?" Noel closed his eyes trying to let go of all his doubt. "Think of something that makes you happy, something calming yet fills you with joy..like Olia". "Ok...Wait? What!?" Noel opened one of his eyes and glared at his snickering teacher. "That's not funny master.." He shrewdly muttered. Noel stopped to clear his head, then slowly refocused. "Ok I got it.."he muttered to himself. Leon watched his student with a large grin. Noel still kept his eyes closed too afraid to glimpse at his failure. "you're doing much better than expected". Noel opened his eyes immediately to see what his master meant. To his surprise he had created two large balls of light that floated freely in the palms of his hand. "very nice, unfortunately we want to make little flares of light and make them dance around under our control. " Master Leon still smiled. "well that's enough for today anyway. We can continue this tomorrow. Now before Len and Cade drag you off on another adventure, I want you to sit down and have a quick drink as celebration to your first spell." Leon grabbed a Gourd from his bag and tossed it to Noel, then grabbed a gourd for himself. "It's red cactus juice from Lady Mera. It's much more potent than the usual cactus juice you're probably used to, but whatever she adds to it, gives it a rather rejuvenating feeling." Noel chuckled to himself. "Has she not shown you how to make it yet?" He asked with a slight laugh. Leon stared at his student with a puzzled look. "Wait, are you telling me she taught you how to make red cactus juice?" Noel nodded and added "she also taught me how to cook and how to make 15 other potions." Master Leon laughed, Mera and Leon had been old friends yet she rarely taught him anything, in fact she rarely taught anyone anything for that matter.
Minutes later a loud booming sound echoed in the distance. Both Noel and Leon starred in it's direction. "That must be Len... I guess I'll let you get going Noel." Leon smiled and made a shooing gesture with his hands. Noel grabbed his bag and waved at his teacher. "Thank you master. I'll see you tomorrow for training." Noel spoke as he ran down the trail. Leon laughed as he thought of all the previous little adventures Noel and his friends had gotten into. "What a curious bunch they are...any who, it seems Kain may lose this bet. It would seem He does love the girl. Heh.."
Len yelled out a chant and waited eagerly to see what would happen. He looked around in anticipation yet nothing seemed to happen. His excitement slowly died. "Len maybe you're not doing it right?" Cade spoke sharing Len's disappointment. "hmmm maybe you're right". Len paused then tried again, but this time raising his staff in the air. Still nothing happened. Discouraged Len tried a final time. Still no results. Moments later they saw Noel sprinting, panting, and panicking. "I almost got struck by lightning three times while trying to get here.! It was ridiculous!" He complained. Len and Cade just looked at each other then back at Noel. Noels face filled with disappointment and irritation. "let me guess, that was you practicing magic again wasn't it Len.." Noel spoke in an annoyed fashion. Len and Cade only bursted into laughter. Noel only stared at his friends. "Almost kill me yet all you do is laugh...You know what, No food for both of you tonight!" Cades expression suddenly shifted. "Buh, w-What did I do?!" He whined. "Neither of you apologized so therefore no food for you. Tough luck too, tonight I was going to make stew." Noel then began to walk in the direction of his house as Len and Cade perused him trying to regain their dinner.
Noels house was located in the Dekarian fields just outside of the grand city of Dekaria. The fields stretched for miles and ended with at the basin of Forests of Asana. Dekaria itself was the largest city on the island. It was famous for it's vast wealth and knowledge. Amongst all it seemed to be one of the oldest cities to survive. It maintains itself by instilling it's trust in the guidance of it's council of elders. Each elder is deemed the head of a section of the city's concerns, be it trade or security. The council rarely changes as it is rare any members have fallen or resigned. The oldest members to date were Mistress Mera, and Grand Master Leon...
Olia greeted Noel with a warm smile as he entered the door. She had been shuffling around the house reading passages from books scattered around the room. Noel smiled as she walked past him. "So what are you studying today" he asked while walking to the kitchen to begin cooking. "The city history, Destructive force of dark magics, Native monsters of the island, and a new spell." she answered as she paced to the next book. Cade and Len stood in the doorway watching Noel and Olia in their activities. Noel reluctantly demanded they come in while cutting potatoes. "Are we still not having dinner tonight" Cade whimpered. Noel paused before answering. "I'll think about whether or not to feed you" Noel said with a grin. Olia chuckled at His response. "Of course you can eat..."Olia said cheerfully. "Well if they eat, then they have to help clean and set the table." Noel replied as he dumped the rest of his ingredients into a pot. Afterwards he began cleaning up and instructing his friends what to do.
The hours passed as Noels stew finished cooking. Cade and Len sat in a chair drinking cactus juice and making jokes with Noel. While Olia, still studying, sat at the table with a bottle of cactus juice at her side. Suddenly a knocking at the door disturbed them. Noel ran to the door impulsively to see who it was.
A lady in her mid thirties stood outside the door clutching a large bag. She had blond hair that came down to her neck with red streaks at the tips. She also wore a highly decorated patch over her right eye.
"Are you going to stand there child or let me in!?" The lady Spat. "How many times are you going to change your hair color? Anyhow I don't think that potion is very good for you?." Noel said while moving out of the way. "I'll be fine, anyway you're one to talk, you completely changed your hair type." Noel laughed "Mistress I didn't do it on purpose and you know that... So what do I owe to receive your fine company" Noel said with a smile. "I came to see your long black bangs and yellow eyes. No actually I came to deliver these scrolls from your ever so boring master." Mera tossed her bag on the floor then looked at Noels stew. "would you like some?" Noel offered with a smile. "No thank you child, But thank you for the offer. Now I must be going." she said as she turned to leave. Noel quickly grabbed a bowl Of stew and handed it to her before she could leave. "Mistress, please take it for the road home. But first taste a little and tell me if it's good. " He insisted. Mera ate a single spoonful then paused. "You are my student, but you have a long ways to go.." She said with a smile as she left. Noels face lit up. "that's the best I've done yet!" he cheered. Cade curiously sipped a spoon full of his stew then looked at Noel' "This tastes amazing!" He cheered as everyone laughed. "Thanks Cade, now everyone let's eat" Noel said as he passed bowls to everyone.
That night, long after Cade and Len left, Noel recorded his thoughts in his journal.
"Time moves ever so quickly. I don't know the right words to say or even the right things to do. My master even can see I like her. My friends have known since day one. Is it really obvious or...what should I do?"
"What are you doing Noel?" Olia peered over his shoulder as he finished writing. "I do wish you wouldn't do that. It makes me incredibly nervous." Noel calmly responded. "Oh come now, that's what's fun about doing it. Anyway, how was your training?" She asked. "You truly are evil aren't you" Noel joked, "Training was surprisingly good." Olia began to walk into another room. "That's good, so what did you learn exactly?" Noel smiled. "I can't tell you. You will have to wait like everyone else." He said with a slight laugh. "Well then you will have to wait to see the dress I got." She replied poking her head around the corner. "Aww... Well it's bad luck anyway." He joked. "How is it bad luck?" she curiously asked. Noel hadn't realized what he had been saying. He began to feel uneasy and nervous. "um nothing, nothing at all.. Now I think I'm going outside to look at the moon."
Noel quickly ran outside in embarrassment while mentally scolding himself. Meanwhile Olia reentered the room, noticing Noels journal wide open. "I wonder what he meant by that." she looked at the last written sentence he wrote, then carefully shut the book and replaced it in it's proper spot. She smiled then said to herself "He's hopeless..."
Everlight Chapter 2:
Raahh! "calm down Noel. It's not that important" Len tried to calm him."But what if I screw up? What if she says no? What do I do then?" Noel panicked. "Then you gave it your all. Now calm down and hurry up, we don't have all day for you to put your robe on!" Cade spoke while putting the finishing touches on his outfit. "B-but...Rahh! I'm soo nervous.."Noel started to speak but Cade interjected "Here just drink some cactus juice to loosen up". He tossed a small gourd to His friend. Without any hesitation Noel chugged the bottle in only a matter of seconds. " By the gods, you are way too nervous" Cade joked. "So how do I look" Len said as he fastened the his belt. His hair had been Flattened into smooth spikes. His outfit was simple and rather casual for the event. Noel looked for a brief moment. "You look fine aside from your grey eyes" He joked. "Heh, coming from you bumble bee. Black hair and yellow eyes. Your tan skin already makes you stand out as is" Cade joked back as he looked in the mirror. His flat brown hair drooped over one of his bright blue eyes. He looked at his black vest and tie. "hmm..a bit over the top, maybe?" He questioned himself. "You look fine. So who are you taking?" Noel asked as he buttoned the top of his robe. "You'll see" Cade said with a laugh. "Oh come on, we are your best friends" Noel whined. "And as my best friends you can accept my privacy" Cade laughed. "Oh..ok..." Noel mumbled without any further questioning. "So it looks like we are all ready?" Len asked. "yup" Cade answered. "Ok so let's get everything planned out. I'm going to go ask Olia to dance with me, where are the both of you going?" Noel asked. "I'm going to help Cade for a little while. Then I'll probably go dance." Len answered. "Ok so where should we all meet up?" Noel said as he opened to door of his house. "Hmmm... By the white rose bush. I think that would be the easiest place to find us." Cade answered as they all stepped out of the building. "Ok got it!" Noel concluded.
As they walked Noel began to think back to a conversation he had with Olia weeks prior to the event. His mind wandered deeper with every passing step eventually replaying the memory. "So what is the festival of lights?" Asked Olia as she swung a wooden blade at Noel. "Huh? It's just a big event we hold in honor of the celestial lights?" Noel answered as he deflected her attack. "Then why is it so important?" Noel stopped to think for a second before answering. " I guess it's important because it lifts everyone's spirits and it's kinda like a tradition." he answered. "hmm I see, so what do you do at the festival?" Olia asked as she tapped Noel on the head with her wooden sword. "Ow, heh there's games, fireworks, and a big dance. I generally enjoy it, but it's kinda boring if you're not dancing" He concluded. "Well then, I can't wait to see it." Olia concluded as she knocked Noels legs causing him to fall, then pointed her blade at him. "Cold as ever" He joked while getting up.
As the boys arrived at the heart of the festival they couldn't help but feel overwhelmed by all the people. They stopped to look around momentarily to mentally map the ongoing activities. Noel began to search for Olia but was dragged away by his master to aid in some mis-happening. Cade and Len stood in laughter until Cade ran in search of a special girl as Len followed. "What does she look like?!" Len yelled but Cade seemed to miss it. Len yelled again but no answer. As Cade moved deeper in search, Len faded deeper into the crowd until he was completely separated. After taking a few minutes to search for his friends he decided to watch the ongoing tournament. To his surprise he found Noel participating. He laughed as his friend unwillingly fought.
Meanwhile Cade ran through the crowd. "Where is she?" He thought to himself. He stopped briefly to search as a hand patted his shoulder. He turned around to see a short tan girl with snow white hair and violet eyes. "Olia? Wait, where's Noel?" She didn't answer instead she grabbed his hands, then dragged him to a girl with maroon hair, blue eyes, and a ruby dress. "Thank me later Val " Olia said as she walked off leaving Cade with the girl. The girl giggled then grabbed Cades hands. "Come on" she said with a smile. Cade smiled back and let her take over.
Elsewhere Noel had survived seven matches with his wooden sword. His opponents had been students from other temples all wishing to show that their masters and teachers were the best in the city. Noel unfortunately was forced into the tournament because he had been the student of Grandmaster Leon himself. Noel had achieved this not by showing great skill in anything but rather by his lack of skill. Noel had always been mediocre in his swordplay but truly lacking in every magical skill there was. In fact he had been known as the boy without magic until Leon took him in under his apprenticeship. Now Noel had put all his skills to the test after facing top students who had mastery in many different varieties of spells. "I stand no chance right now" he told himself but look back at his master who nodded at him with pride and confidence. "Even so I can't give up.." He looked at his opponent who had rather large muscles for his age. He looked at his own weak arms. "What potion has this kid been drinking? " Noel joked to mask his own self doubt. "Come on Noel you can do it!" He looked up to see his best friend cheering for him. "Heh, Easy for you to say Len" He yelled back. "Alright enough talk. I can do this, I know I can!" Noel said to himself then charged at his opponent at full speed. The boy raised his wooden axe in preparation. Noel watched carefully as his weight shifted. As Noel entered range of the boys attack he slid right avoiding the attack, then knocked the boys foot causing him to trip. Instantly Noel pointed his blade at the fallen boy awarding him another victory. Afterwards Noel held out his hand and assisted the boy up. Leon watched his student and smiled at his good sportsmanship.
"How long are you going to stand there Len?" Len looked over his shoulder to see a girl with long blond hair in a white dress. "Hey, somehow Noel got himself into the tournament." he said chuckling. "That's a shame, so you've been over here cheering him on?" She asked. "Yeah, unless you want to dance?" he replied smiling. "No, this is fine" She said as she grabbed his hand and watched the next match start. Olia walk towards the couple. "Hey was Noel looking for me" she asked causing Len laughed. "Yup, but somehow he was forced into the tournament." Immediately She moved closer in to watch.
Noel had been struggling in his new match. His new opponent was a mageling who used ranged spells to keep him at a distance. Noel dodged and evaded the spells but failed to get close enough to strike. "Get in there and take him down!" cheered Olia. Noel looked out at the crowd to see her but was struck back by lightning. "Raah! I've had it" Noel yelled then charged. His effort was in vain though, as he was pushed back again. Noel tried a final time dodging all incomming bolts. Once within range he jumped into the air and pounced the mageling, then held his blade in the air ready to strike. He waited a second to be crowned winner of the match before getting off the boy and helping him to his feet. "Great fight" he said holding his hand out. Leon clapped proudly and called his student over. " You've made me proud as a teacher, and you've proved your temple to be worthy and honorable. So even if lose this match, you will still have brought honor to my teachings." he smiled. "Thank you master, but I still plan to give this my all" Noel said mustering all his confidence. "That's the spirit! Now do your best!" Master Leon cheered as his student ran back into battle.
An hour passed as the final battle dragged on eventually ending in Noel's victory. He slowly regrouped with his friends after the match. "Woohoo!! It's the victorious failure Noel!!" Len joked as he approached. "heh, I don't plan on doing that again" Noel joked back. "Well congratulations" Olia said giving Noel a hug. "Well um, I wanted to ask you something earlier before I got caught up fighting in the tournament...would you like to dance with me?" He asked using the remains of his confidence and courage. "No...I would love to dance with you" She answered with a mischievous grin. Noel looked at her astonished by her answer. "You truly love torturing me don't you" He spoke as Olia slowly dragged him off. "Heh, looks like nothing could go wrong" Len said watching his friend being dragged off. "huh, I wonder who Cade was looking for..?" He said to himself. "You'll see soon enough. But I think we should find a good place to watch the lights, it's almost sundown." Len's date said tugging his arm gently. "Yeah I guess so"
The water sparkled in the sunset as it slowly whirled around Cades palm. "That's soo beautiful!" Cade smiled at the impressed girl. "It's just kinda natural. I never had to practice or even think about it. I just do it." he replied shrugging his shoulders. "Even so, it's quite beautiful."Cade looked at her for a few seconds. "How about a dance?" He said holding his hand out. The maroon haired girl smiled as she grabbed it. Cade gracefully twirled the girl as water droplets condensed in midair sparkling around her. He smiled at her beauty. "I'm glad you're here with me" She said gently to him. "I'm glad too." The couple danced slowly until the first fireworks bursted in the sky. They watched eagerly as the crackle of more flares bursted in the late twilight. Suddenly multicolored flares danced around from a small hill behind them. Cade turned around to see Noel and Olia dancing in a small shrine. Cade smiled at his friends happiness. He watched as with each movement flares would dance around them until it spun out into the sky dancing freely. "They make a nice couple don't you think" asked Cades date. "Yeah" he replied as he watched the two finally kiss, sending flares all around dancing elegantly and freely in the open skies. Cade turned to his date. "Wait di..." He started to speak but was shushed as the girl kissed him.
Leon laughed as he watched his students in love. "hah looks like you owe me Kain" He said holding holding his hand out. The fellow teacher looked at him in annoyance as he reached into his pocket grabbing a small bag of coins. "Fine..." Kain said reluctantly as he started to move towards one of the drink stands. Suddenly a messenger sprinted to the masters. " Grandmaster! Grandmaster! We have a situation!" he cried. "What is it?!" Leon asked in a stern yet worried tone. "Follow me!" The messenger demanded. Leon and Kain looked at each other as if to signal something, then followed the messenger.
After walking deep into the Asarian forests the teachers discover a horrific sight. "How did you discover this?" Leon said as he investigated the surroundings. "A small group of villagers informed one of the units" Leon looked back to the messenger. "How many were dispatched to assist the situation?" Leon said as he brushed through a patch of shrubbery. "Why would it matter?" Kain quickly interjected . Leon silently signaled him to look past a small bush. The master gawked at the sight. "By the gods, how did this happen..?" Leon stood silently in thought. "Bring me Mera..." He commanded . Instantly the messenger sprinted towards town. The masters stared silently at the stoney corpses of villagers and guards. "What could have done this...?"