Chapter 2:

Gathering Storm

Crimson: The New Wonder of the World

Theo, Elias and Dion were not too far from the shore. They could already hear the noise coming from the crowded market.

"Oh boy!" said astonished Dion. "There are so many people in here! It's far more crowded than the last year!"

"Didn't the war stop them from coming here?" asked a surprised Elias.

"Apparently not. Of course, our warriors keep the battlefield away from us! Including your father!" said Theo smiling."You should be proud of your father. He really is one of our village's greatest heroes. Your family had many competent and brave warriors, and many served in the army!" pointed out Theo. "Now, where shall we install our stall?" said the man, already looking around.

The market was so big that it had to be expanded further than how it had first been planned. Many people from all corners of the known world arrived there, selling either basic goods or luxurious ones. It was so diverse, that the boys could barely take in all the goods every merchant brought there.

"Hey! Cut it out!" shouted Theo, noticing that the boys were going too far into the market. "What are you guys doing? We are supposed to set up, not admire the whole market! Now come, please help me carry all the cabbages from the cart here." added Theo, pointing next to the spot he had found.

The boys were very fast at unloading all the cabbages, and managed to carry them to their stall. While they were at it, Theo was already setting up the stall. A short while after they were done, customers started coming up to buy their fresh cabbages.

"Fresh cabbages from Ilonya! Fresh cabbages from Ilonya!" Theo kept shouting, trying to attract customers.

Meanwhile, a couple of fishermen arrived at the market so they could sell their fish. But, before doing so, they paid a visit to the cabbage stall.

"Are the sales going well?" asked one of the fishermen.

"They are going splendid! I have never had such sales in my entire life!" replied Elias excitedly.

"Indeed. This is one of the best years in terms of sales. People just kept coming to buy our cabbages! I am afraid I will soon run out of them!" added very joyful Theo.

"Well, we are glad to hear that!" replied the other fisherman. "However, we have a request." added the man, clearing his throat.

"What is it?" asked Dion.

"Well, we had a small accident, and both of us broke one hand. We were curious if two of you would like to go fishing in our place." replied one of the fishermen. "But don't worry, we will pay you for this service!" promised the other.

"Hmmm... it sounds kinda risky..." said a very thoughtful Elias, but Dion and Theo had already made up a plan.

"Of course we will help!" said in a choir Theo and Dion.

"WHAT?!" asked very shocked Elias.

"My brother and I will help you with the fishing. We have quite the experience!" added Dion, smirking at Elias, noticing that his younger brother was unhappy with their decision.

"Bloody hell! Why can't they just keep going with selling cabbages?! Mr. Theo wants more money, and Dion just got bored of selling cabbages, and wants to humiliate me with his fishing skills!" thought Elias. "Alright, we will help you with the fishing part, but I hope you will give us a pretty nice amount of money, ya know? We will let you talk with Mr. Theo about the money. Let's go fishing!" said Elias, trying to fake his excitement.

"Alright! We will give you our equipment." added one of the fishermen.

The boys soon received a boat, two oars, a fishing net, a fishing rod, and some bait to catch bigger fish. Theo grabbed the boat with all the necessary items in it and went straight to the beach, where they launched it into the water. While it was still near the shore, Dion and Elias got in the boat and went out to sea. Dion noticed that Elias was very quiet, but he couldn't figure out what was wrong. Therefore, he tried to get his younger brother to talk.

"I forgot to tell you that I grabbed a bit of mom's food!" said Dion with a joyful voice, trying to see Elias' reaction.

"Alright." replied Elias, with a dead serious voice.

"Do you think we are going to catch some nice fish today?" asked Dion again joyful, trying to see his brother's reactions.

"Yes." replied Elias very short and cold, while gazing at the blue and infinite sea before his eyes.

"Would you like to help me throw this net in the water?" asked Dion, still trying to get a positive feedback from his brother.

"Maybe." replied Elias, his annoyance slipping into his tone.

Dion threw the fishing net in the water and went close to his brother. He crouched down and kept staring at Elias for some minutes. His younger brother got even more annoyed by Dion, and suddenly, just like a volcano, erupted with fury.

"What the hell is wrong with you?!" asked a very annoyed and angry Elias. "You've been staring at me for like 10 damn minutes! What is it? Are you going nuts due to the sun heat?!"

"No, I am trying to see if I can get at least a smile or a positive reaction from you!" replied Dion, very disappointed. "But instead, you are acting as if I am a pain in the ass for you." added Dion, taken aback by his brother's attitude.

"Well, it's because you are one, Dion!" shouted Elias, and moved his eyes at Dion, with a very angry look on his face. "Do you think I am really happy living with you, Dion? I am ridiculed because of you! Why? Because you are always better than me at everything! And now you proved, once again, that I don't matter to any of you! Not to the kids in our village, not to our parents, not to Mr. Theo, not to the fishermen, not to anyone! You always act as if you are better than me! And I hate that! Because none of you let me actually do my own things!" added Elias, his menacing tone slowly becoming a loud shout.

After hearing his words, Dion felt bad for Elias. He realized how much his younger brother had suffered so far due to his overprotection. Dion raised the fishing net and with a sad voice, said:

"Let's get back." A storm could be seen in the distance, which alerted the two brothers, especially Dion, who hated storms, especially the thunders. "I will let you lead the boat back to the shore, Elias." He looked away.

Elias regretted having told Dion of his so many awful feelings, but at the same time, Elias felt great because he had been able to face Dion and make him feel bad. Even though he was a bit guilty over feeling good because of one's sorrow, Elias actually enjoyed every second of his brother's total change of mood. They were getting closer to the shore, but something felt off. All the noise from the market just couldn't be heard, even though they kept getting closer.

"I can't wait to get to Mr. Theo and sleep in his cart. I love the sea breeze and all this heavenly smell I always get whenever I arrive near the sea." said Elias, noticing that Dion still felt bad. "Let's just hope the storm doesn't catch up with us!" he added, laughing.

It was turning darker and darker, as the night slowly invaded the sky. Dion's attention was suddenly caught by some strange lights on the shore. He never thought that everyone would have red lanterns.

"Hey, Elias, why didn't Mr. Theo tell us that everyone would light up red lanterns at night?" asked Dion.

Elias was very confused and turned his head around, as baffled as Dion. "I do not know." Once they got even closer to the shore, the boys could smell a faint trace of smoke, and soon, Dion realized that there were no red lanterns lighting up at the market, but that the market itself had become a big burning lantern. Totally horrified by the sight, Dion didn't knew what to do.

"We must go back there! The market is on fire!" Elias shouted.

"What?!" asked very shocked Dion, simply petrified by the burning shore. "No... we must not go there! I can hear marches! I believe it is the enemy army!" he added in a horrified voice and started to paddle out to the sea."

"Dion, we must get back! What if Mr. Theo is still alive?" asked Elias, simply staring at the great dancing flames.

"It is too late, Elias! We must... we must find an escape route. And we will travel on the sea, until we find land! This place means sure death for both of us, you dumbass!" the boy realized with tears in his eyes.

Elias tried to hold his tears back. "I refuse, Dion." said Elias.

"What? You will get both of us killed!" came the reply.

"Dion. I said that I refuse to listen to you.." repeated Elias with a deadly serious voice. "Why can't you trust me?"

"Because we will die if we return to the market!" replied Dion. "It's not that I do not trust you!" They glared at each other for a moment.

"So, you haven't changed your mind about me at all... I am not useless, you bastard!" Elias lost his patience with Dion, then jumped on him, trying to slap and hit his brother. Elias was able to hit his older brother for a while, until he was caught off guard and received a punch straight in the face, fainting very quickly after the hit. While the two brothers were fighting in the boat, due to the turbulent waves, their boat was taken far away from the shore. After realizing what was happening, Dion panicked, because they were in the middle of a storm, with his younger brother being unconscious. "Hey, Elias! Wake up! I was just kidding! I am so sorry, please wake up!" kept Dion repeating, while carefully shaking Elias' body. Dion didn't know what to do, so he tried to wake up Elias through different methods taught by his father. The last option remaining for Dion was to kick his brother's testicles, which, surprisingly enough, worked!

"WHAT ARE YOU DOING, YOU MORON?!" asked Elias, very furious. "I was conscious, by the Gods!" he wailed in agony, grimacing at the immense pain.

"I am a moron? Or you? Because you played dead!" replied Dion, his anger at his brother evident. "But it's not this that truly matters, it is how we will manage to get out from this storm!" As the more turbulent waves started to grow in size, the sky was struck by furious lightning bolts.

"Good question!" replied Elias, lying down on the floor of the boat, because of the pain. "Take the lead, Dion! Be careful to avoid the bigger waves!" added Elias.

"I know what to do!" said Dion, now smiling distractedly. "I will save both our asses!" He was having a struggling battle against the waves that kept hitting the boat from all directions.

The boat was very unstable, and Dion could barely avoid the bigger waves. The storm got so bad, that all the supplies inside the boat got blown away by the strong wind. It felt as if Dion was fighting with a storm demon that was constantly trying to get both of them to drown in the sea. After a while, Dion was horrified to see the biggest wave ever forming under his eyes. He instantly prayed to all his Gods, and urged Elias: "Brother, hold tight onto the boat! Brace yourself for impact! A huge wave is going to hit us!" He was staring at the huge, terrifying wave coming straight at them, barely able to stand on his feet.

"I hate you, Dion!" shouted Elias.

"I love you too, E-" Dion tried to reply, but he was interrupted by the wave which hit their boat.

The storm was still raging far in the sea, as the two boys were lost in it. Who knew if they were still alive, because such a storm could kill the toughest people out there. If the Gods want people to die, they will kill as many as they please. But the same applies to saving people. Maybe they had mercy on Dion and Elias. Maybe. Luckily, after having taken its rage out on the boys, the sea started to calm down. And soon, the raging storm that had simply torn the sea apart had vanished, leaving behind nothing but peace, and two shattered destinies.