Chapter 2:

Chapter 2 - Spiralling Thoughts

Of Heroes and Royals

"So... we have permission to start mocking your truck now, right?"Bookmark here

Ciela leaned back against the aforementioned truck, letting out a sigh. The group had only made it a few miles out Lucciola before having car trouble - forcing them already to bring their journey to a halt so Apollo could pull over and make repairs.Bookmark here

Slamming the vehicle's hood shut, Apollo shot Ciela a glare. "You mock it, you don't get in it. Anyway, it's fixed."Bookmark here

In response, Ciela pulled a face and hopped into the back of the truck once more, causing Naois - who had stayed put and took a nap to kill time - to wake with a start, insult no one in particular, and promptly fall back to sleep.Bookmark here

"What was the problem, anyway?" asked Alice, who had been hovering around Apollo the entire time he had been making repairs - much akin to how a small child follows their parent around in awe.Bookmark here

"The Elekrystal is damaged, and all the energy leaked out. I refilled it with the basic thunder magic I have, but I can't fix the damage, meaning it'll leak again. We'll have to buy a new one in the next town." Apollo explained, letting out a quiet sigh as he realised he'd end up being the one paying.Bookmark here

"Oh, that's right, cars run on magic, don't they? I almost forgot." responded Alice.Bookmark here

"Yeah, a mix of thunder and fire magic. Helping my Dad fix cars, I had to learn a little, even though Elemancy isn't my native magic type." Upon saying this, Apollo placed both his hands in front of him. In his left hand, he summoned a small crackle of electricity, and in his right, he called forth a small flame. "I don't blame you for forgetting, though. A lot of our modern technology is based on magic, harnessed in very specific ways. People use the terms magic and technology interchangeably. Remember that, while we're travelling the world outside Lucciola."Bookmark here

"Huh?" Alice gave him a puzzled look.Bookmark here

"We're gonna meet a lot of different people, who all talk in different ways and have different mannerisms. Try not to get confused." Apollo poked her on the head, releasing his magic and continuing to lecture her. "Wouldn't do for a queen to get lost mid-conversation, would it?"Bookmark here

"She didn't ask for a thesis on magic and culture, Apollo." Ciela called out from the back of the truck. "Say, speaking of magic, though, Alice's magic is quite special, isn't it?"Bookmark here

"Fine, I'll continue my lecture later. But yeah, that's true. Out of the four main types - Elemancy, Time/Spatial Magic, Superhuman Magic, and Support Magic..." Apollo began counting on his fingers as he talked. "Alice's doesn't really fit into any."Bookmark here

Alice gave an embarrassed chuckle. "Call it special all you like, but I still don't even know how to use it properly."Bookmark here

"Keep practising, you'll get it. I mean, look at Ciela. With just six years of practice, even she managed to become a slightly above average magic user. Great job, by the way." With this, Apollo headed back to the driver's seat, giving Ciela a smug grin as he walked.Bookmark here

At last, the group set off once more, Ciela yelling expletives at Apollo through the window while Alice sunk into her seat and Naois continued to nap.Bookmark here

"You know, I probably should've asked this sooner, but where exactly are we headed?" asked Alice, once Ciela's tirade had stopped.Bookmark here

"I'm so glad you finally asked, princess. Thankfully, someone in this truck actually thought ahead." responded Apollo, in a sarcastic tone.Bookmark here

Both Alice and Ciela went to interject, but realised he was completely right - no one else had given any thought to where they were headed. All they knew was that no one was becoming queen by staying in a forest village.Bookmark here

"You win this one." Ciela painfully grumbled.Bookmark here

Ignoring the comment, but pridefully taking the win, Apollo continued. "We're headed to Fiorir, a town where the resistance is currently keeping their headquarters. It's quite pretty this time of year, I was told."Bookmark here

Ciela grabbed Apollo by the ear, taking his words with high amounts of suspicion. Before this action managed to affect his driving, however, Alice quickly swatted her hand away without a word.Bookmark here

The two stared at each other for a moment, silently acknowledging what had just taken place, before Ciela went back to harassing Apollo - this time exclusively with words. "How exactly do you know where the resistance is?"Bookmark here

Apollo took a moment to answer, also processing what had just occurred, before responding as though nothing had happened. "Well, as you know, they move around from time to time to avoid detection, but a member who was born in Lucciola told me their current spot before we left."Bookmark here

"That's a future royal advisor for you!" Alice exclaimed with a smile, impressed with Apollo's work.Bookmark here

His words piqued Ciela's words in a different way, however. "They were born in Lucciola? Does that mean...?"Bookmark here

"Yup, his destiny, as told to him by the Futureseer, was to join the resistance."Bookmark here

At the mention of destiny, and the Futureseer, everything seemed to disappear around Alice. With nowhere to go, nothing to do, and nothing else to think about, she couldn't escape it. She could feel her mind being overcome by a violent storm - a spiral of thoughts. She could no longer feel the seat beneath her, and her friends' voices seemed so very distant. Within that storm, she drifted helplessly from thought to thought, being pulled ever closer toward the ones that scared her, and away from the original catalyst.Bookmark here

"Destiny, huh?"Bookmark here

The resistance, that seemed simple.Bookmark here

And there were even simpler existences than that. Apollo's dad was "destined" to be a mechanic.Bookmark here

"So... why me?"Bookmark here

Why?Bookmark here

Why me?Bookmark here

Why not Naois?Bookmark here

Did the Futureseer see the right future?Bookmark here

Somewhere far, far away, she thought she could hear Apollo's voice telling her to get some rest. Oh, how nice rest sounded. But that was impossible, right now. She was trapped in this spiral. A spiral that continued to churn, a spiral that continued to pull her further and further in.Bookmark here

"Am I really cut out for this?"Bookmark here

It's too much.Bookmark here

Really, it's too much... for someone like me.Bookmark here

Alice's thoughts continued to churn, to spin violently, to be so exceedingly loud she felt as though her head was going to explode.Bookmark here

Until it stopped.Bookmark here

The spiralling came to a sudden halt.Bookmark here

Sensing her friend's anxiety, Ciela had reached through the window that connected the truck's interior to the back and placed her arms around Alice in a loving embrace. Ciela's arms were so very warm, Alice thought, even despite her and Naois being at the weather's mercy in the back.Bookmark here

"You're doing alright." Ciela softly whispered in her ear, leaning her head against Alice's. "You're doing so much better than you can possibly know."Bookmark here

Feeling something other than the pulsating of her own thoughts, especially something as soft as Ciela's hair and skin, was so very comforting, Alice felt. Hearing a voice beside her own, that was calming, too.Bookmark here

Slowly but surely, the silver haired girl was plucked from the spiral within her mind. Soon, the weight of her eyelids was too much for her to resist, and the now emptiness of her mind allowed her to be pulled into the vast emptiness of sleep - continually feeling Ciela's warmth as her consciousness slowly faded.Bookmark here

The twilight of the setting sun filtered in through the windows, bathing the group in a golden glow. And even if things would change very soon, right then, at that moment, within that silence, they truly felt at peace.Bookmark here

"You know... you're doing alright too, Ciela." spoke Apollo, in a voice so very soft.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.