Aystaria removed the bandage from around her left arm as she revealed the gruesome scar that still remained. Emyria had no words that could describe what she was seeing. While Emyria could only express a look of shock, Aystaria continued to smile as if nothing was wrong. He’s been through so much, and yet he continues to smile, Emyria thought as she wrapped her arms around him.
“I’m sorry, Aystaria…”
“Sorry for what?”
“For what you had to endure. I had no idea.”
“I know. And that’s okay. However, I do have a small request.”
“Name it, anything, and it’s yours.”
“Anything you say? Tempting, but don’t worry. I just want you to keep seeing me as the female you always have, okay?”
“Sure, anything you want.”
Aystaria placed her hand on Emyria’s head, and gently stroked her hair.
“Anyways, we should get back so you can get some sleep,” Aystaria said with a smile.
Before Emyria could say anything, Feldia entered the room as she made her way over to Aystaria, and Emyria with another vial of white liquid.
“How many times?” Aystaria asked.
“I actually lost count. This was the last drop I got before he was done.”
“What should we do with him?”
“I’d take him before the council but it is a long trip.”
“Yeah, and you have your students to think of.”
Aystaria thought for a moment before she looked over to Feldia with a smile.
“Vien hänet neuvostoon, ja voit lähettää hänet, kun hän valmistuu.”
“Wait, what did you say, Aystaria?”
“Wait… Miss Feldia, can you two not speak in a language I don’t understand?”
“You just focus on your studies. I’ll take Rita to the council, just make sure you graduate.”
“Right, you better be back by the time I do!”
With a smile Aystaria headed for the other room.
“Let’s get back to the rest of the class, Miss Hyteria.”
Emyria spent the rest of her days in Athelas until it was time for the school trip to end. She couldn’t help but think back to everything that Aystaria had told her. It was hard for her not to feel sorry for Aystaria, the pain she had to endure, the guilt she continued to suffer. Still, she was thankful of everything that Aystaria had taught her. Her skill with the blade had increased, and even her way of thinking had been moved by just one girl, a soldier who lived in the shadows.
After returning to the city of Maiola, Emyria waited until she, and Feldia were alone. Even though the final exams scores would be released, and determined if they would graduate or not, Emyria wondered if Aystaria would make it back in time.
“At this point, you can just call me Feldia. Okay, Emyria?”
“Feldia, how long does it take to get to the place where Aystaria mentioned?”
“Three days travel to The Pit, then another week or so to get to the fifth layer.”
“And we get our exam results in…”
“She isn’t coming back, is she?”
“Nope. However, I do have something that could help. Follow me.”
Feldia made her way into her classroom, and moved her desk out of the way. Lifting up one of the loose floorboards, she pulled out a book that was bound in black leather.
“Take this book, and go into Aystaria’s room. If I know her, and I think I do, she will have something waiting for you in there.”
Emyria seemed confused for a second, but nodded as she thanked Feldia. Making her way back home, she entered Aystaria’s room. The room was just as empty as it always was, aside from a book that sat on the desk. Opening the book to the first page, Emyria could see a handwritten note penned in Aystaria’s own handwriting. Reading through the note, she realized that she would need to learn the language the Shadow Takers used in order to read the rest of the book. Looking over the book that Feldia had given her, Emyria could see that learning this new language was going to be hard. Guess I’ll start learning how this language works, Emyria thought as she read through the book.
Days passed until graduation had finally arrived. Emyria had only managed to learn a few basic words of the Ryiza language, and still unable to read the book that Aystaria had left behind. Sitting on one of the wooden benches, Emyria continued to study the book as she struggled to understand the language. While she was still engrossed in her studies, Emyria could feel the presence of Feldia behind her.
“Hello, to you too, Feldia,” Emyria said without looking up from the book.
“You’ve gotten better. Still can’t read that book Aystaria left I take it?” Feldia asked as she sat down beside Emyria.
“I know some basic words, but not enough to read this book.”
“I suppose I could help you study in my free time,” Feldia said with a smile.
Weeks passed as Emyria continued to study the language along side Feldia. She ensured to train daily on everything that Aystaria had taught her, as well as taking in the knowledge, and lessons Feldia passed onto her. After three long months of studying, Emyria found she was able to read through the book Aystaria had left, albeit at a slow pace. She sat there on the bench like she had before with Feldia next to her. When Emyria had finally gotten to the last page, she could feel tears swell up in her eyes as she read aloud the last paragraph on the page.
“When you read this, if you are still serious about creating a new life for yourself, come find me in The Pit, down in the fifth layer,” Emyria read aloud.
Emyria leaned back, and closed her eyes.
“I’m not even sure how I’d get down to The Pit.”
“Tyhmä,” Feldia spoke as she stood to her feet.
“Hey! I’m not stupid.”
“You are acting like it. What good is being friends with an old teacher if you can’t take advantage of them.”
“I have to say, your morals are… questionable.”
“Meet me here by the break of dawn if you’re serious about it.”
Emyria nodded as she closed the book. After making her way home, Emyria entered her room, and thought about everything that had been presented to her. She had always dreamed of being free from her family, and now an option presented itself before her, yet she was afraid. Wanting to leave, and actually going through with it were two different things. Removing her shoes, and placing them by her bedside, Emyria laid back as she stared up at the ceiling. Mauling over the options for several hours, Emyria finally closed her eyes as she figured out exactly what she wanted to do.
Before the break of dawn, Emyria awoke, and stood to her feet. She took a moment to stretch before thinking about everything she would need to take with her. As she gathered up a small amount of supplies, Emyria heard a knock at her door.
“Do you mind if we come in, Lady Emyria?”
Emyria made her way over to the door, and opened it to see Reina, and Lyis standing at the door.
“Isn’t it a bit early for you two to be up?”
“We could say the same for you, Lady Emyria.”
After putting her shoes on, Emyria made her way over to the desk, and picked up the book that Feldia had given her as well as the book Aystaria had left her.
“Do you plan to go somewhere?” Reina asked.
“Well, if you must know, I’m leaving for The Pit with my former teacher. I don’t know what you two plan to do, but—”
“The two of us are coming with you, of course,” Lyis said with a smile.
“Why would you do that? Don’t you have to stay here because of my parents?”
“You’re parents only ever ordered us to protect you. Aystaria also asked us to do the same thing,” Reina said as she handed Emyria a small slice of bread.
“Plus, she said that when you graduated we should be ready to stay by your side if you ever decided to leave.”
“Wait, did she tell you everything about herself?”
“She did indeed,” Reina said with a nod.
“It’s like… she planned for this to plan.”
“So, will you allow us to travel with you, Emyria?” Reina asked with a smile.
Emyria handed the book Feldia had given her to study the Ryiza language over to Reina.
“Paras päästä opiskelemaan,” Emyria said with a smirk as she exited the room.
Reina looked over to her little brother.
“Did she say we could come?”
“I’m not sure…”
“Hey you two, come on. Feldia won’t wait forever.”
Reina, and Lyis rushed to catch up with Emyria.
“I guess that’s a yes.”