The Flight of The Draykes
Days passed after Sia’s birthday, and the smile on my face never wore off.
Even now, when I was clutching my chest in agony, the shadows of the smile still lingered.
As Dr. Cratus hurriedly ran over, I stretched out a blurry hand in front of me and smiled a hollow smile as he infused warforce into me.
Many minutes later, I was able to get up shakily and wipe away the spit that had made its way out of my mouth as I thanked the doctor, who gruffly said, “The intervals are becoming shorter, aren’t they?”
Nodding, I looked down at my feet.
Clapping his large hands on my shoulder, the doctor with a worried look asked, “Should I ask Sir Galen to come?”
Shaking my head frantically, I refused the offer and said wanly, “I don’t want to trouble him right now.”
Snorting, Dr. Cratus ponderously moved off as he said, “I don’t know why you’re so stubborn. At least ask that other teacher of yours. He came by to talk to me, and I have a feeling he knows what is going on.”
Stunned, I stood there before I asked, “Sir Leonidas, you mean?”
Nodding, Dr. Cratus said, “Aye, that lion eyed knight. He’s been checking up on you since a month back.”
Thinking back to a month before; That was when my convulsions had begun to really accelerate, leaving me incapacitated. What I couldn’t figure out was how the teacher knew it, given that he was usually out on a mission with the rest of the mercenary team.
Deciding to approach him about it, I kept working in the hospital until it was time for me to leave, and then I walked back to the Hoard with unsteady steps as the pain began throbbing within me again.
Clenching my teeth, I made it within hailing distance of the Hoard before my heartbeat started beating erratically and pain spiked up my side, almost incapacitating me again.
Stumbling forward, and almost falling down, I mustered out the last of my strength and called out as loudly as I could for help before my vision darkened and I fell forward fully.
In what seemed to be mere moments, when I opened my eyes again, I found myself back in my bed with Teacher sitting on a chair beside the bed.
Cocking an eye at me, he raised his eyebrows as I weakly lifted my head off the pillow and half sat up.
“Teacher,” I greeted.
“You remembered that I am your teacher, huh,” Sir Leonidas said with a sardonic smile.
Chills ran through me, and I meekly nodded as I said, “I meant to come to you about this… but….”
“But what?” Teacher asked, even more grimly.
Trailing off into silence, I looked down, not daring to meet his eyes.
“You would have waited until you had died? Is that it? You would have collapsed in some alley, to be found the next day and that’s when you would have told me? How could you be so stupid!” Teacher thundered out.
Ashamed, I looked down.
Seething, Sir Leonidas stared at me, his aura erratic as he tried to suppress it.
Then he sighed, and his aura deflating, he tiredly spoke, “Faustus… We know what problem you have. It’s why I’ve been watching over you, waiting for it to come to the surface.”
Raising my head in disbelief, I asked in a trembling voice, “You know?”
Running a hand over his face, Teacher nodded.
“What is it?” I cried out as tears began streaming down my face, the tension of the past month palpable as it left me.
Gently, Teacher handed me a handkerchief, before he said heavily, “Faustus, your heart is supported by the warforce. Now I know that you have tried not using your warforce before this, yes? But the pain kept coming faster and faster, yes?”
Nodding to all the questions, I waited as the Teacher let out another sigh and said, “The problem is… even if you don’t use your warforce, your warforce is always active and draining away to support your heart. The moment it runs out is when your heart starts paining…”
Stunned, I looked at him incredulously, for how could I have not noticed such a simple thing.
Sadly, the teacher looked at me and said, “That was why I asked you to reach iron rank as fast as possible. According to Galen, you have two years to live.”
“Two years?” I mouthed.
Confirming it, the teacher nodded.
“Why two years?” I asked softly.
“How tall are you now, Faustus,” Teacher asked abruptly.
Confused, I responded, “178 cm”
“178… so you grew another 8 cm in the last few months, yes?”
I nodded and then slowly it hit me, and I asked, “Is it because I’m growing?”
Clasping his hands together, Sir Leonidas looked at me and sorrowfully said, “In two years, you will have grown fully. At that point, your warforce consumption will be such that you’ll not survive more than an hour without someone infusing their warforce into you. That is, unless you reach Iron rank.”
Dazed, I stared at the teacher.
In the end, I was in danger of dying simply because time waited for no one and time definitely was not going to wait for me.
Frustrated, I pounded my fists into the sheets as the teacher watched sympathetically.
Calming down after a few moments, I turned to the teacher and forcing a smile; I asked, “How do I reach iron rank?”
Hesitantly, the teacher spoke, “I have an idea but it will destroy your future path of training.”
Narrowing my eyes, I spoke with determination in my voice, “training does not matter if I’m dead, does it?”
“Are you sure?” Teacher asked, pain in his voice.
Smiling wryly and blinking back tears, I said, “Teacher… when I became your disciple, you said that I could awaken later than 10 and become a wargod. But I awakened earlier. Even then, I believed I would become a wargod. Today, you say that my path of training will be destroyed. But even then, I still believe I will become a wargod.”
Slowly enunciating each word, I said, “I am Faustus Drayke. I promised that I will be an immortal, and an immortal I shall be. No matter what the path and no matter what the cost.”
Staring at me, a lion-eyed man wept in sorrow for a future lost.
And I wept in sorrow, for a future gained.
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