“Aella, Valerie is looking for you,” Delmira informed me.
I walked to where Delmira told me she was. I saw her sit on a stone, tapping her foot impatiently. It seemed like she was deep in her thoughts. She looked up at me when she noticed I had arrived.
“Let’s evaluate your fight, shall we? You’re wounds are healed completely now,” she said and let the way inside.
We sat in a dimly lit room. Valerie took my crystal and laid it on the table. She took her hammer and before I could do anything, she hit the crystal with all her might. The table broke from the impact. Dust danced through the air. I looked for the crystal but couldn’t see it. Surely, it didn’t break. My hands searched the ground but I couldn’t find it.
I squinted my eyes and saw the crystal under a piece of wood. It wasn’t broken. In fact, I couldn’t see any damage at all. I grabbed it and stood up. It was glowing as usual. I looked up and saw Valerie looking at me with a poker face. She took the crystal from me and it stopped glowing immediately.
“In the fight, I noticed that you didn’t know how to activate your weapon. It’s fairly simple actually. You were also distracted, why?” She questioned me.
She looked serious, different from her usual self. I didn’t know how to answer her question. I wasn’t sure whether I should tell her about it or not. She knew I hesitant but waited for me to answer her. I thought of something, an excuse that I could say to her. Anything. However, my mind was completely blank. I looked down avoiding her stare.
Valerie put her hand on my shoulder. That’s when I realised that tears were falling down my eyes. I looked up at her and she gave me a sympathetic look. She kept patting my shoulder, comforting me.
“Aella, you can tell me whatever it is. Some Malleus have the ability to look at you and know your deepest secrets in a second. They try to screw with you, knowing you haven’t told anyone about it,” she explained.
I took a deep breathe. I decided I should tell her about the sin I’ve committed. The sin that has haunted me for quite some time now.
“I killed someone.”
I am pretty sure she thought I’ve gone mad. But no emotions ran through me as those words left my mouth. I felt nothing. I waited for her to respond but realised she was waiting for me to continue.
“I’m not sure what happened. My memory is little bit hazy. One second a girl was stabbing a boy with scissors continuously. The next thing I see is her lifeless body stare back at me. My clothes were filled with blood. The voices in my head were screaming at me to kill her. The boy survived and the girl was announced dead. I was left out of charges since they proclaimed it to be out of self defence and justice. How is justice killing someone in order to save someone?” I explained.
My head was in my hands. My dark brown hair was falling in front of my face.
“Sometimes we have to commit to things we don’t like. What is justice? It has a different meaning for everyone. You did what you could at that moment and he survived, didn’t he? That day it was set that someone was going to die and it happened. You can’t control something that is bound to be happen. Don’t forget what you did but learn from it and move on,” she patted my head.
A few days went by and the training had gotten intense. Valerie told me to ignore what the old man said and just to imagine energy flowing into the crystal and it will glow. She also said the stronger I get, the stronger my ability will be but I had to remember that I have to rest plenty. My body was like a battery that fuelled my ability with my energy, if I was tired, and out of any energy, I could not control it. Delmira and Keres managed to learn how to use their weapons as well. Keres’ pen turned into a beautiful red spear. He could use it quite well just as how Delmira could use her bow and arrow. However, the twins trained with Nekane and Valerie took it upon herself to train me. Her reason was that she had none. Quite frankly, that bothered me a lot. However, I chose to ignore it for now.
The training went by as always. I was trying to fight Valerie, my task was to make beat her in a fight. It was simply by making her loose her sword or making her surrender. To my dismay, the outcome of this training was always the same. I would loose and she would win. I had been trying for days but with no avail.
I sighed and sat down on the grass of the arena that we were in. Sweat drops formed on my forehead and I was exhausted. I chugged down a bottle of water and Valerie came and sat beside me. She simply stared at her sword and waited for me to stand up again but instead I layed down and put my arm over my head. I took deep, long breaths to control my breathing and to calm my racing heart. I was starting to feel very sleepy and Valerie seemed to notice.
“Fine, we will stop here for today. Come on, I bet dinner is almost ready,” she sighed and walked ahead.
I quietly but quickly followed her. My stomach growled as we got into the kitchen, letting everyone know how hungry I was. The smell of the food that was being prepared smelled devine. The woman, named Emika, turned out to be the mother of Valerie and Nekane. She told everyone to sit down and put the last dish on the table. When everything was set, we began to eat silently. You could hear the noise of the utensils or the glass being put down on the table.
“How is the training going?” Grandpa asked.
“It’s going well! Me and Keres have managed to beat Nekane several times,” Delmira answered. Nekane huffed at her response and looked away not making eye contact with anyone. Grandpa waited for me to respond and I sighed.
“I am not able to beat Valerie. I don’t even think I’ve improved even a bit,” I looked disappointed. Valerie, who sat beside me, patted my head trying to cheer me up.
“Don’t worry, Aella. I’m sure you’re learning. Take your time, it’s okay,” grandpa assured and gave me an encouraging smile. I nodded my head and continued to eat my food silently. I was disappointed at myself but it had been only a couple of days since the training actually begun. So I reminded myself that it was okay.
“Have you thought of a plan on how to leave Kyauven?” asked Valerie curiously. I shook my head. I had completely forgot about that. I was so focused on the training that it completely slipped out of my head but I knew there was one thing I wanted to try.
“I was thinking about searching for the forbidden flower,” I said quietly.
“Are you nuts? Have I not warned you about how dangerous it is?” grandpa got angry.
“I know but that’s the only solution I can find at the moment.”
“My child, that is way too dangerous. You can loose your life because of that flower. Don’t go anywhere near it,” he looked at me in worry. I nodded my head but grandpa stood up and came towards me. He held my hands and made me look up.
“Promise me you won’t go near it. I am serious. You two won’t even dare to open your mouths on where it is. Aella, I’m sure you guys will find away that is less dangerous,” he said in seriousness and briefly looked over to Nekane and Valerie.
Emika stood up and started putting away the dishes I joined her. After everything was cleaned up, I went upstairs and took a shower. My whole back was sticky from the training. It felt good to put on clean clothes. Even though it was a chilly night, I decided to wear black joggers with a long white T-shirt. I dried my hair with a towel as I opened the door to the bathroom. Delmira left to take a shower next. The light of the room were off. I walked towards the window and saw the bright moon that was glowing in the night sky. Millions of stairs were burning and yet again, I was struck by the beauty of kyauven.
I stared at myself in the mirror and my reflection stared back at me. My grey eyes looked dull. My pale skin looked lifeless. I decided to go for a walk and made my way out of the house. I needed some fresh air. I felt like I was suffocating. I ended up walking towards the arena and grabbed my sword in my hand.
It was dangerous to walk around the arena at night as Malleus were kept inside it for training purposes. I did feel bad for them. However, Valerie explained to me that the village was attacked by the Malleus and they captured them instead of killing. I didn’t know what I was doing here but I found myself walking up to the entrance.
Before I could open the door, I heard rustling. I looked around and no one was there. I ignored it and opened the gate. However, I heard it again along with whispers. Someone was here. I quietly went inside the arena and left the door a bit open.
“Is this the village where the girl is in?” asked a familiar voice.
“Yes, indeed,” answered a second voice and their footsteps proceeded to get further away from me.
I poked my head out and to make sure I was alone. I tried to remember who the voices belonged to but came to no conclusion. Who are they?