Chapter 9:

Irra and Alice

The Guardian

   Irra woke up after 4-5 hours of sleep and went back to her study room. Lyna brought her a light meal and helped her remove the books that she already read. While doing so she asked Irra with a worried expression.

"You should have slept more, did you rest enough...?"

   Irra answered with a calm tone to lessen Lyna's worry.

"I'm alright! You know that I can't sleep more than 4-5 hours a day since several years already."

"I know but even so..."

"Also, someone needs to search for clues about that artefact and since I'm the only one with enough magical power to open these books, no one can do this besides me."

   Since ancient books required a large amount of mana to be opened, not many people could read their content. Lyna felt helpless because she couldn't help her more but since she couldn't do anything about it she decided to help her in other ways to lessen her burden.

"Very well, I will go to make you some tea that will help with the fatigue... If I see you overworking yourself I will call Alice!"

    Lyna left in a hurry and Irra looked at her back with a warm smile. She knew that everyone was worried about her but she also knew when to stop.

   Since young, Irra had an exceptional magic talent and soon become one of the strongest people at an early age. Although she lost in the battle with Kratos from many years ago, she didn't lose because she was weak, she survived because of the sole reason that she was the only one strong enough to escape from that monster. Now, after Kratos was imprisoned in the Ice Palace, the only reason why the people that supported him didn't attack them was also because they were afraid of her. If she became sick, that would be an opportunity for them to strike and she couldn't permit that.

    While thinking about many things, Irra opened a book and started to read.

    Shortly after, Lyna come back with the tea and Irra spent the next few hours searching through several hundred pages but to no avail again.

     Soon the night come and when she wanted to light up the magic lamp, Alice teleported în the middle of the tent with her face full of tears. In the next second, she ran and hugged her sister that was still in her chair. Irra looked at her sister and pat her head without asking about what happened. Alice started to cry louder and Irra waited for her to finish.

    It's been a while since she saw her sister crying or even showing any emotions. When she was little, Alice was a kind and energetic child. She often would sneak out of the castle to go to festivals and play or rebel against learning magic. Irra missed her smile from that time. Since her parents and many of her friends died she changed and now was barely showing anything else than that strong and cold expression.

    Irra continued to pat her head until Alice finally stopped crying. After she stopped, Irra asked her about what happened.

"Dear... can you tell me what happened?

    Alice was silent for a while but told her in the end about what happened. She told her about how she followed Eric all night, about how she fell asleep, and about what happened after she woke up. Irra listened to all of this without interrupting her.

("She was unsure if the feelings that she accumulated until now were right or wrong. Alice was just a normal child until she lost everything and it was too much for a single person to bear. I knew that she was keeping all her emotions tightly shot in herself but I couldn't do anything about it since she didn't wanted to open up until now... Seems like I need to thank Eric for this...")

"Is alright... I know how you feel and I'm sorry that I wasn't strong enough to offer you the life that you deserved..."

    At the hearing of these words, Alice quickly raised her head.

"No! That's not true! All of us are still here because of you. You did enough already!"

    Irra smiled at her sister and wiped the tears from her eyes.

"We both lost all that was important for us, but we are still alive and that's all that matters. We now have friends that we want to protect and a new hope appeared. I'm sure our parents would be proud of you so you don't need to about anything. You did your best until now so keep going like this!"

    Alice hugged her sister again and remained silent for a while before speaking in a low voice.


"You're my little sister after all!"

    Irra smiled and Alice keep hugging her for a long time. Saying that her sister was feeling a little better, Irra could rest assured too. After some time Alice broke away from her sister's embrace and took some distance.

"I feel better now! It's the time for me to go back... don't stay too late, ok?!"

    Irra laughed at her sister's remark and just agreed with it.

"I won't, don't worry! Just go and rest, you need to train Yuki tomorrow too."

   Alice was ready to leave but stopped at Irra's remark.

"Oh, tomorrow I'm going to spy on Eric too! Today I was distracted but tomorrow I'm sure I will catch him in action!"

    Alice clenched her fist as a sign that she will surely find something tomorrow but Irra stopped her.

"You don't need to do that anymore... I'm sure Eric is not working for Kratos so you don't need to worry."

"Mmm? Why do you say so?"

"You can just call it intuition!"

("He saw through her and solved the problem that even I couldn't. I'm sure he isn't a bad guy.")

    Alice was confused but it seems like Irra didn't want to explain. Even so, she still refused.

"No! He is still suspicious so I will follow him tomorrow too!"

    Irra looked at her stubborn sister and sighed.

"Very well, do whatever you want..."

    Alice nodded and left the tent while Irra looked at her back. Several seconds after she left, Irra wanted to start reading again but looked at the clock and then sighed.

("I guess I will go to sleep too... just this once.")