I was Born the Unloved Twin
So we lost a 5 year old in the secret underground forest, no biggie.
Fuck we lost a 5 year old!
Those things shouldn't be lost anywhere, let alone in this place. Kids get into stupid things to could kill them all the time and now we're in whatever contraband nursery one of the known world's greatest mages has set up. He could really be eaten by a carnivorous plant....or worse!
I get that the kid critically blocked me once, maybe got a cut on me, another lifetime ago, but I don't really want him to just go die. He's 5.
I'm not necessarily a nice person, but even most average people don't want other's deaths on their hands. Especially kids.
Oh god children are so dumb and fragile, we gotta find him before he gets into some shit and hurts himself.
"Rosalia, calm down."
You calm the shit down!
"It's okay, don't be scared, Lukas is strong. We'll find him soon."
"I'm not scared! It's been one minute, where'd he go?"
"Then he can't be far, come on let's go look for him."
He's right, I admit it. Lukas isn't that dumb of a hyperactive kid, though he is very hyperactive. He's not a normal one either if he's in the troops, he can handle himself, probably. I shouldn't bite the kid's head off for seeing reason or believing in his friend.
The babying is a tad annoying but it can't be helped, I'm too small for anyone to think otherwise. I'm used to it anyways.
"Lukas come out!"
We travel closely in a mostly straight line as to not easily lose direction for wherever the door cave was. I'm sure if worse comes to worst Gable could still find us, it's his house. But let's let it get to the worst-case scenario, shall we.
Seriously how far could one brat get in like what, a minute? Where did Lukas disappear to?
The farther we wander the taller the trees seem to get. As realistic as everything looks, to the point that anyone may think they're really outside, there's something about this place to screams fake to me. Apologies to Gable over the tacky comparison but it gives off a bit of that atmosphere of a false ceiling, like those painted in an indoor mall or amusement park ride.
I don't know, that's just what it feels like to me the longer I stay in here. It sure is pretty though. As large and open as it feel this is still a limited space. With that in mind, we continue our search in peace, or well for me at least. Amar doesn't appear fazed at all.
Though he does point out some strange looking plants. Strange as in really creepy looking, should not exist kind. Why does it have hair like a human head? Oh ewwww.
"Huh, wonder what that one is."
"Don't touch it!"
"Hahaha I won't, you don't have to hit me. Ah are you scared?"
Maybe so but I've come to the conclusion long ago that little boys are not just dumb but recklessly suicidal. I've babysat enough to recognize that much and pull him forcibly from possible danger.
"I got it, don't be scared, it's very-"
I tune him out because honestly, this kid can talk a lot. He's only quiet in comparison to Lukas, who is much louder and probably drowns people out. Chatterboxes, the both of them.
You know I wouldn't be surprised if this is their version of calling 'Marco - Pollo'.
Lukas is bound to hear us if he's not too distracted by the sound of his own voice. Or dead.
"-and that's how we ended up with a pirate's leg. Oh, wait what's that?"
A what now? I zoned out and completely missed whatever story was supposed to be. As for what he's pointing to, I can't see anything out of the ordinary. Seeing my confused expression, Amar simply leads me along further into the denser part of the artificial forest.
Surprisingly the further we get, instead of increasing darkness, I'm beginning to see a shine of light. IT stands out and we follow it to the source.
A glowing house.
How funny, how fairy-like. Inside someone's hobbit home is another house no larger than a small garage. It's a strange but beautiful sight.
As we get closer I see that it's not so much a glowing little house as it is a lovely greenhouse with the lights on.
The glass isn't clear nor clean cut like the greenhouses from the modern world. Rather they're thick, blurry and tinted with shades that resemble pale stained glass windows of old churches. From the flickering lights are shadows of hanging leaves and little flowers that dance right outside. The silhouette of a not very tall person stands behind the glass in between shadow shelves of greenery.
"Lukas? Is that you?"
The shadow jumps and makes to look around, but rather than actually look it seems to prefer yelling in every direction.
"Guuuuys come check this out! This is so cool."
We breathe a sigh of relief because yep, that's Lukas alright. Nice and safe. Like a crow to something shiny, he must have followed his way here.
Wow do these kids have some good eyesight. I get that I won't be able to wield magic but is it possible to improve my senses a bit? That sure would be useful.
Amar and I circle around the greenhouse, looking for an entrance. Luckily someone left the glass and iron wrought door wide open. The grass on the outside ground is damp and slightly frosted, delicate little crystals reflecting a trail of light. I'm beginning to see my breath in the air.
"So cold! Why is it so much colder going inside than it is outside?" I shiver.
"Ah, it is pretty chilly in here. How funny." remarks Amar, I can also see his breath in here.
I take it back, this is no greenhouse.
Sure it looks like one but it must have the opposite effect instead. It's a damn freezer in here! It won't take very long for my teeth to start chattering too. Amar doesn't seem to be as visibly affected but it's certainly freezing in here.
Ah sweater sweater sweater do I have a sweater or something in this bag? Nope. Ok lesson learned, pack more essentials in this bag, it's like an infinity purse anyways.
"Guys come looks at this! Isn't it amazing?"
If I didn't have my hearing intact I'd think I'd have stumbled upon a little snow fairy and his domain.
But it's just Lukas.
Lukas stands in the middle of it all absolutely unaffected by the cold whatsoever, snow and ice somehow winding through space. It looks like a normal inconspicuous greenhouse that had been frozen over, but the plants here thrive on it. The ice and reflecting light making his overly fair skin and hair look completely white.
He looks oddly at home here, like he belongs.
With both hands, he reaches to touch a grapefruit sized rock at the end of the room. For a moment it flashes blue and I can't help but think 'dumb boys' and brace myself for some shit to happen.
I may have used Amar as a shield to hide behind, he's a bit sturdier-looking option than the nearby potten plants. It's also warmer back here.
Shit does happen, but not in the exploding way thank goodness.
Somewhere from the ceiling, snow begins to lightly flutter and fall all around us. It's a winter wonderland confined to only this little greenhouse garden.
Ok, I have to agree with Lukas. This is pretty amazing.
It's so magically pretty that for a moment I forget just how close I am to freezing here.
"Whoa did you do that?" exclained Amar, twisting around like a child and exposing me to more cold. Ah it's cold it's cold it's cold, pretty cool but cold. Haha, I'm punny.
Lukas gives out a delighted laugh, very satisfied in himself as if he's the one that personally made it snow.
"How did he? Obviously it was the rock, you saw that." I chatter.
Ok definitively shivering now.
"Hey, it was definitely me!"
"Uh huh, suuuure. No magic rocks involved."
Lukas huffed, a little offended in the way little boys easily are but still in a good mood. Amar either doesn't notice or doesn't mind our squabble, too busy catching snowflakes that instantly melt in his hands.
"You try it then!"
He gestures to the rock as if it's a dare and I roll my eyes, playing along as I trudge along up to the challenge. It's a very ordinary looking rock. Gray, rough and broken in semi jagged lines, like it had rolled off from some mountain somewhere.
Since someone else has tested it out first, this is not a particularly dangerous magic rock. I have little qualms putting my hands on it.
It's to not only my own disappointment that the thing does not glow like before, but the snow completely stops. It just completely turns off like a snow machine with a switch. The room doesn't exactly get warmer but there's no more snow piling up.
No more anything at all.
Lukas raises a haughty little face and something about irks me the wrong way. No really, it feels annoyingly familiar. But from where?
"See, now Amar you try."
"Well ok Lukas, if that's what you want."
Amar walks up and pats the rock with his little hands, the tannest out of the three of us, and smacks it repeatedly. Nope, no glow up effect and nothing is happening. The magic freezer rock is out of service.
"Hmmpf told you so! Now watch me."
I don't get it but hey I'm not a magic expert. Amar good-naturedly presents the dead rock back over to his buddy.
Once in Lukas's hands, it lights up like a Christmas tree, a flash and humm of blue lasting much longer than the last time. Wherever the switch to the room's snow making machine is, it flips back on. The snowy flurry is upon us again.
Ack it's cold it's cold it's cold, very impressive okay but it's so damn cold!
It's not that I dislike the cold, I'm just not dressed or ready for it. Like the shock from getting stuck in a walk in freezer, which has happened to me before sadly.
I huddle behind Amar again, the warmest source of heat here.
"Okay okay you made your point, turn it off."
"Hahaha I can't hear youuuuu."
Hear what you little shit?! What more do you want.!
"Ah you really did it! I'm not sure what it is but wow how amazing Lukas."
The named boy lets out a pleased cackle and then Amar, in a not so subtle manner, turns around to whisper to me.
"Just make him happy and praise him a bit. He's really easy after that."
I can see that. There's something that strangely annoys be about the kid but that's what he is, still a child. It's not even the attention-grabbing talking that bothers me, in fact I find such behaviors quite relateable. As both the past Rosalia and the 'me' of before. He's just a child, and all children need a lot of validation and support.
I wonder how much of it Lukas gets versus what he needs. An atmosphere like the training camp and traveling troops can't be the best environment for children, even if they'may strong kids. It may sound fun at first but a place with no parental figures is lonely to children. I wonder how much care he gets at home, I wonder if he even has a home.
Does Amar? Or drunk Yuna outside? They're all quite young, what are they doing in a crowd like this?...It's none of my business, but I think I get it, just a little bit.
"Whaaa that's so cool Lukas!"
"Right it's really cool, is it magic? Or something else?"
"I don't know but I think I like it!"
There's no need to lie but it also doesn't hurt to play along and raise a kid's confidence in a healthy way sometimes. Besides, it really is interesting how the snow machine switch on works with Lukas, I can't recall whether or not if the cheeky boy in front of us has magic powers or any sort of gift. Nothing comes up, he was just a background character in my sad memories.
I can't recall anything but his passing appearance as one of my cousin's cronies. Meanwhile, Amar here doesn't even appear in those memories.
He is currently doing a great job as a little cheerleader.
"Amazing Lukas but how do you make it glow?"
"I don't know but it feels easy. Really really easy, like playing in the first snow or drinking a 'soda'. I'm not even trying, how cool is that? I just must be that awesome."
"Wow so turning it on is easy for you?" I play along, wonder in my voice. Lukas doesn't expect a thing, and honestly, why should he?
"Of course it is!"
"Then I bet stopping it is a lot harder. It must be too hard, it's okay if you can't do it."
"Hahaha- of cou- wait what?!"
Hook line and sinker.
"I'll show you, just watch!"
He takes a deep breath and stares down at the rock in his hands. It makes a rather stupid picture to see someone make a face so constipated like over a rock. Amar giggles along with me and I think I can see a little better how their friendship operates.
The snow falls erratically around us. Sometimes it freezes in place in the air, sometimes it stops and starts again, for a few terrifying seconds it started piling faster than a freak snowstorm. Eventually, he actually does get it to stop, for good, minimal glowing needed.
"Hehe, told you I can do it."
His nose and cheeks are a bit red, some color to his normally pale features, and there's a bit of sweat forming at his temple. But he looks and sounds satisfied, if a little, okay a lot, smug.
Yeah, stopping is definitely harder but hey he actually did it. Amar and I break out in simultaneous cheers, jeers and teasing and Lukas reflects back as good as he gets.
We absolutely forget why we came down here in the first place, myself included.
"It really is amazing. I'm not sure how your made your way down here but I'm not surprised."
So the sudden voice from the open ice-house doors catches me off guard. Surprises and shocks me like a common kid caught with playing where they're not exactly supposed to be. Still I'm happy to see him leaning there, if I'm feeling a bit sheepish.
"Gable! Sorry, we were just looking for you and gramps. "
I can't even say we didn't touch anything because well just look at us. If anything I completely blame the boys, especially Lukas,
I look back to them and see the "who are you" visible on their faces. Lukas showing more than Amar. Though they've heard the name and seen me identify Gable, they're still on guard. The previously relaxed kids I was just joking around with have disappeared. They're both as tense as animals about to take flight or stay for a fight.
Of course, such a small matter doesn't bother Gable, he easily makes the rock fly across the room into his own hand. He shakes it lightly as if he's inspecting it, weighing it. His brow scrunches up a little on his otherwise perfect face, the kind that says he's thinking about something overly complicated again.
I notice that he's changed clothes into something softer, more comfortable than his daily outdoors wear. His half tied hair, as neat and clean as always, is a little damp. Did he just bathe?
In the end, he just lets out a long sigh and turns a gentle smile on us, the boys in particular. It may be my imagination when his gaze lingers somewhat too long on Lukas.
"Well come along then, let's get you all warmed up and something to eat."