"What is it? You can see him. Don't you?", Ryan said looking at Lydia who was staring at the steps of the back porch. Lydia was silent, her eyes watery. She got up and started moving towards the steps. "What is it?", Ryan asked again but when she didn't answer, he too held the key to see what she was seeing. It was Dylan and Lydia, sitting at the steps. Looking at those red, slightly swollen eyes anyone could tell that she had been crying for hours and Dylan kissed her on the head and said, "he'll be all right. I know he will". Lydia lied down with her head carefully placed in Dylan's lap and he gently placed his hand on her forehead. "You idiot. You are burning up. Why didn't you tell anyone? Let's get you upstairs. You need to get some sleep or we will be burying you in the ground. Get up", Dylan said, pretending to be angry as he got her up. "You remember the time when you were hospitalized after your family trip to England?", Lydia asked still staring at the steps and Ryan nodded. "Lucy, the girl in my PE class who had Adenocarcinoma, died a week before that. You- you had the same symptoms when they admitted you to the hospital and even though the doctors called it a severe case of pneumonia, they were still running some tests just to rule out all the other possibilities. I-I thought you were going to die and he was there with me the entire time when our parents were taking turns to be with you in the hospital"
Ryan: I really freaked everyone out. Didn't I?
"Yes. Yes, you did, you asshole. God! I miss him", Lydia said as she nudged him and Ryan hugged her. "How long have you been seeing him?"
Ryan: Right about when they gave me the key. I woke up the next day and he was just there. I had no idea what was happening. At first, I just thought I was hallucinating but then it just kept happening over and over again. It was so weird like someone was playing all my memories with him on an invisible projector or something.
"Is that why you stopped coming to your house? You were not ignoring your parents. You were ignoring your memories", Lydia enquired and Ryan nodded. "Did it help?"
Ryan: Sometimes. Yes. I don't have any memories of him at Tim's place so, being there helped a little but it came back every time I was out on some familiar street or in school. After Tim threw me out of his house this morning, I realised I can't keep ignoring him forever. Maybe it will stop. Maybe it won't. At least, this way I still get to see him. It makes me feel like he is still around, watching me, waiting for me to do something stupid so he could laugh at me.
Lydia: I get it. I'm sorry.
"Ah, it's almost midnight. Don't you have to go for your badass sword training with your boyfriend?", Ryan said looking at his watch.
Lydia: I'm- I'm not going. I am just not okay with being left in dark for so long. I gave him enough time to figure things out but he still doesn't want to tell me anything.
Ryan: I'm sorry. I already told you everything I knew and I've tried peaking into Tim's brain to get some answers myself but that guy has been practising for years. His brain is warded like Fort Knox. I can't get in.
Lydia: It's okay. I don't even want to talk about it right now. How is Timothée?
Ryan: Oh, he is doing a very great job at pretending that he is okay but ever since he found out that I am the anchor, he is freaking out. His mind is always wandering somewhere. He is still hiding a lot from me and it bothers me sometimes. I'm just worried about him. If I know what is going inside his brain, I might be able to help him but he just wouldn't let me.
"Welcome to my world", Lydia mocked.
"Screw that. Well, if you don't have to be somewhere else, you should stay for a sleepover", Ryan proposed.
Lydia: That's a very good idea but I should go home. I need to change into something comfortable. Raincheck?
"Sure", Ryan said and hugged her. "Thank you once again for doing this. I had a great time tonight."
"It's just a dinner, dad. We will be fine", Ryan replied. They left the house and Ryan closed the door behind them. He went to the backyard to double-check the arrangements. Everything was just like before but something still felt missing.
"Hello? Anybody home?", Ryan heard a familiar voice, a voice that he hadn't heard in quite some time. "In here", Ryan answered and Lydia followed the voice to the backyard. Ryan noticed her as she reached the back patio. She was wearing a yellow sheath midi dress paired with white ankle strap heels. Her strawberry blonde hair brushed her shoulders and was styled into loose beach waves with a braided hairband, her signature hairstyle back in high school. Her deep aquamarine eyes were striking as they've always been and the moonlight was just adding to their beauty. Her smile held genuine warmth. Ryan impulsively adjusted the last fork on the table and reached his hand out to her. Lydia graciously placed her hand in his just as she used to and Ryan helped her get down the stairs. "Thank you", she said.
Ryan: Wow. You look like this extremely beautiful and funny girl I used to know back in high school.
Lydia: I do? What was her name?
Ryan: Lydia Roden.
"Never heard that name before. Hi. I am Regina Phalange", Lydia said stifling a chuckle.
"My mistake. I think my brain is getting old. Hi. I am Ken Adams. Nice to meet you", Ryan replied shaking her hand.
Lydia: Nice to meet you too, Mr Adams.
Ryan finally broke the character and burst into laughter. "Oh, I missed this", he said.
Lydia: Me too. Thank you so much for doing this and for this lovely dinner. Also, I think we need to change this yellow theme now. I am running out of dresses and ideas.
"I was thinking the same. There are very few options with yellow", Ryan agreed. "We will discuss that some other day. You might want to look there first", he added with a mischievous smile.
"I can't believe you actually set up the hammocks. Now, I'm feeling bad. I should have helped. I am so sorry you had to do this all by yourself"
"Hammocks was mostly dad but I am allowed to take some extra credits after cooking all day", Ryan gloated and pulled out the chair for her. "And for cleaning up that well", Lydia said as she sat down. "Thank you", she added.
Ryan: Oh. Another compliment. I am afraid my stomach won't be able to take that much appreciation.
Lydia: Whatever you do, just don't end up on that hospital bed. I hate it when you do that.
"Yes ma'am", Ryan said dramatically bowing his head and took his seat.
"So, what do we have this time? Wait. Don't tell me. Let me guess. Bean salad, tomato soup, something mean with vegan parmesan cheese. Is it raspberry ice cream or strawberry moose cake? I don't remember what we had last time. Whatever we had, it's other than that", Lydia guessed the best she could and found Ryan smiling like he was barely controlling himself from laughing. "I didn't get any of it right. Did I? I'm so stupid", she added, embarrassment slowly creeping on her face.
Ryan: No-no. It's not that. I'm sorry. You have a very good memory. It's just- um, I couldn't remember what we had last time for dessert and I was afraid you might remember it and lash out at me for not making you that moose cake. I didn't want to take any chance so I tweaked the menu a little bit. You got most of it right though. We have hummus and falafel bowl, tomato soup, bean salad, eggplant parmesan, tofu stir-fry and I couldn't decide between huckleberry pie and cheesecake so I made both.
Lydia: That's a lot. I wouldn't have lashed out at you for such a small thing and you really should have called me for help if you were doing all this.
"Right!", Ryan replied with sarcasm. "No, thank you. I like doing everything on my own once in a while and girl, you are very particular about your dessert, just like Melissa"
Lydia: Now that you brought up my mom, where's Paige and Louise?
Ryan: On a date. You just missed them.
"That's interesting", Lydia said as Ryan gently removed the plate cloche from the hummus and falafel bowl.
Lydia: You amputated Louis's white orchids? You are dead meat if he finds out.
Ryan: You don't think I know that? It's just Dyl used to do this every time we had these dinner dates so I thought I should do my part to keep the tradition alive.
"Yeah. He did", Lydia said trying her best not to get too emotional.
"Okay. Pinot Noir or Chardonnay?", Ryan said raising a bottle of red and white wine respectively, trying to lighten up the mood. "Red", Lydia said though in her mind she wanted to ask for a PBR beer because that's what Dylan used to drink. That was her first drink too, all thanks to Dylan and she couldn't make a switch with any other drink or some other beer all these years. After they were done eating, Lydia helped him clean the table. "I-uh, I took a job at the museum", she said lying down in the hammock and snuggling up in a loosely woven dark grey blanket. "Why?", Ryan asked instantaneously, looking at her. He was confused and when Lydia didn't answer, he continued, "Sorry. It's just that you already have a hectic schedule with school and training and you don't really need money given that your parents took care of it for you. So, this doesn't make much sense"
Lydia: I know what you mean but it's just like me time for a few hours, a break from everything else. Plus, I get to use the observatory once everyone's left.
"Keeping an eye on his stars, eh?", Ryan said with a suppressed chuckle. Lydia sighed but didn't answer.
Ryan: I know you miss him too and I'm sorry you didn't get closure. You just gave up everything to take care of us after the funeral and we didn't realise that you needed it too.
Lydia: It's- it's okay.
Ryan placed his hand on Lydia's hand and said, "No it's not and I can finally do something about it. You think that I haven't noticed how careful you are every time I bring him up in any conversation but it's okay. You need to let it out, Lyds."
Lydia: What do you mean?
"Just trust me", Ryan said. "I've been practising something different ever since I found out about me being an anchor. I haven't told anyone this yet. Not even Tim. So, just- uh, I should probably just show you", Ryan said and lowered one of his hands down the hammock and held the key with another. He closed his eyes as if trying to focus on something. "Anything happening yet?", He enquired with his eyes still closed.
"Um, if by anything you mean like this, uh-uh", Lydia was struggling with words at first but then said in a single breath "this freakin' half-dead leaf floating up my face like it's about to attack me, then yes. It's happening"
"Wait, what? Oh, just give it a second", Ryan said as he opened his eyes to look at the leaf and suddenly every single fallen leaf in their backyard was up in the air following Ryan's hand movements.
Lydia: Wow. This is so cool.
Ryan: You like it?
Lydia: I can't believe you just asked me that. I love it. But how- how are you doing it?
Ryan: Well, Tim said that being an anchor means that I have some extra powers but no one was sure what it might be since every anchor has different abilities. So I kept trying a bunch of stuff and one day, when I was a little too frustrated, I accidentally made a fork fly across the room with my mind.
Lydia: This is amazing. Thank you for telling me.
Ryan: Actually, there's something else.
Lydia: Oh! I don't like the sound of that. It has been a perfect night so far. Please don't ruin it by telling me something that I might not like.
"I'm sorry. But I'll have to take this risk", Ryan said and removed the key from his coat. "I haven't done this once on purpose but I think it should work. Just hold this key and try thinking about him or a memory"
"That doesn't sound very promising. You know that right?", Lydia said and took the key from him. "It's stu..."
"It's just a house, Ryan. Come on. Pull yourself together. You can do this", Ryan said to himself while he was standing on the front patio of his house. He opened the door and got in. Paige came out of her room to see who was at the door. "Hey, mom. It's just me", Ryan said as he saw her. He softly hugged her and said, "Sorry I haven't been around much lately. How are you?" "I'm fine, sweety. And it's okay. I am just glad that you are home. I made some cookies yesterday. Do you want to try some?", Paige asked with a huge, almost childish smile on her face as she took some boxes out of one of the kitchen cabinets. "Wow. That's a lot of cookies. At least ten batches. You were stress baking again, weren't you?", Ryan enquired as he took a cookie out of the biggest box. "Maybe", Paige said with a smile. "How is it?"
Ryan: It's delicious. You have done enough for this life. How about I make all the meals for the next few days and you just relax?
"I like the sound of that but I'm afraid you'll set my kitchen on fire. You haven't cooked ever since you got into college", Paige said with fine lines of concern slowly appearing and disappearing on her face.
"Mrs Finch, my culinary skills might be a little rusty but I'm sure I still have it in me deep down in some corner", Ryan said with a smirk and added, "I'll figure something out. Also, I was thinking about having a dinner date with Lyds, just like high school."
Paige: That's a wonderful idea. You haven't done that in a while. She'll love it. I know you like doing it all by yourself but let me know if I can be of any help.
Ryan: Sure mom. Thank you. I should go freshen up first and then I'll get to the cooking with my cookbooks. My cookbooks? I'll need to find them first.
Paige: You'll have them on the table when you come downstairs. I might know where they are.
"Thanks, mom. You are the best", Ryan said as he hugged Paige and then went upstairs to his room to take a shower. He got out, went to his cupboard and took out a grey sweater and black sweatpants. He got dressed and looked outside his window. Lydia's car was still there. She too was taking a day off from school. Ryan sat down on his study table, took out some note cards, a yellow balloon, a black marker pen and a bunch of glitter pens and dry powdered glitter. He wrote something down, wrapped it all up in a box and got up to drop it at Lydia's place. He turned around and saw five years old Dylan in his brown and white PJs with little bears on them. He looked cute even with sleep-deprived eyes and messy hair. Ryan followed him downstairs, barely breathing, holding the box in his hand. Baby Dylan rubbed his eyes as Paige asked him if he slept okay last night. "I couldn't sleep at all. Ryan was having a bad dream again. He was talking in his sleep." "Oh, honey. Do you want to sleep with me and daddy tonight?", Paige asked Dylan to which he replied, "But what if he has another bad dream tonight. I don't want to leave him alone"
Ryan shook his head as he saw Dylan slowly disappear. He went out, pretending that nothing happened and dropped the box outside Lydia's front door after ringing the bell three times. That was their code to let each other know that it was them on the door when their parents were home and they didn't want to risk being caught climbing up the windows in broad daylight. He ran back to his house as he heard footsteps coming towards him. Lydia opened the door and picked up the box. It was wrapped in yellow wrapping paper with tiny silver stars and a yellow ribbon with white polka dots.
She knew exactly what was inside the moment she saw the box but she decided to open it anyway given the effort and time it took to make it. She knew that because she had to make some of those by herself growing up. It was their standard invitation box. She opened the box and a yellow balloon with a smiling face drawn on it with a black marker pen gently rose out of it making all the dry glitter slide down it into the box. There was yellow notepaper carefully stuck to the string of the balloon half an inch below the knot. She held the balloon with her hand in position to stop it from rotating so she could read what was written on that paper. "Dinner date at 9. Entry only if you dress up fancy. Just like before. Don't forget the colour code", Lydia read with a smile. She took out a glitter pen and extra notepaper that was left inside the box for her to drop a reply if she wanted. "Only if you are getting the hammocks out", Ryan read and left another note with a hammock drawn on a paper and "it is!", written proceeding it.
Ryan cooked all the meals for the day as he promised his mom and once he was done making the dinner for his date night with Lydia, he went upstairs to get ready. He hesitated at first but then slightly slid the door open and peaked before going inside his room just to be sure that baby Dylan was not waiting for him inside. He wore a yellow blazer with a white shirt and a black tie with tiny white dots, a red and blue double bird of paradise pocket square, black loafers and finished his look by using the key as a brooch. He heard a disembodied mumbling as he took out his hairbrush to do his hair.
He turned around and found his room just like as it used to be when they were kids. Back then, Dylan and Ryan shared the same room with Dylan's side all about stars and planets and Ryan's side a mixture of different cuisines and music. He saw five years old Ryan lying in his bed, shivering, mumbling and whimpering out of pain. He was probably having another nightmare. Baby Dylan was awake because of the mumbling. He got up, went to Ryan's bed and lied down beside him. He held him tight almost squeezing him and whispered in his ear, "I'm right here, Ryan. You are gonna be okay. I'll protect you if someone tries to hurt you"
"You did. You always did", Ryan said with a faint smile as tears rolled down his eyes. He wiped the tears off his face and trodded down the steps. He plated the dishes, delicately garnishing them with thyme, chives, day lily, gypsophila, green coriander and white orchids. He was getting the wine chiller ready when he heard a disembodied voice saying, "Dad. You are going to get us late. We have to reach there before someone else take our spot". Ryan turned around and saw fourteen years old Dylan wearing his favourite deep sea blue and white stripes t-shirt, khaki shorts, an olive green camper hat and black hiking boots. He was carrying his camping bag on his back and all the tent bags in his hands. "What are you looking at? Open the damn door. I don't understand what has gotten into everyone today. Why is no one excited about camping? Where are the Rodens? Can someone please call Lydia? I am going to be very upset if I see some other tents at my spot. I am warning you lazy people", Dylan was shouting out of irritation. Ryan remembered that day. They were late and the Coopers were setting their tents when they got there. Dylan was very angry but Lydia talked to Mr Cooper and they got their camping spot back. Dylan was moody the rest of the day.
Ryan opened the door and got aside to let Dylan pass. When he didn't hear any voice, he looked outside and found Dylan all dressed up in a tuxedo, burgundy bow tie, black suspenders, some fancy black shoes and his hands in the pockets. "Are you coming or not? I don't want to miss prom night because of you two idjits"
"Is Lydia here yet?", Ryan heard from behind. "Uh, what? No-no. But she'll be here any minute. Wow. You look great, dad", Ryan said. "I don't even remember when was the last time you dressed up", he added.
"Well, watching you being yourself after so long, you know all excited about cooking and spending some time with your best friend woke up a part of me who used to love going out on dinner dates with his best friend. So, I asked your mom if she was interested to live a little and here I am"
Ryan: She is still getting ready. Isn't she?
"Yep. We are half an hour late for our reservation but with the storm, I don't think that will be an issue", Louise said glancing at his watch and then added, "Besides, I like waiting for her. It's always worth it"
Paige came out wearing her favourite beige with pink undertone satin dress, rosewood heels with a back bow, a light silver chain necklace with a crystal snowflake paired with small, diamond drop earrings. "I was afraid this dress won't fit. The last time I wore it was three years ago", she said as she was about to wear her cropped chocolate denim jacket. "You look stunning like always. Here, let me help you with that", Louise said taking her jacket from her. "Thank you", Paige replied. "You look lovely", Ryan said and hugged her. "I am so happy to see you guys like this", he added. "Aww. Thanks, hon. You too look so handsome in that suit"
Ryan: Thanks, mon. Have fun and drive safe.
Louise: Don't worry about us. We will be back before the storm. Don't make too much mess in here. Your mom doesn't like after-party houses anymore.
Ryan was lying under the sheets in Timothée's bed with the right side of his face sunk in the pillow and his shirtless shoulders slightly peeking from a corner. Timothée was moving back and forth from one compartment to another in his cupboard. "Can you please stop doing that? You are making me sick", Ryan said softly. "Then stop looking at me", Timothée said with a slightly raised voice but not shouting.
Ryan: Wow. You are in a mood. What are you looking for? Maybe I can help.
"I can't find my shirt", Timothée replied still searching through his cupboard.
Ryan: Which one?
Ryan: Oh, I have that.
Timothée: What? What about the grey one?
Ryan: I have that too.
Timothée: And teal?
Ryan: That too.
"And the multi-colour one with checks?", Timothée asked staring at him.
Ryan: You wore that a couple of days ago. Your mom probably took it out for laundry.
"And what about the green one?", Timothée asked getting back to looking in the cupboard.
Ryan: Sea green, dark green, olive green or moss green?
"Wow. Do I really have all those greens?", Timothée asked turning back.
Ryan: Yeah. You do.
Timothée: How about all of them?
Ryan: I don't have the sea green one. I do have the olive green one but I'm not sure about the other two.
"Ryan", Timothée said in an irritated, frustrated voice. "Can you please come here for a second?"
Ryan: I don't like the sound of that. Just tell me what is it. I am not coming there. You are angry and I don't want to get hurt.
Timothée: I'm not angry.
Ryan: Yes you are. You just called me Ryan. You never call me that unless you are either very angry or very upset.
Timothée: Sorry. It's just that I don't have any shirts left in my closet to wear. I'll have to go shopping and I don't have time for that.
"Hey. Come here", Ryan said gently patting at the soft mattress as he got up and supported his back with a bunch of pillows. Timothée complied. "Take a deep breath, slow down and tell me what is it that you are actually thinking about? I know it's not the shirts that are bothering you that much"
Timothée was silent for a while until he felt a nudging in his brain. "Stop doing that. Stop messing with my brain". "Sorry. I didn't mean to. I just sometimes lose control but I promise I'm working on it", Ryan said in a soft but mischievous voice. "Right. Like you were working on it a week before during the Calculus exam with Trevor?", Timothée said with sarcasm dripping down his mouth.
Ryan: Oh come on. Don't judge me. Calculus makes my head hurt. Also, I was busy with the key the night before that. I didn't have any time to study. Besides, you were the one who told me that I need to practice more.
"Not like this, Finch. I also remember telling you that you need to find a balance between these two lives and you have been doing a terrible job so far", Timothée said, with trace of frustration in his voice.
Ryan: What are you talking about? I am balancing it just fine.
Timothée: Yeah? When was the last time you slept in your own bed? When was the last time you spent some time with your parents? Paige texted me a couple of days ago. She is worried about you.
"She did? Why didn't she just call me?", Ryan was concerned.
Timothée: Like you pick up all your calls these days. Where is your phone? Let me guess. You have no idea, do you? It's in my bag pack and I am pretty sure that it's been dead for a week now. Oh, that reminds me, how is Lydia?
Timothée: Yes. Lydia. Your best friend. You still remember her, right?
Ryan: What has gotten into you today? Of course, I remember her. I just haven't talked to her in a while. And it's not like I am the one ignoring her on purpose. She has been just as busy as me.
"Get out", Timothée shouted after taking a deep breath. "I'm sorry. What?", Ryan was shocked. "You heard me. Pack your things and get out. I've had more than enough of this madness. Don't get me wrong. I still love you but you need to pull yourself together, man. Just go home, spend some time with your family. Let them know that you are still alive. Check on Lydia. She needs you. Now more than ever.
Ryan: Lydia? Why? What happened? Is everything all right? You are keeping things from me again. Was it Leah last night?
Timothée: What are you talking about?
Ryan: I heard you sneak out to the balcony last night. I thought it was Leah in your head again.
"Yes. It- it was her", Timothée replied hesitantly.
Ryan: What did she say?
Timothée: She said that Owen was very upset that night when he returned from the cliff. She thinks that tonight might be the night Owen tells Lydia everything.
"But that would mean...", Ryan said with trembling voice but was interrupted was Timothée. "Yes. We might have to visit the crystal soon"
Ryan held Timothée's hand and said, "that is why you've been so moody today. Makes sense. Hey, we will be all right"
Timothée: Yes we will. But you need to promise me that you'll give yourself some rest until then. Don't use your powers unless you really have to.
Ryan: Okay. I promise.
Timothée: Now, get the hell out of here. I have to go to school to distract myself and you are going straight to your house. I don't want to see your face for at least ten hours and for god's sake, just charge your phone.
"You are thinking about a song right now. Aren't you?", Owen enquired as his green plastic lightsaber hit Lydia's blue lightsaber. Lydia was thinking about denying it when Owen said, "Oh come on. I can hear you hum from here. Are you really going to deny it? Spit it out." "Standing Strong", Lydia whispered. "You've got to be kidding me. What is it with you and that Texas boy? That's not even an appropriate song for a fight"
"What? It's got a good vibe. And you are just jealous that you can't sing like him. Actually, I've never heard you sing", Lydia said as she ducked to avoid his saber.
Owen: That's because I don't sing.
"That can't be true. Everyone sings", Lydia said catching a breath. "And you are dead", Owen said with his lightsaber carefully placed at her neck. "Hey, this is not fair. You are really good at this", Lydia bickered. "You should be grateful that I managed to win this without hurting you", Owen gloated. "Rule number one. Never underestimate your opponent"
"So, who is Ingrid?", Lydia enquired trying to change the subject as she sat down on the ground to get some rest and drank some water from her bottle. "You want some?", She offered.
"No. Thanks. I'm okay. Oh. Um, she is just a-a friend", Owen replied.
Lydia: A friend? Huh! Because I remember Leah saying something about love at first sight.
Owen: Is that so? She was probably just messing with you. Not that I am saying that there was no love at first sight but it was not me. It was her.
Lydia: Is that supposed to make any sense?
Owen: I know what you are thinking but it's not practically possible. She is a Caladrix.
"Cala what?", Lydia was confused.
"A bird. She is a freakin' bird", Owen was starting to get a bit irritated but he was trying his best to keep his voice steady.
"Is that a code word for some sexy winged chick? You know what? Don't answer that", she said exasperation creeping into her tone.
Hearing Lydia get unknowingly jealous of a bird and him not being able to clearly explain it to her made him laugh. "But I just did", he said with naughtiness in his voice and a mischievous smile on his face. "You want to try that again? Come on. Get up. You can't lie down for half an hour after just ten minutes of training"
3 months later.....
Lydia and Owen are training at their usual spot with actual swords. Owen accidentally ends up making a deep cut on her arm with his sword. It was not the first cut she got from that sword so she was almost used to getting hurt and bleeding but probably not the pain. She winced and looked at Owen who fixed a sympathetic look at her but still kept moving his sword and Lydia fought back.
Owen: You can't let a single cut distract you. Your enemies won't stop in the middle of a fight to heal you. You'll have to keep fighting to survive.
"I know. I've heard it at least a million times now", Lydia said with anger replacing the frustration in her tone. Owen manages to throw her sword away using his sword. "This is pointless. I'll never be able to even touch you with this level of swordsmanship let alone defeat you or whoever you think I am supposed to fight"
Owen: Rule number 283. Believe in yourself even when your opponent is bigger, stronger and more experienced.
Lydia: Is this really rule number 283?
"No. I lost count after 50", Owen said with a smile and Lydia chuckled. "Why are you doing this to me?", She said holding her bleeding arm.
Owen: Isn't that obvious? Because I love you, Lyds.
"One of us finally say the words and I don't know if that's even true or you are just saying it so I stop asking questions", Lydia said stifling a sarcastic laugh.
"You don't believe me?", Owen said with his eyes wide open with surprise. In his mind, he always thought that the moment he will confess his feelings for her in words, it will be magical and even though everything else about that night was magical, him saying the words didn't make much difference. Above them, a big orange moon hung low in the purplish-black sky radiating different shades of orange and red somewhere in the purple and he could see Lydia staring at it with the same sense of wonder he felt every time he was around her.
"I am not sure what and who I believe anymore", Lydia said, her eyes still fixed at the moon. "You know, there was a time when I used to love your mysteries and all this secret life bullshit", she continued.
"Yeah? What changed?", Owen enquired pulling her closer and placing his sword at her neck thinking it might be funny. "This freakin' snowstorm", Lydia answered moving the sword away from her with her hand. "I am not coming back. Don't wait for me here tomorrow night", She said as she turned around to leave.
Owen: You will. I know you will.
"I guess then you don't know me. Or at least the angry and tired side of me", Lydia said with a faded smile.
"You said I can take as much time I want", Owen said after taking a deep breath. He knew it was not the right thing to say given how patient she had been with him but he couldn't think of something better to make her stay a little longer.
"Yes. I did. Three months ago. When I didn't have all these cuts and bruises on my body", Lydia shouted looking him in the eye and then calmed herself down. "It's probably not fair for me to say that all you do is come here every night to show off how well you can handle your sword and rest all day long in your ice castle but that's all you do. Nothing much changed for you but my life on the other hand completely turned around ever since we started this. It's been nothing but mayhem. I wake up early every morning, make my breakfast, get ready, go to college, study, make assignments, give exams, clean my house, do the dishes, go to the museum and work, then change and come here only to fail over and over again. I barely get some sleep and when I do, I wake up in the middle of the night sweating from the nightmares that someone might just break in and leave a freakin' dagger in my heart. This place was special because I got to see you but now there's a part of me that is afraid of it and I hate it. I hate myself for disappointing you. I hate that I haven't been there for my best friend in months. All I do is hustle from one place to another. I am sorry. I tried but I can't live like this anymore. I need some time", Lydia sighed.
"I'm so sorry. I didn't know you were suffering so much because of me but trust me, I am trying. Just give me one last chance and I'll show you that this was not all for nothing", Owen said after pondering her words. He looked at her and he knew her answer. "At least let me heal your hand", he pleaded out of guilt.
"I know how to use a bandage. Goodnight, Ow", Lydia said, her voice adopted a soothing cadence and her smile seemed to hold a trace of melancholy.
Ingrid: I am not sure if I should. She has been turning down all the requests from other worlds for help. I don't think it would make any difference even if I tell her. She would have known about the meeting if she had just bothered to accept a few messages.
Owen: Can you really blame her after all that she has been through?
Ingrid: This kingdom has always helped people whenever they needed and the doors of this palace were always open for the ones in need of shelter until your world fell a target to the destruction. Everyone here has lost the ones they love. Some more than others. That doesn't mean that you drop everything you once believed in and cave up to be safe. I understand that she is protecting her people from any more harm but being afraid all the time and thinking that you are at the mercy of others is not the way to live. Especially when you are capable of saving so many lives.
Owen: I second that. But you know her more than me. You've been around her from the moment she was born. After father, if there is anyone who can change her mind, it's you. Try talking to her. Give her a chance to completely understand the situation.
"What's an anchor?", Lydia asked Timothée. "And why does her boyfriend think that I am one?", Ryan added. "Yes. My boyfriend. Who accidentally happened to have a name too that you can use to call him by like everyone else", Lydia was irritated. "Okay. You two. Drop the act", Timothée said and hugged them both together.
Ryan: Is this the part where you try to distract us with sudden sweet gestures so you don't have to answer any of our questions? Like fry their brains before they ask something else or even remember that they already asked something in the first place.
Lydia: You overthink everything. Also, what's a Chimera?
"Yes I do", Ryan said to Lydia and then turned towards Timothée. "So, speak up"
"Oh, I hate those two for leaving me alone here. Why do I always have to explain this craziness", Timothée sighed. "Chimera is just another word for the Empath trio. An anchor is an empath who has certain extra abilities"
Ryan: You mean like outside the trio?
Timothée: Yes love. That's what extra means. Owen thinks that, well, we all think that you are an anchor given the recent events. That accidental trip to the passage realm or purgatory, today's body exchange adventure and then the key. Owen's father left it with your mom for you. He was a clairvoyant, meaning that he sometimes had visions of the future.
Ryan: Something like what we have?
Timothée: Hardly. We see the nearest future. Something that is about to happen in the next few hours. He could see a series of events much ahead in future. Owen thinks that he saw this before he dropped that key with your mom and he knew that you'll need it. He probably even saw how this all ends.
Ryan: It would have been better if we knew what he saw, don't you think?
Lydia: I second that.
Timothée: I doubt that. The more we know, the more we are prone to change things and a minor change can do a lot of damage.
Lydia: The butterfly effect.
"Hey, Tim. Can we talk?", Ryan asked. "Sure. What is it?", Timothée enquired and Ryan stared at Lydia. "Oh, yes. I was just leaving", Lydia said and opened the window. She turned around before leaving. "Please don't do anything stupid while I'm gone. And by stupid, I mean something that we can't fix even with blood magic"
Ryan: You always wanted to say that blood magic part. Didn't you?
"Hell yes", Lydia said with a smile. Ryan smiled back as Lydia closed the window behind her.
Timothée: So, I'm guessing I am not going to like this talk.
Ryan: You got into Princeton?
"What are you talking about?", Timothée enquired with an uncomfortable chuckle.
Ryan: You know exactly what I am talking about. I saw the acceptance letter in your room, Tim. Don't lie to me, please. We are better than this.
"Yes, I got in", Timothée said as he sat down on the bed right next to Ryan with his hands sandwiched between his knees and his eyes sunk into the ground. He knew exactly what was coming next and he was not ready for it.
Ryan: Why? Why did you let it go? That was your dream.
Timothée: Yes it was. A stupid dream. When I came to know that they've put me on the waiting list and I broke my leg, I had a lot of time to think. I realised that I never wanted to get out of the state. All my friends are here. My parents are here. Grandpa was here and he needed me. Princeton was never that important as I made it sound.
Ryan: Bullshit. I know you, Tim. I know you are lying. If it was never important then why do you have that acceptance letter framed on your wall? Why is your phone's password the date when you got that letter? I don't get it, man. You worked so hard for it and when you finally got in, you never went in. What were you thinking?
Timothée: About you. I-- I was thinking about you. I know it's stupid but yes.
"About me?", Ryan was not convinced. He had a feeling that Timothée was still hiding something from him. "You know, ever since I learned about all this Empath shit, I've been thinking a lot. And when I say a lot, I mean a lot. Maybe more than I should. And- and there's this one very crazy thought that keeps coming back in my head. Tim. When did you hurt your leg?", he asked.
Timothée: What? Where did that come from all of a sudden? I already told you that.
Ryan: No. No, you didn't. You told me how it happened. At least some of it but we both know that's not the truth.
Timothée: September 4th.
Ryan was shocked to hear that date. He was expecting Tim to say it out loud but for some reason, he was not mentally prepared for it. His mind and body slipped into a paralysis state for a second. He wanted to speak but the words were choking him. He somehow managed to get some of it out of his mouth.
"September 4th? That's the day when...", Ryan said in a strangulated voice but was interrupted by Timothée. "Actually the night of the accident"
Ryan: I remember you told me that you thought you saw something and then you started running and hit something. You saw it too. Didn't you? You saw it happen before it happened, just like I did. I saw it when you saw your little sister drowning a night before it happened. We both saw it when Leah dreamt about her mother's death. So you both must have seen Dylan's accident too that night because I saw it.
Timothée was silent. Water in his eyes was clouding his vision and he was continuously staring at his hands trying to avoid making eye contact with Ryan. He felt guilty and that guilt was inside him for a long time. It finally came out with the drops of salty water from his eyes.
Timothée: I-- uh, I was in the ground practising late that night because I had a game coming up, as I told you earlier. I saw it happen and I tried calling him. He finally picked up the fifth time and I asked him to stop driving but there was loud music and his friends were talking. He- he couldn't hear me. He just kept asking me to repeat what I was saying and I don't know what happened but the call got disconnected. I tried calling again but it went straight to voicemail. I thought his phone died. I was freaking out but I recognised the area he was in from what I saw so I started running. I really thought I could make it on time but it was dark and I was not in my senses. I tripped on something and hit my head. I woke up in a hospital bed 30 hours later with a really bad concussion, 4 stitches on my head and my right leg all cast up. That acceptance letter came in almost a week after that and I just couldn't do it. Every second I felt how much you were hurting and every night when you had those dreams I felt responsible and guilty for not being able to do something for either of you. Princeton didn't matter in that moment. I just- I just wanted to be there for you, with you and I'll do it again if I had to. There you have it. I am just a pathetic loser who couldn't save his sister or your brother.
Ryan wiped his tears and sighed. "It wasn't your fault. I am even starting to believe that there's nothing either of us could have possibly done to prevent it"
Timothée: I'm really sorry for everything. I know that you didn't sign up for any of it.
"Neither did you, Tim", Ryan interrupted. "I don't know about you, but I am done regretting over something that we can't change. How about we just focus on what we can and accept this new normal? You can help me figure out how to use that key and maybe clean up my mess because I have a feeling there's going to be a lot of that"
"I'd like that", Timothée said with a smile as he rested his head on Ryan's shoulder and gently hugged him.
"Welcome back", Owen said as he entered his room and saw Ingrid silently sitting on an ice pedestal.
"I don't know what you are talking about. I was here the whole time", Ingrid said.
"Okay. So, where did you go this time?", Owen asked as he took off the jacket that he wore before leaving the palace earlier that morning. He was used to the cold and didn't need a jacket but he preferred wearing one every time he stepped out in the other world to blend in.
"I still have no idea what you are talking about, my Prince", Ingrid said with a mischievous smile and a teasing voice. "Don't you think you need to stay in more? The queen might get suspicious about what you are up to lately and I'm sure you don't want that kind of attention right now", she added.
"Why are you like this? That poor thing just wants a friend to play with when Leah is out. He is still a kid. You don't have to scare him away every time he is here", Owen said and sat down on his bed. He grabbed his carving chisels and started working on the shaft from where he left. "Because I have an image to maintain. I can't be like you all the time", Ingrid said with a little roughness in her voice. "You mean, cool and patient", Owen tried to joke the seriousness away. "Childish and naive. That's what I mean", Ingrid replied and then turned her face away from him. "I am getting too soft. We can't afford that", she said.
"Even if it means going back to being Sentel?", Owen enquired.
Ingrid: Yes. I'm afraid so.
Owen: But that's the whole point. You are not her anymore and there is a very good reason for that.
"She saved this kingdom", Ingrid said with her voice raised and strong.
"Yes, she did. But at a cost that was not worth it", Owen almost whispered to himself.
"Look, we are not having this conversation again. I'm sorry. I'm- I'm just too tired for this right now and I have to leave again after the sundown", Owen said trying to focus on the shaft and the carving chisels. "You have to read the letter, Owen. You can't keep ignoring it", Ingrid said, her voice soft and calm now. "I can't. I'm not ready", Owen replied with his vision getting hazy with the teardrops building in his eyes.
Ingrid: Yes you are. I know why you think you are not ready to read it yet.
Owen: No. You don't.
Ingrid: You think that he might have written something in there that you won't like. It's not what you think it is.
Owen: You've read it?
"No. But I was with him when he wrote it and I sensed what he was feeling in that moment while writing it", Ingrid said and waited for Owen to react while he just sat there almost frozen but still trying to focus on the carvings. "I know you've found the key and you have a lot of questions in your mind as to why he didn't tell you about the key or any of it but maybe you'll find some of those answers in that letter if you just read it", Ingrid blurted out in a single breath. Owen looked at her and Ingrid sensed his approval. Her eyes started glowing like fire and as it got brighter and more intense it seemed like the air around her combined the tiniest, almost invisible molecules and gave birth to a piece of paper that slowly floated towards Owen. He gently held it in his hands as if it might break if he holds it too tight. "I'll give you a minute alone", Ingrid said and as her feet started freezing, Owen interrupted. "No. Please stay. I don't want to be alone". He opened the letter and realised that these are the last words from his father and once he is done reading that letter, he'll be left with nothing of him but the memories. The million sweet little memories. He took a deep breath and started reading.
"My little warrior
If you are reading this, it means that the troops failed to retrieve the horn on time to cure my illness and I am long gone. Can't say that I didn't see it coming. I've already made my peace with death as I am writing this last letter to you. I am sorry that I couldn't stay for a little longer to see you grow into the man that you are now. I am so proud of you and watching you grow and fall and learn to get back on your feet all these years made me realise that I don't have any regrets or complaints about how my life turned out to be because I got to know you. The love and compassion that you have for the people of this world even after all the hate you see for them inside these walls still amaze me. The way you trust so easily and invest everything you have for the happiness and well being of the ones you care about is what makes you the person you are today and the king you'll be someday. You have a long life ahead of you and reading this right now, in the moment of the greatest conflict, might feel like I am bluffing to make you feel better but I had a vision, my son. I am afraid I can't tell you anything more than that or it might change things. Just know that you might have to do certain things even when you don't like them for the sake of your love. Don't ever lose faith in what you believe in today. I'm sure your instincts, your beliefs and your love for all the beautiful souls in your life will take you where you are supposed to be. I'll always carry you and that little spark of hope in your eyes with me in my heart wherever I go. You'll always be my little warrior.
Love, A proud father"
Owen was one step away from a breakdown while reading the letter and once he was done, he finally let the tears roll down his eyes. "I thought he might be disappointed in me for letting him down. For breaking his rules and letting it all happen", he said in a strangled and brittle voice. "He wasn't", Ingrid tried to comfort him.
"I know you think that there are some things you need to do all alone because you are a billion years old and immortal but..." Owen said but was interrupted by Ingrid before he could finish his sentence. "I was with the fairies", she said.
Owen: You- uh, wow. And you were calling me stupid a minute ago.
Ingrid: See. That's exactly why I didn't tell you earlier. I know how you feel about them but...
Owen: How I feel about them? Ingrid, everyone knows that fairies are tricksters. You more than anyone else. You can't trust a word they say.
Ingrid: There was a meeting. High kings, leaders and great warriors of all the creatures from every world were there to represent their people. Since I am the last Caladrix in Altera, I had to attend the meeting to represent not just the Caladrix community but also your people.
Owen: What was the meeting about?
Ingrid: Golems are not the only ones dying.
Owen: I don't understand. What are you talking about?
"It's not just Zuris. More worlds are dying. Creatures are afraid that it might be their world next. Fairies and some centaur witches have been trying to predict a pattern to make it stop for over a century now but the research is still inconclusive", Ingrid sighed.
Owen: Centaurs? I thought they were all dead.
Ingrid: Some healers were in the fairy realm to help the queen with her eggs when their world collapsed. Fairies sheltered them because who doesn't need witches on their side when some megalomaniac force is destroying entire worlds.
"I don't think that's a very good idea, Leah. As you said, we are in a melt and the circumstances here are very unpredictable. We don't know what's going to happen if you sleep in here too while you are unconscious in the real world", Timothée proposed in a concerned voice. "Don't you think I already know that, Hiddleston? I'm not a kid", Leah replied lazily and closed her eyes. "I'm not sleeping. Don't worry", she said and turned to her left side. "If this ritual is for royals, why did a familiar came for Tim?", Ryan asked.
"That's because this is not actually the ritual. It's our melt. The golden crystals that Owen gave Timothée were supposed to turn into a familiar based on the person holding them and casting a simple spell. It's nothing fancy. Just a couple of words in Alterian. It makes the crystal turn into the familiar that is most likely to choose you. We were supposed to make the crystals turn and then exchange them in our melts. That's it and we would have been back in our bodies. But since we didn't do that, Owen had to use blood magic to make it work somewhat like that. Hence, the actual familiars instead of the crystal ones. Owen turned those crystals for us and then placed them in our hands for our semi-conscious minds to figure out what it is with the touch and then project the same in our melts. Once we've all seen our familiars, we'll be done", Leah explained and then yawned.
A minute after that, she felt a vigorous, cold wind, almost like she was stuck in a blizzard with a rattling sound. "That was quick", she said and opened her eyes only to see a giant bird fluttering above them. "Holy Amber. Did I fall asleep? It's-- it's. Umm. It can't be...", Leah said in a wheezy and strangled voice. She closed and rubbed her eyes to make sure what she was seeing was actually there. She opened her eyes and saw Owen looking at her, holding her hand. She immediately hugged him and realised that she was back in her body. "I-- I-- I saw, I saw a Gragon. I think, I-- I saw a Gragon. That can't be right. How- how is that possible?", She fumbled. "Why would a Gragon choose him? This doesn't make any sense"
Owen lifted his hand and opened his fist to reveal the key that he was holding. "What-- what. How? Is- is this an illusion spell? Please somebody tell me that I am not dreaming", Leah was freaking out, trying to speak out her mind but no matter how hard she tried, she ended up choking on the words.
"No. It's not", Owen said and held her hand to calm her down. "But how? And- and where did you find this?", Leah asked. "Is that what I think it is?", Timothée enquired. Owen nodded with a smile and Timothée chuckled. He hugged him tight and said, "finally some good news. Thank you. But where did you find it? I thought the keys were destroyed"
"We thought that too but luckily my father found a way to protect it", Owen replied and saw Leah's confused face. She was having a hard time believing it and Owen knew it. "He had an Alferaeo's box", he said looking at Leah. "What? I thought there was just one...", she said in a strangulated voice. "He left it with Ryan's mother 16 years ago. He told her that it was for Ryan. He must have seen it all"
Leah: Well, at least now we know who the anchor is.
"No. Uh-umm. God! I hate Clairvoyants", Timothée said in a brittle voice, his eyes watery.
Lydia: I know that no one is probably going to answer anything I ask, but I'll still have to. What is happening? What's an anchor? What is that key for and what the hell is a Gragon?
Timothée parted his lips to answer some of those questions but then realised that Owen was staring at him with murderous eyes so he decided not to speak. "Gragons are spirit birds. No one, or at least no one alive today, has ever seen one because the bird is said never to alight on the ground, and instead to live its entire life flying invisibly high above all the worlds, supposedly even Heaven. They are the birds of Paradise and are considered very shy"
Ryan: If no one has ever seen it, how can you be so sure that the bird we all saw in the melt was a Gragon?
Leah: Because there have been several mentions of it in Alterian poetries and folklores describing its beauty. We all thought that they were not even real. We, until today.
Lydia: Why did it come for Ryan?
Owen: That must have been the key. I was holding it in my hand when I placed Ryan's crystal in his palm. I might have accidentally touched it with the key. Magical creatures can sense the presence of magic around them and since this key once belonged to a very powerful God and then an equally powerful Alterian king, it holds immense power and magic. That's what might have attracted it towards Ryan. The Gragon must have felt safe around him.
"This is giving me a headache", Lydia said as she sat down on the bed. "Believe me. This has been quite an unusual, overwhelming and magically long day for me too. I just want to sink myself in my bed like a turtle and never wake up", Leah said and looked at Owen. "Message received loud and clear, Princess", Owen said and dramatically bowed down. He gave the key to Timothée and asked him to explain everything to Ryan and help him learn how to use it. He then turned to Lydia to remind her about their meeting later that night to start her training but looked uncomfortable mid-conversation. "What is it?", Lydia asked. "It's Ingrid", Owen said to Leah.
Leah: Bloody hell. What now?
Owen: Sean is in my room again. She might actually kill him this time if we don't reach on time.
Leah: I don't have energy for that today. I am telling you, dear uncle, if your love at first sight insanity even touched a hair on that precious little creature, I'll set her on fire myself. Poor thing. He just wants to be friends with that stupid, antisocial Caladrix.
Lydia was trying to make some sense out anything and everything that Leah just spat out but failed miserably. "I'm sure you are making too much out of something that could be nothing, Lee. But we should not waste any more time talking about it either because she sounded really angry", Owen said. "See you at 9", Owen kissed Lydia on her cheek and they left.
"What the hell?", Leah screamed out of pain as she saw a cut slowly forming and disappearing on her palm. "What happened?", Timothée enquired. "I'm not sure", Leah replied. They heard a horse neighing at a distance.
Ryan: Um, is that normal? I've never had a dream about a horse.
Timothée: This is not a dream.
Ryan: I thought melts are just like dreams.
Timothée: Why would you think that?
"Shh. Something's coming. Hide", Leah whispered.
"Hide where? There's nothing in here. It's just an infinite, darkroom", Ryan replied. "He is right for once", Timothée acknowledged. They saw a horse running towards them and for a second it felt like it was made up of crystal. Then it slowly transformed into a Pegasus and before they could wrap their heads around what they just saw, it turned into a tiny, brown rabbit and started jumping all over the place. "What is happening?", Ryan screamed. "Wait", Leah said trying to examine the rabbit. "I can't believe this. Sean?", She asked herself at first and then shouted out of happiness and disbelief in her eyes, vigorously waving her hands up in the air to grab some attention. "Sean. Sean. Sean. Here. I'm here."
"What is she doing?", Ryan was confused. "I have no idea", Timothée answered with the same confusion. "Maybe it's all finally starting to get to her brain", Ryan proposed. It seemed like the rabbit heard her calls and finally noticed them. It started hopping towards them and when it was almost half a yard away, it made a final transition into a huge, black, brown and white, furry, Bernese mountain dog and playfully jumped at Leah making her dramatically fall to the dark ground. The dog kept happily wiggling its tail as it licked her face.
"Okay. Okay. Atta boy. I'm happy to see you too buddy. I'm all right Sean. Now get off of me", Leah said giddily. Ryan and Timothée were now even more confused. They have never seen her this happy before. Leah got up and said, "how did you find me?" She kept looking at the dog as if she was waiting for it to speak up. "Oh. Of course, you can't speak. We are in a melt. None of this is real." She looked at her hand that still had some blood on it from the cut. "I hate blood magic", she said in a tired voice. "Timothée. Did Owen gave you some golden crystals?"
Timothée: He... Um, he might have. Why? Were they important?
Leah: You idiot! Why didn't you tell me?
"I just... I forgot. Okay. I'm sorry. I got a little too excited seeing you guys and it just slipped through my mind", Timothée said and then suddenly groaned out of pain. "What happened?", Ryan asked.
"My hand", Timothée said and looked at his hand. His palm was bleeding out of a straight cut. "Bloody hell. It hurts", he said putting pressure on the cut.
Leah: Relax. It's Owen. He is fixing your mistake.
Ryan: Like this?
Leah: Just shut up and wait for another animal.
Ryan: Okay. What is this all about? These cuts and-- and these animals.
Leah: It's the familiaris ritual.
"Sure. What does that mean Leah? English please", Ryan was a bit irritated by now.
Timothée: It is a very old Alterian ritual. More like a-a royal tradition. They use blood magic and moon rocks to attract their familiars or to know what their familiar is in the first place.
Leah: It's more like the familiars choose a worthy royal to protect and serve in exchange for protection but yes. That's what it is.
Ryan: What's a familiar? Is it like the animals that witches have?
Leah: Somewhat like that. Except they are not just animals. They are magical creatures. Each one of them has unique magical abilities and a very strong instinct to protect those who are entitled to protect them. A royal and a familiar protect each other from any harm.
Ryan: So more like Patronus?
"Yes", Timothée replied. "It's a Harry Potter thing", he said to Leah. "I know what a Patronus is. I've read the books", Leah answered irritatedly. "Of course she has read the...", Ryan stopped before completing the sentence. "What's that? Was-- was that a growl?", He said.
"Where? I didn't hear anything", Timothée said right before he heard a low-pitched, sustained and coarse, rumbling sound. "Hey. Timmy, look. It's a little Badger. If it makes you feel any better, I always knew you were a Hufflepuff", Ryan said mockingly. "How is that supposed to make me feel better about getting chosen by a freakin' badger?", Timothée sighed.
Leah: Hey! Show some respect. That little Badger might look small and weak but if you get him angry or vulnerable enough, it can take on enemies much bigger than its size.
"You've got your own master Yoda", Ryan said, barely controlling his laughter and then suddenly screamed out of pain. "Damn it. It's my turn now. I have to say, it does hurt more than I thought", Ryan said trying to stop the bleeding. "It won't work. It's a melt. They have to make it stop in the real world which I am sure they will once they've soaked the last golden crystal in your blood", Leah said and lied down on the ground. "I just want to sleep"
Owen: Not exactly. He gave him the power to see the past. Visiting the past is a tricky thing. You interfere with one thing and there are so many unimaginable ripple effects that it can have adverse effects on the future. Some crazy centaur witches tried time magic to go back in time to gain access to a certain power source and ended up blowing their entire world in the process. Only one baby centaur witch survived. Alterians gave her shelter and she saved us all. Some even say that these keys are the most powerful artefacts ever created by celestial beings. Anyways, both these keys were connected in a way that no one could ever truly understand. It's like a balance between past and future. You destroy the past, there won't be a future. When our world collapsed and our royal ancestors managed to escape it with as many civilians as possible, they accidentally left behind one of the keys. It got destroyed with our world so everyone who knew about the keys assumed that the other one was gone too. Apparently, someone found a way to protect it long enough until the effect of the other one getting destroyed was gone.
Paige: It must have been difficult watching your entire world, your entire life crumble down to nothingness. I can't even imagine the pain of leaving the ones you love behind.
"Neither can I. My mother was the sole survivor of her entire kingdom. She was almost my age when it all happened. Her parents barely managed to get her out on time through the portals. Sometimes I forget why she is so...", Owen paused for a while to carefully search for the right word and said, "distant"
"Grief can make you do some crazy shit", Paige sighed. "Well, this was one hell of a story. Lydia should use this one for her assignment"
Owen: What assignment?
Paige: The one they are working on upstairs. You are here to help her with that, aren't you?
"That. I almost forgot. They should have been downstairs by now. I should go check on them. Thank you for everything Paige. It was lovely meeting you", Owen said and got up. "One last thing", he said before leaving. "Can I take this with me, if you don't mind? I have to make sure that Ryan understands how important this key is"
Paige: Of course. But I still don't get it. Why does Ryan need this key?
Owen: I have a theory. This key is probably not as strong as it used to be given that the other one got destroyed but it can still help him with his nightmares situation. My father clearly felt like this could help him so I think we should at least give it a try.
Paige nodded and Owen went upstairs. He tried opening up the door to Ryan's room but it was locked from inside. "Who is it?", Lydia asked. "It's me", Owen replied. Lydia opened the door and said, "We thought it would be best to lock the door just in case Paige came upstairs again. I don't want to be the one trying to explain this whole situation to her"
Owen saw Ryan, Leah and Timothée sitting at the corners of a triangle made with candles on the floor, holding hands with their eyes closed.
"How long have they been like this?", Owen asked.
Lydia: I'm not sure. Maybe half an hour or forty minutes.
Owen: No. Something's wrong. They should have been back by now according to the books. Wait. Where are the familiars?
Lydia: I'm sorry. What?
Owen: The crystal animals, Lydia. Where are they?
Lydia: I still don't have any idea what you are talking about. Timothée said that they just have to sit like this and visit their melts. Whatever that means.
"I told him to use the crystals", Owen muttered to himself.
Lydia: Leah and Timothée said that it was a simple process. There's nothing to worry about. What changed?
Owen: There's nothing to worry about. Just give me a minute to fix this. Meanwhile, can you please look for something sharp?
Lydia: Okay. How sharp?
"Sharp enough to make a cut", Owen said and started searching Timothée's pockets for the golden crystals he gave him earlier. "Will this work?", Lydia asked holding a letter opener with a slim and straight blunt blade and a slim rosewood handle. "No. Just look for a safety pin or something", Owen replied. Lydia found a safety pin in a drawer of the side table and gave it to him. Owen gently turned Leah's hand revealing her palm without severing her connection with Ryan's hand. He made a cut on her palm using the pin and soaked one of the golden crystals in her blood. Lydia watched as the wound healed. "At least she is healing at a normal speed", Lydia said. Owen looked at her and smiled to end that conversation even before it started. The crystal started shaking and slowly melting until it was reshaped into a dog.
Read the previous part if you haven't already. Enjoy! ♡ ---------------------------------------
[Audio Diary: Recorded Thoughts]
# Audio 2- Encounters *** 25/8/19
Hello! I just realized that I didn't introduce myself yesterday...haha. Well, is it really necessary for me to tell my name and age to you? Maybe...starting tomorrow we'll never meet again, so what's the use?
I feel like, when someone doesn't know a person's name, they remember them much more clearly than they remember the person whose name they know. I guess that's because the unnamed person looms around their mind like a mystery...making them ponder over what their name could be and things like that. Named persons are many times forgotten...maybe 'cause there's no mystery left to solve.
Funny, isn't it? We remember the encounters but not the one whom we had an encounter with. The remembrance part, according to me, mostly depends on what's more alluring; the encounter or the one you encountered with? Well then, bye. This time...I know what I said, haha. See ya!
#audios_mw if this is continued, all parts will be here. ------------------------------------
[Audio Diary: Recorded Thoughts]
# Audio 1- How're you? *** 24/8/19
Hey! Um..I'm just talking here. Soo...what's the best way to start a conversation? Tell your name and ask the other one's? Or simply, as what most of us do these days, is to ask 'How are you?' I have been asked this question a lot...almost on a daily or more precisely, weekly basis. And, each time my answer is the same, boring, sometimes...modified, 'Am fine! How are you?' That's the only reply I have. On a serious note...am I really fine though? Maybe. Maybe not. According to me...the answer to 'How're you?' is the most anticipated one. Like we expect a 'I'm fine' in response, don't we?
When I was young, I thought this was some sort of a petty rule. Now that I'm...you know, grown up...I feel like it's not as petty as I thought it was. I mean, I don't trust my so-called friends...I hardly ever open-up to them. And, when I can't fully trust them with my feelings...why should I let it out to a not so strange stranger? I mean, close friends won't ask questions like 'how're you?', would they?
Guess it's time to go...three minutes already passed...and I'm not really sure as to what I spoke just now. It felt good though. Uh, maybe..I'll come tomorrow as well..don't really know, let's see. Bye, for now.
Today, I saw the leaves shivering Of the exotic trees and the plant, Due to the rain that were pouring, Silently swiftly seeps so fast. The clouds were roaring, Oh ! It was a spectacular sight, And as I went along, I penned down the scenario And I write.. Today, I saw the flowers shaking, Due to the intense breeze. It was very common for the Flowers & leaves to shake Due to the wind, But something was very wrong, As it seemed abnormally quiet. Because today, for the first time, Due to the constant problems, I saw my hands shaking as I write. And I've never seen a Writer's hands shake let come what may, But today, let me tell you, This is a scenario even I can't tell, I can't write and I can't explain..- Minakshi