Sorry for the long wait. Here it is though, chapter six! Captius just finished writing this less than an hour ago and left it to me to check it quickly. I am sure I missed a lot of mistakes and for that I am sorry, Captius is a much better checker than I am. Please remember to rate and comment and ask any questions you might have. We hope you enjoy!
The Lightning Master and War Comes to the Academy
Richard, Daiya, Aura, and Lythia sat on a single couch across from Lillin on the top floor of their dorm tower. Richard was receiving minor treatment for the beat down he had just received at the hands of the mysterious redhead who called herself the Master of Lightning and Air. He only had a few minor cuts and bruises and an extremely sore torso from when he had taken his own attack in the chest. When Lillin's knife had been pressed against the vulnerable flesh of his neck he had never been more scared in his life. He had never been closer to dying than he had in that moment and the images and feelings still lingered in his mind. Today was the best example yet of how woefully unprepared he was to be in his position. He wasn't a Lord, or a mage, or even a Dragoon; he was an idiot kid from another planet trying to act like he was better than he was.
'Tell us who you really are and how you know what you know!' Aura demanded and her temper flared up as she slammed her fist onto the table in front of her.
'I've already told you who I am: Lillin DuColt, Master of Lightning and Air Magic,' the girl answered and Aura growled in frustration.
'How the hell do you expect me to believe that? The Master you speak of us a middle aged woman and not some first year student at this academy! Her name is-'
'Her name was Marjorie Bimmi, and she was a great mentor to me! She died two months ago in a raid on her home in Zygog. Men and women from the military came and demanded that she join their war against this country!'
'Th... that can't be! The Masters are sworn to take no side in a conflict! They are to remain neutral at all times!'
'That's what Master Bimmi told them, and they killed her for it. I barely escaped and came here, to the only place I knew I would be needed.'
'And why is it that you think we need you here?' Daiya asked and there was a menacing tone in her voice. Richard gently patted her shoulder and then rubbed her back for a minute. She had been pretty upset when she found out that the duel was only so Lillin could figure out if he was who he claimed to be. Richard was pretty sure she hated the new girl and he hoped things didn't get out of hand. If these two heavy weights were to start fighting it out he wasn't sure the tower would be left standing after it ended.
'You don't need me, but General Roku does,' she explained and Richard felt Daiya tense up next to him.
'And how exactly do you know that Richard is General Roku? Before this night we were only aware of four people on this world that knew that truth, and three of them are sitting on this couch,' Aura questioned but to Richard it sounded more like an accusation than anything else.
'During the Great War there was a Mage Captain that would later become known as the Lightning and Wind Master. This Master worked with General Roku for most of the thirty years and they became close friends. When Roku disappeared at the end of the war the Master always believed he would return one day, and when he was on his death bed he told his disciple everything he knew about the great hero and passed the waiting on to him. It's been almost two thousand years and the story of General Roku is still passed down from master to apprentice, but until recently it has merely been a tradition.'
'But then you heard about a strange mage at this academy who could cast the same magic as Roku?' Richard asked and the woman nodded at him.
'My Master was skeptical at first, but the more news began to travel the more curious she grew. She had planned to make a trip her to find out the truth herself, but she never got the chance as the war started and she was killed a month later. Before she passed, she gave me Star Shard and told me to track you down and see if what was being said of you was true. I'm surprised to say that it is true, you are the Eternal Master. I have no doubt about it.'
Richard leaned forward in his chair and pondered for a moment. He knew it was entirely possible that something like this story about Roku returning one day could have been handed down from one master to another, so he wasn't really thinking about that. It was her dagger that had him the most curious. It had been able to absorb and return a hostile spell just like Dark Star could; that was very disturbing.
'What is up with that dagger of your?' he asked after a minute of silence and pointed to the large dagger strapped to her hip.
'Star Shard is Dark Star's younger sibling,' she answered and pulled the long blade from the scabbard. 'When Dark Star was created, General Roku had a ceremonial dagger made from the same material. He presented it to his most trusted captain, the Wind and Lightning Master as a gift. It has been passed down through the generations in a ceremony when the current master stands down and their students takes up their mantle. My ceremony was taking it from my dying masters hands as she coughed up blood and told me to run.'
'I'm sorry to hear about your master, but you still haven't told us why you have come seeking Richard,' Aura pointed out and Daiya nodded stiffly. Lillin turned to face Richard and spoke to him instead of Aura, a deep and meaningful look in her eyes that had Richard trapped.
'It is my duty to serve Roku as the new Lightning and Wind Master,' she answered in a serious tone. 'My predecessor was once your captain, and I will stand by your side just as he did. I can help train you to control your magic better and make you the man you once were!'
'Hold on here!' Daiya yelled and was suddenly on her feet, towering over the sitting girl and shivering in anger. 'How do you expect to train him? You know Lightning Magic, not Light Magic! There is no one on this planet capable of teaching him!'
'Daiya, calm down,' Aura said and stood up to push the angry Dark Elf away from the younger student. 'Let's hear her out for a moment.'
'The only people closer to General Roku two thousand years ago were the First King and the Lady of Dragons. Information about his magic and how it works has been passed down through my predecessors for many years and I am confident that with this information he can go back to being the man he once was. The fact that he isn't already is proof that I am the only one who has this information.'
'Are you telling the truth?' Richard asked loudly and scooted further forward in his seat. 'Can you really make me stronger? Can you really teach me to control my magic and become strong enough to protect those I care for?'
'Richard!' Daiya growled and moved until she was standing in front of him, her back towards him like she was taking a protective stance. 'This bitch could have killed you earlier! She's already admitted to being from Zygog and she knows who you really are! We can't trust her! Let's go to our room!'
'But, what if she really can help me?' he asked and his wife turned her head to look at him. Her eyes were watering and she had a sad expression on her face. Richard knew she was just trying to protect him and he couldn't find his voice anymore. He had know she was upset about everything, but he didn't know she had been hurt that badly by his duel.
'We can find another way. Please Richard...'
'A... alright,' he answered and came to his feet. Daiya quickly grabbed his hand and tried to lead him from the common room, but Lillian quickly cut them off.
'I'm sorry, but I still have my two requests to make,' the powerful yet slight redhead said and held her arms up so Daiya couldn't go any further.
'What?' Daiya growled and Richard had to wrap his arm around her waist and physically pull her away from the situation.
'She's right, Daiya; she won the duel and is allowed to make two requests that Richard can't turn down. No matter what they are.'
'My first request is that Richard become my apprentice and train under me every day,' Lillin ordered and Richard felt every muscle in Daiya tense up like she was about to pounce.
'And the second?' Aura asked.
Lillin looked from Daiya to Richard and a small smile crossed her lips as she thought for a moment on what she wanted from him. Richard knew he wasn't going to like what he heard next and was he ever right. 'I wish to spend the night with you,' she said plainly like what she was asking was something people asked all the time.
Silence surrounded the room as the words that had just been said sunk into everyone's mind. There was a small chuckle from Aura who, as per usual, was being entertained at the misfortune of Richard and he wanted to turn around to her and yell. She was supposed to be his mother for Christ sakes! Daiya's body began to twitch in rage and Richard knew that nothing he could say or do would calm her down this time. Her emotions had been pushed around too much today and she was ready to explode.
'WHAT!?!' the tall tanned woman screamed and Richard was sure people ten floors down would hear her rage. 'Who the hell do you think you are?! I don't care about the rules of that stupid farce of a duel, I will not allow you to sleep with my husband!'
'I never mentioned anything about sex,' Lillin smiled mischievously and raised a single red eyebrow as her words rang with a giggle. 'I just said I wanted to spend the night with him; you just assumed I meant sex.'
'Are you going to tell me that you didn't mean it that way?' Daiya growled viciously.
'Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying. I'm not looking to sleep with him, but I wouldn't be against it if he was up for it,' she said and looked at Richard who quickly shook his head. 'See, you have nothing to worry about. I'd just like to get to know my new apprentice better. Besides, you'll be there the whole time, right?'
'You're damn right I will! If you so much as lay a hand on him I won't hesitate to end your miserable life!'
Without saying another word Daiya forcibly dragged Richard from the common room and rushed him to their room, slamming the door loudly behind her. She was literally steaming as her anger fed on her Fire Magic and her ring glowed slightly, tendrils of smoke and steaming rising to the roof. Richard had never seen her this mad before and he was honestly scared of her right now. She slammed her fist onto the dining table in the center of the room and the wood groaned and creaked under the assault, as if protesting against the violence it was dealing with.
'The audacity of that conniving bitch!' she yelled and hit the poor table once more. 'Who the hell does she think she is? I don't care if she is the Master of Lightning and Wind, she can't just go doing whatever she wants! Can you believe she actually wants to sleep in our room tonight?'
'Calm down, Daiya,' Richard said gently and placed his hand on her back gently, 'there's nothing we can do about it. Besides, nothing is going to happen; you know that right?'
'I still don't trust her.' Daiya grumbled and finally decided to sit down at the table instead of hitting it with her clenched fists. 'There's something very weird about this.'
'We just have to deal with her in our room for one night. We'll go to bed quickly and the next thing you know it will be over. Okay?'
'I know... but I thought we would finally get another chance to... never mind. Let's get into bed before she gets here,' Daiya said dejectedly and stood up. She quickly changed into a long silk nightgown, showing off her gorgeous body to Richard in the process. After changing out of his armor and throwing on a pair of boxers and a light shirt they climbed into the large bed and lie facing up, both of their hands clasped on their stomachs as they waited for their unwelcome guest.
Ten minutes later there was a knock on the door and Lillin let herself in, dressed in a heavy looking nightgown that showed almost none of her pale skin and carrying a large body pillow under her arm. She closed the door behind her and then looked at Richard and Daiya already in bed, a curious look on her face.
'What?' Daiya demanded roughly and fixed the woman with a fierce gaze that would have made Richard back away from her, if it had been pointed at him.
'I've chose the least revealing clothes I have and I even brought my body pillow so I don't latch onto one of you during the night. I hope you believe what I said earlier, that I wasn't planning on taking advantage of the situation.'
'You make it sound like you're sleeping in the bed!'
'Do you expect me to sleep on the couch?'
'You're damn right I do! There was nothing in your request that mentioned staying in the bed with us!'
Richard sighed heavily and got out of the bed, pulling off the top blanket and grabbing his pillow. 'I'll settle this right now,' he groaned and Daiya looked up at him, 'I'll take the couch.'
'Richard! You don't have to be forced out of your own bed!' Daiya called out to him as he walked across the room towards the roaring fire and the plush couch. 'Let this idiot take the couch and come back to bed with me!'
'It's better this way,' he answered and set up a little bed for himself on the couch. 'It's just for one night, right?'
Daiya flashed him a pouting look and then lay back down in the bed, rolling on her side so she was facing him. Lillin looked at both of them with a bemused look on her face and then she moved towards the bed and climbed into it. As soon as her body was beneath the covers, Daiya shimmied her body until she was on the very edge of the bed and closed her eyes. The room was quiet for a while and for a moment Richard thought they were going to fall asleep with no more discussion. He was wrong though.
'So, how long have you two been married?' Lillin asked and Daiya groaned loudly at the nuisance of having to deal with her stupid questions.
'Four days,' Richard answered.
'Why does it matter?' Daiya demanded angrily and she shifted gently on her side of the bed.
'I'm just curious. I can understand why you would be against me staying in this room tonight though.'
'Then why don't you leave?'
'I'm already comfortable though,' Lillin answered with a happy sigh and Richard could hear her stretch out on the bed.
'Can we get some sleep please?' Richard begged. 'I've had a long day and we have classes tomorrow.'
'Fine, fine...' Lillin groaned and she shut up. Both Richard and Daiya sighed at the same time and silence once more reigned in the room. The sound of soft breathing and the crackling of the fire consuming a large log quickly filled Richard's body and he found himself falling into a deep and long sleep, as if he hadn't slept the entire day earlier.
His dreams were filled with pain, blood, and death. When he woke up he couldn't remember any details of what he had been dreaming about, but he did have a sense of dread and inadequacy about his ability as a mage. One thing that duel the previous night taught him was that he was nowhere near ready to face May again. He was not good enough or strong enough to call himself the reborn Eternal Master. So he rolled over on the couch and looked out the window, seeing that the sun was just starting to come up. Both Daiya and Lillin slept soundly in the bed and Richard got up, dressed quickly and then woke up his wife gently. He held a finger to his mouth to keep her quiet and then nodded towards the sleeping form of Lillin, laying on her side and both legs and arms wrapped around her large pillow. Daiya nodded in understand and got out of bed. She was dressed and they were out of the tower in a matter of minutes.
'There's still a few hours before breakfast,' she said groggily once they were outside in the cold chilly snow, 'what did you plan on doing until then?'
'We haven't gone to visit Loki or Cotaz since we returned to the school, so I thought we could go and see how they are doing,' he answered and she smiled softly.
'That's a good idea. I usually leave Cotaz up to his own devices when I am here, but it couldn't hurt to see how Loki is doing. This is the first time he is living in snow.'
They headed out into the woods in silence, their breath creating large clouds in front of their faces. When they were a decent distance away from the prying eyes and ears of the academy, Daiya used her spell to call for Cotaz and he appeared a few minutes later, kicking up swirls of loose snow as he landed a few feet away from them. Richard had hoped Loki would be with the more experienced dragon, but after waiting a few more minutes he still hadn't appeared.
'Try to call him with the spell you were taught,' Daiya offered and he groaned. The spell was arcane and he hadn't been able to successfully cast it back when they were in Elothia. It wasn't a very complicated spell but Richards arcane power and experience were so bad that he struggled just to hold onto it most of the time.
He lifted his bracer into the air and pushed his Arcane Magic through his body and into it. He could feel a trickle of warmth flow through his body but the magic quickly evaporated as he lost his train of thought. Sighing heavily he kicked a nearby tree and groaned as pain shot up his leg and snow fell onto his head and down the back of his cloak and jacket.
'I can't do it!' he breathed and dug the snow from his clothes. 'I can barely control my Light Magic as it is!'
'Just calm down, Richard,' Daiya whispered softly and took a step closer to him, 'most mages have been casting small arcane spells for years before they come to this academy, so it will just take some time for you to get the hang of it. You need to keep practicing that's all.'
'If you haven't noticed we're at war, Daiya! What if it gets worse and I get sent into the fighting? I am a Dragoon after all!'
'You won't be sent into the war, trust me. Only mages at the age of twenty one or older can fight for their kingdom; this is a law both Alysia and Elothia follow. You have just over four years until you have to worry about that. So don't get ahead of yourself, please. Try to cast the spell again, but keep your mind clear.'
Richard closed his eyes and held his left arm up to his chest, gripping the power deep in his body. He took a deep breath and then let it out slowly, letting his lungs do all the work for him as he pulled his magic through his body and into his bracer. While doing his best to keep it there, he began to whisper the words of power he had been taught from Daiya. As soon as the last word was out of his mouth he could feel the magic get pushed from his body and bracer and something amazing happened. Even though his eyes were closed he could suddenly see snow and trees like he was looking down on them from above. There was wind rushing into his face and a feeling of exhilaration as he flew high above the countryside.
'Call to him,' he heard Daiya say softly in his ear and a shiver ran down his spine; he hadn't even heard her moving closer to him.
'Loki!' he called out both verbally and mentally. The vision he was seeing on the back of his eyelids suddenly shifted and he realized Loki had turned his head towards where Richard was. With a powerful flap of his wings he rocketed towards them and Richard opened his eyes to find Daiya standing right in front of him, a hopeful smile playing at the sides of her lips.
'Well?' she asked, but Richard didn't have to answer as Loki let out a happy roar and crashed down into the small clearing, bumping into Cotaz as he rushed towards Richard. Loki pressed his head into Richards chest and purred in his throat, pushing on him and threatening to topple him over. Richard lifted his hand and patted the great beast on his snout and then tickled him under the chin softly.
'I know, you missed me,' he said to his friend and Loki once more purred loudly, 'I missed you too. Have you been doing well in the snow?'
Loki growled at the question, almost as if he was answering it for him. Richard once more patted him and then moved around to his side to adjust the straps of the saddle that had come loose. Daiya helped him while he still got the hang of things and then they checked on Cotaz as well. For the next half an hour they talked with, patted, and adjusted the saddles on the dragons and then bid them farewell as they were both getting hungry. It was still a little early for breakfast to be served but they still had to walk back to the school.
They were the first ones in the dining hall when breakfast was served and they ate at a table all to themselves. Lythia, Karo, and Lisbeth eventually joined them but Richard and Daiya had finished long before, so they slowly walked towards his class tower and spent as much time as they could together before they would be separated again. The bell rang too soon and Richard was more put out by it than his wife; he had to deal with Lillin being in at least one of his classes, if not both. As a good luck charm for his day, Daiya gave him a quick kiss on the cheek and then they headed to their different towers.
Richard's first class of the day was physical education, a class he knew better as gym. A whole floor had been dedicated to the class and it was one wide open space, expect for two rooms to change in and a another room that made sure no students could fall down the stairs by accident. When he arrived he found two surprises he would rather not have to deal with; Lillin was in the class and Alyssa taught it. He was also the only person in the room who wasn't wearing a pair of shorts and a white shirt with a blue collar around it. He didn't even think he had those clothes in his dresser.
'Ah, Richard!' Alyssa said brightly when she saw him enter the stone gym, 'How nice of you to join us for class today!'
'Yeah... sorry about yesterday...' he apologized softly and stepped further into the room.
'No worries. How are you feeling today? If you're sore you can sit out and just watch.'
'I'm a little sore, but I think I can manage. I don't have the P.E. uniform though,' he answered and looked around at everyone who was wearing one. Even Alyssa was in one and Richard had admit that she had quite a bit of sex appeal. If she hadn't been so aggressive in her pursuit of him when he first arrived he probably would have liked her more.
'It is in the men's changing room. Every student has a personal locker. When class is over just put it back in the locker and the staff will wash and fold it for you.'
'Thanks,' he smiled at the beaming older woman and then made his way to the men's changer room. Sure enough there was a locker with Lord Richard written on it and inside he found a pair of shorts and a shirt that would fit him perfectly. Karo arrived a few moments later and they changed together while making small chat.
It turned out that the gym classes on this world were much the same as they were on Earth. They stretched, did a few laps around the floor, and then broke into two teams to play some strange game that was a mix between soccer and basket ball; you had to use your feet to move the ball around and then score through a basket ball like hoop eight feet off the ground. It was a pretty difficult thing to do and all Richard could manage was to hit the large rim and watch it bounce off. Most of the other students were pretty adept at it and easily ran circles around him, big smiles on their faces. It didn't escape his notice that he was being watched the entire time by Lillin. She stayed in the corner of the room, her arms folded over her chest and her eyes locked onto him the whole class. Considering everything that had happened the night before he had really thought this behavior would stop.
When class was let out, Richard was covered in sweat and his muscles ached. It had been a long time since he had worked out like that before and he wasn't used to it. He was never really athletic back on Earth to begin with, but he was beginning to realize he might need to get into better shape here. If he wanted to wield sword he would need to get stronger muscles. When an old man, albeit a swords master, could disarm him with little to no effort then things needed to be changed with his lifestyle.
He, Lisbeth, and Karo left the first year class tower and headed to their dining hall to meet up with Daiya and get something to drink and snack on before their next class. Because she had first period off this term, Daiya had saved them all a table and already had a pot of tea and some cookies waiting. Surprisingly Coni was sitting at the table as well, chatting a little bit with Daiya as she nibbled on a hard cookie. Sometimes Richard forgot that you could actually consider those two friends. You rarely saw them together and they were ranked first and second in the school, a situation that would usually lead to a long and brutal rivalry.
By the time his second class of the day started, Richard was feeling a little more energetic from the warm tea and good snacks. He was looking forward to lunch, but he still had to get through his language class that had both Lillin and Nadia in it. As usual Nadia pretended he didn't exist when he walked into the class and he was actually a little surprised that he hadn't seen her around very much; maybe she wasn't just sent to this school to babysit her older sister. Then again, none of it really mattered to him.
Once again, Richard had way of keeping up with what was being taught in the class, and he just wrote down whatever notes he could manage. He would ask Daiya for help after school finished that night so he wasn't too worried about it right now. Lillin sat right next to him in this class, but she didn't say a word to him. She just sat in her chair, her hands folded on the desk and her parchment and quill still in her bag. If what she had told him last night was true, that she was just at this school to teach him to use his magic better, then she probably didn't care what classes she was in or what they were teaching. She was the Master of Wind and Lightning, so even at a young age she probably knew more than most other students at the academy. He had been hoping that she wouldn't talk with him at all that day, especially after what had happened the previous night with her absurd request, but he wasn't that lucky. As he was heading out of the classroom when the bell for lunch rang in the distance, she grabbed him by the wrist and pulled him close to her body, her cheek rubbing up against his.
'After your last class of the day, meet me at the arena,' she whispered directly into his ear and her warm breath tickled. She quickly let him go and left the room, leaving him standing there with a confused expression on his face.
'So... what was that about?' Karo asked as he had seen the whole thing. He mustn't have heard what she said though.
'She was just reminding me that I have to honor the agreement of the duel we fought last night,' Richard answered. He could have told Karo the details, but he wasn't sure how to explain that he had become the apprentice of the Lightning and Wind Master when his magic was of a totally different type.
'Oh yeah, I forgot to ask you what she asked for,' his friend pointed out curiously.
'It's against the rules to tell other people,' Richard lied and left it at that.
Instead of eating lunch in the dining hall with all of his friends, Richard grabbed Daiya and took her up to their private floor. He told her what Lillin had said to him earlier as he still couldn't make heads or tails of it. The arena was only really used for duels so why would she want to teach him how to cast his magic in there? Did she think his power was too raw and dangerous that she wouldn't let him cast it anywhere else?
'That is pretty strange,' Daiya admitted when he told her everything. They sat at the dinner table in their room and nibbled half heartedly at their meals as they talked. 'I'll skip my last class and go with you.'
'You can't Daiya,' Richard sighed. He honestly wanted her there just in case, but it wouldn't be right. 'You're the Daughter of Fire, the crown princess of Elothia, and the head of the disciplinary committee on top of that. You can't afford to be caught skipping.'
'There's a first for everything,' she tried to convince him but Richard fixed her with a strong gaze and shook his head. 'Fine... but be careful okay? As soon as classes are over I'll come and see how you're doing.'
'Thank you. I appreciate that,' Richard smiled at the beautiful Dark Elf and rubbed the back of her hand gently before diving into his pasta and sauce that had gone a little cold.
They ate in silence for a while, focusing on their food and lost in their own thoughts. Richard was a little worried about what kind of training he would be doing later, but he tried to not let it bother him. Lillin was an odd person, but Richard didn't believe she was untrustworthy or dangerous. She was a little touchy feely and that's probably why Daiya didn't like her very much. Other than that she hadn't really given them a reason to hate her. She had left everything she knew behind to come and train him, which was a good thing in his books. Only time would tell though.
'So I received a letter from my mother yesterday,' Daiya said after a while. It was obviously an attempt the lighten the tense atmosphere that seemed to be hanging over their heads for the last few days, but Richard was grateful for a distraction.
'Oh? I hope it was about something good.'
'It has to deal with wedding gifts, so I should think so,' she smiled at him.
'I forgot to ask about that. Back on Earth its customary to give a new married couple gifts, but I didn't see anything like that here.'
'It's not really something we do in Elothia, but it is a custom here in Alysia. But because the wedding was so sudden and nobles and other people of interest couldn't get there for it in time, most of them simply wrote letters and sent the gifts to the palace. They apparently arrived the day after we left and my mother she will send them here as soon as possible.'
'Well let's hope there's something good, like dinnerware or maybe jewels!' he laughed at the thought. 'Although it would be pretty awesome if someone sent us a laptop.'
'Laptop?' Daiya asked in confusion and he was reminded that she had no idea what the one of those were.
'It's an electrical device from my world,' he explained and tried to dumb it down as much as possible. 'It's kind of hard to explain, but with one you can do a lot of things. You can write, draw, listen to music, watch movies, access the internet, play video games, and a hundred other things. The device is small enough to fit on your lap though, hence the name.'
'So it's like that televisi... teliviso... that box thingy?'
'A little, I guess. The laptop is more than for just watching shows and movies on though. Let me put it this way, if Lythia had come into contact with a computer back when you guys were on my world, we never would have gotten her to leave. It was bad enough trying to drag her away from the T.V., I couldn't imagine what she would be like if she had access to the internet.'
'What's this inter-thingy you keep talking about?'
Richard looked at his bride and sighed heavily. Over the course of the next forty minutes he did his best to explain what the internet was. It was not an easy task by any means and he was becoming more and more frustrated every time he tried. Even when she said she finally understood the look in her eyes said that she really didn't, but Richard let it go. It was a losing battle and he didn't think he would ever be able to make her understand unless he showed her, which wasn't really possible. Thankfully the bell for the afternoon classes rang and Richard and Daiya left their room and headed to Aura's class where they could both focus on something else.
Their arcane classes were pretty laid back and Richard was actually able to keep up pretty well. It was also a bonus being seated next to Daiya as she helped him get the inflections right on the words of power. Even Coni chipped in and helped him out a little until he could produce a small thread of Arcane magic that wrapped around his quill and lifted it a few inches into the air. All the other students were creating thick ropes of magic and lifting things like chairs and book bags into the air, but Richard was happy that he was even able to do it.
Arcane Theory was pretty boring as they reviewed some of the subjects they had learned during the first term, most of which Richard wasn't there for. He was pretty lost but he didn't worry about it too much. This was the most advanced Arcane Theory class the school had to offer and Richard would probably be in it for three more years, so he had a lot of time to learn everything. Even if he failed it this year he would probably still end up in it again the next year, as the scoring was based on where you stood on the school ladder. Once Coni, Daiya, and Agnes left he would be the number one ranked mage in the school and it would most likely remain that way until next Winter Festival. He liked his chances of making it back to the semi-finals again next year, but if he drew Lillin as an opponent there would be no way he would win against her. So he really hoped he didn't come across her until the end, so he could keep his place in this class.
When the bell rang to signal the start of the final class of the day, Richard said a quick goodbye to Daiya and then headed up to their room. He threw on his dueling cloak and grabbed Dark Star before making the cold and long walk to the arena where he was supposed to meet Lillin for his first day as her apprentice. He still didn't understand how her amazing power and knowledge of Lightning Magic could help him learn to control his magic, but she was the only person who seemed confident enough to take him on as their student, so who knew what she would be able to do with him.
When Richard walked into the arena he found that it looked exactly as it had the last time he had been there; for the most part. There was snow covering the entire area and the large pillars around the edges were covered in scratches and had small chunks missing from them. The stands were empty though and a chill wind whistled through the place, making it feel very lonely. A redhead woman stood in the very center of the arena and she was dressed in the same heavy grey robe she had worn the night of their duel, causing Richard to think that they were going to fight again. As he drew nearer to Lillin she smiled slightly at him and waved him closer, using the hand without her ring focus on it.
'What's going on?' he asked cautiously and kept his left hand loose, just in case he needed to cast a protective spell.
'Your first training session,' Lillin answered with a smirk. 'Don't worry, I'm not going to attack you. Not today anyways.'
'How exactly do you plan to train me anyways?' he asked but Lillin held up her hand to tell him to shut up.
'As my disciple, I expect you to only speak when I allow it. You are to do exactly what I say, when I say it. Always keep in mind that I am your master know, and act accordingly. Is that understood?'
'Wait... what are you talking-'
'Is that understood?' she repeated, this time more forcefully. Richard slowly nodded with a frown on his face. 'Good, now let's begin. I want to you create a small ball of light on your palm and keep it there for as long as you can. No matter what happens, do not move, do not attack, and do not lose the spell.'
'Wha-' he began to say but quickly shut his mouth when Lillin glared at him. He held out his left hand and quickly created a ball of pure light that hovered just above his palm. The warmth and power rushing through his body gave him a giddy feeling but he pushed it away and concentrated on keep the magic active.
He and Lillin stood across from each other for a few minutes, no words being said. He really didn't see what this had to do with training as he could easily create and control this type of spell in his sleep, but he didn't question it. He looked down at the spell in his hand to check to see how it was doing, and when he looked back up to Lillin he found that she was no longer there. He quickly scanned the arena floor but she didn't seem to be anywhere. That's when he felt something very familiar and very cold press against his throat, the sharp edge of a dagger digging lightly into his tender skin. As soon as he felt it his ball of light flickered slightly and threatened to disappear.
'Keep it going,' Lillin said into his ear. She was standing behind him now and her body was pressed up against his. 'Do not let it go out!'
Richard quickly concentrated harder and pushed a little more power into the ball, causing it to light up brighter and grow an inch on his palm. 'What the hell are you doing?' he demanded angrily.
'I did not say you could speak!' the woman hissed and dug the knife deeper into his skin. 'Concentration is very important when using magic. If you can't cast a spell when it matters the most, you will die! In our duel I noticed that your magic is weaker when you are in more danger. You must be strong at all times!'
Lillin removed the knife from his throat and moved around him until she was standing a few feet in front of him. There was a determined look on her face and she lifted her focus hand high into the air. Violent winds ripped through arena and swirled around Richard and Lillin, getting stronger and condensing until they were standing in the middle of a massive tornado. Richard's ears were assaulted by the roaring winds and his feet lifted off the ground slightly as the spell threatened to suck him up. Long tendrils of lightning shot through the tornado and the hair on the back of Richard's neck stood on end as the electricity charge the air and sent little shocks through his body. The ball of light in his hand wavered slightly but never went out; it was pretty close though.
'Not bad, student,' Lillin yelled over the howling wind and crackling lightning, 'but your spell is getting dimmer! I thought you were supposed to be strong! If you hit me with that magic right now I doubt it would even knock me over! Or were you planning to get your wife to fight all your battles?'
'Shut up!' Richard growled.
'Seems like I hit a nerve there! It must be depressing knowing how powerful you can be and who you really are, but being married to someone who is far more powerful than you! You're in a war, Richard! Are you going to let everyone you know and care for stand in front of you the whole time? Are you going to put them in danger because you can't be the man you were meant to be?'
'SHUT UP!' he roared now and a surge of powerful magic rushed through his body. Before he could control it he felt it burst forth from his body and a massive explosion ripped through the air. In the next instant Richard was thrown off his feet and his head smashed into the wall of the arena hard, knocking him out instantly as a cloud of smoke, dust, and snow shot up a hundred feet in the air from the explosion.
When Richard came to he found that he was laying down in the stands, a warm blanket over his body and someone sitting next to him. Sitting up he looked over and found a somber looking Lillin staring at him, a frown on her face as she shook her head. He looked out over the arena where he last remembered being and he saw something that pushed all the air out of his body in one long gasp; there was a ten foot deep crater on the arena floor and half the stands on the west side had been pulverized, leaving nothing but dust and rubble that was quickly being covered in falling snow. Every single pillar in the arena had been toppled and even a few seemed to be missing, almost like they never existed.
'I... did that?' he asked in horror when he saw what had happened.
'Yes,' she answered in a hollow voice and looked out over the arena herself. 'It would have been worse but the tornado I created protected the rest of the arena. If you hadn't been knocked out I don't think there would be anything left of the arena.'
Richard looked at his hand work and felt his heart tighten at the thought of what could have happened. He didn't know what to say and he sat there in silence as a cold wind chilled him to the bone. It was like what had happened with May all over again, only this time he didn't mean to do it. When Lillin had been antagonizing him he just lost control of his anger and there was nothing he could do to stop it. It had felt like he had become a whole different person again, and it scared him. Just what in the world was wrong with him?
'I'm sorry for pushing you over the edge, but I had to see where your mental state is at,' she apologized but Richard didn't hear much sympathy behind her words. 'It's a lot worse than I originally thought. All magic is influenced by the casters emotions, but yours more so than any other. Because you don't use incantations the flow of power through your body and into your focus is dependent on your mental state of mind at the time. If you have no confidence your magic will reflect that. If you are happy or content and can concentrate, your magic will flow you properly and there is nothing you can't do. And if you're angry or lose control of your rage... well you saw what can happen then.'
'This isn't the first time its happened either,' he said sadly as he remembered the large clearing he had created in the jungle when he had fought against May. 'I can't control this magic!'
'You're right, you can't control it. Not right now anyways. That's why I'm here though. To not only help you become a stronger mage but to also get your mind where it needs to be.'
'Is that why you requested to stay in my room that night?'
'That's part of the reason; honestly I just wanted to bug firebrain,' Lillin giggled softly.
'Your wife... you know, she's hot headed. Anyways, we need to get you in the right frame of mind so you can control your magic whenever and however you need it. Why don't you tell me about your marriage.'
'What do you mean? How could that have anything to do with my magic?'
'When I started talking about her is when you lost control the most, which is understandable when you think about it. Forced to marry a woman you probably barely knew would aggravate even the most stalwart men. Tell me how you feel about her.'
'It's not like you're thinking. I like Daiya. She's beautiful, smart, and strong. She was one of the first people who was nice to me when I arrived at this school, and when she and Lythia came to bring me back I started to realize that I had real feelings for her. I'm really starting to fall in love with her,' he answered and his voice was low.
'Have you told her that?' Lillin asked and shifted her feet in the buildup of fluffy snow gathering on the stone beneath them.
'I see, you're afraid she's just with you because she has to be? Right?' she asked and Richard remained silent. 'Before you can understand your magic, you must first understand yourself and those you interact with. Ease your mind and the power will listen to you, remain as you are and it will control you. Speak with your wife and lay everything out on the table. The power of light is warm and filled with everything good, so you need to be able to fill yourself with those feelings in order to become one with it.'
'You honestly think that will help me become stronger?' he asked incredulously.
'No, but it will stop you from blowing things up like you did today. Once you find some peace of mind and can control your anger we can focus on your strength,' Lillin told him and in the distance the massive bell tolled announcing the end of the school day. 'Go do it now.'
Richard stood and took a step to leave before stopping and looking out over the decimated arena and stadium. 'What about this? Are we going to get into trouble?'
'Let me worry about it. Now do as Master Lillin says, and go and talk to your wife!'
'Thanks Lillin,' Richard smiled but the woman grimaced at him.
'No seriously, call me Master Lillin or just Master. You are my disciple after all.'
Richard regard the redhead for a minute but then sighed and nodded his head. He quickly left the arena and rushed towards the tower where he hoped to find Daiya dropping off her bag after class. As he ran through the crowded grounds and through the packed dorm tower people looked at him with wide eyes and he couldn't figure out what was so surprising about him. It wasn't until he burst into his room and had Daiya flash him the same shocked look that he realized it must have been something pretty big. She was in the middle of changing out of her school uniform and was standing in front of the mirror in nothing but a pair of white silk panties and a white bra looking at his reflection with wide eyes and an open mouth.
'What the hell did she do to you?' she cried out and quickly rushed over to him. 'You're bleeding!'
'Bleeding?' he asked curiously and quickly ran to the mirror to see for himself. Sure enough there was some dried blood just above his brow and a little bit of wet blood had dribbled down behind his ear. His cloak had holes in it and the bottom half looked like it had disintegrated and his face was covered in dust and grime.
'I am going to kill that lightning freak!' Daiya hissed loudly and rushed towards the door.
'Wait!' Richard called out and Daiya slowly turned back towards him, rage twisting her face. 'This all from me actually.'
'You can't be serious. Look at you Richard!' Daiya crossed over to him and grabbed a bowl of water closer, dipping a towel into and dabbing it at Richard's dirty skin.
'I lost control of a spell I was casting and I was thrown against the wall. I must've hit my head and knocked myself out,' he explained. 'When I came to half the arena was in ruins and I was in the stands.'
'You destroyed the arena? How... how is that even possible? It and the stadium is protected by a powerful spell!'
'It wouldn't be the first time I have accidentally broken one of those spells,' Richard answered with a sigh and helped Daiya wipe his face off. The water was cold but he felt better now that he wasn't covered in his own blood. 'I was trying to keep my concentration while Lillin tried to distract me, and I just lost it. I lost my cool, I lost my concentration, and I lost control of the spell. Next thing I know I'm caught up in this huge explosion and being tossed into the air.'
'There's something you and I need to talk about,' Richard cut her off, 'what is this?'
Richard pointed at himself and then used the same finger to point at Daiya. She looked at him and raised an eyebrow in confusion and said, 'I'm not sure I follow.'
'What are we? How do you actually feel for me? We've never actually discussed this before and it's kind of been on my mind. Besides this marriage, besides the engagement, what were your feelings for me?' Richard spit out and he was talking so fast he himself had a hard time keeping up with what he was saying.
'Richard... why didn't you say so earlier?' she asked him in a whisper and her words felt like cold little needles about to plunge through his heart. Daiya stepped closer to him though, placing both hands on his cheeks and looking him dead in the eye with a gentle and compassionate look on her face. 'You must always remember that it was me who agreed to become engaged to you, not my fathers. It was me who decided to come and bring you back to where you belong, because I wanted to be by your side. And it was me who threw you into bed because I wanted to, not because I had to fulfill my duties as your wife on our wedding night.'
'But... but we hardly knew one another...' Richard whispered. Daiya pressed her lips to his for a moment and then drew back a few inches, just enough so she could speak.
'Do you remember the first day we met? When we shook hands and then I suddenly left after acting weird? When our hands touched something happened. I... I can't even really explain it. Just one moment I was being polite and greeting you, and the next I was flustered and nervous; so much so that I couldn't be around you. It was almost like I felt the power under your skin and surging through your body, and I could almost see what kind of a man you would become.'
'So it was my power,' Richard sighed dejectedly but Daiya stopped him from trying to move away from her.
'I won't lie, that's partially it; but not it all. I began to watch you, to see what kind of a person you were and I was awed by what you showed me. You were passionate, protective, mysterious, kindhearted, noble, and caring. Above all that you were totally unique. I knew you were a man I could fall in love with... a man I had already started falling in love with. When you were almost raped by Lisbeth but were able to overcome the betrayal and see what was going on, you forgave her actions and even wanted to stand up for her. She is still a student at this academy because of you, and it was in that moment that I gave the Queen my okay to become engaged to you.
'When you got sent back to your world it felt like I had lost a piece of myself, and I felt lost. When Reiea gave me the chance to go and find you I jumped at it, with no thought about how dangerous it would be to use an ancient relic that had been locked away for two thousand years. It was that night that you went to your parents home and then told me everything that had happened to you when you were growing up that I knew I wanted to be with you for the rest of my life. For you to be so compassionate and caring after what you had to endure is a miracle, one that I wanted to treasure. So don't you ever think for one second that I am only your wife because of some stupid arranged marriage law or because of your power! Because it's just not true! I love you and that will always be the truth, no matter what!'
Richard gazed into Daiya's big wet brown eyes and felt his heart flutter in his chest like a humming bird. He ran her words through his mind over and over again until his brain began to go numb from over thinking it. It felt like a weight had been lifted off him, as if his heart had been set to ease and he could breathe deeply again. He felt liberated and that surprised him; maybe Lillin had been right, maybe his magic and power were dependant on how he felt. If his emotions surged in a good way then his magic could also surge in the same manner. Without even casting a spell he could already feel a shift in how his magic felt in his bones and muscles, it was the most intoxicating and energizing feeling he had ever felt.
'Daiya...' he whispered and smiled a little at her waiting face, 'I love you too.'
He pressed his lips to hers and felt her warmth and softness fill every nook and cranny of his mind. It was a whole new sensation for him and it was like he had somehow become connected to her feelings. He could feel them washing over his body and soul and it was amazing, but overpowering as well. He couldn't keep track of everything he was feeling or who those feelings actually belong to anymore. One thing he did know was that there was one feeling bubbling up quickly between them; lust. As their lips moved against one another's their hands began to roam and Richard realized that they had both given into their lust at the same time.
Before he even knew what was happening, he was pressing Daiya's strong body up against the dresser and mirror and her hands were quickly removing her panties. She wrapped her legs around his waist and her arms around his back, pressing him into her warm body and refusing to let him go; not that he wanted to be let go. He could feel what she wanted, it was written all over her face, in her eyes, and etched into her very feelings. So as he stuck his tongue into her mouth and massaged hers, he undid the leather belt on his pants and let them drop a second before pulling his boxers down. His hard penis leapt out now that it was free and slapped gently against her silky and warm skin, causing her to yelp in pleasure.
Without even a moment's hesitation he lined it up with her soft and wet opening, thrusting in slowly and gently. They both gasped into one another's mouths as they felt him slide deep into her tight pussy, her walls pulsating and gripping him like a hot soft vice. It took everything he had to not fall over the edge and cum inside her on the first stroke, but he managed it by gritting his teeth and tightening all the muscles below his waist. He slowly pulled himself out until only the mushroom tip was in her, and then drove back in to the hilt as passionately and gently as he could. This wasn't about sex and gratification, but about showing her just how much he cared for her. He wanted to make love to her right now, so he rhythmically pushed his length into her and pulled it out, before repeating the process again and letting her feel every inch. There was no groaning, no wild movements, and no sloppy kisses. Just a slow and powerful motion as they both moaned and sighed gently as they kissed one another deeply.
With her feelings mixing with his, Richard was able to tell when she was feeling the best and when he picked up on something he would continue to do that. He wanted to make her feel as good as possible, because her feelings were filling him up and making him feel just as great. It was like he was linked to her and it was an amazing and heady feeling that he never wanted to let go of. His magic was boiling inside his body now and out of the corner of his eye he could see his golden bracer glowing brightly as some of his power leaked out. A soft and warm light enveloped them, covering both of their skin in a giant bubble that tickled and massaged at the same time.
'Wh... what the hell!' he nearly yelled when he saw what was happening. Daiya, who had had her eyes closed up until this point looked up at him and her eyes grew wide by what she saw. 'I... I'm sorry... I don't know what's happening!'
'Don't stop,' she mewed softly and tightened her grip on him, 'whatever this is... it... it feels good!'
Daiya began to pump her hips towards his body, shoving his hard penis deep into her body as he had stopped moving. His magic continued to envelop them and he was seriously bothered by it, but Daiya was right; it felt good. With his cock impaled deep into her, her arms and legs wrapped around him, and his magic warming him up from both the inside and outside, Richard felt very close to the edge that he had been fighting off from the first thrust into his wife.
He began to pump his cock into her body as she rocked her hips on him, their motions perfectly synchronized like they both knew what they were doing. Daiya once more looked her lips around his and her tongue gently poked at his as she sighed into the kiss, her nails gently digging into his back. Her hot wet walls clamped down on his member hard as she began to shake gently and Richard knew her own orgasm was quickly approaching. For a brief moment he thought of keeping this going, but he could feel Daiya's desire to cum with him wash over his mind and he knew she wanted it. So he began to rock his hips a little faster and his cock began to twitch as his balls began to tighten, his legs seizing up in anticipation. He timed his release just as Daiya's mind suddenly went blank and her body began to shiver under him, her grip getting extremely tight around his body. When her pussy walls suddenly clamped down on him with force he lost control of his actions and began to drive into her fast and hard, his cock twitching violently as he came and spurted long thick ropes of cum into her.
They both cried out in pleasure as their orgasms washed over them, his hot semen coating her walls and washing up against her cervix. It was one of the most powerful orgasms he had ever had before and he suddenly found himself slipping, falling forward and pushing Daiya into the mirror as it creaked and squealed in protest. He was about to fall to the ground as his legs gave out, but Daiya's vice-like grip on both his cock and body prevented him from going anywhere. So there they stayed, their bodies pressed hard together and Daiya slumping against the mirror. They both panted and moaned as little aftershocks of pleasure burst through their bodies, both of them completely content. Richard's ability to sense and feel her emotions began to fade as his magic stopped boiling inside him, but he did catch one last feeling growing even larger within her; love.
Over the course of the next four weeks, Richard and Daiya had grown closer. They held hands whenever they were allowed, spent most of their free time locked in their room alone, and had even become a bit of a burden to their friends who were getting sick of the lovey-dovey atmosphere between them. In his magic classes and his training session with Lillin, Richard had become stronger. He was able to use his Arcane Magic a lot better now and whenever Lillin tried to distract him when he was casting his Light Magic he would simply shrug it off and maintain his power. He felt like a whole new person.
After the strange magic leak when he was making love to Daiya, Richard had asked Lillin about it because he honestly didn't know what had happened. She told him that because he and Daiya had cleared things up between them, his magic was finally released from the limiter that had been placed on it by his lack of confidence. Now that he felt loved and also loved, his magic was at his total control. During an intense moment his power had been too great for his body and had leaked out, causing that bubble around them. According to her it was proof of just how powerful he could be. If both his body and his focus couldn't hold all of his power then he was truly strong, and definitely the reborn Eternal Master.
While he was able to cast arcane spells just like every other student in the same class as him, he still had a long way to go with his Light Magic. Even if he could control it so it wouldn't explode in his face, he was still limited to only a few forms of spells. There was the ball of light, the beam, the shield, the detonation, and the ultra-violet explosion. Beyond that he really had no idea of what else he could do. Lillin told him that he was only limited to his imagination, but he struggled with that concept. There were only so many things he could think about when it came to using light as a weapon. In response to this, his training sessions had become a lot harder and involved actual combat situations in the rebuilt arena. Each night he went to bed covered in small bruises and cuts and extremely tired, but he had never been happier in his life. He had the most gorgeous woman in the world snuggling up to him every night.
'Did you want to head into the city this weekend?' Daiya asked one Friday afternoon as they ate in the top floor common room with everyone.
'Sure,' he answered with a smile, 'I think I could do with a few hours away from the school. I'm starting to feel a little suffocated.'
'Oh! Can I come too?' Lisbeth asked excitedly and Richard had a feeling the only reason she wanted to go was so she could ride on the back of a dragon again. She probably spent more time with Loki and Cotaz than their riders did.
'Sure, why not!' Daiya answered happily and filled her fork up with an elegant and delicious looking salad. 'Why doesn't everyone come? We can make a whole day of it.'
'About that,' Lillin piped up and Daiya flashed her a disgruntled look. She still hadn't warmed up to the redhead and she held her up as the sole cause for Richard coming back in a near comatose state each night. 'I'm taking Richard into the forest for some training this weekend, so he and I won't be able to make it.'
'Oh no, I will not allow this! It's one thing for you to be keeping him at the arena for hours past the time the school is out for the day, it's another to crowd in on his weekends too! At the very least you should have mentioned something earlier! We've already made plans to go into the capital city!' Daiya growled and Richard patted her back gently so she didn't go too far. A week ago the two had gotten into an argument and the curtains in the common room had been burned pretty badly while a very old painting had been struck by lightning and had a huge charred hole in it. They didn't need a repeat of that.
'I'm pretty sure I mentioned it last weekend,' Lillin said lazily and rolled a vegetable on her plate in distain. 'Besides, it's not going to be for the entire weekend. Why don't you just make your little trip on Sunday instead?'
'Just who do you think you are?!' Daiya seethed, but thankfully Karo stepped in.
'Actually, Sunday is better for me. I'm having tea with Sabina on Saturday and I really shouldn't miss it again. And I think Lythia said something about having an extra lesson with Professor Proud that day too.'
'Ugh, don't remind me,' Lythia groaned and pushed her plate away from her. 'Just because I can't cast one little arcane spell she has to pay special attention to me. I wasn't even the only one who couldn't do it!'
Richard couldn't stop himself from laughing at the disgusted looking blonde, and was instantly reminded by what was going around him when Daiya flashed him a threatening glare. He quickly zipped his lips and shrugged his shoulders, patting his wife on the back to say he was sorry. She continued to stare at him however, with a single raised eyebrow like she was waiting for him to say something. Then he remembered the conversation that had started this all off and was quick to answer, looking for the best possible solution.
'Well... if we do go on Sunday then my mom can come too,' he said slowly and hoped he wasn't digging his own grave. 'We could even send word ahead to Reiea and have dinner at the palace before coming back to the dorms. I'm sure she would love to have us visit.'
'She'd like to have you visit,' Daiya groaned and Richard winced slightly. Bringing up Daiya wasn't the best idea. He had ended up telling her everything that had happened between he and the Queen, including how she had kissed him on the night of his engagement to Daiya, so she wasn't very happy about her young friend anymore; even after he assured her that he hadn't so much as hugged him since he had gotten back.
'See, it all works out!' Lillin beamed and wasn't concerned with the death stare Daiya was currently giving her. 'Richard and I will go train on Saturday, and then you are all free to do whatever you want after that.'
The rest of the day went by pretty quickly, and the next thing Richard knew he was hiking through two and a half foot snow in the freezing cold weather with Dark Star strapped to his back and Lillin urging him on as she pranced like a bunny ahead of him. She led him to a large cliff face that sat a few hours walk from the academy walls and had him practice his magic on it. She wanted him to use a ball of condensed light to create a hole that was precisely five feet in diameter and thirty feet in length. While he was doing that she would constantly pester him and cause storms to rage around him in an attempt to throw him off his game. Even though her tactics no longer worked on him, it was hard to create a ball of light of that size and maintain it for a long period of time. He had only gotten half way through the length he had been tasked with when the sun set in the distance and cast shadows over the entire area.
It was music to his ears when his master said that they should probably head back before Daiya burned the forest down in an attempt to find him. He was covered in sweat, his arms arched, and he had a small headache from concentrating so hard. He really wished he had one of Lisbeth's tonics for the walk back, because as he was now he wasn't sure he could make it. He had been hoping to spend a nice evening with Daiya but the way he felt now he would probably end up falling asleep on the couch before he had a chance to climb into bed. Oh well, he would get to spend the entire day with her tomorrow, so that would make up for his falling asleep early tonight.
'You're getting better,' Lillin commented as they trudged through the snow, less than an hour out from the academy.
'Yeah right,' he grunted and pushed himself off a tree as he began to lean towards it. 'I didn't even do what you told me to and I feel like I've been completely drained.'
'Just think of your magic as a muscles; the more you use it the stronger it becomes and the longer you can sustain it. You'll get there eventually.'
'I hope it's sooner rather than later,' he sighed, 'the war is getting worse. The reports Daiya has been receiving say that we're barely holding the borders in check.'
'Don't focus on the war,' Lillin cautioned with a grumble. 'There is nothing you can do about it right now and you're too young to fight in it. Once you're seen as a Master you will need to be remain neutral during conflicts.'
'Why? Why do the Masters have to stay neutral even when their own countries are under attack? I would have figured you would be anxious to get into the war against the people who killed your teacher.'
Lillin stumbled in the snow at his question and almost fell over. She quickly righted herself and sighed deeply as she answered, 'Revenge isn't something someone with our kind of power should be going after. We are considered the best and strongest of our element and we must uphold the ideals of peace as an example to others. Besides, if we got into a war we could very well be forced to fight another master, which wouldn't be good. When two masters fight with everything they have only destruction will come from it.'
'Still, if you, the Master of Arcane, and the Master of Fire stood up against the injustice of the invading forces this war would be over by the end of the weekend. When I get stronger I will uphold justice, with the tip of my sword if needed.'
'It seems I still have a lot to teach you, Richard. For now though, don't worry about the war or anything else for that matter, just focus on your training and bettering yourself.'
They continued to walk the rest of the way back in silence, the only noise coming from the snow being crushed and crunched under their boots. The closer they got the more smoke Richard could smell in the air and for a brief second he actually wondered if Daiya was burning own the forest to try and find him. It was an absurd thought though and he pushed it aside as he focused on not tripping in the snow and getting a face full of frigid white crap. As they drew nearer to the edge of the forest and the academy the smell had only gotten worse and they could now make out dancing yellow and orange light above the tree tops, proving that there was a fire roaring somewhere close by.
'What's going on?' he asked and Lillin shrugged her shoulders. 'Let's go take a look.'
Together they rushed through the rest of the forest and burst out through the line of snow covered trees. The scene before them was something Richard though he would never see. The large marble tower at the front gates was ablaze on the top three floors and the flames stretched high into the air as if trying to reach the heavens. Students, professors, and people in heavy metal armor ran about, yelling and screaming like something even more horrible was happening. That's when Richard noticed the sound of metal striking metal and saw the flashes and explosions of multi-colored magic streaking through the air, striking people or being deflected. The Majou Academy for Magic was under attack.
'Daiya...' Richard breathed in horror and started to rush off towards the fighting, pulling Dark Star off his back. A bolt of lightning struck a few feet ahead of him and he stopped dead in his tracks, the after image of the attack burned against his retinas and blinding him slightly.
'Do not go in there, Richard!' Lillin yelled out at him. She was still standing within the cover of the trees and had her hand over the dagger strapped to her left hip, a hard look in her eyes as she looked out over the chaos.
'I have to!' he roared back. 'This is my home! My wife is fighting in there!'
Without waiting for her to say anything more, Richard rushed off and passed through the academy walls and right into the fray. The noises, smells, and sights assaulted his senses and he narrowly avoided a shard of ice that had been deflected away by a fourth year student. Men and women wearing military uniforms Richard had never seen before viciously attacked anyone in their way and screams of pain echoed through the cold night air. More than one unmoving body lie in the snow and Richard was too afraid to look at them directly; he couldn't handle it if one of them was someone he knew.
Small little craters littered the ground and chunks had been gouged out in the massive white marble towers as random spells hissed through the air and missed their targets. Richard held his sword out in front of him and easily absorbed one aimed at his face, slashing his sword back towards the woman who had cast it and knocking her ten feet backwards. He heard a blood curdling scream from his left and he looked over to see a woman in dark yellow robes closing in on Agnes. Agnes had her back against the first/second year dorm tower and her unconscious twin brother was in her arms, a nasty gash on his cheek and his school uniform singed in various places. The woman advancing on them summoned a large fireball in her hand and laughed manically as she went in for the kill.
Richard quickly lifted his bracer to the enemy and created a wall of light, throwing it at the woman with all the force he could muster. He caught her off guard and it smashed into her, pushing her savagely against the wall with so much force that he could hear bones snap under the pressure. Before he even released the wall her eyes rolled back into her head and she fell limply to the ground with a thump. Agnes looked up to see who had saved her and a scowl crossed her face for an instant before she looked back down at her knocked out brother, a few tears trickling down her cheeks.
He continued to push through the battle, knocking out soldiers and mages wherever he could. His sole focus was on finding Daiya and his friends and he searched feverishly as his heart beat savagely in his chest, his mind wishing that they were all okay and not even in the fight. When he came to the courtyard between all of the towers he found that he was wrong though; Daiya and Coni stood in front of a group of students and fought against eight mages who attacked with confidence and skill, pushing the two skilled women back.
In a flash a massive explosion ripped through the courtyard and all eight of the attacking mages were tossed into the air. Richard had gathered ultraviolet light around them and then detonated it, not caring if he ended up hurting them badly. When they landed in the snow a good fifteen feet away not a single one of them moved. Daiya quickly looked over at him and rushed, pulling him into her arms as she gently sobbed once into his ear.
'Where have you been?' she gushed and kissed him three times on the lips in quick succession. 'I was so worried!'
'I... I just got back. What's going on here?' he asked and wrapped his own arms around the tall and powerful girl.
'Soldiers from Zygog suddenly attacked the school, and if you two haven't noticed yet they still are!' Coni yelled loudly and a spell nearly struck Richard and Daiya as they hugged.
Forgoing the reunion for now, they split apart and jumped back into the fray. With Richard's shield he focused on protecting the vulnerable students while Daiya and Coni went on the offensive. Blue, yellow, purple, yellow and orange spells danced through the air and the ground beneath their very feet quaked and leapt up to attack them. It was one of the most savage things Richard had ever been a part of and it was all they could do just to protect the ones who looked to them. Explosions continued to tear through the air in the distance and Richard realized that the fighting elsewhere was far more brutal than what they were currently facing, and he couldn't help but worry about his other friends. Were they still okay?
They continued to fight for more than an hour and enemy soldiers and knights fell at their feet, littering the ground with their bodies and blood as Richard and the others fought with everything they had. Fewer and fewer enemies attacked them now and after another ten minutes a bright red ball of fire shot into the air and exploded, sending what was left of the soldiers into a run as they tried to get away as fast as they could. Richard wanted to chase after them but Coni stopped him before he could, telling him that it was over and now it was time to see what kind of damage had been done. It was time to look for their friends and family.
It turned out that the others had take refuge with Aura and they all got away from the fighting with only minor cuts and bruises. Aura herself looked like she had been untouched, but Richard could see the look of exhaustion in her eyes and knew she felt as drained as she did. He was just glad they she and everyone else was okay. Other students hadn't been so lucky.
'Why did they attack?' Richard asked as he looked out over the decimated school grounds. Students and professors ran back and forth treating the wounded and putting out fires that had been started by the Fire Mages.
'Good question,' Karo asked. He had his arm around Sabina who was gently sobbing into his chest and for the first time in a long time, Richard couldn't see the normal happy go lucky glint in his eyes. His face was covered in dirt and he had a small cut on his forehead that bled gently.
'They were here for us,' a voice said softly behind the group. Lillin had finally come into the school and unlike the others, her skin didn't have a single scratch or dirt on it. 'They were trying to kill me, Professor Proud, and Daiya.'
'W... why?' Lisbeth cried and Lythia hugged her friend gently. 'This is just a school!'
'Lillin is a Master and Daiya and I are Elemental Daughters,' Aura answered in a gruff whisper. She knelt down in the snow and picked up a shattered wand that had been discarded. 'They want to get rid of anyone strong enough to oppose them.'
'I'm going to kill them...' Richard growled and everyone suddenly looked at him. His anger must have gotten the better of him because his bracer had started to glow brightly and Lillin quickly punched him in the shoulder to get his mind off of whatever it was he was plotting.
'What did I tell you about revenge?' she hissed and stood directly in front of him, her hands on her hips and a hard look on her face. 'Control your emotions before they control you!'
Daiya looked at Richard with a concerned glint in her eyes. She moved to him and placed a soft and sweaty hand on his cheek before gently kissing him on the lips. 'Let's go get some rest,' she said to him gently. She looked back towards Aura and they shared a knowing nod that went above Richards head.
'What's going on?' he asked but no one answered. Coni and Aura exchanged glances though and that made Richard even more curious. Daiya gently tugged on his arm and before he could stop her, she started to lead him towards the dorms where they lived.
They made their way up the stairs, passing injured and tired looking students on their way. It felt like he had stepped into a whole other world and the atmosphere of the school had suddenly shifted around him. He heard no laughter and no loud talking; just the sound of students crying softly and others yelling out for medical help. It only made his anger bubbled up in his chest even further and Daiya must have noticed, because she picked up her pace and they were on their own floor a few moments later. He was led into their room and under his wife's suggestion, he undressed with her and climbed into bed together.
'We should be out there helping,' he said but she shook her head and pulled his body close. They were facing one another and his face was resting in her cleavage as she placed her chin on the top of his head. Something was obviously bugging her right now but he found that he couldn't ask her what it was. She was being so gentle with him right now that he couldn't break the moment. They way she was holding onto him and breathing gently as he snuggled into her warm body felt like he was being swaddled in a very comfortable blanket.
The long day quickly caught up to Richard and he found himself nodding off in his wife's arms as she continued to remain silent. As sleep began to claim him he felt her arms wrap a little tighter around his body and she moved her lips down to his ear, gently grazing them against his skin. The last words he heard just as he fell asleep were, 'I will always love you...' After that he was out.