Possessed: Part Eight
The monster bellowed and charged at Cerulean, its toes of stone aimed at his face. I gritted my teeth as I pounced at its side, effectively managing to both stop its attack and distract it. My fellow Xweetok used the chance to shove himself at it, and it hissed at him as it staggered back, only to squeal in pain as Rubia sank her fangs into its other side.
And then it got angry. Its flames doubled in height.
It batted at me hard, knocking the breath out of me. I retaliated by throwing myself at it. At that same moment, Cerulean flapped his wings violently at its shoulder so hard that when the beast turned to face him, I saw red marks of soreness where they had hit. Rubia and I stared in awe as he fought at it with strength like the power of creation. While he kept it occupied, I pleaded to the second presence inside my mind.
'Mage! Possess me now! Please, Cerulean can't fight it on his own forever!'
'Faith, I know you don't need me for this.'
'But I do-'
'Do you really think so? You know what has been done with the warrior of the Creator, the one who is talented in every field of crafting... And you. And don't worry so much; everyone here before you came alone. Of course they didn't have a chance.'
"PLEASE! HELP ME!" Cerulean shouted harder than I ever heard him do so. He was pinned onto the ground beneath the monster's clunky forepaws.
Its eyes glinted with a sort of curiosity at first; a strange form of it that was more akin to an echo than anything else. But then, the expression faded, and its features remained emotionless. I dared not scream as its sharp, bony digits dug into my sides next to the sapphires embedded in them.
It plunged its head towards mine, like it was about to greedily bite my face off. Black fire stirred from within the depths of its open mouth. I winced, expecting pain from its long fangs...
...Only to hear the crack of stone instead. Its horns curved so much in front of its face that they touched the ground before its mouth reached me. They were so hard and sharp that they pierced an inch into the top of Cloudpoint, and I was still alive. I flapped my wings, which were right above the ends of its horns, but it was useless. I couldn't even distract it.
Good thing I didn't really need to distract it. It shrieked in frustration as it made vain attempts at pulling its horns from the stone. I thanked the Creator for those extra seconds of life that the beast's dilemma gave me, although they were of extreme discomfort due to the its wail.
The creature fell silent within several moments and narrowed its burning eyes at me. It opened its mouth again, and blew. Wisps of darkness grazed my facial fur. They pulsed and billowed ever bigger as I gritted my teeth and turned my head away as much as I could. I thought it was going to burn like a colossal bonfire.
But it didn't. It stung with bitter cold; like an ice sharper than steel, and an ambition higher than Valence the Traitor's had been. Had anyone ever faced such a harsh cold? I screamed out of pain, but regretted my doing so, as my tongue froze in the air then and there. I wanted it to stop... But it wouldn't... Not until I was gone...
You two please don't tell me you're leaving me here.
"You're beautiful... And you're mine, mine, mine, and MINE, MMIIIIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNNEEEEEE!!!!!!!" The beast hissed without moving its mouth, in a voice like the sizzling of hot coal. It was like it was digging into my mind and also speaking to me, like I had a feeling that only I heard it.
It was all over. I knew it. The pain of ten hundred thousand icicles seared through my entire body, and I could just feel my life force ebbing away. And then...
The monster squealed before it closed its mouth and stumbled away from me. Rubia was coiled around its midsection tighter than any Hunter's net ever was, and Faith was standing on its shoulders, clawing viciously at it. I jumped away, relieved, as the monster collapsed on the ground in a heap and literally began to fade away.
Then, the unbelievable happened. It didn't fade to nothing. The sleeping form of a disco Acara was lying there, his side heaving up and down in his dreams.
One or the other of my companions had finished it. Faith jumped down and Rubia unfurled herself from the ordinary creature as I approached them. I grimaced as I noticed that my paw was black.
"Oh my..." Faith quietly gasped, her forepaws flying to her mouth.
"Don't worry. I can doctor you up back at the lodge, but it will take awhile for the fur to regain color," Rubia consoled. I winced.
"What do I look like?" I questioned in a scratchy voice, bracing myself for the response. Whatever it was, I knew it was bad.
"Your skin is blackened, of course," the Hissi confessed without even examining me closely.
"Great," I muttered. "Let's get going, then."
"Cerulean, have you forgotten why we're here?" Faith asked as I began to turn around. When I understood what she meant, I stopped, and turned my eyes to the clear sky, and spoke.
And then, like the magic that it was, two colossal, piercing golden eyes opened on the horizon and looked down at us. They were the right proportions to belong to the Creator, sure enough, and a loop of yellow appeared above them. It was finally the time. I immediately loosened under her comforting gaze.
'Well, mage. I have you now.'
'Yes, Faith. I am proud of you, my child.'
'...Child? But my parents both passed away before I could even remember them. I'm not your-'
'Ah, but if you were, things would not be any different.'
The voice within my head faded out as Rubia, Cerulean and I were lined up. My fellow Xweetok's left wing was resting over my side as usual. We were watching, gazing into the Creator's eyes, just waiting. She spoke first.
"You have come far, my children," her deep voice rang out. Right then, it was familiar. I didn't know why I hadn't noticed it at all before. It was like I'd just heard it a few seconds before she appeared!
Rubia was awestruck at truly seeing her. Cerulean looked anxious. I took one glance at them, and responded to the Mother of the Forests. I could feel her strong presence.
"Creator... I would like to ask you my question," I meekly requested.
"You may each ask me something," she said as her mouth appeared and smiled.
"Who has been possessing Faith?" Rubia defensively slithered forth in my place. I was startled a little by her protectiveness, and that she gave her question to me.
Cerulean and I felt like we merged right then, became one. He was me, and I was him. We spoke before the Creator did, and we both knew the answer, together, together, on top of the stone that was Cloudpoint. Zen reverberated in our confident, conjoined voices.
The mage's dark voice, my irises repeatedly turning yellow, her genuine care, everything...
She laughed in her sweet way, but slowed to a stop.
"Faith... Rubia... Cerulean... I am most sorry for the separation, isolation and grief that I caused. Please, understand... This was meant to be. Faith, you are a Creator's Messenger, an ordinary forester who has received my magic and had a link formed by chance. One only comes when the previous one perishes. It's why your key changed color, Faith. You were wearing it when I gave you my magic, and it recognized its origin."
My heart ascended. Everywhere I went, I was taking the Creator with me. The mage hadn't left me: she was there. I was glad to have someone else inside of me.
It wasn't what I'd been expecting. I was expecting someone I didn't know. But the Creator... Oh, the Creator... I hadn't solved my problem. It simply vanished.
"This was chance, and it is to be fate. Know that I care about all of you, and that the odds were incredulously low of you actually becoming the one. Of course, when I discovered that you had our link, I knew that I would have to use it—just one of the many complex rules of magic. Please, it doesn't have to be this way for the rest of eternity. Just learn to accept it, and I promise; your life will knit back together again..."
I finally understood. And yet, I was not disappointed. I smiled, my eyes closed; the connection would remain for the rest of my life, and I would allow it to. The Creator had already done so much for me, how could I possibly refuse to permit the existence of the link?
And what had the link done?
It had saved me twice, opened up the new world of adventures which was Cloudpoint to me, confirmed that I would never be completely alone, made me a little more extraordinary and let me feel like I was truly a permanent part of the world which lay within the shadow of the Xweetoks.
"Thank you, Creator."
Her eyes flickered at my words.
"You are welcome, Faith. I was not expecting you to show gratefulness."
Silence passed before I replied. My companions understood that it was my moment to speak.
"After you said that there were people who you just can't be angry with, I began to notice instances of that in my life. You are one of those people to me. It would take the dregs of life to not be in love with you," I honestly-and-truthfully confessed. While she merely smiled in person, her true reaction to what I said took place inside of me. Warmth flushed to every corner of my body. It wasn't just a feeling, I knew she was causing it. 'Creator, I'm not sure I want to say this out loud, but... Will things work out? I mean, with my former friend Engar...'
'Have no fear of him.'
I bowed my head in gratitude and returned to standing between my friends. Cerulean, the only one who had a question left, came forth.
"Who gets the treasure?" he asked in a voice that was still slightly raspier than usual.
The Creator began fading away as the tingling heat inside of me died. It was time to head home. The three of us slowly sauntered forth, side-by-side and Cerulean in the middle, back down to the cover of clouds. The Acara slept where we had defeated him.
It occurred to me it was rather stupid that none of us had realized it was the Creator's voice or that she was the only person who ever put magic in me.
As we left, I noticed a glimmer out of the corner of my eye. It came from a diamond-like object just lying on the ground about two thirds of a bound away from us.
And, noting that it was in the shape of a boomerang, decided that it was better left behind along with all of my struggles.
The snow had stopped for once, as if to acknowledge the destruction of the Cloudpoint monster. It was two days after the Creator had admitted that she was the mage, and silence reigned on that one mildly cool morning. Rubia was at the lodge, cleaning it and fixing it up before we left.
"After all," she had explained, "It was run-down when we first came to it. I wouldn't want a weary traveler to come and have to sweep up an inch of dust before he could rest."
Faith and I had both offered to help her, but she told us both to go out and get some air together.
"It just seems so perfect now," Faith stated as we walked, my wing over her back. "I can just feel something in the air."
"I know; it's like Hunters never existed. Hey, here we are at the frozen pond again," I said with a sigh. The past seemed so far away, and I knew that my finding my fellow Xweetok asleep next to Raiyj would soon become a distant memory. I would remember all that happened at Cloudpoint for my entire life; the fond memories of being there with Faith and not-so-fond memories of fighting and struggling came hand in hand.
We stopped at the edge of the pond and looked across it. The pine trees seemed more tranquil than menacing now. It then occurred to me that we had both subconsciously mastered walking on top of the snow. The pines looked at their images in the clear ice, like they had watched themselves grow once and were sad at the days that had gone; now, they were just lamenting at their unchanging bodies, forever gazing at the same picture reflected in the frozen water. I glanced down at my own reflection; I had changed, and yet I knew that I wasn't done yet. I knew things would happen over the rest of my years in this unstable world which I so loved, nothing would remain the same. So much had happened already...
"Is my face really that bad?" I questioned Faith as I noted my charred fur. "My voice is different, too. Dry."
"As much as I hate to say it, it is that bad. You'll probably have to wear a cloak or something when we get home. I know better than to be afraid of you, but it's creepy," she reasoned.
"It could be worse..."
A third reflection appeared next to ours. The snow-white Wocky absentmindedly stared at his fascinated expression in the pond. But then, his eyes widened. Sure enough, his gaze had wandered up to me.
"AHHHHHHHHHHH!!! SCARYXWEETOK!!!" he shouted after he looked at me, and he ran out of sight faster than falling hail.
A minute passed, and then I spoke.
"On second thought, it's pretty hideous..."
Numerous thoughts were churning through my head as I meandered down the side of Cloudpoint again, finally reunited with my best friends. Rubia had finished visiting with her family... So I thought. She stopped in front of a door with the familiar letters Pyrus the Scribe etched into it. I was stunned when she raised her wing and knocked.
"You're related to him?" I whispered to her, but then the blue Hissi opened the door.
"Rubia, I-" he began, but she interrupted him.
"Pyrus, I'm living with two Xweetoks and I'm happier than I've ever been. I just wanted you to know that."
With that, she beckoned to Cerulean and me, slithering off. We followed her as Pyrus shouted something behind us.
"Tell Faith that I'm going to publish her map!"
"Did you hear what he said?" Cerulean blinked.
"No," Rubia replied. As they picked up their usual conversation, I hung behind as I sometimes did. I had heard every word.
A different thought crossed my mind. I was leaving behind all of the ventures I'd had at Cloudpoint. There was a chance that I'd never see all of those people who I met, kind or mean, ever again. But maybe I'd return one day.
Or maybe one day, my son or daughter would...
Twenty-Two Years Later...
I turned the page of my book with my orange Wocky paw, but then I heard a vicious rapping on the door. Sighing, I got up and opened it.
"What do you want?" I demanded of the young fire Kougra before me. What was with that unusual golden circle on her forehead, or the charcoal-colored feathery wings on her back? She blinked and looked behind me.
"Hi! I like your house!" she exclaimed. "Oh sorry, I'm sort of getting off subject, I-"
"You haven't even started talking yet."
"Yeah, I have, but I get what you're saying. Oh, I'm sorry, I-"
"I'm Sunpillar. What do you want?"
"Umm... I don't actually know. I forgot. Bye!"
I slammed the door. Something about her reminded me of someone I knew before, but not Snowball... Was it that Xweetok girl?
Nah, they had nothing in common...