Stand behind yer sheriff Circulation: 187,881,945 Issue: 519 | 4th day of Storing, Y13
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Beautiful Chaos: Part One


by tanikagillam

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"I don't care what you say, Adela, I will not wear that. I won't!" Fully aware that he sounded like a sulky Sloth on Valentine's Day, Cedrik crossed his arms across his chest and drew himself up to his full height.

     "It's your own birthday party. Don't you even care how you look?" His sister asked with a sigh, holding out the maroon jacket and matching bow tie. "Now put it on!"

     "Exactly, my birthday party, so I get to wear what I like!" Putting extra emphasis on the last three words, the handsome red Draik grabbed his favourite black jacket off the edge of his bed and shook it mockingly in front of her face. Adela frowned and thrust the bow tie at him so forcefully that she knocked him over and he fell back onto his bed.

     "Adela! I'm not wearing it, so would you just drop it! I didn't even want a birthday party anyway," Cedrik grumbled, stretching out and laying back more comfortably on his bed.

     "Oh, now, don't start. Come on, get up. If you won't wear the bow tie, at least wear the hat."

     "It's a top hat!"

     "A very fashionable maroon top hat," Adela said, as if that decided it.

     "Maroon, being precisely the reason that I won't wear it. Now kindly get out of my face please?"

     "You're rather infuriating sometimes, you know that? Now get up, if you're late for your own birthday party I will personally make you eat this bow tie," Adela said, narrowing her eyes dangerously at her brother before leaving the room.

     With a groan, Cedrik dragged himself back into an upright position and grabbed the bow tie, staring down at it, his expression a mix of amusement and irritation.

     He closed his eyes and imagined it was any day other than this one.

     He hated his birthday.

     Exhaling deeply, Cedrik focused his mind on the bow tie as if it was the cause of such a bad day. He felt the energy pulsing through him and there was a dull throb in his head.

     The stupid bow tie!

     He screwed his eyes up in concentration and felt his hands grow very warm. His eyes flew open and he gave a sharp yell of surprise and leapt off the bed, throwing the bow tie on the floor. It was burning in green flames on the floor of his room and then it was gone, without so much as a scorch mark on the carpet.

     Cedrik sighed.

     It was just going to be one of those days.

     ****

     Six years later

     "Wake up. If you won't wake up, I'll do something drastic. Really, now, wake up. Wake up now. Oh look, Sloth's here. He's going to get you. He's going to... oh why do I bother? WAKE UP, YOU LAZY DRAIK, WAKE UP RIGHT NOW!!"

     "Hmmph..?"

     "There it is."

     "Mmm. Mornin'." Cedrik grunted, rolling out of bed and trudging over to his mirror. Upon seeing his reflection, his mirror's surface rippled and became opaque. "Oh, don't start."

     "Oh, it's so easy for you, isn't it? Looking into me whenever you please, always expecting to see the same handsome Draik looking back out at you. What good am I except to show you yourself and wake you up in the mornings? Because I'll always be here, hanging on the wall, just waiting for you to come by, it's not like I have a life or ─"

     "─Alright! Enough, please. Spare me the lecture today and just show me my reflection. I need to know if the horns are still there."

     "They are," the mirror replied snippily. "You look ridiculous."

     Glaring at the unreflective surface, Cedrik worriedly felt his head for the horns his potion had given him as a side effect the day before.

     "You made it snow again last night, did you know?" his mirror said dully, still stubbornly refusing to show his reflection. "I thought you were going to make me crack."

     "Would be an improvement," Cedrik mumbled under his breath, grabbing his wand off his desk and pointing it threateningly at the mirror. "I didn't want it to have to come to this, but you leave me no choice."

     "Alright, alright!" the mirror said hastily, and at once it was the usual reflective surface. "No need to be rude."

     "Brilliant, they're gone," Cedrik said, examining his head. "Sorry about the snow."

     "One day you're going to blow up this castle," his mirror sighed mournfully.

     "You are without a doubt, the most depressing mirror a room could ever have the misfortune to have on the wall," Cedrik told it as he left the room.

     The mirror sighed loudly as the door slammed shut.

     ****

     "Morning, Kayla, how are─"

     "─AARGH!!!"

     Cedrik ducked swiftly as the cork exploded from the bottle the Zafara was holding and flew down the hall.

     "Hi," the potion-maker sighed wearily, handing him the bottle and turning back to her cauldron. Cedrik sniffed the vial cautiously and promptly sneezed.

     "That's... strong," he coughed, his eyes watering. "What are we doing today?"

     "Oh, didn't I tell you?" Kayla stirred the bubbling liquid in her cauldron and glanced over her shoulder at her student. "Your lessons have been cancelled today, the King's called a meeting and I need to be there. Feel free to use any ingredients in my stores to make something, if you want a ─ catch that Mortog!"

     Cedrik scooped up the Mortog in mid-leap as it made a desperate bid for freedom and patted it softly on the head. It glared hatefully up at him and let out a deep croak. The red Draik placed it softly down on the desk and pointed his wand at it, effectively immobilising it.

     "Is that the time?" Kayla asked, alarmed. She waved her wand at the cauldron and its contents vanished at once. She grabbed a book off the table and sprinted out the door, calling over her shoulder, "See you at dinner."

     Cedrik, who was used to his teacher's forgetfulness and all-around weirdness, gazed after her for a minute before turning back to the empty cauldron. He contemplated his options for a minute before grabbing his wand and the Mortog and following out the door.

     ****

     Sitting out in the Castle's courtyard while the cool wind rustled up the dead leaves at his feet, Cedrik sat on the old stone bench under the blossoming apple trees. The grumpy Mortog sat on his lap snoozing and snoring intermittently while the Draik pointed his wand at it and attempted to turn it yellow. The tip of his tongue was peeking over his lips and he was frowning in concentration.

     "Careful, now. You might pull something," came a smirking voice from behind him and Cedrik waved his hand over his shoulder without taking his eyes off the Mortog. It was now a faint beige.

     "Shush, Leo, you'll wake the Mortog."

     "Is it supposed to be that colour?" Leo asked, peering over his friends shoulder at the petpet.

     "Be quiet," Cedrik hissed as the shadow Lupe sat down heavily beside him and started munching loudly on an apple. "For some reason something as simple of changing the colour of something is proving to be very difficult. Why aren't you with Lisha, anyway? I thought you had a lesson this morning."

     "It was cancelled; she had to go to a meeting with Skarl. I thought Kayla had to go too?"

     "Oh, that. Kayla forgot to tell me until half an hour ago." Cedrik put down his wand beside him with a sigh. The Mortog was glowing bright orange and smoking slightly.

     "I'm pretty sure they aren't supposed to look like that." Leo grinned, gesturing at the petpet with his apple before taking another hearty chomp out of it. "A whole day off! What are we going to do?"

     "I was going to do some studying or something," Cedrik said distractedly, narrowing his eyes in frustration as the Mortog turned dark purple and sprouted horns. He frowned at his wand before turning it again at the petpet.

     "Studying?" Leo scoffed, waving his own wand at the apple tree and sending two ripe apples soaring towards him. He grabbed them out of the air and offered one to his friend before starting on the other. "This is the first day we've had off in ages! This'll be even better than the time you blew up the dungeons, at least this time we don't have to do any work. Oh, you made it snow again last night, did you know?"

     "What, in your room too?" Cedrik asked sharply, turning and giving the Lupe his full attention for the first time. "I thought it was only in mine."

     "Nah, it was almost a blizzard in my room before I woke up and realized. I could have made a snowman there was so much covering the floor."

     "Sorry. You know I don't mean to," Cedrik sighed, giving up on the sleeping Mortog (now black with purple stripes) and putting his wand down beside him yet again. He rubbed his eyes and turned to his friend. "Well, what are you doing today?"

     "Thought about going down and having a few games of poker. Make some money while I'm at it."

     "But you always lose," Cedrik pointed out, taking a small bite out of his apple. It tasted distinctly more like tangerine than apple and he put it back down again.

     "I do not always lose!"

     "Nearly just about every single time."

     Rolling his eyes, the handsome shadow Lupe grabbed his wand and jumped to his feet.

     "Coming, then?"

     "Only if you don't bet any of my money."

     Grinning and shoving each other playfully, the two friends left the courtyard and entered the Castle, Cedrik holding the Mortog under his arm and Leo making his apple hover in the air above their heads. They did not notice as they walked through the old stone building that the sky outside had darkened and a light drizzle of rain had begun to shower down on Meridell.

     "Where is everyone?" Cedrik asked, shivering as they walked past an open window and the wind howled.

     As they walked through the Castle they checked all the rooms and became increasingly disturbed when they didn't find anyone. The rain began to fall heavier, pelting down on the roof and cascading down over the sides, pooling on the floor.

     "In the council chambers, the meeting, remember?" Leo said nervously, striding forward and bounding up the stairs. He paused at the door of the chamber and pressed his ear against the thick wood. He shrugged at his friend and cautiously pushed the door open.

     Cedrik felt his heart stop cold in his chest as he looked into the room.

     It was empty.

To be continued...

 
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