Possessed: Part Five
"Rubia! Faith's gone!"
"Her bed is empty."
Rubia glanced at the bed, and then recoiled in surprise.
"Maybe she just went out to pick some berries or something," she said. I flicked the door open.
"I already tried following her footsteps, and they go for a hundred bounds before they get to where the snow covered them," I told her.
"After she ran off once, I didn't think that she would do it again."
"I can't say that I see a reason for her to leave again, either... At least, not in the middle of the night. That's how long it'd take for snow to cover up her tracks completely."
"You didn't see her today or anything?"
"Nope. She's just... gone."
"The magic must be messing with her a little," Rubia guessed, calming down. "Do you think it would be best for us to look for her?"
"Yes. I don't want her to do whatever the magic says. That would be just plain wrong."
"In that case... I'll get breakfast, and then we can split up. How about I search around the house and lower down Cloudpoint, while you search higher ground?"
About half an hour later, we were on the doorstep, bidding each other goodbye. I had a sack clenched in my teeth, which had two small loaves of bread in it. Rubia had an identical bag, with the same contents. We expected to make a day of searching for Faith.
"If one of us finds her, what should we do?" I inquired, just realizing the problem with us going in opposite directions.
"Just head back to the direction of the lodge, and start calling my name. I'll do the same if I find her."
I nodded in understanding.
"If we don't find her by sunset, let's meet back here," I suggested.
"Alright. Farewell for now." Rubia smiled in departure as she gently hugged me. I snuggled back with my wings, my mouth curved into a warm smile.
I decided to start my part of the search by instinctively checking some berry groves, and then the frozen pond where I had found her next to Raiyj.
"...Faith? Faith, where are you?"
I continued to call her name as I walked among the pines, and I had to dodge the occasional Hunter. I was gradually inching my way up the side of Cloudpoint, but I still didn't find her. After a while, I stopped to eat a little, and then continued.
I ran that time. If Faith and I were going in the same direction and she got the head start, I would have to run. Still, after three hours, she wasn't in seeing range.
But then I spotted a red and brown speck two bounds up a rocky part of the mountainside.
I stopped to look down at the sloped plain that I just scaled. It took me twenty minutes to get across a couple of bounds of land? It doesn't matter. I can be at the top in four days, I've got stamina.
Wait, what? At the slope's bottom, I saw a blur of white and brown, with some cerulean parts.
He wouldn't be up here if he wasn't looking for me. Right now, it warms my heart to know that he came to search for me when I left without leaving them a note or anything, but I have to ignore the temptation to run down, hug him, and let him take me home. After all... I am searching for someone on my own.
I think he sees me. Now he's starting to hike up here. We're too far apart to talk, so maybe if I make it clear that I'm trying to get away from him, then that will work. Getting any closer to me could be dangerous for him. This mage can pick off whoever she wants through me, and if she wants Cerulean, then I'm the only one who can keep him safe.
I turned away from him and started jabbing paw after paw into a layer of slush and ice, ignoring the cold as I speedily meandered my way up the slope.
I ignored him and kept on climbing. He took after me, choosing to ascend via barren spots of rocky ledge so that he wouldn't have to take the time to dig his feet into the ice. He's catching up. I have to keep him safe, I realized, climbing faster. There wasn't much stone ahead of me, so I didn't have the same haste that he did. It turned into a race from there; I pushed myself more until we were at an even clip.
"You know I would never hurt you in my lifetime! Come back!" he shouted.
"I can't!" I called over my shoulder.
"What?! Of course you can! Did the mage make you think you can't?"
"No! Don't come after me!"
Cerulean then started to truly pump his legs. When he exerted himself, it was faster than when I did. I couldn't go any quicker. He was gaining on me. Soon, I was about to jab my feet into the ice as a foothold, when I felt a paw on my shoulder.
My own paw stopped, and I put it down. I hadn't notice him reach me. He used his wing to turn my face towards his, and we made eye contact. That could have very well been the last time I ever touched his soft feathers. He was looking at me as if to ask me what was wrong, and I sighed a little out of sorrow. I felt that if I told him why I truly fled, something inside of him would change. We had bonded. If he knew that it was dangerous to be around me, a piece of him would shatter like ice.
"Is it really you, Cerulean? How do I know you aren't who I think you are, and that Rubia isn't a substitute, either?" I inquired.
"This mage might be pointing me in the wrong direction as to her identity by using fakes of you and Rubia."
"Faith. You know I'm real. Snap out of it." He actually said the words snap out of it in a way that wasn't hurtful or mean, but caring. "Why did you leave? The real reason, I mean."
He knew me back and forth. He knew it when I lied. I took a deep breath.
"If this mage wanted you gone, you could be killed through my body. When you are near me, you are in danger."
And then, I felt the magician's warm grasp on my soul. I struggled against her presence. 'No! Not now!'
"CERULEAN! GET AWAY FROM ME!" I shrieked. Cerulean sensed that I was trialed against the internal magic. He spread his wings, jumped and began to glide down the mountainside. The wizard's voice surfaced in my head. I felt deliciously happy to know that he was going to be alright, and that he could fly out of the range of the mage, should she try to catch him then. But then the harsh reality entered my mind.
'Faith. We need to talk.'
The crisp air would have felt good under my wings, had I not been so troubled.
Faith was right. I saw what she did to Raiyj. She could do the same to me. It saddened me to know that we could only be together again if she got things worked out, and she would have to do that on her own. There was nothing I could do for her.
I was her best friend... But now we can't be together. I can't do anything. If she wants this worked out, it must be on her own.
I want so much to help her in her time of dire need. But if I did, she may never forgive me for endangering myself. I mean a lot to her, wherever I am, and vice versa.
The steep landscape of evergreens and ice rolled beneath my wings. I swerved around a few tall firs.
Of all the people that mage could have picked to possess, why? Why Faith? What's so special about her, except what's in her heart? She's special enough to me, but I don't see why anyone would want to possess her, of all creatures...
The trees came to a halt as level sleet-covered plains seemed to run under me. I carried on gliding, although I knew that I might not have much air time left before I hit the ground.
I haven't noticed this until now, but Faith has become awfully selfless, despite being knee-deep in a personal issue. I know that when she has to be bold, she fights to be so. It must have taken a lot for her to break away from me like that. I'm not the only one feeling terrible.
I hit the ground in the middle of the frozen pond, and began to trudge towards the lodge. Rubia was definitely on her way home as since the sky was clear, I could see a topaz sunset in the distance. After taking a moment to admire it, I began to dash through the fields of snow.
Telling Rubia will probably help clear my head. Faith's tough when she needs to be, and the mage can protect her. Do I really need to worry so much?
I slowed to a halt on the doorstep of the lodge. Rubia was already there, about to open the door. She looked at me.
"So, you didn't find her either," she lamented, disappointed.
"I did, Rubia. But she left for a reason; we shouldn't have dismissed things as her merely going off on a whim."
"...Why did she leave?"
"If this mage wanted us gone, we could be gone. Keeping her body far away from us would be the only way to prevent our impending doom."
"I never even thought of that..."
"After she explained that to me, the magician possessed her again. She used the last bit of her control over herself before whoever-it-is took charge to tell me to get away from her. I don't know what the magician made her do... Or at least, was about to do."
'A... Talk? As threatening as you sound, you can't hurt me. You know you can't,' I thought, concerned. To rest, I had found a nice grotto. As much as I wanted to retreat to the safety of being alone in my mind, I couldn't, due to the second presence there. The conversation inside of me started.
'My Faith, I would never want to hurt you. First off, I would like to tell you that I love Cerulean, although you have no reason to be jealous. I would never hurt him.'
'Then why were you about to possess me just then?'
'To prove that I wouldn't harm him. Raiyj was a threat to innocents and he didn't have a very generous heart. As much as I hated to do anything among violence, I didn't want him to continue harming Creation. As he is in a Hunter ship right now on display, I think he has plenty of time to mull over his past doings.'
'I guess you're right. How do you know he threatened innocents or was caught in his unconsciousness, anyways?'
'I see many things.'
'That's a strange sentence. Would you have annihilated him like that if he never challenged me, though?'
'Perhaps I would have had him imprisoned.'
'...Imprisoned? Does this mean you are wizard jail keeper?'
'More like a magic user than a wizard. You do not understand how much I want you to know who I am, but this is a rule of the ancients. I cannot reveal myself; you must find out on your own.'
'Do I have to do everything on my own? I've isolated myself from humanity just so I wouldn't destroy another person. I guess you're all I have left.'
All of a sudden, I was pouring out my emotions to a person who terrified me with her capabilities. Why? Because. She was the only person there for me. Maybe I would fall into her arms eventually, with her as my only family member.
'I'm sorry that you feel that way, Faith. When was the last time when anybody comforted you?'
'I guess it was a day ago, when I woke up after destroying Raiyj, and Cerulean was right there for me.'
'A lot has happened since then, hasn't it?'
The magician's voice faded from my mind as a peculiar sensation came over me. Every part of my body felt warm at once, despite being in a cavern with icicles hanging off of the roof. I was actually warm. It didn't seem possible.
This can only be her work... But why? She's doing this not to save my life, but to console me. She isn't doing this for what I am, but for who I am. She does care about me.
I curled up at the side of the cave and let my stress ease. The magic felt so gentle and soft. I let the clutches of sleep take me early.
To be continued...