Original Stories Fan Fiction / Fables/Fairytales Fan Fiction ❯ The Elementalists ❯ Twenty - The Past ( Chapter 20 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Guren sighed, laying flat on the cold ground. It was his turn to keep watch, and currently a little past midnight. He was having trouble sleeping the past few nights anyway, even with Ilias laying down right next to him.
Shaking his head, he sat up and stared into the dying embers of the small fire they had started earlier at dusk. The three demons that Rika had sent out were all in different parts of the forest below Soumei's temple. For the past week, the two groups had traveled together—Soumei's forest proved to be larger than it looked from the temple view. They decided that when they were within a day's walk of the infamous Celestial Clearing, they would head in different directions to fight the first two demons.
Captain Skyler had returned with vague information three days prior about the first two demons. The first one was roughly the size of an ogre and its only power was super strength. The second demon was a copycat, stealing its opponent's techniques once they had demonstrated them. The copycat would be the harder of the two to defeat.
Earlier in the day they decided that Chi, Feng, Ilias, and Florian's group would take on the first demon, figuring it would be more difficult for them to take on the second. However, Guren was not happy about being able to take on the copycat. He'd met with one of those before, and lost because of his immaturity at the time. He was only 17 years old and had no experience or knowledge of such creatures.
He was thankful now, three years later, that he knew how to keep his ground against the copycat. If you used martial arts, it would steal your fighting techniques. If you used spells, it could steal those, too. Guren was rather worried that the copycat would be able to mimic Kai and Candis's elemental powers as well.
If the copycat was in fact able to steal their powers, they were in a lot of trouble. Guren had told them this, but they shrugged it off and said they'd talk it over the next day. Guren scowled, poking at the fire with a twig. `Those girls never listen,' he thought, resting his chin in his palm. `If they die because of that, I won't hesitate to say I told you so over their corpses.'
He shook his head to clear his thoughts as he laid back down on the cool ground. It was only when he heard muffled cries that he sat back up in alarm, glancing around the clearing. Baffled when he sensed nothing, he looked around at the sleeping bodies and noticed that it was Kai who was crying out in her sleep. He felt faintly understanding; he knew how it felt to have recurring nightmares of the past.
Unfortunately for Guren, dreams only enhanced one's emotions, thus dragging him straight into Kai's dream. He cursed under his breath, finding himself at a beach on a warm summer day. He looked around, spotting Kai's small figure in no time. He saw another figure with her, a taller boy who looked like he was about 17 years old. He also had short, brown hair. `Her brother, I'm assuming,' he thought, as the two looked very alike.
The younger Kai looked to be about 8 years old. She was playing in the water and jumping into the small waves at the edge of the shore. Her brother was sitting nearby, watching her play with a smile on his face.
The dream warped to another location, and Guren found himself standing in the middle of a dark forest. Kai was running frantically around the group of warriors and demons fighting in battle. Immediately, Guren knew that this was one of the battles in the war for peace. `Ironic, isn't it?' Guren thought to himself sourly. `Having a war for peace. I believe in the Human World that's called an oxymoron.' He rubbed his temples, wishing that the emotions and pain would go away. `Damn dream.'
He looked up when the pain had subsided enough for him to ignore it. His mouth opened slightly when he saw Kai's brother push her out of the way of a demon, a sword stabbing him straight through the gut. Kai's eyes widened, the sudden feeling of anguish in her dream causing Guren to double over, holding his head as he tried hard not to fall to the ground. He looked up in time to see Kai's eyes glowing blue and the demons screeching in pain, icicles stabbing them in their dark and evil hearts.
His eyes wide, Guren recovered from the shock and looked over to Kai, who was crying into her brother's shirt. The boy's breaths were shallow and his heartbeat slowed. He struggled to look at his sister, murmuring his last words to her: Live an adventurous and happy life, Kai. Never be fooled by evil.
Kai sobbed even harder when her brother's eyes had closed and his heart stopped beating. Guren hissed, the intensification of her emotions overflowing inside his head. He cried out in pain and then… It stopped.
He cautiously opened one eye, wondering if the ruckus had awakened the others. He saw that it hadn't, but Kai was now sitting up, tears rolling down her still solemn face. Guren blinked a few times before sighing, rubbing his head. Kai remained quiet, wiping her eyes and sniffling occasionally. When she felt the lump in her throat recede, she found the will to talk.
“You saw my dream, didn't you?” she asked softly, her eyes refusing to meet his own. They no longer held the usual festive light in them, but sadness and regret. Lots of sadness and regret.
Guren nodded in reply, unable to speak at her as well as look her in the eye. If he did, it would only multiply her emotions tenfold. Behind the eyes of all beings, many secrets are held; many of which Guren never intended to find out. “Your feelings were so loud they sucked me right in,” he accused.
Kai looked down apologetically, murmuring, “I'm sorry. I really couldn't help it this time.” Guren eyed her for a moment, noting that she seemed to be trying to keep her feelings held in for him. He scoffed, looking up into the starry night.
“Don't worry about it,” he replied. “I… I know how it feels to be plagued by recurring nightmares of the past, after all.” He averted her eyes once more when he felt the slight relief sink into her. “Get some sleep. Tomorrow we split up, meaning you and Candis will need all the rest you can get in order to fight this copycat demon.”
Kai nodded and said goodnight, rolling over to face the trees. A small smile formed on her face. `He isn't so bad after all…' she thought, drifting off into a newly dreamless sleep.
The next morning, everyone woke up more or less at dawn. Feeling somewhat well rested, they almost immediately headed off in their respective directions. Ilias had a word with all of them before they left, though.
He was arranging everything in the packs, making sure they had enough food and medical supplies for the coming battle. He noticed right away the tension in the air; the girls, along with Florian and Eryk, had come so far in such little time. Now it was nearing the end, though they were all sure this was merely the beginning of the entire adventure.
“Chi, Candis, Feng, Kai,” he called, getting the girls' attention. He smiled at them. “I have faith in you four. Soumei has faith in you, as well. We all believe in you. Trust in that, and you will be successful. However…” He paused, and the girls felt the atmosphere had changed dramatically. “Tomorrow at dusk we will page you on your communicators. Chances are we'll take on the demon today. But, it may take you four a bit longer to defeat the copycat demon. Even so, when you defeat him, page us immediately—even if we're still in battle, though that is highly unlikely. The day after tomorrow we will meet up here again, and then head out to the Celestial Clearing. That is where Gilead will be, definitely.” He sighed quietly, then continued, “Although I'm afraid that… When you come to face Gilead, you will have to use your ultimate powers. Your true forms.”
The group went entirely silent, all staring at Ilias in astonishment. They gaped for quite a while, until Feng perked up. “We all promised each other that we would never let ourselves reveal our true powers,” she said softly, her violet eyes somber. “We've all seen what it looks like. It's horrific…” She wrapped her arms around her body, as if trying to hide herself from a distant past.
“Yeah,” agreed Chi. “We can't control our powers… We may even kill you if we use them. We can't…” The tears in the Earth Elementalists's eyes were very clear, but she would not let them fall.
Kai simply nodded, while Candis added, “She's right. Even if we have to just to defeat the Evil Lord… We can't.” She sighed, looking remorseful.
Guren sighed too, running a hand through his red hair. “Enough with the drama,” he said loudly. “If you stick with that excuse forever, you'll never live up to your destiny. You were born to save this world. If you weren't supposed to use those powers, why would they have been given to you?” he asked spitefully. “Sometimes I wonder if you're even really the ones we were looking for. If you can't even gain control over your own true powers, you're not worthy of them.”
He turned around and headed in the direction of the copycat demon. Ilias sighed, running a hand through his recently braided hair. “Well,” he started. “The good news is that Guren now feels his own emotions around you. I'm glad for that. But please spare him. He really means no harm. Inside…” Ilias smiled sadly, staring off into the distance. “He's still just a child. He has yet to experience… certain feelings of his own.” He glanced towards Kai, earning him a nonplussed expression.
Ilias suggested they hurry and get on their way, since Guren had earlier stomped off without warning. Waving goodbye, he, Chi, Feng, and Florian headed to the Western part of the forest.
“Honestly, Ilias, what's up with him?” Florian asked harshly. “I understand that he's lived a hard life, but he's always so… so cynical.”
Ilias chuckled, replying, “Guren's always like that when he's frustrated. I wonder… I had a feeling that something happened to him last night.” He scratched his chin thoughtfully.
“What?” asked Chi. “Something happened to him?”
Ilias nodded. “Yes. I could feel it. We're like brothers, so I guess I can feel when something is happening to him.” He sighed, gathering his thoughts. “I think it has something to do with your friend, Kai.”
Florian gawked at Ilias, a skeptical look upon his face. “What?! Why would Kai have anything to do with him?” he asked, rather aggressively.
Ilias chuckled again, glancing deliberately at Florian. “You like her, no?” Florian blushed lightly, and that was enough to assume his answer was yes. “Then I take it you know of her past as well.” Florian nodded, looking away. “Last night I heard her crying out in her sleep, and soon after I felt that Guren's soul was no longer in his body. I looked to make sure, and his eyes were completely white.”
Chi stared at Ilias, her mouth hanging open. “What? His soul wasn't in his body?!” she exclaimed. Ilias nodded.
“When Guren had first run into me, we were, oh, maybe 9 or 10 years old. He had witnessed his father being killed by a demon, and soon after is when he acquired the power of an empath. He was wary of me at first, because I'd come from the Elven Clan far away from his village. Originally, he was…” He hesitated, wondering if he should share Guren's personal information or not. He decided on doing so, and that he'd deal with the man later. “He was born a Dark Angel, so when I found him, he was in his true form. He told me that he didn't know how to conceal it, so I helped him, and we became friends.”
“Wow,” mused Chi. “But how did you get all the way to his village if yours was far away?”
“I ran away from home,” he answered bluntly. “Cassiel and I had the same father, but once he went off to war, her mother took care of us.” He sighed and rubbed his eyes. “She hated me. I was too nice of a person, she told me. She wanted me to be like Cassiel. Like Edric Balin Elias. I hated her, so I ran away about a week after my father went to war. Anyway, Guren and I lived on the outskirts of a village in an abandoned cot we found. He would steal food for us, and occasionally jewels. Those were always a favorite of his,” he said, chuckling.
Florian kicked a rock, asking, “I don't mean to interrupt, but what's the point of you telling us all of this?”
Ilias frowned slightly. “I'm getting there,” he replied. “Alright then, where was I? Ah… yes. Guren often had nightmares, and since we shared the one bed anyway, I would let him hold onto me for comfort. I rarely had nightmares, but one night I had one that was so bad, it sucked Guren right into it. I awoke and saw that his eyes were white, and not even a second later, they were gold again. I think that Kai's dream must have sucked Guren into it. Was her past really that bad?” he asked, glancing at Florian.
Florian nodded solemnly. “Yes, her brother saved her from a demon when their village was attacked one day during the war. She was only 8 years old, but unknowingly, she released her true power and killed all of the demons that were attacking them,” He shook his head and asked, “But why would Guren be angry after being in her dream?”
“Well, firstly, dreams enhance one's emotions, so I'm sure it was difficult for him to ignore them,” he replied sullenly. “And I assume since they have similar pasts, he was feeling slightly sympathetic. I know he doesn't seem it, but he is quite sensitive at times.”
“Oh.” The two girls were quiet during their conversation, listening intently. They found it all very intriguing, though in a very sad way.
The rest of the walk was spent silently, until…
“Ha ha ha, what humans dare to enter my territory?” asked a loud, booming voice. Ilias unsheathed his sword at once, standing back-to-back with the other three. “Oh, I see that you are not humans. You'd make a perfect lunch for good ol' Hyrrokkin!”
Chi gasped and turned to her left, shouting, “He's in those trees!”
Out of the direction she pointed stepped a green ogre the size of a house. “You found me! No fair. Now you must pay! Heheheh…”
The group stared warily at the large ogre, backing up as it advanced towards them. “Well,” said Florian uncertainly. “Got any ideas?”