*Clomp, clomp,* the wall white, the floor clean, the smell sterile and clean. Nurses went back and forth, the atmosphere felt suffocating. People were taken in on stretchers, bodies covered with clothes from top to bottom, blood. The look of shock on some family's faces, the always smiling receptionist. "Good morning, sir, how may I help you?" she spoke, her voice joyful, her tone regular – the eyes filled with pity. "I'm here to visit a friend… never mind, a family member." He spoke, the tone was monotonous and eyes emotionless. "Name please?" the necklace shone, a quick glimpse. "Staxius Haggard," he replied and wrote down. "I've noticed the crest around your neck, sir." She interrupted him, "may I ask you to write down your title if you are noble?" her eyes filled with doubt, the pity subsided underneath her black eyes. "Is it mandatory?" he asked, tone still serious and soothing. "Not really, I apologize for asking," she took and did the necessary paperwork. "Ayleth Geua is on the first floor, take the stair further inside."
"Thank you very much," he walked away, 'Strange man,' she thought and resumed her work. 'This place sure does bring back memories,' footsteps echoed down the hall. It felt emptier than usual. Step after step, the climb to the first floor ended. Before he stood a wide but lonely corridor. 'Room 12,' he stopped, the door closed, the aura tense. *Knock, knock,* he walked in. Contrary to the dim hall, the room was well lit. The window faced the rising sun. The sunlight which came into said room cast a shadow on the white curtain that separated the door and the patient down the middle. A figure appeared, she sat upright, her head faced the outside. "Ayleth?" he whispered, "Yes?" the face slowly turned.
"Good morning," he spoke with a smile, the curtain opened. "S-Staxius?" her tone confused, "yes, good to see you," he walked closer and sat. "How have you been?" she asked, "forget about me," he insisted, the voice felt feeble as opposed to earlier. "I'm s-sorry," he apologized. "Sorry for what?" her gaze lowered onto him. He held her hands and stared at the floor, "I'm sorry I sent you on a suicidal mission." Her heart sank, "raise your head, master," he reluctantly obeyed. "This is nothing, really, I did it for I wanted you to have a use for me." She smiled. "You…" he saw her face at last; it left him shocked. "Is there something wrong?" she asked, she knew why he felt so lost. "Y-your face…" he spoke gently, "i-it's…" he could not finish it, rather, he held her hand. "I'm very sorry," he continued to apologize. "It's fine, Staxius," she patted his head.
Half of her face was burnt, it looked as if a demon had eaten her from within. Nothing could have been done – as said by the doctors. She recounted to him what the meds said, *we're sorry, your face could not be fixed by surgery. The intensity of the flame and the curse all made it impossible. If there were a way to fix it, I'd have personally helped, however, this is beyond my comprehension.* "That's basically the story in a nutshell." The right side was burnt. Both her right eyes and ears worked. Sadly, the burnt mark left on her could not be expressed. Black in color, it looked somewhat alive, her eyes had changed into a red color.
With a big inhale, "it doesn't matter," he spoke loudly, "you're safe and sound, that's what matters." He smiled; her face changed from joyous to woeful. The toll that took on her body and mind could not be measured, the pressure was too much. Her eyes felt watery, Staxius spotted it and stood. "Everything is still a daze, isn't it?" he gently placed her head on his stomach. "It's fine, cry if you want, I'm here to support you, Ayleth." Her heart cracked, she had enough – the tears flow uncontrollably, she let out all her pain and suffering. Footsteps came from the hall, it sounded heavy, almost like someone ran.
Three days had passed by since Staxius left Arda. Nothing much happened, he drove most of the time. Once at the capital, he stayed at a place named the Pussy Palace – something felt off about that place. The price was ridiculously high but after conversing, the owner gave into his charm and allowed him a fifty percent discount. Some little girl served him; her head always covered by a hood; never did he ever see the face. Unknown and unpredictable, at night, he overheard various rumors and details about the capital. He took it with a grain of salt, one of the tales was of a fox-eared girl who none could possess for she was reportedly cursed. On the fourth day, after waking; he headed straight for the hospital. Avon remained quiet but continued with the usual foolery along the way. Both smiled and laughed, Avon had become almost like another part of Staxius. The latter knew that to be true as well, a spirit he freed changed into someone valuable. Same as Staxius, Alyson made her trip to the capital in three days. Though instead of staying at the capital itself, she stayed at Julius's manor.
*Knock, knock,* the door rattled, the one responsible seemed desperate. "Ayleth's tears could not be stopped but the door kept on pounding harder and harder. He accidentally locked the door on the way in, he didn't want to be disturbed while meeting the one he practically sent off to die. "It's fine, there's nothing to worry about," he patted her head gently, the injuries she sustained were all healed. The face also, though it looked black and badly injured, was in fact healed. 'Whoever is near that door is annoying,' he closed his eyes and stared at the entrance. Vaguely, he saw the objects and obstacle in the way but most importantly – he saw a white light. The same one Ayleth possessed, 'it can't be one of the silver guardians can it?' he asked, 'no matter, I still can't leave her like this.' She subtly leaned away from him, 'now,' *click,* the door opened. "I'm sorry for crying so much," she hugged him tighter. "It's no worries, just let it all out," the door opened.
"Ayleth," whoever that was, ran inside. "Morning Alyson," Staxius stood with Ayleth leaning onto him. "Morning master," she approached and grew closer to her sister's tear-filled face. "D-don't look at me," she tried facing away, "we've been worried," her hands subconsciously caressed the scarred face. "A-Alyson," Staxius backed away and let the sister's meet. They embraced and cried together – hearing all that pain and regret, he slowly walked out and remain in the hall.
"Master," a voice sharply took him by surprise, "-please come back," it felt better. "What is it?" he walked in; the room's aura changed greatly from gloomy to lighthearted. "Thanks for everything," Ayleth spoke, "thank you for all you've done." Alyson in turn added. "Where's this coming from?" he stood with arms crossed. "They've told me that you took care of all the medical expenses and such," she added, Alyson knew more than she let onto. "Tis no worries," he smiled, "-I'm responsible for making you in that state, therefore it was my duty. Also, I didn't want to lose anyone precious to me," he winked, "-get your stuff ready, I'm going to go complete whatever they want me to do for you to be let free. I'm sure this room is suffocating enough." He walked out.
As promised, after a few hours, Staxius got Ayleth the greenlight to leave. "Thanks for everything doctor Jona," he bowed gently. "Anything for you," she patted his head and went back to tending to her patients. "Alright girls," Ayleth used him and Alyson as support to walk. Her feet were numb but they gradually got better. Once outside, the breeze and warmth of the sun made her feel at peace. The fresh air, it was the same when Staxius first walked out of this compound the first time around. "It sure feels like nothing could ever go wrong, doesn't it?" he asked rhetorically. "It sure does," Ayleth's mood had grown better since one of her sisters came to meet her. "Over here," they walked, a large and comfortable black car came into view, "Julius lent me one of the luxurious cars we used for the king's day of birth." She justified how the car was here before Staxius asked. "Awesome, I'm assuming you're headed to Dorchester this instant?" the door closed, she sat inside. "Not really, we're going to stay at the manor before leaving, Ayleth has to regain her strength back," Alyson went around and opened the driver's door. "What about you?" she asked, "I'm headed to Claireville Academy – I've heard that Eira has been making strides." Though he didn't act like it, Staxius knew what his daughter was up to. He made it an obligation to check up on her through Josiah.
All of that was possible thanks to Avon, he's the one who called and checked up on everyone even out in Arda. The spirit acted like a medium that connected his master to the outside world for Arda was secluded by nature. "Tell her I said good luck," the door closed, she drove off. "Now then, I better pay the rest of what I owe." He walked back inside. The lady took out a paper that read, 80,000 gold pieces paid . Staxius sign and left. 'How is it possible for someone to have so much money and spend it all on treatment,' the receptionist looked dazzled, never had she seen someone pay that much money. A single gold piece could get you just about anything – except a luxurious night at a hotel that costs around ten. 'Damn, when I said the money wasn't an issue, I didn't expect them to empty out my whole fortune.' A door opened, '-80,000 gold pieces gone just like that,' the door closed. "Avon," he spoke, "yes master?" the car spoke. "I'm going to head further inside, take care," he stepped out. "Call for me, I'll come to pick you up later," Avon added before he went out of sight.
'I wonder how much Eira has progressed.' A few minutes later, hands in pockets, the fountain came into view. The hospital itself was built near the edge of the property. However, the scale of how large the compound could put a castle to shame. 'Nothing ever changes," the school stood before him once again. Strangely, the shouts and cheers caught his attention. It came from behind the building, some big event was taking place. Curious, he headed in said direction. Fondly enough, the front of the school looked silent and calm, however, once he took the path to the battle arena, everything changed. There were more people than he had ever seen, "Eira is definitely going to win," he overheard an argument, "no, she's going to lose. After the last fight, she's exhausted which lowers her chances of winning." The other fired back. 'This is pretty lively,' he continued further along the path.
The first gymnasium lit brightly; a massive screen had Eira versus Goliath displayed. 'Now this is interesting,' a smile surfaced. The time indicated 13:00 , 'awesome,' he took out the golden pocket watch. 'Just in time,' it read 12:45 , after he got closer, the line of people waiting to get it stretch onto what seemed forever. 'At this rate, I'll never make it for the actual fight,' he stared around carefully and memorized the surroundings. 'Who cares, if I can't get in to watch my daughter fight, I'll just make my own path,' *Whoosh* he disappeared. Using magic without an incantation had become second nature. The spell to increase the speed and velocity almost engraved itself onto his soul. The focus on speed and precisions really did change how he approached a fight. 'There, found a way in,' he jumped, a few turns here and there, the arena came into view. People cheered and screamed; the whole place was jammed pack. No wonder none could get in, luckily, he found a seat, one with a good view over the would-be battlefield. 'Show me what you got, Eira,' he crossed his arms and waited.
Starting today or when I feel like it; each chapter will be 1500+ as opposed to 2000.
Since last year I've been uploading 2000 + word chapters; I'm not burnt out but it's time consuming.
Anyways you guys have fun and always keep a smile :D
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