For the few of you that were actually still waiting for the final chapter: here it is. I'm sure you are all surprised I haven't died yet. Either that or disappointed. I'm extremely sorry for the long wait. Let's just say I now know my weak spots better and am aware that I shouldn't start posting something before it's actually finished, or I risk lack of inspiration somewhere in the middle. Please enjoy this final chapter as much as possible and I hope it was worth the wait.
The next morning, or afternoon, really, Mystery was the first one awake. Surprised, she looked around the room. Both her Master and her friend were sleeping in their chairs, their heads lying on the bed. When the mounts realized she was awake, they nodded, aware of the fact that their approaching her would also wake the two still sleeping.
Carefully, the young girl disentangled herself from the blankets that had wrapped themselves around her, not waking the two using the bed as a pillow. With a small beam, she made sure the Witch of the Black Forest and the Dark Magician would sleep a little longer, allowing her to think about everything on her own. Then, she got out, walking out of the door to go downstairs, knowing the mounts would be there in a bit.
Indeed, they soon came in, jumping her and making her fall to the floor. She laughed, relieved at the simplicity of it all. First preparing their food and then her own, she thought back on what had happened the day before. It had been a heavy day for sure.
She realized she was still quite angry with both her friend and her Master. They hadn't stopped Dissar when he'd been talking to her, which they would have, if they really cared about her as they claimed. Especially her Master could have been more appreciative of what she had done for him! She had saved his life last night, multiple times. Admittedly, he had saved her as well. But that was from something she had gotten herself into in order to save him in the first place.
And then there was the fact that Dissar had been right in one aspect. When she intercepted the attack on her Master, a part of her really wanted it all to end. The memories of her horrible time at his castle remained painful, and the fact that her Master apparently didn't care for her, as well as the fact that her friend hadn't believed her, had caused her to lose hope. Mystery had been happy that her Master would save her, but at the same time, she'd had enough. She would have ended her life in a useful way and no one would ever have known.
Their betrayal stung. They should have stopped Dissar from talking. If they cared about her, they would have. They hadn't.
Now, she was even more tired than she had been before. And as her thoughts fell into a downwards cycle, Mori interrupted. Knocking against her back with his head, he motioned outside. Dissar and that stupid harebrained excuse for a woman would still be out there, tied up. Mystery wouldn't dare visit them alone. Her Master and her friend were obviously not as trustworthy as they pretended to be, preferring to satisfy their curiosity rather than make sure she was safe. That meant she'd probably best wait until a member of the council would arrive. Undoubtedly, that wouldn't take much longer. They should have noticed the disturbance. They would also have known that it would have something to do with the red moon, so they wouldn't send some weak messenger.
As she thought that, she decided it was probably best to wait outside for whoever had been sent to come. On first look, everything seemed peaceful. But she could see Dissar and Pixie talking, probably making up a plan to get out. That, or Dissar berating the woman for failing in her mission. Knowing them, it was probably the last. As there was still a chance that it was the first, however, she sent another sleeping beam at them, making them fall asleep. The Red Eyes Metal Dragon was lying still, awake but not doing anything except glare at her. He went to sleep too. She didn't feel like sitting near a dangerous dragon which didn't like her, even if it was tied up.
"You're the Dark Magician's apprentice?" a voice from behind her suddenly asked. Swiftly, she turned around. There, she saw the Buster Blader on his mount, the Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon.
"Sir," she said, astounded. If this was the one the council had sent… Suffice to say this was more important than she thought it was. The Buster Blader was the head of the council, their unofficial leader. And now that she thought about it, this had been a battle about the leadership of their world. Then, she remembered that he had asked her a question. "Yes, I'm the Dark Magician Girl" – she still disliked the 'girl' instead of 'woman', but she had to admit she looked more like a girl – "the apprentice of the Dark Magician. It's an honour to meet you, Buster Blader."
He smiled kindly at her nervousness, sliding off the Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon. "You can call me Vintos," he told her. "If I understood everything right, you saved our whole world from his rule this night."
A bright blush appeared on her face, as well as a bright smile. She liked this man. "Then I insist you call me Mystery. After all, it's practically your rule this world is under."
"Very well, Mystery." The Buster Blader nodded at her, and then turned his attention to the three bound figures on the ground. "And there they are…" Slowly, he approached them. As opposed to when he was talking to the Dark Magician Girl, his eyes were now cold and unforgiving. He cast a few spells on them Mystery did not recognize, then turned back to her.
"Can I ask you a few questions now?" She threw a questioning glance at Dissar, his mount and Pixie. "They can stay there for a while. The spells I cast ensured that they would."
"Please do come in, then." Vintos followed her inside, looking around himself on the way to the kitchen. "I cast a sleeping spell on my Master and my friend, so they won't be down anytime soon, I guess," she told him.
Together, they entered the kitchen, where Mystery grabbed the both of them something to drink. They sat down at the table, facing one another.
"So, how did this all begin?"
With some questions in-between from Vintos, Mystery explained about Pixie coming into their lives, trying to work the smaller apprentice out of the house. She told about finding out that the Wingweaver wanted to kill her Master, and the trouble telling others got her in. Then came what had happened the day before: following Pixie, being sent away and then returning to find she had almost been too late. The fight was described then, Dissar's arriving and the subsequent other fight. Vintos was clearly surprised when he heard about her jumping in the way of the attack, but he remained thankfully silent. Following that was the heavy part, where she told about her period in slavery at Dissar's castle, that hateful time where she had been Dilemma, until she managed to escape.
Finally, the story was over and silence reigned for a while as both of the occupants of the room came to terms with the story that had been told.
The Buster Blader seemed to be considering what he'd heard. Allowing him the time to go over whatever he needed to, Mystery started to clean up the kitchen a bit, making a few preparations for dinner. As they had all been up the whole night last night, she found she had woken at two in the afternoon.
Meanwhile, Vintos was considering what he'd heard. It was obvious Dissar deserved a heavy punishment, both for trying to grab the power, for trying to kill others, and for having slaves, which was all forbidden.
That wasn't his greatest point of contemplation. It was what needed to be done with Gaèll and his apprentice. Gaèll hadn't taken good enough care of her, neither before nor in the battle. He noticed that Mystery tried to downplay the betrayal she'd felt, but it was clearly there. She had learned without him instead of from him, and she had been the one that had to save him. It showed multiple poor decisions on the Dark Magician's side, and that was not a good environment for an apprentice, especially one who showed as much promise as Mystery did. Her past had to be considered, too.
It was, however, not hard to see that she cared about her Master. She wouldn't have come back after such treatment if she hadn't cared. And separating them wouldn't be smart in that case.
So he had a problem. He couldn't separate them, but he couldn't possibly keep them together, either.
Realizing he wouldn't come to a decision this way, Vintos resolved to talk to Gaèll about this when he was awake as well. For now, he talked to Mystery a bit more, trying to get some background and trying to get her a little more comfortable around him as well. The small young woman was clearly still impressed by his presence.
They had dinner together, the other half of the food kept warm by a simple spell to make sure it would still be good when Gaèll and Pearl would come down. Mystery preferred not to see them yet, so she left outside to take care of the mounts when the spell wore off and sounds started upstairs.
Both the Dark Magician and the Witch of the Black Forest froze in surprise when they saw the Buster Blader sitting at the kitchen table. He motioned for them to sit down, the plates with food beckoning them.
Sitting down, Gaèll threw a questioning glance at the Buster Blader. "Don't you want anything, Vintos?"
"I have already eaten, Dark Magician."
The formality of the statement clearly threw Gaèll off. Usually, they addressed one another with their first name, instead of their titles. It made him wonder what he had done wrong to deserve the strictness.
Pearl then dared to speak up. "Sir, do you know where Mystery is?" she asked the Buster Blader. His attention on her almost made her shrink back, but she needed to know. When Mystery hadn't been there when she had awoken, it had worried her. When she noticed the mounts missing as well, the worry had lessened. It hadn't disappeared completely, though.
"She preferred not to see you at the moment and has, therefore, left. I'm not sure where she went, but I suggest you do not follow."
Tears appeared in Pearl's eyes at the fact that her friend didn't want to see her, while Gaèll was a bit better at hiding the fact that he shared the sentiment.
The Dark Magician looked at his apprentice's friend. "Miss Pearl, would you mind leaving us to talk? You can eat in the living room, there's a table there, too." The girl nodded and picked up her plate, leaving silently. She had enough to think about on her own, and the two males obviously knew one another.
Once they were alone, Gaèll started talking immediately. "Vintos, what is this about?" he asked.
"I don't know, but perhaps you can explain it to me. What were you thinking, treating your apprentice like that? That is not the way a Master treats the one he needs to teach, needs to take care of. And don't tell me anything about that treacherous girlfriend of yours. Your first concern should have been your apprentice."
Embarrassment filled the Dark Magician. His old friend was right. Mystery should have been his first concern. He had treated her horribly, all on the word of that pitiful excuse for a girlfriend. He shouldn't have believed the Wingweaver in the first place. His apprentice had been with him for long enough to get to know her, to be able to realize that Pixie was the one in the wrong, not Mystery. So many things he hadn't seen before now came to the forefront of his mind, all of the things he'd questioned making sense again. And he was overflowing with shame as he regarded his actions.
Seeing the comprehension flooding his friend's eyes, Vintos looked on in satisfaction. It was the first step on the way to betterment, he thought.
"At the very least," the Buster Blader commented, "you seem to have realized you were wrong. Now, you see where my problem lies. Obviously, you have taken care of your apprentice very insufficiently. That would mean I would have to part the two of you, to find a better Master for her…"
Before he could continue, Gaèll interrupted. "No!" he yelled. "Please, Vintos. Not now. Not after this. I've only just come to realize…" He was unable to finish the sentence, but the meaning was clear.
The Buster Blader smiled a little at his friend's outburst. "As you would have heard, had you not interrupted me halfway," an embarrassed smile flitted across the Dark Magician's face, "it is also clear to me that you mean a lot to her. Why else would she come back to save you even after the way you treated her? And in that case, it would not be right to part you. So I'm facing a difficult decision here. Besides, I'm quite sure this won't be solved until, at least, she isn't angry with you anymore."
Gaèll frowned. "Do you…" he started hesitantly, because he didn't feel much for another lecture. "Do you know why she's angry with Pearl and me?"
An eye roll was his answer. "You do realize you both would've saved her a lot of pain if you'd stopped Dissar from talking instead of deciding to satisfy your curiosity?"
Flinching, Gaèll realized his apprentice had just cause to be angry with him. He cursed himself for all of the bad decisions he'd made lately, which all had ended up hurting his apprentice. The same apprentice he should take care of.
Now determined, he got up out of the chair he'd been carefully plucking apart over the course of the conversation. "I need to speak to her," he told his friend. Vintos nodded, but he would have done it even if the other hadn't agreed. He needed to make this right, at least a bit, and he knew exactly where to find his errant apprentice.
Inside the stables, he could hear her talking to the mounts there. He saw that the young woman was surrounded by Mori, Furry and Blackie, the three of them appearing to be comforting her. A stab of pain hit his heart at the fact that she needed it in the first place.
"Mystery," he called her softly.
She jumped in surprise at his voice and turned around to face him, her eyes on the ground. "Master?" she asked, unsure at what he was doing here and afraid she'd start yelling at him if she said anything else.
Looking at the girl in front of him, Gaèll wondered how he could have ever doubted her. He cursed himself for doing so as he motioned for her to sit down. Mystery looked as though she was contemplating disobeying, and he almost wished she would, but she sat down eventually. He followed, sitting down as well.
"There's a lot of things I need to apologize for. I know this. There's no way to completely make up for all of the mistakes I've made. I know this as well. But I want you to know, at least, that I'm incredibly sorry for everything, and that I'm willing to do anything to make up for all of it, at least for as far as I can."
Amusing visions of a pink tutu-like outfit were the first that came to mind. Then, rage filled her and she decided that listening to her would have to be part of his making things up to her.
"You bet you've got a lot to atone for! You disregard my training, my warnings, my opinions, me… And all for what? 'Pix'?" The name was spat with obvious loathing. "Are you such an oblivious moron that you can't even see through that horrid piece of excrement? Suddenly, all I see of you is some moody taskmaster that is never satisfied, and even then she's there, sabotaging me and laughing at me behind your back. And you're just blind to it all! Not to mention that horrible trick you played on me with Dissar! No, please, do continue. I love to torture my apprentice with horrid stories about her past, just so I can hear exactly what is going on! Because now that I know I've been played, I just need to know everything. And it's not as though I pretended to care for my apprentice before, so why should I do so now?! Right?!"
She didn't even realize she had begun crying in the middle of her story, but he had. Unable to help himself, he leaned forward and pulled her into his arms. At first, she struggled, her small fists hitting his strong chest, but she ultimately quieted. All the way, he held her tightly and rocked her slowly, allowing her to cry.
Eventually, the tears slowed down. No one disturbed them as they sat there, and Mystery was falling to sleep. Gaèll let her, knowing she needed the rest.
He carried her back to the house, where Vintos and Pearl were waiting in uncomfortable silence. Gently, he put her on the couch and then went to sit in the chair nearest to it.
Pearl observed this, smiling to herself. It looked like her friend's dreams could come true after all. It seemed the Dark Magician cared for her, at least, which could easily develop into something more. She sincerely hoped that the Buster Blader would allow them to stay together. It was clear to her that her friend wouldn't want to leave, no matter how angry she was at the moment. And her Master wouldn't just let her go, either.
Vintos hadn't missed this. He had already gathered that Mystery had a crush on Gaèll, and he could see his friend at least appreciated his apprentice more, now. It was just too bad things had to come to this in order for them to be able to admit they cared. He wouldn't separate them. If they worked out their issues, he could see them becoming an amazing team.
Gaèll merely wondered how he hadn't noticed before. When he had awoken, looking at the painting on the wall, he had noticed a detail his apprentice's friend hadn't mentioned. His own form, in the eyes of his apprentice's mount. And now that he knew, he was not going to let this slip away. He noticed things about the young woman he hadn't before, and he was pleasantly surprised. No, he would not let her get away easily. He would do everything he could to make it up to her, and he'd see what would develop between the two of them.
Mystery, in the meanwhile, was sleeping through it all. Unbeknownst to her, she was showing the first sign of a new ability developing: seeing the future through dreams. She was much too involved in dreaming of growing old with her Master, their relationship growing deeper and more loving even with the difficult times that would come along with the good ones, to care about prophetic dreams.
I know, they're not together yet. Evil? Very much. But I just thought it was a bit unlikely that all of a sudden, they'd fall into one another's arms as if nothing had happened. But in the future, as you can see, they will end up together and live happily ever after and so on. Well, I guess that was it. I sincerely hope you enjoyed it!