"He's sulking," a mixture of both a gruff yet gentle voice pointed out.
"He bested you in combat, so do you honestly believe such a man even knows how to sulk?" Bonnie countered.
"I was not bested!" the Mystic, Tyz, bellowed and halted their walk down the curving hall. "If I decided not to hold back, he would be dead."
A long silent came after and the two stared at the other. Both were counterweights for the other in King Orion's court. Bonnie with her gift of both magic and wisdom and Tyz with his strength in arms and tactical mind proved to be well in balance. They knew there was no real point in staring at their opposite, other than their eyes would dry out before the other blinked. As always, the wiser or perhaps the less proud of the two, Bonnie, broke the stare and moved around her fellow Mystic.
"You tried to assassinate him," Bonnie accused.
"Testing his reflexes," Tyz corrected, for indeed, though with all his prejudice of humans and more so for the magic wielding Zealians, the warrior had no interest in killing the white haired wizard.
What intrigued the warrior was how well the wizard outfought his outlaws, at least that's his soldiers told him. Tyz was not disappointed that once he slipped into the Zealian's quarters and lifted his axe above his head, the white one awoke and dodged the attack in a breath. He would've held his pose for all of eight hours until the man awoke but to react while one was asleep showed great sixth sense of danger and alertness.
Tyz nodded in agreement to himself. Without a doubt, it might have been possible that the Zealian was holding back in their fight as well. If that was the case, he was quite surprised a Zealian wizard held such finesse. More importantly, the white one could prove a fighting equal, next to another, in time.
"He should be under me. With the proper training, he could make an excellent warrior," Tyz said with a touch of sympathy in his voice.
Bonnie remained quiet, shaking her head all the while. She didn't doubt Tyz's claims. For this Zealian, who ironically calls himself Magus, seemed full of promise, full of possibilities and mostly, full of pride. Yes, Magus could make a mighty warrior but Bonnie knew his powers, his true powers, lied dormant and out of the wizard's reach and such power was of the mind and not of the arm.
Magus's claims seemed very true to the Mystic sorceress. He only learned to fight just in case someone foolishly thought him weak in close quarters. That was the greatest disadvantage to all spellcasters. They never cared much for armor, it slowed their spellcasting and weapons were useless compare to a bolt of lightning. However, if a fighter got into a wizard's face, they were all but doomed. Magus didn't believe in weakness, so he rid himself of the greatest flaw to all wizards.
And then there was the other statement the white wizard said that more than disturbed the Mystic sorceress. He claimed to have once been a mighty Shadow Mage, which she did not doubt but what he said in regards to simply learning the second level spells of lightning, fire and ice was extraordinary and more so, he skipped learning the lower level spells for he thought they would be a waste of time! Still, Bonnie feared the great magic this Zealian already holds but she also believed it was just not enough to defeat Noah.
Coming upon the door, the Mystics halted as the door burst open and the Zealian stormed out, appearing as if he was floating off the ground. Both Mystics shared a look and followed cautiously after the white flowing caped wizard. They had to jog to keep up but in the end, Tyz realized something and stopped the chase. Noticing the lack of company, Bonnie also ceased her run, turning a questionable gaze to the warrior.
"He is a fighter! I knew it!" Tyz laughed and once Bonnie tilted her head, he laughed all the more. "Don't you see where he's going? He's heading for the forge. I bet… hahaha."
Bonnie turned and resumed her chase for the white wizard, not interested in Tyz's babbles. However, his laughs continued to echo down the hall, following her, grating on her nerves. But the warrior made no move to follow, laughing where he was, which soon ended as she spiraled down far enough away from the warriors' mockery. Down she moved, more curious as to why such a magic craving man would want a forge for?
Spiraling down pass the earth, the sorceress paused, hearing a faint tap-tapping sound from further down below. Down she continued to the forge's door, which creaked open with her touch. She peeked inside, seeing an amazing sight.
Dressed only in his lower clothing, Magus was working furiously on his scythe. The blade was lost and even if one could repair the blade, its magic was no more. Yet the wizard seemed not to care, pounding away at the metal, chipping the rest of the blade off. Soon, he began his real work, pounding at the top of the scythe, the remaining metal, smoothing and rounding it out.
"Tyz thinks you would make a fine fighter," Bonnie said softly, opening the door slowly.
She got no response other than the sound of a hammer on metal. Watching the wizard at work was quite interesting to the sorceress. In the firelight, the wizard's pale skin and fair hair flickered red. The sight was exactly what she thought him like. A cold interior with a burning desire. As his sweat beaded down around his thin yet tone chest, Bonnie could do no more but to admire the exotic human.
"I think he would be right!" she spat, more at her own thoughts of showing even the slightest interest in a human.
Again, no response.
His focus on his work also intrigued her. At first, she thought him an impatient one. Indeed, learning such powerful magics at a young age as well as being a great warrior in his own right, showed him as too eager but it all paid off. So how could he focus on minuscule work?
Finding a quiet corner so she could watch him at work, the sorceress looked on in a different light. The wizard was more puzzling as anyone she had ever known yet his story seemed to be easily readable if you could flip their pages. She watched, shoving down any attraction she felt and desire the man more than he could even know.
An hour became two as the relentless wizard pounded on the steel. Once satisfied by the top of his now blunt weapon, Janus moved over to a water basin, instantly cooling the metal with a resounding hiss. He admired his craft, the staff's top was indeed round but that was only half of what he desired. The next part, the prince had to move quickly for the metal was soft but would harden soon enough. Taking a chisel, the prince began to carve into the round metal, creating all around the ball, the royal crest of Zeal and on the top of the orb, his initials of JZ. The characters of his initials were ancient and anyone, including the sorceress he now noticed in the forge, would see them as no more than runes.
"Leave me," Janus commanded.
"I don't think so. I was told to train you and I intend to follow my king's orders," Bonnie countered passively.
"I'm as blunt as this weapon," Janus sighed while gently laying the staff on the anvil.
"You've got much to learn, apprentice," Bonnie said, shaking her head.
"Don't call me apprentice!"
"I surely will not call you 'Magus' for that title you need to earn. You are not wise and unless you tell us your real name, I shall not call you wise one."
"Whatever," Janus mummer, glaring daggers at the woman.
She took it all in stride. It was disappointing to see the man surrender so quickly and using his rage in a threatening way with his gaze. A way, that was also hollow. Little did Janus know his training has already begun.
"Why not claim a new scythe?" Bonnie asked, deflecting the subject and in turn, the wizard's gaze.
"I thought the same. What use do I have with a broken scythe that holds no magic anymore? Then I saw in the scythe that I saw in myself. Disenchanted and broken," Janus paused and took his staff in hand, showing the sorceress that he also varnish the wood and flawlessly at that. "Not just that but this weapon, Charon's Scythe, been with me through many trials, many battles. I… just can't part with it."
The sorceress nodded all through it. Both were honest explanations where the wizard shown a glimmer of emotions that were obscured by a sense of pride. Such a balance was difficult to maneuver but she believed it was essential for this one to grow stronger. She always believed pride to be a downfall but it seemed, like every downside, the wizard continued to find away to turn it into an advantage. He needed to walk that tightrope of humility and pride for what she had planned for him.
"About the training—"
"Do you always jump subjects like a frog?"
"—you need to focus on your element."
Janus took a step back and sneered. Of course he had to focus on his element; it was the first rule when learning magical techniques. But after many hours of focusing on the shadows within himself, he finally watched helplessly as his magic blinked out. Shadow was forever out of his grasp.
"Save your training for it'll do no good to one who has no magic."
"Foolish apprentice. To become a 'Magus,' you better start wising up. Think about it. Would I waste my time to ever say I will train you unless I can?" Bonnie snapped and the sudden outburst cause Janus to backpedal.
He quickly regained his composure. He hated to admit it, she was right. What would the point be in talking about training if training can't be done? Then he realized this sorceress knew something about him that he did not. Something that could help him grow stronger.
"What element should I focus on?" the wizard asked as gently as his irritable temper would allow. Bonnie sighed and rose from her seat.
"To be wise, you must find answers on your own and besides," she turned and walked off, "you should already know that answer but I assure you, it isn't shadow."
How quickly Janus's eye began to twitch as he was about to explode with rage. But as the spark quickly ignited the inferno, it played itself out equally as quick. He had much to reflect upon, especially if the Mystic spoke truthfully. As he thought of reflecting upon his position, it came to the wizard to look into a mirror, attempting to use his poor wizard's sight and see what halo he had.
Anyone with the gift of magic could, with training, learn to look within each individual and see what element a person had even if they don't use magic. This foresight had helped wizards find weak points in their opponents as they learn what dominate element coursed through the enemy's spirit. The wizard's sight, one had to look at an individual then look through them, pass them, seeing a glow of a specific color surrounding them. That would be their halo.
Such a feat though could have proven to be a great advantage for the wizard, just seemed too damn difficult. It took him minutes to focus and in battle, one didn't have minutes. What annoyed Janus the most; he just couldn't do any better.
But he was confident that he can still look into a mirror and see his own halo. It would take awhile but he had the time to see. However, whenever he focused, he stopped. What if he didn't like the color, the element, he saw? But such fears soon became below him. Growling away the weakness, the prince focus on his face and then through it, into his very soul, assuming he had one. Many minutes passed and the wizard saw nothing but his own reflection, blurry as it was since he hasn't blinked.
More minutes passed and the dull ache was too much for Janus. Breaking the gaze, the wizard blinked, feeling tears in his eyes. He couldn't call forth tears any other way. Once his eyes were moistened, he turned to the mirror again and blinked a few more times. His image was still blurry.
No, not blurry the prince realized. It was hazed. He was seeing his halo. With his skin and hair it was difficult to notice the halo but without a doubt, he saw his dominate element and he indeed did not like what he saw.
The halo was white.
"He could make a mighty warrior," Tyz mumbled perhaps the hundredth time this day to his lord.
"To what end?" King Orion asked, humoring his general.
"He could be the best! With him, we could flatten the whole Guardia cavalry or all of Zeal's leaping dragoons," Tyz stated, gaining as much momentum as he could. But soon Orion had his hand up to cease his general from continuing, for he too, came to the same conclusion as Bonnie had.
"Would he and you, together than, annihilate Noah?"
The warrior bit his lower lip at that. Perhaps if the white wizard and he did learn to dance in harmony with their weapons, they could render entire armies useless. However, he knew that Noah was beyond him and any two or ten master warriors together would be child's play to the wind mage.
"Reports from our spy network states that the Zealian did just appear out of nowhere but he was not alone," the general began, changing the subject to more important matters.
"All we really know for certain is that this 'Magus' and another named Crono have a large bounty on their heads. Only the underground knows this. Seems Noah wants them dead but don't want their identities publicized," Tyz finished, watching his lord nodding in concurrence.
But the king was nodding more towards that he made the right judgment bringing the Zealian into his folds. The enemy of his enemy was his friend and if Noah wanted this particular Zealian killed, than he was indeed a threat to the untouchable wind mage. The only thing that gave Orion pause was the second man. Where was he and how to use him to the Mystic's advantage?
"Tyz, I wish for you to hire some spies in Zeal to find this… 'Crono.' The more we have on these two, the better our understanding," Orion commanded.
The general bowed and left, eager to please his king, even with such a pathetic mission.
It was hard for her to watch her fire mages, a group of snake females called naga-ettes with the torso of a woman and the lower body of a snake, having difficulties with their magic. The small group of seven has shown much potential of being great fire mages. But try as they may, they couldn't light a spark, let alone hold a ball of flames in their hand.
"You girls need to concentrate more. Look at your hand and picture the flame," Bonnie instructed to her students.
All seven nodded and lifted their palms, visualizing a ball of fire. They thought of blistering flames and waving heat. Nothing. The naga-ette's continued to focus and hard at their hands, hoping for a little fire. They would've been staring at their hands all night if need be, if not for the sharp interruption.
"You call yourself a sorceress? Teaching patience and focus is well and good but it's far too slow for my taste," the self-sure prince mocked, entering the stone room. "This is where you've been hiding for these past few days. I've been looking for you, Bonnie."
"I haven't the time at the moment, apprentice," and with that, the sorceress put him out of her mind and dismissed his presents by turning her back to him and to address her students.
Janus scowled once he heard 'apprentice' again and sneered at the superiority in Bonnie's tone. The sneer became a growl as he saw she completely ignored him. He was a mighty wizard, even without his shadow magic and to treat him as a lowly beginner was infuriating. But his short temper soon cooled. He knew that Bonnie was just annoying him, wanting him to give into his anger and defeat himself before any argument would begin. Janus tried a different tact.
"Stand aside, Mystic," Janus commanded, moving in front of the sorceress. Bonnie, always slow to anger, flinched at being called a Mystic by a Zealian. It was also the demeaning tone in which he said it in that had her counting to ten. In the past, she would've killed for such a remark but now, she was more curious than angry with the white mage.
"All right students. I want you to take everything Miss Bonnie taught you…" he paused, crinkling up some paper and throwing it over his shoulder. "…and toss it away."
The wizard had the naga-ettes attention but they didn't make a move. They had no idea who this was but one thing was certain. He was Zealian and they would not listen to such a being. They rather destroy it.
"Listen to my apprentice ladies. Our lord had ordered him to teach you."
Janus flinched at the lie. Even though it was a lie, he didn't like someone claiming he was ordered to do anything. However, he let it slide as the naga-ettes were nodding and turning their gaze at him with a more open of mind. Or they thought him a traitor. It didn't matter to the prince either way.
"Alright. Hand in the air," he commanded, shoving his own hand in front of him. They complied.
"Now, to call forth magic especially that of fire, you mustn't think and concentrate. You must feel it, will it out. Find an emotion, one of burning desire or hot hatred and hold onto it, embrace it," the prince said, watching each snake woman focusing on what he just instructed. Still, nothing happened but the prince was satisfied by the first step.
"Now, take that desire or hatred and summon it. Force you power to spin on itself and push it forth into a single area," Janus paused, igniting his on palm with a ball of fire.
A ball from a naga-ette bathed the room with more light, joining Janus's fire. Then another and another. Soon, all seven were holding a ball of fire. One in particular, caught the wizard's attention. Though this was an exercise to manipulate one's fire magic, a single glance at the fireball from a snake woman told Janus she could level the entire room. While the other's held a ball, roughly the size of a volleyball, one of them held a ball in a four foot diameter in her hand.
Such a feat he never saw before and from a beginner, it was amazing. Indeed, the prince was impressed and he didn't bother aiding that fact from his features. He closed his hand and snuffed out his fireball. No fire mage, not even Lucca, could summon such a ball.
"You. How are you doing that?"
"You told us to feel either desire or hatred when willing the power out did you not?" the naga-ette smirked. Janus nodded.
"Well, I felt a desirable hatred to kill you and I held onto it."
Janus scowled at the impudent Mystic. She did well in hiding her fear. It was a threat if there ever was one but she was a beginner and this was her first taste of magic. She had no idea what to do with the giant ball and if the Zealian, masters of magic as they were, decided to use her magic against her, she knew she couldn't stop him. Her shoulders relaxed their tension as the wizard laughed.
"Very, very good. Personally, I don't care how you feel towards me but if that is the only way to obtain your own goals, so be it," Janus smiled as everyone closed their fists and got rid of their own balls. The naga-ette with the huge fireball soon had her eyes rolling back into her head and soon fainted. Calling forth such power all at once was taxing on the body and without the emotion as a focus point, the giant ball of flames puffed out. The other six began attending their unconscious sister.
"Thank you, apprentice," Bonnie gently said but Janus still flinched. "That'll be all for today. Please come back tomorrow as I shall inform you of the drawbacks of using magic in such a way."
The naga-ettes left soon after, leaving the sorceress and wizard locking stares at the other. Neither knew what to make of the other or what to feel. To Janus, the sorceress was annoying and he hated her dearly, however, he understood her more than he cared to admit. She was the most powerful wizard in Mysteria and she held her power in check. She was skilled, Janus believed, in understanding magic, far more than he. Bonnie, on the other hand, both admire the wizard's strength and hated his attitude. Being a Zealian didn't help matters any. Still, she believed he was more than he appeared. In fact, she knew he was.
"Teaching of emotion in spells is chaotic," Bonnie said, breaking the uncomfortable silence.
"Fire is supposed to be chaotic," Janus countered.
Bonnie was stunned by the simple, yet true statement. Fire has always been unstable and to control it was an understatement. It is protective, dangerous and instantaneous. To "control" it was an impossibility. You could only use it and hope for the best.
"I've seen my halo and though you told me to find my own answers, I refuse to believe the answers given. If my element truly is white, than you have lied to me, given me false hope," the wizard passively said.
"You are right about your halo but are wrong about me lying to you."
"I AM A BLASTED LIGHT WIZARD!" Janus cursed, screaming at the top of his lungs. So mighty were his words, backed up by his raw magic, Bonnie hat to clamp her hands over her ears.
The price couldn't believe it but couldn't refute it. Living all his life with the dark arts, giving up his heart and any sense of compassion, lavishing with the Black Wind… how in the name of the void could he be a light mage? After much time of contemplation, Janus realized that perhaps the Black Wind suppressed his powers of light and it was no surprise he had the magic. Schala did. Still…
"The magic of light is not powerful. How can I kill Noah with such weak powers?"
Janus choked back the last word as he saw the dark orbs of Bonnie's eyes burrowing through him. He didn't understand why she was so angry. He was the one whose life of battles was over. Janus tried to appear unfazed but the sorceress's glare did not leave him, not for a moment.
"I will NEVER call you Magus if you are so stupid not to see the blessing of the strength of such a gift that you have."
"Light isn't used for attacking!" Janus roared, gaining some strength in defending himself with his own anger. "I have no need of such magic."
"FOOL! Ever the fool!" Bonnie yelled back, coming up to stand right at the wizard but her voice was now but a whisper, which scared the wizard all the more. "Anyone can kill. A Guardian, a Zealian, a Mystic, a beast, or even the earth can kill. That… is not power. True power is having skills beyond what anyone can do. Anyone can kill but not anyone can give life. You are blessed with the power that is beyond death itself. If you can't understand that, than you are less of a man that I even gave you credit for."
Her words flown from her lips like wine and so intoxicating as he was by them, Janus didn't know he was now alone. Janus calmed his rising fears and anger, contemplating those words. Never once did the wizard thought Schala weak but she was of the light. He knew, at that moment, it was a time for a change, if he liked it or not. Taking out Schala's pendant from around his neck, the prince gazed into the smooth blue surface and wondered.