Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for mature content.
We roamed in the forest, Haka and I. The sun stayed fix above our heads. I wiped the sweat above my eyebrow. Haka walked beside me, switching his attention between the surrounding and the map.
‘We’re close,’ he whispered. He took my arm.
And praised Lio. His touch sent electricity to my bare skin. I let him drag me to wherever the cave was, suppressing my reaction to his physical contact.
We went through trees without leaves, chirping of birds accompanying us. Then, we arrived. An ascending path led to the cave, which was dark inside.
Haka let go of my arm, which left me both relieved and longing for more. I grabbed the arrow behind my back and readied it along with my bow.
Haka held his sword in a defensive position. He didn’t need to, but having a weapon at your side was useful when you encountered enemies to which you couldn’t cast the spells fast enough. The cave was a mystery to us, so we couldn’t know what was inside it.
A frosty breeze kissed our skin as we entered. That was unexpected. ‘Can you cast a fire spell, Haka?’ I whispered. ‘In this darkness, I’m not surprised if we fall into a trap hole.’
‘Yeah, I think I can make some, though they’re not useful for offense. Ignis selis.’ A ball of fire appeared on his palm.
Now that I could see what was in front of me, I gasped. What lied under my feet was no rocks or soils, but flat ice which felt like a tarred road. What was this place? Perhaps magical artifacts required magical keeping place.
‘Interesting,’ Haka said. I noticed his intonation changed a little bit. He seemed pleased.
We walked deeper into the cave, relying on our instincts now that we had ventured into a place about which the map had no details. Haka hooked his arm around my shoulder, pressing me towards him. I cursed inwardly again. I could tell he wanted me closer to him; between the two of us, I needed protection more thant he did. But this still rocked my sea of emotions.
‘Don’t you think our school isn’t fair, sometimes?’ he asked.
I raised my eyebrow. ‘What do you mean?’
He shrugged. ‘It’s all boys, no girl. Maybe girls can survive living with each other, but boys can’t.’
This was weird, and I startled to tingle with alarms. What was his point? We continued walking, but somehow we did it with no purpose now. The cave reeked with silence, and I wished to get this test done. Finding a ruby sword shouldn’t be hard. Perhaps it glowed in the dark.
‘We have to socialize with girls. Talk to some of them, have them as our friends. But that’s not the most important part. We have needs, and only girls can satisfy us.’
I wanted to vomit right there. How could he be talking about girls at this moment? A beast could suddenly jump at us, and we’d never know because of this useless conversation. What was so arousing about girls, anyway? They only had holes, no swords. I couldn’t tell that to Haka, of course. He might accuse me of being a sinner and our years-long friendship could be over in the worst possible place ever.
His face moved closer to my ear. ‘But you’re not like us.’
His whisper raised the hair on my neck, and before I could react, he shoved me to the ground, and in the process, I lost hold of my weapons. He kicked them away and pointed the sword to my neck before I could stand. The fire illuminated his face, and I could see how his eyes were black no matter how much light they were exposed to. He smiled. I never saw that kind of smile from him before.
‘I knew you peeked at me every time I undressed in the room, pretending to be asleep. I wanted to report your blasphemous action to the school, but I gave myself some time to think about it. At the end, I thought, maybe it wasn’t a sin you were committing after all. Perhaps this is just Lio’s way to end to my - our troubles.’
I gulped. ‘What are you trying to do, Haka? Lio doesn’t want you to be like this. The God of the Sun wouldn’t want you to use your strength to force someone.’
He scowled. ‘Shut up, sinner. I knew your arrival is just to please us. That’s the reason of your existence.’ He raised my face with the tip of the blade. ‘You don’t belong to the magic academy.’
His words cut deep through my heart. He was right about that. I shouldn’t be in Quasar Magica Academy. Unlike the others, I couldn’t use magic. My soul wasn’t attuned to any kind of element. The principal accepted me because of my knowledge of magic, and I knew at some point that wouldn’t be enough. What good would the knowledge give you if you couldn’t put it into practice?
‘Mrs. Venaria said I wasn’t like the rest,’ I said, trying to convince Haka as much as to myself. ‘She said I am a late linker. An element would react to me eventually.’
Haka sneered. ‘That old woman’s delusional. There’s no such thing as a late linker. She lied to you.’ The tip went closer to my throat, bringing me pain. ‘Now, do as I say. Turn around.’
‘Please, Haka, don’t do this. We’re friends!’ I hoped he realized what he meant to me and shook the demon out of his body. I didn’t want to imagine what could happen if he went through with his plan.
He spit at me. ‘You’re not my friend the moment you’re a sinner. You don’t even worth to be treated like a human. Turn around, or I swear I’ll chop off your head.’
I stared at him, wondering if there was truth in his words. His held on the sword didn’t falter; his pose was rigid. His eyes… I looked away, unable to bear see the determination reflected in them. He wasn’t the Haka I knew, the one whose laughter always lingered at the tip of his tongue, who brushed away insults and profanities like they were dirt sticking on his shirt. No, this was a different Haka, and perhaps the truest one I had ever seen.
I refused to accept this version of him.
In a swift movement, I took out my dagger and clashed it with the sword, forcing the sword away from me. I stepped closer to Haka but he regained his stability so fast I had to retreat from the swing he made. I took a quick glance to the surrounding and realized this place was perfect to hide. I retreated deeper into the darkness, away from Haka’s fire.
I couldn’t tell the spot I was in, but I could see him. He was now turning his head around, trying to locate where I was. I stood still and breathed slowly. My tears had dried. In front of me was an enemy who wouldn’t hesitate to do whatever he wanted from me.
‘You can’t hide from me, Gael,’ Haka said loudly, uncaring of what the volume would attract in this silent cave. ‘You need my fire to get out of here. Just surrender. It’s not worth it.’ He paused in his effort to find me. ‘Terra magna.’
I shut my eyes, expecting for the ground to crack open and release earthly hands which would pull me towards him. But for the next few seconds, nothing happened. I realized, then. The ice was too thick. It blocked the sand and soil. His magic was useless. It was all melee.
I noticed my bow and arrow next to him and the thought of striking him with those flashed into my mind. But that was impossible; I couldn’t even pass him to go there. I cursed inwardly and continued keeping my distance away from him. Every time he moved towards my direction, I stepped back, careful not to make any sound.
In the moment of danger, I prayed. Not to Lio, God of the Sun, Father of Justice. No, he wouldn’t be able to help me with this. Someone like Haka didn’t deserve justice. The flowery feeling I had on him vanished the moment he shed his skin to reveal the blackness behind it. Enough was the suffering I would receive if the followers of the Naturals knew I had committed the sin of liking the gender forbidden to me.
I directed my words to the Natural who would side me, Sera, Goddess of the Moon, Mother of Revenge. I needed her cold anger, the determination to bring punishment to those who had treated me wrong. Give me the miracle I need to save myself, I thought. Give me the weapon I need to destroy my enemy.
Then, I felt it. Coldness seeped into my body, the sensation of being thrown into a land of snow. I could hear the sigh of the ice beneath me, above me, and at my sides. The ancient cave, made to keep the ruby sword, vibrated to me. In a single second, flashes of the past rushed towards me, of those who had dared to venture here and failed to come out alive. The cave was ruthless, protecting what was its from outsiders.
And it connected to me. I wanted to protect my life, and to do so, I needed to be merciless. Grab your weapons, it whispered to me. They are the link.
I frowned. Was the cave mad? If I stepped into the light Haka’s fire had provided, I would be dead for sure.
Grab your weapons, it repeated. It’s the only way.
I took a deep breath and emptied my mind as a functioning one would scream to me to not start this craziness. I ran towards Haka and passed him, getting the side of my stomach sliced in the process. Pain pierced me like a hundred of needles, but I threw myself to my weapons, the bow and the arrows. I gritted my teeth and took a look at my stomach. It had a wide gash on it, blood flowing from it. Then, I turned my weapons.
They were encased in ice, and from them, a tiny stream of water ran through my hand, my arm, and to my stomach. I could feel ice being put there and realized it was healing me.
I heard Haka cursing and his steps. I looked at him and ran through my memory for ice-based spells. Ice was a rare element only a few could attract, but I was grateful with my passion to remember everything. ‘Aria erfanta,’ I whispered.
The ice ground moved. It was as if it broke into many parts, each of them having a mind of their own. The one under Haka moved him away from me, just as the one under me moved myself away from him. His fire was still lit, enveloping his hand, and now that I had my bow and arrow, I knew what I had to do.
But I wasn’t him, and I wouldn’t turn myself to darkness so easily. I cried out to him. ‘Throw away your sword and admit defeat! Enough with this nonsense!’
Hearing that, he laughed. ‘Gael, my family has been hunting for sinners like you for centuries. I aspire to be an example of Lio, and for that I must kill you, or turn you into something that is worthy of life.’
He was a lost cause, and as evil as he was right now, I was reminded to the good times we had together. It was amazing how a test changed him drastically. My Haka was gone. I needed to get rid of this, not just for my sake but for people like me.’
I let go of the arrow, and before it reached Haka, it turned to dust. I gasped. Light suddenly filled the cave, not orange like Haka’s but pure white. The surrounding was open to view, and I saw someone behind Haka wearing a spectacle. Mrs. Venaria, the principal herself. She was the one who supervised our test?
‘Interesting,’ she said, moving towards us. ‘Your soul has found its element, Gael.’ She glanced at Haka. ‘For someone who is expected to be the top in our school, I’m disappointed in you.
‘The test is canceled. I’ve decided both of you are no longer able to be partners, and a new one would be assign to you. Follow me.’
Haka was speechless, and so was I. I was glad he was no longer my partner, but as we exited the cave, I was reminded by the horrible events that had unfolded. All this time, Mrs. Venaria had been watching us, and she didn’t make a move when Haka tried to rape me. But she stopped me from killing him. She was just like others who believed the Naturals taught them love only existed, and only permitted, between men and women. She didn’t care about me at all; perhaps I was still alive because of my rare magic.
As we went to the academy, I didn’t look at Haka even once. I knew now my purpose, and why my magic had been awakened at this moment. Sera had given me a message, and I was to be her hero. The one who lurked in the darkness and bring harm to those who had wronged me. Perhaps this was her way to tell me their interpretation was wrong. Perhaps I had to make everything right.
The sun was setting as I looked up to the sky. Soon, the moon would rule it, and I knew, that would be my time.
A/N: Ah, finally, a short story. I'm back with the fantasy genre, and while I think this is a typical story line for someone like me, I like the religion aspect of it, and how the magic works. My only concern is Haka, the villain, because I think I make him the stereotypical bad people. What do you think?