z
  • Home

Young Writers Society



The Last Spell 20.1

by SilverNight


“There’s something else here,” Kaja muttered, bending down behind the base of the stand that Leilan had spotted the First Spell on. “Something attached to the display.”

“A Second Spell, perhaps?” Leilan asked, half-joking.

“No, actually, uh—” He saw Kaja’s brow furrow, expressing a bewildered confusion that he rarely saw on her face. He knew from that to be prepared to see something strange, but he still wasn’t expecting the small, clearly modern but unidentifiable electronic device that she revealed— a black box with a blue light along the side.

“What is that?” Leilan asked, frowning.

“I have no idea,” Kaja hissed. “No clue why it’s here either. It clearly doesn’t belong.”

He quickly dropped his voice to a whisper. “I think you should hide that somewhere.”

“Hide it? Why?”

He wasn’t sure, really, but instinct was screaming out at him. Any half-developed reason for the device being there that he could think of was one he didn’t like, and he didn’t have any more time to think it over.

“That— that shouldn’t be here. I don’t know why, but I don’t think we should share that with them.”

Kaja looked at him like she thought he was crazy— he’d seen that look a fair amount— but she slipped the device in the pocket of her coat just before Mireya and Dawn approached. Leilan saw Mireya suddenly come to a stop and pause for a few seconds before she shrugged slightly and crossed the remaining distance to them.

“That’s it?” Dawn asked in a hushed, reverent voice as she pointed at the scroll.

“That’s it,” Mireya confirmed. “It has a humble appearance, doesn’t it?”

“Can we look at it?” Leilan asked.

“I don’t see why not,” Mireya asked. “Besides that, what have you got with you?”

“We didn’t find any artifacts that looked useful to us,” Leilan said carefully. “It was difficult to tell what—”

“No, not that.” Mireya waved a finger, pointing between him and Kaja. “I can tell you’ve got a power source on you— it’s practically shouting energy at me. I’d like a look.”

Defeated, Leilan nodded for Kaja to hand it over, and she hesitantly took it out of her pocket.

Mireya took it into her hand, and her expression shifted. She didn’t look surprised to see it, exactly, but there was confusion in her scowl. Finally, she asked, “Where did you find this?”

“It was attached to the other side of this stand,” Kaja said. “It seems like someone intentionally stuck it there.”

“It couldn’t have been there last time I was here.” Mireya paused. “…That’s something to think about later.”

“Can you tell what it is?” Dawn asked, leaning over Mireya’s shoulder— which really wasn’t hard with Mireya’s height.

Mireya paused for a long moment, turning over the device in her hands. “I think it’s a battery.”

“Weird,” Leilan said.

“Not like the kind you’d put in your flashlight, though,” Mireya continued. “This has a huge concentration of power. You could run… Saints, I don’t know what you could run with this that wouldn’t normally take a power grid.”

“Something that can’t have a power grid to rely on?” Dawn suggested. “Like the new spacecraft, which would need a long-lasting source of energy.”

“Yeah, it would probably be something like that.” Mireya closed her hand over it, then reopened it. “It’s very impressive for its size.”

“It has to be state-of-the-art energy storage technology,” Kaja said. “Not something that’s been collecting dust down here for at least five centuries.”

“I’ve never seen anything like it.” Mireya tilted her head to the side. “Well, that’s not exactly true. Just the other day, there was—”

She cut herself off, as her hand clenched around the battery suddenly.

“You saw something?” Leilan prompted after a long moment.

Instead of answering him, Mireya turned to Dawn. “You mentioned new spacecraft.”

Dawn nodded. “I’m not sure that’s what it was designed for, but it is a working example—”

“You said the new spacecraft,” Mireya said. Her voice had turned matter of fact. “Not a new spacecraft, meaning there’s some new space mission in the works, not some hypothetical one.”

Dawn slowly closed her mouth, as a look of regret settled over her face.

“Space missions aren’t allowed in the private sector anymore, are they?” Mireya continued. “Billboards in the night sky got too common about fifty years ago, started getting complaints. So only the government’s allowed to launch new ones, and they tend to be rather classified.”

“Dawn’s family owns aluminum mines and foundries,” Leilan cut in, knowing the lie was arriving too late. “They’re providing the supplies for it. She shouldn’t have shared it, but—”

“So, she and her family should have taken a Chant oath,” Mireya said. “Something that would keep her from sharing the existence of a mission, even if she wanted to, to a civilian like me. Believe me, I know how this works. The government likes its secrets, and it seems like you do too.”

Dawn pressed her lips together tightly, and Leilan knew he couldn’t do anything for her.

“You aren’t just some wealthy inheritors from a coalition of rich, aristocratic families, looking to secure your futures in unimaginable luxury because you were told you deserved to control the world,” Mireya said. Her tone was still flat, but her words were an accusation. “You’re in the Houses. You actually control the world.”

Kaja was averting her gaze, trying to look anywhere but at her. Dawn was staring at the ground. Leilan was the only one left to make eye contact with her.

“Is anyone going to say anything about that?” Mireya asked. “I mean, if someone called me this, I’d be tearfully demanding how they could think me to be this bad. I have to admit, I’m not seeing any crying.”

Leilan swallowed. He really didn’t see any way they could deny it. “Yeah. We’re from the government.”

“I’m sorry,” Dawn whispered. “I’m really only used to talking to people who are also from the government too and know the same things I do.”

“It’s fine to be bad at lying.” Mireya’s smile was wire-thin and difficult to read, but he doubted its genuineness. “I don’t appreciate that you did lie, though.”

“Is this really worse than us being rich kids from a corporate family?” Kaja asked, shrugging indifferently, but she sounded uneasy. “You seem more upset about this than your first assumption.”

“I’ve seen rich kids be redeemable,” Mireya said. “The Houses aren’t. I’ve only watched them get worse.”

Kaja scoffed. “You’re what, twenty? What have you watched? Reality TV of ex-House of Wisdom members?”

Mireya’s eyes flashed, and the hairs on the back of Leilan’s neck rose up. The smell of ozone filled the air as the world around him suddenly felt charged with static energy.

“Hey,” Dawn interrupted, stepping between Kaja and Mireya. “We definitely need to talk this out, but I’d much rather we did it with all seven of us alive and together on the surface. Let’s focus on getting out of here first.”

Kaja reluctantly grumbled an agreement under her breath, and Mireya slowly nodded as the electric feeling in the air subsided. “We will be talking about it, though,” she said.

“Of course,” Leilan said. “Is it alright if we open the scroll?”

Mireya paused. “I guess you can take a quick look.”

Leilan reached for the white ribbon around the scroll and pulled it loose. Feeling all eyes on him, he unrolled the parchment and laid it flat on the stand. As Mireya had described, a thin layer of water formed over the surface of the map without a drop spilling. The water began to bubble slightly.

“Look for the light underneath the water,” Mireya said.

Leilan leaned over the map. “It’s really bright over the mountains,” he said, noticing it. “Renvara’s slightly brighter than Keravara.”

“There’s just a faint glow over the hills of Hetavare too,” Dawn pointed out.

“That’s where it was before,” Mireya said. “I couldn’t tell if it was random or not.”

Leilan nodded slowly. “Is it safe to touch the water?”

“It didn’t kill Cyrin. To be fair, not a lot does.”

Well, that was good enough for him. He took a glove off and tapped the surface with his finger before he dipped it in.

The water wasn’t all that deep— no deeper than a small sidewalk rain puddle— but it seemed like more. He felt no difference between the water over the bubbling, glowing locations and the still water, but there was an unusual texture in the water, like something was dissolved in it.

“The water feels—”

“What are you doing?” he heard Dawn ask.

Leilan looked up, thinking she was addressing him, but she was talking to Mireya instead. Mireya had just finished typing a message on her communicator in a language he couldn’t read, which he had to assume was Ren.

“Just sending a message,” Mireya said, pressing a button. “What were you saying, Leilan?”

“There’s no service down here,” Kaja pointed out. “It won’t deliver.”

Mireya seemed to hesitate, looking down at her screen. “Oh,” she said absently. “Yeah.” She lowered her wrist to her side. “Never mind, then. What’s this about the water?”

Leilan blinked, recollecting his thoughts. “It feels grainy.”

“Grainy?” Kaja echoed.

“Like there’s something in there. Something like dust, or…”

He let his finger brush the parchment against something rough and coarse.

“…finely ground rocks.”

“Salt?” Dawn suggested.

“I would refrain from tasting the water, just to be safe,” Mireya said. “Even though I would really like to.”

Leilan fished one of the particles out, letting it rest on his finger. “Nope,” he said. “A regular-looking, very small piece of gray rock.”

“I have a scientist friend,” Mireya said abruptly. “An Alchemist, really, but she has a lab. She might be able to identify what kind of rock it is if we show her this.”

“And you are going to show her?” Kaja probed as Leilan dropped the rock fragment in the water again. “Even though it’s going with us?”

Mireya hesitated. “If it’s going with you, you’ll probably want an Alchemist to look it over. I’m not sure how else you’d manage to use it.”

That was true, but Leilan couldn’t help but wonder if she was only saying it as an excuse. Maybe she’d made up her mind on whether or not they were trustworthy the moment she’d heard of their background and they’d failed her test. Maybe they wouldn’t ever have passed.

“Did Cyrin notice anything in the water before, if they touched it?” he asked, trying not to dwell on that possibility.

Mireya shook her head. “No, I don’t think so. But their hands were numb from the cold and you just took off your gloves.”

Before Leilan could theorize anything, a high-pitched shriek split the air, echoing over the ice for several seconds, and the four of them froze.

“Was that—?” Dawn started to ask.

“It sounded like Kasumi,” Kaja interrupted.

Barely a moment later, a lower but even more terrified scream rang out from the same direction.

“And that sounded like Shane,” Leilan said, rolling up the scroll hurriedly.

“Quick,” Mireya urged them, taking the scroll from him and rushing towards the tunnel to the shield. “I haven’t heard Cyrin scream yet, and he’s not one to, but if he does, that means all hell has broken loose. I’d like to get there before whatever’s happening has a chance to get that far.”


Is this a review?


  

Comments



User avatar
220 Reviews

Points: 19717
Reviews: 220

Donate
Sat Jul 08, 2023 12:01 am
View Likes
Spearmint says...



Spoiler! :
Dante's been down here! Okay, come on, pleaaseee show up before they're all eaten or mauled or whatever by Banes... >.<




SilverNight says...


Spoiler! :
I am sad to disappoint XD



User avatar
100 Reviews

Points: 11392
Reviews: 100

Donate
Fri Jul 07, 2023 3:08 pm
View Likes
alpacaboss wrote a review...



Hello! I have returned to give your lovely work another review. (cue the awkward bowing). Let's proceed with the review!

“There’s something else here,” Kaja muttered, bending down behind the base of the stand that Leilan had spotted the First Spell on. “Something attached to the display.”

“A Second Spell, perhaps?” Leilan asked, half-joking.

“No, actually, uh—” He saw Kaja’s brow furrow, expressing a bewildered confusion that he rarely saw on her face. He knew from that to be prepared to see something strange, but he still wasn’t expecting the small, clearly modern but unidentifiable electronic device that she revealed— a black box with a blue light along the side.

“What is that?” Leilan asked, frowning.

“I have no idea,” Kaja hissed. “No clue why it’s here either. It clearly doesn’t belong.”

He quickly dropped his voice to a whisper. “I think you should hide that somewhere.”

“Hide it? Why?”

He wasn’t sure, really, but instinct was screaming out at him. Any half-developed reason for the device being there that he could think of was one he didn’t like, and he didn’t have any more time to think it over.

“That— that shouldn’t be here. I don’t know why, but I don’t think we should share that with them.”


Hmm, why would they keep that a secret from their group? That's incredibly suspicious. What could possibly their alibi for hiding it? A true friend wouldn't do that. Personally, I think it's bad idea that they hide it though.

“No, not that.” Mireya waved a finger, pointing between him and Kaja. “I can tell you’ve got a power source on you— it’s practically shouting energy at me. I’d like a look.”

Defeated, Leilan nodded for Kaja to hand it over, and she hesitantly took it out of her pocket.

Mireya took it into her hand, and her expression shifted. She didn’t look surprised to see it, exactly, but there was confusion in her scowl. Finally, she asked, “Where did you find this?”


I tend to measure how powerful people are by how dangerous they are. Mireya is evidently quite powerful because she immediately detect that they were hiding an energy source. Obviously, her magic powers may attribute to that, but it is still quite impressive.

Instead of answering him, Mireya turned to Dawn. “You mentioned new spacecraft.”

Dawn nodded. “I’m not sure that’s what it was designed for, but it is a working example—”

“You said the new spacecraft,” Mireya said. Her voice had turned matter of fact. “Not a new spacecraft, meaning there’s some new space mission in the works, not some hypothetical one.”

Dawn slowly closed her mouth, as a look of regret settled over her face.

“Space missions aren’t allowed in the private sector anymore, are they?” Mireya continued. “Billboards in the night sky got too common about fifty years ago, started getting complaints. So only the government’s allowed to launch new ones, and they tend to be rather classified.”

“Dawn’s family owns aluminum mines and foundries,” Leilan cut in, knowing the lie was arriving too late. “They’re providing the supplies for it. She shouldn’t have shared it, but—”

“So, she and her family should have taken a Chant oath,” Mireya said. “Something that would keep her from sharing the existence of a mission, even if she wanted to, to a civilian like me. Believe me, I know how this works. The government likes its secrets, and it seems like you do too.”


Aside from being physically dangerous, she is also knowledgable of many things. Honestly, these kinds of intricacies make me baffled but interested at the same time. It made me want to go back to the start and read it all.

“You aren’t just some wealthy inheritors from a coalition of rich, aristocratic families, looking to secure your futures in unimaginable luxury because you were told you deserved to control the world,” Mireya said. Her tone was still flat, but her words were an accusation. “You’re in the Houses. You actually control the world.”

Kaja was averting her gaze, trying to look anywhere but at her. Dawn was staring at the ground. Leilan was the only one left to make eye contact with her.

“Is anyone going to say anything about that?” Mireya asked. “I mean, if someone called me this, I’d be tearfully demanding how they could think me to be this bad. I have to admit, I’m not seeing any crying.”

Leilan swallowed. He really didn’t see any way they could deny it. “Yeah. We’re from the government.”

“I’m sorry,” Dawn whispered. “I’m really only used to talking to people who are also from the government too and know the same things I do.”

“It’s fine to be bad at lying.” Mireya’s smile was wire-thin and difficult to read, but he doubted its genuineness. “I don’t appreciate that you did lie, though.”

“Is this really worse than us being rich kids from a corporate family?” Kaja asked, shrugging indifferently, but she sounded uneasy. “You seem more upset about this than your first assumption.”

“I’ve seen rich kids be redeemable,” Mireya said. “The Houses aren’t. I’ve only watched them get worse.”

Kaja scoffed. “You’re what, twenty? What have you watched? Reality TV of ex-House of Wisdom members?”

Mireya’s eyes flashed, and the hairs on the back of Leilan’s neck rose up. The smell of ozone filled the air as the world around him suddenly felt charged with static energy.


Phew! Obviously Mireya has some bad experience with the Houses. Usually a person shows that much hatred towards a certain thing if they themselves have experienced it and seen it for themselves or they stand in their belief against them. I also like how you noted that Mireya "watched" them become worse. It is a bad feeling knowing that the people you're with may almost never be redeemable. I hope her companions can prove themselves to defeat that notion though.

“Quick,” Mireya urged them, taking the scroll from him and rushing towards the tunnel to the shield. “I haven’t heard Cyrin scream yet, and he’s not one to, but if he does, that means all hell has broken loose. I’d like to get there before whatever’s happening has a chance to get that far.”


I'm starting to like Mireya. Sharp, quick on her feet, and accurate when it comes to her observations. I wonder what happened to her other friends.

Overall, I believe this is an important chapter in your story as it is revealed to Mireya that these people are from the Houses, a group she has extreme hatred towards apparently. I wonder what happens next.

This is alpacaboss, signing off.




User avatar
1394 Reviews

Points: 139993
Reviews: 1394

Donate
Fri Jun 30, 2023 8:31 pm
View Likes
IcyFlame wrote a review...



Only two more parts to go! I'm not sure where you are in writing this one at the moment but I'm feeling like we're about 2/3rds of the way through...ish?

Let's get into the review:

He quickly dropped his voice to a whisper. “I think you should hide that somewhere.”

I hadn't realised until she put it in her jacket that Leilan wanted her to take it with them, I understood the request to hide it to be hide it somewhere in the cave so nobody finds it. I'm interested in Leilan's instincts though. His past is something of a mystery, so I feel like this is probably linked to it in some way.

“We didn’t find any artifacts that looked useful to us,” Leilan said carefully. “It was difficult to tell what—”

“No, not that.” Mireya waved a finger, pointing between him and Kaja. “I can tell you’ve got a power source on you— it’s practically shouting energy at me. I’d like a look.”

Immediately busted! Although I didn't get what Mireya meant by 'no, not that'. Not what?

“Weird,” Leilan said.

Super casual, good job Leilan.

“You aren’t just some wealthy inheritors from a coalition of rich, aristocratic families, looking to secure your futures in unimaginable luxury because you were told you deserved to control the world,” Mireya said. Her tone was still flat, but her words were an accusation. “You’re in the Houses. You actually control the world.”

Aha! Here's the realisation I was expecting, and I think it works that she's going to come across this fact earlier than Cyrin.

“I don’t appreciate that you did lie, though.”

I mean, she and Cyrin are planning to possibly double cross them, so she's one to talk.

“Look for the light underneath the water,” Mireya said.

Leilan leaned over the map. “It’s really bright over the mountains,” he said, noticing it. “Renvara’s slightly brighter than Keravara.”

“There’s just a faint glow over the hills of Hetavare too,” Dawn pointed out.

“That’s where it was before,” Mireya said. “I couldn’t tell if it was random or not.”

I know they've said they'll talk on the surface, but I'd like to see more of Mireya's facial expressions or tone of voice so it's clear she definitely hasn't forgiven. This feels like we've moved on and everything is as it was. Granted, they've agreed to push pause on the conversation but unless she can compartmentalise super well I feel like it would show through.

Mireya hesitated. “If it’s going with you, you’ll probably want an Alchemist to look it over. I’m not sure how else you’d manage to use it.”

Couldn't they each take some?

“Quick,” Mireya urged them, taking the scroll from him and rushing towards the tunnel to the shield. “I haven’t heard Cyrin scream yet, and he’s not one to, but if he does, that means all hell has broken loose. I’d like to get there before whatever’s happening has a chance to get that far.”

Uh oh!!

So the inevitable has happened, and now it feels like some heirs are going to have to save Mireya or Cyrin's life before they'll trust them... or they may just make the whole thing worse. I'm nervous to continue because honestly I feel like this has to get worse before it gets better but I'm only one away from being caught up so I'd better carry on!

Icy




SilverNight says...


Icy! Welcome to the last bit I have posted! I have 11 more chapters written from Blizzard (plus the ending of this one because it got a bit long) so I gotta upload those but you are a champion for making it this far!!

Only two more parts to go! I'm not sure where you are in writing this one at the moment but I'm feeling like we're about 2/3rds of the way through...ish?


Chuckling and dying inside a little because this is still a little under halfway XD

Although I didn't get what Mireya meant by 'no, not that'. Not what?


Leilan and Mireya are interpreting her question of "what have you got with you" differently: Leilan thinks (or hopes) she means any helpful artifacts they might have found, and Mireya means the device she can feel and is correcting him by saying she's not asking about artifacts. Thanks for letting me know where something's not obvious, it's super helpful!

I know they've said they'll talk on the surface, but I'd like to see more of Mireya's facial expressions or tone of voice so it's clear she definitely hasn't forgiven. This feels like we've moved on and everything is as it was.


Good point, thank you!!




Excuse me I have never *lied* about a character I just don't tell the truth
— AceassinOfTheMoon