Two weeks ago I’ve published the first part of a novel I am writing. I present to you the second part, as I’ve promised.
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Cheers, and enjoy the read!
From time to time his friend makes him uncomfortable in such a way that he wishes to get away from him, to throw him out. He believed it was due to abundance of lonesomeness. Gargon would especially disturb him when he drifted away during brief evening lectures — introductions to a new field. He would talk about economy, about the order of the world since the truce with the Eastern Realm, about the distribution of power, although Dante didn’t quite understand the meaning of power, only being able to link it to the feeling he had as a child when he would be commended for his knowledge or effort; at some point, as if he heard something, Gargon would stop, prick his ears up, turn his head in a swift, sudden fashion, then get up and without even saying a thing leave the cell, returning in the morning. Luckily, that didn’t happen very often, but, this morning, it did, just as he was lecturing Dante about the changes in the economy.
Even before his capture, Dante understood the economy not only of Vakor, but of the entire continent of Umbra. He simplified it like this — that which you find belongs to no one, and at the same time to everyone; that which you make by either a physical or an intellectual endeavor belongs to the creator himself and he is free to ask for reimbursement, but it has to be of the same rank.
For example, if someone is working as a fruit and vegetable salesman, and he himself produced them, he must for a kilo of, let’s say, tomatoes, accept only an adequate (usually same) amount of another alimentary produce; same goes for those who sell fish, cattle or spices.
On the other hand, if a product or a service is created by intellectual means then that is the only kind he can ask in return. This way everyone has both a garden or a field and a workshop or a library. Properties and houses are provided by Raksas and The Council on Vakor, in accordance with the current needs, and by King-Priests on Lihtas Timura (although, on this eastern part of the continent of Umbra there may exist some changes to the law that the Western Realm hasn’t sanctioned yet). When a person is ready to expand the family he or she can ask for the increment or, in case that is not possible, a different property or a house. This way there is constantly present a persistent fluctuation of goods, assets, and people.
As he understood, before Gargon drifted away, The Eastern Realm was again trying to lift the prohibition on exchanging goods from different categories. The last time, about ten years ago, Raksas erupted and was extinguished in a short and unnecessary war that still has repercussions. That is why, this time, Eastern Realm acted carefully, you could even say in a wiser way, and under a disguise of a plea. King-Priests requested the reduction of export or investment in production because they don’t have enough goods to settle the needs of people. Gargon is hoping they won’t succeed, because “they do not need to expand, we are the ones who rule, even though they seem to think differently”.
That is when Gargon stopped talking and listened. Dante couldn’t keep silent anymore, he isn’t little anymore, almost in his second decade. Although he is not yet out of the first period of development, Gargon is not out of the second so he can’t protest much, especially now that Dante knows the hierarchy of the society and the development periods of a being.
“What is happening? Do you hear something?” Dante tried to sound relaxed, but upon hearing his voice which seemed higher than usual the courage began to dissipate.
Gargon rapidly turned his head in Dante’s direction and his eyes, still on the other side of his head, slowly rolled back. The young man took a deep breath, controlling himself and trying to keep his arm where they were.
“Everything is fine,” Gargon responded in his usual deep and calming voice.
“You were talking and drifted away… I thought…” Dante tried to smile but his bottom lip betrayed him and trembled.
“I shall bring you a book tonight. About you and me. It is time you knew.”
“Gargon… I didn’t… Please…”
“Don’t start. Enough is enough. Perhaps you can’t yet learn, but you can understand and read about it.” He stood up and started towards the door.
“But, I really…” Dante’s voice broke. Gargon left.
After exercising, Dante was on the bed recalling the day Soliph praised him. The last thing he remembered was a red bowtie on the floor and mother’s worried look. He closed his eyes and tried to fall asleep.
The butterfly was like any other — wings wide as an open book, gray as ash, fickle as a moment’s thought. Even so, in It, Dante saw a spark. He noticed small, flickering dots on Its body. Yes, that is his protection, and yes, maybe a gleam influenced his perception, but he was transfixed with that glittering afflux in the midst of darkness.
“Dante, Dante, lii-ii-kes butterflies!” his friends chanted, mocking him.
They were sitting on a cliff wet from rain, on top of a bare, earthy hill. The sun was shining painfully, letting its laden beams through heavy white clouds that were hanging low. Behind them rose Mount Mirtis. Dante snuck out of the castle so he could go through initiation. That wasn’t something the grownups knew about or would approve, but everyone who finished SOBS had to do it. Dante wasn’t happy about it. Philys, a boy with mischievous blue eyes and feathery, almost white, hair, handed him a stone. It was a true weapon, sharpened as an arrow’s head, ready to make a simple stick deadly. The butterfly shook. Dante clenched his jaw and swallowed his spit that tasted like a copper coin. What they expected of him was cruel and futile. He could hear heavy and broken breaths. His friends were talking to him but he didn’t understand them, their words muffled by that breathing. It was surprising to him that the butterfly could breathe so loudly. He lifted the stone and without hesitation lowered it between the wings of that magnificent creature. The breathing didn’t stop but the background noises returned and, while watching how dark, sticky blood spread around the rock, creating rivers and a small pool, he could hear joyous voices, laughter and from time to time feel someone pat his shoulder. Not long after that, he returned to the castle. There he was met with the news of a horrific accident and that they tried everything but they couldn’t save her and her last words were meant for him but the one she told them to wasn’t here at the moment and he needs to be patient and not cry because that isn’t suitable for a little prince and other nonsense on which he didn’t pay much attention.
That memory jerked him out of daydreaming.
Soon Garon came carrying two thick books bound in dark red leather. Before he gave them to Dante, he sat beside him and asked about his childhood and what it meant to be a demon. Dante frowned. He never wanted to be a demon. His hands began to sweat, his fingers became numb. He wished for Gargon to leave and never talk about it. But, that didn’t happen. Gargon was tenacious. Dante said he remembered, but that he could choose to be someone else… something else. Gargon laughed.
“My dear boy, you are what you are. Come to your senses and read these books. You will receive the third part soon.” Gargon got up, patted his shoulder thoughtfully and left.
And Dante listened. Not because of what Gargon said but because he realized this could help in his escape. Nevertheless, for a while, he just stared at the books, as if what was inside of them could jump out at any moment and attack him.
He was afraid and acted against his will. Because he remembered quite well what the message from his mother was: “You are not what you are. Take a shadow and it shall be revealed.” The first part he understood and up until now, he suppressed the fact that he was, as Gargon is, a demon. The second part, however, made no sense.
Gargon is a zverhano — dark mage of the First Order, appropriated for metamorphosis.
Dante was reading a theoretic book, more precisely the second tome under a simple title “Fields of Occult and its classes categorized in Magika duomon”. The first tome is a general introduction to Occult Magika duomon. The third one he is yet to receive.
“Fields of Occult” contain everything about demon magic and its division according to election. A demon can choose one animal he wishes to make himself into. Besides the physical aspect, he will gain its abilities, and so, as a coal bird, Gargon can see in the dark, including the infrared spectrum. One would assume the demons were coldblooded, and in any other sense they are, but it is a fact that their temperature is seven degrees Celsius higher than that of a humanlike.
While reading the first tome Dante began to train. He doesn’t know if he has the capabilities of becoming a mage of the First Order, but before all of that, he must learn how to create himself into a magical one. And that is not easy.
Even though he has mystic abilities, they are hidden. Creation means just what the word implies but on a spiritual level. Every demon and humanlike can choose one field of Magika. There are three — field of metamorphosis, of fighting (when you create yourself into a warrior), and field of abilities. The last one has many subfields: healer, earth-one, water-one and so on. Naturally, this differs from a mage that is a water-one, earth-one, or fire-one by election. For instance, an earth-one created by abilities can’t make water, he can only manipulate it or a substance that contains it. A mage who is a water-one by election can develop his capabilities so far that he is able to actually generate water, or another element, depending on election.
Dante wants to be an earth-one. It would feel good to help others in gardening, and to do it for himself, as well. He wouldn’t mind becoming a zverhano, either. He could be a bird. Not coal bird, but something else. Perhaps a cantrip. That is a special kind of coal bird, but indigo in color and with one white dot in the middle of its forehead. Those birds can fly for a very long time and are bigger than coal birds. Their wingspan can reach up to two meters. That way he could escape easily. He should tell that to Gargon when he returns during lunchtime.
He brought him some kind of meat and a little bit of bread. Dante ate it quickly.
Gargon left him with the third tome titled “Advanced knowledge in all fields of Magika duomon”. He studied for a long time, but many things were unclear to him. For example, if a mage created himself into a fire-one, he can never become a water-one, yet he could be partly an earth-one; but, if he chose to be an earth-one, he can’t be a fire-one, only partly water-one. Or, if he chose metamorphosis, he can’t use any of the elements. He would only receive the abilities of the animal into which he creates himself. That is not so bad. For instance, cantrip is speedy and stout, it can see in the dark, and doesn’t need sleep because it gains its energy from the moonlight. Dante liked the idea of becoming a bird more and more.
He was training until nightfall, but Gargon failed to show up. That happens sometimes, either he is too busy or Raksas is bothering him.