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Chapter 2: Training

Spirits… Magic… All of it seems unreal. If only I and my father never left Celestia, I wouldn’t have to be in this situation where I need to adjust and to learn new things every once in a while but I won’t blame my father or my mother either. I still don’t know anything about my family’s background and I am very eager to learn everything.

Thankful for her and her mother’s kindness, I am now doing my best to show Odette that their help is very much appreciated. Her mother taught me how to call the spirits and now, I already attained 3 spirits. The earth, water, and air spirits. I still don’t know how to use them but I know that I can do it.

“Safharra Academy would have their entrance trial in 4 days. It’s a good thing that you’ve been able to attain at least three spirits and I am so amazed that you were able to learn in just 3 days! You really are a Celestian.” Celestian. A word I’ve never heard before but being called by it is such an honor.

“It’s all thanks to you and Mrs. Elrod. I don’t know what would happen to me if you didn’t saw me in that forest that night.”

We are in front of their house, looking at the beautiful scenery below us while talking about stuffs. I don’t know a lot about Odette and her mother except that Mrs. Elrod is a spirit user and Odette is an air user so I think this is the best time to let her talk about them.

“If you don’t mind me asking, where is your father? From the very first time I saw you until now, I haven’t seen your father yet.” I looked at her after asking my question. She sighed so deeply and suddenly, I saw longing and sadness in her eyes. I shouldn’t have asked that.

“It’s okay if you can’t answer me right now, I see, it’s an insensitive question to ask.”

She sighed once more and held my left hand. Her hand is so cold and it gave me a weird but calming feeling. Her soft hands are so gentle, it makes me want to tear up.

“It’s alright. My father, he is a great man. He fights for the people of Behatti and serves for this kingdom. It’s just that… He was killed by his own friend which he has trusted the most. They were both guardians in the Palace of Behatti because they were werewolves who are credible to guard the palace. One time, my father’s friend made him drink wine which was poisoned. It killed my father immediately and none of the people in the palace noticed something. It turned out that that man, who was my father’s so-called friend is an enemy who came from the Kingdom of Artemis. He flew to Artemis right after the incident.”

Her story gave me chills. I didn’t know that betrayal is also a thing here in Celestia but one thing’s for sure, that man should have been imprisoned or punished for what he did to Odette’s father. My curiosity suddenly built up inside of me and I felt the urge to learn more about Celestia. She mentioned something like ‘Kingdom of Artemis’ and I feel that it has something to do with me in finding my mother.

“I’m sorry for your loss. I hope you and your family finds justice in what had happened to your father. My father was abducted by the dark spirits so I know how it felt. It must be really hard for you to accept it but I know, some time, you’ll find yourself forgiving and accepting it all. It just takes a lot of time.” I said as I held both of her hands who are now receiving warmth from mine. Some strands of her orange hair are being swept by the wind so I’m clearly seeing the sadness in her eyes. I know she’ll get through it after some time.

“I also hope that you’ll find your mother and finally reunite with your father. Let’s just hope that nothing bad happened to your father as the dark spirits took him. Let’s heal together, Celine. Let’s promise to ourselves that we’ll forgive and accept everything but before that, let us now practice your soul art.” We both laughed a bit by the sudden change of topic.

“But wait, you mentioned earlier that your father was a werewolf. Are you a werewolf too?” I honestly don’t believe in fantasies like werewolves but as a Celestian, I should accept that everything unreal and impossible could happen here. It just happened that I knew it all just in the past few days.

“I am, too, but not as natural as my father. I was cursed by a witch who distorted the natural effect of being a werewolf in me. Instead of turning into a werewolf whenever I want, I just turn into one when I am in trouble. It wasn’t very useful because when I turn into one, I become very wild and aggressive. It’s all out of my control and I hurt random people, that’s worst.”

Knowing these things about Odette makes me sad. She doesn’t deserve it. She’s a good person and I know that she’ll never hurt someone, especially the innocent.

“The witch was my aunt, my father’s sister. She never wanted her brother to have a family with normal Celestians like my mother. She only wants my father to marry a werewolf too, because she hates all the normal Celestians. I don’t know the reason though so I won’t judge her without knowing her side.”

So pure. Odette’s heart shines with radiant pureness and kindness.

“Whatever the reason is, I’ll still respect her as my aunt. I actually accepted my curse and it doesn’t bother me anymore but, it still saddens me that I can’t use my ability for hunting. If I was able to do so, maybe my mother and I won’t have to endure eating vegetables and fruits all days of our lives. It’s okay for me though but I kinda miss the taste of meat.” We laughed at that thought.

“I promise, if we succeed in our plans, we’ll eat lots of meat. I’m sure there are lots of it in Lastra.” I said with a smile. I badly want to have more time to bond with Odette. I’m sure she’ll be the best friend that I’ll ever have in this world. I’ve never had a best friend in the outside world because dad forbid me. He only wants me to stay at our house which made me an introvert. Turns out, he only wants to protect me.

“Yes. Lastra has it all. I remember one time, Father took me to Lastra and we bought lots of food. Everyone respects my Father because he is a guardian so we became the center of attention that day. It was kind of fun.” I sense longing in her voice. I wish she could have her father back but that seems impossible.

She stood up and shook off all the dirt that went clinging onto her dress. I did the same.

“Come, let’s practice again. This time, I’ll let you try using your spirits.” She held my hand and I just followed her.

*****

It’s so hard! I never thought that using spirits would be this hard! My hands are already swelling and I still can’t do a thing. This is so frustrating!

“Can this thing be easier?” I asked out of frustration. Odette just smiled which gave me motivation to continue what I’m doing.

“Point your palm on the water, imagine the water running through your hands and then you’ll see the magic.” I don’t know how many times she has said those words already. I’m doing it for a hundred times now and nothing’s happening.

I concentrated and did what she said. I placed my hands just above the river’s water and closed my eyes. I focused on my senses and imagined that the water is running through my hands just like what Odette told me to do. This time, I felt a slight sting on my fingertips who made me open my eyes.

“Congratulations! You did it!” Odette clapped her hands in amusement.

I flipped my hands and there I saw a ball of water floating on my palms. I smiled widely and faced Odette who’s now giggling in excitement. Finally! I did it.

I tried touching the ball with my other hand but it just popped. Water splashed on my palm, wetting mine and Odette’s dress. We laughed together when it did.

“Now, do it again. With full concentration. You’ll do it again and again until you learn the right tactic. Just remember, you are using the spirit of water, you should call it and ask for it’s help only in your mind.” Odette passionately said.

Hours passed and we still are in the front of Mari River to practice my skills. It suddenly became easy. I didn’t know what happened but I’m glad that I’ve been able to do it. Thanks to Odette. There are no people nearby so we are freely doing stuffs to practice my skill. Odette sometimes orders me to splash water at a certain direction, adjusting it’s speed and impact. I learned everything so fast. Maybe I was really born to do this. It’s just frustrating that Dad isn’t the one who’s teaching me this kind of things, I want him to do so.

“Congratulations Celine! You really did it. Tomorrow, we will focus on your earth and air skills.” I nodded as an answer.

I opened my hand and gazed at the beautiful pearls who are dancing on my palm. One is colored brown, the other is blue and the other is light blue. They all represent the colors of the three spirits I have obtained. The earth, air, and water spirits. I still have one more pearl left and I think it indicates that I can still attain one more spirit. I wish it would be the fire spirit.

We’re now walking back to their house after a tiresome day of practicing. I’m just very thankful that Odette has a very long patience because if not, I think she has surrendered teaching me a long time ago.

“I think you still have one more spirit left.” Odette said as she gazed on my palms. I think she read my mind or something.

“What could it be?” I asked. But still, I want it to be the fire spirit.

“I think you can handle the special spirit.” Special spirit?

“What is it?”

“It heals all wounds, repairs everything that has been destroyed but only in the human body. I think you’ll need it when time has come. I mean, I’m not invalidating your skills but… It’s better to be prepared than not preparing something at all. I heard that Saffhara Academy makes trials who are difficult to pass through.” I was shocked by what she said. I didn’t remember enrolling at Safharra these past few days. I suddenly felt scared.

“How can I attain a special spirit? Where can I find it?” I asked curiously.

“Let’s ask mother when we get home.”

We silently walked our way home after that. I made myself busy by looking at our surroundings which made me amused again. I really can’t believe that I’m in a world which I didn’t imagined that I will encounter. I even had a friend who’s an air user and a half werewolf. I was taught by her mother on how to call the spirits and I got to see dark spirits outside Celestia who took my father. Sometimes, I just want to slap myself and go back to reality, hoping that I just mistook this world as the reality but it seems to be not. If it is all a dream, then it is a long and tiring one.

“We call this an Enchanted forest. Everything here enchants everyone, including the normal people who got themselves in Celestia. Remember the spirits who played with you that night? I think they mistook you as a stranger… or they know about your soul art and are trying to welcome you in Celestia.” Odette said as we walk. I think we’re getting near to their house because the surrounding’s getting familiar.

“Yeah, I think it’s the latter. They aren’t harming me though, so I think they know about my soul art.”

We got home in a few minutes. It’s a tiring day but it’s worth to learn lots of things about my power. My hands are a little bit heavy, I guess it’s because of simultaneously using it to force the magic to come out but I can still manage. A couple hours of rest will do.

“How’s your day, beautiful young ladies?” A big man with an abundant beard welcomed us in the house’s front door. I was kind of shocked and confused. Who is he? Odette never told me about other relatives or neighbors who lives near this place.

“Uncle Steven? Uncle Steven! It’s you! Oh, gosh it’s really you!” Odette ran towards the man and gave him a warm, tight hug. I see, it’s his uncle.

I smiled as the relatives embrace each other.

“I missed you! You didn’t visit us for a long time!” Odette said after the long warm hug.

“Uncle Steven is busy with his job. You know, Lastra is a busy place! Work here, work there, and work everywhere but it doesn’t matter as long as I earn gold.” The man said in a low, almost cracking voice. He took something from his pocket and pulled out a small pouch.

“Gold!” Odette excitedly took the pouch from his Uncle’s big hand and opened it.

“Come on Celine! I’ll show you.”

I went beside her and peeked at what was in the pouch. To be honest, it was my very first time to see real gold! Celestia really has it all.

“So, shall we get in? I badly want to talk to you, young lady.” I looked up at Uncle Steven and smiled. I can sense that he’s a good person and with good intentions. I’m not good at judging people but I think my guess was right.

We went inside the house and sat at the wooden chair at their house’s living room. Their house was a bit old styled but I think it suits the vibe here in Celestia just like what is shown in fantasy movies. It gives me early Europe vibes but I haven’t seen any painting so I think it might just be a coincidence.

“Well, I’ll introduce myself first.” Uncle Steven sat at the wooden chair proportional to mine while Odette went to the kitchen to help her mother in preparing the food.

“I’m Steven Boulder, Paulina Elrod’s brother. We’re half siblings actually but, doesn’t matter. I heard about you from Paulina and I think I can help you. I’m a worker at Lastra and I know a mentor who can help the both of you to get in Safharra without actually taking the examinations.” My eyes widened because of what he just said.

“Is it possible?” I asked, seeking for a hint of hope.

“Yes, trust in me. Hey Paulina, they should come with me tomorrow to Lastra.”

“Isn’t it too early?” Mrs. Elrod entered the room with a tray of food in her hands.

“No. The early, the better.”

And just like that, our day ended. Mr. Boulder decided to bring us to Lastra tomorrow with him so Odette and I prepared our things already. I have no clothes so Odette gave me some of hers. Her dresses suited me better.

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