Chapter 36

The cold pouring rain over the small and frail body of a small child. His degrading body and sickness darkened his bright blue eyes. Tiny strands of white hair soaked from the rain, sitting with his mother as she held him close. Her sunken cheeks reflected the state of her starvation. However, she did her best to take care of her young son.

Townsfolk walked past with disdain and spite for the two white-haired individuals. The curse of Nix was strong in both of them; the peering yellow eyes of the mother looked frantically to see if she could scavenge what she could for the both of them.

“Caleb… Stay here; I am going to find us some food.” She spoke with a gasp between words. Her strength was limited and poor from malnutrition.

“Mhm.” The young Caleb could only nod and watch as his mother wobbled to her feet and began to look for any scraps she could find.

Darting from the small alleyway, she quickly surveyed all the usual spots and checked for anything. She came up short of nothing, and her heart grew heavy with sadness. Every single thought that went into her mind was of her child. He was the only thing precious to her in this world; he was her pride and joy, and she would do anything for him.

“I’m sorry… Can I help you?” An elderly woman’s voice calls out. Stopping Cassandra in her place, she looks at the woman with fright.

“A…Ahh…” Too weak to speak or out of fear of trouble, Cassandra wallows back into the alley like a small creature afraid.

“I’m not going to hurt you dear. Poor thing, look at you; this isn’t a way for someone as beautiful as you to live such a life.” The woman was correct. Despite the hallowed cheeks, Cassandra was undoubtedly beautiful, more beautiful than most nobility and royalty. Only the white hair and yellow eyes caused a look of concern for those afraid of her presence.

The old woman hunched over and approached her with a gentle smile, carrying a small bin of what smelled like bread and some meat, possibly a homemade meal. The scent of the steaming food and bread caused Cassandra to salivate at the mouth abruptly and her stomach to rumble. The woman notices her desire, and with a simple thought, she reaches into the bin, pulls out a nicely cooked loaf of bread, and presents it to her.

“Here, I’m afraid my appetite isn’t as good as it was when I was your age. Don’t be afraid, take it.” Her smile was genuine and pure. Cassandra didn’t sense any malice behind it.

“T-Thank you…” She accepts the gift and looks at it with a hearty smile. But soon, a look of gloom replaces her smile.

The old woman tilts her head, confused, before she realizes the extent of her situation. A heavy smile that burdens her heart. Reaching into the bin one last time, she pulls out a mix of cooked meats and fruits. She presents them as well to her.

“Take care of yourself. I know what it means to have a child.”

Tears stream down Cassandra’s eyes as she embraces the gift; with a simple nod, she shows her respect for the kind gesture and charity of the woman and blesses her within her heart. Knowing that their interaction together would bring unwanted attention, Cassandra turns from the woman and hurries to her son. The old woman places her hand on her chest and sighs, wishing her the best. Cassandra rushes while holding the pieces of food close.

“Looks like we have a small beast in the streets. Better take care of it before it gets any more feral.” A group of voices rings around the corner, causing Cassandra to grow cautious. She peaks around the corner to see a group of guards cornering Caleb. The young boy looks frightened with no energy to move.

Before Cassandra could act, one of the guards punched the small child in the side of his head, knocking him to the ground and bleeding from the hit.

“Caleb!” Cassandra calls out her son and quickly bursts from her location to aid her son. The guards rapidly reacted and stopped her before she could reach him. She begins to flail her arms to protest against them, but they soon push her down to the floor, spilling the food she had gained to the ground. 

“Ahh, s***. There’s the mom.” The leader of this group grows annoyed and cracks his neck as he turns to kick the young boy in the ribs. The sounds of cracking can be heard as Caleb coughs violently and cries in pain.

“Hey, captain! Do we have to check in soon?”

“Huh? Of course, our rotation is almost over. If they catch us over, we will surely be in some deep s***.”

“Tsk, they are making our rotations longer but not giving us anything for it.”

“If you have time to complain, you got time to finish up.”

“Yes, sir!”

“F*** me, I thought I could have a bit more fun, especially since it was a woman this time. Gah!” Out of frustration, the snarky guard punches Cassandra and kicks her in the stomach as well. Leaving both her and her child beaten and bleeding. 

They quickly leave as the rain begins to pour even harder; the sounds of thunder and flashes of lightning cover the anguish in Cassandra’s cries. Giving her the courtesy of hiding her pain from the public. With bloody teeth, Cassandra gets to her knees, crawls toward her son, and lifts him to her lap. Tears roll down her cheek and onto his face. Without hesitation, she grips her artifact and begins to chant into it. A moment passes before she recites the spell, and a golden white light envelops her child, quickly healing his wounds and stopping the bleeding.

She pours the last of her strength into healing him entirely as she feints with him in her arms. Her wounds proved to be more severe than realized. Hope turned to despair, and she seemed to be losing the last of her will to live. Until the sounds of footsteps began to approach, it sprung her to awake and cradle her child.

“Cassandra?” A familiar voice speaks out.

“Un..uh… Valum?” Her eyes sparked to life once more as the man she loved for what felt like ages approached her.

It was that this day she made a deal and parted with the one thing that kept her alive, the one thing that kept her fighting for survival. She watched as her son was taken by his noble father, a man she knew she could trust. A man who gave his heart to her despite the problems it would have caused for them. She gave Caleb one last kiss before he was taken away. Reaching out, she clutched onto her long-lost love and pleaded to him.

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“Please… Take care of him… Take care of our son… Caleb needs you to protect him…! I know what I ask is selfish…but please listen to me and-“

Only allowed on

Caleb stirred in the bed. His wounds were bandaged, and his body was hot in sweat. The vision of his mother brought him pain and sorrow. He clenched his hands tightly and breathed heavily. The young elf girl and her grandfather watched over him as he struggled in his nightmare.

Calling for his mother, Caleb tried to reach for her but found his strength to lack. Despite his wounds being treated, he lacked the function to move properly. The terrible incident of defeat brought his nightmares as a small child back. He was fighting to survive on scraps and living in constant sickness. The pain weighed heavily, and soon, he coughed and felt his chest burn from the cracked ribs.

“G..Gahh..!” Straining from the intense emotions pouring from his mind. A spark of blue radiated from his hand. The small spark startles the girl as she watches as another streak of blue twirls around his hand. 

The crackling sound of energy begins to expand, and a flash of blue shoots from his hand, striking the wall and causing a loud thunderous blast. The elf shoots to her feet out of fright, and the grandfather steps in front of her to defend her.

With a sudden twist, the blue energy in his palm expands before it dissipates. When they believe it to be safe again, Caleb’s arm begins to steam red hot, and the smell of sulfur and charcoal stinks the room. In a fraction of a second, a spark of blue lightning emits between his fingertips, all hit at a central point, which expands and ignites in a bright red flame. Unknown to Caleb, the burning sensation in his hand doesn’t wake him as a burst of flame protrudes out of his palm.

“Yula, stay back! His magic is becoming unstable!” The buffed tan dwarf guards his precious elf granddaughter, placing his thick fingers around her shoulder and pushing her back to keep her out of harm’s way.

“Grandpa!” She slips past his grip and rushes to Caleb. He reaches for her and protests her to stay back.

She bravely reaches and clasps Caleb’s hand. The flames burst around her hands and attempt to climb up her arm. She cries in pain as the fire quickly burns her flesh. The dwarf quickly lurches forward to remove her hands, but she doesn’t let go.

“Yula! He is only going to hurt you! Let go, child!” Jerking her back, she can keep her firm grip.

“No! He is scared! He won’t calm down unless we do something!” She grits her teeth while speaking; the pain is nothing she has felt before, and quickly, she holds her breath and prays her gamble will work.

Before it can continue any longer, Caleb’s cries begin to end, and so do the flames from his hand. Yula continues to hold onto his hand, providing him some comfort. She looks at the young boy who helped her escape the alleyway. The amount of pain she was in was nowhere close to what he was feeling, and she knew that completely…

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