Chapter 2 - THE MAGE AND THE ARCHER
"DAMMIT KAGE JUST CAST IT! IT'S A LEVEL 1 SPELL, TODDLERS CAN PULL THIS OFF IT SHOULDN'T BE THIS DIFFICULT!"
"Stop it Zin you know I don't do well under pressure, besides you of all people should know how dangerous firebolt can be, what if I burn my hands?"
"EXACTLY! I know exactly how dangerous it can be, you've done it before so now we just need to teach you how to control it, why else do you think I spent the rest of our money on that wand?"
"YOU DID WHAT!?"
"FOCUS! You want to eat tonight right?"
"Why do you always gotta do this? Take things to the extreme. I feel like you are doing this to spite me, you said you weren't mad so why do you keep punishing me?"
"Pushing! Not punishing, if I don't light a fire under your ass you stay stagnate and we won't be able to survive out here on our own without both of us giving it our all so please just focus."
Kage closed his eyes and let out a big sigh, he inspected his wand and thought to himself how could Zin afford such a beautiful object. It was carved from a petrified oak tree and held a ruby gem at its peak which gave the appearance of a fruit hanging from a branch. Kage raised his arm and began to chant.
"From the depths of my soul I beseech the power of my will, FIRE BO-L"
Before kage could finish his incantation a thick layer of fog surrounded Zin's feet until a cloud formed behind her and out from the cloud appeared an older man in a robe"
"I FOUND YOU YOU DAMN ROACH"
The man in the robe casted a spell which conjured chains that wrapped around Zin. In a panicked state Kage pointed the wand at the robed man grasping it with both hands.
"LET HER GO NOW!"
"HA *hiccup* YOU CAN BARLEY H-HOLD THAT WAND WITH ONE HAND."
Suddenly Kage's eyes began to glow a bright purple as he shouted out an incantation for fire bolt. Just as a giant ball of flame started to appear at peak of the wand the man in the robe tossed Zin to the side while simultaneously casting a spell that shot out a jetstream of water out of his palm effectively countering the firebolt spell while knocking Kage down leaving him drenched from head to toe. While knocked down the caster freezes Kage's hands and feet rendering him trapped.
"HAVE YOU *hiccup* GONE MAD BOY? Do you truly intend on saving your sister by blowing her up?
"S-she's not my sister"
"THAT'S NOT WHAT YOU SHOULD BE WORRIED ABOUT KAGE!"
"AHHHHH*hiccup*HHHH, a love interest perhaps?"
Both Zin and Kage screamed collectively "NO" Laughing, the man in the robe removed his hood, his face was dirty as if he had just awoken from the alley by the local tavern. His hair seemed to be a shade of pink and he had a white beard. The man reached in the sleeve of his robe, pulled out a flask and took a swig.
"Boy I'm going to be honest with you, *hiccup* I've only seen someone with your eyes once. Most casters' eyes either glow red or blue when casting their magic but your eyes seem to be a combination of both."
Taking another swig from his flask the man goes into what seems to be a drunken rant.
"As you know, mana was filled into this world by the tears of the gods that washed away the world before ours, filling our oceans with celestial energy which enriched the next generation of inhabitants on this planet with the gift of magic. Thing is *hiccup* not everyone can use magic, not unless they can see the mana that surrounds us or wield a magical tool. However, real casters can see the mana that surrounds everything, harness it and cast spells. The more mana you are able to see and pull from increases the strength of the spell. In regards to the hue of the glow from the eyes its not known why some people's eyes glow red or why they glow blue and the unknown breeds *hiccup* fear and with fear breeds irrational humans. The magic world ended up being divided by red eyed casters and blue eye casters as sometimes people believe themselves to be superior due to the hue of their eyes when they cast but I believe that to be *hiccup* irrelevant. My eyes personally glow red but I've encountered casters on pa…. Well almost on par with my own abilities. It's not the hue of the caster's eyes but the heart and mind of the caster that truly makes them great. The utilization of magic brings endless possibilities and to use it to help those in need is its true purpose…. What a load of bullshit, hahaha hahaha haha*hiccup*aaaaaa
The man took another swig of his flask until it ran dry. In a drunken stumble he puts the mouthpiece to his left eye while closing his right as if he is looking through a telescope. Seemingly distracted by his empty flask out from behind himself an arrow flies from out the bushes striking the man in the back of the head knocking him to the floor.
"HA! I thought he'd never shut up, I got you Kage."
Zin rushed to Kage's aid and started striking his frozen wrists with the back side of her dagger. This dagger in particular was no ordinary blade, in fact it's a magical tool used to dispel other magic. Once Zin struck Kage's frozen wrists and ankles with the hilt end of the dagger the ice broke apart seamlessly. Just as Zin freed Kage the body that the arrow hit suddenly unformed and turned into a pile of mud and from the ground more chains were conjured that rapped around both Zin and Kage effectively tying them both together.
"Well that was *hiccup* rude, anyways I should just take your eyes, they'd fetch for a pretty high price. Just think all the booze I could buy with the money hehehehe."
The robed mage starts drunkenly stumbling towards Zin and Kage and unsheathes a knife from within his baggy sleeve.
“Get the hell away from him old man, if you dare lay a finger on a single strand of Kage’s hair I’ll kill you!”
Zin in a frustrated rage started squirming around attempting to get free but all she managed to do was knock Kage off balance and they both ended up falling to the floor. The old man in the robe started laughing in a loud obnoxious way as he put away the knife he pulled out.
“Calm down girl I was simply amusing myself, I love getting a kick out of you hahaha. Common, let's get out of here. There have been warnings of wolf attacks around this area and the sun is about to start setting, besides, you owe me a drink.”
The old man in the robe raises one hand as it glowed a light red hue and suddenly both Zin and Kage started to levitate and were carried away by the old man in the robe. Kage started to mumble an incantation and his eyes again began to glow a purple hue.
“Hey now didn’t I tell you two to calm down?”
The old man casted a spell that put a thin layer of ice over Kage’s mouth leaving him unable to finish the incantation.
“YOU’LL FREEZE HIS LIPS OFF! UN-DO THE SPELL NOW!!!!”
Laughing the old man goes to take another swig from his flask forgetting he already drank it all.
“He’ll be alright, he’s tough right? Besides, the more pressing matter is me getting a refill on my drink. TO THE *hiccup* TAVERN!”
Suddenly a cloud of smoke surrounded all of them until nobody could see and when the smoke finally cleared they were suddenly in the Tavern. Still floating in the air the old man calls to Ellen the bartender while simultaneously releasing the spell that had both Zin and Kage in chains resulting them falling to the floor.
“Alright lets see how much you got.”
The old man pulls out Zin’s money pouch from his sleeve and empties it onto the counter.
The old man looks back at Zin with a disappointed face.
“This isn’t even enough to give me a buzz let alone pay for my post ale meal.”
“How did you even…..”
With a confused face Zin eventually accepted defeat, she knew there was no way to get the jump on this Old man unless he couldn't detect her so she decided to grab Kage and sit beside him as he chugged down the ale Ellen had just given him.”
“I have a question, how are you able to cast magic without any incantations? Every time Kage casts he can barely cast even with one but I've seen him do it without one before."
Seemingly interested the old man takes a look at Kage, as their eyes met Kage became nervous and put his head down to hide his face.
“I don’t have to tell anything to you brats I got your *hiccup* money now so you guys can get eaten by the wolves for all I care."
"Common old man don't be like that, just answer some questions I have, I'll even fill your mug"
With a Smug look on her face Zin was bouncing a coin pouch that belonged to the old man.
"When did you…."
"Like I said old man just answer some questions and I'll fill your mug."
With a puzzled look on his face the old man busted out laughing.
"HAHAHAHAHA I *hiccup* LIKE YOU ZIN, you're resourceful, foolish yet brave and it seems you're competent enough to back it up, as for your friend Kage here…. I don't know why someone with your skill associate with this sorry excuse of a caster."
Trying to find the courage to speak for himself, Kage was biting the side of his right thumb, it's a nervous tick of his. Seeing this Zin gave the old man a cold stare.
"Don't bad mouth Kage or I'll cut out your tongue with my blade."
The old man laughed off her threat while finishing the rest his drink, before he could put the mug down Zin signaled Ellen to bring the old man a refill.
"Enough of the small talk how do you cast without needing incantations."
"It's all a matter of feel, mental stability is the key. A clear mind *hiccup* sees all is what my master use to say to me. The purpose of the incantation was to separate the Red casters from the Blue, if you notice it's a little different when each perform their incantation. It's always from the depths of my soul when they are Red eye casters and when they are blue it's *hiccup* from the depths of my mind. This doesn't really serve any purpose though. They believe it hones your magical ability to better focus your spells but the same can be accomplished by simply taking a few deep breaths before casting. Plus it's ridiculous why would I tell my enemy what type of spell I'm using *hiccup* it's completely nonsensical. Honestly that's how I was able to counter when your partner attempted that fire bolt spell."
The old man then directed his attention towards kage.
"Do you realize you could have burned the entire field we were on with that one cast? Are you insane? How could you extract so much mana to produce a firebolt that size? Most likely due to your purple eyes I'd imagine, regardless now you answer my question boy. Zin informed me that you casted without incantation before, tell me the story of how this happened.
Kage gave Zin a worried expression as if he didn't want to tell the story.
"Go ahead Kage I don't mind."
"OUT WITH IT BOY!"
"Its alright Kage I'll tell it. To truly understand what happened I gotta take you back to where we met. My father was very abusive and made life a living hell ever since my mother passed away giving birth to me, I think he always resented me for that, not only that but he was a degenerate drunk who only lived for buying his next bottle. He taught me how to pickpocket and steal so that I could go into town getting him valuables to sell and spend on liquor and prostitutes. Initially I went along because it made him happy and he wouldn't beat on me but on days I couldn't get him something valuable to sell he would punish me by whipping me with that damn belt of his and forcing me to sleep outside. Well one night in the middle of winter he beat me real good I mean I couldn't even move my body to cover myself with a blanket but Kage found me and made me a fire so that I could stay warm. He came by the house every night to see if i would be there, sometimes he would bring me food though I never really knew where he was getting it from. It got to the point where I would actually look forward to being forced to sleep outside just so I could see him, I was just about to give up on my life but Kage gave me something I never knew existed and for that I owe him my life. One night my father was really drunk I mean more than usual, it was my birthday or as my father called it the day I killed my mother. On my birthday I use to get it a lot worse but this past birthday in particular my dad seemed to be different. Usually he beat me but never had a murderous intent behind it but instead of whips my dad punched and kicked me. He eventually grabbed me by my neck and was strangling me, seeing this from the outside Kage casted a firebolt spell that ended up burning down my entire house, he came in and got me out but my father never escaped. We have been living together ever since and honestly not a day goes by where I don't thank Kage, I mean he saved my life twice and he still feels he's in debt to me for killing my father but if anything I owe him my life. So we will do anything to survive out here but making money is difficult but I know Kage has the potential to become an amazing wizard and then we can start tackling C and B rank requests and making some real money."
The old man looked at both Zin and Kage with a sympathetic look as a single tear fell from his eye.
"I'm all too familiar with tragic losses, you remind me so much of her…."
The old man chugs the rest of the mug and orders another
"You're lucky I got a soft spot for you kiddo, how about *hiccup* this, Since you two obviously have nowhere better to be, you shall accompany me and work as my apprentices. We will be taking on B ranked quests until you are fit to tackle A however I get all the *hiccup* profits. In return I'll ensure you have a roof over your head and food in your bellies, additionally I will take Kage under my wing and *hiccup* teach him what I can. Sounds good?"
"Why would you do this, I even stole your wand…. You better not be trying to do anything pervy old man!"
"I'd never do such a thing, besides I was interested in you two from the start. Someone who is able to pickpocket from me has to be *hiccup* skilled and to then realize it was you at such a young age shocked me, not only that but your accompanied by a purple eyed caster, I was planning on doing this from the start but I figured I have some fun first hahaha."
"Not that I'm the type to not accept praise but is really pickpocketing an old passed out drunk really worthy of praise."
"FOOLISH GIRL DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM? I AM ONE OF THE GREAT SAGES OF GARDINEA!"
"Could have fooled me, I don't even know your name old man."
"Hahaha that's right *hiccup* you can call me Rune Tobias."