Part 2, Pride
The Man of the Skies flew off, leaving Lalna to his own thoughts. He sighed, sitting on the back of his chair and putting his face in his hands. For the first time in a while, Lalna just thought. Not with numbers, or other languages, just his own thoughts.
“It’s not hard,” Lalna realized.
“No,” Rythian’s voice answered. “It’s not.”
Anger rose up within Lalna, but with a quick exhale, it faded again. I should hate you.
“Oh you should,” Lalna felt him smiling. But if you did, I’d be just empty emotions.
“How’s Zoey?” Lalna asked.
Christ, Duncan. I’m surprised you haven’t shut me out yet. She’s alright. Sleeping off some of the magic she had in her system. Still a bit phased.
Lalna felt Rythian’s anger and his grief and his liquid rage towards Lalna himself. Yet the alchemical mage didn’t respond to that small note, or acknowledge it. “You realize what you’re sort of… giving me sight to, right?”
“Oh, I know. It’ll backfire on me, but… I’ve had my share fair of talks with Ridge. In all my years, your pain triumphs.”
Lalna smiled, his eyes tracing the walls of his castle. “Can you tell me about her?”
Lalna felt Rythian shift in his stance. The alchemical mage was leaning against a wall, with Tee’s arrows raining outside and Zoey curled up on the couch.
“She’s definitely unique. She’s so herself, in this world of madness.” Tapping into the mage’s mind a bit more, Lalna felt Rythian’s fierce protectiveness towards the technomage that he’d put his life before her. He decided to let Rythian see the same.
For a second, the two of them couldn’t almost be told apart, the emotions they had for Zoey. Then Rythian closed the door, mentally, on that emotion and Lalna was left in his old, clinical feelings.
“Why do you want revenge?” Lalna asked him. “All it does is cause madness.”
“Why do you set a nuke under our base? Why did, years ago, your blade tore the world to shreds?” Rythian countered. “It’s the same reason, Lalna.”
“I don’t understand,” The scientist replied.
“Fair enough,” Rythian answered. “Fairness is such a little thing that should matter, but at the end of the world with an apple between two men… Fairness is all to them.”
“I still don’t…” Lalna sighed.
“You will, in given time. But remember this, scientist, perhaps now we stand on a neutral platform in the skies, but the next time we stand face to face, we are both falling.”
There the thick scent of perfumey magic, and Rythian was gone from Lalna’s mind. The moment he was gone, Lalna collapsed, anger turning his limbs to jelly. What did Rythian, in his right mind, have the pleasure of coming into Lalna’s and reading his thoughts like a book!? What reason did he!
He slumped against his desk leg, burying his face into the red rug beneath him.
“Fairness is such a little thing,” Lalna whispered, lifting the rug. Beneath it was a black and white photograph, taken by Ridge, years ago.
Two children stood on it, a small girl with wild red hair, playing in the sand; while a little freckled blonde boy danced around her. Behind them, stood a half-blaze man, the man who saved Lalna’s mother from falling into the lava. She stood, her mossy green eyes smiling at him from the still.
In the background, past the marble house and the treetop cottage, in the shadows stood a young boy, with violet eyes and messy brown hair. A woman stood behind him, her arm lightly on his shoulder.
Lalna’s eyes burned, and he couldn’t stop the salty teardrops that traced his cheeks. Nor could he stop the memories that climbed back to the surface of his mind, Zoy and Lan, adventures forever.
Back at the makeshift Blackrock Castle, Zoey woke. She had the weirdest dream… she was playing in the sand… with a little blonde boy.