Arius Gaeus: The Forest Screams

I sat on the edge of my bed, where I'd sat hundreds of times before. The Demon Slayer Academy was my home, and I'd gotten used to the lonely sensation that seemed to blanket over me. Though I was known throughout the city, no one really knew me. I had no friends, I had no enemies. It was better this way. Wherever I went, sorrow went with me. It was almost like I had been cursed, forsaken from my very birth when my parents had been killed by a demon.

I sat there, pondering the early moments in my life, and how very different they would have been if I'd been able to share them with a family. Though I hated to admit it, I was lonely. I was quite lonely. Even though I didn't seem like it, I was. I tried to stay macho and hold up the whole Gaeus rep, but it was difficult to stifle emotion the way I did. So I decided to do what I usually did during my day. Train.

I ignored the strange, noise that I couldn't identify and instead pulled a book out of my old cabinet. I blew the dust off the inherited book, and opened it to the first page. This had been my dad's before he'd died. I recognized the spidery handwriting that adorned the page as his, and I began to read the Latin spells that he'd written on it. "Coruscus, accipio arcuo!" I exclaimed with my right palm up. I channeled the magic into my right palm, cutting off the flow when I was done. There hovered a shining orb or light, rays of gold and blue light stabbing outwards from its core. The orb's harsh light dimmed while I ran my hand over it.

I began to shape it, like it was my clay and I was the sculptor. This was my area of expertise, I imagined. I had to shape it into an animal. I fashioned it into the shape of a wolf, which darted around the room sprinting wildly around it. I heard the strange noise again, but I ignored it once more. The wolf of light shone so brightly, and I was happy with my beautiful creation.

"Aquila!" I exclaimed, using my own Latin vocabulary. The wolf jumped into the air, and mid flight, it shone so brightly I had to look away. When I looked back, an eagle flew around the room. I smiled at the bird, and it zoomed around the room, flying faster and faster. I looked down at the book, using the enlarging spell on it, which made it grow even bigger. I laughed as the bird did twirls in the open air, and my euphoria was washed away as my door opened. There, standing in the doorway was Therus.

I snapped my fingers, and the bird of light exploded into oblivion, showering bright sparks of energy along the ground. It was a beautiful sight for most people, but for me it was more symbolic. Everything good came to an end. Even magic. I hung my head low, my bronze curls covering my bright cobalt eyes. When I looked up, Therus was looking straight at me. "Arius," he said.

"Yes, Therus?" I asked. Therus had been my guardian for a short period of time before he'd claimed that I was too old to have a guardian, which was really just an excuse. Many people had asked to be my guardians, but I didn't want one. They had all said that they saw an amazing, handsome, smart boy when they saw me, and claimed that I was so well behaved that they wanted to take care of me.

I knew the real reason. I had powers that no one else did.

I was the best Demon Slayer in the city, but not many people knew that I'd even beaten Rex Taylor, but I'd been humble and I promised I wouldn't tell anyone. The thing was: I'd beaten him when I was ten.

I was now sixteen, one hundred times stronger than before, already past my prime. I knew I could still get better, even though I was among the best. I'd heard of many who I'd known were stronger than me, and I'd only strived to be even better.

"Aren't you supposed to be practicing for your exams?" Therus asked. That was the other thing: I hadn't even done my exams yet. I spoke a word in Latin, and bright flames coalesced into my palm. I waved my palm around me, allowing the flames to hover around my head. I spoke another word, and the flames turned into ice. The iciness crept along the flames, coating them until they were glinting in the light. I crushed my hand into a fist, and the ice shattered, the thousands of shimmering pieces floating above me. I pointed at Therus, and the thousand ice shards surged forwards, stopping inches before his face. Then, I waved my hands and said another word.

The ice melted on the spot, and I allowed the flow of water to curl into a sphere. Then, I pushed the water with heat, and it vanished, evaporating. He closed the door, obviously angry with my skills. That's when I heard the strange sound again. This time, I knew where it was coming from. The forest by the clearing near where I was. But this sound was different.

It was followed by a muffled scream.

The End

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