I sat up, wide awake. Alyssa's screams still echoed through my head. The members of the Shadow Clan (an ancient race bent on doing evil) had taken her.
Why did they want me? What could I possibly have done to enrage them?
I jumped out of bed and instantly dressed myself with a click of my fingers. I hurried out of my house and into the forest. I needed to find Alyssa. I couldn't let her die.
Another aspect of my dream returned to me. Lupin screaming...
I transported myself to the bedroom where he was lying in a pool of blood.
"My friend..." I picked him up and transported us to his garden. The flowers were wilting and the sky was grey, reflecting on his condition. I found a marble fountain and scooped the icy water out of it, splashing it on Lupin's face.
He awoke, gasping.
"Horatio! Alyssa! Taken! Three cloaked men."
"Hush, my friend. I know."
"You need to rescue her. Please," he implored me. "I could not live if she died."
"I have to heal you first. At least they will spare Alyssa for a while. But you, oh Lupin. Your condition is so grave..."
"I'll be fine," he said quickly. "Please - Alyssa is our main priority." He coughed. I could see his anxiety had a great strain on him.
"Sh," I murmured. I carried him over to a pool. The water was warm and I knew it would heal Lupin.
I put Lupin into the pool, helping him take off his shirt so that the water would soak into his wounds. He winced as the magical liquid stung him.
"I'll be alright, now," he insisted. "Go and find Alyssa."
"I don't know where they've taken her."
"Then look for her. Search every corner of this world until you find her. Promise me you will not stop until she is found." Pain filled Lupin's eyes. "I love her, Horatio."
"I do too," I murmured, my voice barely audibly.
Lupin looked confused for a minute. And then furious. "You are the cause for her nightmares!"
"What?" I asked.
"Alyssa! She has been suffering dreadful nightmares and all because of you."
"How do you know it is me?"
"She kept calling out your name and spoke of being pushed away, of you wanting her dead! What did you do to her?!"
"I merely told her I didn't love her and that she'd be better off with you."
"Oh, Horatio," Lupin said exasperatedly. "Look, everyone commits errors. And yes, you felt guilty for hurting Alyssa's feelings. But love is about forgiveness. Love brings out the best in a person. Alyssa still loved you, despite what you said to her. You should have allowed her to love you again! Not put her through this agony where she feels she has done wrong."
"I cannot do that now," I pointed out. "You two are married."
Lupin sighed. "That is true. But things still shouldn't be this way..."
"I will not come between you," I promised him. "At least Alyssa is somewhat happy now. Once I have rescued her, I shall bring her back to you and I will not trouble you unless you call for me. You deserve happiness, my friend, and I truly believe that Alyssa will benefit from having a husband like you."
"Do not put yourself down," Lupin murmured. "You know I have always admired you for wanting to become a Guardian Spirit."
"Look what happened, though," I said bitterly.
Lupin shook his head. "I shall respect your decision, Horatio. But if Alyssa shows you affection during your rescue, please do not push her away. I would rather know she was happy than hiding deep sadness."
I sighed. "You are so considerate, Lupin. I wish I was more like you."
"You can be," he said quietly. "You just need to forgive yourself for your wrongs."
With that, I transported out of the garden, returning to my forest. I breathed in deeply the clean, refreshing air, before setting about my task. I was going to make a ring of stones and call out to the Land Spirit to help me find Alyssa.
Alyssa... Part of me hoped she would indeed, as Lupin phrased it, 'show me affection', but part of me could understand why she wouldn't want to.
As I gathered and laid out the small rocks, I whispered a silent prayer that she wasn't injured or unwell.