The trio managed to reach the next town just after nightfall. For almost the whole afternoon, Sayumi had been trying to pick a fight with Ruki and once they found an inn that they could afford Sayumi got her wish. In their room Sayumi shouted at Ruki, “Why don't you just leave us alone! How do you even know that we are leading you to Sayumi anyway?! We could be leading you on a wild goose chase across the countryside to stall for her to escape!”
Ruki was starting to get sick of her attitude and replied, “For goodness sake! I'm paying for all your expenses on this whole damn trip, and you are busy whining about how you don't like me this entire time! You sound like a damn princess!” Sayumi's eyes widened a bit, and without even thinking she clenched her fist and punched Ruki on his left cheek. Ruki staggered back, pain sweeping through his mouth. Sayumi glared at him with all the rage that was in her heart and snarled, “I ain't no damn princess! Don't ever speak to me again, or I swear I will kill you!” With that, Sayumi stormed out of the room and slammed the door behind her.
Ruki looked at Will, who was shaking his head. Will sighed, “You touched a sore spot you idiot. Did you forget that she has been raised as a princess her whole life, only to find out that not only does she have no royal blood, but she is a half-elf orphan with nowhere to go?”
Ruki blinked, then he felt like a complete bastard. Will sighed again and added, “You don't know very much about women do you?”
Ruki shrugged and muttered, “Well, I never really talk to any women so of course not.”
Will got off his bed and walked over to Ruki. He put his arm across Ruki's shoulder and whispered, “I'll tell you a secret about that girl, something she may not even realize herself: she is incredibly lonely. All she really wants is someone to hold her tightly and tell her everything will be okay. However, in her current mood if you try and go near her... well, use your imagination.”
Ruki asked, “Why are you telling me this?”
Will smiled. “I think I figured out that prophecy, and it's very important that you try to get along with her. How good you want to get along, that's your choice.” Ruki eyes Will skeptically, but he really couldn't do anything, since elven minds are naturally immune to witch-folk. Ruki sighed and asked, “So what am I supposed to do?”
Will laughed and exclaimed, “Ruki, you have to figure it out for yourself! You won't have me here to give you advice when you get yourself in love with a girl and want to tell her how you feel! There are some things that a guy has to figure out for himself.” Ruki moaned, and Will patted his back as he left to go find Sayumi.
“I don't understand, why did you agree to let him travel with us?” Sayumi asked angrily as she took a swig of ale. “He could figure out who I am at any moment and kill me!”
Will sighed. He almost couldn't believe how hopeless she was. “Don't you think you're forgetting something about warlocks? Do you remember what their abilities are?”
Sayumi scowled and replied, “Well, there's flying, moving things with their thoughts, and mind... reading...” Sayumi almost dropped her mug. “Wait a minute, that means that he knows what I'm thinking? He knows what I'm thinking right now?! That must mean he knows who I am!!” Sayumi was starting to panic, then she froze and blurted in confusion, “Then why hasn't he killed me yet?”
Will smiled. “Well, apparently Eliah is such a treacherous person even the most desperate of people don't trust him.” Will went on to tell her the things Ruki had been telling him before; about his family, and the prophecy.
Sayumi frowned and asked, “But what does that have to do with keeping me alive?” Will stared her dead on, and Sayumi gasped. “You don't think the prophecy is about me, do you? That's absurd! I don't have an untold secret, and I'm not aided by faeries.”
Will replied, “I'm not saying it definitely is, but I'm saying I want you to not take it off the table. You were deceived of your birth, after all. Don't think that you aren't the right type of person either, because often its the most unlikely of people that end up saving the world.” Will got up from the table, and called over his shoulder, “You might want to come apologize to Ruki. Just saying.”
After grumbling for a while, Sayumi trudged upstairs to their room and found Will wasn't there, just Ruki sitting on his bed sharpening his sword. Sayumi cleared her throat, and announced nervously, “So, Will told me everything.”
Ruki looked up, and muttered, “That meddling cheeky bastard.”
Sayumi continued, “Anyway, I wanted to apologize for the insulting things I've said about you the past couple days.” Her kind expression that she had been wearing instantly changed to anger as she asked, “But why didn't you say you knew who I was?! That is messed up, making me worry for my life these past two days!”
Ruki laughed and replied, “Well, at first it was funny, but after a while it was all Will's idea...”
Sayumi growled, “I knew having you two together was a bad idea.” She put her hands on her hips and announced, “I will forgive you, but that means when we get to Repremendant we need to talk to someone about this prophecy. And also I need to talk to a witch who discovered her powers after birth. After that, we will go save Rakelle and kill Eliah and save your kind.” Ruki nodded, and Sayumi walked over to him and shook his hand.
The next morning, Sayumi made sure to get everyone out of bed pretty early, and they were on the road just barely after sunrise. Will was so exhausted he tied himself to his horse and kept sleeping. Ruki was drowsy as well, but Sayumi had a new sense of energy that she hadn't had for a long time. Even Kayo seemed revitalized. As the hours ticked by, with Ruki waking up enough to have the first pleasant conversation with Sayumi they had ever shared, Sayumi was starting to feel at ease for the first time in a long time.
When they stopped to eat, Sayumi asked between mouthfuls of sandwich, “So Ruki, you can read minds. Do you think you could read Rakelle's mind for me and tell me how she's doing?”
Ruki nodded and he stared into space for a moment. After about five minutes, he relaxed visibly and replied, “Well, she is in the dungeon at the castle in Feresat. She is worried about you, since everyone at the castle is telling her you are going to die. Don't worry, one of my other abilities is projecting my thoughts. I told her that you were fine, but I didn't tell us where we are. I also warned her not to tell anyone that you are okay.”
Sayumi lit up and without thinking wrapped her arms around Ruki and cried happily, “Thank you so much! You really are an amazing guy!” Ruki's face slowly turned red, and Will smirked to himself. Ruki cautiously put his arms around her, and after a moment she let go. Ruki looked away, not wanting Sayumi to see him blush.
Once they were back on the road, Sayumi let Ruki take the lead, and rode next to Will. Kayo snorted, having a dislike for the draft horse that Will was riding. Sayumi ignored him and asked Will, “So Will, how many more days until we reach Repremendant? We need to hurry and save Rakelle!”
Will smiled a little and replied in a tired voice, “We should get there by noon tomorrow. Don't worry, it's not far now.” Sayumi nodded, and glanced at Will when he thought she wasn't looking. Will's expression showed a deep loneliness, as though he had just lost his best friend. Sayumi had never seen him display any emotions other than worry and utter happiness, so she was concerned. She asked, “What's wrong?”
Will paused for a little while, then sighed. “I'm worried about her Sayumi. You know, it was sort of your father's hope that I would fall in love with you and take you back across the sea with me. But I just can't see myself with anyone other than her.”
Sayumi nodded, and her heart went out to him. She added gently, “You know, she wouldn't object to you asking to marry her.”
Will held up his hands in a hopeless gesture. “But it's not that simple. She is the princess of Feresat, the most beautiful kingdom in the human world. And I'm a poor elven warrior, not even able to afford my own unicorn to ride. Besides, I could never take her back home; my family would disown me, and she would become an outcast in our society. I could never do that to her.”
Sayumi replied, “Then you could stay here.”
Will stared at her, completely dumbfounded. “Stay here? But, that would mean I would have to abandon my post. Not only that, I would become king. KING! No elf has ever married a human of such status before, and somehow I doubt the people of Feresat would accept me as their king.”
Sayumi laughed. “Will, when you're in love, sometimes you have to take risks that you aren't ready for. But if you don't do it now, she could move on and you will be left alone.” Sayumi put her hand on his shoulder and added, “Rakelle loves you, isn't that all you need?” Then she took the edge of his hood, and pulled it off his head. She smiled and exclaimed encouragingly, “Be proud of who you are! If you show the people kindness and justice, they will definitely accept you!”
Will smiled and thanked Sayumi for her enthusiasm. Ruki, who had been listening in on the whole conversation, was getting a little jealous. He called from up ahead, “Hey! You want to get there as soon as possible right? Then get a move on!!” Sayumi blinked a few times at how angry he sounded, then she kicked Kayo into a gallop to catch up. Will smiled at how oblivious she was, and followed suit with his horse.
Meanwhile, back at the castle, Eliah had managed to find the most ruthless, hateful warlock he had ever came across. He held him in a place of respect for the amount of hatred he had for anyone, and everyone. Eliah closed his eyes and asked, “So you are saying, that Ruki has betrayed us and joined forces with the monster and the elf?”
The warlock nodded. “Yes sir. It also appears that he is starting to develop feelings for her as well.”
Eliah burst out laughing so hard he fell right off his throne. He gasped, “I can't take this, its too much!! The traitor and the monster? Too much!!” He went on like this for about five minutes, then he stopped suddenly, and got up and asked seriously, “How should we deal with a traitor like him?”
The warlock shrugged. “I could go kill him if you want.”
Eliah shook his head and muttered, “No no, that would be to simple. We need to have some fun with this! Hmm, what should we do, what should we do... ah! How about you go kill him?! It would be perfect! Cut him up into little pieces, and then kill the monster, and then the elf! Ahahaha, I'm so brilliant!!”
The warlock looked at Eliah skeptically, then asked, “You want me to go now?”
Eliah looked up in surprise, then replied quickly, “Yes yes, go now! The sooner the better! Then I can continue with my plan!” The warlock took off in flight and flew all the way out of the castle, and searched for the minds of his targets.
Sayumi and the others didn't see a town in a reasonable distance, so they set up camp near the road just before sunset. As Sayumi ate her dinner, she watched the sky turn all beautiful shades of orange and red, and she asked, “Will, why does the sky turn different colors at sunrise and sunset?”
Will stared into the sunset as well, and replied, “Well, us elves have a legend about that:
“A long time ago, there was a witch who was in love with her familiar, a handsome male centicorn. Relationships between faeries and humans are forbidden, so she kept her feelings hidden for a long time. However, she ended up coming across an old spell book that had instructions for turning a centicorn into a human. Delighted, the witch set to work on the spell. The spell was successful, but once the centicorn was human the witch discovered that he didn't feel the same way about her.”
Sayumi waited for Will to continue, but it seemed like his story was over. She blurted, “So, what does that have to do with the sunrise and sunset?”
Will shrugged. “They never told me. They just told me that was the story. I never really understood it myself. My mother used to tell me that someday I would understand, but I'm sort of skeptical.” Sayumi turned her head a little to one side, and Ruki furrowed his brow. Will sighed, and after watching the sunset for a few moments he climbed into his bed and drifted off to sleep.
Sayumi wanted to sleep as well, but something kept her awake. It was a feeling that something horrible was going to happen if she fell asleep. Ruki and Will were snoring peacefully, and Sayumi stared at the now-darkened sky. Something caught her eye, and she squinted to get a better look at the object. It looked almost like a bird at first, but the shape rapidly got bigger, and Ruki's dive out of the sky when she first met him popped into her head, and she leaped out of the way as a man shot from the sky and slammed into the ground where she had just been sitting.
Sayumi drew her sword (Will's sword that she adopted as her own), and pointed it at the intruder. She hissed, “What are you doing, trying to crash into people like that?”
The warlock rubbed his head and looked up at her with a gaze of malice. He replied simply, “Why, orders from the King! I'm going to kill you and the traitor, and the elf too!” He raised his hands, and before Sayumi could react a large rock smashed into her leg. She cried out with pain, but didn't let her guard down as a few more came hurtling at her.
She dived out of the way of two, but was caught off-guard by the third. It struck her very roughly on her head, and she almost fell to the ground. After a second to regain her composure, she stood up again and faced the warlock. By this time Ruki and Will had been rudely awakened, and as Ruki started to ask Sayumi what was going on, he saw her facing a warlock he hadn't seen before. He noticed how much effort it was for Sayumi to keep standing, and he glared daggers at the assailant. The warlock was very focused on Sayumi, not even considering that the others were now awake. Ruki, slipped silently out of bed, and flew quietly until he was directly behind the warlock. He clamped his hands on the warlock's head, then glared at his head intensely.
The warlock laughed for a few seconds and started to draw a dagger, but just as he got the dagger out of it's sheath, his whole body froze up and he dropped the dagger. His eyes started to bulge out of his head, and his jaw dropped open into a silent scream. Then, a deafening splat resounded in the ears of all that were present. The warlock went limp instantly, and Ruki dropped his body to the ground and walked away.
Sayumi stared at the body with horror, and asked slowly, “What did you do to him?”
Ruki replied as he started packing up their stuff, “Don't even ask. It's too unpleasant for your ears.” Will stared at the body with shock, and murmured to Ruki, “I've never seen such a technique before, where did you learn that?”
Ruki shook his head. “I don't want to talk about it.” Will glanced at Sayumi, who was still staring at the body, which was now leaking blood out of its nose, ears, mouth, and even its eyes. Will quickly pulled her away and got her to work putting tack on Kayo.
They traveled as far from their campsite as they could, as quickly as they could. Sayumi couldn't stop thinking about the expression the warlock wore as he died. Sayumi couldn't help but wonder what Ruki had done to him, and she found herself shrinking away from Ruki when he got close to her. Ruki definitely noticed this, and with a saddened and regretful heart he stayed away from her.
Will rode next to Ruki and asked, “How's she coping?”
Ruki sighed. “I think she may be traumatized. If I had known she would react like this I would have just stabbed him instead. I guess I just didn't think that she had never seen a man die in such a way before.”
Will added, “No, its not the way he died that bothers her. She saw the way he looked while you were killing him, and how much pain he was in. That is what bothers her, and she is scared of you for being able to do such a thing to someone.”
Ruki ran his hand though his hair, feeling despair creep over him. “How can I show her that I'm not the one to fear here?”
Will sighed. “Just be patient, and make sure to be extra gentle with her. She is resilient, she will get over this quickly.” Ruki nodded, but as he looked into her mind, he just saw images of the warlock's death flashing through her memory over and over again. He couldn't bear to see her so scared, so very carefully so she wouldn't notice, he slipped a thought of Rakelle into her mind. Sayumi jolted visibly, and as he kept looking into her mind, he saw the memories of her and Rakelle playing in the castle as children, and he wondered how she hadn't figured out that she was not the same race as Rakelle.
Sayumi felt much better after a while, but she was still wondering why she stopped thinking about Ruki killing the warlock. It was almost like she was a child again, crying in her father's arms. She felt like nothing could harm her, and it almost bothered her. Then she remembered that Ruki could project things into other people's minds. She whirled around and glared at him, and Ruki blushed a bit with a very innocent smile on his face. I know you can hear me, was that you earlier putting those things in my head?
Ruki looked at her with an innocent expression, then sighed and cantered his black mare up to ride next to her. He replied, “I'm sorry, you just seemed really scared and I wanted you to not be afraid. I guess it was sort of an invasion of privacy.”