There were vendors selling exotic fruit; Sayumi was very tempted to take one and see if it tasted good. As they moved through the marketplace, Haru started leading them to an area where there weren't any people. Sayumi didn't like that fact, but she trusted Ruki, and Ruki was keeping an eye on Haru. Once they were alone in the street, Haru turned and announced, “This is the area of town where all the witch-folk live, that's why there aren't any people here. You may not think they are scary, but most people in the kingdom do, and they have got everyone else around here scared as well. They are almost considered a lower class of people around here.”

Sayumi asked, “But why? What have they done to deserve this sort of treatment?”

Haru shrugged, and smiled sadly, “Nothing, just the fear of what they could do.” Then he turned around and stopped his horse in front of a very tall building, and Sayumi couldn't tell if it was an inn, or just a massive house. Haru dismounted and knocked on the door. In a few seconds, a young girl opened the door, and threw her arms around Haru. “Haru! Its so good to see you! We haven't seen you in ages!”

Haru smiled and pushed the girl back and replied cheekily, “Its good to see you to Hikari! Is your sister here?”

Hikari nodded, and Haru asked, “May we come in?”

Hikari nodded again, and pointed towards the alley next to the building. “You can leave your horses there, no one will steal them here.” Ruki nodded and they left their horses ground tied in the alley. As Sayumi entered, the house, she asked Ruki, “What is this place?”

Ruki replied, “This is a group home. There are many of these around here. It is basically a big house where a large number of people live and all pay a small amount of rent to the owner, like an inn but with more benefits.” Sayumi nodded, and without thinking, grabbed Ruki's hand. Ruki almost pulled it away, but he realized it was hers, so he just squeezed it instead.

Inside, she saw a large room in front of her, with a set of stairs in the corner and a few pillars throughout the room. There were many tables and chairs, so she assumed this was the dinning room. She expected there to be lots of people there, but there was only a handful scattered around the tables. They looked over at Sayumi and asked, “Who's that? Haven't seen her around before!”

Ruki answered, “She's Sayumi, a friend of ours.”

A girl drinking some ale with many braids in her hair replied, “Looks like she's awful friendly with you, Haru's brother!”

Ruki and Sayumi blushed and Ruki snapped from embarrassment, “That's none of your business!” The people there laughed, and the girl got up and walked over. She walked up to Sayumi and stuck out her hand. “Name's Midori. Nice to meet you, Sayumi.”

Sayumi shook her hand, and Sayumi asked, “Are you the one Haru was telling me about? The witch who discovered her powers later in life?”

Midori nodded. “That's me. Why do you ask?”

Sayumi dragged her toe across the floor and replied, “Well, I actually had some questions for you.”

Midori walked back to her table, and motioned for them to follow her. Sayumi let go of Ruki's hand and followed Midori hastily. Midori sat down, and called for the bartender to bring some drinks for them. Midori took a swig of ale and asked, “So what did you want to ask me?”

Sayumi replied shyly, “Well, I was wondering how you discovered your powers.”

Midori sighed. “I get that question a lot actually. Well, I guess it won't hurt to tell you. It was the day my fiance was killed actually; a group of thugs attacked us on the way home, and they started beating my fiance while they took me and tried to defile me. Well, I was so scared and angry I felt something inside just snap, and I felt like time slowed for a few seconds. I saw a brownie standing a few feet from me, and he pointed something at me. Next thing I knew, I was throwing the thugs off me without using my hands, and I could read minds. Unfortunately, it was too late to save my fiance.”

Sayumi gasped. “That's horrible, I'm so sorry.”

Midori waved it off. “Don't worry, I found out later he had been cheating on me anyway.”

Sayumi nodded, and asked, “So, that's it? No special thing you had to do or say?”

Midori took another swig of ale and replied, “Look, I know you are wondering if you are a witch and you want to know if there's some way to just make the powers come out by saying some chant or something, but that's not how it works. From hearing stories from other witch-folk and my own experience, the only way to unearth powers in a person is to be completely helpless and undergo extreme stress at the same time, or help from faeries.”

Sayumi's heart sunk. This hadn't been the answer she had hoped for. She asked, “Is there any other way?”

Midori shook her head. “Even people who used Death stones to get powers from witch-folk found their results didn't last.”

Sayumi sighed, and Midori smiled. “Don't worry. Have you heard of the prophecy?” Sayumi nodded, and Midori continued, “Well, I've had word from a few reliable prophets that not only is the prophecy true, but it is close to being fulfilled. And I think I've figured out what it means:

“The prophecy is not referring to a witch, but to a girl who will become a witch. And this girl will meet a boy. 'Robbed of his blue'; well blue could refer to his heritage, the blue blood of royalty. This means it could be the lost Prince of Repremendant, who was banished with the queen when his father died. When these two people meet, the girl will somehow find her powers in herself, and she will become the savior of the people and vanquish the evil in this place.”

Sayumi thought for a while, then she remembered how Will had been saying he thought the prophecy might be about her. She almost burst out laughing; that situation didn't sound like her at all! Sayumi replied while still holding back laughter, “Thanks for your help Midori, it was nice meeting you.”

Midori waved it off, “Its rare that anyone wants to come around these parts, we love having company. Come back anytime! In fact, we are having a party later, you should stay and join us!”

Haru turned to Ruki with puppy eyes and begged, “Can't we, please?”

Ruki looked at his brother with embarrassment, then he glanced at Sayumi. Sayumi shrugged, and Ruki replied, “I guess we could stay.”

Midori lit up and she exclaimed with excitement, “That's awesome! I'll go get your horses into the stable, it wouldn't be good for them to stay out there all this time.”

Once Midori left, Sayumi let out some of the laughter she had saved from earlier, “Will, and you thought the prophecy was about me!”

Will had an expression that looked like he had seen a ghost. He replied, “No, now I'm sure it's about you.”

Sayumi stopped laughing, and stared at Will like he had really lost it this time. “Come on! Meet the lost Prince of Repremendant? How would I even know if I meet him? Besides, 'vanquish the evil in this place'? That doesn't sound like me at all. I couldn't even save Rakelle from being taken by Eliah.” Sayumi looked down, not wanting them to see how sad she was.

Will replied, “Actually, the lost Prince is right here.” Sayumi looked up, and saw Will point to Ruki. Ruki stared at Will's finger, shock and doubt crossing his face. Ruki asked, “How would you know?”

Will exclaimed, “Think about it! Your father died after your mother got pregnant with Haru. The King died after the queen got pregnant with a second son. Your mother was banished with not a penny to her name, so was the queen. Your uncle took the fortune for himself, so did the current King. And I saw around your mother's neck a necklace, and inscribed in that necklace is the royal crest of Repremendant. Don't you see?”

Ruki's eyes widened as he realized the truth in Will's argument. “He's right.” Ruki murmured.

Haru gasped, “Then that means... Ruki is the rightful King of Repremendant.” Will nodded, and silence gripped their group. For a long time, no one said anything. Sayumi fidgeted a bit, then she practically whispered, “So... what are we going to do now?”

Will replied thoughtfully, “Weeell, according to the prophecy, when you meet Ruki, somehow you will find your powers. So, maybe experiment a little. Have you guys tried kissing yet?” Sayumi blushed and nodded, Will leaned back in his chair and ventured, “Maybe you have to discover your powers the old fashioned way, by undergoing stress or getting help from faeries.”

Sayumi sighed and asked sarcastically, “Well, if you know any brownies around here, tell them to give me a call. You dunce, even elves can't summon faeries.”

Will replied, “Oh, but that is where you're wrong Sayumi. We can summon faeries, but we can't choose which ones come. So you may need a particular type of brownie, but the one that may come could be a water faerie. But it's still worth a shot in my opinion.”

The End

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