Rhazin rushed off, trying to avoid any more conversations. Behind him several people laughed. It seemed he hadn't done well in fitting in. Though, a man who had encountered a serpent and remained alive was not one to be treated as a common traveler. Rhazin was surprised they weren't trying to throw him a party. In Faereign, men and woman who survived an encounter with a serpent or Great Lizard were given a feast. It was mainly so the ones holding the feast could get the story of it. Stories of heroes were popular now days.
“Hey!” a voice cried out behind Rhazin. Rhazin felt himself stop, to his regret, and turn in time to see a little girl clasp onto his hand. Rhazin was about to tell her he needed to leave, when he noticed what she wore.
The girl was maybe seven years of age with long pitch black hair instead of the common white and a dirty piece of cloth covering her body. Rhazin guessed she was an orphan or a homeless mans child. From the look of her face, the girl hadn't eaten in days.
“Do you have any food?” the girl asked, wearing a fragile smile. Rhazin felt himself pull his sack off his back and pull out a piece of red fruit. The girl looked stunned. The fruit was almost as big as her forearm. In Mounseik, it was rare to find fruit of that size. Rhazin's master, however, had plenty of them stored up. He had some secret to growing the things.
“Where are your parents,” Rhazin asked as the girl bit into the red fruit. She chewed the mouthful fast and caused herself to cough half of it up. She noticed the bits on the ground and Rhazin saw tears form in her eyes. “Hey, it's ok, just eat slower.”
She nodded, but still seemed sad about the bits of fruit she dropped. After a while, she swallowed and looked to Rhazin cheerfully. “I was abandoned by everyone,” she said with a smile. Rhazin nearly cried right there. He had never been the emotionally stable one, contrary to his brutal training in that area, so this nearly broke his heart.
“Why?” Rhazin asked slowly, trying not to give all his fruit to the girl.
“They called me cursed,” the girl said, taking another bite of the fruit. Rhazin noticed others in the village looking his way strangely. Almost cautiously.
“Well, why would they do that?” Rhazin asked, now watching his surroundings and the people in them.
“Because I said the Scarred Father would die by his daughter's hand,” she said casually. Rhazin just stared, trying to shut his jaw. Why would this girl say something like that? “Oh!” the girl said suddenly, “And because I have a strange mark.”
Rhazin got curious then. Everyone had a unique mark, so how could one be considered strange? He had heard of the Prophets of Reiz having special marks that let them see into the future. Could this girl be a prophet? But, if she was, why hadn't the prophets come for her? It was odd, but Rhazin shouldn't be surprised. A day ago his life was nearly as normal as it got. Now he had encountered a serpent – and survived! - and a Sovereign. What was a prophet compared to that.
“I have an idea,” Rhazin said, “Why don't you come with me?”
The girl stopped midbite and shrunk back. Had someone beaten or abused her before? It was possible. After all, there were sick and horrid people in the world. Some people made Cain's Crime seem like nothing.
“Look,” Rhazin said sternly, “I swear on my lives that I will never let anyone touch you, including myself.”
The girl still looked skittish, though she seemed to be listening. Her hunger was overriding her fear. Rhazin knew all too well what that was like. It had been what made him go with his master, all those years ago. Now, instead of dying in some nameless alleyway, he was competing in the Great Race! It was easy to look on the bright side. Though that dark side was tempting.
What was his master doing right then? Had he been caught, or did he still fight to give Rhazin time? It was maddening, knowing someone was in danger and that you couldn't help. It was like having to watch someone you cared about being beaten, knowing you couldn't help in anyway. Well, Rhazin would endure and trust in his master.
“Ok,” Rhazin said, “How about this. What mystics were you born with?”
“Um.... I think all of them?”
Rhazin laughed, ignoring passing people but watching them as well. “Ok, so why don't you show me?”
She smiled and nodded, placing down the core of the already eaten fruit. Rhazin was surprised. He hadn't been paying attention to how fast the girl ate. Though, with her hunger, it wasn't surprising.
Rhazin told her to follow him, as he didn't want to get yelled at for using mystics inside the town.
They reached just outside the town. Rhazin didn't want the girl getting any more scared than she already was. It wouldn't do to have her distrust him anymore than she already did.
“Ok, ready, mister?” she asked as she sat down. It was common for an ameteur at mystics to sit down. It focused the mind and eased the body, allowing the person to use their mystics easier. Rhazin nodded and watched the area. He had no idea which mystic she would use first.
Rhazin jumped as a fire formed above the girls head. That was uncommon. Women usually had mor mystics, but rarely did women have Flame mystics. “Flame!” she said excitedly. It seemed she had tried this for money, or at least to show off.
Next, Rhazin saw a rock float around her. That made her a Mineral user, too. Rhazin wasn't impressed by this, though. Out of all the nine mystics, Mineral was the most common and widely used by mounseiken. It was used for almost everything. Construction, transportation, forgery, and even hunting.
She went on without calling out anything. No need to, anyway. Rhazin wasn't going to be impressed by mineral, and this girl knew it. A gust of air blew toward Rhazin, causing him to sigh. Air mystics were useful, and potentially the most powerful while a master used it, but it had a bad side effect on children. Due to the very nature of air, the users of the mystic will have a harder time breathing throughout their lives. Usually, it is easily dealt with. Young Air users are taught a breathing exercise to control their problem. Though, this girl was probably untaught, so it would make the journey to Murdos City all the harder for her.
The girl didn't call out anything again this time. It was probably due to her forgetting about doing so. She spat on the ground, then closed her eyes in concentration. The small drop of spit changed into a butterfly and flew upward. It was the work of Water Mystics, the most artistic and beautiful of the nine mystics. With it, one could change the shape of any water in the area. Of course, it took a master of Water to control mass amounts of water. Rhazin had seen Waterworks shows where masters had used entire ponds to act out a battle. It had been amazing.
Rhazin was pulled out of his thoughts as a small shock ran through his body. He immediately tensed up and jumped away from the girl. So, she could use Storm mystics as well? While it had not been powerful, the girl had talent in Storm. Usually, Storm users were able to target only one thing in a short range and send a lightning bolt to that target. However, masters had been known to target multiple targets in far away places. It wasn't common, but this girl had it. Had she been telling the truth?
“I'm sorry...,” she said, shrinking down. Rhazin just laughed.
“It's alright, just warn me next time, ok?”
“Ok,” she said, “Say something and I can tell if your lying.”
“Well...,” Rhazin said, unsure of what to say, “I fought a serpent once.” It was a lie, but the whole village thought it to be true, so it was a perfect test.
“Lie!” she said excitingly. Then, she frowned. “Wait, I thought you did though?”
“No,” Rhazin said, laughing at the amazing girl, “I just survived one.” This girl could use all of the elemental mystics AND Telepathy? That, in itself, was amazing. But, from the look of the girl, she wasn't done.
Nodding, the girl sat down and picked up the same rock she had used with Mineral earlier. Closing it in her small hand, she closed her eyes. What was she doing? After a moment, the girl opened her hand, revealing a small star shaped rock. She could use Alchemy? Rhazin was positively stunned. If this girl had been abandoned, like she said, then it was nearly impossible that she survived this long with the ability to use Alchemaic mystics.
Rhazin himself had almost died when the Alchemaic mystic first showed itself inside him. It was a powerful mystic, letting the user change the shape of anything they directly touch, but it was also deadly for those born with it. If it wasn't controlled, it would distort the one who was gifted with it's body and kill them, leaving behind a twisted corpse. Sometimes, the corpses were unidentifiable.
“Cool, yes?” she asked, holding up the star. Rhazin walked up to her and took it gengerly. He noticed several places with cracks and so he used his own Alchemaic mystics and reshaped the rock into a unmarred star. Rhazin then handed it back to the girl. She took it and examined the missing cracks with excitement.
So, she had proved she could use nearly all the mystics. That was beyond impressive for any mounseiken. Usually, women were gifted with four and men had an average of three, yet here stood a girl who could use seven with some skill. She would be a prodegy.
Sitting back down, the girl yelled at him to look. Rhazin looked and saw a bruise on her hand. Before he could ask for it's origins, however, it faded and dissapeared. Rhazin once again found himself with his mouth open. She could use Plasma as well? And at this young of an age? She would definitely become an immortal! The masters of Plasma always started using their mystic when they were less than ten, so children that did so were always sent away if the parents themselves were not masters of Plasma. After all, how horrid would it be to let a child outgrow their parents?
The girl tugged at Rhazin's trousers, pulling him out of his head and causing him to shut his mouth quickly.
“Little one,” Rhazin said in a nice tone, trying to immitate Monstroth, “You are gifted beyond anyone I've ever met.” Rhazin wished Monstroth was there, right then, for the girl smiled widely and hugged his leg. He never was too great with children, unlike Monstroth. Even though most thought the huge man to be a brute, Monstroth had proved continuously to be the softest guy in Faereign.
“I can do more,” she said, looking at Rhazin. Rhazin froze. Was she really saying she could use Void as well? There had been a handful of men and women who could use eight of the nine mystics, but never had there been a mounseiken who could use all nine, with the exception of the Scarred Father.
“Show me,” Rhazin said quietly, backing away. He remembered his first attempt with Void. He had 'Displaced' an entire building. Though his master had put it back, Rhazin was still scared for months of using Void again. The power of displacement was incredibly dangerous.
In front of the girl a small Voidgate appeared, no bigger than a mans hand. Rhazin, though still shocked, felt relieved. Though her power would grow, she had little power in Void. It was a good thing, too. She could hurt someone if her darker half was powerful enough to overcome her. Luckily, the darker half of a Void user was only as strong as their Void mystics.
“Little one,” Rhazin said after a moment, “I want you to read my mind when I talk next, ok?” The little girl nodded and started to concentrate on Rhazin. “I will never hurt you, nor will I let anyone else do so.”
It must have worked, for she stood up and grabbed onto his hand. It seemed like Rhazin had a little talent with kids. Would Monstroth be proud of him? No, he will be proud, once Rhazin proved his innocence. Rhazin smiled along with his new companion. Things would get better.
“Oh!” Rhazin said suddenly, realization hitting him, “I don't know you're name!”
“It's Valeria!” she said smiling.
“Alright then, Valeria, let's get going.”
They walked away from the town, ignoring the passing people heading into town.