Blazing hotter than any other desert known to mounseiken, the Caino Desert killed any who entered unprepared. Luckily, Rhazin had had experience in surviving dangerous areas. It was another of his master's odd training methods. Though, in all honesty, the desert worried him. The heat was already intense and they hadn't even entered the desert.
Valeria seemed content, though. For some reason, she hadn't even noticed the heat. Rhazin just smiled and pat her on the head as the duo walked steadily into the desert. Though his arm still hurt from the wound he had given himself a few days ago, Rhazin had no trouble carrying the large bag on his back. It had been filled with the supplies he had bought the day before. Valeria carried a waterpack almost as big as her torso, as well. She had insisted on carrying something.
'Yes,' Rhazin thought. They were ready to take on this desert.
The sun set over the horizon, signifying it was time to strike up camp.
Rhazin and Valeria had been walking for hours, so they were both relieved to be able to rest. Though Valeria had acted fine during the walk, Rhazin could tell the girl was nearly out of energy. He smiled though. She had, after all, not fainted or complained about the journey.
Pulling out two blanket rolls, Rhazin started setting up camp. Valeria offered to help, so Rhazin told her to start a fire. It was a fast process, simply because they had little in the way of pleasentries. The makeup of their camp was two blanket rolls, a fire, and the food supplies. Rhazin was happy though. He had company once more, and he could actually walk freely again. Even though he would have to face his crime soon, he would enjoy this moment.
As for Valeria, Rhazin still wondered what he could do with her. He could find her a family and hope they would take care of the girl. Though, he would worry he had left Valeria with a horrid family for the rest of his life. And an orphanage probably would make Valeria too happy. What could he-
“Of course!” Rhazin exclaimed remembering what the HighKing had said.
“Of course, what?”
Rhazin turned to find Valeria looking up at him, Drakmor squeezed against her. At first he felt guilty. Why was he planning on getting rid of her behind her back? Even if it was for her own good, it wasn't right to hide it.
“Well, I just got an idea,” Rhazin said, noting the fire. It was beautifully maintained. Rhazin had had trouble controlling Flame at the girls age, yet she could control it almost perfectly. Even though she probably make the fire any bigger, it was still very impressive. Could she have this control with all her mystics?
“You know you can't stay with me forever, right?” Rhazin told Valeria. Her head dropped at that, making Rhazin want to take back what he said. But, this was for her own good.
“Yeah...,” Valeria pouted. Rhazin felt even worse. He really wasn't good at dealing with kids.
“But,” Rhazin said, smiling, “I'll come get you after I win that race, ok?” Rhazin knew it was a mistake to promise such a thing, for he could be dead or worse, but the smile that enveloped Valeria's face made him forget about it all. “While I'm in the race,” Rhazin continued, “I'll request that woman who was with the HighKing to take care of you. Sound good?”
Rhazin was answered with a tight hug. Behind Valeria, the campfire burst into a blaze, causing Rhazin to pull Valeria back. Immediately, the flame died down into it's original state. Rhazin was shocked. He had heard of mystics that were connected to their users emotions. The more powerful the emotion, the more powerful or massive the mystic. But those were very rare cases. Rhazin himself had only known of one to be able to do it and that was Monstroth.
“Valeria,” Rhazin said, relaxing his tense body, “I am going to train you while we travel, ok?”
“Ok,” she replied. Rhazin was still amazed at how easy going and trusting she was. Though Valeria told him several times – when he asked – that she only trusted Rhazin because he had promised not to hurt her. Sure, it had been truthful and Valeria had confirmation, but there should have been some doubt. Or did kids believe what they were told?
Rhazin sighed and sat down near the fire, signaling Valeria to sit next to him. He had been planning on teaching her a little anyway, though he hadn't known he would be teaching fire.
“We will begin tomorrow, though,” Rhazin said as he placed the pot in it's stand above the fire, “Right now, lets make some food.”
Rhazin jumped as an inferno burst from the ground.
Valeria, on the other hand, just sat and watched the flame rise higher and higher. Apparently, the girl thought it funny to scare Rhazin. The flame finally stopped almost a hundred spans into the sky. Rhazin signaled to Valeria to let the flame go out. It was already hot in the Caino desert, there was no need to heat it more.
Rhazin had seen this flame three times over the last hour, and still he was impressed. Though the flame lacked control or purpose, it was amazing. Rhazin himself could only make one half the size of Valeria's, although he could control it with more skill. With practice, this girl would be a force to be reckoned with.
“Was fire the first Mystic you could use?” Rhazin asked Valeria, who had caught up to walk beside him. She looked excited about something.
“Yes,” she said, “Though I never made one that big before!” Rhazin just laughed.
“Be careful though.”
They continued on, Rhazin deciding on how he would start her Void training. If she didn't learn to control it and the Darkness inside of her, then she may lose herself in the future.
“Valeria?” Rhazin asked. The girl looked toward him, waiting to hear what he wanted to say. “Have you noticed anything odd with how you think?”
She looked at him strange. “What?”
Rhazin sighed. How could he simplify that? “Have you had any bad thoughts that didn't seem like your own?” Rahzin asked, hoping that it was simpler for her.
“Oh! Only once,” Valeria said. Rhazin's fears came to life. This early meant that she was incredibly strong in Void as well as fire. How powerful would her darkness become at this rate? Rhazin's own had only kicked in a year or two ago and that had only happened because he had gotten to the master level with Void.
“This boy stole my shoe so I wanted to hit him,” Valeria continued. Rhazin tripped and fell on his face. “Are you ok!?” Valeria cried, dropping Drakmor to help Rhazin up.
“Yeah,” Rhazin said, brushing off the sand in his face and hair, “Just need to pay attention, I suppose.” This girl was just young. There was no Darkness in her yet. Rhazin knew it was too odd to be true.
The rest of the day and the day after, was spent on walking and the occasional lesson for Valeria. The girl learned quickly. Even though using Void was hard for her, she grasped it quicker than Rhazin ever had. She was a natural, though it only worried Rhazin. Every Void user would have to find a way to stave off that Darkness when it came. He only hoped Valeria had years until that happened.
Though the heat was intense in the Caino Desert, Rhazin kept most of it from hitting them. The Void mystic, unlike every other mystic, could be used to do a veriety of things through 'negating' whatever the user wanted. For the heat, Rhazin 'negated' it's intensity. It was odd, really, but very useful.
On the third day, Rhazin and Valeria came to a small village surrounding an oasis. The oasis itself had a pond about the size of a castle, which was impressive for a desert, and a dense forested region on one side of the pond. Some other sparse trees surrounded the rest of the pond as well, though it was mostly houses of different shapes and sizes that bordered the water.
“Hey there traveler!” a man said from the entrance of the village, “You headed to Murdos?”
“Yes, actually, how did you know?”
“The HighKing told me you would be,” the man replied, causing Rhazin to be taken back. The HighKing had beat them here? How did he travel so fast? “We got a room prepared for you, too.”
“Tha-thank you,” Rhazin replied. So the HighKing really was trying to help. Or it could be that the man wanted Rhazin to get to Murdos city for some reason. Either way, it was a free room.
Rhazin and Valeria were led to a somewhat larger house. It was well made and well maintained, from what Rhazin saw of it. The inside was nicely set up as well, Rhazin observed once they got in. Valeria was jumping and shouting consistently every time they passed something hung on the wall. Rhazin had been to many inns, so he was not surprised by all the battle trophies and historical artifacts. Every inn had a collection of them that they gathered from the surrounding areas. This was suppose to make the inn look like a famous place.
Valeria obviously was excited by all of the weapons, clothing, sigils, banners, etc. Rhazin was not. He cared not for history, nor for one's fame. Sure, his master was famous, but it was not the fame that made his master, but his master that made the fame. Though, Voidarms were an exception.
On the wall of the inn, behind a steel cage and dozens of locks, was a mask of strange design. Rhazin felt a soft beating from the object, as if a heart resided within the mask. It signaled a Voidarm, an object that houses the very soul of a Void master. They weren't common, due to the making of one costing a Void master his life and soul. This object alone, though, made this inn a high class place.
The attendant who had been leading them – a pretty black haired girl – cleared her throat, signaling Rhazin to follow her. He regretted not being able to look at the mask any more, but followed the attendant to his room. Valeria followed, staring back at the mask. Could she hear the Void master's heart as well?
“Here is your room, sir,” the lady said moments later. Rhazin and Valeria thanked the woman.
“Yay, Drakmor can sleep with me!” Valeria shouted as she jumped on one of the beds. The room was fancy and had a kitchen, a sitting room, and two large beds. The lavatory and washroom were most likely down stairs.
“Haha, yeah,” Rhazin said, sitting his pack down on the ground. He laid down on his bed, trying not to grow too comfortable. He still needed to go out and search for another to be his partner. In the past few days, he had kept that thought in his head. Maybe he should go out to a pub and find someone?
“Come on Drakmor,” Valeria said, “Let's play in the sitting room.” Rhazin smiled as the two ran into the far side of the inn room, which had been designated a sitting room. Rhazin had grown used to the girls optimism over the last few days. He had also been glad that she had grown to look healthy.
“Hey, Valeria,” Rhazin called, “Is it ok if I go out?”
“But, why?” she called back, looking pitiful. Drakmor looked the same, sitting in her lap like he was. The poor stuffed rabbit had several stitches in it where Rhazin had to sew it back up. He really hope Valeria wasn't this way when she had kids or a man in her life.
“I have to find someone to race with me is all,” Rhazin called, “I told you this yesterday after you nearly sent me across the world.” It still made Rhazin cringe. If he hadn't stopped Valeria, she would have sent Rhazin's body in to multiple parts of the world. Of course, he would never tell the girl she had nearly ripped him apart with her Void mystics, so he lied to her.
“I didn't mean to!” Valeria yelled, annoyance entering her voice. Rhazin laughed and stood up.
“So, is that a yes?”
“Yeah, just bring me back something nice!”
Rhazin laughed. He needed to stop spoiling her like he had been over the last few days.
Walking into the pub he had found, Rhazin