Chapter Twenty-Five: Life
There were more corpses that came to the tower, small strangers with black hair or blue eyes. When the boy questioned who they were and why they were sleeping, he answered that he was doing a project. He wouldn't allow him to see the gore and deteriorate like he did.
The boy, he was not his brother, became his rock in a sea of turmoil. It was small things he did: point out when he was dirty, tell him to eat, and make sure he made it to the cot to sleep with him. He was a comfort.
For that, he couldn't touch him. He couldn't just pick the gem out of the boy's chest and plant it into "Leon." Despite the boy being a failure, he couldn't destroy him.
"Master," the boy asked him, "how is the project going?"
He had altered the body of a small child until it looked like Leon. The only thing left to do was give the body life without the stone. He was unsure how to extract the power of the stone from the boy without harming him, so he figured that he would have to create life... the painful way.
"It's fine," Seon answered. "It's nearly done, even." He smiled. "If it goes well, you'll get to meet someone."
The boy tilted his head. "Really? Who is he?"
"Someone I haven't seen for a long time, boy." He crossed his arms and smirked. "You have to promise to be nice to him, got it?"
The boy nodded his head enthusiastically. "I promise! Why wouldn't I be nice to him?"
He shrugged. "No reason, I just wanted to hear you say it." He looked out the window. Once he saw the setting sun, he motioned to the room. "Now go to bed. I'm going to finish the project."
"Okay." The boy walked to the room a few steps before crossing his arms. "Be sure to go to bed too, Master!" the boy reprimanded with a pout. "You don't want to get sleepy in the middle of an experiment again, do you?"
"No," Seon said with a roll of his eyes. "Goodnight."
"Goodnight, Master," the boy said with a sweet smile.
Once the boy closed the door, Seon sunk his face into his hands. He felt nearly ashamed and embarrassed at the thought of Leon and the boy in the same room together. He would have to introduce his brother to a successfully failed experiment and his experiment to his formerly dead brother. Knowing Leon, he'd figure out how much he was overworking himself again and scold him along with the boy.
Seon dragged the body that looked like Leon onto the table. It looked like it was blissfully sleeping, a sight that he was unfamiliar with but welcomed. Unlike the boy, there were no stitches nor marks to mar his skin. It looked picturesque.
He took a deep breath and placed his hands over the body's heart. The spell he was about to use would take years off his life but...
He'd already taken years off his life for Leon.
He closed his eyes and began chanting the spell. Soon after the spell began, he felt tired. His eyes felt heavy, as did his body. Black spots were eating away at his vision. His mouth felt numb. He wasn't sure whether he was speaking with words or if his words were strangled, jumbled, and unintelligible at this point. He didn't care. He just needed to finish.
Suddenly, he heard a knock. Through the haze of dizziness and blackness, a single knock on the door downstairs echoed through the tower. That was enough to get Seon to freeze. The spell on his lips fell silent. He started quaking in fear.
It was the fairies.
He stumbled into the bedroom. He blindly groped around for the cot; once he found it, he leaned onto it for support. His vision slowly came back to him. As soon as he could register the drowsy child, he grabbed his shoulders.
"Master...?" the boy asked. "What's wrong?"
"Listen to me," he whispered hoarsely. "I need you to go into the wardrobe. Got it, boy?"
"Why?" he asked.
"I think I heard something," Seon explained. "Please, stay in there until I come to get you. No matter what happens, wait for me."
"Listen," he snapped at him. "Don't question me! Just do it! Hide in the closet!"
The boy frowned a bit, but he nodded. "Okay."
The boy got up from the bed and stepped into the wardrobe. He gave Seon an innocent smile before the door was quickly closed in his face.
Seon quickly ran back into the observatory. Right as he reached the table, he saw the top of a person's head coming up the stairs. Dark brown hair barely moved as the fairy floated up the steps. Golden eyes scanned the room with only slight curiosity. Glassy wings were spread out elegantly like banners of authority.
"Long time no see, Firestarter," he said in his soft voice. "Since we're already friends, I thought I would show some manners and knock first." He looked over to the body on the table, his thin brows going up in amusement. "You didn't even bother to hide it. I gave you plenty of time to."
Seon attempted to shrug. "I-I knew there wasn't any point trying to."
The fairy smiled. "I admire your honesty, Firestarter."
"That's not... That's not my name, fairy," Seon tried to say bravely. "It's Seon."
"Vandi Fafnir." The fairy held out his hand. When the elf merely glared at it in response, he lowered his hand with a sigh. "I'm trying to be cordial about this. I don't enjoy cursing children."
"I'm not a child!" Seon snapped.
Suddenly, there was a hand on his shoulder. Seon slowly craned his neck to look up behind him. Vandi was giving him an pitying smile. He gave his shoulder enough of a squeeze for it to sting. He realized that it was the shoulder that his father had used the strength spell on.
"It is rather childish to try to bring someone back once they're gone, isn't it?"
Seon balled up his hands into fists and made as if to punch Vandi in the jaw. However, when his punch was but an inch away, he was hurtled backward. He crashed into a table, knocking glass to the floor with a chaotic chorus of crashes.
"Did I offend you, Seon?" Vandi asked him. "Why? I'm only speaking the truth." He drifted up to the table where the body was. "Even if you got it to move, to walk, to talk, it wouldn't be your brother." He grabbed the body's chin and brought it up to his face for closer examination. "It would simply be a doll." He dropped the body, letting it flop back onto the table. There was a resounding thump as its dark-haired head collided with the wood.
"You're wrong," Seon spat. "He wouldn't be a doll."
Vandi sighed. "Please. Just give up. I'm already disappointed as it is."
Seon held up his hands in preparation to fight. About a second later, his hands were behind his back and there was a hand upon his head.
"Seon, you are under arrest for breaking the first law of magic," Vandi said solemnly. "'You shall not create life with magic.'"
Seon felt energy drain out of his body. He dropped down to his knees and crumbled to the floor. The air was sucked out of his lungs and his whole body faded into a dull ache. He looked up to Vandi, only to be met with those same pitying eyes.
"You wanted to see your brother. Well now, no one will see you as punishment. The punishment for meddling with life is cutting you off from your life."
Seon reached out weakly to grab the fairy's leg.
"It was a pleasure seeing you again, Firestarter."
He blacked out by then.
When Seon awoke again, it was night. The moon was the only thing that dimly lit the room. There was still shattered glass scattered about the floor, surrounding him. His heart was pounding in his chest when he recalled what happened.
He wondered to himself if he had died. The fairy did say he would "cut him off from his life." But upon feeling about for a pulse, he reasoned that he was still alive.
"If I'm still alive," he asked himself, "then what did he do to me?"
He wouldn't get his answer by just laying on the floor. He raised himself to his feet. Carefully treading past the glass, he entered the bedroom.
The room was still undisturbed. The wardrobe door was still shut. Seon let out a sigh of relief. His boy was alright.
"Hey," he called out. "It's safe now."
The boy didn't respond nor did he open the wardrobe.
"Hey! I said it's safe now! Come out!"
There was still no response.
"What the hell..." he muttered.
He walked toward the wardrobe. He idly glanced at the covered mirror as he walked past it. He stopped, however, when he realized he could see what was wrong if he would just take a look at himself.
He dreaded the idea, despite it being the logical thing to do. He swallowed hard. With shaking hands, he grabbed the sheet atop the mirror. In one swift movement, he yanked it off.
He saw nothing in the mirror.
"W-What...?" he gasped. He looked down to his hands. He could still see them. He brought his hand up to the mirror. Even when he touched it, the mirror still didn't hold his reflection.
He quickly brought his fingers up to his teeth. They weren't pointed. He let out a shaky chuckle out of relief that he wasn't changed physically.
Immediately afterward, though, the reality of what happened hit him harder.
"Boy?" he called out. "I-I'm right here! Knock on the door if you can hear me!"
He was met with silence.
"Shit...! Shit!" he hissed out. Remembering the boy wouldn't hear him, he screamed out louder. "SHIT!"
He flung the mirror to the ground. It shattered upon impact. It wouldn't matter. It would never see him again anyways. No one would ever see him again.
He went on a frenzy. Everything, except for the wardrobe, was either overturned or smashed to pieces. He saw red. None of it was from him. The glass wouldn't cut him. The only evidence he could leave behind was the damage he caused.
By the time he had finished, he was left panting on the floor. He wrapped his arms around his knees and rested his head on them. He was curled up beneath the window of the bedroom.
"What... What the fuck... am I going to do?" he gasped.
Seon's head snapped up. He looked toward the wardrobe to see if the boy had emerged. The wardrobe hadn't moved. For a second, he thought he imagined the voice, until he heard the door creak.
"Master, may I come out now? Are you there?"
Seon's jaw dropped. His heart sank.The boy. The boy would be alone.