Chapter Three: Banned
500 years prior...
500 years prior...
"Hey, Leon," the black-haired boy said with a grin. "Come here! I want to show you something."
Leon approached his elder brother, setting his basket of apples onto the ground. "What is it, Seon?"
Seon slid off the boulder he was sitting on. He pat its side, his grin getting wider. "See this rock?"
"Yes..." Leon tilted his head to the side. "Where are you going with this? Are you going to jump over it?"
"Watch." Seon clapped his hands together and began muttering. It was a language the younger elf had never heard before. When the hands were separated, they held a soft glow to them. The young elf brought up a fist and slammed it down onto the stone.
Leon let out a cry of surprise when the stone shattered into pieces at the force of his brother's punch. He shielded his face from the debris then rushed up to his brother with a look of pure shock. "W-What was that, Seon?"
Seon motioned for Leon to get closer. When his brother was close enough, he placed his mouth beside his ear and cupped his hands around both.
"Magic!" he whispered.
"M-Magic?!" Leon yelped. He jumped away from Seon as if he'd been stung by something hot.
"Shhh!" Seon closed the gap between them with one stride and pressed a finger to Leon's lips. "Do you want the whole kingdom to hear you?"
"B-But magic is forbidden!" Leon stammered. "Papa said it's dangerous! It's evil! It's-"
"Helpful!" Seon said forcefully. He motioned to the broken rock behind him. "Look at what it can do! That's just one spell! A beginner's spell, no less! Just imagine what I can do if I learn more! What if I found a spell to make food? To make money?" He bent down and picked up an apple from the basket. "We wouldn't have to work hours upon hours just to pick fruit that will only rot within a week! We could make meat! Remember what that tastes like, Leon?"
Leon looked to the ground. His dark hair nearly hid his face. "No..."
"Exactly. With magic, we could help people. Nobody would ever be sad again!" Seon's eyes were filled with a fiery passion.
Leon gently pushed Seon away from him. "If it's so helpful, then why is it forbidden?"
Seon crossed his arms and made a great, exaggerated roll of his eyes. "One prince gets cursed and suddenly the whole kingdom has to suffer! Honestly, if the king weren't too scared to go find the culprit himself, I'd be changing this apple into gold right now." Seon tossed the apple back into the basket. "Actually... I could still learn to do that."
Leon huffed in annoyance. "Seon..."
"I wonder how hard it would be..." Seon put a finger under his chin.
"Seon!" Leon whined.
"It would be a different branch from the strength spell, at least-"
"Seon, you can't! The fairies will curse you if you learn magic because it's illegal!" Leon snapped.
Seon spread out his arms. "Do you see any fairies?" he asked. "Are they invisible? If they were going to arrest me, they would've done it by now. They only curse those who break the laws of magic, they don't follow the king's orders."
Leon's eyebrows went up. "Magic has laws? But if it's bad already, how could it have laws?"
Seon narrowed his eyes. "That's because it's not bad." An idea to get his brother on his side. "Mama used magic." He held back a grin when his brother's face showed surprise. "Are you calling Mama bad?"
Leon waved his hands in front of him. "No! Of course not! You and Papa said that Mama was practically an angel!"
"Mama used her magic to heal people who were hurt," Seon explained. "The ban was enacted about ten years before you were born, so you never got to see it yourself. I was about the same age as you are now the last time I saw magic."
Seon smiled at the memories. Watching his mother's hands glow with the warmth of a healing spell. Her long dark hair tied back in a ponytail to keep it out of the way of her work. The way she'd invite him over to watch how it was done. However, they'd usually get interrupted by-
"Hey! What are you two doing?" barked a deep voice.
His father. Right on cue.
Leon let out a small yelp of fear and quickly scooped the basket back into his arms. "J-Just picking the apples, Papa! Look, we're almost done!"
The grizzly man prowled over to his youngest son like a dog looking over its prey to see if it was worth eating. He clicked his tongue at their harvest. "Good enough." He turned his attention over to Seon. "What about you?"
"I helped fill that basket too," he replied. "I'm just taking a break."
"Sure you did," the man growled. "You can help more if you were the one to carry it home."
Seon bit back a scoff and nodded. "Whatever you say, Papa."
"Hey!" he yelled. "All I asked was for you to do something! I didn't ask for an attitude."
Seon gave him an exasperated look and threw his arms out. "What attitude?!"
Their father went up to Seon's face and prodded his chest with a thick finger. "That one. If you keep it up, you won't get any dinner." Upon seeing Seon's face grow stony, he added "nor any books."
Seon resisted the urge to heave out a sigh. "Yes, sir."
"Don't call me 'sir'," he ordered, "I'm your father."
"Yes, Papa," he replied stiffly.
Seon took the apples from Leon's arms and started walking toward their home. Their father grabbed an apple from the basket and took a great chomp out of it. Seon frowned upon seeing his younger brother holding his stomach and staring longingly at the apples. He grabbed an apple and tossed one to Leon. Leon gave him a grateful smile and took a bite out of the apple.
"Hey!" their father spat.
Seon internally cringed as the man approached Leon.
"Who said you could eat yet?" he snarled.
"Um..." Leon glanced at Seon in a silent cry for help.
"No dinner! You're just going to have that apple!" he declared. He grabbed Leon by the wrist and dragged him along. "Now come on!"
The apple slipped out of Leon's grasp and fell onto the grass. Tears were beginning to form in his eyes but he roughly rubbed them out before their father could notice.
Seon was glaring daggers into the older elf's back. His ears were twitching with each crunch of the apple he was eating.