Chapter Seven: Arrest
Seon had just about had it with his father.
They were arguing more. If Seon so much as breathed in the same air, he felt, his father would find fault with it. He had no choice but to endure it. He couldn't leave because he didn't want Leon to end up alone with that man.
Seon shuddered to imagine what their father would do if he ever discovered that he was learning magic.
"Seon!" Leon ran up to him with his basket full of fresh apples. "I think this is enough for the week!"
"Hold on," Seon said from the branch he was sitting on. He picked an apple and tossed it down. "Now it's enough."
Leon hurriedly shifted the basket to one arm and caught the apple. "Seon, don't do that! The apples will bruise! This is all we have to eat and Papa doesn't like it when they're bruised!"
"Leon, when was the last time I cared about what Papa likes?" Seon asked. Leon opened his mouth to answer then immediately closed it. "Exactly. Now keep watch while I practice; tell me if Papa comes."
Seon started concentrating. As he began muttering the spell he felt the numb lightning-like shock prickle up his chest, through his shoulder, down to his palm. He slowly brought the tips of his fingers together. A small flame floated at his fingertips like a candle. He could feel the comfortable warmth of a real fire in his hand.
"Wow..." Leon said. He made the same movement with his fingers.
Seon separated his fingers and the flame dispersed. "Amazing, right? Are you sure you don't want to learn?"
"For the last time," Leon protested. "I'm not learning magic!"
Seon shrugged. "Pity. Some spells take two."
"Can you do that spell again though?" Leon asked eagerly.
Seon sat up a bit straighter. "You want me to?"
"Yeah! It was pretty!" he answered.
Seon smiled brightly. "Alright! Whatever you say!"
He said the spell faster, with more vigor. The shock spread through his body but it felt different. It felt more like a sting rather than the numb prickling he felt before. His hand was twitching due to the unfamiliar feeling. Sparks appeared with each twitch of his fingers. As he brought his fingertips closer, the heat grew more intense. More sparks were flying.
Seon's eyes widened in alarm. Something was wrong! He had to stop the spell!
Right as he was about to stop it, however, a high voice interrupted him.
"Seon! Hurry up!"
Seon got startled. A hot, shearing pain burst onto his palm. Any semblance of focus vanished. He was wobbling on the branch, attempting to keep balance. Sparks flew onto the branches, the leaves, the apples of the other trees. Flames erupted on the nearby trees within a minute.
Seon screamed in agony. His hand was shaking violently. He grabbed his burnt wrist with his other hand in an attempt to still it. He held it up to view. Angry red burns marred the skin of his hand.
"Seon!" Leon screamed. "Seon, what happened?!"
Seon bit down hard on his lip to hold back a scream. Water! He needed water! His mind only held the thought of stopping the pain.
Tears were streaming down Leon's face. The fire was reflected in his blue eyes as he looked at the chaos.
"I'm sorry!" Leon cried out. "This is my fault! I'm so sorry!"
Leon turned around to see their father charging toward him. Before he could say a word, Leon was pinned against a tree. Whatever he was going to say was knocked out of his mouth with a heavy blow to the face.
"You little bastard!" their father spat as he punched Leon's face. "Destroying the only food! Learning magic! How could you do this to me? They're going to arrest me for harboring a filthy criminal like you!"
"GET YOUR DAMN HANDS OFF OF MY BROTHER!"
Seon leaped down from the branch. He tackled his father to the ground, freeing Leon. He pulled back his good fist but his father's fist crashed into his jaw first.
"The fuck are you defending him for?" he barked as he knocked Seon to the ground.
"Because he's my brother!" Seon shouted back.
His father's face darkened. "So it was you."
The shadows over his face made him look like a demon. The fires were roaring loudly in Seon's ears and that was all he heard when his father's lips started moving. His eyes widened once his father's hands started glowing. He recognized that spell. It was the strength spell.
A thick hand was pinning him to the ground with enough strength for Seon to hear the bones in his shoulders slowly getting crushed. He futilely tried to push his father off. Seon squirmed as the other hand slowly came closer and closer to his throat.
"Excuse me," said a soft voice behind his father. "What are you doing?"
The older elf froze. He shakily turned around with a look of pure horror on his face. He let go of Seon's shoulder. Seon was able to look past his father at the mysterious person who spoke. He managed to make his father afraid.
It was a tall man. His soft-spoken voice didn't match his appearance. Fine, dark hair was resting across his forehead in wind-swept bangs. He had a thin nose, but a strong jaw. Thin brows were raised over goldish eyes. His skin was smoother and clearer than even an elf's. In terms of years, he appeared to be only twice Seon's age. However, the thing that had Seon and his father staring in shock were the things on his back. Wings. Shining wings that were clear like glass.
Seon's father sat there gaping at the fairy. His mouth was hanging open like a fish out of water.
The fairy gave him a gentle smile. "I'll ask you again. What are you doing?"
"I-I..." the elf croaked weakly. "I was j-just... This boy..." He pointed a trembling hand toward Leon. "Was using magic! He burned down the trees we use for food!"
"Ah..." The fairy looked around as if he were only now noticing the raging fire around them. The smile returned to his face. "Tell me, is there any water nearby?"
"W-Well, there's-" the older elf stuttered.
"Not you," the fairy said smoothly. He gestured toward Leon. "Him."
Leon pointed to himself. "M-Me?"
The fairy chuckled. "Yes, you. Is there any water nearby?"
"There's a lake nearby, s-sir..." the boy answered.
"Thank you," the fairy said. "I believe that will do."
The fairy raised up a hand. He lifted a finger and only muttered a word sharply. Seon could see a great stream of water flying toward the fairy. It gathered in a ball over his finger. The fairy closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He quickly balled his hand into a fist. The ball of water burst, showering over the flaming forest.
"Whoa..." Seon gasped.
Their father groveled at the fairy's feet. "Thank you! Thank you so much for saving our forest!"
The smile faded from the fairy's face. It left only a cold stare. "There's no need to thank me because that's not why I'm here."
"'Second Law of Magic,'" the fairy recited monotonously. "'You shall not intentionally kill someone through use of magic.'"
The color drained from the elf's face. "I... I would never... They're my sons..." he whimpered pathetically.
"All the more reason why this act is despicable," the fairy stated coldly. He pointed to Seon. "You. Show me your shoulder, if you can, please."
Seon hesitantly pulled the collar of his tunic down. The fairy frowned at the forming bruises and uneven bones beneath the skin.
Swiftly and without warning, the fairy swooped down on the eldest elf. He was yanked to his feet, then abruptly hoisted into the air by his neck. He started gasping and flailing about in the fairy's grip. Any traces of the fairy's smile was nonexistent.
"I can feel your magic with merely a touch," the fairy said in a tone far too casual for someone strangling a man. "You haven't tried it in decades. Yet you used a spell to enhance your strength to harm a child." His grip on the elf's neck tightened by the slightest. "You tried to do that," he motioned to the bruise with his head, "to his throat."
Tears were pouring out of the elf's eyes. "I'm... so... rry..."
"'Sorry' doesn't pardon attempted murder."
The fairy dropped the man onto the ground. His expression didn't change as he looked down upon the shaking heap that was coughing at his feet. The fairy crouched down to his level and started extending a hand.
Before he did anything, however, he looked to Leon. "Look away," he ordered.
Leon nodded numbly and turned his head.
The fairy looked Seon directly in the eye. "You too."
Seon nodded then looked away.
The fairy placed a hand on the top of the man's head. He said the curse under his breath, Seon would later infer that it was because the fairy didn't want him to learn it.
After that, there was screaming. Incredibly loud, unbearable screaming. After a minute, the screams were growing higher in pitch. Seon's heart sank once he realized that it was beginning to sound like a child's scream.
Finally, it stopped.
"It's safe to look now."
Seon reluctantly turned his head toward the fairy. His stomach now filled with nothing but dread.
There was no longer a sign of the elf called Vance Forestar. The only thing that stood before Seon was the fairy... and the infant he was holding.
Leon slowly made his way over. He seemed numb. He merely stared at the baby and whispered "Papa...?"
"Yes and no," the fairy answered. "He retains all his memories, however, now he is not your father. He's merely a future servant now."
Leon dropped to his knees. "Papa... He may have been mean... B-But he was our last family... Who's going to take care of us now?"
The fairy lay a hand on Leon's shoulder. "I'm afraid that is not of my concern. My only job is to stop people from breaking the Laws of Magic."
Seon looked up at the fairy with dead eyes. "How are we supposed to feed ourselves? Earn money? Live?"
"I don't know," the fairy said simply. "I do know that you can't do so when you're still on the ground."
The fairy held out a hand to him. Seon attempted to get up himself, but his injured shoulder protested. He sighed and gripped the fairy's hand with his unburnt one. He allowed the fairy to pull him up.
"Ah, so you were the one who started the fire," the fairy said in a mildly surprised tone. "Honestly, your potential is impressive."
Leon stepped between Seon and the fairy. He glared up at the fairy. "You not going to take Seon away too, right? You're not going to arrest him for using magic?"
The fairy waved a hand dismissively. "I do not work for your so-called king. We fairies don't enforce his laws." He smiled. "If you've managed to progress this far, I believe you have a poor king when it comes to enforcing order."
The boys almost felt like protesting and defending their king, however, they only ending up wordlessly agreeing with the fairy.
"I must go now," the fairy said. He grabbed both of their hands with his long fingers while keeping the infant in his other arm. "It was a pleasure meeting you, Firestarter and brother."
They felt dizzy for a brief second before it passed. However, once they felt better, they noticed some drastic changes in their surroundings.
They stood before a great metal gate. The castle of the king of Meria himself towered over them.
The fairy was gone.