CASeries #2: LEGEND
Chapter 8 ♕ Arguments
Keelan whimpered silently as his stomach, conservatively speaking, roared. “Valeriana . . . you have some food with you, right?”
The girl sighed as she reached for her backpack hanging on Brindon’s shoulders. “Gosh, you’re so much like my brother it’s scary. Excuse me, Brindon, lemme get something.” She took something out from the bag and handed the wrapped peanut butter n’ jelly to Keelan. “Here you go. Don’t complain about it, okay? That’s all I have.”
Keelan’s eyes lit up and he went for the food. “Thank you!”
Since everyone was present and the person Valeriana had wanted to see since a while ago was finally there, she eagerly came forward and walked alongside the second-ranker. Looking up at the benevolent lord, she gave him a big smile.
“Hey, Rowe,” she said. “I need to ask you something.”
Rowe looked down from his tall height and returned the smile. “Anything for you, Valeriana.”
Keelan stared at the sandwich he had in his hands while partly listening to their conversation. With an excited huff, he tore off the tissue and brought the food up to his nose.
“I heard that most of the people who can hear the words of a Celestial Beast come from your home.”
“Can I ask who are they? Do you know anything about them?” Valeriana inquired.
“Well, the number of people who can understand the words of Celestial Beasts have long since dwindled,” Rowe answered thoughtfully. “They are now a rare sight, really. Even I’m somehow disappointed myself to admit it.”
“Oh,” she mumbled, feeling a pang of disappointment.
“Why the sudden interest?”
“Um . . .” She fiddled with her end of her top. “I was kind of hoping I could ask you about them . . . I mean . . . maybe you even knew one of them and I was thinking maybe I can talk to them. You know . . . ask questions, maybe?”
“Why? If you don’t mind my asking.” He gazed at her, his eyes glinting with curiosity as he casually tugged on the collar of his tunic.
Meanwhile, Keelan continued to stare at the strange food he was given before finally deciding to bite into it. Food was food after all. He chewed on the sandwich roughly, squeezing out the strange taste that suddenly exploded on his tongue.
There was a sharp and fruity tang that came with a salty and nutty taste. With slight hesitance, he started chewing. Something unbearably soft then brushed against the walls of his mouth along with small bits of peanuts clashing against his teeth.
It was . . . delicious!
“We discovered she can hear the words of a Celestial Beast,” Zevlin blurted, looking impatient for their conversation to progress so he interjected.
Genevieve glared at Zevlin and elbowed him on the ribs. “Don’t just butt in!”
“Hurts.” The older of the two grunted, doubling over from the force. “I was just trying to help!”
Rowe, on the other hand, looked rather stunned after hearing the news. Nevertheless, he smiled warmly and patted her shoulder. “I shall do my best in telling you everything I know.”
Valeriana looked relieved from his answer and smiled. “Thank you!”
“To be quite honest, I wasn’t expecting this,” Rowe told her. “I’ve not known any instances similar to this one before . . . it is quite uncommon for Indirect, but for Direct . . .” he trailed off. “There is still that possibility, anyhow. Perhaps you are of Aetherian heritage. It makes sense.”
“What makes sense?”
“Where you get that inner strength and that admirable courage,” he said. “And those wise words. They are not just things your father had given you or something you learned in this life, but they came from the wisdom your soul innately possesses.”
When Valeriana gave him a look of confusion, he chuckled.
“Soul is infinite,” he began explaining. “Though the body dies, it simply weaves through the fabric of time and is reborn. The memory dies and life itself is lost with it, but the soul will retain the emotions it felt and wisdom it gained. The people of Aetheria, though unfortunately not that adept with the physical elements, possess an ability that allows them to bond with their soul stronger than anyone else from the other continents. With this bond, they can sometimes delve into their past lives or other people’s past lives.” He smiled.
“So what I have now is something because of my past life?”
“It completely depends,” Rowe said. “Your childhood and how you were reared is also a great factor contributing to your current self. Sometimes, strong emotions and earthly desires cause that connection with your soul to be lost but not completely severed. But if you try to look deeper within yourself, you will discover things upon which you never realized were actually there.”
“How do I do that?”
“It takes a lot of time depending on the person, really. It’s not a matter easily discussed,” he answered with the same gentle tone he often used. “Even so, I find it odd. How did you end up in the human world?”
“I . . . don’t know.” She shrugged. “I’ve lived through a pretty normal childhood. I didn’t sense anything strange about myself.” Valeriana then paused before chuckling. “Besides the fact that I don’t look much like my parents.”
“Then you could’ve been adopted!” Keelan exclaimed all of a sudden, causing all eyes to turn to him. He bounced towards them childishly. “And maybe they just picked you off the streets—or! Maybe someone or your mother herself put you in front of their doorstep! Or maybe you accidentally fell through the Holy Gates and landed on Earth! Or—”
Tamara grabbed a rock from the floor and threw it at Keelan. “Idiot! Don’t just suddenly speak up and butt into people’s conversation!”
“Say that to yourself,” Charles muttered.
“But no one else is talking!” Keelan exclaimed. “You’re all quiet! It would’ve been reasonable to keep to ourselves when we’re talking to each other, but no! Admit it! You were all listening!”
“That’s different from what I’m trying to say!” Tamara exclaimed.
“Calm down, you two!” Charles chided. “You’re making my head ache!”
As the argument burst and the chatter gradually became a disturbance, Corvan’s exasperation hit the critical level. Suppressing a growl that nevertheless came, he shot his familiar a pointed look and yelled, “Avaro!”
The beast made no hesitance to open his mouth and a blue, glowing strip of light flew towards Keelan. Seeing this, the eleventh-ranker yelped and tried to run. Even so, it chased the boy and eventually wrapped itself around his head and bound his mouth close.
Valeriana curiously eyed the poor boy. “Avaro has, like, an endless supply of magical things inside his stomach, doesn’t he?” she thoughtfully said.
“If you speak, do it normally,” Corvan said, not bothering to hide his irritation.
Keelan struggled to get the strip off of his mouth with futile effort. “Mmmmm!” He stomped his feet. “Mmmmmm!”
“Corvan, can you stop using Avaro’s cool abilities for your own personal gain?” Valeriana frowned at the young lord before rolling her eyes. “You’re tainting his awesomeness!”
Avaro seemed amused by her words. “Thou flatterest me, Valeriana.”
Corvan replied to the fifth-ranker uncaringly. “I see no problem with that. He’s my familiar,” he said.
She huffed, crossing her arms and kicking away a stray rock from her path. “Arrogant bastard.”
“Say that again and you’ll end up like those two,” he threatened.
Despite her not wanting to, she found her lips sealing up on their own. A small noise of discontentment escaped her throat and her brows met.
“Hey, you guys,” Aneeka started. “I think we’re here.”
They looked ahead and saw glittering lights from afar.