Arcturus found himself staring at a cloudy sky, free from the snowstorm, while sitting on a swinging bench from a porch. He felt unusually relaxed. The gentle breeze tickled his nape and forehead; he realized his hair was short when it was currently long. He noticed his arms were crossed and looked down to see himself gently holding a rabbit; it felt rather smooth.
He noticed an adolescent girl with auburn hair wearing a school uniform running towards him with worry plastered on her face. Her eye color was the same as his.
”Are you really leaving? ”
”Yes, I made up my mind. ” Arcturus wasn in control of what he was saying.
”Because I want to prove to the world that I can accomplish the impossible. ”
e going to miss my birthday! The day you leave is on my birthday! Why chase something impossible when you have people who care about you, like me? ”
Sadness overwhelmed him as Arcturus raised a hand and patted the girls head. He felt his lips curl into a sunken smile. ”Im sorry for being a terrible brother, Ariel. You have Grandma and Grandpa with you. ”
Ariels face contorted into sadness. ”But, it won be the same without you. ” She hung her head low.
He placed the rabbit on the bench as he stood up and placed both his hands on her shoulders. ”How about this? I will miss your fifteenth birthday, but Ill do my best to come back before your sixteenth birthday. ”
Her face was full of anticipation. ”You better promise! I won forgive you if you don come back! ”
Arcturus forced out a chuckle, just so he would conceal his sadness. The sadness within him was unbearable, however. Just the sight of Ariel made his heart ache.
A teardrop trickled down the corner of his eyes as he whispered, ”Ariel… ” He knew he was dreaming of the past and wanted to wake up; he wasn dead yet. He just wanted to sleep a bit more; it had been a while since he had slept so peacefully.
His peaceful slumber halted for he felt someone wipe his tear off of his face; the unknown presence caused him to wake up. The first thing he saw was a woman, looking down at him with relief; though, the distance between their faces was a bit too close for Arcturuss liking. He leaned back in discomfort; his cheeks heated up out of embarrassment.
e awake. ” From the voice, Arcturus could tell the person was actually male. He looked androgynous for he had round eyes like a deers, a thin, straight nose bridge, and sweet smile; his facial structure was rather masculine for he had a strong jawline despite his delicate features. His loose golden blond hair reached down towards his shoulders and tied back in a half ponytail. Despite his unique facial features, Arcturus couldn help to be drawn by his eyes. They were very unique, for his irises were lavender.
Are those color contacts?
Realization kicked in when he realized that he had found another person after so long. He sat up with shock plastered on his face.
”Who are you? ”
”Im Nova, a wanderer. ”
”Im Arcturus, ” It was an abrupt introduction, but Arcturus knew better than to not give his name when Nova did.
Arcturus then scanned the vicinity. He felt a chilly breeze wafting through him as he found himself trapped in a dimly lit lavender room with smooth surfaces. He placed a hand to the floor and noticed how it felt like ice. He became surprised.
”Is this place…? ”
”This is Castle Lavender. ”
Excitement overwhelmed him as he stood up. He had finally reached his destination. ”This place is Castle Lavender! I can believe it! ” He rummaged into his bag and got out his journal. He quickly jotted down notes.
Nova chuckled, making Arcturuss attention fixate on him. Nova looked rather clean for someone who was inside a ruined ice castle. He wore a thick purple sweater with a cuffed turtleneck that looked rather big on him; it had no signs of fraying anywhere. He assumed Nova had a slender build give how thin his legs were; Nova wore gray pants that accentuated his thin legs very well, but made him look lightly dressed for the outside weather. His hands and feet were bare; his feet, in particular, were covered in scabs.
”How did you get here? ” Arcturus inquired.
Nova started thinking before responding, ”Its a secret. ” He placed his index finger on his pursed lips to gesture that he wouldn say anymore.
Arcturus immediately knew there was something suspicious about Nova, but did not say anything for he just met him. He inquired, ”How did I get here? ”
Nova pointed to the ceiling, to which Arcturus looked up and saw a rectangular hole. He stood up to get a better look; he noticed that it was the same shape and size as the trap door from above.
”Did you get caught by the bat alarm? ” Nova asked.
Arcturus, surprised, asked, ”How do you know? ”
”I put it there for intruders. This room we are in is a trap for intruders. Once they enter here, they cannot get out. That was how I constructed it. ” He huffed while smiling.
Fear surged into Arcturus. ”Does that mean I cannot get out? Ill be stuck here forever? ”
Nova raised an eyebrow. ”Nonsense. I came to this room because I heard someone enter from the trap door and that was how I found you. I know my way around this castle. Its like a second home to me. ”
The fear quickly changed into excitement. ”Then, can we get out of this room? Id like to see more of this castle! I want to see if Souhaits spirit resides within this castle! ”
Nova was rather taken aback at how fast Arcturuss emotions had changed. Regardless, Arcturuss words piqued him. ”Souhait? You believe in him? Are you sure your head is okay? You did have a pretty nasty fall. ”
”My head is fine! I know that peope only see him as folklore, but I believe he really existed! Thats why I came here! I want to prove to the world that he existed and I want to get my wish granted from him! ”
His passionate demeanor seemed to have made Nova very interested in his motives.
e a pursuer of happiness? ”
”Pursuer of happiness? ” Arcturus questioned.
”Wishes are magic formed from the heart. People want wishes because they want to be happy. If you think deeply about it, wishes are magic that grant happiness. ”
Although Arcturus had no idea what magic was, he understood the gist of what Nova was saying: Wishes lead to happiness; he wanted happiness. He complied with Novas question.
”Yes, Im a pursuer of happiness. ”
Nova gave him another sweet smile. ”Excellent. ” He then knelt down and started searching the floor, leaving Arcturus quite confused.
”What are you doing? ”
”Im finding a switch. Theres a hidden one here that can get us out of this room. ”
Arcturuss eyebrows furrowed for he was confused. ”Wait a minute, didn you say that you know this place like a second home? How do you not know where the button is? ”
”Castle Lavender is a very confusing area. When you activate a door and enter a room, it immediately closes, so you have to find either another way out or a hidden button that can reopen the door. This room was to trap intruders, so there is no other exit. This is why I am searching for a button. ”
”I-Ill help you, then! ”
Arcturus slightly stumbled on the ice before he knelt down and helped Nova search for the supposed switch. He got excited observing the lavender hue and feeling the ice.
”This isn normal ice! ” Arcturus blurted out as he flipped through his past journal entries and stopped at a certain page.
It was about three special types of ices only found on the Ilacier. They were incandescent, iridescent and pearlescent ice. All three types were unique in the sense that they lacked the ability to melt. Incandescent ice was known as glowing ice due to its unusual ability to glow; it also came in a variety of solid colors. It was durable, so many artisans liked to use them for their trade. Iridescent ice was known as colored ice due to it being able to show a variety of color despite being a solid object—many had referred to it as frozen bubbles. It was known to be quite brittle, thus mainly used in the food industry. It also had a tasteless flavor—it tasted like normal ice—but also had a strange power to make the consumer feel full; the empty jar Arcturus had pouted about earlier used to contain that ice. Pearlescent ice was ice with a pearl-like luster. It was very fragile. It had strong healing effects, which made it dominant in the medical industry. However, it was also dangerous due to powerful and addictive after-effects equivalent to drugs; addiction to pearlescent ice was quite common to read about on the news.
”So, Castle Lavender really is made of incandescent ice like my research shows! This is another small proof that Souhait had existed. He made this place, so he must be a skilled artisan! I heard that this place is really wide on the inside despite looking like a skyscraper outside. Such finesse! ”
His eyes sparkled. Nova couldn help but to chuckle at his enthusiaism. ”You must really love the folklore. ”
”I do! Even if I was ridiculed in the past for believing and hearing things other people do not and cannot, I never faltered. ”
One specific word piqued Novas curiosity. ”Hearing things other people cannot? ”
Arcturus clammed up in embarrassment. He wasn supposed to blurt that out; nobody would believe him if he did.
Nova approached him. ”Whats this about hearing things other people cannot? I want to know. ”
Seeing Novas round eyes staring at him made him a bit flustered as he took a step back and looked away; he had found his eyes very beautiful. He would not falter, however. He refused to say something about his unusual ability.
Nova had realized Arcturuss silence, so he decided to not pester him further. Nova just continued searching for the button; Arcturus did too.
”How big is the button? ” Arcturus asked.
”Its quite tiny. Sort of like a speck. ”
Arcturus then looked at his fingers. They were nowhere as thin as Novas. He wasn sure if he could even press the button if he found it. An idea popped up as he reached a hand out to his earring and pressed it. A knife popped out. Novas eyes widened as he took a step back; it was the first time Arcturus had seen him so guarded and afraid. It was only for a brief moment as Nova held it in; instead, he became intrigued.
”What just happened? ” Nova questioned with curiosity.
”I just took a knife out of my holster. ”
”Ive never seen such a device before. ” Nova approached Arcturus and grasped his arm. ”How does it function? ”
He sure likes invading my personal space. Arcturus took off his coat to show off the holster to Nova. He noted the height difference between them; Arcturus was taller than Nova who reached up to his eyebrows.
”Wow, Ive never seen such technology! Is this from Lamina? ”
”Yes. Its an older model, but it has saved me through pickles. ”
Novas expression perked at that last word. ”Pickles? Do you have them? ” Arcturus could see a slight trickle of drool dribbling down the corner of his lips.
”Of course not. ” Arcturus furrowed his eyebrows with how quirky the man was.
Nova pouted as he wiped his mouth with his sweater. Arcturus became worried with how thinly dressed he was, especially with his lack of shoes and gloves. ”Aren you cold? ”
”Me? Im fine. ”
”You aren wearing any shoes, though. ”
Nova grumbled. ”Shoes are annoying, especially when I have bunions. ”
Arcturus then glanced at his feet again; the edges of Novas feet did have a tiny round bone protruding out from each side, making the toes look protruded.
”They do look uncomfortable. ”
”Finding shoes that won hurt my feet is like trying to catch lightning in a jar. ”
All Arcturus could do was to sympathize. If he had Novas feet, hed also find shoes uncomfortable. Novas eyes were glued back to Arcturuss holster.
”How does this work? ” Nova asked.
Arcturus then gave a detailed explanation of how his mechanical holster worked. It had a program, which he installed within his cuffed earring that has a button on the dangling earring, which activates a hologram screen.
”Wow! ” Nova tried to poke the screen but it permeated.
Arcturus chuckled. ”Your hands can touch it. Only the owner can touch it via fingerprint data. ”
”Technology sure has advanced. I feel like I can keep up. ”
Arcturus then explained that the holster has a little red button, which is the access button. The screen showed off the functions it has. It came with only two: unsheathe and inventory replenish. Unsheathe was the function he had shown Nova earlier, which he didn need to show again. He showed Nova the front slit that it came out from and then slowly opened it to show off his inventory. There were three thin pedestals for his knives, but he only had two knives—one in his hand and one idle in his device. He then closed the lid back and showed how the inventory replenishing worked. There was a back slit to which he placed his knife in and it started vibrating. The screen then had the words ”INVENTORY REPLENISHED ” before closing; the vibration stopped.
”Though, there are instances where I don need to use the screen to do this. ” The screen showed up again. ”I can adjust it so that I don need the screen to activate my device. ” Arcturus pressed a few buttons and the screen disappeared instantly.
Nova was fascinated with the strange device. His eyes looked as if they sparkled. ”Wow! Such strange technology! ”
Arcturus raised an eyebrow. ”Strange? This type of technology is the norm. ”
Nova tilted his head. ”Norm? What year is it? ”
Nova then gasped. He then started mumbling to himself. ”Has it been twenty years since then? Ive lost count of the time! ”
”What are you talking about? ”
”Its nothing. ” Nova let out a fake giggle after realizing he had mumbled to himself.
Arcturus raised an eyebrow for he knew Nova was acting very strangely, but did not speak up; he did not want to be intrusive. Instead, he activated his holster again because he needed a knife. Nova and he continued their search for the button.
While Nova pounded the floor with his fists, Arcturus was more meticulous for he jabbed the tip of his knife at every spot. He then stopped once he heard a soft clicking noise and felt a slight tremor as a portion of the wall opened up, revealing a descending staircase.
Nova started applauding him.
”Wow, you managed to find the switch! You
e very smart! ”
Arcturus became flustered. ”Its no big deal. I am just a meticulous person by nature. ”
”But, knowing to use the tip of your knife to find the switch is a very intelligent plan. ” Nova took a step forward and leaned in towards Arcturus to observe his face once again. ”Your eyelashes are as red as your hair. I thought you were Laminan, but you are Plasmian. ”
Arcturus took a step back as he cleared his throat. ”My hair is scarlet; also, I am half-Laminan from my fathers side and half-Plasmian from my mothers. Im mixed. ”
Civilians of the three nations had unique hair colors that made them unique from each other. Ilacians had light colored hair, ranging from any light shade of brown to any shade of blond. Laminans had dark hair, ranging from black to dark brown hair. Plasmians had bright and bold hair colors, like how Arcturus had a bright shade of scarlet as his natural hair color.
Nova seemed rather surprised to learn of his mixed heritage.
e mixed? How unusual. Don mixed children usually have a blend of each parents hair colors? ”
Arcturus stroked a lock of his hair as he was reminded of his sister. ”I was supposed be born with auburn hair, but my hair came out scarlet like my mothers. ” He then glanced over at Novas hair. Since his hair was blond, Arcturus assumed Nova was pure Ilacian; his golden blond hair was the prettiest shade of blond he had ever laid eyes upon.
”How unusual… ” Nova muttered.
”Its a complex story. Im not even sure youd believe it. ” Arcturus grumbled when he had recalled a portion of said story.
”Id love to listen to it, but later on. Our priority is to get out of here and onto the throne room. ”
”Throne room? Theres a throne room? ” He asked with joy. His eyes were glued to Novas passionately.
”I know what you
e looking for. Follow me and well get there in a jiffy. ”
”Okay… ” Arcturus raised an eyebrow when the last word rang in his ear.
Who says jiffy in this generation?
Regardless of Novas bizarre word choice, Arcturus still followed him down the staircase.
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