Lavender Eyes

Chapter 4: The Wish Deep Within His Heart

When they descended the staircase, the area gradually became darker. Soon, it was hard for Arcturus to see. He pressed his earring to let his device show its display, but it only gave minimal lighting.

”No flashlight? ” Nova inquired.

”I lost it. ”

Nova then reached his hand out. Arcturus knew the reason and accepted to hold hands instanaeously. He turned off his device once he made contact. Novas hand felt dry and bony. He had a strong grip, despite his thin limbs. He could tell Nova was a lot stronger than he looked and wondered what sort of work he had done to maintain such a hand. He even wondered if Nova was really a wanderer as he had proclaimed earlier.

Nova abruptly stopped. Arcturus immediately felt a flat surface underneath the soles of his boots and knew they had just finished descending the staircase; he realized he did not focus on how long they were for he was too fixated on Novas hand. He did not want to know, however; he did not want to stay in the darkness for too long. He then realized something; he was still in the darkness despite stopping. There wasn an exit in sight. Nervousness came to him as he felt Novas hand pulling away from his.

He could hear Nova breathing next to him, but he still felt scared of the black abyss; it felt like it was enclosed around him, trapping him without any exit. He could move, yet the darkness felt like it was paralyzing him from mobility. All he could do was grip his knife tightly for it was the only thing protecting him.

”Are we trapped? ” Arcturus sputtered.

”Nope. Theres just a special way to open this hidden door. ”

Arcturus sighed with relief. Although the mention of a hidden door was surprising, he started gaping at a loud sound. From what he could decipher, it sounded as if some powerful force collided with a solid object; he assumed it was a surface. He then winced at a loud sliding noise, but it did not affect him as much for the darkness became vanquished by light; beyond the darkness revealed a hallway embraced in lavender light.

Arcturus rushed out in excitement but he stumbled and fell on his knees. The pain did not matter to him as he blurted out, ”Wow! ”

Nova chuckled as he raised a hand out to help him. Once Arcturus got back on his feet, Nova stretched both of his arms out. ”Welcome to Castle Lavender, the ruined castle of ice! ”

The ominous epithet did not instill fear in Arcturus for his joy was much stronger. He took a few steps and fell down again. Nova chuckled again; this time, Arcturus became flustered as he got up by himself.

e not athletic, I presume? ” Nova asked in the midst of his laughter.

Arcturus furrowed his eyebrows and pouted. ”Its rather that I lack balance. Im actually considered stronger than the average Laminan, okay? Its because of my Plasmian blood that allows me to be this way. Im quite muscular compared to my peers. On the other hand, Ive never seen an Ilacian so…dainty. ”

Other than hair colors, the three nationalities also unique physical traits that made them stand out from each other. Because of their intelligience, Laminans were physically lacking compared to the other two. Ilacians were the fastest race, thus the most athletic; their intelligience were rather poor, however, for they happened to be more quick-witted than academically gifted. They were also the race that had the longest lifespan for they knew how to live on and survive the quickest out of the three; an Ilacians true lifespan was unknown, but some have lived over a century. Plasmians were the strongest race but the slowest; despite their strength, they had the shortest lifespan of the three, given how fast they heal; their healing factor was due to using up their strength to speed up their recovery. Given their mortality rate, pureblooded Plasmians were considered very rare in modern times for they chose to dilute their blood to survive longer; Arcturus was one such result.

Nova looked away as he gave him a sullen smile. ”I was rather sickly when I was young. I had a bad disease that lacked a cure, so all I could do was just do my best to suppress it with antibiotics and medicine. ”

Arcturus felt the atmosphere between them becoming tense. He knew he probably hit a button he wasn and it made him feel awkward. ”Im sorry… ”

Nova tilted his head. ”Why apologize for something that wasn your fault? ”

”I…don really know what else to say. ”

Nova then took a few steps forward. ”Enough chit-chat, then. Ill take you to the throne room like I said before. Lets go. ” Nova grabbed Arcturuss hand and the two started treading through the castle.

Arcturus couldn help but to wander his eyes around the surroundings and not at Nova. Castle Lavender was fascinating, but the interior seemed rather simplistic. There wasn much to see other than a hallway and large antechambers; they had passed through four. There were no ornate murals, carvings, or landmarks. Everything looked identical; he felt slight disappointment. For a wide interior, there was just so much pointless space.

If Souhait really did design this castle, he wasn much of an architect as I assumed. Slight disappointment welled up.

”Not much to see, right? ” Nova uttered, startling Arcturus.

Is he a mind reader? Arcturus wondered as he did his best to maintain his composure. ”Im sure there are reasons for the interior being this way. ”

Nova turned to look at Arcturus with a smile. ”Don worry, well see something amazing after we pass through a few more antechambers. ”

His words instilled a jolt of anticipation within Arcturus. He became excited for what the amazing thing was. It slightly died down when they passed through five more empty antechambers. At the fifth antechamber, there was a staircase that led to the second floor.

”There are multiple floors? ”

”Of course. The trap room was like the first floor attic of sorts? Anyways, the first floor has nine antechambers and they
e all empty alongside the hallways. ”

”Why would this castle be built like that? ”

”Well, there was decoration in the past but I threw them all away and left the whole first floor bare. ”

Arcturus furrowed his eyebrows. ”Why would you do that? ”

”To throw off intruders, of course! I love giving them a sense of hopelessness and then seeing them either give up or keep going. Its exciting. ” He had an exhilarated expression with a flushed face and a crooked grin.

Arcturus became exasperated. He concluded that Nova was rather insane beneath his pretty face. Nova wiped the drool off the face after Arcturus had pointed it out.

”How unslightly of me. I apologize. ”

e fine… ” Arcturus hoped he was.

Nova then grabbed his arm. ”Shall we head upstairs then? ”

”Sure… ” He didn like Novas excessive touching, but he knew it was better than falling on ice constantly.

As they ascended the stairs, Arcturus made a mental note of his first impressions of Nova.

Nova is touchy, slightly crazy, and very enigmatic. Despite these points, I want to get to know him more. Why is he in this castle? How long has he been here? Knowing that the world is filled with such mysteries makes it exciting.

He let out a smile as he felt his heart throbbing at the accumulating excitement.

When they reached the second floor, the first room that greeted them was an antechamber. Although the sight of another antechamber frustrated Arcturus, the sight of two statues washed it away. Excitement came to him as he pulled himself from Novas grip and stumbled towards the statues. Nova followed him and stood behind him just in case he fell again.

The statues were of two reptilian creatures; one had a serpentine body and the other had a beastly one. The serpentine creature had a long body with short limbs, long claws, and whiskers; the beastly creature had a stocky body with long limbs, short claws, wings and horns.

Just from a first glance Arcturus knew what these two creatures were. ”These are the dragons from Souhaits Lore! ” He pointed to the serpentine dragon. ”Thats Souhait! ” He then pointed to the beastly dragon. ”That is one of his brethrens! ”

Nova hummed in amusement. ”You sure know your stuff. ”

Arcturus, with overwhelming confidence, cleared his throat. ”Long ago, roaming lavender-colored dragons once inhabited the universe. They traversed through many worlds to find a place they called home. They eventually found a barren planet that wasn a suitable place for them to live, so they made a wish for the planet to become habitable. These dragons had a unique ability to grant wishes, so their wishes immediately came true. The wasteland became flourished with nature, and some pieces of land cracked and became their own separate land. Three large barren lands became the countries of Ilacier, Lamina and Plasma—each with their own unique climates. They named their new home Terrenter—the name of our planet. ”

Realization kicked in; he realized he was being a bit too hyperactive when it came to the lore. He then realized there was an abrupt silence, which he found odd; he turned around to see Nova silent. He looked rather zoned out with his eyes fixating elsewhere and bobbing his head without any rhythm. Although Nova looked beautiful when lost in thought, Arcturus did not like his sudden silence; he called out to him. Nova returned to reality; a smile replaced the dazed, expressionless countenance.

”I apologize for the thinking. I was just focused on remembering the lore since it had been way too long. Im impressed you are able to recall the first paragraph of the book verbatim. ”

His compliment made Arcturus flustered. ”Ive been told I have good memory. ”

With an abrupt serious countenance, Nova asked, ”How much do you know, then? ”

His serious eyes caused a shiver down Arcturuss spine. Novas words had a much deeper connotation; he was testing him. Nova wanted to know how much he had prepared and how much drive he had to ace this exam; he wanted to know if all of his hardships these past four months were really worth it in the end. Arcturus was confident; no fear within him was detected.

”Everything, ” he responded.

Nova smirked. ”Very well. Lets move onto the next chamber. ”

Arcturus took one last glance at the two dragons. I wish I had a camera with me to document this discovery. He made sure to remember to write down in his journal when he got the chance.

Nova then latched onto his arm and they progressed further inside.

The second antechamber had multiple statues placed in all of the corners; they were all different. Arcturuss eyes fixated on the serpentine dragon statue on the northwest corner; it was the same dragon from the first antechamber but had a different pose. The northeast corner had a human statue; the southwest had a deer; the southeast had a tree.

Arcturus recited, ”Although the dragons had called Terrenter home, they were unsatisfied. Their being the only inhabitants had bored them. They had wanted their home to be inhabited with nature, animals and humans like other worlds, so they had wished for them into existence; the dragons wished us into existence. ”

He and Nova approached the dragon statue. Arcturus took a good glance at it. ”This dragon statue has an extremely long tail for its serpentine body; this is Souhait. ”

e right. Souhait and his brethren can grant wishes, but cannot their own. That was how they managed to wish us into existence. ” Novas explanation caused Arcturus to pay full attention towards him.

He then asked, ”Did you know there is an ongoing debate on whether we came to this world as animals or as actual humans? ”

Nova gave a surprised reaction. ”There are such debates? ”

Arcturus then became deep in thought. Novas words sounded genuine, as if he was naïve about the world. The debates he had mentioned were always topics folklore buffs were knowledgable with. Knowing that Nova, who was also knowledgable with this subject, had no idea about the debates made the enigma shrouding him stronger. He wondered how long Nova has been inside this castle. There seemed to be no sign of technology anywhere; he wondered what Nova eats to survive since there were no animals on this island and in this castle; incandescent ice was not consumable.

Does he eat snow?

Remembering his own actions, he decided to stop thinking for he found it embarrassing. Instead, he focused on replying to Nova. ”Yes. Those debates always sparked conspiracy theories and arguments between folklore scholars and historians. Folklore scholars believe in Souhaits lore and that humans came to the world as full-fledged adults and reproduced to populate Terrenter. Because of the authenticity of the lore, historians deny it and believe that humans evolved from animals, specifically monkeys, given how our gene pools are a bit similar to theirs. Though, in Laminan society, folklore scholars are scarce and historians are abundant; people believe in the words of the latter more than the former for they see us as hysterical. ”

An amalgamation of upset feelings welled up within him; realizing this, he did his best to suppress them. He did not want to show his weaker side in front of Nova, so he turned his head aside. Nova just patted his shoulder—an act that moved him—but he still didn show any tears; he was very grateful towards him, nonetheless. He had only met Nova, yet he could feel a strong connection between them

”Thank you, ” he whispered as he did his best to maintain his calm composure.

Nova first gave him his usual sunny smile, but it disappeared; a serious countenance replaced it. ”Shall we head to the next antechamber? ”

Sensing how tense the atmosphere was caused Arcturus to nod. He wanted to see more statues; he also wanted to rid this room of the gloominess he had created.

The next antechamber contained two statues: one of Souhait and one of a human; they were facing each other. The human depicted in the statue was much different from the previous one. This one was more detailed; the human had their hand reaching out towards Souhait while Souhait looked as if he was leaning in towards the human. The upset emotions Arcturus had quickly washed away as he became excited.

”This is the moment where Souhait started granting wishes for the world, right? ”

Nova nodded. ”After we came into existence, the other lavender dragons left, leaving Souhait alone as the watcher of the world. ”

Arcturus soon furrowed his eyebrows as he asked, ”Why did they leave? Didn they want to make Terrenter their home? ”

Nova became still as he started fidgeting. ”I…do not know. ” His voice cracked slightly and his eyes fixated elsewhere other than Arcturuss. His expression made it very obvious Nova had the actual answer; Arcturus wondered why he was lying to him after being honest with him so far.

Since he assumed there was a personal reason behind his lie, Arcturus decided to not press further and feigned ignorance. ”I see. How unfortunate. It would have been nice to get an answer after so many years of debate. ”

”How many debates do you folklorists have? ”

His question made him realize Arcturus had spoken too much about the stresses of his life back home. His life had been an endless struggle of fighting with historians, eventually forming a rivalry with them. He couldn help but to feel bad for Nova, who had no idea about any of this, seemingly.

”Countless. ”

”Sounds annoying. ”

This time, it was Arcturus who had let out a chuckle. Novas words rang truth; the debates were pointless. If he wanted to believe the lore was true, then they were true. He wondered why he had spent countless amounts of time arguing when nobody was right or wrong in that scenario.

”They are. They really are. ” He proclaimed as he let out a sigh. ”I know for certain that Souhait had spent his days watching over humans by flying to each country and granting their wishes, which had allowed Terrenter to flourish at a fast rate. It has been technologically advanced for a very long time. There is no debate on that fact. ”

”Terrenter was a peaceful world back then. Everyone had lived harmoniously. ”

Arcturus became sullen when he heard that last word. He started to remember the dream he had about his sister. The dream had taken place in his hometown. When he had looked up at the sky, it was cloudy. Cloudy weather was normal in Terrenter nowadays; it had been a long time since he had seen the sky. The cloudy sky was synonymous with the state of Terrenter today.

Nova asked with concern, ”Is something the matter? ”

”Harmoniously… ” Arcturus uttered. ”I don know how long youve been here or where you
e from, but harmony is a myth now. Terrenter is on the verge of destruction with sporadic wars, incurable diseases, famine, inflation, discrimination and untraceable storms. There are many conspiracies and speculations created by policitians to convince people to vote for them during elections and then corrupt the city they become mayor in; I don believe in their lies, however. ”

”What do you believe in, then? ”

”I believe that the worlds current state is because nobody has a wish. The lack of wishes is killing this world. If the world was once harmonious because of Souhait, that means wishes were the source of happiness back then. The world had discord once Souhait was no longer present in the lives of humans. He had granted wishes of so many humans in the past that they eventually stopped wanting to wish and grew a desire to start assimilating into society and make their wishes come true with their own efforts. Because of their actions, Souhait had become lonely. As a result, he had flown to this island, Eternally, and created Castle Lavender as a means to watch over the humans he had loved even though they didn need him anymore. ”

Nova seemed rather intrigued by his words. ”Loved… ” He muttered. ”You believe he loved humans? What if he hated them? ”

Another test?

”If he had hated them, he wouldn have granted their wishes. ”

”What if he had hated them after they stopped wanting wishes? What if this castle was formed out of a grudge? What if he had isolated himself to hatch his revenge? ”

Arcturus leaned back for Nova kept invading his personal space by leaning his head closer to his. ”Slow down with the questions. What makes you think Souhait is a hateful being? ”

”What makes you think otherwise? ” Nova had his eyes protruded and did not blink once at all; Arcturus looked rather disturbed for how terrifying Nova had looked. He gulped, but tried to maintain his composure; he had a feeling succumbing to Novas stare would be the catalyst to his failure.

”I think Souhait is benevolent because he stayed in this world rather than leaving with his people. If he didn like Terrenter and its people, he wouldn have gone around and granted wishes. If I was Souhait and hated humans, I would have strayed far away from humans and would keep myself isolated from the world—revel in my loneliness. ”

Nova, wide-eyed, suddenly removed his hands from Arcturuss and covered his face. Arcturus, unable to maintain his balance, fell onto the floor. Looking above, Novas shoulders started shaking.

”Are you okay? ” Arcturus asked; he felt worried if he had said something to upset him.

What he had initially assumed was Nova crying was actually Nova chuckling as he removed his hands and plastered a wide grin. ”You passed the test! ”

Arcturus was thrilled that his hunch was correct, but tried his best to feign ignorance. ”Test? ”

”Whenever someone comes here, they
e usually swayed by my words and would agree with my rebuttals and refutes. You
e different. You stand your ground and not give into my words. You make your own judgements. You
e strong and intelligent. I think you
e perfect. ”

Being complimented made him embarrassed. ”I-Im not perfect… ”

Nova reached a hand out; Arcturus grabbed it. Nova did not let go as he used both hands to hold Arcturuss. ”You are perfect. I need you. ”

Arcturus became flustered; he wasn sure how to deal with someone like Nova. Nova suddenly snapped his fingers and the floor started vibrating. A portion of the ice floor, where they were on, started floating and hovered through the rest of the second floor, passing through a lot of statues that Arcturus had yet to see. Arcturus wanted to get off, but Nova stopped him.

”Why are we zipping past these statues? ”

”Im lazy! ”

Arcturus raised an eyebrow. Assuming that there was a need for Nova to get to the throne room quickly, Arcturus took the chance to get out his journal. He started logging everything that had happened after he had written the previous entry.

When they had reached their destination, the throne room, the ice panel rested on the floor; Nova was not in good condition, however. He knelt on the floor, resting his forehead against the cold surface. Arcturus was doing his best to rub his back in hopes of making Nova recover faster.

”I never expected you to have motion sickness. ”

”Its the worse. ” Nova uttered. ”I feel queasy whenever I am in any type of transportation. ”

”Why did you make the ice panel float, then? ”

”There was a need; I wanted to get to the throne room faster. Sometimes, sacifices had to be made. ”

”Are you going to be okay? ” Arcturus kept rubbing his back.

”Ill be fine. Let me stay like this for a few minutes. ”

Seeing the eccentric and enigmatic Nova in such a weakened state made Arcturus realize he was a lot more humane than he had expected. He had never expected a chipper man to actually be someone very sickly. He liked seeing this side of Nova; he hoped to see more.

Leaving Nova be, Arcturus decided to scan his surroundings; he wanted to explore, but knew walking would be a bad idea due to his lack of balance. The throne room was very wide—perhaps, even bigger than all of the antechambers of the castle. There wasn anything to look at, however. The throne room may be wide, but the only object worth looking at was the lonesome throne of ice resting on top of a dais.

Arcturus then closed his eyes and placed a hand to the back of his ear. He heard the sound of his and Novas breaths. Nothing else could be heard, which caused his eyebrows to furrow.

How unusual. Nova did say that what I was looking for would be here, but I cannot hear anything.

”What you
e looking for is still here. ” Nova remarked as he stood up; he seemed to have regained his composure.

”I don hear anything, though. I don hear Souhaits voice at all. ”

Nova became intrigued by Arcturuss words. ”Plasmians are known for being able to interact with dead spirits, but why can you only hear them? ”

”Its because of my mixed heritage, of course. My mother once told me that a mixed Plasmian would not inherit all of the traits a pureblooded one would have. I was born unable to see dead spirits, but I could hear them. My younger sister, on the other hand, can hear dead spirits, but she can see them. ”

”How intricate. ”

”Its just how Souhait built the people of this world. Its not like I wanted this trait. ”

”I see… ”

The sight of Nova became frustrating to Arcturus; Nova had said what he was searching for was in the throne room, but he heard nothing. Disappoinment welled up within him; he became worried that his mission ended in a failure. He had sacrificed blood, sweat and tears just to reach here and he was given nothing in return. Nova had given him false hope and he had taken it like bait and got captured by failure. The memory of Ariel came back to him; he had promised her hed be back, but he wasn sure if he was going to be able to keep such a promise. He didn want to come back empty handed.

”Whats wrong? ” Nova asked.

The moment he made eye contact with Nova, anger welled him within him. ”You lied to me. You said that what I am searching for is in the throne room, but I can hear Souhait at all. ”

Nova furrowed his eyebrows. ”I am not lying. Souhait is here. ”

”Quit lying, you quack! ” Arcturus knew better than to unleash his anger, but he couldn bottle it up anymore.

Nova scoffed. ”How rude! I do not quack! I am a human, not a duck! ”

”I mean quack as in charalatan—a liar! ”

Nova retorted with a huff. ”I am no liar! ” He looked very annoyed, almost to the point of being upset.

”If you aren one, where is Souhait then? ”

Nova slammed a hand on his chest. ”Hes in here! ”

It took Arcturus a few seconds to process the context of Novas words. All he got as a result was exasperation. ”What? ”

”Souhait dwells within my body! He and I are mutually bound to each other! ” He raised his right hand, which had a flower marking on his palm. ”See this? This is a symbol of our bond—our contract. ”

”Contract? ” He raised an eyebrow. He was still confused on what was going on.

”Souhait granted my wish and this flower tattoo is proof. ”

”How is that even possible? Souhait is dead, isn he? How can Souhait dwell within you when his soul isn here? ” At this point, Arcturus wondered if Nova was delusional.

Nova gave an expression that showed how annoyed he was with Arcturuss inquiries. He took a few steps forward and reached his hand towards him. ”Do you want to see it for yourself? ”

Arcturus leaned back. ”See what? ”

”See the proof that I am no charlatan. ”

Before Arcturus had time to think, Nova abruptly grabbed his hand and a jolt surged within him. Drowsiness came to him, which was very unusual; he knew that regular hand contact wouldn result in such drowsiness, yet he was very tired. His eyes wer forced shut and he found himself drifting into a deep slumber.

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