28.10.2012 - May and Shia
(doesn't have a title yet... )
Quickly I hit my hands together and put them on the ground. The magic coming from the touch of my hands, from the connection of the circle was immense and I didn’t dare to look up. Shia was there, somewhere and I had to get to her, no matter the price!
As fast as I could I jumped up and ran forward, over the falling rocks, further towards the next door. As I got closer I heard the men shout and run towards the door as well, so I had to fight. The enemy was about to reach the door, when I clapped my hands together again and placed them on the door.
The magic flew through my hands and into the metal of the door and blasted everything away. I heard the screams of the men on the other side of the wall and ran and jumped over the shattered pieces.
Shia was there! I knew it! Everything that mattered was to reach Shia in one piece and free her! With her help we’d be able to end this war!
Yawning I opened my eyes and looked into the bright light of the sun. It was just another boring morning. “Good morning sleepy head!” Shia said smiling and pulled my blanket away, “I have tea ready in the kitchen!” “You are my star, Shia!” I chuckled and stretched. “May you are cute, but get up now; otherwise I’ll have to drink it all on my own!” “What kind of tea is it?” I asked and tried to reach for my blanket again. “It’s your favorite!” she said and started to run out the door.
“Oolong?” I asked, jumped up and ran after her; both of us loved oolong tea. “Hey, wait for me Shia!” I called and ran down the stairs into the kitchen, “Mom! Shia is trying to drink all the Oolong tea!” “She is not, dear, it’s still too hot to drink!” our mom said smiling. “Oh…” I said and skidded to a halt. “Got you!” Shia chuckled.
“You two girls need to be nice, and Shia, I asked you to wake up your sister and not to tease her all the time!” “That’s right Shia, you’re a meanie!” I said grumpy and sat down beside her. “Come on girls, you’re sisters, behave like that!” Mom said chuckling and put some breakfast down in front of us.
“But that’s the easiest to get you out of bed!” my sister said laughing. “But…” I protested and looked at her, “There are nicer ways to get me out of bed!” “No,” she said again, “Nothing else works!” “Does so!” I screamed at her, jumped down from the stool and ran out of the door.
Shia was such a meanie! There were ways to wake me up without being so mean! Crying I ran down to the beach. What should I do to get back on Shia? Maybe I could put something into her tea later? Yes… that was a good idea…
Quickly I wiped away my tears; that stupid sister of mine was no reason to make me cry! She wouldn’t make me cry anymore! Suddenly I heard a cracking sound behind me. What was that? Scared, but ready to defend myself I jumped up and looked at the smiling face of Shia. “Come on, let’s go back!” “Huh?” I asked and sighed, “Ok.”
She still was my dearest friend, even though we were fighting a lot. Holding hands we walked back to the house we lived in with our mother, Claire, who adopted both of us a few years back. “Shia, your hair has grown again!” I said as I looked at her good shoulder long dark brown curls. “They will never stop growing you silly!” she chuckled, “And so has your hair.”
Carefully she touched my almost shoulder long red wavy hair and my blue fringe. “Really? I’m trying to grow it out!” I said happy that she noticed the length of my hair. “Of course I’d see that, I’m with you every day!” I nodded, that was right… since we were in Claire’s house, we’d spend most of our time together. “Mom! We’re back!” Shia called as we entered the house. “Good, I was worried!” she said and hugged us both. “You’re squishing us!” I protested chuckling.
“You sit here for a second; I have something for the two of you!” Claire said and walked off. “Do you think it’s a present?” I asked excited and sat down on the couch. “Maybe? That would be very nice of her!” Shia said and sat down besides me. We were not rich or anything, we were rather poor, but living with Claire made everything very special to us, especially since she had found us on the streets.
“This is for you, Shia!” she said and handed her a little pouch. She handed me another one, “And this one is for you May!” “Thank you, mother!” both of us said and opened the pouches in excitement.
In mine was a big golden key, with a purple, heart shaped stone; it was a necklace. Shia’s one was a big golden fish with a big red stone on it. Both looked like real gold and gems; they looked expensive! “But mother, if you had them all along, why didn’t you sell them to have a better life?” Shia asked worried. “Don’t you ever think about selling those two necklaces! They are really special and powerful!” Claire said a little angry and almost glared at us, “No matter what, hold on to those gems! They’ll protect you and help you!” We nodded and put them around our necks, they were so long and they hung down to our belly.
The heart on the key alone was as big as my fist and so was the red gem on Shia’s fish. They sparkled in the sun. “They are beautiful, mom!” I said smiling. “Thank you, my dear!” she said with a smile, “I got them from my mother when I was little, but I was never talented enough to use them. I will teach you what I know, but it is not nearly enough since I had never been able to actually use them. But I’ll teach you all I know! But first of all… breakfast!” “Breakfast!” I chuckled, “Can you feed me, mom, please?” “Of course, May, but aren’t you a bit too old for that?” she asked and hugged me. “No! I’m only five!” I protested and held on to Claire.
“You’re such a baby May!” Shia said smiling and sat down in front of her breakfast again, while Claire carried me over. “Shia!” she said scolding, “You’re only two years ahead of her, so don’t call her a baby!” “Ok, I’ll try!” Shia said and started eating.
The following seven years Shia and I learned all about magic and how to use it. Claire was really proud to see us learn so quickly and to be able do the magic. She always told us how much more talented we were. She taught us everything she knew, before she died, leaving Shia and me behind. We weren’t little kids anymore and able to look after our selves, but we missed our mother dearly.
With time we learned to cope with the loss of our mother and the fact that we had to live and learn without her. Shia was the one to pull me on with her, helped me and protected me all the time. We grew up to be alchemists as people called us; I still called us magicians for what we were able to do seemed to be more magical than anything else.
“Wake up sleepy head!”
Someone pulled my blanket away, “I have tea ready!” “What kind of tea?” I asked still half asleep. “Your most favorite! Oolong tea! But if you’re not coming, I’ll drink it all myself!” Shia said chuckling and ran down into our kitchen. Oolong tea? I jumped out of bed and ran down into the kitchen, after Shia. Three cups of tea were on the table and three sets of breakfast. Still in my shorts and t-shirt, I looked around and saw a guy sitting on the couch. “Good morning!” he said and smiled at me. Where was Shia? “Hi,” I said and smiled shyly, “Where is Shia?” “She went outside for a second, ran past me saying something about running away from her sister!” he said, “So you’re Shia’s sister?” “Yes… I’m May.” I said, “Who are you?” “I’m sorry, my name is Cooper. I’m a friend of Shia.” He introduced himself and bowed slightly, “Nice outfit by the way.” “Outfit?” I asked and looked down on my clothes, “Oh! Ehmm… I… I’ll be right back…” Blushing I smiled at him and stood frozen for a few seconds, before I turned and ran back upstairs.
How could she do that to me? How could she not tell me that we had a visitor sitting in the kitchen? Sighing I put on dark blue leggings and my blue dress with differently shaded flowers printed on. When I came back down, Shia was back in the kitchen, hiding behind a pot of tea. With a glare towards her I sat down on my seat, besides Cooper, who sat on Shia’s place. “So, May… you’re finally up!” Shia said with a big smile. “Yes!” I said and drank some tea. “Anyway, Cooper, thank you again for coming so early!” Shia said and looked at our guest.
“No problem, I’m an early riser.” Cooper said and smiled. “What are you guys up to?” I asked curious now. What were they up to? Why would that guy come to our house so early? “Actually, Cooper here is an alchemist, I was asking him to help us with our practice.” Shia said and smiled, “May is doing alchemy too, she’s really good at it.” “Really? Did you do the blue in your hair with alchemy too?” he asked and looked at me in interest. “My hair?” I asked, “You mean the blue?” He nodded and I looked away, “My hair has been like this ever since I can remember.” “Really?” he asked, “How is that?” “We don’t know. She’s just something special I guess!” Shia smiled at me, “My sister is the most special person in the entire world!”
I blushed and looked on my plate, nibbling on my bread. “Well, then I don’t see a problem in teaching both of you some more alchemy!” he said and took his cup. “Don’t you work today?” I asked confused, “And I have to go to school!” “Well, I was just going to introduce Cooper to you, so I invited him for breakfast and he’ll come by after work, just so you don’t have to worry if he arrives before me.” Shia explained, “Which he probably will, because I’m working longer… anyway, maybe you can get ready after school for our practice?” “Sure,” I said and ate properly. “So that is settled, Cooper will come over after work and you can get him a cup of tea or food or start already and I’ll join you as soon as I’m back!” Shia said cheerful.
After school I went straight home, why would Shia want that guy to come over to our house to teach us magic? Mother was our sensei, our master and our teacher. I sighed and prepared some food. There was still lots of time until Shia would come back, but that Cooper guy would come by earlier. My magic books and our cupboard with ingredients were in our shed in the garden, so I went over to prepare our training session as well. Shia would be happy to come home and everything was ready.
A knock on the door made me jump and I rushed over to see who it was. “Cooper!” I said surprised, since it would be at least another hour until Shia would return. “Hey!” he said and smiled. “Come in, sorry, I didn’t expect you to come this early!” I said and blushed, “Do you want some tea?” “Sure,” he said and followed me into the house and into the kitchen.
“So…” I said after a while of uncomfortable silence, “What are you doing anyway?” “I’m a state alchemist.” Cooper said and my jar dropped, “A state alchemist? Why would Shia become friends with a state alchemist?” A state alchemist was the worst kind of soldiers we had in our country! Not only did they murder other people, they also used magic to do that!
“We kind of work together.” Cooper said and sighed, “Shia told me what you think of state alchemists, but not all of us do that. I have to say that we have to follow orders and if our orders are to protect our people, that’s what we do! Do you really blame us for protecting what we love?” “But they are using magic to murder! Magic was supposed to create and recreate, not to destroy and murder!” I protested and moved away from him. “Every man would do that, protect everything he loves with everything he’s got, no matter the price!” he sighed and looked at me; “Wouldn’t you do the same for your sister?”
“I… I… don’t know… but I… murder… I doubt it… but Shia. Shia is my everything!” I stuttered and didn’t quite know where to look. “Do I look like an evil murderer?” he asked and came closer, “Do I look like a murderer to you?” He stopped in front of me and lifted my chin, and made me look at him, made me look into his brown eyes. “N… no, I don’t think so… I… I… what… what are you… doing?” I stuttered again, but couldn’t look away.
“What am I doing?” he asked and let his thumb run over my cheek, “What am I doing May?” Irritated I took a deep breath and concentrated on looking away from those golden brown eyes. “Let go of me, please!” I said and closed my eyes. Except for the thumb on my cheek, there was nothing else touching me. “I’m not holding you, May.” He said and sounded really close. “But… but…” I stuttered and looked to the side.
“Maybe we should start with the practice and you can show me what you can do with alchemy.” Cooper suggested and stepped back. “Probably… that is probably a good idea…” I said confused and followed him back to our shed.
“Now then… show me what you can do!” he commanded and sat down on a chair in the corner. “What do you want me to do?” I asked and prepared to use the magic our mother had taught me. “Oh, just something; anything really. How about repairing this chair?” “But the chair is not broken!” I said confused and looked around. Cooper stood up, took the chair and smashed it on the ground, “Now you have a broken chair!” I shrugged in surprise and put the pieces together on a pile.
I took a deep breath, clapped my hands together and on the floor to do my magic. With closed eyes I felt the magic and energy flow through my body, my hands and into the broken chair. I took the different elements apart and created a new chair, out of the old pieces. As I opened my eyes, the chair was as good as new and Cooper’s eyes were opened wide. “Did I do something wrong?” I asked and stood up again.
“No circle?” he asked shocked and stared at me. “No, I don’t know what to do with a circle.” What should I do with a circle? “A… a circle as in a circle to do alchemy?” he asked and stared at the chair. “You need a circle to do that?” I asked confused, our mother hadn’t shown us any circles; we were only doing the three steps of her magic. First understanding the elements, second taking them apart and third, putting them back together as something new. If you want to create something you have to give something of the same value and energy to get it. And that’s what I told him.
“Hmmm…” he sighed and tapped his finger on his lip, “That is interesting! You don’t need a circle to do alchemy.” “I know, I learned it that way!” I said and smiled, “Our mother taught us to do it like this. When I was five and Shia was seven, she started to teach us and in the dry runs we managed to do magic, so we didn’t learn any circles. But they were in our books. Our mother, Claire, always told us to be creative and try things out. That’s how we learned so far.”
“That really is impressive,” he said and looked at the chair again, “I think it looks even better than before!” “Really?” I asked and blushed again, “Thank you!” “But there is so much more you have to learn to become a great alchemist such as myself and many others.” Cooper said smiling and shook his head. “Oh…” I said and looked down, “More to learn… And… you will teach us?”
“If you are willing to learn, I will teach you!” he said and smiled at me again, “You’ll have to do as I say.” “And so I will! If you teach me, I’ll do as you say!” I said enthusiastically now. “Everything?” Cooper said, “That definitely sounds good! I will start to teach you immediately!”
“Be careful what you promise him, sister!” Shia said, as she came out of nowhere, making me jump from the fright. “My dear friend can be a little… subtle at times! Sometimes he desires more than is good for him! Am I not right, Cooper?” she said chuckling and put her hands on our shoulders; one on mine and one on Coopers.
He chuckled and let his hand run through his short black hair; if I say short, I do not mean really short, but about ten centimeters long. It had a perfect lengths; matching his beautiful face. “That might be true, but this is a great temptation and such a sweet one pleading obedience so willingly!” he said with a greedy smile on his lips.
What were they talking about? I wanted to ask, but I feared the answer, so I didn’t ask and just returned the conversation back to our training. “Can we start with our training?” I asked and looked at Shia. “Can’t we have some food first?” my sister asked and looked pleading, “I’m starving May, please, let us eat something first!”
“I think that is a splendid idea! You go ahead into the kitchen and I will just eat here!” Cooper said and took my hand. “Coop! She doesn’t even know you! Give her at least the chance to get to know you first and let her choose for herself!” “If you make me to…” Cooper chuckled and I followed them back to the kitchen in the main house. These two were talking about strange things… Better ignore them…
“Dinner is almost ready!” I said as we reached the house, I went straight into the kitchen, while Shia and Cooper went to the couch, where I had first seen Cooper. With a sigh I turned my attention back to preparing dinner. “May is such a good cook, so much better than me!” Shia said as she came into the kitchen to set the table.
“You’re overrating my abilities!” I said and blushed as I saw that Cooper watched me. “No, but if you’re still insecure, let Cooper decide! He is a really good food taster!” Shia chuckled and helped me serve the food.
It was a really strange situation with my sister and that guy… having dinner together. He’d been flirting with me, making these strange comments and now… now he sat there next to my sister chatting like an old friend without even the slightest hint of his earlier manner. That couldn’t be normal, could it? After dinner Shia helped me clean up the dishes again, while Cooper sat beside the counter, talking about work and other stuff while I tried to figure out what a state alchemist would do here.
Why he would be willing to help us, knowing what we thought of state alchemists and in general. Why would a state alchemist help? Cooper himself didn’t look like a murderer, but if you thought about it properly, what should a murderer look like? Maybe mad eyes, blood splattered over his clothes and even a few drops on his face and hands… but an alchemist didn’t have to use his bare hands to murder. Each and every one of them had been in the war and on missions, murdering criminals and innocent people! None of them looked like a crazy murderer!
After cleaning up the kitchen we went back into the shed to practice, but we didn’t have to do magic, he made us study from the books we had, study and remember all the circles from the books. Not only remembering, but also knowing what they would do and how to draw them. “Like that your alchemy will be even more precise and probably even stronger. Like that you will concentrate your powers to do something specific. When you know all those circles off by heart, I’ll teach you more. Things you won’t find in the books normal people are able to get. I will get books from the library section only a state alchemist can enter. But I think you’d be able to get through the exams easily and pass with an extraordinary high score, in both the theory and practical parts!” Cooper explained when I asked him why we had to study them over again.
“But I don’t want to be a state alchemist!” I protested and put the book I’d had in my hands on the ground in front of me. “It doesn’t matter what you want or don’t want,” Cooper said with a smile, “What counts is, that you want to become better and be able to protect what you love. Is that not what you want?” I nodded slowly; protecting Shia was something I wanted to do. But was I willing to become a state alchemist? “I do want to become a stronger magician, but I don’t want to fall into the hands of our selfish and arrogant government! They don’t care about anyone or anything but their own interests!” I said angry.
“No worries, I would never force you to join the governments alchemists, but if at least one of you is a state alchemist, you would have access to many places that you couldn’t reach without the states administration symbols!” the tall man explained calmly, “But in general, I’m still not saying that neither of you has to become an alchemist in the governments service. All I’m saying is learning helps and if you wished to become an alchemist in the service of our regents, you wouldn’t have any problems succeeding in the tests.”
“He’s right May, we can do that; we don’t have to. I know you don’t want to and as far as I can say for myself right now, I don’t want to join the government as well.” Shia said, “In a few years maybe, if the government changes!” “Shia!” I protested, “How could you? Don’t you know what they are doing all the time? Just changing the government won’t make it any better what they have done!”
Angry I stood up and walked out of the shed. Shia could learn if she wanted to become state alchemist so badly! What should I have expected? First she became friends with a state alchemist and now she was so close to becoming one herself! With a sigh I walked down to the riverbed, to look out over the wide fields of our neighborhood. Thirteen years ago, on the day Shia and I had gotten our necklaces, I had been sitting here as well, watching the boar-calves jump and run around on that exact field. I hadn’t paid any attention to the cows though, now I did.
The calves were bigger in this time of the year though, not jumping around anymore and almost fully grown boar-calves. Shia was too naïve to believe the government would ever change! It was the governments fault that there was not enough medication in the country to ensure the peoples health!
“Hey!” a voice behind me said, “We should go home, the sun’s going down in a minute and I think our most favorite tea is almost finished!” “Why are you here?” I said pouty and didn’t even bother looking at her. “Well, you are my sister, my only family for one reason. Then there would be the reason that I love you more than anything in this world, which you know already.” Shia said and sat down beside me, “And how should I survive if you wouldn’t cook for me anymore?” “You’re such a silly!” I said and smiled slightly, “You’re not that bad in cooking, so you would survive without me.” “It’s just that I love you, and I don’t want to loose you!” Shia put her arms around me and held me close in her arms, “I wouldn’t trade you for anything in this world!” With a sigh I returned her embrace and turned to her, “Fine… I admit it, I love you too. And now let’s go home; I’m dying for some oolong tea!”
By the time we reached the house, the sun had almost set and the night had come once again. Cooper had probably left after my little outburst. Shia and I took our tea upstairs into our beds, since it was late and we had to get up early. “Cooper will come again tomorrow and I want you to be nice to him, but don’t promise him anything, you’d probably regret it afterwards!” my sister said with a sigh and turned around in her bed to look at me, “May, we don’t have to become state alchemists, but we need the same knowledge, if not even more than the states men!”
“You are right. I’m sorry Shia, I shouldn’t have ticked out when he said we could kick off those exams.” I said and sighed, “I should think before talking…” Shia chuckled and nodded, “Sometimes that is a clever thing to do, but I love you for saying what you think without thinking whether or not you should say something!” “Really?” I asked curious, she couldn’t be serious about that, right? “Yes silly and now go to sleep, you have school tomorrow!” she said with a smile and yawned. “Night, night Shia,” I whispered with a yawn and closed my eyes.
School was as uninformative as always, why did I have to go there anyway? Mother had taught me everything I needed to know and she did the same for Shia before. There was no reason for us to go to school but these stupid laws the government had introduced a few years ago, that everyone up to the age of nineteen had to attend school, after that they had to get a job and work. I still had to go to school for another year, while Shia had finished last year and was now working on a farm for leather production. That’s how she met those state alchemists. State alchemists came to the farm to get leather for their horses, holsters and machinery; I didn’t want to know what else they could need the leather for!
I sighed in relieve as the boring school was over, and I was able to go home. Why did that guy have to come by again? We could learn the formulas without him as well! I sighed and cooked some soup. No matter how hard I wished Shia would not send that guy over, he would still come to teach us.
Again I sighed and finished my soup, putting the rest into the fridge for tomorrow. And again, Cooper arrived long before Shia, starting with my training. I followed Shia’s advice, to not promise anything to Cooper. For the next two weeks Cooper came by every day, teaching us endless formulas and circles. I thought this would never end! At least Coopers lessens weren’t as boring as in school and we actually learnt something that we didn’t know before.
After that time Cooper brought many books from the library, teaching us more specific circles and formulas. After another week of learning formulas and circles, he finally agreed on teaching us the practical parts of the formulas. How to apply them and how to direct them, this part was far more interesting, but still it was Cooper teaching us!
In all those days, I started to understand why Shia trusted Cooper. He helped us with everything; he taught us everything we should have learnt after our mother’s death and everything we needed to know.