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A note from dotturndot

And the end of the first Arc. Celebrate!!! it has been 80k words for me!! (I think). Oh, spoiler, Curtis is fine, trust me.

"It's been a while now, sorry for not visiting earlier," Ellis caressed Whaley. Whaley's humongous 'peanut' eyes glisten a little moist.

At night, sky krills would glow in a faint light, but when moving in groups, it would look to be a ball of a tasty treat for whales. One could guess the reason why Whaley wasn't found in the hanger when they first arrived. Curtis was able to call for Whaley by blowing a silver whistle.

Curtis observed Ellis from the side while he sat on a wooden crate. Nobody knew why random crates could be found all around the dock. Whatever it was, it served as a good stool for Curtis as he tried desperately to keep himself awake.

Curtis thought to tip the guard again if he saw him. But-- he didn't find any guards around. Were they off duty?

'Odd.'

More so was the fact that the path connecting from the maritime hall to Whaley's hanger located at the lower half of the dock had all its light blown to pieces. Objectively speaking, the magic lamps in the surrounding were destroyed.

The numerous orange crystal devices built into the platform, which functioned to keep the whole dock airborne were the only lights present along the way.

The cold wind blew, brushing against his light clothes. Curtis glanced at Ellis again from the shadow, a barely visible smile hung on her face.

'Violation.'

Curtis knew something wasn't right with the kiss. Something. Just something.

'But what was it?'

The thought stuck inside his head like super glue. It wasn't really a word— more like a feeling.

"Curtis?" Ellis noticed Curtis' listless figure. She rubbed her cheeks against Whaley one last time, "We'll visit you sometime again, ok, Whaley? Curtis is a little sick so we'll be going back now," whether or not Whaley understood the contents of what she said, we'll leave it up to Whaley's drooping tail.

Curtis let out a bitter smile, "Sorry Ellis."

"It's fine," Ellis hooked her arms around his. "Let's go back."

"Right, " Curtis shook his doubt away, replaced by the feeling of Ellis' warmth. It had to be his imagination.

They climbed the long stretch of steady rising platform inclined upwards. Path shrouded in darkness, the soft orange lights guiding their way.

On the side of the pillar grew an extensive variety of coral. Anemones, some with jelly-like arms wiggling in the air, others branching out into hard structures. Not to mention the wild kelp growing from the side of the earth that reached lengths of up to 5 meters. It was unknown how the kelp was able to keep floating upright. Cut a piece of it and it would, like a balloon, slowly drift upwards. Not to mention the colourful sponges, oysters and clams that appeared between the crevices.

"Ellis."

"Yes, Curtis?"

"Just in case."

"Hm?"

"There's just this feeling, this thought that. Something might happen."

"Hm? What are you talking about?" Ellis tilted her head.

"Something will happen to me in the future."

"Future?" Ellis snuggled close to Curtis.

"Whatever it is, we'll face it together when the time comes."

"Um, we'll face it together," Ellis said that to console him. Though, she wondered what he actually meant.

"I love you Ellis."

"I love you too Curtis."

They were close to reaching the intersection where the path onwards that had broken lights would come to a stop. One more gloomy stretch to go.

"There are no guards here at all," Ellis analyzed. "Hm?"

Ellis felt Curtis' tug.

There was a silhouette upfront. A girl.

Having been there for a while now, she stepped out of the shadow, as if waiting for them.

"Huh?" Ellis blurted, seeing her short figure. Not really, maybe a few centimetres shorter than Ellis. A cloak covered the girl's face, hands swinging glinting blades.

"We'll retreat backwards," Curtis could feel an unusual air around her.

"What do you mean?"

"We can't fight here," Curtis thought he should take a detour. There were many other paths he and Ellis could use. The whale dock structure was like a cobweb after all.

The girl timed her steps walking towards them, looking very leisurely.

When she walked underneath another shadow, Ellis saw, underneath her cloak, a glowing symbol on her face.

"You are, Curtis, correct?" with a tone of indifference, the girl questioned.

"Yes. And what are you here for?" Curtis asked casually, but with vigilance.

"You," her figure charged forward, dagger flickering in her hands.

'They're related?!'

It was a dagger Curtis had seen before, at Tia's place. The dagger was among the weapons Hermit had requested to be brandished.

The real confusion now was-- why was she attacking him?

Ellis intercepted with Wisteria, pulled out from her holster at lighting speed.

"Who are you?" Ellis squeezed a question from her vocal cord. Sparks flew and both retreated a few steps back.

The girl didn't say anything. But the glowing symbol underneath the cloak flashed a little more vivid.

Ellis had a premonition telling her that this had to be some organization's doing or…

'Jester.'

Ellis wanted to shake the possibility away, but she couldn't fool herself. She saw it with her own two eyes, that glowing symbol on her face.

The girl rushed forward again, their blades connected, few rounds were exchanged. Ellis retreated in disbelief. This girl was able to counter her attacks with a single short dagger. It reminded Ellis of Tia, but Tia's aptitude was definitely a lot better.

"Weak," analyzing their exchange, the girl said indifferently.

Ellis felt her head flare-up.

{Wind compression Burst}

{Coat O' Arms}

The spell failed. And Ellis was given a kick at her side. Her body knocked against the wall of the pillar.

For a split second, she realized she was unharmed because of Curtis' support spell. In the other split second—

"Cu.." Ellis' words got caught up in her throat as the girl's dagger was held just below Curtis' neck.

"Why aren't you using your magic?" The girl asked with a monotonous voice as she looked at him with her silvery purple eyes.

Curtis had his neck raised a little, so it was hard to reply. He gazed down at the dagger, its tip pointed directly at him. "Ellis, spell, changed," Curtis hinted anyways, ignoring the girl's question.

The reason why {Wind Compression Burst} didn't work was that it had been replaced by another spell {Sub-wind magic}. Curtis should have probably added {Wind Compression Burst} as a training wheel for Ellis; too late thinking about that now,

Clank.

Ellis tried to strike the girl from behind, but a second dagger appeared. With one weapon directed at Curtis and the other driven to parry Ellis' attack. Their eyes met and the girl's eerie purple sent chills down her spine.

{Sub-wind magic: Wind Compression Burst}

All three crystals lit up, a tinge of red, blue and orange intermingled into one.

"Guh?!"

The sudden impact sent not the dagger, by her entire figure flying to the side. The girl was tossed outside the boundary of the platform.

'What kind of grip strength does she have?! No wait, she's going to fall!'

The girl twisted her body and hurled an object to the side of the pillar with a crack. Sounding like fireworks, the point where the object made contact grew into a bulb of earth. There was a rope attached, her hands coiled around it. She made an arc in the air before landing back on the platform.

"Go," Ellis pulled Curtis and made a dash. Literally ignoring the most ridiculous thing that had just happened.

The girl clicked her tongue and ran after them.

"I'll hold her back, you go first," Ellis realized Curtis was fatigued under the effect of mana exertion.

"No, but.."

{Sub-wind magic: Wind Compression Burst}

Dual daggers; Wisteria.

The two forces collided, blades clashed, sparks danced in the air as the two alternated between realms of shadow and light.

{Sub-wind magic: Wind Compression Burst}

Every clash made the girl stagger back a step, her hands sore from every impact.

"Troublesome," the girl clicked. She never imagined such a spell to exist, but if she were to guess, it had to be a wind magic spell.

{Side-step}

Ellis noticed her figure flash the moment the girl twisted her body to the side.

This was it, the same technique Tia would use, but less refined.

Ellis tilted Wisteria blade to the side, seeing through her flaunt. The girl staggered and her dagger clashed with the sword tip. Ellis felt her wrist go numb. This awkward position of holding her sword was a purely instinctual reaction. She had to break her stance just to defend against it.

{Sub Wind Magic: Wind Compression Burst}

"Amusing," the girl took out something from her pocket at the moment Ellis' spell forced her to retreat.

An unknown powder was scattered out in front. Powder that Ellis accidentally took in with her breath.

'This is familiar'

Ellis' world seemingly started to distort, her concentration waned, her vision turning blurry. She felt her body limpid and her head heavy.

In a half-standing pose, she stabbed Wisteria to the ground in an inverted position to support her. Drowsiness was settling in and with each second, she could feel her consciousness fade away. This was the same sweet-smelling powder she lost against during her fight with the Forest Sprite before.

'No..'

{Purify}

The effects of the spell shot directly into her mind, the drowsiness disappeared instantly.

Curtis' support magic was incredibly useful. Which was the issue. He shouldn't push himself, but she knew it was because of her circumstances, he couldn't help it.

The girl strode over calmly, looking at Ellis who was barely able to stand. Curtis stood a few meters behind Ellis with his spellbook in his hand, adamant against leaving Ellis.

"Still not qualified," somehow, with Ellis leaving such a big opening, the girl did not care to finish her. Was it ego? Or was it something else?

It was at this moment, Ellis raised her sword. Actually, it wasn't really a raise but more like a giant swing.

{Bluntness}

{Sub-Wind magic: Wind magic}

{Sub Wind magic: Convergence Gale}

With these spells cladding her sword in an ineffable light, WIsteria had transformed into an indistinguishable hammer-- spells that had been amplified at 200 percent its original effect.

It drove itself into the girl's side and smashed her body into the wall. The debris flew with the shockwave created. The shrill of the wind dishevelled Ellis' hair.

A 2-meter diameter crater was dug to the side of the pillar.

From the cracks, chunks of rock continued to fall, wood bits and splinters from the platform weren't left unscathed. The floor had tilted to one side slightly due to the broken weight.

"Damn you," the girl clicked, holding one of her shoulders in pain. She had actually managed to dodge it. And judging from the crater created, she would have exploded into bits If she didn't use {Side-step} in time.

Ellis got up on her two feet but felt her arms sore, really sore.

That said, her thoughts weren't focused on the pain but rather...

'This sword is insane!!!'

Ellis was without a doubt still inept with {Sub-wind magic} skills. In fact, she wasn't able to control the scale of the impact at all-- though it looked to be rather effective.

"Maybe I should reconsider," the compliment sounded like hissing. The girl threw a short knife to the ground just below Ellis' feet. Ellis took a step backwards, but from the knife budded an Earth bulb that encased her entire lower torso.

"Wh…" Ellis became incapacitated by the earth that grew out of nowhere.

The girl didn't repeat her previous mistake of taking leniency and rushed right over.

{Earth}

The earth encasing Ellis' legs broke down, the pieces merged to combine into a rock wall

'So that was what it was. A consumable knife that expanded into an Earth Spell.'

Ellis remembered the weird bulge in the wall the girl created back before she almost fell into the abyss.

Curtis hooked Ellis by her elbow. This wasn't a time to be stunned.

{Gale Steps}

Ignoring his fatigue, Curtis pushed forward.

"Seth! You lose the bet! Knights are coming! We have to go— now!" A male voice boomed from the direction they were running towards.

Ellis was yanked out of her daze. In a flash, they were now 20 meters from the battle site. Another man who ran towards them then noticed the two.

The same mantle, the same glowing symbol on his face.

Ellis felt the floor tilted suddenly, her legs were caught on something. She and Curtis lost balance, and it somehow enough to pull her away from Curtis. The wooden platform suddenly riddled with chunks of Earth, her right feet caught in dirt.

'What?'

Ellis fell the ground, incapacitated yet again.

"Choose," her voice devoid of emotion as it reached Ellis' soul, "Are you going to join us?"

Ellis turned her head to face the girl.

The girl pulled off the hood, revealing her pale icy face. Her hair was of a slightly longer bob cut shining blonde and the purple lustre of her eyes which flashed urgency.

"No!" Choose? Join them? What kind of joke even was this.

"Ok," the girl replied casually.

Then ran off towards the pier and jumped off the platform.

"What.." Ellis gawked.

A gust of wind pounded the air. The unknown creature in the sky swung its tail in acceleration. Looking towards the night, three faint silhouettes could be seen, blurred, muddled by the darkness.

Ellis noticed that her leg was now free from the grip of dirt.

When she turned around to look at Curtis.

"Wait!" Ellis suddenly realized the mistake she had made. "No!"

'Why?! Why?!'

She reached out to the edge of the platform, towards the three silhouettes, tears overflowing from her eyes. She was at the last step, one last step before she would fall into the abyss.

Ellis didn't notice, couldn't notice. The only in her mind was that—

And she tripped.

For a moment Ellis felt her weight lifted off her, in airborne. Regret, confusion, pain. Ellis knew it was done for— she would fall into the abyss and...

She was grabbed by the arm.

'Curtis?'

No, it wasn't.

There was a forceful tug, her entire body swung backwards from the momentum, her body fell into the grasp of a metal body—armour. She looked up at the person who caught her.

Tears overflowing that she couldn't contain.

Late.

She was too late. Her reactions were too slow; her decisions were all mistakes and she was— too weak.

The knight who saved Ellis looked to the night sky, at the three silhouettes slowing disappearing into the distance.

Curtis was taken away, and the one who saved her was Aldrich.

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A note from dotturndot

Sometimes I wonder-- Am I doing too much? As an artist, writer, student, (super unrecognized) social media influencer... I want to be an artist and writer, which means I need to write, draw, self promote, socialize, etc. BUt, and this is a big but here, and it may sound very much like an excuse but, I don't have a clue on how to become something bigger. I'm still living with my parents and don't have the opportunity nor the luxury of experimenting with website creation or finding ways of earning some money through my creations. It sucks, it's an excuse, and I'm afraid. HOnestly. I'm stuck. And I'm wasting my time studying for my exams, get a job I don't want, and achieve my parent's dream when I should be focusing on myself and my passion. And being both a writer and artist both take up quite a bit of effort and time. It sucks. It sucks. It sucks. I'm naive, blabbering here and there, ranting, and getting nowhere. I've been drawing for 2 years now and it's almost one year since I first started writing, I feel like I've gotten nowhere. Darn it. I'm sorry you have to read all this but this is-- my true honest feelings. Moreover, his si the last chapter of the first arc, after all,~ Thank you for your support up till now! 


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dotturndot

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