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Author's Comment:
If you find mistakes, pls tell, thx. I don't like mistakes.


Author's Comment:
I was asked about reading my work on other sites.
The answer is simple: Currently I am not active in any other networks than royalroadl.com. Only here, I correct mistakes and errors.

If you read it anywhere else and have to pay for it, or have to deal with an annoying amount of advertisement, You Are Being Betrayed.
You would do good if you make other people in that network aware of it. This is a free project of mine for the purpose of having fun. And if people try to make money with it you shouldn't bother visiting their website.

I have no problem with translation and reposting of the story, as long as the person in question isn't doing it for money or stealing my identity.

The only one whom I actually allowed to have my work on his website is Armaell who invested the time to compile them into pdf.
(http://armaell-library.net/author/andur)




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“Life, or death? Or both?”

- The Journey to the Afterlife




***Kingdom Newerth, Capital City***
***Marcus***



“Will you continue to teach Adea?” I ask. It's more to keep this evening's conversation going and less because I've actual interest in Adea. But Seria obviously likes her and my little brother has a crush on the girl. Adea seems to attract everyone once she manages to break the ice. So I guess that I have no choice but to include her in our discussions.

And I honestly don't know what else to ask Seria. This evening's date progressed quite smoothly and I have the feeling that I asked every question possible. Sadly talking to Seria always feels like I am getting fed only half the truth. I don't know why I have this feeling. It makes me sad.
On the other hand it doesn't feel like Seria is doing it out of malicious intents. And there are always my father's words in the back of my mind.

My father's spirit form came with the very rare gift to predict the future. I don't think that relying too much on it is a smart move. But when my father says that someone, or something, represents an important decision, then he is almost always right. And when he isn't, the person in question had at least something to do with an important event. So Seria is more than she seems...

She nods. “Sure. Adea and I have an agreement. I gave her my word to be her tutor. Once I give my word, I try to keep it. Of course that also means that I won't allow her to back out of it, even if she wants to.” An evil smirk appears on Seria's face.
“Ohoho... so I have to be careful if you promise me something?” I snicker. It would be fun to catch her with her own web of responsibilities. I wonder how she would react if her own principles become inconvenient.

I take a sip from my wine and study her. She is sipping on a cup of coffee and at peace with the world. “You really like coffee, do you? I think you are the only person I know who consumes so much of that stuff at eight in the evening.”
Broadening my smile, I see a chance to steer the evening towards the bed. “You won't be able to sleep, don't you want to join me in my house? It feels lonely there. We could continue the evening just with the two of us.”

“Seesh... my motor is running on the stuff. Maybe I am even addicted. The only thing which keeps me alive is the fact that I am a divine!” She then blushes upon realizing what I just said. “And I am sorry, but not tonight. Despite the amount of coffee I consumed, I can hardly stay awake. I've the feeling that taking you up on your offer means that I will get no sleep. None at all. And I need my beauty sleep if I want to catch up on the curriculum.”

I sigh. “I've thought that it wouldn't be easy. Admit it, you think that I am a creep for seeking you out like this, even though we said that it was a night without strings attached. And on top of everything I even follow you around. Are you mad at me for uncovering that you are... were a rogue?”

She shrugs and purses her lips. “I always knew that I would slip up sometime. And to be fair, yes, you are creepy. But in a strange, gentleman kind of way. So the fact that I don't want to take this night any further is nothing to be held against you.”
I take her hand and kiss it. “Then I'll apologize nonetheless. Sorry for falling for you. Sorry for stalking you. But I simply had to know if there could be more between us if I just had a second chance.”

The corners of her mouth twitch upwards and I stand up to help her to her feet. “The bill is on me. I won't delay you any further then, for tonight.”
To my surprise she hugs me. “You are a creep. But a gentlemanly and nice one. Good night. Something tells me that I don't need to be told that we'll see each other again.”

Then she lets go and I smile. “Really?”

She looks me up and down, judging my eyes for a long moment. “Yeah, you are a creep. Surely you will be stalking me again by tomorrow. I don't know why, I simply know it. And another part of me tells me that I should run to the next court to obtain an injunction against you.”
I slap a hand to my heart. “An injunction against the second prince!? Scandalous! They will arrest you for denying the royal bloodline an heir. Goodnight, the prince of all creeps is glad that you forgave him.” I bow.

She rolls her eyes and waves me goodbye. “Bye.” Then she stalks away, using those legs of hers to tell what I am missing out tonight. If my personal sin of lust had a name, it would be Seria.
Pulling at my lower lip, I stand there until the waitress finally brings me the bill. I pay and leave the restaurant.

On the yard in front of the building I close my eyes and breathe in the night's air. It's becoming a little frosty, but that doesn't bother me. I am concentrating on Seria's mana. The first time we met she already intrigued me. Her control over her aura and her spells is almost perfect. Most people leak so much energy, they are like barrels with a fist-sized hole punched into them.

Not so Seria. Hers is just a small trickle, but I am getting better at sniffing her out. Slowly, I reach out and search for her trail. There is none besides the one which leads to the restaurant. Did she teleport? No. The whole area would be full of mana. And I would have sensed it, even from inside the restaurant. That can only mean that she backtracked the same path we came? But that would lead her back to the academy and her apartment is in the other direction.

I place my hands in my pockets and try to think about this. Then I follow Seria's path, careful not to lose her tracks. I seriously don't like my father's opinion on her. But maybe I should keep an eye out, just in case.

After a few minutes of following her, I finally get the feeling of catching up. Then I glimpse a shadow in the dark area ahead of me. Seria's trail led me back to university grounds where she strolled around in a seemingly random manner. I lost her several times and wasn't sure on which direction to take. Sometimes she simply turned around and walked back the way she came. Other times she crossed a path she already took and chose a random direction, creating a confusing network of tracks.

She knows how to throw off people who are trying to follow her.

If mana itself wasn't my primary talent as a deity, she would have shaken me off long ago. In fact, I doubt that someone else could have managed to track her. I peer out from a shadow between two street lights. The trail leads directly to the figure who is crouching in the dark next to a wall.

I watch in silence as the figure suddenly scales up the wall to the third floor of the academy's administrative building. Staying in my hiding spot, I watch as the cat burglar disappears in a window. A few minutes pass. I don't move, I don't even breathe, relying on my magic to keep me alive. A perfect part of my surroundings. Undetectable.
Then the figure reappears, dropping from the third floor and dashing off. A strange magic of shadows is surrounding the figure. Even the light from the street lights seems to part as the figure disappears in the night.

After a few more minutes I decide that it's safe to move and breathe. Was that Seria? Or someone else? Concentrating, I follow Seria's trail towards the dark spot where the figure was crouching.

And there Seria's energy simply vanishes?

I crouch down and touch the ground, then the wall. Seria's mana is full of life and feels like earth and nature. Clicking my tongue, I notice my mistake. Seria's trail didn't vanish. It's crossing another trail, equally faint and well controlled. Someone with at least as much control over his aura was here. But the residing mana is cold and promises death. Not Seria's. And... maybe a hint of... mana storm? Chaos?

Running a hand through my hair, I furrow my forehead. Did the strange spirit come here? It surely feels like her. Dark magic, chaos, light and, something else. Is Seria hunting it? This makes no sense.
In absence of any further clues, I follow the trail of death up the wall and commit a little cat burglary of my own. The two trails are still mixed.

Upon reaching the window with levitation magic, I realize that all the wards are disabled. Whoever did this broke into more than one magically secured facility. The best thing is that it was done in a way which leaves the wards active, just not functionally.

When I slide through the window, I realize that this is the director's office. Quickly and professionally, I check everything for traces of mana. In the end I find some very compromising... toys... and documents in a hidden and locked vault behind a wall closet. If the mana hadn't caused me to investigate closely, I would have never found it.
The documents trouble me, but the sex-toys even more. The director and his secretary? Oh, man... he is married! I always thought of him as an upright man with principles. And I never knew that he has gambling debts.

Following the mana back to the director's desk, I find out that the academy's organisational documents where thoroughly searched. I pull out a folder which holds a high amount of the dark magic. The user of the dark magic had it in his or her hands, that's for sure.
Flipping through it, I find out that it's Seria's dossier. A small magelight casts just enough light for me to read it. Upon reading the signature of the person who organized her lessons I squint my eyes. Trebor.

I was wondering why she got exactly those lessons which are held during my free time, denying me to meet up with her during the day. Trebor, you are in for a horrible little revenge party from my side.

But that's not important. What's going on? I have one person who stinks of spirit and black magic, and Seria is somehow related to that person? Her trail is overlapping with the spirit's, so she was researching what the spirit was interested in. Bad news, it held Seria's folder.
I massage my chin and return everything to its previous state. Then I jump out of the window and follow the trail of dark magic which is now overlapping with Seria's life magic.

She went after the spirit and I have no idea how she knew that it would be here. And the spirit obviously knows of her. Crap. Crap. Crap.
I reach an open yard and both trails of magic simply end. Baffled, I run a few circles around the yard, but am unable to find the trail again. Whatever trick the spirit uses to throw off any followers, Seria knows it too. And that disturbs me. It hints that there is a deeper relationship between the two.

I huff, annoyed at the fact that I lost the trail. So far the spirit and Seria are the only ones who ever escaped my tracking skills. That dents my ego and I'll move heaven and earth to restore my perfect score. Something in the back of my mind is screaming that I misinterpreted something, but I simply don't know what it is.

The easiest way would probably be to confront Seria with everything. But she is a divine and she already made clear that she won't tell what she doesn't want to. And using force on a divine always ends badly. If she casts that greenery spell inside the city, we would be busy with lumberjack work for the next two generations. No.

I'll find out her secret... and the colour of her favourite underwear. The corners of my mouth curl downwards. Yes, first her underwear, then her secret. A man should have priorities.



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Andur

  • Phantasm

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