The Parasite Timekeeper Chapter 1
By Bounty Hunter Lani
Dark clouds again, thought Janus as he sat beside the huge window and stared towards the heavens. His eleven year old body was leaned back in a stiff wooden chair. What year was this again? Oh, yes, the year 582. Not too long ago did he arrive here and he could never determine the day, but they were all the same anyway. These strange beings, Mystics, he believed they were known as, had taken him in as soon as he had arrived. It was as if they had been waiting for his coming; Janus had never thought he could feel so out of place. He never fathomed he could miss his real home, back in Zeal, back in the year 12,000 since now he was in this wretched place.
Janus looked down at the long wooden table that spread in front of him. He hadnt touched his food. He hadnt been that hungry lately. He raised his hand over the table and made his fork levitate a few inches through the air. Boredom, he was afraid, had taken him over quickly.
Sounds from the hall snapped him out of his weary pondering and he turned his cold eyes to the door.
Enjoying your meal, young Janus? asked the tall thin Mystic.
Quite, was his simple, drab reply.
Janus proceeded to turn his face back to the window as a perfect rhythm of footsteps reached his ears. Slash stepped aside as the tall slender woman entered. Her hair was red silk and her perfect figure was framed by a long colorful cloak.
Are you ready for todays lesson? She asked, but her eyes were drawn to his plate. You havent eaten! she exclaimed, taking long strides to the table. This is not a choice you know. You will eat!
Im not hungry, Janus replied.
Not hungry?! You should eat so you will grow strong! Do you want to have this tiny itty-bitty body forever?! she shouted. Or do you want to advance so you can lead an army? No one will follow someone as puny as you!
Flea grabbed hold of Januss shoulder where his muscle should be and gave it a bruising pinch. He jerked it away without flinching, but the pain was there.
Just as I thought, no muscle. I dont think youve been doing your job, Slash.
I do the best I can with this runt! Slash jumped in, only for his defense. He wont cooperate. Not only is he weak but he isnt too bright!
Janus just sat in his chair, taking all the insults. Theyll be sorry one day, he vowed. At the moment all he would do was clutch the arms of his chair until his skin broke open.
You little spoiled ingrate! Flea scolded. After all thats been done for you, you cant give us any respect. We could have just left you out in the world to die. You would have never made it as weak as you are. All alone in the world.....but we took you in. We treat you like a bloody king here! Yet no thanks ever befalls us.
Grabbing a handful of food from the plate, she slapped it back down onto the table. Bits of it shot into Januss soft blue hair. His lips tightened with anger.
Flea has a point, boy. We give you everything....try to nurture you.....and youre still--
Yes, Flea interrupted. A brat.
Janus just sat sullenly and angrily. Finally, his nerve to speak rose and he opened his mouth to utter quietly.
Ill cast on you both, he threatened.
Whatd you say? Slash asked menacingly.
You know youd only be hurting yourself in the long run. Flea reminded him.
Ill call Ozzie then. Hell give me peace from you two!
Fleas lips curled laughingly.
Good, she spoke calmly. I hope you scream bloody murder! Do I look like I care? Besides, Ozzie doesnt know whats best for you and to advance your learning. Thats our job.
Janus angrily turned away. He didnt know how much more he could take of this. Flea took a deep breath and straightened her cloak along with her manner.
If you arent going to eat, at least let us get on with your lesson.
Not today, Janus muttered quietly.
What did you say? she asked, turning abruptly.
I said I dont feel like it today.
Why you little!
Slash stepped into her path, blocking her way to the young boy.
What are you doing?! Get out of my way you fool! she spat.
Ozzie would like to keep the boy in one piece, Flea. Slash said quietly. He may be our only chance.
She took a few deep breaths to calm herself, them she looked toward Janus.
Tomorrow then, early.
With all said, they left Janus alone in the large meal room to ponder what he was to become.
He had suffered from insomnia, several weeks and counting. Every time he closed his eyes he saw her face: the calm, sweet face of his sister, Schala. She had been the only one that ever tried to show him love, but he had usually refused it. He had never turned to her for comfort, only sit, stroking Alfadors soft fur and crying gently. Only now that he was in this place did he truly miss her kind and selfless acts towards him.
He knew he would never attain affection here. Ozzies meddlesome toying in Januss life always left his curiosity and annoyance on high. Slash taught Janus the way of the sword and weaponry, but he always remained stern and there were endless insults. Janus learned quickly, but praise was hard to come by. Flea taught Janus to advance his magic skills. Style and presentation were always important to her and she seemed only to praise herself when he did well. Her lessons were filled with endless repeats, accompanied by massive teasing about Januss eleven year old immaturities.
Janus sighed and listened as the air echoed off the stone walls. Pulling himself out of his chair, he headed off to bed. Perhaps he would sleep tonight.
Janus found Flea waiting in the main hall the next morning. Her hair was pulled back in a tight braid and she wore a long flowing skirt, topped off with a corset that showed just the right amount of her firm tummy and a gracious amount of shoulder skin. She was then covered by a long white cloak. Janus wanted to laugh. He had always thought she looked so plain. Even when she dressed elaborately it was always the same. She prided herself in being the most beautiful woman alive, but Janus had only been there a few short weeks and he had already become accustomed to her looks. How Slash, Ozzie and many others had not yet reached that plateau was baffling to him. He would tell her himself, but he was saving that one for a special occasion.
Ready to begin? she asked.
I suppose. Try not to bore me today, Flea. he mused with a yawn.
So, youre becoming tired of what weve been doing? she accused.
Elementals and status altering magic are nothing now. I knew how to do that when I was four. I think I need something more challenging.... Perhaps then I can stay awake.
So, you think youre ready for your peak, hmmmm? At your mere age of eleven?
I think Im ready to try.
Flea examined him for a moment, not quite sure what she should say. She turned to Ozzie and Slash, who were standing in the corner. Ozzie gave her the go ahead and she nodded. A try couldnt hurt.
.........Alright. Well give it a go, Flea said after a moment. As you know, people have their own speciality of magic. Ive been looking into yours and I propose that you could definitely be a shadow caster. Any magic as rare to come by in this age, so use it properly, and you can become exceedingly powerful.
They stepped out of the fort and into the light. The suns rays shown through the cloudy sky and fell on the land in conservative portions. Slash and Ozzie followed them out. Perhaps the day had finally come.
I have designed a spell for you and...
Shadow? asked Janus hurredly.
Tell he how to use it! he insisted.
I will, but first....
I dont want to here you talk anymore! Just tell me how to use it! Janus shouted.
Flea fell silent. What could she say? She just stood, looking down with a menacing stare. Ozzie waited patiently for the turnout while Slash, standing with a smirk, hoped Flea would strike the boy. She simply took a breath.
Walk over there and look to the sky. Close your eyes and raise your hands to the heavens. You must have deep concentration. Slowly, you will feel the power fill you. It will start at your feet and replenish your entire body. When the power reaches your wrists, tighten the bones in your hands and the spell with come, she explained.
Janus turned without a word and headed for the designated spot, when he reached it, he reviewed what Flea had told him in his mind and performed the task to every detain as she said. When he was sure the spell should be casting, he opened his eyes to see, just in time to see the clouds part and the sun shine on his pale face. The birds twittered and the breeze blew gently through his hair.
What was that supposed to be? Ozzie asked, as if prepared to see the world bend but missed it. Slash let out a chuckle.
Maybe you should tell him the magic words, Flea, he sneered.
She turned her charming face toward him coldly. Dont make me tell you a few.
Janus looked toward the three and shrugged. His expression was twisted between profound bewilderment and anger.
What was supposed to happen? he demanded, he voice raised to stretch the distance. Because I dont think THAT was it!
Flea, I thought you said he could deliver us with his magic. Looks to me like we have the wrong boy, Ozzie said.
Perhaps hes not the odyssey we thought, said Slash.
Thats not it at all, Flea corrected. Id like to be alone with him please.
Bu..., Slash began.
Now! Its very important we be alone!
Fine, Slash said, very abashed. But if he loses his temper and fries you with his all powerful magic dont say I didnt warn you.
With that, he and Ozzie reentered the fort, speaking of what their possibilities were now.
It didnt work. You must have told me something wrong, Janus accused Flea as she approached him.
No. I tried to tell you but you wouldnt listen.
Tell me what? Janus demanded.
I was going to tell you that you cant cast new unfamiliar magic unless your soul and conscience are clear. You must be able to feel the power. Only then can you release it......you didnt feel the power.....did you? she asked.
How do I know!? I dont know what power feels like!
Exactly. Youve been casting too much no brain magic. When you finally feel the power youll know.....besides, it still doesnt matter if your mind isnt stressed, she turned away and smiled slyly. But I know your conscience is clean. Nothing troubles you. You must have just done something wrong.
I dont make mistakes like that! Janus snapped.
Then there is something bothering you. You know, you can always tell me anything. I might be able to help you.
Janus lowered his head. There was no way he could tell her what was bothering him. Besides, she wouldnt understand. He stared at the ground.
Well, if you wont tell me, I suppose I could guess......are we pushing you too hard? Is what were teaching too difficult for you to grasp?
No, he replied quietly.
Hmmmmm........does it bother you that youre so small and weak?
Janus simply shook his head to this.
Well.........lets see......., Flea said as she pretended to think of something else. She paused for several moments before stating what she knew was true. Do you miss someone?
Janus looked at her through the corner of his eye but said nothing.
Thats natural. Missing people is part of life.
Only silence from Janus, who was behind her.
It must be your sister that you miss. I saw you looking at a picture one day. I supposed it was her. She looks........caring. She was very beautiful.
Janus still sat in silence. The conversation was strictly one-sided. Still, perhaps she could still help him.
You know, There is a way to put an end to your suffering, if a way out is what youre searching for.
Whats that? he asked, not really sounding too interested.
Put Janus behind you. she told him, turning.
What do you mean? he asked, not impressed.
Assume a new identity. We can rid you of your old troubles and you can start again, with a new life and new strengths.....and new powers. Youre power will consume you, and youll be able to forget much easier and move straight into the future! Turn your sorrow into motivation!
I dont know........, Janus said.
Dont answer yet. Think about it. You have plenty of time. I dont believe your body will be able to transform quite yet.
How long? he asked.
Five years, she said.
Janus didnt like the sound of that. He hadnt planned on staying that long. He wanted to get out of there as soon as he became strong enough. But he would consider. It would be much easier to move on with his life if he had new motivation, he agreed.
Dont say it now, Flea insisted. Youll know the only answer soon enough.
Janus stood staring at the ground as Flea brushed by him. She knelt on the ground in front of him and looked into his eyes.
I want to be friends, Janus. I dont feel as thought we can let this feud go on. I only want to teach you.
She raised herself up and offered her hand to him. He stared at it, confused. Was this supposed to be a gesture of kindness? He looked up at her face and decided that perhaps he could humor her....for now. He grasped her hand and they walked inside together.
Janus stayed awake all night, pondering his options.
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