Understanding At Last Chapter 1

By Skankin' Lionel

Janus and Schala finally ended their warm embrace, slowly stepping back, weak with emotion. Even then, they both stood there, gazing at each other, Janus being content for the first in his life. He knew what happiness was now, and his bitter, hateful self had dissolved away in that one instant.

“I’m so sorry Schala… I never wanted to leave you.” He whispered, barely audible to his sister, as tears rolled freely down his cheeks. He realized that he hadn’t allowed himself to cry since he was first torn away from her. But now, now these were tears of joy atop the twenty years of his tears from loneliness, held back just to show people he wasn’t afraid. He knew, though, that he was truly a coward, and couldn’t be brave without that love, that encouragement he found in Schala. He hadn’t felt true virtuous courage in twenty years. The bravado he’d displayed was all out of hatred. And now, he was realizing, that cowardice stemmed straight out of the hate. As he tore through battle, killing so many without a second thought, he was doing it all out of bitterness and anger, not out of anything one could consider brave or righteous.

Magus was pure evil and hatred. Now Magus was no more.

“I understand, Janus.” Schala quietly responded to him.

“I understand now too.” He said as he stepped closer again. This was the moment he had waited for all too long. He had realized what a decent human being was and he knew that he would be one from that moment on. He knew that he couldn’t dwell upon it too long though, as the survivors of Zeal needed his help, their help. He had the rest of his days to spend with her, but the world was unstable, and they could assist them with their strong magic.

“Let’s help the survivors Schala. They could use some help rebuilding the world.” He smiled warmly and they set off, flying only inches over the water. They flew in silence, Schala realizing how different he seemed now that he was older. She knew that he’d been torturing himself for so long and she knew she couldn’t imagine anguish like that.

They arrived at the settlement that had been erected in the few weeks since the fall of Zeal. The survivors slowly moved about, rebuilding in mind, but with no determination to do so. Janus and Schala landed on the North Cape, looking down over the cabins and the fires surrounded by the cold refugees. They headed down into the village, Janus pulling his hood back up before announcing their arrival.

“Hey! It’s me, the prophet! I found her, I found the princess! Schala’s alive! Hah hah!” He cheered as they ran down into the village. Tired souls leapt up in surprise at the news.

“What? Schala’s alive!?”

“What’s going on here!?”

“Hey! It is the prophet!”

“Look! There she is! It’s the princess!”

They ran right into the center of the small village, swarmed by the other survivors. They both took the affection receptively and made their way towards the elder’s cabin. The cries of joy died off after they entered his house. He sat behind a crude table talking to a teenage boy lying on a cot. “Would you get up and get some wood for the fire, Mackie?” The green-haired boy nodded sleepily and sat up to put on a shirt. The elder turned to see who had entered the cabin.

“Oh, oh my God… It’s you. You’re alive Schala?” His eyes widened in happiness. So did the eyes of the drowsy boy.

“The princess is alive! Wha…How!?” He said jumping up, and hugging her. He kissed on the forehead, and ran outside to get the firewood. The elder just shook his head in embarrassment. Janus laughed as he heard the boy fumbling for the wood outside. Schala was stunned.

“So princess, now that we know Mackie is glad to have you back again, where have you been for the last month? The prophet has been looking everywhere for you since Zeal fell. If you weren’t in trouble, why didn’t you come back?” The elder grilled her as Mackie ran back in, throwing the firewood into the corner and pulling up a poorly constructed chair all in one swift movement. Janus just laughed again as Schala retold the story of her escape, her entrapment in the Giant’s Claw with Doreen and her absorption with the Starshell.

Janus then realized how the Rainbow shell came into being. It all made perfect sense now. He smiled but was sad that Doreen, his sister’s friend was gone for good and that she would share another moment with her. This made him appreciate having Schala back even more. He pulled down his hood, revealing his face to the elder and Mackie.

“Sir, Mackie, I have been waiting twenty years for Schala to be with me again. It hasn’t just been a month for me. I’m prince Janus and I’ve returned.” The elder and Mackie gawked at them as they walked out of their house. Janus smiled as he and his sister went to his cabin to get some rest.

“Wow, we’ve got half the royal family back in just a couple minutes…” The elder mumbled to Mackie. Mackie just nodded. The elder lay down on his cot. “Goodnight son. Some sleep is the only way I think I can cope with this.” He snuffed the lantern and was asleep almost instantly.

Mackie lay awake in the darkness, contemplating what would happen between Schala and him now that she was back. Even though times were harder, they were peaceful. Plus, that evil bitch Queen Zeal was dead. She couldn’t hold them apart anymore. Exile from Zeal was inconsequential now that Zeal didn’t exist. Schala was now lying only a few hundred feet from him. Her smooth skin exposed under the blankets, waiting for his touch. Oh, it had been soooo long since they had last been together.

In Janus’ cabin, he was sleeping soundly. Schala wasn’t. Schala was remembering Mackie that last day before her mom banished him. He was sitting there, sword in hand, talking to Masa and Mune about different ways to use his water magic, when I saw him first. Then he just stared right at me, grinning like a crazy fool. We went to my chambers, and…well, it would’ve all been fine had that maid that walked in on them hadn’t run off to get mother. He was so radiant, so charismatic, why couldn’t mother accept him? Just because he was half-earthbound didn’t mean he wasn’t human. He was as proficient or more so with his magic than most of the pure Enlightened Ones anyway. He was a god with a sword too; he was flawless, nothing short of perfection. He was the best, period. Nobody on earth could ever compare. She laid down, drifting into sleep, thoughts never leaving Mackie…

The next morning Janus woke up, cheerful. This was the first time in his life he had ever woken up cheery. He went to wake up Schala, but she had already gotten up. Humph, where did she go? Maybe she’s already helping them with the building? He just shrugged it off and conjured himself a bowl of oatmeal. He gobbled it down and went outside to help. He then remembered he didn’t like oatmeal.

“Hey! Prince Janus! What should we do with this trash.” A short guy with equally blue hair* asked him. He was pointing at a pile of debris about eleven feet high.

*Not the best description for a citizen for Zeal, huh?

“Don’t worry man, I’ll take care of it all. Go find something more important. I can take care of this stuff easily.” Janus replied. The short blue-haired guy nodded and walked off towards the construction. Janus conjured up a vacuum, sucking in all the debris. He dusted off his gloves and walked over to find Schala.

“Mackie, will you see how the Schala and Janus are?” The elder asked his son. Mackie bolted out the door without even acknowledging him. He ran over to Janus’ cabin and knocked on the door. Schala opened it.

“Hi Mackie…”


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