Rui ran his fingers over the thick, prickly vines draped over destroyed tents and bricks, bugs crawling underneath his skin and pricking his fingers like needles.

“And you say this happened before the Season of the Lily of the Valley?”

“Yes, lord.” a villager woman answered, skittishly playing with her feet and wringing her hands in her brown hair. “I remember children and adults screaming, the earth rumbling and splitting, and then the camp… it just shattered and the stones collapsed… then a great cry.”

“And after that?”

“The knights and mages were chasing someone, I didn't get a good look at the perpetrator but they were screaming something about a demon.”

They thought Prince Henry was a demon all because of this? Rui bit back the words that threatened to slip from his tongue.

Drats, a season too late and he let the prince slip from his grasp. Lady Mayora would not be too happy with this.

He thanked the woman, conversed with her a little more and mounted his horse, looking at the pearl necklace with daze.

Ah, a new trail. The prince was already out of sight. And— Rui squinted. The pearl appeared unblemished and pristine but if one looked closely, there was a splotch of dark stains on the gem itself.

He should hurry, it wasn't too late yet and the trail was still fresh no matter.

The slap of the reins and a gentle pat sent the pure white horse into a canter.

“Come now, White. We have to get a move on, they're already faraway.”


They continued on with their journey. Perhaps it would've been fine if it weren't so silent. Somehow, Henry wanted to fill it with chatter since his companion had been more than happy to comply, even if it was pure snark.

But night was fast approaching and the town was still further away. They had to make camp and set up a stop. After wandering for days taking shelter under ruined houses, abandoned huts, and dark caves near the trails of the forest, they were more than tired and needed a break (Henry had complained about the hard ground and had caused a little mischief. Atemu didn't even bathe an eye at him, just waved him off. Tough guy.).

Here, in the middle of nowhere, with crickets and cicadas chirping and a fire crackling in the middle of their camp, blankets were laid out on the hard ground around the safety of the flames.

It was different from the palace life. Henry quite missed it but he'd always been curious about the world… though right now he didn't feel quite right after what had happened. He wanted to do something.

“Hey, Atemu?”

“What?” Atemu was tending the fire.

“... Can you teach me how to control my powers?”

The stick halted in its poking on the blazing embers. A violet head was raised with questions.

“Right now? Are you sure that's wise? You're still…” his eyes flicked up and down over Henry. “You look like you're still contemplating if you want to learn.”

Henry puffed his cheeks, offended. Was Atemu implying he was fragile? He was not!

“That's rude, lilac-head. I've done that enough and it's high time I need to learn. You promised.” Fists clenched on the material of black pants that was stained with grit and dirt. “And besides… I don't want to hurt people knowing that I have what could potentially be destructive. I don't want to hear them scream from fear or…”

Chase me out.

He wanted to say it but the lump in his throat wouldn't let him so he just stared at his lap, watching his hands. The hands that had the power to bring devastation should he not learn how to be able to hold himself.

“Alright.” Atemu said.

Henry's head snapped up. “Huh?”

“Alright. I'll teach you. But first,” Atemu threw a carefully wrapped package to his direction. “better wear that rather than your flimsy leather. You'll catch a cold and I'm not taking care of you.”

Henry caught it with a squeak. He stared at the object like an owl before sticking his tongue out at his unfazed companion.

“Rude!” Henry accused.

“Go change or no training. Take your pick or I might sleep and leave you to your chatter.”

“How unkindly of you! Is that how a gentleman should treat another? Very uncouth and frivilous!”

Henry could practically feel the eyeroll right behind his back as he went off to a more secluded area around the camp to change. What had Atemu even packed for him? The thing was heavy!

Behind the tree that was carefully hidden behind many, Henry unwrapped the package with delicate care. He took a small peek in.

… Did he really have to wear this?


“Lilac-head, this is too breezy.” Henry whined as he stumbled back in camp, brown arm guarded wrists gripping on his ivory biceps.

Atemu gave Henry the side eye as he sat beside him, huddling himself on the single log.

The shadows made interesting patterns on Atemu's face, bold and flickering.

“You wear leather and you complain it's breezy?” He sounded truly incredulous. “Have you never worn anything that is normal? Alshari, you won't survive in the frezzing cold with that abomination of an outfit you had before.”

“Hey, watch it! I love my leather and I love my black clothes, thank you very much. Don't you dare hate on my style! I'll kick you on the shin if you dare say that again!”

Henry really didn't know what to make of the outfit he wore. It was much too… loose on him. A brown tunic with golden hems belted by a yellow sash, white pants were on his legs and brown knee high boots replaced his once beloved black ones (courtesy to his companion who just threw them to him. Where had he even gotten the time to acquire boots?).

Atemu rolled his eyes once again– was he the king of eyerolls? Perhaps he was– and sat down on the ground, legs crossed.

“Enough about this argument. Hold out your hands.”


Atemu siddled closer, dark palms facing each other. Lashes fluttered and eyes of violet carnations fluttered shut. All noises ceased to exist and Henry couldn't look away. Didn't dare to.

There were chitters like crickets, noises that buzzed like locust before tendrils as dark as night rose from the ground like a hypnotized cobra.

The whispy beings rippled and dancedlike gypsies as they circled around their summoner, brushing and tugging against his clothes and hair.

“Like this. You have to feel the energy within yourself flow, channel it like you would a river. Don't fight against it, go with it and redirect it. Now, I am not that experienced with your specialization in magic and I haven't taken a deeper look on it so I'd like a demonstration and see if you can redirect the flow.”

Henry veered back, mouth parted. He hadn't seen magic like this! How had he not read this in the books? Why hadn't it been written down?

“Amazing! What type of magic is this? I've never seen this one! It's not written in the books. What is it? What does it do?” Henry was shifting on his seat.

Atemu huffed. "Shadow magic. It's another branch that isn't from the continent of Antheia. As its name implies, we control the shadows and can bend it to our will if we so wished."

“There is other magic from other continents with different origins?”

“Rose-head, focus.”

The prince pouted, complying and copying Atemu's posture from before.

“Like this?” Henry asked.

Atemu sighed, pointing two fingers on his eyes and making a downward motion.

Henry followed suit, darkness swimming in his vision as he allowed himself to ease up. Breathe, this isn't the first time you've been under pressure.

“Focus, think of what you want to create. Feel and breathe.”

A whisper, a command. Henry's shoulder slackened, breathing slower.

Again, Atemu asked. “What would you like to create?”

Something beautiful. That was easy for Henry to think. A picturesque and perfect image of red petals, and thorned stems blossomed to life in his imagination. Sunshines and the warmth of the sun. There was a gentle thrum in his heart and a ripple through his body which made his hairs stand on end.

A gentle breeze, a soft kiss of dewdrop and a snap of branches and twigs, the leaves rustling and a popping noise echoed round their surroundings.

“Oh, that is… fascinating.”

Henry's eyes snapped open, staring into Atemu's carefully masked expression— wait, was that genuine surprise on Atem's face? His face looked a little softer than before, the lines on his eyes almost non-existent.

“Fascinating? Whatever do you mean about ‘fascinating?’”

“Look down and you'll see.”

There on the ground, right infront of him, a thorned bush with fruitful leaves and blooming red roses stood proud and mighty, its stem twisted around like soft silks and cords binded together. Henry was almost afraid to touch the creation since it looked like it was ready to shatter or break.

But a wave of heat and giddiness washed over Henry. He could make this!

“Where did you learn this, rose-head?” Atemu asked. “Have you any idea what you have right now is not something that most mages, princes, and magic holders have?”

Henry tilted his head. “Not from a teacher or any selection method if that is what you're asking. Mother says that my magic is… something coveted and not of the commonfolks. She said I should hide it in between her and I, promised that she'd let me harness it with her guidance… but she didn't so I just played in the gardens.”

Atemu inclined his head. The flickering light made the shadows coil and reach out. A flick of a wrist and they slipped back into the dark corners of the trees and grass.

“It's not widely known and I'm not knowledgeable enough. Your magic is abundant, gentle and yet at the same time powerful. From what I've observed today and back at what happened in Scaria—”
the newly exiled prince shrunk.

“—ancient magic was involved. And I am afraid that would've been nature magic. No one can grow roses out of nowhere or make plants as huge as trees without being drained of their lives.”

Nature magic.

Hadn't his mother told him about this one that it was volatile at best, dangerous at worst? Magic so ancient no one knew how to control it? She said that she had dabbled in it but never went too far or else her magical veins would be destroyed. Henry had never known what he had was that one so he simply brushed it off and thought he was only capable of herbal magic, not nature itself.

Fickle and unstable, acting upon the bearer's emotions, nature magic had long been forgotten and long banned by the mages and the clergy. And yet here he was, standing as a living embodiment of what they had long wanted to rid. It had been written down on the epics and history books about Mage's with nature magic being eliminated.

He didn't want that. He didn't want to endanger anyone or die. Was it his fault he was born like this?

Something cold landed on his shoulder jolting Henry out of his spiraling tempest. Atemu's dark face was close to his, brows furrowed and lips downturned.

“Do not be afraid. You are not alone in this world.” Atemu said.

Henry wanted to skitter away, flush going through him. The ground looked so green today, wow would you look at that.

“Heh, I know I'm not.”

Perhaps… the added comfort was alright. It wouldn't hurt to let others come in his circle after a long time being isolated in his own little world. Maybe it would help and Atemu seemed genuinely nice even if he was distant and closed off.

“Would you like to continue and practice? I can give you a few more instructions to regulate your magic and be able to control it more. It is not much but I am a man of my word.” Atemu squeezed his shoulder again.

Henry allowed himself, nodding and offering his smile. “I would appreciate it most. We had a deal after all.”

So that whole night was spent practicing. Henry grew a few thorned plants and shrubs while Atem whispered guidance and assurances by his side. Green flittering lights filled the forest, waking the sleeping creatures who stared in wonder and bowed their heads as the very earth thrummed to life.

Henry allowed himself to let go, allowed himself to grieve and immerse himself in his magic while Atem's steady hand stayed on his shoulder, grounding him and making him stay in the present.

Nova Genesis Creator

A little moment, a glimpse of what lies within. #Rambulan29