Shades of Blue and Gree: A Tale of Two Hearts
Author’s Notes: Proceed with an open mind.
The tower was built into the castle walls. Like the rest of the castle, it was built from gray stone—solid, strong, unyielding. A spiral staircase rose from the foot of the tower piercing through its top floor, which was unroofed and open. From this vantage point stood Luc.
The True Wind Rune Bearer stared at the great expanse of North Window Castle. Soon, he will be leaving it and go back to Lady Leknaat. “Am I ever glad…”
The seventeen year-old didn’t care. He didn’t care that the young Riou fulfilled everyone’s expectations as a hero. He didn’t care that they won. And he certainly didn’t care about what’s in store for the other 107 Stars of Destiny.
There were things that mattered to Luc though. Like magic, True Runes and Sasarai. He has always been sent off to wars that have little to do with him, training as Leknaat calls it… but maybe in another three years or so, Luc would get his chance to confront Sasarai. Then the madness that took over his life ten long years ago would finally be over. If that happened… then the wait, pain and tragedy may have been worth it.
“Oh well, better get ready to leave…” Luc sighs. Somehow… he was feeling strangely wistful and it bothered him. “Shouldn’t be feeling this way, you foolish boy,” Luc scolds himself out loud. Why couldn’t he shake away the feeling that maybe, he’s leaving the very place he should be?
“Huh?” Luc turns to the voice. A light footfall rhythmically tapped on the stairs, growing louder as the person inevitably drew nearer. The next minute, a young girl in blue jumps off the last step and plops down before him, winded. “Eh?”
She threw her head back and shouted right at Luc’s shocked face. “Futch!! FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUTCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
“Shut up!!” Luc yells back.
“Futch?!!” She blinks in surprise, her naïve brown eyes looking rather confused. The True Wind Rune Bearer!! “Oh! I… I’m so sorry Luc.” Please remember me, please remember, do say you remember me…
You… you… Luc stares at her. Millie… yes, I can remember going to Greenhill with her. “………”
Millie gets up on her feet and twiddles her thumbs nervously. Luc is very intimidating, how handsome and composed he is!! “Um, have you seen Futch?”
“Ah, I… er sorry, I, uh…” Millie flushes a bright red.
“What?!” Luc frowns.
“Eek!!… Nothing.” She squeaked. She looks around frantically, as if searching for an escape. I would like to stay with you, but the question is, would you want me here?
Thunder rumbled and suddenly, large drops of rain fell down. Luc ran down the stairs to the room at the bottom of the tower. A few seconds later, a rather soaked Millie emerged.
“Brr!!” Millie shivers, squeezing water from her long brown hair. “The water sure is cold.” The girl walks over the open doorway and sits down, drawing up her knees and hugging them. Wide-eyed, she watches the shower turn into a full-blown storm.
This is bad, Luc frowns. We are stuck. Of course, I can teleport us out of here but… his face hardened. I am not one to use power in a frivolous manner, especially not after that last battle for L’Renouille. I still feel… weary.
He gave a sideways glance at Millie. She seemed slightly melancholy in the face of such a dark, gloomy storm. Despite that, she still exuded a sweet, cheery aura… making him feel obliged to make small talk. He didn’t like that feeling at all. Therefore, he didn’t like being alone with her. He sighed.
She turns to him. “What’s wrong?”
A gust of wind blew into the room. Millie curls into a tight ball, trying to get warmer. “Brr… I’m so cold…”
Millie runs her fingertips over the Rage Rune attached to her right hand. “…Yeah!!” She closes her eyes and then lights a fire in the center of the room. I did it right!! She looks up at him impishly “Ahh!! That’s much better!!” She giggled and scooted closer to it.
Using magic with such ease, Luc felt a pang of envy. Undoubtedly, I am the better mage, but she uses magic so freely—intuitively when the impulse strikes. But I—I have to wait. I have to conserve my power… because of my responsibilities.
“Magic isn’t to be used improperly,” Luc tells her. “It is to be utilized only when needed. You shouldn’t use magic so carelessly.”
His disapproval dampened her spirits. “So, I was being careless?”
“Then, when should I use magic?” Millie looks down at her hands. A force not of this world, a force which holds all in its mercy.“Magic is a tool to help yourself and other people!!”
“Magic is power,” Luc says. “It is used… to fight.” Countless beings have died through that power—or for that power. It shapes this world… and as long as I use my magic wisely, I can make a change. And that’s what matters…
“Why… can’t it ever be used in ways that don’t involve other people’s suffering??” Your suffering…
It is a means to attain peace and progress—but never without a price. “………”
“… Why are you after Futch anyway?”
A worried frown settled on Millie’s features. “It’s all his baby dragon’s fault!! It breathed fire on my sweet little Bonaparte. His furry back got all burned up!!”
“… All because of that thing??”
“Thing??!” Millie’s eyebrows shot up indignantly. “Bonaparte… has been with me forever.” A thing indeed!! A constant in my life, one of the few things I can be sure of—Bonaparte. No, not just a thing, definitely not a thing…
I want you to understand me!! “We came from the same home… Bonaparte and I…”
A flicker of understanding crossed Luc’s face. It disappeared just as quickly, but to be sure, it was there. Home…
And they both stared out at the rain once more, an oddly comfortable silence hanging between them.
To ask him a question… just one little question… “Luc?”
“A thought came to me…” she blushes. “ You think… do you think… something would work out between a girl and someone older?”
“Something?” Luc frowned at her. What a silly question… go play in the nursery or something, you nosy kid.
Her cheeks turned a bright red. “Y-yes. A person… maybe 3 years older—or more.”
“R-really?” She looked extremely disappointed.
“Yeah,” he crossed his arms over his chest. “You mean teenaged kids? Those things, those, those… relationships… they are ridiculous. Even when they become older, and become man and woman… Differences always cause problems an age gap always causes different outlooks. Older people are always occupied with… things.”
“No chance at all?”
“Didn’t I just say so?”
“Y-you did… I’m sorry,” Millie was unable to look him in the eye. You, you have burdens too Luc… I know. I’m not as clueless as I seem to be. Are your priorities too high for me to reach, too difficult for me to understand?! All I want is a chance…
What’s on your mind? Why even bother to ask a question like that, Millie? I don’t even want to think… if you’re fourteen… three years… no way. I don’t… “Is it about Nina and Flik?” He asks nonchalantly, remembering how Millie sympathized with Nina when they first met her in Greenhill.
“Huh? Oh, yes!” Millie lied.
“It will never happen.”
“Flik has enough sense in him to mind bigger things than silly schoolgirls.”
Why do you think a young girl’s heart is silly? Millie gazed at the rain sadly. Is it really that unimportant to you? Are magic and True Runes your whole life?
Luc turns away from her, unable to stand the heartbroken pain that etched on her young face. I do not want think about I—was I too harsh? But Luc, really, you shouldn’t care…
“The war is over and our side has won,” Millie says suddenly. “Do you know now what you will do?”
None of your business, Luc wanted to say. Still… “I am going back to Lady Leknaat. I shall study more of magic. It is for me to become a powerful sorceror. My magic, I will use to settle my business…”
“And then?” What about yourself, Luc?
“Why should I tell you more?” It wouldn’t matter anyway, it can change nothing.
“………” Millie shrugs. “I’m going to the Grasslands. Templton told me it is where creatures like my Bonaparte can be found. I will get him a companion.” And so at least, Bonaparte can be happy…
“… Grasslands?” The land of the fierce tribes.
But it’s so dangerous. It’s not worth it. “I don’t care.”
“Oh.” How cold, how indifferent. Millie gazed at the green-clad youth. Yet I know, he has a story to tell, his own two cents. He has suffered. He has lived. I want to hear it, perhaps, learn from it. I want to find a way to set him free… of his meanness, his rudeness, his cynicism... I know he doesn’t mean any of it.
“What are you looking at?” Luc demanded. He expected her to reply by stammering, looking away or hesitating. That’s what all of them do… She surprised him.
“I’m looking at you.”
“Because…” Millie smiled. “You’re not bad to look at. You look cute and nice.”
Cute… you say the same thing about Bonaparte. Luc wasn’t sure what to make of it. His cynicism and sarcasm usually made people back off. 2No one ever told me that before… except my mother, maybe.
Millie stretches her limbs, yawning. Luc looked out the doorway, a feeling of displeasure rising—the rain seemed endless.
It let off a little though. “Hey.”
“Looks like this rain isn’t stopping anytime soon.” Luc was about to step out of the tower. “Want to make a run for it?”
“Sure!” Millie puts out the nearly forgotten fire in the center of the room.
Luc waits for her to get on her feet. Then he ran as fast as his quick legs could carry him. It took him a few seconds to realize the girl wasn’t following him. “What the…” He stopped and looked back.
Millie was walking. Taking her time, glancing at her surroundings made fresh by the rain, she stepped lightly on the grass. It took a long time for her to reach Luc, who was standing by the edge of the stone path that stretched around the castle.
“What the hell were you doing?” Luc pushes his fine, caramel-colored hair, now wet from the rain, away from his eyes.
“I was walking.”
“I told you to run!” He said exasperatedly. “I didn’t want us to get drenched in rainwater!!”
She reached for a lock of his wet hair. “Oops, looks like you’re all wet. I’m sorry. But seeing that, there’s no reason for us to hurry now, is there?”
He gave her a withering look. “We wouldn’t be wet in the first place if you just ran like I told you to. What’s with you?”
“The rain shower cleansed the place. I was thinking how beautiful the gardens look. It’s nice.”
His mouth dropped open, waiting for a retort to come out. It never came. Nice, like what she thinks about me. Everything around her now is nice. Lovely how sweet and innocent a young girl’s heart can be. “Eh?”
“It’s nice isn’t it? Isn’t it?” Millie was bouncing on her feet eagerly.
Looking up, Luc saw how right she was. The garden was empty save for the two of them. Miraculously, the rain stopped at that exact moment and sunlight burst out from behind clouds that immediately cleared. The sky never seemed brighter, nor did the grass ever seem more alive. The little pond at the side overflowed with crystal clear water. Everything faded into the soothing shades of blue and green. It was indeed beautiful.
Beside Luc, Millie sighed. Never had she felt this kind of peace since… ten years ago or so. Little did she know that Luc was also reminiscing… of times long gone, of places left behind, of people lost along the way and of a childhood stolen by Fate too early. Their dark pasts are yet to be told and given conclusion, and their hearts still have to be assured of a better days to come. Still… a shared moment of quiet, a break from the yesterday that haunts them, a short calm before another one of Fate’s storms toss them about miserably… now. The moment was enough for now, enough for two children so mercilessly played by what is called their Destiny.
Contented. Millie sighs dreamily. I am contented.
I like it… Luc closes his eyes and takes in the feeling of the moment. Being here…
“Mama says that rain make you sick!”
Millie and Luc were jolted out of their reverie; they turned to the little boy behind them who had scolded them. He gave them a smug little look and they blushed.
“Come on now Millie.” Luc motions for her to enter the castle, and they did so together. Upon reaching the hall that led straight to the Stone Tablet of Promise, Millie halted.
“Bye-bye Luc,” she waves cheerfully. “ Good luck with your True Rune.” She swiftly turns away, determined not to see him go. Departures made her so sad.
“Farewell, and Millie—“
“Huh?” She looks back at him.
“What you said about relationships and people, maybe it’s not so impossible after all,” he said. “—So I mean, Nina with Flik might not be so silly an idea,” he adds quickly. Whew… admit it though Luc, something—someone, changed your mind.
Watching his retreating back, Millie’s dark brown eyes shone with hope and happiness. “Hmm… not so impossible after all, huh?” She murmurs out loud. A chance… now he has given me a chance…