Hello, all! I managed to finish up a chapter within a reasonable amount of time like I'm used to. This chapter is a bit dark since it is all about Zeref and his past before he became The Black Wizard. I thought that it would be the perfect time to explain a few things that were glossed over. I hope you enjoy all of what I came up with in this latest chapter!

Chapter 18: Zeref's Past

Back when I had just been a little boy, the kingdom of Fiore was divided in two, self-proclaimed kings on either piece. One king was pure evil, having the ability to use Dragon Slayer Magic and killing just for the fun that killing provides on the eastern most half of Fiore. He was tainted by the blood of Dragons and the blood of his people, making him feared beyond measure so that the people he ruled would never revolt for fear of what their ruler might do. The other king, who ruled the western half, wasn't much better, living only to tax his people as much as humanly possible and living in the lap of luxury while gazing down at the hardships of his kingdom as he ruled with an iron fist like his opposition. This king, the one who ruled the west, was my father.

The king of the west was named Rhazien Vexx and he was almost as cruel as the king of the east. He had dark hair and was quite tall, clean shaven for a king and steel gray eyes that could bore holes through to your soul. King Rhazien had snatched the attention of a coldly beautiful woman by the name of Leeta and made her his queen. She had white hair that startled most people because they could say that it was indeed colorless, her black eyes setting off the image to make people believe that she was a demon in disguise. Rhazien loved her coldness, calling it an asset to his country and demanding that she marry him. She refused at first, saying that the only way she would is that if he would swear to one day unite Fiore under his rule so that she could have an empire beneath her. He agreed since he was already arrogant enough to believe that it could be done easily and soon after he had an heir to give the kingdom to one day.

His wish came true a few years after they married and a healthy son was born, that son being me. I was a prince in a sheltered world, believing the best of people and that the human race was inherently good deep down. The servants were surprised to find that Queen Leeta's cold and cruel demeanor slowly melted whenever she was in my presence, enjoying my warmth and curiosity as she taught me the lessons a prince needed to know. However, the more she warmed up to me, the sicker she became. Day by day, the life was slowly leached from her, which is why King Rhazien began to resent and hate me. One day, as my mother was teaching me about Magic and all the things that could be done with it, she imparted a piece of knowledge that surprised me.

"I want you to be very careful with Magic, Zeref," she told me with one of her rare smiles on her face, one that was reserved only for me. "When you become a man, there might come a time where you have an important choice to make. Certain types of Magic are acceptable to learn, but the Black Magic is dangerous. Some come with a price, one that you don't realize until it is already too late. No power that great is worth the price it takes to use it." Even though she spoke with a smile, I wondered why it was that her eyes were glazed over with sadness, a sadness I didn't understand then but would one day soon.

One day, as I was taking a break from my lessons, I happened to overhear from a few servants that our kingdom was about to go to war with our brethren to the east. A noble that had been a good friend of my father had been beheaded, the head left outside the castle gates for a servant to find. I couldn't believe that the stories about the eastern king were true, still naïve about how the world really worked.

A few weeks later and just before the fighting broke out, my mother became very ill. She was forced to stay in bed and I visited her whenever I was allowed. She would always give me a smile and tell me not to worry about her, instead focus on the lessons I was being taught from another until she was better. I didn't know it yet, but my father was becoming more and more jealous and angry at all the attention my mother was paying me. As his sanity began to fray, he devised a plan to get rid of me for good.

On a bright summer's day, King Rhazien collected me from my quarters so we could go just outside the walls on walk. On the way there, I asked him about the upcoming war with eastern Fiore and if he was worried about it. "Of course I'm not worried!" he growled angrily, startling me at first with his tone of voice before he finally calmed it down. "King Acnologia is nothing but a big coward who hides behind the blood he's shed."

"But isn't he a Dragon Slayer?" I asked curiously, gazing up at him with widened eyes. "I heard that they are really strong! I also heard that they're as close to Dragons as humanly possible!"

"Enough, Zeref!" he yelled, glaring down at me with those steely eyes and making me hunch down in fear. "Dragon Slayers are only myths to scare children! I won't allow my son to believe in such nonsense as that!"

"I'm sorry, father," I whispered, looking down at the ground.

After a while, he grabbed me by the wrist and dragged me along behind me, taking me into a forest that was within sight of the castle. I never noticed the dark looks that he cast in my direction, only marveling in the wonder that was the woods itself. I hadn't been in there before and I saw a bunch of different animals frolicking about. I laughed happily as I chased after a few bunnies, succeeding in catching one that was a little too trusting. It allowed me to pick it up and pet it, which had me so absorbed in the joyous feeling that I didn't hear the eerie hiss of a sword sliding from its scabbard. I kept petting the bunny until I finally felt a chill travel down my spine, dropping the rabbit down so that it could run away as I finally turned around towards my father and gasped with fear. My father King Rhazien was standing before me, his arms held up in the air as the point of his bejeweled sword was aimed in the direction of my tiny fluttering heart. I whimpered as I saw the murderous gleam in his eyes, a sick sense of victory emanating from him.

"Go back to Hell where you came from," was all he said before sending his sword down at me.

I screamed and fell backwards to crack my head hard against a rock, closing my eyes and waiting to feel the pain of a blade piercing my tiny body but nothing of the sort came. I knew that I had heard a noise but I didn't know what it was until I had opened my eyes. Standing in front of me with her back to me was my mother and I looked up to see that the sword meant to end my life was now poking through her back. I crawled over to her with my head pounding and looked up at them both, my mother with her deathly cold eyes locked on to my father's surprised and anguished ones.

Even as blood poured down from the wound, my mother remained completely calm and deadly, almost like a feral beast before her prey. "I do hope that you know what you have done, Rhazien," she said, blatantly ignoring his title and making him feel like he was only an inch tall in her eyes. "You tried to kill my son, only to find me in the way to stop you. Now, as I bleed out here, I will lay a curse upon you."

"This can't be…" he said, his eyes gaining a cloudy haunted look. "You act as if this is nothing to you… as if you feel no pain at all! You must be a demon after all!"

"Silence, Rhazien," she told him without once raising her voice, which only terrified my father more. "What I am does not matter. I curse you, King Rhazien Vexx, to lead a life with my son. I hope Zeref reminds you of the sins you have committed today for the rest of your miserable life. If you think that you can just try to kill him yourself a second time, I will come back from the grave as a demon and drag you back to Hell with me where I can torture you for an eternity in the most gruesome ways. Do take care of our son after this."

I watched as Rhazien pulled his blade free and my mother finally looked human as she seemed to fall in slow motion to me. I watched as her colorless hair changed to a beautiful golden hue that matched the crown upon her head. When she hit the ground in front of me, she reached out a wavering hand to touch her fingertips to my cheek, giving me a warm smile that reached her now bright blue green eyes. My own dark eyes became blurry as tears poured down, feeling absolute sorrow for what happened to my mother. I felt tired all of a sudden as I collapsed on my side, the pain in my head getting worse as it tried to drag me down into unconsciousness.

"Mother…" I whispered sadly as my vision darkened.

Just before I passed out, I heard my mother say, "I love you, Zeref, my son. You were always the light of my life from the day you were born, burning through the darkness in my soul. You will be a fine man one day, I'm sure of it." Just before I closed my own eyes, hers dimmed down to a lifeless gray and a huge shadow jumped from her body, looked down at me, and disappeared without a trace.

For the longest time, the concussion I received that day had led to memory loss. I couldn't remember what happened and my father told me that Queen Leeta had snapped, trying to kill both him and me. He stopped her from doing so by killing her first, protecting me in the process. What I couldn't understand is why he acted so cold with me when he could have just let her kill me. I thought that since he was my father, he loved me unconditionally. I didn't realize that he hated me more than even the king from the east, but couldn't do anything about it or risk the wrath of his late wife. What he could do was psychologically torture me enough so that I would kill myself instead, making him free of his curse and guilt free.

Five years after that fateful day and when I was now a young man in line for the throne in a few years, there was a sickness that went around the castle and I had managed to catch it, making it the worst case in our kingdom. I was bedridden for days, coughing up blood and delirious. The servants, who cared for me more than my father did, stayed with me the entire time and took care of me. My father sat back and willed that the sickness would take its course to finally kill me. All the while they did this, I would have fits of headaches that felt like a spike was being pushed through my brain, almost as if it was trying to break through a barrier of sorts. Finally, during the night while I was sleeping I had a dream that was so vivid that I knew it had to be a true memory. I watched as my father tried to kill me but my dear mother stepped in front of him, cursing him for his sins and promising to come back to drag him to hell should he do it again. When I woke up, I had an unholy rage burning through me and I think that is what truly made me get better.

The moment I was completely healed, I decided to get revenge for my mother and looked into Magic. Since I didn't have a specific affinity for any element, I decided to go further and study the Black Arts. I knew that my mother said that certain kinds came with a price, but I wouldn't practice those kinds in her honor. I wondered if the price she referred to was the one that led to the shadow leaving her body when she died. Another year passed by and I was adept at Black Magic, planning soon to use them against my father when the time was right. Little did I know that the meager amount of Black Magic I possessed wouldn't be enough to kill him.

One day before the war he planned on having with King Acnologia, I thought it was time to kill him and snuck into his chambers in the dead of night. I formed a black spear that would poison him once I stabbed him with it and thrust it into his chest while he was sleeping, only to have the whole thing absorbed into his body. I felt him trying to absorb my Magic as well, so I let go of the spear entirely as his eyes snapped open. He grinned at me evilly and sat up, pulling a knife from underneath his pillow and brandishing it in my direction. I was horrified now and confused, not understanding what had just happened.

"I was wondering when this day would come," he said with a laugh. "I guess you really do possess my blood running through your veins. Only one from the Vexx family could be so bold as to kill another."

"I don't understand," I said quietly as I took a step back. "I stabbed you through the chest! You should be dead right now and my mother would be avenged!"

"So that is your motivation? I guess you aren't a Vexx after all. If you were, the slight of me trying to kill you would have been your reason to eliminate me. You are too much like your mother."

"My mother was a good person," I told him, feeling that same burning rage that I had felt before when I had learned that he was the reason why she was dead. "She may have been cold and heartless to everyone else, but she was kind and warm with me. That is all that matters and I would be honored to be like her. Now tell me how you aren't dead right now!"

"I didn't tell anyone this, not even your mother, but I possess a type of Magic that doesn't manifest unless it is absolutely necessary. It is a type of Absorption Magic, one that only activates when my life is in danger. I can't use the Magic I absorb, but it does come in handy when a silent intruder comes to try and steal my life away."

Without another word, he slashed out at me with his dagger and sliced deeply along my chest. Blood spurted out and I yelled, hopping back too slow and touched my fingers to the wound. It wouldn't kill me, but it hurt badly and it would only get worse. Rhazien only laughed now, getting up from his bed with the dagger dripping with my blood. Insults about me flew from his tongue as he lashed out with the dagger, trying to slice me again but I moved away each time. My Magic wasn't enough and I was arrogant enough to believe that it was. Even though it went against everything I believed, I turned tail and ran from the room. I couldn't stay in the castle any longer and bolted outside the walls itself, just in time for the alarm bell to go off that signaled the opposing army had been sighted. I ran into the forest, the one where my mother had been murdered, and ran until my feet were bleeding. I collapsed near a pool of water that gleamed silver in the moonlight, crying heavily and feeling lost for the first time in my entire life. My head hurt as I began to feel lightheaded, the blood loss affecting me more than I had expected. I decided then to just close my eyes and sleep off the miserable thoughts of self-pity.

It was just as dawn was breaking that I heard a harmonious song carrying across the forest, a melody so beautiful and tragic that tears spilled down my cheeks again. I sat up and looked across the pool to see a figure of a woman surrounded with golden light, one that I thought had been caused by the light of the rising sun that filtered in between the trees. I gasped when I realized that the woman was literally made up entirely of the golden light and I watched her as if in a trance as she came closer. I thought that she would give off heat as she stopped a few feet away from me, but she was only warm as she reached out to stroke my cheek with her hand. With that one touch, all of the injuries I had obtained were healed and the blood stopped flowing.

"You have a troubled soul," she said in a lilting voice that was pleasing to hear. "What has happened to you to make you so anguished?" I felt like I could trust her and so I told her my story, starting from when Rhazien tried to kill me but only succeeded in killing my mother to the events that had unfolded that night. The entire time I spoke, she listened without saying a word, just absorbing the information I gave her with a sad look on her face. Finally, after waiting for me to finish before speaking, she said, "I apologize, young one, for all that has happened to you. Even though you tried to kill your father, I don't find you to be inherently evil like him. You have a pure soul."

"I don't know what to do now," I told her softly. "He killed my mother and tried to kill me. He needs to be punished for the sins staining his soul so heavily. The only way to do that is to gain more power because he is physically stronger than me, but his Magic will just absorb mine if I use it against him."

The golden being was silent for a few seconds before saying, "I can grant you the power required for you to do this. I think you have the right kind of soul to take it."

"You would do this for me?" I asked, feeling hope for the first time in a while.

"However, this Magic comes with a price," she said gravely as she looked down upon me. "Your mother understood the risks when she took the deal for more power. I think you know to weigh the consequences."

"My… mother made the deal?" I felt cold now at her words, almost as if a chill had seeped down to my bones.

"She made a similar deal with my sister," the golden being said. "This deal involved your mother allowing my sister to possess her, to enter her mind and remain dormant until such a time as she needed to take over. She told your mother that she wasn't allowed to use emotion of any kind, not even to feel love, or it would slowly kill her. That is why your mother fell ill for so long. She loved you very much and risked her life to keep doing so."

"Is that the deal I have to make?" I asked her, feeling an edge of sadness at what my mother had done.

"No, yours is a bit different," she said. "I think you are the only one who can handle such a deal. It involves sealing both my sister and me within your mind but allows you to access our powers whenever you please. It will make you infinitely stronger and you will be immortal, which means you will keep living on so long as you keep us sealed. Your father will not be able to absorb your Magic no matter how hard he tries for our Magic is older than any other, so ancient that it existed before The One Magic came to be."

"Is there a price I should know about?"

"While you know the value of a life, the ability to use this Magic disappears. When you forget the value of a life, you have full mastery over it."

I felt a shiver travel down my spine as I thought over this, but I already knew my decision. "I will accept this Magic that you offer."

The being of golden light nodded before walking to the side to draw a strange form of a pentagram in the earth with her toes. She moved back to her previous place, beckoning for me to stand and waited for me to do so before speaking. "I, Adira, the Goddess of Life itself, call upon the powers I wield to bring forth my opposite, the other side of the same coin. I ask that you are summoned before me, Deysis, the Goddess of Death."

The ground rumbled a little before a black smoke welled up from the pentagram as the being of golden light, who called herself Adira, drew another pentagram where she was standing. The black smoke wavered before a dark fire erupted upwards, one that wasn't hot but rather cold as death itself. I wanted to shrink back but I stayed in place as I watched the fire calm down some. They formed the shape of another woman, looking exactly like Adira's twin except for the obvious differences. This woman had cold lifeless eyes, ones that could see down into your soul and looked like dark pits to Hell. She grinned at me, revealing bright white fangs that moved like fire like the rest of her body.

"You always had a flair for the dramatics, Deysis," Adira said calmly as she gazed at the trapped being standing within the confines of the pentagram.

"If you are going to lock me up like this, I might as well have some fun with it," Deysis said, turning her eyes in Adira's direction. "How good it is to see you again, sister. What is the purpose behind summoning me here?"

"I have found a vessel for us both to reside in so that we no longer meddle with the world of the living."

Again, Deysis' eyes shifted back to mine as she assessed my worth. "You, boy, are the son of former Queen Leeta Vexx, are you not?"

"Yes, that is correct," I told her with a nod, feeling a bit apprehensive now at this situation.

"I can see the fire burning within you. You wish to kill your father for murdering your mother. I approve of your motive and I will give you my power willingly."

"Now that this is all settled," Adira said quietly, "I think it is time we finish this. I have faith in you, Prince Zeref Vexx."

Both Adira and Deysis began to chant something in a language I didn't understand, which surprised me since I had learned many different ones during my lessons with my mother. Before long, there was a blue glow surrounding Adira and a red one around Deysis. It became brighter until they turned into balls of light that flew into me, making a hot and cold feeling burn into my mind as I gritted my teeth against the pain. They moved around until they were finally settled, making me gasp as all of a sudden the pain was gone.

Good luck, Zeref, a kind voice said in my mind as it gave off a comforting warmth.

For a year after Adira and Deysis were sealed in my mind, I practiced using Death Magic. Before long, the value of a life that I had known in the beginning was gone, leaving only a chilling hole in my heart as I travelled from village to village to destroy everyone in my path. I had been gone from the castle that had been my home for so long and now I was ready to confront the monster that was my father. I heard word that he was currently locked in battle in a field that was on the border of both kingdoms, trying to fight off the advancing army that belonged to King Acnologia. I wanted to watch as I destroyed everything that my father ever cared about and so I made my way to the camp of the eastern king.

Is this really such a good idea? Adira's voice asked in my mind, the first time she had spoken since being sealed away.

I want to make him pay and this is how I can utterly destroy him, I told her in my mind as I passed through the tents of the camp, the soldiers here glaring angrily at me but allowing me through.

It's not like they will harm him, the voice of Deysis filtered its way through to catch my attention. They know his reputation. Besides, King Acnologia has been searching for him since he had first heard about The Black Wizard.

When I made it to the tent of the king, he was waiting for me outside. He was tall and muscled heavily, a look of pure evil in his eyes as he assessed me and my stature. I glared up at him with now red eyes to show that I had no fear of him, no matter what rumors I had heard about the Dragon King. Finally, the king cracked a smile and beckoned for me to follow him inside. We talked after a while about amiable things, which I thought was quite twisted given that I had a different purpose at being here. Finally, I told him my plan.

"I have heard that you want more power, enough so that you can defeat King Rhazien," I told him, locking my eyes on him.

"You heard right," King Acnologia said with a grin, showing off his elongated canines that I now associated with the entire Dragon Slayer race. His dark hair fell over onto his eyes and yet those sky blue eyes shone with an otherworldly light. "That was why I had a few soldiers of mine search for you so diligently. I have heard about the demons you have created so far, more specifically Lullaby and Deliora. Such great accomplishments, I must add."

"So, what is it that you want me to do?" I asked as I leaned back in my chair.

"I want you to make me into a demon as well," King Acnologia said as he leaned forward, his eyes shining even brighter. "I want to use that power to destroy his army and unite Fiore under my rule."

"How about I do something even better for you?" I asked as I closed my eyes, seeming almost bored of the conversation. "How about I turn you into the most powerful Dragon alive?"

We both remained silent for the longest time before he said, "If you are lying to me, I will have your head on a spear within a minute."

"I would not jest about something like this," I told him, refraining from telling him that I am immortal and that he wouldn't be able to kill me. "I can make you into a Dragon, but on one condition."

"And what is this condition you speak of?"

"You leave King Rhazien for me to kill. I have unfinished business with him."

"I wasn't sure until now, but you are King Rhazien's son, Prince Zeref," he said with a grin.

"Don't try to hold me hostage as a bargaining chip," I told him simply. "My father hates my guts and tried to have me killed as a boy. You would only be doing him a favor. Now, about the deal?"

"I accept," he said. "Turn me into a Dragon right this minute and you will have my word that your father will be yours to kill."

I nodded and used the Life Magic that belonged to Adira, who I could feel was disapproving of the whole situation. A huge light surrounded the king and it only got bigger, stretching higher and higher until it tore through the tent. Before long, I could see the light fading as a loud roar echoed throughout the land, a huge black Dragon stood before me as it jumped into the air. Screams of terror could be heard and I left the tent completely, heading over to the other camp to find my father. It didn't take long before I could find his tent specifically since everyone else had moved to fight the Dragon attacking the camp. There he was, waiting for me while sitting in a chair that was reminiscent of the throne back at the castle. He stared down at me, looking tired and exhausted after having to fight for a year with an opposing king. He didn't once look surprised to see me as I came closer.

"Prince Zeref Vexx," he said quietly, his eyes just as steely as I remember them. "It has been a long time since we last saw each other."

"And whose fault would that be, oh mighty king of western Fiore?" I asked, sarcasm dripping from each of my words. "I have dreamt of this day for the entire year I was gone."

"I have as well," the king said with a sigh. "I knew the demon spawn would appear again in the night to take my life."

"Is that all I am to you, father?" I asked, spitting out the last word as if it was poison in my mouth.

"I loved your mother for her coldness, for the way she was the human equivalent for a demon. It was good to know that I could have her power at my beck and call whenever I needed it to instill fear on my kingdom," he told me, barely even looking at me once. "Then you were born and everything changed. You were always the bane of my existence, but I didn't know how much until you suddenly began to change my wife into more of a human. Only a real demon can do something like this, to change something I cared about so thoroughly into a different person. I knew right then that I needed to kill you before it became worse, but your mother stopped me. Then she laid a curse upon me, one that has been slowly ripping my strength away from me since I haven't fulfilled my entire bargain about making sure nothing happened to you. She is coming to get me from beyond the grave by using you as her favorite weapon of choice."

"It is what you deserve after what you have done to us," I told him. With my palm outstretched and facing upwards, a huge sphere of Death Magic appeared there and I saw Rhazien look surprised, almost fearful of me for the first time in his dark life. "What was it that you said to me six years ago when you tried to kill me? That's right, I remember now. Your exact words were 'go back to Hell where you came from.' Seems fitting, since that is exactly where you will be going yourself."

The sphere moved faster than Rhazien could dodge, burrowing a perfect hole through his chest where his blackened heart would be. He gasped a little before collapsing to the ground, looking up at me as he shook and I could see my red eyes reflected back in his steely gray ones. With one last shudder of breath that ended his life, the great King Rhazien Vexx died on the cold ground he fought so hard to keep. I was now the rightful king of the western land of Fiore, so I allowed the Dragon King to take the other half of Fiore for his own and walked away from the scene of the patricide. A few legends were spread about King Zeref Vexx of western Fiore and I could only shake my head when I heard them. Only one story was true of me and that was I am The Black Wizard.

Almost two hundred years later while Fiore was united, I had been wandering around and watching the demons I created run amok to destroy everything they pleased. One of major towns housed a few rebel forces that would meet up in the courthouse where the mayor lived and I happened to arrive there in time for another meeting. With Deysis calling for me to kill them, I approached the window and was about to send my Death Magic out in the air and kill them all when I caught sight of a woman that was in her early twenties.

The hollow feeling deep in my heart, the one that made me think that my heart had stopped beating years ago, began to leave as a deep ache spread throughout my body. I felt my heart flutter painfully like the wings of a hummingbird and I was frightened about what this meant as I gazed into the window again to look at her. She had long chestnut brown hair that was wavy as it hung down her back, lightly tanned skin that looked sun kissed, and eyes that were the color of amethyst. Such bright purple eyes were a shock to me as I hunched down behind the window a second time, my heart beating even faster than before. I shivered a bit and then moved away from the window, hearing the screams of Deysis ringing in my ears as she cursed me for being weak.

A few days later and I had the chance to meet the girl I had seen at the mayor's home. After eavesdropping on a few people in the town, I learned that she was the daughter of the mayor and loved by everyone wherever she went. I was walking down the street and was turning down a side street when I ran into someone. I heard a yelp as the other person fell to the ground and I offered a hand to them when I saw that it was her. It was the girl that I had seen and my heart started beating hard against my ribs.

"I'm so sorry," I told her as she shook her head and then looked up at me with those violet eyes of her. "I wasn't looking where I was going. I didn't mean to knock you down."

She gave me a brilliant smile, one that most likely had me blushing for the first time, before she said, "It's not your fault! I am already quite clumsy. I wasn't looking where I was going either." She took my hand and I felt a rush of happiness at her touch as she pulled herself to her feet. "Oh, where are my manners? My name is Cassiana, but most people just call me Cassie. What's your name?"

"My name is Zeref," I told her simply, worrying a little that she might realize who I am.

"That's a unique name!" she exclaimed, clapping her hands together excitedly. "Why don't you come home with me for dinner and you can explain where you're from! Such a worthy name must have a story behind it!"

She grabbed me by the hand and dragged me behind her at a run. My first meeting with Cassiana and I had already learned how bright and sunny a disposition she had, which was completely new to me. Days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months, all of which I spent with her. She became the one and only friend I had ever had and it took me a little while to realize when my feelings for her developed into something stronger. I fell in love with this sunny girl, the one who always kept me on my toes and I told all of my secrets to. I even told her about my past, about how I was now over two hundred years old and in possession of Death Magic, and she accepted me completely. She told me that she loved me one day and I felt like the world was just as bright and good as I had once thought it was a young boy.

One day in the spring, she showed me that she also had Magic of her own. She had mastery over Plant Magic and used it to help out the crops that the farmers grew just outside of town. She showed me how delicate life could be but with just the right nudge would bloom into something beautiful. Cassie was the entire reason why I had begun to see the value of a life and how my eyes had returned back to their normal black color. I was the entire reason why she died on that one fateful summer's day.

I had forgotten about what Adira had told me so many years ago about the deal, about the price of the Magic I wielded. I hadn't thought about it for so long that the whole situation shocked me. Cassie and I were out for a stroll and I had planned to ask her to be my wife that day when I felt something dark stir within me. There was a sinister laugh in my mind that pushed the edges of my consciousness and I knew that this was Deysis trying to revolt. I felt Adira try to fight her, but there was nothing that could be done. Pain radiated through me and I had to hunch over to stop myself from screaming while Cassie placed a hand on my back comfortingly. I could feel how worried she was but that was the last thing I remember about her before the Death Magic erupted from me in a huge blast wave, crushing the life out of everything within a mile radius. Horrified, I looked over at Cassie while she gave me a sad loving smile just before her body turned to ashes that blew away on the breeze. I screamed in agony, the loss of my bright girl killing me inside more than any emotional torture that my father could concoct.

After that moment, I moved to Tenrou Island and refused to speak with anyone until that important day I met Timara another two hundred years later. She soon became the light in my life again to lead me out of the darkness, to help ease the pain I still felt over Cassie's death. She was one of the most significant people in my life and I didn't want for her to die by my hands, which is why I was so amazed that my Magic couldn't kill her. From a sweet little girl to a beautiful stubborn woman, she was always my best friend and would remain that way for as long as time itself, no matter what will happen in the future.

As I finished my story, she looked back at me in surprise, looking so much like Cassie that the pain welled up from my soul again. "So now you know my story," I told her quietly, hoping she would understand. "Now you also know why I don't like getting too close with people. After what my father did and after I killed Cassiana, I have a hard time letting people in. So what will you do with this knowledge that I have given you?"