Freud has regretted only one action in his life; that he was unable to end the Black mage. But now he is willing to become the martyr for his friends.
Freud wakes up.
He is not old and dying in bed, coughing with his hurting chest and his body aching from the exposure to time magic. He is on his old desk and looks around. Everything is so beautifully nostalgic.
"Am I dreaming?" He murmurs to himself, feeling dazed. Sunlight pours from a bright and cheery afternoon. "No, no, this doesn't make sense."
Rushing to check the calendar, his hands tremble from the realization.
It's the day before the battle with the Black mage. For three hours Freud sobs and laughs, and mixing the two until it bloomed into beautiful hysteria. He had gone back in time. He had gone back in time and left his deathbed to change the past. He was given a second chance. He talks to Afrien and cries.
He had been talking to a block of ice that held the sleeping shell of Afrien for years, muttering words and holding conversations without reply. Talking to Afrien, thrumming in energy and power overwhelms him in boundless joy. Their connection is vibrant and fierce, and Freud feels the warm reassuring pressure of Afrien's mind with his own. It had been a linear and flat burden, cold and empty when he was sealed. Now that Afrien breathed and spoke with him Freud was overjoyed.
"You're breathing, you're alive!" Tears streak his face like rainfall, he rushes over and clasps his tiny human hands over the giant dragon claws.
Freud? What is wrong? The dragon's voice is filled with concern, watching the unshakeable tactician fall blubbering underneath his claws.
Afrien sensed the change, the shift in Freud: the maturity and desperation a drowning man would have. But he does not comment on it. Not now when the final battle draws near.
"I'm fine, I'm fine. I just had a bad dream." Freud laughs emptily, dazed and spinning slightly. Breathing the sweet, sweet air.
If you say so. There is no time to worry, and for that, Freud takes full advantage of. It must've been quite a terrible one, for you to be so shaken.
"Oh yes, but it's only a dream!" He laughs and laughs, bright and mad. "Only a dream! Only a dream! A dream! A dream!"
Afrien watches, gently nudging the spinning magician into stopping. Freud stares up at the giant dragon with confusion in his eyes. It's only a dream.
"Yeah." Freud replied in a soft voice. "It was only a dream."
Afrien just nods and lets the man wander off.
Being left behind, Freud had changed. He was abandoned and left without Afrien, with only his magic and the knowledge that the future was doomed. He had traveled the world, found artifacts, created spells, and created curses. When he was older, angrier, and frailer in his cold rage he had created a curse. He never got to use it on anyone. Until, today.
One so potent, so deadly that he feels the cold dark lure of power even from the freshly written seals on the paper. He stares, eye wide into the paper and imprints the entire thing inside his head with a vengeance filled with a thousand years of hate. The Black mage may have been sealed away in the past timeline, but Freud would not accept such loss again. Freud is ready.
He relays the plan to Afrien, who objects against it until and in rage he nearly burns his alcove and destroys half of the woods they were residing in. Freud does his best to reign in his fiery rage and soothe his hot undercurrent of determination and betrayal. Through his bond he clams his heart superficially, avoiding the cold icy hate at his actions, or to be actions.
"It's the only way." He whispers to the raging dragon.
IT IS NOT.
"Afrien, this is the only way, I was given a chance, and I will take it."
. . . .
I don't agree with this, Freud. I don't agree at all. There must be another way.
"The other way will fail."
How are you so certain?
Because this world is a dream and I have dreamt it all, thinks Freud slowly. He stares at Afrien with wide blue eyes. The dragon stares down, maw curled and fangs sharp. Slowly, he calms down. There is something in Freud's eyes that hold cold and resolute truth. The finality of a nailing the coffin.
I do not agree. Afrien whispers, the dying embers of his anger raging as they fade.
"I am a cold and terrible person, I am so terrible for doing this to us." Freud sighs, glancing at the curse on his desk, speaking of evil and foreboding things. He is tempted to down, to gorge on the power, on the magic it emits.
You are not cold, you are very warm. Sighs Afrien, delicately resting beside the man. It's evil magic, one that rips the souls of gods and demands everything.
"I am a evil person for doing this."
You are only human. Afrien hums, discontent. That's right, Freud for all his grand and splendor, is only human.
Even then Afrien stands with Freud, because he too understands what Freud is aiming for. Freud feels nostalgia as they rehearse the plan on Lumiere before they run off. Freud drinks in their determined youthful faces. Hints of fear and worry, but Freud reaches out and encourages their bravery and captures their fears. Mercedes, Freud sees her, and she is as beautiful as ever. Her elfin face, her bright blue eyes, and long golden curls. Her haughty but caring gaze, her long silken hair, her face warms his old wearied heart.
"We will triumph." Her voice is so steady, and she accepts the plans without hesitance. "I will bring him down and make him kneel for all the lives that were lost."
Her blue eyes burn with passion as their eyes meet, and she smiles. It's radiant and sweet. It's soft. He has missed this smile for so many aching long years.
"Why do you look so pained, Freud?" Her voice is soft and worried, and it makes him want to dance in joy. "Is something the matter?"
Phantom with his mischievous smiles and shifty gazes makes Freud's heart ache. His deep purple eyes and yellow hair with a charming and handsome face. Behind the sarcastic facade was a deep melancholy man who was drowning in sorrow and fear of abandonment.
"Yes, he's fine. Just getting sentimental, as all tacticians tend to do." Phantom speaks for him airily. "You made a lovely speech, of course he would be moved to tears."
And even deeper nestled unbridled thirst for revenge.
"Oh, how rage will consume us." Whispers Freud to himself, catching Mercedes attention, but nobody else's.
Aran with her stoic face and her stolid replies brought a calm in Freud. With her icy blue eyes and long white hair tied back into a ponytail. She carries a polearm wielded with iron and gold. A tall and imposing figure that held a soft gentleness and childish wishes that the warrior she had to be hardened away. She was reliable and held hidden wisdom.
"I don't think that's it." Her eyes pierce into him deeply, as if scrutinizing his weaknesses. Like a bear, if he ever showed signs of weakness, she would rip his head off before he could even blink. "Freud, is there something you're not telling us."
Luminous the misguided and stern magician. His bright blue eyes and silvery hair. A fellow partner who worked with him and understood magic like him. He was a helpful face that helped expound on a thesis or helped with a diagram with his extensive knowledge of light magic. Freud had found himself missing his strict and fussy help in the lab as he tested magic.
"Don't doubt Freud, it's tasteless to do so before the final battle." Sniped Luminous, ignoring Aran's dark stare.
"What's tasteless is your outfit." Sighed Phantom dramatically. Now Luminous looked borderline murderous.
"If you start fighting now I will end both of you." Smiled Mercedes kindly. The two men stopped, if for a second.
Eunwol. . . .Freud now remembered him. The memories came like a torrent of water. Washing away the fuzzy sense of forgetting Freud had since the day the Balck mage was sealed. He knew who Eunwol was, the gentle and hopeless assassin who had reformed to save the world along with Freud. Eunwol's dark hair and grey eyes. Eunwol was a treasured friend, soft and quiet in the background but his strength was not soft. It was quick, quiet, and deadly.
"So it'll turn out this way." Sighs Eunwol and gives Freud a thin smile. "I'm grateful for everything you've done for me."
"I'm glad you're alive." Replies Freud offputtingly, making Eunwol stare at him strangely. "No, never mind me, I'm getting sentimental."
"See!" Crowed Phantom.
Everything went the way it did the first time around. A demon sent a letter which they received with the vital information. Then they rushed in. Mercedes and Freud was the front guard who paved their battlefield in. She was swift and fast, but he knew that she wouldn't be fast enough. As soon as she was struck a fatal blow and collapses, he did with her, healing her enough to not die. However, this time Freud did not give his all and pretended to be injured. In came Eunwol and Luminous. Afrien did the brunt of his work and then fell into a slumbering state to prepare strength for the upcoming ritual Freud was planning to do.
Freud told them to change their plans and attack the Black mage, that he had another plan for the seals. Afrien weakly pulsed through their contract for him not to do it, but it was nothing to his determination.
"Hurry! Try and weaken him even more, I have another plan with the seals!" Shouted Freud, trying to make his voice sound even more hoarse.
Freud, please. There must be another way. Nobody else hears him. They don't know anything.
"Are you sure?!" Hissed Luminous as he directed a large ray of light magic at the Black mage.
"Trust in me." Freud told them, leaving a bitter taste in his mouth. Revulsion filled his stomach. Eunwol gave him a small nod and Luminous made a tsking noise and they both went off.
Luminous's powers were strong and seemed to counteract the Black mage's own. Light and dark magic did cancel each other out. Shade tried his best at fighting, but being a close combat brawler, it was almost impossible to help Luminous. Instead he was helping Luminous deftly avoid any chains that appeared to close and pushed him away from the bursts of energy that was casted. Freud watched and watched.
It's not a dream not a dream not a dream, chanted Freud in his own head.
Finally, with a desperate burst of energy, the Black mage slammed dark lighting across the hall. Luminous and Freud casted their own shields. Luminous's shattered almost instantly under the strong attack. Freud's managed to hold up three strikes before it shattered.
Pain and electricity arched through his memories. It hurts It hurts It hurts It hurts It hurts It hurts! Freud screamed as electricity coursed through his small fragile body. His heart almost stopped along with the pain, his own shrill screams intertwining with the thunderous dragon roar that Afrien felt. Then it stopped. Afrien's mind was instantly against his, assuaging the pain and taking a great load of the hurt into his own body. Freud thanked him indefinitely before standing up, his legs twitching and refusing to work right. Sadly, the magical currents throughout his body were messed up, ravaged by the magical lightening.
While not in bad condition, it would be dangerous to try anything with his currents out of balance by this much. Yet Freud had to. If he didn't, this timeline would be like the last. Electricity was still jolting through his body, and like a newborn lamb he stood shakily and weakly, boosted only by minimal magic and leaning heavily against his staff he stood.
Luminous was still on the floor, as his body twitched and occasional grunts of pain. Eunwol was panting heavily as he was trying to crawl standing up. Freud gave him a small smile. Eunwol had a pair of beautiful eyes. While they were almost a blank grey, Freud could see the hidden violet color blooming beneath the irises. Freud mouthed to him, watch over them, my friend.
Eunwol seemed to know him very well even after travelling through time, because his grey eyes widened in betrayal.
End of Part One.
The next will be Part Two with author's notes.