Hanile smiled evilly at me, seeming to know my fate before I did. The other men I didn’t recognize, so my gaze finally rested on the one sitting upon the throne.
“Welcome, Amberlin. It’s so nice to finally meet you in person; Hanile has told me so much about you,” a womanly voice came from the cloaked figure in the throne. I was taken aback by the voice, and actually took a step backward. “Uh, uh, uh,” the figure tisked me, flicking her wrist and the double doors slammed shut behind me. “You’re not getting out of this that easy.”
I snapped awake, still laying on the couch, but breathing heavily like I had just run a marathon. Nightmares weren’t uncommon for me, but this one scared me, which one hadn’t done in awhile. It all seemed too real, almost as though the dream was a vision. And I was hoping it wasn’t. I checked my phone again, reading at time and groaning, 10:52 am. I didn’t really have any more time to sleep, unless I wasn’t going to take a shower. And I decided that wasn’t an option today.
I pulled myself off the couch and stared at the stairs. I figured if I sat down and backed up the stairs using my right leg, I could get out of hurting myself again. I must’ve looked like a complete idiot because when I was about halfway up, I heard two girls laughing above me. I ignored them and finished the chore. Once at the top, I hit each girl’s arm, which just made them laugh more, and paraded passed them and to my bedroom.
After the refreshing shower, I put on some nice, but casual clothes, and headed downstairs to grab something to eat before my meeting.
“Ooo, you going somewhere?” Cheri bumped my shoulder, and I just rolled my eyes.
“Nope, just going to the library to pick up some books. I’m going to see if they have anything on Key’d people or the Eternal Knights.” I had decided in the shower that the girls didn’t need to know the real reason, but I was also already going to head to the library, for the reason I just said.
“Oh, cool! I’ll go with you,” Cheri smiled and I shook my head.
“Actually, can I do this alone? I just want some time to reflect and stuff,” I guess I sounded convincing enough, because she nodded.
“Wait, how are you going to get there? Your ankle...” she trailed off.
“Eh, it’s my left one, I can still drive!” She nodded hesitantly and handed me the keys before giving me an unconvincing look and leaving the kitchen. I grinned at my success and left through the side door. I had some difficulty getting into the drivers’ seat, but once in, I had no trouble driving down the hill to the small town and finding the library. I pulled into the parking lot at exactly noon, and I saw the Raliki standing in the shadow of a tall oak in front of the sign pointing to the entrance. I guess he knew what car to look for because he perked up when he saw me arrive. I slid out of the car, grabbing my crutches, and Raliki seemed surprised at my condition.
“You know everything about me, yet you didn’t know I’m on crutches?” I asked as he came closer.
“I don’t even get a hello?” his sarcasm was nearly dripping from his mouth.
“Hello. Now why are you so surprised?”
“Just surprised you haven’t healed yourself already,” he raised his left eyebrow at my open mouth.
“It’s not like I’ve had much training in magic,” I said quietly, feeling small in comparison to the shorter guy in front of me.
Raliki smiled, “I know, that’s one of the reasons I’m here.” He led me into the library, which was oddly empty, not even a librarian seemed to be present.
“One of the reasons? You’re going to teach me magic? What else can you do? And why a meet in a library?” I rattled off questions as we settled into two large and puffy chairs.
“One question at a time! Yes, I am going to teach you magic. I am one of the few who knows as much about Key’d people that is possible. Emmiale speaks to me in my dreams, just like she does in yours. She told me that they are no longer able to reach you, and to finish your training, it’d have to come through me,” he paused and I risked a question.
“Why can’t they reach me anymore?”
A cloud appeared over Raliki’s face, “Because dark forces are taking over your dreams. You had a nightmare last night, didn’t you?” I nodded in surprise. “I assume you know it’s the Eternal Knights,” I nodded again, “and what did you see?” I began to explain to him, and he was non-interruptive.
At the end, he nodded his head with a grave look on his face, “We must begin training at once. It seems they are farther along than I originally thought. Right now, we are safe, and I will try to answer as many questions as possible.”
“Ok, you said one reason for why you were here, what are the others?”
“Well, I am actually an Eternal Knight. I don’t agree with the terrible they do, I’ve been trying to stop it for decades.”
My mouth hung open, “Decades? You look my age!”
He chuckled and pulled up his right pant leg, showing thirteen parallel scars. “Each one represents 100 years. I am 1327 years old.”
I nearly choked on my own spit, “How is that even possible?”
“Magic. Magic does everything we need it to, and I’m excited to teach you all I know. It’ll be nice to share all the knowledge I have gained over the years,” Raliki suddenly seemed so much older and wiser that I almost fainted from how I had been treating him up until now. He laughed again, “Don’t be frightened of me, I’d much rather you keep acting like you have so far. I really hate feeling this old, that’s the reason I portray myself as a teenager.” I nodded, but still felt in awe of the man in front of me.
“So, why a library?” I gestured to the area around us.
“Ah, that is because this specific library has quite a large number of books about the history of the Eternal Knights and the Key’d. I think you wanted to come here to check them out, yes? Come,” he got up and walked to a wall with no shelves on it. “Put your hand on the wall.”
I put my hand up against the wall, feeling the grooves in the wood. “Now say the words, Kanfai lanemo pias.” I repeated the words and the wall began shimmer and my hand disappeared into it.
“Well go on,” Raliki gave me a nudge and I stumbled forward into the wall that turned to water.