Ready to give up?

By Jenine and Klaudia

You’re about to be transferred into a completely new world; to you at least because I have endured this world for over hundred thousand years and yet it still is full of surprises, even though I was here to watch the bones of this world form and then fall and then take shape again. The world I’m talking about is Mirtan, the world of seven lands. This is no ordinary world and trust me on that…just for now at least before you’ll discover what wonders exist here. Perhaps I haven’t told you my name yet but don’t worry because you’ll get to know it soon. Right now all you need to know is that I’m a siren or rather I was, a cursed creature that has the body of a seductress and voice of an angel. I took the souls out of men who wished to love me. I ate those souls to survive, they tasted like a sweet nectar to me, not that I couldn’t eat fruit or vegetables or whatever mother Nature gave at hand, in fact I found human food tasty, but I had to consume souls so that the villain part of me could live on. You probably are thinking why I would need to have a villain part in myself. Listen to me now, world needs balance; it isn’t possible to make everyone good, therefore those who want to be left in peace have to be both good and bad; neither too merciful nor too blood-thirsty, they simply have to be… well… cunning. I and a couple of other people are about to tell you a story that had probably the biggest influence on my and their entire life (or existence more likely- for me and one more person that you’ll get to know), a story that tells you my change, and their changes too. So are you ready to experience something new?

Chapter 1
Klaudia’s p.o.v. “Klaudia!” I heard angered Violet Pearl Angelai scream on top of her lungs. I bitterly thought of the days when wherever I rested my eyes there was peace and quiet, now days all I hear is someone shouting, and I really can hear well and far so there really is no need to shriek. “What Pearls?” I asked causally, keeping a poker face on. She grimaced at what I called her. I could never understand why she prefers to be recognised as Violet. She spoke in Koronian… and what choice had she had anyway if none of the sirens debated in our ancient speech since the human race became most dominant and decided that the races in all seven lands should speak Koronian? “When will you stop calling me Pearls?” She growled at me with her beautiful violet eyes sprinkled with flickers of anger. I like to annoy her; it’s as easy to do as taking a lollypop from a little child. “I don’t know Pearls but there better be a good reason why you disturbed my mud bathing session.” She rolled her eyes at what I called her again and then she started screaming. “You broke my favourite seashell hairbrush!” she waved remains of a golden shell, with pearls stuck around the edges and a few strands of bristly hair here and there on the inside, in front of my face. Now it was my turn to roll my eyes. Who cares about a stupid brush? I was going to make her a new one anyway. “It was already broken Violet.” I answered innocently but she knew better. “Stop playing games with me Klaudia Syrena Evangeli! Gemma saw you do it!” the one little thing I dislike about my best friend is that it’s hard to make her let go of a subject; she is sometimes so stubborn. “Look, I was going to make you a better one anyway, so stop interrupting my mud bathing time. You don’t want me to get blackheads after all, right?” this humoured her slightly and so I relaxed but it wasn’t the end yet. “Ok, but if you won’t make me a better one then you can be sure as hell that your collection of crystals will be ruined.” I was immediately filled with horror. I had collected crystals since I was ‘made’ and some of those crystals are the last examples of their kind and nearly every single one has a special meaning to me. “You. Wouldn’t. Do. That!” I declared through clenched teeth only to see a triumphant smile appear on Violet’s beautiful face. Sirens are mean creatures that no one wants to get threatened by because they nearly always fulfil their threats; they’re really self-cantered, spending most of their free time on grooming, even though they are already beautiful. From the perspective I like to look at my-self and the rest of my kind, I assume that we are fallen angels that weren’t bad enough to go to hell. No one but a few of our royalties knows how sirens are ‘made’ and no one but a few know how to take immortality from us. An evil smile spread on Violet’s face and I didn’t like it one bit. I found a sudden urge to wipe it of her face.

“Yes. I. Would!” she answered back in the same voice as me, taking obvious pleasure from my horrified expression. I didn’t want to wait to see if she was serious, even after she laughed at my unfocused stare, so I quickly jumped out of the mud, washed myself under the waterfall, changed into a silk swimming suit and dived into the warm and calm waters of the Three-Islands Sea in search of the most beautiful shell. I could dive for as long as I wanted because non-breathing did me no harm whatsoever. I effortlessly swam through the strong currents and as I dived further down, my eye was caught by something that faintly glistened in the little amount of sunlight that could reach down to the seabed. I clutched it with my hands to get a closer look but even then I still had to get onto the surface of the water to see what it looks like in direct sunlight. When I reached the sandy beach of a little islet I studied every single detail of my finding and I was pleased with it. In fact I grew jealous that this shell is soon to be Violet’s. Not only was this shell perfect in size and pink but it also glistened as if little fillings of gold were sprinkled over it. It was smooth too; so smooth in fact that my fingers couldn’t stop touching it’s surface. I swam back towards the Jenique Island. It seems very beautiful even from this far. It has beaches with pure white sand and coconut palms scattered along the shore with sharp rocks under their shades. If there was any lucky mortal, who would survive the calls of sirens, to describe this island then he would not find words suitable enough to give the island’s grace any justice. I crawled out onto the shore and stayed motionless for a moment because the warmth of the sand felt so nice against my skin. I was going to pick my self up but then I heard something that at first I’ve mistaken with wind ruffling the treetops; it was in fact somebody whistling a wonderful melody that reminded me of the early years after I was ‘made’. It wasn’t only the melody that caught my attention but the mere sound of whistling that is so rarely heard in this part of Mirtan because Sirens can’t whistle. I stiffened as I realised that it was a mortal, a very brave mortal in addition. Perhaps dumb even; no mortal with some sense in his head wanders on the beaches of Jenique… unless he seeks for one of us. I smelled the air and picked up his scent. He smelled of freshly cracked coconuts, which is a very pleasant smell to sirens because they live amongst it and so it makes them feel at home and safe. At first I could have thought that it is the coconuts themselves who bring this sweet scent to me but his scent had something more to it; I wasn’t sure but it might have been a slight note of honey that I sniffed out along with coconut. “My lady!” A pleasant, husky male voice called from behind me. It made me hungry, hungry in the way that I was quite ashamed of; I was hungry for his soul. “Yes? What do you want stranger?” I asked in my melodic voice once I turned my self around to face him. I was surprised to find him handsome. He had chocolate brown eyes and long, silky black hair that he wore in a ponytail; which was really fashionable among mortals at the time. His face was shaped in a royal way; in fact if not his ragged clothing I would have mistaken him for a king or for a prince. I liked the fact that his dirty white shirt hugged his muscular sculpture (which was as perfect as man’s sculpture can be).

No answer came for a long while. I gave the boy a chance, now it’s too late because his scent saturated my senses- waking my evil part up. “I’ll give you my love if you give me your soul. Will you risk your soul in return of my love?” I softly breathed out in an enchanting voice that no man yet resisted. The stranger stood unmoved by my cunning question. I began to get frustrated. “Will you risk your immortality to feel and have my love?” he asked and I could feel the thick cloud of irony hang upon me. He was actually insane enough to play games with a siren!? Who does he think he is!? “Who are you?” I questioned with furrowed brows. “You didn’t answer my question, lady.” He calmly stated. “Who are you? I insist you to tell me unless you want to end-up with fire circulating your veins instead of blood, burning you from the inside!” I spat out. Never in my whole ‘life’ would such an incident have happened. First of all he overcame my entrancing voice and siren’s beauty! Second of all he was playing games with a siren when it is supposed to be other way round! And finally, there was something about him that no other man had and it was terrifying me because I couldn’t work out what it was. “I’m Jack Smith, my lady. Now will you answer my question?” he told in a serene voice. I blinked once, surprised how straight forward mortals can be. Then I thought out an explanation: ‘If you can live only for a couple of years then you want to skip some unnecessary actions.’ “What was the question again?” I reluctantly requested. He smiled crookedly and then repeated the question. I was shocked by the confidence in his voice. “Do you know who to you’re directing your question, you foolish mortal?! I am a siren and you’re lucky that you’re still alive!” I screamed at him. This mortal had no common sense what so ever! “I’m lucky to be still alive? I know that you could never bring yourself to kill. I’ve observed, I’ve seen with my own eyes every trick that you use to deceive your prey. You can’t kill; you don’t have the guts to do it!” I felt offended by his words. I coiled from the sound they made which was stabbing at my un-beating heart. “How do you know of this? Speak you mortal creature!” I demanded. He smirked confidently and then without a word he turned his back on me and walked away. I could have caught up with him if I wished to but I was too tangled in my own thoughts. As a matter-of-fact it should have been my priority to destroy that mysterious Jack (I spat his name out in my thoughts)… but he was right- I did not have the guts to kill. I and Violet have never killed, we hate killing. Taking a soul away is bad enough… but life?! Some of those fools might have had a loving family or importance in their community. Say if I killed a human doctor then the death rate would have risen in the village or city where he worked and many innocent people would have been wiped out! Therefore, I never take the lives of my victims away. If any of our royalties would find out that I and Violet let our victims live, then I fear to think what would happen. Speaking of Violet, I need to talk to her right now. I need to tell her about this mysterious human called Jack. I picked myself up and ran until I reached my friend’s decorative hut.

Chapter 2
Violet’s p.o.v. I was brushing my hair with my bear hands (because I didn’t have a brush as it was broken) when Klaudia appeared. “Violet!” she shrieked. ‘Now look who’s yelling’ I thought to myself. Klaudia looked… pissed, but why? “What’s wrong? And what’s with the face?” I asked continuously. She sat down in the nearest chair and ‘hmphed’. “Okay, what is it? Spill it out.” I turned my whole body to face her. It was kind of awkward because sirens aren’t usually pissed. Only when a precious thing they own breaks, they get pissed or mad…or hilariously freaked out. (Like me earlier.) “Well, I saw this guy… he had chocolate brown eyes and long, silky black hair which he wore in a ponytail. His face, it was shaped in a royal way. If it wasn’t for his ragged clothing I would have thought he was a king and bowed in front of him. And please, you know I rarely bow to ‘just’ someone.” She stated with awe and disgust at the same time. “And he knows about ‘us’. Not all sirens but us, I mean ‘we’… you and me. He knows we don’t kill violently like the others. He knows we take souls of our victims but not their lives.” Klaudia looked at me, her sapphire eyes piercing through mine with so much force I had to look away. When sirens are mad… you really don’t want to mess with them; not even joke in front of them. “Klaudia, just calm down and don’t worry too much. I’m sure that guy won’t run screaming saying ‘Klaudia and Violet are the good ones! Praise them!’ right?” I emphasized my statement by flapping my hands in the air making her laugh. I continued to flap my hands until I know all anger was gone in my friends’ eyes. “His name is Jack Smith.” Klaudia interrupted my ‘making-her-laughmoment’. And she said his name with… “You feel something about him, don’t you? You just can’t put your finger on what it is.” I murmured. “I’m right, aren’t I?” I continued because she was never like this. Klaudia was never unsure of things; she had the right amount of confidence and courage. But right now… where was all of it? “Am I that easy to read?” she ducked her head down. “No, for others; for me, yes.” I paused. “Go rest for a while. Its twilight, I’ll go for a swim and come back for you to…feed” I reluctantly said. “You look quite weak. Come on stand up I’ll walk with you on your hut.” And with that I walked with Klaudia hand-in-hand to her hut. The sun was on its way to hide itself again, to recover its strength because for some great amount of time, it provided us light or energy or any what-so-ever. Just like ‘us’…sirens. We need a soul to regain our strength because if we let our self get hungry for an immense amount of time… when we feed, we might begin a feeding frenzy of souls- we might get too

overwhelmed by the fact that we haven’t ate for too long. And I don’t want that to happen, so tonight, I and Klaudia would have to feed. I was walking by Jenique Island when I spotted someone in my peripheral vision jump up for air. ‘Sirens do not need to breathe when they swim… so it must be a human. My lucky day.’ I thought to myself. (I sound like a villain, don’t I?) I took off my floral dress and swam, in the darkened by lack of sun waters, wearing my black silk swim suit. I swam and swam until I was sure I was only an inch from the human body I saw. I stood up and was greeted by: “Chérie, how nice for you to join me.” He bowed his head and it made me yearn to see his eyes. And when he straightened himself, I noticed he was towering over me a couple of inches. ‘Wait! Chérie? How dare he call me that? He doesn’t even know me.’ I was angrily scolding myself for feeling somehow attached to this guy in front of me. Which I guess was supposed to be forbidden. I paused for a moment to regain my voice and when I did… I began to speak. “I’ll give you my love if you give me your soul. Will you risk your soul in return of my love?” I used my enchanting voice to captivate him and added a momentary spark in my voice so it will stay in his mind and the soul-taking will be painless. “I presume that spell has quite worked a thousand of times… Chérie.” He seriously said. “You do not know me, yet you call me Chérie? What gives you the right?” I forced myself to calm down. “Will you risk your immortality to feel and have my love?” his eyes… butterscotch with silver linings on its sides. Just like mine though mine are violet but still he had the same silver linings as mine. I looked at his face with awe. “Chérie, you do not need to answer now. I know you well enough. Let’s just walk around and talk shall we?” he held his hand out. “I’m Dimitri Williams. And you are?” “Stop!” I shouted more to myself rather than to him. “I will not introduce myself to you. It’s no use; soon… you’ll be someone who’s numb enough to not feel anything.” I exclaimed. Somehow this guy, Dimitri, just makes my blood boil to a degree I can’t quite measure. I could taste venom in my mouth as I spat his name in my mind. To quickly get away from him; I swam back to Jenique Island as fast as I could. ‘I hope he won’t follow me…’ I thought to myself while I was planning for my escape. This guy… his question had me thinking. ‘I have to find Klaudia!’ I shouted in my mind. I was so close to the shore when suddenly… a hand gripped my arm not too tight but enough for me to be startled. I turned around to see Dimitri smirking; pure male amusement. “And you think messing with a siren is funny?” I fiercely looked at him. “I can do things to you; utterly painful and unbearably unforgettable.” I screamed. “You cannot kill Chérie nor make someone suffer, like I said earlier. I know you well enough.” He beamed with confidence. ‘How dare he!?’ “You do not know me. I demand you to tell me; how do you know of this? Who led you here? And why?” blood rushed to my cheeks and venom

leaked in my voice. I have no time for this. I must go. NOW! I jumped out of the water and ran…literally. “Klaudia! Are you there?” I called from a distance of my friend’s hut. She came rushing out, her hair wild and tousled. “What’s wrong?” Worry was clearly seen in her eyes. “And where are your clothes?” she looked at me from head to toe. “Did I interrupt you? Were you sleeping or something?” I asked. “Oh please, I was just lying down thinking of…J…ingles… the way my jewelry jingles. Wait! Stop changing the topic and quit answering me with questions.” She furiously demanded. “Yes ma’am!” I saluted playfully and nudged her shoulder. “Can we talk inside?” I asked because I didn’t want someone to eavesdrop. “Of course, you should’ve just walked in.” my friend agreed, sensing something. “I know, but I just wanted to know if you were there.” I answered. Once inside, I settled on a chair while Klaudia tossed me a dress; it was white with yellow flowers rising from below. “So what happened that made you forgot your dress?” She chuckled playfully. “Oh no, it’s not what you think. I just… met this guy and he had butterscotch eyes but… he had the silver linings in them just like I do. His name is Dimitri Williams.” I emphasized my phrase by spinning me eyes. “He was brawny and flawless and… no! What am I thinking!?” Klaudia looked at me with disbelief in her eyes. “Uhm, Violet, earlier this morning. Jack… he asked me a question I couldn’t quite answer. Did that happen to you too? Did he ask you something?” her concern and curiosity rang in the melody in her voice. “Dimitri asked me a question indeed. It stirred some of my emotions and I somewhat didn’t understand it all.” I told Klaudia, while thinking deeply. “Will you risk your immortality to feel and have my love?” me and Klaudia said at the same time in lost in thought voices. We both met someone today; that couldn’t be a coincidence. And they both asked the same question; that certainly can’t be a coincidence too. Plus, I know and feel (it’s only logical) that they must somehow be connected. And we aren’t going to just sit here and think, we’ll have to move and find out... or else we will be eaten from the inside by our own tangled thoughts.

Chapter 3
Jack’s p.o.v. It was getting dark when I crawled out of the water onto abounded beach. No one ever came here, especially at this time of day when being alone on the beach could cost you a life. This beach wasn’t exactly one of those

pleasant beaches where you see kids relaxing with their parents on white, loose sand; it was covered with sharp rocks here and there but mainly wherever you would look you would see the, pale as bone, chalk rocks that were covered in slimy algae on which someone not careful could trip. Where there weren’t any rocks, then there were poodles which if stepped into could get a person wet up to their mid-calf. The vegetation in here was sparse- only little clumps of rotten grass could be seen between the ghastly rocks. There was not a living soul in sight, not even a seagull circling above in the sky, not even any of those annoying flies. In other words- for the simple people this place was nothing but a nightmare and something that should be avoided by all means (unless you were a fisherman as there is plenty of fish in the nearby sea.) For me, though, this place meant that home was close. To me the smell of this full of seaweeds place meant safety, warmth, comfort and company. I could see home in every curve of the tall cliffs- whether sharp or smooth. I could taste it in the misty air… home was not far. I skipped from one round rock to another, without loosing my balance- I had done this too many times to slip. I used my usual path, the fastest and the safest one. Sea water was dripping from my clothes and chills tingled on my spine. I was now running on a thin boundary between life and death; I should not be out so late. I should not let Montiego worry. At this time of day foul creatures were slowly starting to wake up. They are silent, fast and most of all: ruthless. I quickened my pace at the thought of the ugly, piercing eyes of a strix, striking at me unexpectedly from above, piercing me with it’s sharp beak, hungry for my blood and flesh; and at the thought of the madness that besta fera carries in its face. Madness which spreads like an illness to every person who encounters besta fera and looks upon its face (the person becomes mad for a week but then fortunately heals; if doesn’t commit suicide beforehand). I summoned my inner strength and ran with the speed of a thunderbolt; I hoped that by doing this no eyes of evil will be able to rest on me. It was truly exhausting to run so unnaturally fast; my muscles burned as if touched with roaring steel. I only use speed when it’s necessary and now is the right time. Montiego taught me this trick. “Please tell me that you’re less than two hundred meters away from home.” I heard a wise voice that was soft and held patience in itself. This voice was Montiego’s of course- I would recognize it anywhere and everywhere. He was using telepathy, the skill of speaking to someone through their mind. “Sure, Montie…I’m just s couple of paces away from The Cave.” I send my thoughts back to him, using the same skill. I heard the distant barking of the herd of dogs that stalks besta fera. I ran faster than ever, just in case. One more minute of running at the striking speed and I found my-self just five steps away from The Cave. The Cave looked lifeless just like the rest of

the surrounding; but that was only an illusion, created by my father Montiego, to make the place unattractive for the monsters of the night. I wasn’t moving towards The Cave anymore; I stopped as I was drowned in the river of my memories and dreams. I should have carried on running. If I would then this would not have happened… First I heard a shrilling shriek as if it came from a tortured soul; it was followed by wild beating of large wings which stirred the air in a way that caused it to blow straight into my face. Then I saw the blood-red, sickening eyes of a killer, slightly too big for their crumpled eye sockets. There also was a beak, crooked into the shape of a crescent, sharp as butcher’s knife. The second thing I knew was that the strix aimed to gash my head with its beak; I ducked just in time and the beast ended up clutching a thin tress of my hair. I energetically pulled out a dagger out of my sleeve; it had a golden tip. I waved with it above my head but the beast kept on ducking away from it. It was the strix’ turn to attack. The white as a corpse monster-bird aimed its long claws at my thudding heart, I was faster and the stiletto claws missed me completely. I understood that this could go on for ages until the beast’s mate or pack comes to help it; therefore I cut off the bit of hair that the strix held in it’s beak. It was not the best thing I ever done in my life… and I mean it; I will explain later. The huge hawk-like bird could not be seen anywhere and I used that fact to reach for the safety of The Cave. Warmth slapped me across the face as I passed through the glass-like illusion- no thicker than a sheet of parchment. From the outside The Cave looks empty and lifeless… but once you enter The ‘empty’ Cave you find yourself in a place that doesn’t fit in with the outside, gloomy scenario. The Cave was much larger than it seemed from the outside due to special charms Montie had put on it. The main source of light and warmth in the grotto came from a beautifully carved marble fireplace placed in the very end of The Cave. Some light also came from the floating beside the walls candles. They really did float in the air; they weren’t attached to any strings… I even checked once when I was younger by waving a stick in the space between a candle and the ceiling of The Cave- nothing has happened, the candle stubbornly stayed where it was. The Cave’s walls were covered in richly ornamented oak wood. In fact it was so beautifully ornamented that oak from a king’s castle would kneel beside it, ashamed. There was not much furniture in the room. There is bed, my chest where I keep my belongings, an oblong table where I eat and write and a row of shelves on which Montiego keeps his scripts, books (volumes and volumes of books), inks and parchments. There was only one chair bound in crimson velvet and it stood beside the oblong table, in the middle of the room- it was a chair for me as it was too small for Montie and it would easily break under his weight. The ceiling was ornamented with precious stones all in warm colours; they made the light from fire and candles seem even more pleasant and even warmer than it already was.

“Why are you late son?” A pair of amber eyes pierced through mine. Montiego’s eyes always made me fall in owe; they held so much warmth in them that it seemed as if there was fire burning inside them. He was a creature of wonder. A dragon. Anyone could probably wonder how have I ended up with a dragon for a father… all I know is that I have been left near the mouth of the cave; Montiego could have ate me and it would have been a very dragon-like thing to do but he felt pity towards the little toddler I was and he took care of me and brought me up as if I was his real son. Montie was a dragon, last of his kind, whose scales are golder than gold was, is and ever will be. His neck was as long as swan’s and it supported a large, flat head. He had slits instead of nostrils and his eyes were placed on either side of the head. His body was long and muscular and covered in gold, luminous scales. He also had a tail, the length of a horse, with spikes like daggers at its tip. His tongue was like that of a snake- parted and long, it kept on slipping out of his mouth to taste the air. “I was observing.” I simply answered to his question. “The sirens again?” he questioned with saddened voice. I nodded without looking at him. “Son, when will you understand that sirens are monsters? They are dangerous. What if they find your hiding place? They will probably kill you then!” He said it all slowly and calmly. I wondered why he could not believe me when I told him that there are two exceptions in the Jenique Island. “You don’t understand them Montiego.” I quietly murmured with my head hung. It always feels as if my courage has been consumed when Montie is present in the room. “I lived on this world for much longer, son. There’s not much I haven’t seen and learned about.” He said very seriously. “Sirens are one of the foulest creatures in my ‘Book of Beasts’. Son, I can’t stop you from doing what you want but I am concerned about your safety.” He made sure that every word was pronounced clearly and meaningfully as he told me this. I did not answer as I did not agree that all sirens should be put in the same category. After the long pause Montie sighed and shook his head. “Have you seen your friend Dimitri today? That lad was looking for you urgently all over the place.” The golden dragon reported to me. I silently groaned at the remembrance of how many times I would have told Dimitri that he should not follow me to the Jenique Island because he can’t defend himself. He was my best friend after all and it would haunt me forever if something happened to him. What concerned me the most though was the fact that: “No, I have not seen him.” I uttered with wrinkled forehead. I rubbed my temples as different images of enemies that Dimitri could have faced on his own flickered in front of my eyes.

“What did you say, son? You have not seen him?” My ‘father’s’ naturally wide eyes widened even more. That was a sign of pure concern and if he was concerned then it was a signal that everyone else should. “That’s right: our paths did not cross.” I confirmed firmly. “Montiego, what did Dimitri say to you when he came looking for me?” I interrogated and I spoke so fast that I was surprised that Montiego actually understood what I said. “He said that he will go to look for you and that he will be back… with you, later…” he stated and then stopped briefly and suddenly gasped. He brightened up a lot and I was just standing there… confused. “He is behind you.” Montiego’s deep voice was swelling with glee. He wagged his tail like a merry dog at the sight of his owner or at the sight of food. I twisted around on my heel and confronted a friendly face. No art in this or other universe could describe the relief this sight brought to me; this is a dangerous world (as I experienced today and many times before) and anything can tear you apart limb by limb, so the chance of survival Dimitri had was slim (that’s why I and Montiego was so worried). “Hello my friend.” I spoke dryly. Now that I didn’t have to worry anymore, anger started buzzing out from my throat. I was angry that he went to look for me when I told him not to. “Come on, explain yourself!” I slightly lost the nerve then but I was still quite calm. Dimitri gazed at me apologetically but I turned my head away from him. “I fell in love.” He breathed dreamily. I was shocked so much that I almost fell on my knees. “You fell in love with whom?” I questioned but I was afraid of the answer that I was expecting to come. Montiego shifted uneasily as he watched this scene; his tongue continuously tasted the aura in The Cave. “I fell in love with the most beautiful and the most extraordinary siren.” Dimitri Williams lovingly announced; he seemed out of his mind- he wasn’t the Dimitri I would have remembered. The old Dimitri never spoke in this tone of voice about anyone or anything… “He really must be in love.” I considered in my mind. “That’s not good.” I added internally. If love blinds him too much, one day he may never come back. “Dimitri, you are to never see the shores of Jenique Island again.” Montiego scolded Dimitri with his all-knowing eyes and Dimitri cringed and his face looked so pained that I felt the urge to look away. I almost felt sorry for him then; in fact the only thing that kept me away from feeling pity towards him was the fact that he didn’t listen to my pleadings.

There was a long pause and Dimitri’s spirits notably fell to the ground. He wasn’t thrilled much longer and from his eyes sadness leaked and started to fill the room. He covered his eyes with his hands and sighed. The next thing I knew was that an imploring look was fixed upon me. I felt a sudden impulse, coming from somewhere deep in my body, to help my friend. He was my only friend after all and friends ought to help each other. “If he learns to defend him-self the way I can, then will you allow him to come close to that island?” I challenged, although I wasn’t feeling particularly sure of my-self. Montiego puffed and shook his head briskly in disbelief; he also stepped back about two steps after which his nostrils started to vibrate and he began to grow. He grew so much that there almost was no room left for him in The Cave. The whole room erupted with vibration which could only be compared to a small earthquake; the bottles of inks and other chemicals and books began to fall from their places on their shelves. Dimitri was glaring, petrified by this sight which he has never seen before… the sight of a big dragon falling into tantrum. I recoiled from the stern glare Montie was shooting at me and I protectively covered my face with my arms. Montiego seeing my reaction immediately softened up; he was back to his usual height now. His eyes were telling me how very sorry he was. “I’m sorry son.” He whispered into my mind and I nodded to confirm that that the apologises have been accepted. I have learned over the years that forgiveness is scarce and so I give it out more freely than anyone else (It depends on a situation of course and on the person). Montiego cleared his throat and then he spoke aloud: “I am sorry for my temper boys but I thought that I already made my points clear about any of you lads going to that cursed Island. Do you really think that some training will help you to defend yourself from the sirens’ destructive powers?” he gazed at both of us as he asked this but yet I knew that this question was directed mainly towards me. Dimitri was looking at something in the corner; the candle light shone in his face and made his expression visible. He rubbed his chin with his fingertips thoughtfully; he didn’t look particularly happy. “Montiego, so far nothing bad has happened and the chance of misfortune will be even smaller once Dimitri learns a couple of defence and attack skills.” I pierced Montie’s eyes with my pleading stare and something glimmered in them. “I just need a month, father.” I told him telepathically while slightly pouting my lips. He puffed grumpily. “Fine- one month but… I will personally test his skills at the end of the training.” Saying that out loud he walked off into a different chamber of The Cave where he stored all precious gems, metals, fabrics and food.

“We must talk, my friend… but first we must find in the ‘Book of Beasts and Monsters’ a creature called ‘strix’.” I pated my friend on his back and my face had a begging expression on. He smirked as a sign that he didn’t mind and so we went of for a big search. “By the way I’ll explain everything to you… later.” I added.

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