A Song of Awakening (3/4)

(Continued from here)


Eral whirled around with an amazed grin. “You woke them up! You broke the spell!”

Elias’ eyes were still alarmingly bright blue, and they were fixed on the small pixie. His flute was already stowed away in his jacket, and he grinned jovially. “Well, something like that, little buddy,” he admitted.

His hand reached out faster than even Eral, with all his fae swiftness, could see. It scooped him up into a fist while Elias leapt to his feet, and Eral coughed in surprise. “Hey! Asshole! What’s the big idea?!”

“Hmmm, well, there’s still a little more to do,” Elias replied, striding up the gentle slope of the roof. “But it’ll be easy for ya. Promise.”

“For me?! Listen, Elias, I think the demigod … whatever, is frying your head,” Eral pointed out with a frown. He planted his hands on Elias’ knuckles warily, but resisted the urge to writhe in his grasp. This was still Elias. He was annoying and boisterous, but he was trustworthy, whether or not he had Trickster in him.

“You worry too much,” Elias replied. He lifted his hand and deposited Eral on his shoulder so he could clap his hands together conspiratorially. “Wanna see me do a trick?”

Eral scoffed and his wings buzzed irritably, but he didn’t flit away from the stupid demigod. He crossed his arms and eyed Elias’ profile. “I’m kinda debating on saying no just to see what you’ll say.”

Elias shot him a flat look out of the corner of his eye, and then smirked. “Keep playing coy with me, pixie, and I might just have to turn off my aura.”

Eral rolled his eyes. “You just undid the sleep spell, idiot.”

Elias paused, his lips pouting thoughtfully. “You got me there, buddy. Kinda.”

Then, he rubbed his hands together, creating arcs of blue lightning between his fingers. With a flourish, he aimed his palms at the ancient glasswork roof, and struck the tower with lightning.

Of course, the roof tiles crumbled. The pair plummeted into the room below.

“Gods dammit, Elias!” Eral cried, his wings fluttering to life. He stuck close to the demigod, however, as many shards of colorful glass fell with them. It would only take a few to slice him to ribbons, and for whatever reason (he highly doubted it was coincidence), the glass was avoiding Elias.

Elias merely laughed in reply. They rained into a wide, circular room down below, surrounded by pieces of shining glass that had been in place for thousands of years. Only the barest rays of the sun made it into the tower so far, but it was enough to illuminate those shards and create a show more spectacular than the lingering stars above as they fell.

Elias landed in a crouch in the room below, and Eral managed to match his flight to his movements. He never strayed more than a foot from Elias, just in case he drifted out of that aura and risked losing its protection.

“Oh my gods we are so badass,” Elias pointed out, standing up straighter. He brushed some dust from his jacket, grinning from his dramatic entrance, and Eral noticed with some relief that his eyes were fading to a more normal hue.

“That’s a word for it,” Eral muttered, glancing around the room. There was no one in there, thankfully. Mostly tapestries and statues along the walls, in varying levels of disrepair. Colorful dust now coated the floor from the broken glass, and Elias strode towards the center of the room heedless of the crunching under his boots.

Eral flitted forward to catch up. Once he could see around his much larger friend, he saw a pedestal right in the center of the room. Nestled on a spindly-legged stand was a sphere made of tarnished silver and what looked like green volcanic glass. Eral noticed the notches and seams in it and frowned.

“It’s one of those old puzzles,” he said, distinctly disappointed. “What’s it doing up in this tower?”

Elias shrugged, preventing Eral from landing on his shoulder, and came to a stop before the pedestal. “Haven’t the foggiest. But it does seem like no one uses this room. I don’t think the city founders even knew it was up here.”

Eral hummed thoughtfully and flitted in a slow circle around the orb, checking all angles. For all intents and purposes, it looked just like a cheap puzzle ball. It couldn’t even be very old. And yet … “There’s something magic in it, isn’t there?” The puzzles were small, but usually had space within to hide a small trinket.

By the way Elias observed the thing, Eral had to assume he was right. Then, he flinched back as Elias reached a hand for the ominous object. “Elias, what-”

“Oh, it’s fine.” Elias waved him off, something that he knew annoyed the pixie to no end. “It’s a pretty clever little thing, it summoned up a little guard for itself when it knew I was coming. Wild.”

“… What?” Eral asked, confused. While he watched, Elias tossed the puzzle ball up and down, then from one hand to the other. He had the look of a cat with a mouse.

“There’s something magic in there, alright. It’s the thing that set that sleeping spell, and now it’s trying to hide, since it knows it’s in trouble,” Elias explained. While he did so, he turned the panels on the puzzle, absently sliding pieces of silver and green glass around to solve it. “It got into people’s heads. The mind it checked for ‘secure place to hide’ gave it this. Bad luck.”

Eral drifted closer with caution, staring at the puzzle with fascination and trepidation. It was certainly very shiny, but it reeked of danger. And Elias was playing with it.

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