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    VindStot's Secondary Magic Training [Private]


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    Completed VindStot's Secondary Magic Training [Private]

    Post by Noheme on 1st August 2016, 11:46 am

    Several days in row now, Leila had strange dreams during her nights. She would not consider them strictly good or bad, as they were simply... unusual. Greatly vivid dreams, almost indistinguishable from the reality itself. Almost as if she was in another world completely while her body was sleeping back in the Earthland. In those dreams, she would always walk among the trees of her corrupted garden, the Eden. She would walk aimlessly, until voices started pouring into her ears from all directions, slowly and carefully guiding her towards a common goal. In any other situation, people would be cautious of something like that. But in this case, those heavenly sounding voices were almost like a lullaby, so alluring and gentle, assuring and yet piercing at the same time. Perhaps there was simply no way to describe them, the only way was to hear them for oneself. Guided by these voices, she would eventually arrive towards a great, ivory tree that stood in the middle of the grand garden. Unlike the other, corrupted ones, this one still had it's leafs, fluttering in the gentle wind, their light blue color reflecting light of the starts that littered the nigh's sky. Despite not remembering seeing this tree once in her life, it seemed unnaturally familiar to her. Almost as if she 'had' to remember it instead of just remembering on her own. Once again, it was another indescribable feeling. And as she would approach the mighty bark of it's trunk, shadowy figures would start appearing all over the place. And with their sudden appearance, the starts would slowly fade from the sky above them, leaving naught but an eternal darkness of the abyssal space.

    Quickly realizing that these figures were the ones who lured her to this place with their distant voices, she would always try to approach them. Her hand extended forward, her steps clumsy as she walked the uneven earth and only the best intentions in mind. But she would never actually get close to them. One step she would take, the distance between them would deepen by two. Even trying to run would not work at all, just making the empty space in front of her grow larger much faster. That made her feel... lonely. Knowing that she had no right to get close to these creatures, whatever they were, made her feel empty inside. Almost as if she had just lost something. Or rather... as if she only now realized that she was missing something very important for a long, long time. Realizing that very thought, a white shadow with a golden hue would appear behind her back, embracing her by her shoulders and whispering into the young, female mage's ear. "Find us." Those two words buried deep into Leila's very soul, sending her mind into a daze, her eyes creating a whirlpool out of the scenery in front of her. And just like that, she would wake up, feeling nothing she felt in the dream. If something like that were to happen only once, she would shake it off as nothing more than a strange dream, as they appear from time to time. But this was the fifth night of her having the exact same vision. Each night, she would go through the same scene, not realizing that it wasn't her first time seeing it all. And she would always wake up after hearing those desperate, eerie words. At this point, the phrase would haunt her every time she tried thinking about it.

    What she was seeing every single night, it was surely no dream. Realizing that, Leila started pondering what it could actually be. A vision from the future? Or perhaps from the past? Maybe it was some kind of illusion or a trick played by another mage. In the end, there was no indication, no hint that would help her. But what she knew was the fact that dreams were powerful mediums. And there were several clear symbols for her. Mainly the fact that the entirety of those dreams were taking place on the Gardens of Eden, place her own magic came from. It was apparently place where several god-like creatures live, enjoying their immortality there. But one day, mortals tried to harness the power of this magic-filled garden in form of a magic that would control it. As far as history is concerned, no one actually managed to control the garden completely. Leila was exception, given her origin. According to her father's research that he left behind for her, she was actually completely born from one of Eden's trees. In a sense, that made Leila not a human, but some form of amalgamation, capable of controlling Eden with the strong maternal bond. The connection was clearly there, as parts of her own skin were sort of possessed by the corrupted part of the garden. Because of that, these parts of her skin were completely gray in color, also bearing several dark marks that always accompanied Eden tree's bark as well. Perhaps it was her magic that was showing her those visions, trying to communicate with it's user. If so, then maybe something serious was happening with her powers, or with her body. Never a good sign for a mage.

    She definitely had to do something about that, since the message wasn't actually getting across to her in it's full meaning. Or maybe it was and Leila was simply not understanding it at all, that was also a possibility. Although a bad one, as it would mean much more trouble that she ever wanted. For now, she decided to focus on another strong symbol in that vision. Starts. They were all over the night's sky, and when those shadowy, hazy figures appeared, the starts would be gone in moment's notice. Surely that had some strong meaning too. But the only thing that she could think of would be those very starts becoming the figures themselves. Does it mean that starts that shine on the garden are actually living creatures? Maybe they were those immortal gods that legends and rumors speak of, everything is possible in worlds disconnected from reality of Earthland. Right now, she didn't have enough information and material to draw a solid conclusion. She had to find more about herself and her magic if she wanted to stop those dreams. And what better place to start looking for clues that the local library? Magnolia had quite a few of those, filled to the brim with both old and new books. And the entire history was recorded in those mediums, leaving information for the new generations that cover this world. If she was to find anything about ancient magic like Eden, it surely would be in those very books, described by the people who tried to control it but failed and lived to tell the tale. Nodding to herself, she would finally hop from the top of her bed, ready for a new adventure that could bring her some insight into her own, unknown magic.

    But first, she had to tend to few other things. More precisely, her companion's well being. Ori was resting on one of the shelves, his small body slowly expanding and contracting as he breathed calmly. Unlike his owner, he had perfectly peaceful dreams. His fur was shining as always, tempting Leila into petting him few times. Not wanting to wake the poor creature, she managed to resist the urge and signed weakly instead. Even though she was taking perfectly good care of him all the time, she still felt as if she had not spent any time with him at all. It was true that she was going on missions without him way more often, perhaps that was the cause of these thoughts. Shaking her head violently, making her hair fly everywhere in the process, she tried to not think about it too much and filled his bowl with meaty treats he loved so much. Giving him few more concerned and gentle looks, she would finally reach into her dresser, pulling out father heavy leather coat. She always took it everywhere with her and today's trip was no exception at all. With a swift gesture, she would throw it over her small frame, letting it cover most of her body in that dusty brown color. Covering her head with the hoodies as well, she would slowly and quietly open her room's door, slipping through like a undercover mouse. As she left the hotel, her gaze was moved towards the skies. They were of completely gray color today, moving low above the city's highest roofs. It didn't take long before a gentle drops of water started falling, staining the streets and people's clothes. But she didn't mind in the slightest. This type of weather was her favorite, and the coat she was wearing protected her from this drizzle with ease.

    Heading towards the great library of Magnolia, her steps were long and quick. Thanks to that, the trip was rather quick and in no time at all, she was standing in front of the door made out of red wood. Pulling it open took some effort, as the hinges were starting to get rather rusty at this point. Inside of the building, dimness ruled over. Only few candles illuminated each floor with their faint flames. No light was coming through the closed windows and magical lights were forbidden in this place. Being on her best behaviour, she gave the man behind the counter a noble bow as she proceeded towards one of the library's sections. Many old books about magic were stored here, ready to be browsed by any curious mind. She had the whole day reserved for search, and with that, she began. At first, she was quite enthusiastic about this whole thing, but soon, she understood why no one generally knows about her magic. There was almost nothing about it. Books that were depicting the Gardens of Eden were scarce, far and wide in between. But determined not to give up just yet, she eventually managed to find a big book that was completely dedicated to this subject. It cover was a faded greed, it's edges decorated with shining gold. A great symbol of a withered tree decorated the front of the book, making it easily recognizable. And the letters on it's spine spelled 'Chronicles of the grand garden'. That was exactly what she needed. Apparently it was written by a mage that managed to summon the garden's power at several occasions. But each time he did it, his magical powers would be torn apart slightly, leaving him incapable of using any spells in the end.

    And yet, his research was thoroughly described in this book. But alone, it made little sense if none at all. At least regarding Leila's repeating dream. Deciding to look for something about the other strong symbol in her vision, she would find out that starts were mosty associated with the celestial spirit summoning magic. The subject was fairly new to her, so she had to study up quite a bit. She had only heard few things about these summoners in the past, but it was always something spectacular. In fact, she always envied mages that were capable of bringing sentient and friendly creatures to this world. It just felt like they would never be alone, like Leila often felt. Sure, she had Ori... but he was incapable of speech. It was quite interesting how much could one ability affect one's relationship and feelings. But that was not the subject she had to research. Comparing notes from both of the books, she started to understand a little. Not much, but at least something. She was not completely in the dark now. The problem was, if she wanted to know more, she would have to enter the dream again. Only this time, she needed to wish for the dream. That way, it should be possible for her to remember inside of the vision that she already experienced it. And with that, she could maybe alter it to a certain degree, getting more information. Taking the two books she found to the desk, she decided that it would be for the best if she had them close by, just in case she had to find something again. Getting reminded by the old man that she should not damage them, she would find herself outside of the building just few minutes later, her bag heavier with the two stacks of papers.

    The heavens were even darker than before, showing just how much later in the day it was. Indeed, her studies took several hours out of the day, even if it seemed just like few moments. The wind was strong too, pushing her hoodie off and playing with the female mage's silver hair. It quickly got wet now too, since the drizzle transformed into a complete downpour as well. Quickly putting the hoodies back over her head, she would start running on the shining, wet bricks that formed the roads. At least the hotel wasn't too far and the light of the city guided her steps easily even in this heavy weather. By the time she got inside, her coat was completely cover with the crystal clear liquid and with a bit of mud towards it's end. She was careful not to wet the wooden floor of her room too much, but it was unavoidable that at least several drops of the rain water fell on it. Leaving the coat on the dresser's handle to dry, she sat down onto her bed and patted her lap few times. To that, her companion responded swiftly, as he was no longer sleeping. Jumping onto her body and curling up on her legs, he would share their warmth without any hesitation. Something like this always made Leila smile and remember how nice it is to be with someone who's affection towards you is on the positive side. There was still few hours in the day left, so she decided to spend them by playing with her little pet. And once the time was right, she would cover her body with the thin, white sheets and listen to the sound of water droplets hitting her windows. The relaxing sound soon sent her into the land of dreaming, where her only wish was to consciously enter the Eden's dream.

    And so she dead. Once more she would find herself standing on the withered ground, surrounded by the same dead trees of Eden. But while the ground itself looked rather horrendous, the night’s sky filled with beautiful, shining starts was absolutely breathtaking. Realizing what she has to do, she started running towards the great tree in the distance, seeing small blue leaves dancing in the wind as she slowly approached it. The strange voices would once more start speaking to her, but now that she knew what was going on, the feeling was a bit different. Almost as if she was on the verge of remembering something very important. And finally, she was just few meters in front of the mother three, staring at it with amazed expression. Just like before, the sky became pitch black, as all the briliant starts floating in the distance disappeared. And in their place, the whispering shadows started surrounding her and the great tree. There were so many, too many to count. And they were all beckoning her. But this time, she resisted. Instead, she would shout from the bottom of her lungs. "What is going on here! Please, be more direct! I cannot understand what you want me to do if this keeps on going!" Half of her wasn't expecting any answer. But there actually was one. "Really missy, what's the point of riddles if you just ask for answers like this?" The voice was coming from behind her, and it was... unnaturally high pitched. Kinda like if a squeaky toy learned how to talk instead of just making noise. Slightly afraid, Leila would turn to face whatever was speaking to her like that.

    And perhaps it would be better if it was some form of a demon or spectre. That way, she would know what to do, how to deal with it. Instead, what she saw was a small, carved pumpkin sitting on the floor. Indifferent from your normal Halloween decorations, it spoke to her like there was absolutely nothing weird about it. Staring at the odd fruit in disbelief, there was a moment of utter silence before it spoke again. "W..what is it missy? Is there something on my face? Aaah, if there is something on my face, please remove it! I don't have any hands!" "Or legs for that matter. How... did you get here without those?" She would continue where he left off, questioning this rather silly situation. "I'm magic missy! I was summoned here by our great princess! She wishes to speak to you! Actually, she doesn't. She said that there is no way royalty would speak to some peasant. So here I am, in her stead!" Honestly, that explanation was a bit shifty. But this was a dream, so anything could pass probably. Sighing rather loudly, she would examine the orange pumpkin one more time. Indeed, he was a pumpkin that somehow talked without moving it's carved out mouth. If someone thought they have seen everything, they should visit this place first. "Right... a princess. What would this princess want with me, a lowly peasant?" She would ask her company in a mocking manner, emphasising the last two words. This certainly didn't fit into the setting of this dream, but she was willing to go with it for now.

    "You are outsider to this world, yet you are not. You are lowly peasant in her eyes, yet you should be her queen. That's kinda how I, the humble Pumpkin the Fourth, see it. And I believe the princess knows it all too well to, she simply doesn't want to acknowledge it in the slightest. After all, she hates to loose in anything, especially life~" The pumpkin sure talked a lot, and a good half of what it said didn't make much sense at all. But a small picture was painting itself in Leila's head, telling her the story of this whole messy place. If she wanted to get anywhere, she needed to figure out what was actually going on. Otherwise she could just get stuck talking to a sentient pumpkin, who was apparently very humble. "Mhm. So... where exactly do I go and what do I do in order to meet this princess or whatnot?" "As I, the humble pumpkin, said! She won't be meeting you just yet. You'll have to prove yourself to her in some way~" They really were going in circles with this. "Just like before... what do I do? How does girl prove herself?" She needed to know, otherwise there was no hope in accomplishing anything. "Aaah, right! Ahaha, forgive this humble pumpkin, I seem to be a bit forgetful these days. But if I recall correctly, it has something to do with a key and a gate!" Finally a hint that mattered. With the subject she was studying before, it quickly clicked. Key and gates... it sounded awful familiar to the celestial spirit summoning magic.

    Problem with that was, the magic always required a specific key. Only then the mage could summon the appropriate spirit that would serve them both in and out of battle. If the princess wanted Leila to find her key somewhere in the world... that would be one heck of a hassle. The world was very big and many of it's mysteries of it were still not explained, places unknown. Searching for one key that she needed, it could take years, if not decades. Something like that... could almost not be worth it. As that thought swam across the sea of Leila's mind, a voice from all around her sounded, clear as the purest of diamonds. "Heed the Garden's call. Mother will help." Somehow, those words sounded nostalgic. She heard them before... in her previous dreams, that voice always threw her back into the waking world. But this time, everything was different. She was still here, standing in the great, corrupted garden. The pumpkin was still standing there and the shadows were in circle still, creating a small barrier all around the girl. But as those words faded, a wind started blowing more fiercely than before. Having to cover her face, Leila turned almost instinctively away from it, so it would not blow into her face. And now, she found herself facing the grand tree, the only with with blue leaves, or any leaves at all for that matter. In it's trunk, something clearly embedded. Something that surely wasn't there before. Approaching it carefully, the mage would lay her hand on it. Magic flew inside of the object, clearly indicating that it was nothing ordinary. All in this world was out of ordinary after all. And with a bit of force, she pulled the unknown object out.

    Strangely enough, it left much bigger hole than it should have. A big, gaping hole that was filled with blackness, almost as if the deepest of abyss itself resided inside of the tree. Not even second passed and that very blackness started expanding, leaving the tree's bark and covering the entire world. Not even realizing that any time at all had passed, Leila found herself floating in a dark, empty space with nothing around. Nothing at all. Suddenly getting very sleepy, she wound close her eyes, still clenching whatever she pulled out of the tree. There wasn't even any time to look at it. And then, she fell asleep in her own dream, only to wake up in the real world with the sun rising above the horizont once more, just like any other morning. Not hearing anything but her own breathing, it was probably safe to assume that the rain already stopped during the night. Yawning aloud, she would try to stretch, only to feel blunt pain on her head, as something fell out of her extended hand and directly hit her dome. With a little hiss from the sudden sense of discomfort and rude awakening, she looked at the object that she was apparently holding at the moment of waking up. Surely enough, it was a key. Or at least it looked like one. It was made out of Eden's wood, just like all of her magic was. Did that mean she created it subconsciously while sleeping? Or maybe the dream was actually real. Examining it a little closer, she noticed that only the actual 'key' part was made out of shining silver, reflecting her imagine as she held it close to her face. There was a good chance that this was princess' key, and she would have to summon her in order to 'prove' herself.

    Nodding to herself, the young mage, still filled with plenty of youth energy, jumped out of her bed and started preparing. Combing her hair, washing her face, brushing her teeth, that sort of preparing. Ori was now awake too, wondering if his owner had another job that required her getting up early. Since that was usually the only thing that got Leila out of bed before noon. But this time, it was something way more important than some contract. This involved the heavenly world of Eden, Leila's origin. There was simply no way that she could ignore it. Once she changed out of her pajamas into the usual outfit, she would pick up her little pet and smile at him. "Alright, buddy! It's time to go on another adventure!" She would inform him and receive a big yawn in response. Laughing at the poor creature, she rested him at her shoulder and left the hotel room, following by leaving Magnolia completely. If she wanted to summon Eden's celestial spirit, she had to do it outside of city, else it could end pretty badly. Thankfully, she knew just the place! People apparently just called it the 'Serene Cliff', as it was... well... very serene. A good place for rest, meditation and uninterrupted training of possibly destructive magic. In good spirits, Leila produced a map out of her bag, searching for the place as she never actually visited it. It was few hours away from Magnolia, indicating that she would probably spend the night there as well. But she did not mind, sleeping under the starts... it wasn't bad at all. Unless rain was to interfere. Then it would be bad, very bad.

    In order to make the travel faster, she once again hired a horse for the way. They really were a good method of transportation, when they weren't rebelling. Hopping down onto the grass from that leathery saddle, she finally knew why people called this place serene. The cliff itself was steep indeed, but at the top... a strange atmosphere that calmed her heart ruled over. Not to mention that the earth was covered by tall, lush grass. It wasn't even looking green, almost blue-ish instead. The sight itself calmed Leila down, filling her with strange sense of happiness. There was a weak mist too, but that was hardly any inconvenience. Nodding to herself, Leila decided to start with the summoning straight away. Moving few more meters into the area, she would pull out the wooden key and point it in front of her. Expression on her face was filled with confidence, the reassuring wing pushing into her back and forcing her silver hair to dance with it. "Alright... summon!" Leila would scream out, pouring her magic into the key in order to activate it. A briliant light would shoot out from the key, indicating that something was indeed happening. Smiling, the young female mage though that it was actually done. But her expression started shifting when the light started growing, blinding even her. And eventually, small magical explosion took place. Forcing Leila few centimeters into the air and back. Coughing as she got up, she was quick to realize that she probably did something wrong. Looking at the key, a sigh of relief was heard when she confirmed hat it was still completely intact and undamaged in any way.

    Scratching her head, Leila realized that there was more to celestial spirit summoning than she thought. Trying to do it randomly like this would probably only hurt her, or worse, destroy the key she had. If that was to happen, her chances of summoning the Eden's princess would be over completely. Not something that should be allowed. Returning to the horse, she pulled out a big, thick book from the bag that the stallion carried on his backside. It was blue with a start pattern covering it, the spine reading 'Guide to celestial magic'. It was the very same book she got from the library the other day, the one where she learned about this celestial magic as a whole. Now was clearly the best time to study it in great detail. Since there had to be more to the summoning itself, Leila would emerge herself in the pages, almost falling into a trance as she studied every little bit of text found inside of the book. It took her hours along with few breaks she had before she knew enough. Or at least she felt that way, there was still more to know. But now she felt confident enough to try the summoning once more, perhaps without exploding herself too. The sky turned dark in the process too, as the sun fell back behind the western mountains in distance. Which was another thing, perhaps this magic would be stronger at this time of day? After all, it was strongly connected to starts and all that. And this place offered a great view of the shining starts in the distant space, creating number of constellations. With the same confidence as before, the girl would stand at the exact same spot as before, pointing the key in front of her, holding it high above the ground.

    Filling the key with her own magic, she would try to summon the princess again. "Open the gate of Eden's princess!" She would shout again, this time something way more specific than before. Apparently that was another requirement, at least for the beginning celestial summoners. Uttering the spirit's name would deepen it's connection to the Earthland, making the summoning go much smoother. With that, the light started forming into a shape, slowly creating a magical circle. It was quite briliant and flashy, harboring bright colors on the whiter side of color spectrum. Sure this was it, Leila thought before the magic became unstable again. In the frame of several second, the magical circle would start shaking and disappearing, falling apart back into a raw form of magical light again. Trying to hold the key with both hands to stabilize it, Leila hoped to save this attempt somehow. But there was just no way, the light would eventually grow too strong and cause another explosion of magic. Knocking the mage back, the key would fly into the air and land on Leila's head again, causing another bulge on her skin. While grunting, she would pat her own head and get up once more, this time heading for the near camp site. She was prepared, taking a sleeping bag with her. Ori was already waiting too, sitting on top of the horse. Grabbing the bag, she would would lay it out in front of cold fire pit and stuff herself inside of it. Her pet too forced his way inside, as it was much warmer than outside at night. Embracing him like some sort of plushy toy, Leila would fall asleep along with him.

    The moment her eyes were closed, they were open again. Only, this time she was no longer resting at the cliff. Once more, she was in the corrupted garden, seemingly having the same dream. Even though she broke free last time and finally got somewhere, everything was still repeating it seemed. That annoyed Leila a bit, as she was looking forward to having normal dreams again. Getting up from the ground with grunt, she would face the great, white tree. Now, that was odd. Usually, she woke up some way from it and would have to close the distance herself. Maybe this wasn't a repeat after all. Looking around some more, there was absolutely nothing out of the ordinary. At least the Eden ordinary. That was, until she heard a high-pitched voice from down below. It was the pumpkin. "Oi! Miss! You there?" Though he seemed to be a bit... different? "I... yeah, I'm here. What's going on pumpkin? I thought I just had to do the summoning and that would be it, why isn't it working?" A laugh sounded from the hollow halloween decoration followed by the same voice. "Well, what did ya expect? I mean, you didn't even utter princess' name! And names are one of the strongest connections you can have." His words made painful sense, even the book said as much. Uttering the spirit's name would deepen the connection between worlds and make the summoning way smoother. There was only one tiny problem. Leila had no idea what name this princess of Eden actually had. Everyone was just referring to her as princess and nothing else.

    But maybe this pumpkin knew? He answered a lot of her questions last time. "Yeah, I figured. So... uh... would you mind disclosing that? I don't know her name, so..." There would be a moment of awkward silence before the pumpkin answered her little question. "What, you're asking me? I'm just Pumpkin the mighty! Also known as Pumpkin the third! Someone like me, oh what would I give for knowing my princess' name." So he did not know. Also, he apparently wasn't the same pumpkin as the one yesterday. If she remembered correctly, that one was humble and fourth. This one was mighty and third. How many pumpkins were there? It didn't really matter. He did not know, and that was a problem. How could she possibly get to know the princess' name like this? Surely there was a way, somehow. Only then would the young girl notice shadows dancing around her, just like in the other dreams. But today... there was one shadow that was different from the rest. It glowed with an orange hue, just like the pumpkins. Wondering what was with that spirit, Leila tried approaching it, forgetting for a moment that this was how she always ended this dream. But this time, things were different again. The normal shadows, those did move back, not letting her approach them... but the special on, it remained. It wasn't afraid of Leila, it accepted her. Moving right in front of it, she noticed that the shadow was much smaller than her, child-size in fact. And in her presence, it... wobbled. it's movement very strange and completely alien.

    Wondering what to do next, Leila started slowly hearing a low, girlish voice. Waiting for few seconds, it started being louder and louder, until it grew into understandable speech. ...y, ..ey.., ..., hey! She would finally hear the scream, jumping back a bit in surprise. Heey! How long are you just gonna stand there? Where are your manners you heathen, kneel! The voice was unknown to her, but the way her sentence was phrased... it was almost as if a royalty was speaking! So maybe this was the princess, actually showing herself to the poor peasant Leila. Without delay, the mage would fall to her knee, showing those 'proper manners' to this golden shadow. Hmph, finally. Sheesh, you need some manner of teacher if you're this uneducated. How did you even make it so far like this anyway? The voice continued insulting her, which was... a bit odd to say the least. What was this about, really? "I... I'm sorry? Are you the princess of Eden?" She asked to confirm her suspicions, only to be rewarded by selfish laugh. Of course I am! Listen, you lowly peasant... I was watching your progress and it was horrendous! You would never, ever summon me like that. So I'll give you a little tip, like the merciful princess I am~. When you next try to summon anything with that key of yours, call upon me, the great princess Fleta! Got it? I hope you did, 'cause I'm not repeating myself! She would finally know the princess' name, which meant that the summoning could finally take place in the reality. And with that, the world got suddenly dark.

    The abyss swallowed her whole, forcing the poor mage's eyes to shut close. And in that instant, she would wake up again, back in the reality where she truly lived. These experiences were something she could never get used to, it was almost like someone was forcefully throwing her through different dimensions. But at least she had new information from that trips, so it was all good. Naturally there was still few things she had to do before trying to summon again. Mainly check up on Ori, if she didn't squish him by accident during the night. She did not, he was still completely fine and perfectly fluffy like always. Stroking him few times, she would yawn and stretch for herself, letting her companion run in the morning, wet grass by himself. It was always fun to just watch him run around, he kinda reminded a dog in that behaviour. But he was much smarter than any canine, that was a given. Once all the morning hygiene and stuff was taken care of, Leila would dig up the wooden celestial key from the depths of her bag once more. After that good night's rest, she was ready to give away all the magic power in her body in order to summon her celestial spirit. It felt a bit weird, but she was looking forward to it. After all, most celestial spirits, especially the humanoid ones, seemed like they could be a good friends to the summoner. That would be nice, to have friends like that. Unless the Eden spirits were all mean and harboring evil intent because humans corrupted their holy garden, that was a possibility too. Not exactly a pleasant one, hopefully it wasn't like that...

    Whatever the case, she just had to find out by doing it. For the third time, she would rise her hand into the air, holding the special celestial key. And with all of her might, she would pour magic into it and into her words. Gate of Eden's princess, Fleta! I open thee! Throwing a bit of fanciness into her shout too, the light formed as per usual. And then, it formed the fancy magical circle. So far it was going well, but she confirmed yesterday that even on this stage things could go very bad. The magical circle slowly expanded and eventually grew larger than Leila herself. "Is... is it working...?" She would ask herself out loud, having to cover her eyes before the blinding celestial light. And then, something very unexpected happened. The circle transformed into the gate itself, moving out of the key and placing itself above Leila. That placed quite the surprised expression on her face, featuring wide open eyes and half opened mouth. Her feet slowly lifted from the ground as the gate started sucking her in, like her weight and gravity didn't even exist. "Wha... hold on-!" She would scream out before the sucking power increased dramatically, pulling her whole body through the portal nearly instantly. Flying through some strange, purple vortex, she would suddenly fall to the ground again, hurting her butt slightly. "W..why meee~" She would moan as her hands tracked over her body, examining all the bumps she just received so unjustly. Surely there was much better way of abducting someone, wasn't there?

    After she took her time to acknowledge her pain, she would finally look around, trying to figure out where she was. Surely enough, it looked just like the area her dream was taking place in. Only now, she was completely surrounded by actually living trees, not the corrupted one. Their bark was albino white and leaves shining, sparkly blue. With how many were there clumped together, it created quite a beautiful scenery. Below her, grass of similar coloring reached quite far, seemingly untended by anyone. A small, dirt path lead from where Leila was lying straight to a big mansion-like house that was only few tens of meters ahead now. Though, there was plenty of things about it strange as well. All of the walls were painted bright pink, curtains behind the windows of the same color too, the whole house was giving off very girly vibe. And as she got back on her legs again, she noticed something very important. There were pumpkins... everywhere! They were sitting on the small white steps leading to the front door of the house, they were looking from behind the windows, some were situated on tree trunks all around, they were simply everywhere! And most of them had the exact same expression carved into them, making it rather hard to see if there was the humble or mighty mr. Pumpkin. And they were all certainly magical too, as they all started chatting with each other when they saw the poor old Leila, creating a high-pitched buzzing sound in the background that was rather annoying. Why did all the pumpkins have such high-pitched voices anyway? It made them look pretty silly when they were trying to sound serious or when so many of them were talking at once.

    "Sileeeence!" That one scream made the entire area go completely quiet. All the pumpkins were now completely silent, just like normal pumpkins should be. And the one who's voice did all this was standing right in front of Leila. A figure smaller than her own, making it obvious that this new girl was quite young, at least in her appearance. Spirits were extremely long-lived, so who knows how old she actually was. Her lime green eyes were almost shining as their stared right at the mage, her pink frilly dress making very good impression along with the short, brushed, golden short hair. Her whole appearance kinda reminded her of dress-up dolls that some girls have at a young age, no too different from the one that this girl was holding herself. Though this one clearly wasn't meant to represent human. For some reason, name Kyubei came to mind when looking at it. "Are you going to stare for long...?" She would suddenly speak again, breaking Leila's thoughts and returning her mind back into the reality rather forcefully. "Ah, sorry. That voice... are you... Fleta?" Leila would ask the young lady, moving her hair over one of her ears. Clutching the doll on her embrace even more than before, a smug expression would appear on her face, almost as if she was saying 'Of course it is me, isn't that obvious?' in her mind. "So you're finally here! Sheesh, it took you so long, I was really bored from waiting!" She would scold her slightly instead. Somehow, she seemed to be more bearable than when she was in the shadow form before.

    "D..did I maybe prove myself good?" She tired to confirm her behaviour. Hearing those words, her expression became more aloof again, but still thankfully manageable. "I would not even talk to you otherwise. Peasants are not worth my time at all! Now, be quiet and come with me! It's time to play!" "P..play...?" She would ask meekly, letting the young girl drag her towards the house by her sleeve. This certainly was something completely different from what she imagined. After all, she was meant to summon this girl into her world, not the other way around! But as they moved closer towards that over the top house, it clicked in her head. When the key was to be used for the first time, a contract needed to be made between the spirit and it's summoner. With that, a strong bound would be formed, allowing the mage to call the spirit into the reality with it's key at any time given. Maybe this 'playing' Fleta mentioned was some form of creating a contract? After all, they were certainly still in the Gardens of Eden, spirits from here could have completely different rule than the normal celestial spirits. Which also begged the question, where exactly did those dreams take place. This place had still living, holy trees. It wasn't corrupted by humans at all. Of course, she knew that there still was a holy part of the garden intact, but she was unaware of the fact that it was this large and that some creatures actually still lived inside of it. But Fleta apparently was the princess, so it would make sense for her to live in the most holy place of the Garden.

    Stopping in front of the door, Fleta let go of Leila's sleeve, letting her rest for a moment. The door itself was just as strange as the rest of this giant mansion. It was bright purple in color and had drawn face to it, reminiscent of how all the pumpkins had faces only carved out, not actually there. "Howdy princess! Care to sing?" The door suddenly asked the young girl, who in returned made a big nod with her head and started humming an unknown, yet childish sounding tune. After a while, the door started humming as well, creating a funky melody along with the princess. And once they finished, the door partially opened. "Thank you for the lovely song, princess. Have the most pleasant of days you could ever have, just like any other day." Phrasing of that was a bit odd, but it seemed to put smile on Fleta's face. Whatever made her happy, it was fine. Even if it was just a weird looking door. "Come on, let's go inside miss! I can't wait to win against you~" She would speak towards Leila playfully, dragging her once more, this time inside of the house. And just as she suspected, the color scheme didn't change much once they were inside. Pink was still highly dominant, now accompanied with long silken curtains of red color. The ground floor didn't look like much, housing mainly the stairs to the first floor and only few cupboards for shoes, along with pumpkins. "Aaah, the princess is back' Welcome back princess!" Unlike the ones outside, these would start talking at the first sight of the two girls, welcoming them warmly.

    "H..hello." Leila would answer them with a low voice, unsure how to respond these things still. One does not simply get used to talking pumpkins it seemed. However, Fleta's response was much more violent. She flew right in front of one of the pumpkins and punched it with quite a bit of force, breaking apart it's face slightly. That certainly didn't seem nice. "Shaddup you stupid pumpkins! You're distracting me and my friend from playing!"" Apparently that was her problem. Though... friend? It sounded nice. And it sure was quite the step, moving from a lowly peasant to a friend with only one summoning. Walking towards the pumpkin, Leila lowered herself to it's level. "U..um... I'm sorry. I'm sure she didn't mean it like it, so don't be sad, alright?" She tried to reassure the punched pumpkin who was starting to sob quietly. It seemed to help a little, and the one next to it started beaming with positive energy too."Miss, miss! Please, help me! A tooth fell out and I'd like to place it under my leaves, just in case a tooth fairy comes! Could you reach into my mouth and pull the fallen out tooth? And then just place it under the leaves!" Fleta was watching from behind her newly made friend with rather annoyed expression too. "No way. Yeah, there is no way were're doing something that gro-" "Sure." Was Leila's answer. Despite these things just being weird pumpkins, they had some kind of cute charm to them too. Sticking her mouth into the orange face, she would pull out human-like tooth and placed it under it's green leaves. Where that tooth fell out of, she rather did not ask.

    "Thank you, miss! Thank you so much!" Would come out of the pumpkin while Fleta was going in circles behind them, repeating things like "Oh, look at me! I'm so nice to pumpkins!" Not keeping her in that state for too much longer, Leila turned towards her with apologetic look. "S..sorry Fleta. Let's go play now, yes?" Not even responding to her, the young girl took hold of her hand again, dragging her up the stairs and then to the left on the first floor. They would walk through a door that was shaped like a playing card and ended up in a wide open room. The walls were adorned with a pattern of symbols from cards, heart, diamond, club and spade respectively. The floor was covered with a green rug that held no special adornments or patters, that alone was quite unusual in this place. And on top of it, two lonely pillows laid facing each other. Fleta would let go of Leila's hand, only to bolt it to the other side of the room, sitting down on one of the pillows in that painful-looking Japanese sit. It was quite obvious that the other place was meant for her, and the theme of this room suggested that they were about to play a game too. Not wanting to make Fleta made by making her wait too long again, Leila moved towards the pillow and sad down as well. Though her sit was much less elegant than Fleta's, she was sitting just how one would sit on a chair, meaning she offered a great view below her skirt to anyone who was in front of her. Thankfully, that was just the princess spirit, who did not care for that in the slightest.

    "It is time to play a game! Another victory for the great Fleta!" She would start talking, as if there was a crowd watching or something. For the beginner here, let me explain the rules! There is a set of cards and all you have to do is flip them! If you flip two same cards, you keep them that way. But if you get two different cards, you return them to the original, not flipped state. The one who flips the last pair wins! It was pretty straight forward as games go. Surely she could do something like this. "As the princess, I go first!" Fleta suddenly commanded out of nowhere, wearing a confident smile. And sure enough, the first two cards out of eight total ones were matching. What was strange was the fact that they portrayed the very doll Fleta was holding this whole time. It was clearly important to her, and the fact that she managed to find two cards of her on the first turn surely wasn't a coincidence, was it? At least her next try didn't go as well, meaning the game wasn't actually rigged and there was chance of winning. Fleta flipped card with a pumpkin and card with a holy Eden tree. Now it was Leila's turn and the first card she flipped was pumpkin. Since she knew where the other one was, she got one pair down as well. And since lady luck was with her on that day, the second card she flipped was the other one of the holy tree. That meant Leila won, since there were only two last cards remaining, meaning they had to be a pair too. With that, all cards were revealed on her turn. "I... I won!" Her voice was unsure, but still filled with happiness. Honestly, she expected to loose after seeing how lucky Fleta got on her first turn.

    Now that the game was officially over, the young girl jumped out of her pillow, looking at Leila with angry eyes. "Cheat! Surely! Yes... let's just say that I let you win, since I didn't want you to feel bad from the very beginning..." Almost as if she was trying to save her face or something, Fleta got really defensive. Not that it mattered much, Leila just felt as if she was breaking their newly formed friendship by winning. Heading towards her, Fleta's steps were rather loud now. She grabbed the poor mage's hand again, only to drag her another set of stairs up. On the way, they missed a salon where a small, pink table for tea resided and a room that seemed to be designed for changing clothes. Soon, they were in another room that was much different from the last one. The floor was pure purple, made out of tiny crystals that made slight, satisfying crunching noises with each step. And the walls, along with ceiling were painted to represent the nigh's sky. In fact, the whole room was enchanted to stat the painted starts would move about slowly, simulating it further. Why would there be such a room when even better view was everywhere outside, that Leila did not know. And frankly, she was kinda afraid to ask. In the room was also a small cage that was holding butterflies of all different colors inside. Intricate patters adorned their wings and in the darkness of this room, they were almost shining. Fleta would let go of Leila once more, only to approach that cage and turn towards her summoner with another confident smile. "Let's play this game instead!"

    With that, the tiny door of the cage was opened, letting all the butterflies outside. They were soon all over the room, just waiting to be caught. "The rules are so simple, even you should understand them." With those insulting words, Fleta pointed at Leila to make it even more targeted than it already was. "We both start catching butterflies at the same time! Who gets more wins!" It kinda seemed like an impossible task. Catching a butterfly with your bare hands, no one could accomplish something like that easily. But she still nodded, accepting the game. Maybe she wanted to be challenged like that... or maybe she just didn't want to make Fleta mad by refusing. In that moment, three big starts would appear in the middle of the room, starting to count down. And once the last start disappeared, the two girls started running around the room. Nos Leila understood that this game was actually much easier that it seemed at first. The butterflies were slow, not even trying to avoid their hands. Catching them was as easy as picking an object from the table. And soon, there were none left at all. Fleta would turn towards her summoner with a smug face, sticking her tongue out for a moment. "I got eight. Bet you can't beat that!" "Actually, I got ten..." Leila's response was immediate and crushing. Fleta's face turn dark for a moment as she rushed towards the cage, kicking it with full force. It fell to the ground and broke completely, indicating that this little girl actually had quite a bit of force.

    "Ugh...! FINE! I'll help you..." She then muttered, clearly unhappy about it all. "Eh... help me?" Leila repeated after her, not knowing how she meant it. "Yeah, I'll lend you my powers. Since you probed that you're worthy of holding my key..." Apparently those two games were in fact this spirit's way of measuring people's worth somehow. And Leila won in both of them, clearly indicating that she was more than qualified to use the key of Eden's princess. Though, maybe Fleta would have won if she just let go of that doll of hers. It must have been really hard catching those butterflies with just one hand. But victory was a victory, Leila certainly didn't complain about it. Smiling at Fleta, she patted her silken blond hair with affection. "Thank you Fleta. Let's be good friend from now on, okay?" The little girl clearly blushed and forced Leila's hand away, turning her face away so she would not have to face her summoner directly. "I.. it's not like I'm doing this for you, sheesh! And... we already are friends..." The last thing she would say quietly, but still meant it. It was rather cute in fact. But then, the gate would appear above Leila for the second time, forcing her though before she could even say her goodbyes. And just as quickly, she was back in her own world, at the Serene cliff. And a strange voice echoed inside of her head. "There is more. Find us all, help us all." To that, she would simply shrug. Clearly, this was just the first step for her, with this new magic.

    Word count: 9170


      Current date/time is 24th November 2020, 2:13 am