Chapter 5 - Lake Kilmer

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From the cockpit of his brother's ship, Zain saw the deluge of raindrops beat like Ratamacue, but no bolts of lightning accompanied it. With each splash, Zain's anxiety grew. Would Zakk make it? Zain already knew the answer—yes. Each tournament's top prize wasn't solely a trophy. There was a monetary value as well, and Zakk had used the silver spells and golden bonds from his winnings to buy a hovercraft two years after Zain moved in. Before then, he had relied on Zain for transportation, and Zain obliged because of their friendship.

"This storm certainly brewed up out of nowhere," said Jamaal. "I wish I could get you closer."

Zain wished so as well, but he didn't want to push his brother too far. It had taken a lot of convincing to even get him to agree to take him. Jamaal was too analytical; Zain couldn't blame him. Jamaal needed to be in order to analyze every angle of senate policies and bills, but that kind of thinking wouldn't take Zain to Lake Kilmer. It was only when Zain pried apart Jamaal's past that he found a connection.

"What is the one thing you regret in your life the most?"

Jamaal exhaled. "Zain, don't go there. Don't bring her up."

"How can I not? Guardian of the Core can do anything—"

"No one can bring back the dead, Zain. No one can reverse the past. You need to move on, and stop continuing to live in your dreams."

"The problem is when you don't live your dreams. What if there is a way to bring her back? What if I can finally get this . . . this . . . guilt off of me?" 

"It was an accident."

"And one that I still live with every single day. Sometimes I can still feel her fingers slipping through mine. . . ." Zain turned around. He needed to convince his brother. In deep contemplation, he exhaled.

"It was the middle of summer seven years back when Reine and I were strolling through a park with curved wooden bridges over a small stream. We were headed back from sitting on a plain and overlooking the archs of rainbows. The archs! It went up and over Boras, if you can imagine. Anyways, with the rainbow still in the air and the water sparkling more than ever, I thought it was the perfect moment to propose to her. The only problem was that I didn't have a ring. After that, after that date, I knew I wanted to be with her, so I called Dad, and he said he would make one. And he did. I carried it around with me all the time after that, waiting for the perfect moment, but it never came. The winds were especially brutal one cold day, so I let her put on my jacket, and she found the ring in there, ruining any chance I had at surprising her."

"Why are you telling me this?"

"You asked what my largest regret was. . . . We all have them, Zain . . . but we learn to live with them."

"But if you had a chance to make up for that, you wouldn't take it?"

His brother didn't have a comment after that besides, "Go get your things." And now, here they were, combating the elements as they tried to land. The alcove that his brother found was double the size of his ship, but in a storm like this, it still made it hard to land.

When the ship touched down, Zain was bounced around in his chair. He was thankful to be strapped into his seat. Jamaal opened the cargo ramp, and Zain proceeded to struggle to gather his things without falling backwards.

"How much longer do you have?"

"Half an hour. Should be enough time to get there."

"I hope you find whatever you're looking for."

I hope so too. "Thanks. . . ." Zain turned around but was stopped by his brother placing a hand on his shoulder.

"Mom has a right to know where you are."

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