Chapter Two: The Gate of the Magi

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"the sincere friends of this world are as ship lights in the stormiest of nights."
-giotto di bondone

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I had never seen the Gate of the Magi before, yet, strangely enough, the sight of my friends overcomes the grandeur of the Gate.

I swing the car door open, and run towards them, my arms spread outwards so I can embrace them all.

Saphiria hugs me first. "We missed you," she says calmly. I turn to Sylvia, who has a scarce expression her face: pure euphoria, not supplied by morbid thoughts. I embrace her as well.

January and Pyris are there as well, waiting for me to greet them. I hug them both tightly, and plant a kiss on Pyris's cheek.

I turn back to Adrian, who I assume is overwhelmed by awkwardness (given he barely knows my friends). However, he is smiling at the reunion, as well. I walk over to him. "Adrian, these are my friends: January, Pyris, Saphiria, and Sylvia," I say.

"It's nice to meet you all," he says. "Hypaeria has told me quite a bit about you."

After the brief conversations in which they all get to know each other conclude, I remind Adrian about the glorious structure we're standing next to. He nods.

"We all need to go through the Gate of the Magi," he says. "Hypaeria must escape this world, and the only refuge she has is her own world."

"So...we're all going to Earth?" Sylvia says with vague eagerness in her voice.

"Yes," I say.

There is a mix of expressions throughout my friends' faces. Sylvia is utterly excited, and Saphiria is quite enamored by the idea; but January and Pyris are confused, almost as if they don't feel ready to go to my world.

"Right now?" asks January.

"Yes. It is vital that we leave now."

January bites her lip, but then says a spell. "Alluremione Telepronto." Suddenly, a backpack of sorts appears in her back.

"What's that for?" I ask.

"It's all my belongings. If we're going to Earth, I need to bring some of my things as well."

Pyris, Saphiria, and Sylvia take note of January's wisdom, and say the same spell, making three more backpacks appear.

"Are we all ready now?" asks Adrian.

"Yes," replies January. "I didn't really want to leave Eravale so abruptly, but if it's for the safety of Hypaeria, I'm all in."

I smile. They are true friends.

Adrian leads us all to the Gate, which is encased in light, tendrils of wispy illumination flailing off of it.

"I've countlessly crossed between worlds before; just follow what I do," he says.

And with that, he runs straight through the Gate, and disappears entirely as the light devours him.

I glance at my friends, who follow Adrian. Sylvia goes through first. Pyris follows her, and then Saphiria sprints through. Once January and I are the only ones left, I wait to tell her something before she goes through.

"You really don't have to do this if you don't want to," I say.

"No, Hypaeria—I'm coming with you. I don't care if I die in the process of battling by your side; I will die knowing you are protected."

What's up with her? She's never acted this way before...

"Are you sure?"

"Positive." She looks at the Gate, and runs through.

I am all alone now. My instinct tells me to run through, but I want to look back at Eravale one last time. I look behind me, at the towering trees and illuminated village of Kaskeylia, at the mountains in the distance, at the abundance of plants—at my home. If only I could live here forever, if only—

But I can't stay here forever.

I turn back to the Gate, take a deep breath, and run towards it.

The wind blows past me, whipping my hair. It's as if I'm flying into a heavenly light—I feel free.

When I pass through the Gate, the light completely surrounding me, I feel the magic collapse on me and send me through. When I am thrown out on the other side, I fall to the ground.

And darkness conquers me.

END OF CHAPTER TWO

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