XI: To Prevail

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Nalin had barely slept a wink in the past three days. How could he? Noir was no where to be found, Nalin was practically being held against his will, his suppressed magic was making his skin itch, and these people were already molding him into a pawn.

Nalin was anxious to say the least, and the feeling was shown in the way he held himself as he walked alongside Jacinda on the way to Sir Lulche's study.

The Keeper looked up upon their arrival and motioned them in with a sweep of his hand. He gave a pointed look to Nalin, who merely grimaced back nervously at the man. Sir Lulche crinkled his nose, signaling for the boy to go on.

Nalin nodded and took a deep breath. He gave himself a quick moment to reign in his breathing and heartbeat before finally taking action. Don't go too far. Don't go too far.

Upon his manipulation, the shadow Sir Lulche's desk casted grew in size over one side of the room, taking up that entire portion and morphing until the withering darkness stilled into a form they could all recognize as a ghastly beast. It's claws loomed forward menacingly, the teeth equally as terrifying.

Sir Lulche narrowed his eyes.

Nalin trembled. He wasn't going to lie. It felt absolutely amazing to finally be able to release his shadows after who knows how long he'd been keeping it caged in. The first thing his mother had taught him even before he could walk, was shadow manipulation. Nalin was more or less a pro at this point.

The beast faltered and Jacinda halted when she caught a glimpse of the creature's materializing eyes. She released a sharp breath.

"Enough."

Nalin gave way from Sir Lulche's command and his masterpiece oozed back to the shadow of the desk once again, dormant and calm. His faked his chest heaving but he kept his panting at a minimal to save face as he awaited the Keeper's response.

"That was not what I had wanted."

Nalin deflated in defeat.

"This is pathetic. You are half demon, yet you struggle to best a human at the very magic you should prosper in." Sir Lulche returned to what he'd been doing previously. "Return to your room and don't come back to me until you have what I want."

Nalin frowned in dismay as a rather harrowing feeling took over. The boy was confused. He didn't know why he felt that way. Why did it even matter? He was no puppet, he was no slave, and he was definitely no puppy meant to wag its tail at its master.

But Nalin couldn't help the disdain he felt upon disappointing the Keeper and leaving the impression that he was a pathetic excuse of a demon.

He wanted to show him that that was not the case.

Nalin was no failure.

His mother did not raise a failure.

Darkness encompassed them all, quick and abrupt. Nalin gasped at its willingness to bend at his need and immediately, he could feel it slip away from his hold. It showed no mercy as it ravished anything and everything. Nalin flinched as he could hear wood splintering and fabric tearing. He didn't know if he could end it. His knees faltered underneath him just when his black magic was dissipated by Sir Lulche's, the Keeper's face a beacon of light for Nalin. Everything was back to normal in a matter of seconds---

if normal included a completely trashed study.

Nalin gawked around him. "I-I'm so..." He stuttered for the right words. "I didn't mean to!"

Sir Lulche raised a hand to silence him, calm him, Nalin didn't know. The halfblood just closed his mouth and lowered his head, gazing up at the intimidating Keeper from underneath his lashes. Sir Lulche placed his hand against his own cheek, giving his destroyed study a once-over before resting his gaze onto the halfbreed. To say that he was exasperated was an understatement.

But above anything else-- Sir Lulche was pleasantly surprised. Nalin hadn't done what he had asked him to do. He'd gone above and beyond, exceeding the Keeper's expectations. 

Something shined in the boy's eyes, something Sir Lulche couldn't place his finger on. "I...I'm not just a Demon. I don't want to be broken down to being just a Demon. My father...my father did not die just to have his child fall to one side of his race. I am a Celestial, just as I am a Demon."

Yes.

Of course.

This was exactly what Sir Lulche had been looking for. His prayers have been answered at last.  

"Sir?"

He blinked at the sound of Jacinda's voice. She gave him an expectant look. "I shall take Nalin to his chambers, if you will allow me?"

He turned to Nalin then. The boy looked confused, tired, and frightened all at once. Sir Lulche gave a soft sigh. "Very well then."

Jacinda held Nalin gently once again as they turned around and exited the study, making their way back to the sleeping chambers silently. The halfbreed released a quiet yawn. The boy failed to notice, but Jacinda held a small grin.


. . .


Days came and went. Nalin still had yet to make any friends--- it was hard to when everyone kept avoiding him at every corner. He ate his supper alone, sat in class alone...he basically kept to himself and did what was expected, making sure to blend in with the rest, and refrain from standing out and catching any unwanted attention.

It was best to not aggravate future bullying--- for his sake and the offender's.

The halfbreed did exceptionally well in all of his classes, managing to rank within the upper categories in magic guidance and history. He purposely eased his way into showing progress in his hand-to-hand combat, initiative, endurance, strength, and wit. His magic was beautifully exhibited and naturally, the others began to see him in a greater light.

The majority were acknowledging that the halfbreed was becoming more and more dangerous. Black magic was rare--- only Lord Lulche was known to harness it ---and seen as evil. Now that the boy was getting more powerful with it, it wasn't just the students who were growing weary of his growth.

Sir Alpine of House Fiery kept a watchful eye on the boy he had mistakenly saved.

It was about time he'd done something about him.


. . .


Thunder rumbled from the dark sky and Nalin glanced up from his comfortable position perched atop a sturdy branch well into the outskirts of the main courtyard where the students were allowed to train. The big leaves did justice in sheltering the boy from the downpour that had been going on for a good two hours.

That day, Head Mistress had given them the task of harnessing their magic in the instance of battle. Everyone had paired up and of course, Nalin was left all alone.

But that didn't keep him from practicing. Nalin was all for beating the impossible--- either that, or he was simply too stubborn to just give up. Add in the fact that the last member of House Knightlinger was scheduled to arrive tomorrow morning, it was impossible for Nalin to sleep from the sheer anticipation of what was to come.

Nalin stared at the center of his palm, trying to mimic the way Noir that been able to conjure a bright ball of white magic. But there was no use. Just as he was about to give up, something sparked before his eyes, and Nalin wordlessly stared at the astonishing phenomenon.

"No way..." He breathed in complete awe. 

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