T W E L V E

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A few days later after recovering from drinking too much vemenia with too little preparation, I sit in my room trying to figure out Restian's gray hand. He had trained me every single day, in both battling techniques and building up immunity to the poison. The first day had not been pleasant, with me spending an hour vomiting in the bathroom and then another two hours feeling sick to the bones in my bed. The second day wasn't much better, but yesterday I hadn't felt as sick. The cup of vemenia still lays untouched on my nightstand today. I am not looking forward to drinking it.

I'm still glaring at the cup of vemenia when Daliope peeks her head through my already open door.

"Hello, Verina," she says, using my fake name, "I've come to take you to the library. Are you ready to go?"

I turn my attention to her. "Oh, uh, do I need anything?"

"No, just come," she answers. I look around the room once before heading to the library with her. We go up a few more flights of staircases and through many varieties of rooms. Soon, we reach what looks to be a sitting room. There are a couple comfy-looking chairs, tables, and couches, with a burning fireplace, a red rug, and a large window covered by velvet curtains. A patterned design lines the walls, much like how it was at the house Restian first led me to. The place where he hid his true self behind a mask of kindness and loyalty.

The room seems to be a little darker as I think of it.

I turn my eyes back to Daliope. She is walking to a tiny door and opening it. I follow her inside.

My eyes feast on the wondrous look of the library. Tall shelves file along the walls, with a ladder to reach the very top shelves. Like the sitting room, it has sofas and tables, but more magical light beams cover the ceiling. Having always been a lover of books despite being on the streets, I am drawn to an old-looking book with a black cover. The title reads, "Common Magic and Useful Techniques". Daliope looks at the book from her place next to me.

"A great book, but not for you," she says gently, putting it back onto the shelf. "You have quite a peculiar power."

I tear my gaze from the book and quickly walk to where Daliope now is. She is taking a few books off of the shelf and carries them over to a wooden table. I trail after her, taking a seat in a chair. Daliope sits down as well, then telekinetically drags one of the light beams on the ceiling closer to where we are sitting. It floats a couple inches above our heads, illuminating the books. I stare curiously at the little beam.

"Did you make those?" I ask Daliope. "I thought only the magic wielder could control the effects of his or her power."

"No, no, I don't have the talent to make these. This is a special type of advanced magic not many know. It's called kunanjeh, meaning 'interactive' in Sylinian. Basically, the creator of the magical item enables others to be able to manipulate it in simple ways. But when the non-creator fails to manipulate it correctly, kunanjeh items could harm the person or cause unnecessary destruction. It actually is in this book," Daliope explains, flipping open one of the books she took off the shelf. "These light kunanjehes were made by my father's most talented and famous architect, Kewal Matsenger. He hails from Sylin, much like--nevermind. But anyway, since he is from Sylin and was extremely talented as a child and as an adult, he mastered the art of kunanjeh. He...doesn't reside here anymore."

I take a few moments to process all of this information. "Oh, but how do you manipulate them?"

Daliope smiles at the light beam above us. "Just imagine your hand pulling one down. It's simple. Try it."

I look up at the bright light beams and imagine myself grasping high for one of them. A single beam comes flying down, all the way until it glides on the table. Daliope nods as if she is taking note of this. She then puts a small book in front of me.

"This is about, well, monsters. This can be useful for you in lots of ways."

She does not explain why.

I look back and focus on the beam for a few more seconds, then release my hold and focus on the book Daliope just put in front of me. From my peripheral vision, I watch as the beam floats and lights up the surface of the table. Daliope is staring at me, as if telling me to hurry up and read. My gaze travels back to the pages of the book, and I start reading.

There are two general types of monsters in the world: common and dark. Though monsters already have varying genetics and looks with the Elvenfolk, they too are separated into two basic kinds. Common monsters are created from what is called 'common magic' and are usually not too dangerous, with some exceptions. Many can be extinguished easily by the will of the creator. Some wielders that are capable of making these common monsters sometimes keep them as pets or guarding companions. Common monsters that are created to have a little bit of common magical power can be useful in battling.

Dark monsters are created from either negative emotions or 'dark magic'. These monsters are known to be extremely dangerous, so much that even the creator of the monster cannot control it properly without being aided by a magical item. They're almost impossible to keep caged unless the wielder, or creator, has mastered most of his or her advanced magic. If--

My attention is snapped as the beam turns black. My head shoots up. The beam is fading into the air as a black cloud. Daliope stands up quickly, and I follow her lead. Her face has turned slightly white.

"Raven, we-" she starts, "-we need to go. Now."

She pulls me by my hand and speed-walks towards the door. With no one in the library besides us and an ominous silence growing, this cannot be good.

Daliope reaches for the doorknob. She twists it and swings the door open, ready to run out, only to be stopped by people I have never seen before. Daliope's face becomes a mask of quiet terror. She takes a step back, brushing me behind her. I shiver as I look into their eyes.

"Ah," they say simultaneously, elongated black claws sliding out, "a princess and one of us. Precisely where we need you to be."

---

Hmm...who are these people?

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~Nyghtfyre Stars

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