Today was the 1st of December, 2020, 8:30 in the evening. It was raining outside. Sounds of rain hitting the earth rang throughout the small common room. Light from a small table lamp barely illuminated the room. The rain was most comforting during this time of the year; it was the kind where you could just pull up the covers and have a nice peaceful slumber but instead, here I was. Sitting on an armchair, facing my father who was wearing a stern expression. I felt like a child, waiting to be lectured after doing something wrong.
He is still wearing his work clothes; a white shirt and a pair of black trousers. His top-most shirt button was undone and his shirt tugged out. The small table lamp illuminated his well-kept moustache and the tired expression on his brow. The shadows that felt on his face made him more depressing to look at.
"Nina…" my father spoke with his baritone voice.
"I am sure you were informed already about tomorrow."
"Yes, Father. It's about the War right? I was clearly informed by my caretakers and I even did some research on my own." I spoke clearly and confidently. "We need to win this War right, Father?"
My father didn't speak a word for a while. He didn't even look at my eyes. Then, he opened his mouth.
"Tomorrow, you will be sent to your aunt's house in Setiawangsa. I have arranged your transport and have told the maid to pack your stuff."
"What?" I said in disbelief. "But I need to be here with you! I want to win the War for you! You told me that, right? You need my help!"
"But it's too dangerous, Nina! You are still an inexperienced Wielder. That lack of experience will ultimately kill you!"
"Father! I strongly believe that I am the strongest and most capable Wielder for the Crest of Tukang. I will win the War for you!" I stood up from my seat. "Our House is stripped from our rightful place in Malaysia. We are regarded as weak by the so-called upper houses. Our pride is at stake and the only way to gain back the glory for the House of Seven is to win the War! With me as a representative, and the Crest of Tukang, I promise to you, Father, I will be victori-"
I froze mid-sentence. My mouth was gaping wide, and no words came out from it.
"Enough…" My father looked at me with eyes filled with sadness and guilt.
I looked away and stared at the carpeted floor. I clenched my fists, frustrated with myself. Frustrated with my father.
Silence filled the common room. Only the sounds of the rain from outside rang throughout the room.
"I will be the representative. I will ask the Head Mage to make sure I will be named for the War tomorrow." My father spoke somberly. "As for you, your taxi will arrive tomorrow morning at eight. Get a good night's rest, as tomorrow will be a tiring day for you."
I gritted my teeth harder and harder as my father spoke. Anger raged in my heart like a dragon. I was so angry with my father. Why couldn't he trust me? Was it because I was his daughter?
"Remember, the most important thing is for you to be safe. I have prepared some steel to be delivered to you aunt's house in case of an emergency. Your skill as a Wielder without the Crest is sufficient enough for simple Transmutation. And also, I have-"
"Stop it!" I shouted at him, my eyes meeting his. Tears flowed freely down my cheeks. "Stop treating me like a baby! Why can't you trust me, your own daughter?"
My father looked away and didn't say a word. His expression somehow broke my heart.
"You just don't understand me!"
With that, I stormed out from the room, leaving my father behind. Just for a while, I heard my father spoke.
"I swear to God, I will bring back victory for you."
December 1st, 2020, 11:50 p.m.
Third Person POV
"We have prepared the ritual. It should go to be exactly as planned," a young man said to the Head Mage. The Head Mage nodded and faced the half-naked man sitting cross-legged in front of him. The man was surrounded by a circle of mages, with him in the center.
"Are you ready, Rahman? This ritual might damage your internal organs and blood vessel if your will is not strong enough to contain it, as you are not the original representative."
"For my daughter and the fate of the House, my will suppresses all mine enemies and I will defeat them to bring glory back to the House!" Rahman said confidently.
"Very well, I hope you are prepared." The Head Mage turned around. "Start the ritual!" he commanded the other mages. Simultaneously, all mages clasped their hands together and began to chant a mantra. Energy began to gather at the center of the circle; Rahman could feel it.
It stroked his body at first before increasing in force and pressure. The mages' chant began to increase in speed and volume as the energy gathered became stronger and stronger. The room began to shake from the sheer amount of energy. Rahman gritted his teeth. The gathered energy stirred his insides, thrashing around his internal organs like an enraged bull. Rahman gasped in pain. His gasp quickly turned into screams. The intensity of the energy was too high for his body, yet he used his will power to try to suppress it. "For my daughter…."
"Almost there!" the Head Mage said. It was music to Rahman's ears but it was short-lived as he screamed in pain again.
The family emblem on the wall began to glow in bright yellow. Rahman couldn't believe his eyes. It was finally his. The Crest of Tukang, the dream of every member of the House of Seven.
The glow intensified before streaks of light dispersed from the emblem and converged on Rahman's chest. Rahman felt like a burning spear ravaged his heart. His scream was the loudest yet. He almost lost consciousness when suddenly, the light vanished.
The mages stopped chanting, dispelling the spell as Rahman fell down to the floor. He gasped for air, his body drenched with sweat. On his chest where the light of the emblem converged was a mark. A mark that resembled a hand with a circle on its palm.
"Steel… Give me steel…" Rahman ordered a mage. The mage quickly went to the corner of the room and carried the steel block towards Rahman. Rahman gathered all his remain energy to stand up. He needed to test his new-found power, just to make sure.
"Rahman, or you sure you don't need to rest first? You will-" The House Mage's sentence was cut short by Rahman.
"I need to see if the Crest is really what our elders had described."
Rahman placed his right hand on the steel block.
A glow of light temporarily blinded everyone in the room. When it faded, there was no steel block anymore. Just an elegant long sword in Rahman's hand.
"It's true. The legend is true," the House Mage said, awed by the long sword.
"No Wielder, not even the most talented Wielder from our House can Transmute with such speed, such efficiency, and such grace," Rahman said. "This is our family's pride. Our weapon to victory."
December 1st, 12:00 a.m.
A hotel in Bukit Bintang
The yellow glow subsided. "Finally, it has begun," said a tall Chinese man as he flopped on his bed. He held out his left arm, marveling the newly embed emblem on his forearm. The emblem resembled an arrow pointing towards his hand.
Suddenly, he laughed in amusement. He has been waiting for a long time for this moment to happen. The moment to execute his plan and regained his honor.
"I'm going to have fun tomorrow."
Petronas Twin Tower Penthouse
Multiple glows subsided at once. "Well, the Crest is ours already," said a tanned, muscular man sitting on a luxurious armchair.
"How does a late-night spar sound? For old time's sake?" asked another man sitting beside the muscular man.
"That is no time for jokes. We should conserve our energy for tomorrow," said the bearded man sitting across both of them.
"True. We need to make sure that the Four Houses of Rulers shall be victorious in this War." The final man came out from the darkness with a stern expression.
"Tomorrow, we shall crush everyone who stands on our way!"
A bungalow in Wangsa Maju
The violet glow subsided. A young girl opened her eyes to see a mark etched on the back of her left hand.
"What? You? How can it be?" said her brother in disbelief. He turned around to face the House Mage. "Why did she get it? I am supposed to be the representative!"
An alley somewhere in Kuala Lumpur
The red glow subsided. "Ow…ow…ow…What the hell is this?" said a rough-looking Indian man while rubbing his forearm which had a mark.
"What is this thing?" he sniffed his forearm.
"P…P…Please…let me go…" said a beaten Chinese woman in front of him.
The man grinned. "Oh well, I need to enjoy the lady first." He brandished his razor knife.
"No…please!" Screamed the woman as the man raised his razor knife.
Nur Kasih Orphanage, Ipoh
A young Malay teen yawned as he zipped his bag. He had just finished packing. Tomorrow, he will be going to Kuala Lumpur. Unknown to him, tomorrow will be the turning point of his life.