"Well, you are a messenger right?"

The tan lad grinned, arching his eyebrows. He was sitting there, at the same spot, legs crossed. His tan, flawless face was resting in his palms, the magefire burning with the same brightness as his eyes in the semi-darkness. Those purple eyes seemed inquisitive, impish and carefree, like a small naked flame dancing at the cackling fireplace.

He tried his best to maintain a straight face, hoping that he darkness around him would help to cover up his escalating feelings.

He gripped the hilt of his sword even more tightly, not putting his guard down for even a minute. He could feel his face slowly heating up and his heart racing. He felt like a fly which was venturing nearer and nearer into the spider's web, any wrong move might result in unimaginable circumstances.

It was a tricky spot that he had gotten himself into, which posed great danger to himself.

As firstly, the tan, untamed and barefooted lad of a barbarian race had coincidently appeared in the boat he had snuck into two days earlier.

Should this lad just raise a sound, he might get caught by the boat owners and thrown into the stormy sea. And he personally did not think that the tan lad would save him from he turbulent waters either.

Secondly, the lad had some considerable observation skills and knew his identity.

What did he want?

Money? There were always tales about dark skinned pirates, capturing and looting ships. However, pirates usually came in a group and were never seen to act alone. Besides, he did not have much on himself anyway, save for a few silver and ivory coiners that he was saving up for a meal once the ship docks. If he had money, why would he have risked his life to hide in an empty, anchovie-filled barrel just to get past the sailors? He could be sleeping in a comfortable bed in an upper deck instead of lying on the cold, hard floor which stank of salt, going without food for almost two days. His body was physically able to go without food for a few days without any trouble, but strangely the gnawing pain had been irritating him to no end for the past few hours, during which he would spend time rolling about to take his mind off the sensation.

Was that lad eyeing the sword? The sword he was holding was indeed forged and cast from the lava of the now sunken volcanic island, Vaaldor. It was also rumoured to have been one of the most beautiful swords of the archipelago. But what of it? It was rusted inside, so much so that even the sword couldn't be pulled out of its sheath. It was now no more than a metal stick with an ornate engraving that had been lying in the hands of the feudal Berlioz family for many years, unused and kept away in the storage. The only redeeming fact was that the old king Dean had a penchant for antiques and specially ordered for it to be brought to him.

He didn't choose to go on this journey, but had been obliged to do so by the Berlioz family which he served. He had no choice but to obey to their every wish. After all, he was hidden away by them during the anti-magic movements, where hundreds of village witches, doctors, students, teachers, sorcerers and assistances lost their lives in the hunt for magic users. Messengers, who did not practice magic, were strangely also the target as ordered by the deceased king. After the king's brother stepped up to rule, King Dean stopped all the massacres but it was a little too late. For the damage had already been done.

He was one of the lucky ones who escaped at an early age. He was indebted to them and was just a 10 year old messenger when they found him, now grown up healthily to the age of 15. It had been five years since he stepped into the family. He couldn't just betray them.

He gritted his teeth and tightened his grip on the hilt of the sword, feeling the stick warmth building up on his palms. He wouldn't let go, not even before the battle of wits have officially started.

It was dangerous enough to have a tan barbarian lad sitting across him, even more so that the lad knew about his identity. The question he posed did not seem like any lucky guess, but instead a statement pointing out the truth. The question he asked was no doubt a way to uncover more about him; vital information which would no doubt endanger his life. He also knew that the tan lad too had a story to tell, and would most possibly have the answer to his questions about his dream. They had just crossed paths, but both were working towards the same motive...

He shivered slightly, feeling the cold sea air brush against his bare back. He noticed that the tan lad before him was no ordinary person, but instead someone with a trained eye. It was a risky game to play, but he decided to try his luck, for a tiger hungry is a danger, but a tiger half-saited will be milder. If the tan lad wants to play, he shall play along.

And with that, he stared into the intruder's purple eyes,

"How about a game? I'll tell you if you win"

A smile was seen in the form of an answer..