A/N: Well... I don't know what to say except that I'm happy I got this finally started. I'm still sufering from writer's block, but despite of that, the first chapter is finally done. I hope you guys enjoy it.

Chapter 1: Stinging jealousy

The forest was beautiful and peaceful as always. Birds were singing and gentle wind was whispering its secrets among the branches of the trees. Nicolas was sitting on a stone that was covered in moss, feeling calm. His life had turned upside down, but forest offered him that same peace he had felt ever since he had been a little kid.

Just a couple of days ago Nicolas had been just like anybody else; ordinary young man from an ordinary village. But everything had changed when he had been wrestling his brother and almost burned his face – accidentally, of course. Nicolas didn't know how he had managed to make that small fireball, but it didn't matter; in the eyes of other villagers he had suddenly become special and respected. Especially his parents were full of pride. After all, you couldn't find a mage from your family every day.

Nicolas himself didn't feel any different than before. Maybe that was the most confusing thing in this whole matter. It was like he was inside of a dream. He had tried to make that same fire trick again and over again, but couldn't repeat it. It felt nice to get all this positive attention, but it could have felt even better if Nicolas could really make something worth it.

Nicolas sighed.

He jumped off of the rock and started to walk towards the home.

Suddenly Nicolas heard familiar sounding barking from behind him. He turned around to face the sound's cause: a reddish brown dog that was striding towards him along the road.

"Jasper!" Nicolas yelled delightedly and crouched, spreading his arms. The dog ran straight towards him, and Nicolas captured it in a hug. Excited dog correspondingly licked his face. Nicolas laughed and released his grasp to face the dog's owner.

Kevin, Jasper's master, walked slowly towards them arrows and bow with him. Nicolas raised his hand to greet his friend, but he didn't seem to pay any attention to him. Something was not right.

"Hey, Kevin", Nicolas started. "Is something wrong?"

His apathetic friend just shrugged and continued to stroll. "I checked through all the traps, but they were empty. I couldn't get any prey on sight, either."

Nicolas felt like that bad luck on the hunt wasn't the reason for Kevin's gloomy state. He decided, however, not to ask more about it.

"So... Where are you going?"

"To old Raymond's tavern. I need a drink."

"I can offer!" Nicolas shouted. "Raymond will surely offer a couple of free beer steins for me."

"I know", Kevin grunted.

Nicolas felt a small sting in his heart. It seemed like his friend was angry at him for some reason. But why?

For a moment the trio travelled towards their home village in silence. But the closer they came, the greater became Nicolas' desire to get to know what was troubling Kevin. Eventually he decided that he couldn't remain silent.

"Have I done something wrong?" Nicolas asked suddenly from his friend.

They walked a little bit forward before Kevin answered: "You haven't."

"Oh... Thanks. Good to know."

"The fault is in me." Kevin shook his head. "To be honest, I'm jealous as sick of you and your new abilities – and how much attention you're getting from others."

"Aha... I see", Nicolas said. "It's about Angie, am I right?"

Kevin blushed.

"Yup, it is about Angie", Nicolas teased good-heartedly. "If she would get to know suddenly that you were a wizard, you could charm Angie for sure with your new abilities – and Angie's father would certainly give her daughter's hand for you!"

"Shut up Nico!" Kevin snarled angrily. Then he marched furiously away with loyally following Jasper by his side, leaving his confused friend behind.

Right.

Nicolas' life indeed had turned upside down.