Final Light Chapter Forty: Runic's Revelation
Runic just stared, he couldn't believe it. Those symbols were in the same script as the ones he saw in the forest, he even recognized some of the letters despite not knowing how to decipher any of it. His breath caught in his throat and his body felt weightless, this was too unreal. He remembered how Nero seemed to have figured out he was an amnesic, how he said he knew Runic was keeping secrets away from him. Did Nero give him this paper as further proof he knew something about Runic? Was this some twisted bait that would make Runic run back as soon as he took a look at it and play right into Nero's hands? Did Nero know why Runic was an amnesic?
In that instant he relaxed, body calming down as he exhaled and lowered the paper. Rolling the parchment back up and placing it back in the small box. Closing his eyes as he began to pace about the room in a circle, hands raised to his head and casually tugging on clumps of his hair. Yet again, there was another new road lined with questions and not enough answers. This one however didn't seem as difficult as the others. If anything this confirmed the written language Runic had seen in the forest wasn't alien enough that nobody else knew what it was. All he had to do now was find somebody to read what it said to him; there had to be somebody in this facility that knew what it read. Casey, Ryvan or Yuna or maybe even another Starborn like Iris or Aaron?
Runic suddenly stopped pacing, a revelation hitting him. If he had gotten something like this did Izunata get one too? She did return and collect her reward after all once she handed over that artifact. Did she know what it meant? Nero didn't seem to feel the need to explain what it was when he thought about it. Maybe the language wasn't as cryptic as he thought? No, if that were the case Runic would have seen this writing somewhere else within the city or even in this place by now. Even when he had spent hours studying in the library he never found anything about that writing in any textbook. It had to be either a dead language or one that was extremely hard to translate. He didn't know, if he stood here mulling over all the scenarios he'd be here all day and still have no definitive answer. The only way he'd find anything out was by finding out the origins of this writing.
What Iris hinted at to him would have to wait, he had a change of priorities once again. Snatching the yellow paper out of the box again he folded it up into a neat square and put it in his back pocket. Eyes then glancing down at the black feather he'd also been given, he wondered what this was for. A feather from a black Phoenix of all things, that surely was a rather strange and rare item to have. He reached for it, tempted to take it with him but quickly withdrew his hand. The risk of damage to it was too great; he didn't even want to gamble on it.
"I'll come back for you." He said walking over to the door and reaching for the handle. Right as he turned the knob and opened it he was surprised to see Kayda standing right there with her hand having been reaching to knock. A startled yelp as she stepped back with a slightly red tinged face. Stormy grey eyes flustered as her mid-length spiky gray hair seemed to roughen up even more from a surge of static electricity that streaked across her visage. Runic blinking rather... perplexed. This was the male dorm, why was a girl here? The slightly shorter woman stuttering a bit as she quickly tried to find the words to explain why the situation was much less suspect than it looked.
"P-Please don't g-get the w-wrong idea!" She insisted taking another step back away from the door and putting her hands up and brought to her chest. She was dressed in simple black short sleeve with dark grey tights that had a white lightning pattered design across the hips and sides coupled with open toed boots. Runic only half heard what she said, most of his attention focused a bit shamelessly on her body. Holy hell those leggings made her legs look amazing. Shaking any impending dirty thoughts out of his mind Runic simply turned his gaze upwards with a lackadaisical look. Zero sign he had just been admiring her lower body apparent anywhere on him.
"Relax, it's fine." He assured with a dismissive hand wave before putting hands in pockets and eyeing her over briefly again. "For a gender separated barrack the people who run the place sure as hell don't seem to care bout enforcing it." She sighed although he wasn't complaining about it at all. Kayda quickly blinking and then lowering her arms relaxing a bit, pointing off in the corner of the hallway as she responded.
"They have cameras in the barracks at least to watch everything. I think its more to look publicly acceptable over them actually caring too much about it. Anyway I um wanted to ask you s-something..." She guessed before quickly getting back on topic. Her voice sounding very hesitant coupled with her blatant reluctance to lock eyes with him. Runic canting his head a bit in confusion, she looked as if she were trying to muster up the words to ask him to help her hide a body. She wanted to ask him something.
"Sure, what is it?" He responded wanting to ask if she wanted to come in and sit, then remembered the cameras. Yeah, he wasn't going to try his luck; even if he was just thinking about showing hospitality. Stepping out and closing the door behind him to lean his back against it as Kayda lowered her head and began poking her index fingers together.
"Okay, so um I was wondering..." She trailed off calming herself and trying to even out her fluctuating, nervous tone. Grey eyes looking off to the side in as she continued. "Could you... help me out with my powers?" She closed her eyes embarrassed and refused to look at him, half expecting Runic to laugh at such a blatantly upfront request. She wanted him to help her with her powers? That was certainly something he didn't expect.
Runic blinked, eyes glancing over her facial features with scrutinizing yet gentle visage, she sounded and looked as if she were being genuine. He stared for a second or so in silence, hand reaching up to scratch the back of his head as he let out an innocent chuckle and replied with a relaxing, nonchalant tone of his own to ease her anxiety.
"Is this about your fight with Aaron?" He asked making sure his toned didn't sound as if he were making fun of or mocking her. Kayda blinking and peering back at him, the two very long thin bangs hanging off her forehead (one over each eye) looking like tear lines down her face among thicker spiky grey ones. Runic couldn't help staring at how pretty she was despite not trying to make a move on her in the slightest. Kayda nodded, lowering her head again as her arms moved to her sides and she sounded a bit quietly upset.
"Y-Yeah..." She muttered. "I've always been rather timid and shy, unable to use my powers with any real control either. People back home were calling me a walking time bomb. I kept shorting out electrical lines and power grids just by being near them or shocking people accidentally with any physical contact. It got to the point I couldn't even hug my grandfather who raised me in fear of frying his heart at any given moment." She got quieter and more drawn into herself with every word. Runic softening his gaze as he stared and listened in silence. Recalling how excessive Iris' bullying of her made him rather agitated the more he recalled it. He should probably think of something else, now wasn't the time to go souring his mood.
"Sorry to hear, Kayda." He said sympathetic. A part of him wanted to tell her he could relate somewhat; he'd feel hurt if he one day interacted with Jeremy and severely hurt or killed him, or Nyx, or Tatsumi. Hell he would have felt bad if it were Izunata or Iris too. "Still, mind telling me why you came and asked me over anyone else? Remember I lost my fight too at the last second." He looked off to the side a bit annoyed when he thought about it. Never admitting he probably would have lost anyway even if there wasn't a time limit.
"Well, because you're the friendliest person I've met here so far..."
Runic blinked and his eyes widened, gaze focusing back on Kayda as she finally made eye contact with him.
"You talk to me and it doesn't feel awkward or forced, you don't excessively bully me like Iris either. You come off as much more approachable than the others like Dante, Yven, even Aerin..." She paused again letting her words settle in his head. Although she quickly bowed her own head down and added on just as an assurance,
"If you don't want to help me though it's fine either way! I just thought I'd ask... I don't have a lot of friends. I met you and just thought maybe we could be friends and help each other out learning our powers."
Runic was rather speechless, Kayda's words rather hard-hitting in a good way. He couldn't help but smile a bit, nodding his head as his eyes portrayed pleasant acknowledgement of her request. He couldn't say no to her, even if he wanted to for any reason. Something about her vibe was very gentle and sweet, he liked having energy like that around him.
"Sure, we can help each other control our powers. Let's exchange numbers we can work something out in the future when we're both free." He reached into his pocket and pulled out the black and silver smart phone as he said this. Kayda's eyes brightening with happiness as she couldn't contain the (pretty) smile she shot his way. Quickly patting herself down looking for her phone, then rather sheepishly reaching into her shirt to pull out the device... from her bra. The two making eye contact as Kayda sheepishly suggested with her gaze he look away for just a moment. A quick nod and the amnesic basically responded with 'say no more.'
Runic rather respectfully looked away as she did so, no doubt the nonverbal thank you from Kayde was present. After pulling out the phone, a stormy grey casing that looked like a slightly older model than his own he turned back to her as she unlocked it. Noticing the lightning bolt design across the back of it. She had a fascination with lightning and thunderstorms, more so than he gave credit for. After the two exchanged numbers both of them put away their phones, Runic once again looking away when Kayde put it back in her shirt.
"Thank you!" The stormy-grey haired woman smiled warmly. Runic nodding with a small smile of his own and a scratch of the back of his head, briefly glancing down the hall when a couple of random neither of them knew gave him the thumbs up after staring at Kayda. An eye-roll coming from him in response, people only thinking of one thing nowadays.
Runic suddenly had an epiphany, it wasn't really anything he expected to get results from but it was a start. Quickly reaching into his pocket and pulling out the small folded piece of yellow paper and speaking.
"Oh! Kayda do you know what this is?" He opened the paper and showed it to her with expectant eyes. The woman tilting her head a bit stunned by the sudden question before her gaze darted across the paper and she reached out to gently grab it with both hands. Her eyes moving horizontally across the paper several times as she furrowed her brow a bit perplexed. Whether she knew or not what this was, it couldn't hurt to try either way.
"Hmm..." She hummed looking over the paper for a total of about forty seconds. The script without a doubt was something she had never seen before, portrayed through her clearly lost expression. The picture of the wolf in the center however did permit some slight hint she had a general idea, which made Runic feel a bit of anticipation building up.
"I don't know what the language is, sorry." She turned the paper to where they both could look at it as she pointed to the wolf. "However the picture kind of reminds me of a werewolf."
Runic raised a brow, werewolf? That was something he didn't expect to hear.
"What do you mean?" He inquired looking back down at the paper, the two shoulder to shoulder now as she pointed to the distinguishing features of the skull.
"It's not a normal wolf skull because the noticeable features like the saggital crest, zygomatic arch and even the canines and carnassial teeth are drawn rather robust and enlarged." She explained, Runic side-eyeing her with a deadpan stunned expression. He didn't understand nearly anything she just said... Girl must be an anatomy nut as much as she was a shy type. Thankfully her pointing made the words at least somewhat understandable. She was basically pointing out how it was drawn much more robust built than what a typical wolf skull would normally be drawn as. Still, that raises the question of why there's a werewolf skull on this paper surrounded by that written script.
Runic had forgotten Kayda was still talking during his thinking. Snapping back to attention only when she said something that made his eyes widen more than ever.
"It might be a rare summoning contract? Where'd you find it?" She asked glancing up at him. Runic staring at the paper then back to her with a surprised look across his pale features. A summoning contract? Did she mean like, he was holding an actual item to summon a real werewolf?
"I got it off a job I did before coming here..." The amnesic answered, keeping details out-of-the-way as he took the paper back and pushed it into his pocket. "Didn't really think too much about it till right before you came by. A summoning contract though? You mean I can summon this thing?" He asked. Kayda slowly nodding to him, a bit confused he didn't know that but not about to make any remark on it. Preferring to simply explain to him in her calm voice instead.
"Mhmm! Summons are basically soul familiars to Starborn. The contracts are created by killing the life equivalent of the animal you want to have and crystallizing their fading life energy into a seal, usually written on papers like these. The stronger the beast the more cryptic the seal. It would explain the writing surrounding the picture; this one must have been an above average one of its species." She shrugged tapping her chin in thought. Runic listened rather interested, he'd never heard of summoning. It sounded pretty cool. Eyes glancing back down to the paper he'd cant his head to the side in thought, focusing on the skull drawn in black ink. A werewolf summon...
"How do I summon it?" He asked looking back at her. Kayde looking his way again with stormy hues before humming in thought. If Runic could learn how to summon this thing himself maybe he could learn more about the script without having to rely on other people. It was a start!
"I've never summoned anything myself... I do know however that you need to have a summoning crest to sync with the seals on the paper." She recalled while gazing up at the ceiling. Runic furrowing a brow, a summoning crest? That didn't sound like it would be difficult to get at all, not at all... He sighed to himself, hating having to ask...
"How do I get a summoning crest? What is that even anyway?"
"Oh! A summoning crest is easy to get! Well, a basic one anyway." She shrugged at him with palms briefly leveled with her shoulders. "They go by levels for the safety of the user. Each summoning contract if professionally crafted has a seal ranking requirement written on the page and a seal typing. The rankings go from beginner, adept, expert, master and then divine tier while the typing are based on the classification of the summon. There's bestial, angelic, demonic, draconian, spectre and humanoid. Judging by this one though it's easy to tell this is a bestial class summon." She paused giving him a minute to process such a large amount of information in such a little time. Kayda despite being shy and timid seemed to enjoy being helpful when she found herself truly comfortable around someone. Runic couldn't help but like seeing this side of her especially since it was helpful to him.
"Oh there's also some elemental typing to some of the summons too! Like such as if you summoned a draconian summon like a wyvern or dragon the summon could breathe fire or ice. The systems really cool when you look into it, it's like one big strategy manual." She chuckled with a nod. Runic nodded back in agreement, this did sound like some balancing mechanic of a video game what with tier rankings and classes and all. Oh well, not like he were complaining either way. With a folding of the paper and stashing it back away the amnesic looked down the hall with a yawn.
"Okay so we have the rest of the day to relax till the E-Chips go active in our phones. You want to help me get a summoning crest? See if I can get this thing out of the seal?" He asked. Truth be told if she didn't want to he wouldn't have minded, it was a werewolf after all he was trying to conjure. Kayde blinked at his request, then rather surprisingly shook her head at him. That was rather unexpected, but at the same time not unexpected.
"Sorry..." She said apologetically. "I don't think summons are allowed to be used on the facility grounds, especially ones of the bestial class. They're known for being extremely violent and unpredictable on their first summoning. A lot of times the summoner has to defeat and subjugate them too before they yield their power."
Well shit, Runic wished she would have told him that earlier and he wouldn't have asked. This certainly threw a wrench in his plans. Damn...
"Figures." He sighed with an eye-roll. "Ah well, not like the contracts going anywhere so I'll just hold on to it until I'm ready to summon it. Still though I'd like to know how I get a summoning crest." As he said this he turned his back to the door again and leaned on it while looking at her with hands idled in pockets. Kayde nodding at him, a bit relieved he didn't get mad at her denial of assisting him with something she deemed rather dangerous. Hands reaching up to run fingers through her light grey hair she cleared her throat as pale lips parted to speak.
"You can get a summoning crest from any magic oriented guild. I know the Archives Guild in Umbral City has a guy that brands the crests on those who ask him for a small fee and some questions answered."
Runic grimaced at hearing that. Of course, he should have known the answer to this. He'd have to go back to Nero, it was the perfect bait. That sly old bastard was playing him like he were a chess piece. Kayda tilted her head, wondering if she said something that made him upset and was about to apologize when her phone rang in her shirt scaring the daylights out of her. The yelp she made causing the few Starborn walking through the halls to turn their attention to her and Runic. The amnesic promptly looking back at them all without any fear; the others soon going back to whatever it was they were doing. Kayda looked over her phone, another much softer mutter left her throat and she quickly looked up to Runic.
"I-I have to go! My grandfather is calling me. We were supposed to FaceTime over the computer so I could tell him how I'm doing so far!"
Runic couldn't help but chuckle at her words, that was rather cute. An understanding nod and he pulled his left hand from his pocket and have her the two finger salute farewell.
"No problem, go do what you gotta do. We'll keep in touch, feel free to call or text me when you want." He said. Kayde nodding promptly and then turning away as she waved over the shoulder and smiled at him, phone still gripped in her hand.
"Likewise! I'll see you around Rune!" She bid farewell and then quickly took off to exit the barracks and head back to her own. Runic watching her leave with a content smile, she was a sweet person to talk to. That conversation was extremely helpful to him too, he knew most of what he needed to know about this contract now. All he needed now were the means to attain the reward in this summoning paper... He'd have to go see Nero one way or another now. There was no avoiding it. A snort, and he turned to enter his room again, figuring he'd just spend the rest of the day loafing around after all.
The next day, when Runic awoke there was a notification in his phone. The E-Chip had finally activated and everyone was to report to the field again.
It was time to get to work.
To be continued! Next Chapter - My Label's Better than Yours!