Echoes of Power
“You are late,” was the first thing the teenager heard as he approached the man he had met just a few days before.
“Yeah, I know, I’m sorry I-“, he began his reply but was interrupted.
“I told you not to be late,” he heard Damian say, cutting him in the middle of his sentence and
Alexandre looked at the older man, frowning as his surprise slowly passed. He almost grunted. Almost. The only reason he managed to refrain himself from doing so was that he had a feeling that in doing so he would earn himself another snarky remark. He was realizing too late he had been right in his negative premonition a few minutes earlier, almost regretting his decision to have come. Damian’s face was an unreadable mask as he sat on the ground, his blue scarf around his neck and his legs crossed. His hands were on his thighs and he was visibly doing something akin to meditation. The man hadn’t even opened his eyes or moved to greet the teenager even though Alexandre was sure he had heard him approach and recognized him. The light-haired teen was beginning to regret his decision to accept someone like that as his teacher, whatever the odds of him being killed by dangerous creatures in the future…
“Do you regret your decision?”, suddenly asked Damian, still in the same position, as if he had read the teenager’s thoughts.
“Uh…”, Alexandre began, his surprise making him hesitate, “no, no! I don’t regret it, I just…”, he paused again, unsure of what to say.
Damian remained silent, as if he was waiting for his student, inviting him to explain himself. Alexandre’s hesitation didn’t last long though. He had been prepared to anything when he had accepted Damian as his teacher, well, not anything, as he didn’t even know what would happen next, but he knew it wasn’t going to be something ‘normal’… Plus, despite the thoughts that had crossed his mind, he wasn’t ready to die yet and if that weird dude, sitting on the grass in front of him, could help with that he wasn’t going to say no. Plus he wanted answers, he needed answers. Whatever I have to do, he thought as he opened his mouth again, no matter if this is a bad decision.
“I just have so many questions that I don’t know where to begin,” he replied as he walked the few paces that separated him from the strange man who had agreed to tell him about what was going on.
“Alright then!”, Damian exclaimed as he finally opened his eyes, looking at the teenager with his unsettling blue eyes.
“I will answer your questions, that I have promised, but before we begin anything I must ask you, are you willing to let me teach you about the art of Empirium?”, he then said, still looking straight at Alexandre, before adding, “You know why I am asking that, don’t you? This is not going to be easy in the least, learning to read and use the flow of mana will come with a price, do you accept that?”
“Yes.”, replied Alexandre with a nod, not even letting himself a moment to think about it.
He wanted to know and he saw no other way, at least none in which he could keep it all to himself… Damian looked at him silently for a moment, as if he was evaluating the teenager’s resolve, before nodding and standing up.
“Very well. From now on you are my student, I am your master and that is how we will refer to each other. You will do as I say, no question, no complaint, just follow my orders. I will answer your questions, if you have any, when the time comes, that is when I decide so. I will do it then and only then. In the meantime you will know only what you need to know. Is that understood?”
“Yes!”, replied Alexandre, looking straight back.
The teenager saw Damian frown slightly, the man took a few steps towards him, their gaze never breaking off.
“‘Yes master.’, that is how you will reply to me from now on, only in that manner. Once more, is that understood?”
Alexandre almost froze again, the intensity of the gaze was barely sustainable as it became clear he hadn’t been wrong about Damian. This was not going to be easy.
“Yes master.”, he repeated, straightening slightly at the words.
Damian nodded, seemingly satisfied, before sitting back down.
“Now sit, there are things you need to know before we begin…”