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The Dark Side

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Sun Xiang contacted his mother. He was curious about this obvious secret his grandfather kept to himself. Now he knew why he didn't say a word to anyone besides his family that obviously buried this secret as deep as they could.

His grandfather, years after his wife passed away, fell in love with another woman. He received a picture of his grandpa with a lady with silver hair and a laughing wrinkles around her eyes. She was beautiful. They looked happy with each other. Without knowing who was that person, one might have thought they were a happy, married couple. But they were not.

That woman…

Was a spirit.

If someone spotted Sun Xiang right now, they would surely see a steam coming off from his overheated head.

This information was a bit too much for him.

His mother said that this mysterious woman saved his grandfather’s life by sacrificing her own. He was so crestfallen by this loss that he died not a year later. But it’s the first time Sun Xiang saw her or even heard about her.

He could only sigh at his own uselessness. He really was not fit to think so much.

A scream.

Sun Xiang stiffened. Then ran through corridors as if his life depended on it.

He stopped near the stars to see Liu Hao clutching his… abnormally twisted leg.

Sun Xiang ran to the toilet as fast as he could.

He has a too weak stomach for this shit.

 


 

 

One Autumn Leaf could feel many things through his bond with Ye Xiu. But he didn’t know he will see the day when the bond will burn with the human’s hatred, confusion and… betrayal? He could feel a quick but delicate flares of anger and annoyance from time to time but this? This… was concerning.

Not a moment later he heard him talking through their bond.

“How long did you want to hide it from me?” The voice was cold and calculated. He didn’t like it when Ye Xiu was talking like that. Even less when he was the target.

“What are you talking about?” He asked.

“There is no way for me to get dreams about part of his life without a strong bond. Half-bond and temporary bond, even both at once is not enough to cause it."

“…” One Autumn Leaf clenched his jaw. He didn’t expect it to show up now. He was considering it but now he was sure. He nervously swallowed.

“Explain. Now.” One Autumn Leaf nervously fidgeted at the top of the roof he was sitting at.

“Well, I was considering this option but..”

“Go on.”

“But I didn’t know it is really possible.” He didn’t know. Really. He started to think about the bond he made few days after they met Lord Grim and the latter attacked Ye Xiu with a clear killing intent. He and Lord Grim were brothers by blood after all.

“Go on.” He winced when he felt coldness seeping into the bond.

“Well, me and Lord Grim are…  brothers. And it seems that… when I made the bond… he kind of… got bonded too.”

“Go on.” Ok, now Ye Xiu was terrifying. One Autumn Leaf could even imagine the other glaring at him. Something he saw once and never wanted to see again.

“I didn’t know ok?! I swear! It seems that the bond has been dormant through all this time and was renewed the moment you started playing Glory using his card!”

“Does he know?”

“I am not sure… He might be… It would explain a few things…”

“This is why he attacked me then instead of you, isn’t it?” One Autumn Leaf nodded only to slap himself mentally. Ye Xiu couldn’t see him now obviously.

"I think so. He wasn't fully bonded. If he had killed you, the bond would probably shift towards him. I would still live even though you would be dead. I attacked him back because you and I were fully bonded and it automatically makes me attack anyone who well… attacks you. If it weren't for you, I would really kill him. I started to think about it all only a few days after this encounter."

“What changed?” One Autumn Leaf stared ahead in confusion at Ye Xiu’s question.

“What do you mean?”

“You two were pretty close before. Now you are trying to kill each other. I told you about my whole family and all the ties and complications but you always changed the topic when I asked about you. What have you been hiding from me all this time?"

“Nothing really.”

“Stop lying.”

“I don’t know! It just happened!”

“If you don’t want to tell me then at least show me!”

“It’s nothing!”

“Nothing…”

One Autumn Leaf’s eyes widened when he heard this voice. He stood up so fast that he almost fell down from the roof.

“Is he…?”

“Ye Xiu, focus only on me. Don’t divide your concentration. Just me and you. Don’t let him in for now.”

“How did he even…”

“Ye Xiu. Me. You. Just us.” One Autumn Leaf closed his eyes to focus solely on their bond. It looked like a bunch of irregular lines tied around them both, stretched but still as strong as ever. He focused on Ye Xiu’s silhouette and noticed a different coloured line extending towards a tangled shadow he could barely recognise. It was Lord Grim.

He took a steadying breath and focused on the human. Not a moment later he saw a wall between them and Lord Grim.

“What now? Will you show me what happened or not?”

One Autumn Leaf bit his lip. The secret was already out and Ye Xiu won’t stop asking.

“Fine.”

 


 

 

Lord Grim saw his brother training in the forest. It’s always a hassle to find him. He huffed in annoyance and worry. He had a bunch of pictures and reports with him. He unhurriedly crept closer.

One Autumn Leaf was slowly swiping his battle lance around the clearance in the forest. With his eyes closed. After a few more moves, he changed his position as if he was readying to use Rising Dragon Soars the Sky.

“Bend your knees more.”

“Wha-“

OOF!

One Autumn Leaf landed on his ass. He laid on the soft grass while groaning loudly.

"I keep telling this to you but you never listen. If you bend your knees more, you will be more stable." Said, Lord Grim, while staring down at his younger brother with a playful smirk and leaning on his umbrella in lance form. He snorted when One Autumn Leaf pouted in response.

After a moment Lord Grim leaned down and helped his brother to stand up.

“Fine. Show me then.”

Lord Grim twirled his lance and fell into the right position.

“You should do it like… this.” One Autumn Leaf walked around him in circles examining his brother’s pose. When he got behind his back, he swept his leg to destabilize him. But Lord Grim didn’t budge.

“Ok, let me try.”

This time it was Lord Grim who was circling around One Autumn Leaf. The Battlemage was glancing at his older brother from time to time. He really did. But it always surprises him how Lord Grim simply appears out of thin air before him.

"Bend your left one more."

“Like this?”

Lord Grim unexpectedly swept his leg. This time One Autumn Leaf didn’t budge either. The Battlemage gave him an impish smile but it fell when the other gave him only a tired look.

“What brings you here so early anyway? Is Vaccaria being annoying again? I swear that his thinking that he is the most intelligent being out of all will get him someday into trouble. Say a word an I will kick his ass. It has been tempting me for ages.”

Lord Grim shook his head smiling fondly at the imagined scene.

“I wanted to talk with you about humans.” He said slowly.

One Autumn Leaf looked strangely at him but said nothing and only nodded his head before starting to swing his lance again.

"I have reports and photos confirming that they are gathering materials to build some kind of weapon. Moreover, more and more spirits are missing. Some were see-“

“Can you stop for a moment?” Lord Grim looked at him with his mouth awkwardly stuck in mid-sentence before closing it and nodding.

“Don’t get me wrong but… aren’t you getting a bit paranoid?” One Autumn Leaf looked at him with a pity in his eyes.

“Paranoid?!” Lord Grim jerked at the offence.

“You are searching for something that is not there. It might have been easy to overlook at the beginning but now it’s as if you look for any bad thing humans do just to antagonize them.”

“I don’t antagonize them. I am just looking into-“

“Then stop looking into things that are not even there!”

“Brother, I am merely disturbed by avatars’ disappearance. They vanish in the same area, it’s not normal!”

“You are imagining it. Nothing bad is happening!”

“I even have reports and photos with me! Look at them!”

“I won’t be looking at anything!”

"Please, It's important! Life might depend on it!" He was silenced when One Autumn Leaf hit his battle lance into the ground and sent an invisible wave that shook nearby trees.

“Half of the council thinks that you are unable to be in charge anymore because you have become too paranoid.” One Autumn Leaf stated looking straight into Lord Grim’s eyes. “I think so too.”

“Brother, plea-“ “Stop it.” The Battlemage started to glare at him. “And take your hands off me.” He added slapping Lord Grim’s hand away.

The other was looking at him confused as if unable to find proper words.

“But brothe-“ “I told you to stop it!”

Lord Grim swallowed frowning slightly.

“What do you mean?” “Stop calling me that.” “Calling you what?”

One Autumn Leaf looked irritated at him.

“Stop calling me brother. People start to tie me with your every unfavourable behaviour.” “But you ARE my brother! How am I supposed to call you!?” Lord Grim moved closer stretching out his arm towards him.

“Keep your dirty hands to yourself!” One Autumn Leaf slapped them away again and moved back few steps.

Lord Grim blinked and looked down at his hands. “Where do you even see dirt?” He asked.

One Autumn Leaf groaned. “Why can’t you be like everyone else?!” The Battlemage complained.

“What do you mean…”

"Some of us have brothers and sisters but none of them is as annoying as you! Everyone looks at you like at some weirdo and then think I am like you! I want to have a normal brother! Not some freak!” One Autumn Leaf was screaming so loud that he got red in the face.

Lord Grim stood frozen before him, his shoulders visibly slacked.

“Is that all I am to you? A freak?” He asked quietly.

“Yes! Now be nice for once and get away from my sight! Or no, I have a better idea. I will walk away myself.” With that One Autumn Leaf twirled around and marched away.

Lord Grim stood motionlessly looking down at himself. Then he glanced at where One Autumn Leaf went and even made one step as if ready to run after him. But he stopped.

He sniffed, turned around and went in opposite direction.

 


 

 

For a few minutes, there was silence between them.

“Did you seriously say that?!” Asked Ye Xiu.

"I wanted to apologize later but after that, we had a council meeting. They wanted to attack humans before they would attack us. We lost 5 to 4. We gathered an army and etc. but I and other three took half that thought the same as us and well… we had kind of a… internal war. After the first battle, humans appeared and started to hunt us down. When I noticed him on the battlefield I tried to run to him and maybe then apologize but he pushed me away towards the forest, where there was almost no enemy forces. I ran and… you know the rest. I thought he died. Almost everyone was chasing him. And then… after we went for that monster…I was shocked when I got back to you and saw him. I honestly thought he died. And then when humans took him. I again thought that I lost him. It's just… I regret every word I said to him then. I let other’s opinion get to my head.”

He waited for Ye Xiu to say something but the other said nothing.

Suddenly he felt as if someone was chocking him but he knew he was alone here. He could barely take a breath. It could only mean…

‘No.’ He thought in shock.

 .

.

.

Lord Grim got out of his card.