Even with the parasol tightly clasped in his hand and the moon high in the sky, the heat of Scarabia was just barely tolerable. It wasn’t that Kalim wasn’t used to the heat, because he very much was so, but he would rather dawdle in a pool of water than have to walk all this way out to somewhere he would rather have forgotten. It’s been a very, very long time since he’s even had a single thought about this place. Between the busy chores back in the palace and the fun feasts bustling with life, he’s had little time to dwell on other things.
With the quiet pace of the camels they were riding, and the still air infused with the sound of escaping dust, that time for “other things” has come. Thinking in the present was always nice, and kept someone on their toes. However, even if he preferred that lifestyle over much else, something different was welcome. Maybe not to the extent that for such “difference” to occur, he had to bleed his head out for it, but… it was still something new. Something less routine, more freestyle than anything he’s felt before.
...At this point, he might as well have admitted to himself that he’s probably not the best at stroking his own heart in comfort. But beyond the sense of “I don’t want to die”, thinking about other things was a nice substitute. And hey, maybe there’s an off chance that the cerebral hemorrhage was just an external wound opening? And won’t cause terminal brain damage?
He felt the white fabric circled around his head, covering his ears. The bandages were wrapped tight, with no instances of holding up or any more serious bleeding staining it.
The comfort was nice. Jamil is pretty good with bandages, after all.
“What are we going to do here?” Kalim asked Jamil once he figured his thoughts were collected enough for the day. He still hasn’t explained to him why exactly they had left their city, after all.
“There’s no point in explaining it to you if you can’t remember what happened here,” Jamil sighed. “You only have bits of your memory from this place, correct? You don’t need to worry once I get this all sorted out afterwards.”
The little prince shrugged. “It would be nice to know, I guess. Couldn’t hurt, if it means helping you and…” he gestures to his head, “this.”
The tactician shook his head and offered a gentle look, even with the teasing tone. “You’d be more concerned with other trivialities than this one anyway. Let this be mine to think about.”
Kalim offered a supportive smile of his own. “If that’s how you see it, then I can’t stop you. You’re a really kind person, Jamil.”
At once, each of the camels halted in their stead. In front of them was the very same oasis that Jamil had found Kalim in. Near such a large body of water, the air felt cooler with a tinge of a fresh breeze, possibly created by the fanning palm trees near the water body. They could practically feel the evaporating water vapour rising out of it.
It was different from the water Kalim had usually created for the plants back in the city. That’s not to say that the oasis didn’t give him a certain sense of deja vu. Just… different.
Jamil mounted off of the camel, letting himself and the fringes of his velvet red robes travel to the ground. They were definitely at the oasis, alright.
He turned his head towards the ever-outreaching stretch of the water body. The last time he was here, this place made him feel… a little too small. Something never-ending like this, endless and filled with nothing but water bleaching the normally sandy dunes with a bright blue liquid… it gave him a certain discomfort. There was a reason why he wanted to resort to this oasis for the last observation spot.
The fact that he even wanted to come back here was something he did not want to dwell on for too long. The same oasis that nearly enveloped his friend in its deep, endless, blue bottom… the cold from the water still gave him shivers. It was not something that he wanted his mind to mind about. Thinking about what could have happened… if he were being honest with himself, he was still ever so curious. What would’ve happened if he didn’t reach out there and then?
From the peripheral of his vision, he could see Kalim reaching out to get a feel for the water that he should have been familiar with.
There was truly no cure for ignorance but to learn.
It was so cold, he thought. A shiver, and the shaken up crystal tears met the ground with white noise. He didn’t even notice the wrinkled robes covered in the sand and the clenched fists at his shoulders.
It was a pitiful sight for the others to behold. A lonely sight when he realized that any sort of resemblance they had to “normal” was practically in shambles. An even lonelier sight when he realized that no one would stand with either of them afterward if this were to go one way or the next.
In the desolate cold of the end of the desert, flaming hot heat would serve as an addiction, as fuel -- whether it’s the heat of a magic fire or the heat of wrath-evoking emotions. In all of his right, he was upset. Angry. The expected thing to say would be that he was angry at ▯▯▯▯▯ . The logical thing to say would be that he was angry at their circumstances, their parents, their ancestries, their fates.
But to him, neither made a lot of sense. He could never be angry at ▯▯▯▯▯ , the only person who was ever there for him. Even out of an obligation, never as a hobby -- he still can’t appreciate it any less. He can never be mad at their circumstances either. Maybe now, more weight has added itself onto what it truly meant to entwine their fates to this life -- the life of the offspring of the Viper family and the life of the offspring of the Asim family. But he truly could not hate their upbringings more than he already does.
Knowing that he knows this, and knowing that he chose to deliberately (and reluctantly) reject both statements with the understanding that he must be able to satisfy both livelihoods without directly prodding any variables, and it gets simple. Satisfy the people in question with little things that fit their routine, but also things that you know would make them happier than before. Allow the person in question who hasn’t truly acclaimed the credit for his own skills to properly demonstrate his skills by assigning him tasks. Praise him accordingly, and encourage others to do the same.
For something so simple, it can get complex pretty quickly. When should he stop giving him tasks? When the person in question lets him know. But the person in question won’t let him know. He’s explained this to others as timidity, but he truly has no other way to put something like “his parents tell him to prostrate himself and defame his desires for me, and although I tell him it’s unnecessary, his parents still believe that’s what I want and so won’t show his skills unless its on my terms”. If anything was worded like that, others would most definitely worry. And then things can get difficult, exposing emotions to someone and allowing them empathy without any solution to solve it since those emotions were brought unto them through another person’s suffering.
And beyond that, taking into account the built-up emotions of the person in question… things get extremely difficult. That’s where this occurrence stems from. What happens when someone, with all of the previous explained, does not want to do things on your terms? He’s not thinking about it arrogantly (if someone wants to believe so, then that’s alright, he figures), just in a… matter of fact way.
Ramshackle and Octavinelle coming to ▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯ was interesting. He couldn’t directly ask them for help -- he didn’t want yet another poor being enraptured by the abhorrent lives they lived. He could only tell the Directing Student -- someone apparently in charge of the other students there with how many times they’ve helped with the… incidents -- of a few of his woes and apprehensions. He’s not too sure if he even communicated any of it right. But when Octavinelle offered to help, specifically for the well-being of ▯▯▯▯▯ ? They could do so many things that he, as the eldest son of the Asim family, could not do. It would’ve been great.
Whatever ▯▯▯▯▯ asks for, he’ll be sure to provide. Even if his best isn’t the best to ▯▯▯▯▯ . And he knows it’s not, if ▯▯▯▯▯ had to hypnotize him multiple times on end to get him to do anything effective.
So when after all of that, knowing he could not be angry at ▯▯▯▯▯ for all he had done for him, knowing he could not be angry at their circumstances for all he had done to try to remedy them, knowing he could not be angry at the innocents who got dragged into this… he only had one person he could blame and only one person he knew wouldn’t mind if he did.
And like usual, all of it comes out wrong. What should have been stated wasn’t, and what shouldn’t have been stated was, so now it’s just… difficult.
...a lot of people really do see him as just another arrogant rich boy, huh? It’s either that or they see him as some pitiable child whose life screams “danger” and “caution”. Either way, no one wants to get involved with a ‘him’ like that. And then he ends up eating alone again.
He can’t say he enjoys it.
But if it makes others happy, it should be fine, right? Independence is good. It’s an experience.
But to him… independence means that someone exhausted him of any usefulness anymore. That he can’t make them happy anymore. Not with riches, not with praise, not with his mind, not with his body, not even with his beating heart. Different people wanted him for different reasons. But when one realizes he was being tested again and again between the extremities of the brink of death and bustling life, one questions what exactly it was that others believed was a desire of his. Would they care to know?
No. Not really. Misunderstanding someone to fit their narrative was all people liked to care about these days anyway.
Still… if he were only able to learn more about the hearts of others, and for others to learn about his… maybe all of this wouldn’t have happened.
Maybe he could finally understand exactly what ▯▯▯▯▯ wanted him to know, besides the mixed signals and family ties.
Maybe others could finally understand what he means when he tries to explain things.
Maybe ▯▯▯▯▯ could finally understand that he truly wants to support him, no matter if it’s by his side or not at all.
Maybe he, too, could finally understand himself.
...He’s been ignoring something, hasn’t he?
A muddy onslaught of energy washed over him.
Maybe with this, he could finally understand…
Shaken out of the cold, Kalim found a strong pair of hands gripping him by the scruff of his robes. With a less-than-ceremonious heave, he was pulled onto dry land.
His clothes were wet.
“What-” Jamil panted between breaths, “the fuck … were you thinking?!”
“There was something down there!” Kalim said. “I didn’t want to leave it behind.”
“Please don’t tell me it’s a dead creature.”
“No, no, it’s nothing like that! I swear!”
“I will not be touching you for a while if you picked up decomposing meat.”
“Wait wait wait! Here, hold on-”
The little prince held out both his hands.
In the middle of his palms rested a fire sprite… who was soaking wet.
“They shouldn’t be dead… yet?” he reluctantly said. “But I remember the last time I was here, there was something else with us, so I had to go down to check at least, y’know?”
This was interesting.
Jamil pursed his lips. “I’d rather we not prod at the business of magical creatures such as fairies. I’d also rather you not do it and scare me half to death.” He took a closer look at the sprite. “For it to be underwater for so long and still conserve its energy long enough to sustain itself… It’s easy to see that it's pretty powerful.”
“Alright-” the little prince objected, “but what if I took care of them? Would that be alright?”
“I’m not saying we can’t keep it,” Jamil said, “but they won’t be easy to deal with. Besides, if anyone is keeping them, I’m going to need to be there to make sure they’re taken care of properly.” He took the little fire sprite from Kalim’s hands. “Do you remember what we need to feed them to help fuel their energy?”
“It’s firewood,” Jamil stated. “You can help grow and chop some like you usually do, while I give it to the fire sprite like I usually do when I distribute the ingredients. Does that sound alright?”
“Yeah!” Kalim said. “We should go and get started as soon as we can, then!” He rubbed the little fire sprite with the tip of his finger as he looked on with relief. “You’re gonna be better soon, don’t worry!”
Jamil sighed. He wasn’t too sure what he would find here, but this was certainly something useful.
Now it was time to get to the not-so-on-standby bits.
He’s hoping this will work.