Yeah! That’s right! I finally got around to this! I decided to tackle each of the stories from Story-A-Day individually so I could focus more on one instead of constantly mixing them up. Therefore, since Unmortal is older and is almost done (I actually have a plot laid out for this), I’ll finish it off before moving on to Trapped, which literally only just started.
Sorry that this part’s a little long, I just wanted to reiterate some stuff. I know it’s been a really long time since my last post of this series, so here’s a random link to Part 30.
“What are we talking about?”
Artemis flicked her dark tail-tip. “What do you know about Lycaon?”
“I told you before, I don’t know anything!” Caddie insisted.
“You said Lycaon was your battle teacher. You must know something. Does he have any enemies?”
“Not that I know of,” Caddie replied hesitantly. “He was always very straightforward and settled any quarrels he had with anyone.”
Artemis went silent for a moment, then stared intently at Caddie. “Do you have any enemies, Cadmea?”
“What does this have anything to do with Lycaon’s disappearance?!” Caddie asked, flustered.
“Someone may be trying to get to you through him,” Artemis mused.
“He’s too emotionless for that,” Caddie replied flatly. “He’d never give away anything about me, and he’d reminded me time and time again that I should not attend to my enemies’ wishes.”
“Whatever the case may be, it seems that is it,” Artemis sighed. “We have no one available to help find him. It’s just us, but someone needs to stay back.”
“I’ll take Nephthys, Arion, and Obsidian, how about that?” Caddie volunteered. “You can hold the fort here, take a break.”
Artemis frowned. “Are you sure? At least Arion should remain here.”
“Arion is still training under Nephthys,” Caddie reminded her. “We cannot separate teacher and student in the midst of their training.”
“He’ll be a better tracker than I.” Caddie grinned. “He might have some tips, and he’d be very useful in a fight or as a messenger.”
“True.” Artemis sighed again. “Just promise me you’ll be careful. We can’t lose any more of us, much less a shapeshifter. We’d be done for.”
Caddie put a paw on Artemis’s shoulder. “Don’t worry, we’ve got this.”
“What’s up with your hands? Paws? Whatever those are?” Artemis stared at Caddie’s paw.
“Oh, nothing,” Caddie said dismissively. “Lycaon told me that was a part of growing up as a canine hybrid. It comes and goes, apparently.”
“Right.” Artemis didn’t seem convinced, but she didn’t press further. “I’ll get back to town, then, and see what I have to attend to that I didn’t during my absence.”
Caddie nodded. “I suppose I’ll go find the others and tell them what we’re to do.”
As soon as Artemis had disappeared through the trees in the direction of the town, Caddie spun around and hared through the forest to a single grave sitting remotely under a large tree on a small hill. Kneeling in front of it was Obsidian, the shifter, in his human form.
Caddie slowed as she approached, slowly kneeling beside him. “Remy is at peace,” she murmured. “And she watches from above, cared for by the Sun Child Tesseia, proud to be a younger sister to such a renowned hero.”
“What kind of hero am I if I couldn’t even save my own sister?” Obsidian muttered harshly, then stood up. “What is it you came for?” he asked Caddie in a much milder tone.
Caddie stood up as well. “Are you to join us – myself, the unmortal, and Nephthys – to find Lycaon?”
Obsidian nodded surely. “I wish to avenge my teacher as much as you definitely do.”
“About that.” Caddie frowned. “Artemis thinks it may be an enemy of mine, attacking him to get to me. What do you think?”
Obsidian pondered this. “You are a shifter now, just like your mother. It may be they are after your power. After all, your mother and I had many, many enemies back in her time. I still do. I wouldn’t be surprised if that would be the case.”
“Lycaon always told us not to give in to an enemy’s wishes. What should we do?”
“We strength in numbers and strength in power,” Obsidian said confidently. “Only the power of the angels, the demons, and the manipulators could ever rival ours. As shifters, we take our place among the greater beings of the world, and together we could step even higher.”
“The manipulators?” Caddie asked, confused.
“Manipulators of space, time, and natural occurrences,” Obsidian explained. “For example, the Sun and Moon Children manipulate the natural processes of satellite orbits, Nephthys and Diantha manipulated magic, the Overlord and The Master are manipulators of life and death, there are manipulators of space and time, and technically shifters are manipulators of natural appearance.”
“I don’t feel very powerful, though,” Caddie sighed.
“You haven’t experienced the trigger moment yet,” Obsidian told her. “It most likely happens either in battle or when you strongly feel an emotion such as grief or protectiveness.”
“Maybe it will happen in the search for Lycaon.” Caddie smiled a little, imagining it. “Thanks, Obsidian. Meet us at the park tomorrow morning and we’ll be off.”
“Very well.” Obsidian knelt by the grave again, fingering his necklace thoughtfully, and Caddie took that as her cue to leave.
“One more thing,” Caddie said just before she left. “I heard somewhere that when Nephthys revealed herself to Arion, she said something about statues and a forest. What was that about?”
Obsidian didn’t turn around, and he was silent for so long that Caddie was about to repeat her question. Finally, he answered, “This forest. It’s dying. The only things that keep it alive are thirteen statues of different animals, watched over by us here, that contain a life-giving magic imbued by the Sun Child herself. Nephthys herself kept close watch on it, especially after her sister Diantha tried to steal them. Even though she’d killed Diantha, who wielded a dark magic aided by her sister’s creation, Nephthys was stilled wary of other enemies. While she was in the school looking for the unmortal, she received word that the statues were missing. Stolen. Misused. She could do nothing, and that is why she returned here. To investigate.”
“Diantha’s magic was aided by what creation?”
“Do you need another history lesson, Caddie? Before the last war, Nephthys was trying to channel an out-of-control portion of her magic into a single river-stone that she called the Gravity Stone. It was – and still is – the single most powerful object in the history of everything. Obviously she succeeded, but it was so powerful that it could kill anything within a 5-foot radius. She decided to hide it in a remote location where she was sure no one could find it, but she didn’t factor in that her sister had access to her memories. Diantha, who was powerful enough to wield the stone, like Nephthys, took it and used it to enhance her own power. Nephthys nearly died trying to stop her in the last war, and Remy died trying to contain the power of the Stone after attempting to destroy it.” Bitter regret seeped into his voice. “I could have stopped her.”
“How?” Caddie frowned. “You weren’t even there. I know Remy and Rethwood were good friends of yours, but how could you have stopped them? Remy died, Rethwood committed suicide.”
“I-” Obsidian paused. “Never mind.”
“Rethwood didn’t commit suicide.”
“Everyone says he did,” Caddie replied, puzzled.
“He still has another younger sister,” Obsidian reminded her. “Even if she’s against him.”
Caddie didn’t know how to respond to that, so she continued on her way back to town. She didn’t want to return just yet, though, so she scampered up a tall tree to stare out at the leafy green treetops. Fog crowded around the edge, but not so much that Caddie couldn’t recognize what she hadn’t noticed before: the blackened trees on the fringes of the forest, about to be swallowed by the dense tendrils of mist. Obsidian was right; the forest was dying.
Also sorry that I mentioned a lot of things that were only fleetingly mentioned previously. If it helps, I used Day 3, Day 26, Day 7, Day 18, Day 10, Day 1, Day 79, and Part 30. Hope that aids any understanding! (Yes, I know that is not in order!)