A Jar Of Love

 

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Chapter 1

SHE stood there staring at him in awe, unable to move. It seemed that the sound of the battle was merely in a muted distant place. But the truth was that she is in the middle of it. Her people were fighting against each other—strength to strength, hand to hand, fang to fang. Blood and silvery ashes were everywhere, which tainted the white snow and trees in the forest.

Yes, Ashley Eugraf was one of the vampires who fought her own kind. In fact, she was the one who led her group, her army, to this fight. But something or someone, specifically, distracted her. He caught her eye while her hands and feet were busy defending and attacking the enemies.

He had such a beautiful face that she’d never seen before. He was tall and with a well-built body that would put any male model to shame. In his long, flowing light blue hair was a sweet-smelling flower that she recognized—a white Kalachuche flower. He also had those piercing silver eyes and delicious-looking red lips…

Ah, those red lips! God! Those lips make me hungry and more!’ she thought.

“Ashley!”

She was pulled from her reverie—or rather scrutinizing slash daydreaming. That familiar, irritating voice! She looked behind her and found her Japanese ghost friend. Yoko. She was known as a Yuki-onna—a spirit of a woman who died in the snow. In other words, she died of hypothermia. So, she was white, with long, dark and straight hair and blue lips. She also wore a long, white kimono.

Only Ashley could see her ghost friend. Or not? She noticed that the beautiful man’s eyes shifted to her friend for a second or two before they settled back on her face.

She swallowed hard. She was a bit preoccupied when a male vampire came toward her to attack her. But she was stronger than him. It only took a split second for her to separate his head from his shoulder, which resulted to silvery ashes. She dusted herself and turned to her friend.

“Not now, Yoko,” Ashley hissed as her friend was already floating beside her.

“B-but why are you walking towards him?” the Japanese ghost whispered. Nonetheless, the ghost’s eyes were filled with excitement and anticipation.

Ashley wondered why for a moment. Then her eyes met those piercing silver ones again. But suddenly, her mind slipped into her past nearly half a millennium ago…

***

SHE was merely a half-millennium years old of her undead life while she was walking with her maker, Hawnt. They were at his underground palace in the Carpathian Mountains. The hallway was long and lit with old torches showing their way. Some corners they passed by had elite vampire guards that protected him and his home.

If you wish to live with humans, you must remember a thing… or two,” he stated. His voice was gentle but scary for those who didn’t know him. He was tall, dark and slightly handsome. She always thought of him that way. He was a three-thousand-year-old vampire. However, he was no king. And yet, he was active in politics as he was one of The Seven Elders in the Vampire Kingdom. And he always supported anyone who was on the throne.

She looked at him with questioning eyes. His dark brown eyes didn’t give any hint either. She had no idea what he meant by it, if there were rules to follow if and when she did live with humans.

One is to live in the shadows. You can never expose who you really are, Ashley. You know our rules and it is the golden rule.”

She nodded. “Hawnt, I know that already,” she almost snapped at him.

He stopped walking and looked at her. He gave her a chilly smile. “Of course, my child. But still, I must remind you of it. I won’t be there with you if you do leave me here and live on your own.”

So, what’s the second thing? Obviously, you have the second one,” she prompted and gave him a chilly smile, too. Well, she couldn’t help it. She got it from him. He was her “father” after all. He was her creator. She was about to die drowning in the sea when he came to save her and turned her into what she is now.

You must have a heart,” he simply answered with a shrug of his shoulders. He then started to walk again.

A heart?” she asked, following him.

Why would he tell her about it? Vampires were basically monsters. They killed people just to live. She even winced at that word. Monsters. Yes, she was one of them.

He stopped walking. He looked at her straight in the eye. “Yes. With your heart, you love with it. And when love disappears, your heart gets hurt.”

She was puzzled by this. “Why are you telling me this, Hawnt? What does it have to do with my leaving your home? I totally don’t get you.” Her mind just drew some images, which she saw in romantic movies.

It’s alright. You’ll learn and understand it eventually. Sooner or later. You are not susceptible to any disease, anyway. You are an immortal specie, unable of dying. You are the right representation of a perfect existence. And… we have plenty of time.” He smiled at her again. “Come, I must give you something before you leave, my child,” he urged her to follow him into his library, which was full of books and other collections of weapons and art. He gave her a knife with bronze handle and shiny silver blade. It was about eight inches long from the tip to the hilt.

She thanked him for his parting gift. However, their small talk somehow gave her the chills. She didn’t know why she had such a reaction like this. Was he just trying to warn her because she was going to leave his home? Or was this some kind of a subtle way to make her stay with him forever?

However, she left his home that was her sanctuary for half a millennium. She was fed, sheltered, taught the vampire ways and trained to fight there.

For a long time, that conversation she had with her maker would somehow let her stay up all night. In truth, she’d never felt love before. She was alone all her life as an orphan. She was only at the tender age of eighteen when she was turned. No boys or men caught her interest. However, she cared for her maker and her other mentors and friends.

But love? What was love, anyway? What was it like?

***

UNTIL now… she finally met someone who caught her interest. But perhaps it was because he was unlike any other men she met. He was different—in almost all sense of the word. His body was almost transient. But she was sure he was totally corporeal!

And right now, it was like he animated her heart with only those silver eyes.

“Ashley!” Yoko’s blue lips were in her ear.

She jumped because of it. Who wouldn’t? It felt humid and cold at the same time! It was almost gross… and creepy!

She looked at her ghost friend with narrowed eyes and irritation. “Enemy!” she pointed a finger behind her friend.

Yoko suddenly turned into a white mist and the vampire froze before he turned into silvery ashes.

“Alright! I’ll leave you alone for now. I’ll fight your battle!” Yoko said with hands on her hips.

She met Yoko in the middle of winter some decades ago, while living among humans. Yoko was kicked out of her home in a wintry night because of some large debt. It was too late before Ashley could help her. She died in that very cold night. But the ghost already had her revenge and chose to tag along everywhere she goes.

She waved her hand in dismissal and the ghost went away, killing the vampires that would come near her. On the other hand, she walked towards the beautiful creature that was clad in white short-sleeved silk robes. She instinctively knew that he was not a vampire. And he was just standing there, near the silver fir tree. If it weren’t for his light blue hair and red lips, he’d totally blend into the white environment, as snow continued to pour in the Carpathian forest. And now, she noticed a flute was in his one hand, while the other was holding the tree.

“Who are you? What are you?” she asked, naturally. “Why are you here?”

She caught a hint of smirk on his face. One corner of his lips tilted upwards. Even that slight movement of his lips turned her heart upside down. It seemed that she could hear heartbeat that got louder everytime she took a step nearer to him. She placed her hand on her chest, puzzled by what she felt because of this person. Her feet stopped when they were only a few paces away from each other.

“I’m watching the battle, can’t you see?” His cold voice seemed to get under her skin.

Her chin went up, so did an eyebrow. “But if you don’t want to be caught in between this battle, why are you just standing there like you’re enjoying it? It isn’t a movie.”

“I didn’t say that I don’t want to be caught in between the battle. I merely said that I’m watching it. There’s the difference, blood sucker lady,” he pointed out.

It was just missing a “duh!” word. She very well detected the sarcasm. Her brows knitted. If he was this good-looking, his behavior wasn’t! And so was his call naming her.

Blood sucker lady?’ she thought with blood suddenly boiling. She hissed because of it and her fangs appeared while her eyes turned into crimson color. She saw him smile.

She could swear that her unbeating heart pounded! Suddenly, she felt her fangs disappear and her eyes turned to their normal dark brown color.

“Not only that, I was holding this tree for you,” he said. To demonstrate, he removed his hand that was holding the giant silver fir tree.

She quickly dodged the tree as it fell to the ground in her direction. Her jaw dropped.

“What the hell?” She looked at him with burning eyes.

But he only smiled and left the battlefield. She was aghast as he suddenly grew rainbow-tinged silver wings and flew away.

“He’s a Kinari,” Yoko said as she appeared from her mist form in front of her.

She looked at the dark-eyed ghost. “A Kinari?” She’d never heard of such a creature before.

“That one you just saw,” she pointed at the sky.

Ashley stared at her. They both dodged when they felt her enemies attack, although they couldn’t see Yoko. The two of them took care of the enemies first before they faced each other again.

“Well, Kinaris or Kinaras are usually gentle immortal beings. They’re loyal, subservient to their lovers as they said and obviously beautiful…” Yoko explained. “Well, he’s so handsome! Don’t you think?” she added.

“He’s a bird!” she said, trying to process what Yoko just informed her about.

Yoko laughed at her. “One of their qualities is to grow wings. And they’re strong—stronger than you, in fact.”

Her lips made an “O” shape. “Really?” She always thought that vampires were the strongest on Earth. Her conceited belief was just crushed in an instant.

Hai!” Yoko confirmed with a creepy smile.

They killed some more vampires that attacked them, while still having their conversation. “But he’s a bird!” she said again.

Yoko’s shoulders shook as she giggled. “You like that bird creature! I just know it.”

She couldn’t believe herself. A Kinari—a male bird—caught her interest after over her thousand of years of existence on Earth? But she knew deep inside that she couldn’t just simply shrug off that feeling. It was the first time she could feel her heart beating, after it stopped pumping blood into her system. And her mind was just filled with his beautiful face, piercing silver eyes that they were almost white and those inviting, sexy lips…

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Chapter 2

FYRE flew away from the battlefield of the two vampire groups clashing. Before that, he was just playing his flute as he was sitting on a high tree branch when suddenly the vampires appeared in the area. His eyes were drawn to one specific female vampire who was more agile, stronger and more beautiful than the others.

That female vampire was wearing a pair of magenta-colored leather pants that perfectly hugged her muscled and sexy thighs and short-sleeved black tank top. Vampires were not bothered by Earth’s temperature anyway because of their being undead, thus the outfit. Perhaps.

She had a pretty face—that caught him slightly off guard. Never had he found a pretty vampire in his entire immortal life. She looked petite and fragile, with perfect body curves in all the right places, short bob cut straight brown hair, small but straight nose, chocolate-colored eyes, pink lush lips and flawless fair skin. Yes, he could clearly see these features even from afar.

His hands stilled. He stopped playing the flute and jumped down from the highest branch, where he perched. He noticed that a silver fir tree was about to fall down toward the busy beautiful vampire. It was against that tree that other vampires were thrown at. So he quickly held it in place and watched the raging battle—and her. No one seemed to notice him as he looked on.

‘Stupid, violent creatures!’ he thought to himself. But his eyes settled on that female vampire who had a Yuki-onna for a companion. The ghost of the snow seemed to float in the air; she wore a white kimono; her eyes were dark and so was her long straight hair that reached up to her waist; and she had blue lips. She looked rather scary to people, he knew, but nothing could scare him—except for one thing. But he refused to think about it at this very moment. He just wondered why that female vampire had a ghost friend like this Japanese woman’s spirit.

A few moments passed by, that female vampire spotted him. Their eyes met. He stared at her while she walked towards him and the ghost followed.

With that short conversation they had, her voice seemed to be imprinted in his mind. How could that creature be perfect? Until now, he wondered as he flew high in the sky.

‘But no, she isn’t perfect at all. She is obviously a short-tempered one,’ he mused.

After he left the Philippines a couple of years ago, he settled in the Romanian Carpathian region. He wanted to have a change of environment as his favorite Kalachuche tree was cut down. But it was not only that. He still had another reason why he left the country where he was born—his best friend Garem.

He closed his eyes for a moment and went back to the opposite direction. He watched what happened to the battlefield he left some minutes ago. He was not merely curious but he wanted to see if that woman was safe.

***

ASHLEY let out a sigh. She looked around the forest. She estimated half of her men have perished in the battle. Some were injured. Some were fine, just like her. But there was no sign of Tavar after they won. He was nowhere to be seen. No one could tell if he was beaten and turned into ashes. But most probably, he got away while she was distracted. She could feel it in her guts. That rebel wouldn’t go down easily.

‘That weasel of a vamp!’ she thought angrily. She wondered how he could slip unnoticed.

“Let’s get back to Hawnt’s place,” she called. She signaled to her right-hand man, Serred, to lead their party.

Her men ran like the wind while she took her time, thinking. Others helped their injured comrades.

She tried to recall with whom Tavar fought with before they arrived here. But it was like a blur. Another face—in fact, a handsome one—kept on appearing before her eyes, which distracted her ever since she laid eyes on him.

“That Kinari!” she mumbled to herself.

“Yes, that Kinari. He’s back,” Yoko whispered and giggled.

But she just shook her head. She just ignored what the ghost said. After all, that Kinari took off before the battle concluded.

She just looked straight ahead. She knew the entire Carpathian Mountains that spanned the Central and Eastern Europe. She hunted here for centuries, drinking the blood of the wolves, lynxes, chamois and brown bears when human blood was scarce at her maker’s home.

Yes, she was back now after leaving home for about five hundred years. She couldn’t imagine or even guess that she would circle back to where she was educated as a vampire.

She cursed politics! It was the reason why she was back here. She never thought her maker would become a Vampire King just a year ago. She never thought he fancied the idea, even. He was merely forced to take the throne because of The Seven Elders’ wishes. She had no idea how it happened. It always played in her mind to ask Hawnt but she never got the chance as she was always sent to track and take down the rebels.

Yes, she was now the leader of the elite vampire army. She didn’t even like it but was forced into it. Hawnt had no one to trust but her—and well, a few others for some other tasks. And as her maker, she had to follow him. It was her duty.

“He’s following you,” Yoko said in a sing-song voice but in a bit spooky way.

She looked around but she couldn’t find him. She could just see trees and the snow that accumulated quickly. She shook her head while looking at the ghost.

“Just stop teasing me, Yoko.” She glared at the Japanese spirit after saying it.

Yoko giggled—in a creepy way, as usual.

“Really, don’t do that. My hair stood up!” she laughingly said to her friend.

“What? I’m a Yuki-onna!” Yoko protested.

***

FYRE leaped backwards and quietly from time to time as he followed the vampire with her ghost friend. Sometimes, he would be ahead of her but enough to see her. He wondered where she was going alone.

His eyes focused on her serious face. He would bet his wings. She was thinking about something so deeply that she could not even spot him where he was. He was walking backwards to see her walking forward. The trees occasionally hid her but she would appear after passing by them. It was like in a slow motion movement.

His heart fluttered when he caught her smile. He couldn’t hear clearly from this distance what she talked about with the Yuki-onna. It was somehow good after she was seriously thinking about something a little while ago.

Darkness blanketed the entire forest and he saw her enter a hidden cave. The ghost just went through because of her non-corporeal body. He then looked around and found a high branch that was facing the entry way of the hidden cave. He perched and rested his back comfortably. He would wait for her to come out.

***

ASHLEY called all her men that were present in her maker’s home. She planned on dividing her forces to hunt down Tavar. He was the only one who knew where Versimus is currently hiding. So she thought that it would be better if they would just track him down while in a small number to avoid attention.

She also took a mental note of contacting a rogue and without a clan vampire she met. She was a great warrior and a millennium older than her. She heard that she always supported whoever was on the throne, just like her maker before. She heard that rogue was good at tracking rogues like herself.

“Serred, you’ll stay here and be ready at all times. You’re going to have the last group to come out whenever I say so. Is that clear?”

“Duly noted, Ash,” he said with a sloppy salute.

No one knew that Hawnt’s home was actually a trap. That was why Tavar came here with his men. But they didn’t know it was just a setup until it was too late. Of course, the Vampire King was not at his home. He was safe somewhere else.

Everything was laid down and she let her men rest and feed. Homeless people were their favorite as they won’t be missed and they were easily lured, thus easy preys.

She retired to her own chamber where Yoko was waiting for her. The ghost was sitting on her bed while watching TV. Yes, her room was complete with appliances. Although they were underground, Hawnt’s home provided technology. It was just the hallways were still lit by torches since she arrived here. He loved torches—that was why. However, the rooms were lit by electricity that came from the line of the nearest town. But the electrical wires were buried underground.

She took a warm shower in her own bathroom before she lay down to sleep, while her spooky friend went out quietly to not disturb her.

***

“YOU have nowhere to go, Kinari?”

Fyre was startled by that spooky voice. She was floating as high as the branch of the silver fir tree he was perching. He was already having a nap when she appeared suddenly.

“I could ask you the same question, Yuki-onna,” he fired back at her.

The ghost smiled eerily. But she butted her eyes seductively. He let out a sigh and averted his eyes.

“You can’t scare me or anything, you know that,” he stated coldly.

The ghost played her two index fingers by bumping them to each other. “I was going to ask if you have a golden jar.”

He chuckled. Then he looked at her with burning eyes. It reminded him of his best friend Garem.

“Do I look like I own a golden jar?” he snapped angrily. His nose flared and his heart was beating hard.

The ghost stepped back with one hand in front of her as if to push him away in fear. She whimpered. “I was just curious, that’s all!” In a second she was already on the ground, standing in the snow. Her feet were nowhere in sight. He wondered if it was because of her long white kimono she was wearing or she merely floated.

He glared at her when she waved at him smilingly. She vanished into a white mist and he rested his head back. Because of that Yuki-onna, he was dragged into his past about a couple of decades ago.

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Chapter 3

YOU’RE in love with a human?” Fyre asked his friend Garem in disbelief.

His friend visited him one midnight at his favorite Kalachuche tree. He was seated on the ground with his back resting on the tree trunk.

A smile was pasted on his friend’s face after confessing it to him. Like any other Kinari or Kinara, Garem had long light blue hair, silver eyes, red lips and almost transient-colored skin. Just that, his face was slightly angular. For Kinaras and Kinaris, they only had slight differences on how their faces look but their features were almost all the same—they were all beautiful, men and women alike.

Yes! Her name’s Josie. She has no family, though. She’s very beautiful, kind and gentle. And… she also loves my harp and the way I sing.”

Fyre swallowed. He was afraid for his friend. There were already stories that he heard about the fate of their kind when the human they loved dies. Although he hadn’t met any of those winged monsters called “Mandurugo” in the pre-colonial era, he didn’t want his best friend to turn into that kind of monster in the end.

Garem, you surely heard those stories of our ancestors. Our fate might—” he started.

His friend’s hand came to touch his shoulder. He stopped spouting words as his friend looked at him in the eye, shaking his head.

Fyre, I will definitely not end up a winged monster!”

How can you be so sure?” he asked with a doubtful voice. He was really still having doubts about it. For more than a thousand years of their being good friends, although this was the first time his friend has fallen for a human being, he instinctively had this kind of fear for him. He might end up as a winged monster.

His friend couldn’t say anything. Garem just stared at him, unable to formulate words to convince him.

He stood up and so did his friend. He looked up instead at the starry sky that night. He crossed his arms while still looking up at the twinkling gems in the dark skies.

Well, if you really do love this woman named Josie, I wish you happiness by her side. I wish you’ll never turn into a winged monster. And I wish that our friendship will never end.” He looked at his friend’s face. Garem was also looking up at the stars. “Garem, whatever happens, I’m here for you. I’ll support you. I’ll root for your love for this woman. That is, if she’s truly your happiness.”

Garem happily looked at him. His friend playfully bumped his shoulder.

However, a few years passed by. Garem brought him the bad news. Josie became ill. Human beings called it cancer. His friend said it was some kind of a blood cancer—leukemia—he said.

She’s a mortal being, Garem,” he gently said to his friend.

I don’t want her to die, Fyre!” his friend shed tears in sorrow. “I don’t know if I can go on with my life without her!”

He swallowed hard. He could empathize. Their kind had this capability because of their nature. So he held his friend’s shoulder and gently squeezed it.

I’m just here, Garem. I’m just here.”

Months passed. He was there for his friend when Josie died in Garem’s arms. He mourned for her. Later, after a few days, she was cremated. With Garem’s life force, he created a golden jar where he placed Josie’s ashes inside. He carried it with him wherever he goes.

Fyre’s heart was burdened because of what happened. His friend slowly alienated himself from him, the only one who stood by him. But Fyre understood his friend and gave him space to mourn. However, deep inside him, he was afraid that fate would somehow take a hold of his friend.

His friend usually spent his nights at the quiet park. One night, a drunken elderly human spotted Garem sitting on a park bench. It was where he and Josie used to sit when they dated. On his lap was the golden jar that stirred the drunken man’s interest.

Is that… pure gold?” the drunken person asked Garem, who was slightly caressing the golden jar.

Yes,” Garem honestly answered.

The man laughed. However, Garem ignored him. He went on, to reminisce his lover’s memories while stroking the golden jar gently.

What’s inside?” the man asked.

Something very precious,” Garem answered quietly.

Suddenly, the drunken man snatched the golden jar away from him. He stood up to get back his possession.

Meanwhile, Fyre was about to interfere when his friend noticed him. His friend’s eyes turned into red, which held him back from where he stood. Then those eyes settled to the drunken man who was walking away, swaying and whistling. The latter tucked in his armpit the fragile golden jar.

Fyre couldn’t believe his eyes as he looked on. His friend just transformed into a winged monster! It was that fate that he was so afraid of for his friend to end up.

Garem’s body was no longer that of a Kinari but a monster’s. His body was bloody red and so were his blood-colored feathers, his arms and legs turned into claws and his face changed. His teeth grew sharp and yellow, plus two fangs appeared.

Fyre swallowed hard as he watched Garem attack the drunken person that took his golden jar away. The golden jar fell to the ground, broken into a few pieces. Unaware, Garem drank all the drunken man’s blood and threw away the cadaver into the water fountain.

Fyre leaped into the air and was instantly beside his winged monster friend. The Mandurugo now looked at him with a bloody mouth.

Garem,” he gently called his friend’s name.

The winged monster looked away. Fyre picked up the broken golden jar. He held it toward his friend with tears in his eyes.

G-Garem, it’s broken,” he softly informed his friend.

Still, his friend didn’t look at him. He stooped down on one knee and scooped the ashes back to the largest broken piece of the golden jar. He was startled when Garem slapped his hand away. Instead, the winged monster tried to scoop back the ashes using his bloody claws.

However, the air blew hard and the breeze took the ashes away. The winged monster screamed in anger and sorrow. He thrashed his body and wings around. To dodge, Fyre leaped into the air and away from his friend. His tears silently rolled down his cheeks.

For years after that happened, he watched his friend. Garem never returned into his Kinari self ever again. All the winged monster had were the broken pieces of the golden jar, which was his life force. This made Fyre feel so alone, so lonely, so hesitant to go near his friend. He did try many times. But Garem won’t face him anymore.

Fyre knew that his friend was still in there. But he could never return to his normal self as a Kinari ever again. Thus, he asked a Kinari Elder, Serahk, if there was still anything that can be done for his friend.

I’m sorry, Fyre. If the golden jar wasn’t broken, there could still be a chance for him to become a Kinari once in a while. But not anymore,” Serahk sadly shook his head.

What if I use my life force to put the golden jar’s pieces together?” His heart was still hopeful for his friend to come back to his old self.

The Kinari Elder looked at him for a little while. But then, he shook his head afterwards. “That’s his fate, Fyre. No one else can undo it. Even Garem himself. He’ll stay as a winged monster forever.”

Fyre felt his heart seemed to be crumpled tightly in his chest. He could still remember that day he warned his friend about this fate. But he was so happy. It just that it ended tragically.

But he’s living off in human blood. He’s like a vampire now, Serahk. I can’t take it much longer! I can’t just watch him do horrible things and—”

Serahk held him by the shoulder. “Look at me, Fyre.” And he did. “Garem’s fate is sealed. But if you want to help him, there’s only one way to stop him from taking human lives.”

He swallowed as he listened.

He weighed it for many days. But Garem seemed to be insatiable as days went by. A lot of people became victims for his being a winged monster. And Fyre could not just watch idly by. People were already afraid that rumors spread all over the town.

Kinaras’ and Kinaris’ Dead Moon arrived. For humans, it was New Moon. And it was the time when winged monsters were in their weakest. Just like Serakh advised, Fyre only had to get the broken pieces of the golden jar, smash them into powder and scatter them in the sea water. By that, Garem would perish into nothingness as his life force disintegrates into the sea.

But it was easier suggested than done. Garem was always near by his golden jar. He was now living in a cave in the deep forest. Therefore, it was difficult for Fyre to get those pieces without his friend noticing.

But he waited. He patiently waited for the winged monster to take a nap. The Dead Moon naturally made him drowsy later on. Fyre watched him go to lie down in a corner. So here was his chance to get those golden jar pieces.

He waited for some more moments to ensure that his friend was asleep. When he thought it was long enough, he silently walked towards the golden jar pieces. He picked them up one by one. However, the tiny bit of sound they made woke the winged monster.

Garem attacked him in a second. Fyre hit his back against the stone wall of the cave. The golden jar pieces were scattered all over the place. His friend thrashed him once again but he didn’t fight back. He knew that his friend was weak and it meant that he was much stronger. However, he didn’t want to hurt his friend, although he already made up his mind of banishing him to nothingness.

Garem, it’s me!” he pleaded.

Garem stopped fighting with him for a moment. His friend’s blood red eyes bored into his silver ones. He swallowed hard.

I know that you don’t want to become this… winged monster. You said so.”

His friend’s eyes blinked twice. Thrice. The winged monster stepped back once, staggering.

Well, I know how to stop you from being one. If you just give me your life force that is in the golden jar pieces, I can help you. By that… I… I suppose you can be with Josie once again.”

Garem’s eyes blinked many times while looking at him. He seemed to be interested in this idea. Fyre had to convince him more as his friend didn’t make a move.

Humans have spirits. We are spirits, technically, but with a corporeal body,” he said slowly. “Because we are supernatural beings and immortal ones, we have the power to meet human spirits. Do you understand me, Garem?”

I want to see Josie,” Garem said haltingly. His red eyes welled with tears.

Fyre slowly stepped closer to his friend. “You can do that if you let me help you. You just give me all your golden jar pieces and… and you’ll find Josie.”

Of course, he hated himself for lying like this! But he had no choice. If he had to end his friend’s miserable immortal life, he’d do it no matter how difficult it is for him.

Garem nodded slowly and gestured for him to pick up the golden jar pieces. He quickly did it before his friend would realize he was lying.

You stay here. You’ll know when it is time,” he said after he finished picking up the pieces.

Thank you for doing this for me, Fyre,” his friend said slowly.

His tears slowly made their way to his cheeks. He nodded and quickly turned to leave. He flew away towards the sea. He powdered the pieces of the golden jar using his bare hands. As he flew above the sea water, he scattered the powdered life force of his friend with a heavy, aching heart.

He looked up at the sky with twinkling stars. It looked so vast and glistening from where he was. ‘I hope you’ll see her despite of the lie I told you, Garem,’ he miserably thought.

He went back to the cave where he left Garem. Silver dust was scattered all over the place. He fell on his knees and cried. His friend was forever gone.

He mourned for a long time. He went back to his favorite Kalachuche tree and thought of the good times that he and his friend were having together, laughing at just about anything.

And when that tree was cut one day, all he could find was a single trampled white Kalachuche flower. He used a little of his life force to preserve it and put it in his hair. It was the last thing he could have as a memory of his friend.

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