The Sun had already set, taking its warmth with it, but the surroundings weren't completely dark. A beautiful moon had taken the place of the sun. Instead of the Sunlight, it was the moonlight that the town basked in, preventing the darkness from taking hold.
All the roads in the small town were completely vacant. Not a single person could be seen anywhere as the citizens went to the comfort of their homes.
Gabriel sat at the dining table, right beside Maya. A middle-aged man also sat on the other side of the table with his wife, both of whom appeared to have similar features to the young lady.
Gabriel's mother had died when he was just five years old. It was the Aria family who took him in at that troubled time. Even though they didn't adopt him, they allowed Gabriel to stay with them. He was a part of the family despite being their blood.
Maya was the only daughter of the Aria family. The two youngsters had spent most of their life together and grew quite close to each other along the way. It was only because of Maya that Gabriel never felt like he was alone in this world. She was always there for him, even when he felt sad or missed his mother. She was his light in the world of loneliness.
"So Gabriel, you will be going to the Church of Light. You have become a big man now. You'll have lots of influence. How do you feel?" Maya's father, Calamus, asked casually before taking a bite from the meat that laid him.
"I am not sure. It was always my dream to join the Church of Light Magic. I've grown up hearing stories about the heroes of light who fought in the Great War against the evil Mages of Darkness centuries ago. The stories of Light that defeated darkness and saved the world. I can't believe I'll be one of them now."
Gabriel could only gaze at his food blankly as he tried to summarize his feelings which wasn't proving to be easy. Even he didn't know what he was actually feeling. He was happy, but for some reason, he was also sad.
"Hey, you can't give all the credit to the Holy Mages of Light!" Maya chimed in, slightly angry. "If the Mages of the Magic of Water and the other elements hadn't helped, even the Mages of Light would've had a hard time defeating those Demons. I don't understand why everyone gives credit to only Magicians of Light. It's as if we don't exist at all."
She was a Mage of Water, and she couldn't accept her element's contribution being belittled.
"Of course, the other Elements helped too. I'm not saying they didn't," Gabriel smiled wryly. "It's just that... I like the element of Light more... It's so pure. I don't know how to describe it, but I've always wanted this element, and now I have it. It's like my dreams are coming true one by one, but at the same time, I feel sad as well."
He gazed at the Symbol of his awakening on the back of his left hand.
"Sad? Why?" Maya looked at Gabriel, confused. "What's sad about it? You know how many people would be jealous of you right now? Not everyone gets the opportunity you received."
"I know. It's not about that. It's just that tomorrow, I'll be a member of the Church of Light. I'll have to leave this place. I won't be able to see any of you for years... Until my training completes."
"If I had gone to the Academy instead, I could"ve stayed with you all, but not now. It feels like this is our last dinner together, and that thought makes me sad." Gabriel looked at the plate before him. He still hadn't taken even a single bite.
"Hey, why are you acting like you're going to prison?" Maya hit the back of Gabriel's head lightly. "It's not like you're going to die. Stop being such a downer. Of course, you'll be allowed to come out. We'll definitely meet again. Don't think nonsense now. Eat the dinner and focus on the bright future."
"Only one percent of people wake up an element, and that percentage is even less for Light Mages. The two of us are really lucky. One day, I'll join the Church of Water. By then, you would be out of your training. We will definitely meet again. And it'll be a happy reunion," She placed her hand on top of Gabriel's hands. "It won't be our last dinner together, I promise."
Seeing that beautiful smile of Maya and feeling the warmth of her hand in his hand, Gabriel couldn't stop himself from being dazed. His heart skipped a beat.
Even though he had never told anyone, he had fallen for Maya a long time ago, but he could only keep his feelings hidden. He wasn't brave enough to tell her yet.
"You're right. One day, we will meet again, and it'll be a happy day." Gabriel agreed. "I'll be a Holy Priest of the Church of Light, and you'll be the Priestess of the Church of Water."
He gazed into the beautiful eyes of Maya momentarily. 'I promise, that will be the day I tell you my true feelings. Once I become something significant and not someone who is a burden to your family, I will come clear. That day... I don't know what your answer will be. I'm already scared...'
To distract himself from such depressing thoughts about the future, he finally touched his plate and started eating as well.
As much as Gabriel thought himself to be, the truth was that he wasn't that good at keeping secrets. The parents of Maya had already realized his feelings that he held for their only daughter.
Unlike their stupid daughter, who hadn't realized it, they had realized it long ago. They could see that love in the eyes of Gabriel clearly. They were happy as well. Gabriel was a prodigy of the Holy Element of Light after all.
They knew that he was undoubtedly going to be a big shot in the Church of Light. If their daughter married him in the future, she was going to be really lucky. Even the King couldn't offend the Church of Light after all! Their influence was just too much!
Even though the Aria family accepted this relationship, they didn't want to interfere in it. They wanted to let it take its own course. They didn't want their daughter to feel like they were forcing her. Inside their hearts, they were both wishing Gabriel great luck.
After finishing dinner, the middle-aged couple left, leaving Gabriel alone with their daughter.
After a long time, Gabriel also finished his Dinner. He picked up the empty plates and started clearing the table while Maya waited for him on the table.
After he had placed the plates in the sink, he returned to Maya. "Shall we go outside for a little fresh air?"
"Sure." Maya stood up and followed Gabriel out of the house.
A ladder was standing with the support of the wall outside the house. Since none of them could fly, they could only use the ladder to go to the roof. Gabriel let Maya take the lead on the ladder and went up after her.
Reaching the roof, the two sat right beside each other, facing the beautiful moon as their shoulders touched.
"This is the last night of mine here, and the moon looks so beautiful. I don't want this night to end." Gabriel gazed at the beautiful moon that was shining brightly.
"The moon looks beautiful indeed," Maya agreed. "I don't know why; it looks even more beautiful than it does normally."
For a few minutes, no one spoke anything. Only silence remained.
The scary silence was broken by Gabriel. "Maya?"
Gabriel turned to the side, focusing on Maya. "How does it feel when you use a spell and your element? I've never done it before. What does it feel like?"
Even though he was genuinely curious about this question, it was also subconsciously an attempt for him to have a reason to look at Maya since it was unclear when he was going to see her next. He could see the moon anytime he wanted in the future, not her. Moreover, for him, Maya was even prettier in the moonlight than the moon itself
"It feels amazing. It is really hard to describe it in words, but it feels like you're doing something that you were... meant to do," Maya tried to explain the best she could.
"You'll soon learn to use spells as well. I heard the Holy Element of Light has some really amazing spells. The light mages are the elites of the academy after all; even though I've never seen them use their spell, I've heard some stories."
The two sat on the roof, talking for hours as Maya talked about her experience in the academy.
It was only when she started feeling thirsty that she stopped. "It should be midnight already. We've been talking here for so long. We should go back and get some sleep."
"It's alright; you can go ahead first. I'll stay here for a few more minutes," Gabriel responded.
"Are you sure?"
"Yep. I don't feel like sleeping so early."
"I won't force you if you don't want to sleep but still, don't stay up too long." Maya stood up. She was so thirsty and sleepy that even if she wanted to keep Gabriel company, she couldn't. "You know you have to be at church early in the morning. Get some sleep when you're done."
"Yes, boss." Gabriel chuckled in response.
Maya simply rolled her eyes. She went down the roof and entered the house after bidding farewell to Gabriel.
Even as Maya left, Gabriel was still sitting on the roof, gazing at the moon. "I'm really nervous about tomorrow. I don't know why, but I have a bad feeling. I'm overthinking, right Mother? I hope I don't screw something up tomorrow."
"You won't screw up tomorrow. Because your tomorrow will never come...." Came a cold voice from the back, stunning Gabriel. Before Gabriel could turn to see who had spoken, something hard smacked the back of his skull.
It was as if someone had hit him with a wooden bat. His head started bleeding, and his vision started getting blurry. He dropped to the roof. His eyes soon closed.
The last thing Gabriel heard before everything turned dark for him were a few cold words, "Man, I thought that girl was never going to leave. Fortunately, she did."
Even as he lost consciousness, he didn't know who could've hit him from the back...