18 What now?

Lucius stole a glance at Emi. She was smiling sweetly with her eyes briefly contacting his, then slowly turned to her small fingers. His gaze softens from every little gesture she does, and behind his mask was a hidden smile. While everything lasts, he wanted to be with her, until she remembers, until the truths are told.

"Celes, come!" Isabella was pulling Celes to rush to the people waiting for them. Both of them caught their attention.

"Finally." Cole put his hands on his hip, getting tired from all the waiting.

Isabella was a modest-looking young lady. Wearing the all-white iconic nun outfit with part of her golden bangs revealed from her habit. Her icy blue eyes were shimmering with excitement from meeting an old friend. She also exhibited a cheerful personality, someone friendly for them to approach.

"Everyone, this is Saint Isabella. A friend of mine from Wizard Academy." Celes introduced. She was a lot calmer this time, unlike before. Isabella on the other hand was eccentric, huffing and humming happily to meet Celes's new friends. Suddenly, she forwarded her body, intrigued.

"What're your names?! Where are you all from?! Are you all Celes's friends too?! When did you meet her?! Are you guys from the Academy too?! I hope you didn't get a bad first impression of her!" She continuously asked.

Clearly, Celes's having a friend seems like something shocking and impossible. But it didn't bewilder them at all, judging from her personality; coldness, bluntness, argumentative, persistent, and more. It's only logical that she doesn't make that good impression with other people too. Celes instantly smacked Isabella's back.

"Ouch! That's hurt!" She yelped, tear-eyed from being hit.

"You're a saint, be respectful, Isabella." Celes argued.

"Fine!" Isabella only pouted from her harshness. She stood straight and composed herself.

"I'm sorry for my misbehavior. That was a bit disrespectful. As Celes has mentioned before, I am Saint Isabella of St. Elysian. I was a student from Wizard Academy, which is also where I met Celes." Isabella lowered her head at them, introducing herself.

"It's fine. No worries, you're just happy for her, right." Cole comforted her.

Isabella smiled at them for their understanding. She swapped her attention to each one of them, the two gentlemen in front of them until she saw the little Emi on Lucius's shoulder. She had an astounded expression before Celes took her attention.

"Isabella. So can you help us?" Celes asked her.

"Of course! Celes has briefed me on the situation, so where is the one that needed the healing?" Isabella turned to the gentlemen.

"Her." The three of them called out almost at the same time while pointing their finger at the same person.

"Me." Emi raised her hand, with her smile plastered on her lips since the beginning of their meeting. Isabella once again expressed confusion but this time with wariness.

"You?" She asked, perplexed.

"Uhm, yes? Is there a problem?" She hesitated. They turned to Isabella waiting for her answer, curious of her reaction.

"It's nothing... But... I feel an ominous aura from you. You're a dark mage, aren't you?" She asked, then changed her gaze to Lucius.

"Him too." They went speechless.

"You can see them?" Emi questioned with a puzzled expression.


Cole was sitting down at a table while taking a sip of his coffee that was newly brewed and brought by Madam Rose. She already left the large guest room for them to rest. The square table was surrounded by Cole, Lucius, Celes, and lastly Isabella, all taking each side to sit for themselves.

Celes was completely immersed in her astronomy book, an encyclopedia to be precise. Lucius as always had his attention on the tiny young lady sitting on top of the table facing Isabella.

"So you can see auras, that's why you know what type of magic we possessed?" Emi asked her for clarification.

"Yes. I've always been sensitive since I was young, so I can tell other people's aura. But I must ask, why do you need help from me?"

Isabella wondered why a dark mage would ask for her assistance, she was pretty sure that everyone knows; Light magic counters dark magic. She could die.

"She is cursed, so we need you to help to remove it." Celes suddenly intercepted.

"But she's a dark mage and I'm a light mage. She would be in danger, do you even realize that?" Isabella tries to reason with them.

"I know but it is what they wanted." Celes contemplated the whole time she was with them, and even she suggested they met Isabella and gain her assistance.

"Don't worry, Isabella, Celes. I currently have no condition to perform any dark spells related. You just need to remove the Plague Curse in my body, to remove my current suffering." Emi assured them.

"Plague Curse?! Why aren't you quarantined yet?!" Isabella was shocked to hear such a curse in her body.

"Quarantined? What do you mean?" Cole was intrigued to know.

"Have you not know? The capital city had various outbreaks because of this curse, and it can spread to other people upon contact. Even the main hospital and St. Elysian were crowded with patients. Added to the fact that this place had a high density of population, it is almost easier to be affected." Isabella frowns as she tries to explain.

"So that's why you were suspicious of us, didn't you?" Out of nowhere, Lucius put forward. Celes slammed the table.

"Watch your mouth." She threatens.

"Ah! Calm down, Celes." Isabella tries to calm her down. Celes only crossed her arm while looking away.

"He's not wrong at all. I was indeed wary of them." Celes didn't say anything anymore, her gaze falls to the ground.

"You have every right to be suspicious of us. After all, we are dark magic users. It is only natural to be wary." Emi comforted her.

Understandably, she would be wary of any dark-magic users since this is the only type of magic that create such havoc. However, what raised her worries is that the city also had the same kind of curse. Could this be a coincidence?

"Looks like they're here too." Cole's voice sounded more serious, his playful behavior was out of the window now.

"They?" It piques Celes's interest.

"The hooded men." Emi lowered her head, she was finally reminded of the tragedy be fallen in the small town they had visited.

"Isabella, how long has the plague spread in the city?" Cole asked. Isabella contemplates for a moment before her hand clapped together.

"Almost a month by now. It was quite sudden for all of us, that so many people were infected in just one day." Isabella explained.

"A month?" They pondered.

"Lucius, she was revived not a month ago, don't you find that suspicious?" Cole hinted to him.

"Do you think it's connected? Is there something we should have known, Cole?" Lucius began to catch up, and Cole knew something about it. They were anticipating an explanation from him.

"I was planning to tell this after she's awake, and since she is awake now, I will tell you guys what happen that day." Cole stated.

"Tell us what, Cole?" Emi looked at him with her heart beating fast from the suspense.

"They've waited for you, Emi. They know you've been revived." Cole's breath was heavy, the fear suddenly crawling back to his throat.

"They? Who's they?" Both Celes and Isabella were still in the dark.

"The hooded men. They spread the Plague Curse in a small town where we stayed. Emi told me to chase after them, and as I did, the leader, Narc. He said that they have waited for her. I think they will try to attack us once again..." Cole concluded his words.

"They've waited for me?!" Emi was taken aback by the surprise.

"What do they want from me?" She was now a target of some malevolent people. With her current state and her father, Atlas not here to protect her, she was vulnerable.

"Oh no. I think... They intentionally made me use my powers to the full extent so that I will become weak and easy to be taken away." Emi started to panic. It made things a lot clearer now.

"Shoot! Even the last time Death and I fought them, they weren't so easy to handle. That person, Narc, and his subordinates, they were necromancers!" Agitation kicks into Cole, he huffs in anger.

"Necromancers?!" Isabella gasped in surprise.

"I did watch the commotion at the small town, but to think it was planned out. This is indeed a serious matter." Celes was getting restless too.

"Calm down, everyone. Whatever happens, we need to protect Emi."

Lucius's words made them lessen their tension. A clouded perception is the last thing they needed. What they need right now is to prepare, or the worst scenario might happen.

"May I ask? Why is it these necromancers are chasing her?" Isabella asked.

"Isabella." Celes motioned for her to come closer. As Isabella's ear was now, closer to her lips, Celes uttered something shocking that almost made her scream.

"Dragon Pri-!" Quickly she covered her mouth with her hands. The shocking news was too much to bear. Emi just chuckled awkwardly while scratching her head from the embarrassment.

"What now, Lucius?" Cole asked him. He thinks for a moment, for sure they will not leave her alone and will stop at nothing to achieve their goal, they need a plan. Emi kept stretching and massaging her fingers, clearly agitated.

"What's wrong Emi?" Lucius asked her.

"E- E- Eyes..." She stuttered, her eyes fixed on the window on their right. Suspense building up, slowly they turned their head to where her eyes were set.

"Lucius... I think... They know we're here..." She said whispering.