The old man could be seen hunched over a blue flicker in an alleyway, if you looked close enough. He was shaking. The Reaper had passed so close, but luckily, his sights were trained on someone else. The old man felt bad for that child, and felt the loss, for his own reasons. All he could do now was focus on the girl, help the girl, and teach the girl. He had accumulated much knowledge in his unnaturally extended life. He needed someone to pass it on to once he left this plane of existence. He needed someone to continue his fight.

The girl in question was, at the moment, bombing a math test. Her mind was on other things, and they were not in the slightest bit normal. She pondered her encounter with the man. It was many months ago, and yet she couldn’t shake the notion that he was still out there, watching her. She shuddered. It was a creepy thought. How was he able to conjure such otherworldly creatures like the wyrm he had with him that night? How dare he suggest they had something in common? Would he have poisoned her if he hadn’t gotten distracted? Would she still be alive if she hadn’t escaped?

The bell rang, and the girl was forced to hand in her math test, only half filled in. Her teacher raised his eyebrows. Honestly, what were kids getting up to these days? She had deep bags under her eyes, and she walked as if she hadn’t had a good night’s sleep in weeks.

“Sorry, Mr. Smith. I guess I wasn’t so focused today.”

The girl then walked out of the classroom, on her way to another day of lunch in the library. Mr. Smith watched her go, and finally moved his eyes down to his desk, where he had tests to grade. He shrugged his shoulders, and pushed his worries of the girl into the back of his mind, where other things not mentioned resided, like the uncommon occurrence of a half dressed clown putting makeup on in the mirror of his chevy. He preferred not to reflect on these things.

The Reaper stepped off his peryton. The giant creature grunted and shook his giant mass of pointed antlers. The Reaper tapped his bejeweled clasp, and the peryton shimmered out of the air. This done, the Reaper pulled off the hood of his cloak.

Stark white hair spilled in front of his pale face. His eyes remained in shadow, but if one could see them, one would be shocked by the lack of pigment. Looking out of a window, the Reaper tried to decide what he was going to do with the boy. Should he kill him? No, the Reaper thought. He might become valuable later. As a fighter, or maybe a bargaining piece. After all… phoenixi are some of the most volatile ma’apinsinuo.


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