Dimensions Collide: Destiny Bond

Chapter 6: Taming the Soul

There was a lurch in Quartas stomach, a feeling like his intestines were being ripped out of his body as the world turned grey as time stopped around him.

Quarta could see Protas mana core, which was a surprise to him considering both of them had assumed she had no mana core. Typically, a mana core looked something like an orb, according to books and mages, but hers was… different, was the only word Quarta had to describe it. it was constantly shifting, moving, like a fluid, and had extended through Protas body to where Quarta had touched her, reaching into him and pulling something out.

”Hey, hands off! ” Zero yelled. Quarta stared in surprise. It was Zero that was being pulled out.

”Oh, right, ” he said, although there was no audible sound. ”You
e my soul. ”

”Yeah, don remind me of it, ” Zero grumbled. ”You think I like being stuck to you? ”

Quarta could see what had happened to most of the other people shed killed. Shed absorbed all of their mana until there was none left, then taken the only source of energy they had left, their soul. However, the soul was something people typically needed to live, and so its removal tended to kill people.

With this, he also completely understood the nature of her power. What Zero had said earlier clicked in with the situation he was in right now.

”I said hands off! ” Zero yelled again, pulling back. This mustve been something no one else would ever see: a mana core attempting to absorb the energy of someone with a sentient soul who was also capable of fighting back. Unfortunately, Quarta could do nothing but stand and watch.

”Interesting, ” he thought. ”Im seeing Zero fight for the first time ever. ”

”Ha ha, you
e so funny, ” Zero said through grit teeth. ”You mind helping out? ”

”What do you want me to do? ” Quarta shrugged in desperation.

It was a tense moment. Throughout all of it, he could feel the tugging sensation in his gut, a pull that was somewhat painful, reminding him that if Zero lost it was game over for both of them. It was a tug of war with life on the line, and Protas mana core was winning.

”Fuck it, ” Zero grunted as his black eye began to glow.

”Oy! Are you trying to kill her? ” Quarta exclaimed.

”No, I- right, **, ” Zero sighed, his eye returning to normal.

Back and forth, back and forth it went, Zero sometimes gaining ground, sometimes Protas soul pulling back with even more force. Quarta was helpless to do nothing but watch as Zero struggled, sometimes losing, sometimes winning. However, with one last heave, he finally detached himself from the mana core, which snapped back to its place at the center of Protas chest, once again floating like a ball of fluid. Zero was thrown back into Quartas body, and time went back to normal.

”Ugh! ” Quarta grunted, falling onto his face. Prota was sent flying back a bit from the shove, but otherwise was ok.

”Wh- what the- ” the guard stared at the two. ”Hey! You touched her! And… you
e not dead? Isn he supposed to be dead? ”

Quarta got up, dusting himself off. The other guard and the drunkard from last night were staring, mouths gaping open. He couldn see them, but he was sure others were watching as well.

”Yeah, thats right. Im alive. ”

”But- but- you touched her! You
e supposed to be dead! ”

”Well, Im clearly not. Wanna test it out? ”

”Maybe it was a fluke! ”

”You wanna touch her? I touched her with BOTH hands, actually. … ” Quarta looked uncomfortable. ”That could have been phrased better. ”

”You- you must be demonic as well! ” the drunkard yelled. ”Kill him! Someone kill him! ”

”Oh, for gods sake, you want to appraise me or something? ”

”Whats the point in appraising you? You
e clearly a demon? ”

”How would you even know what a demon looks like? ” Quarta yelled. This man was starting to annoy him.

”Hey, hands off, ” the first guard, the one near the drunkard said. ”Thats Quarta, the bartender. I know him, hes manaless. His core registers a fat zero. No offence, ” he added in Quartas direction.

”Quarta? ” the other guard said, lowering his spear and taking a closer look. ”Hey, wait a minute… ”

Quarta sighed, rummaged around in his pockets and then pulled out a piece of ID.

”Here, satisfied? ”

”Then… shes not demonic? ”

”What the ** is that supposed to mean? ” Quarta grumbled. ”You
e telling me you tried to plunge a spear into a childs head without even confirming who she was? And whats all this business about demons and shit? If she was really a demon, wouldn you be dead by now? ”

There was silence as Quarta continued to shoot daggers with his glare.

”…terribly sorry, sir, ” the first guard said, beckoning his partner with the spear to leave. ”Well file an incident report right away. ” They started to walk away, but Quarta called after them.

”Hey. This could get you into a lot of trouble, right? I could easily tell your captain you tried to kill a girl who posed no threat. ”

”…yes? ”

”Then do me a favour and leave the incident report alone. Pretend none of this ever happened. ”

The guard hesitated, obviously unsure whether to agree or not, but finally shook his head and shrugged.

”Yeah, sure, ” he sighed as he and his partner left.

”And you, ” Quarta said, walking up to the drunkard and grabbing him by the shirt. ”Really need to know when to shut your mouth. ”

The drunkard was about to say something, but then shut up. The amount of bloodlust coming from Quarta was radiating about him was immense, and it was terrifying. The drunkard didn know why he was so afraid. Quarta had no mana, and wasn necessarily someone who could kill at any given moment, but the pressure was more than the drunkard had felt from any adventurer he knew.

More than that, the look in his eyes suggested pain and all things terrible. They weren blazing with flames like other angry people. They were void, completely empty of any emotion, staring at the drunkard as one might look at a cut of meat. It was clear Quarta saw the man as nothing more than something like a piece of trash hed tripped on, and he knew that if he stayed in the way any longer hed be thrown out. The guy was, what, 20? 21? Where did he learn to stare like that?

Quarta threw the drunkard to the ground without another word.

”Come on, Prota, lets go, ” he said. The little girl got up, staring at him in confusion, but they left quietly, leaving not a single trace of the confrontation behind.

~~~

”…how? ”

They were sitting in front of the fire, hot drinks in hand. Prota hadn said anything on the way back, but she was burning with curiosity.

She was understandably nervous. Hed acted very cold, with no regards to the mans life, had casually blackmailed the royal guards into staying silent, all with no hesitation or thought. Was he someone that was safe to be near? He hadn done anything to suggest malicious intent towards her, but…

On the other hand, he was the first person to touch her without dying. What was different? Just who was he?

”Prota, do you understand how your ability works? ” Quarta sighed.

”…ability? ”

”You have an ability inside of you, ” Quarta said. ”Maybe its more accurate to say you have a very special mana core. ”

”But… my family doesn have mana cores… ”

”Then you
e special, ” Quarta said. ”Regardless, you have a very special ability. ”

”Do you know how mana works in this world? ”

Prota shook her head. ”I read the books, but… ” she indicated for him to talk. The use of mana and mana cores was common knowledge, but Quarta clearly had something to say that was going to be a bit more than what the average person knew.

Quarta sighed again. ”Well, here we go. ”

”Mana is a resource that exists around us, like air. It cannot be seen by normal eyes; only by people with special abilities. Now, not everyone has a mana core. Its an optional part of the human body if it can be called a part at all. Well, in this world, at least, ” Quarta added under his breath.

”From the books youve read, you know mana is absorbed through the mana core, and then can be used in the form of magic. You know the elements: fire, water, earth and air, and then deviations of such. The better a mana core is at absorbing mana, the more magic one can use. This is measured in the ranking systems: D to SSS class. ”

Prota nodded. This was all relatively common information.

”Now, what most people don know is that the mana core is connected to the soul. ”

”Soul? ”

”The soul is essentially you. It contains your consciousness, your ”ego, ” or you. ”

Prota grabbed her head in frustration. She may have been smart, but she was still a small child.

Quarta rubbed his chin. ”Um… ok. How to put it… See that wood over there? ” He pointed to the fireplace. ”That wood has the potential to start a fire. However, alone, it is just wood. Just like wood and fire, the body isn ”alive ” until there is a soul in it. Does that make sense? You are a soul that controls your body. ”

The explanation wasn very good, and so Prota was still mildly confused but she nodded. It made enough sense that he could carry on with the explanation.

”Ok, Prota, You have to listen very carefully now. What Im about to say isn going to be very easy to take, but you have to listen, ok? This is just how your power works. ”

”Your soul is incapable of absorbing mana from the atmosphere. The only way you can absorb mana… ”

”Is from others. ”

Her eyes widened.

”…others? ”

”Yes. You can take mana from someone else, and then use it as your own. Now, I don know if this is true, but I would suspect your ability activated due to the trauma of… last year, whatever happened then. However, its operating on overload. You
e trying to absorb as much mana as you can. Your soul is like a black hole… a better example is probably a bottomless pit. Its just absorbing and absorbing and absorbing. When you touch someone, you start taking their mana, but you just keep taking all the energy you can. ”

Zero nodded, so Quarta knew his explanation was correct. Hed been a bit nervous, because if hed been wrong about his theory he wouldve had to re-explain himself and look like a fool.

”So… why do they die? ” she said impatiently. She had to know. If she was just absorbing mana, why did she kill all those people?

Why did she kill her parents?

”Because you
e also taking their soul. ”

Silence.

”The soul is also a huge form of energy. You don know how to control your own power, when to stop it, and so your mana core is just eating away at anything it can. When someone has no mana left, you
e draining the life out of them and using that instead. If we went to get you appraised right now, you… you might be an S class, with the amount of magic power you have inside of you. ”

Her eyes shot up.

”Thats whats going on right now. ” He took a deep breath.

”Zero here is my soul, ” Quarta continued as his clone popped out. ”Thats how I was able to survive. He fought your mana core off and somehow didn get sucked in. ”

”Yeah, it wasn easy, ” he grumbled. ”That thing inside of her is really annoying. ”

Protas eyes went wide as she realized something. When Quarta had shoved her aside, he would have died were it not for the fact that Zero being Quartas soul was a special and unusual thing.

Her eyes started tearing up as she sat alone with her thoughts. She was a child, and yet was forced to face and bear the burden of these facts. It wasn fair. She was someone that had no one supporting her despite having done nothing wrong. She blamed herself for actions that weren her fault and stood alone against the world because of it.

Quart saw this and realised something. He, too, had once gone through something like that, and had isolated himself from feelings and relationships as a result. Could he stand by and watch someone else go through that as well? Initially, hed brought Prota in because he thought she was someone interesting, someone that held potential to become someone big, but he also saw himself inside of her.

He couldn let someone else become like him. With that, he made up his mind. Everything hed done was simply to keep her content, but now… There was going to be a lot more between the two than child and caretaker.

”Hey, Prota, ” Quarta said after she stopped crying. She looked up, her eyes brimming with tears.

”What? ”

”Theres a bit more to this than what I said. ”

She wiped her eyes, sniffling. Quarta passed her a few tissues as she wiped her nose.

”I can help you. ”

Those four words changed everything.

”Help… me? ”

”…well, if you want. You wanna learn how to become a mage? ”

”… ”

”You have the potential. You have the power needed. All we need to do is train that core of yours, ” he said, pointing at her chest. ”The only thing is… ”

”Are you up for it? ”

Her eyes widened as she considered the possibilities.

No more killing with just a touch.

No more terror of watching people drop dead when she held their hand or accidentally brushed them as they walked by.

No more solitude.

No more beatings.

And power, the power to find her sister, find the demon, and make everything right…

She clenched her small fists and nodded resolutely.

”Yes. ”

Destiny was making its move.

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