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Leave it be

Leave it be

Upon my travels of many life times, I met a strange assortment of creatures, heard rumors of many more and known that either I knew them or they knew me. Very rarely would I come across an old soul that I never heard nor met before. This particular tale is about one I had gotten to know very well after several years. Her name was Lily.

I found her early one morning. I don't exactly know why I was out in the woods so early that spring morning, but she was sitting under a tree next to a fawn. She was just a wide-eyed and shy as a doe and froze, as I stumbled into the clearing where she sat.

I sat down and stared at her, going through all the possibilities of who she could be, then again, she could always be a new soul, every generation has a lot more newcomers than old souls. I had half a mind to just leave her there, but something about her screamed at me that I couldn't. Hell, she reminded me a little of my sister, but it wasn't something that I could put into words. She felt like the spring air, her essence was a warming flower bud, filled with hope, curiosity and kindness. It was then; I decided to talk to her.

Well, it was more as if I was talking at her. She didn't respond to anything I said, but when I got up an hour later, she followed me home.

She spent days silently observing me, it was rather weird, but I just went along with it and tried to talk to her a few times. She wouldn't respond but she wasn't as shy as she was that first morning.

I began to notice that several things either went missing or misplaced, as a few more weeks went by. It seemed that the house had come down with fairies, not that I minded, I just wished they wouldn't turn my fruit sour when I forgot to offer some to them. Then I thought about it, I never attracted fairies before, but the only thing different was the quiet girl with me.

Most people would have kicked her out. Fairies are pesky creatures to deal with and best to remove the source to get rid of them. I just let it be, I had enough bad karma and this girl didn't deserve it just because she attracted things.

One morning, she finally did start talking to me, and she actually had a lot to say. One of the things was that I am a lot nicer than all the rumors about me stated. Ha! Yeah right, those rumors were there for a reason, but one or two, I may have started myself, just for kicks.

She introduced herself to me, although she was already well aware of whom I was, I introduced myself anyways. Then it hit me, this was a bizarre occurrence of how we just crashed into each other's lives, no warning at all. Suddenly, we were friends from a chance meeting and not even exactly on the same side of life. She was airy and free, while I was whimsical and dark. Somehow, we made it work, even though she wasn't afraid of me, as she should have been. Many people were afraid of me, though most couldn't explain as to why. They could sense the threat I was and were bitter to me, so I learned to be bitter to them as well.

After that, we spent quite a bit of time together, every other day she would go out into the forest for the day, while I took care of other matters. She baffled me on her way of thinking; my way of thinking baffled her too. While she based everything solely on love and the heart, I based everything off magic and spirituality. One would think those would go hand in hand, but I had a very singular view of love. Her ideas were far out there, no one was a lost soul, explained our odd friendship in a nutshell, and those who were deemed a lost cause was because they were never shown real love. My simple response to that was, no they were a lost cause because they loved the wrong things such as money or murder. Of course, she would take a jab at how it was such a wonder that I could live so high in the clouds and still be down on Earth. We had a good friendship.

It was a few years later, when she came home in a daze. Every five minutes she would zone out, for her it was such odd behavior. When I called her out of it, she would get confused. Her face flushed red and she would flail as if I just walked in while she was taking a shower. Yes, I knew exactly what was going on but I waited for her to tell me.

She didn't tell me, however, not for at least two months. She disappeared for two days straight that on the third day I went out to look for her.

I came across a place where the air had turned cold, unusual for a day late in August. A dark shadow loomed in this section of the woods, I never been this far, I had no reason to venture here, until now.

I followed a trail of her lingering energy, a trick I learned from a traveling seer. It also helped to spend two years observing her that her energy became clearly recognizable to me. It was a few days ago that she passed through this area, but didn't come back this way.

Soon I noticed dead or dying leaves scattered about the ground, plants shriveled up and trees dormant as if in an early winter slumber. Something was poking my mind, trying to shed some light on this mysterious phenomenon. I recognized these strange conditions but I couldn't put a name to it.

Darkness consumed this place, and I felt my own dormant power stirring within, I had to find Lily fast, before a calamity started. If I couldn't find her today, I would have to wait until the danger subsided and that could take a few more days at least. I didn't have that time, especially if she was in any kind of danger. A dull feeling in my chest told me that even if she weren't, I soon would be.

I quickened my search, and finally spotted a patch of green. I doubled back and saw my friend standing in a small circle of green, living plants. I rushed over to her and as I stepped into the green spring-like circle that surrounded her, the feeling of immense danger and dread subsided substantially.

I grabbed her arm and spun her around to face me. Her eyes widened with shock, as if she was just in a trance. I began a quick interrogation, as I scanned her to make sure she was completely all right. Her green eyes were slightly dilated and her red hair was looking washed out, but that was all the physical damage I could find. Once we got back home, I would start checking for metaphysical and psychological damage.

I directed her towards home, as something caught my attention, a tree portal. I had never seen one activated before. I never had any need to travel to the unknown realms beyond my own, but on the other side was a frozen wasteland. This one had been active for a long while, and that explained the odd winter-like stillness. That wasn't what caught my attention however; the instant the portal closed, it stood right before me.

It was a dark figure in shadow armor, long hair as white as the snow, and black eyes that nearly matched my power. I heard of him, I knew not to mess with him either. He knew not to mess with me, but he would, because of Lily.

As soon as we reached the house, I faltered. I planned to check her metaphysical state, but she ended up fixing mine. I forced my way into that area and it tore me to shreds. She told me I had to rest for a few days because if I pushed myself I could possibly lose control.

I obliged but under one condition, she had to tell me everything that was going on.

It was like any other day, two months ago. She was making her rounds, making sure that the forest was healthy and green. She told me that suddenly the air became brisk and still as she came across an unusual patch of dead leaves.

Suddenly, he was there in the field with her. Not a word exchanged between them, as they stared each other down, but he walked by and she continued trying to fix the damaged forest left in his wake.

She thought it was only a one-time fluke, but he was back again the next day, and every day thereafter. I proceeded to bang my head on the wall, there were few differences between me and him, the only major difference was that my power is almost always dormant, his was almost always active and just like mine, uncontrollable.

His name was Drake and where I only heard rumors of him, they considered him a monster, even more so than I was. He was the dark lord of war and rivaled the princes of hell.

I noticed Lily zoned out again and here she walked past a guy like that, as if she was invincible! She continued to tell me that once or twice she managed to try to talk to him, which caused him to pause before he continued.

Finally, she decided to follow him, which resulted in her disappearance the past few days. However, she couldn't recall any time changing between deciding to follow him until when I grabbed her arm.

I told her to be careful from here on out and that if she saw him again, not to engage in any matter. I didn't trust him and I don't like that fact he was so interested in her. I would think he was a solitary creature and if seen once in an area, he wouldn't go back.

That wasn't the case, the next day. Lily rushed home and began to tell me about what happened.

Drake was in the field waiting for her and actually greeted her. I stared at her baffled.

"I think there's something horribly wrong about to occur," I told her.

"Well I think it is cute."

"C-cute? You do realize that he is in the top ten of the most dangerous creatures ever!"

"As are you, but you are just a softy with a hard shell."

I glared at her for that remark, she was well aware of my temper and how dangerous I could indeed be. I let it go though. I didn't want to fight, especially since I was still recovering.

Everyday afterward she would come and tell me about the day's adventure of the ever so mysterious Drake. With each day, I took note of the progression of their conversations and of her actions. Soon they would actually be able to talk without awkward pauses and she may actually be able to look me in the eyes, when she says his name.

"You like him, don't you?" I tend to favor my directness at times. It caught people off guard and hit like a sucker punch. It was only effective, when it came to matters of the heart. She didn't answer me.

"Hey, I love somebody too, you know."

"You the cold, Ms. I won't let anybody in, loves somebody. We had so many conversations about this topic, you don't know what love is," Lily smirked.

"No, I just have a strange way of love and I don't want some idiot, one is enough for me."

"Well where is he? Who is he?"

"I haven't found him yet in this life, but when I do, I will know it."

"Uh huh." She smiled at me, but zoned out and smiled more so to herself. Ugh, hopeless romantics, their gooey mushiness gave me chills at times.

Slowly but noticeably, She was staying out later and longer and she would come back with a wide smile and bright eyes, which grew even wider as she told me everything. I smiled for her, but my wariness grew. What did he want from her? Why was he even here? Of course, I was being prejudice, but I couldn't help it. He was dangerous for a reason! That one moment I saw him, I didn't like what I saw. Whatever she saw, either it wasn't there or she was a damn saint.

I had to leave for a few days. I had to take care of some strange occurrences that started popping up here and there. I hadn't faced any activity since my sister decided to study abroad. I didn't even want her to leave, but she insisted and who am I to say no. Something drew them near and things usually tended to stay away from me unless they knew me, which weren't many.

I sensed hunters, there were traps laid out everywhere. They couldn't possibly be for me, but if they did find me that would be even more trouble than before. The last thing I wanted was somebody activating my power to end the world. No, they weren't for me, they were too elaborate not to notice them. They wanted to draw someone out, someone powerful and dangerous.

I stood there thinking typical this is just great. Who is the one person within 500 kilometers that has a high bounty on his head, has to keep moving in order to keep a good distance between him and his enemies, and decided to stay for too long to draw their attention to my home! I was quite hidden too. No one was able to bother me here, sanctuary lost.

I disabled the traps and covered my tracks the best I could. Whoever it was, I didn't want them following my scent home.

I stepped through the door, "Hey Lily, I'm home early, looks like we got hunters on our doorstep-" Drake stood there, Lily sat in a chair offering tea. Her eyes widened with fear and shock. I fell into an awkward silence as he glared at me. If looks could kill, I gave him a death glare rivaling his own.

"You're home early! That's good!" Lily tried to sound cheery in order to dispel the tension that rapidly grew between us.

"Oh yes, I found a ton of traps set up by hunters surrounding the area," I callously explained inching around Drake to be near her. "Now, I don't think their arrival is no accident, I think they're here for one reason alone, one that only recently showed up."

He made a move to draw his sword against me, Lily stood up in response, "Drake, you said you would be civil if I brought you here." He released the hilt but continued glaring.

I ignored the glaring, but instead added, "You're drawing unwanted attention here, I cannot allow your presence to be the reason the ones I care about get hurt."

"Your presence alone is reason enough for them to get hurt." I pressed my lips together at his cold mockery, "Oh yes, I know exactly what you are, girl. It baffles me at how you could be spoken so highly of by Lily, whom is more than you'll ever be."

"The feeling's mutual."

"Hey guys, I am still in the room! You shouldn't be fighting anyways!"

My face burned red, I was acting like an angry child, jealousy was a curse.

I was about to apologize but, "why do you trust her anyway Lily? She can't even protect her family, how can she protect you?" I felt an arrow of ice pierce my soul.

"You had to go there." I felt my arms shake violently, "you just had to go there." I turned my attention to Lily's face. She stared at me with concern. I felt something streaming down my face.

She handed me a cup of tea, a weak attempt to calm me down. I ended up chucking it at the wall, no sound of shattering glass came, instead the cup disintegrated and the tea dissipated into mist.

"You sound like you know all about me, like you got me so figured out, but you don't! You fucking don't so don't pretend as if you do! You have no clue, no fucking clue what it is like to be me! You wouldn't last a day if you had what I got! Not one day! You think you have it rough. Try being me for a day! Try one time to risk your life to save someone else and then do it again and again and again! Oh wait, you haven't and will never try and you know why, because you don't care about anyone else! Now get out of my house!"

Suddenly, I felt someone hugging me tightly, Drake retreated from the house and the room was clear of furniture. I stared at the barren room in horror.

"I didn't-"

"I know," Lily hushed hugging me tighter.

"I mean I tried-"

"I know."

I collapsed onto the floor and sat there for a long while. It seemed like hours before Lily let me go and got us some fresh tea and something to eat. I wasn't hungry, I felt nothing inside, I let it consume me again and I put everyone in danger.

"I'm sorry, the only reason I brought him here was because you were supposed to be gone for the whole day. If I knew you would be back so early, I would have never brought him."

I held my hand up to stop her, and shook my head to let her know I wasn't mad or anything.

"I just wanted to show him my home, because he isn't as bad as he seems."

"Just leave it be, Lily." My voice was small and distant, "things were said and we lost control. Next time tell me if you plan on having someone over, so I could stay away." With that, I left her there and locked myself in my room for a few days.

I no longer heard anything more about Drake. I saw her walking in with a wide smile, noticed me, and the smile faded drastically. I wasn't speaking either, she understood why.

After a week, she faltered as if to say something, but took a breath in and started to say, "He wanted me to tell you that he will take care of the hunter problem. He unintentionally brought them here, so he will fix it."

I nodded in acknowledgment, but said nothing.

"He also has been asking how you've been holding up, he realized he shouldn't have brought up a touchy subject like that, it wasn't the time or the place." She waited for a response. "Oh, you have to say something, anything at all!"

"It took you two months to speak to me," I replied with a touch of sarcasm.

"Yes, but I couldn't be too careful when getting to know you, the real you. I gave you a chance, as I am giving him a chance. You're not evil just misunderstood. Well he is too. You both judged each other by proceeded reputations and rumors. You never gave each other a chance."

"Do you expect me to now?"

"No, I just want you to be yourself again."

I gave her a hug and held her there for a long while. "Alright, alright, if you like him, I won't do anything to dissuade you. I still don't trust him and I fear that he is a means to an end, just like me."

She laughed, "No, you are just a part of a new start." She pulled away, "and he needs a new start."

Another year passed, Drake did as he claimed and kept the hunters away, he would be gone for a few days sometimes a whole week. Lily would sit there waiting, retelling stories and memories of things they did together. It was adorable, but I still didn't like him. When he returned, she would spend a lot of time with him, leaving me somewhat lonely.

One morning I received a letter. My sister finished her studies and was soon to return home. That made me happy, but what would I do? With her and Drake in the same area, hunters amongst other things would flock to this place like a moth to a flame.

Lily was home early, but had the same stunned expression she had when she first had seen Drake and tried to keep it secret from me. Just like that distant time, she had been silent about it. I didn't press her for information, she would have to tell me in due time.

One night over dinner, she finally stated with much certainty, "I will be leaving soon."

I nearly choked but managed to stay calm. "Why?"

"Well, I've been here long enough, I think it is time for me to set off on a new adventure and spread my wings."

"He asked you to join him on his travels," I translated it for her and watched her wince.

"You're not mad, are you?" she squeaked.

"No, but-"

"But what? He is all that I dreamed of, all that I wanted! I love him! I-" Her face blushed red, "I want to spend my days with him now."

"As if you don't already."

"I meant, I meant I want a life with him."

We ate in silence for a few minutes.

"He will be the end of you." I stated, "Either he will lose control, or his enemies will hurt you just to get at him."

"So what," She snapped, "It will be worth it. I rather that." She paused and collected herself, "I rather that I spend the rest of my days, however short they may be, with the one I truly love than to spend them in gloom from letting my dream go."

I gave in and agreed to let her go then. Nothing I said or did would change her mind. She was going to be gone in a week.

It passed in a blur, but everyday she spent it all with me. It only made me more depressed, each day was ending so fast. That last night we spent the whole time going over all the things we had done the past three years. I cursed the morning yet to come.

That day was the second time Drake stepped into the house. He calmly waited for Lily to join him on his travels to somewhere far away. We didn't have the steely death glare contest, but we didn't say much to each other either.

As she was finally leaving she promised to come back to visit for a while some day. I would keep her to that promise.

I stopped Drake from leaving after she stepped out.

"If you hurt her in any way, shape, or form there is no place, no world, no realm that you can run to or hide in where I won't find you and bring you down. I will slaughter anyone who gets in my way or tries to take you out first. She is part of my family now. I am trusting you with one of my own. Do not lose that trust. Otherwise there will be nothing that will save you from my wrath."

Our eyes locked for a moment. Then he left with only, "I misjudged you, she wasn't lying about you either. You're actually a decent person." Then they vanished into the forest.

"Just leave it be, just leave it be," I whispered to myself, trying to resist the urge of chasing after them. Lily didn't need me, she never had. I needed her, and it only hit me now, that lesson affected me. Love before self and self before hate, doing what you love was more important than doing what kept you safe and doing what you felt was right was more important than the world's view of you. At least that was my interpretation of what she did for me.

For now, what Lily needed, was him.

To be continued.
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