For a moment, Arnel was silent. Then, taking a breath he was about to continue but emerging from the memories he came across a frowning and concentrated gaze of the Master.
The elder Caro was torn from an overabundance of feelings, from the amount of information poured onto his head like a bucket of cold water. For a long time, he had not heard such stories about his deceased spouse. Such accurate and affectionate descriptions. All who have shown, and still show their condolences, say what an outstanding magician and healer he was. But, in fact, none of them even knew Diriel. And now ... a gardener, a boy, Deaney’s student, suddenly turns out to be Rie’s ward and speaks so highly and sincerely about him. And how right he is, his fragile green-haired elf really raved about knowledge; seventy percent of their library was collected by him. He rejoiced when he was appointed to teach. He jumped and screamed like a child. The gentleman closed his eyes, for a moment plunging into the past, their wonderful past together. Then, he straightened up in his chair and, looking at the young elf again, made an intricate gesture with his hand in front of his belly, which in response seemed to become half-transparent, and opened a view of a brightly glowing ball, the size of a quail egg. Caro was taken aback.
“You’ve kept it? How? And ... is it active? For how long?” Caro sprinkled Arnel with questions, looking at him in surprise.
“Of course I did. I promised,” he replied calmly. “After the transplantation, I returned home feeling a little dizzy. Then suffered from a high temperature for a week. Lying flat I prayed that my body would not reject the Seed. This Niala helped me; the healer whose coordinates were also given by your husband and he ordered me to go to her immediately if something goes wrong. But, after seven days it all passed as if never happened, and I was able to return to my studies. And then they declared the end of the war and our victory. When, after a couple of weeks, the Master did not show up at the Academy, we realized that his life was ended.” He paused, lowering his head with sadness. “Although I felt it three days later, after the joyful announcement,” he said, touching the place that a moment ago emitted the light of Life. “I just realized then that he is no longer alive. I moved on. It was hard but I had to endure for the sake of my promise to the greatest person I knew. I studied diligently because I knew that in a few decades I should become the one whom Professor Deaney would advise you as a gardener. Forgive me for not coming to you earlier and for not telling you everything. I simply wasn’t sure for a long time whether your spouse’s plan would work, whether the Seed would take root... For more than thirty years there were no changes; it seemed to be asleep. And once, during another visit to Niala, she said that the Seed had grown and that its light got a bit brighter – it woke up again. For the promised twenty years I have imbued him with my energy. More precisely, the Seed knows perfectly well how to feed on my energy, and I do not interfere,” the elf smiled weakly.
“And then, a couple of days before my appointment here, I felt a powerful surge of magic inside and, as your husband said, I understood everything. Since then, it pulsates finely; I constantly feel it, like a second heart. And my hair changes color,” he pulled the green lock to his eyes. “My natural color is much lighter, on the blond side, and this, I think your spouse’s genes are breaking through.”
The gentleman chuckled quietly in response. Then, leaning back in his chair, he emptied his glass of wine in one gulp and sighed.
“What a story. My brain is literally boiling. What are we gonna do with you now?”
Arnel timidly looked up at him.
“I am ready to obey any of your decisions. If you don’t need all this, then I’ll just find a replacement for myself, a new man for your garden, and go home. If you tell me to stay and finish the process, I will stay. If you say to wait for the one with whom you would like to have offspring – I will wait and pass the Seed to them,” at the last phrase Arnel looked down clenching his fists.
“What a submissive little elf. Received the order from my spouse, and ready to obey mine as well?” Arnel just nodded. The blue-haired elf laughed darkly. “Okay, I choose the second answer. It’s foolish not to take the chance that Rie gave us, especially considering how much time and effort was spent on it by two elves so dear to me.”
The Nature mage raised an incredulous look at his master.
“Why are you surprised? Or am I not good enough for you?” Celtiel asked slyly, raising an eyebrow. “Or did you really burn with love only for the bush under my window?” He continued, making the young elf glow bright red.
“No, sir,” Arnel managed, melting with shame.
“Celtiel,” the Water mage whispered, abruptly closing the distance between them. “My name is Celtiel,” he whispered into Arnel’s mouth.