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- A Road Leads to... The Hungarian Hellhound! (Part Two) -

May 18th, 2013

Melchior woke up earlier than ever. His clothes were washed, clean and ready. The alarm clock was displaying five o'clock in its screen. Melchior smiled, getting out of the bed and changing his clothes.

"No, no, Mirabelle... He is fine."

Melchior turned his head to the open door to his right - it was Lunia's voice coming from the hallway.

"Yes, yes..." Lunia said to the phone in his hand. "He is safe and sound. I still haven't started his practice yet... I will take longer to do so than Cynthia or Nathalie. Can you please tell them Melchior is safe? Also... Would you mind asking Ushuriel when he will return what he owes me?"

Melchior smiled and laughed, driving Lunia's attention to him. The Hungarian astronomy teacher hung off and looked at Melchior with a serene countenance.

"Long story." Lunia said. "Well, your mother asked for you and so did Nathalie and Cynthia. Apparently,  they went to search you short after Balthazar gave you a call that day, and they have arrived in Dresden yesterday night, worried about your life."

"I can imagine..." Melchior recalled, gloomy. "I hope they are more relieved..."

"So do I." Lunia replied. "Well..." He looked at his watch. "We need to go... See, we can have breakfast at the University. Shall we?"

Melchior smiled and agreed with his head. Lunia then took him outside, showing him his car - a 1969 navy blue Chevy Camaro.

"I bought this when I went to the States..." Lunia said. "Recently, I made some improvements on it, yet its coat is still the very same. I must say it is far more practical than riding a broom everywhere I go."

He opened the car, sitting of the driver's seat with Melchior on his side. Then, he rode to the eastern part of the city, where the University was located. It was 6:30 on the morning when they arrived, and the building was already crowded with teachers, janitors and some early-rising students, which seemed to grow in numbers as the minutes went by.

Lunia offered Melchior some of his cinnamon buns and a bit of the hot chocolate served on the teacher's hall.  Lunia finished his breakfast a bit earlier than Melchior. He grabbed a cup of coffee, ready to tell Melchior some things.

"Before you come to my classes, I want to ask you one thing, and one thing only." Lunia said serious. "I want you to pay attention. Listen to what I say there, okay?"

Melchior nodded, agreeing with Lunia. He swallowed his last bite of pastry and stood up, following Lunia out of the teacher's hall into the old hallways of the University. They walked around a hundred meters before arriving in Lunia's class. He entered through the door and saw a large amphitheater room, which had room for at least one hundred students.

"Sit in the middle of the first line, please." Lunia asked. "And please... Pay close, very close attention!"
Lunia smiled at the Salvadorian mage, which sat specifically where the Hungarian Hellhound asked. When the large clock on the class showed seven o'clock, the room was full of students.
" napot kivánov*!" Lunia said, writing his name on the chalkboard. "Welcome to your first class of Astronomy of the semester. Nevem** Lunia Kárdos Kárpatí, and I am your teacher. Shall we begin our path into the depths of Space?"

Lunia asked for each student to introduce him or herself, including Melchior, causing an overall surprise and fascination. Then, Lunia wrote down every single name and surname he heard; on the following, he got a thick, large book, which he opened.

"Today, we talk about... Space!" Lunia started with a smile. "Space, of course! But more than that - we will talk about what has brought Space to life as we know - and still don't know. All of you learned about the Big Bang theory and such, right? See, in my personal experience, it goes far, far beyond that..."
He mischievously looked at his students.

"I was an explosion, a large gathering of larger forces in a single spot. It was the pure sum of force and energy in one single place, ready to expand and explode. It force was so big, intense and creative that it is still going; our universe is still expanding, growing. The question is - up to when? When will it stop growing, or even further - when will it diminish once more, repeating its cycle? We still don't know for sure. And probably, we never will..."

"We are pretty young out here. You, you, you and I." Lunia continued with a mischievous smile. "We are meaningless in the Universe time. We know nothing. We hear nothing. What we study here is what every single person should know - we study our neighbors, the planets, comets, asteroids, stars, galaxies and black holes. We study those who, unlike us, hold the answers. The ones who have seen and heard it all - the ones who truly know something."

Melchior was bewildered; never in a million of years he would have thought he'd be sitting there, listening to a college class, specially that subject, explained in another way, with a different point of view. One person raised his left hand, asking for the floor.

"Mr. ... Bagy. Bagy, right?" Lunia asked. "Speak your mind, come on. Don't be shy."

"Ok then..." The young man replied. "Don't you think your explanation is... Like, how can I say, too mythological?"

The entire classroom, except Melchior, exploded in laughter. Lunia tilted his head to the left, smiling.

"I don't think mythological is the word you are looking for, Mr. Bagy." He replied very calm,  raising his head. "I think you wanted to say 'insane', didn't you? You are right - it sounds insane. It is insane. It is insane... If you think with the mind of someone stuck on 18th century and farther back. Are you that close-minded, Mr. Bagy? Tell me... All of you... What is Cosmos?"

Melchior timidly raised his hand, which was trembling.

"Melchior, you hold the floor." Lunia said, pointing his pencil to the mage.

"It means everything." Melchior replied. "It is surrounding us and it is inside us at the same time. Everyone holds a small universe, a small cosmos, inside his mind. All of us, sometimes, rather live in this place we created, this small, ever-expanding cosmos of our own, than live on the reality we are stuck on. Yet... I believe this is not the answer you seek."

"Wrong." Lunia replied with a smile, putting his hands behind his back. "It is one possible answer to my question, and it is right. The Cosmos are the order. The Cosmos and the Universe are the same. It means everything. It means nothing. We don't control this Universe, but we can hold our own. My comparative now will seem weird to most of you, but I'll use it anyway, and I believe you will understand..."

Lunia put his left hand in his pocket, taking a large Forint*** coin out of it.

"Now, look at this coin." Lunia said, showing it to the classroom. "I want you to imagine it as a newborn star. It seems stable, right? Now..."

Having the entire class as witnesses, the coin started burning spontaneously. Melchior, unlike everyone else, knew why it ignited and burned.

"This is a star as it will always be until its death." He said, making the coin fluctuate. "A large, gaseous flaming ball, burning until the end of its very existence. A star destroys itself. Eats itself. Explodes, generating a Supernova. Yet, this very destructive force, this very destructive behavior is capable of creating.  Look at the person to your left. Now, look to the person of your right. You are all stellar matter.  Stars are made of Hydrogen and Helium, we all know. Through its combustion, other elements are created - heavier elements, which will eventually generate other compounds if correctly combined. Yet not all stars have a living planet as ours, all of them are capable of creating planets good enough to generate life. Stars are creators and destroyers at the same time. Its creations and its own self-destruction leads to another stage of creation, which generates planets, complex clusters and such, making the Cosmos as complex as it deserves to be. Just like we do."

The coin disintegrated in the flames and its ashes flew through the classroom. He gave a mischievous smile to the entire class.

"I hope you have understood now what I previously meant." Lunia said. "Now, I will ask you to get your notebooks and books, for I'll start dropping more and more theory on you. I hope you all are rested and attentive, for I don't want anyone lost in the middle of the path."

The entire classroom obeyed, except Melchior. He was so fascinated that he didn't want to make notes or read the books - he just wanted to hear Lunia's voice and explanations. Fortunately for him, he'd listen a lot of what the Hungarian Hellhound had to say...

May 24th, 2013

Once again, Lunia was lecturing with all his might. His chalkboard was full of notes, mathematical problems and planets. Melchior was sitting on the same place Lunia asked, as he did every day.

"Chaos and order will always be together." Lunia said to his class. "You cannot have one without the other. At a certain point, everything in Cosmos had either of them, and it is cyclical - someday, the order will be denied and shattered, and chaos will return. Sooner or later, order will return and so on. I think of this as the relationship of a forest with fire. Think the forest as your cosmos. Imagine it had started with order, with everything functioning harmoniously. Now, assume that, someday, something changes in its electrical fields, and a 'lighting' hits your cosmos, and sets fire to one of its trees, and this fire spreads. This is chaos. One of your trees might have been a planet or an entire galaxy, destroyed by either a large comet, in the case of the planet, or swallowed by a black hole or even another colliding galaxy. This is what fire promoted in this situation. This is the destructive part. Yet, the ashes of the fallen trees may fertilize the soil of your forest, giving chances for new trees to grow. Planets can be created. Galaxies can be created as well. Different from the previous ones, yet holding the same or even more beauty than them. See... Fire, or Chaos, brought disorder and allowed order to establishes. Now, keeping this in mind, I'd like you guys to open on page..."
Melchior had his notebook in hands, writing everything down. Never in his life he had been so happy.

"Fire is creation... Fire is destruction... Stars are fire... Cosmos is fire..." He thought, writing those thoughts down.

While Lunia gave his students more work, he got his little journal and wrote things on it.

May 31st, 2013

Lunia and Melchior were the last people on the empty classroom. Lunia was closing his briefcase when something got his attention.

"What lies in this little journal of yours, Melchior?" He asked.

"Well..." Melchior blushed. "These are some... Trip notes."

"Interesting." Lunia commented, grabbing his briefcase and straightening his back. "Have you finished it?"

"No." Melchior said. "A friend of mine gave it to me so that I could write down all my memories during my training in the art of Elements. This includes this phase I am having here in Hungary with you."

"Fascinating..." Lunia commented. "Are your friends nice?"
Melchior's eyes widened.

"Yes, they are." He replied, surprised. "At least I think they are."

"Good. Good..." Lunia whispered. "See... You've been with me for at least two weeks... I think you have done enough theoretical work here."

"Meaning?" Melchior rhetorically asked.

"I am taking you out of Budapest." Lunia mischievously replied. "I still want to give you more theory. I have given it shallowly to you. But in Balantonfüred I can show you the rest. Unlike my fellow companions, I'd rather study magic than raise it out of nowhere. I think you and I will have quite a good time."

"Of course!" Melchior replied, thrilled. "I can't wait for it!"

"Then... We will head out three days from now." Lunia said. "I am going to talk to the headmaster now in order to take some days off. I'll invent something, like a doctor degree or something... Yet I don't need it, for I am a post-doc already." He completed with a chuckle.

Melchior was thrilled, with a smile wide open in his face. What better ways to learn magic than through Science? Wasn't Science a form of magic as well?

***

Balatonfüred, Hungary - 8h a.m.

June 6th, 2013

Balatonfüred was a resort town in a Hungarian county, on the north shore of the large Lake Balaton. It holds an excellent water and a significant yachting life and coasting fishing. Melchior and Lunia took a train to get there, and it took three days for them to arrive there.

Lunia had a small property there - a small two-floored, gypsy-themed house.

"Home sweet home." Lunia commented. "Give me your luggage. I'll put it in your room."

Melchior obeyed Lunia, giving him his small suitcase. Lunia opened the house, which looked like a gypsy wagon, just like the bedroom in which Melchior met the Hellhound. He put the belongings on Melchior's bed, and asked him to go to the living room. Then, he sat there with Melchior.

"Ready for some more lessons?" Lunia asked. "First, I think you know what I'll do."

"Lock my Elemental Seals, right?" Melchior asked.

Lunia nodded affirmatively, taking his Elemental Key Seal out of his shirt.

"Well... Since you have no clue of what Ice does... I won't seal it." Lunia said, gently pulling Melchior's arm, so that he could show his bracelet. "Still, I will seal Air and Earth Seals. Take a deep breath. You'll need it."
Melchior obeyed, taking a deep breath. Lunia inserted the key on the keyhole and turned it, locking Air and Earth Seals, which disappeared from the bracelet. Melchior suddenly felt his breath unstable and hard, and his arms were as heavy as lead for him. Also, his eyesight became blurred, and he felt slower in movement.

"Not this again!" Melchior painfully whispered.

"I hate to do this, Melchior, but it is a necessary pain. As I said, you seem quite natural on Fire witch crafting, so I will just improve your natural abilities. So... Let's talk theoretically, shall we?"
Melchior slowly nodded, agreeing.

"You paid attention to my classes, didn't you?" Lunia asked. "If you did, you may have noticed the qualities and defects of Fire. Fire brings chaos, pain and destruction. Fire damages, burns and curses it target. However, fire also brings order, power and creation. Like a phoenix, fire gives the reborn ability to the ground. Fire, through its aggressiveness, through its tough love, brings life back. 

"What for, besides enriching my spellbook?" Melchior asked.

"You are confused." Lunia replied mischievously. "It is completely understandable - Nathalie and Cynthia challenged you as your graduation, right? I don't want to do the same, but I am afraid I'll have to. However, you'll be more used to the limitations given by the Seals. That way, you won't feel so much disadvantages against me. Right?"

Lunia smiled at Melchior, conjuring a large fireball, which he made float upon their heads.

"Very well..." Lunia serenely began. "Look at the fireball I casted - it doesn't seem to be heating the place up, does it? The answer is clearly no. Why? Because I decided to suppress this quality. In the study of Fire Spells, we often focus more on the damage than on control itself. Fire is power, but if you are unable to control your own power, you became a power slave. Are you following?"

Melchior nodded.

"Alright." Lunia continued, pleased. "Ignition stands for burst - that initial blast, which makes engines work. Here, we talk about the fast, easy-casting fire strikes, which can be single or multiple targeted. These kind of spells are easy to develop and evolve, but can be quite hard to control if casted at the verge of anger. Here, you can also create barriers and create from minor tools to full-fire-based weapons. Understood?"

"Yes." Melchior replied.

"Power, of course, stands for power and domain - the greater spells go here. You can destroy multiple foes, created explosions, burn forests down, control lava and massive amounts of fire with these kind of spells. They are much more complex than Ignition spells, and far more difficult to control. However if you succeed... Nothing, except strong Ice spells, will stand on your way. Clear?"

"Yes, sir!" Melchior happily replied.

"Very well..." Lunia said, discarding the immense fireball. "What I want you to do, Melchior, is to prepare yourself for battle - you will create four spells for me, 3 Ignition-based and one Power-based. I'll be giving you orientation all times, but you cannot make that clear what you want to do. I'll give you one month to do it, alright?"

"Well... One month?" Melchior hesitantly asked. "I'll see what I'll be able to put through."

"I know it will be above average." Lunia replied. "So... Your time... Will be starting now!"


To Be Continued...

---

Glossary:

(*) Jó napot kivánov: "Good Day" in Hungarian.
(**) Nevem: "My name is..." in Hungarian.
(***): Forint: Hungary's currency.

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