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- A Road Leads to... The Blood Brothers: Russian Style! (Part One) -

July 4th, 2013

Moscow, Russia - 2 p. m.

"Hey, Maya... It seems your cell is off, but I am going to leave this message anyways. Happy birthday, soul sister. I wish you the best things in the world - unfortunately, I can't wish you myself, for you already have Thalas, hehe... Well, I wish I can finish this training fast, so that I can see you guys. Enjoy your birthday party tomorrow and send me picture, right? Bye!"

Melchior turned his cellphone off with a serene, yet sad countenance; he missed another friend's birthday because of his intensive training. The next birthdays would be Altagracia's and Anael's; yet those dates were too far, Elemental Alchemist was still concerned - would his training be finished by at that time?

Then, someone knocked on his door.

"Melchior, are you ready?" It was Antoniev talking. "The train will leave in one hour."

"I am going, Antoniev! Sorry for the delay!" Melchior apologized.

Before leaving his room, he conjured several more winter clothes, which he put in his bag. Then, he opened the door; Antoniev was there, waiting for him.

"Let's go." The Russian said. 


Melchior nodded, grabbing his belongings and following Antoniev all the way out of his home. Soloyev was already outside, waiting for them. As he left the place alongside the Russian brothers, Melchior noticed the skies above Moscow slightly paler, cloudier and wintry than the day before. He also noticed that both brothers were wearing the same woolen overcoats, certainly hiding their Elemental Masters outfits. He took a deep breath and kept moving.

They walked just a few steps outside the house, leading Melchior towards a back alley, where the darkness could hide the trio — and allow them to perform some magic. The Russian brothers, as they felt they were hidden enough, conjured an icy dimensional port and asked Melchior to get inside. He obeyed the brothers and got inside.

It took him three steps to go from Antoniev’s apartment to Moscow’s main station; he heard the steps of both Antoniev and Soloyev shortly after, and the portal closed in a light shiver breeze as if it had never existed there.

Soloyev pointed at an empty bench where they could seat and wait for the Trans-Siberian train to arrive, and so they did. Melchior then looked at the biggest clock near him — it was around 2:15 p.m., meaning that they still had 45 minutes spare. Melchior was sitting on the middle of the bench, with Soloyev to his right and Antoniev to his left.

“Very well… We are in time, just as I like.” Antoniev commented seeming pleased. “I just hope this journey don’t last longer than needed.”

He then gave a look to his brother Soloyev.

“Brother, is the Key at hand?” He asked coldly. “I think it’s going to be better if Melchior gets used to his Ice Seal blocked while we travel.”

That comment made Melchior gasp. He rapidly remembered Nathalie’s speech back when he was in Ireland.

“…Last but not least, the Water and Ice Seal is located on our palms. When locked, people may overheat, for we stop sweating and our sensibility is diminished. When overcharged, some of us may become blind, and our bones freeze, which makes them easier to break, yet the flesh which covers it has become quite a powerful shield…”

Antoniev then looked at Melchior, noticing a change in his countenance; his gaze crossed Melchior’s, and that gave the Russian enough reason to smile mischievously at him.

“Don’t worry.” Antoniev said. “I won’t block them all… Yet.”

With that said, Soloyev handed Antoniev his Elemental Key Seal.

“…After all, you need at least one Element to defend yourself.” Antoniev kept talking while examining the Key’s condition. “I am just going to lock the other Seals and see what you can do about that. Though my methods seem… Unusual, I am not sadistic. Well, at least I do not see myself as such.”

Melchior kept looking at Antoniev; for him, seemed that something was bothering the Russian more than he’d admit, as if he was hiding something for him. What could it be? What could be so disturbing that’d keep Vladmir Antoniev Karkaroff looking so gloom?



***

July 6th, 2013

Trans-Siberian Railway, Russia — 7:30 p. m.


“Wake up, Melchior.”

Melchior’s eyes slowly began opening as the sun set on the wintry forest scenario around the train. Elemental Alchemist sat on the bed, in which he was formerly sleeping, responding to the voice’s command. As his eyes got used to the dim light, he realized Antoniev was staring directly at the bottom of his eyes. As the light on the walls glew dim and warm, the light in Antoniev’s eyes seemed colder and paler than ever, giving Melchior a chill into his spine.

“I see that you are a night creature… I should have guessed.” He said with a serious, yet fascinated countenance. “Fascinating. You live on the blood of others, so Ushuriel and Mirabelle told me, yet you can eat regular food. But it seems to be changing, right? Your feeding habits, so to speak…”

“Yes… It seems to be changing.” Melchior replied, surprised. “It seems that my vampiric nature is growing stronger each day, and I might not be able to feed on regular food sometime in the future… I just hope this future doesn’t come faster than planned.”

“Well… It is something else I’ll have to worry while we are out there.” Antoniev commented, still giving Melchior a contemplative gaze. “Fortunately, my brother got some blood packs for you to keep going. However, given your hybrid nature, it may be unwise to block all your Seals at once. So, here is my proposal…”

Antoniev held Melchior’s wrist, showing the Elemental Seals at it. At that point, three out of four were glowing bright and colorful — the Air, Earth and Fire Seals. The Ice Elemental Lord was holding the Elemental Key Seal in his other hand, pointing at the Ice Seal.

“I am glad you didn’t seek for me before Lunia.” Antoniev said, looking at the Bracelet. “Actually, I am glad you left me as your last pick. You see, had you learnt how to master Ice before all other Elements, you surely might have ended up killed. As you know, the Ice Seal, when blocked, overheats your body, and that can be quite deadly for Warlocks and even worse for those who are Vampires, because your blood would start boiling and you’d be close to death, considering that you wouldn’t end up killed. With that given, I’ll gradually lock your Elemental seals, so that you get used to not having these Elements at hand. I’ll block one today and the next one will be locked three days from now and so on to the next one. Understood?”

“Well… Yes. It seems the best option.” Melchior uneasily replied. “I just hope your method work.”

“It has to. I’ve got no other options. Those are the drawbacks of being unique — sometimes, you got to be creative to bypass the disadvantages.”

With that said, Antoniev positioned his Key right above the Lightning Seal; before Melchior could say anything, Antoniev locked it down, shutting off Melchior’s ability to use any kind of Lightning-base spell. He felt his mind slowing down a bit, and his sight became slightly blurry.

“Damn!” Melchior protested, speaking slower than usual. “This hurts…”

“Certainly…” Antoniev said, stepping back. “You better get some rest, Melchior. Try not to do something that might give you a hard time to your sight and to your mind. I’ll go after Soloyev — he’s been out of our cabinet for quite some time. Stay here and call me if you need.”


Antoniev opened the cabinet’s door and went to the left, seeking for his brother. Melchior then reached out for his cell phone. Slowly, he texted a message — another message addressed to Maya, giving his best wishes and resenting the fact he couldn’t be there to celebrate her birthday. When he finished, he closed his eyes and tried to rest a bit more…

***

July 9th, 2013

Trans-Siberian Railway, Russia — 7:00 a. m.


The forests seemed scarcer and scarcer as the train advanced further to the East; were once lied trees, there was snow and glimpses of mountains and enormous ice shards on the horizon. Melchior was still asleep, and his cabinet was protected from daylight thanks to the thick tapestry covering the windows. Antoniev was also asleep, using his overcoat as a blanket. This time, the only person awaken in the cabinet was Soloyev, and he chose to block Melchior’s Fire Seal.

As he turned the key in the locking direction, he felt a change in Melchior’s pulse. His heartbeat decreased, and the youngest Blood Brother felt uneasy as Melchior’s breath also changed, as it tried to compensate the lockdown. However, it took almost half hour for Melchior’s breath become regular again, calming Soloyev down. The green-eyed Russian sat back in his place and used his overcoat as a blanket to himself, trying to rest just like Melchior and Antoniev…



***

July 12th, 2013

Omsk, Siberia – Russia — 6:45 p. m.


Melchior screamed out in pain as he tried to breathe; he woke up feeling his Earth Seal being locked up at the same time the train stopped moving;  the trio had finally arrived in the Siberian town of Omsk. Before they could go outside, the Blood Brothers did what they could to calm Melchior down and ease his breath.

“Calm down, Melchior, calm down!” Soloyev said. “I know it is painful, but I’ll have to haste your training, so this pain is a necessary one. Please, just hear me out and try to ease your breath, alright?”

Antoniev kept himself in silence, watching as his young brother tried to comfort and calm the Elemental Alchemist down. The Ice Elemental Lord crossed his arms near his chest and watched. Melchior was getting calmer and calmer, until he could finally stand up without troubles. Elemental Alchemist, at that rate, felt weaker than usual, wobbling and trembling as he tried to walk towards the train’s exit. Elemental Alchemist, for the first time since he started the whole trip, began to question whether he was going to be able to learn everything Antoniev had to teach or if Siberia was meant to be his last stop…


To Be Continued…

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