180 The Fool“s Observant Eyes*
Olly had been pretty stumped on how to proceed. He'd been given a bed within The Ruin, alongside the Charm Craftsman. He was given food as well, and instructed to wash often. But during the day, when the little shadow called Kit entered the workroom to carve charms, Olly was not allowed to enter. Everyone else was, because they could not see the mist and therefore could not replicate the process. Olly however, though his reasoning was rather flimsy - it being based on his interaction with a 'special rock' when he was just hours old - could see the Mist. Therefore, Kit was not permitted to share the process with him.
It had been over a fortnight since he arrived at the Ruin. He spent most of his days in silence, just like he had everywhere else. The children that inhabited the Ruin had at first given him a wide berth. However, after discovering how 'funny' Olly was, they frequently requested him to play games with them. Olly, having little else to do, complied.
It was also his attempt at getting the others to trust him. The Mist had told him that this Miss Falla, the one to whom he had to prove his secret-keeping skills, was the pretty woman who had the mountain of Evanine behind her. From what Olly had learned, Miss Falla had a business deal with Mr Moonshadow to provide Evanine, and then share the profits of the charms. Miss Falla was also training Kit, Miss Sharli and Miss Iah to run a business.
After a fortnight, Olly honestly still felt like he was an outsider. Though there were things that he seemed to notice before everyone else thanks to his ability to communicate with the Mist.
For instance, he knew that the teachers that Miss Falla sent were rather unenthusiastic about their job. He sensed that at first it had been a great honour for them. But now that Mr Moonshadow was gone and Kit utterly refused to let them anywhere near his workroom or the vault, they were rather underwhelmed by the whole thing. After all, they were just teaching a bunch of street kids how to read and write and run a business. There was nothing else special about this task that Miss Falla had set them.
Olly also knew that Miss Sharli was rather conflicted about her current predicament. She had disagreed with Miss Falla and Miss Iah about pursuing Mr Moonshadow. Olly's confession about him had only seemed to unsettle her more. She wanted to help him, as he was the one that had brought her out of a bad situation. He'd given her money, shelter, food and a sense of security...but then he'd left.
Miss Sharli didn't seem to be taken his absense very well. Like she somehow expected him to always be there despite his insistence that she learn to survive on her own. Not having that secure feeling to fall back on...it was a hard thing for Miss Sharli to accept, and the Mist knew it.
Olly however, after many days of playing the the children and being another strange addition to the Ruin, had come to know just how much they relied on Sharli. How much they looked up to her as a mother figure or older sister. Olly had seen how she cared for them, but her absentmindedness and worry was starting to become more obvious to even those young children.
"Sharli, is something wrong?" asked one of the children one evening at dinner.
Sharli was barely paying attention as she chewed slowly on her food. After the table became quiet, waiting for an answer, Iah nudged her sister. Sharli jumped and looked at her sister who pointed at the child.
"Sorry?" asked Sharli.
"There's something wrong, isn't there?" asked the child.
Sharli smiled warmly, "Come now, why would you say that?"
Olly didn't need the Mist to tell him that was a lie. Everyone in the room heard it.
"Because...you're acting weird," the child had stated.
Sharli looked surprised for a minute before she frowned, seemingly thinking about her actions. After a minute she took a big bite of her food and smiled again, "It's nothing for you to worry about. I'm sure it'll all be fine soon and I'd have worried you for nothing".
That was a lie too, but even children can sense when those close to them don't wish to talk about something. Luckily, these children seemed to have enough restraint to not ask.
Olly turned to Kit later that night as they slept. Kit might have been younger than him by eight years, but the boy was smart for his age. And he was kind of like Olly. He may not have been able to hear the Mist, but he still had a connection, one that many of his kind didn't. The Mist had taught him, not other Magicians with their subjective opinions and interpretations. Even when Kit had learned from Mr Moonshadow, though it had been brief, the older man had not given any clues beyond a question or two to guide Kit's line of thinking.
"Kit..." Olly whispered in the darkness. There was no reply from the cot beside him, so Olly spoke again, "Kit?"
The ten year old rolled over, his dark eyes opening slowly as they looked over grumpily at Olly.
"What?" Kit croaked out.
"Is Miss Sharli really okay?" asked Olly.
Kit frowned, "Of course she's okay. She's always been okay".
Olly raised an eyebrow, "But she was lying, she doesn't think things will sort themselves out at all".
Kit sighed as he looked over at Olly. On any other night, Kit probably would have been angry at being woken up. But he'd somehow gotten used to Olly's inconvenient timing for questions. Now, even if the room was only lit by the moonlight, Kit could tell that Olly had a look of concern on his face. So Kit asked the question he knew Olly wanted to answer, "What does the Mist say?"
The question had become more common over the last fortnight. As much as Kit wanted to ignore the human's clear understanding of the Mist - and a greater understanding of his own, which defied logic - Olly's insights were often quite helpful. And, as Kit listened more and more, he'd realised that Olly was very rarely if ever, wrong.
"It says she's standing on a cliff," said Olly, "And that if she decides to jump, there won't be any time to regret or take it back".
Olly often spoke in metaphors and gave cryptic answers. His excuse was that it was how the Mist talked. Kit couldn't exactly disagree with him. Even if he couldn't hear the Mist, everything he saw was confusing and disorienting.
A cliff? Would she die if she jumped? Kit frowned in thought. He didn't like the idea of Sharli dying. She'd been the one who found him all those years ago, in that dark, dark place...
"I'm worried we'll have to follow her down," Olly muttered lowly.
Kit focused on Olly again, looking at the older boy's honest and worried eyes. After a moment of contemplation, he sighed, "I'll tell Iah in the morning. Get some sleep".
It was all he was really willing to do. Besides, Iah had always been close with her sister, she'd be able to handle this better than him.
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