Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.

 Henri could feel the sounds the leaves are making with every step he took, how couldn't he? When the night has already set it and the moon was taunting him from above because even it knows and he knows, he couldn't do anything about this. His hazel hues stared at the moon as he continued to go on with his journey, he has been trying to get to the mountaintops since yesterday but it wasn't an easy feat when not everyone would take it lightly for a whole snow tiger to walk around in the middle of the day. There shouldn't even be a snow tiger here in Evermore. Not that it is a real one, but he is as real as it can be. The only difference between him and an actual snow tiger was that he doesn't pounce and tackle humans for his prey, one, because he knows better. Two, human meat doesn't fit his diet. Kidding. His white fur had been covered by snow and the mountaintops should be a nice enough place for him to settle for a while because he needed to stay off sight. He's been sighing heavily for a while now, he couldn't remember what happened. 

Only that a few nights ago after he transformed into his ailuranthrope form to do his perimeter run every week around the borders of Evermore to see if there was anything new or out of the ordinary because there hasn't been a shortage in the Evermore General to stop accepting patients because a lot kept being admitted. At this point, he knew they would be more short staffed than they already were. Something was going on and he was going to check if it was anything done near the borders that separated any ties or deals done in the name of peace for Evermore. He couldn't find anything weird that night so he came back to the manor using the woods as a shortcut but realized he couldn't morph back into his human form. His chances to revert back to human had been the only thing that's been stuck in his head for days and he couldn't exactly walk into the diviner territory demanding for a diviner. He's a freaking tiger. 

Henri initially had a bag filled with his clothes with him since he would be needing clothes once he turns back per usual but since he's stuck in this form, he's been dragging it with him by having it hung around his mouth as he trudged through the woods. Unfortunately, while he was walking towards the mountaintops, the grounds were a bit slippery and it had resulted the therian to stumble on his steps and rolled down. A whimper escaped him when his body hits the tree, but that wasn't his main concern now. His bag was nowhere to be found. It must've dropped somewhere when he fell. Goddammit. With no energy left he could spare just to find his bag, Henri was left to choose whether he would continue to use the remaining energy to settle in somewhere there even though there's a risk of Niveis finding him or he could continue his journey by rerouting them to somewhere he could search for help. He can't return to the manor in this state, for sure. In the end, Henri chose the latter. 

It was better to find solutions instead of hiding. So he made sure to go back to the city using routes not many would use, the woods provided good access thankfully and after a while of walking, he came across a shop that was still open. That wasn't what caught his interest, it's the antiques put up on display. People who own places like this usually ends up being a diviner so for once after a while, Henri's eyes lit up and rushed to the entrance door, nudging his head against the doorknob. Stupid paws. Fortunately, the only light there was a lamp post not far from where he's at. It was quite late so no one would come. Please, he pleaded, open up.

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“Yeah I’ll bet, though I’ve never had the experience of shifting into an animal so I have no idea how it feels” he tilted his head slightly, that was a good question actually, how did it feel to be a tiger? Were there some impulses that were animalistic and hard to control or was the shift purely a form and not actually linked to the animal itself at all? Still, it felt odd to be asking someone he just met all of that so he let his wandering mind rest and didn’t ask any of it out loud. “Well I’ve yet to see a spell that couldn’t be undone with some kind of method or charm, the only hard part is trying to figure out what will actually help” given that magic could come in lots of different forms, some were stronger than others “One thing I’m pretty sure of though is that magic and freewill aren’t friends which means we have a shot of not needing magic to change you back” at least he was gonna hope so anyway.

The Niveis raised his brow a little surprised when the other male said he wasn’t part of a pack, from what he knew about therianthropes they were much stronger when they were in one so that seemed bizarre to him “An omega huh? Don’t think I’ve actually met one before” even if the pack was only made up of a few people, they all seemed to be part of one and making a pack meant having someone with alpha powers which he was sure were useful too. “Did you have a falling out with your pack?” he wondered thoughtfully, maybe the fact he was an omega had something to do with why he couldn’t shift back, if his power was draining due to his lack of connection to other therianthropes, though he wasn’t an expert in his species by any means.

Kal stood back for a while as the other male finished the food he put out for him and wandered around the shop a little just to ease his restlessness because this was hardly what he pictured to be doing with his night. It occurred to him that he had a lot of weird times like this lately, this city definitely was one of a kind when it came to the supernatural. “Either, both, anything which can ease your consciousness to allow you to separate or even visualize that blocker in your mind” it had to be some sort of blocker right? Like he was reaching for the switch to change himself back but something was staying his hand before he could take a hold of it and pull it. He gave a raised brow in the other male’s direction and then shrugged slightly “Well I don’t see you coming up with any better ideas” he responded a little defensively and sighed.

“There’s more floor space in the apartment upstairs, though please be careful on your way through to the stairs” because there were many things he could run into or knock over if he wasn’t careful and the hat stand had already fallen prey. He headed into the back room and over to the stairs, leading the way up to them until they reached the lounge of his apartment and he stepped inside. He faced the other male and sighed softly, this may possibly go down as one of the weirdest and most surreal moments of his life. He headed over to the dresser and grabbed his pocket watch from on it and then gestured for Henri to sit down “Okay, I am going to try and distract your mind with some words and the cheesy watch the swinging clock trick, just try not to think too much about it” he knew plenty of Diviners so he knew hypnosis was one of the best counteractions to magic so it was worth a try.

A snort escaped him when Kal talked about the experience of shifting into another animal, "Believe me, it's not as big as people would rave it to be. Media definitely sugar coated things, said the shift would be so cool when all you actually feel are the bones breaking and the excruciating pain following you for a while." It does get easier, thankfully. But then again, Henri's had centuries of experience when it comes to shifting so he couldn't say much for others either. "You're right, if there was anything I've learnt from my time around, it's that everything must have a loophole somewhere, especially spells." Oh, when you live in the manor filled with plenty of other species, you learn to pinpoint their specification. Especially when you have a diviners roaming around the space too.

 When Kal said freewill and magic doesn't match together, Henri found himself nodding knowingly, he wasn't wrong, "You're right. If it was meant to control my head and cut off my freewill, that's not happening. I have control over my body except for the shifting part." Perhaps, he was grateful that he still retained that freewill. "Uh… yeah, you can say something like that." He didn't have a pack, true. There's not really much of a pack in the Guards, he's seen a few therians but the one he ever actually see all the time was Dominic. Some of the others either got killed during the fall of the Isle or they unfortunately lost their lives under certain circumstances in missions. When he said he's never met one before, Henri chuckled and pursed his lips, "Can't say you've actually met a live tiger walking into your place asking for help either, huh?" Under different circumstances, it was a rather humorous night. "No, I didn't have any falling out…" Before he joined the Guard, he had been an omega his entire life too. 

He was a bit famished earlier so the meat managed to curb that hunger, in which he was immensely grateful for the offer. "I tried looking for a blocker… but I'm not even sure what I'm looking for" he mumbled softly, he didn't despise his form, obviously, but he didn't want to be stuck in this form any longer than he needed to. He had stuff to do. Henri got up on all fours and decided to follow Kal upstairs because he also wanted to settle this. Every step was carefully planned, and it was at this moment when he realized he missed being human so much. His hues followed the pocket watch in his hand and tilted his head to the side, "Are you… going to try to hypnotize… me? Kal, really?" He slumped against the floor and blinked, "Oh well, worth a try. Go for it." He didn't have any room to complain, anyway.

He naturally winced when the other male explained the process of turning and how painful it was, he couldn’t imagine being forced to go through something like that every month “It must have been so alarming the first time” he commented softly thinking how someone might literally believe they were dying because of it. “But it must get better with time right?” he almost sounded hopeful because he didn’t like the idea of them being miserable because of their very existence for their whole life, that didn’t seem like a fair matchup. He nodded a few times when the other mentioned every spell having some kind of loophole “Precisely, balance has to provide some kind of undo because otherwise the power is too much” he nodded slightly, it was why you couldn’t use magic to just kill someone on the spot, because that would be an imbalance of power and not something of real nature.

Kal nodded thoughtfully, Henri was right, aside from the fact he couldn’t trigger his body to shift back into human form he seemed completely in control of himself, or as in control as a tiger in a pawn shop could be anyway “And you’re not showing any signs of being under any kind of influence, magic or otherwise” he seemed healthy, of sounds mind, generally well. For a tiger anyway. He glanced up at him when he talked about his pack situation which made Kal curious as to what he was hiding because it was evident he was dodging the subject. Regardless, he let it go, they only just met tonight and it wasn’t like Henri owed him his life story, Kal certainly wouldn’t be offering his own out. “I mean it’s definitely not top of the things I expected to happen list” he admitted with a chuckle, the situation was quite peculiar when you thought about it, he doubted anyone would believe him if he told them it happened “But then this Evermore city, what even is surprising anymore?” his tribe showing up here? Comet’s which gave people new powers? They really had it all.

“Well I’m no trained psychotherapist but we can give it a go anyway, not exactly like you’ve got many other options this time of night” if things didn’t work out then they could always go search out a Diviner in the morning but for now it was probably wise that Henri stayed out of sight and didn’t get chased down by an animal control unit. After he settled himself, he was questioning his own sanity for a moment because it seemed bizarre to be here with an actual snow tiger and debating the idea of hypnotizing him “I suppose I am” he responded with an amused grin “Maybe if we can get you into a more relaxed state we can figure out what’s blocking that mind of yours” he shrugged, like Henri said, it was worth a try. He swung the watch in front of his eyes for a moment “Okay focus your eyes on the watch and try to relax, let every worry and concern fall from your mind, just focus on the way it moves, left, right, left, right, perhaps even count the rhythm in your head” he had done hypnotherapy before in his time so he knew this drill pretty well.

Henri almost grimaced at the thought of having to shift every time and still feel the same excruciating pain he felt the first time, thankfully their entire process for the rest of their life wasn't like that or else he was positive he'd have fainted from the pressure. "I thought I was having a weird seizure the first time. My father knew but he only stared… so I thought I was suffering from an unknown illness that takes toll on my physical state. Turns out that wasn't it" he chuckled dryly, imagine his surprise when 18 year old Henri found his hand was replaced by a paw. It was pretty overwhelming for the next few months until he finally got used to it. "It does get better in time" he nodded in affirmation in response to his question, he desperately wished for a remedy to his current state, he doesn't mind being in his tiger form but when he couldn't shift back and it caused him trouble because he also had things to get to. Things a tiger cannot do.

 "I hope we'll be able to figure out how to reverse this soon… I do worry if someone was already searching for me" Despite being a drunken ass, Ven does tend to holler for him and actually tries to track him down at times. There were also other guards. Thankfully, he wasn't running any errand which leaves him off the grid for a few more days if he's lucky. "I'll be worried if I am under any influence… the last thing I wanted to do is have innocent blood on my hands… or paws, for something I couldn't even recall doing" he shuddered instinctively, he's heard of the rumors; how people committed heinous crimes only to wake up saying they couldn't recall a thing. It's a scary world but that makes it a lot scarier because they knew someone could be playing them like a marionette. "You can add this one to your list after tonight" he added humorously, chuckling at the thought of a tiger walking in a shop so casually. That's him alright.

 From his sense of smell, he couldn't figure out what Kal was at first, up until he used his ability to lower the temperature in the room which had him pulling out the guess card that the other male is one of the newest residents in the eternal city; a Niveis. Peculiar people. He should be worried about possible hypnosis but at the moment, Kal was right, it wasn't as if he could do much about this situation, "Alright… let's give it a go. Here goes nothing, right?" Gosh, there was literal tremor in his voice. He followed every single word instructed by Kal and focused his gaze on the watch while attempting to calm himself down. He supposed it was a lot easier to do that now after plenty of practice because the anger triggers their transformation, it was wise not to lash out. Henri inhaled the air before slowly exhaling as his hazel hues followed the arrow of the watch and his ears took in every ticking it made. He even counted in his head and before long, he was in a dazed state. It was like a big cat trying to keep himself awake. 

Kal widened his eyes at the way Henri explained his father’s reaction to his first shift which made him feel horrible for him, how could someone’s father know exactly what their child was going through and then cruelly watch as they suffered? Oh, wait...he knew a father who would do exactly that, his. “Well, then it sounds like we have one thing in common, father who doesn’t actually give a damn, check” must have been a difficult experience for Henri to go through though, he could imagine with no idea what was happening he probably feared in those moments that he was going to die and he couldn’t think of anything more horrifying to put someone through “I’m glad, I guess the panic dies down once you know what to expect too” fear of the unknown was a real thing after all.

Kal raised his brow at the way Henri was concerned that someone might be looking for him “Someone meaning that you’d be in trouble or?” he didn’t really know anything about the other male or what had led him to this state, perhaps he had pissed off a Diviner and they had decided to put a curse on him. “Well you seem of pretty sound mind right now, so as long as we get this resolved sooner than later, nothing to worry about right?” though Kal wasn’t all that confident that his measures would be enough to reverse this, he wasn’t an expert in therianthropes or curses after all. Still, they had to try and do something. “I think if I actually wrote out a list of all the weird visits I’ve had to the shop I’d sound like one of those crazy people who rambled about monsters in journals” he gave a low chuckle shaking his head slightly.

“Well, on the contrary, I’d say here goes hopefully something but let’s see what happens” he commented as he got out the watch and started the process of hypnosis as best he could, the idea he had was to try and flip a switch in Henri’s mind so that he could turn back, it seemed like something was blocking it and preventing him from doing so and he was hoping the hypnosis could tell them more about what the blocker was and how they then tried to prevent the block from happening. After he could see the tiger’s form relax he took a deep breath “Okay Henri, I want to imagine yourself in a room, there’s very little in the room but there is a light switch in there which you need to press, tell me what the room looks like” Kal remained relaxed as he tried to talk his way through this, maybe this would work, maybe it wouldn’t but they had to try something.

Kal was a bit of a peculiar case, he wondered what’s his story. There was that air about that just struck him, but then again, what kind of person would help out a tiger so late at night, right? A good person, or a very weird one. Either way, this works out in his favor, he had managed to enlist his help when he was desperate. Henri would trust his instincts and right now, they’re telling him to believe in the Niveis. When he said they had something in common and it was their fathers, Henri quirked his eyebrow in surprise, “Huh… yeah, tough love, right?” That was a lot of tough love indeed. “Did he leave you to fend for yourself or something?” It wasn’t until he realized he could be stepping off his boundaries that Henri quickly clamped his mouth shut and let out a small yelp, “I mean… if you want to talk about it, anyway. No need to say anything if it’s uncomfortable for you.” 

Knowing to expect yourself to turn into a big tiger every month, it was overwhelming for him, especially for someone who never knew his supernatural identity whatsoever. Not until he first shifted. “I mean… if you tell someone that he’s gonna have to endure the pain of shifting into a big… cat, who by the way, you have no idea could kill anything or anyone on impulse, for every month, I don’t think it could get you any better of a reaction aside from him freaking out and probably fainting for the next couple of minutes.” Right, Kal didn’t know who he is, the other male only knew him by what he is and his name, hardly much of an identity to go on, “Not particularly in trouble, no. Don’t worry about it, it’s just someone who usually looks for me to help him go through the day, someone needs to sober him up” At this point, a bucket of water to the face was all that he needed to do that, alongside a few aspirins and a glass of water to boot. 

“But then you also know, you’re not really the one who’s ‘crazy’, right? You know you’re right and someday, those people would know too, or not. I kinda hope for the latter, sometimes it’s better for some people to remain… ignorant and oblivious.” The world couldn’t handle the people who would eventually unveil their secrets, it was going to be a big mess to clean up, for sure. Let’s see what happens, indeed. He hoped that the hypnosis would work, at least something. He couldn’t remain in this form any longer than he could, and it’s a big burden for him to walk around in it. His breathing was leveled and his head was pretty much empty by the time he heard Kal’s voice guiding him. The room he had pictured was very much like his own back in his early days after he fled from his home, “The walls are bare, there’s a table in the middle of the room and there were no windows. No curtains… and there was no light, I can’t see it.” Surprisingly, the room felt so foreign to him even if it was familiar.

Kal gave a sarcastic laugh under his breath when the other male said tough love and shrugged his shoulders “Something like that..mine took it to a new level though” Kal was pretty sure that everything he went through drove his father mad to the point where he just didn’t care anymore and in the end, all he could see was these ideals he was chasing. There was a time where he couldn’t talk about what happened at all but now he was okay with it, it had taken him 40 years to process it all but he was finally in a place where he could talk about it without falling apart “My father thought my kind should be the strongest and he was willing to do anything to make that happen, including hurt people he was supposed to protect” he grimaced a little and shrugged.

He nodded slightly, the idea of becoming a Therianthrope was a scary one he was sure, especially young people who had no idea what they were getting into, he was sure there might be a moment where they thought they were going to die because the pain was too much, it really must have been terrifying. “Yeah I can’t even imagine having to process all those thoughts...alongside...the pain” trying to figure out what you were supposed to do, having fear of the unknown was one of the worst because there was nothing you could do to prepare yourself for it. “Sounds like he’s a pain in the ass” he commented and chuckled under his breath, he couldn’t imagine it was a lot of fun for Henri to be supporting someone emotionally like that, he heard from other people who went through similar things in his support group, it was hard to shoulder another person’s burdens.

“Well true, I am not crazy to anyone who is allowed to know about the crazy of the world, but we are not the majority” the city was filled with humans and the whole premise of the Eternal City was to keep the supernatural secret and protect all of its residents. “Sometimes I wish I could forget about it all, I feel like it would be easier to sleep at night” and yet he was part of that world and always would be, there was nothing he could do to change it so instead he had learned to accept it, you could say embrace it even. He had no idea if this hypnosis was going to work but Kal believed the mind was stronger than any magic, which meant if they found a way to combat the blocker, Henri might be able to overcome it. “Okay, feel your way around the room a little, try to get a feel for the surroundings, finding that switch is the priority, the darkness in the room, that’s the blocker in the way, push against it” he nodded his head a little watching the male carefully.

Not every parent could win the parent of the year award, he understood that and if there was anything he’s learned in all his years of serving in the Guard, it’s that most people don’t showcase what they’re feeling often on the surface. And that perhaps, there were more to their story than most people would see it. “A part of me wants to ask how much of a new level did he take it” he chuckled, tough love can be so complicated to digest, especially if you were particularly young at that time. When Kal told him what his father thought, Henri could feel himself grimacing at it, “So… he had his own ideals, and would stop at nothing to make sure they come true? Sounds a bit extreme…” Kal had said including the people he was supposed to protect, somehow that line resonated so well with him, leaving the therian to meddle with his own stump. “I wonder if he was so hell bent into doing that solely because he thought that was the right thing to do.” 

Some species have been mistreated due to their supernatural heritage alone, so he wasn’t surprised if he was fueled by it or even driven by the hatred that instilled itself inside him. He knew about the Niveis settling here in Evermore, but they didn’t go as far as knowing how their species were created, aside from the fact that they were formerly phoenixes who died in the cold. It was a strange concept to understand, but there were plenty of weirdness to go around in the world. “I just wanted someone to be there, you know? For you? It’s like you were given a surprise birthday gift but it wasn’t the good kind and the only thing you could recall was your father standing over, towering above you with an indescribable look across his face. Not the best birthday memory I’d like to have…” Coincidentally, the next full moon had been 2 days after his birthday that time, so it was still fresh in his head. Henri chuckled when Kal implied that his father wasn’t the best, “You have no idea.” 

He pressed his lips into a firm line, offering a reassuring smile towards him when he said he wished he wasn’t a part of the world itself, “Honestly, I can’t blame you there. There were times when I wished the same too.” If he wasn’t in the Guard, he probably would’ve decayed thinking the same until the end of his days. But alas, he believes he’s doing something good now. Pushing against the darkness was the first step in this and that’s exactly what he did, but like most things, especially something that was conjured by the mental, it was easier said than done. “I feel like it’s trying to close up on me…” he murmured, the room is starting to feel smaller as if it was trying to suffocate him but he kept on pushing through until the room changed, “Oh… now it’s no longer dark… it’s dimly lit but you can see everything in the room. But that’s the thing, there’s nothing in the room…” So what was he supposed to seek?

Kal had to grimace just at the memory of the things his father had done in the name of teaching his sons how to be the people he wanted them to be “Well he killed my brother so...take that as you will” he was still dealing with the aftermath of the pain his father caused even 40 years of therapy down the line and he was sure there was always going to be a part of him which felt broken because of the things that he had been through. “He was a tyrant, it was either you side with him or you die” as soon as his father got an inkling that someone was against his beliefs he would find a way to get rid of them and as time went by he burned so many bridges and hurt so many people that the end could only go one way “I have to tell myself it was madness because anything else means I have to rationalize how someone could do that to their own blood” he pressed his lips together, that got heavy fast.

He nodded slightly when the other male explained how he just wanted to someone to be there for him and to tell him he was going to be okay, Kal definitely understood where he was coming from, so many times he had just wished that his father could be the supportive and kind person he remembered him being when it was young. “Sadly it seems when we need help the most, it’s usually not there” which made it hard to rely on others because you always tended to expect the worst from them after that. Kal had to admit it had taken him a long time to feel like he could let new people into his life “Hopefully you’ve had better birthdays since then?” he questioned, perhaps a part of him hoped to hear the other male’s life got better after the misery he was put through.

He nodded slightly, if he was human, he would prefer not to know about this messed up world around him and just live his life happy and oblivious but he was a Niveis and that would never be his reality “The world is complicated enough, adding the supernatural to it only makes it crazier” he grumbled the words under his breath because honestly, he was tired of worrying about it all. “I know but keep pushing, remember this is your mind, you are technically in control” though he was sure it didn’t feel like that right now. He had to admit he was surprised when Henri said the room was no longer dark but he covered his surprise with a deep breath “The room might seem empty but that is your mind convincing you so” he nodded slightly “There’s no way there could be nothing there right? So I want you to get up and explore, use all of your senses, not just your eyes” sight was rarely a good trigger after all.

“Oh wow… well I didn’t know what I was expecting but definitely not that” he murmured, that was definitely quite surprising for him, “I guess I should be grateful I was an only child then?” He couldn’t fathom the pain of losing your own flesh and blood because of your own father. “I remember being so jealous over others for having a model father” though he’s never shown much about it. It did seem like Kal had quite the father, worse than his own, which made the therian pity him, “Here’s to hoping for better days in the future, right?” he lifted his paw up awkwardly as an attempt to make it seem like he was trying to cheer him up. He hated awkward situations, and this is one of that, Kal looked like he really resented his tyrant father. “I doubted you sided with him so you managed to get out unscathed, then?” Or maybe he underwent a traumatic experience to make it count.

 “Sorry we had to talk about that… I think I just worsened the mood around here” he murmured and whimpered softly, he probably shouldn’t have pried too much. He wasn't wrong when he said it was those moments when they needed help the most, that usually didn't turn out well because it wasn't there. Perhaps, they were more similar than he thought they were. He didn't expect to find someone who he could relate to. "Yeah, thankfully after I joined the people who would be my family today, things got better. I felt respected and treated like an actual person. They didn't undermine or invalidate my complications and hardships. Everyone is basically equal. It's a good change of environment, I can tell you that." The Guard has since then serve him a good reminder of how lucky he was, compared to most people in the world. At least, he received a second chance. 

"You? Did things get better for you? I sure hope so. You have a good shop and I hate to see someone so sad owning it when people come in here and marvel at the things displayed" to others, it was probably a regular pawn shop but Henri could see plenty of magical trinkets. "There were times when I thought I would be better off without the supernatural knowledge but yeah…" Maybe he would miss out on the interesting part about the supernatural community too, which is saying something considering he is one too. He was always cooped up in the lab working on his experiments so he did use his head most of the time, the only times he wasn't actually keeping himself constricted under the same roof of the Ailward manor is when he went to the library or the Ailwards sent him our as a tracker. But to get out of this magical veil draped over him is hard, he tried to focus and allowed his eyes to wander around. It was time to use your senses, he reminded himself. So he did. Things were clearer and he could see more things appearing, "The room is getting warmer… there are a few lights… Uh, 4 candles on each corner of the room, actually."

Kal laughed under his breath and shrugged “Well I’d be worried if that was what you were expecting to hear” he admitted as he glanced over to the other male with a shake of his head. It was a sad story and honestly not one he enjoyed talking about but when he did he tried to make light of it because that was his way of handling it “Perhaps, though I wouldn’t trade my sister for anything” he confessed with a half-smile. “I don’t think I ever had anything to compare to that would make me jealous but I remember knowing how wrong it all felt” he nodded slightly but the other male was right, all they could do now was hope for a better future “We can definitely hope” he agreed, nodding when he asked if he was forced to side with him “I don’t feel great about the choices I made to stay alive but when I think about the alternatives” he shrugged slightly.

He smiled when the other male apologized for bringing up the topic “Don’t worry, I’ve told my therapist the story enough times that it doesn’t crush me anymore” he responded and nodded slightly “I hope you’ve been able to move forward from the things your father did to you too” because no one deserved to be stuck in that state of torture. He smiled at the change of tone when he talked about finding people who had become his family since then “That sounds like the right place to be” he responded nodding his head thoughtfully “Though I can’t imagine the path to find people like that was easy for you” honestly Kal was still searching for his own version of that and it definitely felt out of reach for him.

“I managed to get away and start my life over...things are still complicated when it comes to the people I left behind but” he shrugged slightly, tilting his head “I think somewhere along the way I managed to find myself” he agreed with a sheepish smile. “Collecting magical things and figuring out what they’re for started out as a hobby for me but slowly developed into the thing I do every day” he chuckled, he was really cautious with anything brought in and made sure to have anything cursed properly taken care of “So most people assume I’m a diviner because of how much I know” he waited patiently as Henri went deeper into his mind, searching for clues to help them figure out the trigger “4 is usually a sign of the 4 elements but what some people don’t realize is there is a 5th more hidden element. Any chance you can see a 5th candle? Perhaps one that isn’t lit like the others” he made himself comfortable in the chair as he watched the other male’s serene expression.

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