"What is shadow warrior?" Raine asked curiously as she bit her sausage. Lidya kept mentioning about shadow warrior since last night even Dorian was a shadow warrior.
Lidya blinked her eyes in disbelief. "Seriously, now I become more curious about you Raine. What kind of place Fulbright City that you lived. How you don't know about all of this?"
"I" Before Raine could explain herself, Lidya had cut her words.
"You really don't know about this?" She emphasized her question by waving her hands, indicating the world around them.
"I don't know about shadow warrior and guardian angel, or this city" Raine said in low voice. "But I know a little bit about Lycanthropes."
Raine wanted to say that she wasn't totally clueless with all these supernatural creatures, after all she had been seeing them for almost half of her life, but she had never heard anything about shadow warrior.
"Hmm" Lidya folded her arms and assessed the girl in front of her. "It will be difficult"
"I will try to understand it" Raine promised she would try her best to grasp the information, she had prepared herself to perceive this bizarre situation.
"No, Raine the situation here not only needs your understanding." Lidya shook her head. "It will be hard for you to understand this, especially for you, who have never lived in this kind of environment."
What was so difficult to understand? Raine was so ready to hear no matter how absurd the explanation was, she had lost her sense of rationality now, everything seemed possible for her, even if Lidya was going to say that she could grow wings, she would believe that.
Lidya sighed and finished her bread before she continued her explanation. "Shadow Warriors are our protector. I have told you before that our kind had been hunted for decades by many creatures that wanted to gain more power by sapping our energy, shadow warriors are here to help us."
Raine nodded, at this point she could relate why Lidya and Lucas always said that the number of their kind has decreased.
"But, we need to do a favor for them in return." Lidya bit her lips and looked at her surroundings. "I will tell you after you finished your food."
Raine frowned, why she suddenly became mysterious? Looking at her plate that was still half full, she felt like she didn't want to eat anymore.
Lidya changed the topic to the common one as she explained to Raine that she would get her turn to help in the kitchen and Lidya would ask to the person in charge to put Raine in the same schedule as her, so she wouldn't feel uncomfortable, of course Raine was so grateful for Lidya thoughtfulness.
After Raine finally finished her food, half of the hall had emptied.
"We will buy something nice for you to wear." Lidya grabbed Raine's arms and led the way out of the Great Hall.
Both of them carefully climbed down the stairs and walked toward the bustling street.
Small houses like Lidya's were on their left and right covered with the white snow like cotton while their chimney peeked from their roof.
Raine didn't pay attention on this before, but now she could see how breathtakingly beautiful the view before her eyes. This place was simply like a painting of a dream rural city.
"Lidya, you said you will explain about the shadow warrior" Raine reminded Lidya softly, she had been eager to hear what was that since Lidya became so secretive about that topic.
"Oh, right." Lidya slowed down her pace and looked around her. "Let's sit over there" She pointed at the bench near a river.
Raine followed her and sat on the shore of the river, strangely, even though they were in the middle of winter, but the river didn't freeze, as if the weather didn't have any effect on it.
"The river" Raine bemused, looking at the calm stream on the surface of the water that was glistening under the dim of the sunrays.
"This is Apricity River. This river will never freeze no matter how cold it became." Lidya explained.
"I have never heard something like that." Raine stated.
Lidya chuckled. "Maybe you don't know about this also, but winter in this place will last forever." She said.
Raine almost hurt her neck when she turned to look at Lidya in shock. "You mean the winter is the only season here?" Where is her? North Pole? The only place that would snow all the time.
"Yes." Lidya nodded. "But, it is a good thing for us actually, because it will prevent some creatures to come closer to our border."
"Border?" Raine reiterated.
"Like you see, we are in the middle of winter, but at the same time, only a few miles from here, it is the dessert of no return." Lidya pointed at the direction of the dessert, where Lucas had found her there. "Not many creatures could survive from the dessert, you and Lucas were very lucky."
Lidya stood up and approached the river, took off her gauntlet and washed her hand on the river.
"Come here and try this." She waved at Raine to follow what she was doing.
Raine could feel Lidya's reluctance to explain further about the shadow warrior, but Raine still followed her and removed her gauntlet to feel the water from the Apricity River.
Surprisingly the water was warm, it felt so good when her cold skin touch it, but Raine still not forgot about the question that she wanted to ask.
"What the guardian angel has to do in return for the protection of shadow warrior?" Raine looked at Lidya as she witnessed her expression slightly dim.
"Ourselves." She said curtly.
Raine not sure if she understood with the Lidya's answer. "What do you mean with ourselves?"
"Raine" Lidya smiled gloomily as she touched Raine's hands. "Please look this matter on the bright side."
"What is it?" Raine was uncomfortable, she wanted to pull back her hands, but didn't want to hurt Lidya's feeling, thus she just sat there with frown.
"Many creatures want to sap our energy and once it happened, we are nothing, only a soulless body. The condition that worse than death itself." Lidya sat closer to Raine, still holding her hands. "But, the shadow warriors are here to protect us. We have been living shoulder to shoulder with them for decades, that way we can survive."
"But, what your kind give to them in return?" Raine didn't want to be distracted from her main concern.
"Our kind, Raine, our kind." Lidya corrected Raine's words. "You are one of us."
Right, if Lidya claimed Raine was one of them, which probably was true, then she has to follow the rule here, whatever it was, in order to survive.
This fact alone made Raine became nervous. What was the rule? Why they have to give themselves?
"What did you do for them in return?" Raine stared at Lidya's right in her eyes, she could feel fear started to crept in her heart.
"Every guardian angel needed to be paired with shadow guard." Lidya said it carefully as she assessed Raine's expression. "That is not all bad, I promise!" She hurriedly explained and raised her hand to make a promise sign.
But, Raine had pulled her hand from Lidya's grasp in surprised.