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A man's journey

by John Macriss

John Macriss A telling of AZ in X and Y, just a bit more loosely told.
There was once a king. The king ruled from his kingdom far and wide, alongside his closest friend. The king ruled over his land peacefully, treating his subjects with respect and making sure they lived well.

But sadly, peace did not last forever. War was soon waged against him, and the king's friend had opted to help their soldiers fight. The king tried all he could to keep his friend from joining the fight, but his effortless attempts could not stop him from running into battle.

Time flew by, day turning into weeks turning into months. The king had heard little about how the war was turning out, and even less about his friend's status. One day, men started to return home. They came in by the hundreds, but not one was the king's friend.

The king went from soldier to soldier, asking if any of them knew where his friend was, but not one could give him a good answer. All hope seemed lost, until the king finally found a soldier who gave him.

It was a box. In it was the black rose his friend had found when they were both little.

The king got no sleep that night. Sadness and distraught flowed through his body like the blood in his veins. The king prayed to the gods to give him his friend back, for all he wanted was the one who had been by his side for their whole lives.

The next day, the king got what he asked for. In his kingdom's garden, the man found a tower. With it, he found a parchment. It read, Ask and you shall receive." So the king did. And to his amazement, his friend appeared before his eyes in a bright flash. The king was overjoyed, but his friend was confused. Throughout the day, the king did his best to calm his friend down and make sure no one in his kingdom was scared of the tower that had magically appeared.

But the king was not done. That night, while everyone slept, the king went back to the tower. This time, he asked it to get revenge on those who had killed his friend. And so it did.

The war was over, surprising many of how quick it had ended. At first, the king was happy too, but that all went away when he could not find his friend the next day. He searched through the towns, but no one had seen him throughout the day. One week had passed, and not one sign of his friend.

The king left his position to his brother while he left to find his friend. He feared that his friend had saw what he had done, and despised him for it. Uncounted time past as the once king traveled the lands, not once finding his friend.

The now traveler did not return home; he believed he should find his friend first before heading back to where they came from. But the day the two reunited never came.

The traveler lost count of the days he had been away, lost count of the months, years, decades, and so on. Now he expected to either find his friend or die trying.

Time continued on, but the traveler felt no weaker or older than he did when he left to find his friend. One night, he prayed to the gods, asking why he had not died, why he was still feeling young, but not looking the part.

"You can't," was the answer he got in return.

Now knowing the fact that he was what the legends dubbed immortal, the traveler went around the world in sorrow, pain, and resentment towards himself. He hated himself for believing he could get want he wanted without any whiplash. Every now and again, he tried to take his own life, but nothing seemed to work.

The traveler had no idea how much time had passed. Hundreds upon thousands of years, maybe, but he could not remember when he even left on his futile journey.

One day, the traveler came across a strange man and his followers. the traveler thought nothing of them, until they started to attack him. He put up no fight. The men and their leader imprisoned him, and the traveler found that they had found the tower, and that they would use its power to make people immortal.

The traveler tried to reason with the man not to use it, that all that would come from it was pain and suffering. But his pleas feel on deaf ears.

When all seemed lost, and that history would repeat itself, the traveler watched as a boy and a group of his followers fought the evil man to stop him from using the tower. He witnessed as the boy unleashed against the evil man, he and his followers successfully defeating the enemy. As the victors celebrated, the man they defeated tried to kill them all, including himself, by having the tower destroy itself.

The boy, his followers, and the traveler were able to escape, leaving the evil man to kill himself and destroy the tower. Many of them cheered, but the traveler stood silent, looking at the rubble. The device that had caused him pain for centuries had been destroyed by its own power, and now no one had to go through the came pain he did.

The man watched as the boy fought and became the champion of those around him. He watched as the boy toppled other warriors in competition and became the greatest their was. So the traveler decided to challenge him.

The man watched as the boy fought and became the champion of those around him. He watched as the boy toppled other warriors in competition and became the greatest their was. So the traveler decided to challenge him.

The two fought well, but the traveler knew he could not win. He knew he had lost before the battle had even begun, but he wanted to fight. For his old friend.

It wasn't long until the traveler had lost. At the end of the battle, he bowed to the boy, congratulating him on his win.

As the traveler walked away from the boy, feeling that he had nothing left for himself now, a person had blocked his path. The traveler stood shocked at that who stood before him not believing his sight. He thought he was just seeing things until he noticed something in the person's hand.

The black flower.

The traveler engulfed his old friend in a hug, crying into his shoulder with joy, as his friend hugged back.

"It is ok," his friend told him. "I am here now. You need not worry anymore."

"Where have you been?" the traveler asked back, tears still falling down his face.

"Around," came the short reply from his friend. "Waiting for you to learn."

"Learn what?"

"That when you think you have lost everything, I will be here for you. Whether in the flesh or in your heart. I will always be here for you, old friend.Don't cry."

He didn't stop crying.
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