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Forgotten Wings

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            —This is a story from a long time ago.
            I don’t remember how long ago it was, exactly, but I still must have been a little kid. The grown-ups around me all seemed so big, and so wise.
            Anyway, little kids don’t know much about the world, right? But they do know about right and wrong, and about heroes.
            I liked hero stories when I was young.
            The people looking after me were magi, so they knew a lot of good hero stories from what they called the “age of gods”.

            A lot of them were stories about ancient wars in foreign countries, but some of them were about the gods themselves, about angels and demons and things that are impossible.
            I mean impossible with today’s technology, and impossible with magic—but in the “age of gods”, the world was young and a lot more things could happen.
            I was still just a kid.
            But I understood what that difference meant, even though I’d never seen the outside world.
            It meant that maybe there was more truth to all the stories I heard than most people might believe—

            I was still just a kid.
            It was the first time I ever heard the story of Ragnarok, the great war between gods and demons that was supposed to have been the death of many gods.
            My master got angry with those of his servants that told me after I heard about it, either because he thought it was too violent for me or because he’d planned for me to hear it when I was older. …Which amounts to the same thing, but still.
            When I heard the story of the angels who did the fighting, my heart beat faster and faster, and it felt like something inside me was swelling up. It wasn’t the same as pride, but it was a really happy feeling and I was excited.
            …I really was a kid.
            The man who was telling me that story smiled at my attitude and patted my hair. That wasn’t something that happened very often, so I was even happier, and I said that I felt a lot more alive listening to his story than I ever had before in my life.
            “That’s only natural,” he told me. “Because those angels are the same as you, Ein—”

            I didn’t understand what he meant then, and I still don’t now.
            But whenever I hear that old story, my heart still beats a lot faster—