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Chapter 4

Chapter 4

A Chapter by Iron K. Tager
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The fourth chapter.

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Streaks of white clouds ran across the orange and pink horizon as the sun slowly dipped further into the horizon.  A murder of crows cawed in the distance, and the slight chirp of grasshoppers could be heard as evening bugs sang the last remnants of the day away.  It was twilight, and nothing could be seen near the sun except for the silhouette of buildings and people.  Even though he wasn’t able to tell where they were looking, Jeremy felt people were watching him walk down the dirt path, quite a ways away from the bottom of the shrine’s stone staircase.
            He arrived at an open air shop he had seen before, and faintly remembered it was the one he saw from the road only an hour or two back.  Jeremy walked across the road to the antique shop, the lights of which were already on.  When he reached the door, his hand stopped on the knob as he heard a noise behind him and turned to see a group of small children giggle and run by.  One of the children stopped and looked at Jeremy as the others ran on, still giggling and chatting.
            She continued to stare at Jeremy with a hollow look of wonder, and Jeremy looked back at her silently dazed.  She stood half of his height with her fingers pointed outwards and her hands at her sides.  Their stare continued for a minute more, and just as Jeremy drew his breath to speak, the little girl spun around and ran off.  Her black clothes faded quickly in the distance.
            “Right,” Jeremy mumbled to himself slowly, and then opened the door.  It squealed a little as he stepped inside and closed it behind himself.
            The shop was incredibly well lit considering it only had two lamps as its source of light.  As he walked forward, Jeremy’s feet squeaked on a few loose floor panels, and Lance stuck his head out of the left doorway down the short hall. His face took an expression of surprise as he looked at Jeremy, but quickly recoiled into his usual, bright attitude.
            “Dinner will be ready soon” he sang out, with a big smile under his squinted eyes.  “I hope you like beef!”  He exclaimed as Jeremy slowly walked towards the room Lance was in.  He turned the corner to see a small, brightly kitchen in which Lance was standing over an almost non-existent stove next to a sink preparing food.  Behind him was a small table raised high and covered in cooking utensils and what looked like a worn cook book.
            Jeremy was tired, and his voice reflected an almost dead tone.  “Where is th-” he began, when Lance suddenly splashed him in the face with a cup of iced water.  Jeremy recoiled backwards, standing straight up with his eyes opening up from their drear.
            “There, now you can talk,” Lance chuckled at the joke.  “Sorry, I couldn’t help myself, you just looked so gloomy,” he said sympathetically.
            Jeremy sighed, “It’s ok, I’m sort of tired today.” He took a towel that was sitting next to the kitchen sink and wiped off his face, and then brushed his hand over his short, brown hair.  “So, where’s the girl?” Jeremy asked.
            “Lucia?  Oh right!  You two have never been introduced yet have you?”  Lance asked surprised.  “Well, she should be upstairs preparing for dinner.  It’ll be ready soon, but first you need to wash up,” he deduced by looking Jeremy over.  “The bathroom is right across from the stairs,” Lance pointed around the corner down the hall and then turned his attention back to cooking.
            “Thanks,” replied Jeremy and he began to head down the hall.

“Wait,” Lance called as he turned back around stepped towards Jeremy, remembering something.

Jeremy stopped and turned to see Lance in the doorframe of the kitchen, which was also lacking a door. 

Lance drew a watch out of his pocket that was made of some dull, fake silver.  “I almost forgot. Soro found you with this.”

Something was drawing on itself in the back of Jeremy’s head again as he thought.  He tried to identify it, but he couldn’t.  Looking at the wrist watch, he saw that the hands were not moving at all, and were stuck on the time 2:35.  “It doesn’t work,” he pointed out.

“True,” Lance turned it around to look at it as if to make sure, “but I wasn’t sure if you wanted it back.”

“You can keep it.”  Jeremy felt a little odd saying that, but he shrugged it off by turning back down the hall towards the bathroom.

Lance watched Jeremy enter the bathroom, and then looked back down at the watch.  He reluctantly put it in his pocket and went back into the kitchen. 

            Dinner was silent.  Only a short fumble over the use of utensils caused any conversation, and even then it was only a few passing comments.  Lucia was staring at Jeremy with a scowl, and Jeremy was pretending not to notice, feeling more awkward by the moment.  Once dinner was finished, Lance took the plates back downstairs.
            Jeremy looked around at the small room he was in; if not to evaluate it, than to keep away from Lucia’s vicious gaze.  The floor was made of some sort of green woven thread over wood, and two of the four walls were straight wood separated by support beams in four places.  The wall behind him had some sort of drywall on its lower half going up into the wood, with one four pane window on its left.  The wall across from Jeremy was a sort of very thin wall made of a few sections separated by thin, pillar-like wooden lengths, with a section of it non-existent due to the stairway being there.  The door, which was fully open, seemed to be a sliding one.  In between him and the stairway was Lucia, who was still staring at him with a shifty look.
            Lance soon came back upstairs and sat down on the side of the table with Lucia, with his back to the paneled wall.  “Well, if neither of you want to talk.  Lucia, meet Jeremy; Jeremy, meet Lucia,” Lance said pointing his hands from one to the other as he spoke their names.  “Jeremy, you are going to be living with us until Soro can figure something out,” he said gently.  “Until then, it is a pleasure to have you.”
            Lucia ignored Lance’s nice approach and continued to stare at Jeremy.  “Why do we need to keep him here?  You know what he is,” she finally spoke in a grumbling tone.
            Lance smiled nervously, “You’ve been listening to those men again, haven’t you?”  He sighed, “It’s not like he wanted it this way.  He isn’t bad, see?”  Lance put his hand up as if presenting Jeremy, who was still smiling awkwardly.  “He’s just like any other human, after-all.”
            “He might be a human, but he is dangerous and should GO HOME!”  She was almost yelling in anger.  “No one knows why they’re here!  No one knows how they got here!  And they do nothing but bring everyone else down!  You know how the last one-”
            Lance interjected with a stern tone, “Lucia!”  His voice returned to its normal softness, “It’s not like he can help it; this is a problem we must solve together, now, and offer our help, OK?”
            She frowned and looked at the ground annoyed, and Jeremy spoke up:  “Wait… what does she mean?  What’s going on?”
            “I guess it’s not avoidable now,” he said partly to himself, sighing heavily.  “In our world, you are what we would call a ‘Transfer Human’,” Lance explained, “A human taken from the other world and placed into this one.”
            “Wait, wait wait wait.  So you are saying I am in a different world?” Jeremy asked, surprised.
            “Basically,” Lance looked at him sympathetically.  “No one knows how this happens, why it’s different, and as far as we know, you can’t go back.” 

Lucia huffed, and then Lance turned to her, “are you calmed down?”  She looked at the floor, her face still flustered with the traces of a festering anger.
            Lance turned back to Jeremy, and observed his face of a minute.  “You seem to be taking this all quite well, actually.  Usually people in your situation would be a little more panicked than you are.”  Lance lifted his thin eyebrow.
            “Well, I’m kind of used to things running into me like this,” Jeremy shrugged, giving another awkward and largely insincere smile.  “And I guess I was sort of prepared for this to happen, in a lot of ways.”
            “Well, I’m looking forward to you staying here with us for a while.”  Lance grinned.  “I hope that doesn’t sound too odd of me.”
            “N-no, not at all.  I… I am too,” Jeremy responded hesitantly, and Lucia gave another grouchy huff. 


            Small droplets could be heard echoing in a large, empty chamber.  A dim yellow light reflected the occasional shadow of a passing moth, flashing by as it danced around it.  The droplets were only accompanied by a deep howl of wind that sounded as if it came from far off in the stone.  Two figures where turned to each other, one on an incline from the other and looking down at them.
            The lower one, a girl, spoke objectively: “By what you have said before, including the clothes and implied thoughts and motions, he has to be a new transfer human.”
            “Perhaps...” said the young man who was elevated and across from her, “… In such a short time… you got it wrong?”
            “That is impossible, sir.  You know better than anyone how thorough I am.  I made every necessary-” She got cut-off in the middle of her explanation.
            “I believe you...  however, he will only get in the way, and I trust him to be not smart enough to evade their attempts at leading his heart astray,” he spoke fluently, as if he were a well learned being.   “We will have to get rid of him, or at least capture him before anything permanent occurs.”
            They both stood in silence, with an understood, ponderous aura between them.  Then the young man spoke up again; “Perhaps we can employ the volcano to deal with him for us, and turn in our favor.”  His voice tipped with enthusiasm, “yes... spread the word as fast as you can, and without a doubt.  And find a target to employ the volcano against.”
            “Yes sir, right away.”  The girl turned around and walked out of the chamber.
            “We need to save him before he is turned.” 

            Soro called out as Jeremy punched a padded, wooden pole with his left and right fists to Soro’s direction.  Each fist hit when ordered to, as fast as he could possibly register.  His forehead began to glisten with sweat, and his punches began to lose their force with every hit.  The mid-day sun had cast its rays on everything in its sight, heating all it touched.

“Stop!!” ordered Soro, and Jeremy left the stance he was in, dropping his arms to his sides.  Slowly, he walked to the veranda where Soro was drinking his tea.
            He stopped in front of Soro huffing to catch his breath.  “I’m not… so used... to this much… exercise.”
            Soro chuckled, “Well, you’ll get used to it soon.  Just do as you can.  Here’s some water.”  Soro handed Jeremy a large cup of water.  “Water’s best for this stuff,” he stated.
            Jeremy sat down next to Soro, downed the water as fast as he could, and placed the cup down quite forcefully when he was done.  After a minute passed he had regained his breath.  ”So, last night Lance told me all about… well this.”  Jeremy motioned to nothing in particular.
            “Ahh, so someone finally told you, hmm?”  Soro glanced over to see Jeremy glaring at him.  He chuckled softly, in an apologetic manner, “Sorry, sorry. I’m just bad at explaining things, so I wouldn’t know where to start.”  He scratched the back of his head, “I wouldn’t want you to get the wrong impression or anything, but I guess that’s no guarantee on my part, and it doesn’t excuse my actions.  Sorry about that.”  After a moment passed, he added on:  “Well, at least you know.”

“Yeah,” Jeremy responded.  “He also talked about something like spirits.”

“Hmm?  How much did you get?” Soro asked.
            “Only a little bit,” Jeremy replied. 
            “Ok then, tell me what you know about spirits.”
            Jeremy remained seated and looked up at the top of the trees across from him, trying to remember.  “Spirits are not ghosts or dead people.  Spirits are…”  He tried to think.
            Soro tilted his head to the left, “spirits are when someone or something sticks around long enough, or goes beyond mortality, and a bunch of other cases, which don't happen often,” he tilted his head to the right.  “Took me a little while to get all of the ways down.  Anyway, the most common are…” he motioned for Jeremy to finish the sentence.
            “...Ones who live long enough,” Jeremy finished.  Then he added on, “Spirits that were never human to begin with take on human forms when they become one, right?” 
            Soro nodded, “though they usually have small things about them that show they’re a spirit.  You should always be on your guard, some spirits have no problems eating humans.”  Soro shifted.  “Now, what about the other things around here other than spirits?”
            “Umm...”  Jeremy sat still and looked higher up into the sky as he thought.  “We didn’t really talk about anything else.  I think he mentioned fairies; maybe… demons, I think?”

“Oh there’re a lot of fairies around, but there aren’t many demons to begin with; or ogres as they like to be called.  Usually they don’t look much more different from humans as spirits do,” Soro explained.  “The rest is just specifics, and there are quite a few of them.  You’ll learn all that over time,” he said, hoisting himself up so that he was standing on the veranda.  “Sorry for so much in such a short time.  We’ll go over it better when we have more.”

Soro walked over to a corner of the shrine, took a necklace with wind chimes on it off of a hook above his head, and put it around his neck.  “As for now, I have a few errands to run, so just sit here and continue training until I get back.  If anyone comes for me, tell ‘em I’m near the fields on the other side of town.”

“Other side of town,” Jeremy echoed with a nod.

“Just rub out the cramps and drink water and you’ll be fine.  When I get back, you can go home,” he turned around and walked towards the stone path and the stairs that led to the village.

“Wait!”  Jeremy suddenly called after him.

Soro turned around.  “Yes?”

“There is something I wanted to ask you, but I can’t remember what it was.”  Jeremy tried to focus his mind back on the thought, but it seemed to race further away every time he tried to identify it.  “Something…”

Soro glanced at the village, and then back at Jeremy.  “Can it wait until I get back?”

“Sure.”  His thoughts were not producing any results.

“Well, I’m off!  See you later!”  Soro jogged to the stairs and began to descend quickly, only to lift off of them and begin soaring through the air.

            “Ok!” Jeremy called back to him, “I’ll be here!”  He stood back up and walked over to the post, looking at it.  ‘I didn’t know he could fly,’ he thought to himself, a little under whelmed with the discovery.  ‘Then again, this place is kind of weird.’ 

He adjusted his eyes to look at the trees that made up the forest behind it.  They somehow seemed interesting to him, as if he had never seen a tree before.  He sighed and shook his head to bring himself out of the daydream, recoiling a bit mentally and physically as his head spun with odd thoughts for a brief moment.  He then fully shook them off and began to jog laps around the shrine. 



© 2013 Iron K. Tager


Author's Note

Iron K. Tager
People need to start explaining things.

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Added on July 16, 2013
Last Updated on September 14, 2013
Tags: Lance, Lucia, Soro, Jeremy, Ruoiu, Ruu, Break Down the Unknown, Chapter 4, Jay, training


Author

Iron K. Tager
Iron K. Tager

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Hello! I'm not really that good of a writer at all, but I do enjoy writing. I tend to only write things when I feel like it, so sometimes I go long stretches without putting anything down. I wrote .. more..

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