Chapter 5

Chapter 5

A Chapter by Iron K. Tager
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The fifth chapter.

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The sun was still casting a bright, but slowly waning light over the hot day as it began to slowly relinquish its place in the center of the sky and move downwards, though it was no where near close to sunset.  Jeremy finished a round of laps around the shrine after another stop at the padded pole, and was sitting on the front of the shrine again, drinking more water as he looked at the trees once more.  Cicadas, along with the other summer bugs were calling in the heat and a mosquito landed on Jeremy’s hand, though he slapped it easily. 

Footsteps were heard coming from the stone path, and Jeremy looked up to his right to see a small group of people, maybe six or more, stop a distance from him.  Their faces seemed emotionless, and a few of them were holding sorts of tools in their hands.
            Jeremy instantly thought of the worst, which could be told by how shaky his voice was.  “Umm… Soro is not here right now.”
            The largest of them all, a big and muscular man took one step forward.  “Never mind that, you’re the new transfer, right?” he asked in an annoyed and deep voice. 

Jeremy nodded his head in approval, and the rest of the looks of disdain began to grow more apparent on the men’s faces.  Jeremy began to step back, feeling a rising of fright along with a cold stone in his stomach.  He didn’t want to stay to find out what they wanted.  The man’s tone did not match the words he began to utter.

“We were wondering if you’d be so kind as to come with us-” he began to step forward, but Jeremy bolted. 
            He sprinted as fast as he could for the trees, and the mob clumsily began to run after him.  He jumped through a large bush, and continued to run deeper into the forest, panicked. 

 

            Jeremy slowed his pace as he noticed that there was an opening not far ahead.  He emerged from the bushes in a jog, and then slowed to a stop, huffing to catch his breath as he placed his hands on his knees for a brief second. Wind danced through the leaves on the trees and sun began to take on a deeper yellow and pink tone as it fell from the sky.  It was coming close to sundown.
            “Ok… I think I lost them… for now,” he said to himself, still trying to catch the rest of his breath.  He sat down, or rather fell on his backside, and looked at the grass at his feet. 

‘Maybe this all has to do with what that Lucia girl was so angry about,’ he thought.  ‘Transfer Human.’  The words echoed through his head in everyone’s voice.  He suddenly felt idiotic for not asking more questions about it or carrying the conversation further.  But he still felt relieved to have lost his pursuers.

            Jeremy looked up to see where he had stumbled to.  In front of him only a couple of yards away was a quietly moving, clear stream, the banks of which had nothing but a slight rise separating it form the smooth grass that surrounded it.  He stared at the stream as it ran past him, and noticed among the trees a large bolder on the other side was cracked in half and has small pieces of it shattered off.  Jeremy watched it intently, as if he expected it to tell him more.  It seemed to have been split perfectly in half, all except for the sparse cracks about it.  It stuck out casually as it sat just high enough on other stones to be free of the water.

            A single group clouds slowly began to move in the way of the sun, and a shadow came over the stream and its surroundings.  Jeremy looked around himself slowly, until his eyes came across an object sticking out of the ground to his left a few yards away.  It had a shiny, silver neck and a dark brown hilt with a small green stone in it.  The sword stuck straight out of the ground as if stabbed straight into it.  A tiny, smooth green vine went up it for only a foot or two and stopped.

            For what seemed like an eternity, Jeremy stared at it; how serene it looked sitting there in the ground.  He had a slight urge to stand up and look more closely at it, or maybe to touch it, but he decided against it.  Something was telling him not to, and a feeling of anxious warning grew inside him. 

            For one reason or another, he decided that it would not be smart to mess with it.

Jeremy sighed and stood up.  The cloud passed from being in front of the sun, but for some reason, Jeremy thought that had already happened. 

The sky had taken to a more orange glow as it had moved behind the cloud, and rays of light once again shone down, giving the blade a magnificent glittering in the light of the late afternoon.  Jeremy looked at it one more time, and then went back off into the forest. 


            After another hour or so, Jeremy stopped next to a tree and sat down, rubbing his now cramping legs. 

‘Good thing it didn’t cramp until now,’ he remarked in thought.  He took out something wrapped in cloth and unfolded it.  ‘At least I have this.’  Jeremy took out a few pieces of some sort of jerky-like food Lance had given him, and began to chew on it. 

            There were no bushes around this part of the woods as far as he could see, and nothing looked as though it was coming.  He finished off the last of the Jerky and laid down on his back next to the tree.

  ”Feels like I have a pair of horns on my head again,” he muttered, sighing to himself.
            “Good analogy,” chimed in a voice near him.
            “Thanks,” Jeremy said nonchalantly, and continued to lay still.  “Wait.”  He sat up quickly and looked around.  “Who’s there?”  His eyes were struck with surprise.
            “Though you saying ‘again’ is weird...” said the voice, which was that of a small boy.  Jeremy turned to the tree, which is where he heard it come from.  There was nothing there but the tree.
            “Where are you?” he asked, somewhat frightened.
            “Eh-hehe.  You should see your face,” the voice giggled, “you look hilarious.”
            Jeremy looked up to see a young boy sitting on a branch not too far from him, about halfway up the tree, with his back against the trunk.  He had a tan, long sleeved shirt under a red plaid, sleeveless vest, with grayish-black shorts and normal dress shoes.  “You seem surprised,” he laughed out.  “Don’t worry, I don’t bite.”  He shifted himself so he was sitting with his legs hanging over the branch, “so, what brings you out here?”
            “Umm... first of all who are you?” Jeremy asked quickly.

“Just a boy who loves to climb trees,” he answered.  “So, what brings you out here?” he repeated.

Jeremy stared at the boy sitting in the tree for a minute, and the boy kept the same expression. ‘He doesn’t seem dangerous, but…’ he thought, sighing.  ‘Ah, might as well.’  “A lot of things, I guess…”
            The boy grew interested, “Hmm?  How so?”


            He seems a little dazed right now, but I think he’ll be ok,” Soro said, as he walked up the stone stairs to the shrine, “he just needs a little guidance is all, and his being so passive helps out, but that kind of needs to change.”
            “Hopefully he’s as nice as you say,” responded the girl walking up the steps with him.  “With all of the negative transfer talk lately, it’ll be hard for him to gain favor,” she stated flatly.

She had long, dark brown or maybe black hair that was kept in check with a thick, red lace tied in back.  She wore a short black skirt with red lacings and a double-layered black button-up shirt with a bright red interior that goes over onto her shirts collar.  Her red eyes did not seem to draw from anything, and looked completely natural in the shade they were in.  The greatest things that one would notice about her were the two black wings that came from her back, which she, at this time, had folded behind her.
            “I know I know, but hopefully we can give him a good name before anyone finds out,” Soro added on.  “And Cara, don’t judge a book by its cover,” he jokingly nudged her with his elbow.
            “Hehe, yeah, I guess,” Cara laughed back timidly.
            “Plus, for kickers, he looks just about your age,” he remarked chuckling.

“Over my dead body,” Cara shot back, following through.

Soro looked at her, and her back at him.  They shared a tender laugh silently to themselves.
            They continued to walk up the stairs until they reached the arch at the top, then leveled off and headed towards the shrine.  Daylight was almost out, and most of the shrine was covered in shadows as the deep orange of the evening took hold.  A group of men emerged from the bushes far to the left of the shrine with disappointed looks on their faces.  Soro and Cara approached them.
            “What can I help you gentlemen with?” asked Soro with a welcoming shout as he quickly glanced around for signs of Jeremy.
            The group looked around uneasily, as if they had just been scorned; however, there were a few among them that seemed resolute, or were at least good at faking bravery.  They all met in the middle of the shrine’s yard and looked at each other.  The leader of them rigidly stepped forward.  “You see we um... we came here to see the new transfer,” he mumbled out.
            “Ah.  And why do you think there is another transfer human around?  You know they only come one at a time, Right?” Soro said with his eyebrow raised, his smile slowly disappeared.
            “Well, it was a rumor we heard last night and um... we came to check it out,” he stuttered, saying almost apologetically. 
            He was standing not far from Soro, and Soro took a sniff of the air.  “And I guess you all brought logs and tools to build this rumored transfer a fort, hmm?” his voice began to take a stronger, more stern tone.  “And I hope, whatever that smell is on your breath, that it’s no alcohol...” he boomed with force.  “I know of no party or event.”
            Most of the crowed began to cower, even though most of them were twice his size.   Cara couldn’t help but smile at the scene, but someone took notice.
            “What are you smiling at?!” barked a man just behind the one in front, who hadn’t lost his stance against Soro.  “This needs no face from anyone like you.”
            “Like me?” Cara asked, dropping her smile for surprise.  “What?  What exactly do you mean?”
            “This is a human affair, and has nothing to do with you spirits!  Just spread those little wings and fly home!”  He yelled.
            Cara grew slightly angry and her face was slowly showing it.  “This has just as much to do wi-!”
            “Quiet!!” shouted Soro with a loud and commanding voice.  “This bickering’ll get us nowhere.”  He had his arms crossed, and the group was back to their original looks.  “This is something that has to do with everyone, and all people of this world have equal right to concern themselves with it.  She has taken on the responsibility, as others have, to watch over him, and therefore she is allowed to have say in this; which isn’t anything I can vouch for you all.  Everyone should be trying to help the situation, which she is, and your remarks on people being unworthy to deal with a common problem are nothing more than sorry displaced anger.”
            The group hung their heads, admitting defeat.  “We apologize,” said the leader of the group, though not meaning it entirely.  “We shouldn’tve come here.”
            “Ya shouldn’t have.  I ‘outta punish you all like children for something so childish,” Soro remarked authoritatively.  “But as for now, we need to find him.”  He rubbed his chin.  “All of you go home.  He’ll be frightened than anything if he sees you all prancing around.”
            The group slowly drudged towards the stairs without a second of though otherwise, and Cara stepped next to Soro.  “That’s unusual.  You never let them off so easy for something like this.”

“I can’t very well black-mark ‘em; they don’t come here enough for that to work,” he responded. 

“True,” Cara stated.  “Sorry.”  She felt guilty for causing such a commotion by her smiling.

Soro sighed.  “Don’t worry about.”  He changed the subject back.  “But they aren’t the biggest problem right now.”

“So, how do you plan to find him?” she asked.
            “We’ll leave him for tonight,” he concluded.  “Chances are he’ll run into a certain friend, and then we look for him in the morning.”
            “Is it really alright to trust him?  That friend of yours, that is.”
            “We’ll find out soon enough.  Think of it as another bet.”  

 

So, the last thing you remember is this ‘train’ thingy?” inquired the boy. 
            “Yeah, and now I’m getting chased all over the place and getting things thrown at me left and right,” Jeremy explained almost complacently.  “It’s like I can’t think straight with all that’s happening.”
            “Sounds like fun!” exclaimed the boy, who now had a shining face.
            “What?  How?” Jeremy asked, confused.
            “Well, how do I put it... it’s like an adventure!  You know, like the ones you would read as a kid,” He explained, holding up his hands as if flipping the pages of a book.  He then points, with a smile still on his face, trying to use a deeper voice, “They say it’s the journey and not the destination.”  He puts his voice back to normal, “you just have to keep on going and get stronger as you go.”
            “I didn’t read too many adventure books,” Jeremy responded skeptically.
            The boy shook his head.  “You know, fight the monsters, save the princess, that kind of thing.”

Jeremy looked off into the woods for a moment as he thought about that statement.  It was already getting dark out, and he could see the first fireflies begin to flash between the trees in the distance.  They distracted him from the thought, and for some reason he felt as if someone was watching them.
            Suddenly, the higher and softer pitched voice of another little boy chimed in, sleepily: “What’s all the commotion?”  Jeremy turned to his left to see another small boy, with the same clothes as the other one, but different colors, phase out of the tree trunk next to him.  His shirt was pale-blue and his pants were black.  Jeremy jerked away almost instinctively, surprised by the sudden appearance.
            “Just another drifter, probably,” an older sounding voice remarked to Jeremy’s right.  He turned to see a third boy, this time with a pale red shirt and grey pants, leaning against the tree.  Jeremy was less surprised, but reeled back again regardless.
            “No no no,” the boy on the branch responded in a playful manner.  “This is Jeremy; he’s the new transfer human.”
            “Hmm?  A transfer human?” the boy leaning against the tree looked at Jeremy suspiciously.  “Sure, I guess he looks like it.”
            The littler one to Jeremy’s left ribbed his eyes, “nice to meet you, Mr. Jeremy.”
            “Y-yeah.”  Jeremy said uneasily.  ‘Looks like it?’  Jeremy tried to think of why that statement seemed odd to him.
            “C’mon, don’t get so choked up,” the one on the branch jeered. 
            “Right,” Jeremy said more easily.
            “Oh right!” exclaimed the one on the branch, “we’re all brothers, and we live in this tree.”  He patted the branch he is sitting on.
            “Wait, what?” Jeremy asked.
            “Our souls are fused with the tree, so we can’t stop touching this tree,” explained the smaller one, who was laying on his stomach right next to the tree at Jeremy’s right.  Speaking as if what he was saying was no big deal.  He smiled and looked up at Jeremy.  Jeremy smiled back uneasily.

“How exactly does that happen?” Jeremy asked.  There was no answer for a long time.  And he felt like he would not get an answer.
            After the long silence, the youngest one spoke up.  “So what brings you here?” he asked.  Jeremy sighed. 



© 2013 Iron K. Tager


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Added on July 25, 2013
Last Updated on September 14, 2013
Tags: Lance, Soro, Cara, Jeremy, Break Down the Unknown, Chapter 5, Jay, Tree Brothers, mob, transfer human, spirits


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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