Chapter 7

Chapter 7

A Chapter by Iron K. Tager
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The seventh chapter.

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The rays of the morning sun shone brightly down and lit the shop in a dull light from its single, dusty window. Many sounds came from the road outside, and gave proof to the now busy day.  Jeremy was sitting on an old stool placed next to the hallway, and watched as faint shadows walked by close enough to the window every so often.  He looked straight ahead of himself and closed his eyes, then softly hit his head against the wall behind him and sighed.
            “Thirsty,” Jeremy moaned to himself, then stood up and wobbled from getting light-headed.  He slowly shuffled his way to the middle of the shop as if that would help him think.  Looking over at the counter he saw nothing, and decided to head down the hallway.  He stopped as he saw a tray with a pitcher of some kind and a bowl and plate on the bed in the medicine room.  Lance must have kept this out for when he got back.
            Picking up a large gourd-looking jug of water to pour himself a glass, Jeremy heard a click and a sudden increase in the volume of sounds from the outside, and then picked out Lance’s and Soro’s voices as the door closed behind them.  He could still not understand what they were saying, so Jeremy took a big gulp of water and slowly shuffled out from medicine room. 
            JEREMY!!!” Lance yelled as he jumped very gingerly in front of Jeremy and closed his massively muscular arms around him.  “You had me worried sick!” he exclaimed.

“So much for ‘no big deal’,” Soro said sarcastically.

Jeremy winced in pain from being hugged, and Lance disengaged.  He looked at Jeremy’s neck and arms.  “Oh poor thing! You must be sun-burnt!  You were out there for so long, and you’re probably hungry too!”  Lance fretted aloud.

“No, no.  I’m fine.  Not burnt”

“You can never be too sure,” Lance justified.

“You haven’t changed one bit,” Soro said sarcastically.  “And I guess I can put your appearance with your healthy lifestyle.”

“Of course,” Lance placed his index finger and thumb on his chin and made a joking grin.  “I’ll be right back!” he assured them as he weightlessly glided into the kitchen.
            “I never knew a man of his build could move so elegantly,” Soro laughed. “It’s actually pretty scary.” 

Cara chuckled behind him.
            “He sure does worry a lot.  Well, once he gets back, we’ll talk a little,” Soro spoke to Jeremy.  “But before then, we have someone who has something to say to you.”  He stepped to the side to let Lucia through to Jeremy.
            Lucia looked down at the floor and her face turned a faint shade of red, gripping the small brown vest she had on by its ends.  “I… um, I just…” She stammered, obviously embarrassed.
            “Come-on now, speak up,” Soro encouraged her.
            “I just… wanted you to… know,” she muffled her voice a little, “I… I’m sorry.”  Her face still remained flustered looking at the ground, but her eyes quickly shot up at Jeremy, who was now smiling uneasily, for a moment.
            “It’s no problem… really,” Jeremy smiled as best as he could despite the embarrassment he felt as well, “it’s all the past now.”  He laughed, though a little uncomfortably.  Lucia looked up at him more and conjured up a small smile.  It was not completely honest, but it was better than nothing.
            “I’m back!” Lance sang out as he jumped out from the hallway, dodging Lucia on the way. “Here, take this and go sit down in the medicine room.”  He handed Jeremy a bowl of what looked like an arrangement of nuts and wafers, which he presumed was dried fruit.  His other hand had a large mug of water in it. 

“What about me?” Lucia asked gruffly.

Lance looked at Soro, who nodded.  “You can go out now,” he said kindly, and Lucia turned around to go back into the shop.

“This way.”  Lance pointed Soro and Cara to the medicine room and they all, with Jeremy, walked in. 


            Jeremy was sitting shirtless on the side of the wooden bed, which still seemed to be just a padded table, with Lance cross-legged sitting to his left and rubbing a clear, yellowish salve on Jeremy’s neck and shoulders.  Cara and Soro were sitting on individual stools next to each-other, with Cara sitting in front of the doorway so her wings did not knock anything off the small table behind Soro, and her right hand covering her left in her lap.
            Soro looked at Jeremy’s chest.  “It looks like your body’s getting use to it here,” He points out.  “All the marks are almost gone.”
            Jeremy looked down at his chest, “Yeah, I guess you’re right.”  He waited for a moment in silence.  “So, what do we need to talk about?” Jeremy asked.  “Does it have to do with… those people?”
            Soro fanned his hand in the air, “No no no, they won’t be bothering you anytime soon, I made sure’a that.” He grinned, and put a thumb up.  “The main reason for this is to make sure you know who to trust for now.  Things haven’t been too good between transfers and the villagers lately, so we kind of need to keep on the down-low until we can change their minds.”  Soro rubbed his chin and sighed.  “I’m pretty sure you already trust everyone in this house, right?”
            “For the most part,” Jeremy responded before eating a piece of dried fruit.  He swallowed his food, “what about those outside of this house?”

“Like who?” Lance stole the question from Soro.

“The tree boys?  There are three of them, I think.”
            “Tree boys?” Soro inquired, thinking as he scratches his head.  “Oh!” he pointed, “you must mean those tree brothers!  Nah, I wouldn’t trust them too much.  If they do anything it’s probably for something in return.”  He laughed.  “Not to say they’re untrustworthy, they just don’t do good things unless there’s some sorta reward.  Well, for the oldest one, at least.”
            Lance put his hands on the bed and shifted himself around to pull his legs out from under him and over the side, stepping off to stand in front of the wall.

“What about…” Jeremy put his forehead down in his hand and closes his eyes. “Red? I think.”  He looked up at Soro.
            “Like the color?” Cara asked inquisitively.
            “No the person,” Jeremy clarified. “Reder-something.”
            “Rederick,” Soro stated.  “I’m not sure what ta think of that spirit, though I’m guessing he’s already seen you.”  Soro pointed at the necklace around Jeremy’s neck with the drop-shaped stone attacked to it.

Jeremy had almost forgotten about the necklace around his neck.  He picked it up from his chest and held it in his fingers, staring into it. 

“Yeah, no one really knows what Rederick does with his time, but he’s usually one’a the first people who sees transfers and gets to talk to ‘em. Might’ave given you that stone to make sure you don’t do anything stupid, I guess.”
            “I wonder.”  Cara said half-heartedly.  Soro turned to her and she looked back at him, shrugging a shoulder.  She seemed slightly nervous to be there.
            “Well, you can trust Rederick for the most part, you just have to get to know ‘em first,” Soro laughed.
            “Umm… Ruu?” Jeremy asked.
            “She does her own thing, best to keep her out of it for now,” Soro chuckled again.  “Just stick with us and don’t go around announcing yourself a transfer and you should do fine,” he said confidently, giving a thumb up. 

            Cara and Soro were walking towards the door, silently talking to each-other, Soro making hand gestures and Cara listening for the most part, whispering things to Soro on occasion.  Lance presented folded pieces of clothing to Jeremy.
            “You’ll be wearing these from now on,” he smiled.  Jeremy took them by a fold and pulled them out, it unraveled into some kind of robe, much like the ones everyone else wore.

“We thought that you might as well at least try to look like you’re fitting in, also your clothes must be filthy by now,” Lance looked Jeremy over.  “Go ahead and change into them.  Also, you should go and take a bath as well.”
            Lance waited and hummed to himself as he rearranged some books behind the counter, waiting for Jeremy to finish bathing and getting changed.  Once Jeremy walked upstairs after the bath, Lance came out and waited by the hallway.  Jeremy came down a few minutes later and Lance looked him over. 

“Oh-ho, it looks nice on you,” Lance commented.
            Jeremy was dressed in a light-blue top robe with dark-blue edges and creases on the ends, along with few white and dark-blue diamond designs going down his shoulders.  Below that he wore blue, long khaki-like pants with small, square pieces of cloth from his hip down to his mid-thigh. 

“It does look kind of weird,” Jeremy said a little reluctantly, looking himself over.
            “No no, you’ll get used to it,” Lance smiled, “its main purpose is to have you blend in, since everyone around here wears similar clothes.”  He added on a second later: “I’ll give you the other two later.”

“Other two?” Jeremy asked.

“There’re three of that outfit.  Do you usually only have one?”

“Well, we don’t normally… we normally don’t get three of the same,” Jeremy clarified.

“Hmm, it must be pretty inconvenient to get them,” Lance commented as he put the last of Jeremy’s clothes away under the medicine table.  “But then again, I never lived in the other world.”

Both he and Jeremy turned around to walk to the front of the shop, where Lucia was looking at all of the books behind the desk that Lance had just rearranged on the other end of the room.  “Oh and also,” Lance spoke up again, “if you didn’t already know: try to avoid gathering attention.”
            Jeremy looked at Lance and smiled sheepishly, “I thought as much.  But…”

“Sorry to keep repeating what everyone’s saying, but it is kind of important.” Lance said, “It’s nothing to fret about, though.”

“No, I mean,” Jeremy continued, “what about my shoes?”

“Oh!  I’d almost forgotten.”  Lance went upstairs for a moment, and came back down carrying a pair of sandals with matching socks.  “Here you go,” He handed them to Jeremy.

“Sandals with socks…” Jeremy observed out loud.

“Is something wrong?” Lance asked.

“No, nothing.”  Jeremy walked into the medicine room to quickly sit down and put them on before rejoining Lance in the hallway.
            Lance opened the door for Jeremy and they both walked out into the hot, late-morning air.  Lance walked over to where Cara and Soro were talking to the left of the door, and Jeremy closed the door behind him, stepping to the right while he waited for their conversation to end.  He observed many people who were dressed in the same type of robe-like clothes he was, walking along the dirt road. The shops around all seemed busy and the other buildings had very defined shadows as the sun rose higher into the sky.
            “Hey,” a little girl’s voice chirped to his right.  Jeremy looked down to see the little girl he saw the first night he spent here.  In the sun, he could see her better.  She was a child in a black knee-length dress with white frillings down the sides, and a white under-dress.  There was a thin yellow belt around her hips that separated her skirt from the rest of the dress, and it also seemed to compliment her light blonde hair.  In such a stark contrast in colors, he almost did not notice the blue bow that occupied the back of her hair, which he could see from being far taller than her.  “You’re the guy who was staring at me!” She exclaimed.
            Jeremy, surprised, looked around to see if anyone was staring at him, embarrassed at how loudly she yelled it.  “W-well you were staring at me first,” he complained back.  “And don’t be so loud.  I’m a burden as is,” he whispered.
            “Oh!  So you can see me...” she commented a little confused. 

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Jeremy asked.

After staring blankly at each other, the little girl spoke again:  “I’m Alice, what’s your name?” she tilted her head and smiled at him.
            “I’m... Jeremy,” he said, taking the fact that she avoided his question, and stuck his hand out to shake hers.  Alice stared at his hand, then he slowly put it down and she giggled.
            “You’re funny,” she said teasingly.
            “Th-thanks, I guess,” Jeremy responded uneasily.  He felt awkward at how the conversation had gone so far.
            Soro beaconed to him from a few yards away.  “Hey, Jay!  Come over here!”
            Jeremy nodded in approval and turned to Alice again.  “It was nice meeting you,” Jeremy said uneasily.
            Soro made his way over to Jeremy, commenting to Cara and Lance as he went.  “He looks like a completely different person, don’t ya think so?”  He walked up to Jeremy and puts his hand on his shoulder.  “C’mon,” he looked at where Alice was standing, “Who’re you talking to?”
            “Alice, I think her name is,” Jeremy responded and nodded his head towards Alice.
            Soro looked at Jeremy with concern, then back to where Alice was standing, and then back to Jeremy.  “You don’t feel sick or anything, do you?” he asked worriedly, “you can stay if you want.”
            “No, why?” Jeremy asked.  “Something wrong?”
            “Well... there’s no one there for one thing,” Soro laughed out of the corner of his mouth, assuming this might be some kind of joke.  “Eh, forget about it.  Just splash some water on your face and ya should be fine,” Soro slapped Jeremy on the back and led him towards where Lance and Cara were waiting for them.  Jeremy looked back to see Alice waving at him.



© 2013 Iron K. Tager


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Added on August 13, 2013
Last Updated on September 14, 2013
Tags: Break Down the Unknown, Jeremy, Soro, Ruoiu, Alice, Cara, Lucia, chapter 7


Author

Iron K. Tager
Iron K. Tager

NC



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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..

Writing