Chapter 13

Chapter 13

A Chapter by Iron K. Tager
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The thirteenth chapter.

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            Cara and Jeremy walked slowly along the dirt road through the village towards the shrine.  Morning had just passed, and now the sun took a more prevalent position higher in the sky, hitting the entire village with a rather hot, but not scorching, wave of early summer heat.  The cicadas sang a chorus in the heat with an arrangement of other insects, which made it seem hotter than it was.  The roads were less populated as most villagers found shelter from the heat in the shade of nearby buildings, only venturing out if they had to.

Cara had her hands placed on her hips, as they had nowhere else to be.  She looked rather uncomfortable, but it wasn’t completely the heat that was making her that way.  “Pretty hot out, isn’t it?” she asked Jeremy, trying to start a conversation.  “It sure is summer, isn’t it?”  Jeremy just continued to look at the ground ahead of him.  She sighed and looked at him.  “So… just what happened back there?” she asked, being as straightforward as she could.

Jeremy kept walking, and then opened his mouth as if to say something.  He stopped himself, and then tried again.  “I…” Jeremy began, but left it off there, “I just need some time to think.”

Cara looked at him strangely and then back to the road in front of her, “are you sure you’re ok?”

“Yeah.  Yeah,” Jeremy confirmed again.  “I should be fine.”  He seemed slightly dismissive with her efforts to talk. 

“As long as you say you’re ok, I guess,” Cara stated plainly. 

“Thanks,” Jeremy managed to say, feeling some sympathy for how stand-offish he had been.

“Hmm?  For what?” Cara asked.

“For worrying about me,” he answered.

Cara seemed surprised.  “Umm.  No problem,” she responded oddly, this time silently agreeing with his decision to let the conversation die. 

They both took a left turn onto a thinner path between two buildings, which was essentially an alley.  Even here the warmth of the midday light struck them.  They walked down it silently looking forward.

Jeremy lifted his head to look straight and asked Cara:  “Who?”

Cara knew what he was asking, but before she could speak they both stepped out of the alley-like path, and woman’s voice suddenly responded from their left.  “Sano Breach is a chosen observer.”  Cara and Jeremy, who were originally turning right, stopped and turned around to see Velia standing perfectly straight with her back against the wall of that building.

Jeremy looked at her with surprise.  “Observer?”

“Wait, when did you get here?” Cara suddenly interrupted. 

“My, you didn’t hear me exit the shop after you?” she seemed ironically surprised.  “An observer means someone who watches something; though it is similar, this is not entirely the case.  In her case, and others like it, being an observer is dealing with someone’s fate, or destiny.  An observer is someone who goes through many worlds or lives in the same span of time, repeatedly.  For example; if an observer dies in a defined time-frame, or fails to achieve an objective or complete a series of events, they are sent back in time to a similar reality until they finish what they may correctly.  Sadly, chosen observers don’t do it out of need:  a ‘choosing’ or ‘chosen’ observer means that they chose to be in the position of an observer.  Most do it for their own personal gain.”  Velia sighed with her eyes closed.  “Only for power, to put it simply.”

“Then why attack Soro?” Cara interjected.  “He hasn’t done anything.” 

Velia smiled at her apologetically.  “I have no idea why.  I know so little about it; only what that girl told me.”

“What girl?”  Cara asked.

“I am not quite sure.  She visited my shop and told me about Sano.  She said to tell you when it seemed appropriate.  Though I am not sure what she meant by that.”  Velia seemed distracted by something, but came back to the conversation at hand.  “I was going to read more on the subject later.  Sorry I am not of much help past this.”

“No, it’s ok,” Jeremy assured her.  

“Either way, it’s a true shame that Jeremy would have to be mixed up in this.”  She looked ahead of herself again and talked in a distant manner.  “Being from the outside must be hard on him.”

Cara looked down at first, and then she took a step back with her eyes widened, surprised by Velia’s statement as it had just sunk in.  Jeremy looked at her to try and find out what she’s acting up over, then he suddenly realized it as well, and looked back at Velia.

“And in case you are wondering, I did not attend any meetings by those barbaric men,” Velia chuckled in a womanly manner.

“How… do you know this?” Cara stuttered out with surprise.

“There is no need to fret, I’m no one to worry over,” Velia smiled kindly and looked at Jeremy, then at Cara.  “I had noticed that he was wearing clothes from the outside world the first day when he arrived, and by the second day there were already rumors that reached me. Rumors do spread fast.” She turned towards them and smiled warmly.  “Oh my, listen to me chatter on like this.”  She slowly drifted forward with her soft steps, and passed by Cara and Jeremy.

“Wait,” Cara said.

“Hmm?” Velia looked over her shoulder for a second.

“Where are you going?” Cara asked.

“Soro may be hurt, correct?  I thought you were going back to the shrine?” Velia asked.  “I thought I may be of some help.”

Jeremy stepped towards her.  “But you just said it might be dangerous, right?” he repeated quickly, and she stopped.

“Please, don’t trouble yourself over me,” Velia responded, “I believe I can manage.  But thank you for your concern.”  She turned her head to give him a gentle smile once again. 

Cara and Jeremy looked at each other with slow glances, and then looked back to where Velia was walking.  Jeremy looked at Cara again and shrugged, walking after Velia; Cara then followed him to catch up.  They both caught up to her, and Jeremy noticed that there were not as many people on this street as on the other, if there were any to begin with.  He did not think the heat was so bad to chase everyone inside, so it must have just been a slow time of day.

“So…” Jeremy began again, “about Sano…”

Velia took the incentive to continue.  “She should live her life as a child to her fullest before it’s too late.”  She went on in a lower, concerned manner.  “Playing with her friends, fighting with her parents, building her life, and learning in a proper school,” she seemed to keep the same tone, but it trailed a bit.  “A real childhood,” she said resolutely.

Jeremy and Cara continued to walk side by side, behind Velia.  “Well... what happened to that?”  Jeremy inquired.

“I don’t know,” she responded quickly.  “I’m sure only a very select few do; her reasons most likely lie in another world.  To most people, she is dangerous because of her level of power, and because of how little we know about her intentions.  But that is just what I think,” Velia turned around for a moment and stopped in her tracks, just outside of the last building of the village, leading to a tree-lined path.

“You seem to know a lot about this kind of stuff,” Jeremy pointed out.  “Did that girl tell you all this?”

“Not all of it.  Though I am going to read more later, I have read some previously,” Velia responded.  “I hope I am not repeating myself too much, but please be careful,” she encouraged, more to Jeremy.

Jeremy nodded his head, and then turned to Cara, who did the same.

“You too,” Cara recommended.

Velia smiled and turned forward once again, walking towards the shrine’s stairway, which was now in view. 

 

Jeremy started to feel strange as they drew closer the top of the stairs.  He felt nervous, or apprehensive.  He stopped to look back down the long stairway, seeing nothing but a patch of dirt at the bottom and trees on either side of the steps.  Cara noticed that Jeremy had stopped, and turned around to see him standing still and looking down the stairs.

“Is um... something wrong?” she asked.  Velia heard this and stopped to see what was happening.

Jeremy turned back around with a concerned look on his face.  “I keep feeling like someone is watching us.”

“Oh my, watching us?” Velia asked.  “As in stalking us?”  Both she and Cara looked at each-other.

“We’ll have to worry about it later,” Cara concluded uneasily.  “We have to keep heading up, Soro might be in trouble.”

Jeremy nodded with equal uncertainty, and they all continued to walk up the stairs, but at a faster pace.  Velia reached the top first, closely followed by Cara and Jeremy.  A loud shout came from the direction of the shrine:  “Get Down!!” 

 A quickly moving, blurry figure flew towards them, and Cara dove to hit Jeremy to the right onto on the ground, out of the way.  The loud cling of some sort and the sound of an electric arc rippled through the air.

Cara looked over her shoulder, and Jeremy picked his head up to look over her shoulder as well, to see Velia slightly bent forward as if ducking next to the shrine stairs.  She noticed them looking at her and giggled, putting her fingers up to her mouth as she stood erect.  “Oh my, you two seem to be having a wonderful time.”

Cara looks back down at Jeremy, who she was pinning down and straddled.  Jeremy looked up at her with his arms resting on either side of him, above Cara’s.  Cara quickly jumped up and away from him, and Jeremy sat up looking away towards the shrine, a small hue of red briefly touched their faces.  As Jeremy continued to look off, he noticed something slump over on the left corner of the shrine, and remembered why they came there after momentarily forgetting, and that someone had yelled for them to get down only a moment before.

“Look!”  He pointed to the corner of the shrine and both Cara and Velia looked towards it. 

Cara slowly took two steps, and then ran to where it was.  Velia slowly walked in the same direction, and Jeremy picked himself off of the ground, and dusted himself on his way over. 

Soro was sitting down with his slouched back leaning against the shrine, much of his robes were dirtied and torn, and clean but shallow slices to his right hip and left shoulder, as well as many scratches in various other places.  His left hand was covering the wound on his hip, and his right hand is covering the wound to his shoulder; both were dripping blood onto the ground.

“Heh, don’t look so worried.  It’ll take more than a few scratches like this to hurt me any,” he tried to assure them with a smile.  “If anything’ll take this old man, it’ll be age,” he chuckled a little.  Once he actually looked at how concerned they all were, he looked away.

“We need to treat those right away,” Cara stated.  “I’ll get some bandages.”

She jumped up from kneeling next to him and jogged to the front of the shrine and up the three wooden steps.

Soro took his right hand beaconed Jeremy to come closer.  “Help me to the front of the shrine,” he said and took a hand Jeremy extended.  He pulled Soro up, and put his right hand on Soro’s right shoulder and used his left hand to balance them as they walked.

Sitting down next to the stairs, Cara sat behind Soro and ripped off a piece of cloth from a towel with her hand.  “Here, pour this on his biggest wounds,” she ordered Jeremy as she held out a brownish-gold pitcher.  Jeremy took it, pouring water on both the shoulder and hip cuts.

“Yeah... Ou!  A little slower, ok?” Soro winced. 

“Sorry,” Jeremy stopped for a second, but Soro motioned for him to keep going.  He noticed through the large tears, which Cara made larger to see the wounds, that Soro has many scars over his body from times before:  Most of them where small or barely noticeable, but there were a few that seemed rather large.  The most noticeable were on the back his left shoulder, and another matching it on the other side of the same shoulder.  It was only a few inches from the current wound.

“She really was something else,” he explained.  “That stuff she was using was hot, and bright, with plenty of cuttin’ to boot.  Did short work of almost anything I threw at it, though that goes without sayin’.”

Cara placed a piece of cloth on his shoulder and wrapped some adhesive cloth around it to hold it in place.

“Like plasma?” Jeremy asked as he stopped putting water on the hip wound for Cara to move in.

“Plasma?” Soro asked.  “What’s that?”

“It’s like… pure energy,” Jeremy tries to explain.  “It happens when-” 

“I do not think so, if you will pardon my interruption,” Velia interrupted.  “If I remember that girl’s explanation, it is a combination of elements.”

“All of them?” Cara asked as she took a third cloth and wiped some dirt and blood off of Soro as he sat still.

“I think I understand a little,” Soro recalled.  “When you get to be my age, you tend to notice a few things.  If that feelin’ was right, she was using some sort of concentrated element, or elements, but I was too busy dodgin’ to get a good idea of it, all I know is that it has to do with that magic.” Soro chuckled.  “Didn’t even see her at first.”  He paused.  “I don’t know who she is, but she’s obviously faster than I would’ve guessed, and don’t even mention power.”

“Her name is Sano Breach, and she is an observer,” Velia picked up the explanation.  “And I’m guessing she has gained and understanding of this power over many worlds.” 

“Observer or not, I drove ‘er off,” he said.  “First one I’ve seen.  I’ll have to keep my eyes out for her.”

Cara placed the dirty cloth into a bin she had fetched as Jeremy put the water down next to Soro.  She picked it up and put it next to the bin, stood up, and walked around between Velia and Jeremy, in front of Soro.  She then bound Soro’s cleaned wounds with bits of soft cloth and adhesive strips. 

“See?  Look, I’m fine,” Soro’s smiled wide. 

“Not today,” Cara said sternly.

“Not even a little?” Soro asked.

Cara looked at him with an unchanging expression.

“Ahh, fine,” Soro capitulated, knowing he was defeated.  “Guess I’ll have to send Jay here on a lil’ adventure ‘til I get better.”

“Adventure?” Jeremy asked.  “Are you sure that’s… you know, a good idea?”

“Sure it is!  I’m ready to look for some myself!” He looked as though he was going to jump onto his feet, but glanced at Cara and decided not.  “Then again, I’m out for now.”

 “An adventure right now might not be the best for you,” Velia said, seemingly taking the words out of Cara’s mouth.

Soro sighed.  “I guess there’s no helping it.”

“I’d be willing to join, but only after you recover,” Cara concluded.

“Me too; but when are we leaving?” Jeremy asked.

“Whoa boy, calm down.”  Soro’s smile shifted to one side of his mouth, and he pointed at Jeremy.  “You’re goin’, not us.”

Jeremy looked confusedly at Soro.  “But you just said…”

“No, no.  You’re goin’ on this one; I’ll have to wait for the next one.”  He shrugged his shoulders in a matter-of-fact way, and then winced as he grabbed his left shoulder.

“It would be difficult to even perform your duties as shrine priest in that condition, let alone an adventure,” Velia said, leading to her second statement: “Who will be going with Jeremy?”

“The usual suspects,” Soro eluded.

“What will I be doing?” Jeremy asked, already having a good idea of who was going with him.  “It isn’t too far, is it?”

“Nah, not too far,” Soro wafted his hand.  “Just go home for today and I’ll get you out there tomorrow.  No worries.”  He paused as if thinking about something, then said as he looked up.  “It’s gotten a little dark.  Looks like it’s going to rain.”

They all looked up into the sky.  Dark clouds had begun to block out most of the light, and the mix of black and grey looked like it could start raining only moments from then.

“Well, I guess I’m gonna be staying indoors anyway,” Soro chuckled.  “See you guys later.”

           

Cara accompanied Jeremy and Velia to the stone stairs and began to walk down it with them.  Velia was much closer to the bottom than they were, which helped Cara bring herself to ask what she wanted to.  For the moment, Jeremy as too fixated on the grey clouds that seemed to smother the whole sky to notice her increasing discomfort of deciding whether or not to speak.

            “Why’d you come back?” she managed to ask.

            Jeremy seemed too distracted to respond readily, but caught what she said before it completely eluded him.  Once he noticed he seemed to be completely off guard, managing only to squeeze out a “Because.”

            He quickly glanced at Cara and realized that was not a sufficient answer.  She was waiting for him to finish.

            Jeremy sighed, looked down the stairs, and then stopped.  Cara stopped one step below and turned to him.

            “Because they’re probably after me,” Jeremy admitted, breathing his words out quickly.  “I did want to see if Soro was fine, but still… what if they were after me?”

            “This kind of stuff isn’t too rare,” Cara tried to assure him, looking off into the trees next to the stairs.  “If you were there, it would have only caused more trouble for him.”

            Jeremy did not know what to say back to that.  He felt stupid for not thinking it through like that, and that a simple sentence destroyed his best excuse for selflessness.  Such a simple reply hit him harder than he could remember.  He suddenly felt something even stronger bubble up from his stomach: along with the feeling of helplessness, foolish ignorance.

            He suddenly came to a realization: nothing he had done had helped anyone.  Everything up to now has been a drain on them; he has been nothing but a bother to those around him, a kind of liability.  Even though they said it was no problem and that it was a pleasure to have him, he knew that they have done nothing but given to him since he arrived.  And what is worse, he felt as though he knew this all along.

            The pit in his stomach grew larger, and he found it hard to keep his balance for a second; staring off into nothing as those thoughts resounded in his mind.

            Cara noticed this sudden change, and even though the clouds were still piling up and making it darker, she noticed his face turn somewhat pale.

            “Are you Ok?” she asked, unsure.

            Jeremy managed to snap himself out of his trance.  “Yeah,” he managed to say, somewhat level.  “I’ll see you later.”  He departed down the stairs quickly, hoping she would interpret it as his catching up to Velia.  Really, though, he did not want to cause her any more worry. 

No matter how nice Cara seemed, he was dragging her down too.

 

So, dear, what do you plan to do for the rest of your life here?” Velia asked Jeremy as they walked side by side down the street towards the area of town the shop was.  Cara had seen them off from the stairs, and they were now walking alone.  Drops of rain slowly hit the ground and Velia’s parasol as they walked along the practically abandoned road.

Jeremy was caught off guard by the question.  He was still trying to straighten out what had happened earlier, or rather what he had realized earlier.  It took a minute or two for him to consider Velia’s question and come up with the best answer.  “I will do my best,” he decided, offhandedly.

“Oh my, your very best?” She asked, still looking forward.

“Yes,” Jeremy confirmed, suddenly resolute that what he said was good.  He took a short pause, feeling a few raindrops hit his head.  “And, well,” he continued, “I have to help pick up after myself.”

Velia looked at him and waited for him to continue, as if encouraging him to go on.

“I’ve done nothing here so far but cause problems.”  He looked down at the ground that he was walking on, unable to bear looking back at her.  “I need to help solve them.”

“That’s very noble of you,” Velia stated pleased.  “I’m glad we have such a boy as you with us.”

“No,” Jeremy said back.  “I’m nobody special.”  However, he did feel a heavy pang of irony with this statement in the pit of his stomach.



© 2014 Iron K. Tager


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Added on November 14, 2013
Last Updated on January 19, 2014
Tags: Break Down the Unknown, 13, chapter 13, Soro, Jeremy, Jay, Velia, Cara, transfer, shrine, Sano


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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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