Chapter 18

Chapter 18

A Chapter by Iron K. Tager
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The eighteenth chapter.

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Most of the morning fog that covered the trees had passed long since they left the shrine, and the usual heat and sun of the early summer morning was beginning to show itself to the coming day.  The path was only wide enough for a single-file line, the trees and brushes on either side made it that way, but they did not offer any shade.  Mia, Ruoiu, and Jeremy, in that order walked in a line along at a brisk pace along the path in silence.  Jeremy had been looking at the ground in front of him, making sure he didn’t trip on a stray branch or root like he had only a few minutes before, and thinking heavily on the events of last night, along with the memories that had recently surfaced.  His legs still felt a little tired, and were tingling. 

“You don’t have to look down the whole time, it’s not like the ground’s going to crumble or anything,” Ruoiu jested over her shoulder as she glanced at Jeremy.

“It’s clear from here on out as far as roots go,” Mia called back as she looked around.  “Ruu, keep your eyes open.”

“Yeah, I know,” Ruoiu went back to looking around.

Jeremy lifted up his head to look at Ruoiu’s back and notices her hat.  “I might have just forgotten or never noticed, but are you wearing a witch hat?” he asked.

“It’s not a witch’s hat, it’s a magician’s hat” she proudly boasted: “and all good magicians wear a hat!”

“A magician and a witch,” Jeremy whispers to himself.  ‘I’ll just go with what she says,’ he concluded.  “So you’re really a magician?”

“The best one around!” she continued to boast.  “If you hadn’t figured that out, I’m worried for ya.”

“Well, I saw you dressed like that, but never really thought to ask until now,” he said.  “You look a little different than most of the magicians I’ve seen before.”

“Well, I don’t mean to brag,” She bragged nonchalantly, “but I am one of the most beautiful around.”  She flicked back a piece of her hair in the wind and then jokingly smiled back at him over her shoulder again.

“Don’t pay too much attention to what she says,” Mia called back to Jeremy, “she likes to think highly of herself.” 

Ruoiu quickly caught up with Mia and patted her on the shoulder.  “It’s ok to be jealous,” she commented sympathetically.

Mia sighed.  “Just get back to watching.”

“Oh, right.  Looking.”  She started to look around again.

“What exactly are you two looking for?”  Jeremy asked.

“Fairies,” Ruoiu said.  “They might be easy to deal with, but they sure are a pain if you don’t see them coming.  Tricky things.”

“You haven’t been out of the village that much, have you?” Mia asked Jeremy. 

“They could be anywhere humans aren’t, really, and aren’t afraid to jump ya,” Ruoiu stated.  “And look what decided to show up,” she stopped, and both Mia and Jeremy stopped and looked at her.  They followed Ruoiu’s gaze ahead and to their left.  “Perfect timing.”

“What is it?  A fairy?” Jeremy asked. 

“Shh.  Three or more of them.  Hopefully they will leave before we are noticed,” Mia whispered back.  They stood still, silently watching the three fairies slowly float from side to side, talking to each other, though they were too far away for them to hear what they were saying.  None of the fairies seemed to notice they were there.

“You know that might take hours,” Ruoiu smiled and walks toward the fairies.  “We might as well get them out of our way.” 

Ruoiu strutted forward and snapped her fingers to the beat of her walking, with small sparks flying from her fingers.  She continued to walk down the path, happily snapping her fingers as she passed by the small congregation of fairies, pretending not to care that they were there.

“Hey... Mia,” Jeremy whispered as they stood next to each-other, watching.  “Are fairies really that dangerous?  They don’t look too bad.”

“Keep this in mind,” she whispered back, “You can’t judge power by looks.  Even though fairies are kind of weak, it’s a good rule to go by.  Some fairies can get really dangerous if you aren’t careful.”  Her voice trailed off, but she came back around.  “Watch.” 

Both of them looked back up at Ruoiu, who had just attracted the attention of the fairies.  She stopped in the middle of a step and spun on her heel to face them.  All three of the fairies were wearing the same kind of clothing:  simple dressed with some ribbons or other patterns across the tops and bottoms of it, but they all had some sort of distinguishing piece different from the rest.  After a slight hesitation, they started to shoot bolts of what Jeremy could only conclude as magic in patterns that looked like flowers or winding vines.  Ruoiu just quickly stepped from one side to another, hopping back into place, slightly ducking under two bolts and twirling her way around six.

“Now she’s just showing off,” Mia commented to Jeremy as she continued to watch Ruoiu.  She glanced at him after a moment of silence.

It took Jeremy a second or two to realize something was said, and shut his eyes for a moment to regain his thoughts.  “Ehh, it’s kind of cool.”  He went back to watching Ruoiu, and Mia looked at him for another second before going back to watching her as well.

The fairies begin to shot more and more of their bolts at Ruoiu, and she jumped into the air, holding onto her broom as it lifter her up and onto a nearby tree’s branch, dodging all of their current bolts as she flew.  “Jeez, you all’re so boring, so I think I’ll just finish this quick.” 

She extended her right hand towards then, palm facing forward as sparks flew between her parted fingers, and she then put her left hand down to her side doing the same thing.  She pushed her right hand forward, and small bolts, similar to what the fairies had shot, flew from her hand in a stream.  Once the first stream was done, she threw her other hand forward and did the same thing.  The bolts hit one of the fairies, knocking them back and causing them to exclaim in pain, and the rest impacted around them.

“Well, that ‘ought to do it!”  Ruoiu hopped down from the tree and patted her hands together with her broom resting on her elbow.  She then stopped and looked over her shoulder.  “Woops, missed two.”  She turned around to face the tree she was standing on and snapped her fingers to the right of it.  Two more small cries could be heard off in the distance.  She took one last precaution and zapped the three that were already on the ground.

“There, that’s all of ‘em,” She huffed happily putting her hands on her hips, then turning around to face Jeremy and Miataru with a smile.  “Pretty cool, huh?”

“Yeah.  But what about them?” Jeremy asked, seemingly worried.

Ruoiu walked back over to where they were.  “What, you don’t have fairies were you come from?” she nudged him.  “Something like this isn’t too bad.  They’re a menace anyway.”

“Yeah, fairies can take quite a bit of punishment; more than humans can take, at least,” Miataru explained as they started to slowly walk again.  “They faint pretty easily, but are pretty hard to do anything beyond that.  You haven’t seen that many fairies have you?”

“Well, he’s been in the village the whole time except for maybe once, and even then we only saw one fairy.  And one of the more annoying ones too...”  Ruoiu half rolled her eyes with a tired sound in her voice.

“Now now, she’s not too bad,” Mia said trying to calm Ruoiu.  “Anyway,” she said to Jeremy, who was walking next to Ruoiu and behind her, “fairies are almost anywhere.  They usually find their way around important stuff because, it’s important, I guess.  A lot of the time it’s just because humans are in their forest or something.”

“Right...” Jeremy responded. 

“Not all the time.  They don’t exactly stay out of the fields.” Ruoiu mentioned, and then spoke directly to Mia.  “Remember?  We helped Soro run ‘em off not even a month ago.  They were causing all sorts of trouble around those parts.”

“Yeah, that’s true… but making friends with one of them doesn’t help,” Mia told back.

“Not friends,” Ruoiu droned out, annoyed.  “We just happened to share a common interest is all.”

Jeremy tried his best to dig up what Soro and Lance had told him about fairies, but from either not talking about them enough or his general lack of remembrance, he suddenly felt interested in their relationship to what he knew.

“Fairies…” The word was already out of his mouth before he realized that asking a blatantly ignorant question would arouse suspicion, so he tried to play it off, “…are spirits, right?”

“I dunno,” Ruoiu admitted.

“Me neither,” Mia confirmed.

“They’re like ‘em, but I don’t think they’re the same,” Ruoiu ventured.  “Never felt like askin’, though I know spirits don’t usually like ‘em.  I’m pretty sure they think each other different.” 

Jeremy wanted to ask more; like about the possibility that ghosts, souls, ogres, or any of the other things he was told about were spirits or related and in what ways; however, he did could not, as he felt he would arouse too much suspicion.

“Look!  We’re here!”  Ruoiu pointed ahead of Mia at a large grayish object that looked like a wall far off in the distance, barely visible through the trees. 

As they got closer, Jeremy noticed that the grey was stone surrounding a clear area, with it tapering off and scaling the in the side of a steep, yet small hill that stood at the right corner of the opening.  The trees opened up into a small clearing, showing a stone-surrounded pool of water and a waterfall down the stone face into it.  Small amounts of vegetation were clinging to the walls around and on the stone bordering the water, and many of them had flowers of pink and blue in bloom, with small white patches dotted around.

“Welcome to the spring!” Ruoiu announced aloud with a large grin on her face as she presented the waterfall.  They stood still in silence looking at the running water and listening to it fall into the pool that was raised above them by the stones.  It seemed to be peaceful just to watch the water slide down the rock face.

“So, um, where are we staying?”  Jeremy asked, reluctantly breaking the silence as he looked around. 

“There,” both Ruoiu and Miataru pointed to the right and past a few trees to a small wooden shack.

“Lovely five-star accommodations,” Ruoiu grinned.  She walked towards the wooden shack along a small path from where they were standing until coming out into an even smaller opening that barely left any room for anything but the shack.  She stopped in front of its door and surveyed its exterior condition.  It was a small shack, only slightly bigger than a tool shed would be, and had one window on its right wall from the door. 

Ruoiu kicked the door with the side of her foot.  “Oy, anyone in there get out now,” she called in an unamused fashion.

“Does anyone ever use this other than you guys?” Jeremy asked.

“Usually spirits or fairies,” Ruu answered, still keeping her attention on the door, “sometimes people who get lost out here.” 

There was a short silence before the door clicked and its knob turned slowly.  It was opened little by little to reveal a young female’s tired face and wide, yawning mouth. Only her face was visible through the opening, and the bangs of her white, strangely-shaped hair.  She looked surprised, with her red eyes wide, as if they were not the ones that had caused her to open the door.

“Out, kitty,” Ruu demanded with her thumb over her shoulder as if she were actually talking to a cat.

The white-haired girl reeled back, opening the door a slight bit wider, and then bolted over their heads in a flash.  They all took a step back in reaction, and Jeremy tried to keep his eyes on her, but could only see something white trailing behind her.  Before he even knew it, she had disappeared into the trees.

“Well, I’d count us lucky that she didn’t choose to fight,” Ruu shrugged as she turned to assess the inside of the shack.

“Why’d you call her ‘kitty’?” Jeremy asked.

“She was a cat spirit, didn’t you see?”  Ruoiu moved into the shack to get a better assessment.

“She had the ears and tail,” Mia added, “She was a young one too.”

“I didn’t notice,” Jeremy admitted, stating the obvious.  “But I guess I did see the ears,” he added.

“You’re going to have to learn how to notice them at a glance,” Mia stated.  “Things will be hard for you if you don’t.” 



© 2014 Iron K. Tager


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Added on May 15, 2014
Last Updated on May 15, 2014
Tags: Chapter 18, 18, Break Down the Unknown, Ruu, Jay, Jeremy, Ruoiu, Mia, Miataru, fairies, spirit, shack, spring


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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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