Chapter 13: Lily’s lullaby and Monica’s abduction
Monica’s diary: Somewhere at the west shores
We were able to survive Nagia’s attack but with casualties also. Edolem was gone and the ship was in bad shape too. We couldn’t survive, moreover return to the main land but thanks to the mermaids help we managed to repair it a little.
That night Limon and Dings returned with Lily and Darth, I helped her get down from Limon’s back when I realized that she was naked, covered only with Darth’s coat. When we returned back to our room together with Clyone who was much better when I spoke to her, we helped her take a bath, wear clean clothes, and lie to her bed. She told me that her feet were hurting and I touched her hair. Why does she have to suffer so much? It will become more painful for her if she continues like this, but every time i look at her she seems to be more and more determinate to continue.
Now we have finally reached a secret shore were our ship lies and it is repaired from all of us. The mermaids are guarding the waters and it seems that everything have returned to normal. But still I wonder: how did Nagia Know Darth? And why did she call him Darthorian?
Minto was giving his orders nonstop to the crew; they were cutting the trees making them into lumber repairing the sails, the prow and the broken windows at the back of the ship. Limon together with Lily lifted the sails and Darth together with Clyone tied them up. Dings and Monica helped with the preparation of their dinner, as the mermaids brought fish, limpets, crabs, even special seaweeds for their salads. Lily was the only one who could communicate with them and when the night came everyone gathered at the beach to honor those who died and thank the mermaids for their support and help. Lily was standing near the water, slightly touching it with her feet holding her ribbon and translating Minto’s words to the mermaids. They answered bowing in front of everyone and with their melodic voices invited the Priestess to sing with them. Lily walked on the sea’s surface and turned to the rest at the beach who were watching her “Let us honor those who fell and sing for the hope of tomorrow” and she started to sing. Her voice was soft, clear and filled the night air as she sung together with the mermaids songs of bravery, hope, trust and love. A little before they end harps started to hear from the mermaids and Lily sung a lullaby. Her voice echoed on everyone’s minds and heart’s as they watched her moving softly on the water’s surface followed from the harps the mermaids were playing. Monica, holding Dings who had already fallen asleep, and Limon were watching her sitting together near the fire but Darth, when he heard her song, his face deformed from pain and left the others walking to the dark part of the beach feeling the memories overwhelm him. Everyone applauded her when she finished and returned to the beach, the mermaids disappeared into the dark waters and everyone returned to the ship. “Limon, can I ask you something?”
“Sure Monica what is it?”
“How did Nagia know Darth and why did she call him with a different name?” The dragon stopped walking for a moment and looked at her. His eyes seemed to be darker than their usual violet color and he leaned his head. “Could you please wait until we reach the mainland again? I will explain you everything when the time comes” and when Monica agreed they continued walking.
The next day they sailed to the north until they reach a small port near an abandoned village. Darth transformed his wagon back to its original form tied Limon at his usual place, pulling their wagon while Lily and Monica were saying goodbye to Clyone and Minto “It has been a great honor for our family meeting you my ladies” Minto said and bowed “The honor was all ours thank you for your hospitality” Monica said and hugged Clyone “Clyone I am sorry, I couldn’t save your brother” Lily said and Clyone hugged her “Stupid, don’t ever think that way. Besides, my brother paid fro his sin. We will always remember him and grieve him.” And she gave Monica a big white box tied with a yellow ribbon telling them to open it when the occasion demands it and not any other time. They got on the wagon and they saw for the last time the “Dimitra” sailing into the sea. “Let the spirit of Clomin always stay by your side” Lily whispered and a strong wind gave them more speed to their sails.
They started again traveling through destroyed villages and burned forests to endless lands full of fields. The scenery was really depressing; sometimes they could see people traveling those endless lands, carrying their belongings “Refugees” Darth told them, they had lost their homes due to the natural disasters and now they were heading to the other cities trying to find a shelter. Lily could feel their sorrow, sadness, but also a small glimpse of hope in their Heart Stones. They continued their course following for a while quietly the local roads until they reached a rocky valley. . Limon said that the rocks could work protective for them and so, they decided to rest. While Darth was preparing dinner Dings was sniffing the air “Berries! There are berries somewhere around!” and he started bugging Monica going and gather some for them. “Alright, alright I will go!” and she took a basket with her
“I will escort her” Limon said and together they started to walk toward the direction Dings told them.
“All right that was really strange” Dings said when they had left
“And I thought that he didn’t like her” Darth said but Lily smiled because she saw the violet and the silver Light drawing closer and closer shining bright. “Let’s continue with the preparations until they are back” and with Ding’s help the opened the small table.
Monica was walking behind Limon; he was trying to locate the berries and he was moving his head right and left. Monica started to look at him better: his eyes were bright violet, each one of his golden scales were shining even under the evening sky, his wings were close to his body with soft feathers, truly a beautiful creature she wondered “Did you come with me in order to be alone?”
“Truly a clever human aren’t you Monica?” and he smiled
“That’s not our point. You said that you would tell me about how did Nagia knew Darth and why she called him with a different name” Limon for a moment looked at her directly at the eyes; eyes full of pain, and loneliness. Monica came close to him and instinctually she hugged him from his neck “I know that I am a little tomboyish and pushy but I can really care for those around me.”
“Don’t be like that stupid.” And he pulled away from her just to see her face “It’s a punishment… Darth’s condition” he said after a while and Monica looked at him puzzled
“What kind of punishment? Did he do something that bad?
“He was punished from Nevol for treason and since then me and Dings have been accompanying him.”
“What?” now Monica was astonished
“We used to be a long time ago at the Imperial Darvil Army and from the powerful ones too. But everything changed since then and here we are now traveling to save Denmor from him and perhaps save Darth from his self.”
“How did that…” but before she completes her sentence a giant net fell on them paralyzing Monica and Limon. Suddenly men started to appear from the rocks surrounding them. “Monica are you ok?”
“I think…” but her voice was weak
“Bandits” Limon said and tried to tear off the net
“I wouldn’t do that little dragon” one of them said and pulled Monica away from him
“Let her go! Don’t touch her” Limon said angrily and left a strong scream. He felt something heavy hitting him and he fell unconscious while the bandits carried away Monica who faintly continued to whisper Limon’s name and passed out.
“Quick! The scream came from this area!” Lily was guiding Darth and Dings as they both were running passing though the rocks. Lily was using a faint wind jumping quickly from rock to rock using her ribbon to sense the winds. They found Limon lying at the ground and quickly Darth gave him first aid. Lily was standing near them trying to sense Monica’s presence but she was nowhere to be found: “Monica! Monica where are you?” she shouted again and again and Dings tried to calm her.
“I am so sorry Lily” Limon said when he regained consciousness and he lowered his head
“What happened to you, Limon? There’s no way to have lost into anything” Darth said while he bandaged his injured wing
“It was an ambush, we were walking and then a electrified net fell on us and they hit me on the head. It was bandits Darth and they took her with them!”
“Those bastards!” Dings said and barked from anger.
“Then why didn’t I sense their Heart Stones?!” Lily said with anger
“They were wearing camouflage mufflers and that cloth has the special ability to hide your presence even your own Heart Stone”
“Did you say camouflage mufflers?” Darth said and stood up “Pack everything! We are heading to Lenounta!”
“But Darth Monica…”
“Don’t worry Lily we will take her back, I promise” and he held her hands on his. He turned and looked at Limon; anger and fury. He had almost forgotten how angry Limon’s face could be.
Monica opened her eyes; she was inside a cage, like those the circus carries its animals. Her head was spinning from dizziness. “Are you alright?” a gentle voice was heard close to her and she saw a pretty girl with brown hair and blue eyes chained sitting next to her, she was chained too and so were many other girls who were sitting inside the cage. “Where are we?” Monica asked her.
“Where we are heading you should better say” another girl told her; she also was really beautiful with red hair and green eyes. “We are going to the city of Hantuner to get married” she said with a tone of boredom.
“What? Who’s going to get married?” Monica shouted and they heard the driver from the front shouting to them to be quiet.
“Please keep your voice down; they will kill us if one of us is talking!”
“Let her shout, at least it will be one candidate less” the one with the red hair said. Monica had already disliked her. She turned to the other and asked her name “Ermin, Ermin from the fields of the East. And you?”
“Monica Williams, currently traveling with a merchant caravan” she said, she knew that now it would be more dangerous than any other time. Luckily she could use “Bloody Tears” if there was a need and touched her hand where the tattoo was, feeling really unsafe away from her friends (“Lily would surely die from her worries” she thought). Ermin became fascinated with Monica’s job and started to ask her about many different things. She even learned how she was abducted; her family sold her because they couldn’t afford feeding her. “But why are we going to the city of Hantuner? Why there are so many girls?” But she didn’t answer her because their guard came into their cage feeding them with something that looked like bread. Monica and Ermin didn’t touch theirs and they remained silent as their cage continued to travel to the next town and in three days they would reach Hantuner.
They arrived at Lenounta at night after two days nonstop traveling. They left their wagon outside the town and walked together to the main streets. Lenounta was just a station for all caravans and also a unofficially black market: potions, cursed items, animals and even Newborn butterflies were sold in here. Lily was walking near Darth holding his shoulder while Limon had Dings on his back walking behind them. They reached a door behind a building and Darth spelled something like a code and the door opened; the strong smell of tobacco and alcohol came to Lily as they entered the bar. Darth waved his hand to the barman and he showed them the available table. It was a small bar with slow music and singers. “Don’t misunderstand the place Lily” Dings said “in here we will find everything we need” and they sat together. The music changed and a familiar sound was heard. The two girls on the stage started to sing the lullaby Lily had sung on the beach “How do they know that song?” she asked
“It’s a common myth around these parts. It’s about the hope of rebirth and peace between the Gods and Denmorians.” Limon told her. Darth came to their table holding drinks and a man who followed behind him. Limon and Dings drunk with pleasure and Lily slightly touched hers. “So why did you call me Darth? You know I am busy” the man said
“Only some questions Doba. Did you sell any camouflage mufflers around this time?”
“Who knows? Maybe yes, maybe no.” and he took the glass on his hands. Lily slightly manifested the drink which exploded and the glass broke
“Do you see Doba? The Gods will be angry if you lie” Darth continued with no change on his cruel voice. It seems that he was really afraid of the God’s wrath and explained that the orders were for the guards of the Lord who ruled Hantuner. Limon almost broke the table from his anger when he realized the trouble Monica and they were in.
“So what do we wait for? We should head for Hantuner.”
“It’s not that simple Lily, by the way thanks for the help before, it seems that your sister is getting married to the Lord of Hantuner” and Lily was left startled without moving a spot.
Chapter 14: The bride’s Colosseum
“Ok now I have seen it all!”
“No it’s paradise! Just like a queen should live!”And the three of them sunk into the hot water of the huge marble bathroom.
The girls arrived at Hantuner at the morning and their caravan entered the back gates of the palace. It was like diving into the middle Ages with the stone coordinators, the statues of warriors and the tight guard. Their guardian was a old woman, probably from a noble family, who was in charge for all their expenses, the clothes, the jewelry, even their meals. They were told that in two days Lord Krow would decide his future wife through the outcome of the Local Matches, until then they would enjoy and wait for that day to come. Monica didn’t like the sound of “Local Match” and also, nobody had made even a comment for her blond hair, she should be wanted into the whole Denmor then why? After their bath Monica together with Ermin and Dian (the red hair’s name) entered together with the other girls the bedrooms. A big round room with soft layers and pillows, for every girl, was spread around them. They had a small veranda with curtains covering their windows. It was really beautiful but it was still some kind of jail. She took the bed near the veranda and next to her came Ermin. She had become her only friend and together they were thinking of escaping. Ermin sometimes would look outside the window gazing at the night sky lying on her bed until she fall asleep. Monica went out at the veranda when all the others were sleeping and looked around her. The town seemed quiet with the night lights turning off one after another and the sound of a melody filled the air. Monica recognized the voice and she saw the white dove flying toward her direction. She stretched her hands and caught it; it was soft and had the fragrance of Lily’s favorite shampoo “Monica, Monica are you alright? We are coming to get you! Are you injured? They are worried about you! I love you Lily” Monica held the dove inside her arms, she kissed it and let it fly again “Go back to your master and carry out my message” and the bird disappeared as suddenly it had appeared.
They arrived at Hantuner in a busy day. The whole town was preparing for the new Lord’s coronation. Hantuner was not a part of Nevol’s territory; the whole town and the area belonged into one family for generations and they offered their support to Nevol when he needed it. In exchange the King never touched that area and so there were no stations of Nevol’s soldiers. That fact gave Darth and the others a relief when they entered from the main gate to the small city which was surrounding the old castle, built at the Old Times as Limon said to Lily. They checked into an inn and they started to search for information about Monica. After three hours and partially thanks to Lily’s powers they came into a registration booth outside from which many men were waiting: “What is going on here?” Darth asked one of them. The man saw the little boy asking him and smiled with sympathy “This year’s contest is about the chosen candidates for the Lord’s wife. Those who wish to take them back must apply here and take part to the Matches which will take place to the Colosseum behind you son. But a kid shouldn’t play with this stuff” and he pushed him away. Darth returned back to the others “So how did it go?” Dings asked impatiently
“How dare he calling me a kid?”
“You look like a kid, perhaps?” Limon said
“We must participate into the Matches if we want to take Monica back” and he explained them the situation. At the Matches could only take part men with or without magic creatures, weapon and alchemy wielders were allowed and the battles would begin tomorrow
“But none of us can fight.” Dings said looking at Limon and Darth.
“I will go” Limon said “I am a magic creature so I can participate”
“Only if you have a human or Darvil participator with you” Darth said
“Then I will go with him” Lily continued but Darth was against it saying that it was really dangerous both for her safety and her identity.
“Then what do you suppose we can do? Monica said that she is alright but for how long? And the red mo…” and she stopped talking realizing her mistake, she knew that that part of discussion was a taboo for him, “anyway if there was away to disguise myself as a man and enter the Matches with Limon? What do you think of that?”
Darth remained quiet, thinking of her words, and Dings looked at Limon “Darth let her fight, she is her sister after all” Dings said and he was right. Darth stood up and followed by the others they walked back to the booth. “I will go and register your names, Limon you will be Sezou and Lily you will be…”
“Jack, Jack Williams, my father’s name” she answered with confidence.
“Ermin, Monica, leion…”
“Why is she calling our names?” Monica asked puzzled
“No idea” Ermin said a little frighten.
“Those who have heard their names will immediately follow me to the other chambers.” And the old Lady started to walk to the exit followed by those who had heard their names. Only Monica and Ermin left, Dian didn’t even said goodbye and continued changing her jewelry one after another. Their caretaker led the ten girls she had summoned into a different chamber that was at the side of the Colosseum; it was big and a little different from the one Monica saw on pictures back home. “Tomorrow you will present yourselves in front of the people of Hantuner and Lord Krow. You have been selected because there are some of your families who will fight to get you back. But I warn you; only one will be able to leave the palace, the rest of you will return to the main chamber and serve the new queen (when she will be crowded) as her ladies of honor. Am I understood?”
“Yes ma’am!” everyone answered and she left locking the door behind her.
“Did you hear that Ermin? They came for us!” she said happily but Ermin looked surprised and sad at the same time
“But only one will be able to leave Monica…” and she hugged her
“Ermin we will leave together, I promise. You will not stay in here forever. There is someone who came for you didn’t he?”
“Yes and I didn’t expect him to come. I thought her never thought of me this way”
“So you must be strong for him and cheer him with all your strength tomorrow” and they both prayed for tomorrow to come sooner.
“Absolutely no, there is no way!” Lily was shouting behind her room’s door while Darth and Limon were outside trying to convince her to let them change her clothes.
“Come on Lily, don’t be stubborn” Dings was scratching her door with his paws.
“Give them to me and I will change myself”
Darth place the clothes in front of the door and stepped back “Let her change on her own, we will be next door if she needs us” and he walked back to his room. Lily opened the door took the clothes and closed it again. After 10 minutes Dings and Limon entered her room and found her wearing the clothes Darth gave her, but they were big for her athletic, slim body. “It wants a change I think, especially on her waistline, what do you think?” Dings said
“Limon, bring me the tailor box and Dings I want you to find the belt I had inside the sack” and both of them went outside. Lily was standing still with her hands stretched while Darth was making the clothes fit on her. “Are these clothes yours?”
“They used to be, they were a good armor, the best I had, now it will protect you” and he tighten the sleeves on her arms, smiling briefly. Lily felt the clothes on her body becoming a part of herself, like a personal armor just for her.
“On the outside it looks like a simple clothing but” and he hit her with a sword while she covered her head with her hands and the sword broke “it can repel any attack and like that there’s no need for shields or metal armors”. Limon and Dings returned with the requested items and they finished her tailoring. Lily was wearing black leather trousers, with leather boots, a red blouse which shined like a ruby on her body with a leather jacket on the top. “We will need to change her hair”
“And cover them at the same time”
“What about a hood?”
“It would be better if I tie my hair up and wear something like a hat or a face shield?” Lily asked and Darth wore the one he had with him around her head leaving only her eyes uncovered. “That should do it, now the belt, Dings” and the puppy gave him a golden belt with small crystals covering the chains around it. . Darth wore the belt around Lily’s waist while Limon putted a long black cape on her shoulders. “Alright now we need a mirror!” Darth said and he walked Lily to the whole body mirror who was hanging on the wall and they stepped back.”Well, how do I look?”
“Scary!” they said at the same time because the figure the mirror was showing wasn’t Lily anymore but a tall muscular man with his face covered from the black cloth leaving his amber eyes shining angrily and his cape was making him even scarier as it waved between his legs. Limon and Darth did a really good job and Lily left a small cry when Dings explained her how she looked. “Is it that bad?”
“Well that’s the purpose of the chain you wear”
“But at the same time you have the disadvantage Lily”
“Disadvantage? What do you mean Darth?”
“You will not be able to use your ribbon neither most of your powerful spells”
Lily walked toward Limon and touched his head, patting him gently; she turned to Darth and Dings saying: “I might look like a terrorist but that’s not the only strength I have. Limon we will make it. Promise me only that you will not kill anyone and I will support you with everything I have”
Monica sneaked out from her room late at night. She was trying again to find a way out from the palace from the day they came here. She walked though the long corridor until she reached a big balcony and walked out; she could clearly see the Colosseum and her heart pounded fast, surely Lily and the others came with a plan to take her out but what about Ermin the other girls? “What are you doing here?” a man’s voice came from her back and turned with surprise; a man at the age of 25 was standing in front of her, he was not too tall but he had black hair and green piercing eyes that made Monica shiver from fear “I-I was just wanted took take some fresh air, it’s really hot inside” and stepped back while the man walked into the balcony “Is that so? Now that you feel better get inside now!” and Monica almost ran inside without looking back. A man appeared from the shadows and bowed: “Lord Krow everything are prepared for tomorrow”
“Good, you can go now” and Krow stayed at the balcony thinking of the apparition he had just saw.
The First day of the Matches had already begun. Lily, Limon together with Darth, disguised as a servant, and Dings were waiting for their turn to come. Ten participants had been registered and the matches were two vs. two. The second match was already over and they were preparing the stage for the next battle. They heard that they weren’t just fighting but also they had to overcome obstacles which were popping in front of their way “Sadist, sadist with all the meaning of the word” Dings said when Darth told them the information he had gathered. Limon didn’t answer he was preparing mentally for his battle, while Lily was sitting near him holding her head trying to calm down.
“Lily what’s wrong? You are not feeling well?”
“She’s been like that since we came” Dings said
“So many… so many Heart Stones, Lights I can’t keep up with all this. It’s like my head will blow up at any time”
Darth took her hands from her head and placed his forehead on hers “Concentrate to the one you are looking for. I heard that the candidates also watch the matches from their galleries. Look for her and focus only on her. Can you do that?” Lily steady found her breath again and opened her eyes looking at him straightly; their faces were so close and he could see clearly the amber color of her eyes, he stepped back awkwardly and turned to Limon arranging his metal armor. “All set” he said and looked at him “Don’t get too carried away Limon. This is no battlefield”
“I know that, besides I promised” and looked at Lily.
The signal bell rung and both of the started to walk to the exit, followed by Darth and Dings; they could hear the voices, the laughs and the screams of the people who were sitting upstairs waiting for their entrance at the arena. They stepped at the iron gate and everyone behind them went back at their watching posts curious about how such a big man would fight at the Matches. The gates opened and the cries of the crowd created havoc. “Are you ready Lily?” Limon whispered
“Ready Limon, let’s show them our strength” and they walked in.
Monica, together with other girls, had already watched 2 Matches and felt like playing at the parody of “Gladiator”. Not only that but they were dressed in such a way that everyone on the crowd were shouting comments for their beauty, and not only that. The most surprising was Lord Krow; when she saw the man with the green eyes introducing them to the crowd she felt like hiding behind Ermin’s throne. Now the third Match was ready to start and two girls had already left their galleries disappointed. Now the gates opened and the next participants’ entered:
“From the right side, I give you Vantorm, warrior of the East Plains! From the Left side Jack Williams and his dragon Sezou!” and Monica shouted from her surprise and fear when she saw the big man and the golden armored dragon entering the arena. Their opponent was a tall barbarian with many tattoos on his arms and he was followed by 4 strange lizards which were looking at Limon ready to rip him off. Monica heard from one of the girls that he was her fiancé and he was really brutal. But the only thing she could do was watching them and shouted with all her strength trying to cheer them.
The battle begun and the lizards attacked “Jack” but she quickly jumped avoiding them and moved his hands creating wind cutters. Out of nowhere the lizards fell down injured unable to move. Limon was trying to avoid Vantorm’s arrows (it seems he was a weapon wielder too) while flying above him and breathing fire to him. Quickly a shield appeared out of nowhere and a spear flew to Lily’s direction but she waved her cape repelling his attack. Limon flew to her side and together they attacked to him, but the ground became muddy all of sudden and they started to sink into the heavy sand. Limon pulled Lily out of the sand and he saw Vantorm disappear into the sand while they were flying above him.
“And our winner is Jack Williams and his dragon Sezou!!” and the crowd became crazy from excitement shouting their names together. Limon turned to the galleries and bowed to her. Monica applauded them and sent a kiss moving her hand. Only one wasn’t excited for their victory and looked at them with deceit.