Now imagine walking through the thick white mist. Then you see something far ahead.
A vague dark shape.
Curious, you approach it and as you grow closer, the shape solidifies into a man. Now you are only a feet feet away and the shape grows definite, more solid.
The man you see sits crossed legged on the ground, holding a long stemmed pipe. A dim outline of an odd shape crown rests upon his brow while he wears nothing but a loincloth and large heavy bangles around his wrists and ankles.
The mist obscures his face but you feel him studying you. As he
inhales the smoke from his pipe, he says in a deep voice.
And as he exhales, he exhales another word.
The smoke from his pipe smells sweet yet the scent is elusive. It disappears among the mist, becoming one with it.
"Come for another wager? Have you not learned your lesson?"
For the brief glimpse, the mist thinned enough to reveal a pair of brown withered lips curling into a dry smile. Strange that you don't feel anything about it. You say nothing. You don't need to say anything. The man already knows your thoughts.
"Again and again yet you still return. What will you wager on this time? Your other eye? The last of your limbs? Continue to lose and you will inevitably lose everything. What motivates you to continue such a game?"
The man smokes his pipe as you stand there saying nothing. You can feel his disinterest in your presence yet his words sounded mocking. A thought enters from the surface of your mind like a fish desperately gasping for air before quickly disappearing back into murky waters.
"Fine. That offer is acceptable. The terms and rules are the same. And if you should win, what do you desire?"
"A guardian." Your voice speaks out loud for the first time. It sounds strange to your ears as it rings with vibrating tenors.
"I want you to give me a guardian protector as my companion." Your voice echoes in the mist and you realize how silent it is.
The man does not answer while taking his time inhaling the sweet smoke in the air.
"Spirit guardians are not meant to be made pets for mortals. If handled recklessly, it will devour you. A reckless gamble, young one."
There is no need for a reply. You stand before him waiting.
"Then let us begin."
You settle on the misty ground as two playing cards appeared lying face down before you. The man also has two playing cards in front of him.
Together you both picked up your cards and you see the queen of
spades and ten of spades in your hand. You look at the man but
you still cannot see his face, only his body which you realize is
dark and well toned.
Five cards appear between both of you and there is a moment's pause before all five are flipped over, revealing the numbers.
Five of Hearts
Jack of Spade
King of Spade
Ace of Spade
Five of Clover
You study the cards and realize you have a winning hand. A feeling of victory fill you as you lay your cards on the ground. Royal Flush. The man lays his, revealing the Five of Diamonds and Ace of Hearts. Full House.
"Luck have blessed you this time, child of man. Your soul is yours to keep. As agreed, I will grant you your desire. However. You will not find any spirit guardian who will bow down to your will. Convince one to follow you and you shall have it until such time your life expires. Take this."
A long piece of red ribbon floats your way. It lands on your outstretched hand.
"It will secure the bond between you and the guardian who chooses to stay by your side. Our bargain is done. Be warned. Guardians are not meant as pets for mortal man."
The mists thicken around you and your consciousness fades away.
"I said WAKE UP!"
Something heavy slammed nearby my head. Startled, my eyes jerked wide open and I looked up to see Ven snickering at me.
"Wipe the drool off your face, Simon. Come on, it's lunchtime."
"Already? Man, I had a weird dream..." I yawned, stretching my arms as I stood over my desk.
I tried to remember but nothing came up. Trying to remember a dream was elusive as hell. I shrugged.
"Can't recall...oh wait! I remember playing poker with someone and I won."
Ven rolled his eyes. "Dude, you've gotta stop playing texas hold'em poker. It's rotting your braincells and invading your dreams."
"Yeah, so says the hypocrite. I saw you online last night, Mr. Lighting_fox89. You're just as addicted as I am." I glanced down and saw the 600 page volume of ancient history. I guess they were useful for something after all.
"But I'm not the one dreaming about it. Now come on, let's go." We both left the classroom. My thoughts wondered back to my dream. I had been playing too much online poker but I couldn't shake the feeling that I had to remember something in my dream. But nothing popped in my head. I sighed.
It was just a dream. No big deal.