Advent in the Arcane Forest

Reads: 609  | Likes: 2  | Shelves: 1  | Comments: 0

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 10 (v.1) - The Finale

Submitted: November 10, 2017

Reads: 76

A A A | A A A

Submitted: November 10, 2017

A A A

A A A

Chapter 10: Finale

It took us about three hours to reach the region of the giants. I knew I’d lost too much. I wondered why, while I was only sitting on Yuzan’s back, my memories kept flashing back rapidly. However, I couldn’t remember what day it was in the real world when I came to the Forestierre. The only thing I knew was that it’s almost Christmas time.

But before I ended up delving deeper into my own thoughts, Yuzan suddenly spoke and broke my introspection.

“Here we are.” Yuzan said.

“Their home is the entire place. The caves only serve as their bedroom. Look at them.” Yuzan said, pointing at the only visible, but distant cave.

All of us watched from a safe distance. There were three Cyclopes there. And even at first sight, it was easy to know that they’re a family. I was even surprised to realize that the baby Cyclops there was the one from whom I’d stolen the eye. But before I got bothered by my conscience, I lingered a little more and watched as they bonded with each other. They showed us that close family ties can exist even among the fiercest of creatures.

I was most amazed when the mother Cyclops embraced her little one. Polyphemus, the father, tapped his son’s head while saying something we couldn’t understand. We were all awestruck with wonder. They were beautiful. Their family seemed very inseparable. Indeed, I was inspired and touched by them. But for some reason, I felt incomplete. Lonesome. But I ignored the negative feeling and took hold of the necklace.

I must return this eye immediately. I’ve got no more than two hours left.

I took the first step forward to the cave. The rest followed. I knew that the Cyclopes would get mad at me. It's their child we're talking about, of course. But I’d decided already. I would give this back to them.

When we were already very close to the cave, I looked back at my friends and smiled.

“Ligian, please remember this: we’re just behind you. We’ll always back you up, Missy.” Twinkle said.

They were all looking at me with such concerned expressions. I giggled and gave them a thumbs-up.

"I know, silly firefly. Thank you all for staying with me through all this."

I turned around started walking towards the Cyclopes' cave. Each step was a struggle to keep my heart from faltering.

As I went closer, the Cyclopes noticed my presence. The two gave me an austere look. Of course they had to be more cautious ever since the treacherous incident. But I didn’t mind, and didn’t think of wasting any more time.

“Good afternoon, senior Cyclopes. I am Ligian Bahmatan. You see, I came here just to apologize. Don’t worry, I am harmless right now.” I said.

“What are you apologizing for?” asked Polyphemus.

I was shocked that they actually could speak my language. But it wasn’t the right time to show my amazement. I quickly took out the necklace, and showed it to the Cyclopes. And upon seeing their child’s stolen eye, they became more furious and threatening.

“You! You're the one that stole our child’s eye!” Polyphemus spoke in gritted teeth.

“How dare you show yourself before us, after stealing the eye! For that, you shall be punished!” the mother Cyclops said.

“I shall be, indeed. Please take your son’s eye. I’m peacefully returning it to you. I’ve seen how close your family is, and I couldn’t think of anything more than your son’s life. It was already late when I found about the consequence of my reckless action. I never wished for your son’s death.” I explained.

I kept my head bowed down. A long silence followed, and finally, Polyphemus retrieved his son’s eye from me. I was silently waiting for them to punish me.

“I’m really sorry. If only I could help you more than this.” I said.

“Where are you from? You sure are not from the Forestierre Academy, aren’t you?”

I was surprised, but I kept my head bowed down.

“Uh, yeah, I wasn’t from there. I came from… the… well, it’s kind of complicated.”

“I see. You’ve been chosen for the quest haven’t you? I mean, the ‘Escape Game',” said the mother Cyclops.

“That’s right. I’ve got less than two hours left for this game. I still have no idea how I would win the game, and I've decided to give up already.” I replied.

“Humans are bizarre creatures. They tend to give up when it's not over yet. But you see, giving up should only happen when it's over, and nothing is over until you're dead.” Polyphemus said.

I was really startled. I unconsciously moved my head up to facing him.

"I can help you," said the father Cyclops. 

I was truly surprised to hear it. I was so speechless, that I stammered when I tried to speak. I didn't expect things to turn out this way. My whole being was ready to yield. I had given up already.

"I... I don't... But I... stole..."

“It doesn’t matter to us anymore. The important thing is that you have returned the eye, and even apologized personally. Facing us, Cyclopes, is the hardest thing I know for the rest of the creatures here in Forestierre. And yet, you were brave enough to appear before us without bringing anyone along.” The mother Cyclops explained.

"Do you want us to help you?"

I was startled. I had given up, but hearing it gave me a tiny glimpse of hope. I nodded.

"But... how?" I asked.

"We simply need to talk some sense into you."

I was flabbergasted by what the Cyclops had just said. I supposed that I had expected a little more than that.

"Can you remember something about your life before coming here?" Asked the mother Cyclops.

“Yes I do. I didn't, when I had first woken up in this strange place, but these past few hours, I have been regaining them," I answered.

“What do you remember about your life then? What was the very last thing that you did before coming here?"

And that one, I really couldn’t grasp immediately. My memories were still a bit hazy, and I was having a diffcult time digging for it.

“It’s because you never asked yourself these questions that you couldn’t win. Think carefully, Ligian.” Polyphemus added.

Suddenly, the weeping, broken image of myself from when I had dived into the rotten well came to my mind. I remembered as well the decorations in the neighborhood. The Christmas season. It's almost Christmas time. What did I wish for?

I had known that they wouldn't happen. A happy family celebrating the Christmas day together--it's too far-fetched. Mother wouldn't come home. My parents would never get along. And that's why I...

That's why I had given up.

This surge of realization made me sweat a lot. My eyes blood-shot, I could feel that the tips of my fingers were trembling.

"I had... given... up," I said.

I was choking on my words, and I felt that my heart was beating faster, as if it were racing, and I panted and struggled to regulate my breathing.

My memories now flooded my mind, and I remembered...

“Forestierre is like life itself. Every occurrence has its purpose. It's good to be strong, but it's okay to be weak. There are people who will stay with you and back you up without expecting for anything in return, and they aren't necessarily your family. They are your friends. Sometimes the one you perceive as an enemy is a friend, and sometimes the one you perceive as a friend is an enemy.

"Sometimes you get too scared and the only escape is scary as well. You feel like you're trapped, but the truth is that there's no escape in life. All you have to do is to face it. You will fail, but don't give up. You will make wrong decisions, but it's never too late to make right decisions if you still have time. But even if you have all the time in the world, it would be pointless if you just give up."

I was tearing up. I tried hard to conceal it, to hide my ugly self. I could be seen by the Cyclopes, and my friends were somewhere close, watching. My throat hurt and I couldn't hold my tears back any longer. I remembered finally...  I knew what I had done before waking up in that cabin.

"I... I thought I could run away. I thought it was the only way..." I whispered, and then the burst of tears. "K...killed... myself..."

That's right.

I had killed myself.

I was so fed up with all of it. I hated everything, and I thought there was no way out.

I cried relentlessly. I was embarrassed, but it didn't matter anymore. It was too much for me to take.

"Humans don't realize it, but they tend to run away all the time. They look for an 'escape' from every problem, as if it solves anything at all. Some people marry at an early age to escape from familial duties. Some couldn't have children and take lots of pets instead. Or sometimes, when one is bored, this person would take sanctuary in playing games or watching shows for long periods of time. The others take more aggressive ways to escape from the unpleasant situation, like getting themselves drunk or drugged. Either way, no matter how big or small their escape is, it never solves anything.

"When humans discover that their little escape isn't working, they look for better escapes that might work. Until, well, in worst case scenarios, they end up killing themselves when they think there's no way out. But is the problem solved? Not at all." Said the mother.

I understood. That moment, hearing all those from the Cyclopes, I understood that I'd always run away. I pretended to be strong to escape from getting pitiful stares. I pretended to be independent to escape from my own helplessness. And when I thought that all these couldn't help me anymore, I killed myself... because I wanted to escape from my own life.

But even so, in the real world, would my death bring my family back together? I doubted it. They would probably blame and spite each other even more.

I was finally realizing it. Even though I was only innocently trying to save myself from all the pain and sorrow, I was also unconsciously self-destructing.

"How did you feel when you found out that I could help you?" Asked the Polyphemus.

"Well, honestly I... I felt... h...hope...ful." I replied.

It was one word. I was surprised upon hearing the word that came from my own mouth. And it felt as though it's the one thing that I'd been missing all my life.

"It's normal to lose it, especially when you feel like you're all alone. And to get it, sometimes all you need to do is ask for help. Hope will come to you if you seek it first. Don't just give up on your own, dear human."

I sobbed. I knew that it was something I couldn't afford to do in the real world. I had to be perceived as strong. Nobody should pity me. But in this world I realized that I needed somebody to see me as I was. I needed somebody to stay with me even though I was actually too trusting and weak. Somebody who'd help me overcome my pains and pull me away from escaping. I needed somebody to show me there's hope when I was about to give up.

And I shouldn't give up.

But I had killed myself.

And at that thought I lost all my energy and fell on my knees. I continued to weep so hard that I couldn't breathe well. 

It was all over, but I hadn't done anything yet. 

It was over, but I might've done something more than just that. 

It was over, but things could've ended up better than just that. I had only one chance to live.

But it was over. Because I had given up.

My heart ached. My soul cried out. I wanted to change everything, start from scratch, get the same life but live it differently. If I had responded to my situation differently, my life might have been more interesting. I desperately wanted to get another chance.

It was excruciating. My whole being agonized. If a soul had blood, mine would have been spilling badly. My eyes hurt so much, but tears wouldn't stop from flowing. It was as though I was pouring out a year's worth of tears, and I thought that if I hadn't stopped, blood would come out next.

The hopelessness. I spiraled in an endless abyss of hopelessness. But I'd been so tired of feeling that emotion.

 Hope...

Life...

Why do these words complement each other?

"I... don't want....." I struggled to speak, but I said it anyway, and I didn't think that I could be more sincere and full of hope than when I said,

"I don't want to escape anymore. I want to live!"

At that moment, I realized that everything that had happened to me in the Forestierre were related to my life. And as images of all that had happened flashed through my mind like vertigo, my vision also got dimmer and dimmer, until I could see no more of the Cyclopes.

“Good job, Ligian,” whispered the Polyphemus.

And right after saying those words, everything then turned peach black.

I felt as if I was floating, but I couldn’t feel anything other than that. I couldn’t even see anything. I hadn’t had the chance to see Twinkle Bell, Yuzan, and Rania for the last time.

 

Life is just like the "Escape Game". Sometimes, for weaker beings like myself, it's only at the end when they would realize that there's no escape. There's only life.

I wake up and find out that I had fallen asleep on the desk. I stretch my back and relax my body. The light is turned on, and on the top of the desk where I put my head down, is a book opened on its last page. I realize that I fell asleep while I was reading it. It is funnier to think that I had fallen asleep just when I was about to finish the book.

The story was all about this girl who woke up in another world. A weird black-riding hood appeared and introduced the so-called “Escape Game". Then in the mystical forest called “Forestierre” happened all the adventures, and in the end she realized that the “escape” isn’t real. Rather, the game was meant for the players to understand life. And hope.

I look at the book again, and on the last page, at the very bottom of it, there are these words written:

“Merry Christmas, Gillian! I hope you're feeling better after reading this. Remember that I'm all ears no matter what you're going through. BTW, we're having a Christmas party at home. The party can't start with a family member missing, so please do come on time, a'right? 8 PM tonight. See you!"

-From your good friend,

The Author

"The author...?" I mumble.

I immediately close the book to see the cover, and I get startled by what I see:

"Advent in the Arcane Forest"

A woman cloaked in black hoodie, blond hair hung loose, holding a black staff.

Stephanie Kaplan.


© Copyright 2019 Stephanie Kaplan. All rights reserved.

Chapters

Add Your Comments: