Advent in the Arcane Forest

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

Chapter 2 (v.1) - The Forestierre

Submitted: November 09, 2017

Reads: 36

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Submitted: November 09, 2017

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How does it feel to fall in a deep well? I was excited to finally experience what it’s like to be near death, but my dream made me experience something unreal. This really is a dream. I can't be killed here, apparently. The well seemed to be more of a teleporting device rather than an actual well. The moment that I had jumped was the exact moment that I came to find my body hanging by the edge of another well. I didn’t feel like I had fallen at all. No free-falls. That was nothing but magic.

What a strange dream.

I moved myself out from the well and studied the surroundings. I was already in a completely different place. After jumping into the well that was in a cabin, I found myself in what seemed to be a grassland. In front of me were two huge gates that concealed whatever was behind it. The gates were designed with ornate and peculiar patterns and shapes. Given that my memories were limited, I still had a feeling that I had never seen anything so exquisitely mystical as those gates. And in front of those gates stood the black riding hood whose enchanting appearance complemented the mysterious gates behind.

“Of course you didn't die.” I began. "How did I end up here? What is this place?" I bravely asked.

“I am the guardian of the Forestierre gates. But more importantly, I am the host of this game--this game, which you are about to play.”

Instant anxiety mixed with confusion flooded my mind. What is she talking about? She mentioned “game”. But what was about the game? My dream was getting more and more insane.

“Ligian Bahmatan, you will play the so-called ‘Escape Game'. This is the Forestierre gate, and behind this is a wide forest. Don’t make me elaborate how ‘wide’ it is, because it couldn’t be measured by anybody.”

I was trying to pick up the words she was saying, but my brain was having a hard time processing them. How did she know my name? But in the midst of confusion I realized again that it was just a dream. And since this was just my dream, then I would just go with its flow. I held onto the belief that some time sooner, I would wake up from this bad dream. 

“Fine. So, how can I win?” I asked with a renewed confidence.

“Simple. The only thing that you have to do is to find the way to escape from that forest. However, since the place is, as I have mentioned, too wide, I will give you someone who would serve as your guide. As for the rest of the clues and instructions, you’ll know them along the way.”

In reality, what she said were all too unreal to me and I couldn't take her seriously. And if this were truly a game, her instructions were lacking. However, having the thought of this as being a "dream", I decided not to probe for more details.

“Okay, got it. So how are you going to play the ‘hosting’?”

She gave me a meaningful smile that gave me the chills. How freaky.

"I’ll do it my own way. Meanwhile, just do your job. Are you ready now? Once the gates start to open and close, there’s no quitting.”

I paused for a moment. I felt a heavy pressure all over my body. It’s like I was gambling my own life. But again, this is a dream. Right?

“Okay, I… I think I’m ready.” I replied.

The moment that I uttered those words, the great gates slowly turned wide open, splitting in two, revealing more of the view of the arcane forest. I was dazed by the serene yet threatening sight of Forestierre. It was weird that I felt both terror and excitement at once.

My knees trembled, but I still made it inside anyhow. I looked back and saw the gates closing slowly, and the black riding hood smiling at me. I wanted to run outside again, but something was stopping me. I couldn’t identify what it was exactly, but perhaps it’s the thought that this was a dream, and there's no turning back now.

When the gates shut, a strong gust of wind passed me by. I actually didn’t want to look behind me, terrified that I might find something that would make me wish that I had refused to participate in this game, but I did. And I saw the path that I should take, but reluctance overpowered my will. I turned around to where the gates were supposed to be, but they were gone. The gates had just vanished!

Even when I was sure where they were exactly positioned, I tried to search for the gates. I didn’t see anything but a long path, countless tall trees and unfamiliar plants and flowers around the forest. This, indeed, was magical. I didn’t know how to feel. Was I supposed to be amazed? Or perhaps, scared?

“Hi! You are Ligian, aren’t you? I’m Twinkle Bell- your guardian!” 

I was startled. I looked around, searching for the one who spoke. The voice was small and friendly, and I couldn't help feeling glad that I had a companion. But where did it come from?

“W-where are you?” I asked nervously.

“What? I’m right here! Look behind you!”

I looked behind me, but there was none.

“Please quit the-!”

A firefly that was as big as a human thumb came to view, and it spoke!

“Howdy! It’s nice to meet you!”

I shrieked and stumbled backwards.

“W-what…! AHHH!” I screamed loudly after realizing that an abnormally-sized insect had just spoken to me.

Out of fear, I ran as fast as I could. I didn’t even know where I was heading. In my mind I cursed my dream and the black riding hood that brought me here.

“Ligian! Please don’t run away. I won’t harm you! I am your guardian, that’s why I’m here.” The insect explained as it chased after me.

  The black riding hood’s words flashed back in my mind. I remembered him saying that there would be someone here who’d guide me all the way. But why does it have to be an insect? How could an insect guide me, by the way?

Okay Ligian, take things slowly. You are inside your dreams, so just go with it. You will wake up sooner or later. Stay calm.

I slowed down and caught my breath. I closed my eyes, readying myself as I struggled to calm down. 

“Okay, alright. I’m sorry. I did over-react.”

“Well, it’s not surprising. For an ordinary human to have actually encountered a talking insect is quite foreign.”

“How did you know my name?”

  “Just 'cause. I don’t know how to make the explanation understandable for you. Just think of it as though this is a story and you're the main character."

"Not sure if that makes things better, but I'll try. So, what do we do now? The black riding hood there told me that this game is all about escaping. So how do I escape?”

“Oh, you mean the Gate Keeper? She’s also the host of this ‘Escape Game'. Well, even I don’t know how to escape. We’ll just have to find out ourselves.”

I got very disappointed. Why wouldn’t he know? Didn’t he say that he’s going to serve as my guardian?

“How can you not know? Aren’t you my guardian? What useless little creature you are!"

“Please don’t speak harshly, Ligian. If I had known everything, then I shouldn’t be your companion. This game would be meaningless if your guide were omniscient.”

“Then, why are you here?” I asked snobbishly.

“I am here to help you. I can only guide you with the places and with some of the things that you should do.”

“Now that you've said that, what am I supposed to do now? Give me an idea.”

“First, you have to have a protection charm to fight against all the hideous creatures here. And the easiest way that I know is to get the one-eyed monster’s eye.”

I was truly shocked to have heard that there were actually monsters roaming around here. And as he had just said, I needed to get a one-eyed monster’s eye! I couldn't even imagine a human giving up one of his eye. Then how much more for a “monster” with only “one” eye?

“D-did you just say… monster? How the hell will I be able to steal a monster’s eye? Will he give it to me willingly? How is that the easiest?”

“Yes it’s the easiest way. You have to do that or else, you’ll die in the hands of another monster.”

“Then, how do I do it?”

“Oh, that’s so easy. You’ll just have to kill the monster treacherously.”

“Kill?! Oh my goodness, I am no killer!”

“It's a monster, Ligian.”

I started asking why the dream was taking a little too long. Why wouldn’t I just wake up? The way that this little creature told me to kill the monster was as though it were as simple as sleeping and waking up. But did I have any other choice?

Before realizing it, though, I was already walking by the little insect’s lead. Is he already taking me to where the one-eyed monster is?

“Well, firefly, I see you’re confident there, huh?” I said with bitterness. Just why was he so carefree? 

“Partly, the reason is because you’re the one who’s going to face the monster. And the other reason is, you’re not actually going to face the dangerous one. It’s the little Polyphemus you’re going to attack.”

Wait… what? Did he say, ‘Polyphemus’? Hmm… It sounds quite familiar. A one-eyed monster. Wait a minute, I know that I’ve heard of this before. I feel like I knew how to deal with this. But, just why can’t I remember?

“A Polyphemus, you said? I think, I…” I tried but couldn’t grasp that part of my memory.

“Yes, the little Polyphemus. You know, the Cyclops. Ah, never mind. You’ll see him in person anyway.”

I thought that it was really impossible. I knew so well that I was inside my dream. Couldn’t a person have all of her memories with her when she’s dreaming?

My thoughts were interrupted by the little creature as he spoke of something about the Cyclops and the game.

“You know, it’s already afternoon. Once the dark comes, the Cyclopes’ vision will get even sharper. You know, their visions are blurry in the morning. The heat of the sunlight irritates their eyes.”

“So, we’re going to attack tomorrow morning?” I asked.

“Yes. And you know… um, you don’t know, do you? Well, you have to find the escape as fast as you can. Just like any other game, you too, have a time running out.”

“Huh? Why didn’t you tell me earlier? How long is the time provided for me?”

“About 118 hours. But you’ve already lost four hours, so technically, you’ve got 116 hours left.”

“What? This is crazy! What kind of a game is this? And what will happen to me if I fail to escape in due time?”

The firefly didn’t respond quickly. It gave me the chills.

“Well, quite obvious, Missy. You’ll never be able to escape. Isn’t that what this game is all about? You are seriously trapped in the Forestierre, and you are supposed to find the way out seriously too. Once you fail, of course you’ll be trapped here forever.”

“Hah, you’re saying that to scare me? I know that this is a dream. Once I wake up in the real world, all of this fantasy would just disappear like nothing ever happened.”

“Up until now, you’re still thinking that this is just a dream? Think like that forever and there's no doubt you'll fail.”

I was suddenly out of speech. Was I just trying to neglect the current situation and believing it to be unreal because I didn't want to accept the horrible situation that I was in?


© Copyright 2019 Stephanie Kaplan. All rights reserved.

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