Salis' Story

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: The Imaginarium

Chapter 9 (v.1) - River of Destiny, Altered Destiny

Submitted: August 26, 2019

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Submitted: August 26, 2019

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It had been a year since Pali had met the Terran child Salis. He was amazed at how quickly the year had gone. And what an interesting year it had been. While she had not seemed to have changed much at first glance the child had made remarkable improvements, especially considering how much she was already capable of.

When Salis had first arrived at the school she only revealed to those around her what she wanted them to know. Although she was still very much like this she had begun to open up. While she was still very resistant to get close to anybody she did eventually open up her creative side. Pali could only think of one reason for this happening for one reason. She simply got bored.

Pali had hoped that those around the child would help her open up herself it was not so. For the most part those around her ignored her once they got used to her presence, but there were a few that did try to become her friends. Ferra was the best hope he had for opening the child up and while the child did open up a little bit to her it did not effect the child's actions towards others.

Strangely the only one Salis ever got along well with was the girl named Helnion. While Pali was not surprised that Salis would become friends with someone that did not talk much it was the fact that Helnion is really touchy. From what he could see Helnion was fascinated with Salis, especially her hair. He would often see Salis walk around with different hair styles. Unfortunately for her most of them were poorly done at the beginning.

Pali did have an idea of why Salis got along so well with Helnion. The reason was that neither of them cared much if they got in trouble. Unfortunately for those around them Salis easily got bored. If not for this reason she probably would have kept to herself and just done enough to get by. In the end she had found an accomplice.

Pali actually had many fond memories of their misadventures. His favorite one was the time Salis had built what she called an air canon. What had happened was that for about a week they had been filling this canon up with rotten vegetable from the kitchen and shooting it at people. Fortunately they had only used those vegetables that had gotten soft so nobody got hurt. What he actually found the most amusing was the fact that the government bought the thing off of her and she did not end up getting in trouble.

When Salis was not scheming Pali often found her out in the fields practicing her marksmanship and swordsmanship, which was fortunately more often than not. The child quickly became proficient in not only the bow and sword but she seemed to favor the pole-arm and crossbow. While she still had a long way before she became a master she would probably make it there faster than many of the other students

What concerned Pali the most was that while Salis was very smart her studies were not as good as Pali had hoped they would be. While she did do well in all of her tests she often would skip her homework when it was not something that interested her. This happened most often in history. She seemed to not care at all about Flaern or Calorin in general.

Another thing that concerned Pali was that since Salis had finished selling off her ideas to the government and now had a small fortune she would simply disappear. It had only taken her a little over a month to give all she could about the medicine of Terra even after scouring through the many books in the school library for ideas. Still, what she did give was simply amazing. Things like germ theory, cells, penicillin, and genetics.

What amazed Pali was that this was only a small portion of the advanced knowledge that was inside this child's mind. She also claimed that medicine was not an area she was extremely knowledgeable in and that most of what she had told was basic learning for adolescents. Indeed, what else could she teach? Despite offers of great amounts of money she refused and when asked would say that she did not trust this world with it.

When Salis had finished with her imparting of knowledge Pali worried that she would leave. She had enough money to live comfortably for many years and obviously did not seem to care much for the school but she stayed.

Well, she stayed for the school year. When the year had ended and school was released for the summer break she vanished. While Pali was actually not surprised that she would leave without telling anyone he was extremely worried. The child may be very smart and could defend herself if she had a weapon she was still small and was carrying around a large sum of money. Bandits would make easy work of her. Now that the summer break and school would be starting the next day Pali watched in hope that the child would return.

 

***

Helnion sat on a tree branch overlooking their spot in a grove of trees a distance from the school. She and Salis often came here when they wanted to get away from the others. She had fond memories of the things Salis plotted here. She knew that she was not as smart as her friend but that did not bother her. It was fun just being with her. There was also that beautiful hair that she could not help but make pretty, even if the results were very bad at first.

Helnion did not have many friends. She still did not know why Salis had chosen her to be her friend. While she had trouble making friends but wanted them, Salis did not want friends but made her one. She also knew that Salis did not like being near others but still let her near. Despite having known Salis for almost a year she knew almost nothing about her.

So, here sat Helnion. She did not know if Salis would come back. She hoped Salis would come back. She did not know if she could make it another year like the way it was before.

Helnion had asked Salis if she knew why nobody tried to be her friend. Salis had answered bluntly as was usual for her. This was how she finally realized what kind of person she truly was. Salis had told her that she got distracted too easily and that it probably made people think she was not interested in them. She also told her that she often would become lost in thought and would often ignore others when they tried to get her attention. When she asked Salis why she became her friend she simply shrugged.

Helnion sat in her tree reminiscing about the past year and at the same time hoped she could have another like it. Before long she was asleep.

 

***

I had finally arrived at Kein and was currently on my way to the school. The summer had gone by quickly and I had barely managed to do what I set out to do.

During the school year I had come to find a liking to my swordsmanship and marksmanship classes. I had never been athletic before but found the change refreshing. I also found that a satisfaction came with knowing that I could now defend myself if attacked. To be honest this was probably the one big thing that kept me from considering to leave the school, aside from the fact that I promised to stay.

This is what lead to my decision and my summer trip. Knowing that I would someday leave this school and do my best to get away from those that would make use of me I would need to be able to protect myself and the better equipment I had the more easily I would be able to protect myself.

The best turned out to be the powerful Fae' Siun class of weapon. These weapons are generally the same as regular weapons but the metals are magically alloyed with magic crystals like the ones we used in my magic class. These crystals would be ground down into a fine powder and forged into the steel. While the addition of the crystal not only strengthened the sword, magic crystals being harder than diamond, it also added the attribute of the type of crystal used. Of course these weapons were very expensive and I just happened to have enough money for one.

While I had made my request for a weapon as soon as I had enough money the only smith in Flaern that made the weapons was the Royal Smithy in the capitol Flae. They also fortunately made weapons for any that could pay, though that ended up usually being only nobles so they really had no need to check I guess.

Since the smithy was in Flae and considering how much money I had to pay I had decided to go to pick up the item myself instead of risking the money with a messenger. I also used this as an excuse to get away from Kein. There was also the fact that I had leftover money and Flae was said to have many good stores that sold all sorts of interesting things. Since there wasn't anything like savings accounts I either had to invest it, which I didn't want to deal with, or spend it. I figured it would best to put it to good use. Why is spending money so fun… It's all gone now…

My trip to Flae wasn't too eventful and after staying there for two and a half months. The trip there was boring. Nothing exciting like a bandit raid. The trip back was much the same.

Flae itself was also uneventful. I had worn a hat and hid my unique hair in it to avoid attention. I also dressed myself in the same filthy clothes to avoid thieves except when I did my shopping or went into the more wealthy parts of town because I didn't want to risk getting run out of the more high class stores.

The only problem I really ran into was about my age. Many of the merchants at first were unwilling to sell to someone my “age” and would tell me to get my parents. When this happened I would simply take off my hat. When they saw my hair most of them went from demanding my parents to fawning over me especially when they saw my money.

When I had had my fill of random stores I finally made my way to the Royal Smithy. My item wasn't done yet and I found that it would barely be done in time for my departure. The item, a short sword, was already mostly done. What was remaining was the personalization of all things. I also needed to pay in full before they would do anymore.

When I had paid my bill for the sword something unexpected happened. I had been taken to a well-furnished room. In it was a man, the one making my sword I was told. He spent about an hour talking to me. Since he was the one finishing my sword I decided to talk with him. It was probably the most I had talked in a long time. Fortunately none of it was about my past and we just talked about how I was doing, what I was doing, my social life, and other things of the like.

When we had neared the end of our time together I asked him why he wanted to talk to me like this. I was told that it was a tradition at this smithy to personalize the sword to suit that of the personality of the person the weapon was being made for. When I asked him in what way he was going to personalize my sword he told me to wait and see.

The wait was boring. To save money I had chosen to sleep in a cheap inn that only had a bad musician for entertainment. In the end I found myself building stuff in my room most of which did nothing in particular. I had also gotten myself sick of citrus fruit that I got at the huge market.

Finally the day had come for me to pick up my sword. The man I had talked to before was waiting for me in the same room. He was holding the sword. It was definitely worth the money. The sword was currently sheathed. To my slight disgust the sheath was mostly white with purple near the end just like my hair, I was sick of people associating me with white. The only other thing I could see was the hilt. Most of it was obviously metal but hand grip was a large magic crystal and on the end of the hilt was a fairly large gem the same color of blue as my eyes.

The man soon spoke up. Going over the sword he told me how the sheath and hilt represented my outward appearance. That much was obvious from looking at it. He then unsheathed the sword. The blade glowed dimly in the light, most likely because of the crystal alloyed into the steel. When he saw that I had taken a good look he told me that he usually put engravings on the hilt that he thought represented the person he was making the sword for but didn't because he thought that I had yet to find my place in the world. So he didn't choose to do any engravings so it wouldn't affect my choices in life. If this was true what was that hour I spent talking to him for…

Now that I had what I had come for it was time for me to return to Kein. I still had a few days to spare so I took the trip back slowly. This ended up being a waste of time but I would rather waste time away from the school than at school. Now I found myself near the school I had made my temporary home.

I was actually regretting my decision to walk from Kein to the school. Aside from the sword I was also carrying several other items I had bought. The heaviest things were a fine crossbow, a poleaxe that I had strapped to my back, and some armored bracers that were used rather than shields in the style I was learning. I had also bought an assortment of smaller items including some high quality magic orbs of varying attributes. The crossbow and poleaxe were the reason I had chosen to walk since students were not allowed to have their own weapons on campus. Since they were not allowed I was going to stash my weapons in the secret place Helnion and I had.

It was after dark by the time I reached the secret spot. I quickly noticed Helnion asleep in her favorite tree. I didn't try waking her since I knew how heavy of a sleeper she was. This wouldn't be the first time she had slept outside like this a since it was still warm she wouldn't freeze so I felt no remorse, though if she fell out of the tree again that would be her fault.

After a bit of looking I had been unable to find a spot good enough to hide my weapons, as it was only a grove of trees after all, and since I didn't know of any other good places to hide them I would have to do my best hiding them in my room. I had never had a room inspection so as long as Arty didn't see them I would probably be fine. All I had to do now was to get them into my room without being seen.

 

***

Pali sat next to the window in his small office. He had still seen nothing of Salis. Since it was dark most of the students had already arrived. He figure that this was the most likely time for the child to return. He was not worried about her being so late since this would by no means be the first time she would have stayed out after nightfall. There was also the possibility that she would not return but he did not feel that it would be the case.

It had gotten dark enough that Pali was not able to see very well so he decided to take a walk outside. He knew that if Salis saw him outside she would probably wait until he passed by or would simply go in another side but that was her problem and not his. He also had no problem giving her a hard time. He knew this was not a good example as a teacher but he also knew that she only looked like a child. He did not know her real age but he knew she must not have been to far into adulthood with her attitude the way it was.

Pali had only been on his walk for a short while when he saw movement out of the corner of his eye. It had moved quickly so whoever it was probably did not want to be seen. This was surely Salis trying to sneak past him for fun. He was wrong.

Pali woke up with a throbbing headache. He was not tied up but instead found himself on the ground with a tall figure dressed in black pointing a sword at him.

“Where is the child.” said a quiet but hard voice. “They tell me you know her best. Since she was not found with the other children we… are in need of your cooperation.” The man then pushed the sword against Pali's neck.

 

***

Helnion woke up. She almost fell out of the tree too. She was getting better at this. No bruises today.

It looked like she had woken up too late to catch Salis. Helnion's Salis radar was going off and she knew she had only passed by recently. She wondered if she could catch up to her if she ran.

Helnion made it to the school with no sign of catching up to Salis. There was no hurry anymore since Salis would probably be in her room so she leaned on a nearby building to catch her breath. She had never been very athletic although keeping up with Salis had helped some.

Helnion soon heard voices, a whistle, and the sounds of movement. It was not too far away so out of curiosity she walked towards the source of the sound. As she rounded the building she saw several figures chasing a smaller figure. She heard another whistle come from in front of the running figures and soon saw more figures run and then cut off the other figures. She wondered why Salis was being chased by so many people. Then to her horror she saw that the figures that had been chasing Salis were all holding swords.

 

 

***

I had been planning on placing my things under my window and then retrieving them from my room when I noticed them. Part of my swordsmanship training had been to rely on my senses and it was paying off now. I had already been in sneak mode and was watching out for anybody but I was surprised I had actually noticed the person hiding in the tree. Unfortunately it seems they had noticed me too as I heard them whistle.

I had a bad feeling about this. No teacher would hide in a tree like that and all the other students should be in their rooms getting ready for bed. So I ran, though I would have run even if it was only a teacher.

I soon found myself being pursued by three black figures. One of them shouted for me to stop. I obviously ignored the male voice. In the end it wasn't much of a chase. Not only was I burdened with the belongings I was carrying my legs were also much shorter than theirs. Then I got cut off and my running speed didn't matter anymore.

I was now surrounded by seven black figures, all with short swords drawn. I might have had a chance against one of them but with seven I had no chance. Still, I would be more than happy if I could injure them even a little bit in compensation for my loss. So I readied my poleaxe. I figured the extra range would give me a slight advantage before I had to pull out my sword.

Instead of moving in I heard them whisper something amongst themselves in a language I didn't recognize. It didn't take them long to quiet.

“Put down your weapon. We desire your services Child of Terra.” spoke the figure in front of me.

I was taken aback. I guess I knew the day would come when someone would hear about the source of all the new wonderful medicine but it was one of those things that I put in the “There's no way it will happen soon.” category of things that will happen in my life. Unfortunately it was happening now and I had to make a choice. From the looks of it it wouldn't matter what my reply would be.

“What kind of services and how much does it pay?” I asked.

“We desire your knowledge. We have heard of the great things you have imparted and desire to benefit from it as well. It has been guaranteed that you will live of life of great luxury for your help.”

“No. If you had come and asked nicely I would have considered it but I don't like people that force me.”

“That is too bad. We cannot allow you to stay.” And with a whistle they began to close the circle.

I wasn't too sure if they would simply take me or if they would kill me because it would be too much trouble to keep me alive and unwilling. Either way I would do my best to escape no matter the means.

I readied my poleaxe and ran towards the figure in front of me. The figure easily dodged my attack and soon knocked my weapon out of my hand. I had planned on something like this since whomever sent them wouldn't leave it to untrained grunts so as a matter of course I pulled out my sword. Upon seeing my sword they all stopped. I don't know if it was because of the faint red glow the sword gave off thanks to the red moon overhead or if it was that they knew what kind of sword it was.

I didn't pause and used struck at the figure in front of me. The figure dodged out of the way, weary of my sword. I didn't pause in my attack but instead used my momentum to attack another figure coming at me. It too dodged. Still I continued my attack. It wouldn't be much longer until I was captured.

 

***

Helnion's mind had switched to what Salis had dubbed “Concentration Mode.” In times of stress she could somehow manage to keep her thoughts on the situation at hand. It had helped her evade teachers chasing her after Salis had persuaded her to do a prank of some sort. This was a good time for it too.

When Helnion had seen Salis surrounded by dark figures her mind had cleared. What was the best way to get Salis out of this situation? She could not fight. What was there that she could do? Magic? Maybe. Magic was one thing she could do as long as there was not being distracted. Her mind was sharp at the moment so it might work. It might work long enough to take out one or two of them but there were seven. Then, in a moment of inspiration Helnion turned her back to the group encircling Salis and ran. There was no way the two of them could defeat those seven figures so they would need help.

Helnion was from a noble family and had access to many things. One of the things was also owned by the school. The levitating carriage might work and since her father had spoiled her she had had a few opportunities to drive one.

It was sitting exactly where Helnion had remembered seeing it. It was one of the two owned by the school. While this one was the smaller of the two and more weathered it would do perfectly.

It was not locked so she was quickly able to climb in. Once inside she placed her hands on the two large magic crystals that were used to control the vehicle and with a thought the vehicle quickly came to life.

This had all happened in less than a minute. Helnion hoped that she had been fast enough to make a difference. She couldn't imagine Salis going down without a fight and she knew that Salis' life was probably not in danger since the figures were probably here for her.

It took even less time for Helnion to get back to the scene. To her relief Salis was still moving around. This meant she still had time.

 

***

It had only been moments after my first attacks. I was still not captured but the figures didn't seem to be in too big of a hurry either. I guess they didn't want to take any chances against my sword. Even with this advantage this fight would be over in a flash and as if on cue I suddenly saw a faint glow appear around one of the figures. Soon after a strong gust of wind strong enough to force me to my knees came from above. It was then that I saw it. A large floating shadow appeared from behind a nearby building and headed straight for us.

The thing turned out to be a levitating carriage and, even though the figures noticed it too, it soon plowed through a number of them before stopping within inches of me. I didn't know who was driving it but I didn't care and at the same time I grabbed the poleaxe that was luckily in reach and the carriage.

As soon as I had grabbed onto the carriage it began moving again. I found myself and one of the figures being dragged by the carriage. I was just happy to be away from that group and so ignored the dirt tearing my legs and chisha. There was also something else I need to worry about more than my clothes and legs. That was the figure that had also grabbed onto the carriage. Fortunately I had my poleaxe already in hand and quickly used it to slash the figure that easily let go to avoid the attack.

I was surprised he let go so easily I took a moment to realize that I too would soon fall off if I didn't do anything. Since I had been in such a hurry to grab onto the poleaxe and the carriage I had not sheathed my sword. Because of this the arm I had wrapped around one of the skids was quickly coming loose. To make matters worse I found out why the figure had fallen off so easily.

Behind the carriage I saw a black figure. This was not the figure of a human, but the figure of a large agile looking cat, one that shouldn't be here. Amazingly it was gaining on us.

Shaking my head I decided that I could figure out what was happening later and that I needed to quickly climb aboard the carriage. I soon realized that my poleaxe was perfect for stabbing into the wood side of the carriage and had a new hand hold. I hadn't managed to get it in very well so I couldn't put much weight into it but it helped slow my sliding off of the skid.

Whoever was inside the carriage had shown no signs of coming out to help me. If it was only one person inside there would be no way for them to come and help me without stopping it and since they weren't stopping they must have realized that we were still being chased.

I had somehow managed to climb onto the side of the carriage using the poleaxe and the sword. My knees were in pain from being dragged on the ground for so long and my arms were sore from hanging on so long but I was up now. I was still not safe on the side of the carriage and so I resisted the urge to shoot at the figure behind us with the crossbow that had managed to stay strapped to me.

I opened the door to the cab and stepped in.

“How come you did not wake me?” said Helnion.

“Thank you.”

“Can you take over? I will take care of that.” She pointed to my legs.

I assumed she wanted me to take control control of the carriage and would then take care of my legs. Since there wasn't much light I couldn't see how bad my legs were but they must be bad enough that Helnion could even tell they were injured. They hurt pretty badly so I wasn't surprised.

Before I took control of the vehicle I took out one of my tools I had made. It was a lamp made with magic crystals. They did make these already so it wasn't an original creation of mine but it had been cheaper. When I had found the lamp hook in the carriage I pushed the button that allowed the light crystal to touch the crystal that stored magical energy and the light went on.

Helnion winced when she looked at me again. I too could now see my legs. While I couldn't see any bone they were bleeding. While I could treat them myself I actually didn't trust Helnion's driving, especially at night.

Before I switched places I went to the back window and pulled the curtain aside. Behind us I could still see the dark cat like figure. It was much closer and since it was dark I couldn't tell how tired it was.

“Do you like cats?” I asked Helnion.

“Salis, please take over. I am getting tired.”

“You always did get tired easily in “Concentration Mode.”

I traded places with Helnion.

“Why did you ask about cats?”

“You'll see in a few minutes.”

Helnion looked puzzled but then went to look out the back window.

“That is a big cat.” she said with indifference.

Helnion began looking through the carriage. I imagine she was looking for something to bandage my legs with. I obviously couldn't help her look at I was too busy driving. Since levitating carriages didn't have headlights and the moonlight was dim I had a hard time seeing ahead of me. There weren't too many trees that grew around Kein since it was mostly farm land but I had to keep an eye out for the groves of trees and large rocks that were scattered about. To be honest we were lucky to not have crashed by now.

In the end Helnion had taken out one of my chisha and torn it into strips. While she tended to be clumsy she somehow pulled herself together when our safety was concerned or my hair for some reason. I couldn't see how well of a job she had done but my legs did feel a bit better.

Helnion turned off the light and looked out the back window again.

“Do you like cats?” She asked me.

“You never did answer me before.” I replied. “To answer. I don't really care about pets. They just use money I could spend on other things.”

“I do not like that cat. It looks mean.”

“It's still back there?”

“It smiled at me. I did not like the way it smiled at me.”

I couldn't understand how the cat could still be back there. I couldn't think of any animals that could run for this long. It was true that zoology was a weak point of mine since I never cared about animals so I could wrong. While it was true that a levitating carriage was nowhere near as fast as a car and there were probably a few animals that could run faster that one. But for this long?

“Think you can hit it with my crossbow?” I asked Helnion.

“I can try.” she said uncertainly.

Helnion picked up my crossbow and the quiver of bolts I had placed on one of the seats and fumbled with it in the dark. I had never seen her shoot a crossbow before but she would often come and watch me practice after class so she should know where everything went. It wasn't a heavy crossbow so she shouldn't have any trouble holding it. It was just a matter of how well she could concentrate and aim. It was a good thing levitating carriage didn't bounce or she would probably never hit anything.

Behind me I heard Helnion sigh with relief which meant she had finally armed the crossbow. Hopefully. I then heard her open the back window. I could hear her groaning as she tried to aim.

“I can do it if you want.” I called to Helnion.

“I do not trust my driving.” she said back.

I heard the twang of the crossbow. Helnion squeaked in surprise.

“What happened?” I called back.

“The cat dodged it. I would have hit it too…”

“How close is it?” I asked.

“If it was a good kitty I would pet it.”

No wonder she could have hit it. If it was that close it would be hard to miss. I would also imagine it would be impossible for the cat to be able to see Helnion aiming at it making it easy for it to dodge, but it was a cat. I hadn't heard of any cats or animal for that matter that could tell when someone was going to shoot at them and then dodge it.

“Salis, the cat just told us to stop and that it would not hurt us.”

Well, I guess if the cat could speak it was probably smart enough to dodge a crossbow bolt… Wait… What… The cat spoke?

“Tell it we don't speak cat and that we can't tell what it's saying.”

“Okay.” Helnion told the cat what I said. “I think it laughed.”

“Good for it.”

Since the cat was close enough to speak to Helnion it was probably only a matter of moments until it got close enough to the carriage to jump on. But if it was that close then…

“Is it right behind us?” I asked Helnion.

“It is a little to the left.”

“Get on the floor.” I told Helnion.

“Alright.” and after a moment's pause. “Alright.”

If the cat wanted us to stop I would. After testing to see if my magic power was strong enough at the moment I swerved to the left and put my magical energy into the break orbs and stopped the levitation of the carriage. The carriage stopped quickly after it hit the ground and almost rolled. I also soon heard a thump that wasn't from the carriage hitting the ground. I hoped that was the cat hitting the carriage but not wanting to let it get the chance to get into the now stopped carriage I began driving again.

“Uhh. Salis.” I heard a moan behind me. “Your bags landed on me.”

“Where is the cat?” I asked her.

I heard her get up. “He is not behind us.”

It was dark so it wasn't surprising that she couldn't see him. Nirca had just begun to set so it was getting darker by the minute. I didn't know how good the cat's night vision was but since it was a cat it was probably good but I hoped that it would be dark enough and that it was far enough behind us that I could lose it in the dark. Even if it could still see I had been driving west towards the river. If the river didn't stop it I don't know how we would get away from it. The thing didn't seem to be running out of stamina either.

There was also the fact that the carriage could only go so far before its magical energy needed to be recharged. Since they used a lot of energy Helnion and I wouldn't be able to fully recharge them and we would probably be better off saving it so our time in the carriage would be limited…

“Such a dangerous night for a drive. You might hit something.” I heard a voice come from the direction of the door.

I glanced back. I was expecting to see a cat but instead there was a tall, lean, man with light hair. He was wearing the same outfit that the figures that I had fought earlier were wearing though his mask was off at the moment.

“That was not nice of you to stop suddenly like that.” He rubbed his shoulder. “It did allow me to grab on though.” He smiled at me. “You humans are always such a pain.” He was still smiling.

He walked past Helnion, whom had only glanced at him when he came in and was now rummaging through my bag.

“I think it would be a good idea to stop now. I have caught you and I would not be happy if we ran into a tree.” He said in a polite voice, though now I could tell he was straining to keep his smile.

“Don't want to.” I said.

“I would rather do this the easy way.” He said, his smile showing a tiny bit more strain to it.

“I am almost to my love.” I said before turning back forward.

“Your love? Are you not too young for that?”

“Love knows no bounds.” I said. I heard Helnion snicker after I said this. She knew I was playing with him or it was that she thought how I said it with no emotion was somehow funny.

“Quit playing with me child.” He was beginning to sound irritated.

“Oh my love. Why must we be obstructed so.” I said and Helnion snickered again.

“Stop this carriage immediately. If I do it forcefully I will not guarantee your friend’s safety.” He moved towards Helnion and pulled a dagger out of his shirt sleeve.

“Almost there.” I said to Helnion. Now that I thought about it why hadn't we gone to Kein. Oh Helnion… and me…

“Almost where?” I heard Helnion and the man at nearly the same time.

“Periscope up.”

“Periscope?” They both said together.

“Dive. Dive. Dive.”

They both looked confused.

I stood up, taking my hands off of the controls and raised my hand. Above my hand appeared a bright light which I pointed towards the man. It took him by surprise long enough for me to get around him and grabbed Helnion.

“I should have taught you how to swim.” I told her. She simply cocked her head to the side.

We hit the water hard. I didn't really think that crashing into the river would help much but I hoped that this cat man hated water and couldn't swim. We would find out soon enough as the water was coming in quickly and the carriage was sinking.

“Can you get the stuff?” I asked Helnion.

She nodded and grabbed the poleaxe and and crossbow while I slung the bag over my shoulder with my free hand and checked to make sure my sword was still at my hip.

There was still one problem. He was still there. He also did not look happy anymore.

“Nice trick.” He said icily. “But I can swim.”

Well, so much for that plan.

“But I cannot let you die here.” He moved to the side. “There is no way you can out run me.”

Hmm, that was easier than I thought. Thinking that, I pulled Helnion past him and pushed the door open. The water was already past my head and I was swimming but instead of swimming to the shore I pulled Helnion to the side of the carriage and we both climbed on top. Hopefully this thing floated.

“What are you doing now…” said the man who had exited soon after us. “Staying up there will not help any.”

I ignored him and pulled out my sword.

“Why did I have to get a stubborn one.” He said and then sighed.

“Bad kitty.” I said as my sword started sparking.

The man's eyes widened as soon as he saw the sparks.

“Bad Kitty?” said Helnion right before I plunged my sword towards the water.

I was happy my sword was coming to good use. I was also happy for the one I had chosen. The Fae' Siun swords were alloyed with magic crystal. Not only did this make the sword stronger it also added the attribute of the type of magic crystal. In my case I had chosen electricity. I figured it was the best for use against metal armor and swords. It would also arc to other people if enough power was put into it, though it was hard to control to whom it would arc to. Electrocution!

It worked. Not only was was sword close enough to him but my magic output was fortunately high at the moment. I didn't know if it would be enough to kill him, but as it was he had lost his grip and was now drifting away from the carriage.

“Bad kitty!” Helnion shouted at the cat man as he drifted away.

“Yes, bad kitty.” I said back to her as I contemplated as to what to do next.

Now that the man cat or whatever he was was gone I finally felt how tired I was. I didn't know if I had enough energy to pull Helnion, let alone my things, to the shore. It also wouldn't take long for the cat man to catch up to us no matter what side of the river we went to.

I decided to stay on the carriage if it stayed afloat. It seemed to have stopped sinking at the moment so it should be fine. I also might even be able to get the thing started again if I dove inside. Levitating carriages did work over water so it was worth the chance and the cat man would have to run by us on the shore if he wanted to keep up with us as he probably couldn't swim fast enough to keep up in the water.

“Stay here.” I told Helnion who looked like she wanted to fall asleep.

“Okay.”

I climbed down the side of the carriage and dove inside. It was even darker now that it was underwater. The carriage wasn't too big so it only took me a moment to find the controls and I soon felt the carriage start to rise. It would have to rise quickly because my breath was running out quickly.

Just as I started to get some strange peaceful feeling that came after the burning lungs my head broke the surface of the water. I gasped for air while at the same time feeling a great sense of accomplishment and maybe a little bit of relief.

“Helnion.” I called. There was no reply and I called again.

“Ah! Bad Kitty! GO A W A Y KITTY!!!!” she bellowed.

“Where is it?” I called to her.

“The bad kitty is on the shore.” and then, “BAD KITTY!!!”

This wasn't good. The cat man had already caught up to up. Fortunately it was on the shore now and wouldn't be able to get us as long as we were still over the water. Now all I could hope was that the carriage could make it to the city of Herth that was a few hours south still. Helnion and I would have to take turns recharging the magic crystals. I just hoped it would be enough or that the cat man would finally run out of stamina. He had to run out sometime. If he didn't I would have to ask him how to do it.

I eventually got Helnion to come back in the carriage. She had thrown in the bag and poleaxe, the latter getting stuck in the wall opposite the door. Helnion herself fell in with the crossbow almost rolling back out the door. She had then frantically checked the crossbow over worried that she had broken it. Oh, Helnion… In her defense she is smart. Really, she is!

I swear she really is!

When Helnion had finished her check of the crossbow she sat it down. “I do not know how much longer I can stay awake.”

“I don't think the kitty will get us anytime soon, but before you go to sleep will you charge up the carriage some?”

Helnion smiled, nodded, came to the front and then placed her hands on the storage crystal. One of the things Helnion had going for her was her large magical capacity. Most nobles had large capacity and often only married those with high capacity to ensure their superiority. She should have enough to refill the front crystal and some of the one in back. I would easily fill the remaining crystal and have enough left to rival Helnion at full power. It still wouldn't be enough to make it to Herth but we could float the rest of the way if we could get rid of the cat man.

When Helnion had finished I had her take the controls. She was tired but there were no trees in the river and I needed to finish charging the rear storage crystal. It took me longer than her to refill the front crystal since my magic output had diminished.

I took my place back at the controls. Helnion was indeed tired as the carriage had been weaving from side to side. I myself was tired from the journey I had yet to complete. It wasn't that I was tired from the walking it was that I was tired of riding in carriages as I had been in one almost non-stop since leaving Flae.

I had to keep myself awake. Helnion's yawning wasn't helping either.

“Good night.” I said to Helnion who soon laid down on the wet seat with a squelch.

It had been a long night. I had run out of magical energy as had Helnion. The cat man had disappeared sometime in the night, but I didn't stop because I didn't know if he only needed to rest for a while or if he was hoping we would think he had finally gotten tired. It didn't matter. The carriage was low on energy again and would soon be a floating carriage instead of a levitating carriage.

“Salis.” said a still damp and drowsy Helnion. “You need to sleep too.”

“I'm fine.” I told her. “But will you take over for a while so I can stretch my legs?”

“Okay.” she said and took my place.

It was now dawn. Until now I could only see for a few hundred feet around us but now I could get a better look. There was also the chance that we would soon see traffic along the road that ran a long the river and get help. There was also the chance of meeting a river boat.

I climbed onto the roof of the carriage. My clothes were still damp where they had been against the soggy seat cushions and the wind gave me a chill. I looked all around me. It was relatively flat so I could see pretty far despite the dim morning light. I could see no sign of Herth in the front and there were no signs of traffic coming from that direction. Behind us the was no cat. It was indeed gone. There were four carriages.

The carriages were smaller than the one we were riding. They were also painted black. This did not look good. There was no way they were carrying normal passengers. There was also no way for us to outrun these either. I hoped that they were as low on energy as we were but I doubted that.

I had taken the controls back from Helnion. She was now looking out the door on the approaching black carriages. I don't know what she was thinking but I hoped that she had entered Concentration Mode had had thought of something good. Eventually she sat back down on the seat and began looking though my bag again.

 

***

Helnion was looking though Salis' bag. There were lots of neat things inside. She also did not know how Salis had managed to carry all of this herself with her still being so small. She looked at the small daggers, the various things Salis had put together that she had no idea what they did, the now soggy clothes, and the multitude of magic orbs.

These orbs were what she had kept looking in here for. She thought that she could use them to help get rid of the people chasing them. She knew that she did not need to use the crystals as she had been taught at a young age to use magic but concentrating tired her faster than just putting her energy in an orb that did all the work for her.

Helnion took out a fire orb. It was the only one she could see that she could see taking out a carriage. She did not have enough magical energy to use it for long but she hoped it would help.

Helnion actually got bored waiting for the black carriages to catch up. She had dozed off and was awakened by Salis. The carriages were now extremely close. By now the sun was well up and she could see as well as she ever would.

She looked closely at the front carriage and saw him sitting on the roof. It was the man that had been in the carriage before. The Bad Kitty. He did not scare her. In fact she would put the talking cat that had become a man down as a fond memory if they lived through this.

The man had seen her too. He did not look happy. She did not care. She just wanted him to go away and for her to go back to her life at school with Salis.

“Will you stop if I ask nicely?” the man yelled at her.

The carriages were still a distance away. Helnion was still drowsy. She had not had a very good dream and wanted to see if she could go back to sleep and try again.

She had not come close to dozing before Salis called to her again. Helnion was starting to get a bit grumpy. She had gotten tired of sleeping on a soggy seat and from being in this confined space. It was all there fault. She had to make them go away somehow.

She looked back out the door. The black carriages were now almost upon them and had moved around both sides of the carriage. There were now figures in black on the roof of each carriage. The man was on the roof of the one closest to the door.

Helnion picked up the fire crystal again. She wondered how far she could shoot flames from it.

“Salis, how far?” She held out the fire crystal.

Salis looked at it. “How far? Not very. It also only goes up.” Salis thought for a second. “Put it in the tube in my bag with a wind crystal.”

Helnion immediately remembered the tube. It was almost the same as the one they had shot those rotten vegetables and fruit out of only a little smaller and had room for two crystals.

It was easy to find the tube. The top was sticking out of the bag. She also quickly found a wind crystal.

With the tube in her hand Helnion walked back to the door. The carriage with the man on it was very close now and it would only be another few minutes until it would be close enough for him to jump onto theirs again.

“Have fun.” Salis said in her always emotionless voice.

Helnion climbed onto the roof of the carriage. They were all close and in a few minutes she would have more than the man to worry about.

Helnion had not used crystal orbs in a while so she was not familiar with how well she could use them now. These crystal orbs looked to be high quality so she probably did not need to worry about blowing one up. While she did not have as much magical energy as Salis she could almost match her for output. If only she could have Salis' concentration and she would be formidable at magic.

Helnion had gotten distracted again. She had noticed the figures all stand up and prepare to jump. They were now close enough for her to torch the carriages but it was too late for that. The man jumped.

It was mostly reflex as there was no way her mind had yet registered what the movement was. Helnion had reflexively spun towards the jumping man and put her magical energy into the two orbs in the tube.

There was a sudden heat and she heard air moving quickly. The tube was shooting fire. The man was now also on fire and at the moment he had landed Helnion took advantage of his shock and her damp clothes and ran into the now flaming man, knocking him off the carriage.

“Bad Kitty.” Helnion yelled at him as she watched him hit the water.

Helnion was proud of herself. She smiled and did her best evil laugh, which Salis had taught her to do that at times like this.

Distracted again. Movement pulled her out of her celebration. The other carriages were now close enough for the others to jump onto the roof with her. The flame tube would not fool them again.

The next closest man jumped onto the roof. Helnion shot fire at him but he had a shield of wind ready and the fire was blown harmlessly away from him.

The tube was no longer any good. Helnion would now have to rely on her own abilities and what magical energy she had. She knew some pretty good spells but she did not have the magical energy and was still sleepy and would not be able to concentrate well enough.

Helnion realized something. They were over a river. Water manipulation was easy. She just had to use it before they did.

The man in front of her had his knife pulled out. She could see in his eyes that he did not mind killing her. She did not want to die so she had to be quick.

A great jet of water burst from the river. It hit the man in the back and flung him towards Helnion who jumped out of the way with a squeak.

What Helnion had not expected, besides not realize the man would be push in her direction, was that the jet of water would also hit the carriage the man had just jumped off of and knock it into her carriage. It was all Helnion could do to not fall off of the roof.

Two more men jumped on the roof. Helnion could feel one of them, maybe both, use magic. A large jet of water came at her from the river and a jet of fire came from one of the men at her. She knew she could only avoid one of the two at best. Water hurt less than fire. She did not have time to make a shield of water so she would have to make one from wind. She did not know if it would be strong enough to stop the fire.

She had been in time. An invisible wall of air formed in front of her. The fire hit it and was blown up and away from her.

The water came moments later. The wall of wind did nothing to stop it. It hit her hard. Helnion soon found herself flying off the side of the carriage and before she could hit the water below she hit the side of the carriage that the first man had jumped off of. The force of the water was strong enough that instead of just bouncing off of the side she burst through the wall.

Helnion felt sharp pains all over her body as the broken wood from the wall pierced and cut her skin. She had been lucky. Despite the pain she had not fallen in the water, which would have been worse. She had not been worried about not being able to swim but leaving Salis alone.

Helnion could still fight. She did not know how injured she was but she could still move. At the moment she was safer than Salis and the enemies would probable ignore her for the moment. Except for the man driving the carriage she was now in.

This would be an easy fight. It was one on one and she did not have to worry about driving a carriage.

The man had already pulled out his short sword. There was no way he had missed her entrance. Helnion did not know how well he would be able fight him but she was going to try.

Helnion grabbed a sharp piece of wood and stood up painfully. She then noticed something by her feet. It was the tube with the fire and wind crystals in it. She did not want to use inside the carriage and wind could not directly kill someone, but she still had to thank Salis. While throwing vegetables at people from the air canon they had to be careful with what they had shot so they would not hurt anybody. What she was going to do now was the same as shooting rotten vegetables but with more deadly ammo.

Helnion tore a piece of her shirt off and put it around the end of her sharp piece of wood and shoved it inside the tube. Salis had used cloth like this to help shoot odd shaped fruits and vegetables and she would use it now. She pointed the tube at the man driving and got ready to fire.

There was a sudden gust of wind. The driver had summoned of wall of wind to protect himself. Helnion did not know if the piece of wood could make it through the wind.

She put her magical energy into the wind crystal. She heard a thump and and saw the piece of wood slightly embed itself in the man's back. Helnion then took the opportunity and jumped at the man.

She easily cleared the raging wind of the wind shield and landed on the man's back. Helnion grabbed the piece of wood sticking out of his back and pressed on it with all her weight.

This was enough to get him to release the controls. Helnion had only seconds to defeat him and take over before the carriage would hit the water.

Helnion jumped off the man. She had no physical weapon to fight him with and even if she did she could not see herself beating him. It was also too cramped in here to use magic effectively. She would have to go outside.

She backed up to the hole she had made in the wall. She could see the river outside and saw that she still had time before they hit the water.

The man was not following her. In fact he sat back down at the controls! He obviously was more concerned about driving that her.

She needed to get the man away from the controls. Since she could not do anything to him inside she would have to do something from the outside.

She climbed out through the hole. Like most carriages there was a narrow platform that ran down the side. She walked down the platform and stood beside the door.

She heard a bang behind her. It came from their carriage. The door was hanging open and she could see two men inside and there was another on the roof getting ready to climb down. Helnion did not know what made the bang but it meant that she needed to hurry even more. She no longer had the time to try and steal this carriage. Salis needed her help more now.

There was not much distance between her and their carriage. She could make it across if she boosted herself with wind…

Helnion felt her magical energy. Felt Salis' energy. It seemed Salis was at a good time to use her power as Helnion soon saw a huge jet of water appear under their carriage, launching it into the air and at the same time shattering the wooden frame of the carriage nearly breaking it in two.

 

***

I was cursing my ability to control the strength of my magical power again. It wasn't that it was too strong at the moment. It was actually just right for destroying carriages. Unfortunately at this strength I had even less control than I did when it was weaker. Instead of hitting one of the other carriages I had hit my own. Which was currently heading right back to the river from who knows how high.

This inability to control was why I had not used the attack earlier. The presence of the two men in the carriage had changed my mind. Since they were here it meant that they had gotten past Helnion, which meant that she was probably not on the roof anymore or worse. So I had used my magic knowing the risk and I now found myself in a carriage about to hit water. I just hoped it would land on one of the other carriages.

 

 

Helnion's jaw dropped. She had never seen a jet of water that big before. Yet somehow she knew that was not Salis' full potential. Salis was stronger than her father and that was saying something.

The carriage had flown about fifty feet into the air and was now coming down. It would land right on one if not both of the carriages behind them. It hit them both. Now there were only two more carriages.

Helnion threw the door open revealing the driver. Using the last of her magical energy she summoned one last pillar of water and shot it inside blowing the driver out of the door opposite of her.

There was little time to get to the controls. She rushed into the carriage and took the man's place.

Helnion needed to get back to Salis. Now that she had control of this carriage and there was only one other unharmed carriage they just might be able to get away for good this time.

 

***

I had taken the landing well. I had been expecting to land on water but had instead landed on not one but two of the pursuing carriages, which were still moving somehow. What luck. It was also luck that I had avoided any injuries.

I had drawn my sword. Now that I didn't have to pilot the carriage anymore I could concentrate on the two men in the carriage. Unlike I had hoped, they were not stunned or shocked. They were both standing on the opposite side of the carriage. None of us moved.

Why? There was a huge crack running through the center of the carriage and I could see through it in what used to be the roof now wall. This carriage was going to split in half and from the cracking noises I could hear it would be doing it soon. Why do I care… I actually think I would rather take my chances in the river than with these guys.

I sheathed my sword. The men visibly relaxed. They assumed I had finally given up, which I hadn't. My bag, poleaxe, and crossbow just happened to be laying by them and it would be easier to get close to them if my sword was sheathed and they were off guard.

I held up my hands and walked towards them. I carefully stepped over the crack and stopped. When the man closest to me reached for me I dropped to my knees hard, and ignoring the pain from my scraped knees, jumped forward and grabbed my bag and rolled towards where my crossbow and poleaxe were. I didn't make it. One of the men stepped between me and the items.

I actually hadn't expected to make it. There were two men between them and me and it wasn't the biggest carriage. I was just happy to have gotten my bag.

The men reached down to me. One grabbed my arm and the other reached for my sword and bag. It was too late. By landing on my knees hard earlier and jumping right off the crack I had aggravated the already unstable carriage and it was now visibly splitting.

I bit the hand of the man that had grabbed my shoulder and kicked at the other. The man that what holding me did not let go but the other had lost his balance and had fallen down when his leg went through one of the now many holes in the floor. He soon broke though and fell into the water.

The remaining man jerked me to my feet. He did not seem concerned that I had his friend was gone. Since the door was now on the roof we couldn't get out that way. It didn't matter. The carriage jerk violently as it started to bend in the middle. Using the momentum from the movement I fell from the man's grip towards my beloved weapons and grabbed them before the carriage finally split completely in half.

Miraculously we were not in the water yet. We had somehow become lodged between the two carriages. There still wasn't much time until the two pieces would fall in the water as the weight of the carriages was pushing the other two carriages below apart. I knew that if I fell into the water it would be over and I would no longer be able to try and escape. I had to keep going. There was not much farther to go until we reached Herth.

There was only one thing I could do. That was to get on board one of the carriages below. It would be tough. I could see one of the carriages below me through the gaping hole in front of me. My half of the carriage was lower and at a steeper angle than the other half, probably because the man and I were weighing it down. While this made it easier to jump below to one of the carriages there was only enough space for me to crawl though and I wouldn't be able to jump off easily.

The only solution I could think of would to be use magic. A good wind spell might be able to give me a boost or maybe I could attempt a levitation spell. It would be risky as my magic power output was so high at the moment that I would probably be pushed a lot harder than my bones would like. I had to risk it.

The remaining man grabbed my arm. “Stop struggling child. We want you alive, not dead.” He said, his voice devoid of emotion. I had no reason to stop struggling and my silence was my reply.

I felt his magical energy start to flow into my arm. I had experienced this before. He was using a sleeping magic on me. It wouldn't work. Using my hours of mental training I had with Pie Can I pushed his magic back and actually forced it into his body. I lacked the magic control to use magic like mind reading and sleep inducement but if someone tried to use them on my I could hijack the link and sometimes force it back on them if they were weak minded or unprepared. I didn't even need a high output to do this, but it did make it faster if I did.

With the man now asleep I could finally get off of the soon to be sinking carriage. I couldn't risk him waking back up and it would help to have more room so I shoved him through the split between the two pieces of the carriage and off he rolled.

I was now ready to jump. The distance had increased to the carriage I was going to jump to. There was no question that I need to use wind or levitation magic to get there now. I just hoped my magic power output had begun decreasing since I lost used it and not gone higher. I just had to do it and aimed at the biggest window. I jumped, pushing myself off with a burst of wind.

 

***

Helnion needed to hurry. Their carriage was now on top of two of the other carriages. The two carriages that their carriage had landed on had actually placed themselves underneath to catch it. She did not understand why they would do that but it worked for her.

She jerked the carriage quickly to the side. There were now other things for her to worry about. There were now small fishing boats and a few cargo ships in the water. She was lucky to have not hit one yet and was surprised that the others had not hit one either. This was why she needed to hurry. She needed to get Salis off of those broken carriages and safely to Herth.

There was a loud crash behind her. She tried to look back through the hole she had made where she could see the carriages but had to look back forward quickly because she had started veering right when she had turned. In the moment she had gotten to see she saw the two pieces of their carriage fall into the water. Was Salis still inside when it fell.

There was another boat ahead of them. She would easily avoid it. She wished that one of the others wouldn't be so lucky. And then she got an idea. If they wouldn't hit the one of the boats themselves she would make them.

She soon was side by side with the last untouched carriage. Salis would not be inside of this one so it was a great choice. This carriage would soon meet a boat.

Soon enough one came. She had seen it in the distance earlier and had positioned herself where she though she could best shove the other carriage into it.

The other carriage moved to the side a little to avoid the boat. Helnion pushed it right back, nearly splitting her carriage in two and almost hitting the boat with the other carriage. Helnion wished she could have seen it from the outside.

She had hit the other carriage hard. Her carriage was now barely holding itself above the water and she had trouble steering it to the left.

Now was not the time to worry about her ride. She needed to get to Salis. In fact she had soon forgotten about her ride because she saw Salis.

It was easy to see inside all of the carriages now. The two that had caught their carriage had large holes in their roofs where it had landed. Salis was in the carriage that was now in the middle and she was unconscious. Considering the Salis like hole where a window should have been and a large crack on the opposite wall just above her.

There was no way she could get around the middle carriage and try to take out the one on the other side, in fact she was losing speed and would soon not even be able to get on to the carriage Salis was on.

Helnion abandoned her carriage. She barely jumped off of it in time before it hit the water, spraying her with water.

She needed to take control of this carriage. She did not know what to do. Her magic was gone and she did not have a weapon. She would have to get Salis' help. She would know what to do, she always did.

The carriage shifted. They were now heading for the shore. Now that Salis was on a carriage they controlled they were now probably going to head back to wherever they had come from.

Helnion reached Salis. The man driving had ignored her and let her get to Salis. Salis did not look good. Her head was bleeding as well as some other places. She was not awake and would not wake up when Helnion shook her. Helnion was on her own.

To her surprise all of Salis' belongings were next to her. She had somehow held onto all of them. Salis had always been possessive like that.

Helnion pulled off the now battered crossbow that Salis still had slung over her shoulder. The bolts were in the bag that was laying near her.

She loaded the crossbow. There was no way she would miss, and unless the driver used a magic barrier of some kind, she would kill him. Which she did.

“Worst assassins ever.” She said to herself as she pushed the dead body out of the way and took control of the carriage before it could hit the water.

They were still over the water. She did not know if it was good news or bad but she felt safer over it. It would also hurt less if she fell into the water and not land.

She turned the carriage back towards the center of the river. It wouldn't be far until they made it to Herth. They would be safe there.

Then she noticed the forest ahead. The one she should only being seeing if they had passed Herth. They were heading straight into a Usui's Playground. This was not good.

The carriage shook violently. The driver of the other carriage had rammed into them and was upon her before the shock had left her. The driver was strangling her. She was going to die.

“Salis.” She said with a barely audible noise and reached out for her.

And then they hit the river.

 


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