The Labyrinth

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Chapter 13

The skill

Shaking his sword fiercely while clearing a path for them amongst the plants, as well as trying to pay attention on what he was stepping on, Sebastian was stewing. Despite the fact that they had all started together, he and Ito emerged in the midst of a forest but Anastasia wasn't with them. They called for her for a while, and then decided to move on, stopping now and then to call for her.

Ito, ostensibly smooth-faced was following him, but Sebastian could sense that he was equally worried about everything that had occurred. It was obvious that the rules of the game had overturned, and were following no logic. Angrily hitting a plant to open a path, Sebastian felt his breath catch. "Sebastian…" sounded Ito's soft voice. "I'm sure that Miss De Niez is at her finest. There is nothing to worry about."

Feeling even more upset, Sebastian stepped forwards, but tripped. He fell on his knees, breathing with difficulty. "Shit! Well, of course there's no reason to worry since she's already lost an arm, and only Heaven knows where she might be right now."

"AAAAAAAAAAA!" sounded a loud scream coming from the sky, interrupting their chat. Shocked, both raised their heads seeing a small dot getting bigger and bigger as it closed in on them.

Then, out of nowhere, Sia landed on flabbergasted Sebastian. She had bulging eyes and was chilled to the bone. She had blood all over her face, and she seemed to have no idea where she was. Her eyes stuck on Sebastian's face for few seconds. Her scared to death expression softened and without a word she put her arms around him.

"Sia..." said Sebastian comfortingly. He lightly touched her hair. He caught her face gently and peered into it. "You have blood on your face. Where were you? What happened? Where is your helmet?"

Sia released herself from his arms. She took a deep breath, quelling her trembling while she rubbed her forehead, as if she were trying to remember something. She sat down at her knees. Her healthy right hand moved in a way that suggested she was about to catch something. And, in front of the amazed eyes of Sebastian and Ito, she materialized her helmet out of nowhere. They stepped backwards, awed. Sebastian's eyes shone with joy, while Ito rushed to her and grabbed her hand with jealousy. "Miss De Niez…" he said as he fingered her palm, "It's a Skill isn't it? The game decided that you are worth of obtaining a Skill!" He lifted his head and his eyes shone with happiness. "But why you are silent?"

Sia raised her eyes. Despair was evident in her eyes. She shook her head up and down. "You can't talk?" asked Ito. He glanced at Sebastian who had been following their conversation all that time. "You can't talk," he repeated, troubled. "I would be an awful liar if I wouldn't admit that this fact doesn't make me happy since there's no need for us to argue anymore." Sia looked at him angrily. "Fine… Fine… Well I must admit that this make our attempt more difficult to be achieved. You should remain constantly close to us. I wonder… If this is the reason that no one has ever actually met someone with a Skill? Well, now everything makes sense…. Maybe in this way it protects the player by keeping his identity hidden. But… what exactly happened for you to have obtained a Skill? What else you can do?"

As she was answering him, Sia tended her hand. A gold shining light extended on it and the hand transformed into a golden blade. Ito squealed happily while Sebastian remained, silently staring at the blade as if he couldn't believe his eyes. He approached Sia and touched the blade. His finger started bleeding immediately.

He raised his eyes. "I'm expecting you to tell me everything as it exactly happened once we return to the real world". Sia shook her head obediently. She made an attempt to stand up and her hand grabbed Sebastian's wrist. Sebastian felt pierced by electricity.

At once the scenery around him changed. He found himself in a small room with Sia standing in the middle while fighting anthropomorphous shadows. Her right hand became a blade, and every time she hit a shadow it disappeared with a disgusting sound, but another appeared immediately at its place. He felt sick as the smell of blood reached to his nose. He rushed towards Sia but the scenery changed again.

He was standing again in the middle of the wood with both moons up in the sky. He blinked. "Sia," he mumbled, "what I just saw… It's what happened to you, right? It wasn't some kind of vision…"

Sia looked at him closely. She shook her head negatively. Sebastian remained silent. "So.. In order to obtain a Skill, the game puts the player into some kind of creepy environment in order to test his strength. Interesting…" He raised his eyes. "But why it would choose you? You are a noob, and the one and only player who kept going with only just one hand!"

Ito approached them. They looked at them both heavily. "I don't think it takes us anywhere to make any more assumptions. Let's move on and we shall see what might happen." He took a look around them. "I hope we are close enough to a habitable area. We can't make any circles anymore. We have to make it as soon as possible to a city. Even with a Skill, without the needed experience, anyone can harm her. Follow me…"

In ten meters the plants started thinning out. At last, they left the wood behind. Ito, who was leading them, smiled with joy. Putting in a lot of effort, as she was the one left behind, Sia ran, and remained staring at the city that appeared in front of them.

From this distance the city reminded one of a huge flower. Buildings structured in a way that reminded one of petals stood shining up in the sky. Some buildings were floating in the air in order to preserve the spatial harmony. And everywhere, as if someone had threw a net above the city, silver stars were shining, which moved as if they were conducting some kind of dance, a dance that couldn't be comprehended by the human mind, since not for a moment they remained still, but flew up and down mesmerizingly.

Sia felt something flowing at her cheek. Astonished she realized she had teared up, moved by the scene. She remembered Ito's words. 'You have to see it in order to understand…' The words resonated in her ears.

Ito turned his head at her and winked happily. "Well, we are more than welcomed at Nefeli's Dance…" and without waiting for them, he rushed towards the city.

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