OoO( 37 )OoO
Lyle woke up in the infirmary sometime in the morning staring dumbly at the ceiling. Somehow, he felt like a piece of his life was suddenly missing. He sat up, looking around at his surroundings. Nobody was in the infirmary with him, so he must not have been injured. Figuring that out, he only had one question on his mind. "How the hell did I get here?" he asked.
He pulled the blanket off his form and stepped onto the stone floor gently. As soon as his feet touched the floor, his head lanced with pain. He grabbed his head and cringed slightly. "Ugh...what happened to me?" he asked as he stood up. He was wearing dark green thin clothes, made for the infirmary. He walked out of the room just as a gaggle of three new girls from the guild walked by.
As soon as he walked out, they all stopped and stared at him for a moment. The three of them blushed madly and started giggling as they ran by him and down the hall. He stared for a moment before shaking his head and walking down the corridor. When he entered the mess hall, he saw Van sitting at the table with Alex, Talon, and Aerika. Walking over to the table, he sat down and looked at everyone.
As soon as they saw him, Van and Talon burst into fits of laughter. Alex glared at him, got to her feet and moved elsewhere. Aerika mearly looked away with her face red with embarassment. Lyle looked at them and glared. "What the hell is so funny? And why did Alex just look at me like that?" he asked them accusingly.
Van was the first to speak, for Talon could barely breath. "Lyle...you don't remember?" he asked. Lyle shook his head. "You were running across the guild lawns completely nude while waving a broomstick, shouting 'Help me! Help me! The trees have found me! They're chasing me!'. Then you proceeded to swordfight them with your broom while screaming at the dummies on the island to stop standing there and help you fight them off." He said still laughing. This statement only made Talon laugh harder and fall off the bench doing so.
Lyle looked at Van stupefied. "You've got to be kidding me…" he said. "I don't remember any of that."
Van held up his hand. "Oh, its not over yet. After that, the guildmaster and all the healers were chasing you around trying to get you to hold still long enough so they could put you to sleep. But you persistently ran from them until you made it to the guild woods, where you…" he said, quoting Lyle's exact words. "'Built a large blue fire to keep the dragons away so they wouldn't take you to marry the queen of the flying balverines.' You nearly burned down the whole guild woods." Said the mage.
Lyle just stared at him dumbly. "What happened to me yesterday?" he asked rubbing his head sorely.
"They found a merchant in the guild that was doing the same thing. They found him carrying a whole bag full of these blue mushrooms. Once they tested the spores on it, they found out that it is some type of drug that can make the mind see things that aren't really there." Said Talon. "He is now being held in a cell in Bowerstone until he tells where he got them. But it doesn't seem to be doing any good considering he thinks the guards questioning him are trolls and can't understand a thing they are saying." She said giggling madly.
"Blue mushroom huh?" asked Lyle as he hit the table with his head. "Shortly after we bumped into that merchant, I found one laying on the ground. I thought it was just a foreign mushroom." He said. "If I had known it was gonna do that, I would have burned it." He said rubbing his head. "So, why is Alex mad?" he asked.
"Well, after we found out about the mushrooms poison, she thought you were taking them for the fun of it. She doesn't realize that it was a mistake and you thought it was food." Said Van. He grabbed his tankard and took a big swig of it before smiling again. "You supplied the guild folks with a full day of entertainment. Those must have been very powerful mushrooms." He said laughing. Lyle glared at him and kicked his chair under the table, sending the mage backwards to crash to the floor.
Van yelled and held the back of his head painfully. Lyle stood up and stretched his arms for a moment before walking away.
Talon stood in front of one of the dummies surrounding a tree. She held her keen blade pointed strait at the dummies center while concentrating intensely. Then, in a flash she vanished and appeared on the other side of the dummy. The dummy immediately exploded, sending straw everywhere.
"You know, its amazing how you do that. How do you become so fast?" asked a voice behind her.
She looked over and spotted Lyle watching her. Smiling, she walked over to him and leaned on her sword like it was a cane. "Well, look who it is." She said.
He held up his hand and halted her speech. "One word about yesterday and I'm leaving, I promise you." He said darkly. She nodded and he put his hand back down. "Now then, how long has it been since you and I actually talked?" he asked her.
She thought for a moment. "Well, I'd say its been nearly a year now." She said as she looked at him again. Looking him up and down, she smiled. "And just like you Lyle. You haven't changed a bit."
Smiling back at her, he crossed his arms. "You have, quite a bit. So, care to share your journey with me?" he asked.
She shook her head. "Maybe someday. But for now lets talk about the goings on of Albion. I hear you've been through quite a bit since I left." She said. "Specifically with Lady Grey."
He looked at the ground and was silent for a moment. Then he spoke. "I'm sorry about that whole situation…" he said, but was cut off before he could finish.
"Don't be sorry Lyle. You were doing what you thought was right. I didn't understand it at the time, but I do now." She said as she got closer. "I was still a little girl back then. I still thought that life was a one track thing. But not anymore. I understand the decisions people make and why they have to make them." She said. Then she smiled broadly. "Besides! I heard your little ordeal with Lady Grey didn't go as well as planned." She said.
He glared at the dummy next to him. "No, it didn't. Soon after you left I found out she murdered her own sister. As soon as I found that out…"
"You forced her out of office?" asked Talon curiously.
"No…but now I have the most powerful figure in Bowerstone under my thumb." He said with an evil smile.
"Ah, blackmail. Never knew you were so diabolical." She said. "And what do you plan to do with such power?" she asked.
"Make sure that city is run properly from now on, without corruption. And maybe the occasional cask of wine." He said sarcastically. She giggled loudly at the last remark.
"So, you planning on marrying anyone else that I should know of?" she asked.
"No…not for a while. This hero business is way too complicated to have a wife in all of it. So maybe when I retire, but not until then." He said. He was suddenly surprised as Talon reached up and planted a kiss right on his lips. "W-What are you doing?" he asked astonished.
She smiled evilly. "Throwing my name in for consideration once its all over." She said.
He glared at her, then smirked. "In any case, I was wondering if you could teach me some of the moves you have been using. I've never seen anything like how you move before." He said.
"Ah, that's because its only taught in my clan overseas. My father and mother trained me from the day I turned six years old until now. We are what some people call Shinobi." She said.
"Shinobi…I've never heard of them." He said as he thought deeply. "Wait…I heard about them once in the old kingdom history, but it didn't mention anything about them." He said. Looking up at her, he smiled pleadingly. "Can you teach me about them?" he asked.
"Only if you stop looking at me like that and promise not to tell anyone what I tell you. As far as you know, they are just a small ten word passage in the old kingdom books." She said. He nodded, then grabbed her by the hand.
"Cummon. I know somewhere where we can go to keep the secrecy." He said. Bringing her to the Demon Door, he looked up at the writing on the door and smiled.
"Your path is darkened. Only when your path is illuminated may you enter these doors." Said Talon as she read off the passage. "What does that mean?" she asked curiously.
"I figured it out when I was a kid. You would think that it means you have to be clear of thought, or that you have to be very knowledgeable, or that you have to have a good heart." He said.
"What does it mean?" she asked.
"It means its too dark out here and it needs light." He said lighting a fireball. As soon as the light hit the words on the stone, they began to glow and a giant crack split down the center of the door. It swung open and Lyle pulled them inside. Again, the dim glow of the pyro flies lit the room enough to see everything properly. Talon was amazed by the room. It had a soft layer of grass on the floor and was quite cozy with even a little pond in the corner. Strangely enough, there was a table with two chairs sitting in the middle of the room.
"This is amazing…" she said as she cupped one of the little glowing lights in her hand. Letting it free, she watched in amazement as it flew off and skimmed the water of the pond. "I wonder how it got here…" she said as she sat down at the table.
"Now then…about this Shinobi clan." He said excitedly. She turned to him and smiled.
"About this clan. It was started back in the Old Kingdom. The king Archon himself created a small group of people who were trained at the age of six to be the best and most elite warriors in the land. They were trained to be his protectors in the times of ancient. As many knew, there were some people who would do anything to kill the king. So he trained them so they could hide in shadows, move with the swiftness of a wolf, track and kill without being noticed. Some were even believed to have been able to run on water." She said.
Lyle's face was a mask of interest. "So, your blood comes from this lineage?" he asked. She nodded. "These skills you have, vanishing, unbelievable speed, and whatnot…these were taught by your mother and father?" he asked.
"Yes…" she said and looked at the table. "And…my brother."
Lyle's face took a more serious look. "You mean Hawk?" he asked. She nodded. "What happened with him? Did he find you again?" he asked.
She shook her head. "No. I found him." She said looking up at him. "And killed him."
His eyes widened. "Why?" he asked surprised. Then, he shook his head. He knew why. Looking back at her, he asked, "How?" he rephrased.
She shook her head. "I would rather not talk about it." She said quietly. "That part of my life is over and done with. And now I have a new one." She said looking up at the warrior. Smiling at him, she said, "I have a new life right here now." She said.
He nodded silently. "So, you aren't going anywhere again?" he asked her. She shook her head. "Good. Cause the next time you leave without telling me, I'll sink your ship from the shore and make you swim wherever you are going." He said with a smile. She smiled back and vanished from her seat. Wrapping one arm around his neck from behind, she laid her head on his shoulder.
Whispering gently, she said, "Don't worry, I'm not going anywhere." Lyle shuddered for a moment before she took her seat again. He looked at her then shook his head.
"So…can you teach me the technique you used?" he asked.
"The teleporting one." He said as he sat up in his seat.
She shook her head amused. "Lyle, we don't teleport. We are not a ghosts. We merely have a much better control over our bodies than heroes do. Anytime you see me 'disappear', I'm actually running. I'm not poofing into thin air." She said.
"Oh…." He said foolishly. "So, you can teach me to do that then?" he asked. She nodded and he hit the table in his excitement, causing her to jump in surprise. "Great! When do we start?" he shouted.
After a few days of rest and Lyle's persistent training in the Shinobi techniques, he was finally summoned by his mother again to Maze's quarters with his sister. They all sat in different chairs around the fire while Maze stood behind Scarlet's own chair. Both the brother and sister looked at their mother.
"What is it mother? Why have you called us?" asked Theresa.
"A few days ago I told you that I had something to share with you. That there was something you needed to know." She said. They both nodded and she continued. "Well, I think now is the time to tell you both." She said. "I know what it is that Jack was looking for that night that our village was attacked." She said, causing both of her children to stare at her.
"How do you know what he was looking for?" asked the son.
"I was in that prison for almost ten years Lyle. I saw and questioned Jack on a daily basis. He let slip occasional pieces of information that I used to put together a map of what his plans are. But first, lets start with your bloodline." She said. "You both, as am I are a part of an ancient bloodline that has spanned the generations since the old kingdom. Have either of you heard of the king named Archon?" she asked.
"The king of the Old Kingdom? What is he to do with our blood?" asked Theresa.
"Indeed, he was. King Archon was a great king who became corrupted by what is known as the Sword of Aeons. The sword of Aeons is a sword which was created from powerful sorcery. Everybody who got their hands on this sword instantly became a slave to its power. Our king Archon, searched for this sword for many years. Finally, he found it hidden in the depths of a cavern, meant never to be found by man." She said.
Her children were listening intently. "When he found it, it corrupted him like the thousands it had before him. He became an evil man with the intent to destroy and conquer everything around him. He began to expand his kingdom, when finally he ran into a wall. This wall was a man named Avo."
"The warrior sent by God." Said Lyle. His mother nodded.
"Avo had come from the forest and emerged with a powerful sword, one to match the Sword of Aeons. Nobody knows where the sword came from, but he brought it to the Kingdom and brought the reign of Archon to its knees. Afterward he was praised as the 'hero sent by God'." She said.
"So that's why he was called that. Nobody knows if he was actually sent by God, but he was a miracle to have defeated the king." Said Lyle.
"Indeed. Afterwards, Avo took the sword and locked it in a chamber where not only could it not be retrieved, but it could not be found unless one has the key." She said as she opened a book.
"But what does this have to do with Jack of Blades?" he asked. She held up her hand.
"I will get to that in a moment my son. But first, I will tell you about the key. It is also locked in a hidden place. A monastery, protected by monks for thousands of years until finally the monastery was attacked a few hundred years ago. The attackers raided the town where the monastery was located looking for gold, supplies, and anything else worth value. But they never even heard of the Key, so they left it behind. However, before their deaths the monks had put an unending barrier over the monastery. Now nobody has entered since the pirates left the town."
"What town was it?" asked Theresa.
"It was Hook Coast. Near the graveyard to the rear of the town there is an entrance to the monastery. But nobody has been able to enter it for centuries. Only one person alive can enter it now, and that is why Jack of Blades was looking for you Lyle." she said looking at him.
His eyes widened in surprise. "What? Why me?" he asked hastily.
"Because. Only a male heir to Archon the king can open the barrier to the monastery. Jack needs that key to find the sword, and he planned on using you to get it. But, he couldn't find you. And only when you grew up and started showing yourself as a hero did he realize that you were alive." she said.
"So...wait. You are telling me that I'm the heir to King Archon from the Old Kingdom?" he asked her.
"Yes, as am I and your sister. But you are the only male heir. You are the only one that can open the monastery and retrieve the key." she said to him. "And that is exactly what you need to do." she said.
He was blown away by that statement. "Why? If I am the only one who can open it then Jack won't be able to get it if I just leave it alone right?" he asked. But his mother shook her head.
"It's not just black and white Lyle. Jack will do anything to get that sword. Including using others as incentive. If you don't open it then he will use your friends, and even us to influence you. And though I would not have you opening it just to save me, I know you and I know that you would not hesitate to open it to save me." she said.
"So what must I do? How is opening the gate going to help?" he asked her.
She looked at him with a dead serious look. "You must open the gateway...and destroy the key. It is the only way to seal the sword away forever." she said. Lyle nodded. "After the key is gone, Jack will try to kill you. However I don't think he has the ability anymore now that you are as experienced as you are. Jack is lightning fast, but you Lyle are not a hero to be swept under the rug. You have conquered all that stood in your path and pulled people out of places that they couldn't have hoped to get out of. You are a walking wonder Lyle, and you are the only one who can defeat Jack." she said.
Lyle stood to his feet. "What do I have to do to destroy the key?" he asked...