Noishe's favourite food
Noishe's favourite food
"Your wings!" Kraine yelled at Colloyd when they were descending the mountainside rapidly as he held onto him with a seemingly iron grip. Colloyd flashed out of his temporary daze and quickly summoned his large pink and blue wings. With a whoosh, they caught them like a parachute and slowed their descent.
"Save the elves!" Kraine then exclaimed. "I'll help Gesea!"
"Wha-" Colloyd didn't have time to voice his complaint. The Professor let go of him and swiftly fell through the clouds. "Professor!" He yelled, flapping in midair in confusion. Below him he could see the figures of the two elves that had started this whole thing to his left, and the shape of Kraine and Gesea on his right. Ignoring every instinct to help his friends before these random villagers, he dove after Harleisha and Linar. He caught Linar by the collar of his shirt and managed to dive just a little past Harleisha to catch her a little more delicately since she was carrying a child.
"Y..you have w..wings..." Harleisha gasped as she stared at him. "Are you the... the.."
"All questions will have to wait until the end of the show," Colloyd replied through gritted teeth as he tightened his grip on the elves and closed his eyes. He didn't have enough strength to try and give them enough lift to get back up to the ruins or the right side of Asgard, but the area below them was blanketed in grass and he could see a path coming into shape as they descended. They wouldn't be stranded in the middle of nowhere at least.
With a soft thud, the three of them landed on a grassy hill somewhere on the other side of Asgard. Colloyd fell to his knees and huffed heavily to catch his breath. Flying wasn't as easy as he thought it would be, even if he had technically been falling. He made his wings disappear and looked up to see the elvish stares of Linar and Harleisha.
"You're the Chosen!" Harleisha gasped for the second time. Before Colloyd could respond, the elf woman glanced worriedly at her brother and back to him. "You won't have us killed for almost killing you.. will you?"
"Why would I do that?" Colloyd wondered in confusion. "You obviously had a good reason for destroying the ruin..." He gasped when he thought of the ruin and how mad Kraine would be when he and Gesea eventually found them. Quickly his attention shifted to setting out to find them.
He got to his feet and scanned the area around him. The trail that he had seen from up high went for a short distance to the west until it hit a rocky mountainside and led up to what looked to be a small hamlet. It might have been a travelers inn. He blinked, a bit surprised he had been almost able to make out what the sign next to the house said from this far. Becoming an angel seemed pretty useful, but it was no wonder that the Chosen was feared and revered at the same time. It also explained why no Chosen seemed to come back from their meeting with Origin at the Tower of Salvation. Powers like the ones he had started to experience were not meant for the world and he figured that it took a great toll on the body.
He looked to the east and started heading in that direction. The Professor must have had an ace up his sleeve somehow. He didn't know how, but they had to be safe. Kraine surely would have told him to save Gesea first if he had not been sure he could somehow keep his own sister safe. Surely.
Paying little attention to the elves that hung back several metres while following, whispering things about the Chosen to each other and not realising he could hear every word, he kept walking and trying to tune them out so that he might be able to listen for any cries for help. He was almost at the point of politely asking them to be quiet when he passed a grassy hill to see none other than his trusted companions seated behind it.
"Gesea!" he exclaimed as he dropped to his knees and looked her over. She didn't appear hurt. Kraine, who was sat next to her, looked to be fine as well. The two of them looked up only as he said something, as though they had been lost in thought.
"Are you okay Colloyd?" Gesea asked.
Colloyd raised an eyebrow. "I'm fine. What's wrong?"
Gesea blinked. "What do you mean? We're fine."
"You never call me by my full name unless I'm in trouble," he replied. "You always say it sounds like an internal organ."
Gesea's face brightened slightly with a smile at that. "Sorry." She looked at her brother, who looked back at her with concern playing over his features. Colloyd didn't think he was always the most observant of people, but the two of them were being so completely out of character it was pretty hard to miss. Kraine looked at him this time. "Don't be concerned. We are just a little tired from using our magic to break the fall."
"Oh!" Colloyd grinned. "I wondered how you did it." He was going to ask for a further explanation but stopped when the elves finally caught up with him.
As expected, Kraine's relatively calm if not a little concerned demeanour vanished at the sight of them. He balled his hands into fists and towered over Linar after taking a quick look at Harleisha and deciding not to threaten a pregnant woman. "It was a very foolish act, to be trying to destroy a beautiful and unique ruin! What were you thinking?!"
"It was my fault," Harleisha said, rushing to her brothers defence.
"I don't care who's fault it is," Kraine fumed. "A piece of history has been lost forever thanks to your little bomb. Not only that, but you could have very well killed the Chosen!"
Colloyd couldn't help but feel sorry for the wrath that they were now under. "Professor, they had a good reason for what they were doing." He tugged on Kraine's orange cloak and looked at Harleisha. "You said something about being sacrificed."
Harleisha nodded and looked at her feet; or at least what she could see of her feet. "I was chosen to be the sacrifice in the ritual to the Summon Spirit of Wind."
"A sacrifice?" Kraine's eyes widened for just a moment before setting into a confused frown. "I have not read anything about that."
"You wouldn't have," Linar replied. "After all, it is a very well kept secret in Asgard because it could ruin the tourism if word were to get out. Basically one day I was looking at the dais as a part of my research and opened the seal. The Summon Spirit of Wind awoke and has been demanding sacrifices ever since."
Kraine closed his eyes and put his hand to his chin as though he were deep in thought. Seconds ticked by until he nodded to himself and pierced his gaze straight into Harleisha's. "It seems as though this was not a real Seal. There is no way just anybody could "release" the Summon Spirit." He looked at Colloyd, who nodded in understanding. Kraine looked at the elves. "However, you are to take full responsibility for your actions upon returning to Asgard. I'm sure the Chosen agrees with me."
Colloyd half-heartedly nodded.
"In the meantime we should head to Hima." The Professor pointed to the little hamlet in the mountains Colloyd had noticed before. "We should be able to find a way for you to travel back to Asgard safely from there."
"We won't be going back with them?" Colloyd asked, sounding unexpectedly frightened at that. Kraine thought on why this must be for a few moments, but appeared to remain stumped. "What about Noishe?" the boy asked. "We can't just leave him at the steps of the Asgard ruins waiting for us forever."
"I suppose not," Kraine agreed. "However I think it would be safe to assume he would find us eventually." The indignant look he got at those words from both his sister and Colloyd told Kraine that they didn't agree. He had to say something else to smooth it over. He thought about saying something about their journey being too dangerous for the 'dog' despite his better knowledge, but he was cut off from saying anything by the sound of a familiar and very annoying voice.
"Is that really how you treat your pets? Just assume they will be safe?"
Colloyd, Gesea, Linar, Harleisha and Kraine all whirled around. A blue haired man stepped into sight from the other side of the small hilly knoll, a head of white and green at his hip level with a bright pink tongue protruding from the mouth also coming into view.
"Yuan!" Colloyd gaped. He looked at Noishe, who whined up at him and casually left Yuan's side to nudge into his hands. "What are you doing here?!"
Yuan flicked his ponytail back and grimaced. "Wandering. I entered Asgard and saw Noishe there. He gave me a very worried look and so then I started looking for you. When I heard that the Asgard Ruins had been blown up, I knew that you all must have been in danger and went looking for you." He petted Noishe's side and looked at Kraine squarely. "He's surprisingly nimble on his feet. I found you in no time flat."
Kraine said nothing, returning Yuan's gaze until the man naturally shrugged away and looked down at Gesea, who was finally getting to her feet. "Perhaps you should ride on Noishe until we reach Hima."
"You're coming to Hima with us?" Colloyd asked as he grinned, making Kraine have to summon all of his well trained restraint to not roll his eyes. Yuan looked at him again as though asking for permission. He said and did nothing in response, but as expected the blue haired Professor ignored him and called for them to hurry up and follow. Colloyd walked ahead with him, followed by Linar and Harleisha. Kraine, Noishe and Gesea brought up the rear.
After a time of walking in silence and listening to Colloyd and Yuan chat as though all the past confusion about the Book of Regeneration had been completely forgotten, Kraine got the distinct impression that his sister was about to say something. He glanced at her and found himself proven correct when she opened her mouth and uttered his name. "Kraine."
"Are you tired? You should ride on Noishe," he replied.
"It is not necessary," she answered, petting Noishe softly and watching him with a careful and calculative expression playing across her face. She stopped walking, making him stop as well. "Kraine, about-" She was comically cut off by Colloyd yelling back to them from a distance away and waving. They had slowed their pace for a little too long it seemed and the rest of the group were closing in on the Hima mountain path.
"I'm sorry Gesea," Kraine said to her as he rested a hand on her shoulder. "Please trust me." He quickened his pace and urged her to follow. She slumped her shoulders and kept going. Just like always, getting coherent answers out of her brother was harder than getting blood out of a stone.
Colloyd was understandably underwhelmed by Hima. Kraine had to admit, if he had not been there before, he might have been as well. All that had met them was a small inn that smelled of leather and straw and a peddler standing just outside that tried both as they entered and exited to sell them his goods. The day was still early, and they didn't need to sleep. Still, Kraine reluctantly agreed that Gesea and Colloyd needed a break after their earlier life or death situation.
The two youngsters quickly discovered the path that wound up the mountain which looked over the land and toward the Tower of Salvation and made to hurry along it to get to the top. Kraine decided on a much more leisurely pace, but to his displeasure he was not allowed to sink into his own thoughts in a moment of peace. Yuan strode next to him, a grimace on his face as he thought about who knew what. When Kraine heaved a not-so-quiet sigh, Yuan gave him a playful nudge. "Okay, come on. Tell me what I've done this time."
"You know very well what," Kraine answered. "We trusted you with the Book of Regeneration."
Yuan flinched. "So you noticed it did you?" He put his hand to his chin and appeared deep in thought about that.
"Of course. Such an amazing work could hardly go unnoticed," Kraine replied. "Colloyd thinks that you did it to help us, however." He cleared his throat. "Though I find it difficult to trust you, it is true that our journey across the border could have been halted considerably without your help."
Yuan's mouth fell agape in forced surprise. "Are you thanking me?"
Kraine sighed again and left it to the silence. Yuan chuckled. "Careful. You might make me want to keep hanging around!"
"That was not your intention?" Kraine asked. "Just what is your intention?" His eyes narrowed.
As usual, Yuan answered a question with a question. "You don't believe my intention was just to try and help the Chosen on his quest purely because I am a nice person?"
Kraine folded his arms. "You intrigue me Yuan. I don't believe for a second that you are merely a travelling ex-professor.. but I am reluctant to give an explanation as to why."
"It looks as though we are at a stalemate then," Yuan said. "As I also know there is more to you as well."
For a moment, emerald green eyes met ocean blue. The two cut it off quickly and focused their attention on Colloyd and Gesea waiting for them. Noishe gave a short bark from Kraine's side in impatience and ran up to meet them.
Kraine glanced at the strange elf still next to him. "Noishe is usually very weary of people. How is it you came to be able to approach him without him running away? I know he would not have approached you, even having met you before."
"That was easy. I fed him his favourite food." Yuan shrugged the pack sitting on his back to his arm and took out a small box. He undid the lid and showed Kraine the contents. Side by side were six red fruits. Yuan grimaced at the distaste written all over the auburn haired Professor-mercenaries face and put them away.
Kraine cleared his throat and walked at a bit of a faster pace up the cliff path. "Did Colloyd impart the knowledge of his pets favourite food to you?"
Yuan nodded. "He hates tomatoes too. He said he doesn't remember much of when he was little, but he would always feed Noishe tomatoes when his mother wasn't looking."
"I see." Kraine didn't prod for anything else and remained silent in the moment until they reached the top of the cliff. Colloyd and Gesea were cooing with excitement to each other as they pointed at various clouds. The Tower of Salvation had probably been a very quickly passing talking point, he guessed. Talking about the end of the journey was not something the Chosen wished to endure. Only they and a select few others knew the truth, after all. Kraine let out a small sigh at the thought of the events to come and saw Yuan do the same thing next to him. "We should continue on the journey," he said after a short time of meaningless conversation passed him by. He looked at Yuan, who agreed quickly as though he had read his mind. He slightly shivered. That was a disturbing thought.
"I will accompany Harleisha and Linar back to Asgard," Yuan said. "While you were inside the inn, a man asked if I could escort him back there also for a fee. I saw no reason to say no." He flicked his ponytail and laughed.
"Besides, looks like you're all doing pretty well for time now."
"Despite my reluctance to agree, that seems the case," Kraine replied.
"Well then, shall we depart together and go our separate ways?" Yuan asked. Without waiting for a reply, he turned to head back down the mountain and waved them to follow. The youngsters of the group and Noishe quickly followed. Kraine took one final look out to the Tower of Salvation before following suit.
As they left the path and headed past the side of the inn toward the exit of Hima, Colloyd collided with someone. "You again!" the unlucky person exclaimed when she looked up, pushing her very familiar red hair out of her eyes. The moment Kraine recognised her, he fixed his hand on the hilt of his sword warningly. "I believe that is our line."
Colloyd rubbed his head and looked up at her as she towered over him with her hands on her hips. "Oh hello!"
"Sh..shut up!" she said, her voice raising a note as she faltered back. "We shall settle this today handsome! This place shall be your grave!"
"Settle?" Colloyd stood. "Wait, why are you trying to kill me? I'm sure if we talk we can come to some kind of understanding."
"Step back, Chosen," Kraine instructed. Colloyd debated his action for a moment, but before he could decide whether to press his own feelings or to listen to his teacher, a woman wearing a red-brown dress and a bonnet approached from the inn. "There you are Sheelos! Sorry to have kept you waiting."
The battle-ready stance that 'Sheelos' had been in just a moment before vanished and she turned all of her attention on the woman. The woman continued to talk. "It seems that the Boltzman's healing technique is indeed what we need."
"It..it is?" Sheelos looked surprised. "I..I see." She grinned. "Then I will be able to of course save yet another dashing darling!"
The woman who had approached blinked at Sheelos as though she had no words and turned to look at the rest of them. "Oh, excuse me. Are you friends of Sheelos?"
Sheelos started to say no, while Colloyd grinned and said "yes!"
Gesea slapped her face, while Kraine let out a sigh and looked at Sheelos. "What's all this about the Boltzman's healing technique?"
Sheelos crossed her arms and turned her head away. "It's none of your business."
Colloyd ignored her. "Yeah, what is it anyway?"
"You know how Kraine can heal people with his magic?" Gesea answered after a short silence. She looked up at her brother, who had his eyes closed in thought at that moment and his arms crossed. "Boltzman is the man who discovered them. All healers owe him a great debt."
"Oh!" Colloyd smiled and looked at Sheelos. "You're trying to save a man?"
Sheelos ignored him and looked to the woman. "I just need to find Boltzman's book, right?"
The woman shook her head. "Even with the book, you can't do much without a healer."
Sheelos faltered back and took a quick glance at Kraine. The Professor glared back, making his feelings clear on her almost invisible question. Sheelos shook her head and ran past them to the exit of Hima.
Kraine cleared his throat and looked at the woman. "Would you please tell us what is going on?"
The woman hesitated and glanced over them all again. Her eyes fell on Yuan, who was still watching Sheelos running away. "You really are friends of Sheelos?"
"Of course!" Colloyd smiled brightly. The woman smiled back and nodded decisively. "Very well then. Come to the inn and I will tell you there. I don't want anyone else overhearing."
"I see," Kraine mumbled as he looked over the sleeping man in the bed in the top floor of the inn. From what the woman, Sophia, had said, he wasn't merely sleeping though. He was under some kind of curse and had been since returning to Hima from the human ranch near Luin. Sophia had explained, to much Kraine's surprise, that Sheelos had decided to try and help him and that she had heard that Boltzman's healing technique should work. Sophia had contacted some scholars by messenger bird and confirmed it to be true.
"So Sheelos has gone to find the book?" Colloyd asked. He grinned a second later. "I knew she was a nice person!"
Kraine let out a cross between a growl and sigh and Yuan, who was next to him, let out a short laugh. "It doesn't seem your Professor agrees, Colloyd."
"It is not that I disagree with the action," Kraine corrected. "I disagree with her motive and also our seemingly inevitable involvement in this." He looked at Colloyd and Gesea, who chuckled together awkwardly. As he had thought, it seemed that his sister and the Chosen were one sentence away from offering to help. Such innocence would be the death of all of them if he did not put his foot down. "We do not have time to look for this book. If Sheelos does return with it, she will have to find another scholar elf to perform the technique."
Three faces in the room fell almost simultaneously at his firmness. To his surprise, Yuan seemed to agree with him. "I have to agree with Kraine on this one," the bluenette said. "But not for the reason you think." He dropped his backpack to the floor and knelt down to unzip it. "It is because I already have possession of it."
He pulled out a small brown book from a compartment within and showed them all. Kraine's eyes widened at the sight. He had to steel himself to not snatch the treasure straight out of his hands. Yuan opened the book and sifted through the pages none too carefully until he stopped on one with a large title that read 'Boltzman's Healing Technique.' The group surrounded him curiously and stopped when they came to a large picture of a horn and read the footer underneath.
Colloyd stepped back, looking disappointed. "We need a unicorn horn to even do the magic?"
"So it seems," Kraine said as he looked at the dual-wielder. "However, if we do happen to come across a unicorn on our travels, perhaps we can be of some help after all."
The boys face brightened and he headed to the stairs. "Let's keep going then!"