Chapter 3: The Escape from Fennmont
The waters were still for one moment before it started to move. If there was anyone looking, they would find it strange that small waves and bubbles were appearing in the middle of the surface. Not even a minute later, the water flew up in the air as a blonde haired woman burst out of the water.
Milla coughed and spluttered a bit as she yanked Jude to the surface. The Lord of Spirits gasped and flailed about in the water, coughing out the water in his lungs. They sloppily swam to a ledge.
“Come here,” Milla said as she helped Jude climb up to the hard surface. After a bit of slipping and sliding, he finally made it and crumpled on the floor. Milla was worried for a second that he had passed out, but she could hear him trying to catch his breath. She pulled herself up with a bit difficultly and shook her head. Her hair was already falling out of her bun and thoroughly soaked again.
“You alright there, Jude?” Milla asked as she undid her hair and wrung it out again. The teen in question was starting to sit up with a worried smile.
“Y-yeah…I’m—I’m alright. J-just a bit cold…” he stammered as he rubbed his upper arms a bit. He was still dripping with water and Milla couldn’t help but notice the tiny shiver in his body. She smirked a bit and patted Jude’s head.
“You’ll be alright.” she assured him. Jude shakily stood up on his feet and began to brush any water off of him. The two took the moment to wrung out their clothes and hair, not wanting to catch a cold. Milla was a bit irritated that she got herself dumped in water, not once, but twice in one day.
“Thanks for helping me.” Jude said after a few minutes. Surprisingly, his hair was already drying as the colors in his hair dulled a shade. “Swimming is certainly no easy feat.”
“You never swam before?” Milla questioned as she gave up on her hair, letting it fall behind her.
“Undine was the one who helped me.” he answered simply. Milla frowned as she looked over him again. If he wasn’t wearing that coat, she was pretty sure that Jude was really thin. It seemed loose on him, yet at the same time, it was fitting. She placed a hand on her hip and finally processed his words.
“You mean…you really lost the power of the Great Spirits?” she asked, narrowing her eyes slightly. Jude pressed his lips together as he nodded. “Then what’s gonna happen now? You can’t go back in there and destroy that weapon without their power.”
Jude held his elbows as he looked to the side thoughtfully. “You make a good point…” He said as he turned around. He took a few steps to pace a bit while he spoke his thoughts. “Hmmm…There has to be something…”
Milla stepped back to give him some space to think, hoping that he would come up with an answer.
“Wait.” Jude said as he stopped. He dropped his hands and looked up. “Maybe if I head back to Nia Khera…”
“Nia Khera?” Milla asked, prompting him to continue. He turned around and gave her a smile.
“If I go back, then I can probably summon Efreet, Undine, Sylph, and Gnome from there.” he said. “Thanks for your help, Milla. I think I can handle things on my own from here on out.”
“Huh?” Milla barely had the chance to say anything as Jude hurried past her. “Hey! Wait!”
She clicked her tongue in a slight frustration and ran after him. She was able to catch him right went they got to the pathways over the waterways. Milla grabbed his arm and pulled him back. Jude felt his eyes widen in surprise as he practically found himself stuck in place. He turned to see Milla narrowing her eyes at him.
“Ah, let me go!” he exclaimed.
“Jude! Do you have any idea where your going? You should go to—!” she began, but was cut off by a voice.
She instinctively pulled Jude close to her as she looked up to see a Rashugal soldier without his helmet running over to her. Jude began to protest in her grip, but she hushed him with a sharp glance of her magenta eyes.
“You caught the intruder?” The Rashugal soldier asked. Milla immediately recognized him with a twitching smile. The Rashugal soldier had dark brown hair and mature grey eyes, and in his hand was a long metal spear.
“Ah, no, I haven’t, Fermin.” Milla lied with a shake of her head, “I just happened to see someone fall into the water way.”
“Someone…?” Fermin, her teammate, eyed Jude behind her and placed a hand on his hip, raising an eyebrow. “How’d he fall in…?”
“I—“ *sneeze* “T—tripped.” Jude said, backing up Milla’s half-lie (he did nearly drown in the process). For some odd reason, he didn’t want to actually lie, but the body language that Milla was giving him was practically telling him to play along…so he did.
“You should report him, Lowell. Just in case they think he’s an intruder’s accomplice.” Fermin said, “Don’t want to cause too much trouble, y’know?”
“Right, of course. I’ll go and report him in a bit.” Milla assured him. Fermin gave a smile to Jude and a nod to Milla.
“Okay, you do that. I need to circle around to the back entrance. You going in through the side entrance?” he asked.
“Yeah. It’s closer that way.” Milla answered.
“Alright. Oh, and, Lowell?” Fermin was giving her a look of caution. She couldn’t help but notice how he seemed to be holding something back.
“…Be careful.” With that, the Rashugal soldier left them and continued on his way to the back entrance. Milla let out a sigh and released Jude as he rounded a corner.
“Oh, that was a close one.” Jude muttered. He rubbed his upper arms and looked questionably to Milla. “Now…what were you saying…?”
"You need to leave. Now." Milla said, turning heel. She walked right past Jude and headed the opposite direction he was going. "Come on. There's not much time."
"Wait, you're coming with me?" Jude asked as scampered after her. Milla only spared him a glance as he caught up.
"Well, you don't seem like you know your way around here. There's police in the direction you were heading and I'm certain that news about the Lance would've reached the rest of the soldiers guarding the area. The best way to avoid them is head to the Seahaven." she said, "Although, it's very risky."
Jude nodded in understanding, putting his trust in Milla, despite having met her just an hour earlier. "Even if it's risky, I don't have much of a choice...plus, it's worth a shot."
By the time Jude and Milla arrived at the Seahaven, the Lord of the Spirits couldn't help by gape at the sight. His honey golden eyes first caught sight of the huge ship at the dock, staring in awe of the sheer size. People were going about with their own business, not sparing them a glance as Milla led him to the ship.
“You said you need to go to where again?” Milla asked as a pair of kids ran past her. Jude opened him mouth to answer but a shout covered up his first syllable.
“You two! Stop!”
“Damn it!” Milla cursed as they were quickly surrounded by the Rashugal soldiers. Jude pressed his lips together into a frown and held his ground as the leader of the group approached them.
“Milla Lowell? You were the one they saw?” he said in disbelief. Milla’s expression didn’t change as she stood up a little straighter.
“Marc.” she addressed, giving him a look. Milla knew that the news would spread, but not this quickly. She was a bit saddened that she had to be stopped by one of her own team members. Or rather, former teammates. “I wish we didn’t have to meet like this again.”
Marc couldn’t answer for a moment, as if he was conflicted. He trusted Milla. He had been with her since day one of their training as soldiers for the army. She was a the one who always kept their group in check during missions, and the first to respond in dangerous situations. Out of a majority of all of the soldiers, she was the best they got. He trusted her with his life…and now, he was confused. He didn’t know which to put first. His duty, or his friendship?
When he thought about it that way, he came to an immediate answer, one he was sure Milla would understand.
“…Milla Lowell, I have a warrant for your arrest…and one for him, too.” Marc said, gesturing at Jude. Milla looked at Marc sharply.
“What?” she snapped, feeling a bit of anger well up in her. A warrant of arrest? For her, she could understand, but for Jude? He was just a child! Or more accurately, a teenager! Usually, those who are minors are taken to temporary confinement, but never arrest.
“You heard me, Milla.” Marc said, his voice low and regretful.
“You can’t seriously be arresting this child!” Milla cried angrily, clutching her fists in frustration. Jude looked he wanted to correct her, but he kept silent, knowing that now wasn’t the time. One of the Rashugal soldiers stepped up with a look of regret on his face.
“Lowell, I don’t want to arrest a kid, either, or you for that matter.” he said. Then he sighed, “But we have a warrant for his arrest, whether you like it or not. If you hand him over quietly, you might get away with insubordination instead of treason against the King.”
“Milla…!” Jude began, but trailed off when he noticed the former Rashugal soldier grit her teeth. “Milla?”
Milla narrowed her eyes dangerously as she drew her sword. She stood between the Rashugal soldier and Jude with conviction and raised her sword. Her voice was low and dangerous as she spoke, “So be it.”
Marc cursed under his breath as he raised his spear. “Arrest them!”
There was a short moment of hesitance in the group and Milla took it as an opportunity. She launched herself to the closest soldier and slashed at them. She may have worked with them before, but it wouldn’t stop her from attacking them.
Jude blinked in surprise as she attacked, easily taking someone down. He took note of someone starting an Arte, aiming for Milla. Feeling a small trace of a water spirit nearby, he raised his hands.
“Heed my call, spirit of water.” He spoke as a bit of light began to emit from him. “Lend me your power to stop those who harm us!”
Without warning, a blast of water hit the Rashugal soldier before he could finish his own Arte. He mentally thanked the spirit as it lingered for a little bit before disappearing. Jude sensed someone approaching him from behind and reacted quickly. He delivered a spinning kick to the legs, efficiently tripping the person over. Even though it was successful, Jude noted that his aim was off. He was actually trying to hit the ribs and not the legs…
He didn’t have time to ponder over that as another soldier appeared before him. Jude went for a punch, but his posture was off, making him trip.
“What?!” he cried as he fell to the ground. Jude wasn’t fast enough to get up as hands grabbed his arms and pulled him up. “No! Get off me!”
He struggled against their grip, but it only made them tightened their hold.
“We got him!” said his captor. Jude couldn’t voice his distress as someone clasped a gloved hand around him mouth. He grimaced and felt himself getting lifted. He instinctively flailed his legs around in vain attempt to get them off. “Holy crap, he’s light!”
Jude spotted Milla knocking out her teammate with a swift smack from the hilt of her sword. Her eyes widened in panic when she caught sight of him. “Jude!”
Milla was about to run over there, but stopped when she spotted someone waltz up to the Rashugal soldier from behind. The man’s dark brown hair was brushed back except a few strands. He wore a brown coat that had tan designs over a white shirt. Tied around his neck was a black scarf with an orange edge to it. He also wore black pants and white and brown boots that stopped right underneath his knee. Strapped to his back was a wide sword with a black blade and yellow edges.
He casually tapped the Rashugal soldier’s shoulder for attention. The moment the soldier turned his head, the man punched him square in the face. Jude fell out of the knocked-out soldier’s arms and scrambled to get up.
Milla couldn’t help the flood of relief as Jude took several steps away from his rescuer. Jude shared a look of confusion as the ship’s horn blew.
“Hey, you guys heading out of here? ‘Cause I suggest you better catch that boat.” the man said as more Rashugal soldiers poured in.
“Jude, come with me!” Milla said as she grabbed his arm and sheathed her sword. Jude stumbled for a second before catching himself and matching Milla’s pace. The man followed them after punching the closet one back. The three ran to the crates piled to one corner and leapt up.
“Jump!” Milla told Jude as he got to the top first. He didn’t need to be told twice as he gracefully jumped off the crate. She was amazed that he cleared the distance with a smooth landing, despite his small figure. Once he made it to the deck, Milla breathed a sigh of relief. As long as he made it, then it wouldn’t matter if she got cau—!
Milla jolted when she felt an arm grab her arm. She felt her eyes widen as time seemed to slow and the man pulled her toward the edge of the crate.
“I don’t think you want to die just yet.” the man said with a smirk.
“W-what?!” Milla stammered. Instinctively, she jumped off the edge with the man pulling her with him. She didn’t even scream as they soared high into the air, nor did she even think when she realized that they over leapt. The man pulled her in just before they crashed right into a pile of crates on board the ship. Shouts of surprise and panic lasted for a few seconds as passengers scattered out of the way.
“What’s going on here?” asked a soldier. The man brushed himself off as quickly addressed the question.
“Nothing to worry about. The military was just practicing a drill or something. We were just getting out of the way.” He lied. When the sailor still looked suspicious, the man gestured to Milla and Jude. “Oh, come on. Do you really think a tiny kid, a beautiful woman, and a dashing man like me would be causing any trouble?”
He shot Milla a wink. The former Rashugal soldier muttered her thanks as she got up too, dusting herself off.
“Are you guys okay…?” Jude asked hesitantly as he approached them. Milla looked over him and took note that he was perfectly fine.
“I’m alright.” she assured. She looked over to the man who saved them from their plight.
“Uhm…” Jude started, but he was unsure what to call the man.
“The name’s Alvin. I heard you’re Milla, right? Milla Lowell?” Alvin said as he looked over to Milla.
“Yes, I am.” Milla confirmed, placing a hand on her hip. She gestured to Jude, who politely smiled. “And this is Jude.”
Alvin smiled as he patted a hand on Jude’s shoulder. “Nice to meet you kid.”
Jude was about to say something, but someone cut in before he could.
“Hey, the captain would like to see you.” a sailor said. Milla regarded the sailor with a look.
“Right of course.” she said. Alvin looked over to her.
“I’ll come with you.” he said. Jude tilted his head as Milla looked at him.
“Jude, wait here. It won’t take long.” she assured him.
“Okay,” Jude said with a nod of his head. With one shared look with each other, the two grown-ups followed the surprisingly patient sailor. After a few feet, Alvin looked back to see Jude walking toward the railing before addressing Milla as they walked.
“I’ll do the talking. You don’t seem like you want too.” he said. Milla’s stride didn’t falter as she closed her eyes for a brief second before opening them. Her magenta eyes were narrowed and filled with hints of distress.
“Yeah, you do that.”
Jude sighed as he leaned against the railing. His body felt heavy and he felt completely drained. He wasn’t used to moving around without the Four’s help. It certainly wasn’t easy when he was so used to their guidance in fighting. He felt a bit lonely without the voices of the Four echoing around in his head. He already noticed the lack of luster in his hair and the slight ache in his arms. He did know that without the Four he was still strong in terms of strength, but his stamina was low.
But, despite knowing that, Jude was still determined to finish his mission. He started it, so he must complete it.
Nodding to himself, he straightened his posture and looked up at the dark sky. It was covered with grey clouds and it made Jude wonder if it was going to rain.
“You look like you’ve decided on something.” came Milla’s voice behind him. He turned around and spotted Milla placing a hand on her hip and Alvin greeting him with a short wave.
“Yes, I have.” Jude said. He tilted his head in curiosity. “What did the captain say?”
“Well, he’s upset, but he’s kicking us off at Alahdi Seahaven. In return, we have to do a bit of work around here.” Alvin said with an easy-going tone. Milla sighed.
“We didn’t have any identification on us. I forgot about mine in my uniform. Talk about being forgetful…” she muttered the last bit to herself.
Jude nodded in understanding and looked at them with guilty eyes. “Sorry for getting you guys caught up into this mess…”
“Don’t worry about it. I don’t think I’d be fond working with Rashugal anymore.” Milla said. Alvin gave her a look before looking up. Jude blinked as he felt something change and looked up at the sky.
“The spirit cline of Fennmont is disappearing,” he said as the sky suddenly turned in to a beautiful blue. Alvin blinked and looked at him.
“How’d you know?” he asked him. Jude laughed a little.
“How could I not? I’m Maxwell.” he said casually with a smile.
“What?” he said, hardly believing his eyes. Milla laughed at Alvin’s expression as his eyebrow shot up to his hairline.
“Yeah, it’s hard to believe that huh?” Milla said with amusement clear in her voice. Alvin looked back and forth between the two before shaking his head.
“Right, right. A kid like him is the Lord of all the Spirits. Like that’s easy to believe.” he said, throwing a hand up. Jude crossed his arms and turned away a little with a slight pout.
“Why does everyone call me kid?” his question went unanswered as Milla gave Alvin a look.
“Say, Alvin. Why did you rescue us? I don’t see how this benefits you.” Milla said, feeling a bit suspicious over his actions. Alvin looked at her and smirked.
“Well, cash, of course.” he answered. Jude looked up at his answer and looked confused.
“Cash? How?” he asked. Alvin crossed his arms, not dropping the smirk.
“Simple.” Alvin said, “I figured you guys must be in serious trouble if you got the army going after you. And looking at Milla here, who is—”
“—Was.” Milla corrected. Alvin nodded his head and took the correction.
“Right, was a Rashugal soldier, getting caught would’ve easily lead to your deaths.” Alvin said simply with a shrug of his shoulders. “Now that I’ve swung to your rescue and impressed you with my skills, I can change you for your services.”
“Charge us? In case you didn’t know, living a life of a soldier is hard enough to get by.” Milla deadpanned. “Unless you’d take fifty gald.”
“Fifty gald?! That’s it?” Alvin half exclaimed.
“I’m afraid I don’t have any glad on me.” Jude said as he raised his hand.
“Seriously? I don’t just take cash, you know! Don’t you have jewelry? Precious metals? Or a rich relative about to croak?” he asked with a weak wink.
“No…I don’t.” Milla said with a sigh. “My family isn’t very rich.”
“I don’t have anything to give you…” Jude said. He gave Alvin a look of curiosity. “Wait, are you a mercenary?”
“Heh! You’re smarter than you look, kid.” Alvin said as he ran a hand though his hair. “ It’s better than being a soldier. We don’t have to follow orders, we pick our own hours, and we help people…for a price.”
“Hmm….but since we don’t have money, I guess you just helped up for free.” Jude said as he looked thoughtful.
“Ah, well. It’s a risk of trade. I’ll just find a paying customer somewhere in Auj Oule.” he said with a frown.
“Sorry about that.” Jude apologized with a short bow of his head. For a Lord of Spirits, he was really polite.
“By the way…how did you know I was a Rashugal soldier?” Milla questioned. Alvin looked at her incredulously.
“You know, you have a reputation around Fennmont. The one of the best leaders and swordswoman the army ever had! Man, just thinking about, Rashugal is losing a good soldier.” Alvin said. Jude hummed as he looked looked at Milla.
“Hey, once we reach the Seahaven, what are you going to do?” Jude asked her. Milla looked take aback by the question.
“Ah…I never thought about that.” she said honestly. “But, I guess for now, I can accompany you. You seem like you need the help.”
Jude hummed in understanding. “I can’t deny that I need it. Thank you, Milla.”
Skit: Good Work For Nothing
Alvin: *sigh* Man, that captain knows how to makes us work…I think we’d be dead before we even reach the Seahaven.
Milla: *disheveled * No kidding…Jude’s lucky he doesn’t have to do he doesn’t have to deal with all the sea water flying in his face.
Jude: *downcast* Hey, it’s not easy mopping the deck. It hurts whenever you slip…
Alvin: Ugh, all this charity work and not getting a single piece of gald…Are where there yet?
Jude: *Shrugs* I don’t know. I haven’t really been this far away from home before.
Milla: Come to think of it, what’s home like, Jude?
Jude: …Well, I like helping people around the village. Everyone is very kind.
Alvin: Well, aren’t you pampered…
Jude: *Smiles* And Ivar always yells at me when he scolds me about it. At the end of the day, my ears hurt. *Smile falters a little*
Milla and Alvin: …! *Shocked*
Milla: Jude…I don’t think that’s…ah, well…
Alvin: You have serious house problems.