The Hero from the Mountain

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Chapter 7

Saphira made her way towards the town, making sure not to make too much eye contact with the people around. She still didn't know how the princess she was supposed to stop from marrying Erik, so she thought she could head over there and see if there's a way to get inside. But at the same time, she wasn't entirely sure of the reason for the marriage.

"I'm a bit skeptical about going against any of these guys. Cat Spirits are pretty good at deceiving their opponents," she muttered to herself, Flarenix growling slightly.

"You guys don't know just how annoying those traits can be when they're constantly trying to show off. I've seen a few bad hairballs in my days, but this generation is far worse," she said in a very annoyed tone, Saphira smiling slightly as she walked closer to the palace.

"Welcome-nya!" two girls looking like humanoid cats said, jumping from the sides and startling Saphira. She almost drew her small blade she got and attacked them. That's one way to welcome someone. She thought, cooling down. "This is the Palace of Kathinia-nya! Our Goddess and Protector-nya!" they said at the same time again, sounding very proud of their palace. Kathinia…the first Cat Spirit that lived and is known for her knowledge and connection with the Dragon Elders. Is she really that close to the Dragon Elders? She asked Flarenix, her Spirit nodding.

"More than people think. She was adopted by the oldest Dragon Elder while she was a young child and grew up knowing how to fight and what was right in the world. Around the time when I left, she started doubting what the Elders had told her, like I did," she explained, Saphira nodding mentally as the two girls stared dancing like cats and a lot of guys behind her looking like they were hypnotized.

"Would you like a tour of the Palace, Mistress-nya?" they asked, bowing before Saphira as if she were a princess. She didn't know how to react to treatment like that, other people arriving behind her. She told them she was interested, though her voice didn't sound too sure. The other people started yelling yes and screamed about how adorable the two girls were.

"Let us go inside as well! We want to join you!" the boys all said in unison, which made her a bit confused. I've heard of girls that do this, but boys? It doesn't feel right, nothing about this does. What is going on in this place? She though, a bit concerned. If she is capable of doing this to them, imagine what she could to on the battlefield. She remembered that she was going to marry Erik, so Saphira guessed she would join the fight. She followed the dancing cats inside as the people stood like poles and not moving despite the fact that there were no guards around.

"What's that all about?" she asked, looking behind.

"The Goddess Kathinia has accepted you as a guest to meet her chosen candidate to rule this world-nya. She hasn't chosen her as her Master, but she has chosen her to rule her land-nya. The King is the first male to ever be chosen-nya," they said, their unison starting to scare her.

"Oh, I see," she answered, looking around the golden colored building and the different murals that were painted on the walls. Murals were like a story book without words and not on paper. Saphira took her time to look at them for a bit, noticing one of them having the Dragon Elders on them. And this was defiantly from a very long time ago, seeing how a Dragon resembling Flarenix was on it as well.

"You must've heard about the Dragon Elders-nya. Although, our people are thinking about making a new Mural-nya. Since one of the Dragons have left and a new one has arrived-nya. So we thought we should make a new one so the history is correct-nya," the one who seemed the oldest said, still keeping up the "nya" thing at the end. That's getting a little annoying, to be perfectly honest. She thought, a door opening to her right. A tall, slightly muscular man with black hair walked into the hall, the two girls kneeling down like he was Royalty.

"Rise, Guardians of Kathinia. No need to treat me like you treat Lady Mariallie," he said, smiling. He looked over at Saphira, who had kept quiet after he came in. "You must be a guest. This is the first time in a while a guest has been brought in here. You two, go and tell the chefs to prepare a meal for our beautiful guest,"

"No need, I won't be staying long. And I'm not hungry," Saphira told them. She had gotten used to the fact that she couldn't lie fully or she'll get nowhere. The man looked at her, surprised she turned down the offer so quickly. Though he didn't press the issue any further, which she was grateful for.

"Very well, then. Just give word to me if you ever change your mind," he told her, Saphira nodding as he left, the two girls acting like girls that were madly in love. Ugh, this is going to get annoying. She thought, already feeling annoyed from their constant "nya". They said that they were going to introduce her to their princess, which was exactly what she was hoping for. As they left the halls of the Murals, she felt a cold presence behind her. She turned around, not seeing anything.

"Am I just getting paranoid?" she thought out loud, looking around in the shadows as Flarenix growled in her head.

"No, there's defiantly something here. And it doesn't seem friendly. Nor does it have the aura of a Human," she explained, her Master turning her back and quickly chased after the two girls before they went out of sight.

"And people think cat Spirits do nothing but play tricks-nya! Don’t you think there's more to them than that, Mistress-nya?" they asked and suddenly turned to face her just as she arrived. She hadn't caught the entirety of their conversation, but she had a god idea of what they had been rambling about.

"They are known mostly for their trickery, but some people in other villages admire their beautiful looks and cunning eyes. Cat Spirits have also become quite the mother type helper if their Master becomes a mother. I'm not too well informed on how they fight, though," she said, the girls looking happy. But she noticed a bit of shock in their eyes. They went a bit ahead of her, Saphira not making a sound to hear them.

"No one but the Royal Family knows how they're like in family because of the old books-nya! This girl is really something else-nya…" the oldest one said, the younger one nodding.

"What do you think lady Mariallie would say if she heard about this-nya? She'll think that the information is not useful and maybe even lose her faith in her Spirit-nya! What are we going to do-nya?" the younger one panicked like crazy, Saphira seeing a way to leave once she's done. She walked faster to catch up with them, stopping by a very fancy, pink door. It was gold as well, but the pink paint that was over it made it look like wood.

"That's some paint work. Who would've thought this was made of gold," she said to herself, knowing the two didn't hear her because of how worried they were. They opened the door, a cat paradise showing from the small opening. There were cat toys everywhere, and small kittens were everywhere playing around. Saphira looked around, seeing a young girl about her age cuddling with a group of kittens.

"Aw, you're all so cute. I could easily just stay in here with all of you for the rest of my life!" she almost mewed, Saphira noticing she was wearing fake cat ears as well, though they seemed more realistic then the ones the two girls were wearing.

"Lady Mariallie-nya. We've brought a guest the Great Kathinia has allowed to enter her Palace to meet you-nya," they said, bowing down as Saphira moved into the door opening. The girl moved her head, the kittens acting very excited and moved towards her and rubbing against her legs. These cuties might get themselves stepped on if they try to go underneath everyone's feet. She thought, the girl, Mariallie, looked up, seeing how fast the cats liked her.

"Welcome, chosen guest of Kathinia! My name is Mariallie, and I'm the daughter of the King of this small but rich town," she started, Saphira more so paying attention to the kittens than her. "You two, leave us alone. We don't need any extra help getting settled in so you can just leave us be," she commanded, Saphira noticing the two of them leaving from the corner of her eye. She looked up at the girl in front of her, who looked like she was day-dreaming.

"It's an honor to meet you," Saphira said, bowing down. Even though she hated acting like people were higher ranks, Royalty is something she always treated with respect. The girl snapped out of her dream and smiled slyly her.

"I can tell. And since you've been chosen, I would be more than happy to invite you to my wedding that will be tomorrow. I'll be marrying the most handsome guy that no one would dare take away from me. He's a Commander of the Shadow's Knights after all," she bragged, Saphira narrowing her eyes. She's not marrying him because she's in love with him, it because she wants attention and someone who no one would think of taking. She thought, bowing and closing her eyes before she could notice.

"Who is this boy you're talking about?" she asked, wanting to make sure she knew his name at least.

"Erik, of course. You must be living under a rock if you don't know about the handsome Commander. Every girl wants him, but no girl, except me, has the guts to make him her own," she said, bragging once again.

"With all due respect, I think I'll pass. I'm not too keen on meeting someone who might make me cause trouble for you," she said, bowing. Although that was true, her real reason was so that she could interfere without any problems. "But, my I ask why he wishes to marry you?" she thought she could at least make sure Erik wasn't lying to her.

"I only heard my father talk about it, but apparently they need the weaponry of our village. Even though that's their reason, I'm the one who suggested the marriage and they thought of that afterward. You can go around the place how you see fit," she said, leaving the room as the cats started paying more attention to Saphira. She narrowed her eyes as soon as she left and left the room, thinking about how to take action.

Saphira moved on to a small room on the top floor, the inside of the palace wasn't very guarded. Flarenix had put the cape on again, allowing her to move easily without the others knowing it was her. She moved to around and found a clearing above what looked like a throne room. She noticed flags hanging from the ceiling and saw Erik and Zack on the floor underneath it as well as Mariallie. She carefully jumped on the rope of the flag, trying not to make a sound and saw the rope was really steady.

"Oh, it's so nice to meet you again, Erik. Although I could've gone a few more days without seeing you again, Zack," she heard Mariallie talk, Saphira guessing that she wasn't too fond of Zack. She quietly moved on the rope, having some trouble keeping her balance. And hoped that neither of them would look up.

"We heard a lot of ruckus outside about Kathinia picking a guest. Think we could meet this guest?" she heard Erik ask, making her body tense.

"Oh, the wedding is going to be a huge success! And I know why you agreed to it," Mariallie said instead, making her a bit more relaxed. She looked down so she could get a better idea of how they were reacting to things. "You need our weaponry to help you with the war. Although I don't like fighting, I'd be willing to go along with it for my future husband," she said, Saphira noticing the look of disapproval on Erik's face. Saphira couldn't help but smirk a little, glad that she didn't bother bringing her up in the conversation. She tried to move so she could get down, Flarenix stopping her.

"I would wait a bit longer if I were you, so you can make it seem a bit less suspicious," Flarenix advised her, her Master nodding as she looked down and moved a bit to keep her balance. She crouched down, one of the flags dangerously loose. When she noticed this, she held her breathe and looked down, seeing it would land right on Zack. She closed her eyes tightly, opening them again to look at it. She sighed in relief when she saw it would stay there, but she thought it would be best to burn it if it did fall.

"Then knowing it won't bother us at all. Let's just get this over with fast so we can leave. The papers need to be ready today," Zack said, Saphira narrowing her eyes and heard another person walking in from behind them. She slightly moved her head and saw Jiro walking towards them along with that man she met in the hall earlier.

"We're well aware of that. And don't worry, I'll do them now," he said, not sounding like he really trusted them. Saphira felt the rope wasn't going to hold her much longer, looking at the paper Zack was holding out. It was an old tradition that when two people from different families that have nothing in common are going to marry someone, they need to have both the parents' permission.

"Don't try doing anything funny," she could hear Zack telling Jiro, paying more attention to Erik, which he didn't like. Saphira started losing her balance, the rope giving away. As soon as she saw Zack pulled out the paper, she jumped off the rope and landed right in the middle of both of them, Zack jumping back and Jiro looking shocked. Saphira snapped her fingers and four, small birds made up of fire soared straight towards the papers and burned it instantly.

"What do you think you're doing? How dare you ruin a wedding!" Mariallie yelled at her, Saphira not saying a word.

You have a tendency to appear when you're not wanted, young warrior. First you sort of help us at Castrelia, and now you ruin things for us here? Just what side are you on?" Zack asked, Saphira looking right at him.

"The side that's going to end this pointless war once and for all, whether you like it or not. I do things by myself, always have and always will," she said, drawing her sword. Zack narrowed his eyes and grabbed the hilt of his sword.

"Zack, if you fight in here this entire place is going to crumble. You'll have to deal with her some other time," Erik reminded him, Saphira noticing Mariallie hugging his arm. Zack seemed to have calmed down a bit, grumbling before letting go of the hilt. Saphira slowly sheathed her own blade, keeping an eye on Jiro behind her.

"Fine, then you better get going before I decide to change my mind. And there's no point in hanging around either. I'll take a year before we'll be able to make new arrangements for a wedding," he told her, Saphira not wasting any time and jumped up on the rope again and finding a way out the window. Without bothering to make sure she's not suspected, she jumped from roof to roof and was out of the town in mere seconds. After leaving, she pulled off the hood and breathed out.

"For someone so young to have a Spirit so strong, that's really something," she heard a female voice say, Saphira turning around and meeting a woman who looked very young with blazing red hair that went to her ankle.

"Who are you?" she asked, the woman moving closer. She opened her palm and a small flame started burning inside it. Saphira's eyes shoot up, not having seeing another Fire Master before.

"Someone who will help you grow stronger, while still keeping your own heart," she said, Saphira looking at her with confusion in her eyes. "Come, we have much to do, and I have much to teach you," she said, the flame extinguishing as she held out her hand to her. Saphira was a bit skeptical about this newcomer, but didn't know any other Fire Master that could teach her, so she accept her hand as she lead her though the thick woods.

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