Lonely Divide

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Chapter 35

Chapter 16.3

Big Rescue

You are Rose, about to have your first adventure without Jaden to back you up. You are understandably nervous.

You can do this, you think to yourself. You are a powerful magic user, have fairy abilities most people don't know about like turning invisible and growing larger, and you can talk to animals. You will go in, find Jake's little brother and get him out of there.

"Nearly there!" shouts the pilot to you over the roar of the engine.

You nod your head, there's no way you're going to make yourself heard over that racket. Apparently the coordinates given to you by O.I.F are in the middle of some ancient, abandoned city, so NPC-PS is flying you out there. It's kind of weird, this big, burly guy taking orders from little old you, just because you're a PC and he's not, but that's the way of the world, you guess. You buzz over to the window and look down, the pilot is descending enough so the door can be opened and you can jump out, so it really won't be long now. You make sure you wand is secure in your inventory, with that you can make just about anything else you might need, so it's your most precious possession. Next to Jaden, of course.

You wonder how that cute little Belquis is getting on, and are caught up in a little daydream until the guy shouts again "Are you going?"

You shake yourself out of it, then give him a thumbs up and head to the front of the cockpit. It's a fighter plane so there's only one way on or off, and that's through the canopy, so the pilot has slowed to the minimum speed the plane can maintain and cracks the glass enough for you to crawl through. The wind tears at your clothes and wings, both of which probably would have been ripped off if not for your invulnerability, and you make it out and let go, the plane zipping underneath you. The canopy goes down again and the plane banks and takes off again, leaving you falling through the air. You take a good look as the ground gets closer and closer, and just at the last second you spread your wings, pull out of the dive, and come to a graceful stop atop a large leaf. The leaf bobs a little under your weight, and you look around again, trying to put the overhead view together with this one to see where you might hide a person trapped in ice. The problem is this place is huge, so really, it could be anywhere.

You put your dress into your inventory with relief, these humans and their hang up with clothes, it would be comical if they weren't all so sincere about the whole thing. The sunlight feels great and you stand for a moment, arms outstretched, feeling the cool breeze tousle your hair and touch every part of you.

Much better!

Now to work!

"My tree."

"What?" You look over, and there's a bird standing there, with a brown body, shimmery black wings, and a kind of stout body. "Oh, hello."

"My tree."

"Yes, so you said. Don't worry, I'll be moving along in just a moment. Tell me, have you seen any odd goings on around here?"

"You actually understand me?" the bird asks, shocked.

"Of course, I'm a fairy."

"I've never talked to a fairy before, this is very interesting!"

"Well I've talked to plenty of birds, but not one like you, I'm pretty far away from home at the moment."

"You think I'm pretty?" asks the bird, spreading his wings and posing for you. The sun hitting his wings makes them shimmer, they are probably a point of pride for him, just like your wings are for you.

"You must take excellent care of them to make them shine like that," you answer. "You are very pretty."

"Oh. Oh. Oh. How about my tail?"

You have come, in your long association with the animals around Jaden's house to discover that talking to them doesn't mean they have anything interesting to say.

"I really need to know if anything strange has been happening around here," you press.

Suddenly the bird looks up. "Bye!" he shouts, taking to wing.

"Wait!" Well, shoot, that didn't help you at all.

Suddenly you see a shadow and something pounces on you from behind, and you are pinned down by a talon. You crane your neck upwards to see what looks like a hawk beak descending towards you, and you calmly wait until this silly bird decides he's not getting anywheres trying to eat you.

"What is wrong with this morsel?" he asks, annoyed. "I can't seem to eat it."

"Of course you can't eat me, you great brute of a bird, I'm a fairy as you can plainly see!" Naturally it's your bracelet that protects you from harm, but you're sensing fairies aren't real big on living around here for one reason or another, as this guy obviously doesn't recognize you as such either. So it doesn't hurt to tell a little white lie that might save some fairy from being gobbled up in the future.

"It can speak!"

"If you don't let me up this instant I'll do more then that!"

The bird hastily steps back and you dust yourself off, glaring at him. "I want an apology."

"I'm sorry I can't eat you, as you look delicious."

Wow, you think, what a difference context makes. Jaden saying that to you some hot summer night you both can't sleep but instead do something much more fun wouldn't seem creepy at all. This guy saying though-

"Well fairies are not for eating, so remember that!"

"I will. I did not realize you knew a proper mode of speech, I would not have attacked you if I had. Can I do something for you to make up for my oversight?"

"I just need to know if you've seen anything, apart from me, that's seemed strange around here in the last day or so."

"I have not. The old place is still old, the hunting is good, all is right."

He seems a little more cogent then the last bird, but no more helpful. "Then I will be on my way."

"Very well. May you have fine eggs," he says, flapping his wings and taking off again into the sky.

"Actually, I'm hungry for eggs right now," you say quietly. You take to wing yourself, and are surprised to see a cleared area, leading to some old ruins not that far away. There's a path here, it looks like- Of course, you think to yourself, Jake was supposed to come here, not me! A way was probably prepared for him so he didn't spend weeks wandering around these ruins. You hover closer to the path, kicking a few rocks out of the way. Yes, there's grass and other plants under there, so this was just done. All you have to do is follow the path, easy!

You head in towards the ruins, flying low near the ground when you see something odd. It's a wire stretched across the path, so thin as to be almost invisible. Curious, you head to one side where it seems to trigger a trap of some sort, there's a block of stone with some holes cut in it. You jump up and down on it, but you don't have enough mass to do more then bend it. You hate to leave it here for some other poor sap to run into, but at the same time you hate to spend energy on magic making it go away.

You ponder for a moment.

Then you see something that might just do the trick! A squirrel is bounding from tree to tree right near you, so you fly up to him.

"Hi there, Mr Squirrel!" you say brightly.

"Is that- it is, there's a fairy here! Why there hasn't been a fairy here since, well, before my great-great-great-great you get the idea."

"Why is that, if you don't mind my asking."

"Stories say man and fairy lived in magical harmony around here long ago, but when this became ruins, both man and fairy moved on and never came back."

Interesting. Not relevant, but interesting. Also interesting is the fact squirrels are a lot more knowledgable about things then birds. Which you guess makes sense, they are ground creatures.

"Did you see what made that weird path?" you ask, pointing back to the gravel road you were flying above.

"I saw the path being made, but not what made it. Came in, oh, before now."

What? Oh, right, a squirrel is not going to be able to distinguish between "yesterday" and "a few days ago" because everything is either "before" or "now". You can't blame him, even though technically your brains might be the same size, yours is magical and bigger on the inside.

"So it just appeared there?"

"That's right. Oddest thing. Oh, I saw a man walk it too!"

"How long ago?" you ask, before you can stop yourself.

The squirrel looks at you oddly.

"Forget I asked. Can you help me with something?"

The squirrel seems to consider. "I was looking for something to eat, but really, I guess I'm always doing that. It should keep. What do you need?"

"Come over here and I'll show you."

You direct him to bite through the line with his sharp little teeth, which he does, and there's a noise and blades come shooting out of the holes, just as you suspected.

"Thank you," you say to him.

"Fairies do weird things," he says, almost to himself. "Say, you aren't headed down to the below here, are you?"

"The what?"

"The darker place! If you follow this path, I did it once before, you come to the entrance to the below here. There's no food there, and danger, my mother said."

"I must rescue someone from there, so it looks like that is where I'm going. But thank you for the warning."

"Sure thing," he says, bounding off.

You stand looking at the trap a moment. It wasn't a very good one, it made that noise before shooting out, what good would that do as a trap? Come to think of it, doesn't Jake have an EPSer skill that warns him of danger? Weird. You hurry on, and find three more traps concealed on the path, all seemingly as useless as the first. The last being right at the entrance, which seems to cause a large amount of stone to fall from above, which Jake could easily have avoided or deflected with Telekinesis. You resolve to take them all out on your way back, so someone doesn't get hurt here, and fly into the ruin. The building is crumbling stone, and much darker on the inside, this building was made by magic using people at some point in history, you can tell. The question is, was it the good kind of magic using people or the bad kind?

The bad kind, you think, as you dodge another magical blast of energy and get smart, reversing your course to stop triggering these things. You've only gone a little ways into the ruin and already you've set off a couple of magical traps that have shot fire, chunks of ice and even rocks at you. You need to stop and think about this rather then just blundering into everything. It's only your magic sense and small size that's been saving you. That, and your 7 REFlexes.

Stop and think a minute, you say to yourself. What's going on here?

You ponder a bit, and think you have a partial answer. Jake was supposed to come through here, right?

Right, you answer yourself.

And like your magic, his powers take a little energy to activate, right?


And all this magic, and the traps outside were of a physical nature, making him use his telekinesis to get past them, thus draining his energy!

Of course!

There may even be more traps here you aren't even triggering, like pressure plates, those are popular in old ruins, right? Still, if you're more careful and don't go blundering into stuff, you should make it through okay, you feel.

You proceed more slowly, making Magic Sense checks every few feet and avoiding or harmlessly setting off the traps you encounter. The ruins go underground, looks like someone had fun with the passageway spell, or probably Soft Stone to generate the side rooms. You weave your way down the halls, and it doesn't take long for the light to totally fade, impeding your forward progress.

"Humph," you say to yourself.

You put it back and create a grade 0 sun spell of light, which is about as good as a single candle. A candle is pretty big for you though, so that seems to work much better, and you continue on.

To a pile of bones.

Curse my curiosity, you think to yourself, flying down to inspect the bones. Weird, how did all these bones-

The bones stir, and you hear a word spoken.


The bones have become skeletons, probably the Undead Army spell you think, and will yourself invisible.

Naturally they see your little ball of light, but without anything to actually "attack" they just sort of stand there. You count six of them, and this further strengthens your belief these things are just here to slow Jake down, drain his energy, and make his vulnerable to whatever is no doubt guarding his brother.

You shiver and move on, the undead give you the creeps, they're just not natural.

You come to a place that's lit up and turn off your ball of light, silently winging your way forward. In the middle of a large, carved out area is a small boy encased in ice. You made it! Sitting in front of him, apparently asleep or meditating is a scruffy looking man, probably an ESPer, the one that was going to fight Jake for the privilege of getting his brother back. You are not going to give him the satisfaction of even knowing you were here- it's time to use a skill you've practiced a lot but never actually used in the field, Subtle Casting!

Normally, magic is pretty intense, you think, as though reviewing in your mind what makes Subtle Casting so special. Magic creates circles of light and energy wherever the target is, so it draws attention to itself. One can, however, with practice learn to suppress these effects to an extent, which is what you are going to do now. You flit behind the ice block and make sure he didn't hear you. Nope, looks like he's just sitting there. You mean him no harm, so his ESPer skills of detecting danger will be nice and relaxed, just like he is. Excellent.

You make the check, getting a fourteen. Normally this becomes the difficulty of succeeding on a perception check to see the magic circle, but this guy has his eyes closed, so there's no way the light left over is going to disturb him. You then cast your new favorite spell, shrink, on the ice block, and get an fourteen, even after spending five energy and taking three extra segments to cast the spell. Sheesh! Still, the difficulty of the spell was an eleven, almost as if you had planned it that way, and the ice block shrinks down, which you concentrate on being as slow as possible so as not to alert the so called guard. As it's now small enough for you to carry so you do, lifting it with little difficulty and walking awkwardly from the room. The man still hasn't stirred, maybe he is asleep? Your curiosity wants you to find out, but seriously, even you aren't that foolish. You walk to just in range of the light and set the tiny ice block down, preparing to cast Teleportal and get you both out of here. You again take the extra time, spend almost maximum energy, and open a tiny portal, just big enough for you to fit through. You carry the tiny ice chunk through and let the shrink spell go, watching as it expands to full size again.

Then you get a naughty, naughty idea.

You step back through the portal and let it go, then create your tiny light again, and fly back to the skeletons that are milling about. You turn your invisibility off, and they spot you, raising weapons that they must have found scattered about that you didn't see before. You flit ahead of them, leading them on towards the guard, who they immediately run to attack.

Now his danger sense goes off, as his eyes snap open and get wide, as he sees 6 undead skeletons advancing towards him, weapons raised!

You giggle almost uncontrollably and head back down the passage. You're not worried about the guy, if he thought he could take Jake, and O.I.F thought Jake could take these skeletons, all will be well. They aren't that sturdy, in the end, he'll probably finish them off fast, but it'll shake him up nicely. Especially afterwords when he's scratching his head as to how the ice block disappeared out from under his nose!

You again open the teleportal back to base, and see what you can do to get this little guy thawed out!

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