[ Laelia over here! ]
I turned to see one of the village girls waving at me. At first she didn’t like me very much.
Probably because she was in love with Cliff.
Now though we got along. Marie was really witty for a village girl. She picked up the basics of a bow in two days from the Elf. The two got alone well. He liked having a student and she liked how handsome he was. The Elf besides teaching proper agriculture techniques and care for the land would use his spare time to bless things and teach a few of the villagers skills with a bow. Today, he had taken them hunting in the forest for the first time. They had been scared at first but he promised it was an easy area free of miasma. The villagers had managed to bring back a large amount of meat for the first time in awhile. Marie herself brought down a large rabbit.
[ You got a rabbit. ]
She nodded her head proudly.
[ Yep! Wald taught me how! ]
The villagers had went ahead and given them nicknames. The Elf had become Wald, the Water Spirit See and the Earth Fairy Boden.
[ Laelia! ]
I turned around to see one of the village boys.
Minster didn’t like to hunt or work like the other boys. He really does seem to be getting along with See though…
[ Wow, that’s so pretty. ]
It seems he had helped purify the water from the well. He had brought some in a tin to show me.
[ Guys, it is my turn to show Laelia! ]
Oh, it’s Sara.
[ Isn’t that Alskare and the others? ]
Sara had been shown how to make paint by Wald and Boden. It seems on one of the random walls Boden had made to show them the differences she had painted them. It was quite well done for the first time.
They are better than I thought at bringing out people’s natural talents.
[ Yep! After they taught us how to make paint everyone was really thankful. I was the only one who didn’t have as much work so I made that! I showed Boden earlier and he seemed super happy! ]
I’m sure he did…. The Earth fairies were weak to little girls. Brigid had a negative influence on them.
[ I’m glad you are getting along so well. ]
I smiled at all of them.
[ I don’t have all of my memories back and a lot of things seem really funny to me. I don’t think I would have imagined this happening. It feels really shocking to me. But I’m glad the people who saved me are getting along with the people I just met. ]
They all nodded their heads eagerly and pointed to Cliff and Clara. Cliff was practicing swords with one of the Morphers. He had taken the form of a ‘Forest’ Fairy Male and was practicing the sword with Cliff. The pretense was that although he was blessed by the Wind Fairies he seemed to have potential with the longsword. While, Clara was chatting happily with the Earth Pixies. She was feeding them snacks the other village girls and her baked. It seems they spent a lot of time talking not just about the story of the Mountain Valley but about energy itself. One of the Pixies said she felt Clara could use the energy (mana) to one day use basic magic like some of the other adventurers. They had taught her today and some of the other villagers to feel their mana. It was explained as the humans connection to the energy circulated by the first spirit. Marie pulled me into a hug.
[ It’s alright Laelia. Really, we love you. ]
Yesterday, I had told the entire village my story. The fairies filling in the parts I didn’t remember and were allowed to tell.
The uneducated backwater villagers ate it all up. Every miracle they saw needed some sort of explanation.
I hugged her back.
[ Thanks, Marie. ]
I let her go.
[ I like you all. You would be people my father would love, I think. ]
Minster and Sara each took one of my hands.
[ Your father must have been a really good guy. ]
[ Yep, he saved you so you could be here. If you remember what he looks like we should paint him on one of the walls. ]
Marie nodded her head.
[ That’s a great idea! We could paint him fighting the Atilians! Village Head has already said he should be written down as Olwen the Protector! ]
Eh, how was a made up guy getting such acclaim already from one village?
[ I think father would be too shy for that…]
They shook their heads no.
[ Isn’t too late for that? The Village Head has already had one of the grandmas who could write record your story. ]
Yes, I knew that. We wanted that, but how could you embellish such a crazy story so much!
[ What do you mean? ]
They sat down and patted the ground so I sat. Marie, as the most vocal of the group, started off.
[ Grandma Elma wrote the story of your father and you. She said it is the Prologue: Olwen the Protector. ]
Minster nodded his head eagerly.
[ It was written really well! A few of us have already read it. ]
Village folk work fast…
[ Grandma Elma wrote it as best she could so your father could be remembered as a hero who fought the invading Atilian barbarians so the fleeing villagers and his daughter could live. ]
Marie nodded her head.
[ We were all shocked on how she described the miracle that resulted from his deed. How a young girl, dying from a slash on her back, managed to somehow cross the boundary of spirits and fall in front of the Queen of Spring. ]
Minster looked as if he was in the story itself.
[ Touched by the miracle moment of a pure-hearted child appearing in front of her she had her taken to the Spring. Once cleansed from the miasma and shadow of death, she brought the child to sleep in the Gardens. It healed the child, soothed her soul and taught her knowledge in the sweetest of dreams. ]
It’s really embarrassing if you phrase the story like that and then look straight at me.
Sara hugged me again.
[ And then another miracle happened. That pure-hearted girl woke up from the cries of the world and stumbled her way out of the Land of Spring and into a small village. Her first acts in 500 years was bringing down a corrupt official and teaching the village how to grow. ]
I looked at them all awkwardly.
[ It’s awkward if you say it like that. I didn’t do anything but stumble my way through things. Everyone else did the work. ]
Marie shook her head no.
[ Don’t you know common sense, Laelia? We have always been taught that leaders or the people who bring about ideas don’t always exist to do the work themselves. They exist to show us how to work and save ourselves.]
Marie, that is strangely profound to be coming from a village girl.
[ I think Marie is the smart one. ]
Her face turned bright red. She awkwardly began to play with her fingers.
[ Does Cliff think that as well? ]
We all looked at her warmly.
[ He has too. Marie is too talented not to notice. ]
The other two nodded their heads silently. The pleasant mood broken by the sight of a horse galloping into the village. A knight with shiny silver armor hopped off the horse. The entire village froze. I could see the Village Head scramble to greet him.
[ Knight of the King, what is it this village could do for you. ]
Marie pulled me up and started to drag me towards one of the houses.
[ Hurry, we have to hide just in case. ]
Marie, that’s sweet of you but I’m here to not hide.
I stopped walking and shook my head no.
[ I won’t let you guys get in trouble for me. ]
They looked at me with a mix of concern and joy. He looked around the village.
[ My name is Sir Kyle. I swear on the Soul of Euphoria that I mean you and those residing in this village no harm. The knight of domain managed to send his message to the Marquis. I know you are scared that one of the heads belonged to his cousin, but the Kingdom will not allow him to commit any retribution for it. ]
They all sighed in relief. However, the worry had not disappeared from their faces.
[ I was sent by the Queen to look into the crimes the Marquis’ relatives have been committing in his name. I was in his office greeting him when the messenger arrived. We were told that the Old One Alskare, the Stallion of the Queen of Spring, The Water of the Mountain Valley had appeared in this town to protect an unknown girl. ]
The Village Head shook in fear.
[ Sir Kyle, we beg of you to not touch the girl. The three days this girl has been here we have witnessed the miracles of the spirits. The land has been healed, we have been taught many things like how this world came to be. The story of the little girl you want is remarkable. ]
He smiled warmly at the Village Head.
[ Your desire to protect a little girl touches my heart. I am the son of the Prime Minister. A commoner like you. I know how hard it is to scrap by when the nobles treat those in their domains as toys. I thought the same way you did until I met the Royal Family. They have created a group of nobles and educated commoners called the Reformists. Soon hopefully, all the work and struggles of the group will start to reach the outer domains. I am not here to take the girl or hurt her. I am here to learn her story like you did, understand what happened and intervene if the Marquis has bad intentions. ]
They all seemed to let go of their worry.
Who was this commoner Prime Minister?
( Balibt. )
( At once, Master. )
I slowly walked out from the crowd that been formed to hide me. Cliff and Clara appeared behind me. When Sir Kyle saw the Morpher and the Earth Pixies he opened his mouth in shock.
[ I had heard it was a monstrous water creature who had appeared, but these are fairies and pixies. ]
I pouted at him.
[ Don’t call Alskare monstrous. He has watched over me for as long as I can remember. Alskare is one of the Old Ones of the Mountain Valley and one of the original Guardians of Water. ]
He looked at me and his eyes lit up.
[ You are as beautiful as the Knight said. ]
Cliff stepped in front of me.
The knight laughed.
[ Relax, little knight. I didn’t mean in that way. ]
Yea, Cliff. I look like a nine year-old in this form. That guy is in his twenties.
[ Sir Kyle, did you really come here for the reasons you said? ]
He nodded his head.
[ I did. I don’t think you know this but our country is currently being threatened by the neighboring country. The corruption in our country has gotten worse and our only strength of agriculture has started to die. ]
I looked at him confused.
[ I don’t know about the other things but the agriculture is dying because of the land. ]
He looked at me shocked.
Don’t look so shocked. I had my Shadow Spirits and Balibt help speed up the decay.
[ What do you mean because of the land? ]
[ Well, according to the Children of the Mountain humans have gotten worse and worse at taking care of the land and the energy of the world. This causes not just the land made of the first to wither but the energy to be corrupted. The corrupted energy effects the mass energy spots around the land and corrupts the area it is supposed to maintain. These corrupted spots often corrupt the spirits of the land. It causes the sentient spirits to either develop vices or gives corrupted sentients to undeveloped spirits. Normally, this causes the dungeons in the regions to become violent. ]
Sir Kyle looked like his mouth dropped open.
[ You are saying dungeons are created by corrupted spirits. ]
I shook my head no.
[ No, dungeons are neutral things. They are the creation of large masses of energy coming together in one area. It creates what you call ‘domains’ for young underdeveloped spirits to rest in. The dungeon then controls the excess energy and maintains the balance of the land. Spirits that start to gain seintents or are from other areas are drawn there. Soon even in Children of the Mountain Valley are drawn to it. The circulation of energy and mass of energy causes the birth of new spirits to grow and develop. The often are influenced by the type of spirits often residing there, determining what sort of being they become. ]
He walked closer to me.
[ If that is the case why do they then attack humans? ]
[ Isn’t it obvious? All energy is neither created nor destroyed. It’s part of the natural system. The first spirit is the land itself and controls the circulation of energy. The four other spirits control a general major principle of energy that reconnects to the land and the first spirit. But isn’t there too many living things to just fit into that? The energy then develops a system to handle that return energy back into the rest of the circulation system. ]
[ So the system that is created is a controlled environment that prompts humans and monsters to die and return to the land and be recycled? ]
I nodded my head.
[ Humans are just beings that were born from the first. You took this form but you are still energy attached to the first. When you are born, expend mana or die you are contributing to the circulation system of the world as Children of the First. ]
[ But these corrupted energies you said? ]
[ Corrupted energies cause the dungeons to rampage out of control and cause the dungeons you need to subjugate. As for Demon Lords they are just sentient spirits who have grown in these areas of mass energy to become beings of a certain age range. Most of them become what you would call managers of the mass energy spot and its system. However, corrupted ones gain desires beyond that and act to effect the world itself. ]
[ How does corruption occur? ]
I crossed my arms.
[ It’s hard to explain. Also, I may be old but I am actual still just a human child. Alskare are you free to do me a favor? ]
Water surged around me and Alskare appeared. He looked annoyed.
[ Human, why have you bothered my Little One with this nonsense. Your kind have turned their back on the world many years ago. ]
Sir Kyle’s mouth finally dropped open.
[ You are the Old One the knight mentioned! ]
Alskare glared at him.
[ Hurry up and ask your question. Being away from the Sacred Waters in these lands pains my heart. ]
He nodded his head.
[ Corruption. How does corruption occur? ]
[ The best answer I could give you is it just does. The majority of the Children of the First are trees and animals of the land. However, humans are also the Children of the First. You grew and developed the power to control the land itself. Somehow, as your intellect grew and your desires were born a shift happened in the First. As you ignored the laws of the system and changed things to your benefit a new ‘thing’ was born. A thing with no name or feature. We call it the corruption because it changes energy itself. The original system and its characteristics reflect your personalities more than it originally did. The Queen says you influenced the First to have emotions and thoughts when it originally did not have them to the extent we all did. ]
[ You are saying we corrupted the land. ]
[ Inaccurate but it can be taken as such. The other animals also gained such things, but at a slower and less intense speed than humanity. You are also the creatures who have ignored the most the system and energies of the world. That causes more and more scars and damage. For instance what has happened to your farm lands. ]
Sir Kyle looked completely pitiful.
[ Please, Old One. Can you explain what that means before you go? ]
Alskare sighed but nodded his head.
[ Only because this village has taken care of Little One so well. ]
The villagers shook with joy.
[ When the circulation of the energy was working it worked partly by having the energy move naturally throughout the land itself. Like a river flows so does the energy of the First. Separate of mass energy spots, spirits created by the First or the Children of the Mountain Valley managed the energy in the system. You called these at one time Blessings on the Land. We Children were in charge of teaching maintenance of the Land and aiding in its stability. However, over the years your kind grew worse and worse. Not only did you damage the system by tremendous amounts no matter what you knew, but you betrayed our kind over and over again. After thousands of years of witnessing your crimes and vile natures my people withdrew back to Mountain. As the Mountain Valley is the most important place in these lands. ]
[ The Mountain Valley? ]
He nodded his heads.
[ At the center of the Mountain Valley, below what you people call land, is where the original split of energy occurred. ]
While Sir Kyle was confused all the villagers made sounds of awe.
[ The Mountain Valley was the first formation of the First. It serves as the largest mass of energy and base of the entire circulation system of the what you know as the world, as everything spread from there. The Dwarf country and what you deem as simple dungeons in the valley are only the boundary marks for each of the four other original energies: the first to be take shape was the Prophet of Summer, then the Mistress of Winter formed, next formed the Priestess of Autumn. ]
He looked like he was enthralled.
[ And the fourth? ]
[ The fourth was my Queen. The Queen of Spring. However, even though she formed she remained asleep for most of the years. ]
He seemed confused.
[ She was asleep? ]
He nodded his head.
[ Yes, us Children of the Spring are the Guardians of Life. We manage all energy related to it. In a blossoming world the task was too great for our Queen to be awake. That and… Our Queen’s energy was tied to the Saintess as a caretaker and guardian. ]
[ The Saintess? ]
[ The Saintess was the sixth and last energy to be split from the original. She is the energy left of the original spark that appeared in the void. The Saintess is the being who connects all beings. However, perhaps due to this she has never completed formed or awoken. Instead she sleeps down beneath the center of the Mountain Valley, her energy radiating into all the other Children. Our Queen is the Guardian of Life, so we too are the watchers of The Saintess. ]
Cliff looked at Alskare.
[ Tell him what’s happening! The rest of it! ]
Alskare looked at the knight unimpressed.
[ I doubt a child like this can handle all of the truth of the world. ]
He nodded his head no.
[ Please, tell me! ]
[ The corruption has spread so bad it is questionably whether the land of the First can be saved by us. More of us have returned to the Mountain Valley to strengthen the core and forsake the rest of the land. The Great Ones have seen The Saintess stir for the first time in thousands of years. Her form is starting to show signs of completion and it is said she may awake. Some of us Old Ones believe she will awake to protect the core and sacrifice herself to create new one in which a new land will spread out from the remains of the First. ]
He locked shaken.
[ What does that mean for us? ]
[ You would all die. All life outside of the Mountain Valley would perish. Perhaps, new humans may be born from the remains of the First but it is unlikely. ]
He fell onto the ground, right on his butt. Sir Kyle looked up at him shocked.
[ This is true? This is really true? ]
Alskare nodded his head annoyed.
[ I wouldn’t lie to a no name like you. The thing you people call faith and religion seem to be more political then anything else. A few do seem rooted in misunderstandings though. ]
He turned to look at me.
[ Little One, my heart is in too much pain. I will return now. Do not get dragged into these vile things desires. ]
I nodded my head. He patted my head and disappeared. Sir Kyle looked up at me.
[ How did a human girl like you find yourself blessed by these spirits? ]
Grandma Elma walked from the crowd with a proud look on her face. She handed him a pile of papers.
[ We wrote down the story here, so we wouldn’t forget. ]
He looked down at the papers skeptical.
[ Olwen the Protector? ]
[ Yea… They got excited when they heard, but that’s my father. ]
He nodded his head in understanding.
Village folk were village folk no matter where you went.
I sat in the room provided to me by the Village Head. My head felt like it would explode. Nothing seemed to make sense in our corner of the world. This thing called corruption could easily be said as spreading, land was dying and new religions popped up claiming to know the way. Yet it was only the things he heard today that made sense. For the first time, he could feel it in his heart that he had just heard the truth. On the candle light he wrote three versions of the same letter explaining everything he heard. One went to the Queen, one to the King and the last to his father. Each was stamped with his seal. The letters would go to three different messengers who would take three different routes in case the Marquis was up to anything.
[ They must know about this. ]
I could feel it in me. The rush of hope and joy.
[ Tomorrow the villagers and Laelia said I could meet Wald, Boden and See. To think because of her they would agree to send three younger Children here to teach the basics. ]
All of this was unthinkable.
[ Euphoria has hope. ]
As he went to bed that night, Sir Kyle did not notice two other copies of the letter had been written and taken into a shadow on the floor.