Chirijiraden - Vanishing Memories Chapter 8
Wake up! Wake yourself. Its time to leave! Aine shook Aeris vigorously, trying to force the weakness from her body. Come! Dawn approaches. She stirred her body, still secretly pleading for another hour. Aine led her outdoors, where the sun was but a faint glimpse over the horizon. They walked around the building to the rear and came upon two readied birds, each saddled with the supplies all ready in place.
What hour is this? She gave a steady yawn and rubbed her eyes free of their weariness.
What is your obsession with knowing the hour? Its close to six. Now hurry and mount up, and try not to kill this one. Aeris put her foot in the stirrup and pulled her leg over when a rush of pain jolted through her sides. Her face cringed as she winced, the memory of the injury from the day before had slipped her mind. Mind not your pain, for it will only hamper you. I hope you can ride hard. The path were taking is much shorter but the terrain is incredibly rough. Come, let us make haste. As always the man set off before a word of argument could be presented and Aeris followed suit.
The birds were in great shape and well fed. The wind whipped at her tousled hair as they sprinted along the beaten path, kicking up dust into the air. For a moment Aeris forgot her troubles, taking a brief second to enjoy the splendor of the animals in their dash. The desert air was cool in the sunless dawn and chilled her skin, giving her a feeling of relaxation. A short while after they came to the deserts edge where trees of massive height loomed over them like great monoliths. Into the woodlands they rushed without regard for pace. The chocobos were incredibly intelligent and reacted on instinct, swerving through winding trees and leaping over fallen timber. The forest rushed past Aeris in a green blur as her eyes remained focused on her friend a heartbeat ahead. Aeris wondered if it was possible to be in Araguay all ready.
All around she saw the flora and fauna of the woods. Wild chocobos ran rampant through the trees, goblins lolled in the muddy marshes, and trees moved from one place to the next. The mount moved fluidly without sudden movements, as if it was somehow a living extension of the forest. Slowly her friend began to slow and eventually stopped beside a cool clear brook. Aeris pulled her mount beside his and dismounted. Why have we stopped? Aine laughed lightly at her ignorance.
You dont know the first thing about riding, do you? Youre bird is a living animal, meaning it has to breathe, eat, and rest. Sure theyre hardy beasts, but their not unstoppable. If you dont give them a chance to rest theyll die, just like your bird in the desert. Theyve gotten us an incredible distance within the last two hours. Theyve earned a break. Now hurry and get some food out of the pack on its back and feed it. The girl did as she was told and took half of a loaf of bread out of a satchel and held it in front of the large yellow bird. It quickly nibbled the loaf until it wore down to Aeris fingers. The girls eyes widened in surprise at how an animal could eat so much so fast. Good. Now lead it to the stream and have it drink. Again she followed her orders obediently and without question. The bird bent its great head down and drank to its hearts content. Excellent. Aine walked over to a downed tree wreathed in a heavy coat of moss and laid down, his robes draped over the truck like a sheet.
What are you doing? He closed his eyes and spoke without giving an inkling of acknowledgment.
The birds are not the only ones who must rest. While they regain their strength we might as well do the same, especially since weve nothing better to do. Dont be so impatient. Well resume in a few minutes. Aeris sat on the soft damp earth as the sun shone through random rifts in the forest canopy thinking of her objective.
Aine? the man continued to lay on the log resting his eyes.
Why are you helping me? I dont even know you and youve all ready saved me, now youre guiding me to Limberry on a path filled with monsters, murderers, and thieves. Youre risking much to aid someone youve never seen in an objective you know nothing about.
I was bored.
Bored or not my debt to you is great.
Debt? Woman, open your ears. Here, you can repay me by not killing my bird. Is that fair? She laughed lightly at what she hoped was an act of humor and closed her eyes, propping her back against a tree before releasing a sigh for no reason other than to hear her own breath leave her body. Sounds of wildlife filled the forest, soothing their spirits and relieving their minds of the stress of the haste.
Who are you? Aeris inquired. Aine looked up from his bed, an expression of confusion on his face.
What mean you? the girl looked into his eyes and tried to discern what she could from the complete stranger as he asked for elaboration.
What do you do for a living? Why were you in the middle of that inhospitable desert?
Why so full of questions? May I tell you? Your mind is incapable of grasping a concept so vague as aiding another without cause or reason save a sadly rare kindness. We live in a world that thrives on self gain. The expenditure of resources, whether they be time, money, food, drink, or anything else will not be worth the emotion of seeing the fruits of your kindness. Without the promise of profit one will not go out of their way for another that they have never met or experienced. Very few in this world will rebuke this instinct for the betterment of their soul. But if it will sate your endless curiosity, I am a monk, and I was in the desert to escape this cursed war over religion and power. Satisfied? The young woman looked at the man in a new light with astonished eyes. In moments he had explained to her the basis of society and modern life in general. One would even go so far as to accept his words as the meaning of life.
I-I... err... quite.
Then let us be off. The two mounted their birds and resumed their arduous trek through the woods as the sunlight tore through fissures in the darkening clouds.
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