150G Chapter 3
By Ersatz Sobriquet
Age has not been Sein's friend. He was only in his early forties and already the Red Mage's full head of hair was gray. Maybe it was all the magic he's been using. Well, learning anyway. He picked a fine time in his life to begin to learn how to use magic. Well, that's what the sages called it, magic. Sein thought that it was the controlling of molecules in the air via a controlled force in one's body that allowed one to use "magic".
He was, after all a scientist. Scientifically, magic shouldn't exist. And he was going to prove that it doesn't and that his theory was correct. He had started to conduct his experiment with "magic" a little over ten years ago, a bit after his wife died. After her death, he had no more reason to live... except for his daughter. She was his pride and joy. Sein would make sure that she lived her life the way a normal person should.
He was hoping for that anyway, but "majics" as Rilla called it, was slowly moving her away from his desired goal. Once her mother died while she was only six, she needed an outlet for her pain and sufferings. So she read. All day long. She began to read all he books her father had gathered over the years and soon came across recurring themes that piqued her interest.
Already, Rilla's father started to conduct his experiments with magic when he saw that it actually did work, and she wanted to do what he was doing. Rilla, while he was still resided the Coneria Plains, learned much from Lukahn, the prophet and great wizard. The sage and Rilla had many in-depth conversation about the speculation of how magic developed and how it is that people came to use it.
Sein never appreciated those meetings though, maybe it was because he was still trying to prove that magic is linked with science in a way. Either way, the two became very skilled in the limited magic that they possessed. Once Lukahn left for the Circle of Sages, Rilla and Sein had no one to continue to teach them. Already, Sein had opened a shop devoted to rare items that was in operation since before his wife's death, and now that he really had nothing distracting him, his shop became his life.
Rilla, on the other hand continued to learn much about "majics". She hated violence. She remembered when he mother was attacked by the pack of wolves, the screams she made as they ripped her flesh off. They had just gone to the town to retrieve a few items. On the way home was when the incident happened. The cries and the visual image was too much for young Rilla to handle and she ran away, in accordance with her mothers command.
But she ran away in pure terror. And she would have regardless if her mother told her to go or not. After the screams died down, she slowly made her way back to her mother. They had severed her leg, and her back was sliced open. She cried. She cried profusely as she looked on at the mangled body. Had she known that there was something in the world that could revive her mother then, a rare and sometimes dangerous spell if it fell into the wrong hands, she would have used it. Eternal Life was the name of the spell. Some called it Life 2, probably because it gave someone a second chance to live. But, the day she saw the spell called Eternal Life, she knew she wanted to learn all about this... this.... "White Magic", whatever that was.
Sein, though, choose to become a Red Mage because it was the best of both worlds, white and black magic. Oh, sure he wouldn't be able to use the stronger magics later on, but he didn't think he would live that long anyway. Plus, this was all for scientific purposes anyway, he always reminded himself.
This rare item's shop was a nice thing for him on the side. He was able to still bring money in and he was able to concentrate on his studies. Though business was becoming slower, he didn't mind, because that gave him time to be with his daughter more. Even though he constantly implored her to stop pursing the art of magic, his words often landed on death ears.
"Then why won't you stop?" she would often question him, her voice, soft and delicate.
"I told you, I'm only doing this for scientific purposes. I just want you to..."
"'Live a normal life'. Yeah, I know. You always say that." she interrupted, mimicking his words. "But, it's pretty hard to do that when your mom died before your eyes!"
The words stung Sein a little. Partially because he always felt responsible for her death. Oh, sure, how many stories has he read where someone felt responsible for something they had no control over. And how many times had he looked at those characters and called them fools for feeling such responsibility. But, when it actually happens to you, reality strikes.
Lowering his head, closing his eyes a bit, he said, "I... I know, sweetie. But..." the words were so hard to find. They always were. "I just want you to find someone. Live your life with someone." He opened his eyes. "Your almost seventeen. Hasn't anyone ever caught your eye?"
Rilla turned her back at those words. She didn't need anyone. All she needed was her mother. No one could replace her. So she needed no one. She'll be fine with her magic, and that was good enough for her.
Slowly walking up to her, he continued, "I'm just concerned for you, that's all. I want you to know that I care. And..." he was about to place his hands on her shoulders, but something prevented him from doing so.
"If you care, then leave me to my 'majics'," she replied, still using the same term from when she was little, and she then left the room.
It had always been like that, especially in the past few months between Rilla and Sein. Sein sighed as he walked to the door of his shop and looked out at the setting sun. "It'll be better," something inside him often told him about this situation. "It'll be a lot better soon." Just as he was about to lock his shop up, he saw someone running in the distance toward the shop. "A customer, perhaps? But at this hour?" he questioned himself.
"I told you not to worry about those stupid wolves." Terimy said through short gasps of air. "He better not be closed, cause it'll be all your fault!"
"I only came along to increase my fighting skill, and I must do so at every chance," Weturo replied, voice calm and collective, despite the vigorous run they were in the midst of.
"Whatever..." Terimy trailed off.
Laughing slightly, Sein recognized one of the two men. "You youngin'." Sein said to no one. "Thought you forgot about me." He then opened the door as the two came closer.
Out of breath, Terimy started, "Oh, my. I'm glad your still open."
Smiling, he said, "I really was closing. But for you, I'll open back up."
"Yeah, sure you were, what with all the business and all." he stabbed, as he walked in.
"Oh! How can you say such things about me?" Sein jokingly said as he allowed Weturo in as well.
After Terimy had regained his composure, Sein asked "So, what brings you to my humble establishment?"
Weturo simply stood in the corner as the two conversed and looked around. Everything was so old. He thought he saw a cob web or two in the corners. The floors were rotted a bit and the walls were the same. A few well thought out candle placements were the only illumination the room had as the sun continued on it's downward trek behind the mountains. Books, books and more books were the only things Weturo saw in this little room. Behind the counter were little trinkets and the like. Some looked gorgeous while others looked like little more than disfigured cups.
"I have a business proposition for you." Terimy started, taking out the orb from his bag. "How much for this piece of beauty?"
Sein's eyes lit up. It was another orb! He never expected to find another one, and here it was right in front of him. "Where'd you get that!?" he stammered.
A bit surprised at his reaction, he answered, "From one of the imp's villages. Took it while on my raid, why?"
Gingerly taking the orb from his hand, Sein looked into the orb carefully, making sure this was one of the four. "Yes, yes it was." he happily told himself.
"This orb, Terimy, is the key to destroying a certain evil. A key that will unlock many mysteries." Sein spoke softly.
Looking around, Terimy was wondering why his friend was reacting like he was. "Umm, you okay, man?" he asked.
The question, knocked him out of his reverie. Apologizing, he continued, "It was prophesied long ago that four warriors would each hold an orb like this one and would vanquish the evil the polluted the land. Guess what my friend? You are one of them!"
"Whoa, whoa, whoa!" was Terimy's blunt reply. "I stole that thing from some imps. If anything, whoever owned that is the guy who should vanquish the world from evil!" he said.
"Nope, since you have it, your one of the acclaimed warriors that will rid the land of evil." Sein replied back, smiling slightly.
"Well, umm. You take it!" he sluggishly replied.
Placing the orb down on the counter, Sein said, "I already have one." Reaching down underneath the counter, he pulled one up and showed him one. The same smoky black cloud swirled around inside the orb. "See?" he chuckled slightly.
"Well, your daughter can have it. You know, I never gave her a present before, and I think this is the perfect time to do so, so let me..."
"She already has one," Sein cut Terimy off.
He couldn't believe this. He was a thief, not a hero. Looking back at Weturo, he said, "How bout you, ol' buddy? You want another orb, right?"
Sein's eyes popped out at this news. "He has one as well??!?" he stumbled, pointing to Weturo.
"Yeah, yeah, he does." Terimy replied.
"This is great! We could do this! Together, we could go and save the world!" he rejoiced, jumping up and down.
Terimy simply placed his face in his hands and stood there shaking it. Weturo was still confused at the whole situation. Walking up to the overjoyed Red Mage, he asked him just what it was he was talking about, seeing as how he only caught the last bit of the conversation.
Once he calmed down, Sein told him what the prophet Lukahn told him years ago before on how there would rise four warriors, each holding a darkened orb that would rid the world of the chaos that reigned throughout the land. Since they all had an orb, they were inevitably the ones that were to save the world.
"Do you agree to this, Weturo?" Sein had asked him.
"I was told when I received this orb that my fighting abilities would increase and I would probably even become a Master. My teacher would have wanted me to do something as honorable as vanquishing the world of an evil. Yes, this is a good thing." was his response.
"And you, Terimy?" Sein asked, happy with Weturo's response.
Terimy had been listening on the whole time, not wanting to believe such rubbish. He was, in essence the bad guy. He was a thief, not exactly an honorable profession. This wasn't something he should do.
"I'm sure we'll encounter many treasures along the way..." Sein coaxed, hoping that would make this seem like the right thing to do.
Smiling inside, he knew the "old man" would say something like that. Shaking his head a bit, he replied, "Sure. Why not."
"Very good. Very good, indeed. We start out tomorrow! Now, go get some rest, for we have a long journey ahead of us!" Sein declared.
Rilla wasn't suppose to come, but what choice did Sein have? She did after all also hold an orb within her possession. Of course she would also come. Sein just wished she understood all those nights when he argued for her to find a normal life, he only wanted her to at least experience what one felt like. Here she is, at seventeen years of age, and all she's known is magic and death. Not good at all. She never had friends. Never needed any, was what she always assured him. And now, they were about to go fight for the world.
Sein chuckled to himself. Maybe this is normal for her.
The sun beamed brightly on the party as they made their way to Coneria Town to gather supplies. That morning, Sein had gathered all the supplies he felt he was going to need for this journey, including some money he'd been saving up. They were going to buy some decent weapons for their journey as well as a few medicinal herbs and magic.
After they finish buying the weapons and armor, Sein proudly announced, "Now, let us buy our items!" This was all so exciting for Sein, being out here, becoming a hero. He knew this thing that he was doing would make his wife's heart glad. Taylor and Temi Item Shop, the only item shop in town. Sein hoped that there was no line. The warriors had no time to spare.
The room was dark, the only source of light illuminating the counter where a rather fat, bald man eagerly waited for the next customer. Sein was happy there was no line. He wondered why it was so dark , though. The four warriors walked up to the counter, and Sein stepped up to the man.
"Greetings, good sir! How are you on this lovely day?" he began in his cheerful, positive tone.
"Ahh, I am very good sir! Very good!! I see you are doing well?" the shop keeper smiled back, looking at his condition.
"Yes, yes. I am very well. Thank you for asking!" Sein heartily replied.
"Do they know each other?" Terimy whispered to Rilla, slightly confused at the jovial introduction they were having.
"Nope. But my dad always talks to strangers like this." she whispered back.
"So, good sir. What can I do for you today?" the shop keeper asked.
"Well, my companions and I intend to go on a journey, and no doubt we'll face danger along the way." Sein replied, leaning on the counter with one arm, the other arm gesturing quite vigorously. "Monsters and flying creatures of every kind. The likes mortal man has never seen!"
"God, just get the stuff," Rilla mumbled, placing her face in her hand. "Talk, talk, talk... that's all he ever does..."
"An adventure!" the shop keeper exclaimed.
"Yes!" he grasped his fist at his understanding. "Yes, and though we are skilled at fighting, the evil that lurks is even better." Sein continued, building it up.
"You might get injured," the shop keeper stated. "You'll need the best medicine money can buy."
"Indeed, we will! That is why I am here. I have enough to buy..." Looking down at his money pouch and counting it, he finished, "Twenty Pure and twenty Heals. That should satisfy us till we reach the next town." he proudly announced.
"Very good sir! One Pure, coming up!" the shop keeper exclaimed, bending over to reach for the stock Pure that stood under the counter.
Realizing what he just said, Sein quickly stops him, saying, "No, no, no good sir, you understood me wrong." he chuckled.
"Oh?" the shop keeper asked, slowly standing again.
"Yes, you see I asked you for twenty Pure, not one." he chuckled some more.
"Oh, yes of course!" the shop keeper beamed back, again going back under the counter to retrieve the Pure. After a few moments, he rose up placing a Pure on the counter and said, "Here ya go, friend! One Pure!"
Sein looked at the Pure a bit confused. Maybe he didn't ask him right? No matter, he thought. He would just tell him again.
"No, no friend! I don't want one Pure. I want twenty. Why are you only giving me one?" Sein asked, a bit confused.
"Oh, I can't give you more than one at a time." came the reply.
"You what? Why can't you give me more than one?" Sein asked, still confused.
"Oh, it's Taylor and Temi Item Shop policy. We can only give One Pure to a customer per transaction." he stated.
"No it's not!" Sein raised his voice. "Your making that up!"
"It's right here in the book," the shop keeper said, procuring a rather huge book from under the counter. Flipping the pages some, he started mumbling, "Let's see... Page 296, Section 5, Paragraph 2, Line 5.... Ahh! Here it is!" Clearing out his throat, he began to read, "'Thou shalt giveth out only a single Puree and Heale for each transaction. If thee wishes to purchase more than one, thou can by requesting another, hence till thy order is filled.'" he finished reading. Looking back up to the stunned warrior, the shop keeper simply said, "See? I told you."
"What the heck is a 'thou'?" Terimy asked Weturo. Weturo simply shrugged.
"Give me that book," Sein said as he grabbed the book and began to read. Reading the words to himself, he spun the book back at the shop keeper and asked, a bit annoyed, "How old is this book?!"
Flipping to the front of the book, the shop keeper replied, "Copyright date: 219 AD."
"219??! But, the year is 1000 AD! Your still going by that old thing?!" Sein angrily asked.
"Hey, I just follow what was set in place by Taylor and Temi Item Shop and Associates. I don't change the rules or make any up." the shop keeper bluntly responded, a bit annoyed at this unruly customer.
"But it's a stupid rule!" Sein exclaimed. "I demand to speak to the manager!" he yelled, pounding his fist on the counter.
"I am the manager." he replied, coolly.
Trying to compose himself, breathing in deeply, he again started, "I only want twenty Pure and twenty Heals. Your telling me that I have to buy each one, one at a time??"
Folding his arms, the shop keeper again coolly responded, "Yup."
Clenching his fist ever so tightly, he spoke through his teeth, saying, "This is absurd! Give me twenty Heals and Pure before I.... I..."
"You'll what? Beat me up?" he asked, raising his eyebrow. "I'm not scared of you!"
Pounding both fist on the table, Sein leaned in close to the man, shouting, "Give me my twenty stinkin' Heals, ingrate!!"
"Why don't you make me?!?" he exclaimed, getting in his face. Both faces beamed a bright red the looks the three warriors had never seen before. Quickly Rilla pulled Sein away, trying to calm him down before he did anything harsh while Terimy went up to talk to the man.
"Why are you being difficult, fatty?" Terimy asked in his regular, cool voice.
Wiping the sweat off his brow, he gruffly replied, "I'm not being difficult. I'm a nice guy. I try to do good things by following the rules. I'm not going to..."
"Listen," Terimy interrupted. "Either give us twenty Pure and Heals... or else." he smiled slyly at him, patting the knife on his hip.
"Or else what?" he returned the threat.
"You'll see." he just left the threat in the air to linger.
"I'm not scared of you!" he replied back gruffly.
"Fine. Have it your way." Terimy finished, walking away. Looking at the rest of the party, he said, "Let's go, guys."
"But, we didn't get the items yet," Sein stated.
"Don't worry about it, father." Rilla replied.
As the four warriors walked out of the store, the shop keeper yelled out, "And don't you come back, you varmints!"
He watched till they left the store and then started talking to himself, "People. Think they so tough. They don't know. You can't mess with the system. They don't realize that... that..." Something was different about his little inventory of Pure and Heals. Looking carefully, he realized... twenty Pure and Heals were missing!
Falling to his knees, he arched his back and extended his arms yelling out, "Nooooooo!!"
"Was that that the shop keeper yelling?" Weturo asked, worried about his safety.
"Yeah." Terimy chuckled, shifting the bag on his shoulder. "I think he's missing a few Pure and Heals." he finished, Rilla and Terimy laughing.
Walking up to the lady, Sein asked what was wrong.
"Oh, milord! Haven't you heard? The princess. She has been kidnapped! Who will go to save her?!" and with that, she resumed her crying.
Someone dare kidnap the princess, the four thought. That was when Sein realized that this was the perfect opportunity for them to be recognized.
"We need to save the princess." he announced to the other three after speaking with the woman. "Surely, we'll become well known and respected and the evil that we are to conquer will show it's face to us!"
Weturo agreed, as did Rilla. Terimy simply shrugged, and said, "Hey, I'm juts tagging along for the loot. You guys can do whatever you want. Just point me to the treasure, and I'll be a happy camper."
At that response, the four set for Coneria castle to inform the king about their mission and to see if they could retrieve any additional information as to where the princess may be.
"Your majesty, four warriors wish to speak to you regarding Princess Sara." a guard announced.
"Very well, send them in," the king replied.
The king of Coneria. His beard was fat and round, like the rest of his body. He commanded respect in the highest order. But that same strong, authoritative king didn't sit in the chair that day. That day sat a man who felt alone and weak. And all because of the disappearance of his daughter. What kind of king was he, to feel so weak in face of the circumstances. King Hueet wouldn't have acted this way, his great grandfather. He wouldn't tolerate having a rebellious knight kidnap his daughter. He would go to his lair and return her to her home himself.
But, this king wasn't a fighter. He was a commander. He was a great strategist. "But not so smart," he reminded himself. Who else would send his whole platoon of knights to help out the neighboring town, Parvoka with their pirate problem, if he was so smart.
"But, come now. The kingdom has been at peace for decades. You had no way in knowing someone was going to kidnap the princess." something deep inside tried to reassure him. It didn't help much, though. The other voices were much too loud.
"King Hueet wouldn't send his whole army of knights off to help some town with their pirate trouble, that's for sure!" the other voice would say.
He tried to silence the voices inside as best he could as the four warriors walked into the throne room. As soon as he saw them, though, the voices became louder.
"Look at them! Weak. Frail. They are the ones that are going to bring the princess back? Your even more desperate than we thought!" the voices said.
Shrugging them off, the king started, "Honorable warriors. What business do you have regarding my daughter, Princess Sara?"
Sein stepped up, bowed to the king and said, "Your majesty, we have heard the cry of complaint among the peoples of Coneria. They are all experiencing great anguish and are under great vexation since the subsequent capture of their princess. We hope to remedy that problem by attempting to save her."
"See! He speaks with such poise and respect. Very well educated. He knows what he's getting into!" the king's good voice said.
"Perhaps." he thought.
"We only wished to gain the kings favor and blessings before we attempted to retrieve her highness." Sein finished, bowing his head once more.
This did seem very good to the king. Something about these four warriors eased his heart a little. Confidence, it was. "They even look better than the other rapscallions that attempted to save her." the good voice again reminded the king.
These four warriors weren't the first to make an attempt to save the princess. As soon as news of the princess being kidnapped spread, many subjects said that they would bring her back. But none ever returned.
"I grant you your request, honorable Mage. You have my full blessings on this matter. It is rumored that she is being held by one of my former knights, a man by the name of Garland. His domain is to the northwest of Coneria. It is a long and hard journey, but I have full confidence in the four of you. Now go, and return Princess Sara to me." he finished.
Garland. The knight that went bad. The king knew that Garland could kill half the town if he so desired, his power becoming to strong for the Coneria Knights. He wanted complete control over the whole army and was trying to pass certain laws on the people that the king as well as his advisors did not see fit. The king soon ridded the kingdom of such a man, and of course Garland did not take that leave lightly.
Over the course of five years, Garland hid and studied. What it was, no one knows. But he was planning something the king knew would tear apart his kingdom... or even him. Unfortunately or fortunately, which ever way you look at it, it was him, and the princess was his key to bringing the king much displeasure.
"It is a very good thing that you have done, your majesty, and I assure you, she will return." And with that, Sein turned to his companions and began to leave the Throne Room. That was when the king saw it. It was hanging out slightly from the black belt's pouch.
Asking his attendant if he saw it too and what he could make of it, the young attendant replied, "Yes, your majesty. It did look like a black orb. Pretty dull, though. Why do you ask, sire? Do you wish to have it?"
"No, no. It's nothing at all, Gaute. Nothing at all." the king trailed off. He felt much better now, his negative thoughts quickly leaving his mind. He was going to have his little girl back.
"Sara," he whispered. "I'll see you soon, my dear. The Light Warriors will make sure of that."
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