The first thing I noticed after I entered the light was that I could not breathe. I tried to gasp for air, but could draw none in. The next thing I noticed was that I was standing on a wire thin line high above a great chasm. One misstep would mean certain death.
I began to edge my way across the wire bridge. As I reached what I assumed
to be the halfway point I missed my step. I began to waver. I swung my arms
to regain my balance, but to no avail. I fell into the chasm. I opened my
mouth to scream, but no sound came out.
I landed, and none too softly, in the middle of a field. As I slowly sat up I noticed this was no ordinary field. It was a battlefield. Human-like beings were battling creatures that could be best described as monsters. There were short, small bodied creatures with large bulbous heads. There were gray creatures with short arms, legs, and wings. And there seemed to be large, fat creatures wearing armored vests and helms.
I gracelessly got to my feet. There was fighting all around me. At first I thought to aid the humans, but a thought struck me: What if the humans are the bad guys? My next thought was to run, but after looking around I soon discovered that wasn't really an option either. The battle was happening all around me.
Before I could contemplate any further plans I heard a loud roar behind me. I turned and saw one of the large fat creatures looming over me. "Death to the Mystics' enemies!" it roared. With the swipe of his claw he threw me several yards. I landed with a loud thud and a great deal of pain. I heard the beast charging after me. I clumsily returned to my feet and drew my pistol. The beast leaped into the air. I closed my eyes and fired several rounds. Shortly afterward I heard a loud thud. I slowly opened my eyes. Apparently a few of the bullets found their mark, for the beast was lying on the ground, dead.
It was then that I noticed that the sounds of battle were silenced. I looked around. The mouths of both humans and "Mystics" hung gaping open. All of a sudden I heard one of the Mystics shriek, "The human killed the captain! Retreat!"
The Mystics turned and retreated from the battlefield. The humans tried to take out as many of them as they could before they had all retreated. After the last Mystic had fled, the humans let out a thunderous howl, thrusting their blades toward the heavens. They started for me, their weapons still drawn. I did what any self-respecting coward would do: I ran.
I headed toward the large bridge north of the battlefield. I was almost there when two soldier met me at the bridge. I went to draw my pistol, but before I could fire the two of them lift me up and set me upon their shoulders. "All hail the hero!" they cheered. Cheered? The soldiers were gathering around the two soldiers that I sat upon and myself. They kept chanting "All hail the hero!"
A tall man wearing highly polished armor, though it was scuffed up from the battle, made his way through the crowd to us. The two soldiers set me down before him. "Greetings, brave warrior," the man said to me. He had a very proud tone to his voice. "What is your name?"
"Uh, I'm Wallace Odinson," I answered, extending my hand. "What's yours?"
The man seemed a little confused by the question, but he finally answered with, "I am Sir Cyrus, knight of the Square Table. Tell me, where are you from?"
This was a very difficult question to answer. It wasn't that I did not know the answer, but I was uncertain how the truth would effect them. I decided that omission was the best course for now. "Um, that is something I'd rather not discuss right now."
Cyrus pondered my answer for a moment. "I see."
"Um, just out of curiosity, where am I?"
Cyrus looked at me curiously. "Do you not know?"
"Humor me, please."
"We are in the plains west of Dorino, a village south of Guardia Castle. The weapon you used, it made a sound like thunder. What is it?"
Apparently these people have never heard of nor seen a gun before. I was not sure if I should enlighten them. He was curious, though, and I did so enjoy explaining things. I drew the pistol and showed it to him. "This is a gun. It fires bullets at a very high rate of speed." I pulled out the clip. I noticed that there were only two bullets left. I might need to learn another way to defend myself.
"It's seems like a very odd weapon, though it did prove effective against that Mystic."
"I sorta got lucky, actually," I told him as I slid the clip back into place and returned the gun to its holster.
"I see. Well, be it luck or not, you have saved us. Return to the castle with us. I shall introduce you to the king and queen."
King and queen?! If they reward heroes well, I could get the resources necessary for finding my way home. "Uh, sure."
The soldiers let out a thunderous cheer. Once again I was lifted onto the shoulders of two soldiers was carried away to the castle.
The castle was more majestic than I ever could have imagined. The red banners flowing in the wind had a gold and black insignia on them. I assume it was the royal family crest. The towers loomed above us as we entered the gates.
The throne room was impressive as well. The size itself was enough to make you think you were in the presence of a god. That may be their culture here, but I was doubtful of that. The red carpet was without blemish. I looked up to the thrones. The back of the king's throne towered close to fifteen feet tall and the queen's ten feet tall.
The king and queen sat on their respective thrones. The king was in his late twenties to early thirties. He had red hair and mustache, both showing some gray. He appeared to have somewhat of a solid build, but it was difficult to tell due to his robes
The queen was quite youthful, barely out of her teens. She had long blond hair that was put up with the folds hanging down the sides of her petite head. She had big beautiful blue eyes that would tempt even the most honorable of men
I followed Cyrus' lead and kneeled before the King and Queen of Guardia. After he commanded us to rise the king spoke. "Cyrus, what news do you bring from the battlefield?"
"Sire, we bring news of victory!" The king and queen seemed surprised at this. Apparently they have not been faring well in this war. "We may not have been so fortunate, but the gods favored us and sent us a savior," he motioned to me, "this young man."
The queen, which I would later discover that her name was Queen Leene, her eyes became wide. "This young man saved you? How?"
"He slayed the Mystics captain with a weapon that he calls a 'gun.' After that the Mystics fled the battle."
The king, who I would later discovered was conveniently named King Guardia, looked to me. "What is your name, son?"
"I, uh, my name is Wallace, sire, Wallace Odinson."
"Where are you from?"
Again I was not certain how to answer. Normally I would have said what I did to Cyrus, but this was the king and he might not accept such an answer. Fortunately Cyrus must have seen my concern and came to my rescue. "Your Majesty, Sir Wallace made it clear to me when we met that his past was quite a painful experience and wishes not to speak of it."
"I see," the king said thoughtfully. "It is not very important." Yes! They bought it! "What brings you to this land, then?"
Another question that I probably shouldn't answer honestly. Fortunately I was expecting this once Cyrus said he was taking me to see the king. "I am scholar and am on a quest for knowledge and have lost my way during my travels."
The king and queen chewed on my words for a moment. Finally the queen spoke. "That is a very noble quest."
"I agree," King Guardia responded. "For your reward, you will be granted accessed to the royal library. You will be allowed to remain here in the castle during your stay. You will sleep in the knights' quarters and dine in the mess hall. When you are ready to leave we will be more than happy to provide you with what ever transportation you require to get to your next destination."
Wow! It was a lot more than I had expected. Unfortunately, I needed one other thing. "You Highness, if I may make a request of the throne?"
King Guardia seemed very disappointed that I would say such a thing, especially after all he had already given me. "What!? Are you not pleased with what I have already given you!?"
Uh oh! "Sire, I am quite pleased with what you have granted to me. You are very generous, for it is more than I had ever expected."
"If it is more than you expected, then why do you ask for more?"
Queen Leene decided to butt in. "Oh, calm down! The boy just saved a third of your army."
King Guardia calmed down a little. "Very well. What is it that you would like?"
"Sire, my weapon is only meant to be used for a short time, and that time will soon be up. I ask if I could be schooled in sword play."
The king thought about my request for a moment. He turned to Cyrus. "Cyrus, will you train this boy?"
"I would consider it an honor, but there is another who might be best for this task."
Queen Leene's eyes lit up at the mere mention of this mystery man. "You must mean Glenn."
"Indeed I do. If I cannot convince Glenn to train him, then I will undertake his training myself."
"Make it so," King Guardia commanded.
"Thank you, Your Majesties," I said with a bow.
"By your leave, majesty," Cyrus requested.
The king nodded. Cyrus bowed, then turned on his heel and headed out. I followed suit by bowing at the waist and following Cyrus out.