Chapter 2:

Left Behind, Cold but not Scattered.

A Reverie for Another Eternity

"Destined to carry on, a million shadows walk beside me under the final light."Bookmark here

- The SaviorBookmark here

“So… Where are we going again?”Bookmark here

Mikuta sat in the back of the dimly lit wagon, as its shabby frame wobbled over the various bumps and stones on the dirt road.Bookmark here

In the front lies a girl, about the same age, on top of the heaps of cornflour and other grainy shipments cluttered around the wagon.Bookmark here

Dropping a book, she sighed. She curled forward and fell onto her side, with her right elbow propping up her head and neck, as she irritatingly started to tap on the wooden floor with her heel.Bookmark here

Not that it was unexpected; Mikuta had already asked many questions prior to this one, and decided to ask the very first question she had again.Bookmark here

“Like. I. Said. We are going to the kingdom of Pidrophilie, where Gramps is going to sell his stuff. You and I are just conveniently tagging along the ride, though I still don’t know your purpose for coming.”Bookmark here

Though such a purpose was to be stated from an uninvited vagabond, even Mikuta herself didn’t know her exact reasons or situation for being. Thereby, it was hard for her to say anything that would be satisfactory for this girl.Bookmark here

She squinted suspiciously, as if to say Mikuta’s presence in the wagon was now unwelcome, but refrains from saying anything further.Bookmark here

With a solid hmph, she turned back around and started flipping through the pages between the tattered, brown covers of the book.Bookmark here

The sun steadily dipped below the horizon in the front of the wagon; the red and yellow hues of the once comforting light fading into an obscured purple and blue night sky.Bookmark here

However, there was one question that went unanswered. A question born out of simple curiosity that stood prominently in her thoughts, a thought on the tip of her tongue. Bookmark here

It was also something that shouldn’t be asked; at least, that was the feeling she got.Bookmark here

However, the deeper Mikuta thought about it, the more obscure the existence of the girl in front became. It was like being a room full of fragmented mirrors, each representing a possible reality that could complete the puzzle, only for the pictures to fracture and miserably shatter into even tinier pieces whenever she got close to that something.Bookmark here

Miyori. Mi yo ri. Miyori. Ku, Ta, mi? Mikuta? Takumi?Bookmark here

Mikuta blankly stared into the empty beige cover above, supported by the various oak bows sprouting from the sides of the wagon. Half-expectantly waiting for an answer to tear right through, the cover didn’t oblige; the already fading sunlight only got dimmer as the wagon trekked on.Bookmark here

At least I know I was a guy, once. A decent-looking one at that too. I think.Bookmark here

Yawning, she glanced at the front of the wagon, with Miyori soundly sleeping against the stacks of cornflour in the right corner. A heavy thud of the wagon caused her to roll off the sacks and bump into the other side, her curls entangling one another in the process.Bookmark here

In the waning twilight, the old man’s figure was just barely illuminated. His attire, consisting of what seemed to be a worn-out straw hat, blue denim jumpers, and a dirty long-sleeved woolen shirt, was dependable to look at; a hard worker. Despite the journey they’ve been on for a while now, he never seemed to tire out from his endless driving on top of the jockey box. Neither were the two horses, who surprisingly persevered without a hint of stress or a neigh of complaint.Bookmark here

The old man's very demeanor and presence somehow brought ease to the wagon. Maybe that's why Miyori was able to sleep so easily, rolling about in her rest all the while.Bookmark here

His unflinching back was a comforting sight amidst the growing, tangible shadows of the wagon’s sides and onlooking trees. Bookmark here

Eventually, Mikuta drifted off to sleep.Bookmark here

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In the distance, the clopping of hooves comes to a sudden stop.Bookmark here

Groggily waking up from a night of uncomfortable sleeping postures and back pains on the hard wooden floor, Mikuta rubbed her aching behind and neck.Bookmark here

Wondering how much distance they had covered overnight, she looked behind the wagon and saw the long winding road surrounded by tall grass and sparsely spread trees that went further beyond the limits of her scope.Bookmark here

The sun timidly rose above the summit of the small mountains they had far left behind.Bookmark here

Turning back around, she looked at where the driver was, only to be faced with Miyori's petite back.Bookmark here

Her upper torso hung outside of the front of the wagon, her palms facing towards the driver's seat, steadying her brace on the wooden frame that served as the bottom of the hole. Her elegant legs dangled precariously, untouched by the ground. It was complemented by her somewhat bent elbows, which balanced her peering of the ongoing discussion outside, and her delicate forelegs which softly fluttered up and down.Bookmark here

At that moment, Miyori noticed Mikuta's gaze and jumped down on her feet, approaching her.Bookmark here

With the same pose of her hands behind her back the day prior, she swung her chest forward without hesitation.Bookmark here

“Hey hey. You don’t have a passport, do you?”Bookmark here

“Oh uh, I don’t think so?”Bookmark here

“Oh boy...”Bookmark here

She exaggerated a woeful visage and lightly shook her head, her auburn curls bouncing up and down.Bookmark here

The old man poked his head inside the wagon, his sudden exposure of a scarred face and blinded left eye scaring Mikuta. She almost jumped back a bit at this never seen before face.Bookmark here

“Hm. Methinks this is where we’re gonna part ways ‘cause we can’t bring a stranger into the city without a passport of your own.”Bookmark here

Miyori’s face was apologetic. Though, the perverse sparkle in her eyes said something else.Bookmark here

“Sooo yeah, our entry into the city is going to be voided if you were to tag along without a passport. Sorry!”Bookmark here

Mikuta, however, was understanding. No matter how gilded that guise might’ve been over the various layers of irony or otherwise, the one thing she knew for certain was that she was going to be alone from this moment on.Bookmark here

It is what it is I guess.Bookmark here

“No worries. On the contrary, thanks for bringing me here.”Bookmark here

She took a pause, before finding the words to properly express a convenient solution for both parties.Bookmark here

“I think I can handle it from here.”Bookmark here

She started to climb down from behind the wagon in hopelessness.Bookmark here

“Wait, before you go, take this.”Bookmark here

Miyori struggled to drag a heavy box from the front, straining with the groans of someone unbecoming of her; a combination of a goat's yelp and a cat's cry. In all of her unladylikeness, she persevered until she soon panted out of breath.Bookmark here

Mikuta was amazed. She thought that Miyori's conduct at the moment was hilarious and very unbecoming, to say the least.Bookmark here

Wheezing and flushed, Miyori was on her knees, her exhausted body low on the wagon floor.Bookmark here

“Do… You… Think… You can help me… Unload this?”Bookmark here

Obliging, the two girls easily lifted the somewhat heavy wooden case with beautiful engravings of a broken sun, promptly plopping it onto the cold, morning ground.Bookmark here

“Even a girls gotta protect herself somehow in the city.”Bookmark here

She winked with a grin plastered on her face. Maybe it was at their achievement of unloading the case, or perhaps it was from her passing up the possession of the case and whatever object lay in there.Bookmark here

“It’s yours now to keep.”Bookmark here

Yet, in the passing moments of a strange heartache, Mikuta could've sworn she saw a familiar sight.Bookmark here

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As the wagon departed, Mikuta waved her arm in the air without much expectation. It was nothing more than an empty obligation for her decent treatment during the journey, wishing farewell to a being most likely never to meet again.Bookmark here

Maybe she looked like an idiot, stranded in some unknown place that seemed to disregard her very existence; where cruise boats simply pass by to gawk at her insignificance in the world. The sun probably only shines for the people around her; they probably wouldn't shine for her had they been given the chance to. Who knew, really, except herself?Bookmark here

This uncalled pessimism ired her greatly, however. She wondered what her face looked like at the moment.Bookmark here

Looking up at her tired arm, she saw how small her hands looked in comparison to the peerless, smoky sky.Bookmark here

If only it was in reach.Bookmark here

In the distance, she saw a puny Miyori poke her head out from behind the wagon, her hand also flapping frantically in response.Bookmark here

“Don’t forget to take care of yourself and whatever's in that case!”Bookmark here

Her voice became more distant as the wagon took off at full speed, past the great stone bridge and into the iron maws that served as a gate beyond.Bookmark here

Those empty and definitely ulterior words, however, gave Mikuta a sense of happiness.Bookmark here

Under the grey, unquestioning sky, Mikuta wondered if they would ever meet each other again.Bookmark here

Perhaps it would be in the intersections between the alluring yellow sun and its red beach crabs.Bookmark here

Or maybe, beneath the depths of the abyssal blue.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.