“Hello- is anyone home?” he asked. There was no commotion from the inside. He paused for a few moments, before knocking one more time. Shiro leaned over the porch railings, seeing If anyone was nearby outside. “Hmm, … doesn’t seem like anyone’s home.”
“Then we’ll just have to let ourselves in,” replied Zephyr. “Come, let’s take a look inside. There may be something that will tell us where we are.”
“What? Heck no! That’s breaking and entering!”
“Don’t be a fool. You’re not going to steal anything. We’re here strictly for information. We need to figure out where the other mages are, and tell them what happened.”
“If we get caught, I swear…”
Shiro grabbed the handle of the door and turned it. The door creaked loudly, but moved aside with ease. He walked through into what looked like a living room. A large painting of a king hung on the wall, embellished with an extravagant frame. A couch, sitting in the middle of the room with its back facing the door, was gilded in trim with fancy leather upholstery. Two wing chairs sitting on the left side of this couch were adorned in the same fashion. The center of the room was covered with a massive rug with many unfamiliar patterns, seemingly crafted from another culture than the rest of the furniture.
“Hello? Is anyone here?” Shiro called out. No reply was given.
Shiro walked around the furniture to the center of the room and began to survey. A massive stone fireplace, pillared to the ceiling, roared just beyond the rug against the back wall. The scent of ash wood filled the room in a warm and calming charm. The walls were clad with ornate wood paneling and covered with paintings and plaques in ornate frames. From where the front door was, immediately to the left were stairs leading to the second floor. Passing the stairs was a small three-step staircase leading to the kitchen. Everything seemed extremely antique to him, yet equally expensive.
“Do you think we’ll find what we need here?” Shiro asked, doubting the plan.
“I believe so. Keep your eyes out for a map or any kind of marker,” Zephyr replied.
Shiro’s eyes immediately fell upon the world map framed and hung over the fireplace. He walked over and attempted to study it. Distant clopping of hooves coming closer emerged from the distance. Shiro did not notice, as he was too distracted with the map. His fingers traced the names of cities and towns, looking for something that said ‘You Are Here’. The sound of heeled boots drew close as someone walked up the outside porch, approaching the front door.
“Shiro, be careful. Someone’s here.” Zephyr whispered. The gem pulsed as he spoke.
Just as he heard Zephyr say this, someone began stepping through the front entryway. He turned swiftly. A woman dressed in a dark navy colored woolen jacket emerged from the doorway. A sword of European design swayed at her hip and with her platinum blonde hair tied into a messy bun, she met his gaze. Her turquoise eyes pierced into him like daggers, seemingly to analyze his threat level. He was fascinated by her beauty, as well as terrified. Just as she analyzed him, he analyzed her, noting that the curves of her body were toned with muscle, defined further by the woolen jacket laced tight. A scar painted her left cheek, not even close to taking away from her beauty. A lump appeared in his throat as he swallowed.
“Who are you? Tell me now, or you won’t breathe another second,” she demanded, furrowing her brow and gripping her sword hilt.
“My name is Shiro Fujiyama, and I’m… not sure how I got here…” he said. I’m technically not wrong. He glanced around, now fully aware he was considered a home invader now- regardless of the strange explanation flowing through his head to himself. Her eyebrows rose, as if thinking through his response, before returning to a furrowed stance.
“Bullshit,” she spat, her canine teeth showing with each visceral word. Her eyes, seemingly glowing from the reflection of the fireplace, gave off an even more intense icy glare. She was on guard, pacing around the room slowly, looking him up and down. He turned to meet her, knowing that if he turned his back to her, she may strike. The heels of her leather boots clicked against the oaken flooring.
“I swear! I just opened the door over there looking for help-” Shiro pointed towards the front door.
“Do you think I’m stupid?” she said, unsheathing her blade. The subtle ring of the metal blade exiting the sheath dominated the silence between them. “You’re here to steal again, you lot are always causing trouble! Every time I come back from duty, something is always missing!” Her hands clasped around the hilt. Is she being targeted by thieves? He thought. He breathed out slow, regaining composure.
“I really don’t know where I am,” he exclaimed calmly. “We-” He pondered for a moment. I probably should keep Zephyr a secret for now. “I am not here to steal anything, I promise. I came from the woods nearby and don’t know where I am.” he asked. She stood still for a moment, thinking over what he had just said.
“Do you really not know where you are, or how you got here?” she asked.
“Not a clue,” he said, sighing deeply.
Her face flushed red as she formally apologized to Shiro after he convinced her that he was no home invader, and simply lost. She sat him down on the couch, and she took a wing chair. She explained that they were located in the farthest kingdom to the west, ‘The Larulyian Empire’. She began pointing to the map above the fireplace.
This empire was above the Seaside Trading Company, a group of smaller archipelagos style islands that are the hub of all exotic trading. To the west further, lies the Sea of Straits- a vast ocean seeming with exotic sea life and dangerous sea monsters. Their neighboring kingdom to the east was the Kingdom of Vorash. Vorash is a warring nation, built on a strong fertile farming economy from the past king and an even stronger military, led by King Zeidan.
That’s where he is- our enemy, Shiro thought.
“My name is Adelphia Gaimbert- I’m a town guardsman. I came back to investigate the explosion in the sky that happened yesterday,” she continued. “Many people from the next town over were frightened, thinking a magic user had attacked. Surely you saw it as well, being so close?”
“She’s talking about you, Shiro,” Zephyr snickered.
“I know she’s talking about me-!” Shiro snapped back.
“What did you say? You were the explosion?” Adelphia asked.
“I forgot to mention, only you can hear me- unless I take another form,” Zephyr said.
I wish you would have told me! Now I blurted out like an idiot! Shiro thought, glaring down at his hand.
“Yeah, sorry… That was me.” Shiro said, scratching the back of his head nervously.
“How did you cause that much commotion?”
Before Shiro could answer, his gem illuminated brightly. Wind magic circled his hand once more, like during yesterday’s fall. The wind formed a small sphere in the palm of his hand and then popped. Inside his palm was a small glowing green fairy-like being donned in a small robe, flowing silky hair, and a matching gem on its forehead. It sat down in his palm, and rested its face in its hand. Shiro sat, wide-eyed.
“That would be my doing. I am the wind guardian spirit, Zephyr,” Zephyr said. “The commotion from yesterday was me using most of my magic to bring us back, I apologize.”
“Eh- Spirit? As in, … the wind spirit?!” Adelphia started to panic as she stared at Zephyr’s small body. She flicked her gaze from the little fairy back to Shiro constantly. “Why are you not with your mage? Why are you with this man? Why are you so small? Why-” She had gotten tangled in her own thoughts.
“I will answer the other questions you have later,” Zephyr waved his hand. “My Spirit Keeper has been attacked, and has since passed. We were attacked by Zeidan’s forces on the border.” He paused and gestured to Shiro. “Shiro has been acting as my Spirit Keeper since then. We need to warn the other mages. It’s possible that they will be targeted, like me- I fear he is already after them.”
“Zeidan attacked you?!” her mouth dropped. “We need to go to the capital. This needs to be told to the king, straight away!”
“We will have to move quickly. It has already been a few days since the initial attack, and if he sent people after each of us independently… I fear we are already too late.” Zephyr’s little body stood up. “Let’s go, we have no time to waste.”