Chapter 0:


The Wind Calls the Flowers

The wind whistled, banging against the window. Dust was being kicked into the air and viscous strikes were being traded back and forth. Each of which being returned with a parry, or a dodge. None of the powerful strikes were landing, it had simply become a battle of attrition. When it came to stamina, I wasn't winning.

“Come on Celestia! You better pick up the pace or else I’m gonna win!” My dad mocked, trying to anger me into advancing on him.

Damn! It’s not fair for a novice to go up against a retired adventurer and hunter. I don’t even have much left in the tank. I’ve got to think of a way out of this. I don’t want to lose! There’s no way I can lose. At best I only have a few more hits and dodges left in me. I don’t have too many advantages, so what can I do to make use of the ones I do have? Ah! That’s it!

“If you don’t charge me, then I’ll charge you!” My father called aloud as he rushed towards me.

Perfect! As he was charging me, I decided to also start charging him so I could meet him in the middle. As we approached each other, he began readying his wooden sword while I was still in a sprinting motion. With a great big swing, he brought the sword downward, a perfect vertical strike.

I bounce, shifting leftwards and landing on my left foot. This wasn’t enough to avoid the weapon, though. Thinking quickly, I used the force of the jump and carried it in the other direction, going much further this time and landing on my right foot. This caused his great strike to miss completely, instead making contact with the ground.

In his momentary confusion and recovery from hitting the ground, I bounced off my right foot, propelling myself towards him. Unable to block or dodge, I make contact with the side of his torso. This hit was the deciding hit and had earned me the win in our little sparring match we were having.

“Ow, ow, ow!” He spoke aloud.

“Oh, I’m sorry!” I apologized to him.

“No, don't be. That was great. What was that, though?”

“I just used the motion I was in to adjust my speed so I could get around your strike and that was fast enough to land a hit. After all, if we went any longer, I would have lost.”

“What? I’m surprised that you thought of that so quickly.”

“Well of course! I am the greatest.” I responded, slightly flushed.

“Haha. Hey, I’ve been thinking about this idea for a while. But if you want to do it, we’ll need to get your mom on board as well.”

“What is it?”

“Would you like to go on a little trip?”

“I would love to!”

“Alright then. After I return from the village hunt, we’ll go. As soon as your mother agrees, that is.”

“This is gonna be great! Don’t worry dad. If today is any sign, I’ll be protecting both you and mom on our trip.” I spoke, standing taller than before.

“Hahaha! Alright, I’m counting on you then.” He replied while laughing heartily.

Since it was starting to get late, and we were both pretty tired, we decided to go inside to have dinner. We also attempted to figure out how we would convince mom about this trip. Hopefully it wouldn’t be too difficult to do. After all, a family trip is a great time for bonding. I hope that should be enough to convince her.

I took a sip of the hot creamy soup in front of me. Only after did I realize how hungry I actually was. Before taking the sip of the delicacy, I thought I could go the whole year without eating. I quickly scarfed down the soup at this realization. While I was doing this, my dad was trying to convince her to go on the trip. It took a while, but by the time I was bringing my bowl to the sink, it seemed she had agreed to the idea.

Yes! It’s been so long since we last went on a trip. This time I might even be able to show off my amazing skills with the sword. I’ll protect all of us and get a lot of praise as well. It’s a win-win. This trip is gonna be amazing. Hopefully dad comes back quickly from the hunt. The faster he does, the faster we can leave.

“Haaaaaaaa.” I let out a great yawn, even getting my family's attention. “Ah, I’m gonna go to bed. Goodnight!”

“Goodnight dear.” Both of them repeated to me simultaneously.

I passed out the moment I reached the bed, not realizing just how quickly it had been. In what felt like seconds, my eyes opened reluctantly, only to see the sun. It was morning already. It felt like I barely slept. If I sleep in too late I’m gonna get in trouble, so I better get up quickly. By now, dad should have left for the hunt. That means there’s absolutely nothing for me to do for the next few days.

I wearily got out of bed and began to get ready. There wasn’t much fun to be had with such a mundane process. There was no point in getting greatly dressed up either, as there was nothing important to do today. As I approached the dining table, I sat quietly and ate my lunch, not seeing my mom. Maybe she went out to get some vegetables for the next day. I wish she would’ve told me. Then I’d actually have something to do today.

I finished my boring breakfast of just bread. As I placed the plate in the sink, I heard the distinct banging of wood against wood. I could identify this sound anywhere, considering my dad and I were always practicing swordplay when he was home.

Feeling the urge to investigate, I quietly tiptoed over to the window, almost as if I was a predator trying to catch its prey. I reached the window and tried to peer out of it, but was blinded for all my efforts. The sun casted its rays into my eyes, almost as if it was onto my plan. I reeled back and rubbed my eyes, trying to fix them from all the light they had just taken in.

After I had finally finished, I attempted looking out the window again. This time I made a shield for my eyes with my hands. The shield worked effectively, blocking out the disturbing light of the sun. I could finally see and confirm what I wanted. It would seem a couple of kids were fighting with swords outside. Confirming my suspicion, I backed away from the window, pumping my fist in excitement that I had gotten it right.

Well, I can just spend the rest of the day in my room. Not like I was going to do anything else anyways. I wouldn’t want to join those kids. I’m far too good for them and would only end up hurting them. After all, I have actual training while they’re just swinging around their swords for fun. I laugh aloud at the thought.

After three days, dad finally arrived home and we got all our luggage ready for the trip. During the time my dad spent hunting and returning home, he rented out a carriage for us. Now we could reach the lake and be home in one day. Being home by the end of the day was mom’s only condition. She said it was so that we didn’t waste precious money on staying in an inn, but that’s also all I remembered from her sea of bickering three days ago.

All of us got into the cart and took off. Seeing the open fields of grass as they waved in the wind, almost as if they were waving at me, caused me to wave back. The sky was clear and the clouds looked so fluffy I thought sheep had started learning how to fly. Obviously they hadn’t, I know better than to try and believe in a fairytale like magic. But still, the thought felt awfully refreshing to have.

After a few hours, we arrived at the forest, just as my bottom was starting to hurt. The discomfort caused me to start squirming and readjusting my sitting position, hoping it would fix the issue. Seeing the discomfort, my dad offered to let me sit in his lap which I denied, acting as though I was perfectly fine. This only caused him to let out a small chuckle.

The foliage of the trees in the forest blocked out a majority of the sun, making it darker but also cooler. Looking around, I could see tree roots visible on the surface rather than being hidden underground. I could see different types of animals as well. Some I had already learned about, but some were completely unique. This one creature stood on two legs but had a huge shell on its back. Its skin was grey and scaly, but its shell was the same shade of green as the grass it was standing on. It stood completely still in a clearing in the forest, staring at the sun overhead.

Thirty minutes passed before we reached the lake, but we were blocked by a mosquitwo on the road. The insects were as large as pigs, but they would suck blood from humans, sometimes even killing them from all the blood they took. As the carriage came to a stop, I quickly grabbed one of the spare swords we had sitting in the cart and rushed the mosquitwo. I brought the steel up over my head before bringing it down with a forward step, slicing the beast in half before it had a chance to react.

“Wha-” My mom was about to scold me, but seeing my feat changed her tone. “Well done!”

The praise caused me to turn a slight shade of red. Finally we reached the lake. The water spanned so far it seemed more like the oceans I had read about than a lake. The wind blew, blowing a light hint of moisture onto me. I quickly jump back at the shock of cold water touching me out of nowhere.

“Relax. It’s just slight drops from the lake. Doesn’t it feel good after the sun was cooking us?” My father asked, trying to calm me down.

“Yeah, you’re right!” I responded.

All of us sat next to the lake and began eating a meal. We enjoyed the beautiful sight of the lake, talked about my amazing heroism, and spent time telling jokes and laughing. We had begun to load the carriage as the sun began to set, ready to make the trek home. We entered the forest again, this time it being much darker than it had before. There wasn’t even enough light for us to peer through the foliage.

To remedy this issue, my father began to light a torch. The horse had been going a little slower than they had when we were initially going through the forest, most likely to be careful in case they tripped on one of the exposed roots of the forest floor. As we approached the end of the forest, a rustling started coming from the bushes around us. Hearing it, my dad stopped the cart immediately.

“Haha. You’re smart to have stopped so quickly.” A crude man came from the bushes and started speaking.

“Well I am pretty good at this.” My father responded, dismounting from the front of the carriage.

As he dismounted, more people appeared from the bushes, dressed similarly to the man.

“Well since you’re pretty good at this, I think you know the deal. Give us all your money and the women, and we may let you go.” As the man spoke, all of the strangers pulled knives, with some of them having crossbows.

I had began shaking. Everything that was happening around me I only read of in fairytales. I was also worried that my father would lose. I tried to grab the spare sword in the cart I had used to kill the previous insect, but before I could reach it, one of the women in the man’s group raised a sword to my throat and gestured for me not to try it.

Seeing this, my father quickly pulled his sword and before they could even realize what was happening, he had already disarmed the woman holding the sword to my throat. The bandits went into a fit of anger and started charging my father. As quickly as they burst into rage, however, he had taken them out, a seemingly effortless task for him. Amazed by the sight, I crawled in the cart to get closer towards where he was taking out the last of the bandits.

“Stop Celestia!” My mother whispered in a pressed tone.

Since it was pretty quiet however, I ended up ignoring it. As I approached, I tried to stand to congratulate him. But as I stood, I realized one of the bandits on the ground was still awake and had taken aim with their crossbow at me. By the time I noticed, it was already too late and the bolt had been sent flying towards me. I couldn’t react fast enough, settling for only closing my eyes in anticipation.

Able to still feel around me, I realized I had not been killed. But when I opened my eyes to check, I could see the bolt right in front of my eyes, only approximately three centimeters away from me. But I could also see it was stopped by something. Whatever it was stopped in was fleshy and bleeding. As I fell backwards, I realized the bolt had gone through my fathers arm and was lodged in. He had saved me, with barely any time. I saw as he killed the bandit who had gone for the shot, making sure not to make the same mistake as last time.

“I’m sorry Celestia. That must have been so scary for you.” He spoke as he was coming back to the carriage.

“I’m sorry!” I responded, worried about his arm.

“Don’t worry. Something like this’ll heal. I’ll be fine.”

As he wrapped it with some of the bandages we had brought along, there was only one thing I could think of at that moment and the whole way home. I wished I could do something to help him.