Train in the Clouds
Noslepums was a town, located in the eastern part of the kingdom of Nuvoland near the Hills of Angels, so called because, about 600 years earlier, an angelic figure had appeared and, according to legend, had prayed for the prosperity of the future city. In various street corners, scrolls of a particular type of paper were hung: these parchments told the story from different points of view, namely that of a paralyzed old man, a young woman and her father. They were the only witnesses to ever exist.
If I had to be more precise, the whole name of the place was Hills of the Weeping Angel and the story, over the years, had been a bit misrepresented. Originally, the harmonious silhouette of the winged had been represented a woman with a sweet and young face, with long wavy blond hair. The woman had tears in her eyes and she wouldn't stop crying as she invoked the High Spirits of the Skies. Over the years, some started claiming that she was actually a male figure, others that, instead of crying, she smiled and crossed her arms.
No one really knew if those scrolls were the oldest or had been replaced. But the inhabitants didn't care much: they just lived in their blissful ignorance, each with their own ideas about what had happened.
I came to know all this thanks to the explanations given by my companion of noble blood and the owner of a shop in the center, right in front of a splendid fountain, adorned with precious stones and representing a winged creature with hooves in place of the feet.
"Her name is Kalutri," explained the owner woman, "she is the symbol of this city. It is said that, once upon a time, she led children who died in childbirth and dead mothers on the hills, and then she guided them to Heaven, or so you humans call it. "
I was amazed by the appearance of the place as soon as I got off the train. I had been given special equipment to put under the soles of my shoes. This object had a strange symbol with wings and I felt very light as I walked on the surface of the clouds. Then, with Mivrea, I had walked around the wide streets, the squares full of statuettes and the bluish buildings. Some of the latter had white staircases on the sides, others were covered with intricate climbing plants.
Later, the princess and I had come across the shop, with a sign in front of it that said 'SALE SNACKS OF THE PLACE AT LOW PRICE'. It was Mivrea who immediately wanted to enter, lover of food as she was.
The shop inside was, to say the least, amazing: foods of all kinds were arranged on shelves on the light-colored walls while some small, pretty white tables were near a large mirror, which took up the whole side wall. Several lianas, full of fragrant white flowers, nestled behind and around the counter and accommodated some rather bizarre animals. These animals resembled baby sloths but they had clearer hair and moved as fast as monkeys.
"Those are the Yalkovs." The white-haired woman had said when she noticed that I kept observing them, "They are a nearly extinct species because they are highly sought after by hunters, obsessed by their fur and fangs. I keep them sheltered here, poor animals."
"Human, it doesn't matter, you should look at what I just bought! You really have to taste this." The princess interrupted, with a large cloth in her hand.
"Mivrea-san, of course you only think about food." I said, exasperated.
So, we sat down at one of the tables. Mivrea pulled out of the oval-shaped cloth a large loaf that, to the touch, was as soft as a pillow filled with feathers. The dough melted quickly in my mouth and I felt delighted by that sensation. "It almost looks like a cloud." I said aloud.
"This human is really different from the one that visited many years ago." A hoarse, tired voice said. It was the voice of an old woman, who had suddenly appeared from a door almost covered with vines.
At that statement, which reminded me of my grandfather, my face changed and Mivrea pinched my arm. "Mivrea-san!"
"Shut up and tell me what's wrong with you. Seeing you with that face irritates me." she said solemnly as she bit into her soft snack.
"It's just… I found out that my grandfather wasn't the respectful person I thought. Did you know they call him a 'traitor thief'?" I asked with downcast eyes.
"I've heard about it from my father a few times but I didn't think he was your grandfather. Surely, what he did has destroyed many people's trust in mankind." She answered after the last bite.
"You see," she continued, "the first Human who came here was respectful and respectable, generous, strong. Nobody expected anything like that."
I fell silent and resumed eating, when Mivrea got up and, from a pocket hidden under the fold of her dress, she grabbed three large pure gold coins. "I'd like another one of those things!"
"Oh no no, Your Highness, that sum is too much for a Panchok! Oh, Mom, look at how much money there." The woman told her to stop, but Mivrea did not want to listen and, then, she requested ten of those sweets. The old woman also widened her eyes in shock.
At that moment, a boy entered the shop: he was wearing a big cap that covered his face and a striped jacket, on which was resting a being similar to a parrot.
'Of course that looks really weird.' I thought as I wiped the white powder from the Panchok off my face. By now I was starting to get used to weird people.
In no time, almost automatically, the stranger made the princess fall on the ground and, as her coins slipped out of her hands, he grabbed them and ran away, his animal croaking.
"A thief! A thief!" The woman screamed and I promptly jumped to my feet.
"Mivrea-san, you wait for me here. I have to catch that rascal!" I exclaimed and helped her up. Then I ran as fast as I could out of the shop. The people in the large square watched the scene, paralyzed.
"Someone call the police!" I screamed as I followed the thief. Those present made confused faces and, then, I told myself that it was not worth it and that I had to do it all by myself. I ran until the stranger jumped on a wheelless scooter, which seemed to be floating in the air.
"Damn it!" I cursed as the other darted away. Then I looked around and saw that a similar model was parked in front of a restaurant with a large terrace. Under the gaze of those present, I quickly climbed into one of those flying machines and flew away, fast as light.
"Oi, that guy stole my Motorblast! Guards, guards!" a man got up and began to whistle.
"Idiots, he is the thief!" I retorted as I sped by.
'Luckily this thing could be handled even by a child.' I thought.
"Space, space! Second rank guards in action." Uniformed individuals, armed with large shovels, appeared from around a corner. One of them (that is, the one who had shouted) had thick hair and a half-unbuttoned jacket, which showed even more thick hair on his pectorals.
"I'm not the thief! How the hell does this thing stop?!" I screamed as I searched for the brake in vain. I then pressed a button on the handlebars, which accelerated the vehicle even more.
I struggled not to fall but, after battling the speed, I found myself face to face with the thief and jumped dangerously off the Motorblast. We both fell to the ground and tumbled into a half-hidden street. The animal, meanwhile, flew away from the owner's shoulder and then hit a guard's shovel.
I found myself on top of that guy. The stranger made an innocent face at me, but I told him not to try to move.
A few seconds later, the special squads arrived in their flying vehicles and their leader took us by the clothes, with almost superhuman strength.
"Now who's the thief here huh?" The man said in a shrill voice. "You have nothing to do but disturb the quiet of the city? You should be ashamed!"
"It is he who should be ashamed." I answered through gritted teeth, "He stole coins from a member of the royal family!"
"Oh yeah? We'll see this." The group of uniformed men checked everywhere in our clothes. In a jacket pocket of the stranger with the parrot they found the gold coins, while I was forced to hand them the phone.
"What the hell is this thing?" The man asked. "You're not from here, are you? With those eyes it's impossible for you to come from here."
"No, I'm from the human world, sir. And that's a phone. Please give it back to me, as it took me three months' pocket money to buy it."
"We will only give it back when we make sure it is not a dangerous item." The guard said. Then we were both taken to the local police station, called 'Noslepums City Second Degree Guards Headquarters'. But the name was too long so I just listened to the words 'headquarters'.
'Who knows what Mivrea-san will think now.' was my last thought.