Day two, or lux two in this world’s word, arrived after an uncomfortable night sleeping in an unfamiliar bed. You know what, I will stick to calling days and nights as they are in my world and not intentionally correct them into this world’s speak.
As an early bird, I got the opportunity to see the moment when night turns into day.
There is no “sun” that would “rise from the east”. Instead, what I saw was the celestial object that is supposed to be this world’s sun gradually brightening up, it itself remained at a stationary spot similar to how our sun would be when it is noon.
Speaking of time, I took a gander at my pocket watch and discovered that the exact moment when night turns into day is 07:00.
Just a thought, since this world’s sun does not move, the residents here would not be able to tell time through sundials.
Come breakfast and once again, I consumed it without giving it a second thought, taste or otherwise. Jyn and I still opted to help out with at least washing the dishes but Mrs Granhart politely rejected us, again.
I didn’t have the chance yesterday but now, I was embarking on a tour around the place where the Granharts lived. Starting with the room I was resting in, I only realized it belonged to Eliss when she started to get too comfortable with the bed last night. Frankly, her disastrous sleep posture was one of the main reasons why I had limited sleep last night.
Jyn lived in a room opposite of ours while Mrs Granhart slept alone in her room on the same level as the three of us. Anna was the only one to reside on the first floor, presumably so she could work more efficiently, closer to the kitchen and all.
It was only after I had walked out of the dining room that I found out about the Granhart family trade: Haircutting. At a place where a living room is supposed to be is instead occupied by barber chairs and other items common in a barbershop. No razors or hairdryers though since this is still a Fantasy world.
The Granhart barbershop has yet to open so I refrained from going out via the main entrance. Instead, I went out via the backdoor that is in the kitchen.
There, I saw Anna tending to the morning glories in the backyard. She must have been a rather skilled gardener as the morning glories covered the entire wall of the two-storey house. Jyn was there too, a spectator just like me.
Jyn: [How goes the lux glory?]
Anna: [***, ********.]
It just dawned on me that not only is the word “lux” synonymous with “day”, “mornings” and the “sun”, it is also a unit of measurement for time denoting the passing of one lux-umbra cycle i.e. a day and the name of the God of legend that some, if not most of the residents of this world revered. At least that was what I had deduced from what Jyn was saying yesterday.
Jyn: [Ah, Yang. Pleasant seeing you here.]
The two of them noticed me and began to include me in their conversation.
Jyn: [I was suggesting a tour around the city of Tawouest with Ms Anna just a moment ago. Since it is our first time here, it might do us a great favour to get to know this place better.]
Anna nodded in agreement, before leaving for the kitchen.
Jyn: [Ms Anna is kind enough to concur with the plan, but she said she would have to receive permission from Mrs Granhart before she could proceed.]
Yang: [Anna seemed rather busy though, helping to set up the shop and all. Why not ask Eliss? She looked free enough.]
Speaking of Eliss, she made her way over to the backyard and joined our conversation.
Eliss: [*******~ ******~]
Jyn: [Well, when I suggested that to Ms Anna, she merely smiled.]
Jyn whispered to me ominously at a volume that Eliss could not hear.
Just then, Anna poked her head out of the door and gave a thumbs-up. It seems like she was given permission to come with. Seeing that, we made our way for the main entrance. Jyn went and brought their hooded cloak to come along which made them seemed like a true wandering traveller.
Along the way, we passed by Mrs Granhart in the barber room. By then, she had already set up the shop and was ready to open for business.
Before we leave, she shouted something over to us which got Eliss rather flustered and Jyn chuckling. Anna’s facial expressions did not change but I think her footsteps gotten ever so slightly lighter than before.
It felt rather unfair, like I was the only one left out of the joke but that is what being in another world with a different language and culture would be like
With that, we began to make our way onto the main streets.
On our way there, Anna began to adopt the role of a professional tour guide, showing and explaining the places as we go. In fact, she began about as soon as we stepped out of the Granhart Barber Shop.
Anna: [**, ****************. *********************.]
She said while whipping out a quill and paper and drew a semicircle on it. She marked an “x” in the middle of the semicircle, most likely denoting where we are right now.
Anna: [***, ****, ********. *********************.]
She continued, pointing to a white building taller than the rest around it, so much so that it could be clearly seen from where we were. Judging by its shape, I have a hunch that that is a church or a place of religious gathering at the very least.
Jyn: [Ah, thank you for your offer, Ms Anna. We could make our way to the Church of Lux after our tour around the Sagar Biquadrant. I had already changed the dressings for my ears and my brother so rest assured, we would be alright for times to come.]
It would appear that Anna was showing Jyn the Church of Lux. That was also the first time I noticed that Jyn’s ears were wounded. It was less of “wound dressings” around the ears and more like bandage cloth stuff into the ears to stop things from flowing out or going in.
Was this also the first time I heard about their brother?
And that the both of them suffered injuries?
Maybe they did talk about it yesterday, just that I wasn’t paying enough attention. In my defence, I already had enough on my plate adapting to this other world with starless skies and foreign languages. This no doubt adds on another layer of mystery surrounding the character know as “Jyn”. Speaking of foreign language…
Yang: [Sagar Biquadrant. That is new. Mind explaining that a little?]
So I asked Jyn. In response, they took the map that Anna was beginning to draft and traced the outline of the semicircle.
A Biquadrant…two quadrants… ah, a semicircle. It would appear that the city is divided into two semicircles and the one we are in is called the “Sagar Biquadrant”.
I took over the paper and completed the circle from the semicircle.
Jyn: [Ah, you added in the Matha Biquadrant. That place is off-limits to the majority of us living in Sagar Biquadrant right now. If you are curious, you could ask about it from Eliss’s big brother when he does come back from the Matha Biquadrant.]
That explained the “Biquadrant” part, but…
Yang: [Why “Sagar” and “Matha”? Are they like famous generals who died or important Aristocrats?]
Upon hearing my question, Jyn looked at me with a rather dumbfounded look.
Jyn: [… “Sagar” and “Matha” as in “Mount Sagar” and “Mount Matha”, also known as the World Curtains. Have you never heard about them? Are you even from this world?]
Jyn answered as if what I had asked is common sense that everyone would know even without explicitly stated. Well, that is a given, I am from Earth, solar system of the Milky Way Galaxy, I highly doubt this world lies in any of the greater celestial bodies I just stated.
This does present an interesting learning point though: I should not be too eager to ask questions here since my lack of common sense may draw unwanted suspicions on me as an other-worlder.
Jyn: [Well, anyways, Mount Sagar and Matha are mountains that you cannot miss. It is easier to show you…]
They said, glossing over the questions they had just asked from me and pointed to a place. Where they pointed was a mountain, but not just any mountain, it was Mount Sagar.
Standing taller than the clouds, it was so tall that there were no signs of its elevation decreasing even at the point where clouds were touching it. However, the most impressive part was not its height, but the vast expanse of the mountain that stretches off to the sides like continuous and unending ridges, seemingly to the point of infinity. In summary, the term “World Curtain” was no exaggeration, Mount Sagar is like a curtain or an insurmountable wall that completely covered the world on one side from whatever that lies beyond.
Standing before something like Mount Sagar that seemed bigger than life itself would more often than not make one feel insignificant to the inner workings of the universe but Jyn pointed their finger in the complete opposite direction before I could fully drown in its majesty.
Where they pointed was Mount Matha. Though it seemed to be significantly further away from us than Mount Sagar, one characteristic remained the same: Both continue to stretch to the top and the sides even past the point where the eyes could no longer see. It goes to show about the sheer magnitude of Mount Matha’s size that it remained visible even at a significant distance.
Jyn: [The Sagar Biquadrant is named after Mount Sagar since it is the biquadrant closer to it. The same goes for Matha Biquadrant and Mount Matha. I hope that clears up your question, Yang.]
Jyn answered the question that I had long since forgotten. It no longer matters against the existence of the World Curtains. Wait, hang on. Wouldn’t the A. Records be equally big or even bigger when observed from outside?
I immediately repressed the thought that just came so as to not recall the place that caused me great pain. Time for a quick change in topic:
Yang: [Had anyone ever tried to climb the World Curtains?]
I said change the topic, not continue with the topic. So I say but I remain ever so fascinated about these mega monuments of nature.
Jyn: [Oh I don’t think anyone is mad enough to try to climb Mount Sagar and Matha with the aim of reaching their tops. It gets exceedingly colder the higher you go to the point that even your breath would freeze into solid ice. As far as I know, no human or Inhuman had ever reached the top.]
There it was, Jyn’s words rang through like a challenge. An impossible challenge that seemed to mock the fools that dared to attempt the impossible. Yet I could not shake the newfound desire off. Having stared down the face of impossibility that was the A. Records and broke through, I firmly believed that nothing of this world or any world could be called an obstacle.
Judging from Eliss’s eyes that also glowed with the intensity of the sun, no matter the thought process that was going through in her mind, I could tell that we were thinking the same thing.
Yang: [I want to reach the top!]
Jyn: [Let’s not try to reach the top!]
Simultaneously, all three of us blurted out what was on our minds. I was more than a hundred per cent sure that Eliss and I were on the same page but it looks like Jyn wants to be the wet blanket.
Yang: [Well, we would still drag you along.]
Yang: [You could be our guide, speaking as if you’ve had a first-hand experience climbing the World Curtains before.]
Eliss: [*****, **********~]
Though Eliss and I had no way of knowing what the other was saying, it felt as if we were finishing each other’s sentence. I could tell that Jyn was surprised too.
Jyn: [Yang, are you sure you really don’t know what we are saying? You and Eliss were pretty synchronized right jus then…]
Eliss and I looked at each other and merely smiled.
Eliss: [*********, ****!~]
She said, looking over at the four of us. Wait, there are four of us here? There’s me, Eliss, Jyn and…
Gah. I totally forgot about our Elf maid tour guide Anna, who is now walking a few steps in front rather forlornly. I decided to grab her hand and pull her into our circle of discussion.
Yang: [Yeah, let’s all go and see what’s on the top of Mount Sagar, no, the World Curtains, all four of us!]
After a rather long talk getting to know about the World Curtains, we finally stopped for our first stop in the Tawouest City tour.
In front of us is the entrance to a drawbridge overlooking a large river that bisected the city right in the middle, or at least that was what Anna described with the map she was drawing. This place is on the edge of the Sagar Biquadrant with the place on the other side of the drawbridge most likely being the Matha Biquadrant.
I say “most likely” since the walls along the entrance to the Matha Quadrant were so tall that they revealed nothing of what lies beyond those walls, like bastions that had been protecting the people in the Sagar Biquadrant for a thousand years and would continue to do so for the next thousand or so.
We only looked at the entrance from afar since it seemed to be guarded on both sides with guards in heavy armour so it was to our best interests that we do not go too close, so said Anna as she began to lead us to our next few destinations which just so happen to be along the river too.
On our way there, I began to notice that those guards could have been the only instance that I saw men ever since I am in Tawouest. Even that is being called to question since they all donned heavy armour that did not really shed light on their gender…
In the short time we were walking, we barely see other people walking around. Among those few who do, they are all women or young girls that are roughly the same age as me or above. Women like Mrs Granhart that are middle-aged or older could be seen frequently managing stores or shops but not walking around like us.
This reminds me of P*kemon Red and Blue actually. Don’t you feel weird playing that game, walking around the whole region but only coming across a handful of adult males?
We did come across a few Elf maids when we were cutting across the local market place but neither Anna nor them were keen on initiating conversations. She seemed fine talking to Eliss and Jyn though and would dutifully give us a tour of the place so perhaps she was special in that sense?
Before long, we reached our second station which seemed like a huge complex along the river that is cordoned off by wooden fences and is inaccessible to the public less a single main entrance that is currently locked.
I think I could faintly see the shadows of children playing on the field within the complex. That, along with the overall structure of the complex should suggest that this place is a school, I think.
Anna: [*******, ***********. **************************.]
Eliss: [*~ ********!~]
Anna began to explain while Eliss chipped in at the very end. At this point, it is starting to be annoying that I could not understand a word of this world. Of course, I wish to learn but have no way of knowing where to start. From the bottom of my heart, I am thankful for the presence of my Rosetta here. Maybe I should find a time to get them to teach me the language soon…
Jyn: [The Gardina… A place of learning for children, eh…]
It seems like I was right with this place being a school. I guess this explains the lack of children on the streets.
Anna: [*********************, ********, ***********.]
Anna continued, before gesturing for us to make our way for our next stop.
Jyn: [Ms Anna, Ms Eliss, you mentioned being schooled in the Gardina before. How was your experience?]
Jyn asked while we were walking. I could picture Eliss going through school but Anna… I couldn’t see Anna as someone other than a maid from the little interactions over the two days. In fact, she seemed way too mature. I hope that is not a rude thing to say.
Gah, I could feel her staring at me.
Upon hearing the question, Eliss began to talk for a long time. I presume she was sharing her school life. Anna on the other hand remained silent.
Her sharing went on until we reached our third station, the place at the very centre of the city: Castle Tawouest.
With castle walls towering above even houses, there’s little for us to see apart from the few tall castle towers poking out from within. Yet, one thing was sure: This place was the symbol of Tawouest and all of its pride and glory.
Jyn: [Apparently, we commoners rarely get the chance to see the Royal Family. In fact, no one had seen the current king, King Tawouest the 451st… that was what Ms Anna explained.]
I got Jyn to translate what tour guide Anna was saying as much as possible since they were slacking off just now, leaving poor lone me to interpret from their tones responses.
There wasn’t much she could tell us since even Anna knew little of what goes on within the castle walls. However, it is interesting that this is the 451st of the Tawouest to be king.
Suppose each king served merely five years before he died and passed on the crown to his heir, this would mean the Tawouest family alone had been in power of the monarchy for over two thousand years, nearly two millennia!
Yang: [It is also weird that in two thousand years, we don’t see the emergence of technology…]
Once again, I found myself speaking my thoughts out loud. Not like anyone from this world would understand.
Jyn: [Well, I’m not sure of what you meant by “years” but if you are wondering about the lack of technology in Tawouest, I think it had something to do with magic or the overreliance on it. I am a traveller, hence I would know.]
Before I could dwell any further into Jyn’s words, we arrived at our last station, a simple two-storey building that seemed no different from the rest that is directly adjacent to the outer walls of the Sagar Biquadrant.
I only knew after Anna’s explanation and Jyn’s translation that this house is actually the Academy of Magic, the single place where magic circuits from around the city are developed and imprinted.
There’s no doubt an underground complex exists underneath here for all the magic to happen. At least that’s what I think anyway. The only thing Anna was sure of since she isn’t a scholar of magic was that the one in charge of the Academy is someone known as the Grand Sorcerer and there’s no way a single person is responsible for all the development and production of all things magic.
Jyn: [As seen from here, the outer walls are significantly less impressive.]
Jyn began to change the topic to the outer walls beside the Academy. Objectively, these walls would not be considered the worst. In fact, they rose far above most of the buildings in the Sagar Biquadrant, so in terms of protection for the city, they were commendable, to say the least. That is until they compared it to Mount Sagar towering behind those walls.
With the presence of Mount Sagar acting as a natural barrier, the walls around the Sagar Biquadrant were effectively redundant.
Anna: [************. *****, ***.]
Jyn: [Ah, the Matha outer walls are twice as thick, you say? I will keep that in mind. Thank you for guiding us in our tour today, Ms Anna.]
With that, we ended our tour of the city of Tawouest and began to make our way home.
On our way back, we passed by a shopkeeper with a rather forgettable face who was standing outside of her shop trying to attract customers but no one was interested in what she had to offer. Even the four of us walked past her as if she wasn’t even there which made me feel quite bad.
Yang: [What was the shopkeeper selling just now? Maybe we could have helped her…]
Jyn: [It doesn’t matter what you sell here. Any and everything can be created with magic as long as you got the right magic circuit. Just for an example, some dwarves could even create their own metal to craft with.]
By then, we were back at our first station, one of the few drawbridges along the river that connect the two biquadrants.
Jyn finally put down the hood of their hooded cloak to reveal their face, most probably due to the heat. I found myself wondering throughout the tour how they survived wearing something that traps so much heat for the entire day.
I guess that is one of the downsides of being in the real world instead of the mansion, being able to sweat and feel tired. Although, I will choose this over the mansion any day.
Eliss is walking with the same big strides as she was at the beginning of the tour. Notice I did not say “morning” as there was no way of differentiating between morning and afternoon when the brightness of the day remained constant ever since the start of the day.
Somehow, Anna was able to follow along with her without looking any less elegant. That leaves only Jyn and I, two tired non-natives strolling along behind them.
We were about to psych ourselves up to complete the remaining quarter of the journey back to the Granhart Barber Shop before being stopped short by a gruff voice behind us.
Looking back, we saw two of the heavily-armoured guards pointing and shouting something at us. Seeing we had stopped, they began making their way over to us.
I looked to Jyn, hoping to hear their translation but it would appear that they were rooted to the ground, unable to even speak.
Before long, they were already in front of us. The guards were already menacing enough from a distance and even more so when they are just in front of us.
They began to discuss something while visually inspecting the both of us.
It would be really helpful if I know what they are saying.
I tried to convey that across to Jyn via my stares but they were not registering them. The situation felt like we were been hold up by the police for committing a crime we would never do. At least I know I didn’t…
After a short discussion, they seemed to have made up their mind. They swiftly wrapped their arms underneath my armpit and dragged me away towards the Matha entrance.
Struggle? I did. But I was nowhere strong enough to successfully escape their clutches even if my strength doubled.
Jyn on the other hand remained rooted to the ground.
Yang: [JYN! DO SOMETHING!]
They finally snapped back to reality but by then the guards had already brought me past the metal gates that were the Matha entrance.
Jyn: [YANG. I’M SO SORRY! I WILL GO GET ELISS AND ANNA. WE WILL GET YOU OUT.]
That was the last thing I heard before the metal gates close in front of me.