That is five luxes too many spent in the Matha doing nothing but training.
But those five luxes were already over.
Now, I will fully indulge myself in the comfort of my humble abode, home to me, my mum, my cutest little sister and our family maid.
Or so I thought.
Here I am, sitting at the dinner table along with two other strangers. Two strangers that are now talking to my cutest little sister as if they are best friends who have known each other for ages.
I have known her ever since she was born yet she would never talk to me like that…
From their appearances alone, I think one of them was mute and the other deaf.
Yet the deaf one would always be ready to respond to anyone’s question even with all the cloth stuffings in her ears and the mute one, though quiet most of the time, would sometimes speak in a tongue foreign to all of us except for the “deaf” one.
The “deaf” one introduced herself as Jyn and the “mute” one as Yang.
What I do not get is why this “Yang” could not speak for himself and had to get a girl to speak for him.
Does he think he is some big shot that is above opening his mouth around us commoners?
I do see those types of men every now and then in Matha and not one of them ended up with a good fate.
As they should, being scums who think they are better than everyone else.
Point is, I do not like this “Yang” fellow one bit.
Especially when my cutest little sister, Eliss is fawning over him like that.
That and their presence in general, which had to displace Anna from her seat on the dinner table, forcing her to have her meal in her room instead.
She may be a maid of Inhuman descent but mother and her were the ones that brought Eliss and I up into who we are this lux. She is close enough to be considered family and it pains me to see her place taken over so easily.
I could understand Jyn’s case with her ear injuries and all. But Yang?
He is even sitting on dad’s…
No, I cannot forgive him.
I will not forgive him.
All this began shortly after I left Matha yesterlux.
As scheduled every fifth lux, a portion of us men of Tawouest would be given a two-lux break in Sagar before returning to Matha to start off another cycle of seven lux all over again.
Normally, only half of us would return and the other half would stand guard in Matha for any threats that the Inhumans might pose but this cycle was different.
In celebration of the Festival of the Lights, all, if not, most men were allowed to return.
I say most as there are some weirdos that refuse to leave even when given rare opportunities like this. One of them being the “Lone Dwarf” who is talented in the arts of smithing.
Given his rare magic of metal synthesis granted to him by luck or by Lux, he could easily turn himself into one of the top weapon and armour smiths in Matha.
Yet the stubborn old dwarf refuses to create anything and instead spend all his time and mana repairing old and used armour.
Even now, as I am walking on the drawbridge exiting the Matha, he is most likely to seclude himself in that old repair shed of his, fixing away at what the “Scavengers” brought him.
I would always drop by that old repair shed to catch a glimpse of his work. It was always hypnotizing and filled me with fascination, even though he never talks. I even doubt he noticed my presence.
Back to leaving Matha: It is and will always be one of the most liberating experiences, to walk out of those metal gates and onto the giant drawbridges, back to Sagar, where our families and loved ones are.
The icing on the cake would be having them waiting at the other end of the drawbridge, making this look more and more like a triumphant return.
Although, I would know better than to bear too high hopes for this kind of things.
Mum would most likely be busy with the barber while Eliss and Anna would be there to help her so I am more than adjusted to walking home on my own…
Hold on… Isn’t that them at the end of the drawbridge I am walking on?
I could tell from mum’s and Eliss’s golden hair that made them stood out from the crowd of family members and loved ones gathered there. There’s Anna too whose dignified aura differentiated herself from the crowd, more so than the pointed ears pointing out of her hair pale as snow.
Oh, I can see Eliss taking off running in this direction!
Has my cutest little sister finally come to miss her big brother who was hard at training in Matha?
Seeing her expertly weave through the crowds of men on the drawbridge, she must be coming to give me a hug!
Don’t worry, all my training in the Matha had prepared me for this exact moment, to be strong enough to receive the embrace of my cutest little sister coming to me in full force!
With my arms outstretched, I waited while shaking with anticipation.
But the embrace that I was eagerly looking forward to never came even as she ran closer and closer.
Instead, she flung herself to a scrawny kid who I barely noticed walking beside me.
Unable to break the momentum of Eliss running at him at full force, the two of them fall onto the drawbridge.
Elyza: [HEY, LISS, ARE YOU…]
Eliss: [YANG! ARE YOU OKAY? ARE YOU HURT ANYWHERE? WERE THEY ROUGH WITH YOU? HOW ARE YOU FEELING NOW?]
The face she was putting on was one rife with worry towards the kid she was sitting on.
It was a face she almost never makes outside of her normal energetic self. The only other time was when dad…
No, that was a face I have sworn to Lux that I will do everything in my power to ensure it shall never come upon her countenance ever again.
So why is she wearing such a concerned expression right now!?
Was it a failure on my part?
No, it was because of this kid. He was the cause of her distress.
Then I will have to…
???: [Stop blocking the way, wouldya?]
Some of the men were getting annoyed that their path back home was blocked by Eliss and some kid, who had yet to get up from their fallen position.
Blocking the way? I will show you blocking the way.
Before I could pull out my sword from its scabbard, a stranger I have never seen before put herself between Eliss and the growing group of men they were blocking.
???: [Our most sincere apologies, gentlemen of Tawouest. My friends here were simply too excited to see each other after so long. I will see to it that we leave immediately. Please, enjoy your rest in the Sagar Biquadrant and the upcoming Festival of the Lights!]
Leaving those words behind, she quickly pulled Eliss and the kid up and swiftly removed themselves from the scene.
???: [Ah, you too, Mr Elyza. Mrs Granhart and Ms Anna are waiting for you. Please follow me.]
So she said while dragging those two behind her.
Confused, I slowly retracted my hand from the hilt of my sword and followed after them.
The stranger leading us was a face I have never seen before, not just back at home, but throughout my whole life in Tawouest. Her face may be mostly obscured by the hooded cloak she was wearing but I knew for a fact that she was someone unfamiliar.
That is strange considering most of the people in Tawouest know almost everyone else in the city.
On our way back to mum and Anna, Eliss managed to release herself from the stranger’s grip and walked alongside the kid she called “Yang”.
From his name alone, I could tell that he wasn’t from around here which was a strange observation of its own.
Tawouest rarely receives anyone from outside. Having done outer wall sentry duties before, I have never seen a single foreign soul passing through the gates of the Matha Biquadrant from outside the city.
Just who are these people?
We met up with mum and Anna before my mind could arrive at a proper answer.
Mum was concerned for Yang too just like how she would when either Eliss and I grew sick.
Anna on the other hand donned the same old expression as ever, one devoid of emotions and zeal.
Mrs Granhart: [A warm welcome back to you too, Elyza. How was your time in Matha?]
As we began to make our way back home, mum struck up a conversation with me like she always would whenever I came back home.
Elyza: [Nothing noteworthy. I am looking forward to sleep in the comforts of my bed and the upcoming Festival of the Lights, though.]
Mrs Granhart: [About that…]
She went to explain how she gave my room to the stranger along with her injured brother, both victims of an Inhuman attack.
Elyza: [Well if you put it like that, there’s no way I could chase her out…]
Stranger: [Ah, Mr Elyza, I caught up to you. I would like to express my utmost gratitude for allowing my brother and I to temporarily reside in your room. We will be leaving as soon as we return and will ensure that your room is of…]
Elyza: [No no, you are more than welcome to stay in my room. I only use it for two out of the seven luxes so the room might be more than happy to receive occupants than to gather dust every lux.]
Mrs Granhart: [But nothing, Jyn. You barely rested in the past few luxes, running yourself ragged to find Yang. Not to mention, you had not even get yourself healed from the Church of Lux.]
So her name is Jyn.
Jyn: [It is quite alright…]
Elyza: [No, it isn’t Ms Jyn. Any injuries inflicted by the Inhumans must be treated as soon as possible. You might never know what their attacks might do to your body, physical or otherwise.]
Having spent more than three luxus with all manners of men, fighting innumerable amount of the Inhuman horde, that is but one of the many things I have picked up when dealing with anything Inhuman.
I think I heard a snicker coming from the direction of Anna while Eliss simply burst out laughing.
Did I say something funny?
Jyn: [Then I shall take you up on your kind offers. Once again, on behalf of my brother and I, thank you all for all the help you have provided us.]
Elyza: [Though it would be good if that brother of yours could be as grateful as you.]
I shot a glance at Yang who was walking alongside Eliss. No matter how many questions she bombarded him with, his eyes were firmly affixed to the front, staring intently past the dense crowd and at absolutely nothing.
Those eyes were more than common in new recruits of Matha when they first come to realize the consequence of war.
Although, his were ever so slightly different, with just the tiniest hint of fight left in him.
Jyn: [Do you perhaps refer to Yang? He is not my brother in question. My brother is currently resting in your room back in the Granharts barbershop. Yang happens to be someone Ms Eliss found injured in the forests at the foot of Mount Sagar. She and Anna had been taking care of him ever since before he was abducted by the guards into the Matha Biquadrant just a few luxes ago.]
Hold on. If my room is occupied by Jyn and her brother, where does this “Yang” rest?
I came up with four possible options:
1. In mum’s room,
2. In Anna’s room,
3. In the dining room and
I refuse to believe in the possibility of the fourth option hence it would not even be considered.
As I was thinking about useless junk, no, information of the utmost importance, we arrived at our small two-storey house.
Jyn: [How goes the Lux glory?]
Jyn asked while removing her hood. A further inspection of her revealed that she is not any more extraordinary than any other girl on the streets of Sagar.
Age-wise, she doesn’t seem to be any older or younger than Eliss, and at that matter, Yang too, at around 15 luxus which is three luxus younger than me. Though unlike them, she exudes an air of reliability similar to Anna.
Elyza: [Forever and ever, like Lux in the sky and Umbra’s abyss. You know, I also helped out Anna with growing them.]
I replied while holding one of the purple flowers of the Lux glory in my hand. It had grown large enough to cover most of the sides of the house, providing a unique scenery to our little home.
Jyn did not dwell any further. Instead, she seemed to be deep in thought.
With that, I found myself back home for the first time after a long five-lux spent in Matha.
By the time I finished reminiscing, we had already eaten our dinner and were packing up the dinner table.
Though she was supposed to be our guest, Jyn always offered to help clear the table and wash the dishes but mum and Anna would never let her.
I guess to a lesser extent, Yang does too but rather reluctantly… was what I wish he would act but in reality, he seemed to be more eager to help than Jyn.
Must be my imagination.
Because if it isn’t, it will be that much harder to justify my hatred for this scrawny kid that Eliss had no trouble sleeping and showering with.
Jyn: [You, see, Yang, the Festival of the Lights is a special event that marks the start of a new luxus from what I heard from Eliss and Anna. Eh, you do not know what a “luxus” is? You really aren’t from around here, aren’t you? Well, one luxus represents a cycle of 364 lux, marked by…]
The three of them, Jyn, Eliss and Yang gathered around the table to discuss about the festival tomorrow.
To be honest, I am looking forward to it too.
The sight of seeing the Umbra sky brighten up by millions of lights…
It gives off the feeling of hope as if any darkness of the world can be dissipated by our collective action. The very feeling that would mark a great start to a new luxus.
I knew for a fact
That this Festival of the Lights would be unforgettable.