Chapter 13; Sigma- The Festival of the Lights
The Festival is this lux~
The Festival of the Lights. The one lux of the luxus when the darkness of Umbra would be repelled though ever so slightly.
It was observed ever since we humans came into being that the Umbra of the last lux of each luxus would always last three times as long, if not more.
As it would be difficult to work in the dark, human ingenuity took over and conquered Umbra with the likes of oil lanterns and mana lamps, the latter of which could be widely seen around the city of Tawouest as street lights that illuminate the city during Umbra.
Interesting titbit of information but not one that would be relevant to a 15-luxus old girl such as myself.
I mean come on! It is the festival, one of the most interesting and fun lux of the entire luxus.
For the past 10 festivals where I am old enough to grasp its significance, I would always celebrate it with my friends from the Gardina but ever since we graduated from the Gardina last luxus, we barely see each other anymore…
Although by luck or by Lux, I managed to meet two new friends over the past few luxes.
One is Yang whom I found lying unconscious in the forests at the foot of Mount Sagar just outside of the Sagar Biquadrant.
She was a weird one, speaking in an unknown tongue.
A girl that looked more like a boy than most boys, I highly doubt that most, if not all of the people around her, including mum and big brother ‘lyza took her for a boy.
It even got to a point that she was mistaken for a young man that tried to escape his duties in Matha and was abducted by the Matha guards even though Jyn was the one beside her.
Speaking of him, there is another friend that I have met these past few luxes, Jyn. He just showed up at our home after Anna and I brought Yang back from the forest.
But he’s a guy.
He was also another weird one. Not only can he converse with Yang but he could also communicate with his crow friend, Glass.
But he’s a guy.
A boy that looked more like a girl than most girls, I highly doubt that most, if not all of the people around him, including mum and big brother ‘lyza took him for a girl.
But he’s a guy.
I am more than sure that I have just repeated my last sentence.
But he’s a guy.
Anyways, the two of them did not have any intentions of revealing their true genders outright. So as their newfound friend, it would be my duty to keep their secrets from leaking out as much as possible. Although clever people like Anna would have already grasped the gist of what is going on even without us saying anything…
That is not the focus of this lux. The true focus of this lux is the Festival~
Eliss: [And with us this lux is Yang and Jyn, wandering travellers extraordinaire~ Our mission this time around?~ To have every bit of fun to be had during this Festival of the Lights!~]
I declared with much zest and enthusiasm in the middle of the streets we were walking.
It is embarrassing, you know? To shout like this in the middle of the streets…
Normally, that would be going through my mind but since this is the Festival of the Lights, everyone is more than willing to drown themselves in the bustling atmosphere that they would not pay as much attention to the weird things happening around them.
That was until the sound of thunderous applause erupted from the tall figure behind the two of them, attracting the eyes of everyone around.
Jyn: [Glad to see that you are having fun, Ms Eliss. Although, you did forget to mention Mr Elyza...]
There it was, the tall figure with a hair of gold as bright as lux in the sky. If he’d smiled, nine out of ten of the ladies walking in Sagar would turn to look at him.
I just so happen to be part of that one out of ten that, instead of turning around, would choose to sprint at full speed in the other direction so that he is no longer in my sight.
Do I hate big brother ‘lyza? Not really. He is actually one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met but that doesn't erase the fact that he is sometimes annoying to the point of being obnoxious.
Case in point, his utter lack of shame that enabled him to clap his hands as if he was in a standing ovation after a brilliant performance.
He might not be able to feel shame but I do!
I tried to give him a mean glare to get him to stop but that only made him clapped even louder and at a higher frequency.
Eliss: [Thank you, big brother ‘lyza, that is quite enough~]
He finally stopped after I asked him to.
Honestly. big brother ‘lyza is such a …
The most brilliant idea just came to me and I immediately looked into Yang’s eyes for affirmation.
Though her eyes were very much duller compared to when we first met, she still somehow decoded what I had in mind and gave me a firm nod.
Alright then. On the count of three…
Eliss: [THREE TWO ONE, GOGOGO!~]
I grabbed Jyn’s hand and sprinted into the crowd upon crowd upon crowd of people and disappeared from big brother ‘lyza’s sight.
When we finally did stop to take a breather on the pathway running along the river that divided the Matha and the Sagar, we finally realised that we lost big brother ‘lyza.
However, along the way, we had inadvertently lost Yang too when she could no longer keep up with our sprint.
Jyn: [This is bad. Yang had no means of communicating with the Tawouest folks, making it hard to find his way around to us.]
Eliss: [Unfortunately, that is the case here~ We might even need to backtrack ourselves in order to find her~… Jyn?~]
I was about to make haste and return along the path we just sprinted from in order to bump into Yang again but Jyn’s attention was taken away by a certain sight in the crowd in front of us.
Right there, in the middle of the dense crowd was a small petite figure with a hooded cloak covering most of her face. Though her expressions cannot be seen, it wasn't too difficult to guess that it would be one filled with worry, seeing as how she looked exactly like a child who had lost her mother in the crowd.
Eliss: [Well, Jyn, what would you like to do?~ Finding Yang or helping this little girl?~ Either way, I would be sure to support whatever decision you have made~]
Jyn seemed to be deep in thought ever since he laid eyes on the lost little girl and after some time, he finally replied:
Jyn: [Let’s help the little girl. Yang is older and much more courageous than any of us. A slight disorientation would not dampen her spirit, unlike this little girl...]
With that, we approached the little girl as least threatening as we possibly could.
Jyn: [How goes the Lux glory? Big sister and I are here to help you? Where are you headed to?]
Jyn seemed abnormally good at talking to others, even closing the gaps between strangers so effortlessly without much hesitation or feeling out of place.
The little girl replied to him in a strange and foreign language and unsurprisingly, he understood it and was nodding along.
Jyn: [The Academy of Magic, that is where we need to be headed to.]
We made our way over to the Academy by following the pathway along the river.
The crowds there were especially dense due to the myriad of stores set up for the festival. It was rare for there to be so many stores. Normally, if you need anything, you could simply produce it via magic through the right magic circuits but the Festival is slightly different.
It is one of the rare times that people had a purpose to spend their currencies.
To ensure the little girl we are escorting does not lose her way again, the both of us hold her hands which were still wet, most likely from wiping away her tears.
Occasionally, the little girl would stop walking and look at the myriad of products sold at the respective stores with eyes of fascination. I would love to buy her something but it is hard to make it a habit to keep currency on my person.
I looked at Jyn for help but he merely stared back at me blankly. Yang would have realised what I meant…
Eliss: [Is there anything we can do for her?~ She looked like she really wanted those items on display~]
I whispered to him in a voice that the little girl could not hear. He looked at me, then to the girl, then back to me again.
Jyn: [I don’t think that would… You know what, I will work my magic.]
It was the first time he showed any other emotions other than acquiescence but the results he had shown were indeed magical. Somehow through unparalleled oratorical skills, he was able to haggle the price of things all the way to the low low price of free.
It was almost villainous for him to hold so much speaking power. Thankfully, he doesn’t seem to be the type to misuse it in any shape or form.
After some time manoeuvring through the crowd, we finally arrived at the Academy.
The girl’s parents were nowhere to be seen yet she was okay with staying behind.
Eliss: [Is it really ok?~ Should we stay behind and...]
Jyn: [I think it is quite fine if she said she would be ok. Additionally, we can still make it back home in time for the lighting of the sky lanterns.]
Ah, right. The sky lanterns. The focal point of the whole Festival of the Lights. Don’t want to miss that now, do we?
With that in mind, we left for our home. The last thing I recall of the little girl in a hood was her glistening face shining under the pale mana lamps.
Back at home, mum and Anna had already prepared the sky lanterns for everyone. All we had to do was to cast fire magic and light up the lantern underneath.
I am slightly worried about the absence of Yang and big brother ‘lyza. Maybe we should find them after all but Jyn seemed to be looking forward to the highlight of the festival.
In the end, we decided to go through with the lighting of the sky lanterns first before we start to look for the two of them.
As the sky lanterns, not just from our household, but from all over the city, floated further and further into dark skies, the darkness of Umbra became slowly illuminated.
Fireworks would present a similar effect but to me, the sight of the sky lanterns filling the sky presented a more calming…
What is that in the sky?
IT’S A MONSTER!
No, calm down. With its compound eyes and large wings, it is less of a “monster” and more of a “giant moth”. A giant moth that should never exist in this…
Before I could complete my thoughts, spectacles came one after another:
The sight of the Gardina being pushed high into the sky by tendrils of roots and tree branches.
The sound of massive explosions coming from the direction of the castle and the Matha Biquadrant.
The smell of burnt wood as parts of Sagar in the direction of the Academy went up in flames as high as the outer walls themselves.
There was chaos amidst all the screams and running unlike any other.
I found myself standing rooted to the ground and unable to do anything other than to look.
No, there isn’t anything to be done.
I looked to Jyn for any affirmation of this terrible reality but there he was,
A rope of sorts came from the sky right beside where Jyn was standing.
He looked at me with eyes I had never seen before and said in a tone I had never heard him said in the past few luxes:
Jyn: [My name is Jyn. Just Jyn. Fourth general of the Inhuman Army. The mission had been accomplished without fail.]
As soon as he grabbed hold of it, the rope quickly retracted, pulling him along into the dark Umbra sky.
I subconsciously reached out and grabbed hold of him and was lifted off from the chaos of the Sagar Biquadrant.
[End of The City of Tawouest Arc]