Chapter 4:

Chapter Three - Lost

The Guardian: An Unfortunate Wish

It was dark around me. The painful memories were flooding back. The day when my parents left me. The days when I fought for my survival in the streets. And now I could add another one to my memory archive. The day when somebody almost lost their lives because of me. I wished I could erase it from my memory like you delete a file from your computer. Right-click and then delete. However, it does not work like this in our brains. Even if we wanted to delete a memory, we were not capable of doing so. Maybe we can forget but most memories we remember for the rest of our lives. I tried to open my eyes, but I was unable to do so. Bookmark here

My right shoulder was killing me. The pain was getting worse and worse. At some point, I passed out again.Bookmark here

When I woke up again, I managed to open my eyes. I was in a bedroom. The windows were open, and a light breeze blew inside the room. It felt good. Bookmark here

The sun was shining, and I saw a forest from the window. I looked around the room and saw another bed only two feet away from me.Bookmark here

It was Reiker's. His left eye was bandaged. I could not see his right leg because of the blanket. He was sleeping. If it were not for him, I would not be here. Bookmark here

The door opened and Gagan came inside. She noticed that I was awake.Bookmark here

“Hey. How are you feeling?” she asked as she sat down on the chair next to my bed and started to unwrap the bandage on my right shoulder. It hurt badly. Bookmark here

“Sorry if I am doing it too harshly,” she said. Bookmark here

“No, it’s alright. Thanks,” I replied.Bookmark here

“Don't thank me silly. So, how are you feeling?” she asked. Bookmark here

“A little dizzy but other than that I am fine, I think. How is Reiker?” I asked her. Bookmark here

She finished removing the bandages from my shoulder. I could clearly see that a big piece of my shoulder was missing. You could see the bite mark. It looked gross. I felt sick. Bookmark here

“Oh, he is fine. Don't worry. We did a blood transfusion and aided his wounds. He is resting now,” she explained. Bookmark here

“You found a blood donor?” I asked surprised. Bookmark here

“Yeah. Apparently, Ray and Reiker have the same blood group,” she said. Bookmark here

“Reiker lost an awful lot of blood. Didn't you, therefore, need an awful lot of Ray's blood?” I asked her. She smiled. Bookmark here

“Yes. He passed out after the transfusion, but he did drink a lot of water the last two days. He should be alright now. Don't mention it to him. It would hurt his pride,” she told me while giggling. Bookmark here

“What? The last two days. How long was I unconscious?” I asked her shocked. Bookmark here

“Three days,” she said. I was stunned. How on earth could I have been unconscious for so long? Bookmark here

“You lost a lot of blood too, but we couldn't find a blood donor that matched with you. So, we waited until you would wake up,” she explained briefly. Bookmark here

“It sounds like you waited and watched me if I would die or not. Does that seem right?” I questioned her. Bookmark here

She started laughing.Bookmark here

“No silly. We aided you like Reiker and we put you on a drip. We made our own IV solution that consisted of water, electrolytes, painkillers and some antibiotics to prevent any kind of bacterial infections,” she defended herself. Bookmark here

“Oh. I'm sorry. I didn’t mean it that way,” I apologized. Bookmark here

I buried my face in the blanket. It was so embarrassing. I really should have thought before I spoke. Bookmark here

Gagan started to treat my wound with an antibacterial solution, and it burned like hell. She stood up and helped me to sit on the edge of the bed. I was wearing pyjamas. It did hurt when I moved my body, but I found something strange. My right arm did not move at all. It felt numb. Even if my right shoulder was damaged, I should have been able to move my right arm a little but I could not. Bookmark here

“I am going to do a few tests to see how fast you're recovering from your injuries,” she explained to me. Bookmark here

“Ok,” I nodded. Bookmark here

She tested the mobility of my legs and knees. Then my left shoulder and left arm. There were no problems. When she came to my right arm she looked into my eyes. Bookmark here

“That could hurt a little,” she said warning me.Bookmark here

I did not say anything. I knew it would hurt. She put her hand on my right shoulder. Or should I say what was left of it? She brushed with one finger over my shoulder and down my right arm until she reached my hand. Bookmark here

“Did you feel that?” she asked. Bookmark here

I shook my head. I could not feel anything. She pressed her thumb into my palm, but I still could not feel anything. Bookmark here

“Oh. Ok. Did you feel this?” she asked me again. Bookmark here

“No. I can't feel it,” I answered. Bookmark here

For a second, I thought a worried expression hushed over her face. She continued pressing her thumb against my right arm. Bookmark here

“Nothing?” she asked. Bookmark here

“Nothing,” I said worriedly.Bookmark here

“Ok. Let's try to move your elbow,” she said. Bookmark here

I tried to bend my arm, but I failed. Then Gagan gave it a try. She bent my arm a few times and then smiled.Bookmark here

“Your mobility of your elbow and lower part of your right arm and your right hand is fine. Your shoulder is bothering me. Your muscles aren't responding to the nerve impulses,” she explained. Bookmark here

My shoulder looked terrible. My bones were exposed. I realized something was attached to the bones of my shoulder and went down to my arm. Bookmark here

“What is this?” I asked. I touched it with one finger. It felt like rubber.Bookmark here

“Oh, that. These are stripes of rubber to keep your right arm attached to your right shoulder,” she described. Bookmark here

She started touching them too. Bookmark here

“Does that mean my right arm could fall off?” I asked her worried.Bookmark here

I tried to imagine it. It was a truly disturbing image.Bookmark here

“Maybe. We weren't sure even though Ray told us that it was nearly impossible for your arm to fall off. It’s for security. We didn't want to take the risk,” she explained.Bookmark here

“Thanks for not taking it,” I said trying to smile. Bookmark here

“Don't worry. You’re going to be alright,” she assured. Bookmark here

“I can't use my right arm, can I?” I asked. Bookmark here

“Yes. For now, I'm sorry. Grandfather is trying to find a solution to give you back your arm. There is always a solution,” she said. Bookmark here

“Hopefully,” I replied. Bookmark here

“I bet you’re hungry. What do you want to eat?” she asked me while she was bandaging up my shoulder again. Bookmark here

Now that I thought about it, I was hungry. My stomach agreed with me by making a loud growling noise.Bookmark here

“Sorry. I don't know,” I said. Bookmark here

“Well, we have hot chicken soup with bread or smoked salmon with salad,” she said. Bookmark here

“Then I want the soup please,” I said. Bookmark here

“And what do you want to drink? Water or should I make you a nice cup of tea?” she asked. Bookmark here

“Water please,” I answered. Bookmark here

“Ok. It’s only going to take five minutes. Lay down in your bed and rest,” she ordered. Bookmark here

I did what she said. Gagan bent down to me and gave me a kiss on my forehead and went through the door and closed it slowly to prevent any loud noise which could wake Reiker up. For some reason, Gagan reminded me of a loving mother. I waited patiently. Bookmark here

It was quiet. The only noise that I could hear was coming from Reiker's direction. It was his soft and quiet snoring. I turned my head to see him again. He was looking so peaceful. The thought of how much pain he is going to feel when he wakes up made me angry. It should have been me and not him. Bookmark here

The snoring stopped and Reiker opened his one good eye. I panicked. Someone had to explain to him what had happened and aid him. He was probably in horrible pain. I stood up as fast as I could with my damaged shoulder and went over to his bed and sat down on the edge of it. It was odd walking with one arm dangling and not having control over it. I pushed my thoughts about my shoulder aside. I had to think about Reiker. I should probably call Gagan. Bookmark here

“Don't worry. Everything is going to be fine. I am going to call Gagan. Just give me a second,” I said trying to calm him down. Bookmark here

Reiker grabbed my hand. Bookmark here

“You don't need to call her. She already aided me and by the looks of it, she aided you as well,” he said. Bookmark here

“Wait a moment. It’s not your first time waking up?” I asked him hesitantly. Bookmark here

He smiled. Bookmark here

“Of course, not. I am happy that you finally woke up. It’s been three days now,” he explained. Bookmark here

“I know. Gagan told me,” I replied. Bookmark here

I lowered my head. Should I tell him that it was because of me he was in such a horrible state? He probably knew it. Bookmark here

“Don't blame yourself. It was and it will never be your fault,” he said with a soft voice. I looked up. Bookmark here

“So, the others told you?” I asked. Bookmark here

“No. They didn't. I knew you would blame yourself because I rescued you. It was my decision, and I don't regret it,” he said smiling at me to cheer me up but it did not work.Bookmark here

“But it was my fault. I didn't do anything. I should have run when you told me to, but I didn't. I am an idiot,” I said. Bookmark here

“Well, you have a point. You could have run,” he agreed. Bookmark here

“See. I was useless and stupid,” I said. Bookmark here

“No, you weren't. The guys told me what you did. You fought for me. If it weren't for you these creatures would have devoured me completely,” he said. Bookmark here

“No. I didn't fight. I was just standing there with your baton in my hand. Other than crying and screaming I did nothing,” I explained. Bookmark here

“Crying and screaming? Whatever you did, it worked, and you saved my life. So, therefore, I owe you big,” he said happily. Bookmark here

My mouth fell open. What was he talking about? He was the one who rescued me. Therefore, I was in his debt. Bookmark here

“You’re talking rubbish. Like I said before I didn't do anything and above all, I did not rescue you. I owe you,” I said annoyed. Bookmark here

He started laughing. Bookmark here

“I don't think we are going to agree on what happened and whatnot,” he said. Bookmark here

“I agree,” I said. Bookmark here

“How are you feeling? How is your shoulder? Gagan told me how badly you are injured,” he asked me. Bookmark here

I was scared to ask him how he was. There is a high probability he knew that he lost half of his right leg and his left eye. Bookmark here

“It’s fine. How are you?” I asked him back. Bookmark here

The volume of my voice decreased with every word that came out of my mouth. Bookmark here

“I'm good. It’s a bit annoying that I am only left with one good eye. But hey, it could be worse. My leg is healing fast, and grandfather told me he could give me back my leg. So, I have no worries,” he said without any doubt in his voice.Bookmark here

Every word of him was like a knife striking my heart. How could he be so optimistic?Bookmark here

“How can you be so sure? I mean, how can you be so sure that grandfather is going to give you back your leg and how is that even possible?” I asked him. Bookmark here

“I trust him. That's how. You recently met him, but I have known him my whole life. He's a wise old man. Somehow, he always knows what to do in situations like these,” he explained. Bookmark here

“If you say so,” I said still not believing his words. Bookmark here

The door opened again and Gagan came in with a big tray in her hand. She told me to sit down on my bed, but I decided to sit on the small table next to the window. She did not mind and put the tray in front of me.Bookmark here

On it was a plate filled with hot chicken noodle soup, a plate with pieces of bread and a big glass full of water. Gagan sat down next to me.Bookmark here

“Don't you have something better to do than babysitting me?” I asked her and started eating. I was starving. Bookmark here

“No. Not really,” she replied. “You should bring something to eat for Reiker too,” I suggested. Bookmark here

She looked at Reiker and smiled at him. Bookmark here

“He already ate but if he's hungry I could bring him something,” she said. Bookmark here

“No thanks. I'm fine,” he said while turning around in his bed after giving Gagan a big smile. Bookmark here

“What are the others doing?” I asked and dipped a piece of bread in my soup. Bookmark here

“They are preparing themselves,” she answered. Bookmark here

I took a sip of my water and then realized I was thirsty and drank all of it in one go. Gagan filled my glass with water again. Bookmark here

“Preparing for what?” I asked. Bookmark here

“I don't know. Grandfather told us to be prepared to go somewhere,” she said. Bookmark here

“Who is going?” I asked. Bookmark here

“Everyone. That includes you too,” she answered. Bookmark here

“Me? Why? I came to this world to find my parents and I only found some weird creatures who would love to eat me. I didn't find any clue where my father could be,” I said annoyed. Bookmark here

“I wouldn't say that. I still have the CDs we found in the laboratory. And to cheer you up, you were not the only one who they wanted to eat. We were attacked too. Remember?” she said with a smile on her face. Bookmark here

“Sorry. I didn't mean it that way,” I apologized. Why did I keep saying stupid things?Bookmark here

I finished my soup and took the last sip of my water. Bookmark here

“Finished?” she asked me. Bookmark here

“Yes,” I said.Bookmark here

“Good. Grandfather wants to talk to you. He is waiting for you in the kitchen. You can change your clothes if you want to. There are some clothes in the bathroom. They should be your size. I have discarded your old clothes. Well, that's all for now,” she explained.Bookmark here

She pointed at the other door of the bedroom and then picked up the tray from the table. Bookmark here

“Why does Grandfather want to talk to me?” I asked her. Bookmark here

“I don't know,” she said and walked out of the room.Bookmark here

I went into the bathroom and took a quick shower. My right arm with my shoulder was in a plastic bag which Gagan gave me to prevent it from getting wet.Bookmark here

I tried on the clothes which she left for me, and they fitted perfectly. I shouted for her to tie my hair back and stared in the mirror after she left the bathroom and smiled. I looked exactly like the other guys. I was wearing black cargo pants with a lot of pockets, a white t-shirt, a grey jacket with a high collar that reached till my waist and black sneakers with a snapped collar and with buckles on the outside. Bookmark here

While I was going through the bedroom, I looked at Reiker to see if he was awake, but he had fallen asleep again. I opened the door and closed it quietly behind me. Gagan had left the room too. My right arm was still dangling beside me, and the pain had worsened. I went down the stairs and went into the kitchen. Bookmark here

Grandfather was standing in front of the stove making some tea. I sat down at the table and realized I was sitting in the exact same chair when I visited him for the first time. Bookmark here

“Do you want some tea, my dear?” he asked. Bookmark here

“No, thank you,” I said.Bookmark here

“Are you sure?” he asked me again. Bookmark here

“Yes, I am,” I replied. Bookmark here

He turned around and looked at my right arm. I was not even able to move it a bit and I had to carry it with my left hand. He put his tea on the table and went to a cupboard standing in the hallway. I could hear his mumbling. Bookmark here

“Where is it? Ah, there it is,” he said to himself. Bookmark here

He came back with something in his hands. He put it around my arm and knotted both ends of it behind my neck. It was comfortable and light. It was a lifesaver. Bookmark here

“Here you go. I bet it is now much easier for you to move around,” he said. Bookmark here

“Thank you,” I said. Bookmark here

He sat down. Bookmark here

“How is your shoulder?” he asked me.Bookmark here

“Fine,” I said. Bookmark here

“What is the matter? Usually, you’re the one who talks, and I am the one who listens,” he said looking at me. Bookmark here

“I think it’s the medication,” I said dully. Bookmark here

“Oh, I see,” he replied. Bookmark here

“You wanted to talk with me, but I guess it wasn't only to ask me how I am. Am I right grandfather?” I asked him. Bookmark here

“Yes, my child. It’s about the bite,” he started. Bookmark here

I felt a sudden pain in my shoulder. I suppressed it by pressing my hand on it.Bookmark here

“I know. It can't be healed,” I said with a sad face. Bookmark here

“Who said that?” he asked and looked at me suspiciously. Bookmark here

“Nobody,” I said. Bookmark here

“Then stop talking nonsense. I am going to explain later how we are going to fix your shoulder and arm. I want to talk about the bite first. It’s really important,” he said in a serious voice. Bookmark here

“Fine,” I agreed.Bookmark here

“Look, I was the one who treated your injury and I discovered something. Your blood seemed to be in a different color. The usual color of blood when it is exposed to air is scarlet red. Your blood was scarlet red but with a shiny green tint to it,” he explained. Bookmark here

I tried to remember if I was injured somewhere else, but my shoulder and my head were the only part of my body that actually were. Bookmark here

“What does that mean?” I asked. Bookmark here

“I didn't know and therefore, I tested a small sample of your blood. To be on the safe side I took another sample of your blood from your leg to see if it was the normal color and discovered it had the normal scarlet red color without the green shiny tint to it,” he explained again. Bookmark here

“Does this mean half of my body has the normal scarlet red blood, but the other half has the shiny green tint to it?” I asked him worried. Bookmark here

“No. It was only the blood in your arteries and veins near the bite. And this is not the whole story. I also found out that it was spreading really fast through your whole body,” he described. Bookmark here

“Did you find out what it was?” I asked.Bookmark here

“It was poison and it’s still in your body,” he said focused. Bookmark here

The elbow of my good arm slipped from the table where it was supporting my head. Bookmark here

“What? Why is it still inside me? Couldn't you remove it?” I asked panicked.Bookmark here

“I could but it wasn't necessary. Somehow, you’re immune against this poison which I have never seen in my life before. I did some tests with it. This poison inside you is aggressive and attacks the nerve cells of an individual. If this poison gets into someone's blood circulation, the person will have a dreadful death. It would kill that person under thirty minutes,” he explained. Bookmark here

I was unconscious for three days and I did not die. That should be a good sign, right? Bookmark here

“Does it have any other effects on the body?” I asked him scared knowing this was not the happy ending I was hoping for. Bookmark here

“I don't know. I am not very skilled in this area. That is why I am sending all of you to a good and old friend of mine. He is a scientist and a doctor, and he should know the answer to your question,” he answered.Bookmark here

Now it made sense why everybody was preparing to leave. Bookmark here

“And what about my father? Did you watch the CDs?” I asked swiftly.Bookmark here

“The CDs. No, we didn't. We waited to watch them with you but right now we don't have any time left. You and Reiker must go to my friend so he can fix you. We can find out what is on them afterwards,” he explained. Bookmark here

“He's going to fix my arm and shoulder?” I asked skeptically.Bookmark here

“Of course. Everyone is ready to go,” he said enthusiastically.Bookmark here

The door to the garden opened and Daiyn came inside and sat down next to me. Bookmark here

“How are you?” he asked me. Bookmark here

I think he was worried about me, but I couldn't tell for sure. Bookmark here

“I'm fine. Thanks. Grandfather, where does your friend live?” I asked him. Bookmark here

“He lives in Deviion,” he said. Bookmark here

“And where is that?” I asked. Bookmark here

“It is one of the kingdoms I told you about,” it was Daiyn who answered. Bookmark here

“Oh. Yeah, I remember. How long will it take to get there?” I asked Daiyn. Bookmark here

“About six and a half hours. We have to walk to get to the train station and then be on the train for about six hours. The station lies a few feet away from Deviion. From there we only need a few minutes to get to our goal,” he explained.Bookmark here

“Grandfather's friend, does he know that we're coming?” I asked. Bookmark here

“Yes, he knows. He is excited to meet you,” Daiyn said. Bookmark here

“Why me?” I wondered. Bookmark here

“Because he's got the chance to fix a shoulder of an actual human being and of course the leg and the eye of Reiker,” he said. I was getting a little more sceptic. Bookmark here

“Doesn’t that mean he has never performed a surgery on a human before and Reiker or I, are going to be his first patient? Are you sure he is the best person to perform these surgeries?” I asked. Bookmark here

“Yes. If you want to have your shoulder back, you have to trust gramps and his friend. He is the best. If someone can fix your shoulder, he is the one,” he said confidently. Bookmark here

“Looks like I don't have any other options,” I said.Bookmark here

It sounded more like an experiment, and I said yes to it. Someone could officially declare me insane. Daiyn left the room after he agreed with me. Bookmark here

“Your group is leaving immediately to get the last train to Deviion,” grandfather said.Bookmark here

“It's not my group grandfather. They are a group. I joined temporarily,” I explained to him. Bookmark here

“They became your friends. After such an incident, even people who would hate each other would become friends. They went with you to search for your father, thus making you the leader of this group. In conclusion, it’s your group,” he said smiling. Bookmark here

“Maybe,” I replied in a low voice. The possibility of me having friends was surreal. I always kept a discreet distance from other human beings. I did not have a social life. Interacting with other people was for me like putting my hand into a fire. I just did not like it. Bookmark here

“I packed some food for you in this backpack. A bottle of water is inside the side pocket,” he said holding a backpack in front of him showing everything that was inside. Bookmark here

“Thank you,” I said. Bookmark here

“And don't forget your pocketknife,” he said. Bookmark here

His hand went into the backpack to get the pocketknife he got me. He threw it towards me, and I caught it. Bookmark here

“I won't,” I assured. I put the pocketknife where it belonged. Into my trouser pocket.Bookmark here

It was like the morning of the day we left to search for my father was repeating itself but this time, we were going to get treatment for the wounds which we got because of that journey. Four days. I had already been in this world for four days. Bookmark here

Cher and her father had probably given up looking for me. I used to disappear for some time but not for so many days. I felt sorry that I did not have the chance to say goodbye. The risk that I could not go back to my world was real and I knew it but now I had the feeling that I could die trying to reach my goal.Bookmark here

The sky was dark blue. Stars and a full moon were shining our way. You could hear the noises of animals. I saw no other people. The fresh air was filling my lungs and the coldness gave me goosebumps. It was like walking through the dead streets in my city during the night. It was a good feeling. I loved the night. Fewer people on the streets who could disturb you and more sounds of nature. Bookmark here

I felt hungry and opened a bag of weird-looking and odd-smelling crisps and passed it to everybody around. We were heading towards the east. The forest was in the south of Deonion, and I was truly happy we did not have to go through it another time. Not only because it was filled with soldiers who did not hesitate to kill but also because of Reiker. He was having a hard time walking with a crutch but did not want any help. He has his pride and dignity. Jasmine was walking next to me, and we were walking behind the others.Bookmark here

“Can I ask you a question?” I asked her.Bookmark here

She grabbed the crisp which was in my hand. Bookmark here

“Sure. What is it? Wait I know what you want to ask. It’s about Ray, right?” she said with a funny expression on her face. Bookmark here

I saw Ray slightly turning his head, showing us that he had started listening in to our conversation. Bookmark here

“No. Where did you get that idea?” I asked her confused. Bookmark here

“He's weird and you don't know him. If I was you, I had some questions in my mind,” she replied in a low and mysterious voice. Bookmark here

I got closer to Jasmine to see her face. She was serious. Bookmark here

“But I am not you. Can I ask you now the questions I had in my mind?” I asked. Bookmark here

“Shoot,” she shouted while grabbing the whole bag of crisps from my hand. Bookmark here

“How did you get out of the building?” I asked. Bookmark here

“With the weird creatures?” she asked back. Bookmark here

“No. The other one without the creatures,” I said sarcastically.Bookmark here

She looked at me puzzled. Bookmark here

“There were two buildings?” she asked me surprised. Bookmark here

She was serious again.Bookmark here

“No, there was only one,” I said. Bookmark here

“Then why are you asking me about the other one?” she asked.Bookmark here

“Forget it. I meant the one with the weird creatures,” I corrected myself not to confuse her more. I could hear the chuckles from the other guys. Bookmark here

“Let me explain. Gagan carried you. Benjamin and Edwin were responsible for Reiker. Ray opened any door that was in our way and Daiyn and I were watching if some of these creatures were following us,” she told me.Bookmark here

“And what about the one that attacked me?” I asked trying not to remember the terrifying scenes. Bookmark here

“Oh. That one. Yeah, it got away. Disappeared in the darkness. There was no point going after it. It already caused the damage, and it didn't attack us anymore,” she explained.Bookmark here

“I see. Did you carry us all along the way?” I asked. Bookmark here

“Yes. We switched after an amount of time. Ray and I helped Benjamin and Edwin. Daiyn carried you all the way through the desert and forest. The desert was not that bad. It was nighttime when we finally came out of the building. The temperature had fallen. The tricky bit was the forest. The number of soldiers had been doubled but we still made it through,” she explained.Bookmark here

“Wow. Thanks, Gagan and Daiyn,” I said gratefully. Bookmark here

Gagan smiled back at me and Daiyn raised his hand as a sign that he had heard me. Bookmark here

“Do you have another question?” Jasmine asked me. Bookmark here

“No. Thanks for answering my questions,” I said. “You’re very welcome,” she replied.Bookmark here

Nobody talked. We were walking under some rocks that nature had formed to look like bridges. From the outside, it looked like a gigantic rock, but it had big slits that were letting the moonlight in. It looked amazing. Green moss was growing on each one of these rock bridges. Vines were hanging from them too. In the shadow, some gorgeous-looking flowers were growing. The blossoms were lilac with black stripes. I stopped and picked one up. I was going to smell it if Ray would not have stopped me. Bookmark here

“These flowers attract animals by their strange smell and trust me you don't want to meet the animals which are attracted by the scent. So, if you don't mind throwing it away,” he said in a very annoying voice. Bookmark here

He was waiting impatiently for me to drop the flower on the ground. Bookmark here

“Did you ever meet these animals?” I asked him sharply. Bookmark here

“It's like I'm talking to a wall, and it seems that it isn't a really bright one,” he answered. Bookmark here

“Hey!” I shouted. He did not have to be rude. I asked a question. What was the harm done?Bookmark here

“I said trust me. A normal person would have already dropped it but somehow my gut is telling me you are the kind of people that loves to attract problems and death itself,” he said angrily grabbing the flower out of my hand and throwing it away. Bookmark here

It was unpredictable what he would do next.Bookmark here

“You’re cold and indurate. If you keep up this attitude you will never find a girl who wants to marry you,” I said infuriated.Bookmark here

He looked vacant like he could not care less. Bookmark here

“If most of the girls are like you, I am happy to stay single for the rest of my life. At least I wouldn't die an early and miserable death because of my wife,” he answered back in a biting tone. Bookmark here

“Fine. Then stay single. Die lonely,” I shouted annoyed. Bookmark here

He laughed at me and walked away. Bookmark here

“I couldn't care less,” he said amused. Bookmark here

Idiot. Bookmark here

“I would love to stick some of these flowers in your trousers!” I said diabolically. Bookmark here

He turned around and challenged me. Bookmark here

“Try it,” he said with a smile on his face. Bookmark here

Before I could say anything Reiker came between us and interrupted our fight. Bookmark here

“Stop it. Both of you. Ray, keep in mind that Ari isn't from this world. Don't expect she has the knowledge that we have. Ari,” he said disappointedly.Bookmark here

Oh no. My turn. Bookmark here

“Sticking flowers into his trousers? Really?” he asked me while shaking his head. Bookmark here

Yeah, that was by far the worst idea I have ever had. Bookmark here

“I'm sorry. I got a little carried away,” I said. Bookmark here

“We are not only a group. We are friends and at this moment, we can't afford such silly and immature fights. Got that?” he asked us both.Bookmark here

Ray just walked away. I nodded agreeing with the second part, but I was not so sure about being a friend of them. The others did not say anything.Bookmark here

We arrived at the train station. It was five minutes before 12 o'clock. The train station was in the middle of nowhere and looked old and deserted. It was a building that looked like a greenhouse. There were no walls at the east and west side of the building to allow the train to pass through it. It was more like a big bow made of glass. Some of the windows were broken. The climate was slightly humid. Plants were growing everywhere like in a jungle. Tiny white lizards were crawling all over the place. Bookmark here

Our train should come at midnight. We had five minutes left. I sat down on a moss-coated bench. The others were standing near me. I looked around to see if someone else was at the train station. Bookmark here

On the opposite side of the rails was standing a young woman in her thirties. She was wearing a bright rainbow-colored raincoat and holding a briefcase.Bookmark here

A few feet away from her was standing a soldier. He was wearing what looked like a uniform. His trousers, waistcoat, gloves, and knee-high boots were made out of brown leather. Underneath his waistcoat, he was wearing a white shirt. On his head was a hat. It looked more like a bowl. A typical bowler hat without the brim. It was also brown but with a pattern of snakeskin. The kingdom's emblem was stitched on the back of the waistcoat and on the front of the hat. The emblem showed a white pigeon flying out of its cage. Freedom was written underneath it. I liked the picture. Bookmark here

On our side of the rails was us and another group that was made of two men. Both were wearing casual clothes. They did not have any luggage with them. Bookmark here

The train was close. I could hear the sounds of the wheels and the whistle of the train. I stood up from my bench and tried to see if the rails were vibrating and they were. I kept watching to the west from where it was coming from. The lights were bright and could be seen clearly within the dark. A few seconds were left, and it would be here. As it came closer its speed slowed down. I noticed that even the train was covered in green moss. Bookmark here

The train looked identical to the trains in my world. It was white and had an orange stripe. An ordinary steam locomotive. It stopped in front of us. The door opened. There were no passengers on it. Daiyn went to the train conductor to buy each one of us a ticket. I sat down on one side of the train with Jasmine, Edwin, and Benjamin. Reiker, Ray, and Gagan sat on the opposite side of us. Daiyn came back and gave the tickets to Gagan and sat down next to her. All in all, there were twelve passengers. Bookmark here

Fatigue came over me and I doubted that I could stay awake for the entire journey. So as not to fall asleep I examined the uniform of the soldier again who was not sitting very far from us. Benjamin noticed it. Bookmark here

“Why do you keep staring at the soldier?” he asked me. Bookmark here

“I like the emblem. The pigeon flying out of the cage represents freedom, doesn’t it? How do the other emblems of the different kingdoms look like?” I asked him. Bookmark here

“Yes, it does. Deviion's emblem is the book of rules opened with a sword lying on it. Do you want to guess what it stands for?” he asked challenging me. Bookmark here

“I would love to but first, I have a question. Does the book of rules apply to all of the three kingdoms?” I asked.Bookmark here

“Yes, it does. No one, not even the kings themselves are allowed to break the rules written in that book. They were written by the founder of the three kingdoms and therefore their first ruler,” Edwin leant forward and started explaining before Benjamin could. Bookmark here

“Well, then I would guess it stands for justice. Am I right?” I asked both of them. Bookmark here

Yes. How did you come to that conclusion?” Edwin asked me. Benjamin was getting annoyed that Edwin had taken over his conversation with me. Bookmark here

“Book of Rules indicates that every individual, including every king, has to follow it, as you said. The sword usually represents strength. Hence, the emblem means no matter who it is, he or she has to follow the rules and if someone breaks those rules, he or she is going to be punished no matter who it is. That is justice,” I explained. Bookmark here

Benjamin pointed at the soldier's uniform. The soldier saw it but ignored us.Bookmark here

“The uniforms of the three kingdoms are exactly the same but the colors and emblems vary. Deonion has the brown uniform. Deviion the black one and Detavil the white one,” he explained. Bookmark here

“Aha. And what about the emblem of Detavil. How does it look like?” I asked him. Bookmark here

“It’s a heart held by two hands. This one is a little trickier than the other one. Do you want to give it a try?” he asked me again. Bookmark here

I smiled at Benjamin. Bookmark here

“Of course. Let me think. A heart and two hands holding it. Every person has a heart, and it is required to stay alive. The two hands could mean protection. Everyone protects it. That means we are more or less the same. I go with equality. The emblem means equality. Does that sound right?” I asked. Bookmark here

“You’re really good at this,” said Benjamin laughing. Bookmark here

Jasmine gave me a pat on the back.Bookmark here

After I found out about how the three emblems looked like and what their meanings were, I leaned against Jasmine and closed my eyes. The noises around me were getting distant and I fell asleep.Bookmark here

“Ari. Ari. Wake up.” Bookmark here

It was Gagan.Bookmark here

I opened my eyes, and she was standing in front of me. Bookmark here

“What? Are we in Deviion?” I asked and yawned at the same time.Bookmark here

I lifted my head of Jasmine's shoulder. It was still dark outside. The light of the white fluorescent lamps was hurting my eyes. Bookmark here

“We're almost there. I thought you didn't want to miss it. In ten minutes, we are going to reach the station,” she said.Bookmark here

“Yeah. Thanks for waking me up,” I replied. Bookmark here

She smiled at me and sat down on her seat next to Daiyn and Reiker. My neck was feeling stiff. I moved it from right to left and back and forth to loosen it a bit. It was working. Bookmark here

The view outside the window was surprisingly normal. It was a mountainous area. Nothing special. I could see some lights in the distance. We were heading towards them. As we were getting closer, I saw something like a black sea in front of us. It was a cliff. I did not utter a word and kept staring out of the window nervously. By now I learned that screaming and telling others was not helpful. I bet they already knew it. After all, it was their world and not mine.
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