Chapter 3:

The Shopkeeper

A Terrible Evil Villain And Their Destiny

Inside the shop that Bryson entered was dusty and poorly kept. Cobwebs and layers of dust covered almost everywhere. The table and floor were covered with junk, Bryson could barely move without stepping on something. The two guards quickly entered behind him.

Despite all the clutter and mess, Bryson could see that through all the dust this place was magical. Bryson was confused about why he thought that there was nothing special about this place, other than being messy. It was too dim to see anything properly, but Bryson felt so sure that there was magic there.

Before Bryson could ponder this anymore another door creaked open, Bryson’s guards suddenly stood to attention. Out from the door emerged a heavily robed figure, hood completely drawn over their face.

“Oh!” The figure said in surprise. “Uh, h-hello! W-what are you doing here?”

“Shopping. This is a store, right?” Bryson asked him coolly.

“Um… yes.” The robed figure said looking toward the guards cautiously. “H-how can I help you?”

“Just browsing around…” Bryson said as his vision began to blur for a few seconds. Once his vision cleared, he looked back at the robed figure. Bryson felt that the robed figure’s attitude suddenly change. Did he notice what happened to me? Bryson wondered.

“Uh, yes a few things… should I serve you some tea?” The robed figure slowly said.

“Sure.” Bryson said, feeling as if more pressure was suddenly pressed onto his forehead. Quickly rubbing his forehead he looked back toward the robed figure. Bryson had a strange feeling when it came to this figure. It wasn’t danger he felt, but something that told him that this person was hiding something.

“Please… have a seat.” The robed figure said, indicating to a chair, as they dug out a tea set and started preparing it.

Talk to him. A deep, low echoey voice boomed through Bryson’s ears. Bryson slowly looked around, he saw that his guards had no such reaction, however the robed figure seemed to have a reaction.

The robed figure stopped moving and Bryson from his angle could see the robed figure’s hand quiver before they quickly hid it away. A few moments later the robed figure poured a few cups of tea and handed one to Bryson and then the guards.

Bryson noticed the slight shake of their hands as they handed the cup to him. So, it’s not just me. He thought.

Bryson then spoke aloud to his two guards.

“Wait outside for a few minutes.” Bryson instructed them.

“But sir-” One of them attempted to object.

“I said wait outside.” Bryson growled.

The two reluctantly shuffled out of the door. With a slam of the creaky wooden door, the robed figure was alone with Bryson.

“So… care to explain what that voice was?” Bryson asked casually.

“Y-you heard?” The robed figure asked in disbelief.

“Yes. What was it?”

“It… well to be honest I’m not completely sure but… I think that was you…” The robed figure stammered out.

“What? What are you talking about?” He asked.

“Well… you… you are um, the youngest Coldwater son, c-correct?”

“I am.” He said slowly.

The robed figure seemed to want to disappear the moment they heard his answer.

“O-oh. You are.” The robed figure sounded like the life had been sucked out of them.

Bryson growing annoyed at this slow pace of this conversation snapped at the robed figure, “Explain everything I need to know.”

After a moment, the robed figure nodded their head, “Y-yes. Alright. Alright. Are you aware of your origins young master?” The figure asked.

“I fell from the sky one night.”

“Yes, uh, well, you see, you were essentially summoned to the world of Strarth.” The robed figure replied nervously.

“Well, I did fall from the sky, so I knew that already.” Bryson replied rolling his eyes.

“Yes, of course, of course. Well, uh, you were brought here because of the Goddess Afa.”

“The Goddess of heroes?” Bryson looked at the robed figure in disbelief. “She summoned me?”

“Yes, well… yes.” The robed figure said cautiously.

“Why did she summon me?” Bryson asked.

“Too… uh. She has a plan and you have a part to play.” The robed figure muttered out.

“Huh.” Bryson said simply. He couldn’t believe that the gods actually summoned him here. So what father said was true. Bryson was trying to hide his joy when he realized something.

“Wait, who are you.” He asked.

“I’m, -uh I’m I suppose what you would call a messenger for them.” The robed figure replied.

“Can I ask you another question?” He asked the robed figure.

“… ok.” The robed figure replied with a small voice.

“What’s the matter?” He asked.

“N-nothing.” The robed figure quickly said.

“You’re lying. I don’t like liars.” He said eyes narrowing, voice dripping with venom.

“I-I’m not suppose to meet you yet!” The figure cried out.

“Huh? You’re not?” Bryson said confused.

“No, I don’t even know how you found me! I chose this place to be hidden away from you. I’m suppose to introduce myself to you later!” They said panicked.

“But why did you call here me then?”

“I… didn’t. What do you mean call?” The figure asked, hood tilting to the side in confusion.

“I had a feeling that led me here. It wasn’t you causing it?” He asked.

“Uh, no… have you also been having heavy headaches and vision problems?” The robe figure asked.

“Yes, are they related?”

“They are… you see… being summoned here you have a few special things going on with you. From what I know, these things happening to you are related to something you have.”

“What do I have.”

“I don’t really know. Some latent power of sorts, I guess now that you’re a bit older, these things are awakening. The side effects will fade soon, and you will gain some abilities. Though I don’t know what kinds, magic based probably.” The figure explained.

Sitting in silence for a few moments he nodded and finished his tea and got up.

“Thank you.” He said as he walked to the door.

“W-wait!” The robed figure called out.

Turning around Bryson saw the robed figure approach him holding out a small scroll.

“I’m suppose to give you this, when we first meet.” They said offering him the scroll.

“What is it?” He asked as he took it.

“You’ll be able to figure it out.” They said quietly.

“Alright, I suppose I’ll see you later.” Bryson said as he opened the door and wordlessly walked out onto the street back to where the limousine was parked. Putting the scroll away into his inner pocket, he wondered what exactly made him unique.