Chapter 2:

Chapter 1 : The Radiant City (1/2)

Radiant Prism - The Goddess of Chaos and a World With You [Short]

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Radiant Age, April 1, 1127Bookmark here

The morning wind blew my long red hair towards the east as I looked at my cabin home. My grey pattern jacket was dirty. My ash shorts were stained from the hard work. Even my grey boots were starting to get torn from hard labor.Bookmark here

“I did it, Maxwell.”Bookmark here

It’s been around four months since I left that isolated forest. It was a long journey to get here, but I did what my mentor asked.Bookmark here

“I hope you can rest in peace… knowing that I’ll be okay, Maxwell.”Bookmark here

What stood in front of me was the cabin I spent weeks building. It was small with only one room, a small kitchen, and small living space. But that’s all I’d need to live alone. Suddenly, my stomach growled.Bookmark here

“Ahh… I’m craving fried green tomatoes.”Bookmark here

Since I got here, I haven’t been able to grow my own tomatoes yet. I lacked the seeds to get started, and unless I go out of my way to one of the nearby farms and look to see if they have any, I wasn’t going to be able to grow them any time soon.Bookmark here

“Maybe…”Bookmark here

I turned to look in the distance. Around a mile or so away was Radiant City. It was large compared to the landscape. Its brick grey walls towered high into the sky, only making the structure look ominous to someone like me. But what struck me most was the dark kingdom looming at the top of it. Even from here, I could see how massive the structure was.Bookmark here

“Radiant City… a place full of people.”Bookmark here

Maxwell and my books have mentioned that the people were vessels of all kinds. They live in harmony with the Radiant race who are the knights and the rulers of the land.Bookmark here

“I could see if they have any vegetables there… maybe some cooking oil too?”Bookmark here

I didn’t have much money left from what Maxwell gave me. As I traveled on foot, I had to pass through toll gates designed by the Radiant army to regulate who passed through the lands. By the time I made it here, half of Maxwell’s money was gone.Bookmark here

I put on my jacket, put my blade to my hip, and held my leather sack in my hand.Bookmark here

“Tonight, I’ll cook fried green tomatoes in your honor, Maxwell.”Bookmark here

Ignorantly, I ventured off towards Radiant City. As I made my way through the grassy field, I looked around the area. It flourished with greenery and vibrant beauty. In the distance to the east, I could see a collection of farmlands. Likely the places that supply the goods for Radiant City.Bookmark here

“I wonder if I could get my own farm one day…”Bookmark here

Lately, I have been thinking about how I wanted to go about living here. Eventually, I would have to start making money somehow… just in case they start trying to tax my cabin. When I turned to the west, I saw a collection of factories in the distance. Their walls were high and machinery was sending spectrum in the sky. I read in a book that they use wind, water, fire, and earth spectrum to produce the energy they use there. In those kinds of places, lumber, bricks, cement, and the like are created.Bookmark here

“I could never work in those kinds of places.”Bookmark here

I thought about it. Feodora Cicer, the lumberjack. I’d have to work with people, and… that alone makes me worried. But I had to adapt to this new world I found myself in. The sun was brighter here than in the forest. The grass below me wasn’t as fine; it was softer, and it made me feel as though I was on another planet.Bookmark here

“So, this is how the Radiant Kingdom is?”Bookmark here

It didn’t feel real. I thought about it as I approached the main west gates of Radiant City. The gates towered high into the sky just like the walls. They were iron and charcoal black. Radiant knights dressed in white clothing with golden buttons stood around. Few walked leisurely around. Men and women were dressed in the same attire, white military suits with blue paints. They all brandished their weapons as I approached.Bookmark here

“State your name and business here.”Bookmark here

“Ah…”Bookmark here

Coyly, I looked about the massive outside of the city again. Large flags with a symbol mirroring a phoenix rolled around the large walls. They were dark blue and had a black outline of a phoenix in the center. Large iron-looking guns pointed at the field ominously. They had to be around 12ft long and 6ft wide. It was nothing but a weapon made to kill whoever was on the other side of it.Bookmark here

“Ma’am, are you alright?”Bookmark here

The male knight asked, causing me to turn back to him. He put his arms behind his back, pushed out his legs, and straightened his back. I’ve seen other knights have this same posture. It was likely an army stance they used for conformity between them.Bookmark here

“Yeah, sorry… ah… this is my first time here. How much?”Bookmark here

He titled his head.Bookmark here

“No, there’s no fee to get into Radiant City. All we ask is for you to state the reason for your visit.”Bookmark here

“Oh… My name is Feodora Cicer, and I’m here to buy groceries.”Bookmark here

I lifted my sack. It was empty so the wind, being mischievous, tried to blow it away, but I held it tight. The knight gave me a pitiable look as he lowered his shoulders.Bookmark here

“Alright, there’s a marketplace just east as you enter the gates. Follow the street and signs, and you won’t get lost-“Bookmark here

Suddenly the ground began to rumble. It came from behind me, so I turned around to see a large collection of wolves herding towards the west gates. There had to be around fifty or so white-furred, golden-eyed beasts. Wildly, they aimed right for us. I held my katana, ready to engage.Bookmark here

“Hold on you.”Bookmark here

The knight pulled my collar and pushed me behind him.Bookmark here

“Everyone, activate the spectrum barrier, and draw them in!”Bookmark here

Knights ran about getting into their combat positions. At first, they seemed disordered, but instantly, everything was like gears clicking into place as they all readied themselves for the approaching threat. Suddenly, a large white barrier formed around the area. It towered high, past the dark brick walls, even covering the flags, causing the wind to stop waving them about. The guns on the top of the walls began to glow a mighty red.Bookmark here

“They’re using the white barrier to attract them?”Bookmark here

I watched in awe as they coordinated their attack. Beast mindlessly ran towards them only to feed on the very spectrum that was going to annihilate them.Bookmark here

“Fire the railguns!”Bookmark here

The head captain ordered. Rays of fantastic greens, reds, blues, and oranges fired away at a large number of beasts. The area was littered with stray colors as the beast all cried out in harmony. White dust scattered about the land as the massive strike was decimated in an instant.Bookmark here

“At ease everyone!”Bookmark here

The captain commanded. The barrier fell, the cannons turned back into their positions, and all the soldiers went back to their normal calm manner as if this was normal.Bookmark here

“Again ma’am, when you first enter, head east and follow the signs.”Bookmark here

Still, in awe of what happened, I looked about the place. Knights chatted away under large umbrellas, some eating their lunches or playing card games. This place didn’t feel like the other small outpost I went to.Bookmark here

“Ah… thanks.”Bookmark here

I made my way past the large charcoal gates. Knights greeted me warmly as I pushed my head down and walked inside. What met me were smooth cobblestone streets that felt nice to walk on. As I looked about the city, it was a sight to behold. It reminded me of the stories I read.Bookmark here

“This is… different.”Bookmark here

In the many books I read from Maxwell’s library, they stated that Radiants designed their city to reflect a past civilization called Europe. Buildings were bright and made of reinforced wood. The roofs were triangular-shaped and had bright colors.Bookmark here

“This… is nothing like the forest.”Bookmark here

There were fountains around that cycled bright water spectrum. It looked clean enough to walk over and drink. I was tempted to do just that, but then a bunch of kids ran by. They began splashing each other with the water.Bookmark here

“Ehh… kids.”Bookmark here

I was a bit paranoid around them, I noticed. Maybe it was because of my horrible experience with them in the orphanage. Kids… were little people I wanted to avoid the most. Bookmark here

I thought about that day when I punched that bully. The pink-haired girl looked at me like a monster. Even after all these years, I still look back on that orphanage time as… painful.Bookmark here

I still think about that day even after all this time. It was the last interaction I had with... people other than Maxwell. The fear in her eyes...Bookmark here

“Something smells… good.”Bookmark here

I looked about to see bakeries with bright signs and glass windows showcasing their goods. The signs were lit up, and I could feel the holy spectrum radiating from them. I looked up at the sky, and what took me by surprise was the constant stream of spectrum flowing about the city.Bookmark here

“Everything… is strange here.”Bookmark here

It was as if this city was being supplied with a spectrum, and businesses and homes were using it for their convenience. I noticed the long iron poles sprinkled around the area were technologies I read in books while coming here. Curiously, I touched one and it felt cold.Bookmark here

“A streetlight.”Bookmark here

It was off, but I read that when the sun goes down, the holy spectrum within begins to shine brighter. It was yet another design taken from European civilization nearly 1000 years ago.Bookmark here

“I wonder how they look at night… in the shadows.”Bookmark here

It made me want to come back during the night when the shops close and look around. As I walked about, there were crowds of citizens walking along and chatting, kids playing, and families enjoying the warm weather. I avoided them as best as I could… They were a little intimidating.Bookmark here

“Ohhh…”Bookmark here

My body trembled as I tried to follow the signs the knight mentioned. There were plenty of them patrolling the city too. Some were eating samples from vendors trying to promote their goods. As I looked about, some shops sold meat and restaurants that had outdoor seating. Many of them had fabric canopies that gave the customers shade.Bookmark here

“This place… really does remind me of those books that talk about the human civilization… before the Radiant Age.”Bookmark here

I mumbled. Everything was… too bright.Bookmark here

I followed the signs as they led me down a flight of stairs. I walked through small alleys that were darker and finally entered a large market area in the city. It was outside, and there were stalls as far as the eye could see.Bookmark here

The market was wide, and large stands were on the left and right of me. Most of them were selling meats, fish from the nearby lakes, and trinkets that I have never seen before.Bookmark here

“Wow…”Bookmark here

I looked into the distance, and what I saw amazed me. It had to be a few miles away from here. In the center of the city stood a large castle. The lack of light made it seem darker than the buildings beside it. Each shop and home around stood at most 3 stories tall… but that castle had to extend into the heavens.Bookmark here

“Ah, are you new here?”Bookmark here

An older lady looked at me from the side. She must have noticed my mouth was open.Bookmark here

“Ahh…"Bookmark here

I couldn’t get the words out as I nodded briefly.Bookmark here

“That there is the Radiant kingdom. It’s so large that it feels a little scary at times… but they protect us here.”Bookmark here

A white mist hovered around the body of the castle. There were large pillars around it. At the top of each point shined its respective spectrum. It was like the world darkened just by looking at it.Bookmark here

“So don’t get in trouble, and you won’t find yourself having to deal with the Radiants who live there.”Bookmark here

Playfully, the old woman laughed as she walked over to a delicious-smelling stall.Bookmark here

“Maxwell…”Bookmark here

His name was what came to mind. When he told me the story of the Radiants, I instantly was afraid. But now… my fears were well-founded.Bookmark here

“I need to get my food and… leave.”Bookmark here

As I walked about, the cobblestone pattern turned into a bright gold, only making the shopping district look more dazzling. People walking about had on casual shirts and pants, skirts with sandals, and the like. The influence of the European civilization even melted into the culture here.Bookmark here

“Good morning! Would you like to try some freshly cooked pulled pork soup?!”Bookmark here

I turned to a woman holding out a delicious-looking bowl of food my way. It steamed and filtered into my nose. I… don’t think I’ve ever smelt anything so good before.Bookmark here

“Ahh…”Bookmark here

But there were already a bunch of people over there… and she wanted me to be a part of that group.Bookmark here

“Ah… I-I’m fine.”Bookmark here

“Oh, come on, it’s fresh from the nearby Castrol farm just east of here. They just shipped it this morning, and we cooked it right away!”Bookmark here

An older woman walked up to me.Bookmark here

“Try it dear, you’ll love it.”Bookmark here

That same old woman who previously chatted with me tried to suck me into the group. The attention caused my anxiety to peak. I backed away and began walking away as fast as I could. My feet clanked hard on the cobblestone ground.Bookmark here

“Aww, give us a try next time.”Bookmark here

The woman shouted playfully, causing the blood in my body to rush to my face. It was beyond embarrassing, and I wanted to just die.Bookmark here

“People are… aggressive.”Bookmark here

I mumbled as I looked about the shopping district. It was bright as the ground reflected the golden light. They were massive and made of sturdy-looking wood. Large crates were around most of the shops, full of products that seemed fresh. As I was growing tired of weaving my way through the crowd, I came across the holy grail.Bookmark here

“Vegetables…”Bookmark here

I meekly cried. A jolly man was standing in front as plump as an eggplant.Bookmark here

“Ah, I see I caught your attention with my fresh, delicious foods.”Bookmark here

He rubbed his belly as I looked around. What I found were glorious green tomatoes. I didn’t see a price on them, so I turned back to the merchant.Bookmark here

“How… much for your tomatoes?”Bookmark here

He rubbed his bright nose as the sun beat down on his head.Bookmark here

“Here we have the freshest that you can get, right from the Castrol farm nearby. They just came in this morning, and they’ll likely be sold by the end of the day. What would you charge for them?”Bookmark here

He gave me a sly smile. I thought about what I’ve learned from books dealing with trade. Merchants like these tend to upsell their goods.Bookmark here

“I’ll give you 5 gold for a bundle of your tomatoes.”Bookmark here

I haggled as I touched the money in my sack. It was getting lower by the week, and I was starting to grow anxious.Bookmark here

“How about 10 gold, ma’am?”Bookmark here

The jolly man holding the mountain of vegetables behind him hostage tried to upsell me as I expected. I’ve read enough books about horticulture to know the value of these foods.Bookmark here

"Are you going to be that cruel? The tomatoes value one gold each. I'm only getting five of them. You're doubling your sales like that."Bookmark here

The looming Radiant Kingdom in the background of our haggle gave me chills. The brightness of this world that mirrored what humans would call modern Europe was nothing like my dark…dreary home that I adored.Bookmark here

“Prices went up, ma’am!”Bookmark here

I'm sure he got his fat from his upsell on goods. I put my hand on my chest… my money has been running low lately. I had to pass gates and pay fees to travel here. Eventually, I'll have to take on odd jobs if I run out. I brush my burning red hair out of my face. The locks fell along my back as I shook from side to side.Bookmark here

“Listen, I-I don’t have much, take the 5 gold, please?”Bookmark here

His belly shook as he boisterously laughed. The crowd of casual buyers turned towards us, making me feel all the more… insecure. As if their eyes were barreling into me… I tightened my grip on my chest and held my head down. My anxiety was slowly coming in as the reality set in that I was… around people again.Bookmark here

“Prices went up! How about this, I’ll reduce it to 9 gold.”Bookmark here

I scratched my head as I adjusted the dark blade on my hip. With a lift of my coat, I turned back to the salesman. My tongue clicked as I turned back to the side.Bookmark here

“You know what… you’re right, prices must have gone up. Take my gold and give me the tomatoes… and do you have any cooking oil?”Bookmark here

"Oh, sure! And for being such a great customer, here's a freshly baked cinnamon muffin homemade by my wife. She told me to hand them out to my customers"Bookmark here

I took it in my hand. The smell of cinnamon was already assaulting my nose, and it turned my stomach. I… hated cinnamon. But to be polite, I put it in my bag.Bookmark here

After the deal was settled, I held out my hand and watched Maxwell’s precious gold fall into the hands of this filthy, cheating merchant.Bookmark here

“Pleasure doing business with you.”Bookmark here

The jolly man laughed, holding his belly the entire time.Bookmark here

“Yeah, I bet it was your pleasure.”Bookmark here

I mumbled.Bookmark here

Closer to broke but not there yet, I walked away defeated. After lifting my bag of goods, I attempted to step away when my hip pulled in the wrong direction.Bookmark here

“Huh?”Bookmark here

My body pulled back as I turned to the side.Bookmark here

“Oh?”Bookmark here

A bright and cheery voice caught me off guard. When I turned to the side, her small figure came into view. She had bright golden hair that twisted on the left and right sides of her head... In a fancy blue dress shirt that seemed expensive and pumpkin-shaped pants, her tiny hands tugged at my katana's holster. Her outfit reminded me more of the modern European style I found in books.Bookmark here

“Oh?”Bookmark here

I was surprised to see wings sprouting from her back. They weren’t connected to her and were enormous compared to her small frame. They reminded me of butterfly wings as they split into four sections. I read in a book what this kind of person was. There was no doubt about it, she was a barklight.Bookmark here

“Oh… you’re a young barklight?”Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.