Chapter 2:

Close Encounters

Y: The Tides Are In Our Hearts

Rosenfel City.

Before her first voyage, Miieie had always imagined what it would be like to be in the hustle-bustle of such a place.

How big would it be compared to Skilma Harbor? How many villages could it fit inside? How much taller was the tallest building than the Silvercrest Clocktower?

Comparing the two was like night and day for her. Skilma smelled of roses and galdenberries, with a warm gentle breeze that blew past countless stretches of farmland. It was rural, even in spite of the harbor. Rosenfel… well, Rosenfel wasn’t like Skilma at all. As Miieie shambled off the landing stage and onto solid ground she was almost overtaken by the stark differences immediately. Beyond the harbor overlooked tall buildings and the sound of various crowds on the overhead streets going about their daily routines. The largest building she could see from the harbor was huge, towering above six stories tall! That was twice the size of the Silvercrest Clocktower! So impressive!

She took a big whiff of the harbor air, her hand tightly clamping onto her luggage as she closed her eyes in anticipation of something sweet and fair.


She winced. What was that? She opened her eyes and took in the smells again. Where was the decadent smell of galdenberries? Of roses? She wasn’t even sure she smelled anything at all! How could such an amazing and huge place smell so much like nothing? She frowned, disappointed.

“How lame.”

Was this what big cities were like? Smelling of nothing distinct? Well, distinct other than the smell of saltwater and fish.

But that was nothing to write home about! Was there even a place in all of the kingdom that didn’t smell of saltwater and fish? Of the various islands in all of the seas, she couldn’t imagine such a smell.

Smells aside, there were plenty of other new, amazing things to experience in Rosenfel! The city was different and big! The different fashion, oh and the tons of ways to spend rials! Her grandfather told her to be mindful of her rials… but she couldn’t help finding a new thing to fantasize about. What was the food like here? The people? Sure, it smelled boring but that didn’t mean the city was boring! As the thought passed her by, she smiled, putting a little pep in her step.

Beyond the harbor, things certainly felt a lot different. Back on Skilma, Miieie had maybe seen three or four phaetonmobiles in her life. Here in Rosenfel they ran through the streets without a single horse to be seen. Even with her own lack of world experience, it made sense, the industry of magically-inclined devices were becoming larger and more convenient the more time pushed forward.

They were amazing things. Things that could not work without tapping into magic. Large, metallic horseless carriages, with large window panes. Their wheels were thick and black, and a vibrating noise exhaled from the engine as they moved. Instructor Ienna had drilled her on them and the specific artificer’s guild that had crafted them into existence only twenty years ago. Coterie Geldin. That was the name. An important name with an important role that she had to be quizzed on for the entrance exam.

“So cool… look at them go.” 

She kept moving her feet as she walked alongside the street. Between the phaetonmobiles, the towering buildings that dotted the skyline, and the cute storefronts she passed by there was a lot to take in.

It didn’t take her long to get utterly and completely lost. The green-haired girl had often had problems like this, even back on Skilma. The amount of times her grandfather glared at her while she gave a toothy grin while scratching the back of her head after making an awful excuse was… well, it was too many. But instead of arriving at school in a timely manner Miieie found herself stopping at every storefront that had something cute or interesting on display. It wasn’t until the clock struck ten that–

“Oh crap! Thanks for the food, mister, but I gotta split!”

–she realized she was running late.

With a map of the city in one hand and her things in another, the green-haired girl ran at full speed throughout the city streets. She didn’t have time to wait for pauses in traffic!

Phaetonmobiles screeched to halt as their drivers screamed at her as she hastily made her way out of the trade district and towards the academic district where the school she had worked so very hard to get into stood in the distance. Miieie shouted her apologies behind her, but by the time she saw the academy gates in the distance she had lost all mind of anybody else that could’ve been ushering toward the same destination.

Until she collided face-first in someone else.

The impact was sudden and the person Miieie had run into groaned. Miieie wasn’t even sure what the complaints were as she winced, still recovering from the bump herself. When she opened her eyes and looked up she saw another girl in the exact same uniform she was wearing. Beyond the palette's trio of blue, gold, and midnight there sat a unique necklace of some kind around her neck, but she didn’t really recognize it or its iconography.

The sun was aligned perfectly behind her. Her hair was snow white and would’ve ran down her back if she did not style it in a singular ponytail. Her eyes were the color of flame, crimson and pointed. She looked so much more put together than Miieie did by comparison and part of her was stuck on this being a person she shared the privilege of going to school with. Everything about the girl was polished and poised. She looked confident and prepared and–

“Hey! What the heck do you think you’re doing?! Do you even watch where you’re going?!”

–and mad. She was mad.

“Hey! Are you even listening to me? Helloooooo?!

“Ehehehehe. Sorry about that. Didn’t see you there.”

“Hmph. Obviously.” The girl dusted herself off, obviously not pleased with the response. “You really should look where you’re going, you know.”

A fair observation, Miieie thought.

“Yep… I’m Miieie, by the way.”

The girl extended her hand, pulling her back up to her feet. “Endra. Endra… Luunfor.”

“Nice to meet’cha, Endra Luunfor. Uh, my last name is Presson. If we’re sharing those.”

“Well, Miieie Presson, you have a lot to learn if you are going to traverse this academy. Starting with being aware of your surroundings.”

She nodded, “Uh huh. Well, I was worried about being late, so.”

The silver-haired girl went pale. “...late? Oh. Oh no.”

Before she could respond back to Endra she felt the girl’s hands on her collar. “WHAT TIME IS IT?”

“Well, its almost ten–”

“TEN? TEN O CLOCK? AND YOU’RE KEEPING ME HERE TALKING TO YOU?” Her crimson eyes widened. Miieie felt the sweat dropping from her forehead as she grinned nervously.

“Um. Yeah, that’s what we're doin’.”

Before she knew it the girl had released her. All Miieie could hear was panicked screaming as the girl bolted in the direction of the academy gates.

Miieie looked down. The girl’s own luggage sat on the ground. The green-haired Skilman sighed, wearily. What a high strung girl and forgetful, too! Oh well. She grabbed her luggage with her left and Endra’s with her right.

This was going to be a long school year, wasn’t it?

Robin Paharya
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