Chapter 3:

Chapter 3. In the shadows

Another Story [Hiatus]

It has been some time since I have left May back in Orma. I have a lingering feeling of missing her, but the ever-changing landscape is blowing my mind off every now and then. Olen is next to me steering the horses from left to right or pulling them to slow down, and sometimes even signaling to speed up. The horses are beautiful, big, and sturdy mares. One with a brown coat with some black spots as an accent, the other jet black and is very majestic. The horses pull a not-so-big carriage but are full of goods to sell off to the market in Dirya. Olen and I have been talking about how he used to be a student himself in the school of mana. Bookmark here

"Kiddo, ya' shouldn't put up such face ridin' with me in my car." He points out my sulking face, probably noticing that I am missing May already. A few moments go by as I rearrange my face back into excitement. "That's way better, did ya' know that I dropped outta' school 'cause I didn't have the talents nor the money to further my studies,” he says out with a face I would regard as disappointment. Bookmark here

"I thought that the school was supposed to be free?" I ask.Bookmark here

"'Tis so, but how'd ya' think they keep it free? The kingdom doesn't just magically poof out money from nowhere ya' know," he says in some sarcasm I can't quite point out. Although I just realized what the answer is to his question.Bookmark here

"Oh, the students form clubs where they sell all sorts of stuff they make in the school market, The money they earn partly goes to their club and the other to the school," I answer. This information I knew as May told me so about her club back then.Bookmark here

"Yuh, and I do not have the quirks to make something that is worth selling. Now I jus' deliver the stuff others want to sell." He points at his carriage full of goods in the back. Some awkward silence goes by and I go back into admiring the beautiful scenery that is passing by. One scenery reminds me of the landscape which I saw in my past life, where off in the distance, the mountains meet the rolling hills of grass and crop. We soon entered a dense forest that smells of pine and birch. A good smell. Something that would remind me of home with May as Orma is a town surrounded by forest just like this.Bookmark here

Some time goes silently by in the forest as we sit quietly. Olen is still steering the horses now and then. The horses, though, have become quite nervous, they walk at a slower pace now. This is probably due to the fact that the forest is denser, and the visibility does not go further than a few stretches away. This nervousness also begins to boil inside me as the horses come into a stop.Bookmark here

It won't be long until we have reached Dirya, but our pace stopped. I begin to feel my heart sinking as the eeriness of the forest begins to take over my chest. It is suspiciously quiet, with only the rustling of leaves and branches to be heard.Bookmark here

A few more moments go by and I suddenly hear some murmurs in a dense set of brushes off to our left of the path. I soon realize that these are bandits. They are readying their incantations.Bookmark here

The incantations are very much unrecognizable but from the looks of it, there isn't only one. Olen is starting to get nervous, but he remains still as if he knows what to do in such a situation. A stone the size of a table soon comes flying in front of us which blocks the path. The horses rear themselves in panic. Olen trying to regain control, he starts forcefully pulling them back down as we are trying to make out what is happening. The stone left a visible crater where it landed.Bookmark here

Bandits then surrounded us, they were around four or five of them. One seems to be the leader in the back, signaling the others to surround us much closer. Olen sat right in front of me starting to raise his hands and looked at me as if telling me to do the same. I raised my hands.Bookmark here

A bandit is coming towards us and begins to question: "Well, y'all seem so cozy right now, aren't ya'?" We do not try answering this. "Ya' know the drill if ya' wanna go through, you gotta pay." Signaling Olen to pay money. As if Olen already knew how much he needs to pay, he hands out some money to the bandit. "Aight, and now for the boy," he said, pointing at me. Olen looks at me as if saying he doesn't have enough money.Bookmark here

I take out my pouch given to me by May earlier, Take out some coins which seemed to be of glistening golden color, different than what Olen has given them but this should be enough. Olen looks at me with nervous eyes as he sees the money I took out from my pouch. "I hope we can go through now," I say towards the bandit who has taken a frown as he looked at my pouch and back at my face.Bookmark here

Why did I say that?Bookmark here

"Haha! we'll see about that; I see that you are quite a wealthy one aren't ya'," He says while pointing at my pouch. He looks back at the leader which seems to be growing impatient and nods his head. Bookmark here

Olen twitches in fear. "Please don't, we just passed through to get this boy to the school in Dirya," he says with great concern of our wellness. The hairs of my neck start to rise. A few murmurs in the back start to appear again. The winds of the forest are starting to be more violent; rocks begin to fly again in our direction, now in smaller sizes rather than big ones. The bandits begin to unsheathe their swords and the one we spoke to begin making its way towards me with a face that shows its bloodlust. Bookmark here

"Let's plunder all o' this!" Someone shouts.Bookmark here

"Yeah!"Bookmark here

"This boy is rich!" The one in front of me informs the others. He begins to make his way closer and closer towards me which seems to take an eternity. I do not possess anything to defend myself let alone fight. Olen seems to be praying behind me, hoping a miracle would happen. He does not want his life to end like this.Bookmark here

As if time leaped, the bandit is now in front of me. He points his sword inches away from my neck. As I begin to breathe heavily, I feel how the skin of my neck touches the point of his blade. "Please," I stutter. "Don't kill us.”Bookmark here

"That depends, give us all you have." He points his free hand to my pouch. I do not want to give him my money. May gave this to me. May worked hard for this, and I do not want to regard all her hard work for nothing. A sudden thought comes in my head, May's voice saying that I can defend myself.Bookmark here

With a slow breath, I begin to imagine the breathing of the enemy in front of me. The way he holds the sword against the skin of my neck. The size of his body, and the face that would want to kill me. "Baer Kur Nae La Kalamie Pada," I say, in the same pronunciation as May taught me. But I realize my mistake. I said a word wrong. And in a panic, I start trying to say the incantation again, but now at a faster and sluggish pace: "Baer Kur Nae La Kelamie Pada." But to no avail. It still didn't work.Bookmark here

"What are you trying to do!" He raised his sword which then scratched my neck. Blood now started to draw from it but not deep enough to kill me. A bunch of shouts started to rise in the back. Stones started flying past my head and Olen's. Bookmark here

It did not work. May's spell did not work. Now, I am gonna die. The same age as I was back in my previous life. A life that's so miserable as this. I try to relish the moments as I embrace the end of me. I begin to think about May and how she treated me all along. The house I grew up in. As if waiting for the swing of the sword, I close my eyes. I then get a picture that seems to be from my previous life. It is the moment when I died. A moment that will haunt me forever in this life, and probably in my next life after this. I died by the hands of my own father. A sudden tear starts flowing out of my left eye as I take my last breath.Bookmark here

"Nooooo!" Says Olen, as he tries to stop the bandit in killing me, but it was not enough. The other bandit next to him takes him as he tries to sacrifice himself for my sake. I appreciate the thought, but this is my end.Bookmark here

Waiting for the strike, I hear Olen's sobbing voice next to me. Is he crying for me? Or for himself?Bookmark here

A few moments pass as I still try to keep a hold on to the pouch. My eyes, I close back again. Then, I felt a sudden wind on the front of my face. This is it; this is the sword. This is my end.Bookmark here

But no. A few moments pass. The wind is gone; it isn't my end. I open my eyes and see that the bandit in front of me is gone. Olen seems to be unconscious beside me with fortunately no blood on his body. I begin to let the situation sink in. I see an unfamiliar robe off in the distance which seems to be a person of medium size, and a familiar figure. This person defeated all the bandits in an instant. The bandits are already on the ground, all of them, unconscious. The one in front of me is on the ground next to our carriage, with his head seemingly banged with something heavy.Bookmark here

The person in a long robe starts walking towards our direction. I soon recognize the way they walk and the silhouette of their body. It is May. I try to reprocess what just happened. I see May walking towards my direction with the unfamiliar robe. As I see her figure clearer, I see her slowly saying something that is unrecognizable. My head starts spinning, my body seems to be flying. I do not remember what happened further.
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