Chapter 2:

Breakfast in the Garden

Full Moon! Through the Rings of Love

Did I hear Luna right? Did she just propose to me? She had to have done it, because even Zumi’s mouth was wide open in shock.

“I’m not sure I understand what you're asking.” I replied.

“Luna, is it?” Zumi spoke up. “What exactly is going on here?”

Luna took a breath, moving back to lean on a tree for support.

“My father, the emperor of the moon, has come to the conclusion that this world is unworthy of magic. If I cannot find and marry a powerful human, he will take away all magic from your people forever.”

If it were any other person, I'd have called them crazy. But this was coming from a lunar princess.

Without magic, daily life would be impossible. Our leveling systems were tied to it, and we used it to fight monsters. There's stories of olden times when people managed to get by on their own sheer determination and ingenuity, but those times are long gone.

I’m not opposed to marrying a beautiful woman like her to save the world, but so suddenly? It's overwhelming. 

“Princess Luna,” Zumi started, “Why does your father want to do this?”

Luna was looking a bit tired. Her eyes fluttered and she daintily covered her mouth to let out a yawn.

“Something about you all being ‘lazy simpletons.’”

So in other words, she had no idea either.

“Does it have to be me who you marry?” I asked.

Luna nodded. “We must be compatible, spiritually speaking. I’ve deduced that you are such a person.”

She continued and said the magic I used to save her was lunar magic. But how did I learn it? I didn’t even know it existed until right now.

“Brother!” Zumi shouted. “Look at your level!”

I opened up my stats screen. My eyes darted to a 99 in the corner.

"How the…?" I was suddenly at level 99! I'd gone up a ridiculous amount in just a few minutes!

There had to be some trickery here. Someone was definitely pranking me. Maybe Zumi had gotten one of the higher level students to perform some divine magic, just to make me feel better?

I openly accused her, but she was gravely offended.

"You think I'd get someone out of the blue to just propose to you? Wake up, Walden!"

She used my name. That meant she was definitely upset. Clearly this wasn't her doing.

"Mage Walden," Luna shook her head, "this is no jest. It is…very serious."

Luna suddenly started to kneel down. Her exhaustions was taking a toll on her.

I kneeled next to her, letting her head rest on my shoulder.

"Brother, do you really think that the Moon Emperor will take our magic away?"

"Can we risk it?" I asked, noticing Luna was asleep.

"Luna doesn't seem to be lying. I'll have to do some research."

We both agreed to keep quiet about this for now. If anyone found out what was going on, we might have a big scandal on our hands. Maybe even a interplanetary war. Best to avoid that.

We took Luna back to our home in the village. Luckily it was dark, so nobody spotted us carrying her back.

Then we set up a spare bed for her in the living room. Zumi said she could handle making Luna comfortable from there.

I wouldn’t be sleeping tonight, but I had to give them a little privacy. My room made for a nice sanctuary.

Wanting to see my level again, I checked out my stats.

“Level 3…?”

My level went back to 3. Whatever power up I got back there must have worn off. It was a real shame too. What exactly caused that? Maybe Luna had something to do with it? At this point, anything was possible when it came to her.

Lunar people were said to be powerful, almost godlike. But it's hard to distinguish fact from fiction when you've never seen them.

Zumi knocked on my door, then peeked in.

“You don’t mind having her stay here, do you?” Zumi asked me. “Might be a little weird having a pretty girl around.”

I had a feeling Luna and I’s fates were crossed. Getting used to having her nearby was probably going to be important.

“It’s fine. Just don’t go spreading the word, otherwise people will get the wrong idea.”

Lucky for me, Zumi and I looked similar. People could always tell we were related. But if they just saw this noble looking princess march around the house, they’d be very suspicious.

“I’ll be heading to the library to get some material on the lunar imperium.” Zumi's a real bookworm. When she goes to the library, she needs me to carry all her books for her. “Since Luna’s out for the night, wanna make a trip there with me?”

She said it like a question, but the only right answer was “yes.”


Luna woke up in the morning. I’d already made breakfast for everyone, then set up the table in the patio garden outside. According to Zumi’s research, moon people pretty much eat the same foods we do, so I didn't make anything special.

“Thank you for catering me like this,” Luna said.

"It’s nothing at all.” I replied.

Luna was scanning around, like she was looking for something.

“Everything okay, Princess Luna?”

“Please, refer to me simply as Luna.” She smiled. “I was wondering where the other girl went. Zummia.”

Zumi was locked up in her room, as usual when it came to studying. I actually needed to go get her, or she’d completely forget to eat.

After the table was set and everyone present, we continued the conversation from last night.

"I really have to marry you?" I asked Luna, still a bit confused about the situation.

"It is the only way my father will reconsider taking away magic."

"Princess Luna," Zumi started, "how does your father plan to take away magic in the first place?"

"He will destroy the bridge connecting our worlds." She said, pointing at the planets rings in the sky.

Those were bridges? The planets rings were said to be a peace offering from the Lunar Imperium long ago. Zumi knew all about that stuff.

"To get to my father, we'll need to pass through the five rings on your planet to reach the moon."

“I thought those rings were magic in visible form.” Zumi commented. "You couldn't stand on them, let alone cross them."

Luna shook her head. “No. They are the conduit that connects the moon with your world. Magical energy flows through those rings, allowing you all to take advantage of it in the air. Each carries a different realm on the inside.”

She explained that there were five rings, each housing a different world in them. Their environments changed based on the challenges they had.

“Do we have to fly to the rings?” I questioned. “They’re in space.”

Luna claimed there should be gateways somewhere in the world that will send us to them. She made it sound like they were teleporters.

Zumi raced off back to her studies with all this new info. This time she locked herself up in the basement. We had a private study there, but she used it like a second bedroom.

Meanwhile, I kept an eye on Luna. She was wandering around the garden, inspecting some of the flowers and vegetables we had growing here.

When she realized I was watching her, she turned and smiled.

“I’m sorry. Am I making you nervous?”


Seeing her standing in the garden, her silver hair grazed by a gentle wind, and the flowers and grass vibrantly spread around her…it was like a living painting. I was mesmerized.

“This garden is so beautiful. It reminds me of being back at my palace.”

That was an honour. I’m the one who planted all these.

She didn’t recognize any of the plants around here though, so I started pointing out each of the different things. She was really attentive, asking me questions about each of them.

“What about this gracious one?” she pointed to a really big yellow flower.

“That’s a sunflower. We use the oil for tea.”

“Tea?!” Her eyes lit up bright silver and her posture looked like a child receiving a gift. “I love…”

Before she could finish speaking, Zumi reemerged from the basement, a folded map in hand.

“I’m on to something! This is a map of the Fairylands just up north.” She unfolded the map on the table. “The theory is that there are doors to other worlds around here. Nobody was able to get very far with the research though.”

“You think that’s where the doors to the rings are?” I asked.

“Not sure, but it’s our only lead.”

I don’t know how many books and maps she’s gone through in the last few hours, but she really knew how to dig through info. If she said this was our only lead, I trusted her.

“Luna, does any of this sound right to you?” I asked her.

“The only hints I can give about the doors to the rings is that true love will reveal the way.”

Vague, but completely expected. You’d think someone involved with this would have more info.

“I’m sorry I can’t be of more use. This is my first time in your world, so I’m unsure.”

Zumi expressed that it wasn’t Luna’s fault. “It’s supposed to be complicated, otherwise anyone could do it. And I’m sure the Moon Emperor has his own agenda, so he’ll keep you misinformed.” Zumi slammed her palm down on the table. "Here's the catch…we'll need an Egress Mage."

"Wait, why?" I only knew one Egresser, and I really didn't want to deal with him.

"Because they know how to unlock realm gates. Even a weak one would work."

The guy I had in mind was decent at that sort of thing…but…he's kind of a haughty jerk. Dealing with him was far from pleasant. But if it was to save the world, we didn't have much of a choice.

Mario Nakano 64
Taylor J
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