Chapter 31:

Chapter Twenty‑Five: Daddy’s Girl

Beyond the Borders Volume 1

One day had passed since the tragedy at the Rhyine. Lyreh had been the
only one to survive. Part of her wish she had died with her team, yet,
part of her was glad to be alive. Still, this didn’t change what she had
to do. The most painful part of being a soldier was living and being
forced to tell the family of the deceased person that they were dead.
This made it even harder for her as she not only had to deal with
Celeste and her family but she had to tell an eleven‑year‑old girl that
her father was dead.Bookmark here

Lyreh stopped in front of the inn where Aryia would be waiting happily
for her father to return and give her a hug. Maybe tell her that he
loved her…Bookmark here

The more she thought about it the more she hated herself for living. She
knew that after this if she wasn’t dead the astronomical consumption of
beer sure would. As Lyreh entered the inn Priscilla stood at the counter
with a smile on her face. After seeing the look on Lyreh’s face her
smile slowly faded.Bookmark here

“I… have some bad news…”Bookmark here

The room was quiet for a second.Bookmark here

“He’s not coming back, is he?”Bookmark here

Lyreh didn’t speak. What could she say? Before she could say anything
else the sound of small bare feet running down the wooden staircase of
the inn could be heard. Aryia and Mari ran down as fast as they could in
their sleeping clothes which looked more like a white frilly dress. It
was the smile on Aryia’s face that made Lyreh wish she had died instead
of Klryizer.Bookmark here

“Is daddy back?”Bookmark here

The question forced Lyreh to look away. If her heart was going to
physically break that was the question that would do it. The room was as
silent as a mouse.Bookmark here

“What happened to daddy?”Bookmark here

Before the girl could speak again Lyreh bent down to one knee and placed
her hand on Aryia’s head. This news would shatter her heart but she
needed to know. Not knowing was one of the worse things someone could go
through.Bookmark here

“I am sorry but your father didn’t make it.”Bookmark here

“What do you mean?”Bookmark here

“Aryia… he isn’t coming back. He is dead.”Bookmark here

Those words slowly burned themselves into Aryia’s brain. Mari felt bad
for her friend, even if she didn’t fully understand the concept of death
she did know what it was like to lose her father. Without another word
Lyreh got up and made her way out the door. She knew she would need a
lot of beer and cigarettes for the days to come.Bookmark here

Tears flowed from Aryia’s eyes as Mari wrapped her arms around her,
embracing her gently. She buried her face into her chest as her cried
echoed throughout the empty inn.Bookmark here

\* \* \*Bookmark here

One year had passed since Aryia lost her father. She continued to hone
her wind magic to the best of her abilities outside the city by
practicing on a lone tree in the woods. Day and night Aryia practiced,
hoping her magic would be strong enough to destroy the person that took
her father. Aryia held out her hand and tried to focus her magic on the
tree. A small cone of wind shot out from Aryia’s hand heading for the
tree in front of her. The tree didn’t budge even a millimeter.Bookmark here

“Why can’t I cut this stupid tree down,” Aryia said aloud.Bookmark here

Unbeknownst to her, a young girl heard her from the dirt road at which
she was traveling. She had traveled a good distance from the City of
Gernod and was heading due West from Priserra. The girl was nearing her
late twenties and had traveled a lot by the deterioration on her
clothes. Her long leather brown boots were stained with dirt while her
brown shorts — that were far to short to be considered whole‑sum —
showed signs of weakening at the seams. The forest green tunic she wore
had small rips around her chest mostly due to the growth of her once
flat anvil shaped chest. Now her chest was a bouncing bubble of pillows,
soft yet firm. She wore a brown cloak with a hood that appeared to only
stop around her stomach. Surprisingly, it was the only bit of clothing
on her that was still in perfect condition. As she walked she used the
wooden staff in her left hand as a walking stick.Bookmark here

The girl noticed Aryia from the road and watched as she tried to use her
wind magic to attack the tree ahead of her. This reminded her of the
first time she tried to learn her magic. Aryia continued to use her
magic to attack the tree, however, every time she failed to cut it down
or move it.Bookmark here

“You seem to be having trouble,” the girl said as she placed her hand on
Aryia’s shoulder.Bookmark here

Aryia was slightly startled by the girl as she turned to face her.Bookmark here

“Yeah, I keep trying to cut down the tree but my magic isn’t strong
enough.”Bookmark here

As the girl removed her hood Aryia was able to see the girl’s face. She
had medium length forest green hair with two black ribbons tied at the
ends of two long strands of hair. Her jade green eyes looked at the
little girl before her.Bookmark here

“Why do you wish to harm the tree with your magic?”Bookmark here

“I want to join the Sylverian Army and fight our enemies.”Bookmark here

The girl bent down until her eyes were level with Aryia’s.Bookmark here

“You wish to avenge someone, yes?”Bookmark here

Aryia nodded.Bookmark here

“Revenge can be a horrible path to walk down. If you plan to kill then
you should be ready to die as well.”Bookmark here

“Well, I…”Bookmark here

Aryia was unsure of what to say to that. In a way, the girl was right.Bookmark here

“Our wind magic was not given to us by the goddesses to harm but to
protect. We aren’t meant to kill.”Bookmark here

The girl held out her hand at the tree. Like lightning striking the
ground her magic cut through the tree like a blade cutting an apple.
Within seconds the tree fell over onto the ground. Aryia stood there,
amazed by what the girl did.Bookmark here

“Could you teach me to better use my magic like that?”Bookmark here

“I could but no. You lack the mind to be responsible for your own
actions.”Bookmark here

“What if I promise not to harm anyone with my magic?”Bookmark here

“Do you take me for a fool little one?”Bookmark here

“Please… I am begging you. I want my magic to get better.”Bookmark here

Aryia fell to her knees, lowering her head as she begged. Tears began to
form around her eyes. It was clear to the girl that Aryia was trying to
hold them back. The girl sighed as she wondered if she was going to
regret what she was about to say.Bookmark here

“Fine, however, if I teach you then there are conditions. First, you
will not harm others. Second, you shall do everything I say without
question. Third…”Bookmark here

The girl was cheerful as she spoke.Bookmark here

“Find me a cheap inn to stay at.”Bookmark here

Aryia sprung up with a large smile on her face. She was overcome with
joy.Bookmark here

“I know the perfect place.”Bookmark here

\* \* \*Bookmark here

Aryia stood there with a smile on her face as the girl looked surprised
and shocked. The Sleepy Inn was the cheapest inn in the City of Priserra
compared to the other inns. While the girl did tell Aryia to find a
cheap inn she did not figure the inn would look the way it did.Bookmark here

“You know… when I said find me a cheap inn… I meant one that was… well,
nicer then this…”Bookmark here

“Well, you said it had to be cheap because you are poor. This is the
cheapest inn in the whole city.”Bookmark here

The two of them entered into the building and were greeted by the soft
and adorable smile of Priscilla who was busy cleaning up plates from the
table. The girl was quite shocked by the inside of the place and by the
fact the owner was dressed in a maid outfit.Bookmark here

“Welcome to the Sleepy Inn. The most hollow inn in all of Priserra.”Bookmark here

*If that is their slogan then that is horrible*, the girl thought. Aryia
ran to Priserra as happy as she could be.Bookmark here

“Auntie Priscilla, this lady is going to teach me how to use my magic!”Bookmark here

Priscilla looked over to the woman, taking note of her worn out clothes.Bookmark here

“I see. I guess you better go upstairs with Mari and eat so you can have
the strength to train,” Priscilla said with a smile and wink.Bookmark here

“Right!”Bookmark here

Aryia ran up the wooden stairs with the happiest expression she could
have on her face. She would finally learn how to use her magic. Stopping
mid‑way at the stairs Aryia turned back to the girl.Bookmark here

“I will see you later then.”Bookmark here

The girl simply smiled and then turned to Priserra.Bookmark here

“So, you plan to teach that girl about her magic?”Bookmark here

“Well, she kind of begged me,” the girl said, scratching the back of her
head.Bookmark here

“I had hoped to keep that girl out of trouble but she seems determined
as ever to ignore my advice.”Bookmark here

“She appeared to have someone on her mind.”Bookmark here

Priscilla was quiet for a second.Bookmark here

“When she lost her father she believed she had to fight the Versyian
Republic. She had done nothing but train outside the walls of the city
everyday since then.”Bookmark here

“Losing a parent can be hard.”Bookmark here

“Losing both is harder…”Bookmark here

“Oh… I see. I apologize.”Bookmark here

Priscilla shook her head as if to say *no reason to worry about it now*.Bookmark here

“Anyways, you are looking for a cheap room, right?”Bookmark here

“Yes. I don’t plan to stay long. There is a place I am traveling to.”Bookmark here

“I see. Well, a room for one night here is usually two hundred Yukaris.”Bookmark here

“T‑Two hundred Yukaris?”Bookmark here

The girl pulled out her coin pouch only to note that she only had one
hundred fifty Yukaris. Priscilla could tell by the girl’s face that she
didn’t have the Yukaris to spare.Bookmark here

“Maybe since you’re training Aryia I could knock off a few Yukaris. I am
also pretty understaffed around the evening hour. I could always use an
extra pair of hands. Perhaps, that would cover giving you free food and
drink. That would bring your total to say… ten Yukaris for a week,”
Priscilla said with a wink.Bookmark here

“You are a saint,” the girl said looking as if she was about to cry.Bookmark here

Without warning the girl hugged Priscilla and thanked her over and over
again. Priscilla simply smiled and asked her to write her name down in a
brown leather bound book with vellum pages. After the girl wrote down
her name Priscilla looked at the book taking note of how hard it was to
pronounce the woman’s name.Bookmark here

“How do you pronounce your name Miss?”Bookmark here

“Zhan‑Ming.”Bookmark here

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