Author's note: What inspired me to write this novel was from a film I had recently seen entitled "Spirited Away"... Show full author's note »
Shadows and EchoesCHAPTER TWENTY-NINE
SHADOWS AND ECHOES
The beast lowered its head in triumph, his eyes glowed with anger and depression as it then sluggishly vanished into the rainy wood not to be seen again.
“Thank you Karasu, if those needles had gotten into all of us I’m afraid I’d not have enough antidote to cure all of us,” Said the Healer with admiration. They finally were able to continue. What seemed like hours of waiting, large rocky formations began to decorate the terrain and the woods were getting less dense and lichen and other types of colored moss decorated slabs of stone that rested upon the ground. Karasu noticed that the stones held the Sushini language which meant that the ancients had been here.
Karasu looked and sighed with relief. There in front of them was a large slab of stone that towered over them. It was gray and withered with age. A Small waterfall fell from its surface creating a tiny river that leaked its way down the woods. Near the west side of the rock, was a gaping mouth of a cave. Large stalactites decorated the tops making them look like jagged teeth.
“Be careful, we don’t want to run into any wolves or Abura-Sumashi or Gashandokuro skeleton men, and a spirit,” He said.
“That just sounds dandy,” Karasu scoffed as he waved his hand around his staff and the emeralds brightened up shimmering slightly as then they began to enter into the cave.
The companions walked inside the cave, being engulfed by its ethereal darkness which they were all to use to by now for that was what the world was covered in now, nothing but pure darkness that could never be lifted, not even with a vial of light. They continued onward with their search, examining each wall.
“The plant has a strange skeletal stem structure, its petals are a light lavender mixed with different hues of purple and pink, it should look also like its glowing,” Said the Healer examining the walls.
“It’ll be more than likely in a moist place , so look for signs of water,” He added.
“Karasu, what if we run into that dragon?” Eria asked looking at his dark shadow.
“I don’t know, if we can’t wait up Yume who knows what’ll happen,” He said.
Nanon tensed and took a deep breath. He hadn’t spoken in a while, not since after the transformation.
“My elders use to tell me of a good dragon that lies somewhere in the Eastern Kingdom of Allea,” He said.
“A good dragon, I thought all dragons were extinct sine after the last great civil war,” Said Eria.
“Not necessarily extinct my lady, but went to sleep,” Said the Healer still examining each rock. He then stopped a low hanging root that was attached between two different rocks. He looked at it closely.
“I found it!” He then tugged at the root and it pulled out, there was the flower, the one that was supposed to cure all ailments.
Suddenly a noise stirred in the darkness, the sound of a tumbling rock. He froze as he heard the grunting and moaning of a beast.
“Run!” Shouted the Healer placing the plant in the pocket and rushed out towards the exit of the cave. The rest followed as then the grunting and moaning of the beast grew louder. As the group hurtled towards the entrance Karasu looked back and nearly fell over. There towering over them was a large Arctic Troll with white fur and red eyes that glared down at pray.
Karasu grabbed his staff and then took a deep breath and then slammed it to the ground screaming out.
“Vocturnious Blethord!” The sound of his voice was so different, so strange. The echoe of it flew across the air as if it were a sonic wave. The beast moaned in pain as it stumbled backwards and then fell down upon the ground, its head smashing onto a rock, cracking it open, spilling fresh blood upon the rocks.
“Well, that worked out nicely,” Said Karasu with a grin as he then took off out of the cave. He wanted to get out as soon as he could.
“So you said that there is another dragon out there that can help us fight the evil dragon right?” Eria asked.
“Yes, he lives in the Eastern Kingdom, there is a shrine underground somewhere that he meditates at, no one has ever seen him, only a third few have, the ones that seek his knowledge of magic and purity,” Said the Healer.
“So if no one has ever seen this dragon, how would we know if he even exists, I mean I’ve heard fairy stories about him, I think his name is Ashlor, I believe,” Said Eria.
“Correct,” Said the Healer.
“Ah our little companions are back with my flower I presume?” the Raven woman asked as she stood there, her hand out.
“Yes my lady, here is the flower you’ve wanted,” Said the Healer and placed it upon the woman’s hand.
“It’s rare that anyone passes this test my lord, normally people always are either eaten alive by the troll, or don’t even know what plant to look for, I now grant you passage into my valley,” She said.
“Thank you madam,” Said the Healer.
“Come on we need to hurry, we barely have time left,” Said Karasu looking at the lowering sun knowing that it was somewhere between six or seven o’clock.
The forest began to get less dense every moment as they approached an opening valley. The sun had at last broken through the trees casting its dim light upon the travelers. This worried Nanon for he knew that night would be descending upon them soon, and he did not want to go back into his beast form again, for the transformation was always unexpected.
They had at last made it to the valley, and what met their eyes was absolutely spellbinding. Tall grass decorated the hills, and flowers of various sorts floated gently in the breeze. There was a sweet fragrant in the air that was mystifying; it was like this place was placed under a spell.
“I see that the darkness hasn’t touched this place,” Said Karasu looking around at the wild flowers.
“Because this is a part of my land, I placed a darkness rebound spell upon this place,” He said smiling.
The next moment, strange creatures began to appear upon the plains. They were in the shape of horses, but what was odd about them were that the horses looked like
“We need to hurry guys, find a horse and be prepared to lift off, we need to hurry!”
Harriet sat there for the longest of moments that she has ever sat in her whole life. Her legs had fallen asleep, and her muscles were aching and screaming in pain. But she still waited in silence and in curiosity. The Lords had argued for five hours straight forward about Yume, and whether or not if they should cancel the cremation.
“We can’t stop now, I’m sure the announcement has already been made to the public, and that all of the Northern Kingdom citizens will be showing up any moment now, to witness the saddest event of our history,” Said the seventh Lord.
“Yes it is the saddest moment, he awoke as one of the guardians of the relics, and now with his lose, the others can’t awaken either, for it is said in the old legends that only the guardian can recognize the other two guardians of the artifacts, and that when he sees them, he’ll know what the artifact would be for him, or her,” Replied the fourth Lord.
“Perhaps we could withhold the cremation of our lost Prince until dawn, that might give them time,” Said the third Lord with a heavy sigh.
“No, we made a deal, that by midnight tonight, he will be cremated into ash, and then he shall be spread upon each kingdom, to provide aid to us in the Shadows,” Said the sixth Lord.
“You have no say so in this matter, it is up to our Supreme Lord,” He then looked towards the first.
“Midnight,” He simply said, and there was no more talk about it.
“What about the dragon, how would we destroy it do you suppose, its killing off the villages, burning the crops,” Says the fifth.
“I’m very well of that, I to had read the recent reports,” Said the first taking a seat in his chair.
“I have heard of the old legends of the dragon Ashlor hiding in the underground shrine dedicated to the Dwellers of the Sky, the good dragons,” He said.
“And I suppose you want to go find him and awaken him?” the sixth Lord asked.
“It is possible, but the only problem is, he speaks in dragon tongue and no other language,” He said.
“That is a problem, whom here can speak dragon tongue?” the seventh Lord asked.
“Only the King and Queen were capable of such a language, maybe it has passed down in their blood,” Said the third Lord.
“Wonderful, so we’re killing the only one who knows dragon tongue then,” Scoffed the fifth Lord.
“The proper term for dragon tongue is “Draconian,” Said the sixth Lord.
Harriet was now interested when they were talking about the dragon Ashlor, she remembered the fairytales that she had once read to Eria when she was only a little girl, before the incident. She remembered that the dragon Ashlor had once brought down his evil brother Kaldorth after the last war, it seem that Ashlor wasn’t successful since Kaldorth still roams the skies turning them red with flame and turning clouds into ash.
She sighed and decided that she needed to get the heck out of the room before she got caught. She almost got into trouble five times already when she had to climb up that god forsaken staircase pretending to be a servant of the tower cleaning things.
Yume was staring into a blank mirror. The mirror was taller than him, had a flat plane surface that casted no reflection. It was a finely made mirror; its wooden frame had strange designs etched into its wood.
“Something within time, has been broken,” Spoke a voice.
“A fragment of the darkness has managed to escape its death,”
“What do you mean?” Yume asked looking at the mirror.
“The fragment, was of a spell that sent the dark shadow into the future, and now it lies here in this time, to finish what it had started a long time ago,”
“What is the darkness?” Yume asked.
“The Shadow, the king of darkness and shade itself, though he may take upon the form of a demonic human being, his true form is that of a shadowed dragon, dragons have a very important part to play in this story Yume Ame, and you as well as the other guardians have the power to awaken all of them to aid you in the war that is to come,” Said the voice.
“I thought that the dragon I had awoken was the only one?” He asked.
“That was not the only dragon to ever exist in Seishin-Sekai realm, not in the least, in fact the dragon Ashlor the eldest of all the dragons is in the far Eastern Kingdom awaiting you to wake him up,” He said.
“Yes, you, because only the Guardians can awaken him from his paralyzed sleep, he lurks in the underground realm within a secret shrine,” Said the voice within the mirror.
Yume pondered over this. His brain was racked up with information that he could not contain.
“Where would I be able to find the key, and its owner,” Asked Yume.
“You might be able to find the key within a world that is not our own, within a realm where the imagination is strongest, yet the most weakest,” Answered the voice.
“You mean my world?” He asked.
“Perhaps, or another realm entirely, but there is a good place to start,”
“You do not have much time left in this place Yume, you’ll be awaken soon, are you ready to fight the darkness?”
“What do you mean about the fragment within time?” Yume requested.
“A long while ago, another great war had plagued the land, and the great dragon Ashlor had be rid of it, or so he thought. However the darkness was only sent within a time warp, there for sending it into space and into the future, which is now, and the darkness is bringing forth its revenge,”
“Revenge for what?”
“For creating the light, it hates the light with a passion,”
“You need to retrieve both the dark and light relics, or the Stars and Shadows and reawaken the light’s power, then the war shall begin and the Gods and Goddess shall aid you, as well as the Sushini, the army of Forever Light,”
“That is what Sushini means?” Yume enquired.
“Yes,” Then the voice gradually vanished into the thin air.
Yume sighed and looked at the blank mirror. Suddenly it began to crack. He backed up hearing the glass cracking, like broken thunder etching across the flat surface. He backed away from it as then it rippled and exploded. Shards were sent flying everywhere. He put his arms in front of him to block the shards and fell. He fell so far that he thought he fell off some sort of cliff. That feeling that you get inside filled him, that falling feeling, that rush of adrenalin seeping through his veins, then CRASH!
The sun was already vanishing from the skies, turning the world into twilight. Karasu’s heart was racing. His pocket that obtained the potion for Yume felt unrealistically heavy. The large creatures that the companions were riding flew higher and higher into the skies. The earth was below them a good thousand or more foot. He could see the mountain peaks as they zipped passed by. Thunder echoed in a group of dark clouds as the companions flew over the kingdom. The wind chilled Karasu to the bone, and rain began to fall.
His heart kept thudding against his chest. His staff was held up high into the air a beam of brilliant light shimmered through the dark and damp clouds. Karasu sighed knowing that time was running out to quickly he examined the moon and noticed that it was creeping towards the center of the sky, and that would signal midnight.
“Come on guys, we’re almost there!” He shouted. A beam of light shot towards the city. A leap of joy shot through his heart. But suddenly an ear piercing roar filled the air. Just then a large burst of flame shouts through one of the thunderclouds the flame hurtled towards the companions
“Split up!” Karasu shouted grabbing the bottle of potion.
“Eria bank a left and come towards me!” He shouted.
“Nanon go downward towards the city and find a good landing place outside of the walls!” Karasu barked out the order as then Eria came flying towards him.
“Take this Eria to Yume; I’m going to the other realm to bring his Grandmother, so that he can have a sense of home, and to make him comfortable.
“The Healer had said before we left that he should have some form of a family member there to be with him, for he might not remember much when he awakes, everything will come in a sort of flash!” He added.
“Take this and wait for us to return!” He tossed the bottle to Eria whom caught it and then followed Nanon and Karasu took off in another direction entirely.