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 »
When dawn had arrived, the travelers had at last arrived at the first village before the city. The village of Ashbrook was smaller than Yume’s own town in his world, and what amazed him the most was one thing, every single building was made of glass.
“This is why the kingdom that we’re in is normally called The Kingdom of Glass,” Said Kage smiling as he saw Yume’s eyes looking upon the buildings, each one casted a reflection of light casting beautiful rainbows upon the forest floor.
“Makes sense, SilverGlass,” Said Yume looking around.
People were walking among the travelers, not even noticing them as if they were minding their own business.
“People don’t like strangers, they think they might get shipped off to the Western Kingdom to slave for the Queen,” Whispered Howl placing a hood over his head to hide his wolf like features.
“And I bet I don’t help very much,” He added.
Yume nodded and walked in silence making sure not to stand out, he felt so different with his cloths and his new hair color.
“There is a shop there that we can get some new cloths, sure it won’t be what we like, but hey something is better than nothing,” He said and guided them towards the entrance of the store.
The door opened, and then closed as they walked inside. Yume looked around, every inch of the place was pure glass, even the items, thankfully the cloths were not but some of the items that the store owner was selling were and it was breathtaking. A small figure of a horse stood upon a stand made of what looked like silver glass, and many other objects. He even saw a stained glass butterfly.
“The citizens are Glass blowers I presume?” Asked Yume.
“Yes lad, we are,” Answered the Clerk as he came from behind the cashier.
“How may I help you three gentlemen?” He asked cupping his hands together rubbing them as if eager to get a few things sold.
“Yes, we would like to ugh, fit in with society,” Said Kage in a polite voice.
“Right, Let’s start with the boy shall we?” He asked smiling at Yume.
Yume gulped and walked forward as the man examined him.
“Hmm, I think you’re a Western aren’t you? I mean sure you look part human but I bet you have western blood inside you,” He said shaking his head.
“Don’t despair, just because you’re from that kingdom doesn’t make you evil or anything, can’t be too cautious that’s all,” Said the clerk walking towards a rack of cloths and scanning through them. But then it dawned on him. He walked back towards the boy and took out a tape measure and began wrapping it around the boy.
“Hmm, kinda scrawny,” Said the clerk mostly to himself, but Yume kind of took this as an insult.
He then walked back towards the cloths rack and dug through the various styles of cloths.
“Ah this shall do very nicely for you lad,” The clerk took out an extravagant styled tunic made of silk, it obtained faded blues and purples and had a slight touch of silver. He handed him the shirt and smiled.
After a while the clerk had found each of the three tunics that fit them both and was at a reasonable price. Luckily Kage had enough gold pieces, so they were able to leave the store without a big fuss, and apparently Yume being human had not alarmed the shop keep either.
“Now what, how far is the Valley of Stars from here?” Yume asked looking around.
“Maybe an hour, or three,” Said Howl looking down at the ground sniffing the soil. The air around the village was still for some reason, as if there was something evil lingering in the outskirts of the town. Yume looked around, feeling the strange vibration pulsing through his vanes, he felt angry for some reason, like a wave of hatred had washed over him. He held his head feeling slightly dizzy from it.
“Something is coming,” Said Howl seeing Yume’s face turn pale like a sheet.
“I agree,” Said Kage looking around, his tail was straight and alert. Suddenly a loud roaring sound broke the silence, all the people around them looked up with fright in their eyes, the glass houses shook and vibrated, and threatened to shatter.
“It’s a crystal beast!” Shouted a voice of a hysteric man running from the exit.
“RUN!” He shouted and vanished inside a household.
Kage, and Howl both looked towards the direction the man had come from, suddenly the ground started vibrating, and then another roar broke the stillness and then a large beast submerged from the depths of the forest breaking trees and crushing plants as it proceeded towards the town. Screams of terror rushed through the village as they all scurried away like mice. The beast had a lizard like quality to it, it was not as big as the other two beasts that Yume had faced, but it was almost as big as a modern sized home. It also had a metallic feature to it, as if it were being ran on cogs and wheels. The beast had large crystal spikes on its scaly back, and long sharp fangs that almost touched the ground. Its eyes were deep blue, and it had a long lashing tail. Its hind legs were thicker than its front legs which was rather odd.
“Not again,” Muttered Yume pulling out his wand. The other two looked at him, Howl however took position as if he were about to take a charging bull head on. The beast reared up like a bucking horse and roared as it then began to charge right towards them. Howl stepped up and rose his hand into the air and closed his eyes, as if waiting for the impact to occure, the beast charged onward not even taking notice of him, suddenly vines of a plant began sprouting out from under the earth, and intertwined themselves around the beast’s legs, the beast yelped and then leaped once, but the vines held a strong grip upon the beast and he came crashing downward onto the ground causing erosion of the soil.
“HEY, DON”T TOUCH HIM!” Shouted a girl’s voice rushing out from the woods running towards the monster.
Yume looked at the girl; she looked rather shy yet outgoing, possibly a soothsayer’s daughter by the looks of her garments which were white with trims of gold robes that hung low like a white waterfall, she also has long, fine, straight black hair that went passed her eyes, hazel eyes, and pale skin. She appeared wiry and had a delicate face that was smooth. She looked towards their direction as she trotted up towards the large crystal beast.
“This is my pet, he sort of ran off from my backyard when some kids were picking on him and throwing stones,” Said the girl pulling back her black hair from her eyes, a gentle smile upon her face.
“So please don’t harm him, could you help me out in bringing this big fella home?” She asked.
“Sure,” Replied Yume.
“My name is Eria by the way, Eria Goodwind, I’m the daughter of Soothsayer Harriet Goodwind, she’s rather famous around these parts, the king of the Glass Palace requests her during war times to see what the future withholds,” She had a sense of pride in her voice.
“However my mind is sort of set to taming overly large beasts such as Crystal here,” She said as then the beast nuzzled her as if it were a tamed pet.
All three travelers looked at her, as if she were nuts.
“My name us Yume, this is Kage, and the wolf guy over here is How,” Yume smiled softly.
Eria looked at the werewolf with inspired eyes.
“It is an honor to meet you sir Howl, I mean I’ve never seen a werewolf in person, that is not your kind,” She said lowering her eyes. Howl seemed tense at this, he must have known what kind she was talking about. The kind that acted more animal rather than human.
“So where ya headed, you can come by my cottage considering that the guards will be patrolling the area soon,” She said.
“Yeah, that sounds great,” Yume said smiling.
“We really should be headed towards the Valley you know,” Said Kage.
“The valley is where the rebellion lays, my mother works for them as well,” Said Eria as she winked and headed towards the cottage.
The cottage oddly enough wasn’t made of glass, but of timber from the nearby woods.
“Don’t you feel um, odd about living in a plane house?” Asked Yume as they approached the cozy cottage that rested upon a hill, behind the cottage was a corral with horses and cows grazing upon the fresh grass. The sky was empty of clouds, and the air was so refreshing.
“Nah, besides Soothsayers get to choose what they want to live in, besides crystal is becoming rare these days due to the incident in the caves towards the Rhyer Provence,” Eria said opening the door allowing them inside.
“Problems within the crystal mines, what kind of problems?” Asked Howl as they stepped into a fairly nice two room cottage with a medium sized kitchen, a decent sized living room that had a fireplace.
“Some rumor about a dragon roosting there, it won’t allow any of the miners get near because apparently the dragon has made a nest there now and is claiming all the crystal inside waiting for a mate or something,” She said sighing.
“A male dragon no doubt all male dragons find a den and make sure that they have jewels of some sort so that they can impress their mates,” Said Kage laughing slightly shaking his head.
“Great,” Howl snarled in disgust.
“How is the palace handling the situation?” Asked Kage.
“I’m not sure, no one has ever brought it up in the council, the Queen just says if the dragon wants to make a home there, so be it, find another mine,” Scoffed Eria as if she distasted the Queen’s thoughts.
“She is becoming more and more dangerous, I’m surprised heads have not rolled yet,” Said Kage.
“So you were saying about heading towards the Valley of Stars, I know where the camp site is of the rebellions against the Queen, my father goes out there and sneaks in supplies every quarter moon,” She said taking out a map of the land. Yume now notices that each kingdom was an island, there were four main islands that were labeled and only two that were not labeled.
“Okay so here we are in SilverGlass right here, and the Valley is located in the Mountains of Whispers which is just South from here,” She placed her finger upon the mountain range.
“And right here is where the palace is, and where the council withholds their meetings, that is where we want go first right guys?” Yume asked looking at the map having his own finger upon the place where the palace was.
“Yes of course, that is where we are going first, then we must report to the base of what has happened, and your arrival most be celebrated,” Smirked Kage.
“What do you mean?” Asked Yume.
“We have been waiting for something like you to come boy, for a very long time, I know who you are, my mother has predicted your arrival, and then the downfall of the mighty Queen,” Said Eria.
Yume blushes softly looking off, he was now officially embarrassed, him a savior?
“Well this is my mother we’re talking about,” Said Yume.
“We’ll figure a way to save her, that is a question you can ask the sages once we meet them,” Said Howl.
“Sages?” Asked Yume looking at Kage.
“That is what they call the members of the council, mighty sages for they use their magic for the common good,” He said.
“So why don’t they do something about this, I mean can’t they figure something out?” Asked Yume.
“Yeah but the saddest thing is they are only allowed to use their magic if they obtain their magical item, you see when magic is used they are collected within a specific artifact that means something to them,” He said.
“So if we find the artifacts, they may just have the power to awaken the guardians whom will also obtain the power to awaken the Gods to destroy the demon within my mother?”
“We need the Gods…” Howl said looking at Yume signing. He peers out the window.
“But the only thing is, we do not know who are the guardians that have the special power to arise them, we also need to be aware of a mistake that shall occur, we don’t know that either” He said as if answering Yume’s question.
“A mistake?” Yume asked, he was getting very confused.
“Yes, when Eria’s mother read the stones, she predicted that a mistake would arise that will bring forth the end of our realms, but then it can be fixed,” He said sighing.
“Okay, so wouldn’t it just be easier if we can just avoid this mistake?” Yume Asked.
“Mistakes are complicated to avoid here, especially fate,” Said Eria sighing.
“Does anyone have any clues as to where these guardians might be located?” Yume questioned.
“The only people that might know would be the council, and the meeting is being held soon, we have to hurry,” said Kage sighing.
“How will we get to the palace?” Asked Howl.
“You can ride my horses, they’re in the back,” Said Eria smiling as she trotted over towards the back door and opened it. The three travels walked towards the door and noticed that the outside was the coral that they had seen when they first came to the house. Beautiful flowers of different verities littered the green grass. They looked up and gasped at what they were seeing. In front of them were three large horses with thick thighs and long tails that swished back and forward swatting flies. Their fur varied in different colors. The horses rose their heads, eyes meeting the travelers. On top of their heads, a long horn spiraled upwards towards the heavens.
“Wow,” Stuttered Yume eyes starting in pure amazement.
“Be gentle, they are rather shy,” Said Eria approaching one horse that had a coat of black fur with gold streaks, his horn was made of amethyst stone that glistened in the sun. His mane flowed down his neck like a river of gold.
“Each horse has his or her own coat, when their born they decide within their minds how they want to appear to the world,” She explained.
“These are very rare creatures, most of them have been slaughtered since the last war,” Said Kage approaching the second horse whom was a female with different shades of blue upon her coat. Her horn was gold and had strands of pink highlighting the spirals.
“That is Parcy, she is rather fragile,” Said Eria.
“She hurt her leg last winter when trying to escape a pack of dogs that were hunting her when she was out grazing Snowdrops near the forest,” She sighed softly.
“Hello Parcy,” Said Kage with a smile as she nuzzled his hand. He allowed his fingers to run over her white main.
This one is Shant, he has been through a tuff time, he was hunted a while back, and got a bullet wound in his side, I of course nursed him back to life, and he has stayed here ever since,” She smiled as Yume looked at Shant. The black horse looked back at him, it had ice blue eyes, and its golden mane sparkled within the glistening sunlight. This was a strange moment for Yume; he was looking at a mythical creature that was said not to have existed.