“So…you’re No. 1?”
The hollow voice echoed ominously as it reached for the far ends of the ocean; however, it was a futile message to the boy standing yards away with his eyes shut. The ocean was endlessly in length and swayed gently as the kicking caps were enlightened by the sun—becoming shimmering mountains of deceptive gold. The air swirled around the dormant boy’s olive skin as if caressing his body and it played with his unruly chocolate hair like a child. Still, the wind battled with the low clouds that wanted to kiss the ocean—tempted by the deceptive gold, and standing at the horizon was yet another boy. He was bare, just like the sleeping boy, but he stood on the ocean mysteriously. He was deathly pale with a sculptured body, a conflicting comparison, but it suited him wholly, for he lacked a living soul and somehow remained in control over his body.
He took a step forward, and in response, the sleeping boy’s eyes slowly opened. His eyes adjusted to the unique setting; from the low clouds, to the endless ocean, and finally to the boy that started walking towards him. It all confused him at once, and he questioned why he was bare and why he stood on top of the ocean. He looked to the boy for the answers running around in his mind and wanted to speak, but speech was stripped from him when he opened his mouth. With complete ease, the boy walking towards him raised his hand and gently stroked the air, and strangely enough, it relieved him. All the tension was released from every muscle inside him.
“This is the only time we can speak like this,” the walking boy said to him. “I cannot tell you everything, but I will tell you what you need to know. We’ve been charged with something that isn’t true, and you need to believe me on this if you want to break the cycle.”
The walking boy stopped suddenly, as if time had abruptly stationed him. He smiled faintly, “They’ve even paralyzed my body. I’m glad I’m doing something that they aren’t wishing for. It’s time you awakened, No. 1. We need you to guide us.”
Oddly, the other boy felt a sensation flutter in his chest, and by following it, he stepped towards the paralyzed boy. Almost immediately, his body locked up and his movement froze. His eyes grew large as he started sinking into the ocean. The sudden drop into the ocean took him by surprise, and helplessly he sunk further and further down into the deep sea—the rays of the sun fading like his vision. Before the darkness could swallow him, the voice of the boy reached his ears and vibrated as he lost consciousness.
“I’ll leave it up to you…Cyril.”
Cyril’s eyes shot open as he drifted carelessly below the water’s surface, and instantly, his lungs rapidly filled with water and bubbles creeped out of his mouth. He swiftly lunged his right arm forward and broke the surface, gasping for air when he was able. He floated at the surface to make sure he wasn’t pulled down like before, but everything looked different now. The setting was vastly different, and more realistic. He found himself in a lake bed that surrounded a stone monument on a patch of land in the center of the enclosed room of ancient blocks with murals stretching all over them. He noticed the low glow of the water as it reflected off the ancient walls, which made it seem as if the whole room was a water prison.
“Where…am I?” He said, and consciously he covered his lips--surprised he had spoken.
There was no answer in return, and he couldn’t see the other boy or feel his presence anymore. A moment passed as he got his bearings, but before he could think further, the monument hummed to life as it gave off a pale jade color. He felt himself being pulled towards the monument without his consent, and eventually he was next to it with his bare feet firmly into the rocky land beneath it. He reached out his arm and touched it, relaxed, and felt his body absorb the light around it. It was sucked dry within moments and as the glow entered his body, a single message crossed his mind.
Defend this world from Corruption…
Cyril looked at his right palm that touched the monument, “What?”
“Just as Goddess Loraine said…right in the flesh—literally.”
Before Cyril could face the unknown voice, it came quickly and shouted, “Stay where you are! By the Goddess, you’re fully bare! You’d be happy to know Goddess Loraine made clothes just for you. I shall toss them over.”
In the short time the voice spoke, Cyril could tell that the individual was a female. Her voice was smooth, yet commanding and barely young. As she had said, she tossed his clothes next to the monument, and judging from the direction, she was directly behind him. He looked down at the pile silently.
“Come now, hop to it. Once you’re dressed, we can talk normally. I’m sure…this is all confusing.”
“That’d be putting it lightly,” Cyril responded while crouching down to grab the pile of clothes.
She turned away and allowed him privacy as he began to put the clothes on, and within a minute or so, he was in his clothes. Cyril turned to the girl while fixing the pale muffler around his neck and adjusting his ash black, buttoned wooly coat that fell past his hips and touched his dark pants. She nodded in approval, and the first thing he noticed about her was her crystal white head that resembled powdered snowflakes. There was a kind pink smile plastered on her peachy face when she walked towards him, but he raised his hand to stop her and said, “Tell me…what the hell’s going on here?”
She kept the smile as her cherry blossom eyes examined him from his unruly hair to his black boots, “Well, you sure do clean up nicely. I wanted to take the friendly approach since we’re basically strangers, but I guess that’s out the window…huh?”
Cyril remained silent, holding a stern expression with vexed eyebrows. She sighed, “Right...I should start explaining. I’m here on the behalf of Goddess Loraine. I’m like a messenger and a bodyguard for Her. She sent me here with a mission, and that mission is to guard you with my life and make sure that Corruption doesn’t have their way with the world. You were chosen to lead Her destined champions.”
“Corruption…I’ve heard it before when I touched this monument, but…why am I doing this for this Goddess of yours?” Cyril questioned blankly.
“She created you from this Lake of Wishes and concealed a portion of the powers of the Old Hero within that monument. I know this is all foreign to you, but I’ll explain it over and over as many times as you’d like, um…I guess you don’t have a name, right?”
“It’s Cyril,” he announced.
“The name of the Old Hero…” she stared in speculation, matching her gaze with his lunar blue eyes that gleamed lowly like the lakebed. “I believe…it’s quite fitting, Cyril.”
“Someone called me by that name earlier,” he explained. “I had no idea where I was, who he was, and I had no knowledge about myself.”
“That’s…news to me. I’ve been the only one here for days now. I came right away as the Goddess ordered me to protect you, and since then, you floated below the surface in a deep sleep. I didn’t ask the specifics of how long you’ve been floating down there, but I assumed ever since she created you. So, I believe the only way someone could have communicated with you was through your dreams, if you dreamed in the first place, I guess.”
“A dream, but…it was very real at the same time?” Cyril whispered to himself while combing his hand through his hair.
“Oh, I guess I should introduce myself as well since we’ll be working together from now on. My name is Neclaytia,” she smiled brightly while stuffing her slim hands into her caramel buttoned coat that was identical to Cyril’s.
“How do we get out of here?”
Neclaytia sighed again and placed her hand on her hip, “Not too friendly, I see. I can warp us outside. This place is protected by Goddess Loraine’s blessing, and only certain people can get in and out. Give me your hand.”
He hesitated at first, but gave in and reached out his hand to her solemnly. She smiled faintly and approached him, grabbing his hand gently. The warmth of her hand calmed him, and soon her voice did as well, “Now close your eyes, Cyril.”
He followed her order and was suddenly engulfed in a tempest of crystallized powder that would have knocked him down if she didn’t hold his hand. In time, he opened his eyes and witnessed that his surroundings changed once again. Neclaytia waved her hand to the horizon, “We’re outside now.”
As he gazed at the world before him, he was taken away by the beautiful marigold sunset that took shelter at the horizon—sinking ever so slowly and shining its' little warmth on the snowy land. Streaks of purple, azure blue, and marigold danced in the sky with far and wide strokes in length. The mountain side they stood on allowed them to gaze out at the snowcapped forest below them and how vastly it reached to the retreating sun. Cyril was speechless as he stared, and Neclaytia was amazed at his behavior, but she simply assumed it was a natural reaction. She released his hand and stepped a little towards the cliff edge in front of them, her furred, leather boots crunching into the snow, “This is the world we will be protecting. The responsibility has been thrown on you and I cannot let you fail because our enemies would wish you do.”
“Corruption is the enemy?” Cyril asked.
“Yes,” she nodded at the horizon.
She turned on her heels to face him, “Corruption is an organization that opposes Goddess Loraine and Her sisters. They are supernatural beings from the unknown who have come to terrorize our world. However, this war between our Goddess and them has went on for a thousand years. The Old Hero protected us from them, but his power scattered and his life was lost by the hands of the enemy. Now, our Goddess has spent decades putting together the pieces while our enemies are recovering from the wound the Old Hero dealt to them, and here you are. The one who will recover the Old Hero’s power and command new champions by his side like before.”
We’ve been charged with something that isn’t true…
Cyril furrowed his brows, questioning the situation and the meaning behind the boy’s words. How could he believe a stranger that he was supposed to be the replacement for this "Old Hero", and why would he fight for a "Goddess" he didn’t know or the world that doesn’t know him? His thoughts conflicted to the point that he had a mild headache, and Neclaytia grew worried as she watched him struggle with his emotions. The only solution he could grasp for himself was to find his own answers while playing the role of Savior.
“Can I trust you?” he inquired.
“Of course,” she nodded. “I’m a stranger, I know, but I don’t want to deceive you.”
“Then that will do for now. I want answers, so I believe doing this will open my eyes,” he said while tucking his chin in the warmth of his muffler. “What will we do now?”
“I understand,” she smiled. “We’ll make way for Floris. It’s a small town not too far from here. We should arrive right after sunset. We should move before the daemons arrive.”
“Creatures of the darkness that feed off the negative energies within people’s hearts. They exist because humans exist, and only those blessed by the Goddess can deal with them. They arrive at nightfall, so it’s best to find a place with a celestial barrier before relaxing and planning our offical move,” she explained briefly.
“Lead the way,” he motioned with his hand.
It was only until she started walking towards the snowy mountain path nearby did he notice the katana resting at her side. It was strange he didn’t notice it before, but the metallic, jet black sheathe of the katana had foreign lime green symbols engraved into its’ side. She touched the thin wrapped hilt of black rope and said, “Stay close. Daemons may not be a problem now, but there are other threats to look out for, Cyril.”
- United States
Bio: I've drifted from place to place, and each time I've gotten better at writing stories. I've been writing for at least six years now and I'm hoping to write books as either a main career or side career alongside filming. Always happy to support other authors, learn from them, and get their support as well.