A vast plain stretched out flat, cut by two rivers that barely missed each other by a breath. Above, sun shone brilliantly, casting its holy rays over the world, sky entirely cloudless. Just beneath the skyline, flying at a speed which rendered it a mere blur to the ordinary eyes, was a strange, gold-knitted carpet carrying three figures, one taller up front and two shorter just behind.
Hannah stared at the girl sitting next to her, pouting, curiously. Golden hair fell straight like a waterfall down the girl’s back, her piercing, blue eyes inlaid like gems, her skin snow-white, almost sickly pale. There were tears at the corners of her eyes, her nose red like a rose, snot still pouring out ever so often.
For a moment her mind flashed back to that strange boy that had jumped her in the middle of the street; she pondered quietly how he was able to realize that the little girl sitting by her side was also ‘special’. A bodily constitution perfect for a cultivator -- it was a rarity, even at her home, let alone far out here.
“Sister Eos,” Hannah spoke out toward the lady sitting up front. “What type exactly is she?”
“It’s called <Undying Soul>,” Eos turned around slowly and smiled, glancing at the silent girl. “Her Vitality and Strength are innately above ours, and her ceiling should be much higher. To be honest, due to rarity of the special body constitutions, our knowledge of them is rather limited.”
“Hey, what’s your name?” Hannah called out to the girl as Eos faced forward once again.
“...” the girl stayed mute, however, not even glancing at Hannah.
“Don’t tell me you’re going to be depressed just because we ditched your boyfriend,” Hannah teased. “That’s kind of lame.”
“...” the girl turned swiftly and glared at her furiously; Hannah found herself startled for a moment, nearly taking a step back.
“W-what? Do you wanna hit me? He he, well you can’t,” she suddenly grasped out and grabbed the girl, pulling her into her arms. The girl cried out and tried to fight, but an ordinary person stood no chance in front of a cultivator, even if that cultivator was a young girl herself. “Cheer up, will ya’? It’s not like there’s no chance you’ll ever meet him again.”
“... r-really?!” those words seemed to have awoken the girl as a glint of hopefulness flashed inside her gaze.
“Yeah,” Hannah nodded, smiling. “That is, if he can survive till then.”
“H-he can!!” the girl quickly exclaimed. “He definitely can! He will!”
“Ha ha, alright, alright, he will. So? Can you finally tell me your name?”
“Alison? That’s a pretty name. I’m Hannah, and this big lady in front of us is Big Sis Eos.”
“... it-it’s nice to meet you...” Alison bowed her head awkwardly toward the two, causing Hannah to burst out into laughter again. “S-stop laughing at me!”
“Ha ha ha, sorry, sorry, I’ll stop, I promise,” Hannah said. “But, just so you know, I’ve a feeling we’ll become best friends Ally, so you better prepare yourself.”
“For what?” Alison quizzed curiously.
“For all sorts of wicked and terrible things I’ll do to you, muhahah!”
“Alright, alright, settle down you two,” Eos glanced back and chuckled, corners of her lips lifting up into a warm smile. “Is it just me, or is Ally yet to notice we’re flying on top of a carpet? What do you think Hannah?”
“... ah!!” Alison seemed to have finally realized it as she cried out, stretching her arms out and wrapping them tightly around Hannah. Her body quickly began shaking as an expression of terror appeared on her face.
“Don’t worry,” Hannah mumbled gently, caressing her hair for a moment. “It’s not scary. You can’t fall off, you know? So just enjoy the view.”
“--w-who are you?” Alison asked with faint reservation, though she still didn’t let go of Hannah.
“Cultivators,” Hannah replied with a cheeky smile. “You can think of us as gods who descended from the heavens to help the ordinary people along!”
“Stop teasing her, Hannah,” Eos said as the carpet suddenly dove downwards, landing on top of a small clearing on the mountain. Bordering the clearing was a small body of water, too large to be a pond yet to small to be a lake. “What do you want to eat, Ally?”
“... m-meat...” Alison mumbled meekly as she turned around repeatedly, still in awe over having just flown on top of an seemingly ordinary carpet.
“What kind of meat?” Eos asked.
“Very well. I’ll fix us up something. You two get to know each other a bit better. Don’t stray too far form here, though.”
“Sure thing, Big Sis!” Hannah exclaimed as Eos suddenly vanished from the spot, causing Alison to cry out in terror once more. “Oh, would you relax. She just went ahead to hunt some delicious beast for us. Come, let’s take a bath.” Hannah quickly stripped herself down to nothing and jumped into the body of water; it was slightly cool yet pleasant. She swam for a moment before returning to the edge and sitting down. “What are you doing? Come!” she called out when she realized Alison was still standing at the same spot.
“... a-alright...” Alison also stripped, albeit awkwardly and slowly, before carefully dipping into the water unlike Hannah who jumped. She sat by the latter’s side and lowered her head.
“... are you angry at him?” Hannah suddenly asked a question which caused Alison to shudder for a moment.
“... yes.” she replied, biting her lower lip.
“You shouldn’t be.”
“Why?!” Alison looked up and met Hannah’s eyes, the former’s full of anger and bitterness. “Because he did it for my own good?!”
“... yeah?” Hannah replied with a faint smile of confusion.
“Humph, he never asked me,” Alison said. “What does he know is good for me? He can barely read and write, little idiot!”
“... he he, you really like him, don’t you?” Hannah teased once more with a playful grin.
“... of course I do,” Alison replied, her eyes turning teary once more. “You would too, if you’d spent any time with him...”
“... really? You wouldn’t mind me stealing him from you?”
“...” Alison remained strangely silent, burying her head near the chilling water.
Hannah shrugged, looking away and up, once more thinking back to the dirty face of a black-haired, black-eyed boy. That hopeful smile was quite unfair, she mused, as he had actually managed to make her heart skip a beat. The innocent gaze in his eyes, the yet-to-be-killed spirit, that youthful, wondrous charm... there truly was something strange about the boy. Perhaps not in the same way as with Alison, since he seemed to be as ordinary as ordinary goes, but something that strikes much deeper than just one’s blood. The more she thought about him, the more drawn she felt toward his presence, akin to a voice calling out to her to return to him.
She shook her head quickly, as though trying to perish the thought, as a bitter smile crept on her lips; she had neither the time nor the liberty to act the role of a love-struck maiden. After all, she had faintly suspected that Alison’s arrival at the sect would change many things -- something she was actually looking forward to. As long as the little girl could take the spotlight away from her, she’d finally obtain a faint sense of freedom to do what she wanted rather than what she had to.
Glancing at the little girl once more, she felt a faint pang in her heart; entirely unassuming, innocent and ignorant of the future... she must be terrified right now, yet she wasn’t showing it -- not in her expression, not in her voice, and not in her eyes. She was strong, Hannah mused; perhaps, if she deals with the matters of her heart, she might eventually even lead the sect.
Unlike most, Hannah was aware that the last unawakened Writ resided within the confines of her Sect. If all goes well, by the year’s end, Alison herself would be donning the title of a Bearer, and donning all the responsibilities that come with the title. Though in her heart she wanted to take Alison under her wing and save her from the corruption that would no doubt befall her... she couldn’t. The best she could do was lurk around and ensure that, even if manipulated, she was at least happy. Perhaps one day in the distant future, when truth breaks through the thinly veiled glass of lies and myths, they might even come to stand on the same end of things. She wasn’t too hopeful, sighing faintly as she too looked into the clear water.
Once more, that face jumped inside her mind; she couldn’t quite grasp at why, though she’d stopped fighting it regardless. Given some time, she’s already made up her mind to return; as the eyes of those above steer away from her onto Alison, she decided she’d return here, to the very edge of the world, to find that boy once more and dig away at the mystery that is he.