Brown stood still, as the spirit scrutinised him with sky-blue eyes. “Who are you?”
“I’m Broward, this guy’s brother,” said Brown, ruffling Wünder’s hair as he took his place beside him. “Why didn’t you listen to me, little brother?” he asked, gazing warmly at Wünder.
Wünder found himself back on the ground.
“This ghost here was busy weeping, and I just kinda came here seeking to comfort her. Thought she was imprisoned or something.”
“Alright, I got it. And what’s your name, Miss Ghost?”
The spirit swooned about the ceiling of the cave, refusing to speak to Brown.
“Okay, I guess we’ll just leave. Come along, Wünder.”
Wünder obediently followed his brother’s words, and turned to leave, before the ghost exclaimed. “Wait! Wait! Stop! I was just surprised. Please listen to my story!”
Brown stopped, before facing the ghost. “I’m not an expert on fulfilling the regrets of ghosts. Neither is my brother. Because we don’t wish to complicate things for you, we’ll take our leave.”
Brown shrugged and started retreating from this place. The fact that the tunnel was narrow proved to be a problem though.
“You’ll really leave?” asked the spirit in a trembling voice. This gave Brown cause for thought, as his steps balked. “Why will you-!?”
“No, never mind. We’ll stay to hear your narration.”
The ghost looked at them blankly, and then smiled like an angel - that was a huge difference from the rising tremor in her voice just a moment ago. Wünder felt uncomfortable with his brother tempting the spirit to go on a rampage. He had only been held back by a web of some kind, but Wünder did not doubt that the ghost would be a frightful creature if she got angry.
Despite all the fooling around of his brother, he knew the latter to have a good heart - even though his behavior went off-tangent whenever faced with an abnormal situation.
“I see. You’ll hear me out. In the end, I’m still glad I met you, little man. Or rather, wait a minute, what’s your name, little man?” Wünder looked at her speaking in amazement, before she pointed to him, reiterating. “What’s your name?”
“I see. Nice to meet you, Wünder.”
“Likewise,” Wünder bowed, even though he thought that they had already met and gotten well-acquainted with a small conversation already. Nonetheless, he thought that her voice was somewhat sweet.
The wind whirled about like an impetuous beast overheard, while Mideia was looming over the duo. Her body looked translucent, yet effervescent, amorphous, yet somehow shaped in the form of a girl, and above all, it brightened the entire cave with with its greenish gleam.
“Now then, I think it’s time I told you about my past.”
Mideia’s father was a farmer. His name was Midas.
Like the former king of legend, who went by the same name, Midas had attained the ability to transform what he touched into gold. With this power, Midas became a knight. Eventually, after a series of disasters, he was able to restrain his powers, and went on to restart his life with agriculture, leaving behind a certain kingdom, after abdicating all his rights as a knight.
Having forsaken his glory, he immersed himself in the daily strifes of farm-life; he woke up with the sun, and went to bed with the sun. However, the desire to reclaim his title never escaped his heart.
Midas got married to a benevolent young lady, and she gave birth to two daughters. The family never lacked anything and enjoyed momentary bliss. Midas was ever careful not to touch his beloved family longer than necessary, and prided himself for being a good father who taught his daughters everything they needed, from farming, to sewing, fishing, hunting, horse-riding, and food preservation techniques.
He even taught them how to build houses and to fight.
One day, a hooded person came along seeking his elder daughter’s hand. Midas inquired about his name, profession, and asked him to bring along a member of his family to talk about marriage. The hooded person adhered to his words. Along came the mother of the man, and a pompous marriage was organised and put into motion.
The hooded person - now recognised by the name of Oregon - seemed surprised and asked Midas how he had come across so much wealth as to organise such a grand ceremony. Midas, drunk from the festivities, revealed his ability to alter anything into gold. The hooded person accepted Midas’s words and asked him to make a demonstration. Midas obliged, and upon showing it to Oregon, asked the latter not to say a word about it to anyone.
Oregon was delighted and proclaimed Midas to be part of the Orgon bloodline. Midas was puzzled. Upon his asking, Oregon clarified that those inheriting this ability to transform anything into gold were able to summon a higher being, who could make Midas a king.
Recalling his aspirations to reclaim his title as a knight, Midas agreed to use his powers again. Thus, a strange ritual ensued, during which the higher being was called into existence. It manifested into the body of Midas, and it called itself as the ‘Orgon Seer’. Oregon laughed as he watched the seer come into being, crying. “Come to me! Hurry! Come to me! I am your master!”
However, just as Oregon thought the success of the ritual was a foregone conclusion, the inquisition descended upon the two, and both Midas and Oregon were beheaded. However, one grew into an abomination, and the other’s pulse did not stop, nor did his body stop regenerating any limb which was cut off. Midas’s body even turned swords into gold while he lay asleep. Midas was enchained and sealed into the Taitanus mountain, where various other things had also been sealed in the past. Midas’s family was hunted down, and their corpses had been interred in the Taitanus mountain, alongside Midas.
As for Oregon, he escaped and ran rampant for a few more years before the inquisition finally caught him.
“I really hated that ceremony when Oregon had married my sister. There were nothing but objects of gold there. Gold this, gold that. Things were so identical that it irked me to no end.”
“But it’s fine as long as it has value,” grumbled Brown, snooping about the cave’s floor for any telltale piece of object which could validate anticipation for a treasure trove. “I’ll be rich, I’ll be king, and I’ll be just.”
“I’ve often heard of the inquisition in the tales that Mrs. Detroit would narrate to me,” Wünder supplied, “They were part of the Red Grail civilization which went extinct about two centuries ago by some mysterious circumstances.”
“It’s been that long already?” mused the sprite, before looking at her body - the body of a ghost’s.
“Brother, I was pretty sure you said you didn’t consort materialism,” Wünder muttered, looking at Brown while frowning.
“You bet I don’t. Just living seems fine enough to me. Isn’t that true for everyone?”
“That’s right, huh?”
“But I never said that I wanted things to continue the way they are now,” Brown apprised, holding his gaze steadily ahead. “Knights and Lords ruling upon us, and us having to submit to each of their demands? That’s not right. This place needs something better than just a way to subsist and die while the rest can rest on their laurels simply because they have the goods.”
“I don’t really understand what you are saying, brother,” Wünder said in a low tone, “you are pretty content right now, aren’t you?”
“That’s true,” Brown said at length, “But I have just one wish I would like to see come true if I had the possibility. A climb to the top. That’s all.”
“That leaves me with hardly any choice,” Wünder muttered, remembering all the books he had read at Mrs. Detroit’s place, all the places he had explored together with his brother. He also remembered the creatures which proclaimed themselves to be the Orgon Seer.
“But well, this doesn’t matter, since I don’t have the opportunity,” Brown imparted, “I just want to see everyone doing what they like without anything bothering them.”
“That’s pretty vague,” observed Mideia, swooning about Brown, and then Wünder in turn. “What I meant for you people to do is find help and stop Oregon’s projects, since his seal is coming undone. Can I entrust you with this?”
“I got it. I’ll do it,” Brown announced solemnly.
Wünder acceded in turn, and found Mideia to be so beautiful that she seemed almost like a blooming flower when she smiled. He made sure to keep his breath in check and burned the sight into his eyes. ‘I wonder if all ghosts are this beautiful,’ he found himself thinking - except that he didn’t know how dangerous such a thought was.
“Mr, Broward, the ideal you are seeking can be gained through distributing the learning rights - that’s what the Red Grail Civilization did.”
Brown looked at Mideia with a perplexed expression, as if he didn’t believe her. However, Wünder hung upon her words, considering it, and thinking it to be true. It seemed to Wünder like Mideia had come from a greater era of prosperity than the one they currently were in, and yet, the history books did not seem to indicate that - only that the Red Grail civilization had existed and nothing beyond that.
“And so, coming back on the topic of Oregon, there’s something else I want you to do.” Mideia conferred.
Elysia walked about the chamber she was in. The statue of the woman with the flower remained sedentary while she kept looking at it.
The children lying redolent on the sarcophagi whimpered weakly, and their faces looked drained of color. Elysia was worried that these girls might die if they were to remain imprisoned in this place.
However, she was also scared of the giant. While she continued pacing about and around the tombs at her feet, the door suddenly opened. It was the same bony guard with the sloven appearance who had conducted her towards this room.
He seemed to wear a thick, brown garb, and seemed pretty warm - this caused the envy of Elysia, for she was feeling pretty cold for her part. “Miss Elysia, seeing as you look pretty grown-up, my master has changed his mind about wanting to keep you here with the colleens.”
“...So where do I go?” Elysia asked, trying to look brave.
“That’s a tough question. I still haven’t monitored the places where your presence might come in handy after all.”
“Are you the one who is going to supervise me?”
“Oh no, I’m not! I’m just going to bring you to the sphere and then leave you to your own device once I’ve found an appropriate placement for you,” said the guard nodding to himself.
“What sphere? What do you mean?”
“You’ll understand when you come into its presence. Everyone does.”