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[Maria’s POV]

After fighting or running away from those Knights we headed towards Kayo. A village in the southwest. It was nearby Vivet and it was possible that people might find their way inside hunting us down. But for some reason, no new merchants were travelling towards that village. It was odd, but the situation could be in our favour. It could be a perfect hiding place for now as there really wouldn’t be anyone who could point us out.

All the more, Nemu’ s uncle lived in Kayo.

She said, ‘He’ll help you. Just tell the situation and tell you are my friend.’

I know it is risky, but I can trust Nemu. She has lied to me and always been true to everyone.

“Are you tried? I can take the wheel.” I asked Mortis who sat holding the bridal in his hands.

We had been travelling for hours now. So, I thought maybe he was tired but,

“No, I’m fine.” He answered as he smiled in response, “You should get some sleep.”

“I don’t fell sleepy right now.”

“Oh!”

He exclaimed and continued to watch the road. He was being real attentive to his surroundings and he should be. Because, we were travelling through the Pearl Forest.

The name may sound as if something is beautiful and undoubtedly the forest is beautiful; full of flowers and birds and grass, but at the same time is menacing.

Why menacing?

Because, it is said that occasionally you find monsters lurking inside the forest. Now, it is not something like they would always appear, but when they do; there really isn’t a way out.

That was the reason why people never came out of the villages. The stoned gates would always protect and the only people who were allowed or volunteered to go out were the Adventurers.

I know how it feels to be attacked by those monsters. You can’t escape. I lost my friends because it….and I grieve everyday.

I watched the stars of the night sky and all that I could think of is the fear and agony of dying. You could either die early or be killed by petty fellow humans. Mortis was being such a target. He never knew that he was Darkel, right? Then why is he to treated like a criminal. He did nothing wrong. He never did.

Nonetheless, he was an Adventurer like me. He fought for them and also gave his five years of life. His precious life.

I despise every human who thinks that every man belonging to an evil race is also evil. Is it right to do that? Are we not forcing them to stay hidden--tagging them together? Are we not snatching their freedom?

These questions always boggled my mind, but the principles on which the world was created these stereotypes

“So, you are ‘Gifted’?” asked Mortis.

“Yeah,” I answered as I watched him looking over Ishiki who slept right beside him.

‘The Gifted Ones’ is a term used for those people who special abilities.

While becoming an Adventurer, you train yourselves hard to be the one on top, because the more you regarded high; the more you get paid for every job. Giving up five years of life, isn’t such a bad thing if you consider the achievements you get.

But sometimes when you are too mesmerizing and flawless, the gods might get impressed by you. And for your work and their pleasure, you get a Gift- an ability which is unique in itself and only you are able to handle it.

I am one of the ‘Gifted’ and my gift is ‘Transition’.

It is simple, if I had to explain then it is more like transfer of energy. I can transmit my magical energy from one place to another or act as a medium for the flow.

“To be honest, I never saw that coming.” said Mortis in a jokey way.

I laughed and answered, “I know I don’t look like one, do I?”

“Well, kind of--No.”

As we were talking Ishiki moved from right to left and again to left to right as if she was baby. She was having trouble sleeping due to the hard surface. She raised her head and placed on Mortis’ lap.

‘That is so cute,’

“Were you always together?” I asked Mortis with a lot of curiosity.

“Ah-- not always, but yes. We were kind of always together. She saved when I was small. I still remember the day…..if she hadn’t found me. I would have been dead and I am just trying to repay I guess.”

“What happened that day?”

“I don’t remember anything. My memory is absurd and hazy, but it felt like I escaped a wreckage…a village was destroyed, I guess.”

‘Maybe, it was a village of Darkels.’ I thought.

In past times and also now, many villages were cleared and burnt down in suspicion of them aiding Darkels or being a Darkel themselves.

“We are here,” said Mortis as he stoned gate in front of them.

He slowed our speed and waked Ishiki.

“What do we do?” he asked.

Ishiki wore the same expression.

“We sneak?” I said.

That was what I originally planned, but there really seemed no way getting in without the guards noticing us.

“I say, we stay here for night.” said Mortis as he pointed inside the forest; towards the bushes, “I think no one will find us there. At first light we’ll think of some way to sneak in,”

I nodded and so we made our way inside the forest and tried sleeping with our eyes open.

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Asukai Jin

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