- 03 Jun - 09 Jun, 2023
The harpoon penetrates the raft and air quickly ejects from the hole. The girl shouts as she placed her hand over the hole and harpoon. Maria pulls the rope tied to the harpoon with her strength and yanks the raft and the girl towards the shore.
The girl grips the harpoon for dear life as her deflating raft was pulled along the cracking Ice path. The trail of ice breaks apart in the ocean and the raft safely reaches the beach with the girl holding on the harpoon. Her face was planted in the sand as the deflated raft flew off in the winds.
The girl’s bun wrapped hair was disheveled as she remained still for a few moments.
"Um… Are you okay?" Maria asked. Then the girl springs up really fast startling both Maria and Kevin.
"Wow! That was insane!" The girl shouted. She then springs up to her feet with uncanny energy and with a smile on her face.
"Thanks for helping me." she said. "I thought I was a goner-those sharks were tailing me for three days I was adrift."
"Whoa!" Kevin said motioning with both of his hands. "Slow down. I can’t understand you."
"Oh, I’m sorry she said as she was panting it’s just… that… I get… excited when…"
Then the girl faints and falls in Kevins arms.
"Hey what’s wrong?" Kevin said shaking the little girl.
Then he hears the girls stomach growling.
"She said that she’s been stranded at sea for three days." Maria said as she knelt next to Kevin. "She’s starving. Poor thing. Quick! Bring her inside I’ll cook up the remaining fish we have."
"Ok." Kevin said as he picks up the petit girl.
He follows Maria inside the hut where he places her on his rack.
That night, the girl regains consciousness and looks around the hut. Her head rested on a soft cotton pillow with a quilt pulled over her. She notices the smell of savoury fish that made her mouth water. Maria taps on the girl shoulder holding a plate of steaming hot fish. The girl springs out of her prone position and snatches the plate out of Maria’s hand. She uses her fingers to tear up the fish and shove the savoury bits inside of her mouth until her cheeks was full of food. She chews it all and swallows it with one gulp with a satisfying expression on her face. Maria hands her a cup of fresh water and the petit woman gulps it all down.
"Ahhh! That was good."
"Feeling better now?" Maria asked.
"Yes thank you." The young woman replied.
Then Kevin walks in the front door and closes it behind him.
"You’re awake" Kevin said. "As he sits on the rack on the other side of the room. It seems you recovered quick." Kevin said. "Why were you adrift at sea like that."
"My name is Ura." She said. "I’m a harpy from the Sky Kingdom Hembia. Please to meet you."
"Hembia?" Kevin said under his breath. "I’m sorry. My name is Kevin Hale and this is Maria. What happened?"
"Before I explain, do you know where I can find someone by the name of Drake?"
Maria and Kevin both looked at each other with shocked looks in their eyes.
"How do you know Drake?" Kevin asked.
"That means you know him?"
"Yes" Kevin said.
"You know where I can find him?" Ura asked.
"Sorry Kevin said as he shook his head. We don’t know where his is now. He’s been missing for a month now."
"Oh." Ura said in a disappointing tone. Well do you know where I can find the Tengu clan? I heard that there was a clan living here.
Kevin scratches his head hesitant to answer her question.
"Yeah." He said, "A lot has happened here over the past decade or so. The war and famine that took place twelve years ago wiped out most of the races living here."
Ura gasps as she covers her mouth with both of her hands.
"The only people here are the humans and even that is going to change if the famine continues."
"How?" Ura said shocked. "All of them?"
"Yes." Kevin replied.
Ura lowered her head in hopelessness. "You mean, I came all the way here and lost everything for nothing?" She said sobbing.
"Don’t start crying yet." Kevin said. "Tell us how you know about Drake."
Ura wipes the tears from her eyes with her forearm and sniffed before she began her explanation.
"My country is in the sky and we share the lands with the dragons that live there."
"Dragons?" Kevin asked.
"You know about them?" Ura asked.
"Yes." Kevin said. "They were the last other race other than us that lived here."
"Well." She continued. "The harpies and tengus lived and tended our own lands with the help of a very powerful wind current known as Aplade Gusts. The wind current is what’s keeping our islands afloat in the sky. But the dragons were more private and possessive with their dwellings, so they tried to build a wall between their lands and ours. We were fine with the idea, but the wall would interfere with the wind currents causing our islands to plummet into the oceans. We tried to negotiate but they refused to listen. With little choice, our people went to war against the dragons. It was horrible many of our parents, including mine, perished and some of us became exile as a result. After much bloodshed, the dragons agreed to a truce and stopped from building a wall. It was sudden but it was a relief to all of us."
"Why did the dragons agree to a truce all of a sudden?" Kevin asked.
"I’m not so sure as the terms and conditions were secret. But from the rumors, the dragons were facing an epidemic of their own. Thousands of male dragons died off with the survivors becoming sterile and extremely ill."
Maria folded her arms and placed her delicate fingers on her chin. "Come to think of it," she said. "I haven’t run into many male dragons except for the one in cold town. I never really noticed until you mentioned it."
Ura nodded her head and continued. "Their Queen departed along with her family to find a cure to the disease and we had a good respite from the war."
"That’s probably when they appeared in Salatia just before the war started." Kevin said. "They were trying to find a cure to their disease."
"But they returned a month ago and now they’re resuming the construction they started all those years ago."
"Is the dragon King called Radius?" Kevin asked.
"Yes." Ura said.
"Well, he was the one who kidnapped Drake and flew away from here. I fear that he is being held with nefarious intent for his well-being. That aside how did you find out about Drake and where he lived. From what he told me he was in the slave quarry for the majority of his life. How can someone from another country possibly know who and where he would be?"
"I didn’t know who or where he was someone who we don’t know appeared to us out of nowhere and told us if we are to survive the calamity to come we needed Drake as our ally. She spoke with such authority and conviction…it seems as if we knew her all our lives. But we didn’t get a glimpse of who or what she was. But we trusted her words enough to highjack a mid-august eagle and try to find him here."
"Mid-august eagle?" Kevin asked. "What are those?"
"They’re just large eagles we ride long distances." Ura said. "We call them mid-august eagles because when they flap their large wings it reminds us of the cool winds of the fall season. We’ll need to get one if I need to head back."
"How’s that possible?" Kevin asked. "There aren’t any here."
"That shouldn’t be a problem." Ura said. "You see; the eagles don’t nest in our homeland. They nest in random parts of the world where they think they can be safe to raise their young. This can be anywhere in Endina. So its normal for some people to go their whole lives without knowing they exist. But our seer told me that they dwell here for their nesting season somewhere where there are a lot of mountains."
"You mean Cain mountains? It’s the only place that’s possible for the eagles to nest in."
"Then we must go there." Ura said. "We must reach it as soon as possible before they start to migrate to our lands."
"Well, it looks like we’ve found our lead." Kevin said. "It’s about time. Waiting here has been killing me there are many questions that I don’t have answers to and the only way to find answers is to search far and wide for them."
Maria smiled when she heard Kevin’s words.
"Are you coming Maria?" Kevin asked.
"Of course." Maria said. "There’s nothing for me here. Plus… Maria said as she walks up to Kevin and wraps her arms around his arm as she whispers into his ear."
"You’re stuck with me."
Kevin blushed at her words and bashfully laughs while rubbing the back of his head.
"Well, its decided then." Kevin said. "Ura lead the way."
Winds howl outside the torch lit chamber as the thin air inside stank of hot must. Dust covered the flat surface inside and the sound of a squeaking door opening echoes inside. Footsteps crunch the dust on the ground as the door slammed shut. Hanging from a chain by his wrists was Drake’s feet dangles at the center of the chamber. He was shirtless with his head hung as sweat covered his muscular body. Starved, barefooted and unconscious he sways back and forward on his restraints until the figures step into the light of the torches scattered across the room. There were three of them one was King radius wearing full body armour with his wounded face covered with a black mask. His red hair covered part of the mask as he looked up at Drake. Accompanying him was his daughter Debra with her braided long red hair down her back wearing her royal gown. The other person with them was a dark-skinned woman wearing a white lab coat with spectacles on her face and silky black wavy hair. She steps forward in her black high heels and looks up at Drake.
“Well.” Radius says. Have you figured anything out?
“No. Your highness.” The woman replied. “I ran his blood through various processes including tests and experimentation. Nothing yielded any results as of yet. Are you sure he’s the one you’ve been looking for?”
“Yes.” Radius says. “A whole army and kingdom was brought to ruin for someone to get their hands on him. I know for certain he is what we’re looking for.”
“Well,” the woman says folding her arms. “The only option I can suggest is to wake him up and get him to talk.”
“I doubt he knows anything,” Radius says. “He just found out he was a one of the seven verses a few months ago.”
“What about torture?” The woman says. “Introducing physical trauma can be a way to reawaken some memories.”
Radius then turns to the woman with an elated smile on his face.
“I like where you’re going.” Radius says. “Have it done immediately. I want to find answers and I want it post haste.”
Then he turns around and walks away leaving Debra and the Alchemist alone. The ebony skinned woman reaches into her lab coat and pulls out a feather and pad and scribbles a few notes onto it.
“Who do you have in mind?” Debra asks the woman as she looks at her.
“Excuse me your highness?” The woman asks interrupted from writing.
“I mean who’s going to torture him?”
The woman pushes her glasses up on her face. “I already have someone in mind Princess Debra.” She says. “There’s no need to worry yourself.”
Debra then looks up at Drake with a worried look on her face.
“Is there something wrong princess?” She asks.
“No…” Debra replies shaking her head. Then she turns around and walks away with her feet crushing the loose dirt on the floor.
The woman waited until Debra closed the metal door behind her which was the only exit from the chamber.
“Alright.” The woman says as she writes in her note pad with a large feather. When she finishes, she places both objects back into her lab coat and pulls out a syringe filled with a clear substance. She plucks the needle twice and squirts some liquid out.
“Alright Drake,” She says.
“It’s time to wake up.”
She walks closer to Drake to inject the substance into him but is soon startled when she see’s Drake already awake and staring at her.
“You’re awake!” She says.
“Who are you?” Drake asks.
to be continued...