THE LEGEND OF THE CHOSEN ONE:
BOOK I: HOPE WITHIN
written by Aelyva
Chapter 6: The Thief
Pain be the sign, and the insight the guide
On this journey of unforeseen end
Enlightened by force of the unflagging faith
Through these wastelands I walk my own path
‘World Through my Fateless Eyes’ – Lost Horizon
After a good night of sleep, they went back to Wolke to buy supplies. Valaki had found a pretty necklace for Allison to put the stone on. It had exactly five free spaces, a place for each stone. One down, four to find. She carefully hid the necklace under her shirt, along with the small dove Marian gave her for her birthday. The stone because she didn’t want anyone else to see them. The dove because she wanted to keep it safe.
They were now on the road that would lead them to the south. The second stone was located in a forest north of a small and peaceful town named Eden. It would take them a few days to get there, or maybe more depending on their speed. Allison hadn’t been thrilled to know that they were going in yet another forest.
“Why aren’t you eating?” Belle curiously asked Valaki after taking a bite in her meringo. They had stopped to eat under a tree, close to the road. They were all eating with hunger, except for Valaki, who was staring at the road ahead.
“I only need to eat once a day.”
Belle’s eyes immediately stared at his tail that she had noticed the previous evening. “Something to do with being a Balans, I suppose? I guess that must be useful…”
She had been surprised to see the tail, and a bit disappointed that he wasn’t human, but she wasn’t that picky. Besides, she supposed a tail could be…interesting. She grinned at the thought. He was handsome, no one in their right mind would deny that. But there was more. Belle wasn’t the kind to fall for pretty bodies. She had only needed to take one look in his eyes to know. Strong, mysterious, loyal. He reminded her of-
“Do you think we could take time off walking so you can teach me a bit how to use the sword?”
Allison’s voice brought her out of her daydreaming. She noticed that Allison didn’t like her much. Belle smirked. Well, she didn’t like her either. No matter what Valaki said, she still didn’t think she could save Leven. Belle supposed she had powers. With yesterday’s demonstration, she didn’t have a doubt about it anymore. But it took more than mere power to be strong, and Belle was sure she lacked the needed abilities to succeed her quest.
“Of course, when you’ll be done eating. We’ll start with the basics. How to hold the sword and the body’s position,” Valaki answered.
Allison smiled at him. “Great!”
She frowned at Allison, taking another bite. Valaki had told her about the Guardian part, but she still didn’t like how close they seem to be. Having a kid as a rival was…insulting.
“A question. You said last night that in the stone was stored the God’s ability, or something similar. Correct?” As Valaki nodded, Allison continued. “If it’s their ability that I’m using, why not go fight Geevar themselves?”
Valaki looked surprised by the question. “Because they can’t. They cannot materialize themselves, making it impossible for them to fight. Besides, they are not fighters. It would be too dangerous for them.”
“So they really exist… I mean, I heard a voice in my head…what it one of them?”
“Well of course, they exist!” Belle said before Valaki could answer. “Why would you say something like that?”
“I meant… on my world, we don’t really have a God. I mean, some people believe there is, but there’s no proof. It’s all about faith. If you believe or not,” Allison explained clumsily. It felt strange for her to explain things for her that were normal. But things were so different here!
“You mean, this…God on your world never manifested himself?” Beskytter asked. At Allison’s negative answer, he fell back in silence, lost in his thoughts.
“If you read the book I lend you awhile back, you’ll know that our Gods have manifested themselves a few time in the past, in…borrowed, untouchable forms. They’ll appear randomly in their respective temples, to hear and listen to their children, as they call us,” Valaki told her. “As for the stones, I am not the best one to give explanations. The High Council would answer your questions more correctly.”
“The High Council? What- oh, I remember reading about them too. They’re…kinda the rulers of Leven?”
“They do not directly rule, but they are the voice and ears of the Gods. Their presence was much more important in the past, but Geevar slayed a large number of them and so, only a few numbers of them are left now.”
“If you want to know my opinion, they don’t do much,” Belle stated as she laid on the grass, her head resting on her arms. “If we want to see them, we have to walk all the way to Zwei and still, they don’t agree to see everyone.”
“…Zwei is like a country, right?” Allison asked in a low voice to Valaki.
“That’s right. Leven is composed of three continents and the one we are presently on has ten countries, all very different from each other. And each country is ruled by a lord, who has to answer, in return, to the High Council, although not all of them respect this rule,” Valaki patiently explained.
“I think you’re too hard on them. They have a huge job to do, trying to control who’s coming in our world,” Beskytter replied, in answer to Belle’s remark. “Their credibility fell down after Geevar came, but they fought the best they could. Don’t you ever read books?”
Belle groaned. “Not really. I’m not saying that they should disappear. I just say that they could do more.” She closed her eyes, deciding to take a small nap.
She only had closed them for a few seconds when she suddenly heard a long hissing. She quickly sat up and saw that Valaki and Beskytter had already started walking toward the sound. She got up as well and cleared her mind, waiting for whatever would come. She could feel Allison standing close to her.
“What was that?” she whispered.
Belle shrugged. “Who knows. Maybe a dragon.”
Allison’s eyes grew wider and Belle deduced that dragons didn’t exist on her world. Dragons were a rare sight on that side of Leven, but it wasn’t impossible to see one.
A shadow moved in the corner of her eyes and without wasting time, Belle turned around, her hand in front of her. Instead of finding some creature, floating in the air was a man who held in his arms what remained of their food.
“Thief!” Belle spat out.
“Looks like it. You’re the one who made that hissing sound, to turn our attention away?” Beskytter asked him, directing his bow toward his heart.
The man grinned at him. “Sounded pretty real, huh?”
“Yeah, you totally fooled us… who are you?”
The man shrugged. “Name’s Slang, that’s all there is to know ‘bout me…Could yeh lower me down?”
Belle glared at him. “No way. I have no sympathy for scum like you!”
Beskytter observed the man while he started throwing insults at Belle. He seemed to be in his early twenties, and truly looked like a thief. His black cloths were dirty, messy and ripped at the knees and elbows. His pale blond hair was tied up in a pony tail and almost looked white with the light of the suns. He had a long scar on his left cheek, and a tattoo of a snake on his right hand. There was a hard and dangerous look in his black eyes that warned him to be wary of the man.
“But this food isn’t for me!” the man, Slang, said. “It’s for my younger sister, who’s very sick. And since we’re so poor, we don’t have the money to buy food… she’ll get even sicker if she doesn’t eat.”
Beskytter frowned. It seemed he decided to change tactics. He was a pretty good liar, but Beskytter had seen the look in his eyes. He knew that kind of man. He was a loner, and didn’t look like someone for cared for others. Belle too didn’t seem to believe him.
“What kind of sickness does she have?”
Four pair of eyes turned to look at Allison. Beskytter shook his head when he saw that she seemed to believe him. He heard Belle groaned and repressed the urge to do the same. It was the fact that she was different from them that stopped him. She hadn’t grown up the same way as them, didn’t live in the same world as them and probably didn’t have the face the same problems as them. Besides, she was still young and naďve. He couldn’t hold it against her to believe Slang’s story, but she was going to have to learn not to trust everyone so easily.
He glanced at Valaki, who was glaring at Slang. He would probably try to protect that innocence, but sooner or later, she would lose it. They were going to taint the way that leaded to Geevar with blood sooner or later. It was inevitable.
And some of it would probably be theirs.
“A heart disease,” Slang answered, a satisfied smile on his lips that Allison didn’t seem to notice.
“Don’t tell me you believe the crap he says?” Belle asked Allison, incredulously. “He’s lying like he breaths! You can never trust people like him.”
Allison looked like she wanted to argue, but Valaki put a hand on her shoulder. “If we weren’t sure he was lying, we would have freed him.”
Belle rolled her eyes. That girl made her sick. Anyone would have seen that he was lying. What kind of Chosen One was she? If Geevar said the same thing, would she believe him as well and pity the poor demon who had been locked up for so long?
Behind them, someone started laughing, making Belle jump. She turned around brusquely, releasing the thief from her hold by the same time. But it was the least of their worries.
Slang jumped in the nearest bushes, thanking his luck. His first thought was to leave immediately, but his curiosity stopped him. And so, he observed the new comer from his hideout.
“You don’t look very strong. If I had wanted, I could have killed you all while your backs were turned.”
Beskytter, his bow already directed toward the intruder, gritted his teeth. They had been careless. The man standing in front of him would have easily passed for a human, if not for the black wings on his back.
“I am Piros and I was sent by my master to destroy the Chosen One and anything standing in my way. The mistakes made by Ubel shall be corrected. Prepare to die.”
Holding in his hand a long whip surrounded by flames, he flew toward them at fast speed.
Beskytter threw an arrow at him, but he moved so fast that he easily dogged it. Piros lashed his whip in his direction. Beskytter barely moved away in time, and dropped his bow as he hit the ground.
Valaki stood in front of Belle, sword in hand. She slowly rose her hand, focusing all her thoughts on uprooting a nearby tree. Sweat fell on her forehead as the tree slowly started to levitate upon the ground. She exhaled and the tree connected with Piros, sending him fly down on the grass. The next moment, the tree fell down at its turn and Piros moved away just in time to avoid it.
Keeping his eyes on the enemy, Valaki moved toward Beskytter, who had gotten up. “Can you try to shoot an arrow in one of his wings? It’d be easier to defeat him if he’s not flying around.”
Beskytter nodded, bow and arrows ready. “As soon as he’s up, I’ll shoot.”
Belle fell on the ground next to him, breathing heavily. “Can’t do anything else. Gonna have a damn headache for the rest of the day.”
“You did well. We might not had have the time to make a plan if you hadn’t knocked him out with the tree,” Valaki said, sending a small smile at her.
Belle took the time to beam at him before going back to catching her breath. Allison, once again, felt useless. She touched the necklace around her neck, and remembered the words she heard. She didn’t want to overuse it. Only in desperate situations. If Valaki’s plan worked, the situation would turn out in their favor. She sighed, but decided that she was going to work hard to learn how to use her sword. The best she could do now was not get in their way.
Piros slowly got back on his feet, slightly confused. Beskytter used his confusion to throw an arrow at him, which hit his wing. Piros let out a long scream of anger and pain. He then threw a look of pure hatred at Beskytter.
“You’re going to regret that.” He lashed his whip toward Valaki, who had to jump back to dodge it. The grass where the whip had touched was left burned.
Beskytter threw another arrow at him, but Piros easily deviated its trajectory with his whip. “Damn. This doesn’t look good…”
Piros directed his whip another time toward Valaki, who, instead of running away, placed his hand with his gem forward, and a red transparent shield appeared, protecting him from head to feet. The shield easily blocked the whip and protected him from the flames.
Beskytter looked at Valaki, surprised. “I didn’t know you could do that.”
Valaki shrugged. “I can do quite a few things with this gem. I just prefer to use it as rarely as possible.”
A growl came out of Piros’ mouth. “Nice trick. But that won’t save you.”
He lashed his whip once more, but he turned at the last moment, so the whip flew toward Allison instead, taking everyone by surprise by the sudden change of direction.
“Watch out!” Beskytter screamed.
Allison, who had been staring at Valaki’s shield, turned around at the same time Valaki flew toward her. Beskytter had thrown an arrow toward Piros’s hand, hoping to make him drop the whip in time. But before the arrow could reach it, a boomerang hit Piros at the hand, making him drop the whip, which went flying around. The arrow then reached its destination and hit Piros in the arm.
Valaki, who now stood in front of Allison, his shield in place, frowned. None of them owned, as far as he knew, a boomerang. Belle had got up as well, and followed the boomerang with her eyes, which went back to its start spot.
“The thief!” she suddenly screamed.
Slang stood, now out of his hideout, grinning, the boomerang in his hand. “Without his weapon, he’s pretty defenseless. Yeh should be able to kill him.”
Valaki didn’t waste a moment. Piros was already reaching for his whip. He plunged his sword in the heart of the winged human, who fell back on the ground, dead. Without a look back, he joined Beskytter, Allison and Belle, who were all glaring at Slang.
“Yeh don’t need to thank me for my help.”
“We didn’t want your help, stupid!” Belle spited at him.
“But Blondie here would be dead meat if I hadn’t use my boomerang,” he smirked at her.
Allison frowned at him. Blondie? Who the hell did he think he was, giving her that weird nickname? Even Edouard had been more creative in giving her and Marian nicknames. But she knew that if she would probably be dead, or at least burned, if it hadn’t been for him. A bad person wouldn’t have saved her. If he really was as bad as everyone thought he had been, he would’ve left already with the food, wouldn’t he?
“Why did you even bothered helping us?” Beskytter asked him. “Don’t you have a sister, dying somewhere?”
Slang just kept on smirking as an answer. “Mind if I take the whip? I can get a lot of money out of it.”
Slang did just that. He took the whip, then the brown covert Piros had used to transport it, made of a material able to resist to fire. “Pretty resourceful, that winged guy. Just this cloak must have cost him a lot of money, since it’s rare.” He grinned at them. “Well, I’m glad I hanged around. I’ll get a nice sum of gold with those. I was just running out of it. Nice coincidence.” He winked at Allison, then turned his back on them and started walking on the road leading to the south.
“Good riddance. I hope we’ll never cross his path again,” Belle grumbled.
Beskytter shook his head at the burned grass. With a sigh, he went back to their food. “We’re lucky he forgot to steal our food.”
While Beskytter and Belle went back to eating, Allison stayed behind with Valaki, her sword in hand. “I think it’s time to start the lessons. I want to be able to defend myself and help in battles.”
Valaki nodded. “But you have to understand that it’ll take time. You won’t be able to fight after the first lesson.”
He took out his own sword and started showing her the basic positions and moves, both offensive and defensive, for the rest of the afternoon, while Belle happily enjoyed this sudden break by taking a nap, with Beskytter next to her, who took this opportunity to make some more arrows from the tree she uprooted.
“… so by finding the sinus of angle C, we can find the distance between point a and b. Who wants to give their solution?”
Marian could hear the teacher’s voice, but the words were loss to her. On her knees was the book that Rose gave her the previous day. She had already read it twice, but she couldn’t drop it. It was almost like an obsession. But it was mostly caused by the strangeness of the ‘story’. If given by someone else than Rose, she wouldn’t have believed a word. But it was Rose, and she had said it would clue her about Allison’s location. If it was all truth, what the book told and what Rose had said, then Allison was on another world.
She would find that very funny if it didn’t seem so real.
The bell finally rang, announcing the end of the class for the week. She hastily left the classroom, the book closely held on her chest. She was going to see Rose. She had tons of questions and she wanted answers.
Allison on another world.
Stuff like that only happened in movies. There wasn’t supposed to have ‘another world’. Aliens didn’t exist. And of course, Earth was the only planet in the universe where life existed.
Was Allison surrounded by green and blue little people with three eyes? Or maybe with centaurs, fairies and dragons? Were the houses made of candy? Or was it like a picture of hell, lava surrounding the roads, a dark sky and endless screams resonnating day and night?
So lost in her thoughts that she didn’t see that her way wasn’t clear anymore. She bumped hard into another chest and almost dropped the book. Almost, but her grip had been very firm. Maybe because she feared that if she let go of the book, it would vanish.
She frowned as she met Edouard’s eyes, the owner of the chest she just bumped into, which were gleaming maliciously.
“Since when did reading become such a passion for you? During class, in the cafeteria, on your way home…”
Marian rolled her eyes. “It’s not. It’s just a good book. Now move away so I can go home.”
Edouard shook his head and his eyes turned serious. “So where’s your other half? Haven’t seen her since a few days.”
“Allison is my best friend, not my other half. You know we hate it when you call us like that… And she’s sick, for your information. It can happen even to the best of us,” she lied with great skill. She wasn’t about to tell Edouard that Allison might be on another world. She wasn’t sure she truly believed that herself. For now, it would be that. If Allison stayed on that other world too long, she would have to think of another lie…A lie good enough that Edouard would buy it.
Besides, it wasn’t Edouard’s business where Allison was. He might not be the jerk he used to be anymore, but he certainly wasn’t their close friend. Marian was actually surprised he asked about Allison. Maybe he did have a crush on her, although she just couldn’t imagine the thought of Edouard and Allison as a couple. On a better day, this would bring chuckles out of her. Today she didn’t feel like laughing much.
“Aww… maybe Rick gave her a nasty disease after their ‘date’. Don’t tell me she’s crying herself to death because she found out what a bastard he was.”
“Of course not. As I said, she’s sick,” Marian affirmed more firmly. If Edouard kept asking more questions, she was going to let something slip. She lacked sleep and was too anxious. Not a good combination. And Edouard wasn’t an idiot. And as much as she hated to admit it, he knew her pretty well.
“Good… since he already found a new plaything.”
“What a jerk.” She then gripped the book harder. “If that’s all, I really need to go home. So see you tomorrow.” Before he could answer, she passed by him and headed out. She sighed in relief when she saw that he wasn’t following her. At the school’s exit, instead of turning left like she did everyday, she turned right. Toward Allison’s house.
She was going to ask Rose questions. A long list had already formed in her head, but the most important one was the one that she silently repeated all the way toward Allison’s house.
What would Allison do in another world?
A shadow fell on Piros’s dead body, shadowing his chest from the setting sun. A man kneeled down near him and examined the body carefully. A wound in the heart, probably made by a sword. He could also see that one of his wings had been injured.
“He’s dead,” he declared, although it was pointless to say so. The pool of blood he was lying in was clue enough.
“What are we going to do with the body?”
The man turned to look at his female companion. She was standing a few feet away, hands on her hips, a disgusted look on her face as she observed the dead body.
“Throw it in the lake.”
She hissed in frustration. “Lakes aren’t graveyard. Shouldn’t we bring it back?”
“No need. He was already pretty much useless when alive. What use would he be dead?” He got up and threw the body over his shoulder, not caring one bit about the blood that was now flowing on his cloths.
She shrugged and followed him in silence as they headed toward the lake. As she mounted her horse, she threw a look back and took notice of the places the grass was now burned and the fallen tree. “He doesn’t have his whip on him, no?”
“Probably thieves. A few groups hang in the region.”
She shrugged and remained silent the rest of the way. The lake wasn’t very far, so they arrived after a short time of horse riding. She stayed on her black stallion as he threw Piros’s body in the lake, preferring to witness an act she considerate outrageous from afar. She glanced around. They were near Eden, and the route seemed deserted.
She suddenly frowned. Was it her imagination, or did she really see shadows moving? No, she had amazing eyesight. She did see something. She got off her horse and turned to her companion, who was coming back. It might just be a gang of thieves, but it could also be…
“Helvete, I saw something on the road. Maybe it’s them.” She pointed the direction which she had seen the shadows.
Helvete frowned but nodded. “Okay, let’s go closer to have a better look.”
She grinned. “I’m curious to see what the famous Chosen One looks like.”
Using the shadows as cover, they advanced toward the route in perfect stealth. Using a bush, they settled down and observed the area.
“There,” she whispered triumphal. Indeed, a group of four people were walking in Eden’s direction in the middle of the road, totally obvious that they were being observed.
A nasty smile appeared on Helvete’s face. “Good job, Alleine. Observing the enemy is the first step to defeat them.” Still behind the bushes, they crawled to be at the same length as them. Anyone else would have looked ridiculous, crawling on the ground behind bushes. But not them. They were graceful enough to make the crawling look elegant.
“Do we attack? I’m sure we could get them,” Alleine said, an equally evil smile on her lips.
“No. The orders were formal. We do not show ourselves, nor do we attack. For now, let’s observe them,” Helvete said. He rolled his eyes when he saw the pout on his companion’s face. His eyes returned to the road and stopped on the figure leading the group. “See the guy in the front? That’s the Guardian.”
Alliene’s eyes shone with excitement, her disappointment easily forgotten. “Ah yes. I heard he wasn’t half bad with a sword. Think he could beat you?”
Helvete snorted. “Of course not. He might be good, but I’m the best,” he said without any trace of vanity.
“And which one is the Chosen One? ”
Helvete frowned as he examined the two women. “The blond-haired one probably. Her bag isn’t from around here, and she doesn’t have the same ease as the others. Besides the red-haired one seems to be over 20. Too old to be the Chosen One.”
Alliene frowned as she watched the blond-haired girl. She seemed pretty young, fragile and inexperienced. This was the Chosen One? From the stories, she expected someone…tougher and more confident.
Helvete suddenly stopped crawling and let the group take a good distance from them.
Alleine frowned. “What are you doing? Aren’t we going to follow them?”
“No. I’ve seen enough. Besides, Hazell is waiting for our report. She’ll be pissed if we’re late.”
Disappointed, Alleine still followed him back to the spot they left their horses. She wasn’t about to question orders, but why couldn’t they have killed her right now? She seemed rather weak and she only had three companions with them. For her and Helvete, it would have been child’s play to win. They could’ve killed them all in less than a minute. So why wait and risk her gathering all the stones?
But if Helvete said he had seen enough, she could only believe him. She still was surprised at how much he could gather from a person just by looking at them for a few minutes. He probably saw things that she didn’t.
She grinned, suddenly feeling better.
They had information about the Chosen One and her little group. Their master was going to be happy.
*~*END OF CHAPTER*~*
Written: October 16, 2003
Last revised: November 01, 2004