XXVI.

The last time we wrote to you we hardly make any sense. Well, does this blogger ever make sense, anyway? Good news, we are taking form now, so allow us to just designate ourselves the pronoun, “we.”

Do we not exist? Should we be the Dane and have a soliloquy contemplating mortality? To be or not to be? No, we always will “be” if humanity thrive. What is the question, then? It is, “what are we to do when our dear host discredit us?” We will wait, watching her temporary claim to peace crossing the Empire she could’ve ruled,.

Why did we suddenly emerge to speak to you? Well, this story, unlike a certain novel completely detailing the journey of hairy-footed critters roaming large expanses of lands with dwarves and elves and very little action, has no time to record the passage of time. So, we spared you the tiresome description. Plus, who else are going to prove the Nokshan and the dethroned Princess wrong in their claim that we don’t exist, anyway?

Have we taken up too many words? Afterall, each chapter of this narrative is perfectly one thousand words: the blogger’s been counting. Idiot.

Fie, but we shall set the stage before we go! Two nobles, both alike in idiocy, in fair countrysides where we lay our scene…

“What…is that?” Lyra stared at the thing in Aldebaran’s hand.

“Well, this thing is going to save your uncle, so,” He studied the root plant he plugged from the earth, inspecting the chisels of earth and time covered by a thin mask of dirt and wisps of its beard-like tendrils.

She watched as he sifted through tangled roots, extracting from its center a scarlet seed. “There.”

He dropped it in her palm and the ball’s weight surprised her. “That’s its heart.”

“Ha,” from the corner of her eyes she saw that Jiube had been scratching at the earth where the root came from, pecking, digging.

“I’m serious: if you listen to it, it’s probably still beating.”

“What?” She attempted to hear the miniscule drumming beyond her own pulse, finally relenting as she put her ear next to the red seed: the sound nearly made her jump. “What’s going to happen to that root?” Jiube has now taken possession of said root, dragging it back into its home, hopping around to pack the dirt.

“It has three hearts, so we are only borrowing one. Don’t worry about it.”

She decided to help the little owl repair the earth.

As she looked up from the tender clovers and wild flowers and the root plant’s brethrens she admired a world so green. Their journey towards this destination neighboring the Nokshans’ realm was idyllic. The birds were louder, the squirrels cheerier, and the flowers exploded with freedom contrary to their counterparts in the imperial gardens that were but purposeful decorations arranged.

She slid the seed into a sac she’s made from a spare handkerchief alongside a note and tied the package upon the raven, muttering pointless blessings before sending it off. After she watched its steady shrinking into a dot beyond the reach of her sight she turned to find her companion gazing beyond her, beyond the mountains in the distance walling paradise he missed. Sensing her attention he snapped back to reality.

“We…ought to leave before it gets late.”

She thought about urging him to go back to…what? Once again she was vulnerably ignorant. She saw his past, yes, but…as she watched his back when they set out for the location Athlem prescribed, she realized that she doesn’t even know how long he’s walked the earth, his current family…he could be betrothed for all she knows. While she knows that he cannot be too many years her elder, it disturbed her that they should be capable of literally reading each other’s minds due to their contract and yet know so little…her hand darted to the runes hidden under her scarf.

Later that day, they were tracing their path by a snaking teal river…and when she said “they” she meant her seated upon Jiube in its proper form, a curt gallop. Aldebaran went ahead to inspect the landscape for possible obstacles, and she was bored enough to attempt a conversation with Jiube, who at that moment desired nothing but the diamonds on the water.

She sighed, tearing her eyes away from the water since the glitter burnt her.

Then Jiube stopped completely, coohed.

“What’s wrong?” Following the creature’s eyes she saw ripples breaking the gems of sunlight upon the river into infinities.

She squinted against the glare of the sun to find the sliver of movement that struggled against instincts. Arms waved, buried under the currents.

Instincts rushed her forward, dismounting Jiube in a stumble as she waded through the pebbled, muddy shallows. The sting of cold took her breath but she trot through the currents until she could almost swim and see now that it was a woman, drowning. Jiube wailed by the shore torn between panic and fear, she wrestled with the waters. The woman continued to thrash, gasping as though the notion of breathing was hateful.

“Stop it!” Lyra attempted to instill sense into the woman before she dodged an elbow, swallowing a mouthful of icy water.

The woman and Lyra’s lungs were screaming, and Lyra pressed a pressure point Athlem told her about. The woman fell limp while water tugged at them, and Lyra summoned the strength she didn’t have and dragged the woman onto the shallows, thankful for the buoy of the water. Water receded to return in double the pull of gravity, though she persisted.

At last she fell down at the nearest hint of grass and caught her breath, exhausted by the random emergency and exercise as she pushed Jiube accusingly for its uselessness when it nudged at her for forgiveness. The bird then went to examine the woman with distrust before settling itself between her and Lyra.

She sighed.

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