Written By – DemonKiller
Edited By – CurlyAdi
Proofread By – SmartyMouth
Chapter 0003 – Royalty?
At a distant place, much much farther from the forest and the scattered villages and even the Sunspot Town, surrounded by picturesque mountains on all sides, was a magnificent castle. This castle, was truly huge, and was giving off a majestic aura that was simply hard to describe. Anyone who laid eyes on this castle would unintentionally bow down towards it as if it was the abode of an awe inspiring God.
Moreover, surrounding this majestic looking castle was a huge garden than encircled it, and was filled with all sorts of exotic and beautiful looking flowers, as a few gardeners could be seen pruning the garden of weeds and other things that could tarnish this picturesque beauty of a garden. There was even a river flowing through this garden in front of it, coming from one of the mountains surrounding the castle. Looking from the top, one could see that there were still two more rivers behind the castle, enveloping the entire castle in a triangular shaped formation.
To the people, who would lay their eyes on this type of scenery for the first time, they would immediately think that this kind of castle was definitely a heavenly abode of a god. But although there were only a few people to be seen working here, but each and every person here knew that this castle was none other than the stronghold of the “Righteous Knights”, one of the 4 strongest forces of the Flowing Heavens Empire, apart from the Royal Family, and was called as the “Home of the Righteous”.
At this moment, in a room deep under the castle, a man opened his eyes. To anyone, this man would look simply like an ordinary old man off the street. If there was any unique characteristic about this old man, it was that he appeared to be quite jovial in nature with an always smiling face. But not many people knew, that this old man was none other than the founder of the Righteous Knights. Even the people in the Righteous Knights did not know of his existence or even his name. The people who actually knew about him could simply be counted on the fingers of a single hand. Needless to say, he definitely had an overwhelming strength.
But at this moment, when he opened his eyes, the jovial expression on his face was replaced with a deep frown, as he thought, “So that old hag could still move after all these years. Hmph, did she think that the seal I designed would be this weak that it would be broken with such a puny shred of power. If you were at your peak, then perhaps you would have been able to break through the seal, but now……”
“Sigh, those three bastards should have also felt this. But no matter, she is already sealed with her body destroyed. Judging by strength of her soul, she should only be able to hold out for a few more decades, once her soul finally disintegrates, that heaven defying treasure that she had would definitely be taken by me. As for those three old bastards, hmph, once they come I’ll use the seal to seal them there along with our beloved master.” Saying this point, he showed a really sinister smile as he once again closed his eyes. If anyone was to see his expression at that point of time, they would have surely broken out in cold sweat.
A similar kind of scene were being played out in the strongholds of the other 3 strongest forces in the Flowing Heaven Kingdom.
In the “Sages of Justice” stronghold, a man sighed as he thought, “So master is still alive….”
In the “Executioner’s Guild” stronghold, a woman with a sinister but seductive looking expression on her face also thought, “That old hag of a master is still alive after all these years……”
In the “Eclectic Order” stronghold, a man stood up with grief written all over his face, and then he immediately knelt down and in a praying position spoke, “Oh Lord, our saviour, please grant my master’s soul a passage into heaven, and free her from such a torrent……”
In the royal capital of the Flowing Heaven Kingdom, the Flowing Heaven City, an old man stood atop the highest balcony of the Royal Palace as he looked up at the stars in the direction of the forest, as he softly spoke out in a loving voice, “Why did you waste the power that you have been accumulating over thousands of years on him? My dear, I really hope you chose the right person, otherwise …….”
Back near the forest, since I knew that there was a village at a distance, I simply could not contain my joy any longer, as once I finished making myself look a bit more presentable, I along with Frank, immediately ran towards that village in a distance. From the distance we were, being on a slightly higher ground, I could see that the entire village was built around a huge fist shaped rock jutting out of the ground. Moreover, there were also a few patches of farming fields out of the village. I could also see a few cattle roaming here and there around the village, being shuttled around by some sheep dogs or young kids with sticks, as they guided the cattle to graze upon the grass patches on the snowy barren ground.
People, I finally could see more fellow humans, although I only stayed inside the forest for only five days, but I had never met a single human being inside, or even an animal for a fact, well other than that monstrosity of a wolf that had somehow turned into ash in a blaze of golden lightning just when it pounced on me. In short, I was really terrified by the forest and was really really glad to have finally seen a fellow human. Although there was Frank by my side, still, seeing another human after such a terrifying ordeal was really something joyful for me.
After running for another hour, I finally reached the outskirts of the village, there was a young kid, not older than 11 or 12 years in age, sitting on a big rock at a bit a distance from me, as he kept an eye on the four cows that were grazing nearby. He was wearing coarse linen cloths that seems to have been handmade. Looking at him, I frowned a bit, was this village really this poor that that they had to make their own clothes? Even back in villages of his home country, the people used to wear a bit of modern like tailored clothes.
But, at the moment, I did not think too much of it, as at this moment, I really needed to find somebody to find where I really am, since it was obvious that I was nowhere near or around the state of New York.
I hastily stopped myself from crashing into him as Frank also stopped near me and started panting, straightening out my clothes and brushing my hair a bit to look a bit more presentable, I then approached the kid. All the while, this kid curiously looked at me and Frank.
Once I approached him, I asked in a polite voice, “Friend, what village is this?”
“This is the Rocky Fist Village. Mister, are you new here? The clothes that you are wearing sure look odd. Even that dog looks something of a higher quality breed.” The kid replied as he kept piling up sentences non-stop.
“Rocky Fist Village?” I dumbfoundedly asked, I had never heard of a village with such a name, well it’s not that I knew everything about the state of New York and around it.
The kid seemed to have thought that I did not understand the village’s name, and began explaining, “See that huge rock in the shape of a fist that is at the center of the village, this village is named after it, thus it’s name “Rocky Fist Village”. You know there is even a legend passed down in our village that that giant fist like rock is actually the fist of a giant that is buried under the village. It is said that the giant still lives but is sealed under the earth with only his fist coming out of the ground. Sometimes during the night you can also hear the heartbeat of the giant if you put your ear to the rock!! Hey, Mister what are you called? Are you from the Sunspot Town? Do all the people in the Sunspot Town dress like you? What about your dog? Is he your pet? Do all the people in Sunspot Town have such a high quality pet like him?……”
I immediately held up my hand, I simply could not keep up with this kid’s speed, Giant under the earth? Sealed? Sunspot Town? I really could not make heads or tailed of such things. Was this the kind of village that believed in superstitions? Although many villages do have their own superstitions, but he had never heard such a thing as a giant sealed under the earth. But once again I simply left that matter aside for the moment.
I just gave a wry smile, thinking that this kid really was way too hyperactive, completely different from how I thought him out to be, as replied, “My name is John Doe and this is Frank. We came from New York City. As for Sunspot Town that you spoke of, I don’t know anything about it. I was travelling together with Frank and entered the forest to seek shelter from the storm, but we somehow lost our way. We even lost our things. It has already been several days since we saw a fellow person. I hope you don’t mind us disturbing you, as we ask you bring us to a place where there is a phone. Don’t worry, I will definitely pay you.”
I lied once again, after all I can’t say to a child that I was dumped in the forest after I was presumed dead, right? That said, I also took out the few 1 dollar bills that I had in my pocket and offered one of them to the kid. I really needed a phone to contact a friend or anyone for the matter, so that I can get back. Or at the very least contact the police, and say that I had lost my passport. Afterall it was not the first time I had done this.
The kid took the dollar bill that I gave him and looked at it very curiously, turning it back and forth, as if it was the most fascinating thing in the world. After a good while, he finally took his eyes off the bill and looked at me as he spoke, “Mister John, can I really keep this? What is this? Is this what the people in the Sunspot Town call as paper money?….” He paused for a bit, and as if remembering something I spoke and once again asked, “You said something about a phone, what is that?”
I started sweating inwardly as I thought, “This kid does not even know about phones, moreover it seems as if he had never seen a dollar bill before, just how can this be, no matter how backward the village was, they would at least know about the dollar, right? Don’t tell me that I am not even in the United States of America?”
Thinking that, I decided to explain to this kid what a phone was, maybe it was called something different here, “Kid, look a phone is a device that we use to call other people……”
The kid at once replied, “Why not just shout to the person?”
I patiently replied, “Because the person would be very far away….”
Before I could even finish, he once again replied, “How far away? Uncle Brian in our village can shout so loud that even if you were 3-4 km away, you would still be able to hear him.”
I gave up, “Kid, can you bring me to your parents or at the very least to a village elder?” I decided trying to explain to this kid about a phone was as same as trying to talk to a wall, this kid simply talks too much.
But then I noticed the sad expression on his face, as I thought “Oh shit, don’t tell me he doesn’t have parents!!”, as I quickly said once again, “Sorry kid, I really did not mean…..”
That kid once again bounced back, but there was still a trace of sadness lingering in his voice as he spoke, “It’s ok, I have been an orphan for almost 3 years now, but at least compared to some of the kids here, I am already used to it and am much better off. By the way, I am not called ‘Kid’, I have a name ‘Cleff’ and I am already 11 years old, and an adult of this village, as I can match up to some of the adults in strength by myself.” Although there was a trace of sadness in his voice, but he really spoke those last few lines with a chest full of pride.
Then he said, “Don’t worry I will take you to old man Hatter’s place, he would know what you are looking for.”
Saying that he immediately jumped down from the big rock he was sitting on, then running toward the cows grazing, he issued a sharp whistle which immediately startled the cows, but it seems as if the cows knew that they were being called by their master, so instead of running away, they came together and waited for their master to come to them. Once the kid named Cleff came towards them, he simply patted the head of each of the cow and turned around heading towards the village. The cows also obediently followed behind him. I was a bit dumbfounded at this scene, this kid was only 11 years old and was able to control the cows to such an extent, then I immediately thought of the phrase, “Hardships will always mature a person faster.”
I guess this kid really had a bit of tough life till now, thinking that I and Frank also immediately started following this kid. In the time it takes for an incense stick to burn, we reached the first houses of the village. Well calling them houses were a bit exaggerated, they were more like mud huts with a thatch roof. Not too big, nor too small, but just enough for a family of four to live in.
At this moment, there were a few kids in the street who were either playing or helping out their parents to buy and sell things in the market. Although there were not many people in the so called market area, but still they all stopped their works as they all looked at me with curiosity in their eyes.
Though what they were actually looking at was not me, rather it was the color of my pants and Frank who was trotting along beside me that they were looking at.
In the understanding of the few elders present there, only the Royalty of the country or someone with an equally high status in the country would be able to wear a Dark Blue or Purple clothes and also carry around such an exquisite pet. Could it be possible that this man was someone from the Royal Family? If he really was from the Royal Family, why does he look so disheveled? Moreover a Royalty would not travel without a convoy of soldiers escorting him. Heck even the Lords that came from the Sunspot Town to collect the taxes would also be accompanied by their guards, so it was obvious that a person from the Royal Family would also have someone protecting him.
But they kept their thoughts to themselves, fearing that by speaking up they would somehow offend this person who they thought was from the Royalty.
I was beginning to feel a bit uncomfortable as those people kept staring at me as if I was some kind of circus animal, these people all had slightly fairer skin than my own, but they all looked a bit calloused, even the women folk, it seems that everyone in this village worked hard to earn a living.
In a short while, that kid called Cleff, led me to a fairly large mud house that was much closer to the giant rocky fist that was the center of the village. It seems that this hut belonged to someone important in the village. He should have at least a wired phone in his house right? The reason why I thought this was because I did not see a single electrical wire anywhere in the village to indicate that this village at least had some form of communication. Since I could not see any electrical wires on the outside, so I assumed that the wire would either be underground, or in the worst case scenario, this village was really cut off from an electrical supply.
If it was the latter, then he could only go to the house of the Village Leader for help, as it would be most probable that at least he would have some method to contact the outside world. But if it was the former, then he could not do anything else other than asking for the directions to the nearest Town that would have the things that he needed.
The kid, Cleff, stopped at the door and shouted out “Old man Hatter, there is someone here to meet you.” Finished saying that, he simply sat in front of the door, as for the four cows, they also simply stood there near to the house. At the moment, no one came forward to speak, as if they were scared of talking to me. As for me, I simply was too eager to talk to the Village Head to find a way to contact the outside world, and did not pay attention to the rest of the people, although their stares still made me feel a bit uncomfortable.
But thankfully, in a short while, an old lady stepped out from behind the door, and immediately ruffled that kid, Cliff’s hair in an affectionate manner. Then she took a look at me and immediately became stunned, as she hurriedly bowed and replied, “My Lord, forgive me for not coming to attend to you early, I did not know that such an esteemed guest had arrived at our doorstep. I hope you can show leniency in your punishment towards this old woman and child.”
Her voice really was filled with fear, she really would have been color blind if she could not recognize that the clothes that the person in front of her was wearing, was a Royal Purple in color. That color was the symbol of the Royalty, although before this she had never met any royalty, but still, she once attended a royal procession along with her husband, back when they had visited the Sunspot Town.
From the talks that she heard at that time, she came to know that His Royal Highness was really strict about its rules and even the young masters and mistresses would be punished strictly according to rules if they did something against the laws. When it came to adhering to the laws, His Royal Highness always treated everyone equal, according to a rumor, His Royal Highness once punished one of his sons, the 7th Royal Prince, by imprisoning him for a full week in the dungeon, just because he did not pay for a meal which he ate at a restaraunt.
At the moment, she really was terrified that this man who clearly was from the Royalty, albeit looking a bit ruffled, would punish her and Cleff severely for their lack of manners. Moreover with her husband, the Village Head, who had gone out of the village just this morning, it meant that she was in charge of the affairs of the village till he returned.
“Lord? Esteemed Guest? Punishment?” I repeated each of the keywords in puzzlement, as I spoke out, “Madam, I think that you confused with someone else. I am no Lord or anything. I am a simple man who came from New York City, but somehow due to the storm a few days ago, we lost our way and our things, and ended up here. Could I trouble you for a phone, to call, I can pay for the call if you want? Even a landline would do if you don’t have a cellphone.”
I once again lied as I looked at the old woman expectantly, really praying that she would at least have a phone in the house. If not then I really was screwed. Moreover looking at the condition of the village, I could tell that the village was not very prosperous, most probably they only just got by. If they really did not have a phone or even a post office then I really did not have any other choice than to go this Sunspot Town that the kid Cleff spoke about. Since it was a Town it would definitely have a phone, right?
The old woman seeing that they were not punished, immediately became happy in her heart, as she turned to Cleff and scolded him, “You brat, how can you let out Lord stand amongst the cows.” Saying that, she immediately turned to me and in the most respectful tone that she could muster, she spoke, “Thank you for your mercy, My Lord, please come inside and rest you feet. This lowly old woman will prepare a meal for you. I hope you don’t mind, my husband, Hatter, is the village head of this village, and also the caretaker of Cleff. At the moment he is currently on the way to Sunspot Town looking over over the goods along with our strong men, to exchange them with other things that our village needs.”
“I hope you can pardon us with your benevolent heart, as he would only would be back here after a month. Please do not worry, if you want we really will take full care of you till then.” The old woman was really surprised with the attitude of the person in front of her, in her opinion, any member from the Royalty would at least be a bit proud and haughty, but this man in front of him although looked a bit old, but he at least gave an amiable feeling to her, as if she could really get along with him. But she was a bit confused, being the wife of the village elder, she was definitely educated and as such at least knew a bit of the major cities and towns of her country, The Flowing Heaven Country. But she had never heard of a city called as New York.
He couldn’t be a person from a neighboring country, right? If he really was then she would have to be really careful, otherwise she might end up being the person responsible to start a war between two countries!! Although the relations between the countries were good on the surface, just who could say what went below the surface.
Moreover, even inside the country, there were many people vying for power. Let alone on the scale of Cities, wasn’t their own village suppressed by the people from the Sunspot Town. If not for the co-operative nature of the villages scattered around, most of them would probably have been wiped off from the maps itself, by either the elements or the bandits or even by the people from the Sunspot Town if they took any offence. After all, even if the Royalty were people who strictly adhered to the rules, there were still many people who liked to flaunt their power and play with the rules. Plus with them being at the outskirts, much farther away from the Royal Capital, the influence and rules imposed were not strictly followed.
Thinking till here, she immediately invited the man standing in front of her inside of her house and let him rest on the best furniture that she had in her house, while she herself went and bought some other women to help prepare a grand meal for the person she thought was from royalty.