《Tales of Emera》1.09 - Shadow Devils
“Emyria! Wake up girl!” Bella violently shook Emera from her slumber, a slight bit of drool leaking from the corners of her mouth.
Emera snapped awake immediately wondering what was wrong. It took her a few minutes to recount the events of the day before. It all came crashing down on her as she realized the baby prince was wailing at the top of its lungs in the makeshift bed she had made for it. Sleep evaporated from her as she rushed to the squirming pile. As soon as she held the baby in her arms, it stopped its wailing.
“Huh, must’ve dozed off Bella. Sorry, rough night last night eh? When did you get back?” She asked.
“Just now actually. You should hear the news the town criers are spewing forth! The whole royal family was murdered last night! The criers are spewing forth stuff about war and the weakness of the kingdom in this time of terror. Its real sad.” Bella held a gloomy look to her face as she took out various packages from her shopping.
“I got these things. I hope they will be alright for the baby.”She gestured for Emera to hand over the baby and she complied. Hopefully Bella knew how to take care of him, for she was lost in a torrent of water that threatened to sweep her under.
All the events of the past two days seemed to leap up at her out of a dark void. She needed fresh air and a lot of it.
“Bella, is it alright if you took care of him for awhile? I want to explore the city for awhile, then we can leave tonight when it’s dark out. We do not want the people after him to have an easy time of spotting us in broad daylight.” Bella wore a worried expression prompting Emera to tell her she wouldn’t be long. Unlike Bella, emera decided to use the stairs down into the inn proper.
Down there she found a morose crowd of NPC’s, heavy into their drinks while the barkeep refilled them free of charge. It was an ominous affair, with faint mutterings rising from the various city goers. She heard whispers of “war” and “dark times ahead” spread throughout the common room. It made her feel queasy just thinking of it. They held a key to the kingdom, one that couldn't be revealed in fear of it becoming known to the wrong people.
Her instincts yelled at her to try to get the baby to any remaining family, but she feared that the mysterious patron would be watching all of them.
“Copper for yer thoughts miss?” The innkeeper asked. He held a small plate of roasted duck and an assortment of veggies in front of him while sliding a tankard of ale beside the plate. Lunch was very much welcome.
“Just lost in thoughts and no way to sort them out. What would you do if you don’t know what to do?” She asked the innkeeper.
He seemed a kindly old man, a bit overweight but it gave him an innkeeper look that suggested he was a fan of his own cooking. Numerous scars laced themselves across his knuckles and crisscrossed along his forearms. Definitely did not want to mess with this guy.
“Well, may sound corny, but follow yer heart. All yer decisions can’t be made in a day and it takes time to properly consider yer decisions. That’s what I always told mah daughter and that’s what I tell you. No matter what comes of it, there will always be others at yer back.” He wore a saddened expression, his voice troubled.
“Anyways, lunch is free fer today. Enjoy, and may the Gods and Goddesses deliver us from our plight.” The innkeeper walked off, his bulky form limping as he filled the rest of the patrons drinks.
Sighing, Emera devoured her lunch and left the inn. It felt good to be outside, fresh air streaming into her lungs.
She had no direction nor any desires. She simply walked. She knew naught for how long, nor how far she had gone. Somehow she had ended up outside the city walls and found a trail into the forest.
Once again, she was captivated with the sights of all the greenery that surrounded her. She was used to her apartment she shared with her mother. It was small and in the middle of a large suburb to the west of New York. She remembered looking out her window everyday. In the distances, she could just barely see the green of a park. Of course, it had been many years since she had visited said park, so her memories were distorted of that place.
From what she could remember, would do no justice whatsoever to the forest that now surrounded her. Brilliant shades of green and brown, mosses and lichen of every kind. She saw various berries and flower patches, passive animals unheard of in the real world. She had her first real surprise when a squirrel-like creature the size of a large dog wandered across her path. It delicately sniffed various plants and surrounding brush before continuing on its way. Emera had never seen such beauty in all her life.
“The beauty of life.” She whispered.
Emera soon wandered into a large clearing with a small bubbling river streaming through it. Located in the middle of the river was a towering white tree on a small island, its massive limbs swaying in the breeze. This was as good a place as any, Emera thought. She walked through the knee-deep water, crossing over so she could sit under the large tree. There, finally alone from the world, she began to cry.
She cried out her emotions. All her sorrows. All her happiness. All the conflicting feelings that plagued her for the last few days. Here she was, feeling more alone in a world that was rife with conflict. A world that she could walk in. A world where she had to make major decisions about what she wanted to do with her life. For the first time in her life, she had choices that appealed to her, choices that would impact the world around her.
Her tears let it all out, all the ever present sorrow, all of her happiness, all her thoughts until she had just one.
“I will be happy here.”
It was a shocking realization, but it was the one that she needed most. Here, she could be her. Here, she could be free from her powerlessness. No longer would she be meek. She would take charge of her life, the life she wanted. Nothing would stop her.
“Emera, it is good that you have come to this realization, but you should now take in your surroundings.” Era said. She had been absent doing her analyzing, so it was a welcome intrusion from her thoughts.
Emera glanced around, for the first time noticing something completely unique to this world. Large glowing shadows were dripping over the treetops, smooth liquid bodies drifting towards her. Emera could see faint glowing outlines, all of different murky colours outlining the various shadows.Within the shadows, helped by their outlines and if they lined up just right, she could see bodies. Not just bodies of an animal, but people too.
There were hundreds of them.
She began hyperventilating. So much for being in control of her life.
She started laughing hysterically as the first shadow blob reached the river. It seemed to hesitate momentarily before dunking into the shadowy depths. More followed after it in an avalanche of shadow bodies that went on forever.
Emera had never practiced her skills but she would have to now. Taking a deep breath, she activated the one skill that might be able to help her.
“River Sight” She shouted.
Before her, a million transparent lines appeared around her. Looking around, she realized they were all congregated around this tree of hers.
Huh, dumb luck that she found a magic tree.
Emera reached out, expecting to feel the lines, but instead her hand passed through it uselessly. Although her body passed through it, her mind did not. It could feel a coolness to the line she touched, radiating out from the line in waves as if the water were lapping at a shore. Emerra could feel the line, every single part of it.
As if on autopilot, which she assumed it was, the line wavered before breaking open into a torrent of water. It blasted out in all directions uselessly, but Emera now knew how it worked. This was good, because the first few shadows were reaching the shore.
Briefly touching various lines in all directions, she found a large line that she thought would be the most useful. Her abilities timer was nearly up, but with a single push she blasted the line with her will, hoping it would take the directions of her will.
Light shone forth from the line, radiating in all directions in flashes of different colours all along the visible light spectrum. Emera was nearly blinded, but had the forethought of closing her eyes before she activated the line.
After what felt an eternity, Emera widened her eyes ever so slowly. Around her was utter chaos. The shadowy figures were in a full retreat as their comrades that had already gained ground on the island thrashed wildly. Emera would say about half remained from the hundreds of shadow monsters. Too bad that half were all dying.
Hah, take that shadow monsters! Everyone knows shadows have no power in light!
Emera crumpled into a ball, suddenly exhausted as she took in her stats, seeing that her mana and stamina were completely drained from her attack. Moving on from her stats screen, she now looked towards the notifications.
You have slain x78 [Shadow Devils! (Level Six)] +32000 Experience
Congratulations, you have reached Level 11! +60 Attribute Points.
Experience until next level (3421/48000).
Level 8 Reached, Level 10 Reached. New Skills Available. You have earned the class skill [Blunt Weave] or [Weave Locator]
You have earned the class skill [Weave Manipulation]
Huh, so she could choose either Blunt Weave or Weave Locator. She looked towards the skills abilities to help her decide.
Level 8 Reached:
Skill - Blunt Weave: Your Weaves have 10% damage when struck with your will. Warning: This does not apply for any multi threaded Weaves (Beginner 1)
Skill - Weave Locator: Weaves are slightly coloured to help define their characteristics. (Beginner 1)
Level 10 Reached:
Skill - Weave Manipulation: Imbue lines of magic with small status effects.
Emera chose Weave Locator. Although the blunt weave sounded interesting, it would be useless if she were to use multiple lines in a spell. She now knew what the power of different lines could do, as well as how the thickness of the line seemed to allow the spell effects to linger for longer as well as stronger than the water weave she had stumbled upon. If what the skill told her, then she would be able to weave together multiple lines, adding power to the spells she unleashed. It was fascinating.
She gained her feet and started looting the dead shadow creatures. They dropped a few coppers each, but what interested her was the shadow cloth they dropped.
x156 Copper Coins
x182 Shadow Cloth
It was a large haul. Emera was just glad for the massive satchel she received from the dead man last night.
It was near dark when Emera finally made her way back to the inn. Deep shadows seemed to jump out at her on her way home, but she felt it was all in her head.
Emera turned the corner onto the street of the inn, but was immediately blocked by a guard standing duty.
“Got another one boss! Perhaps this’ll be the one who helped kidnap the prince!” Emera had been handed over repeatedly to various guards before she sat in front of a large man in silver armour. His gaze was steely, his mouth quirked into a frown as he held Emera in his gaze.
“Girl, do you know why you are here?” He asked in a gruff voice.
“No, sir!” She smiled up at the man, hopefully showing no trembling in her features.
“Then will you explain the fact that we have found a baby in the room you and that war fairy girl have been sharing!” The man was yelling, his voice quivering with rage.
Welp, she was in deep shit now.
“I don’t understand sir! I was out all day!”
“Don’t play coy with me girl! We have both the girl and baby in custody. I would recognize the young prince anywhere, you little shit.” The man growled. It was at this moment that Emera realized the coat of arms across the silver breastplate was the exact same as the one from the man last night.
Yup, she was in deep doo doo.
“As the Captain of the watch and as is my duty, I will have you found imprisoned for the rest of your miserable life! Now, ” he added with a sneer, “where is the ring of House Astria?” His face showed nothing, his voice barely held a note of warning, but she knew then and there that this man worked for the mysterious patron.
Something seemed off about him though. He was sweating heavily and his eyes darted towards the doorway as if measuring his chance of escape. So, the patron was using NPC’s to do their dirty business. Not willingly either it seemed like.
Just as she was about to lie that she owned no such ring, a knock pounded on the door.
The captain was sweating bullets all of a sudden. His hands shook as he slowly stood from the desk. He spoke in a whisper.
“Go out through the window. Run for all you can. That ring is what they truly need. Without it, they cannot in good humour try to declare the prince as the heir.” He smirked slightly before continuing. “Too bad the news was that the whole royal family died, and that there wasn’t a single survivor. These bastards are playing hard, but we just have to play harder.” The Captain walked off, his stride taking on more of a strut, his posture radiating calmness. Gone was the fearful man, here was a loyal captain who had done everything in his life to protect the royal family.
Emera breathed heavily through her nose, concentrating on the locking mechanism on the window. The Captain had shut the door on his way out, so Emera hoped she could escape before they came back.
Ever so carefully, Emera opened the window, letting in a gust of wind that knocked the breath out of her.
It was too far of a drop down, she being on the third floor of the barracks. Emera glanced around, nervous of any guards seeing her. She placed one foot on the ledge, heart racing. Another foot and she was completely outside. Shuffling along the ledge was nerve wracking, but she completed it with only seconds to spare. She heard shouting coming from the office and curses thrown about as a figure popped its head out of the window. They saw nothing.
Emera was already on her way to the cells. She smirked slightly as she gripped the loop of keys she snatched from the Captain’s desk.
They would have to play harder than these bastards indeed.
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