With a bag clutched in his left hand, Kyo had everything he would need for a journey. Except food. But that was his next stop. He was used to sneaking through the house. Late harvest nights often kept him and his father out long after the others were in bed. Therefore, his whole body moved in silent elegance, ignoring every creak in the path to the kitchen. Silence descended with him as he moved down their stair case to the moonlight downstairs.
Perfect. Kyo’s mind decided. I can see almost as well as midday. He effortlessly slipped to the kitchen side of the room and packed a bag in quiet swiftness. One last thing was left to do. The first hearable motion of the night was his sigh. It was all he could do to show his heart was heavy and breaking. Could he really leave? His mother would be devastated. But not as much as he would be. But the words he’d heard, just a day prior, held him to his mission.
“If what I’ve heard is true,” One of the men, a wise farmer his father had respected, had stated, “then the government will destroy us. If our enemies don’t first. The only thing that can save us is a negotiator. Someone who will plead for the commoners. Lord Shawnwa will never back down. This can mean one thing and one thing only. War.”
Kyo shuttered. War. It would do more than hurt his family’s hearts. It would murder them. And millions more. He had no doubt what Jakay had announced was true. His father had often worried about the strict, secure laws that only grew more demanding. Guards grew more numerous in their small village as did tales of the troubles in their cities. The more Kyo thought, the more he realized that His father’s fears were stealing in closer everyday.
Kyo closed his eyes for a second letting memories of the kitchen come one last time. He swept his eyes over the blue counter, dark in the night light, the tall food cooler shadowed in the back wall, the table, and the wood floor. Laughter and sorrow. Birthdays and deaths. They’d lived and grieved and rejoiced in that kitchen all his twenty years. And he would miss it terribly.
But the peaceful world he’d grown up in was the reason he had to leave. He didn’t want to leave. Yet first and foremost he wanted others to live peaceful lives like the one he’d always known. So with one final breath he drank in the air of home and vanished out the door.
“I’ve always wanted adventure and excitement.” Kyo whisper. “This will be full of both.”
Still, he couldn’t stop the sorrow thrashing about in his stomach nor could he halt the sad upheaval the threat of war put him in. “If only my adventure didn’t have to come this way.” He sighed.
But it did. He was headed on away for one reason alone. He hoped to stop the war. Tired of doing nothing but worrying, he’d given in. It was his time to act. Though how he planned to help stop the war he didn’t know. But that was fine. He knew how to ask questions and find answers. It was easy to learn. His only worry was that he could be far too late.
So apparently when entering a foreign country like Shlavo what you do not do is try to talk to them when you do not know the language. (It ain’t smart.) Or, as they say, ‘it is not the most smart decision you could make’. Big difference in those two sayings. Very big difference. Especially in Shlavo.
So . . . .
After my inspiration at the little hill, I ran until I reached the giant, black tower of Nieell. I didn’t dare use my wings. Even if I wasn’t in enemy territory I was near enough to it. Hours before I reached the tower I folded them back out of sight. My beautiful, giant butterfly wings could, by much will power, be folded away. They shrunk down to a miniature size and pasted themselves to my back like a tiny tattoo. I knew, as I closed folded them in, that they would stay like that until I left Shlavo. Or so I thought.
When the black, ugly tower came into sight, my heart started pounding, scared and excited afresh. Withing moments, however, I gathered my wits and my bow, which I’d dropped in excitement. And after sipping a drop of my invisibility potion, I started forward. In a matter of minutes it kicked in and I wasn’t even there. Or so it looked. Everything I touched went invisible, except the ground of course. It was too big. But little blades of grass and leaves disappeared if I touched them too long.
Hiding in small forest that lay near the border’s edge, I made my way toward Shlavo. When at last I broke free of the green infested world, nothing but grass, dry and brown, lay before me. By then it was midday and insanely hot. The urge to wait till the cool and cover of night attacked me hard but I beat it down by heading into the empty plain.
Guards stationed in the tower of Nieell glowered down at the land around me. Their dark silhouettes studded the top if their tower as they eyed the area or talked amongst themselves. My butterfly skills took over and cared me on tiptoe through the grass. It barely budged as I skittered through, unnoticed and invisible. As long as they couldn’t hear me, I was safe.
Moments ticked away until I passed the guard and found a hard dirt road. And when I ran the pound of my feet was as invisible as I was. Away I fled as fast I could, into the dark, welcoming shadows of another woods. Their arms and silence wrapped me in as I left the guards far behind.
“And . . . I have no idea where I am! Oh boy.” Swallowing hard I looked around then, unexpectedly, let out a surprised giggled. “I’m in Shlavo! And I’m . . . on an adventure! And! . . . I have no idea what I am doing.”
Yes. I had no idea what I was doing.
The next day I strolled calmly into town. Quite visible again and wingless, I felt read for anything. Dressed in the clothes of a merchant I wasn’t noticed a bit when I walked into town with my bag at my side. My studies jumbled together in my brain as a collected heap of knowledge that made me feel wise and confident. Despite the factor that I’d never actually been in Shlavo or heard them speak, I was certain I knew all I needed to.
(How was I supposed to know everybody whispered? Well, I guess I could’ve just listened to them when I got to town.)
Anyway the village was a small, circle of warm brown homes. I slipped through a friendly archway into a maze of streets that scurried into the depths of town. I made my way past their friendly exteriors feeling more and more confident.
Deep in the middle of the city a round market surrounded a center fountain. Brightly dressed people milled about but I was so focused on needing to find the castle that I ignored them and focused on finding directions.
A small potter’s shop looked like a good place. Strolling up quickly as though I were a merchant with many things to sell, I smiled at the man in greeting.
He nodded calmly back but something in his eyes worried me a moment. However, his gentle greeting drove worry for my mind.
“Good morning.” I answered the soft spoken man. “I was wondering . . . “ But before I could continue, several, shocked stares were thrown my way.
What on earth . . . ? I stared back in surprise. Why are they looking at me like that?
“What would your name be?” The potter questioned and I turned back to him, replying in a similar gentle tone.
“Hmmmm.” The man eyed me. “What is the reason for you being here?”
“Uh . . . I have goods to sell at the castle.”
“So why are you here?” The potter’s confused voice raised a bit so that it was nearing the normal volume most people talk in.
“I don’t know where it is. I was wondering if you could give me directions to the castle.”
“You don’t know where it is?” the man’s voice, quiet once again, held flabbergasted shock.
“No . . . ?” Was that the wrong answer.
“Guards!!!” Apparently it was!
“Guards!” I dropped my voice, surprised. “What have I done?”
The mean little merchant eyed me warily. “You speak with a loud obnoxious voice, you march in here like a queen, and you don’t know where the castle is!”
(Apparently those are sins in Shlavo.)
“I . . . Uh . . .”
“What do you want, Hitakamii?” Two burly, armored men marched up behind me, their voices the loudest I’d heard all day. I flinched away from them as they stationed themselves around us.
“This woman. She speaks loudly and I few with great tremblings in my soul that she is an intruder!”
“UUUHHHH!” The gasp of the crowd fit that of my own heart.
Intruder. The horrid word of this land.
“Intruder!!!” The guard exclaimed, his voice neared normal volumes.
“That is what I fear, man of the army.”
What was with the merchant and long sentences?
One of the dark haired, stocky men snatched my lower arm and whipped me around to face him. “Who are you?” He wondered, his voice low and concerned.
“ . . .” I tried to lower my voice but it came out a high, startled squeak. “I’m Kysha!”
“Kysha?” The man glared. “Why are you here?”
“To see the castle?”
“The castle!!” The man roared. “Why are you here if you want to see the castle?”
“This is just where I am. I’m headed to the castle.”
“The castle is on the opposite side of the country!” I made a mental not to tell that his plan was faulty. Who dropped of spies at the opposite end of the destination! “This town is the nearest to the Western border of any town and out of the way if you were coming from the south. If you wanted to go to the castle you would not come here!”
“I . . . felt like exploring!?” My emotions over came my attempt to be strong and reigned over my words, making me sound guilty as a five year old in trouble.
“Exploring?!” He cried.
“On the other hand maybe I just felt like selling stuff here!”
“She really is an intruder!” The merchant cried, grabbing my other arm, practically throwing me on the ground. The crowd screamed, children burst into tears with their mothers, and dogs howled.
“What are we going to do!” They began to yowl . “We’re under attack!”
Calm down people! I wanted to yell. I’m only one girl with a couple arrows. And your tough army men have me tied up. There’s not much I can do. Except maybe steal a panda.
The question is . . . how do I get out of jail?