Another chapter is up...this is the second day that I didn't attend school, since MLK day was yesterday, and it's too cold today...I think it's like...1 degree outside...


The Next Day

Sunshine shone through the windows. Birds peeped and chirped. The soft wind blew on the wind chimes, creating a melody that played continuously. Talene stirred and slowly woke up. Yawning, she went outside, viewing Ayana washing her violet collared top with some soap and a bucket of water. Talene smiled and hurried over to her friend.

Ayana noticed the young shamaness approaching her and asked, "Did you sleep well?"

Meanwhile

GrandAire

Eight Hours, Fifty-six minutes

"Well Keaton," the general asked, "did you find the Topaz of Light?"

"Unfortunately no, not yet," Keaton replied as he and his assistant stood before the general of the Kuragari Forces.

"We cannot go ahead with our operation until you do. We already have two so far: Earth's Emerald and the Eye of the Heavens. Find it Keaton, and find it soon. The Forces' status to the Eluria Regnum Empire is at stake."

"We are now creating a plan to infiltrate the forest near the Mystic Ruins. We will have good news if we succeed."

"Yes…it's possible we'll gain something. I am expecting good news," the general said.

One Hour Later

So, shall we head to the Mystic Ruins? Ayana inquired. "Did anyone forget anything?"

Niko retrieved a map from his pocket. "First, we have to cross the Bengle Mountains, south of where we are. The ruins are in a desert-like area over there. It's illustrated on this map."

Ayana scanned the map briefly. "Hmm…okay, let's go."

Everyone gathered their belongings. Ayana packed food for everyone, and they left the cottage, heading for the overshadowing Bengle Mountains that towered over the horizon.

A couple of hours passed by and Rosaria slowed down, resting on a slab of rock. She kicked off her flats and rubbed the bottoms of her feet.

Ayana took a swig of water from her canteen and told her, "You need to get some better shoes to travel in." She swallowed the cool water and inhaled the fresh mountain air. "If we come across a village, then I'll buy you some boots and a pair of leggings."

Rosaria looked at her creamy peach legs and adjusted her sundress."Thanks."

Aniu cleared her throat. "So… how much longer do you think we have until we reach the ruins?"

"It may take a day, depending on how fast we travel," Ayana answered, tossing the canteen back into her traveling bag.

The party of six continued walking; passing by many rocks and caves, and traveled up a grassy hill. At its top, the ground was flat and the grass was very soft. Steve looked up at the sky; the sun was beginning to set. "It's pretty safe here," he commented. "Instead of pushing on, I think we should camp here tonight. It's been hours since we've left the cottage."

Setting up a tent and a campfire, Rosaria asked, "So we've traveled the day away?"

Steve nodded his head yes and assisted in gathering wood for the fire. As soon camp set up, the six sat down by the fire, forming a circle.

"So what do we do now?" Aniu asked in confusion.

"I know! Let's talk about life before Ashwood," Talene suggested. "If you all don't mind me asking, what were your lives like on Earth? I know we've known each other since freshman year, but we've never talked about our lives, at least."

No one said anything at first, so Talene continued on," Okay, I'll go first. I lived in a tribal community village. My father is the community's shaman, and my mother is an alchemist. I wanted to learn more in the field of shamanism than of alchemy, though I still practice some of it in school."

Rosaria was first to speak up from the others. "I was born in Italy. My family is among the most wealthy and respected vampires in Europe. I like to dance, so my parents sent me to Ashwood to do ballet."

"Me? Uh, I used to live in a village too. My dad was a great ice warrior in his time, during The Movement era. But when he found out that his yuki-onna wife was pregnant with me, he settled down and became an elder of the Snow clan," Aniu spoke.

"I'm adopted," Niko said.

"My parents were nomadic during the Movement era," Steve replied. "They stopped roaming around the planet when I reached twelve and went to middle school. So I lived in America."

Everyone looked at Ayana, beckoning her to speak on her past life. Looking at the dusk sky, she lay back on the grass and sighed. "I came from a big family: six other siblings. My mother is from Africa, and my father,mixed with British…they met during the Movement era too. We lived in Europe with my father from some time, and we lived in a big house. When I was a little girl, I had a sister that I was very close to. When we were both nine, she had to leave, and I never saw her again…so to speak. But this…" Ayana retrieved the Sapphire of ice from her top, "someone who I was very close to sent me this for my birthday last year, but I don't know who."

"So you accept gifts from people you don't know?" Aniu asked, scratching her head.

"Well…yeah, but that's not the point. If my suspicions are correct…" Ayana shook her head and yawned loudly. "That's enough storytelling for now, I'm exhausted."

"Aw! But you didn't get to tell who sent you the Sapphire of Ice!" Aniu groaned.

Ayana chuckled. "Maybe next time, but if we want to reach our destination, we should rest up for tomorrow."

The Next Day

Everyone woke up at the same time and readied themselves to travel some more. As soon the fire smothered and the tent placed away, the six began to walk, leaving their former camp site.

"The air is very clear this morning," Talene stated, stretching.

"What's that…?" Aniu asked, pointing at the horizon. A large barrier covered masses of land, blocking the way past the forest that was constantly covered in a thick fog.

"I don't know," Talene answered.

"It's huge!" Rosaria gasped, staring at the mysterious landscape before continuing to walk.

Steve eyed the Mystic Ruins in the distance. "We're almost there," he said. "The ruins await us."


Author's Note: I did some changes to the main characters, mostly their ethnicity.

Ayana De Laviolette: (I changed her last name, because I just now remembered that "Shinzo" is a Japanese word, meaning light, I believe, and Ayana's no way near Japanese.) Her mother is from North Africa, but during the Movement Era and due to her mixed ancestry, I decided to make her French Creole. Her father is sill from the U.K. Ayana has her mother's maiden name.

Aniu Mizushiya: Japanese

Rosaria Giovanni: Italian

Niko Gesshoku: Japanese

Steve Cross: American (First, I made him British, but, I think American suits him.)

Talene 'Oriah Nyar Hana: Native American (I know some of you are thinking, "why does she have so many names?" I know that's not a Native American surname, I made it up. Her surname is basically the village/tribe she's from.)