Every strike I swung was precise and swift. Every cry I let out was strong and fierce.
Training, they think I've haven't done this a hundred times before. Having being inhabited in a jungle, I've trained day and night to survive. However, this type of training, for once, has me exhausted.
"Do you laze around often where you come from?" Flora said in a mocking tone as she paced behind me.
I ignored her remarks and continued to strike the block of wood with the axe, splitting it in half unto the small pile of already cut wood below the truck. So this is what it's like cutting wood, huh? Been a farmer and jungle survivor, but never have I axed wood before.
To be honest, neither Flora or the blacksmith told me why I had to chop wood. They just told me this was a way of training. It had been only a day since I've been here at the blacksmith's cottage, and I'm already wanting to leave. Not that he's a bad dude or anything, it's just this woman pacing behind me with piercing eyes targeting my back is giving me the heebie jeebies.
I turn back to give her my own glare. "Don't you have anything else better to do?"
"Learning the whereabouts and safety of my acquaintance is of top priority." she responded in a harsh tone, "Meaning keeping my eye on you is also my top priority."
I simply sighed, not bothering to engage in a argument. After chopping up another stack, I lift up a pile of cut wood and placed them near the house.
"So what she like?" I asked as I came back, curious of Flora's relationship to this Zonoah person. I look back once again to see her giving me a questionable as if she didn't understand what I had said. "Can you describe her personality? Her person?"
"Oh, I see," she said, understanding, "She is quite unique. In terms of magic, she is progressively reaching my level. Though her mind is dense, she is still young and wishes to see more of the world. Unfortunately, she doesn't recall anything of her past whatsoever."
"Amnesia, huh?" I said. I have to say, she does sound like an interesting girl. I don't recall ever meeting someone like her, but yet based on what Flora told, I felt like I heard about her before.
"You look as if you recall something." Flora said, staring at me intensely.
"I just know what she has is called Amnesia. It's when you lose some or most of your memory. Some people get it when they hit their head, were born with brain problems, or something traumatic occurred in their lives."
"Traumatic?" Out of all was said, that stood out to her.
"Yeah, like if someone important to her died, but it really varies between person to be honest."
Flora didn't follow up with a response. She stood there thinking to herself over my words. It was probably me mentioning death.
We didn't speak after that moment. For the rest of the day until nightfall, I was just chopping wood and doing minor errands for the blacksmith. As far as I could tell, I was going to be stuck here until they found a way to take me home.
Home, that great old place. I still remember the horrible scent of our farm, the noisy ungrateful animals, and most of all my father. I find it ironic I'm only now thinking about this after I mentioned death to Flora a few hours ago.
My life after that plane crash as hell. For months I was lost and was forced to survive off the wilderness around me. I swore I read a book about some guy who experienced the same thing, but I forgot what it was called.
With little survival skills, I somehow managed to survive and was found by people who was hired to discover my whereabouts. Shortly after, I spent a month in a research facility that nursed me back to health called the Fortune Corporation, a facility dedicated to discovering the truth behind unexplained phenomenons around the world.
I had no idea why they were taking care of me when I couldn't go off into a hospital instead. They stated whatever happened to me wasn't in any of the sense normal since a lightning storm wasn't reported around the area my plane crashed. As such, they insisted I stayed there so they can discover the truth behind the situation.
To put it simply, I was their guinea pig, an alien found and transported into Area 51, the real life E.T. You get what I'm saying?
It's not as bad as I'm trying to put it. The people there are nice and I enjoy having the luxury of a comfortable home which I alone get to live in. However, the thing that constantly bothered me was that they never let me watch any news channels or allowed me to contact my father.
At first, I was about to rage over it, but considering how little I knew about the area and the fact they could possibly shoot me down before I even see the front door, I decided to comply to their demands. It wasn't like they were torturing or anal probing me, so my life there was both carefree and restricted at the same time.
The moon exposed its beautiful, glowing nakedness high in the star filled sky. All I simply did all night was gazed upon its beauty, yearning to reach home someday.
"Do you think she came from the another world?"
"It's possible, but where is he?"
"There's no way he went there! We have yet to discover a possible way to reach that world other selves! How can an incapable boy make it there, but not us!"
"Calm yourselves. If we wish to discover his whereabouts, we need to get some information out of the girl."
I laid there under the comfortable sheets of the wide bed, silently listening to the people cloaked in white talk amongst themselves outside. I have no recurring knowledge of ever being in this room before nor entering it. I laid there, confused on what my next course of action should be.
These people could be of no harm to me or not, but that'll have to be determined if I had the chance to speak to them. As if on cue, the door swung open and the sound of footsteps began to approach towards me.
"Well, well, Miss. You're causing quite a stir, aren't you?" a rough voice spoke to me as a tall figure stood over me. I glance to my side and see a dark skinned man with a sharp look in his threatening, black eyes. His head bears no hair and he wears similar clothing to the others outside.
"What's your name?" he said with a small white stick hanging out the left side of his mouth, a stream of smoke emitting from the tip, "Can you understand the language I speak?"
"Yes, I can," I answer in a low tone, my breathing is heavy as my wound is still healing, "I am named Fiona."
"You short of breath, I assume? We can patch you up once you answer our questions." he inhaled and a puff of smoke escaped from his mouth, the white stick shorten slightly, "Do you where you're from? Your clothing tells me you're not from our time period. They have technology where you're from?"
"I do not know of this technology of what you speak. I hale from the land of Pendragon where King Arthur now rests in eternal slumber."
"Medieval times?" he looks at me with a puzzled look. "Hate to break it to you, but those times are long gone. Like thousand of years gone."
"Thousand?" I nearly rose in shock, but my wound halts me before I can sit up.
"Just take it easy." the man rose a reassuring hand. "If you're from another world, then maybe this isn't time travel. That would mean if you and him switched places somehow."
"I speak of the idiot that once laid in the same bed you are resting in now. We were taking care of him, but then you showed up out of nowhere and took his place. To put simply, you two switched."
"How is this possible? What sorcery is this?"
Another world? Switched? I understood nothing. Was this Pipestone's doing? Surely a simple arrow couldn't be capable of such magic, unless he enchanted it.
"Hey, listen up, kid." the man said in a gentle tone. I guess he read my troubling thoughts. "I don't think it's right with us using a kid to further our research, but if we don't, how can we learn more about the worlds around us? I humbly ask for your assistance and cooperation. With it, we can finally obtain the knowledge we seek about both worlds."
"I simply wish to return home, nothing more."
"Maybe if you help us, we can do that. I'm sure that idiot also wants to return here as well, so really this is a beneficial situation for both parties. So whatever these guys ask, can you do it?"
I stare outside in deep thought, watching a foreign land I wasn't familiar with. There were trees formed of different structures, birds of various colors and shapes, and people with unique appearances and clothing. This world I was suddenly wrapped into made no sense to me.
"I have a request to make, good sir. Will you allow me to explore this land?"
"Um, sure, whatever." As soon as he finished, he slapped himself on the forehand. "Ah, I forgot to formerly introduce myself! How rude of me! My name is Ricky Goodman, but some call me Doctor Goodman."
I smiled. I suppose there were some good people in this world, even if they look a bit frightening.
The sweet melody of chirping awaken me from my slumber. From my sleeping quarters, aka a rug on the floor, I rose up and yawned. Sunlight peeked in from cracks on the ceiling.
"Guess I'm still here." I mutter to myself. I was somewhat hoping I would wake up in my bed back at the facility, but alas that didn't work out. It was going to take more than hope to get me back home.
"Where is she?!" A loud booming voice resonated throughout the forest, causing me to startle in shock. I quickly stood to my feet and peeked outside.
Men don in shining armor surrounded the blacksmith, their horses mounted and their swords at ready.
"I am losing my patience, blacksmith," one of the knights said, his eyes glaring as if he was on the verge of going crazy, "If you do not tell us where the vile villains are, we shall rummage through your home after dismantling your legs!"
"I know not of who you speak, sir," Aldred said, scratching the back of his head without a care to his tone, "Perhaps you have my premises mistaken for another?"
The red armored knight grabbed his collar. "Do you take us as fools?!" he barked, "Villagers informed us that they saw you together with the dark skinned woman and a lad! If you lie to me again, I swear your death shall be unspeakably painful!"
"Sir Kay!" a knight in green armor shouted, "Control your anger!"
"Silence, Galahad! We don't have time to dandle with fodder! For all we know the woman could've gotten away at any moment!"
Woman? Immediately I turned back to only see the tools of the blacksmith and three empty sacks for people to sleep in.
Flora was nowhere to be seen. Did she disappear all the sudden or...?
Just as I had began to move, I accidentally knocked into a tool set, causing it to crash to the ground with a loud clatter.
"Oh shit." I cursed. The noise surely called the attention of the knights outside.
"Check the cabin!"
Before I had time to react, two knights ran inside the cabin and pulled me out like a ripe vegetable from soil. They pushed me to the ground, my face meeting dirt.
"So you were lying to us." Kay smirked, tossing the blacksmith to a knight for him to hold him. He then walked towards me and bent down to get a good look at my face. "What an ugly looking bastard you are. Where's your friend?"
"Screw you." I spat at him and then literally spat saliva at his cheek. No one dares insults my looks, especially not someone with block shaped face and no hair.
The act prompted the knight to unsheathe his sword, the blade pointed directly at my left eye. "How about I gorge an eye out, eh?"
"Kay!" the green armored knight from before pulled him back, "I said control yourself!"
Kay simply scoffed and wiped the spit on his cheek, returning to other knights. Galahad ordered the two knights holding me to pick me up from the ground.
"Boy, if you know what's good for you, you'll tell us where the woman is."
"I don't know where she is." I said, "I just woken up and she's not here."
"So, she was here, is that correct?"
"Yeah, she might've run off before ya'll got here. I'm not really sure what the hell is going on."
Galahad pondered over the information for a few seconds before speaking again, "If that is so, then..."
The shriek brought our attention to the horses. Kay's throat had been slit by a dark, blurred figure, his body collapsing to the ground. Just as the knights close by prepared to unsheathe their swords, the figure zipped towards them and slew them as well without a moment of hesitation.
Now free, Aldred picked up a sword from one of the dead knights and joined the fight.
"Ready yourselves, men!" Galahad shouted at the top of his lungs, unsheathing his sword. He charged towards the black figure and the two locked blades, sparks flying from the collision.
I knew that black cloak from anywhere. Flora must've been hiding in the forest this entire time. I don't exactly know why these knights are here, but I assume they're our enemy.
I pulled my arms forward, pulling along the surprised knights holding me and smashed my elbows against their jaws. They fell unconscious in an instant.
I then stole a sword from one of them, hoping to use it to protect myself.
Flora evaded Galahad's strikes with graceful swiftness yet when she struck at him, the knight parried heavily and nearly managed to cut her torso.
"Where is Zonoah?!" Galahad bellowed, striking once again.
Flora blocked and then stepped back. "Seems we're both looking the same answer."
Galahad grimaced, unsatisfied with Flora's response. He then raised his sword to the sky, a white light bathing the blade as he dashed towards her.
"Vanquish!" he shouted as he swung downward. Flora raised her sword to block the strike, but as soon as their blades met, she was blown back by the sheer force of the attack. Galahad's blade received a small chip, however Flora's blade was nearly sliced in half.
Flora didn't take the moment to grimace, immediately taking the opportunity to fire a small fireball at Galahad's head. The knight simply tilted his head sideways, evading the attack as if he had anticipated it.
"Do not take my words lightly, woman," Galahad said, raising his sword as he took an offensive stance. "I shall not hesitate to harm you."
Crap, things aren't looking too good. I would step in, but my legs won't stop shaking. He's strong, a hell of a lot more than me. I wouldn't be of any help if I attempted to fight him. Still, Flora does need some help... or at least a new sword to fight with.
Much to my surprise, Flora stood up with a confident look on her face. Before I knew it, Aldred appeared behind Galahad struck at his head.
Galahad sensed him, parrying the strike and stepped back. That however was his fatal mistake. Flora took the opening to stab her sword through his torso, blood painting his armor.
"Vile woman!" Galahad shouted, grabbing Flora's left arm. Before she could retreat, he sliced at her chest, successfully delivering a blow.
"Flora!" I shouted in concern. Without a second thought, I dashed over to her.
The blacksmith rose his sword once again to strike at Galahad. The knight blocked the strike, locking blades with him.
"Take her and go!" Aldred ordered, keeping his focus on his opponent.
"What about you?!" I asked while carrying Flora over my shoulder.
"Leave this lad to me! I may be old, but I can take him!" the blacksmith smirked confidently.
Despite my concerns, I trusted in the blacksmith's skills and ran off to Flora's horse. After placing her safely on there, I boarded on him and ordered him to dash off into the forest.
I didn't know where I was going, I just simply had to get Flora to safety. I wasn't sure why I was so fixated or concern about her to be honest, but something inside me told me if I didn't help her, I would regret it with all my life.
Darkness surrounded me, barely a speck of light to be seen. I felt trapped as if I completely alone in that forest.
The horse whined loudly and I suddenly my body jolted forward. I flew off the horse along with Flora, crashing head first to the ground.
Gargles and mumbles in a foreign erupted around me. I stood up to see goblins of various sizes gather around our horse, beating it repeatedly with spiked clubs. It painfully whined until a goblin smashed its skull.
The foul beings began to tear at its flesh, consuming it greedily. I wanted to hurl at such a barbaric scene, but I remembered Flora and immediately picked her up.
The goblins noticed my movement and began to run towards me. I run as fast I could away from with Flora on my back. I refused to let her get hurt no matter what.
Unfortunately, it didn't take them long for them to catch up to me and I found myself surrounded on all sides. I grimaced, looking for any direction to escape to.
A human sized goblin leaped at me, swinging a bloodied club. I swept under it and sliced its right leg off.
At the same time, two larger goblins attacked me. I couldn't dodge in time, receiving to blows to my chest. I could feel my rib cage shattering.
I toppled to my back, breathing heavily in pain. This would surely be my death as goblins all at once began to charge at me.
There was no way I could dodge them. There was no way I could manage to get out of this alive. There was just no way...
I decided to use my body to shield Flora. It was the least I could do in my current condition.
Accepting my fate, I closed my eyes and awaited for the brutally beating to begin.
However, I was welcomed to an angelic melody instead. I quickly opened my eyes again to see the goblins dropping to the ground, their eyes deprived from malice and replaced with eager sleepiness.
I too began to feel a bit tired after hearing the melody, my eyes now begging to close to rest.
Small human feet stood within my blurry vision. I could barely make out who was standing in front of me, but their voice sounded undeniably feminine.
"You are safe, good sir. I am not your enemy, but a simple servant of the castle."
My eyes closed as I drifted off into slumber...