Upon awakening, Li was greeted to a cloudless dawn tinted with red. A new dawn in all respects. The blue heavens had arisen just like it did on earth.
He felt a faint hunger as his mind span into gear.
There was no signs of that man
He was now outside of the tent alone.
He walked around the area cautiously during which he soon found something amiss in the middle of the clearing. He slowly approached it.
There was an elevated mound of rock that had not been there yesterday. It was only a few feet higher than the surroundings. On its flat top was the man. The man had sat at its the center.
Li was surprised by an eerie halo of light with peculiar markings of various colours that was slowly rotating over his head. The ring covered what looked like a five to eight-meter radius. But the halo itself look around no more than a tenth of a meter thick. Below the ring was a shadow. The shadow was quite visible.
Even as the ring’s sole occupant spoke, it was incomprehensible to him.
Li watched as there was a sudden change in the formation after a few minutes. The ring dimmed, its rotation slowed sharply almost stopping completely until it was just a crawl. Its light was like that of the faint glow of florescent paint. But in return, the man’s right hand shone faintly which then peaked in a fierce brightness. A Golden light it was, intense but he found it calming.
Moving his right hand to his forehead with his pointing, and index fingers straight and while he curled his free hand to a half open palm. The light seemed to concentrate to these fingertips after which he meets them with the center of his palm left hand. There was beam of light which seemed to flow from a small halo which had formed on his right index finger. Then separating his right from left, he placed his left palm onto the earth.
A flash of light rose from the earth which forced him to raise his arms in defense from the brightness. It was truly spectacular.
As he turned back to the spectacle, an additional halo surrounded the man. The shapes inscribed onto it seemed to want to leap from the figure as the constantly shift even more than the last halo. But as if to signal the climax of the event, He closed his right hand into a fist. The surrounding temperature seemed to spike in that moment. He could feel a heat shift around his stomach.
Was he reacting to that man’s strange ritual?
The ground shook.
The man opened his fist. Once empty, his palm now held a rock which shone like a small sun.
But the glow resemble the a gentle moonlight. The shiny crystal held that feeling of nobility.
He then placed it next to his left hand which he thrust into the elevated earth. His whole hand up to his wrist seemed to meld into as it then sunk into the rock. lines of light formed on the ground which disappeared as quickly as they came. Moments later he took off his right hand and where there was only rock before now had a shiny translucent crystal ring.
“What was that is heaviness?”
He looked around as he felt it become difficult to breathe for a moment.
“I wonder what was that?”
His attention returned to the ring with a gentle blue glow.
The surroundings seemed to slowly return to yesterday’s afternoon. After a few second, the man tossed him the ring.
He caught it, this time without any hesitation.
As he held it, a cool feeling seeped through his skin as if it was as if it was made with from transparent ice. Li was reminded of the weapons that were welded again him….
The surroundings appeared calm unlike moments before. Li stood stoic as he examined the item.
‘The two are likely related somehow.’
then he saw at the corner of his eye the man motioning him to wear it.
He was not comfortable without know why so he hesitated but soon did as he was shown.
The sun had rose a bit higher in the sky when they had finished their breakfast. He seemed to have restored the place to how it appeared before we arrived.
The man also took with him two bags with what Li assumed was filled with to be essentials like food. Li was tossed one of the bags.
The bag felt like a high-class leather and its opening was bound by a thick string and straps.
Li quickly opened it. In addition to some of his thoughts he found some strange items. The The most unusual was some kind of cloth or fabric.
Some distance away from the clearing but still within short walking distance was a stream. It was convenient as my thirst had become unsettling. Li confirmed that his hair was white and my skin took on a more ash brown-grey tone. He reached out to fill his cup with the clear liquid.
Li noticed that he must have been absorbed by his thoughts as it was only when he saw that the man also had taken out one of the same empty bottles to full.
The memory of the terrifying howl returned to my mind.
I quickly washed my face to distract myself…
The forest path was more pleasant than yesterday. As Li had walked the path yesterday, he grudgingly realized that this world’s mosquitoes were just as annoying as on earth. Li wondered whether it was the ring that made the difference. The notion of a ‘magical mosquito repellent’ sounded ridiculous to him for some reason especial after the glamour it took to make it.
But his body did feel lighter than before.
It must have been hours from departing when they eventually came to a region which sloped sharply enough so to be able to see a sheer drop into a valley a few tens of meters away.
The area was not as forested as before, which allow him to see more of the forest below. Though not as magnificent as before as the view space was significantly smaller, being lower down made him be able to appreciate the green rising hills in the distance emphasized by the valley’s which were etched at their feet. Once again he took notice of the current elevation. Afterward the two sat probably to allow Li cool off in this humidity.
They slowly nodded at the site.
He again had etched another the sight within his mind.
After some time, the two had taken out some of the water to drink as it was easy to get dehydrated in high humidity. It was significantly higher than at the camp site and as they descended, it only seemed to increase.
This also meant that the ground was becoming increasing moist which made Li’s footing bad and sapped his stamina quicker than before.
Li was lost in thought. His mind darted across ideas in futility.
He needed information about this world.
Enlightenment can always be reached with the right info and perspective.
So without a concrete base of knowledge about this ‘magic’ phenomena, it would likely be futile.
He knew he knew too little.
But he still couldn’t help his thought wondering to it. As he visualized that scene, the words that were etched into the halo flash across his eyes. he could feel my stomach heat up and a similar sensation, though much weaker, pulsed through my skin.
‘Just what was that?!’
But as rapidly as it came, the feeling was gone…
No matter how many times he tried to evoke whatever it was again, nothing would form so he gave up.
But as he did the man stood.
Apparently his break was over and it was time to continue. Since he rather enjoyed the time nature watching, he felt better.
Whatever that heat was would have to wait until he could communicate with someone.
Li hoped that his current feelings would last…
While the progressed, he glanced at his watch several times. He had tried switch it on in the night but the power was low. It need a lot more time to recharge as it held a internal generator.
As time continued to pass, it had reached the point where it must have been close to dusk due to the noticeable decrease in the light. Eventually, he came across a particular treacherous strip of high land. While it did not look difficult to cross, the ground felt loose and combined with an abundance of mud and cliffs were terrifying.
The Man turned to face Li, giving me a deep look as if contemplating the best course of action to act on. he truly wondered whether this path was always in such poor conditions but seeing such a face, it made him wonder whether the poor condition of the road was a surprise to him.
he man rubbed his head over his hand in annoyance.
Li felt uncomfortable as to why he was helping him so much.
‘What did this guy want from me?’
‘Was there any value in saving me?’
He didn’t know and frankly, he had pushed them aside for now. until then.
“There is no such thing as a free launch”
or as they say…
But Li took paying for a launch over being dead. That was certainly better than being cut up like meat.
Or was it?
Was the world not only filled with actions possessing ulterior motives?
It would have been a lie to say that the thought that the fate that he was walking towards may be one worse than being killed had not crossed his mind before he slept last night.
He didn’t know…
Maybe if it had been before six years ago he would be much more sure.
It was slight but he felt a bit pathetic… After getting saved, given food and even protection.
Even though his thoughts were were logical, he felt a bit pathetic…
I guess to feel otherwise would make me a bum after getting saved, even after given food and protection.
“Right…I will be okay.”
“I’ll get through this…”
The man’s movement was swift and there I was again, same as yesterday on his shoulders.
He didn’t waste any time accelerating, much to Li displeasure. The scenery blurred for an instant as the colours because melded together. But in that instant, Li’s ear tickled as if it was hit by a warm breath. It was only for an instant that he believed to have smelled a sweet fragrance not unlike that of a sweet fruit. Within that instance was a voice was pleasing to my ear. Even within that faction of a second he heard her whispers, clear and without imperfection but filled with a mischievous tone. At her words, his thoughts halted and his body stiffened. Soon after and at the corner of his vision, something leaped from the underbrush. In his panic, he attempted to move but there was no way that my body could keep up with my thoughts.
The next instance that he was aware of a weightlessness and a slowly revolving world. The sky became the ground and span around as if it was stirred as one would stirred a cup of tea.
Following that sound was a blackened vision, which was restored as quickly as it came. his body collided into something. As he came too, he felt it being dragged downward. Panicked but still somewhat sensible, he instinctively tried to slow his self by clutching at whatever was in reach. When he made sense of his vision, he could see that he was sliding down an incline at quite a rate.
But in front of Li, the ground vanished and a horizon spread out…
He dug his feet into the muddy ground.
His ears were filled with shouting that he soon realized to be his. The inclined had surprisingly sparse of such things to grab. In the process, Li smashed his arm into a tree trunk, which caused an intense pain to shoot from location.
As the edge approached quickly, I was unable to turn his head away even as I heard someone call out to me at the edge of my awareness. It was a deep sounding yet uneven voice. Though the words were quick, he was surprised that he could make out some of them. Then at the corner of his vision, a bright light surfaced. But he had not the time to see was it was as at that moment. Ten meters without delay became one and then he was left wanting when that final feeling of solid ground left. His heart sank but yet he was airborne.
As he fell, some words echoed in his mind:
“Brace yourself, You are in for a tough ride…”