Another short story. This one tells of an Elementalist in a fictional fantasy world where she encounters a little girl whose figure is horrifying to look at, for there is a stalagmite-looking crystal struck in her head.
(WARNING: Minor usage of abusive language)
The Elementalist And The Little Girl
“Why do I get the worst job always? Oh well, could be worse. I don’t want to clean up the whole headquarter.”
A woman whose eye and hair color changes almost daily speaks her mind in a bar. It’s not because she’s dying her hair, or especially eyes, but it’s because of more natural means. She was commanded to listen to the rumors in the town about Elementalists and Elementi (pronounced ‘element-eye’, and the same goes for words Dragoni and Demoni).
This woman is slender, and let’s be honest, her chest doesn’t swell at all, even though she has just a shirt with a cloak covering her. She’s also tall for a woman, one hundred and seventy-one centimeters. She’s athletic, so you can’t say that she isn’t alluring to look at. Her face has a scar, sadly. It’s a scar made by a sword some years ago. It goes down from below her left eye to her jaw, like a straight line.
Though this woman might ask herself why she gets this kind of tasks, she actually knows the reason. She is an Elementalist, and some rules apply to that profession in this world. Due to those rules, she’s been very close to being exiled or imprisoned as a rogue Elementalist. No, she hasn’t stood up against the Order, but it’s because of her usage of Elementi. They are allowed to use Elementi to their hearts’ content, but using them for wrong purposes leads to an unwanted phenomenon. She has done just that, but not the point of causing the phenomenon.
And thus her tasks are like this nowadays. They try to ‘rehabilitate’ the unusually eager youth, this woman, that is. To try to enjoy her time in this bar, she bought a large mug of beer, but she’s drinking it slowly. When she feels like the beer is losing the carbonation, she draws a symbol in the air with her finger, an Elementi symbol, then she touches the symbol with her palm. In moment’s notice, the beer has the carbonation restored. She did it so that no customer saw it, just to ensure that if there’s some Elementalist hater in the bar, at least she won’t cause a ruckus. And due to this fact, she has a cloak hiding her hair and hopefully even eyes by shadowing her face.
Back to the spell, to do such, she just needs to craft a spell, attuning the wind Elementi, which makes her hair and eyes go white, to cause the wind to isolate carbon dioxide and mix it with the beer. This does cause the beer go all bubbly for a moment, but the mug is big and the beer is covering only three fourth of the space.
About the color change, as long as she won’t attune any other Elementi, her colors remain white. But if she attuned something like water, her colors would appear blue. Lightning would cause red, and yes, lightning is red if it’s this world. Flame attunement causes yellow coloring. There are several Elementi, but they aren’t the subject now, this woman is.
“Ah, it was so much better back in the days when that young fucker wasn’t the mayor.” Some customer chats with his companion.
“Aye, I don’t like how this new mayor plans out all the goods traffic. I had one week when I didn’t drink a single drop of beer, thanks to his fucked up ideas.”
“And for some reason, the guards have grown nastier recently. I heard someone got raped and nothing was done about it. Suspicious, I tell ya!”
“There was that case with the stealing as well.”
These two keep chatting for quite a while, and the Elementalist woman decides that it’s pointless to listen to them after realizing that they won’t talk about the Elementalists. Of course, she wasn’t listening to them only. There is this one group of farmers who talk about weather and soil, tilling and fishing.
Suddenly, one lonely looking man tries to accompany the woman. “Waiting for—”
“Get lost.” Is all she minds to say.
She isn’t usually like this, but right now her mood is such that she doesn’t feel like having anyone’s company. Especially not a flirting male’s. Honestly, due to certain factors, she doesn’t have many friends, but she isn’t troubled by that since she has her hands full of tasks of all sorts.
The man returns to his seat some meters away, dejected. A minute after it, the Elementalist woman hears an interesting conversation finally after hours of sitting. The ones she’s eavesdropping are foreign men, three of them. Their skins are tanned, and their clothes are clearly meant for hot days. The woman knows their home country well, it’s called Rajash. And yes, they aren’t speaking in Poer Haem language, which is the mother language of this Elementalist. Poer Haem is also the name of this country.
Before jumping to the conversation, a quick explanation of the world and its countries. Poer Haem is called an ‘Eastern Land’ by many, for Poer Haem is located by the sea as far to the East as one can go on land. Summers are hot and winters aren’t unbearably cold. No, Poer Haem isn’t an exotic land. The national beast of Poer Haem is a wolf—due to a certain reason, but that’ll be saved for later—and there is such a thing as ‘national tree’ as well, which is birch.
Neighbouring countries of Poer Haem are Rajash to South, Kingdom of Qarch—sometimes just Kingdom—to West, and Orloss shares a small piece of the border with Poer Haem to North. Only Orloss is hostile to Poer Haem, and it has been so for eternity. It’s a viking country, so they don’t see their own countrymen as allies always either. Due to mountainous terrain, no country has tried to conquer Orloss even though the country itself is in a bad state due to poor politics. If the mountains weren’t protecting them, Orloss would’ve been part of either Kingdom or Poer Haem long ago.
Now to the conversation, these three men of Rajash are chatting in their mother language, but that won’t hinder the Elementalist. She draws a small symbol of voice in the air, touching it with her palm afterward. Elementi of voice has no color, and because of it, her eye and hair turn back to their natural looks. Brown hair, green eyes, that is her natural look. Now since the spell is in effect, she can understand the language of Rajash.
“…irritated me. And to think he looked down on me, though he tried to hide it until the very end. Damn these Elementalists… If only this was Rajash! They’d all be beheaded in a blink of an eye! And of course, women are toyed with. I wonder, how does a Poer Haem Elementalist woman look like with all those colors messed up?”
“I don’t know… But have I told you already that I was once there when a woman Elementalist was condemned? She was one hell of a goddess to play with. Of course, the seven other men who were there agree with me.”
“Eh, though I hate Elementalists with all my soul, I’d never dare to touch one, much less with my precious tool! There are ‘pure’ women out there as well, rather play with them. I mean, who’d want to dirty his own dick with something like an Elementalist?”
“Nah, I don’t care what happens to whom, as long as I ain’t suffering anyhow, much less about the woman whom I’m toying with if she just looks good.”
It’s disgusting to listen to such a conversation, but this is the type of conversation she needs to hear out. While it’s well known that people of Rajash hate Elementalists, they still might leak out some information or rumors the higher-ups might be interested in. Thus she’ll bear with it.
However, she isn’t allowed to listen further.
“Why’d you help your enemy?” A voice asks her. Voice that of a little girl’s.
The Elementalist is startled. There is a little girl clinging to her back. By the way, the woman was leaning against the wooden wall, so unless the girl came through the wall, there’s no logical reason for her sudden appearance.
“Now, don’t turn around. I’m just a girl. I’m here to talk to you.”
The woman takes a glance at the girl, but the girl avoids her gaze for some reason while still clinging to the woman’s back. “Who?”
“Heheheh.” The girl laughs quietly. “Me? I don’t know, I haven’t thought about it. There was a time when I was called by a name, but I don’t consider myself the same person anymore. No, I am not the same person.”
“You make it sound like you were an ancient one.”
“Am I?” The girl asks playfully.
“Stop the act. I’m busy. Don’t you have friends to play with?”
“Friends?” The girl asks. “I had such.”
“Exactly. But could you answer my question?”
“About helping my enemy? Who the hell is my enemy in your opinion? Do you even know who I am?”
“Heh. I know a thing or two… Like your name is Louir, meaning ‘darkness’ in ancient Poer Haemish. Though you prefer to be called just Lou, which in turn means moon. You are an Elementalist, and you aren’t in a good position within the Order. In fact, there’s been rumor around that they’ll deem you a rogue. Also, if I’m not convincing you of my vast knowledge, then should I also state that you’re a virgin?”
“Oh? Did I convince you?”
“Tell what you have to say and be off.”
“Fine. If you want to be straightforward… then go kill your superiors.”
“What!?” She cries out too loud. Everyone in the bar looks at her with puzzled eyes. Once the awkward silence is gone, she—Lou, further inquires the girl. “State your name, it’ll smoothen the procedure of your punishment.”
“Name? Hmm… well, I guess you can call me she. I don’t see any reason to use my real name, which isn’t my name anymore. Hey! Don’t try to shake me off!”
“Shut it! You are a rebel!”
“No, I’m not even a living being of this world, so how the hell am I a rebel suddenly!?”
The girl sighs deeply, then she jumps off Lou’s back. She takes a pose before Lou, showing her petite figure of a girl with long black hair. She tilts her head to the right, showing an insane smile with eyes that hide madness within them, a madness that has rooted within those eyes so deep that it cannot be uprooted anymore. But also, her insane smile isn’t really… just insane. Rather, that smile of hers is telling that this girl—she—enjoys it all, and not because she is insane. Also, her figure has a mature air to it. Her face is like an oval, not round like little children tend to have.
But what horrifies Lou, even more, is the crystal on her head. No, in her head. It’s like a crystalline stalagmite which has been sharpened from both ends, then stabbed into her head with an intent to kill. Half of the crystal has definitely sunk into her head, while the other half is visible. Also, she is bleeding from that… ‘wound’ even now. Yet, she seems to live, like all that blood wouldn’t matter to her.
“I am ethereal to you, but I am real. What I truly want, is to bring him down to the pit where he can learn from his mistakes. And you will help me, whether you wanted it or not! Tee-hee…”
She tilts her head to the other side. “Welcome to madness.”
An hour later, at Lou’s home. She shakes off the cloak and kicks it somewhere out of her way. Her home is a big building of which only a portion belongs to her. She’s living under a land lord’s foot, basically. She has three rooms in her quarters. One of them is kitchen and living room altogether. One is a bathroom, and the last is the bedroom.
Lou sits down by her table in the kitchen. By no means it took an hour for her to walk back home, rather, it took only seven minutes to do so. As to how she or anyone else can keep up with the flow of time, clocks and watches made with the Elementi of time help a lot. Having a clock or watch doesn’t require one to be an Elementalist, but maintaining one might be troublesome.
For over fifty minutes after ‘welcoming’ Lou to madness like she had declared, Lou was accompanied by her all that time. Though Lou tried to arrest her for acting like a rebel, she couldn’t really do more than hold her hand. She tried to use handcuffs but she somehow opened the lock with a mere flick of a finger. She also tried a few other things as well, but no results, only embarrassment.
Once Lou gave up trying to arrest her, she heard her muttering something like, “His chains still linger on you. Just you wait, soon you’ll be free.” Though that made no sense to her.
And yes, right now, as she sits at the table, she stands right before her, smiling happily, and not with an insane depth to it. But the oozing blood makes her figure look that of a monster in child’s body. Lou herself isn’t scared of her horrifying figure, but she is puzzled.
What puzzles her even further, is the fact that thus far only Lou has been able to see her. That makes her wonder if she’s gone insane herself, or if this thing before her is actually real.
“So, tell me, why should I go as far as killing them?” Lou asks, wondering why she should go on a rampage and kill her superiors. Hell, she isn’t even capable of doing so alone. Frankly, Louir is a powerful Elementalist, but only because she isn’t following the rules of Elementi. But she isn’t powerful enough to stand alone against the Order. Three elites and she’ll be subdued.
“Because they are behind all the bad things happening in this town? The economy is plummeting because they try to fund the Elementalist academy, and by doing so, they gradually turn this area into Elementalist oriented, which means that there’s no room for other civilians. Not only that, the guards were paid to pay less attention to normal civil matters and focus on matters that involve Elementalists, and work in the Elementalists’ favor. I could go on for a while, but I bet you know the situation in this town well, don’t you?”
“That isn’t a reason good enough to turn me against my superiors.”
“Oh? I wasn’t trying that. I was trying to… enlighten you. The world is different to what we see, you know. As for the real reason… Do you value your own life?”
“I do. While I’d help people in trouble, I prioritize my own safety over the people in trouble. That’s what most of the people would do anyway.”
“Then you prioritize your own life over the lives of your superiors, don’t you?”
“Then kill them. It’s either you or them, and that much I can guarantee.”
“How am I supposed to believe you. I’m still uncertain whether you’re just my imagination or a real thing. I’ve heard stories of people seeing things that feel real while they really aren’t. Sometimes resulting in suicide, for instance. And you’re basically proposing a suicide.”
“Ah, right. Since other people can’t see me you don’t trust me. I see, his grasp is still strong in you. Can’t read your mind just yet. Tell me, if I went outside and let myself be seen by everyone, would you believe me then?”
Lou stares deep into her eyes, considering the offer. With this, she could confirm whether she’s insane or not, but if she’d lose this indirect bet, she’d have to take on the whole Order. Not just because she wants to honor the promise, but also because her life does appear to be in danger due to Order. She would fight them. Death doesn’t sound too appealing to her.
However, why’d this… ‘girl’ want to help her? Lou goes through some possibilities in her mind, and two possibilities come to her mind. First, this girl wants to get rid of the Order for her personal gain. Second, she needs Lou’s aid for who-knows-what reason, and for that, she needs to keep Lou alive, hence the whole idea of destroying the Order.
“Let’s assume that I managed to destroy the Order somehow, what then?”
“Then we do things I really need your aid for.”
“And that’d include what?”
“Umm, I don’t know yet. I have a general grasp of what, but it isn’t enough to clarify you about it. It includes quite a few things, but in short, the whole plan is to bring chaos.”
“To bring him down.”
“And who is this, he?”
“Err… just an old acquaintance of mine who likes to play a game he doesn’t understand. Trust me, you won’t like him after understanding who he really is. Or more like, what he is. So, will you accept the offer?”
“…If you prove your existence real.”
She smiles like a devil. In a moment’s notice, she‘s walking to the door. Lou follows her all the way to the front door of this apartment house. She’ll watch from a window as this girl—nay, this devil proves her existence.
The devil walks with proud steps, still invisible to the people. Once she‘s in the middle of the street where people pass by twenty-four seven, she turns around to see Lou behind the window. She raises her arms exaggeratedly to show off, her manifestation visible to all.
At first, the people shift their gazes to her slowly, baffled, bewildered, or just surprised, everyone with their own feelings. Once the ladies realize that she has a magnificent wound on her head, they begin screaming out of terror. Children hide where they think it’s safe. Men act differently, explaining all of their reactions would be meaningless, the main point is that she does exist.
Lou saw it all, and now she can’t help thinking that she’d just witnessed her own life become a mess.
For some reason, I feel like an end is near.
When the sun has set and moon rises, a traveler on a horseback is on her way to the capital of Poer Haem, Hantor. The road is lighted by flames of Elementi, brought to life by the traveler. Her hair and eyes are golden now due to flame attunement.
She’d began her journey right after the last light of the day was gone. Like she’d promised, she’ll purge the Order from inside. What drives her to do it most is to save her own life. She could try hiding from the Order instead, but a promise is a promise. Also, she does have a little confidence in her ability. There’s also the factor that the devil girl has a plan.
By the way, Lou has decided to call her a devil girl.
“Will you come with me to Hantor?” Lou’d asked her earlier.
“Later. For now, you’ll have to do without me. Travel there and spend one night in a tavern. I’ll find you. I have some other people I need to convince. Tee-hee.”
Lou’s home city isn’t far from Hantor, and so she’ll reach the city before dawn. Though she was told to spend a night there, she doubts that the devil thought Lou’d reach Hantor early enough to have shelter for tonight already. Of course, by the time she gets to Hantor, it’ll be early morning.
Lou’d prepared enough dried rations for five days. In addition to that, she also has the basics needed for long-term survival, such as knife and rope.
The cold night breeze blows as she rides. While the road is lighted, the forest around her by no means looks welcoming with all its darkness of night. Lou doesn’t have her eyes used to darkness just yet, not when she keeps up the light.
“As for the plan, you should prepare yourself for sewer crawling.” The devil had told.
“I can handle that.”
Remembering the exchange of words, a sudden thought comes to Lou’s mind. She halts her horse, looking back the road she’s been traveling.
Just what drives me to do this so hard?
She’s puzzled. She’d never accept such a task without further proofs. She was just told this and that, not given any proofs.
It felt like I wasn’t in control of my own body.
She is risking her life here, and the risk is truly high. Yet she was riding so swiftly and eagerly. She’s horrified at her own determination to risk her own life, especially now that she feels like she’s gained the control over her body again.
But still. She feels like she is about to do the right thing. She cannot comprehend it herself, but she must do this, for some sake she doesn’t know yet. She urges on her horse.
For that unknown sake, I’ll raze the HQ.
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