051 Those Who Watch the Sky - 51
51 – Children thrust Into the Sky 9
Link sat up with a start and for a moment did not know where she was.
“Mmm… I don’t want to stop eating… ~♪ I can eat meat forever... ~♪”
Melody’s mumbling in her sleep beside her was only slightly reassuring, even remembering that she was in Balgun’s kitchen barely made her feel better. Standing up and dropping the blanket that had been draped around her onto the floor, Link stretched and looked around for the source of what had woken her. Frowning as she could not pinpoint it, she shook Melody gently to wake her.
“Come on Melody. Somethings wrong.”
“Hn~ What’s that Link… ~♪?”
Sleep weighing her eyelids Melody tilted her head in Link’s direction trying to figure out why she was woken up.
“Is it time for breakfast… ~♪?”
“No Melody! …well maybe… But that’s not it! Didn’t you hear it, or feel it, or notice it at all⁈”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about Link…”
“But Melody, it felt like the dark one and still does ~♪ It actually feels like it’s getting stronger even ~♪”
“Perhaps I can clear up your confusion girls.”
Appearing in the kitchen doorway Balgun did not wear a cheerful expression that morning. Link, her mermaid double, and Melody would soon have a guess as to why as they were led to the balcony they arrived by the night before.
“What is going on⁈”
The words fell easily from Melody’s lips as she took in the site of the crater where the city of Ibrand had been replaced by a Foreigner city. The crater was not a peaceful scene however as battle waged on between the militia of Foothold and the Foreigner beasts that had spilled out of the Foreigner city. Not all of the abominations of flesh, fang, and claw attempted to engage with the militia however and attacked their own. The details were difficult to make out from where Balgun’s fortress had stopped next to a nearby hill, but the cannon fire of the Dolmen’s could be heard even at that distance.
“It looks to be a battle ~♪ But the presence of the dark one is not coming from the battle ~♪”
“Quite right my spirit friend. The presence that you are feeling is emanating from the city itself which is all of no surprise. Tell me girls, have you ever heard of the Poltergeists.”
“Legends say they’re ancient lords of the Foreigners and the rulers of their cities. But the nāti supposedly sealed them away in an ancient age from long, long ago.”
“That about sums it up Link, my dear girl. However, the last time a Foreigner city rested on the ground like this the seal was broken and the Poltergeist broke free.”
The three girls joining Balgun on his fortress’ highest balcony all assaulted him with the same question and took their eyes off of the battle below. Seeing he had their attention, Balgun grabbed his right elbow and jaw and stroked his mustache.
“It was quite the experience to be sure.”
“You were there Mister Sorcerer?! ~♪ How are you even still alive?! ~♪”
Releasing his grip on his arm and jaw Balgun placed a hand on Link’s head. Petting her gently he smiled as he answered her mermaid double’s question.
“There was a wonderful woman there possessed of a power she did not understand who slew the Poltergeist. She isn’t here now though so under no circumstances can we allow the seal to be breached. It is likely that Elliot has gone ahead of you and into the Foreigner city to retrieve Hazel before that can happen.”
“Then we have to go to.”
“Don’t be so hasty my dear girl. There is something we must tend to first. Melody.”
“Huh? What am I supposed to do?”
“Surely Bird told you.”
“He didn’t tell me anything except that I’d know what to do when it was time.”
“Hmph! That Bird is nothing but trouble. Hopefully he isn’t messing up everything else he’s supposed to be tending to. But let us forget about that Choir agent and focus on the one directly in front of us.”
Link turned her eyes onto Melody following Balgun’s lead but did not quite catching onto the meaning of his words. Melody meanwhile began dancing from one foot to the other under everyone’s stares. It was obvious she had no idea what was expected of her but Balgun laughed reassuringly.
“There is nothing to worry about my girl. If Bird did what I asked then you should have a tri-cross in your possession asides the one on your vest.”
“Um, let me see…”
Melody carefully looked herself over before starting to sing her wordless song. In response to her song the wind swirled around her and Link could make out the shapes of fairies and harpies like Melody passing through her and her clothes. As Melody continued to sing one such fairy emerged from her bust pulling a silver tri-cross out of the vest of the harpy’s garment and holding it above its head triumphantly. To Balgun it merely looked like the tri-cross was held aloft by the wind, but he was satisfied with what he saw and stepped away from Link giving Melody unrestricted access to her.
“Now my girl, take a hold of it and press it into Link’s left breast and welcome her to Choir.”
“What⁈ I’m going to be part of Choir⁈ Isn’t that the group that squinty eyed jerk is a part of⁈”
“Bird aside, it’s for your own good my dear girl. Being a member of Choir will protect you from the church and allow you the freedom to be the adventurer you so dream of being.”
“And Link, I don’t think you noticed, but my change in clothes was to a Choir uniform ~♪ I’m a member of Choir too ~♪”
Melody was obviously strained by the whole situation and her song reflected her feelings. Link was not oblivious to the harpy’s feelings but was both amazed and disbelieving of her claims finally connecting Balgun’s earlier words.
“Eh~–⁈ You’re a member of Choir⁈ When did that happen⁈ How did that happen⁈ How long was I actually in that room⁈”
“Ah, ha, ha, ha, ha! ~♪ I haven’t been with Choir that long and still don’t know what they expect of me or what my first mission is supposed to be ~♪”
“That my girl is simple.”
Again drawing Link and Melody’s attention to him, Balgun provided the answer that Melody sought with a laugh.
“Though I had hoped Bird would have filled you in, by my request were you two girls allowed to join Choir in repayment for a favor they owed me. It was the fastest way I could think of to get you out of their Link, my dear girl, and keep fools like the Bishop of Foothold from experimenting further on you. Watching that battle down there as well as knowing that Hazel is likely within the Foreigner city it will lend you further advantages as well, such as gaining unrestricted access to that city.”
“Hmm~ in that case I guess it’s alright. But they better never ask me to work with that jerk. He could never even bother using my name, and then everything else that happened after meeting him.”
“It was horrible ~♪ Thinking about it makes my skin crawl and my emotions get all messed up and angry and the Beast stirs anxiously ~♪ It’s absolutely terrible what we had to experience ~♪”
“All the more reason to embrace this opportunity my dear girl.”
“That and we should probably go get Elliot and your father as fast as we can, Link ~♪ So if you’re ready I guess this should be pretty straight forward ~♪”
Melody stepped back letting the wind hold the tri-cross aloft and reached up for it with a talon.
“Wait! Wait, Melody! Not yet!”
“Huh⁈ Now what it is Link?”
“Well, this is like officially recognizing me as a Sa·B·er right?”
“Well then I need a Sa·B·er name of my own. Sa·B·ers aren’t supposed to use their real names and traditionally take on new names to reflect their new lives. You and Elliot must have received Sa·b·er names too Melody. What are they⁈ What are they⁈”
“Huh–⁈ why does that even matter⁈ I don’t even like my Sa·B·er name!”
“I still want to know what it is!”
Melody attempted to argue but Link’s pout was more demanding then she could take, and she gave in. She didn’t give in quietly however and promptly complained as she answered.
“Fine! It’s Mouse, okay⁈ You’re being so mean Link forcing me to have to use that name!”
“Eh, heh, heh. Sorry Melody, sorry. It’s just this is a tradition I don’t want to miss out on and you’re definitely the cutest mouse I’ve ever seen.”
“Eh, heh, heh. Sorry. But what about Elliot? What’s his Sa·B·er name.”
“Well his was supposedly given to him by the Saint herself my dear girl.”
“Eh–⁈ Elliot met Cardinal⁈ What⁈ How⁈ When⁈ Hasn’t she not made an appearance since ancient times⁈ W~o~w! Just how special is Elliot for her to appear before him⁈”
Beginning to answer Link’s question about Elliot’s Sa·B·er name as he did earned Balgun a flood of questions from the bright eyed icaran girl. Only able to laugh at Link’s curiosity he deflected her questions and focused on Link’s initial question.
“While true my dear girl, she still supposedly appeared before Elliot and named him her Knight Prince. Her Silver Lance. Knight Prince Elliot Silverlance.”
“W~o~w! It’s so long compared to Melody’s”
“It’s too long Link!”
“Is it? Eh, heh, heh. Now I want to beat it but how…?”
“Why would you want a really long name Link⁈ Really long names take forever to say!”
Unfortunately for Melody her complaints fell on deaf ears as Link instead paid attention to her double who had a suggestion.
“Perhaps the Chained One ~♪ We are coated in them after all ~♪”
“No. that makes me sound like a prisoner which is a horrible name for a girl like me and I’m wearing chainmail anyway. –‼ That’s it. I’m the Chainmail Maiden! Or maybe even to simplify it for Melody’s sake, the Chainmaid! Or even simpler, Chain!”
“Does that mean that you’re all three or just one of them?”
“Regardless it’s a fine name and memorable. The Chainmaid. Yes, I like it.”
“It’s great isn’t it⁈”
Link was beaming and flashed Balgun a massive smile satisfied with the name she came up with for herself. Melody was less impressed and surprised Link when she suddenly pressed the tri-cross into her left breast.
“It’s too long and I still think Link is just fine. But whatever. Welcome to Choir Chainmail Maiden. Or Chainmaid. Or Chain… or whatever it is you want to call yourself! Now let’s go help Elliot rescue your father and go anywhere but here!”
Copyright © 2019 Joshua D Tarwater