The sphere the phantom o.., p.15
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       The Sphere: The Phantom of the West Rim, p.15

           Fandy Adams
 

  “Well, at least I have one minion friend to share it with.” said Rey while patting Aska’s shoulder.

  “So they called you too.”

  “Of course they are.”

  “What’s going on? Why we called here?” asked Aska

  “I don’t know exactly.” answered Eorin.

  “Then why you look so calm?”

  “This is Grove, what the worse things could happen if we called by her.” Said Eorin, as he pointing Counselor’s assistant who stood not far from them. “Isn’t that you who often dealing with this sort of things.”

  “But still ...”

  “Most likely we are called here for what happened last night, so it is unlikely that we are get detention for it.”

  “Blow up training field, making noise at night and woke up entire Grove.” said Aska, glancing at Rey “And since the redhead gone in a flash and leave us alone at the field, it looks like we’re making trouble for nothing. Yeah, we wouldn’t get detention for it.”

  For a moment the three of them talk about what they were told to gather. Until headmaster arrive with Scarlett beside him. She was no longer wearing a tight leather black outfit but casual outfit like others in common. But she looks ready to fight any time with three Spheres attached on her gauntlet and black sling-backpack which slung over his left shoulder.

  “Sorry to keep you waiting.” said headmaster.

  “What’s up jumbo?! Why did you call us?” said Aska, he acted like he was buddy-buddy with headmaster.

  “You always radical as usual.” said headmaster.

  “I think I've seen you before.” said Eorin with an inquisitive look to Scarlett and when she realized who she is without a mask, the girl immediately brandishing her Scepter as if she want to make second round with her. “You!”

  “Calm down Miss Gardnierre. She’s Scarlett ... my niece.”

  “Niece?!”

  “Yes, she served in the palace. She was protector of Her Majesty Princess Nivera.”

  “Then why the person who should beside the princess could be on your?” asked Eorin.

  “I’m on the mission which gave by princess herself. I tell you later about the detail, shall we go now?” replied Scarlett.

  “Wait a minute, what do you mean by ‘we’?” asked Eorin.

  “I just need a little backup on this trip. And three of you had passed the initiation by trying to kill me last night.” said Scarlett. “What’s your answer? Do you accept it?”

  Three of them were stood silent, seeing each other, till Aska made up his mind. “Well, at least it’s better than living on the class, I’m in … no, we’re in.” said Aska hold Rey tightly in his arm.

  “How about you girl?” asked Scarlett to Eorin.

  “Well I thought you need someone to take care of them.” said Eorin pointed at those boys. “I’m participated.”

  “Ok then, shall we go now?!”

  “Now?! We haven’t even packed up yet.”

  Scarlett then inspect the three of them, in her eyes they were quite prepared to leave considering their appearance isn’t much different from last night when they fought her. From the way Eorin greet him, has been ascertained that the girl was ready to fight. And she knows that spiky-haired boy was the Volk tribes, as long as the green Sphere looked on him seems no need to worry about him. While Rey, Scarlett assume that the boy was empty-handed fighter or at least from the blast last evening, she knows that the boy was used Gremlin Sphere, the ability that might be useful on this mission.

  “Well, look at your appearance it looks like you are more than ready to go.” said Scarlett firmly.

  Then four of them say good bye to the headmaster and leave. Scarlett and those kids just few steps away from him but somehow headmaster felt that they’re had already far away as if unreachable.

  “Is it okay sir, to let them go? It might be dangerous.” said the assistant.

  “I'm not worried about them, as long there’s Scarlett on their side and as long as they keep each other I'm sure they'll be fine.” headmaster pondered for a moment. “It just I'm afraid if this is all more complicated than I thought, then their lives were in danger.”

  ***

  From the west a train entered the station followed by piercing announcement of female voice through the station. Rey and three other companions walked among the crowd. He looked around. The station was wide and nice. The ceiling curved upward and almost looks like a giant web of steel and glass. Shop and café were almost on every side of the station, only few visitors were there even when the station was quite crowded. Some people look sitting in the waiting chairs, a businessman who read the book, elderly couple who seems enjoying their lovely past about this station, and the other one was a soldier. He wore dark-green uniform equipped with silver-colored armor, his silver helmet has aerodynamic shapes – like a cyclist helmet with mask covered his entire face. And a curved sword slung in his waist, a standard sword of Royal Army of Ishtar.

  Dozens of passengers get down as the doors opened. Some of them just walked away in a rush just to catch a time in this busy town. Few of them get sat on cafeteria after the trip. And among them one man ran and kissed his little daughter and then he held her aloft, and his wife smiled at them. Rey looked at them with soft and warm eyes but sad smile spreads on his face as if he yearns for something that he never had or felt.

  “What are you waiting for? Let’s go!”

  His reverie disappeared at once. Quickly he stepped in and got into the train. However his eyes still not get loose of that family.

  Siren rang out, followed by the voice who announced that the train will be departed to Khatar, a city located on the western border. The train set off to go and just in seconds it has drove out of the station. The sunlight breached the windows but soon eclipsed by a building not far from there. Rey glanced up at the building, and something caught his eyes at the top. It was two statues of women facing each other with hand raised. A big globe of crystal was over their hand, rotated and floated – untouched by their grey cold hand as if the statues levitate and rotate it with some magic. But more to his amazement was the map which engraved in the floating globe. It wasn’t world map he knew so far, no shape or line on the map was recognized by his knowledge.

  “That was Sanvierre Tower. They’re the company that produces Sphere.”

  “Produces?”

  “Yes, initially Sphere was a prestige item made from natural crystal which called crystallite. In ancient times only certain circles and a class of people who have Sphere, it owned and passed down from generation to generation as a family heirloom.”

  “Time by time the Sphere and the users had growth in numbers, tradition and castes could no longer hold peoples need and so the Spheres become common among peoples. Even so peoples still need high amount of florin to get one of them.” said Scarlett. “However less than thousand years ago the Sanvierre House find a way to create synthetic Sphere. By that they’re capable of producing Sphere massively with low cost. Made them become the main and the biggest provider of Spheres in Ishtar both public and military.”

  “Sounds great.” said Rey with excitement.

  “Yeah, they were great.” said Aska “Especially their crimes.”

  “Is that bad?”

  “I always want to think positive like my uncle.” said Scarlett “At first I've thought that their devilry is just rumors which been greatly exaggerated, until they did something bad to my best friend. From then I think their wickedness wasn’t just gossips and better if everyone stay away from them.” Scarlett continued. At flash she glanced to Eorin, that girl gave no expression though she knew the girl was listening.

  Before long the train was out of the city and from their seat they could see Lucretia away far behind and fades in blurring white.

  “If I may know, where are we going exactly?” asked Rey.

  “Western border, the City of Khatar.” answered Scarlett.

  “Why do we get there?”<
br />
  “It's hard to explain.”

  “Well, give us a short briefing then we can make a good strategy.” Aska look excited.

  “Do you think this is a campaign, a battle?” said Eorin.

  “Actually it does.” Scarlett interrupted “At least it can be called like that. Do you hear the rumor about what happened in the west border lately?”

  “Yeah, I heard some strange disease outbreaks there and few villages had been quarantined because of that. Seems bad till government gave no info about what happened there.” answered Aska.

  “Because it’s not disease.” said Scarlett.

  “What?!”

  “That outbreak just cover up story.” replied Scarlett. “The truth is all those villages were being attacked.”

  “What? They’re attacked! Who’s done it? Is it Azgalor?!” Aska shouted.

  There’s sudden silence on the carriage. Just in a second Aska was succeeded to make all peoples stare at them. Some of them whispered each other with the black look as if they’re just a group of mad. Nonetheless few peoples take him seriously till their face turned to worry.

  “Can you keep your voice down?!” said Scarlett. “There’s no definite report about this. We don’t know for sure how it happened or who had done it but we have lost five villages just in a month.”

  “Do you think Federation done this?” asked Eorin.

  “It’s too early to draw conclusions like that especially if it comes into Azgalor, false conclusion and we can ignite our delayed war with them once again.” said Scarlett “However few days ago Rovasiras, a member of council of the Lodge had received a record about this incident, so far we could say that it wasn’t Azgalor though it wasn’t made them being eliminated to ‘behind this’ list.”

  “Why did they attack those villages?”

  “I didn’t know for sure, but from all the villages that had been attacked most of the villagers are gone.”

  “Gone? What do you mean by gone?”

  “Disappeared, vanished, gone somewhere. Obviously we never find their whereabouts.” said Scarlett.

  “Is there any survivor?” asked Eorin.

  “Unfortunately we have found no one so far, unless they whom become a corpse.” answered Scarlett. “However since they leave bodies there, at least we could conclude that those who being taken was still alive, at least needed alive.”

  “And our job to find them isn’t it?”

  “You got the point.” Scarlett smiled.

  “Where do we start?” asked Rey.

  “Khatar of course, we took information there and start investigation.” said Aska, “Right?”

  However Scarlett gave no word to answer or reply, he just silent like think of something to say to them.

  “This is illegal mission right?” said Eorin.

  “It is?” Aska look surprised.

  “This quest was initiative of Princess herself, no paper, no badge. But princess really meant on this and she really want to find them. And naively I want to believe it, for I too want to find those villagers.” said Scarlett look serious. “Now I want to ask all of you, could you do this under illegal command?”

  “I’m okay with that, even better. I’m feels more free under illegal circumstance.” said Eorin.

  “Well, you legally gave me day off from the class. Legal or illegal, still I would join this trip.” said Aska.

  “How ‘bout you kid?”

  “If I can do something to save them, then I will.”

  “Good.” Scarlett smiled to them. “Now check on this.” Scarlett rolls an orange Sphere on the table and Eorin pick it up. “You had good fashion in magic, so I believe you can construct a map easily.”

  “What is this? Is this the record you told us about?”

  “This is blue print of an old castle, one of the remaining of Illitea Nobledom.”

  Later, after Eorin had attached that orange Sphere in her bracelet, Scarlett took a jug of water beside him and at once pouring it into the empty table. Awe fell upon Rey, as he saw what it has become, neither it spilled nor splattered, the water itself form a big drop on the table. It moved and gradually shaped something and with a wave of her hand she turned it into miniature of ice. A castle miniature it was, built of ice and looks well-carved as if put every detail on it. And it wasn’t just chunk of white ice in the shape of castle but it has clear looks which Rey could see everything inside it in small size from the main hall to every chamber, stairs to pillar, even broken windows and pillars were shaped perfectly in the miniature. But something have wondering him, about empty square chamber inside the castle. It was the widest chamber on the castle but plain and empty like hollow ice cube.

  “So this is our destination?”

  “Yes. We start there.”

  “So what’s wrong with this castle?” asked Aska.

  “Long story, but I think we will find something there.” said Scarlett “This trip long also, so get rest or order a meal if you’re hungry.”

  “For your information you had dragged us from the Grove with empty pocket.”

  “I’ll take the bill.” said Scarlett.

  “Really?” said Aska look excited.

  “Though illegal this trip was sponsored by Her Highness herself, so feel free to order something.”

  Eorin get close to Scarlett and whispered to her. “You shouldn’t say ‘free’ in front of him.”

  “Why?”

  “Waiter! Here, here! Over here!” said Aska, while called a waiter who pouring tea to another passenger. And after finished he approached him.

  “Can I help you sir?”

  “Can you brought me roasted lamb, full body, keep the horns if necessary. Then grilled lobster with a smear of butter, then fried goose liver with forest mushroom sautéed. Oh, do you have Mammoth Beans for snack?”

  “I’m sorry sir but we don’t have it.”

  “Brought me wings then, crispy and spicy, whatever it was as long as not Zemzelt wings. And then…”

  Scarlett surprised at his order. She was forget that he was Volk Tribe, they could eat about 4-5 portion of normal men do, even if they were had small posture like him.

  “You’re right. I shouldn’t say ‘free’ to him.” whispered Scarlett to Eorin.

  “I’ve told you.”

  “You three stay here. I have to go somewhere.”

  “Where? Can I come with you?”

  “It’s VIP lounge. I don’t think people at your age can’t order anything there or even to enter.” said Scarlett. “Can you keep him not to add more digits on the bill?” Scarlett whispered to Eorin.

  “No problem.”

  While waiting for the order to come Aska stared at the windows. Urban and crowd were rarely seen now, only small town on the green hill they have passed but mostly he seen villages and farms with white herd running over the green plains. He whistles cheerfully, no tense look on him and maybe no thought in his mind about what perils awaiting them. Maybe just out of the class was enough to make him enjoy this trip, plus a combo which about to come in minutes.

  “How Khatar was looks like?”

  “It was fortress city, loomed wall ring protected entire city.”

  “Fortress city?” asked Rey wondered.

  “Let me show you.” said Eorin.

  Eorin search something behind the seat and then she back with an orange Sphere on the hand. It was same like the one Scarlett given, have orange hue and no sentient sealed inside, only it has a band around it with some letters written on it, “West Region Map’ it was read in their language.

  “What Sphere it was?”

  “This we called Recall Sphere. Unlike another type of Sphere this one doesn’t meant for magic nor sealed any sentient.”

  “So for what?” asked Rey.

  Eorin waved his hand over the ice castle. At once it changed and gradually forming some terrain, some ice rose into transparent mountain, but only about a quarter, for it was trimmed straightly by the edge of th
e landscape. Some hoarfrost formed a forest and crack forking like it was a river. And some part was split wide. A ravine it seemed with rail-bridge connected both sides.

  “How you did all of this?”

  “My Snowlion Sphere did cast the ice. But even with great magic and will, it’s nearly impossible for anyone to shape their magic like this.”

  “So the orange Sphere gave the shape.”

  “You learn quickly. The one Scarlett had contains the structure of castle while the one I use right now contain the map of western border.” said Eorin. “But blue print or map wasn’t the only one you could store in Recall Sphere. It could be anything, moment, memories, a record, sound and visual, or something like that.”

  “Kinda like flash drive.”

  “What’s that?”

  “Just trivial stuff in my place.” said Rey.

  “But this Sphere doesn’t standalone like any other Sphere, it must use altogether with a magic, elemental mostly. And not only that, we must cleverly choose the elemental magic to shape our record. For example structure or terrain like this better if we use ice element or another solid element. For record best if we use Rainbow Crow Sphere, it could produce visual and sound at the same time, even Ishtar Lodge used that simple Sphere to play a record.”

  “This is amazing, to think that I can finish my school project with one wave of my hand.” said Rey look excited at the ice terrain. “But seemed it was difficult.”

  “Do this was easy matter but create a map inside the orange was the complicated one.” said Eorin.

  “Where are we now according to … this?”

  “If you asked the exact location now, on this scale, it’s about a desk behind me. So about an hour we will pass this bridge.” said Eorin, pointed at the rail-bridge shape. “And Khatar was about …”

  By her magic Eorin turned the landscape into slab of ice, no shape appeared on it, just rugged surface of ice. Then with a soft touch of her finger it suddenly turned into a miniature of a city, a hexagon wall or fort protecting the city and at the center of it stands a huge tower with something like four barrels attached on it.

  “Magnificent right?”

  “Is this Khatar?”

  “Also called the Grand Fortress, in the time of war this city play important role as a staging point to defend our west border against Azgalor and in the time of peace it became a central to running King’s policy for the west. As you can see every road and rail all centered to this city. And because of its economic and political position the City of Khatar also called the Capital of the West Rim.”

 
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