"Tama... I don't really know him. A priest or something.. but he looked so familiar. How do you know him... Ragyn?"
Ragyn sighed. His bangs blew up then slowly drifted down with each breath. His head tiled down in thought. She had been sent by Tama which meant that something in the balance between Earth and Cephiro was shifting. Time or chance. Her name was Umi. The water controller, Dragon, or one of the three legendary Magic Knights of this time. As a child he had spent studying the legends and histories of the old world Cephiro. The pillar system was something of the past put away by the last Pillar of the Land, Hikaru but with time shifting would something occur to significantly change it? Tama was set up on earth to guard the gate between time and the two worlds. If Tama felt the need to send one of the legendary Magic Knights to the past to the gate he was guarding on Cephiro then something horrendous was going to happen.
Umi watched the boy's eyebrows bunch in thought. Almost five minutes had passed in silence and still he didn't answer her question. He seemed so lost in thought, in deep troubling thought that she felt bad if she was to disturb him. Felt bad? She had gained respect and settled down since the last visit to the land.
"Tama..." Ragyn blinked as if to clear his internal thoughts. "Tama is the guarding of time between Cephiro and Earth. Time has begun to shift differently in the past or rather in your present and my past."
A unwavering stare was drawn from Umi towards Ragyn.
"So what do you mean? This sounds like Back to the Future or some other crazy American film...."
"I mean that a few years ago in your time, Earth time, something happened that wasn't supposed to. Or maybe it was. I don't know but whatever it is we have to stop Cephiro from going back to the old Pillar system."
"But Hikaru stopped it and why should I even believe what your saying?" Umi pushed the covers off her legs, swung them up and over the bed, and stood up. "I have to go. Im sure Hikaru and Fuu are worried about me. I was supposed to meet with them at Tokyo tower." Actually, hadn't she told Fuu that she couldn't go?
"I can't make you believe me and I can't make you stay. I would like you to consider helping me find the problem. And even if you say no I'll escort you to the Castle. The forest of silence separates us from the castle."
The forest of silence. There it was again. She had hoped never to look at it, with all the monsters at every corner. Magic couldn't help you in the forest of silence and sometimes swords couldn't either. The major tool in your arsenal had to be your wits, your mind. Once slip could cost you your life. At first it had been a game with her aspiring to be a witch but it had become a terrible reality.
She was taking this to seriously since the nightmares had begun. She just needed to relax. Perhaps she did need a little adventure to settle herself down. Accepting Ragyn's mission if it could take her away from the dreams at night. In her thought about nightmares she hadn't realized that as she sleep prior to waking up to Ragyn she had dreamed about the forest of silence in the land that had always pushed aside the nightmares. She had missed a key in a world of locks.
"all right. I'll help you... but is there any way we can go around the forest of silence?"
"Im afraid not. It would take to long."
Ascot stretched and shifted uncomfortably. The couch he rested on was forming a groove around him. Clef had been searching with his viewer most of the day and Ascot was growing tired of it. If Clef couldn't find her this way then he would have to search for her on his own. Using one of his friends he could easily travel over extensive ground. His overcoat swung against his legs while he pivoted around to look at the door. Clef never heard Ascot leave the room.
"Umi.." He sighed into the wind blowing past his face. Even in the warmth of summer, the eternal summer of Cephiro, it seemed cold. His clothing held no protection for the sudden chill in the air. No clouds appeared in the sky above him to signal an on coming rain, and magic traces didn't linger in the air. He shivered inwardly trying to grasp at the dark cloud gathering in his mind.
Ascot lowered his head and touched the air. A golden pentagram formed shining like golden string that the fates spin. He needed the aide of one of his friends. A flying creature with huge feathery wings, a body of a lion, and the head of a strange gray wolf. A close cousin to the griffin. His hands ruffled the fur around its neck and the huge beast pressed against his scratching hands.
"Requiem... hey. I need your help old friend." He pulled himself up on the back of the creature. He would concentrate his search near the forest of silence since Clef could not use his magic to search through it. Being a Magic Knight even could not save her from some of the monsters that lurked there. Especially a particular flying bird beast that could not be killed by sword attacks.
His overcoat flapped in the wind as Requiem rose up above the land of Cephiro. The town gathered around the castle slowly tapered out and soon was replaced by farmland, plans, and the occasional outpost. The closes village to the Forest of Silence lay fifteen miles away from it. There had even been talk of moving it further away after the land of Cephiro began a rebuilding process......after Emeruald. Ascot coughed into his hand and reached for his hat as a sudden gust of wind pulled at it. A little to late, the hat tumbled downward through the occasional cloud cover. He sighed. That had been the second hat he had lost this month to an adventure through the sky. But the hat wasn't important... Umi was. Requiem turned sharply sensing the aura of the Forest of Silence. Now if only some of the clouds would dissipate from covering the area.
The black and emerald jeweled hat kept tumbling toward the ground. Sometimes plunging like a speeding bullet and other times catching a breeze to float softly down for awhile. Finally, without much gusto, it landed outside a small house as a figured stepped out into the sun.
Umi rubbed her eyelids against the sun's assault. The fresh air filled her nostrils. So much for the air in Tokyo. A black thing dropped from the sky about a yard away. It rolled over as another wind current brushed past them. She had an urge to run after it and grab it. Her hat. Her hat, she couldn't lose her hat... but it wasn't her hat. And why did her thoughts suggest it? Her eyes followed the hat in its roll when a green and yellow glint flashed. No wonder the hat looked so familiar. Ascot! It had to be Ascot's hat or a close facsimile of it. Her legs took off where her mind stopped. A quick sprint took her the full distance to the object.
"Umi! Wait! What are you doing?" Ragyn bolted out the door to follow after her if she planned some type of escape. An escape wouldn't be logical because he agreed to help her or she had agreed to help him but unknowingly. He stopped when she started walking back with a black rag in her hands. Or rather, on closer inspection, a black hat trimmed in gold and deep green emeralds. "What... a hat?"
"This hat looks like.... a friend's hat. He's a summoner at the castle. Bal Ascoto. Ascot." She looked up at the sky line hoping to see a glimpse of anything that would give her reason to where this hat had fallen from. If her guess had been right then the two other Knights had appeared near the castle safely which would leave some suspecting that she might have also been called but somewhere else. She was hoping that her guesses were right. She had been in a different location then Hikaru and Fuu but would that explain her being transported to a different area in Cephiro.
Ragyn nodded. "Perhaps they felt your entrance in this land and are looking for you. That would help us out greatly if we meet up with them. I would indulge you that this is a sign that they are near." He sighed and followed her gaze upward. "It would also seem they are traveling around the forest of silence through the air. However we will have to travel through the forest, on foot."
Umi frowned. There it was again. Going through the forest of silence on foot like so many months ago. Months ago...? How long had it been for Cephiro? What was the time difference between the worlds...dimensions any ways? She stopped fidgitting with the hat and stared up at Ragyn. "Alright. Lets go to the castle... but do you have a sword I could borrow?"
Ragyn smiled softly. "Yes. It's inside by the bed. I think it will suit you Magic Knight. " He hefted the bag of supplies over his shoulder and waited for her. The trip would, no doubt in his mind, pull them a little closer together and perhaps he would gather all the trust he would need from her. Trust was a big camodity when you planned on stabbing someone in the back. They would always chalk it up to denial.
"Okay, Im ready."
Clef paused and cleared his throat. Exhausted he sat down and summoned up some hot tea from the kitchen. The cup almost briming over with the dark electric taste of Ceilic a herb for settlement in the local area. The Pillar knew he needed rest but still to look over into her bright hopeful eyes he could not give her any sign that Umi would be found safely. He had little doubt at her ability to protect herself but there was always the possibility that something had happened to her. That possibility doubled as more time passed. He hadn't been able to find her yet and a day had passed or was it two? Day had passed, night had come and gone, and now it was afternoon again. Two days and a night. Now Ascot was gone probably searching for her in his own way. Clef sipped at his tea thinking. He was trying to find words of comfort which he wouldnt repeat to Hikaru.
Finally he decided to be honest with her. His head bent, his eyes filled with worry and a knowledge that he could not do much with the current situation unless he traveled like Ascot out. But he couldn't, he thought bitterly, he couldn't travel out to save the one... the one what? That was dear to his heart as all the Magic Knights were. Yes, as dear to his heart as Emeruald, Lantis... and Zagato had been. His family. His students. He had to stay here with the castle, with the pillar and with the Prince as advisor and conselor.
"Hikaru, It troubles me that I can not find her with my viewer. It could mean two things." Only two? It could mean three but I can't think about that right now. I won't think about it right now. "She is in the forest of silence... or some one's magic is interfearing with mine." But who would be strong enough to do that? Zagato had been and Lantis was strong enough to challenge him too but he wouldn't. Lantis would have no motive to block Umi from them, plus he seemed just as worried as the rest.
Clef placed his emptied cup down on the saucer and balled his fists up with his staff in his lap. His head rested on his cherub hands. Honestly he felt defeated. "Im sure we will find her with the viewer or Ascot will spot her from the air." The Yil felt a small pange of jealousy at the Bal but it quickly passed. He was, after all, a Yil and his first duty was to the Pillar.
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