In the town of Kinkan, in the end room of the girls' dormitory of Kinkan Academy, a girl with blue hair put down her quill on her desk, having just finished her homework for the day. She had the room to herself at the moment, as Ahiru had gone out to take a stroll with Fakir, and Sagi had sensed it was best not to disturb them.
Then, she heard a tap on the window pane. She stood up, puzzled, and walked toward the window. She glanced outside, and not seeing anything immediately outside, she opened the window.
Suddenly, a black blur flew in, and a startled Sagi covered her face for a moment. When the wind settled down, she glanced around her and saw a crow sitting on the back of her desk chair. The crow held out its leg and stared at Sagi expectantly, and she noticed a piece of parchment tied to the bird's foot.
Blinking, the girl carefully untied the document from the crow's leg, and as she unfolded the paper, the crow flew over and perched on the window sill, preening.
When Sagi opened the folded parchment, she realized that it was a letter, handwritten in stark, sharp, yet elegant ink strokes. She glanced at the first few words and smiled, realizing who the letter was from as she sat down at her desk chair and began to read it through.
Dear Miss Sagi,
This is Odin. I hope you have been doing well.
Since we have last talked, my travels have taken me quite a distance from Kinkan, and I have seen many things I have never witnessed before. There are a number of notable structures, both natural and manmade, that have been sights to behold. I have seen halls of domes and towers built of out of solid white marble, walls long enough that they stretched far out of sight in both directions, forests with trees so tall that I could not fly to their tops, and such vast canyons that entire mountains could have fit easily within their ragged cliffs. Clearly, the history of this world surpasses that of the one in which I was born.
Speaking of which, the people of this world—oftentimes humans seem to make the same mistakes over and over again, believing that their stories are alone in the world. Most times I am content to watch them make their mistakes, but once in a while I find an inclination to step in, if only from the shadows. The rare occasions that I have revealed myself have been, might we say, eventful. I simply can't help myself sometimes.
Even then, however, I find myself surprised by humans more often than I expected, even if humans in this world are also terribly predictable. There are more varieties of them than in my homeland, and it is fascinating that whole societies may differ from one another, not just individuals. Unlike the dreary state of the place where I came from, the stories I witness I truly cannot predict the outcome of. I can't get enough of it.
Suffice it to say, I have seen much, and I know there is so much more for me to see. But throughout this time, I have always missed your presence. Thus have I written this letter to you, so as to feel some semblance of your company from afar. The crow I sent this with will be able to return any response you may have to me, if you should choose to do so.
Sagi smiled fondly as her warm brown eyes reached the surprisingly beautiful signature of his name at the bottom of the page.
Immediately she took up a piece of her own stationery. She reached for the quill and inkwell at her desk, and smoothing out the curled-up letter gently beside her blank paper, began to write. She paused, and briefly noted to herself to include a small token of hers to send with it.
Somewhere in the outside world, far from the confines of Kinkan Town, a young man dressed in black with curled dark hair and a pale complexion sat leisurely at a small table outside of a quaint cafe. Sipping from the steaming mug in his hand, he paused for a moment as he sensed a familiar presence. He smiled, placing the cup back down.
A crow came soaring in from the distance, carrying a neatly folded piece of pastel-colored paper as well as a tiny pouch with something in it. It flew toward Odin and upon reaching him, deposited the paper and pouch into his waiting hands, before flying off and rejoining the other crows lingering in Odin's loose vicinity.
With anticipation, he unfolded the piece of blue stationery paper and opened the tiny pouch, finding what looked like a small folded paper bird inside. Raising an amused eyebrow, he held the little blue paper bird in one hand, looked at the letter in the other, and began to read through the simple yet graceful handwriting on the page:
I'm so happy to hear from you. I am truly glad to hear you're doing well. I enjoyed reading about your adventures, and look forward to hearing more in the future.
Back here in Kinkan, it has been fairly uneventful. Ahiru and I are finally moving on from the beginner's class to the intermediate class. We've both improved so much since we first started attending together, and I'm looking forward to seeing how much more we can progress from here.
The town has become quite lively with all the new visitors from the Prince's homeland—and yours, of course. People arriving from the outside world often have quite the shock when they come across the magic and surrealism of it all. But somehow, they seem to grow used to it if they stay long enough. People in this town are kind, so new people are always made to feel welcome, which I am glad of.
The town's yearly Fire Festival is coming up, and Ahiru tells me that tradition speaks of a golden apple that is given to the couple who dances the most beautifully. Ahiru is trying to get up the courage to ask Fakir if they wanted to try it together, but I suspect that Fakir himself is attempting to do the same. With all the fantastical new visitors in the town, however it goes, I'm sure it's going to be quite the spectacle.
Oh, and about the little item in the pouch: it's just a little trinket I made that I thought you might find amusing. I read about a paper craft from a far-off land—perhaps you may find your way there one day?—called origami. I learned how to fold this little crane from a single sheet of paper.
There's a legend that if one folds a thousand of these cranes, it is supposed to grant any wish. I didn't think I could manage a thousand of them in time to send this, and I'm sure it would be trouble to travel with all of those on hand. So I just made you a small one, and hopefully that might still give you a small sliver of luck?
I await the day I might hear from you again. Until then... safe travels, Odin.
After he finished reading the letter, his crimson eyes glanced one more time with a fond smile at the tiny blue crane in his other hand. Then he reached under his chair, opened a small leather briefcase and placed it along with the letter gingerly inside.
With a swill of his mug, he finished the last bit of coffee in the cup and placed it back down on the table. He stood from the chair, and with a wave of his hand, the briefcase vanished into a flash of red sparks.
Turning toward the sun, he disappeared into a flurry of black feathers and reappeared as an ordinary raven, flying off into the distance.