Strange Journey

By

phoenix Hoshika

The Dyne Arc: Part IV

Taiko flew aimlessly over the city occasionally waving whenever someone looked up and waved at her and grimacing whenever someone looked up and laughed her, more than likely because she was flying around town in a nightgown.

"I'm getting tired of this. It's too boring. It would have been great if I could walk around town with Ryu, but I don't think he's been out of that bed since we arrived at the castle." Taiko thought angrily as she started to feel abandoned. "I know! I'll find that Dyne and hang out with him. He seems interesting enough and he seems more interested in holding a conversation with me than Ryu ever was." Taiko thought as she turned around to head back toward the castle then stopped. "Why am I expecting him to be there? He does seem to be there a lot, but it's not like he lives there or anything. After all he said he was a thief. I'm getting depressed now." Taiko thought wearily. "I guess I'll just go see if I can find my room and stay in there like a good girl since there isn't anything else for me to do."

"Hey, do you always fly with your eyes closed?" Taiko heard someone speaking to her and opened her eyes. In front of her was the red haired being Dyne had just encountered.

"Huh? Who are you?" Taiko asked.

"I'm Nyojo, nice to meet cha." The creature said smiling. "You look bored."

"I am." Taiko sighed.

"How about you come with us?"

"Us?" Taiko repeated.

"Yes, us. My friend is behind you." Nyojo smiled.

Taiko turned around just in time to see a large mallet coming down on her.

"Niho!" Nyojo growled struggling to keep Taiko from falling to the ground. "Was that really necessary? We could have just blindfolded her."

"Sorry, hehe." The creature with long yellow hair grinned uncomfortably as it stuck the mallet behind its back making it disappear into thin air.

"Grrr, never mind that, just help me!" Nyojo cried and with that the two creatures disappeared with an unconscious Taiko.

A few hours later Taiko woke up with a throbbing headache. Sitting up Taiko put her hand to her head moaning.

"How do you feel?" Niho asked. "Sorry, I had to hit you over the head like that."

Nyojo and a purple haired being groaned and gave their companion angry piercing stares. Nyojo then flew over to Niho smacking him/her in the head with a smaller mallet.

"Waaah! Why did you do that, Nyojo? You're so mean!" Niho wailed.

"Hmph! Now you know how Taiko feels." Nyojo replied caring less about the waterfall of tears Niho was crying. "Taiko please don't be mad at us." Nyojo said sweetly. "It was all that one's fault!" He/she said pointing at the still vehemently crying Niho.

"What's going on here?" Taiko said still dazed.

"Look what you've done! You moron!" Nyojo hissed.

"But, I didn't mean too!" Nijo replied in between sobs.

"I brought water from the spring like you asked me too, Nyojo." A brown haired being said huffing and puffing as it flew over to the small group.

"Good work, Nana. Unlike someone here I can always depend on you." Nyojo said shooting Niho a daggered glance. "Here drink this." He/she said handing Taiko the cup Nana was carrying.

"Um…" Taiko uttered hesitating to take the drink.

"Please, it's okay." The creature said offering her the cup again.

Reluctantly Taiko took the cup and drank the water that was in it. "Wow, my headache is gone," Taiko exclaimed surprised and relieved.

"The water here can heal anything." Nyojo said. But, it only works on beings like us."

"Huh?" Taiko said looking at the four tiny creatures. "What are you guys?"

"We're faeries." Nana responded.

"So, you're saying I'm just like you guys?" Taiko asked wondering if she would one day shrink to their size and run around with no clothing on.

"That's a little difficult. To explain." Nyojo spoke up. "You know how a swan can't lay chicken eggs or how a dove can't lay eagle eggs, but they all are birds? Well, your relation to us is kind of the same."

"Uh-huh…" Taiko said not really processing what the faerie was saying. "So I'm a faerie too?"

"No, a f-e-a-r-i-e is one of us. Unlike you we have no gender and are born from cocoons." Nyojo begin explaining.

"Then where do the cocoons come from?" Taiko asked curiously.

Nyojo sighed. "I was getting to that. On a full moon in that field over there," Nyojo said pointing into the distance behind Taiko. "Is where we are born. The cocoons magically appear and when that happens we pick them from the ground and take them home to nurture and care for them."

"So what you're saying is you guys are basically bugs." Taiko said with a deadpan expression.

"We are not bugs!" Nyojo screamed. "Ehehe, excuse me." He/she laughed uncomfortably regaining his/her composure.

"Um, then what's inside the cocoons?" Taiko asked still not convinced.

The faeries all looked at each other confused. "Don't know." They all said at once."

"But whatever it is it comes out as one of us." Nyojo added. "Now will you hush and pay attention? You are a f-a-i-r-y. You guys are human forms exposed to a tremendous amount of magic power. In other words you are created from magic, however, you are different."

"How so?" Taiko asked to Nyojo's annoyance.

"Stop interrupting!" Nyojo yelled.

"You really shouldn't loose your temper like that, Nyo." Nana said shyly.

Nyojo growled.

"Please forgive Nyo. That one can be a little grumpy at times." Nana apologized on his/her friend's behalf.

"Listening to Nyojo rattle on like this is boring I'm going to get something to eat and find something fun to do, seeya." Niho said then flew off.

Nyojo was hyperventilating until getting slapped by Nana. "Sorry, I had to do that but you were getting out of hand." Nana said with tearful eyes.

"It's okay. Thanks." Nyojo replied then continued. "You see Taiko, every millennium when a chosen few wish upon the brightest star in the sky they become a fairy, those fairies have unlimited power and are sometimes mistaken for gods.

Taiko fell over laughing. "Oh, please. Give me a break. I can barely fly straight and you're telling me I'm some kind of super powered mythical creature? A lot of weird stuff has happened to me, but some things are just too unbelievable."

"Stubborn girl." Nyojo muttered. "Listen, we've been watching you ever since you came to this world and it's not the first time we've encountered someone like you and besides this is knowledge passed down from faerie to faerie for countless centuries. Are you questioning our accent wisdom?" Nyojo asked his/her eyes on fire.

Taiko sweet dropped. "No." She answered hoping to calm the faerie's flaring temper. "Still, it's just too unbelievable. If I had so much power I could've helped Ryu return home well before now. That man I met when all this mess started did say I was just like him, but if that was the case why can't I do any of the crazy things he did? He made objects appear out nowhere and transported us across the universe to where ever that place was. I'd thought I'd be happy at least knowing what the heck I am but now that I've been told I can't bring myself to believe it."

"Hey? Are you awake? Nyojo asked as he/she flew up to meet Taiko's face.

"So, why did you bring me here?" Taiko asked wearily.

"We need your help." Nyojo said beginning to cry along with the others. "There was a really terrible storm and all of our houses got knocked down. Please use your magic to rebuild them." Nyojo said and they all bowed on the ground before her.

"Stop that." Taiko said sweat dropping. "Besides weren't you listening to me? I don't know how to use magic."

"What?" Nyojo uttered devastated. "But I donwanna sleep outside on the ground again!" Nyojo cried.

"I may not be able to use magic, but I can still help you," Taiko said hoping they would calm down.

"Really," Nana asked with tears in his/her eyes.

"Yes." Taiko answered reassuringly.

"Well then we better get started," Nyojo said putting on a hardhat. "Even with your size and strength to help us out this operation will still take a while."

"But, if we put our all into it I'm sure we'll finish in no time."

"That's the spirit Nana," Nyojo encouraged.

It was some time before the faeries returned Taiko to the city. Again they took the liberty of knocking her out, but instead of a mallet the faerie that did the deed used sleeping powder. A few hours later Taiko found herself waking up in an alley. Stopping at a street corner Taiko yawned, closing her eyes as she did so. When she opened them a small group of soldiers were standing before her.

"Please come with us." One of them said abruptly and the soldiers immediately took hold of Taiko.

The soldiers wasted no time making their way back to the castle as they rushed by curious on lookers.

"Take her to the wardrobe room," the guard at the castle gate ordered.

"Yes, sir." The two soldiers holding Taiko said then marched away as the others dispersed to attend to their regularly assigned duties.

"The wardrobe room," Taiko said out loud not sure where she was being taken.

"You've been there before," the soldier holding her left arm said.

"Hey, do you guys have to be so rough," Taiko asked as they rushed down the long hallway.

"Too much welcome leads to a bitter farewell." The left guard answered.

"Huh?"

"He means until we know if you are our enemy or not we're not letting our guard down." The man on the right answered.

"You mean me and my friend are your prisoners." Taiko said bitterly.

"No," the right guard refuted. "By order of his majesty you are guests, but as the king's guard it is our duty to protect him and this country; we all whole heartedly believe that his majesty being too welcoming for his own good."

"You refer to him with such respect yet you don't trust his judgment. Sounds like you guys are planning a coup."

"Stupid girl," the left guard said.

"Our first priority is to obey the king." The right guard continued. "If he does not validate our concerns then so be it. We don't do anything without his approval."

"So despite calling us guests your king treats us like criminals."

"The best way to keep an eye on something is to keep it in front of your eyes." The left guard stated.

"That's exactly what the king said, more or less." The right guard informed.

"Keep you friends close and your enemies closer, huh," Taiko said as they came to a halt in front of the double doors leading into the wardrobe room. "No wonder he had you guys bring us directly to the castle instead of letting us stay out in the city."

"That may be what he meant and then again maybe not," the right guard said shrugging.

"His majesty is rather eccentric." The left guard said loosening his grip on Taiko's arm.

"The king also said 'make sure they are well taken care of' and that is why we brought you here," the right guard said as both men pushed open the doors. "In you go." The soldier said as they shoved her into the room then immediately closed the doors.

The women were busy sewing, washing and arranging clothing, but all that stopped when they saw Taiko. For a moment everyone just stared at her, but suddenly a terrifying look come into their eyes. Taiko turned to run out of the room just as the brown-eyed seamstress was locking the door.

After the women were done with Taiko the guards, to their disappointment, escorted her back to her room and even though it was still early in the day she immediately went to sleep. Taiko was exhausted and upset. She wanted to see Ryu, she wanted to leave, but she knew already he was in no hurry to do so. Feelings of anxiety and frustration had enveloped her making her rest uneasy. It seemed like ages since the last time she talked to him and the memory of their short conversation was not enough and for all she knew Ryu could have gone through another portal while she was with the faeries. The satisfaction she felt from helping them quickly melted away at the thought of being alone again.

Taiko woke up in the middle of the night shivering; she had not bothered to pull the covers back and her body felt as if a thin layer of ice had settled on it. Hearing the latch on the door click Taiko gasped abruptly sitting up. When she turned around Dyne was standing in the room with his back to the closed door. "Dyne? What are you doing here," Taiko asked not expecting to see him.

"I'm sorry were you sleeping?"

"No." Taiko said looking down at her hands.

"Oh, that's a relief then," Dyne said walking over to the bed. "Is something wrong?"

"No, nothing's wrong." Taiko said not caring to share her thoughts with him.

Dyne sat down on the bed facing her.

"What are you doing here? Stop staring at me and go away." Taiko said lying down with her back to him.

"You have been gone for quite some time. In fact it has been a couple of weeks since I last saw you. If you don't mind my asking, where were you?"

"Huh?" Taiko uttered sitting up. "You still haven't answered my question and how did you get past the guards anyway?"

"What guards?" Dyne asked

"What do you mean what guards?"

"There wasn't anyone outside."

"That's a change." Taiko grumbled. "And what's all this nonsense about me being gone for two weeks? Besides why would you care where I've been?"

"Grief! This guy has been in my face ever since I got here…" Taiko thought.

"The best way to keep an eye on something is to keep it in front of both your eyes."

"That's exactly what the king said, more or less."

"Why you…" Taiko exclaimed flying out of the bed. Picking up a small round porcelain vase she threw it at Dyne.

"Whoa," Dyne exclaimed jumping out of the way.

"I can't believe I was so dumb! I bet you were laughing at me the whole time." Taiko yelled.

"Only a little." Dyne said slightly smiling then ducked as another object was hurled at his head. "But I had no intention for you to be under that impression for this long."

"Then why did you lie to me in the first place," Taiko asked placing her feet on the floor.

"I was not lying when I told you I was bored."

"So you make a fool of me for your entertainment?

"That was not my intention. I just wanted to be someone else for a little while," Dyne said then jumped clear across the room landing right in front of Taiko who stepped back slightly startled by the sudden motion. "I am sorry." Dyne said kneeling with his bowed.

"Are you serious? I mean how can I accept such a humble apology when you've been treating us like crime suspects; you say we are guests yet you have guards watching us like hawks. You yourself even took the time out to keep tabs on us."

Dyne then stood up with a peculiar expression on his face. "The land here is basically nothing more than a vast wilderness of thorn vines and bushes. The ground is hard and it takes great effort to cultivate anything on it. There really isn't anything of value here. All of this makes it highly unlikely anyone would want to invade, even so considering these poor conditions do you not think it odd to find two people out in such an environment?"

"You talk as if you guys are the only ones on this entire continent." Taiko said fuming.

"We are." Dyne answered solemnly. "And it has been centuries since anyone from the other side has come here."

"I see." Taiko said calming down. "Now I understand why you would be suspicious of us, but we didn't come here to disrupt things. I wish there was a way to convince you of that."

"Don't worry. I may not have been so certain before, but I am certain now that you and your friend mean us no harm. The guards shouldn't be a problem from now on." Dyne said smiling as he began to leave the room.