Treading in the Mist…
Disclaimer: Nope! I don't own it folks! If I did, you'd probably be reading it as a manga series or seeing it on T.V.
Note to self No.1:
Topology Textbooks are sometimes portal entry points.
The sky slowly grew dark as I walked out of my class. That was the last time I was going to tutor Jung Kuramaki. It was true that he was handsome enough to die for. But unfortunately as fate would have it that was the only thing he was. The fact that I had remained totally inconspicuous throughout the one hour we spent studying together was something of an insult. And all he had done was doodle obscenities in the notepad he had and grinning at the girl next to me, another science scholar who seemed to find this amusing, while I was slogging hard as a mule to try getting simple differential equations into his thick skull.
"Hey, Aredhel!" I turned around.
"It was a tough day, wasn't it?" I smiled at Natalie as I jogged down the stairs towards the train-station from where I would catch a train to my hostel. Oh blissful weekends were here! And how I wanted a break! Being a physics major was nerve-racking sometimes. But it was a subject I loved and so, I couldn't complain.
"How did your session go?" I asked her as she hugged her folder to her chest and started walking faster to match my pace. She shrugged,
"Not bad. At least my student wasn't doodling when I was explaining the vector atom model!" I smiled as I shook my head.
"For some reason, I believe the only model Jung would understand would be the ones that come in fashion magazines." She laughed as though I had cracked the funniest joke.
I smiled. This was Natalie Smith. She was a foreign student just like me. And we had become close friends in just the one week after semester started. I was a normal nineteen year old. When girls my age were going out with boy friends, I was working out basic topology sums. Fortunately, even if I grew old as a single, I'd have Natalie for company. Not that I preferred the members of my own gender – I was as straight as a poker! But being with Natalie was like being with me…we were similar in a lot of ways!
"Wanna join me for a latte?" I shook my head as I hoisted my bag higher on my shoulder.
"I'm up to my nose with assignments. So, I'll see you next week." She nodded as she turned to her left towards her hostel which was closer to the college than mine. There were distant sounds of thunder as I jogged faster towards the train-station.
There was one place I simply had to go to before I went back to my hostel.
I smiled as I stood fifteen minutes later before the huge building – the National Library.
"Er…I'm here looking for a book on Advanced Topology?" I said, my voice twice its usual volume. This woman was probably deaf as a doorknob for she merely looked at me like she was surveying some new hitherto unknown species. I rolled my eyes heavenward as I heaved my bag higher on my shoulder once more. (These things were getting heavier by the hour!)
"I'm afraid I'm hopeless in fashion. Do you want a book about cool tops?" I was trying my hardest not to bang my head on the desk as I muttered a no.
Just then another man dropped in. I turned to him, giving up on the woman who turned to him as well.
"A book on advanced Topology? Wasn't there one on the shelf?" he asked me. I shook my head sheepishly,
"I didn't know where to look. This place is huge." He smiled as though he heard people say this often. He merely nodded as he walked away from the desk and towards me.
"Then, please let me help you." I smiled my gratitude as I followed the librarian. As we walked, he tried striking a conversation with me.
"You're not Japanese, are you?"
"Where's your home town then?"
"Er…in India. But I grew up in London."
He turned around and regarded me with wide eyes filled with surprise.
"Oh my! Isn't it hot in India?" he asked me as he ploughed on, not waiting for my reply, about his adventures in the sub-continent. I smiled as I found this amusing as well as touching.
"Ah! There they are!" he said, having led me deep into the library, probably into the very rear of the building. I smiled as I thanked him and walked to the shelf marked 'Topology' it was apparent that I wouldn't have found the place even if I tried.
The shelves were arranged in a 'bizarre not so very much of an alphabetical order' and that was a logical explanation as to why I was forced to trudge so far away for the one book I wanted…
I sighed as I walked closer to the shelf and placing my bag on the desk, turned to survey the array of tomes that were there. Hopefully I would be done in an hour or so and then there would be bliss!
"Drat!" Things never turn out the way one expects them to – do they? I sighed as I skimmed through the titles searching for the one book that eluded my sight.
"We have waited a long while…" said a voice from behind me.
I squeaked as I turned around, dropping the book I was carrying.
What the hell?
The voice that was seriously deep and 'Oh-my-god'ish apparently belonged to the man who stood there with what looked like antlers and a blue dragon sticking out of his head (or was it from his helm?) and in the weirdest of costumes in blue armour and baggy white pants and scaly looking boots. The guy wouldn't be out of place probably in some kung-fu movie but in a library where people came looking for books on topology? Tough luck! But apparently I was the only one in the aisle then.
"Your destiny waits… now go." With that he turned around and was gone. It took me ten seconds to figure out what was happening exactly…to snap out of it more like!
"Hey! Wait a minute!" I walked after him and as soon as I turned the corner to where there was some populace who were apparently startled by my shout. I could see no strange hot guy who was in a dress that looked like he was from the realm of the past.
I smiled sheepishly as I got back to my aisle, banging my head lightly in the book I carried.
Wait a minute! When did I have a book in my hand? I looked down to find an old tattered book with its deep blue cover starting to peel along the spine.
"Alright…" I sat down, staring at the weird book.
Where did this come from? I shook my head trying to clear something off my mind. Who was that dude? And what was with the 'your-destiny-awaits-you" speech?
I looked around just to be sure there weren't any hidden cameras around! Maybe the Japanese were into practical jokes as well.
Having spotted none, I turned my attention back to the book in my hand.
I sighed as I shook my head. I definitely needed a break alright! Getting up from where I sat, I heaved my bag yet again, deciding to go home. There went my idea of finishing my assignments in time! I hadn't taken but two steps away from the table when I felt this eerie sensation…I turned around and true enough the book still lay there. I didn't even think (a mistake I shall terribly rue for later!) as I turned around and with a determined huff sat down, my backpack pressing against my back as I sat down on the chair. I opened the book slightly to find some totally unintelligible scrawling in what seemed like Chinese. It was a wonder that there were people who actually understood a word for all it seemed was like a vertical line in ink that was looped and jutted out at irregular intervals.
"Oh brother!" I sighed as I turned another page to find the picture of what I thought was a dragon soaring in the heavens.
I was about to close the book, careful not to damage any of the yellow papyrus when there was a distant rumble.
I did not know what happened after that as a blinding light enveloped me and the next moment, I felt darkness overtake my senses.
Blearily opening my eyes, I found myself in what seemed like a garden. The gentle sounds of the flowing stream close by was the first to reach my ears as I lay there sprawled on the grass, squinting in the afternoon sun.
Afternoon? Sunlight in the Topology section of the National Library?
I got up hastily (well laboriously, as I still had the heaviest backpack pulling me towards the ground!) and looked around. I was near a small pond which had a small bamboo bridge across it.
"Okay…don't panic! P-please don't panic!" I kept muttering to myself.
I slowly got up from the grass and turned around. The garden was apparently deserted as there was not another soul in sight.
"This I can handle! There's an apparent logic here. There's gotta be." I was chanting as I walked towards a clump of huge oaks that stood near the pond.
As the oak trees cleared, I was astonished as far as that word could be stretched as I saw what sat (stood or whatever!) there.
Beyond the oak, I came face to face with a building that was two stories high. And from the architecture, it seemed like a Chinese or Japanese castle. Whatever apparent logic I was trying to figure out was turning illogical by the minute.
There was a corridor that apparently skirted the castle or the part of it that I could see. And the garden seemed to extend to and beyond the building. There was only one logical explanation that I could think of.
This wasn't a library and I wasn't in the Japan of the twenty-first century any more.
TADA! End of the first chapter! Please read and review folks!
Until next time,
Anarya of Lorien.