Disclaimer: I don't own Suikoden series and some of the characters inside the story.
Forgotten Forest, south.
Lirva and Krew walk inside the gloomy forest, only depend on the slightest lights scatter down through the treetop. Forgotten Forest indeed like its name, a forest that forgotten by peoples. No exactly direction is showing, no clear trace of peoples been here before. They can only rely on their instinct to pick which way to go. That gives them a headache, real headache. Going around in circle everywhere in the forest, ambush by all the monsters…has stopping them from moving forward. At last, they end up tired and lost.
"..I say, where is that 'Forgotten Castle'?"
"…Like I know." Wipe away the sweat, Krew raises a bitter smile. Look around, he only finds them nowhere. He can't even differentiate the direction. "This is the only information they given to us. Our job is to find it out…" However, they are short in time.
If he is correct, today is the second day since they departed from Town of Chain. They waste those precious time just focus on searching way to the legendary castle. He understands how Lirva feels at the moment; he feels the same way as him.
Lirva groans under his breathe. When suppose this going to end?
On the other hand, the other side of the forest, there are three more persons facing the same problem like them.
"…Miss Viki, can you please tell me where are we now?" While rubbing her almost benumb legs, Helen leans against a tree to take a break. She remembers Viki teleported the three of them without thought of a destination before she could stop her, and the result was they got lost in this unknown forest. They going round and round in the forest the whole night, hoping to find a way out but somehow they didn't make it. And then now, they have no choice but doing the same thing: finding the entrance.
"Eh? Huh? I-I don't know…really!" Winking her innocent big eye, Viki shakes her head. Her pure white skirt is painted by dirty soil. Jeane is behind her and just shaking her head upon hearing this.
By pulling her legs, Helen tries to continue on the searching while let out a deep sigh. Why is this happened to her? Where exactly they are? And how is everyone?
Taking a turn in a corner, she stops as she notices the sign she noted early on one of the trees, immediately causes her face drop.
"Oh no…no way!" She yells in cry tone, kneels down on the ground. Her legs are going to break off if they continue to search for the damn entrance! Guess the other two are as tired as her.
"Miss Viki, can you use that blinking magic to get us out of this place?"
The black haired girl winks. "B-But I'm afraid if w-we will end up…to some u-unknown places again…" Her voice getting lower and lower with every word she speaks, her head also droops.
Helen and Jeane roll their eyes as the exchange a glance.
When they are desperate with current situation, Jeane seems notice something.
"Helen, someone is there."
Helen lifts her head to where Jeane spoke off. There's truly someone ahead of them. Helen gets up on her feet, run towards the person.
"Wait! Please wait!"
The person stuns a bit before he turns around to see them. That's a young man with childish face but sharp eye on it. Helen doubts he might much younger than her.
When she almost closes their gap, he suddenly pulls out a dagger from his back and aims at her throat. Jeane and Viki gasp in fear; Helen loses her voice, face pale up.
"P-Please…p-put down the dagger…!" Viki stammers, like she is going to past out anytime.
"We are not bad peoples." Jeane raises a pretty yet coquettish smile but it seems it doesn't work on the young man.
"Yes…w-we are not bad peoples! W-we just came to ask you the direction to the entrance…" Helen asks, while doing her best to restrain the feeling of collapse down.
The young man raises his eyebrow while observing the girls.
Hearing that, Helen quickly nods. "Yes, exactly!"
He remains silent for quite a while before he put down the dagger.
"…So you're not here for the castle?"
"…Come with me."
Then, he doesn't speak a word. Helen is curiously about the 'castle' he spoke just now, because of the fear of his dagger she carefully not to hit the spot.
"Um…my name is Helen. What about you?"
His steps are steady like he knows this forest well enough. He doesn't seem worry if he will get lost. Instead, he goes straight without a bit of hesitate.
He turns back and takes a glance at her. "…Kol."
"You seem you know this forest well."
"…I'm good in recognize direction, and doing a lot of notes on the way." He says. "By the way…you guys seem trapped here for quite times. Do you ever meet a guy around thirty, wearing clothes like I'm wearing?"
"You are the first person we met…" Helen scratches her cheek; eye looks down on the ground. Then, he asks no more.
But now she is the one has question.
"Is that your friend? Did you get split up or something?"
Kol looks at her again, annoyance across his eye.
"Why are you asking? Or you interested with the Forgotten Castle now?"
Yep…that really picks her curiosity…
"So is there really a castle inside this forest…w-wait!" Seeing he takes out the dagger again, immediately she steps back. "I'm just asking! I never heard about it!"
Jeane and Viki also step back a few feet.
"…There's a castle called Forgotten Castle in this deep of forest…don't tell me you know nothing of it." He narrows his eye, query writes in his eye.
Helen sighs. "I never leave Protector Village before the attack. I only heard things from other villagers…I can swear, I know nothing!"
"And we are outsiders." Jeane points at herself and Viki.
Put down the dagger, Kol remains alert but at least look better than just now.
Helen cannot stands such expression appears on a young boy's face. It doesn't suit him at all. They keep walking; none of them speak a word.
Kol will checks on them once in a while with mix expression shows on his childish face. Finally he breaks the silent.
"…He is the one taught me about fighting. He told me there are a lot of treasures inside Forgotten Castle. We came together, but I being trapped here and he went first." He mutters slowly like he is talking to himself instead of talking to them. Helen quietly nods even he cannot see it.
"Are you treasure hunter?" Jeane asks.
"…Guess Tohl is, not me. I just simply follow him." 'Tohl' must be his friend's name. Looks like he quite admired his friend.
Helen feels admire toward him. She didn't think about leaving the village for once back then, never. Maybe it was due to fear or her cowardly attitude; she didn't dare to do so. Think about that making her shame at the cowardly her. She doesn't pay attention on the young boy in front of her, and almost bump into his back when he suddenly stops.
"Go straight and you can get out of here."
"Really? Wow…finally! Thanks Kol!" The trio happily hugs each other and cheers.
Kol looks away with blush on her his face. "…I've been trapped in the forest before; I know how desperate you feel…"
"Be careful, Kol." Before they separate, Helen reminds him. Seeing he nods, she quickly chases after Jeane and Viki.
While the girls finally leave the forest, the guys finally meet the first bright light after enter the forest. They quickly rush over the light.
After getting there, the first thing comes into sight is the warm bright sunlight, and then the clearly shining blue green water that reflected the sunlight, causing them to cover their eyes. Next is the old and ruined castle on the lake.
The castle is on the lake that separates by a river, making it looks like the castle is separating with the land. Behind the castle is the wide ocean.
"…Hey, it looks scary." Lirva says while eyed at the yellow white castle.
Krew agrees with him. It's so beautiful here but oddly enough, no sound can be hears. Not even birds' sing. It's deadly silent.
Something has occupied the castle.
They guys exchanged a glance; both decide to step into the castle. Push opens the front door, immediately all the dusts cover up their face. With a slight shock, they wipe off the dust, continue moving forward.
Their hands are on their swords, fully alerted. Push against another door, they go further in. the air is bad. Despite the smell of mold, they're even mix with smell of rotten foods. From their position, they can see thick moss form at the wall down to the floor. The forest is better than here…they both think inwardly.
"Krew." Lirva calls softly. He points ahead of them. Krew turns to the direction he points at, finds a person kneels down on the floor. Krew cannot justify whether that's a male or female, child or adult by just the back of the person. It's too dark here. Later, the person stands up, runs toward the door in front.
They nods and agree to follow after the person. Open the door, they find no trace of the person anymore and a new door at the end of the place. Looks around, they find themselves at a dock.
Krew gestures Lirva to get to the door. Shrugs, Lirva is about to move. Suddenly, the sound of water splash and hoarse sounded from behind them.
Since the three of them left the forest, they have taken quite a long road heading to certain place. Helen plans to get back to the Town of Chain as soon as she can, however, she doesn't know where they are heading now.
"Ugh! Where are we now!?"
Helen almost goes mad. Just she thought they finally left that damn forest, and now they lost again. She has enough of this!
"Don't give up, girl." Jeane pats her shoulder, tries to calm her down. "Look, a town."
"Town?" Helen looks up. A border of town she can see from her current position and some building too, like Jeane mentions.
"W-Why not we take a look there?" Viki suggests.
Good suggestion. Helen stands up. "Okay, let's ask them the direction." Having a goal makes her full of energy again. Not fullest, but at least.
Come down to the gate of the town, they find a tablet that wrote 'Aster' on it. As they step into the town, they immediately attract attentions from all over the town. You know why. Despite the men, even women also blush hard when they lock their sight on the woman named Jeane. And then they feel threaten by her. The next thing you can expect is commotion around which the women get flare up and pull away their men. At last the three of them get kicked out of the town by somebody.
Another desperate thing in a day…Helen decides she goes by herself, leaving the two outside of the town.
"…We're now heading south. Town of Chain is at north." Helen says helplessly. "Let's go. We still have long way to go…"
Jeane grabs her. "Wait. Shouldn't now is the time to get our silly blinking maiden to work?"
"Eh? Me? M-Me?" Viki blinks fluster.
"She? What's wrong with her?"
"Of course is to get her to teleport us back to Town of Chain."
The idea worried Helen. "But what if…?"
"Just tell her the location. I don't think there's any problem."
Helen takes a glance at Viki before she can makes any decision since she had a very bad experience from the blinking magic she used. Viki meets her glance, seriously promise her she will not fail this time.
"Y-Yes! I'll do my best!"
Helen gulps. "O-Okay…"
Then, she spends god-only-know how long just to explain the direction and location of the town to the silly Viki, as detail as she can. She doesn't want to end up teleport to an unknown place again and trap there forever.
Closing her eye, Helen feels like she is floating on the sky. Her body is so light like a feather. When she enjoys such a moment, the next thing she feels is a hard rock under her feet. Open her eye, the first thing she sees is the badge that represents Klan Kingdom hanging on the top of the border, and then a tablet wrote 'Town of Chain'.
She blinks, eye widens. She still confused with the scene in front. Klan Kingdom…and Town of Chain? Suddenly a thought hit her, jolt runs through her body as she stuns. With rush, she grabs the other two and run to the bushes aside.
"Shhh!" Helen has yet recovers from the shock just now. Fortunately they didn't find out by the guards. Good luck they are, huh? "Klan Kingdom had occupied the town, we're too late."
She really wastes too much time out there. Think of Apple reminded her to be quick before she left, she feels shame. What happened to Lirva and the others? Were they managed to escape?
"What will you going to do, Helen?" Jeane asks.
Helen remembers the draft Apple gave her. "I can sneak into the town through the underground water path. Are you coming along?"
The two nod.
They walk according to the draft, and reach the underground water path 100 meters away from town. With alert, the trio steps in to the underground water path.
It's truly the worst they ever met. All the rats moving around and cause Helen and Viki scream in fear. It really causes Helen to turn back and leave this place at this moment, if it's not under such circumstances.
"Um…? Wait." Suddenly she stops, holds the other two from moving.
"What is it?" Jeane asks as she notices her serious feature. She wonders, but then she also gets to hear some footsteps are getting nearby.
"Step back." Helen mumbles while takes out her chackrams. If possible, she will like to act first.
However, the person coming seems notice their presence as well and acts before Helen. A sword suddenly stabs toward her. She gasps, blocking it with her chackrams. The person steps back a little, again shot another attack.
"Helen!" Jeane let out her Lighting Rune spell. The person indeed is a clever one, immediately steps back before the spell hit.
"Helen?" Her name causes the person to stop from attacking. Helen hears the sound of sword being put back into the sheath. Then, the person steps out.
"So it's you." His face shows a hint of relieve while turning his head to his back. "It's fine now."
Helen finds a family with a pair of children behind Fred.
"I'll talk to you later. Let's get out of here first." He sounds a little rush. Helen can only obey his words; quickly get up with Jeane and Viki.
Probably just a few minutes they move, Helen hears more footsteps behind them, plus the sound of armors' collide. It causes Fred to stun, immediately he pulls out his sword.
"Run!" He shouts. Helen catches a glimpse of Klan Kingdom soldiers are coming this way with full armor.
Fred stays behind, tries to stop the soldiers. But he alone has no way can stop them. Some soldiers already chase up to the children that are left behind.
The girl loses balance and trips. Her probably big brother runs back to pull her up, even her parents do want. However, one of the soldiers has raises his sword, ready to slash down. Under such delicate and dangerous situation with the sword almost touches the girl, Fred grabs the sword with his bare hand, avoids her from the mostly dead state. Seeing that, Helen throws out her chackram to take out the enemy. Then, she urges Jeane and Viki get out of the place along with the family, she stays back with Fred to buy some time.
"Mr. Fred!" She looks at his bleeding palm.
"Move, quick!" Avoid all the enemies' attack, he grabs Helen and run, follows behind everyone.
Enemies still keep chasing behind. As they run, Helen finds they have away from the town, but those enemies still after them.
Grits his teeth, Fred leads them all to a thick bushes to hide, and gestures everybody to keep quiet. While observing the situation, Helen notices his hand still on her, leaving a terrible red mark. She steals a glance of him, feels sorry for him.
After making sure there's no trace of enemy, Fred has everyone out; tell them to head to Pite Harbor at west. Now only he notices his hand still on her.
"Sorry." He let go, reveals a deep cut on his palm.
"It doesn't matter; we need to meet up with Apple."
Under his guide, they manage to get down to the nearby forest where Helen got lost a while ago before the sky darkens. Since the family really needs a rest, Fred decides to rest at that area even Pite Harbor is just up ahead. They all need a good rest after what they've through.
Helen quickly falls in deep sleep not much after lays down. But somehow she feels someone pushes her and shakes her body, doing everything to wake her up.
"Big sister, is me." Cute voice comes from beside her. Helen lifts her eye and meets the girl that almost lost her life at the underground water path.
She rubs her eye. "What is it?"
"This…please gives this to big brother…" The girl hands her the herbs, point to her palm.
Helen understands what she means. "Okay, thank you."
The girl let out a shyly smile. Again she goes back to sleep.
Thinking that his wound needs to be treating, Helen get up, walks to Fred that currently resting under a tree while keeping watch at night.
"Can't sleep?" Fred switches his position to give her some spaces.
"Someone gave this to you." She shows him the herbs. "It's time to treat your wound?"
He looks down to his injured palm. "Sorry."
Helen first put those herbs into her mouth to chew into small pieces, and then applies on his wound. Lastly, she wraps up the wound by using a piece if fabric she tears from her outer clothes. This may not be the best way to treat the wound, but at least better than nothing.
"This should be fine, but I suggest you need a proper treatment."
"Don't worry about it." Fred raises a light smile while shaking his head.
"…Well, would you like to tell me what happened when I'm away?"
He told them to head Pite Harbor, so to mean Apple and the others are there. Is that mean Lirva is there too? And…why Fred stays back in the town alone?
Fred gazes at the night scene in front as the wind brushes against them, causing the leaves flow down from the tree on top.
"After you left, Krew and Lirva departed for the information given by the team, while Apple and me went to pass the news to the chief." He lowers tone his tone to avoid awaking the others. "While we were discussed the matter, both of us notices something wrong with the chief, like he was…afraid. Seeing that, Apple suggested to leave, started the other plan."
"Why…was he afraid?" She cannot understand the reason behind.
"…You just think of he's been threaten." His lips curve into a light smile.
Like a puzzle finally finds the piece, her brain becomes clear. She can imagine what happened to chief.
So in other words, the chief was probably being threatened to surrender. Flame Bronze was a good example for those who refuse to surrender. Guess no one could refuse after the incident.
Fred continues. "We got a great repay on spreading rumors early in the town on how Klan Kingdom slaughtered the peoples in Flame Bronze. It's easy for us to get the peoples out from town. Most of them escaped through the underground water path to Pite Harbor."
"However, our plan also faced a great danger. The next day, their troops invaded the town and of course towards us. We were still in the middle of retreating and things turned worst." He pauses for a while. "The worst part is…Apple was stabbed when she tried to save a little boy."
She gasps. "How come…!"
"…Lenneth leaded them away. I stayed back as bait to buy some time. That's why we met at the underground water path."
Helen nods. "Then, how is her injury?"
"…I don't know." His answer worried her more which shows on her face. "Don't worry. You will see her tomorrow."
Helen forces a smile. Then they fall into silent. The next time she speaks, she has changed the topic. "…I killed people again."
Looks like she has becomes one of those who their hands attained with blood. She thinks inwardly as she let out a bitter smile.
"You know, my palm and the girl might have gone if you didn't kill the soldier." Fred opens up his palm. "You are making the things too complicated. You're only protecting your home, don't you?"
"If someone tries to take away you home, will you resist?" Helen nods. "Everyone will acts the same way like you. The only problem is now thing turns to an insurrection."
Helen blinks at first, but then bursts out into laugh.
"…I'm sorry but…haha…I don't know how to put it, but I feel better now."
"Thesame thing like Jeane.
"Yes, I know it."
She seems misunderstood him before. She thinks he is a cold guy but look, he is actually a nice guy. He even tries to comfort her.
Yes, it's pretty simple, isn't it? They are only protecting their home. But still, it doesn't mean that she agrees to kill peoples.
"Let us bear the other things. We are a team."
Helen lifts her head, meets his smiling face. She nods and leans back to the tree. She feels so free now, until the sleepiness hit her again.
"Go to sleep. I'll watch the night." His voice fades away as she falls into sweet dream.
Kol age: 14 race: human
Come from a place called Pirate's King, a trainee treasure hunter.
Tohl age: 32 race: human
Kol's partner, a treasure hunter fromPirate's King.
Hey sorry for the late update. I'm facing some problems on my job recently and I'm still trying to cheer myself up by reading everyone's story. of course I won't let the stress kill me.
Hope you enjoy it!