Disclaimer: I do not own Maple Story. It belonged to Nexon/Wizet. However, I do own this story and the original characters in this story, included, myself of course.
Chapter 14: Past, present and future.
Flora woke up feeling her entire body aching – the pain felt like a group of horses just ran over her for the 10th time already. Brushed her messy hair off her forehead, the cleric looked around and widen her eyes in horror: Everything was frozen, snow covered the once mossy forest and several tents was destroyed. Searching through her brain, or rather wracked through it, Flora tried to remember what just happened...
"Kao, run!" Shouted Athena as another wave of fire rained down in front of her. Flora groaned and covered her head, it was pounding against her skull. Another flash of image of someone grabbing her by the hand and dragged her away before the burning tree collapsed on the cleric.
"Dang it, what happened ?" The last thing on her mind was Athena shouting about another attack of the fairy queen and then everything blackout on her. Pushing herself up, the raven hair dusted the snow off her robe and looked around: She didn't see anyone there, they either have escaped from the attack, or killed, 'I hope everybody's safe..' Prayed, the girl got up on her feet and started heading toward the biggest tree in the forest.
The door was ajar when she arrived, and Flora took a peek inside: There, she saw the three adults sitting around the wooden table, the Athena was holding Crawl with Balrog – who was sleeping comfortably in her arms. Half of their body was frozen, and the ice kept spreading as she stood there and watched. "Kao.." Whispered Athena, the blond smiled softly as the cleric entered, "Nice to see you again, unharmed and.. unfrozen.."
"Athena, what happened ?" She rushed toward to them, noticed the man in black suit with half of his face covered, "Why is everyone freezing?"
"I believe you haven't meet Lohd" Coughed the archer, pointing at the man in black. She was obviously trying to avoid answering Flora's question, "It was really nice to meet you, Kao. I do hope to see you soon, in the future..." The ice started covering every inches of her, and Athena was the first to be frozen. Turned her head sharply at Perzen, Flora saw him giving her a kind smile, somehow it was really familiar.
"Grendel! Grendel, wait!" She shouted, but the ice already covered his body. Looked desperately at the man name Lohd, she only received a shook from him.
"I'm as clueless as you, young one" He sighed and glanced at the other two, "But one thing I know, I'll become the greatest Dark Lord in near future.. if I have a future. That old man Perzen...". He closed his eyes and the ice covered him as well. Standing in the room, all alone, she felt hot tears ran down on her cheek. Flora never felt so useless in her entire life, watching them freezing and unable to do anything...
"Flora! Flora!" She heard someone shouting her name from the book shelf. Wiped away her tears, the cleric looked back and forth and saw her pixies locked inside a small cage, hanging down from the ceiling.
"Lulu! Nono! Lana!" She gasped, almost forgot about them. The last time she left them, they were with Grendel and unconscious. Rushing to them, Flora tried to open the door, but it didn't bothered to move even an inch. The pixies was panicked, trying to slide through the hole, but it was too small for them. Gritted her teeth, Flora tried to use force on that cave by ripping the door off, but it didn't work, "Shit! Who made this cage anyway ?"
"Your Highness, the tiny fairies is in here. We locked them in a cage." Flora startled when she heard voices outside the tree house. Quickly shoved the cage inside her bag, the cleric back away from the door when it was pushed open, revealed a fairy with purple and black wings, wore a purple dress and held a shiny wand. Followed her a group of smaller fairies in armor and held spear. "Human!" They shouted and circled around the Queen – the cleric assumed, and held out their weapon in an act of defend.
"Ellin.." The queen fairy growled, and turned to the green haired fairy behind her, "You said the humans was frozen, every single one of them! How come there is one that isn't frozen ?"
"I...I don't know... I'm sorry Ephenia..." Ellin stuttered, and Ephenia slapped her across the face, "Guard! Tied her down!". The fairy guards flew forward and stabbed her with their spears. It didn't hurt, but Flora couldn't fight back as she tried to hide her pixies from their sights. The ropes was tied around her wrists and ankles, making Flora tripped and fell down underneath Ephenia. The queen held a disgusted look for her, but soon focused on the object beside her, which unfortunately, was the small cage...
"Oh ? What do we have here ?" Bending down to pick the cage up, Ephenia narrowed her eyes, "Little fairies ? Interesting.." Poking her finger in and touched Lulu's head, she messed her hair with a few rub and chuckled, "What did this human do to you, poor things ?". The pixies couldn't say a word, fearing they would upset the queen and might harm Flora, "Head back to the castle, bring her with us." Pointed at the cleric, Ephenia flew outside the tree house, still holding the cage in her hand...
"Human! Your food!" Said one of the guard as she pushed the bowl of water and berries through the iron gate. Glanced at the bowl, she sighed and hugged her knees – she didn't know how long she had stayed in this dirty cell, hours ? Days ? Who knew. Her stomach growled, and the cleric reached out to get some of the berries.
'Is this even edible ?' She asked herself, looked at it before took a small bite. Sweet, maybe too sweet for her taste, the berry's juice dripped down from her chin, leaving a small, blood like red stain on her white robe. The tip of her tongue stung, and she instantly spitted the berry out, 'Poisoned berries ?' Flora thought, 'The queen wants to get rid of me already ?'. Glanced at the guard, the cleric saw her was eating the same berries she was given, even some purple fruit while drinking from a bowl, "Stop! Those berries are poisoned!" She shouted at the guard, trying to get her attention.
"Poisoned ? Nonsense, we have grown the Royal berries for hundreds of years." She laughed, "Be graceful that you even have the chance to eat it." Bit down on the purple fruit, the guard chewed it for a few second. Her eyes suddenly opened wide before she coughed, throwing up the fruit, "H-help.. me.." She started choking and turned to Flora.
The cleric glanced around the cell – her bag was taken away from her, with all the herbs and potion. Didn't have any other choice, she picked up and bowl of clear water and made the guard drank it, before forcefully patted on her back. The fairy threw up even more, the already eaten berries turned in a shade of dark purple, "T-thank you.." Looking up at, she smiled weakly, "I'll, um.. speak to the queen about this.."
"So you said that our food is poisoned ? And that filthy human saved you ?" Ephenia said in a bored tone , glanced at the cleric, "And what if I said they aren't ?"
"Then can you eat this ?" Snatched the bowl of berries, Flora placed it in front of the fairy queen and gave her a stern gaze. Ephenia raised an eye brow at her, before she sharply turned her head and shouted.
"Ellin, get over here!" The green haired fairy poked her head out from behind the curtain and slowly walked out, biting her lips nervously. "According to this human, our food is poisoned. You, being the garden fairy, is the care taker of the garden. Explain ?"
"Y-yes my queen..." Ellin stuttered, "A couple of weeks ago, a different h-human broke in and poured s-something in our s-spring...". The purple haired fairy widen her eyes and started shouting something, but Flora couldn't make out what she was shouting, a couple of guards came running in and dragged Ellin away. A part of the raven haired girl felt guilty for Ellin when Ephenia slapped her across the face before she was dragged away, but she couldn't do anything about it.
"And you, human!" Flora started at the queen's voice and stood up straight, hiding her hand behind her back, "Since it's your human fault, you will fix it!"
"My words are order! Now go if you ever want to see your little friends again!" Pointed at the golden cage hanging by her throne, Ephenia smirked when the cleric looked down at her feet. From inside the cage, the pixies looked desperately at Flora when she was shoved outside the door...
"The queen has kindly letting you lend a robe and some potion." Said the guard as she gave Flora those item, "I believe this is yours ?" Holding out her bag, the fairy girl gave it back to it's owner.
"But how do I fix this ? The man was here weeks ago..."
"Mhm.." The guard placed a finger on her lips, before she looked around to make sure no one can here them, "Look, I'm not suppose to help human, but since you saved my life, I'll tell you this: From here, go up North and you will find a weird cave. We aren't allowed to go inside after a group went in and never came back. But beware, the guardian of the cave won't let you get pass without a fight."
"I understand. Thank you." Flora nodded thankfully, before she hugged the fairy. The girl looked confuse when the cleric let go of her, "Oh, and that's how human shows our emotion.". She was still confuse when Flora put on the robe and pulled the hood over her head and ran off in the snow...
Headed to where the camp was, Flora kept glancing back and forth to check if anybody followed her. The ice and frozen people remained the same, but she noticed something were off: New footprints. According to the fairy guard, she has stayed in their castle for roughly a week already – plenty of time for the snow to cover her and the group's footprints at the camp. But these footprints were new, who ever were here couldn't have gone too far. Pulled out her staff from the leather belt, she gripped on it and headed where the footprints lead...
'South Ellin island ?' Stared at the wooden sign, Flora mentally slapped her forehead. That person, whoever they were, knew she was following them and has lead her around the forest and somehow she ended up where she first came into this forest, 'I'm wasting time...' Thought the cleric before she was about to head back to the camp again, until she noticed something was glowing behind a big oak tree.
"An egg ?" Flora widen her topaz colored eye at the giant egg inside a big nest, covered in leaves. The shell was glowing blue, and there was a golden symbol on top of the shell. About to reached out and touched it, Flora soon realized it was impossible – when the tip of her finger was only an inch away from the shell, something prevented her to made contact with that weird egg, and after several tries, she gave up trying to touch it. "Which creature left it here ?" Asked herself, she circled around it...
..to find a man, unfrozen, resting by the egg. He seemed worn out, and judging by that robe of his, Flora assumed he was a magician, "H-hey.. Hey Mister, are you alright ?" Poking his arm, but the man didn't move, not one bit. Flora poked him a couple of time, but someone suddenly appeared from behind and pulled her back, covering her mouth, 'The hell ?' Flora quickly stomped on that person's foot and shoved him off her before turned around, aimed to attack.
"Ouch, Kao! It's just me!" Tess hissed and bended down to rub his poor foot, "Why did you attack me ?"
"Who wouldn't, when you sneaked up from behind ?" Lowered her weapon down, the cleric sighed in relief, knowing she wasn't the only one around this forest, "Wait, why wasn't you frozen like the other ?"
"I don't remember much..." He rubbed the back of his neck nervously, "But I do remember that while we trying to fend off those annoying fairy, something exploded with weird blue light. I fell off the cliff and was trying to swim back when it happened, so I guess I'm not frozen like the rest of the camp, maybe ?"
Flora remained silent. So the last explosion that hit the tree house was the cause ? Then why didn't she and that unconscious man didn't get frozen ? Maybe she was from the future, but that man ? "Is he alright ?"
"He's dead." Said Tess as he leaned in and brushed a few of his auburn locks off his forehead, "Found him next to that egg and I settled him next to it."
"Oh.." Flora felt her heart sunk it. Turning around to see some flowers grew around a tree, she picked a couple and placed them on the dead man's chest, gently placed his hand on the flowers, "Rest in peace.." Place her hand on the crotch of her neck, Flora remained still for a full minute before turned around.
"Hey, where are we going ?" Asked Tess as he tugged on the sleeve of her robe for the 10th time already.
"I'm going to the cave up North Ellin" She gritted through her teeth, the weather was getting on her as well, "You are going back to the camp!"
"Hold it, did I hear you say 'cave up North' ?" Tess suddenly grabbed her wrist and pulled the cleric back, "No way you're going there alone! Chaos will kill you!" He exclaimed in a dramatic way.
"And who is this Chaos ?"
"Dang it woman, I thought Athena told you this before!" The warrior knocked on the top of her head a couple of times, "Chaos is the leader of that wild boars group. The North side belongs to it and that pig will kill anyone who enters it's territory."
Face-palmed, Flora turned around and explained everything to him: How the fairy's food was poisoned and why she must go and fix what 'human' did to them. "Now if you excuse me, I'm wasting time here and I have to go now!"
"I'll come with you. Maybe I'll come in handy." Sighing, Flora threw her head back and stared blankly at the sky, a single snowflake landed on her nose.
"Fine, you can come. But please, keep your mouth shut!" The guy was annoying, but Flora figured he could at least put up a decent fight and buy her some times when she need it...
The trees were shorter and thinner as the two of them traveled up North. Took another small bite from her chocolate bar, Flora washed it down with some water and wiped the corner of her mouth. It has been two day of none stop walking, only rested when the sun comes down and continued before sunrise, but still no sight of the cave nor any wild boars, "Maybe we got lost ?" Asked Flora.
"No, we're pretty close.." Tess pointed at the wooden sign saying 'Danger ahead. Turn back!' and the cleric picked up her own weapon. A couple of slime bounced past them, harmless as they squealed in their own language before they left. One of them left a golden, glowing arrow behind, and the warrior picked it up, "Another person was here ?"
"No time for that!" Flora mumbled and dragging him outside the forest and stopped in front of a small road that leads to a rocky mountain, "This is pretty much the end of the forest. That cave must be somewhere around here..."
The ground suddenly trembled underneath their feet as a huge creature appeared from behind the tall bushes: It was a giant boar, taller than Flora herself and covered in fur dark brown, it's long fangs hanging upward from the corner of it's mouth as the beast stared at them angrily. "Have any plan ?"
"..Sadly, no.." She shook her head as Chaos charged toward to them...
A/n: Hey guys and gals, I'm back. Sorry for the late update, I got a little bit writer block, but I do hope you forgive me, I'll try to update faster next time.
A few things I need to point out: When you go to Ellin forest in game, that's around the time where the five Heroes fought against Black Mage and if you notice, Athena and the group escape to Ellin forest before the fight begin (In Aran's flashback). After the fight, Mercedes went back to Ellue, which is located North near the camp (That explain the golden arrow those slime drop, as she killed 10 of them before get frozen) and Freud, who must have left the last Onyx dragon egg somewhere near present Henesys, aka South Ellin forest since Evan found it somewhere between Henesys's rain forest and Ellinia forest.
One more thing, since Nexon oh so kindly screwed up the plots by saying the fight between the Heroes and Black Mage happened hundreds of years ago and yet Kyrin's father fought against him while his pregnant wife escape (Do the quest 'Yuris sudden craving' to find out), so I'll put it this way: Kyrin's father did fought against Black Mage and helped sealed him, but Black Mage's spell affect the entire Maple world, frozen them. The Heroes took the full blow so they thaw out last. Hope it will clear thing up.
Read and review!