{. AUTHOR'S NOTE: Thanks for the reviews! If you like the story so far, please make sure to read on. c: I'm really excited to finally be finishing this fic. I started it about a year ago on my deviantART account but didn't ever have the time or inspiration needed to finish it. But now I can't stop writing this, haha! x") Oh, and I'm sorry if the fact that the chapters are broken into little segments bothers anyone, but I thought that it was the best way to make it flow better without having overly-awkward transitions. ^_^;


The sun's burnt orange glow greeted me as my eyes opened into small slits. I groaned in dismay when I realized dawn had come already. The night before I had collapsed into a tired fit at the edge of town, opting to rest under the stars instead of in the crowded health center.

Worry had invaded my head, resulting in a little amount of sleep. As I got up now, I was seriously beginning to regret allowing my thoughts to have kept me awake. I sighed heavily, stretching my arms to the sun-streaked sky.

A tiny Patrat was curled upon a tree branch way above me, lightly snoring as its pelt fluffed up in the breeze. Smiling at its deceitfully adorable appearance, I began my trek towards the outskirts of the city.

x-x

N gave me a slight frown as I approached him. "You don't look well rested."

I shook my head. I knew my hair was a tangled mess (I quickly threw it into a ponytail after gawking at my appearance by a riverbed earlier), my face was flushed, and I had small bruises and cuts from the day before. Not to mention a badly scraped knee from our collision. There was no real need to explain myself, so I kept silent as he went on.

"We're going to set off anyways," he shrugged, "though I'm sure you'll be fine."

"So... where are we going, exactly?" I asked a little too eagerly, bouncing on the soles of my shoes. I hadn't the slightest idea where he planned to journey to first.

"A small village named Redwood." His lips curled into a smile. "It's in a secluded area northeast of here, but there is a modern path to it, thankfully."

"What are we going to do there? Is it just the first rest stop, or...?"

"Its people are familiar with the legendary tale." His gaze bore into mine. "They pass the story from generation to generation. Surely they would be able to give us more information? "

A chill went down my spine. Something about his dark gaze and the tone of his voice made me shiver. It was just so... odd. He had an alluring way of speaking, almost as if he was attempting to hypnotize the listener. I quickly shrugged off the feeling of discomfort and started walking, picking a random direction in my haste. "Alright, let's go then!"

"Ah, White?" N called, still standing in the same spot.

"What?"

"You're going the wrong way." He smirked.

x-x

The wind carried the red and yellow leaves in a beautiful dance above our heads as we walked into a quite woodland area. Patrats hungrily scavenged the forest floor for berries. Pidoves flew along with the wind and leaves, twirling and turning delicately. Their small wings fluttered a bit as they delicately carved their way through the sky, and I couldn't stop myself from smiling at their beauty.

One of them cawed excitedly and broke formation to fly towards me. It landed lightly on my arm, brushing its head against my cheek.

N glanced over and smiled. Gingerly, he reached out a hand to pat my new feathered friend on the head. It chirped happily before flying off.

"That was... interesting." I murmured.

"Well... the direction they're heading is the same route we have to take. Funny," he chuckled, "It's as if they plan to show us the way."

"Yeah," I stared at the sky as the Pidoves flew on. "Odd..."

We continued on in silent awe due to the fact that there was so much to see - pebble-stoned rivers, enormous waterfalls, quiet meadows... eventually, however, we reached our destination.

Trees lined the gravel pathway we walked upon. A clearing could be seen in the distance, beckoning us with a dense yellow light. Old buildings loomed over the mountainside.

"I think we're here."

x-x

The sun was beginning to sink low in the horizon as N and I walked into the village. Streaks of yellow, pink, and red tainted the blue sky, warning us to find a rest stop soon. Despite the hour, the village was bustling with people. Their faces were bright and cheerful, and an aura of tranquility hung in the air.

I smiled as a small boy tripped while kicking a ball to a little girl. He kicked it too far, however, and I watched as it rolled right up to N's shoes. He stood stiffly as the boy went to retrieve it.

"Thanks, mister! You stopped it just in time." With a smile and wave, he and the girl ran off into the bustling crowd of villagers.

N stayed still and silent, his expression unreadable.

"What's with you?" I asked, thoroughly surprised at his odd reaction.

He shook his head. "Nothing. Let's just find the house we came here for."

x-x

In the center of the village stood an immense, ancient-looking building. It towered over the others, signifying its own importance. A sign was placed before the door: "DANGER. KEEP OUT UNLESS AUTHORIZATION."

"Huh... that's strange." I said as N and I gazed over the building.

"Perhaps it's too old to be safe?" N suggested. I shrugged, not knowing the answer and much too tired to care at the moment.

We continued walking through the crowds until we reached a small cottage.

Yet another sign was placed by a door - this one had "Elder Crecil's House" written on it, with various stars and abstract shapes around the text.

"Well, I hope this is the place..." N knocked on the front door. A frail-looking woman of many years opened it. Though her body and expression bore the marks of a tiresome lifetime, her eyes were shimmering pools of wisdom.

"Hello, young ones. I am Crecil. What would you like?" Crecil smiled brightly.

"It's going to take a while to explain..." I grimaced.

Crecil was silent for a moment, her eyes darting back and forth between N and me.

"Alright then," she finally sighed, "come inside."

x-x

Crecil's house was relatively simple - just a small brown rug, a table, and old wooden floors. She sat down on the rug and motioned for us to do the same.

"I know why you're here." She smiled. "You wish to hear the legends, do you not?"

I was tempted to tell her that we already knew the basics of the legend, so we could skip the prolonged tales for now... but she went on before I could speak.

"But alas, you already know! Otherwise, why would you be here?" She cackled softly to herself. The breath of the wind carries ancient stories through the heaviest rains... thus creating a legend. Though, if you ask me," her eyes glinted mischievously, "This one is of much greater importance than others. Not a work of fiction, as some may say. And with that..." She smiled as she slowly stood up. I glanced over at N as her gave me a tiny nod. We stood up with her. "I have something to show you. The scrolls of legend lie here with me."

She pulled out two scrolls from a drawer in the table, handing a navy blue one to N. "This scroll contains a map. And this one has secrets within it that may help you. But, alas... there are many scrolls in my drawer. If I have been mistaken in the correct map's whereabouts, then come back hastily!" She smiled warmly.

"Thank you so much for your help!" I smiled at Crecil.

N grinned like a child who had just received a pound of candy and began walking out the door. "Yes, thank you!" His call could be heard from outside already. "Coming, White?"

I sighed and shook my head at his impatience, glancing at Crecil, who was cackling again - clearly, she was amused. But suddenly, she looked stricken, her face a powdered pale. In a split second, her whole mood had changed.

"What happened...?" I wondered aloud.

"Child, listen to me..." Crecil grabbed my shoulders. "Beware of danger in him. I sense an obscure spirit lurking around his presence. You must be careful."

I fought the urge to raise an eyebrow, skeptical of her warning. But I nodded politely in response. No need to be disrespectful, I suppose... especially since she'd helped us so much already.

And with that, I set off again. "Goodbye! Thank you for everything!" I called as I walked down another gravel pathway to catch up with N.

"Goodbye!" Crecil waved from her doorway. "And heed my warning..." She had a grave look on her face, shuddering as she spoke.

Oh boy. This was going to be a long journey.