It was a quiet day at the Momo Plains. The serenity stood still, only to be occasionally disturbed by passing travellers and critters alike. Southern winds billowed around, dragging along fallen leaves across the green landscape. A few birds could be seen chirping blissfully overhead, some not-so-energetic ones were sleeping on their nests at the top of the trees, away from the lingering dangers from wild mobs on the ground. Other than that, there was no other soul. The silence was literally deafening, just the way I liked it.
I fixed my gaze once again on my target. My legs stood straight, my bow aimed true, and my eyes focused. The wind direction was perfect, there's no way I would miss it!
For a moment I could swear there's a Wild West soundtrack playing in the background.
The arrow left my bow, soaring silently as it broke the wind resistance effortlessly. The hushed whistle sounded like a dinner's bell. The waiting part after that was rather uneventful. Then snap! A satisfying crunch accompanied with small yelp could be heard from a distance. The whimpering beast had no chance.
I broke my hardened stance, readied myself to call it a day. I flicked my dark, long tail in excitement, my yellow Rodeo Hat fell down slightly from the movement. Good thing I don't have any silly halo. Strapped my Ancient Bow on my side, I walked steadily to my small bounty. It wouldn't make any satisfying meal, but at least I could try my newest recipe. Now where did I put that grocery list...
The chimes on the door clattered pleasantly on my arrival. I was greeted by a soft layer of dust, coating almost every furniture. Guess someone was being lazy around this part. The gentle breeze of the southern winds flowed in merrily through the half-opened window, cooling down the damp interior of the cottage. I tried to flap my dark wings a few times to circulate the fresh air, but it did little to help. This small cottage on the western side of the Fareast City I bought two years ago. Rather shabby for a permanent residency, but the homey feels were uncanny.
After I put down the hapless Wild Boars on the kitchen table, I slammed my rump on the nearest Brown Couch. Savouring this moment kindly, I crooked my back, cracking a few vertebrae here and there. How relaxing. I let my body slide down lazily on the small, downy heaven. I could feel my skirt lifted all the way to my waist, while my tail twisted under the pressure. Screw modesty, this is my house, it's not like I could go home everyday.
"You up yet?" I called to upstairs.
No answer. He was sleeping I guess. Now back to work! I jumped from the couch, barely missed the forsaken Drawer. After a few while I took off my Rodeo Jacket and changed into a more comfortable Leather Dress. You couldn't cook a damn thing with that sickly bust revealing vest, and I loved to be able to move my tail freely without being seen. I took my trusty cleaver, put on my imaginary chef hat, and started skinning on the tough leather.
As I worked on the dinner, I sensed a faint presence walked down the stairs.
"So, how's the school?" I asked without looking away from my little cookery.
Again, only silence. My little brother could be a royal pain in the butt sometimes. I chopped a good portion of meat from the bones in one swing, involuntarily my tail wagged around like a puppy.
"Help yourself and wash the plates! We gonna have a big party tonight~" I sang the last sentence happily. Finally, after two whole tiresome weeks doing those assignment here and there, I could spend three days without ever lifting a single arrow.
"Dig them up" I put down the plates and bowls and everything else on the table, our small dining table. The pork stew and the freshly cooked rice emitted a pleasant aroma, quickly my mouth watered on the mere sight of it. Some freshly picked oranges and carrots I just bought also helped to decorate the seemingly fancy dinner. "I know you're hungry. Don't be such a silly boy, you know you can put down the manners in front of your big sister!" I said as I took the furthest seat from the window.
I playfully picked a stray carrot from the basket. Nibbled a little bit on the tip, the simple earthly flavour was to die for. I pointed at the steamy stew using the poor carrot, "I remembered, two weeks ago you said you want me to cook something for you. Betcha you thought I forget, eh?"
Continued snacking on the yellow stick like a stray rabbit, I moved on with my ramblings. "This two weeks had been extremely hectic! They ordered us lot to go here and there, securing whatnot from the invisible nothing, looking over for someone who never existed, sometimes they even sent me alone to secure a hill. A single plain hill! Don't you believe that? They though someone will be stupid enough to try and claim that secluded hill without any strategic value or anything at all."
With a loud crunch I finished the yellow snack. "At times us mercenaries often wonders, just why the superiors got restless lately. There's even some bad rumours. Most of the times we can't really care, at least the paycheck was good, eh."
I looked past the yet to be touched meals. My eyes met nothing.
"Eat, young man! You know you need the bulk. You won't grow to be the greatest archer if you're... hungry."
A small, dark-winged body could be seen sprinting across the overly-jammed market in the Downtown , calling no little amount of cursing and yelling from any and all bodies she ran into. In her hand she clutched a clump of stale bread, she held to it dearly as if it was her own brother. With no little effort she kicked onto the ground, desperately trying to gain as much distance from her pursuer.
"Come back here you insufferable rat!"
The frustrated cry only made her run faster. Just a few steps more! She said to herself. As she changed her pace to take the sudden turn, a stocky arm grasped her shoulder tightly. Without a single pause the little girl clasped her jaws as hard as she could, eliciting a grunted yelp for the captor. Using the small window of opportunity she slipped under the tables, went into the narrow alley, and disappeared without a trace.
"That Dominion bastard..." the muscular Emilian baker looked at his hand for any sign of infection.
"Why didn't you just let her go?" said an aged fruit vendor lady next to him. "You know her kind. Living on the street without any parents or siblings."
The baker only shot her a smirked look, "That kid alone could drive me out of business! It's the fifth bloody time this week! And it's still Tuesday!"
"Oh you overreacting old coot."
The debating continued. While the two merchants argued, the said little girl cowered under the shadow. She never wanted to steal anything at all, but she couldn't help it. Crawled slowly under many stray pipes and cables, she made her way to her shelter. Her petite wings more often than not got strangled by the mess, she paid no heed to such small details. After a few while she reached a small hole on the brick wall. She carefully crept inside.
"Hey. I got bread." The girl offered her loot to a figure in the shadow, curled in a tight roll in a worn blanket. A muffled sound could be heard, between the sobs and groans. Small hand timidly reached over the bread. Within a single breath the huddled figure shoved all the food in his mouth.
"Don't eat too fast, Jasie." The girl reminded her younger brother, which seemingly chewing the threat in bliss. She took sitting position beside the breadcrumb mess. Couldn't stand the sight of her younger brother in such condition, she forced herself to sleep.
I smiled. He would never be hungry anymore. Not when I worked as a mercenary for the Eastern Front. I wouldn't allow it, ever again.
Grabbed yet another stick of carrots, I took a large bite out of its chunky flesh. Taste like dirt, but still good.
"Come on, what are you waiting for? Mmhm take a look at all that stew!" I stirred the pork stew a few times, the ensuing aroma swirl could easily drive anyone to a rabid eating stance. I flicked my tail, my mouth watered again, but I resolved my heart. "You eat first, I'm not hungry."
"Are you sure"
"Sure I am!"
It was a clear night. The starts shined brightly across the heavens, granting any and all travelers to marvels at their beauty. The night breeze flowed gently, giving a mysterious vibes in the already mystical air. The darkness crept over the capital, but for two of its denizen, it was the only time they could actually relax outside their shelter.
A pair of Dominion children sat at the edge of the Uptown's pier, watching transport ships sailed in and out from the docks. The smaller one, a boy no older than the first grader, could be seen eating a bowl of vegetable broth. His older sister sat on his side, tried to look indifferent while playing with her ragged cloth. The life had been rather uneventful for the last few weeks. It seemed someone had been dropping them food intentionally. It wasn't enough for both of them, but at least the older one didn't have to loot around anymore.
"I'm full!" The lousy boy claimed, his hand offered his sister the half-filled bowl.
"No you're not Jas. You have to eat it all, or you'll stay short."
His sister nonchalantly waved away the bowl. The smell was nerve-wracking, but she knew her brother need it more. A faint breeze whiffed at their rather unprotected skins, they fluttered their petite wings in a faint attempt to warm themselves.
After a few moments, the one named Jas broke the silence. "Are we gonna be okay, sis?"
The sagged girl could only sighed, "I don't know." She grabbed the smaller form of her brother in a tight hug. "But I promised I'll do my best! No matter what happened, we will stick together! Got that?"
Jas could only give a faint smile. He couldn't hear any sign of confidence in his sister' voice. But somehow he felt more relaxed in his sister' presence. He rested his head on her arm, their legs dangled slightly at the edge of the wooden structure. "Sure sis."
Both of the little demon stared silently at the black horizon. They couldn't see anything past twenty or so meters, but the tranquillity soothed their mind. Jas tried to look at the stars. His jaw was dropped in a cartoony manner as he saw something that he never thought possible before.
"Look! Sis, the stars are falling from the sky!" His arm flailed wildly at the sky, trying to get his sister's attention. "A falling stars! Look sis!" He practically screamed, seemingly blissful at the fact that it was dead midnight.
His sister could only muster enough enthusiasm to look up. "Shush, you're making a scene. What's so interesting...?"
As she looked on the heavens above, her words simply left her mind on a blank state. A full-fetched cosmos wonders was at play in her sight. Hundreds after hundreds of speeding rays of light dashed on the unusually bright night sky. The sheer amounts of the shooting stars was nigh irrational, she knew she should be scared on about what kind of omen is this, but she found herself tightened her grip on her brother, as if an invisible force could take his away from her any second.
"I told you sis! This is the best night ever!" Barely contained his excitement, Jas was moving around erratically despite his sister's best effort to keep him pinned down the earth. In all of his excitation, a few words escaped his mind. "I want to shoot them down."
His sister was struck by this sudden outburst. "Excuse me?"
"I want to shoot the stars!" Jas turned his face to face his sister. "I will be the best archer this world ever see. One time in the future, I will be able to reach them with my arrow!"
His face was filled with such a serene, contagious joy. His sister could only watch as he mimicked a bow and pretend shooting one of the stars down from the heaven. She didn't have the gut to break his newfound dream. Everyone knows that the stars was so high and faraway, the prospect to shoot one down was nothing but laughable.
"And after you shot one down, what's next?" She could only ask the immediate question that formed in her head. Silly boys, she thought to herself.
"Of course I'll give them to you, sis!"
There was silence. She stopped hugging Jas so tightly, she found herself soon drawn blank from his yet another random outburst.
Noticed his sister's scepticism, Jas straightened his body and playfully nudged his sister's cheek. "You're the best sister anyone could have asked for. This the only way I can repay the debt!"
Smiled slightly, she could only squeaked timidly when Jas gave her the biggest hug he had ever done. Both of them laughed heartily soon after that, never they thought they will be this somewhat sentimental to each other. They lied down on the wooden pier, relishing at the sight of the last shooting stars up on the heavens.
"It was horrible."
"Yes it is, but no one could do anything about it."
"The Charity Home should have known!"
Snows fell silently on the jammed street. The weather was freezing, but it did little to lessen the crowd.
"They escaped our surveillance many times before. We've tried to find them, but they always slipped away."
"But someone out here must have seen them running around on the streets!"
"I'm sorry ma'am, but we've done what we could. Please, you're upsetting her."
The green-uniformed guards were forming half-circle around the Beginner School's entrance on Eastern Acronia Plain. The crowd started to thin out by the guards' order. Soon, there were none but two Eastern Faction guards. From the inside they could hear a muffled sound, cries from a small one. Their stern look wavered a little, but they stood still nevertheless.
Inside the makeshift medical facility inside the building, two figures could be seen. One Titanian doctor, squatted silently in front of a weeping smaller, dark-winged form. The doctor tried his best to present himself as a strong anchor for this smaller, more fragile soul, but she never cooperated. She kept wailing miserably despite his best effort.
"I... I killed him! I've killed him!"
"It's nobody fault, you of all people should have known that."
"B-But... I-" Her words have failed her too much in one day. She couldn't bring herself to talk anymore.
The doctor said nothing, he could only done so much within his power. He looked back at the blanketed body on the bed. Lied motionless on the cold mattress, a small boy breathed his last breath due to prolonged cold trauma. This winter had been very unforgiving, even the wealthiest of the noble said they were freezing despite their thick fur blanket. He just couldn't even imagine what kind of hell these two have trodden.
Before he finished his train of thoughts, a woman entered into the room, she introduced herself to the doctor as the Charity Homes' representative. The doctor felt a small pang of guilt for not being able to do anything, but relieved nevertheless. The young lady sat silently at the side of the crying girl on the floor, decided to let the girl alone to her own pace.
Sensed a new source of warmth, the little girl quickly squeezed herself at the elder's side, sobbing silently. After a few while, the young lady asked the little girl if she was okay, which only received a nod as an answer.
"What's your name, little one?" She asked slowly.
The little girl didn't answer right away. She just felt content to lean on her newest living couch.
The young lady asked again, "You know I need a name to call you, little sunshine." She leaned closer to get a better look on the cowering little form. "My name is Yosephine, pleased to meet you."
After a moment of doubt, the little girl answered, "I don't have a name. No one ever gave any to me."
Absorbing this new information, Yosephine couldn't help but to be surprised. She looked at the little girl and said, "Would you like me to give you a name, then?"
If there was any sign of rejection, the little girl never showed any. She just nodded very slightly.
Yosephine smiled at her positive reaction, "Then please allow me to call you Nediva. How does that sound?"
A look of enthusiasm formed on her face. The little girl smiled at her new name.
"Good! Let's find you a new home, then," Yosephine assisted her to stand up cautiously, afraid to disturb her already fragile wings. "I'll find us some breakfast, you need to gain some weight, Nediva."
The newly named Nediva only gave her new guardian a happy nod. Then they walked together, out from the medical room, into a new place
The clock chirped twelve times, indicated the day already reached another start. I looked at the already cold, still untouched pork stew. All the oranges and carrots, remained motionless, while the cutlery stood faithfully in their places. I played with my thumbs, waiting for something I've known very impossible to happen.
I stood from my seat, slowly walked around the table. My fingers traced along the fine furniture. I could feel the refined smooth texture, caused by overly sanding. I touched the glasses, the plates, the bowls and the baskets. I spent a moment to relish the touch of the ladle spoon, still waiting for a hand to use it. Stirred the stew slowly, I could no longer sensed any aroma from it.
My tail flickered impatiently. I paced myself to the chair nearest to the half-opened window. Gentle breeze of warm night sky flowed in, I greeted them with a simple smile. Looked down on the unmistakably empty chair, I could feel nothing. At first, there was nothing. With sickeningly increasing pace, I felt something. I slowly crouched down at the side of the chair. My simple, wooden chair. I rested the side of my head, pressing my right ear to the seat, trying to find if there's something I could hear. Closing my eyes, my arm ran across the seat's ever smooth surface, savouring any texture from it. I wish I could hear his voice, just one last time.
The clock chirped once, announcing the time for any willing listeners.
Hesitantly I stood. Walked away from the seat, from the stew, from the table. I grabbed my Ancient Bow and my marble-white Quiver. After a few adjustment, I walked outside.
The entire glory of the dark heavens greeted my steeps. Southern Winds blown with her full strength, slapping my already long fringe on my face. My Leather Dress swayed slightly in the wind. The soft autumn scent danced in my nose, announcing Mother Nature's will in the next few months. I glared on the landscape before me. Darkness danced through the land, unconquered, seemingly ready to provide a means of camouflage to all things with claws. Fixed my gaze on a certain wooden plank on the other side of the hill, I took one arrow. My bows in my left hand, dangling freely. An arrow in my right hand, ready to pierce anything in my command. I took a breath in.
Within a heartbeat, I pulled my bow, fixed my arrows, claimed my aim, true to my target. In one finality I released the my death grip on the arrow. Blazing silently in the night, the arrow never gave any sign of defiance, quickly hit its assigned target. Right in the middle. Quickly I took another arrow, and fired it to the furthest wooden plank I've set few months earlier. Without waiting for any verification, I fired another arrow, and another, and another, and finally the last.
I took my self-crafted steel arrow, sensing her special weight, I readied my aim. Instead shooting in horizontal plane, I aimed to the heavens.
"One time in the future, I will be able to reach them with my arrow!"
Claimed my aim to the brightest star above, I released her.
The hummed whistle she produced, sounded like a Death's call. After she reached her highest peak, she barreled down to earth in a deadly ferocity. Less than a heartbeat later she truck down on an apple tree, claimed along her down to earth a few shattered apples. The steel arrow still stood intact, pierced the ground proudly, leaving a few apple bits around her vicinity.
To the stars above.
I laughed hysterically. Dropped myself on the ground, my body lied flat on the ground, eyes to the skies above, I wouldn't care if my dress got dirty again. The stars shone in their full glory, unobstructed by any untamed clouds and such. The cosmos greeted me like an old friend, even when I just sent an arrow to her face. I took a deep breath, such wonders of nature, the night and her entirety. I could lie down here forever.
But not tonight I guess. I still have things to do.
"Are you sure?"
I took my bow and my everything from the locker. These last few days had been very dull. Other than screaming crows and doing the laundry, nothing really happened. I walked toward the grunt man, my superior.
"You will now took the patrol around the Morthgue Cliff. As usual, reports everything that wasn't supposed to be there." He sighed, after a few moment scrambling around with the paper, he finally handed me the paycheck. "You really sure you don't want to take another days off? You've been working your ass some mighty one out there."
I shrugged. "You can't be the best if you're slacking off!"
As I leaved the building, I recited my own little promise.
I will shoot down the stars
This is my second work here. As you can see, it's rather cheesy and maybe it got lots of unseen mistakes here and there. Please feel free to points out anything that's wrong