By Lexi Anders
Dayken stood looking out at the violet-tinged sky. Lazy orange clouds drifted by, only broken up by the kite-wielding Airheads who soared from estate to estate.
While the average knight was unconcerned by these comings and goings, Dayken felt a knot of dread in his stomach as he watched them. How could they stand to do such dangerous travel, leagues above the sky? He counted his blessings that he was stationed permanently on (mostly) solid cloud.
“Dayken!!!” Noblesse Viccelia called to him.
Here it comes . . . He turned his attention to her ladyship and braced for whatever unreasonable demand she might have.
The Noblesse studied her fingernails for a minute, flipped her golden hair and then looked at him again.
“I need you to fetch some chili peppers for me.”
“But, milady, those are only grown on the ground. And they’re spicy! Wouldn’t you rather have a rainberry or a sunshroom?”
“No! I want something exotic and new. And since you come from the Earth Kingdom you will be the most suited to fetch them for me.”
“I would like to please you, but you know my station requires I stay and defend, milady-“
“Nonsense!! The time of peace has come and we don’t have to fear other kingdoms- your own presence here should be a testament to that. Unless you’re plotting against the Viccelia family??”
“No, of course not, milady! It’s only-“
“Then, stop your excuses! Need I remind you that our family’s Blade is in the third order of the Sky Kingdom? Should you refuse my order I may take offense.”
Seriously? She was practically threatening war over peppers.
“Forgive me, milady.” he bowed, keeping the annoyance inside. “I shall fetch them shortly.”
“That’s what I thought. You can’t be so arrogant when you’re from a Blade-less family.” she spun away.
He clenched his hand over the sword at his belt. Dayken could have easily beaten any one of the knights stationed here- but it didn’t matter when his family lacked an enchanted Blade.
In the past, the Blades were used in battles of honor and glory, but now they were used merely as symbols of strength. Each generation the Blade was passed on and gained another enchantment that gave families a chance to reorder their ranking. Unfortunately, Dayken’s family had lost their Blade during the war and so they were ranked as the Unblessed ones.
He sighed and turned to the sky portal. At least he might see his family while he was down there.
Dayken arrived at ground-level and was immediately assaulted by two of his younger siblings.
“Oof!” he wrenched them from his legs.
“Didn’t I tell you it was him materializing??” Florsh stuck her tongue out.
“Oh, whatever, it was a lucky guess.” Merit rolled his eyes. “Dayken, what are you doing here?”
“I came to fetch some chili peppers for Noblesse Viccelia. The question is, what are you two doing here? Not getting into trouble, are you?”
“No!!” They said in unison. He looked at them, unconvinced. There was no reason for them to be at the village teleporter when they didn’t know he would be here.
The two of them were twins in both birth and troublemaking. They had just slightly different shades of chestnut brown skin, just like his whole family, but he could have recognized them in a line-up based on that alone.
“Okay, so we may have been searching for the Lost Blade again . . .” Florsh admitted.
“Florsh!” Merit whacked her shoulder. “We weren’t doing anything . . . just playing a game.”
“And your game involves the teleporter?” Dayken asked.
“He’s already on to us, Merit. Maybe it did involve the teleporter. So what? We’re at peace, why aren’t we allowed to look around a bit? We would even be home by supper!”
“Merit, Florsh, look at me- you have to be knighted to leave the Earth Kingdom. If you get caught, mother will Ground you.”
“Then we just won’t get caught.” Merit whispered with a grin.
“Anyway, Pibli got to leave and she’s not even a knight!”
“Wait, what? She got deployed?”
“Yeah, she got a grant to study in the Sea Kingdom.”
“Wow, that’s awesome . . . I wish I could have seen her off though.”
Pibli was his closest sister, he hadn’t expected her to leave without telling him . . .
Merit and Florsh exchanged a look and then ran off in the direction of their cottage.
Dayken shook his head and hesitated. He felt a tug in his heart and followed them.
It was much warmer down on the ground than up in the sky. He took off his coat as he walked down the path. The weather was a reminder that he needed to get his hair cut. He could almost stretch the black curls down to his shoulders.
He should have been heading deeper into the village rather than heading into the countryside, but the nobless never told him when to be back so . . .
He had just turned another corner when he ran into his other brother, Guvsun.
“Ah, I wondered how long it would take you. Merit and Florsh came through here ages ago. Have you gotten out of shape?” Guvsun crossed his arms.
“I don’t know, do you want to test me?” Dayken glowered down at him.
“I got taller, can’t you tell?” Guvsun grabbed a nearby branch and climbed away.
“You make it hard, when you’re climbing around like that. All I can see is you avoiding a fight!” Dayken teased.
“I’m not avoiding a fight, I’m getting my weapon.” Guvsun said, dropping down. He held out a smooth wooden dagger.
“Nice,” Dayken ran his fingers over it and handed it back.
“And I found a clue for our search,” he said proudly.
“Ah, so you’re the one who inspired those troublemakers to go on a quest.”
“It wasn’t my fault, they were snooping in my stuff!”
“And haven’t we discussed this before? Just because we lost our Blade, doesn’t mean the original Lost Blade would be ours. From all the records, ours was probably destroyed years ago . . .”
“Nevermind, you don’t know for sure. All I know is there’s no reason to say it isn’t ours. Anyway just finding the Blade will do us good. Look,” he pulled out an old journal. “I just went through this, and it looks like the last place the Lost Blade was seen was the Ivory Passage that leads to the Sea Kingdom. And luckily we have an insider-“
“And it was you who convinced Pibli to run off to Sea Kingdom. You are pulling a lot of strings over here brother.”
“Well, I am the man of the house now.” he shined his dagger on his shirt.
Dayken sighed. “Guvsun, you need to stop this. I’m sure that Pibli went on her own initiative, but that doesn’t mean you should be encouraging her. You could be putting all of us in jeopardy- and I’m not even here to help out!”
“If you don’t like my methods, then maybe you should have stayed.” Guvsun shrugged. “Now if you want to challenge me, we’ll have to duel.”
“This isn’t something to joke about, I’m serious, Guvsun. Even if things look peaceful, there’s still a lot of turmoil.” he looked away. What a hypocrite, he shouldn’t have been so carefree when he had a job to do. “Please, take care of your siblings, they need a wise leader. I should be getting back, tell mum I love her.”
He spun back and ran toward the village to get some chili peppers.
Dayken couldn’t even be angry at him when he had done the same before . . . but he had come a long way in accepting their family situation. It wasn’t so bad, as long as he didn’t react when the high ordered families looked down on him.
After some intense bartering, he took his bucket of peppers in tow and went back to the kky portal. No one in his village had a high enough Blade Order to warrant the portal- it was only installed for their rich counterparts in the sky.
On which subject he was already amused at thought of seeing the nobless try the peppers. Would she try to save her pride and pretend to enjoy it? Or would she become haughty- as if he hadn’t given her fair warning? Either way, the prospect had him hiding a preemptive smirk.
Until he entered the estate.
The noblesse was crouched on the floor sobbing. He dropped his bucket.
“Noblesse Viccelia, are you alright?” Why was she alone in the middle of the foyer?
She turned to look at him and quickly looked down again. Her long golden hair dragged on the floor, but when she moved he could see that her hands were trembling and red. He followed her gaze and found sharp splinters of silver.
“I broke it,” she cried, “I broke our family Blade.”
“H-how?? I thought they were practically indestructible to mere humans!”
“So did I! I just wanted to hold it. I’ve been waiting for Father to let me pass on my gift for so long that I got impatient . . . I tricked you and all the other knights to go away, sorry.” she laughed a little. “When I picked it up it burned me, like- like it would if I wasn’t part of the family. But that couldn’t be, so I tried again and kept holding it even though my hands hurt-!” she hiccuped. “And it broke. What am I going to do??”
What was Dayken going to do?? As a foreigner they would be much more likely to blame this incident on him, and if he somehow hurt a family of such a high order-!
“Listen, it’s going to be alright.” Dayken knelt beside her trying to trick himself. “Just calm down and let’s think about this.”
“Easy for you to say! Your family has been Blade-less! We won’t survive it.”
“No, no. Listen, let’s clean this up- no I’ll clean this up. For now we can put my sword in the display, since they’re all made identical and it’s not like they use Blades nowadays . . . That should buy us some time. And you- you need to go get your hands treated before your father gets home and sees it.”
“Okay.” she agreed and hurried away. She must have been very desperate for a solution to obey his commands.
He turned to the Blade and examined it.
How on earth had she broken it? It was shattered almost beyond recognition. None of the signature engraving patterns could be seen- in fact, it seemed like it may have been shattered along the engravings?
Dayken gingerly touched a piece, but was surprised to find the metal cool. It didn’t burn to the touch like a Blade should, it was like a normal sword.
There would be more time to contemplate this later- for now he had to remove the evidence. He dumped the chili peppers from his bucket and carefully scooped the shards into it. He replaced the sword with his own and then hurried out with the bucket.
Could it be fixed somehow? He would have to hide it while they considered their options. So he ran to the forge and placed it behind several other project requests.
Then he returned to his post, and made it just in time to beat the arrival of the Duke and Duchess Viccelia.
“Your graces,” he bowed as they flew down.
“At ease, knight.” the duke said. Dayken stood up and was nervous to see the duke studying him. Did he suspect something?
“You’re the transfer from the Earth Kingdom, right?”
“Yes, your grace,”
“I trust you have been treated well?”
“Perfectly, your grace has been nothing but kind to me.” he replied- calmly. Lying to himself was the hard part.
“I appreciate your service here. Allow me to extend my hospitality further, please come dine with us this evening.”
“I am honored, your grace.” he bowed again.
“Your people have trained you to be rather formal, haven’t they? You may use my name title, we are not so pretentious here.” he laughed and followed his wife.
Why had they invited him to dine with them now, of all times? He could already imagine himself silently begging the noblesse not to spill anything.
He waited in painful anticipation until he was relieved by another guard. Then, he went to his doom.
Dayken stood at the doorway of the dining hall and peered in. The noblesse was already seated and staring into her drink. There was no trace of her earlier incident, but it could only be a matter of time before her family noticed her behavior . . .
“What are you doing?” a voice from behind startled him.
He turned to find Nobleman Viccelia. His dark hair swept down, but it didn’t hide his scowl.
“My apologies, my lord, I was merely hesitant to encroach on your family dinner, though I was invited by his grace.”
“You’re the Earthener, aren’t you? You would do well to mind yourself, upon first glance it appeared to me that you were admiring my sister- which really would be unexcusable.”
Dayken bit his tongue to keep from retorting. Wouldn’t he be embarrassed to hear he was now an UnBlessed too, thanks to his sister? Ah, but that wouldn’t help Dayken . . .
Nobleman Viccelia swept passed, leaving Dayken to pull his annoyance under reign.
After a moment he approached the family and bowed again.
“Ah, the Earthener, come sit.” He was appalled to see the duke gesturing to a seat next to the noblesse.
He glanced at her. She looked at him and turned paler. That was not a good sign.
He wanted to ask her if she was okay, but only the duke and duchess were speaking and he didn’t want to be impertinent by interrupting them. Not to mention, Nobleman Viccelia was glaring daggers at him still.
Dayken cleared his throat and smiled anxiously.
“So Earthener-” the nobleman began.
“I have something to say!” Noblesse Viccelia interrupted.
The table went quiet and they all turned to her.
Just as he had predicted, there he was, begging her with his eyes not to say anything.
“What’s the matter, Lisanne?” the nobleman asked, giving more suspicious looks at Dayken.
“What’s the matter- is that I’m not your sister!”
“What are you talking about, Lisanne? Of course, you’re siblings.” the duke protested.
The duchess said nothing. To be fair, she never said anything, she was mute.
“Don’t try to hide it, Father! I’ve been doing my research, there’s nowhere in the records that actually even proves I was born here. You adopted me, didn’t you?”
This was not the way Dayken had expected this conversation to go. He had suspected she might be adopted, but he hadn’t thought she would be so bold to confront them right after the whole Blade incident. He hoped her boldness wasn’t to his disadvantage.
“Now listen, haven’t we told you: even if you look a little different than us, it doesn’t make you any less of family.”
“And I’m not saying that I don’t see you as family- I love you all- but can’t you be honest with me?”
“What is there to be honest about??” Duke Viccelia stood and began pacing.
The duchess grabbed his arm. She looked at him with tears in her eyes and nodded to her son.
“Father . . .”
“Mother only told me a couple months ago . . . the child you were expecting was stillborn. Lisanne appeared on our doorstep the same night, and was introduced as our own.”
The duke slammed his hand down on the table. This was not a scene Dayken needed to be a part of, but he didn’t want to attract undue attention by leaving.
“Are you telling me that our daughter- isn’t our daughter?!”
“Father, she is our family, it’s just a little different than you imagined.” the nobleman said calmingly.
“I’m sorry, this must be a shock to you too, my little Lisanne . . .”
“Yeah, it is.” She stood up and walked away.
“Lisanne!” They called after her.
“I am so sorry, I should leave.” Dayken said apologetically.
“Don’t tell anyone about this,” the duke commanded.
“Of course, your grace,” he went in the opposite direction as Lisanne.
Once he was out of the room, he immediately began to search for her though.
“Noblesse,” he called, glancing into rooms as he passed.
“Earthener,” she replied and he turned to see her leaning against a stack of crates. “We need to find the Lost Blade.”
“What?? That’s just a tale for children-! I mean- I’m sorry, milady, I don’t think that will solve our problem. We need to find a way to fix the Blade-“
“Don’t be a blockhead, a Blade can’t be fixed! It’s a magical being, you can’t give it life again.”
“A magical being? What do you mean? Don’t we just need a good smith or something?”
“Can’t you sense it? The Blades aren’t just made by magic, they’re living magic. Oh, an Unblessed wouldn’t know . . . Well, whatever, the point is that it can’t be fixed and so the only way to restore my family honor is to find the Lost Blade.”
“But no one knows where it is! We would have found it long ago if it even existed . . .” he thought about his brother and wondered if he was on to something.
“You know something don’t you? Don’t deny it, I can tell! “
“Ah, but perhaps this isn’t the place to be discussing something so sensitive.” Dayken said evasively.
“Not to worry, I will get permission to go on holiday, as a sort of time to console myself, and we will begin our search.”
“But, milady, even if the Lost Blade exists- especially if it exists, it’s surely very well guarded, and it will be a dangerous adventure.” he hoped to dissuade her.
“Not to worry, that’s why we have knights.” she smiled and then fled.
“So, now she’s saying I have to find the Lost Blade???” Dayken paced back and forth. “At this rate, I may as well confess to breaking the Blade myself- if she gets hurt, then I’ll be in a new level of trouble.”
“Sorry, I did not catch any of that.” the swordsmith stopped hammering for a moment.
“I was just saying, what lovely work you do, and how I’m so glad that you are the one fixing my sword.”
“Hold your flattery until after I’m done- actually no, just don’t do it at all, I still expect full-pay, man.” she said and went back to hammering.
“Of course, of course.” he held his tongue until she was finished.
The sword looked like a proper Blade . . . but the swordsmith could hold it without any problem. He turned it over and felt no burning pain. Well, the noblesse was right.
“I hate to say it, but I told you so.”
He spun around to find the noblesse there.
“Noblesse, how long have you been there?” he asked.
“Call me Lisanne, and only long enough to overhear you spilling some secrets you shouldn’t have.”
“What?” He laughed nervously. Dayken glanced furtively at the swordsmith, who shrugged and began packing up.
“By the Blades, is it true? I was only teasing!” Noblesse laughed.
“Why, no milady, I don’t know what you are referring to. I just had this blacksmith fix my sword is all . . .”
“Ah, your sword is it? And how did you manage to shatter it in such a way?”
“To be honest it’s a bit of a mystery.” he gave her a meaningful look.
“Oh, Dayken, no need to be so abashed, we’re all friends here. It’s not going to hurt you to admit that you dropped it from a cloud. Well, it might have hurt if it hit anyone, but luckily enough it just landed on a rock. So we can just look on the matter and laugh.”
“Well, I appreciate your kindness on this matter, milady.” he growled and began to stalk away. What sort of rumors was she hoping to spread about him?
“Well done, Dayken,” the noblesse ran after him, “it appears you have an acting spirit in you after all. Now we have a good alibi set up in case that swordsmith goes gossiping. Oh, and I meant it when I said that you could call me Lisanne, we’ll be working together quite a bit now.”
“Lis- Noblesse Lisanne, I still don’t think this journey of yours is a good idea. How are we supposed to track this Lost Blade down?”
“That is where you should be helping. Tell me what you know.”
Dayken tried to consider his options, but the only other potential line had turned out fruitless and the noblesse was pressuring him.
“Fine, my brother seems to think that it’s somewhere in the Ivory Passage connecting to the Sea Kingdom.”
“Oh, that’s a good vacation destination. Sounds believable. I’ll make the arrangements-“
“But, my brother is only twelve, anyone would think that he’s just playing games.”
“You’re not anyone, and you believe him, right? If it makes you feel any better, we can go talk to him, but right now this is the only lead we have anyway.”
Dayken grumbled a little. He couldn’t win.
Guvsun glared at them from his tree. “You brought the noblesse. Why?”
“She wanted to know more about your lead on the Lost Blade.”
“Hah, and what? Take the credit for our discovery? No way, Dayken, you’re insane.”
“Listen, young man, I won’t just gloss over your name, I will make sure you are rewarded for your contribution.”
“No, I don’t need your “help”, find your own lead if you’re so desperate.”
“No, it’s fine. He’s got a point.” Noblesse Lisanne fanned herself.
“Are you sure?” Dayken asked in relief.
She didn’t reply, but was already heading back towards the town.
“So what’s your plan?” He caught up to her. “Are we going to try and summon a fairy or something?”
“If we ran into a fairy that would be a good opportunity to try re-blessing the sword, but no, we’re going to find the Lost Blade.”
“So you were lying.” he stopped.
“Lying? No, I just said that he had a point. You already told me the most important part. I’ll still give him the credit, but clearly this is more important right now.” She caught sight of the sky portal and started running.
The other guards were waiting there on her orders. They scrutinized Dayken as he returned. He could never tell what those Airheads were thinking; were they just curious or were they judging him?
“I saw the countryside, very pretty. Now it’s time to go. Shall we?”
He may have been annoyed, but who was he to actually confront her?
So they took the sky portal and came to the Sea Kingdom.
Dayken had never been there before, and he wasn’t sure he was happy to be there now.
They were in an air bubble barely big enough to fit their full crew. He had to stand at the very edge, looking out into the hardly illuminated depths. While he thought the way the Airheads traveled was terrifying, this was worse. He saw a dark shape pass quickly over a glowing lantern and shivered.
In order to get to any other section they had to take a Propeller and swim to the next place- which he could do, technically he had been trained for anything like this, but that didn’t make it his preference.
Apparently not feeling his apprehension, Noblesse Lisanne beckoned a guard over and retrieved her Propeller. Before long they all were suited up with the Propeller above their heads. When activated it would make a small bubble as it spun, both providing air to breath and pulling them through the deep.
Without much time to regret, they plunged into the darkness following a distant light. After a cold journey with nerves fraying, they finally reached it and landed none-too-gracefully in the large auditorium of an air bubble.
Dayken was amazed to find that by entering the air bubble the water that had soaked them was now rapidly diffused back into the depths as though magnetically attracted to it. His clothing wasn’t even damp now.
Several Sea Kingdom knights came to confront them and Noblesse Lisanne got to try explaining why they were there without actually giving away their quest. Annoyingly enough, she was a little too good at convincing people.
“Why, we’ve come to see the great Ivory Passage! I simply couldn’t go to the Sea Kingdom without seeing it! Might I have a guide by any chance?”
“I’m afraid the Ivory Passage is currently closed off for research purposes, milady. You will have to return another time for your own safety.”
“Ah, but can’t I just have a peek? My guards will see to my safety and we won’t interfere with any researchers. I would just be so disappointed to come all this way without seeing it . . .”
“I suppose you can go up to those kelp barriers to look down,” he gestured towards the strange plants that stood at attention, “but no farther, it’s very serious business they are doing here and we won’t be held accountable for any accidents.”
“Of course! Thank you so much, kind sir. We shan’t take a step further and you can be assured of that.”
So, naturally, the moment we got to the barrier she snuck through it and beckoned Dayken along since he was the only one who knew the true purpose of their trip. The other guards continued to stand for a moment pretending to observe the ivory slopes before marching in a tight circle to the water’s edge.
One Sea Knight watched the group carefully, but apparently the tight group of people had effectively blocked his view because he didn’t stop them.
Noblesse Lisanne commanded him to wait a minute behind the barrier until the coast was clear for them to run, but the knights never really looked back their way. All they gained from their wait was a moment to admire the Ivory Passage. There were two great slopes of varying pastels forming a pure pearl valley in between.
Having successfully secured their “freedom”, Noblesse Lisanne gave the signal to run. It was a long stretch before the tunnel curved, but the sound distortion caused by the bubble must have hidden their echoing footsteps from behind them.
They reached the supposed safe-zone by rounding the gradual corner, but unfortunately they were immediately confronted by another group of Sealife.
“Halt, in the name of her majesty the queen!” a young lass cried out.
“Halavanah! Get back here-!” a familiar voice called. She pulled the girl protectively back and scanned the strangers before her.
“Pibli??” Dayken stepped forward.
“What are you doing here, Dayken? I don’t need your help, this is my research.” Pibli pulled her oversized trench coat around herself proudly.
“Junior Investigators, stop messing around. Do you know these people?” A more senior leader asked. He adjusted an odd glowing contraption on his head and walked towards the strangers with a powerful and intimidating stride.
“Ah, yes sir, forgive me, sir, this is my brother, Dayken. He is a knight and no harm here.”
The man narrowed his eyes, but said nothing. “Halavanah, don’t mind the Eartheners, I need you to come identify this rock formation.”
“Yes, sir!” the little girl said and ran off.
Pibli was left with them and Dayken had a chance to observe the dig-site. Interrupting the majesty of the pristine slipes was a cavernous opening where people slowly trickling in and out. Around this whole was a large camp with tables set up to examine rocks.
Public sighed. “That little girl has a bigger part in this whole operation than I do. But I promise I’m making progress. These people don’t even know what really could be here. Ah, I forget myself, who is your friend?”
“Pibli, this is the N-“
“I’m Nicrantha. Just a friend. I have a lead on this whole thing and would really appreciate the opportunity to take a look in your dig-site.”
“Well, I’m afraid that it’s off-limits, Nicrantha. I’ve only been in there once and I work here.” She wiped her dark skin with a tissue. It was rather humid. “Actually- how did you get permission to enter here? Did you get transferred to the Sea Kingdom?”
“Not exactly.” Dayken looked at “Nicrantha” for guidance.
“So you did come for the Blade!” she hissed.
“Listen, long-story-short, we are in a much more desperate situation to get it than before. Please, help us.” Dayken begged.
She studied him for a moment, and something about his desperate gaze must have convinced her because she conceded despite her stubborn nature.
“Oh, fine.” Pibli smiled, hiding her worry. She had no clue why he was doing this- and honestly he kind of wished he didn’t have to help the noblesse, but he couldn’t risk the Kingdoms’ peace to defy her.
Pibli lead them to a tent at the edge of camp. Inside was a plain cot and bag. Pibli move the cot aside and pulled out an Earthen Digger. Dayken guarded the door while she placed it on her hand and tore the ground layer away, revealing a secret passage.
“This is how I have been doing my work. Don’t tell anyone.” Pibli joked.
They had started down when the tent flap opened revealing the little girl, Halavanah.
They exchanged looks.
“Yes, Halavanah.” Pibli agreed good-naturedly. “Do you want to come explore with us? You can come if you promise to be very quiet.”
“I am quiet, as a squid even. A squid who shoots along and disappears in a jet of ink.”
“Awesome, then come, and come quickly.”
Halavanah hurried after them and both Pibli and Dayken helped her into the hole. He turned to find Noblesse Lisanne already plunging into the darkness.
“Wait up, Nicrantha.” Pibli whispered. “You’ll want a glow-light.”
She took one a little impatiently and they all began marching quietly down the tunnel.
“Ooh, this is like a scary story where invaders come in and attack!” Halavanah said and tugged Noblesse Lisanne’s hand. “Will you hold my hand? I’m scared.” she trembled theatrically.
“Aw, don’t worry, we’re at peace now.” she replied, but gave her hand anyway.
It wasn’t too much longer before they came to a dead-end.
“Hold up,” Pibli took out the Digger and steadied it to pierce above them, raining rocks down.
They all crawled out and were faced with an enormous steel plate. It was inscribed with intricate patterns like a Blade, and it seemed to glow in the light.
“I believe this is the doorway that leads to the Lost Blade.” Pibli brushed her fingers across it. “The only problem is that I can’t figure out how to open it, and I think the crew is only a couple days away from discovering it too.” she glanced backwards to a dark wall.
“Any guesses?” Dayken asked hopefully.
“None, but you said you have a lead?” She looked towards Noblesse Lisanne.
“Ah, of course, but first- what have you tried?” the noblesse replied calmly as if she knew what she was talking about.
“I tried using my digger and some other special tools, to no effect.” She continued to study the wall with her fingers.
“Maybe there’s a secret mechanism- like a button.” Halavanah said and ran forward to start smearing her hand along the pure steel.
“Yeah . . . maybe.” Dayken replied kindly.
“No, I think she’s on to something. Maybe it requires multiple people!” Noblesse Lisanne said and ran forward to touch it.
As soon as she did, there was a great rumbling and the steel gave way, turning into steam. They waved their hands and stepped through.
Why had it opened for her? Was she really like the “chosen one” or something? Or was it just a coincidence . . . ?
There, in the center of an open dome was a Blade placed in a display case.
“That’s it!” Pibli cried running forward. “I can’t believe it.”
But she stopped short, a bit wary.
“Whoa, a Blade,” Halavanah raced past her to pick it up. She swung it and pointed it at them playfully.
“But why isn’t it burning her?” Dayken wondered.
“Well, it’s said that the Lost Blade was given to the first family of this land which split into the different Kingdoms, and since we are all descendants anyone can wield it.”
“That’s convenient.” Noblesse Lisanne said.
“Halavanah, we need that Blade.” Pibli said nicely.
She sullenly offered it up, and it glowed as she imparted a gift to it.
Pibli turned it over and looked around. There were two other entrances of steel.
“Shall we see where these lead and get out of here?” Pibli asked.
“Sure, but first, may I see the Blade?” Noblesse Lisanne said.
“I suppose that’s only fair for you to take a look, since you did play a crucial role in retrieving it.” Pibli also reluctantly handed it over. Again the Blade glowed.
“Wow, it has such a strong spirit.” Noblesse Lisanne said as they walked towards a door.
She touched the sword to the door and it crumbled into rocks.
“Let’s get out of here.” Dayken said and led the way.
They followed what appeared to be an old mine shaft until they came to a dead-end and Pibli burrowed it open.
There in front of them were Dayken’s three other siblings.
“What the . . . ?” Noblesse Lisanne began.
“That’s it-” Guvsun pointed at the Lost Blade “attack!”
The three children rushed forward, and tackled the nobless to the ground (she was not accustomed to them like Dayken was). They took the Blade from her and it glowed again.
“No-!” she cried and swung at them.
Right away, Pibli and Dayken stepped in her path to protect their siblings. Dayken held up his sword out of instinct.
The nobless stared at them.
“Wait- this- all along-? This was your plan wasn’t it!? To take my hard work and steal the Blade for yourselves?? I trusted you, Dayken.” the noblesse cried.
“N-no, I just- they’re my siblings-” Dayken dropped his sword.
“Those people are scary-looking.” Halavanah said, looking past them.
They spun to see a group of Airheads marching towards them.
“I knew you were up to no good, Earthener.” Nobleman Viccelia stalked forward.
“Brother- that sword- it’s the Lost Blade.” Noblesse Lisanne pointed.
Guvsun took it from his siblings and it glowed while he pointed it at the newcomer. Unfortunately he had no proper experience with sword-wielding.
“Is that so?” Nobleman Viccelia spiraled his sword and sent the Lost Blade flying.
It glowed and one of the Airheads came to pick it up. “By the Blade, I think she’s right!” the knight exclaimed.
“I see, and what should we do with these people.” Nobleman Viccelia gestured towards Dayken’s family.
Dayken stepped in front of them. “Listen, we mean no harm, my siblings just don’t know what they’ve gotten themselves into. Please, just let them go.”
“Are you kidding me?” Noblesse Lisanne cried out. “That was a very clearly planned betrayal.”
“You have to believe me, Noblesse Lisanne. If I wanted the Blade just for us I wouldn’t have even told you about it. All I want is to keep my family safe.”
“What is going on exactly? I thought Nicrantha was your friend, Dayken!” Pibli looked back and forth.
“She- she’s the noblesse I serve,” he replied.
“What? How could you let her have the Blade!?” she turned away from him angrily. “He’s right, you Airheads, the only betrayal that happened here was when he betrayed our family.”
“I see . . . well that’s fine then, have fun with the family drama. We will be enjoying this Blade.” Nobleman Viccelia said and came to take Noblesse Lisanne’s arm to lead her away. She looked back at Dayken less certain now.
“I think I should go . . .” Halavanah backed away slowly.
Dayken and his family stood as they were left in the forest. His siblings glanced at him briefly and then started walking away.
“Wait- I’m sorry, I had to-!”
“Spare your excuses, Dayken.” little Florsh said.
“You messed up big-time.” Merit agreed.
Neither Pibli nor Guvsun looked back until they were almost out of sight.
Then he was left alone.
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