Year 11583 – Outskirts of Belington,
Gentle breezes streamed across, shaking branches and its’ leaves. Fishes plopped on the lake surface while birds chirped on treetops.
Meanwhile, sitting leaned against a tree trunk, gazing at the lake’s serenity, was a boy in his mid-teens. His short, black hair swayed by the wind along with his loose, black clothes. His eyes dark as a night filled with mystery.
“Look at that, sister. Isn’t that very, very nice?” a little girl’s voice sounded in the distance.
Following the sound, the boy’s eyes landed on two silhouettes walking by the lake’s shore. A girl about his own age holding the hand of a much younger girl.
“Moon peeps out of their ‘pride land... their ‘safe haven’? This ought to be new…” muttered the boy.
The elder girl glanced at the lake’s view and revealed a sweet smiled. “It’s breath-taking… but we need to get going soon. It’s forbidden to get this far out,” she said.
“It’ll be fine,” the little girl pouted, “Sister’s so old now. Always talking like mommy and daddy— don’t do this, don’t do that. I miss the other sis.”
“It’s called growing up. You too will grow up one day.”
“I don’t want to.”
The two silver-haired girls talked as they walked by the shore, unaware of the boy’s presence, obscured by the many trees. As they got close enough, their faces became clearer to him. Looking at the elder girl’s face, the boy gaped, frozen in place, ridded. His eyes then reached lower on her slender figure, prolonging his gape.
“The alleged beauty of the moons’ wasn’t an exaggeration it seems,” The boy muttered.
“Wow! look, it’s a wood thingy,” the little girl shouted, pointing at a small, wooden pier in the far distance, inward the lake, “I wanna get on it!” She then struggled out of her sister’s hand and ran toward it in haste.
“Wait, don’t run... Wait for me… It might not be safe… What if you fall in the lake? I can’t swim.” The elder girl chased after, but slower.
“I’ll be extra careful,” replied the little girl, still running.
The two girls soon disappeared off of the boy’s visible scope, obscured by trees.
The boy sighed. “That platform is as ancient as the old gods if they actually are a thing. It can’t support a weightless feather, much less a girl,” he muttered, “And her aesthetically-quite-too-pleasing sister can’t even swim. This girl’s a goner for sure... Should I stop her? Hmm… Probably not… They’re moon people after all; conceited egoists with much too pride... Saving her might only win me a gaze of contempt, reminding me my worth… Hmm… hmm... Argh, fuck it…”
The boy got up, then jumped onto the narrow shore, away from the trees. At the distance, the two girls appeared; the elder girl few meters away, the younger girl only a few feet from the run-down pier.
“Oh shit…” the boy muttered, seeing the girl almost about to get on. He shouted,
“Hey! Little girl, Don’t get on! It’ll break!”
The older girl turned around toward the boy, startled. She stared at him briefly before she turned back toward the little girl, her face filled with fright. “Linnie, don’t! Please stop!” she screamed.
Despite the loud shouts and screams, the little girl, who was too far away to hear, ran amok. When she reached the platform, she got on it unhesitatingly and began to hop from one plank to the other, further into the lake, one hop at a time.
Then, as the boy had announced, with a sudden, cracking sound, the plank the girl had just hopped on broke in two and her small figure fell in the deep lake, with a quick splash. The elder girl, who had been running, froze in place, her face in dread with tears streaming down her sapphire eyes.
To add on the terror, the pier’s wooden supports cracked apart, and within seconds, the entire platform crumbled down, splashing into the lake, on the drowning girl. With the debris floating on the surface, the girl was no longer apparent. Eventually, the frozen, elder girl collapsed as her body hit the grassy shore, her pitiable face still filled with fear.
The boy glanced between the unconscious girl and the platform’s debris, his face depicting annoyance. “It would’ve so much better if I had just left from the get-go… I would’ve seen nothing, and I wouldn’t feel a thing…” he muttered, “Kids and girls, fuck… fuck… dumbest creatures that exist… I mean— what kind of primitive entity just hops on a platform ancient-er than mankind itself like a freaking frog? Even trees who don’t even have brains don’t do that—” the boy then looked at the unconscious girl, “—and look how she just faints there and then, as if that solves everything… Remedy to all immediate problems… Well, guess what— the solution is fucking temporary. What will you wake up to?” He then chuckled, “And here I am, talking to the blue when there’s a kid drowning right in front of me… I need help…”
In a start, the boy took off his shirt and dived into the lake with the shirt in hand. He dived under, toward the platform rubble. Reaching few meters underwater, he looked up diagonally to find wooden debris floating on the surface. Under the rubble, the girl could be seen, desperately struggling until she stopped.
The boy rolled the shirt around his right hand and swam toward the girl. When he reached beside the motionless her, he used his cloth-wrapped hand to grip her wrist, then dived under and away from the debris region. Just then, in the dark deep, a faint, purple light gleamed catching the boy’s abrupt glance. Ignoring that, he swam toward the surface.
At the surface, he carried the girl to the shore. Getting on the shore himself, he then pulled her on as well. After which, he knelt beside her and pumped on her chest repeatedly. Within a few repetitions, the girl coughed heavily and water gushed out of her small mouth. The girl then lay eyes closed, but breathing.
The boy sighed as he stood up and wore his wet shirt. Then he walked toward the fainted, older girl while water dripped down his hair and clothes. As he stood by her, his eyes scanned across her entire body; now closer and clearer; from her intricately handsome face to her blooming curves.
“I guess this exotic view was worth the hassle… Look how vulnerable she is… only if I was a predator…” muttered the boy. “Umm… Hey, wake up… Today’s your lucky day, your remedy worked out better than it would’ve.” the boy called out, letting water from his shirt drip on her face.
The girl’s eyes opened lethargically while the boy stepped back quietly. She looked up at him, before she blurted, “Linnie.” The boy immediately pointed at the sleeping little girl, and she dashed toward.
The elder girl placed the younger girl on her lap, feeling her breaths and hugging her tight. “You’re—you’re alive… you didn’t die…” she wept.
After a long instance of joyful weeping, the girl’s gaze fell on the boy, who stood by quietly. “You saved her?” she uttered.
“Apparently…” the boy said, patting his wet cloths.
“Thank— thank you so much. Without you my— my sister would have… she would have…” the girl said, “I can’t tell you how grateful I am. I don’t know how I can thank you enough.”
“You can thank me by… hmm… by not being stupid to this degree…”
“Let me elaborate for you. Learn to follow the rules, if you aren’t courageous or abled enough to face the eventual consequences. If you can’t contain your volatile sibling, keep her away from life-threatening places, or maybe leash her at least. She may not be as lucky the next time. After all, stupidity is life threatening.”
“I didn’t want this to happen—” the girl replied.
“No shit you didn’t. But it apparently did happen, didn’t it?”
“…” The girl remained quiet for a long moment. “Yes, I will be careful from here on… Thank you…” she said, “My name’s Livia, Livia Lemn Moon. This is Linia, my sister.”
“Vill…” the boy replied, “just Vill.”
The image of the purple gleam flashed across Vill’s mind, then he looked at the lake squinting his eyes. Suddenly, he dived back in and swam down. Locating the light, he dived toward it, surging through the water in speed. As he got closer, the faint, purple light got brighter and brighter.
At the weedy bottom, lay a four-headed, purple-coloured star lighting the area bright. Vill clutched the tiny star, only the size of a coin, and dived up.
“Why did you jump in there again?” asked Livia, as she saw Vill climb back on shore.
Vill, wet yet again, held out the star, which didn’t shine like it did in the dark deep.
“Is that a… star fragment?” asked Livia, her eyes peeled.
“From the looks of it, I guess so,” Vill said, “Umm… From what I know, you moon people have no use of a star fragment, since you are all loaded and since you can’t integrate with a third-party power source when you already have a share from the Moonstone... Whereas, me an ordinary lad, who isn’t loaded, and has no magical powers, can have his life changed with this thing… Since so, I’ll keep this.”
“You found it so it’s yours naturally. And since you saved my sister, I would’ve given it to you even if I had found it.”
“Great… So, how do I fire it up? do you, by any chance, happen to know?”
“Under the parent star’s presence, hold it above your chest, and if you’re worthy of its power, it would form a chain around your neck, acting as a pendant in a necklace.”
“Under the parent star’s presence?” Vill asked, “During night, right?”
“If I’m not ‘worthy’, I’ll just sell it and make a fortune, buy myself a moon artefact… maybe even two…” Vill said, “Speaking of which, how much you think I’d make for this?”
“Unassessed fragments value up to two hundred thousand moon coins.”
“Damn… that’s twenty-effing-million gold coins…” Vill muttered, “I’m finally getting relieved of this shitty-ass life” Vill muttered, smiling. “I must thank your sister for it all… for she had not decided to drown on this very day, at this very lake, I doubt I’d make a fortune this generous even in a lifetime.”
Livia’s expression darkened; her gentle innocent face, showed mild anger.
“Ha-ha,” Vill chuckled, seeing this change, “I’m joking. Does your kind not have humour?”
“You shouldn’t joke about things like that,” said Livia.
“Why not?” Vill refuted, “It’s called a joke for a reason. Humorous, and not to be taken seriously… Jokes don’t have bounds.”
“Some people aren’t open-minded enough to find those jokes as funny. I for one didn’t find that humorous… Some people can be narrow-minded and oversensitive, so you should think before you speak…”
“Heh, really? I’m getting lessoned now?” Vill sad, “Coming from you, who doesn’t think before she acts, it sounds awfully ironic.”
Before the argument could progress any further, Linia’s, the little girl’s, body twitched as her eyes opened up. “Is this Heaven?” she said, staring at Vill, who was in her line of sight.
“No, love, I’m afraid it isn’t…” Vill said with a chuckle, “This is Hell. People who die like you— too stupidly that is— go to meet the Devil— which is me— in Hell.”
Livia threw a glare at Vill. “No, you’re on earth… you’re alive,” she said, “Linnie, don’t do something like that to me ever again. I thought— I thought I was going to lose you today, forever… be a good girl, and don’t be childish, OK?”
“Yes, I won’t… I won’t…” Linia cried, weeping.
“Fortunately, this big brother here saved you… Say ‘thank you’,” Livia said.
Linia got off Livia’s lap and jumped toward Vill, her arms spread. “Thank you, big brother,” she cried. Vill stepped to a side and dodged the girl’s arms; thus, she stumbled on the grassy field.
“Don’t you want to keep your ‘moon sheen’, ‘symbol of grace’ or whatever,” Vill said, looking at the weeping Linia, “Touching me will taint you, right? Plus, umm… you’d have to be a couple years older than that to receive big brother’s hug.”
“Since you saved her life,” Livia said, sad-faced, “she would’ve already lost her sheen by now.”
“What… No… I will be bullied like our neighbours,” Linia cried out loud.
“I won’t let them.” Livia hugged Linia into her bosom.
“Umm… Sorry to burst you guys’ overly-emotional, and somewhat-depressing bubble,” Vill said, “But I never touched her while saving her.”
“What— what do you mean?” Livia stared blankly.
“She still has her grace is what I mean…” Vill smirked, “It’s called thinking before acting. You should try it sometime.”
Livia had her eyes fixed on Vill. Her face contrary in emotions. “Thank you,” she said.
“No, no… Like I said, thank you,” Vill said, putting the star fragment in his trousers. “Anyways, I’ll get going then.” He then turned away toward the trees.
“Wait!” said Livia. Vill turned back, and raised his brows at her. “I want to give you something as gratitude, but I didn’t bring anything with me… So, can you come here tomorrow.”
“No, no thanks. A star fragment is satisfactory, at least unless you can offer me something of similar or greater worth.”
“I can’t, but—”
“Farewell then,” Vill interrupted. “Oh, and a quick question—How do I say it… hmm… are all moon people like you?”
“How do you mean?”
“Umm… Yes, we all have pale skin and silver to white hair…”
“No, not that. I meant the quality of being pleasing to the eye, the quality that acts as a pelvic stimulus in healthy, straight men.”
“…” Livia brows creased, blank-faced.
“Guess I’ll be blunt then— Moon chicks… do they all have gorgeous faces, splendid curves, a prosperous front, and a bountiful back? I mean are they all blazing hot? Or is it just you?”
“…” a moment of silence passed by before Livia’s face blushed red, which she immediately covered with her delicate palms. “I don’t know,” she murmured, facing away.
“Ha-ha-ha, I’m off…” Vill said before disappearing into the trees.
“Sister, what’s wrong?” said Linia as she held Livia’s hand.
“Has he left?” Livia replied.
Livia uncovered her face, then stared at the trees for short moment. “Let us leave as well,” she said.
“Sister, will you tell mom and dad?” asked Linia.
“Yes. We’ll probably get grounded for life, but yes. We more than deserve it. Like the big brother said, stupidity is life threatening.”
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