Dimensions – Chapter 1

“What just happened?”  The young blond haired girl reached behind herself to rub her back, finding her clothing soaked.  She whined when she realized she had fallen into a small pool of water, her white dress now clinging to her skin as she stood.  “I’m all wet, no fair!”  Clara was not at all pleased with her situation, wrapping her arms about her to try to warm herself, since the only thing she seemed to be wearing was that dress; she did not even appear to be wearing shoes.  Her pale blue eyes immediately darted around to find people, only noticing two others.

“What happened is not the question.  We should determine where we are.”  The second of the girls had black hair pulled back carefully into a ponytail, and cold blue eyes that certainly did not help to warm Clara any.  Her clothing seemed strange, too; she wore a short, sleeveless purple robe with a black sash holding her clothes together.  She was clearly older than the other two, and she took no time at all in making herself the lead of the group.  Acacia surveyed the land momentarily before sighing, shaking her head.  “I do not recognize this place at all,” she added, the field they were in unfamiliar.  No man-made structures appeared anywhere in the distance, only sky meeting the grass and dirt as far as she could see.  The area was void of people, too, save for the three girls that had been abruptly plucked from their lives and brought to the location.

“I don’t understand.  If someone called us here, shouldn’t they be here?” the third girl asked, her eyes moving to watch Acacia.  “And how come it’s us?”  Crystal looked fairly worried as she edged closer to Acacia, seemingly comforted by her presence.  The third of the girls, Crystal, also appeared much different than the other two.  Her pale blond hair and pink eyes were peculiar, but otherwise she seemed to not want to stand out.  Her oversized black trench coat was pulled tightly around her, covering a black dress, as well as the rest of her body.  She seemed afraid, and since she was dressed that way already, she might have been afraid before they even arrived.

Acacia was about to answer Crystal when the sound of hooves was heard.  She immediately turned her attention toward the sound, noting a group of people on horses coming their way.  Once the riders were close enough, it was clear they were all men, and by the grins on each of their faces, it was quite obvious they were not there on friendly terms.  “Hello there, misses.  Are you lost?  Need our help?” one of the men offered, a teasing tone obvious in his voice.

“Oh, yes!  We don’t know where we are and–” Clara began, though she was soon interrupted.

“Not at all.  We have no need for bandits,” Acacia answered them, closing her eyes at that.  “We will find our way ourselves.”

Several of the men gave a chuckle at that.  “It sounds to me like you need help.  How about you come with us?  We’ll take real good care of you ladies.”  The leader of the men hopped off his horse at that, going on over to reach for Acacia’s arm.  “I insist!”

“Fear not, ladies, for I will save you!”  The shout seemed to come from nowhere, but soon a golden-haired man dressed in light armor appeared, striking a pose with his sword.  “Villains!  Unhand her!” he shouted again, rushing at last toward the group.  Though he may have had good intentions, his words did not match his capabilities.  As he swung his sword toward the startled bandit, the poor man tripped, his fall sending him straight into the pool next to them.

His strange attempt at heroism did not go unnoticed, of course.  He seemed to startle everyone, and Acacia used that to her advantage.  She latched on to the bandit’s arm, flipping him over and slamming his back hard against the ground.  The man shouted at that, about to protest, but she seemed to pull a small dagger from nowhere and brought it to his throat.  “Leave,” she ordered.

The bandit offered her a nervous laugh.  “O-of course!  Anything you say!” he tried, waiting for her to withdraw her weapon.  He slowly rose from the ground, holding his hands before him as he stood and began walking backward toward his horse.  Some of the other bandits seemed to snicker at the man’s fortune, but he would soon shoot a glare their direction.  He took the horse’s reigns and snapped them, forcing his men to retreat with him.

“Oh!  Are you okay, Mister Hero?”  Clara stared down in the water toward the man that had attempted to rescue them, offering a smile, but strangely enough, no help.  The poor man had to drag himself out of the water, and he seemed to be pouting, too.

The pout did not last for long; soon enough, he’d be smiling, nodding his head toward the direction from which the bandits retreated.  “Good!  I scared them off!  You’re safe now!” he told the girls, smiling at them.  “Jiryai Silvura, at your service!”

“We have no need for your service.  We can handle ourselves,” Acacia answered him, sighing lightly at the arrogance he seemed to display.  “We are not damsels in distress, I assure you.”

Jiryai, however, did not like that answer.  He immediately became defensive, waving his arms slightly her way.  “I-I didn’t mean to say you were helpless!  I just–  Ah, I’m sorry!  Really!  I just wanted to help!” he apologized, even going so far as to bow to her to try to change her opinion of him.

Clara giggled at how he acted, and Crystal seemed to relax a little.  “Could you help us, then?  We just need to know where we are and how to get to the next town,” Crystal tried, noting the man was friendly enough to ask.  Acacia glanced her way, nodding in agreement, since they really did need that sort of help.

“Well, sure!  You’re kind of in the middle of nowhere, but my brother and I were headed to a village about an hour or so away, according to our map, at least.  You could come with us!” Jiryai offered, smiling warmly at the girls.

“Your brother?  Is he cute, too?” Clara asked, ending her words with a giggle.  She was slowly edging closer to Jiryai, seemingly amused by his looks.  And why not?  He was quite handsome.

Jiryai blushed at her comment, trying to figure out how to answer her, but the group would soon be approached by yet another man.  His features strongly matched those of Jiryai, only his hair and eyes had a silver theme instead of gold.  “You shouldn’t run ahead,” he chided his brother, his attention moving next to the women.  “I apologize if my brother has offended you.  I am Ginji Silvura.  We are mercenaries currently looking for jobs, and I know he gets eager to work.”

“I see.  Unfortunately, we have no money to hire you,” Acacia said, bowing her head some as an apology.

“Oh, no, that’s okay!  We can easily get you to the next town!  No problem!  Right, Ginji?” Jiryai said, giving a pleading look toward his brother.  Ginji simply shrugged.

“Thank you, then we will accept.  You have our gratitude,” Acacia answered, offering again another bow of her head.  “I am Acacia Youran.  This is Crystal, my niece,” she introduced, motioning some toward Crystal, who smiled and bowed to be polite.

“And I’m Clara!”  Clara seemed excited to introduce herself, waving her hand in the air and offering a cute smile along with the introduction.  Unfortunately, moving her hands gave the boys an interesting view, to say the least.  Her thin white dress was still soaked, so her skin was easily visible to them.

Ginji’s face reddened as he looked at her, so he tried to distract himself by coughing and turning around toward a path.  “Come.  We’ll take you to the next town.  She and Jiryai can get cleaned up and dried off there,” he suggested, starting to lead the group onward.

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