Stay here and wait you two, okay? No going near the surface, I’m talking to you, Grisia Hai’loxias. And keep those pendents safe, they’re very important...
I awoke suddenly, anger and sadness bitter tastes on my tongue.
I felt my eyelids snap open but despite this I still saw nothing but darkness.
Is it normal to see nothing but darkness, even after opening your eyes?
No it is not... However as I ‘look’ closely, I realised that I can in fact ‘see’. It was as if I had been standing in the thick of a black mist, one that slowly cleared away the longer I ‘looked’ to allow the details of my surroundings to bleed through the darkness, bit by bit.
I ‘saw’ that I was covered by a blanket, lying down on a bed, most likely made of wood since it has so much of the wood element in it. There was a chair next to the bed and a table of four on the other side of the room. The water and earth element sitting on the table was probably a vase of flowers.
A vase that was two-fifths filled with water.
A vase that I could ‘see’ just as clearly with my eyes shut as they were open...
I believe this is not the usual way a person’s vision works.
Experimenting further with this I find that I can extend my unusual ‘vision’ beyond the walls of the room. Beside my room there are three other identical rooms, all connected by a door that leads to a long corridor.
An Inn maybe?
I see only one person in the corridor and they turn to open the door to the room I am in.
I can tell that they have a high amount of wind element but not enough to be a wind mage. Since the wind element increases one’s agility, the person should be either a an archer or a rogue. And judging by the shape of their figure, the person is a female.
“Ah! You’re awake already?” she cried as she walked in.
Her voice sounds young. I’d guess that she was in her mid twenties.
I struggle to sit up and nod at the woman.
She hurried across the room.
“Don’t get up! You were very seriously wounded…” she scolded.
The woman paused for a second and brought her face slightly closer to me, examining my condition.
I tilted my head down and bit my lip.
The attention made me a little uncomfortable.
“Ah! But you seem to have more or less recovered, how unbelievable! Yuna clearly said that you would need a full month to recover from your wounds before you could get up and walk about, but your injuries have healed almost completely in just three days! Yuna almost mistook you for an undead creature!”
“I-I see... Um, I’m sorry for being a burden...” I mumbled quietly, head still angled downwards.
“Oh it’s fine, there’s no need to apologise!” she said, seemingly surprised by something.
The silence that followed lasted only a few seconds but I felt those seconds tick by acutely before the woman walked over to the table and placed an object on it.
Should I have said something after her assurance? Was I rude not to? Am I suppose to start a conversation now?
“Erm, you mentioned someone called Yuna before...?” I asked, hesitantly.
My voice came out strangely due to the dryness I suddenly noticed in my throat.
It’s fine! It’s normal to have a sore throat after being unconscious for three days so it probably doesn’t matter if my voice sounded weird...
The woman poured a cup of water before walking over to the bed while explaining, “Oh, Yuna is the cleric in our squad. She went out with Igor, our warrior, to buy some stuff. We also have a druid, Woodrow. Last but not least, I am Sybil, an archer! Here, you’re thirsty right? Have a drink.”
“Thank you for the water...” I said gratefully, taking the cup gently from her.
It wasn’t until I gulped down half of the cup that I realised exactly how thirsty I had been.
After waiting patiently for me to finish, Sybil asked me in a curious tone, “What about you? What’s your name?”
“I’m-” I began but I found that I couldn’t end the sentence properly.
I tried again, “My name is...”
What is my name? How could I forget my own name? Did I lose my memory?
Embarrassed, I ducked my head down again and focused my unseeing eyes on the now empty cup in an attempt to hide how my cheeks have heated up.
“I don’t know... I can’t remember...” I murmured, biting my lip.
Who am I?
Four people sat in front of me. From left to right, I catalogued them: Igor, the warrior who was as robust as a mountain; Woodrow, the slim as a bamboo pole druid; Yuna, the short cleric with long hair; and Sybil, the archer with an hourglass shape. Apparently, there was also a rogue named Iacchi who had yet to return.
Immediately my mind told me that they were an adventurer’s team, a well balanced one at that. Despite my amnesia, I could still recall this... From this I assumed that I retained my common sense and general knowledge.
“You’ve lost your memories? That’s hard to believe,” Woodrow mumbled to himself and then sunk into his own thoughts once again.
I shrugged awkwardly.
“That’s right! It really is hard to believe.” Sybil immediately interrupted and said, “When he had been seriously hurt, I had already felt that it was unbelievable! How could that have happened?”
Yuna nodded her head.
“That’s right, that’s right,” Igor said in complete agreement.
"The way you say that...” the group turned to me but frown as I spoke.
“Ah, I didn’t hear that, can you speak louder?” Sybil asked, edging closer to me.
I redden, “S-sorry.” I said, trying to make my voice louder.
...However, for some reason I doubt that the only reason you are moving closer is to hear me more clearly...
I shuffle back a little and continue.
“Uh, I said that the way you all say that... well, it sounds like you knew me? O-or, enough that you didn’t think I could be injured easily...” I asked, trying to taper down the hope I felt.
Hearing this, the four of them glanced at each other. Finally, Woodrow, who had been deep in thought, answered, “We don’t know you personally, but we were once saved by you and your companions, so we have met you before. At that time, we saw you using holy light, so we know that you are a cleric. We also saw your companions fight. Although there were only three people in your squad, you guys were very powerful.”
A part of me wished they knew me better, or that they were my companions, but what they told me was something at least.
Hmm... A cleric... Somehow that doesn’t sound right... But clerics that use holy light have a role that heals and helps others so it doesn’t seem so bad.
Also the word ‘holy light’ felt extremely familiar to me, so being a cleric would make sense wouldn’t it?
Furthermore, according to them I have, or had, companions... Companions, that word seems as familiar to me as holy light did. I feel strangely, relieved and ...happy?
I couldn’t help asking in curiosity, “What sort of people were my companions?”
“There was a holy knight, and also, also…”
Woodrow stopped speaking. I noticed that he had furrowed his brows… This probably indicated that he was very “hesitant.” Why was he hesitating? Was my companion’s identity difficult to speak of?
Igor suddenly leaned close to me and said softly, “He was a dark elf.”
“A dark elf?” I was somewhat at a loss. If my general knowledge was not wrong, dark elves should be a race that had dark skin, white hair, and a reputation amongst humans that was not too good. But I also knew that they had some type of treaty with the sirens and nymphs. It was unfortunate I couldn’t recall anything more detailed than that.
At this, Yuna hurriedly said, “Maybe you and that holy knight had captured that dark elf.”
“That’s right, that’s right!” Igor backed her up, “A holy knight and a cleric would definitely not go around with a dark elf for no reason. After all, it is a creature of darkness! Everyone knows that the people of the Church of the God of Light detest creatures of darkness the most.”
Am I suppose to be more relaxed at this possibility? Why do I feel more worried as I hear this then?
“...Do you think that I am someone from the Church of the God of Light then?”
I quietly mumbled the phrase “Church of the God of Light.” The more I said it the more I believed it was possible, because the phrases “Church of the God of Light” and “holy knight” both sounded very familiar.
Yuna nodded her head and explained, “Your holy light is very strong. Only a cleric of the God of Light could have such strong holy light, so you definitely are not a cleric of any other Church. You can only be a cleric of the God of Light. We have no idea why you are here though.”
I felt myself relax more in the group’s presence, allowing me to speak more confidently.
“Here?” I asked, puzzled. “Where is here?”
Sybil answered, “This is the Kingdom of Kissinger. It is the territory of the Cathedral of the Shadow God! The Church of the God of Light which is situated in the Kingdom of Forgotten Sound is rather far away from here. We would need to head north for five days before we could enter the boundary of the Kingdom of Forgotten Sound!”
I nodded my head as though as I had understood. “Kissinger” sounded very unfamiliar, so I shouldn’t be local, right? The “Cathedral of the Shadow God” also sounded fairly unfamiliar. In comparison, the Church of the God of Light still sounded more pleasing to my ears.
I then faced Yuna and asked, “Then Yuna, are you a cleric of the Cathedral of the Shadow God?”
“Of course not, I’m a warpriest.” Yuna crossly replied, “If I were a shadowpriest, then we wouldn’t have needed your help that first time.”
Did I say something rude? Or was the question I asked something my general knowledge should have remembered?
My eyes drifted away from Yuna to look at the floor. It did nothing as I could still see her cross expression clearly but the action felt natural.
“I-I’m sorry if I offended you...” I said, unable to stop myself from biting my lip.
Is avoiding eye contact and lip biting a nervous tick of mine? It must be since I do it so often...
For some reason both Yuna and Sybil began to stare at me with a peculiar interest.
Yuna suddenly clasped her hands together in front of her face, blushing and said, “I’m sorry! You can’t remember anything right now so I shouldn’t have spoken like that...”
She seemed as if she wanted to say more but held her tongue. Sybil on the other hand continued where Yuna left off.
“Aw, you can’t stay upset at such a pitiful expression!” she cooed.
“P-pitiful!” I sputtered, eyes going wide as I look at the both of them.
I look pitiful! B-but why?!
Sybil, however, looked oblivious to my growing despair for she plowed on, added more salt to my wounds.
“Ah, you look exactly like an adorable and pitiful kicked puppy!” she exclaimed.
Adorable?! But I’m a man!
Woodrow and Igor both sent me pitying looks, although I saw that Igor was trying to smother an amused smile.
Am I really that pitiful?!
I bite my lip again, mental note to self: need to stop before it becomes a bad habit, and hang my head, left hand coming up to absently play with a few short strands of hair near the back of my head.
Weirdly I had the feeling that my hair should be longer...
Yuna seemed to noticed how my expression changed to confusion.
“We decided to cut your hair as the ends were burnt when we found you. As were the rest of your clothes...” she explained.
“Ah, I see.” I smiled shyly at the group. “Thank you for looking after me...”
“So cute!” Sybil squealed, “I don’t even have the heart to try guilt tripping you into helping us pay the medical bills!”
I blink at Sybil for a second.
“Medical bills? I’m really sorry!” I apologised, feeling guilty for costing the group money.
I must have been a huge burden if I had forced them to pay to heal me...
“I don’t mind helping you all pay them, although I don’t know what I can do to help...”
The other three members glared slightly at Sybil while the woman in question looked equal parts pleased and...
...not adoringly, but she looked as if she had just seen a cute puppy...
Damnit! I’m a man...
Out of nowhere, I realised something.
“Um... You said that you changed my clothes and cut my hair... And I don’t feel as dirty as someone who has slept for three days probably should...” I said, cheeks heating up slightly, “... Did someone bathe me?”
Once again the three members looked towards Sybil.
She quickly explained, “I bathed you and changed your clothes, but don’t worry! You have a nice body so you have nothing to be ashamed of!”
I believe she was attempting to be reassuring but her words did not comfort me at all.
Why do I feel like I have been taken advantage of by this woman?!
My face was probably beet red now.
Wait... What is ‘red’?
I shake my head, getting rid of the thought. It is not immediately important as of now. Instead my mind wanders back to the voice I heard when I woke up.
No going near the surface, I’m talking to you, Grisia Hai’loxias.
Who was that? I remember the voice was quite young, younger then ten most likely. And what did they mean by ‘surface’?
The voice said ‘Grisia’... Could they be addressing me...?
The more I roll the word around in my head, the more I begin to believe that it is my name. If it was not my name, then it would at least help me find the real Grisia who could tell me more about myself.
I nod to myself. The name feels natural but not completely right...
“What?” The group turned to me, confused.
Blushing a little, I started explaining, “I think Grisia Hai’loxias is my name… Probably...”
Everyone nodded their heads. Sybil even mumbled my name and then grumbled in an undertone over how hard it was to pronounce.
“Hey, now that you've remember your name and family name, it’ll be easier to find information on yourself!” Igor said, sitting down on the bed to clap me on the shoulder in an attempt to cheer me up.
I smiled gratefully at him, “Thank you for, you know, being optimistic and making me feel better...”
Igor laughed and said, “No problem! Furthermore, you can stay and travel with us in the meantime. You might even find someone that knows you while you travel!”
Looking around at the group’s faces I realise that they’re considering Igor’s proposal. Immediately, I feel both immense gratitude towards the group before me and guilty for burdening them so much.
“A-are you sure?” Examining their faces I see that no one seems to object. “I mean, the medical bills must have cost a lot so I don’t want to inconvenience you all even more...”
Remembering Sybil’s earlier comment, Woodrow gave a disapproving look towards he archer. After that, he turned to me and apologized, “Please don’t think too much over what Sybil said. Saving you is definitely something we should have done. Before, if not for you and your companions, we would have already turned into rotten bones in that cave.”
“Precisely, so don’t worry a single bit about what Sybil said before, the medical bills weren’t so much since you healed so quickly.” Yuna said while casting an admonishing glance at Sybil. The latter lowered her head with a sheepish expression.
“That’s right, that’s right!” Igor said, hanging an arm around my shoulders, “Also, we’re in need of a cleric so if you join us we won’t need to search for one anymore!”
Checking their faces once more to make sure the group were wholeheartedly happy with the proposal, I stood up and beamed at them.
Bowing, I said, “Thank you so much for letting me travel with you!”
“It’s fine Grisia!” Yuna squealed, clasping her hands together again and looking as if she was containing the urge to start bouncing up and down.
Sybil didn’t seem much better either...
“There’s no need to thank us, Grisia.” Woodrow said simply.
Igor grinned, “Now we have a super powerful cleric with us, isn’t that just nice?”
I blushed at the complement, bringing an arm up to rub the back of my neck.
“Eh, I don’t think I’m-”
Halfway through my reply, I saw that there was someone outside the door and asked, “Um, your rogue Iacchi, does he have a ponytail?”
“Yes, have you remembered?!” Woodrow asked in surprise.
Before I could answer, the guy standing outside the door yelled out “Woodrow” and then kicked the door open.
“Woodrow! Great news, there’s a big mission in the city… Eh? He’s up already?”
The person who had walked in had long hair, which was tied in a high ponytail at the back of his head. He was slim and short, probably only up to my shoulders in height. He was even shorter than Sybil, and was about Yuna’s height, but his voice was the exact opposite of his size. It was as loud and clear as if someone were striking a gong by my ears.
After Iacchi noticed that I was awake, he wasn’t as hurried anymore. He calmed down and muttered, “Oh! You’re awake? That’s great. Now we can finally get out of this city and start completing missions! However, this news that I worked so hard to come by will be wasted…”
“What happened?” Woodrow asked again.
Iacchi shrugged his shoulders and said, “There’s a big mission in the city that we can do without even leaving the city. The amount of reward money is quite large, so I was planning to hurry and tell everyone.”
Woodrow gave a cough and then introduced, “Oh, before I forget, this is our new teammate Grisia. He is a cleric of the God of Light and he will be with us until his companions come and look for him.”
I hope he doesn’t mind me joining their group since he wasn’t here when everyone decided...
Smiling shyly at the rogue, I said, “Um, nice to meet you, Iacchi...”
Hearing this, Iacchi gave an “oh” and simply told me “welcome” before he started explaining the contents of the mission in excitement. “You know about the unicorn that has come to the city, right?”
Everyone nodded their heads. Only I asked, puzzled, “A unicorn?”
“Oh, that’s right. You were sleeping, so you don’t know about this.” Sybil cut in and said, “A few days ago, a squad in the city captured a unicorn! After they sent the unicorn to the Adventurers’ Guild, they immediately turned from nobodies into super famous people!”
Unicorn? This word sounded unfamiliar. My questions really were only increasing in number. Hoping my question wouldn’t sound silly, I asked nervously, “Er, I see... W-what is a unicorn?”
“How could you not know?”
Iacchi jumped up in surprise and even shouted out in his gong-like voice. The sound was... quite loud, loud enough that I immediately felt a ringing in my ears, and I even felt a slight pain in my head… How can the rest of them stand this noise?
I turned my head around and looked. All of them had a normal look on their faces and were not panicking like me. They really were part of Iacchi’s squad… They had all used both of their hands to cover their ears.
Woodrow lowered his hands and said calmly, “Grisia has lost his memories.”
“Ah?” Iacchi looked like he had just stepped on dragon dung.
I suppose that if he didn’t mind before, he probably does now...
Woodrow turned to me and explained, “A unicorn is a rarely seen magical beast. Its appearance is like that of a small white horse, just that in the middle of its head, it has a white horn. That horn is the medium the unicorn uses to perform magic. Apparently its lightning magic is very strong.”
Magic? I blinked as an onslaught of memories flashed through my mind. Magic is the product of harnessing our natural energies into affecting the environment in and outside of us by controlling, creating and stimulating atoms. I could now remember texts and passages on magical theory of all sorts, from elemental spells to beast transformations, in vivid detail.
Grisia, you’re so boring hiding away in the library and reading all these books all the time! Come play with me and Xiao Lan already!
The voice in that memory is accompanied by the image of a young child, giggling and making faces as they pull a book away from my face, tugging on my sleeve.
A close friend of mine? And whose this ‘Xiao Lan’ the child talked of?
...There was also the copious amounts of magical theory that I had presumably been reading books on.
To have studied magic so thoroughly I must have been either a mage or an academic...
When I told everyone this possibility, they laughed.
Sybil’s laughter was especially loud, “That’s impossible. You’re a cleric, not a mage.”
I ducked my head down, biting my lip as I hid a slight frown from the group.
“Stop laughing at him, he’s lost his memories! All of you are so impolite.”
Yuna was the only one who didn’t laugh. She even scolded the rest of them. Because of that, I felt an immediate kinship towards her.
She very gently explained to me, “We have never seen a unicorn before either. We’ve only heard a few rumors. Whether or not unicorns really know lightning magic is not something we know either.”
Iacchi scrambled to say, “Also, everyone knows… No! I mean, there are rumors, yes rumors! Yuna, stop glaring at me! That’s what people say after all! A unicorn is only willing to approach pure, unsullied female virgins.”
At this, Iacchi, as well as all the other guys in the squad, glanced at the only two squad members who could possibly be “female virgins.”
Sybil immediately said crossly, “Don’t bother looking at me! Do you people honestly believe I am one?”
I watched as the whole group immediately shook their heads, and then glanced at the other person, Yuna.
Yuna immediately blushed, lowered her head and then shook her head slightly.
All of the other guys’ jaws had dropped open in shock and I would wager that they would not look nearly as surprised if I had told them that I was gay siren in that moment.
Confusion shrouded my mind but I did not want to ask a question in that particular moment, lest they start laughing at me again.
Human culture is strange...
Human cultures al~ways been weird, gege!
Gege? Do I have a brother then?
I made a mental note of the new information before I returned back to the current situation. Everyone had snapped out of their shock by then.
Everyone except Igor as his facial expression looked as if the world had ended before his eyes… It seemed that he was somewhat interested in Yuna. No, that was probably wrong. He hadn’t just looked somewhat interested—he must have been super interested because even the rims of his eyes had reddened.
However, the rest of his teammates seemed to have already known that Igor was interested in Yuna. Except for me, no one else was surprised over Igor’s uncharacteristic depression. Even Yuna didn’t look the least bit surprised. Only I walked up and patted Igor on the shoulder out of sympathy. He gratefully looked at me and almost flung himself onto me to cry bitterly…
Uncomfortable, I awkwardly patted the man’s shoulder as he sobbed.
Off to the side, Iacchi sighed despairingly, “Ah! That’s too bad, after the unicorn escaped yesterday night, the Adventurers’ Guild offered five hundred gold ducats as a reward!”
“Eh? What did you say, Iacchi?” I asked.
Iacchi repeated, “That’s, that’s too bad…”
“Um, the line after I mean...”
Smiling, he continued saying, “The unicorn escaped yesterday night!”
I scowled viciously at him.
The action only made him start laughing and even the rest looked mildly amused.
Wiping a mock tear from his eye, the rogue moved over to ruffle my short hair and said, “Stop pouting Grisia! I’m only teasing. Also, your glare is not at all intimidating, so much so that I would say that not even a puppy would be scared by it!”
Smirking, I retracting my pinched nails from the skin of Iacchi’s neck.
Quickly slipping away from me and my nails, he repeated, “I said that the reward for recapturing the unicorn is five hundred gold ducats!”
Turning to Woodrow I asked, “Would that amount be enough to cover the medical bills?”
“Oh Grisia,” It wasn’t Woodrow, but Yuna that cut in immediately, “You don’t have to pay us back for it, we already said that your team had saved us before so really, we were just returning the favour!”
“W-well,” I stammered, wrapping my arms around my waist, “despite that, I doubt that my team had to pay many expensive medical bills to save your group so...”
“Aw! That’s so sweet!” Sybil gushed happily, “I really love your type of people, Sulien!”
“Sybil!” Yuna said, disapproving.
In response, the archer said, “Is it wrong to like people who actual repay your kindness?”
The disapproving looked did not lessen.
Ignoring the two, Woodrow turned to me and explained, “We appreciate the gesture however, we cannot complete the mission even if we wanted to stay in the city as we do not have a female virgin. There will be other missions in the next city I’m sure.”
I smiled up at the leader and said slowly, “What you said is correct -we do not have a female virgin. However, we could just ask another who is a virgin to help us...”