XIV - Home, home again.Mature

"I like to be there when I can
When I come in cold and tired
It's good to warm my bones beside the fire
Far away across the field
The tolling of the iron bell
Calls the faithful to their knees
To hear the softly spoken magic spells.
"

*****

"It's ok. She's with me" I said.

The cabbie shot me a wide eyed stare before begining to drive us back to the spot where the way opened into this world. As we drove on, I checked myself in the mirror...

I looked terrible, my face all black and blue, dried blood on my forehead and mating my hair. The entire region was swollen giving me a grotesque appearance. Joelle, was on the back seat shiverring and crying silently. I wished I could have held her in my arms at that moment...

It was my fault she had gotten like this... If only I'd taken care of her better...

The taxi pulled right next to the alley. Despite her feeble protest, I carried my sister in my arms, I was tired and beaten up but she waited next to nothing so I'd be fine. She spent all the way clinging to me, crying and mumbling things I couldn't understand behind her cracked voice.

"Shhhhh. It's already Jo, I'm here. Nothing else will happen to you..." I whispered softtly to her ear.

The trip back was thankfully very short, I had problem enduring it the first time, it would have been nightmarish for Jo in her current state. I effortlessly hopped down from level to level. Physics and gravity were more of a suggestion in this realm, so each time I landed, there weren't any impacts like it would have in the physical world.

I don't know when my sister fell asleep, but when I walked back to my sanctum grounds, she was holding on to me softly whispering in her sleep. I ran the rest of the way up to the cliff.

It was still there. The on of the saucer's wall spread into multiple metal steps allowing us down. I ran down, skipping two steps out of three until I reached the inside of the room. I place my sister comfortably on the medical table and called out.

"Spirits, I require your services!"

They appeared out of the water that occupied the lower part of the room. First as white blobs, but then as the alien like appearance.

"We here for you keeper." It was the first time I heard them speak. Their voice was calm and friendly, despite their unconventional appearance.

"I need you to help this woman, like you have done for me."

"And we shall. For the proper payment."

"Payment? Didn't you heal me for free."

"The previous keeper already had a deal with us."

"But I'm not him..."

"The keeper is an entity in of itself. Regardless of who holds the title."

"Alright. What do I need to do? I'll do anything for her."

"Something was stolen between the transition between you and your predecessor. If it is not retrieved, the sanctum will fall into winter and no longer be able to support us."

"Winter?" I asked

"Spiritual winter is when a realm begings to crumble from lack of power." the book informed me, appearing right next to me.

"The keeper's other self is correct. The object you seek has been taken by those who abide the commands of those who dwell beyond." The Ruamano spoke.

"Beyond what?"

"Existence. In the shinning darkness, they are the beings of the nevershould from the anti-universe." Book-Dan answered.

"What am I looking for then?"

"You will know when you find it. As you beging your quest, we shall beging our work." They said. Vanishing from sight before I could ask anymore questions.

I turned to the remaining man, myself. "What am I looking for?"

"I cannot say, like your tools, it will take a new form to match you."

Great... I slowly walked out of the place, losts in thoughts. Where could I even begin? What was I looking for? What would guard it?

But most importantly, what would happen to Joelle if I didn't succed.

That, was the only thing that mattered. I feeblely walked back to the house and crumbled on the bed. Better constitution or not, I'd been awake for over 24 hours... I fell asleep right as my head hit the pillow. I was still fully dressed and dirty but I couldn't have cared less.

The End

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