I woke up in a place that I had not expected.
Which was a very good thing… sort of.
Expectations meant knowledge… knowledge meant memory… catch my drift?
I remembered where I was.
I was in… Skrybe’s house…
“Juewuhl? Oh my goodness… Juewuhl! You’re awake… I mean… you’re back! It’s been weeks! Where have you been?”
“Pailadyn? How did I get here?”
“I-… I’ve been looking for you. When Monark came back and told us you had decided to stay at the castle I knew something was up. There wasn’t anything you would have rather chosen. What happened?”
“Way too much… you wouldn’t believe it all if I told you.”
“Juewuhl. I’ve been waiting for you to come back. I have sat in the square during every free hour I had for the last three weeks looking for you. I will believe almost anything you tell me.”
“I found your mother.”
Pailadyn’s face went very blank and very still.
“My… mother? Juewuhl… what have you been up to?”
I told nearly everything I had learned in the my time on Extol. Starting with the existence of Extol, continuing with the fact that Monark was a bad guy, and ending by saying that I was the first citizen of Extol who was responsible for the development of an entire world.
“So… I was… your student? Along with Skrybe? You taught us how to Travel?”
“From what I read in the Journals… yes. “
“And I came after you when you left…”
“Well that makes sense I guess.”
Pailadyn smiled, “Oh… nothing.”
Wasn’t that the second rule in understanding females? When they said “nothing” they never meant “nothing” or something like that.
“Are you sure?”
“Yes Juewuhl! I’m sure. I… I’m glad you’re back.” I felt her hand find mine as I lay on the bed in Skrybe’s house.
Skrybe’s house… wait a second…
I sat up suddenly, startling Pailadyn and nearly knocking over a tray.
“Where is Skrybe?”
“He was called to a meeting. He left yesterday and said he expected to return late this afternoon.”
“He told you that? Are you guys… working together or something?”
“Sort of… he started to agree with me that something had happened to you. Then he started to change again and I took the opportunity to leave. When I came back, he seemed ok, but he didn’t remember anything about you disappearing. Now I know why. You said there was a way to get rid of Biest’s mind control?”
“Is there a way you can tell if someone is under the mind control?”
I nodded again and gave her the simplest test I could think of.
I raised a hand and formed a blade.
“What color is this blade?”
She looked at me with raised eyebrows.
“It’s black Juewuhl. Same as always.”
“Turn around. Now.”
Pailadyn looked confused for a moment then her eyes widened and she spun around.
“I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to lift your Shroud up a little.”
“Ok. Just… get rid of him.”
I had Pailadyn hold her Shroud up as I began to check over her back. After a few minutes I finally found the small black speck in the space between her shoulder blades. I plucked it off, threw it to the ground, and dispatched it.
I repeated the test again and Pailadn eye’s widened again when she finally saw the Shroud in its true color. Then my own eyes widened when I realized Pailadyn’s Shroud was white as well! Monark must not have been able to Mind Control everyone into seeing my Shroud as gray, so he simply had me see it everyone else’s as gray.
Pailadyn’s face screwed up in pain and she held her head between her hands like it was about to explode. When she looked up at me again, her eyes held a wisdom that they hadn’t held before.
“M-master? What are you-…. Juewuhl… wait… what’s… happening?”
“I think you’re getting your memory back. The Travel must have been successful… meaning Biest took away your memory when you first arrived.”
“I… I remember… Maste- I mean… Juewuhl… Juewuhl. I… Thank you. It seems I failed.”
I was disappointed that I hadn’t had my memory return like that, but I couldn’t hold that grudge against Pailadyn. I had lost mine through the traveling, not because of Biest.
“Think nothing of it Pailadyn. There was little you could have done.”
“Still. You have my apologies. What of the others? Now that you are here… can we free them as well and defeat Biest?”
I nodded. “How many are here that you know of?”
Pailadyn frowned at this, “I do not know how many, I simply know of their existence here. If I were to see them, I would recognize them as they used to be.”
“Then we will have to go with that although I am afraid their recoveries won’t be as complete as yours. Their memories were mostly lost during the Travel. Although there may be a few exceptions. Anyhow… we should wait until Skrybe gets back. I have my suspicions that a few of the council members are on Biest’s side.”
“That I don’t know… at least, not anymore. I believe Traynur, who used to be called Fyter, is on our side and will help us, whether he regains his memory or not. And then there is Skrybe. I cannot speak for the other two.”
“Let me see… I think Arte and Fisyk are with Mona-… Biest. Once Skrybe returns, we will help him recover his memory and then check on Traynur. Then we will assault Biest in his castle and finally end this struggle.”
“How many tournaments have there been on Cyst?”
“Hmm… If I had to guess, I’d say around thirty.”
“Then Monark has at least thirty champion fighters in his palace as well. All of them are under his control.”
“That will make things a little tricky. But if they have not been fighting for years and years, they will have grown slow and lazy. And while Biest can enslave their wills, can he augment them with his own? If not, I believe we still stand a good chance, as a thrall does not have much of will.”
I nodded, those were good points, but it was still thirty against four. Although all four were champions themselves. I got up and walked out of the room, nearly running into the stairs. I hadn’t expected those to be ther-