The Pagemasters Vol 1 SS1

 


Author: Literataku


Sidestory 1:
A Fleeting Moment In Silent Hearts

 

 

It had started off as just any other day in our little village. Mama and Papa were out in the fields on the west side, leaving me to tend to the small garden we kept in front of our cottage. I had started working with proper diligence as I heard the sounds of footsteps. There was a vague sense of familiarity with those steps, looking up my heart fluttered a little. It was him!

Striding into the village was a young man perhaps a year or two older than myself. Wearing his usual attire of a courtier wizard. Not the gaudy style robes of the country wizard who stopped by on occasion to perform maintenance on the barriers that repelled monsters. These were far more refined if a bit odd with the strange vest and chains that fit in his left pocket. It was something I heard that wealthy merchants or bankers were more like to wear. But it seemed to suit him quite nicely.

He wasn’t as handsome as other people in the kingdom, his face was a bit plain and straight. Eyes smaller, black, and his hair not completely dark, but darker than most people in this kingdom. A wandering wizard, but he certainly seemed to be well off since he never seemed to be hungry or starved.

“Guten tag, Herr Blue! So nice to see you again.” I greeted him as he passed by me, trying to catch his attention before he walked past completely…

He turned to me and seemed to be lost in something. I could feel where his eyes were staring and felt heat gently rising to my cheeks. I do not think my parents would disapprove if I could have a wizard for a suitor. He almost seemed confused for a moment as though looking to see if anyone else had answered. It was a bit cute that he seemed so unsure of himself.

“Guten tag, Fraulein. You caught me in deep thought just.”

His eyes only glanced up to meet mine as they greeted, I could almost feel him struggling not to keep looking down. I smiled and gave him a little show as I spoke again, shifting my body to show off for him. Even if he wouldn’t take me for a wife or companion perhaps I could give my family a wizard to our name. I had been stalling from marriage for a while and I knew I wouldn’t be able to hold off for much longer.

“Oh, My apologies. What was Herr Blue thinking of?”

He smiled back at me and was getting ready to answer when his bird knocked him in the side of the head and whispered something to him. Verdammt bird! Getting in the way of things. He seemed to hesitate about something but the bird hit him again and he seemed to acquiesce to its demands.

“Perhaps we can talk about such thoughts I’ve been having later tonight?” he asked me while trying to stop his bird from attacking him further. It started nipping on his hand in annoyance. What a disrespectful creature! Why Herr Blue was allowing such a thing to come from his familiar? Most wizards would’ve toasted and fried that bird by now. Unless it knew something valuable or sentimental reasons…

I giggled, hoping he’d leave the bird elsewhere later tonight and bent down, wrapping my hands around a weed in a fashion I had snuck a peek on one of the other girls doing to their future husbands, wrapping delicately around the stem and tugging it up slowly. Enjoying the reaction as Herr Blue swallowed and watched me.

“Don’t make me wait for too long, Herr Blue.” I tried my best to sound seductive and sultry. Hoping that it would be good enough to tempt him to find me tonight. I smiled as he made promises to return and quickly took off. Mama, Papa, I might have some good news in the morning if all goes well.


It had only been an hour or so after Herr Blue had left the village, it had appeared he was heading down toward the schoolhouse and the old couple that lived out in the middle of the forest. They were such a nice couple, my mouth watering a little at the thoughts of having one of their sweet pastries.

My work at home was nearly finished, cleaning the front yard now fully weeded and the porch swept. It would be soon to start cooking for when Mama and Papa return from the fields. I started to gather firewood when I noticed something odd coming up from the west side of town. A large cloud of dust moving unbelievably fast and rushing up the hill.

I stood still in horror as the things flew into the center of town, my eyes unable to catch sight of whatever it was, the dust kicked up blocking my view as it sharply turned and ran toward the south, heading straight for the demon forest.

That was when the noise and wind caught up with the thing. A load roar swept across the village, more terrible than any dragon or wyvern that I could imagine would sound like. The deafening noise rushing over us as the village shook, pieces of houses flying off and scattering across the village, wheelbarrows and small carts overturned in the road, the animals in a panic and making noises people screaming trying to be heard above the powerful noise.

What sorcery or demon could do something like this? I stood in shock unable to move, my ears ringing from the blast of noise and wind. Looking back toward where it had come from I felt worried. That was the direction Herr Blue had left the village in! Surely he could be lying in the forest dead and injured! But no one could help him, everyone here was trying to calm the animals down and try to clean up the mess created by the demon’s rushing attack. Though why it didn’t stay and destroy everything or try to kill anyone was left an open mystery.

I had no time to be concerned over the dealing of demons when the village was in disarray. Our home was one of the lucky ones to go without damage So I went around trying to help all of my neighbors, taking glances toward the forest with hopeful thoughts sending toward Herr Blue. It would be a tragedy to have died to a monster like that. I was so full of worry that I didn’t even notice his return he had arrived back at the edge of the village.

Full of relief I ran towards him calling out. “Herr Blue! You survived the demon attack?”

He turned toward me, sending my heart is aflutter as he seemed to hold back a smile. If only we hadn’t been attacked by that demon…

“Y-yes, I’m fine, it just knocked me over. How are you feeling, Fraulein… Heide…?” I felt my cheeks getting hot and overwhelmed with relief I clutched to him, wrapping around him with a tight hug, Burying my face into his shoulder, grateful that he wasn’t pushing me away or treating me like an improper woman.

“The demon didn’t go near my house, it flew past the center of town and headed south away from my home.” I clung to him tightly as my body started to shiver as I came down from the shock of the explosive noise. “That noise was so scary. Even the dragons don’t sound that horrible, it was like some roaring noise from hell.”

The bird and he started exchanging words. At least what I could guess were words between a wizard and his familiar. I didn’t understand the strange noises. ‘Kawa..’ ‘daiku’ “henega”? I couldn’t keep up with them at all, but I didn’t really care as I sought the comfort and safety of his body to hold on.

“Fraulein Heide…”

His touch was gentle against my back and I looked up at him begging silently for him to stay. I pulled away slowly and smoothed out my dress, and vestlet, trying to look more like a lady in waiting for her knight. “You.. have to go stop the demon don’t you?”

“Yes.” Was all he said in answer. Would he succeed or was this the last I would know of him. I didn’t wish to know such an answer, but I couldn’t stop him.

“Please, do what you must, Herr Blue. I pray you will stay safe. I’ll be waiting here when you return.”

He gave me a half worried look before turning to the North and heading out. I was wondering why he would go in such a direction if the demon had gone south. But often it was better not to question the methods of wizards. He might know something or looking for some ingredient to complete a spell to destroy the demon.

Now that I was calmer I set myself back to help the rest of my village.

It was barely an hour before cries came from the south part of town Dust clouds! The demon was headed this way yet again! The village scattered to get out of the way of the creature, hiding inside buildings and covering our ears. I felt the safest under my bed. Bracing for the horror that could await us. Even as close to the Demon Forest we were, the inhabitants rarely ventured out since the Demon Lord had been defeated years ago, long before I was born.

I heard the roar again passing through the village. What ghastly noise! What creature could make such a noise and yet only damage our homes and property like a heavy rainstorm? It was deadly silent after the roar passed on, the noise sounding as though it has simply run through our village yet again without truly hurting anything.

I joined the rush of villagers back outside and we returned to cleaning up the mess yet again. This time merely setting the pieces aside for repair later in case this demon was planning on a third trip through our village. Helping with the south side, I started to hand over the larger bit of roofing to one of the village boys nearby when I stopped dead in my tracks.

Two horrible demons were walking up to the village. They were laughing about something as one summoned a large ball of flames and juggled it with one hand. A green-skinned demon with dog ears and a mace on the end of its tail. It stood on two legs but it was more an awkward lizard in its appearance. The one juggling fire was obviously a cursed salamander, though he too stood on two legs. The two moved into the village as if just enjoying a stroll around the countryside.

“Speedy little beast desuno~. Though smelled quite tasty desuno~.”

“Hai. Shame it was so fast. I dislike fast food.”

“And yet here you were saying you wanted to eat MacDonalds desuno~?” The two laughed as though they had said some sort of joke but I was completely lost to whatever it was. The two looked at me with leering smiles. I suddenly remembered I had legs and could flee.

I also remembered I had a voice and could scream. Running and shrieking at the top of my lungs, wishing for someone to come save me. Oh, Herr Blue! Why did you have to leave us all alone?

I tripped and fell to the ground, trying to reach inside my home crawling toward the gate, the rest of the villagers were also trying to flee and no one was close enough to help me up. Struggling to my feet as they closed in towards me.

“No… please no…”

The salamander demon smiled widely as he looked at me. “Mmm, you look good enough to eat, and then eat.”

My legs started to buckle underneath me, inching closer he started calling forth a flame, lengthening it into a whip and letting it dangle loosely. “Be a good girl and maybe I’ll save eating you for after I’ve used you thoroughly.”

“The Fraulein said No!” A voice called from behind the salamander. I couldn’t quite see who it was. His voice sounded strong and commanding though. The green dog-eared demon sneered at the newcomer and turned to face him.

“Go find another village, weak Hero, this village is our to play with desuno~.”

There was a sound of a blade being drawn, fire and a slashing noise, the sickening sound of flesh being cut apart and the noise of two large pieces of something hitting the ground while several small pieces spattered between where the two large ones landed.

“I warned you once. No more chances.”

The salamander turned slowly, catching sight of his vertically split friend and cried out in rage, charging forward. “Forget Hero sandwiches… I’m going to make you into-”

The demon never finished as a flash of flames and a red-colored blade sliced through him at inhuman speeds. Cutting him into pieces that fell to the ground before the demon had even known it was dead. I looked blankly at the pile of body parts, then looking up to my savior.

Standing in red armor, the oddly mixed face stared back at me. It was as though his family was from several kingdoms across the world. His eyes and hair were the blackest I’d ever seen, his skin well-tanned from no doubt hours or days of training with that strange sword he wielded.

“Are you okay, Fraulein?” He asked me, looking a little more concerned than he probably should be. “Y-yes. Thank you, Herr…?”

“Harmon, call me Harmon.”


 


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