“So I was hoping you could get me a door to Romania. You know, anywhere in the general location of Romania should do. Can you do that for me?” I ask Cliff on my way down to the library.
“Why do you need to go to Romania? You can’t leave the Guild without a Guardian.” He reminds me.
“Yea, I know, that’s why I’m asking you. I need to collect a plant for… an experiment I’m doing.” I tell him.
Cliff thumbs his chin through his beard. “I don’t know if I can do that unless you take a Guardian with you. I can’t leave today, I have classes with the wards master and I have to help a few other students with their spells. I wish I could help you friend, but Alas, I cannot.”
“Aww, it’s ok. What if I just went myself? You know… time jumped. The plant doesn’t have to be from the present.” I point out.
Cliffs brow creases with worry. I know what his answer will be. “Andrei, friend. I think it’s dangerous to go by yourself. Even if you time jump. Why don’t we wait?”
I don’t want to wait. I want to get moving. I need to find the other things so I can solve the mystery of my dream, and help revive the founder. I still haven’t figured out what the artifacts would be for the earth or water element, but now that I know what fire is, I want it here.
“I suppose… or I could be gone and back before you know it.” I grin, contemplating a wink. I don’t know if that would work on Cliff.
Cliff shrugs. “I don’t recommend leaving the Guild without a Guardian class companion. With the Master at large and Logan still out there, who knows if they will be able to track you or not. It’s a big risk. I have to go.” He says, turning for the spells ward.
“Thanks, Cliff. See you!” I wave, turning for the library. I frown to myself. I don’t want to bring someone with me. Everyone is busy with their own research, besides, aren’t I capable of managing myself? Since when do I need someone to accompany me off the island? I jumped all the time, whenever it happened. Just because I’ve gained more control, doesn’t mean I can’t jump now just because I don’t have whatever Guardian class status. I can’t even get one of those because I don’t have a teacher.
I arrive at the library to find Kaede already there clicking at his laptop. I have no idea what he’s doing, but he seems to stay busy. I’m glad. I take a seat just as an idea comes to me.
“Hmm?” He says, not looking up.
“I, uhh… I need to get this plant I found in the text. I think it’s the fire artifact I’ve been researching.” I tell him slowly.
“Hmm… and?” He says, eyes still glued to the screen.
“Well, I was wondering if you wanted to join me?” I ask him, watching his reaction.
He glances up at me from over his screen, grey Japanese eyes focus on me. “Join you? To head to the plant shop? I could order it for you here, you know. What’s it called,” he asks, pulling up the online webstore.
“No, not like that. I mean, Cliff says I can’t leave the Guild without a Guardian class, and I don’t want to wait. Besides, I won’t ever be Guardian class ‘cause I don’t have a teacher to grant me that class. So… I was thinking, what if we jumped, together?” I say more clearly. This time his fingers stop and he raises his chin over the laptop screen.
“You mean, time jump?!” I knew it would get his attention.
“Yea! It gets me off the island, I’m not ‘alone’ per se and you finally get to go on one of those jumps you’ve always dreamed about! What do you say, roomy?” I grin. There’s no way he can turn down this offer. I watch him as he thinks about the offer.
“So, you’re saying, we’d be defying Guild rules somewhat indirectly but jumping together… but, I’m not a mage, I couldn’t help you in a pinch with other mages. I’m not saying I don’t doubt your skills, but… I don’t wanna die,” he adds.
“We wouldn’t be jumping into a war or anything. It’s just to get a silly little plant. What could possibly kill you?” I shrug off the concern.
He smiles. “Ok, I’m in. Man! I can’t believe this is really happening!” He says, getting a little giddy. Suddenly, he stops. “Wait, is there anything I need? Should I bring a first aid kit? Fix my hair? When are we going to? Will my phone work in the past? Where are we even going?!” he starts freaking, reminding me of Caroline. Seriously, those two should just get married.
“Relax dude. You’re overthinking it. Leave your phone here, the jump will fry it. If you want to bring a first aid kit, sure. But like I said, it will be a quick jump. Just a pop in, grab the plant and pop back. We’ll be back before Cliff can say banana’s.” I say, standing up and grabbing the book with Ceph’s note in it.
“Sweet!” Kaede grins, shutting his laptop and grabbing his bag, which I assume already has a first aid kit in it, thanks to Caroline.
It’s been nearly a week since Camelot, and I feel the energetic pulse of time within my chest. I know a jump possible. I run Kaede through the list of risks, making sure he knows not to let go as I don’t know what would happen, but it couldn’t possibly be any good. Once he’s clear and has his bag over both shoulders, he nods to me.
“Alright. So, let’s just… uhhh… hold hands I guess.” I suddenly feel awkward about doing this with my best friend and roomy of more than seven years. He grins and takes my hand.
“Oh Andrei, I can’t believe it! We’re holding hands!” He says like a love-struck girl.
“Shut up.” I groan. “Ready?”
“Yup. Do your… magic stuff!” He laughs.
I release the time, feeling the static crawl over my skin, up my arms and glance at Kaede as it jumps up his arm. He stares at it in shock, gasping at the feeling, then smiles.
“Wicked,” he smiles.
Soon, we enveloped in the blue light and we’re jolted into the realm of ribbonous time, lights descend from some unknown source above us like a rainbow of possibilities. I spare a glance towards Kaede and am pleased to see him looking around in wonder.
He turns to me with a smile, “does it always look like this to you? What is this place?” He asks with wonder.
“Yea, always. I’m not really sure, but I think these lights are different time threads.” I explain.
We spin around as we turn in the weightless environment. “How do you know which one is what?” He asks. Reaching a hand tentatively towards one.
I quickly move to pull him back, but it’s too late. His hand makes contact with the pulsing light of time and were yanked forward into it. I feel his hands grips tighten around mine as we both scream with the speed we are moving at.
Suddenly, without warning, we stumble upright into the bustling chaos of war.
We turn left and right, getting out bearings as soldiers run past us glad in worn grey uniforms, long guns in their hands and helmets on their heads. The cobblestone street is pockmarked with holes as large as a car.
The brick buildings around us have huge chunks taken out of them and are left crumbling onto the street. People are yelling, guns from unseen places are being fired, soldiers drops round us.
A bullet whizzes past Kaede cheek, barely missing him. I dash into action, yanking him behind the crumbling wall of a building to our right. We huddle there, cowering from the rain of firepower from the unseen enemy.
I haven’t determined yet what time we are in. I quickly turn to Kaede with a hard glare. “What were you thinking? Let ME select the time, idiot!” I hiss at him as a large cannon is shot somewhere down another street. The ground rumbles with the force of the gun and stone tumble from the sky, onto the street where we were standing.
“We’re gonna die!” Kaede screams over the noise. “I’ve gone and killed us!” I see the panic on his face and, for some reason, that helps me stay calm.
“Snap out of it! You haven’t killed anyone, yet.” I try to say encouragingly.
“I’m so sorry man! Where are we?” He shouts.
“I think somewhere in Europe, maybe 1916?” I answer over the shooting.
“When?” His eyes bulge.
“Time is the same, I only jump years and locations. So it was December 4th in our time, it’s still December 4th, just not 2017.” I explain.
“Ok, ok, I get it. Does this always happen? When you jump, is it always like this?” he asks.
It’s a valid question and I take a moment to recount all the times I’d jumped into the middle of conflict without warning. “Yea, it tends to happen a lot. But I was getting better at choosing less conflicting times. You went and just touched the timeline and this is what we got. I think there’s a better way to select times That’s why you gotta let me do the selecting, got it?” I reaffirm with him.
He nods his head and I know he means it. “So now, we need to find shelter. Everyone here will shoot if they don’t know us, so try not to be seen.” I start, looking for someplace, some building that looks safe.
“Not be seen? In the middle of a war? That’s like asking me to lay a golden egg bro. I don’t have magic, remember?”
I shake my head and roll my eyes. “You know what I meant. Keep your head down and don’t do anything stupid.”
“I’ll just follow you. You know what you’re doing. You’ve done this before. I trust your judgment,” he assures me.
Great, now he thinks I know what I’m doing. Not what I was hoping for. I realized the wall we’re hiding behind used to be part of a corner building of the square we landed in. I try to shuffle some of the debris while keeping out of sight of the sniper in the window across the street. After maybe fifteen minutes of rummaging through the bricks and broken building materials, I find a promising cellar door.
“Stay low and follow me,” I shout to him as I pull up the door in a shower of dust. The inside appears dark and I can’t see far. Kaede crawls up beside me holding out a flashlight.
“It was in the first aid kit from Car,” he says with a tentative grin.
“That’s convenient,” I say, looking down into the whole as he lights it up. I see a wooden staircase that leads a few feet down. “You should go first,” I offer, hoping it will relax him.
“Won’t argue there,” he says as he crawls onto the ladder and starts to descend.
When he’s at the bottom, holding the light, I turn, getting on the ladder. I feel a sharp pain in my arm as I take the first step and lose my grip on the ladder, tumbling down the rest of the way. I land hard on top of Kaede, who grunts. A shower of dust rain on top of us as the door falls shut and the natural light from above goes out.
“Oww,” I moan, gripping my shoulder where I felt the bullet strike.
“Are you ok? What happened?” Kaede whispers from beneath me. I crawl off of him and wait as he adjusts the light. When the flashlight lands on me I see the sleeve covered in blood and a small hole where I am gripping my bicep.
“I think the sniper got me,” I say, trying to stop the bleeding.
“I hate to say, glad it wasn’t me, but… I’m glad it wasn’t me. Good thing for the first aid kit!” He says optimistically as he pulls it from his bag and starts looking for bandages.
“I think we need to get the bullet out first,” I groan.
“Well, sometimes they pass right through, let’s check,” he says, crawling around me to see the other side of my arm. It’s hard to move, so I’m glad he’s taking a look for me. I feel him tug at the sleeve, looking for an exit hole. “I don’t see anything. Sorry.”
“Great. I roll my eyes. “It’s going to hurt, isn’t it,” I mumble.
“Probably. I may have a steady hand, but I’ve never removed a bullet before. Strange. That should have passed through. It’s just your arm,” he wonders aloud.
He grips the metal tweezers in one hand and the flashlight in the other. I frown as he moves towards my arm like a vulture on a piece of dead meat. I prepare for it, gritting my teeth and squeezing my eyes shut.
I feel the tweezers poke my wound and I swallow the pain as he moves around, looking for the bullet.
“Maybe… be a little… more gentle…” I suggest against the pain.
“Sorry,” he apologizes. “I’m not a human doctor, just a computer doctor.”
“Go thing,” I manage to say.
“I think I got it!” He says as he pulls the tweezers and the bullet from my arm. The wound burns and fresh blood pours out like a slow tap.
“Quick, the bandages!” I whisper.
Kaede fumbles with the bandages, placing some gauze on the hole and then tying a cloth around it tightly. It stings as he tugs on the knot, wrapping the length of the cloth bandage around multiple times. I still see the blood soaking through.
“Maybe you should try healing this,” Kaede points out.
I stare at him, disbelieving. I can’t believe I didn’t think of that. “I’ve never tried healing myself before. Maybe I should,” I already feel a bit dizzy. Maybe this wasn’t the best band-aid.
I place my hand over the wound, picturing the hole and the blood in my mind. I focus on the wound and the tissue around it, the damage that the bullet caused. Then, I imagine it filled, connecting, healing; becoming whole. I feel a faint thrum of time too and I try to harness that, as Ceph mentioned you could speed up time. Maybe I can speed the healing of the tissue a bit too. My arm tingles and I start to feel itchy.
“How is it? Are you healing it? Kaedes voice cuts through my thoughts like a knife.
I open my eyes and look at him.
“Man, you look pale,” he comments.
“Thanks… I guess,” I say, tugging at the blood-soaked cloth. As it comes away I move the torn sleeve, looking for the whole, but there isn’t one, just a faintly pink spot where it was a few minutes ago.
“Wicked! That is so cool man! Wow, magic; even better than a doctor,” he says shaking his head, impressed.
“Sometimes,” I say, though, I still feel awfully weak now. My heads a bit dizzy and I feel tired. “Let’s take a look around and rest a bit. I don’t think I can go far at the moment. I need some rest from that,” I tell him.
He nods with understanding. “Got it. Scouting mission 101! Man, it’s just like real life D&D!” He says, standing up and turning the flashlight. I join him in looking around the cellar. There’s not much, some shelves with vintage wine on them, a few crates with odds and ends that look like a shopkeepers extras warehouse.
The cellar seems to go back from the ladder about ten feet and is maybe seven or eight wide. Some rickety shelves line the wall to the right and crates are stacked on the left. At the back is a small desk covered in dust. The walls are bare.
“It may look like a dead end,” Kaede starts, “but one thing I’ve learned from playing games is there’s always a secret door.” He grins.
“Kae, this is the real world just a hundred years earlier. It’s not a game,” I complain.
“That’s what you think,” he says confidently as he shines the light at the desk. There isn’t much on it, some old, yellowing paper and a lot of dust. There’s a quill pen in the inkwell, long since dried. Kaede pulls at the pen, inspecting it closely. When he tries to lift it, we freeze. A faint click comes from behind the desk. Kaede shines the light on the wall.
“Ah ha! See this?” He says, pointing at the otherwise regular-looking wall.
“It’s a wall,” I say flatly.
“It’s a door!” He says with excitement. He pushes a hand against it and a seam appears in the, what looked like an unbroken cement wall. A door swings inwards and reveals a dark pathway that seems to go beneath the buildings above for a least twenty or so meters.
“Nice find,” I admit. Let’s get in there and hide, just in case. I really do need to lay done though,” I remind him.
“Right, hiding from our hiding place though seems like a smart plan. Common.”
We crawl into the passage and push the door back into place. “I hope no one can see the seam now that we’ve disturbed it,” I mention.
“Me too.” Kaede agrees. “Now we wait and rest.”
I nod in agreement. “Sounds like a good plan,” for now.
By Kayla West