“Well, I can give it a try I guess.” Said Valarie. She looked around at the room, “Although there might be some damage. Should we do it now?”
Eta nodded and I heard the Wanderer say, “Anytime is good for me.”
“No child,” Said the Wanderer, “It is dangerous here and you should stay in your home. It is far safer there.”
Esta rubbed her shoe on the floor in a disappointing way, “Ahh, well if you say so then I will stay here.”
I held up my hand, “Just give me a second and I’ll be ready.” I moved to the edge of the room and pulled out my phone. I had gotten a new one since we got to this world so it actually worked. I only had a couple of numbers in my contact list.
I quickly called Martin who answered after a few rings. “Hey, Martin.”
“Yiskah, did you need something?” He asked.
“Oh, I’m just making sure somebody knows me and Valarie are about to do something dangerous. If we don’t show up for work tomorrow then something went wrong and you should probably contact Marilyn for aid.”
“Do you expect that to happen?”
“No, but this is just in case.” I held the phone a little to one side and asked Esta, “What is the address here?” She told me and I repeated it to Martin. “I’m sure that Marilyn can do something if something goes wrong.”
“Alright. Good luck.” He said.
“Thanks,” I said and then hung up. I turned back to the others and said, “Alright, that has been dealt with. Now I’m ready whenever you are.”
Valarie nodded. She was wearing a long sleeved jacket while protected her against the cold. It also covered the symbols that covered her left arm. She unzipped her jacket and handed it to me. She then stood in front of the computer and she raised her left arm and the symbols on it began to glow.
“Keep in mind I’m basically just trying to repeat something I did in the heat of passion. So forgive me if I’m not that good at it.” Said Valarie. She closed her eyes and the room began to shake. It was the same kind of feeling that I experienced when we first traveled to this world.
Those same cracks in the world that had appeared previously began to appear once more. However this time they were concentrated near the computer. Valarie sweated and her hand shook. Things seemed to going badly for her. I looked down at my right hand. One of my tools was the Essence Knife, one of the strongest tools that I could use to stop Valarie. I could infuse it into Shīringuken and then cut her away from her magic dispelling everything she was currently casting. It was only temporary but in the Forbidden Domain I had used it several times to protect myself from her strongest magics. I could stop her here and avoid any danger now….
I grabbed my hand and shook my head. I now trusted Valarie. She was doing the best that she could and if I stopped her now she might fail. Instead I decided to show my support, “Don’t worry Valarie, you can do it.”
She gritted her teeth and nodded, “Of course I can.” Then the shaking changed to a low shutter which was a good sign, I think. Then the cracking change into warping of the air like looking into a swimming pool. Then a hole appeared in the air, it was black and you could not see what was behind it but I knew that she was successful.
Valarie walked forward toward the hole and I began to follow her. Then I saw Esta out of the corner of my eye. She was sitting on her bed holding one of the stuff animals. She looked dejected and depressed. I understood. With her parents gone all the time the Wanderer was the closest thing to family that she had. We were going to visit him without her. Silently to not disturb Valarie I turned to her put my finger to my lips to keep her quiet and then winked at her.
She noticed me, smiled and the jumped off her bed and followed behind me. I knew it was slightly irresponsible for me to offer to bring her with me but I felt it was the right choice. We followed through the portal after Valarie. The darkness surrounded us and Esta took my hand in fear. Then the light from the other side began to glow and we landing in a jumble inside the book filled room of the Wanderer.
It seemed that the spacial-like earthquake-thing had not treated this room kindly. Many of the books had been thrown from the shelves and our landing into this room was less than graceful.
“Esta? Is that you? What are you doing here? I told you to stay home!” It was the Wanderer noticing that that Esta had joined us. She was hugging him. Valarie looked at me upon seeing the sight and I shrugged like it should be my fault. She raised one of her hands to her mouth and stifled a giggle. Then having used all her energy making the portal Valarie began to collapse and I caught her. I lowered her slowly to the group and then placed her in the chair that the Wanderer had been sitting on.
Upon setting her down I looked over at the Wanderer, “It looked like even if you wanted to send Esta back home it looks like you will have to wait. It is Valarie you has the power to move us between worlds. We will have to wait for her to recover before we could consider sending her home.”
The Wanderer looked over toward me and sighed, “Alright, I guess she can stay then.” Esta raised her hands in happiness, “But! You need to stay inside and near one of us at all times. It is very dangerous out there so you need to be careful.”
Esta raised her hands in celebration. I looked around the room and asked, “Do you have a place to sitdown?”
The Wanderer looked around the room and lead us into what looked like his kitchen. There was a lot of strange devices in this place and it seemed very personal like he never expected anybody else to be here. There was only one chair at the table so he had to go off into another room to find chairs for me and Esta.
“I would offer you something to eat and drink but I’m sure you wouldn’t enjoy it. The stuff I had to offer is generally eatable but awful tasting.”
“Thanks anyway.” I said.
“I know I asked for help but even not that you are here I don’t know what to ask you to do. I still surprised that you actually made it here and I didn’t really have any plans for if you succeeded.”
“Well, we did make the decision rather quickly. Esta said that your world was dying, is that true?”
He nodded, “As far as I can tell. The ash is encroaching everything and sooner or later the entire would will be covered in it. There might still be ways of surviving but I doubt many people will adapt to that and even if they do I don’t know what would come next. Would things continue to get worse? I simply don’t know.”
“Hmm, I don’t really have any world saving experience. The closest I have is vague experience at destroying worlds.” I held up my hand, “And I’m not even certain about that. Do you know the source of the ash?”
“I know what I have been told. There are several large volcanos which spew out the ash. People once had hope that they would stop but they never have. Even if we could do it, I’m not actually sure that stopping the volcano’s would do any good at this point. There is already too much ash and ecosystems that rely on it.”
“You seemed to have put a lot of thought into this.”
“It has been the closest thing to my life’s work. I spent a lot of time trying to find a way to save the world but once I thought that was impossible I switch to figuring out how to survive in the world. Yet even then I do not have enough answers to be able to say for certain that people could survive.”
“Then do you know what you want us to help you do.”
“I’m not certain. I contacted you because of a message that was left to me. Do you want to hear it.”
I nodded and he moved over to a machine that looked like a make shift old computer. He fiddled with it until it began to produce sound. I listened to the recording of the Watcher and at the end I finally say, “It seemed that she didn’t even tell you what you needed, only who you needed.”
“I think that even if I can offer a solution I don’t think it will be a magic pill that will just make this world better and I don’t think it would be quick. Valarie might be able to do something but that could change your world to be even worse then it already is.”
“Even people just being here is more then I had expected to ever happen.” He reached out and rubbed Esta’s head, “I didn’t think I would ever do anything then hear Esta, the thought of seeing her in the flesh was something I had never considered.”
I pondered the problem for a little bit before I finally asked, “Do you think I could see your world?”
“Sure, let me get the supplies for going out. It is rather dangerous out there though so be careful.”
He went off into another room and began gathering things. I looked at Esta and said, “I know you came with us but the Wanderer is probably right that it is dangerous. Do you think you can look after Valarie while we are gone.”
She nodded and said, “Yeah, I’ve seen out there through my monitor. Even I understand that that it is too dangerous out there.”
The Wanderer brought be a set of black stained clothing. It contained a mask which could filter the air. I took them and he helped me up them on. A few minutes later we were prepared and he lead me to his front door. He took a rifle from the stand next to the door and handed it to me.
I shook my head, “I don’t need it. I have my Tools at my disposal.”
I couldn’t really see his face but he must have had a puzzled expression, “Well, if you say so. There are monsters out there so be careful.” He held the rifle and twisted open the door. The two of us walked out into the ash filled night.
It was dark so I brought out a lantern. I concentrated and activated the Lantern of Illumination. It glowed better than his lantern shining off through the ash like it was not there. He looked at me and it in surprise before he finally said, “One surprise after another. Where did you get that?”
“It is one of my magical tools which were passed onto me from my Master.” I said.
“Magical tools huh? Before now the only magical thing was my communication with Esta, there doesn’t seem to be anything like that in this world. Do you know how your lantern works? I would love a lantern that shone through that Ash like yours done.”
“Umm, I do kinda understand how it works however I don’t really know how to explain it to somebody. I could try to make an attempt latter but it might take a while so I suggest me wait.” I said.
He nodded and said, “Alright, later."