‘What do you seek?’
Those word were ones I remembered very clearly.
My sister had gone missing six months ago and she had not been found. It was a terrible experience but for me felt worse every day. It was like each day she disappeared from our lives a little more.
Our parents felt like they recovered faster than I had expected, they spoke like she must be fine where ever she was and it was probably better for her anyways. It might have just been their way of coping but it crushed me.
She had always been a bit of an introvert, hiding in her room and playing video games. But she had always called be Big Brother and relied on me when she needed help. With her gone I felt like the world had drained completely of color.
When our parents said that they would finally be disposing of things in her room I felt that I might have lost it. I had locked myself in her room. Not very adult for somebody who was planning on entering collage soon. But I just couldn’t let her go like that.
I had been sitting in her chair looking at the black screen on her computer. It was then that those words appeared on the screen.
‘What do you seek?’
Then there was a blinking dash like it was expecting me to type something.
I wrote in ‘I want to find my sister’.
Then it felt like my chair had dropped out from beneath me and everything went dark.
When light finally returned I was lying on my back and staring up into the star filled sky. I could feel grass beneath me. Strange, I could have sworn that I had been at my sister’s desk look at her computer when… something happened.
“What is this?” came a soft voice that somehow also sounded excited, “A human? How did a human arrive here?” Then a tiny face appeared in my vision and I bolted straight upward smacking my head into her.
However she was small, tiny really and she went flying through the air before she caught herself with the tiny wings she had on her back.
“Ouch, ouch, ouch, why did you do that? Are you a mean human? Is that why you did it?”
“No, no, no, I’m very sorry, I didn’t mean to do that I was just startled. That is all. I’m so very sorry.”
She fluttered her way back over to me. She was maybe a foot tall. She had vibrant blue hair and strange perfectly silver eyes. She was wearing a green dress that looked like it was made from leaves.
It felt weird to say it was more strange but above her head were the words, “Cobalt, Level 3, Fairy”
“Oh, if you were startled then it was my fault. I am sorry for scaring the human.” Then she cocked her head to one side, “Are you alright? You did not get hurt by your impact with me did you? I did not get hurt, well maybe a little, but the pain went away quickly. Did your pain not go away? You look like you are in pain.”
“No, I am fine. Where are we?”
“Uhh, which forest?”
“The one where I live. There is the big tree on the hill and the waterfall where the deer eat. The mean hunter sometimes comes through frightening the deer. I don’t talk with him because he is mean.”
“Are we on Earth?”
“You are sitting on grass which is on the earth. I am flying. There is a difference.”
That didn’t really answer my question but I basically knew the answer. This couldn’t be earth. There wasn’t any fairies on earth. As impossible as it sounded I must have been teleported to some other world.
“Um, Cobalt, what else can you tell me about where we are.”
“Clever human, you read my name above my head. I can do that you. You are Triston.”
“You can see it too.”
“Silly human, of course I can see it. Did you think only humans could see the menu? That would be silly.”
Menu, now that she mentioned it there were other things. My name in the upper left along with health and mana. There were also some icons in the bottom and the top right of my vision.
“A menu, why is there a menu?”
“That isn’t very helpful you know.”
“I’m sorry, I like being helpful but people don’t want me help and the animals don’t seem to appreciate it very much.” She looked a little bit sad.
“No, its fine really. I just don’t know how I got here.”
“Maybe you were born here. That is what happened to me.”
“You were born here?”
“Yup. Fairies are born from magic. Although actually I was born closer to the waterfall than this. But you are not a fairy so you were probably not born here.”
“No, I was born somewhere far away. I, I came here looking for my sister.”
“Your sister? Do you need help looking for your sister? I can help you look for her. I am good at looking inside logs and up in trees.”
“I don’t think we fill find her in either of those places. For all I know she is far away from here.”
“Far away?” Cobalt looked sad again.
“Maybe, although I do think that she is in the world. Otherwise none of this makes any sense. I mean this doesn’t make much sense in the first place but it would make even less sense.”
“You just need to find her right? Then everybody will be happy, right?”
“Find her, yeah, that is what I need to do.” It was a resolution. I needed to find my sister. She had to be in this world, she had to be.
“Is there a village of humans nearby?” I asked Cobalt.
“Village… not a village. Some houses. Some people live there. They are a bit far so I do not visit them very often. They are sometimes kind, they sometimes give me cheese. I like cheese but not enough to visit them very often. I can take you there if you want.”
“I am helpful, that is why I help. Follow me.” Said the fairy as it fly off.
I got to my feet and began to follow it. As I did I noticed that my clothing was not what I had been wearing back in my sister’s room. It was a long brown coat that I was wearing. It was nicely made, sewn with a thick thread. It was a cloth coat, maybe wool but it felt like it was inlined with a thick hardened leather.
Who made it? My mind pondered this questions. I could hear Cobalt chattering in the background and occasionally responded to her but mostly I was spending my time trying to figure out how the coat was made.
I was broken out of my reverlry when Cobalt shook me, “Hey, we are here. Did you fall asleep while walking?”
“Humans can’t do that.”
“Oh, well, look.” Cobalt pointed toward a building complex that I was only now noticing. It was a series of building surrounding a central plaza all with a small stone wall around it. Since we were up on a ridge we could look down into the plaza. I could see a couple of people in the plaza. Were they practicing swordsmanship? That must be what they were doing.
“Come on.” Said Cobalt as she pulled my coat. She was so tiny that it didn’t do anything but I moved in the direction she was pulling and it made her look happy.
She lead me down the hill and toward the front gate of the complex.
The front gate was opened and so we just entered. I might have been more reserved if I had been alone but Cobalt said, “Don’t worry, that know me, it will all be good.”
When I reached the plaza I stopped. There was a raised stone platform which was quite large. On top of it was a young woman, maybe around my age. She was standing with a sword held in both her hands. She was swinging it up and down like she training. Her movements were well practiced, at least they seemed to be to my eyes.
Cobalt was about to fly off toward here when I grabbed Cobalt and pressed a finger to my lips to keep her quiet.
The young woman had long black hair which was tied up in a pony tail. She was wearing lose fitting clothes that reminded of the asian clothes I had seen back on earth. She continued to do swings with the sword. After what only felt like a moment she changed from doing just normal swings to changing between different techniques, forms I think they were called.
I continued to watch her, mesmerized. Everything was perfectly fluid and the entire thing felt like magic too me.
After what felt like no time at all she finished the form. She lowered the sword and in another motion she had sheathed the blade. With that done I began clapping, “Wow, amazing, I’ve never seen anything like it.”
She looked over at me with a strange look of confusion, “Um, hello, can I help you?”
“Oh, yes, Cobalt, you need to wake up. This is where I need you.” After I had asked Cobalt to remain silent she had sat down on my head and then moments later fallen asleep. As she roused she looked blearily around.
She the flapped her wings to fly off my head and look around, then realizing where she was she said, “Oh, yes, cheese!” And then she flew off toward one of the buildings, leaving me behind.
I did a small bow to the woman and said, “I’m sorry. It seems that my guide just left me.”
“Cobalt brought you here? And how did she find you?” She sounded a bit suspicious.
“I know it is going to sound strange, but I am not from this world. I got teleported here from my world by some strange force.”
She hopped off the raised platform and stared me in the eyes, she was only the tiniest bit smaller than me it she managed to pull it off. “That does sound strange. Another world you say? Your clothing doesn’t seem to suggest that, it looks rather standard, if well made.”
“I can say that I wasn’t wearing this when I was in my world. When I woke up in this one I was wearing it. Whoever it was that teleported me here must have changed my clothes.”
She still looked skeptical. “All right then, tell me about your world.”
“Umm, well, there are all kinds of different things like cell phone and cars and computers. I assume you don’t have those here? Plus when I was in my world I didn’t have the funny message in the corner of my vision.”
“No status magic? Although I don’t know what those other things are. Are you sure you didn’t just make those words up?”
“I can draw pictures or something if you want me too. My sister always said that I was good at drawing. No, wait, that is why I am here. I’m looking for my sister. I think she was brought to this world and I want to find her.”
“Hmm.” She furrowed her brow looking like she was deep in thought. Like Cobalt she had the words above her head that said who she was. It said Sharyn, Level 7, Swordmaster Trainee. “I suppose it is possible you have come from another world. What jobs do you have?”
“Jobs?” I asked.
“You really don’t know what jobs are? The button in the top right that looks like a silhouette. Press that and go to your jobs tab and tell me what is where.”
“Umm… I see the button you mean but how to I press it?
“Just… imagine your are pressing it and it will open. Have you really never done this before?” She sounded like she could believe that I didn’t know how to do it.
I tried to imagine pressing it and just like she had said it opened up a screen. There was a bunch of stuff written on it but I find the tab that said jobs and imagined clicking that one too. I was brought to a page which listed my jobs.
“It says that I am a Seeker, rank 1 and a Hero, also rank 1.”
“Hero? It says that you are a hero? You didn’t misread that?”
“It definitely says Hero.” And with that she had also run off in the same direction that Cobalt had run.
They had all just run off away from me. I didn’t know if I should follow them or wait for Sharyn to return. I decided to follow them. They had both ran or flew off toward the larger building at the back.
I walked to it and up a few stair steps and entered the building. Then I could hear Sharyn saying to somebody.
“He might be lying. Don’t you think that somebody could have heard about us and sent somebody claiming to be a hero?”
“Don’t be so hasty Sharyn. We must first ascertain whether he is telling the truth.” Then there was a moment of silence and the other, probably an old female voice said, “In fact you should come in, potential hero.”
Getting permission I stepped into the room that they were in. The old woman and Sharyn were kneeling while speaking. In a bowl next to the old woman was Cobalt who was munching on a piece of cheese which was bigger than her head.
“Is being a hero that special?” I asked as I stepped in. I felt rude to stand while they were all sitting so I knelt as well.
The old woman nodded, “Indeed, a hero is a special existence. Once foretold by the Sages to save this world. Tell me child, what are the features that you have gained from your Hero job?”
I messed around with the menu so more before saying, “It says that it grants me starting equipment, bonus starting stats and skills, and Improved Level Up. The last one seems to be something called a talent.”
“Improved Level Up? Sharyn, have you ever heard of such a talent?”
“Indeed, such a talent does not exist. Yet my True Sight tells me that this person does indeed have such a talent.
“Does that mean he really is a hero?” Said Sharyn still a bit dubious.
“Maybe, I can not identify jobs with True Sight, just the talents that a person possesses. Child, what does it say that your Improved Level Up does?”
“You and your party members gain skill points upon leveling up which they can allocate to any skill they have access to.” I replied although I really didn’t know what that meant other than in the most general sense. My sister was much more into games then I was and this sounded like game terminology.
“That is what my True Sight determines at well. Cobalt says that you are looking for you sister, is this true?”
“Yes, in my world she disappeared six months ago. Not long ago I was in her room, when strange text asked me what did I seek. I said I was looking for me sister and then I was here in this world.”
“Six months ago, a lot could have happened in six months. What is your sister’s name?”
The old lady placed her hand on her chin thinking, “I have not heard of anybody by that name. Still if you were brought here then she is likely in this world. Then you plan on looking for her?”
“Yes, even if I have to look over the entire world.”
The old lady nodded to herself, “Very well. Sharyn, you are to go with him and ascertain whether he is truly a hero. When he find his sister if you do not believe that he is a hero then return to me.”
“Whahahat? You just want me to go with him just like that!”
“Ohohohoh!” This time it was Cobalt, “I want to come too! It sounds exciting!”
The old lady shook her head chuckling, “Isn’t it our duty to aid the heroes in protecting this world? Isn’t that why you have been training?”
“But nothing. You have already learned what I could teach you, you have all the jobs I wanted to give you. All that remains is your own experience. If Triston is truly a hero then you must follow him and if he is not then you must find the hero for you to follow.”
I carefully kept myself out of this argument. While I didn’t want to force anybody to help me find my sister I still would appreciate any help that I could get. Plus they seemed to have their own reasons for wanting to help me.
“Me, me, am I coming too!” It was Cobalt flying around my head.
“Sure, if you want too.” I said, “But I don’t really know where I am going. Where is the best place to start a search for my sister?”
“Finding a needle in a haystack with only a name and description can be difficult.” Said the old woman. “If you want to avoid pure chance then you should seek a Seer to aid you.”
“Yes, they can look into the fortunes of people. Predicting some portion of the future.”
“How do I find a seer.”
“With much difficulty. They went into hiding after their powers became known. Yet a hero should be able to find them. From what I last heard they were rumored to currently be dwelling in the Grand Merchant City Vilanto. That should be your first stop.”
The old lady paused, “However I will leave any future explanations to Sharyn. She will be your guide from no one and you should learn to rely on her.”
Sharyn straightened up upon hearing this and said, “I still haven’t approved you as being a hero. Keep that in mind and do your best to live up to my expectations.”
“I’m not really trying to be a hero, just find my sister. I explained that already you know.”
“The point still stands.”
It seemed that mearly having the hero job made me a hero in their eyes. If that is what they believed I couldn’t really correct them about it.
Soon enough Sharyn had bustled me out of the room and began preparations for a journey to Vilanto. Mainly it involved a bag of money which she said
“This will keep up traveling for quite a long time but we would still need to be frugal. I don’t want to waste the master’s money for no reason. If we need more once we reach Vilanto I have some merchant notes which we can exchange.”
While she was off gathering something else I examined the mint of the coins. They had an old man’s face stamped on one side and some scales on the other. There was no writing however. It seemed that the merchants had a lot of influence in this country.
There were gold coins and silver coins although I wondered about the purity of the coins. I remember something about karats involving purity of metals. I recalled 24 karats being pure, although I didn’t know if this world used that measurement system.
Cobalt was still determined to come with us. “Hey, I need a bag too.”
“I don’t think anybody had a bag that is in your size.” She seemed to deflate when I said that. But that gave me an idea.
The old lady was able to lend me some cloth and a needle with some thread. Then not long after I had a tiny bag made for Cobalt. It wasn’t that well crafted but she could sling it over her shoulder and fill it with stuff. I had used a button as the fastener and it looked very big on the tiny bag.
Cobalt was immensely happy with the bag and flew all over the room with it. She then proceeded to pack it full of food.
The old lady had been watching me make it and chuckled as Cobalt kept trying to fit more into it. “You are pretty skilled at that. Where did you learn to sew?”
“My sister liked wearing costumes from whatever she was interested at the time. She made me make them for her and I got a bit good at making them.”
“But you don’t have a job that grants you a sewing skill do you?”
“No, should I?”
“No necessarily, it is just unusual.” She looked like she was pondering something however we were interrupted by Sharyn who had brought a big pile of stuff into the room. She was very strong, probably from all that swords swinging she did.
While it seemed that Sharyn would definately have forced us all to leave just as the run was setting the old lady made her stop and waiting until the morning to actually leave.
However that didn’t stop Sharyn from forcing me outside to “Figure out what I could do.”
On one side of the complex there was a training area full of dummies.
“You said you also have the Seeker job? That isn’t one that I have heard of before. What does it do?” She questioned.
“Umm… lets see.” I looked over the menu to see what the Seeker job gave me access too.
“It grants the skills Detail Analysis and General Education. It has the talent, Jack of all Trades.”
“That doesn’t seem very useful for combat?”
“Why do I need combat skills?”
“Because your a hero. How can a hero not have combat skills. I have a general understanding of what your skills do but what does Jack of all Trades do?”
“It says that I learn the first rank of jobs extremely quickly.”
“Well that is something, only the first rank?”
“Yup, that is what it says.”
“Well, every hero has got to start somewhere, even if it is at the bottom. Hopefully I can get you the Swordmaster job quickly. Since that is the main job that I have I should be able to teach you.” She handed me a wooden sword from a nearby rack and said, “Start by swinging that a hundred times.”
The journey to mastery of the sword is rough indeed. I swung and I swung trying to feel the kind of magic I felt when I saw Sharyn swinging the sword but to no avail. Instead it was just painful and my body eventually collapsed before I even got to my hundredth swing. Turns out being a hero is rough work.
In the morning, once everything was gathered, we began the journey to find my Sister. Me, Cobalt, and Sharyn. I would have never predicted this kind of outcome when I first sat down at my sister’s computer. But if this would let me find her then I would do anything I needed to.