It was in the comfort of a warm home that Oliha had finally felt safe again. She chastised herself for being foolish enough to ask a stranger for help like she did, but teleporting wasn't an everyday occurrence. The moments after arriving in the restaurant had been confusing, she couldn't help herself when she started talking to the overly large man. It was as if an external force had taken over her mouth, making her blurt out the truth with no reservation.
The whole incident had her spooked. She couldn't help feeling nervous, only able to calm herself when Jou brought her to meet his wife. He had noted that the Captain worked quickly, in a few hours most of their possessions had been moved from his old house to his new one.
Although Oliha had maintained a positive attitude, she couldn't help but look at these people she hardly knew with a mind deep in thought. It wasn’t common for a person to lose everyone they knew, whether they had been captured or killed.
Even as the smartest student in her class, it was only then at the dinner table with Jou’s family that Oliha realized her parents and possibly her best friend could have been killed as well as everyone else in the village.
“Are you ok?” The sweet voice of Demia, Jou’s wife, reminded her of her late mother.
Oliha tried to respond, but found she was unable to stop the steady stream of tears from escaping.
“My parents, I can't believe they’re dead....”
Jou and Demia both gasped in shock, moving to comfort the girl who was barely noticing their presence. To the couple, she looked lost in thought, a flicker of light trapped within an great abyss.
What they didn't know was that Oliha was systematically going through every scenario, looking for some sort of way to prove her parents might be alive. Her eyes reflected her thoughts perfectly, not only was she scared but angry that such a thing would happen. A lasting hatred was forming, she knew that her parents couldn't have escaped or fought off the enemy. In all the excitement of receiving such a task and teleporting away, Oliha had simply forgotten about all the events that had occurred around her.
She quickly tried to sober up.
“I’m fine...” She said quietly to the two.
Jou made his way back to his seat, but Demia remained near the girl, her hand rubbing her shoulder lightly. Only after a few moments did she also return to her seat.
“I’m sorry I only just realized what had happened now.”
Demia smiled in a way only a loving mother could.
“Don’t be sorry child, you did nothing wrong. Now please eat something, you must be hungry.”
Oliha nodded lightly, before staring at the plate in front of her. She didn’t want to eat but she couldn’t refuse the hospitality that Jou and Demia have given her.
In front of her was a dish, consisting of steamed Grenithian fish and several vegetables that Oliha only recognized a few of. She broke off a chunk from her small loaf of bread and bit into it. The warmth of the bread was welcoming and reminded her of home.
With that memory Oliha picked up her fork, trying some of the other bits on her plate and before long she had finished eating. Demia had been keeping an eye on her as she ate and was pleased that the girl had been able to finish her food.
As the three ate everyone had been thinking to themselves. Much had changed for the three sitting at the table, whether it was seemingly good or bad. After a few moments Jou cleared his throat, letting everyone know he was about to speak.
“Now tell me, what’s going on out there?” Jou asked only to be scolded by his wife.
“Don’t bother the girl with that, it's the last thing she wants to think about right now.”
Oliha put up her hands to gain attention, she smiled lightly at the two adults and cleared her throat.
“Its fine, I can tell you anything you need to know.”
Jou was surprised by the resolve of the small girl and mentally decided to let the girl stay for as long as she needed.
“I think it would be better if you start from the beginning.” Demia said, mindful of the fact that her husband was busy with his thoughts.
“Oh...well I come from a small village called Trecha in the Kingdom of Crium, ruled by Prince Aveli the Fifth. I studied at Keldius Academy also known as the School of Heroes. We were studying battle patterns, preparing for our selection exam when the sound of an attack rung from one of the outposts."
Oliha paused for a moment, thinking back to the events before continuing.
"The rest was too much of a blur, I remember students getting armed and ready to battle, I was worried about a friend of mine that had gone missing, but my teacher had dragged me off to an underground room before I could say anything. He tasked me with warning all neighbouring kingdoms about the attack. I thought he was finally going crazy but when he showed me the teleportation amulet and activated it, I found myself here. I’m not even sure where he sent me but I’m supposed to warn your King as soon as possible.”
Oliha paused to let it all sink in before continuing.
“Will you help me?”
It didn’t take a split second for Jou to answer back.
“Of course, we’ll try and do what we can. Whether this is luck or fate, my job puts me closer to the kingdom's government than before. I suppose I can put your words across, but without any proof I don’t think they would believe you.”
“That’s not to say we don’t believe you” Delia was quick to add.
Oliha felt one of the pockets against her chest, she opened the buttoned pocket to reveal a large gold coin embossed with a strange blue metal. The coin had the symbol of a dragon with two swords that lay over the top of the beast.
Delia gasped slightly when she saw the coin recognizing it instantly.
“That’s the royal symbol. I could recognize that anywhere”
Jou was confused at his wife’s realization and when he looked at Delia with the intention of questioning her, she smiled in an almost nostalgic way.
“Remember how I said I was born to a rich family. I came from Regeva where my family was close to the Royal Aristocracy. Whenever knights from Crium came to pay homage to our King they would show coins with the royal crest of King Vulunti. This is one of those coins.”
Jou nodded, faintly remembering being told this.
Oliha yawned, embarrassingly trying to hide her tired nature.
“Oh my, it is late. I suppose we should give you a place to sleep.”
“You can take the spare room. Let me show you where it is.” Delia stood up to show Oliha around the new house.
The two left quickly leaving Jou alone in the main dining room.
He brought out a bottle of golden coloured liquor, pouring it into a glass and slowly drinking it. He produced a second glass, pouring it for his wife, whilst admiring the new features of his home.
“It’s lovely isn’t it?”
Jou watched his wife entering the room, now wearing a robe, covering her nightgown.
“Hmm....it is.” Jou said admiring his wife, almost everything was going right for him.
Delia sat next to Jou, picking up the glass and nursing it. She started humming slowly as the liquid settled in, making her sleepy. The two sat next to each other for about 20 minutes before finishing half of the bottle.
“I think I’m going to bed, are you coming?” Delia asked, getting out of her chair.
“Not just yet, I’ll join in a bit.” Jou said, briefly getting out of his chair to wish his wife goodnight.
With a brief kiss, she left, leaving Jou to finish the bottle slowly. Jou sighed quietly to himself, thinking of the war.
What little he understood was frightening for him.
There was hardly any information circulating the city, especially with the lack of trading merchants from the other Kingdoms in recent years. Jou had considered asking his former squad leader in the past but quickly threw away that idea, knowing how strict the law was about such information. He remembered when he first heard that talk of such affairs was seen as treason against the nation and it's values.
The thought made him shudder.
With some final feelings lingering in his mind, Jou cleared away the cups and left the table, deciding to prepare for the next day.