“What is your name child of Gaea?”
“Are you hard of hearing or just short of vocabulary?”
Snapped the only female of the trio of Elders who sat above an intimidated Jide and Hibee, both sitting uncomfortably on small stools.
“Why are you here in our world?”
His brow furrowed, Jide sighed as he took a deep breath.
“Honorable Elders of this town…”
“Of Illien, I am here to simply search for the whereabouts of my brethren. My cousin and my sister. They found a way to your world… and haven’t been heard from since.”
Jide said as he felt Hibee’s fingers tightly grasping his own, a strange creature like her was showing solidarity with someone she had just met. Odd indeed, Jide tought to himself.
“Brethren? What would be their purpose for coming to this world?”
Said the plump elder as Jide mused to himself that this resembled a query more and more as he answered the questions.
“What is your plan now that you’re here Jide Omoyemi? How are you expecting to find your kinsmen?”
The female elder asked as she absentmindedly spat into a bowl.
“By searching every town and village I can for them. Since I was able to come here I have to assume that they can be found.”
Pulling his wallet out of his ragged jeans, Jide brings out a picture of him, Kunle and Bisi taken at a recent family outing.
Hibee stares at the picture, her head petal fluttering as Jide continues.
” This is the reason why I am here. I will find them and bring them home by any means.”
The plump elder sighed as he earth-weaved an image of the two seated before him and his peers.
“Fine. Let’s say we’re convinced of your dedication to your cause and even give you the benefit of a doubt that you have a way of finding these kin of yours, this world of ours Terr, is a very dangerous world. The likelihood of your kin (if they’re children of Gaea like you) being alive is already very small.”
The elder dispels the earth-weaving which causes the image to crumble to dust.
“This en-devour of yours could be just a massive waste of time. You should return back to your world while you still can.”
“I can’t. I can’t leave without finding them. Whether they’re dead, possessed or anything else I need to find them. There’s no other option for me.”
The tallest of the elders stared intently at Jide his gray-green eyes giving off a soft glow to his hardened features.
” I need you to tell us everything about how you got here. We know the why now but the how is still something that concerns me. Its a dangerous journey for people from our world to journey to Gaea’s territory, but it should be impossible to do the reverse. So tell us how you got here.”
Over the next hour, within the chamber where the meeting interrogation was being held, the elders patiently listened as Jide recounted how his cousin Kunle had mysteriously gotten a book of illumination, his experimentation and the seeing that he had granted to Bisi and him. He also recounted his meeting with Gaea and their agreement.
When he had finished, the three elders all shared a troubled expression and started whispering amongst themselves. From his position below them Jide could hear nothing but the occasional mumble which irritated him.
A gentle nudge at his side drew his attention. Turning his head slightly, Jide saw Hibee mouth the words “it’s going to be okay.” as her hands still holding his since the meeting/ interrogation began gave a soft squeeze.
“As much as we’ld like to advise you otherwise, you are both determined and have no choice but to carry out the mission you have embarked on.”
The plump elder finally said as he raised the bowl for his peer to spit in. Placing the bowl away from him with a slight expression of irritation, he folded his hands as he stared at the pair.
” However, may we ask you to dwell with us for a time? You need to be properly prepared for the journey ahead both physically, magically and mentally so as not to fail in either of your quests. A few days, five if I may say would be enough for everything to be prepared. So would you wait with us Jide?”
He asked as his peer the tallest of the elders eyed Jide with his dark look on his face.
Jide looked at the three elders smiled as he replied.
” I would be glad to stay.”
“I’m leaving here tonight.”
Hibee asked as she stopped eating a piece of pie in her hand and turned to look at Jide who was lying in bed staring at the ceiling. It was several hours after the meeting with the elders. From what he had seen afterward, they had not considered him a threat to the village, though he was still going to be watched over as much as they could. The illienze had once again brought a large amount of food to their room and as soon as Hibee saw the meal she had leapt on it like a starving jackal… terribly unplantlike behaviour.
“Why not? I’m grateful that they found me and haven’t done any funny business to me. But there’s no such thing as a free lunch. If I stay, they’re going to either ask for a favor or send me on an additional mission.”
“So we leave tonight!”
Jide sits up on the bed and points to Hibee who by bow has finished the entire pie and was now licking her crusted fingers.
“You are going home. Wherever that is. Thank you for everything but you don’t need to involve yourself in this anymore.”
“No way. I want to be even more involved in your mission!”
“Ehn? Why would you?”
Hibee got up from her chair and stood at her full height staring at Jide eyeball to eyeball for a breif moment before chuckling to herself and sitting right next to him. Her features becoming serious as she awkwardly stared at the floor, swinging her bare feet.
” I don’t have any big reasons to. It’s just that I left my commune because I felt I didn’t fit in. Meeting you, you saving my life, I deciding that I was going to be friends with you…hearing your story at that panel… it just felt natural… that’s the best way I can put it that’s all. Please allow me to help you find them. I promise not to hold you back or get in your way. ”
She finally said as she looked at the doorway of their little room, her cheeks flushed lemon yellow. Jide stared at the florin for a few moments, considering the individual sitting before him. It made no sense whatsoever, but he was happy she said what she did. Whatever she was, having her beside him helped keep his thoughts together. Reaching out to her, Jide stroked her hair as he smiled gently.
“Fine. We leave tonight when everyone’s asleep.”
Hibee practically lit up as she immediately hugged him tight, her head flower fluttering in apparent excitement.
Looking up at him with the biggest smile he had ever seen, Jide wondered if this was what it was like having a proper sibling relationship was like before an image of Bisi flashed through his mind. ‘ I’ll find you guys’ he thought to himself as he considered his second escape from the town of Illien.
The sudden sound of the door opening roused Sunny from her slumber amongst the branches. Rubbing her eyelids, groaned as she stretched herself taking care not to fall off.
Against the concerns of her best friend, Sunny had decided to camp outside the house allocated to “jide” the name of the creature who could turn to metal and smash people’s homes. Earlier in the day the elders had declared him not to be a threat to the community but unlike everyone else who breathed a sigh of relief, Sunny was unconvinced. So while everyone else went to bed, Sunny had hidden herself in the branches of a tree overlooking it’s house.
Now fully awake, Sunny watched as in the darkness two figures snuck out of the building.
So even the florin’s an accomplice, sunny thought as the duo moved carefully through the pathways avoiding the lights and windows of nearby houses.
As they reached the edge of the farmlands, Sunny descended from the tree and went in swift but cautious pursuit. On a physical level she had no illusions about her capabilities. Once transformed ‘jide’ as he was called would be out of her league, leaving her only chance of dealing with him to be before he did. However the florin complicates issues, even if she could handle her quickly, her mere interference would give it the time to transform.
Biting her lip, Sunny decided to simply observe their movements. Keeping a safe distance, she saw the florin guide the clumsy creature through the shrubs stopping every now and then when the creature got itself stuck on a root or branch. Hissing as she saw the duo pick some fruits along the path, she stopped in her tracks, preparing her bow and arrow when they reached the edge of Illienze territory.
When she saw the florin climb unto the creature’s back, Sunny immediately knew what was going to happen. As the creature’s body turned metal, she quickly armed her bow pulling tightly as she aimed for the florin’s head.
“Don’t do that you troublesome halfling!”
Sunny gasped as she almost dropped her bow. Turning her head slowly she saw the shadow of the tallest elder in the village Brisbane the mighty. Beside him stood a seven foot earth golem carrying several bags.
Sunny desperately turned back to see that the duo had disappeared.
“Elder! The creature has fled once again! We need to alert …”
She was stopped as the elder placed a finger on her lips.
“You will do no such thing.You will only one thing.seek them out.”