chapter seven | tempestatis | waterfall

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"Araceli Daystar No. 64, en route to Tempestatis town, will depart at 3:05 p.m. from Gate 5, making stops at Foraeldre cemetery, Winter park, Lentus, Whaelrdrake, Tenebris, and Tempestatis. Ready for boarding at Gate 5." The voice of the train conductor echoed through the train station.

After paying for our tickets- courtesy of Sienna- Grim heaved our suitcases into a train luggage rack, except for Lyra, Akuma, and mine as we literally had nothing to bring. We walked into the train and sat down in a train compartment that could fit the eleven of us- Lyra, Akuma, Lana and I sat in seats for four people together.

"This is the final boarding announcement for Train 64, departing at Gate 5. ALL ABOARD!" The train conductor yelled through the intercom once more. After about one minute, I heard the guard blow the whistle. The train moved slowly and pulled out of the station.

"So, how did you all like your rooms? Were they nice?" Lana asked, a tad bit coyly.

"Y-yes! They were beautiful," Lyra replied enthusiastically as she nodded vigorously.

A moment passed filled with silence before Lana revived the conversation. "So, do your parents know about you... joining the guild?"

The lighthearted mood dropped. "No... They aren't here," I said, only loud enough for the four of us to hear.

"Seems like all of us can relate, then," Lana assured.

"...All of us?" Akuma questioned.

"Yes. I had a father named Morrison. One day... he just turned bad... and I-I was scared. I was so scared, I ran away..." Lana's voice trailed off, realising what she had just said. Clearing her throat, she continued, "I'm telling you about this just to let you know to stay alert; you never know when he'll come searching for me..."

"I-" I was interrupted by the trolley lady while she pulled her trolley filled with all sorts of treats towards our table and Hikari's.

"Would you like anything to snack on or drink for tea?" she asked gently.

"Is there candy?" Kaito and Akuma chorused at the same time. The trolley lady nodded as she smiled and handed the two candy addicts a bag of sweets.

"I'll pay for the food," Sienna sighed, taking five small cartons of milk and six small juice boxes, along with a few chocolate bars, tarts, and biscuits that ranged in flavour. She handed the trolley lady 40 Jewel to pay for the snacks.

"Eat up, especially Reaper and Grim," said Kiran, "you'll need it."

I opened my milk carton and sipped it, looking out of the train's window.

~

"This is Tempestatis Station, Tempestatis Street. Please check your overhead luggage rack for any personal belongings." The train jerked to a complete stop. We had at last reached our destination. I helped Lana pull her luggage out of the rack and the eleven of us disembarked and walked out of the station.

"Reaper, Grim, do you sense the keys?" asked Kiran.

The brothers closed their eyes and concentrated on locating the keys. Finally, they opened their eyes and pointed to the right. "There," Reaper said, gesturing for us to follow him.

~

"Gah!" After following Reaper for about what seemed like ten minutes, he was sent back flying a few meters, only retaining his grip on the ground after realising what was happening, jolts of electricity were sent through his body. Taken aback, we all rushed to him.

"Is he okay?"

"What now?"

"What happened?!" demanded Kaito.

"There's an invisible barrier." Reaper staggered as he tried to stand back up. "Hold on, I got this. Stay back." He placed his palms out just before the electric barrier and muttered something. Immediately, the energy being emanated from the barrier disappeared. It seemed like he absorbed the electricity from it. This is the first time I've really seen anyone from the guild use magic, I thought.

"It's safe now, you all should be able to pass through without any difficulty," Reaper called out. With that, he passed through the barrier, disappearing into it.

Once all of us crossed through, the first thing I noticed was that the landscape was completely different. When we exited the station, our surroundings were peaceful- the sky was a pale blue, trees encompassed us, the place was bustling with people.

This was completely different. When we entered the barrier, everything was stone. Two towering pillars made out of rocks and a path carved out on the stone ground welcomed us. The sky was a dark grey. The area was desolate- no one other than my guild members was there.

I looked back at Reaper, who stood in front of a pillar half of his height. There seemed to be a button on it. I caught a bad feeling about this.

"Wait, don't-!" I shouted as he pressed the button after a few seconds of hesitation. The floor started to tremble violently, and part of it gave way and a big hole in the shape of a square was formed. A piercing cry reverberated throughout the place, and a gust of wind was sent towards us.

"What did you do?!" Hikari shrieked.

"I don't know!"

A giant yet slender creature emerged from the whole in the ground. It had black scales for plates of armor, like those of an armadillo, a thin, elongated body with a tail and neck. On the end of its tail was a long spike.

The dragon roared once more, announcing its presence.

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