Chapter I : Preparations for the Journey II

Chapter I : Preparations for the Journey

History of the World

Captain Xing’s heart was heavy as he watched his son pack his bag. The boy’s mother, Huntress, had been supportive, just as Xing expected, and she went to work as usual. She firmly believed that Hunter would return; Xing did not. The captain knew the perils that lay beyond the Town’s borders. Although the wise and capable farmer Steel would be in the group, Hunter’s other companion was the meek historian Rina who never learned any survival skills.

At the Town’s library, Rina was busily packing her bag and also compulsively double-checked everything. Behind her, the red-haired guard spoke words which were completely ignored.

“ Rina! Are you even listening to me? “ the guard finally grabbed the historian’s shoulder and he made her face him.

“ You’ve been ranting all night, you should rest, “ Rina replied with a weary smile.

“ I’m not letting you go out there, “ the guard insisted.

“ You can’t stop me, “ the historian brushed him off, took her bag and headed out of the library.

Defeated, the red-haired guard left the library as well, but he went the opposite way. By the time that Rina reached the Town Hall, farmer Steel was already waiting outside.

“ I was late? I’m sorry! “ the historian cried.

“ No. I just came here early. I had to get up early to tend to the grass, and I finished that quickly, “ replied the farmer, his voiced deep but calm.

Rina noticed Steel’s bag. It was massive. Some porcupig quills were attached to it, and some round object seemed to have been stuff into the bag at the last minute. By comparison, Rina’s bag contained nothing but one extra set of clothes, two vials of water, some traveler’s meat and a lot of writing material. As the two waited for Captain Xing and his son’s arrival, Rina put her bag on a large, grey rock beside the Town Hall.

“ Umf, “ the rock complained.

Startled, Rina jumped back as two tentacles emerged from the grey rock. Steel quickly put himself between the golden-haired historian and the moving boulder.

“ Hmf! “ the creature revealed its face, if one could call it a face, but before chaos ensued, the shell-like structure on its back opened up.

Out popped a black-haired boy’s head.

“ Hey! Captain Xing! “ the boy yelled.

Only then did Steel and Rina notice that the captain and Hunter stood behind them.

“ I told you not to bring that creature into our Town, “ Xing sighed.

“ Puppy is a very nice Puppy, “ the boy reasoned as he hopped out of his pet and landed, quite gracefully, on the dirt.

Rina’s puzzled look prompted the captain to explain.

“ Your guide, “ Xing nodded at the black-haired one, “ Errol. “

At that, the historian looked so shocked, as if she would faint.

“ Well, that’s great. Let the troublemaker lead us to our doom, “ the guard spoke up. He had a bag full of weapons and items on his back.

The captain need not ask. Thyme, Anise’s grandson and Rina’s fiancé, had decided to join the expedition. He wasn’t going to let the excitable historian out of his sight. At least there was another capable fighter in the group, thought Xing.

“ Errol! The one who wrote THE book?! “ Rina exclaimed.

She rushed over to the little boy’s side and examined him and his pet.

“ So this is a tardigrade, he’s so huge! “ the historian poked Puppy’s shell which earned her another loud hmf.

Errol, a very curious black-haired, black-eyed historian, was a resident of Town 27. He was also the author of the World’s only history book: The History of the World. It was also Errol who made the first map which was later reproduced in every Town Library, but it was rumored that Errol kept his own map that was even more comprehensive and contained the secrets of travelers.

Thyme thought badly of Errol; to the guard, the boy was just a nuisance. Steel had heard of Errol but it was their first meeting and he thought that the little boy looked so fragile. Rina gushed over THE historian who wrote THE book. Hunter, on the other hand, had much respect for the small boy who was able to tame a creature as massive as Puppy the tardigrade.

“ Anyway, don’t we need a Gardener? “ the red-haired Thyme asked, longing to distract Rina and to make her stop swooning over Errol.

“ Oh there’s no need for that. I’m sure that Sir Steel is enough for this expedition, “ the black-haired historian replied which made Thyme hate him even more.

In Thyme’s defense, Errol can be rather obnoxious; in Errol’s defense, Thyme is so easily angered.

“ Well… if you’re all ready… “ Captain Xing mediated.

At that, the people of Town #27 emerged from their homes and the guards cleared a path to the edge of the Town. The small group which consisted of two historians, a farmer, a tamer, a guard and a tardigrade walked until they reached the border between the Town and the forest that now grew amidst the World’s massive desert.

After a few tearful farewells from their friends and family, the group took the first step into the forest and moments later, they disappeared from sight. The people of Town #27 could only hope that they would return with good news.


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