For You I Call – Episode 1: Arachnids Part 1(6)

Thank you for reading and the likes! Here’s a new chapter!


Previously: 

“One of the patrols left their baton here,” Vert explains. “That spooked me. I thought they’re here for another inspection.”

“Me too. Hahahaha.”

“What’s so funny?”

“I almost got a heart attack because somebody forgot their baton.”

That earns a snort from Vert. “Yeah. That lucky guy didn’t know how close he was from getting injured. I almost attacked him when he got so close to the closet. You did a good job keeping silent.”

“Yeah, we’d be screwed if that was a real inspection. We should leave as soon as we can.”

“Not immediately though, it’ll only raise suspicion. Speaking of which, I should tell you the escape plan I prepared.”


The plan is pretty simple. We wait until it’s night before checking out of the hotel. We will then act as a pair of noble siblings who got their vacation interrupted by an urgent matter. Rosalys will leave earlier to check on the train station. Depending on the situation, she’d either come with us or go separate ways.

“If it’s too dangerous, she’ll rent us a coach and pick us up at the hotel,” Vert finishes.

“Coach? As in horse drawn one?”

“Yes.”

“Why not a car?”

“Like I said, we’ll use the train if it’s safe.”

“No, not train’s car. I mean the four wheeled car,” I say, before it occurs go me that if this Vert doesn’t know soccer, then she might not know what a car is. “It’s like a coach, but moved with machines.”

“Oh, you mean a mechanical coach. Nobody rents that. The price is too expensive; and it’s a horror to maintain.”

I wonder what could be so horrible in maintaining a car. The worst it can do to you is make you dirty and smelly.

“I’m talking about the price of the spare parts and its fuel,” Vert says as if she could read my mind. “I admit it’s cleaner and less smelly than a horse, but who needs one if you can fly with a pegasus.”

“Fly with what?”

“Pegasus. We have them as taxis—until they’re all conscripted for the war.”

“I-I see.”

After that comes the preparation. Vert dyes my hair to black—it was, apparently, turned to white while I was sleeping for ten years—and asks me to strip so she can put on the change. Fortunately my furious refusal works, so here I am, back in the closet, struggling with the clothes.

I am in the middle of figuring out which end is the dress pants’ top when someone knocks the closet door.

“Need any help?” Vert’s muffled voice comes through the door.

“Nope! I’m fine! I’m on my last garment here!”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes!”

Even so, I take approximately fifteen minutes to put the pants on. Fortunately I don’t take a second longer because Vert opens the closet door right after I finish zipping the pants.

Vert gives me a once over and a hum of approval.

“You look good in it. Like a real noble,” she says, with a hint of awe. “How does it fit?”

I move limbs around to test for any tightness. “The shoulder part is a little restrictive,” I say as I rotate my right arm.

“It is supposed to be like that. Now wear this.”

Vert helps me putting on a jacket coat on top of the dress shirt; the end result, as she describes, is me looking like a born and bred gentleman.

“What are you going to wear?” I ask.

“What I’m wearing now. I’m already dressed as a noblewoman before you woke up.”

“I see.” Wait a minute. If she’s dressing as a noblewoman, then, “Are you wearing a dress?”

“Yes.”

“With skirt?”

“Yes. What kind of dress that doesn’t have a skirt?”

“Oh my God.” Vert is wearing a dress. A DRESS. A dress, damn it. The Cross family’s biggest mystery is standing right in front of me now and I can’t even see it! Arrgggh! Why do I have to be blind right now?? This is so unfair!

Distracted by my own misery, I don’t notice Vert leaving the room until she comes back.

“Come on, our ride is ready.”

The disappointment of not seeing Vert in a dress makes me forget my fear of going outside. I don’t even notice we are outside until Rosalys calls out to Vert.

“Lady Vert!”

I look up and my jaw drops. Not at the coach, but what’s pulling it.

They’re pegasuses. Real, living, organic winged horses.

I thought she meant another type of transportation called pegasus. But I see that she meant it literally.

“Thank you, Rosalys. Come on, brother. Let’s get on this and go to our way already,” Vert says as if two dark skinned pegasuses pulling a coach is a quotidian sight.

“They’re pegasuses,” I say, finding myself unable to say something more intelligent.

“Yes, they are. But not the ones which can fly. Their wings are too small—probably a cross with a wingless horse,” Vert says, explaining why we have pegasuses pulling the coach instead of the normal horses. “Wait, you can see now?”

“Huh?” Now that she mentions it, yes—I can see the pegasuses, a grey haired maid sitting on the coach’s driver seat and a slightly childish looking adult with Vert’s face, her signature short hair, and… green eyes? I don’t know. It’s too dark to make out the color. “Yes, but why?”

“I don’t have any idea. Let’s ponder about that in the coach. Hurry up and get on,” Vert says before getting in herself.

I follow Vert into the coach. To my relief, the coach is a closed type coach with windows and curtains. Not to mention the seats are cushioned leather seats that looks like a sofa. I can close the curtain and pretend we are in a moving house instead of being outside. If it doesn’t work, I can just lay down and sleep. It’s wide enough to contain my upper body.

I take a seat across Vert, who sits right behind the driver side. Once I’m seated, she closes the door and orders Rosalys to go.

“You can go now.”

“Yes, lady Vert.”

Rosalys ring a bell, and the coach moves, accompanied with the pegasuses snort and flap of wings. Nobody stops us from leaving the inn.

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For You I Call – Episode 1: Arachnids Part 1(5)

Thank you for reading and the likes! Here’s a new chapter!


Previously: 

The footsteps resume. Then disappears.

I let out the breath I didn’t know I held. Vert too.

“Phew. Good thing I reserved the room below beforehand.”

“Won’t anyone come and check here?”

“Most likely not. Their number is small, so they’d have to do systematic search from the first floor. They don’t have time to check twice too.”

True to her words, no one comes even close to the door for what seems like a long time.

“They’re leaving,” Vert informs me. “They’re searching the next door. Not on our side, but we should stay out of the window just in case.”

I slump in relief. It has been a while since I experience that kind of fear and they’re not nice to my heart. “Why do we need to hide? Did we do something bad?” I ask. 

“Something like that. Don’t worry. You’re the guiltless one here,” Vert assures. Not effective, but now that the situation has calmed down, a more important question surfaces.


“About my memories—you said it might not be wrong.”

“Ah yes, I did. What about it?”

“You never explained why you think so.”

“Right.” I wonder if I should have kept my mouth shut. Vert sounds totally disheartened. “I was saying, it could be because you’re not my brother—at least not the one I know.”

“What do you mean?”

“…Come here,” Vert says, pulling my arm. She makes me sit down on the bed before sitting down beside me. She let out a long sigh, and I wait for her to speak.

“I lost my brother ten years ago,” Vert begins wistfully. “Then I found you at the place where I lost him. You’d have to forgive me for assuming you’re my brother. You look just like him, at least if he’s grown up to twenty four years old. But now I’m not sure if you’re really him.”

I blink. “Twenty four?” Where does that number come from?

“Oh sorry, it’s just my approximation. He was fourteen when I last saw him, and it’s been ten years, so I assume you’d be the same age if you were my brother. I apologize if I get it wrong.”

“No, you’re probably right. My body feels weird. Me growing big must be the reason.”

“You don’t know you’ve grown up?”

“If there’s one thing you’re right about me, it’s the ten years sleep part. I was fourteen before I woke up,” I joke, but Vert doesn’t share my humor. I can tell she is staring at me.

“What is it?”

“Nothing. I just thought you’re so calm for someone in your current situation.”

I can’t help but I laugh at that. “Honestly, I don’t know what to feel right now. My sister died yesterday—at least that’s how it seems like for me—and I’m not even sure if that’s true or just a bad dream. The next thing I know I’m blind and ten years older. On top of that me and a person who sounds like an older version of my little sister are now a wanted person for reasons unknown. I suppose I’m just too confused to panic.”

Vert takes a moment to come up with a response. “Understandable.”

“Right. But enough about me. You’re still unsure if I am your brother or not, right? You should ask me questions that you know how your brother would answer. Something like preference or hypothetical question. My memory doesn’t seem to be reliable after all.”

“True. Let me think about it.”

Vert really takes time on thinking that I almost fall asleep when she finally asks her question.

“What did you give me on my fifth birthday?”

“Huh? But that question—“

“—is a memory related question. I know. Sorry. I can’t come up with any preference or hypothetical question right now.”

“It’s alright. I understand,” I say—and I’m not saying that for politeness sake. She doesn’t show it, but she too, must have much thoughts and worries in her mind right now. Who wouldn’t, if you just discovered your long lost sibling might not be your sibling? She has to think about getting away from the patrols too.

I search my rusty memory and get the answer.

“An old soccer ball. Mom and dad hate me for that. They said I turned you from skirt hating tomboy to mud loving tomboy, even though it’s you who asked for it.”

Vert snorts amusedly. “That’s what you say, but it’s actually because that was the only thing you had when I asked you for present, right?”

“Exactly.” No shame in admitting it. Vert already knows about that. Wait, if she knows, “Then—“

“But you didn’t give me that.”

Aaaand, the bird of hope is struck down before it can take flight.

“I don’t know what soccer is, but it’s definitely not a ball that you gave me.”

“Oh? What is it then?”

“A wooden sword.”

“A wooden sword? Why would I give you that?”

“Because that’s the only thing you had at that time.” Woah, deja vu. “But of course you won’t admit it. You said—”

“—this is a legendary item used by heroes of the past. Use well,” I finish, channeling my inner wiseman, then wait. I know I’ve just stunned Vert to silence with that line.

“You remember that?” Vert asks when she finally finds her voice, half astonished half hopeful.

“No. But I’ve always wanted to say that once, if I ever give someone a sword—not that I ever,” I add quickly.

Vert sighs in disappointment, but then chuckles.

“I think you two would get along just fine,” Vert answers. “You and my brother, I mean.”

“…Yeah.” It’s already clear that her brother and I, although similar, are two different people. But I still want to make sure. “Sorry, but I want to ask a question too.”

“Sure.”

I take a deep breath and ask.

“Who ate the cherry tomato cake on the table?”

“Huh?”

“Don’t remember that? Then what about ’is your red-head friend with you?’”

“I do have a red-head l-friend, but she’s not with me right now. But how do you know I have a red-head friend? I didn’t meet her until a year after the accident.”

“Well, that’s another memory difference. My Vert had been friends with a red-head since she entered school, but that’s not why I ask you those question.”

“Why then?” Vert asks, demanding for explanation.

“Me and Ver, used to ask those questions before we open the door for the other.”

“That’s… a unique way of greeting,” Vert says, but it’s evident that she doesn’t understand yet.

“It’s not a greeting. It’s our safety password. For example for the first question, if you’re alone, you answer ‘there’s no cake on the table.’ If you’re bringing a friend, you’ll answer ’you mean the strawberry cake?’ And if you’re with a bad guy, you’ll answer ‘I did.’ That way we know if it’s safe to open the door. Of course we change the question and answer every now and then, but this is the first one we used.”

“I see. But why go through all that trouble?”

“Because there was one time where I opened the door for Ver, who turned out to be forced to ask me unlocking the door for a robber. We don’t want a repeat on that accident, so we set secret questions and answers. That didn’t happen on you, right?”

“It didn’t.” Vert sighs. “So we really are not each other’s brother and sister then.”

“It’s—“ I pause to find the right word “—too bad.”

“It is,” Vert solemnly agrees.

No further words exchanged between us. Of course the dead won’t come back that easily. I wonder if Vert regrets asking me those questions, because I do.

“What now?” I ask after gathering myself.

“We escape from here,” Vert answers. “But after that, I don’t know. I didn’t exactly plan for the alternative.”

The alternative which is I’m not her brother. Understandable.

“Do I look like him that much?”

“Too much. Like a grown up version of him and more. So rest assured, I won’t just leave you here if that’s what you fear,” Vert says jokingly. “Besides, I can’t exactly return you to where I found you either.”

“And where is that?“

A knock on the door stops Vert from answering. Who could that be?

“My lady, it’s me.”

Oh, it’s Rosalys.

“Quick, hide!” Vert hisses, pulling me up from the bed I’m sitting on.

“Eh? Why? It’s only Rosalys,” I ask, keeping my voice low just in case.

“Me and Rosalys have a code, just like you and your sister!”

And what Rosalys said just now indicated to Vert that she wasn’t alone. Great.

Vert shoves me through a door—probably a closet, judging by the woody smell—and orders me to stay quiet before answering the door. I can hear her talking with Rosalys, but it’s not clear. Not knowing what’s going on makes me tense, even more than when we were hiding from the pursuers above us.

Two sets of footsteps approach. I freeze when they stop in front of the closet.

“There it is!”

I squeeze my eyes shut in reflex, fully expecting the door to be opened. But it doesn’t happen. The two footsteps retreat and the room’s door is closed. I don’t dare to breathe in relief until Vert tells me it’s alright.

“One of the patrols left their baton here,” Vert explains. “That spooked me. I thought they’re here for another inspection.”

“Me too. Hahahaha.”

“What’s so funny?”

“I almost got a heart attack because somebody forgot their baton.”

That earns a snort from Vert. “Yeah. That lucky guy didn’t know how close he was from getting injured. I almost attacked him when he got so close to the closet. You did a good job keeping silent.”

“Yeah, we’d be screwed if that was a real inspection. We should leave as soon as we can.”

“Not immediately though, it’ll only raise suspicion. Speaking of which, I should tell you the escape plan I prepared.”

For You I Call – Episode 1: Arachnids Part 1(4)

“Lady Vert.”

Vert sighs at the interruption. “What is it, Rosalys?”

“There are patrols on the hall. They are checking each room.”

“Tch. How sharp,” Vert grumbles. “Do as we discussed before. Oh, and clean up this room, please.”

“Understood.”

“Come on, brother. We need to make ourselves scarce,” Vert says, pulling my hand, but stops right away. “Can you walk or do I need to carry you?”

I take inventory of my own condition. My body feels weird, but, “I can walk. Are we running away?”

“Not now, but eventually we will need to. For now hiding is sufficient,” Vert says as she guides me to the opposite direction of the door, where Rosalys enters to clean up the room. There’s a sound of another door opening and a breeze comes through. Vert grabs my hand and pulls me towards the breeze.

Oh shoot. We are going out.

“Wait, wait!” I hiss, planting my feet firmly on the floor to stop Vert. But she’s surprisingly stronger and she successfully drags me through the door. I grow panicked upon realizing I’m outside. My heart starts to beat fast and there’s a pressure in my chest—like stage fright, but worse. “Won’t they expect people to escape from the back door?” I quickly ask, hoping to stall some time so I can prepare myself. It seems like being blind doesn’t automatically make me courageous to go outdoors.

To my relief, Vert finally stops and speaks the words I didn’t expect to hear.

“What back door? We are on the third floor.”

“Huh? Then how do we—mmrrrpphh!”

Without any warning, Vert grabs my waist, holds me like I’m a battering ram with one hand, and jumps. The only thing that keeps me moderately silent over the fall is her hand over my mouth.

Vert lands soundlessly on the ground and puts me down. I stand dazed in shock and disbelief. Three stories high fall and she manages to land without any sound while carrying me; what strong legs.

“Come on,” Vert says with a low voice and tugs me forward. She pulls me close to the wall and wait there. Ten beats later, the veranda door is once again opened.

The air stills around us while we hear people search above. I know they can’t see us because of the veranda getting in the way, but I try to be as still and silent as possible—so silent that I can hear my own heartbeat.

“Third floor clear,” a man says finally.

“Roof is also clear,” says another voice higher above.

Footsteps retreat from the veranda and the door is closed once again.

Vert sighs beside me.

“Are we safe now?” I ask in a low voice.

“Not yet. They have people watching the perimeter. We need to go back inside.”

Vert works to open the window behind us. I quickly stop her.

“Wait, there might be other people there!”

“No, there aren’t,” she says, and the door is opened. I don’t have another chance to protest, as we hear footsteps approaching. “Come inside, quick!”

I do as told. Vert closes the window as silently as she can and push me into hiding beside the window. Not a moment too soon, as we can hear the patrol’s footsteps very close to the spot we had been.

The footsteps stop. I sense slight movement outside the window. The patrol is looking into the room.

Vert’s hand, still on my forearm, tightens. Her message is clear:

Don’t you dare make a noise.

No worries, Vert. I don’t even dare to breathe.

The footsteps resume. Then disappears.

I let out the breath I didn’t know I held. Vert too.

“Phew. Good thing I reserved the room below beforehand.”

“Won’t anyone come and check here?”

“Most likely not. Their number is small, so they’d have to do systematic search from the first floor. They don’t have time to check twice too.”

True to her words, no one comes even close to the door for what seems like a long time.

“They’re leaving,” Vert informs me. “They’re searching the next door. Not on our side, but we should stay out of the window just in case.”

I slump in relief. It has been a while since I experience that kind of fear and they’re not nice to my heart. “Why do we need to hide? Did we do something bad?” I ask.

“Something like that. Don’t worry. You’re the guiltless one here,” Vert assures. Not effective, but now that the situation has calmed down, a more important question surfaces.

For You I Call – Episode 1: Arachnids Part 1(3)

“Uuuuh…”

I groan as I regain my consciousness. My body feels heavy and sore, like that time I was training for the inter-school sprint match. How did I get so tired? I’m pretty sure I didn’t do anything strenuous this past few months. I don’t even remember going to sleep.

Then more recent memories trickle out. Ah yes, I was in the kitchen with mom and Vert, and then…what? I know something important happened, but I can’t remember.

I open my eyes and see darkness. Either it’s night or it’s night and the lamp is turned off.

Grumbling, I get up from the soft bed I’m laying on to search for the light switch. But since it’s so dark I didn’t see the obstacles before me until I trip myself over it and fall face first. Again.

“Oowww…” I groan and shut my mouth immediately. That doesn’t sound like me.

Let’s try again.

“A-aaah.”

Yep, not my old voice. It’s thicker and heavier, just like dad’s. My body doesn’t feel right too. Did I get a cold or flu? But I feel healthy. Fresh even.

A door opens in front of me. I look up, hoping for some light to come through the darkness, and find none. There’s a sound of glass breaking and a woman’s scream instead.

“A-a-a-AAAAAAAAAH!”

The scream jolts my heart so much that I’m convinced it’ll change its position permanently once it settles down. Then she’s gone—the footsteps rapidly fading away tells me.

“…”

How rude. When you see someone on the floor, shouldn’t you help him?

I pick myself up from the ground and the footsteps come back with another set. Did she call for help?

“Brother!”

Brother? Who is your bro— “Ack!”

I gasp as I get pulled into a chocking hug. Man, what is this strength? The arms are small, but they’re like metal clamps!

“L-lady Vert. You’re strangling master Argent,” the first voice comes to my rescue. I can breath easy again. Thank you, miss!

Wait.

Did you just say, Vert?

A series of images flashes through my mind. The stairs. Vert. Hospital. Mom and dad crying. Cemetery.

Funeral.

The hugger—Vert—loosens her arms, but not letting me go completely.

“Ah, so sorry about that, brother. But I’m so happy to see you awake!”

Vert’s voice brings me back to reality. She sounds a bit different, more adult-like, but still recognizable. What’s going on here? Am I dreaming? How did I fall asleep anyway? I was looking at Vert, in her casket, saying my last words to her—

“Sleep well.”

—and then what?

“Brother? Are you alright? Are you hurt somewhere?”

Damn it, this is just too much. I never imagined it, but I’m sure that’s how Vert is going to sound like if she lived long enough to grow up. If this is a dream, then it’s a cruel one.

“Are you… really Ver?” I ask, sounding calmer than I actually am.

Vert huffed. “Of course I am! Did you forget your sister’s face already? Well, my looks did change a lot, but I should look familiar at least!”

“How should I know that? It’s dark in here!”

“Dark?” The jovial mood turns into confusion in a flash. “But it’s quite bright here. Unless—“ Vert grabs my face and tilts it down so she can look at it. “Your eyes… something is wrong with it. Let me call—”

“Wait! Rather than that, why and how are you still alive?”

Vert’s hands freeze in place.

“Pardon me?” she asks, either not understanding the question or thinks that she hears it wrong.

“Master Argent, I think you remember it wrong. Nothing happened to lady Vert. It’s you who—“

“Stop it, Rosalys. It’s a good thing that brother doesn’t remember.”

“But I remember!”

“What do you remember?”

“You fell from the stairs—” the memory replays in vivid images, as if they’re happening right now “—snapped your neck. We held a funeral for you—” I put one white flower and thought of what to say, just like now “—so how are you still alive?”

The whole room grows quiet. There’s an uncomfortable atmosphere around us, like everyone waiting for someone to say the bad news for them, until Vert breaks the silence.

“Rosalys, can you leave us?”

“Certainly, my lady,” Rosalys responds and promptly leaves the room. Vert waits until her footsteps disappear before addressing me.

“Brother, can you tell me the last thing you remembered? Slowly, please.”

“Like I said, I was in your funeral—“ I cringe at the memory rather than my own bluntness. ”—saying my last words to you—“ more memories come back “—then deliver the eulogy—” which I don’t remember what I said, “—and then—”

I stop right there, waiting for more memories to come back. But it doesn’t. My mind draws a blank. Something big happened right after that. I know it, but I can’t remember it!

“And then what?” Vert prompts patiently.

“I can’t remember,” I answer. But right after I say that another memory resurfaces, “Hold on, there’s something else. I think I heard your voice.”

“My voice?”

“Yes, you were talking to someone else. A male. You didn’t want him to come closer for some reason.”

“…”

I sense Vert’s discomfort. Funny how you can still tell things like this even when you can’t see.

“What’s wrong? Did I remember it wrong?”

“Not exactly,” Vert answers vaguely. “Anything else?”

I try to remember again, but the result is negative. “No. That is all. What about you?”

“Me?”

“Yes. Your neck was snapped. How did you recover?” It feels weird to ask this, but I need to know.

“Hold on. I never broke my neck. I have suffered some injuries in the past, but never on the neck or anything equally life threatening,” Vert answers.

“Really? Then my memory is mistaken?” I ask. Maybe that lady called Rosalys is right. I am remembering it wrong. It’s just a bad dream I haven’t completely awakened from.

There’s an awkward pause before Vert replies.

“No.”

“What do you mean by no?” I find myself asking despite the dread creeping into my heart like cold water seeping through the fabric.

“I mean I’m not sure if your memory is wrong. It could be, because you looked like you’ve been unconscious for a long time when I found you, but it could also mean that you’re—”

For You I Call: Prologue

NOTE: I’m changing the premise, so here is the new Prologue.

Summary (temporary): Argent Cross wakes up to find himself ten years older and without any memory of what led him to his coma. But the world he has woken up to is not the world he knows—and he is its enemy. Continue reading →

For You I Call – Episode 1: Arachnid Part 1 (2)

The next thing I hear is another explosion. This one sounds distant. I force my eyes open and bright turquoise light immediately assaults them. I shout in surprise, but what comes out of my mouth are bubbles. Continue reading →

For You I Call – Episode 1: Arachnid Part 1 (1)

Weightlessness and warmth. Those are the first sensations I notice beside the noises around me. I don’t know how I ended up like this. I can’t remember anything, not even who I am or what I am.

Muffled noises reverberate around me, as if they’re traveling in a wide space and then going through water. I strain to identify the sounds. Screeches. Booms. Shouts. Slashes. So many of them. So many things happening at once, just like a war. But one sound stands out above the rest. Continue reading →