Once upon a time, on a faraway place where just king and queen reigned on a peaceful kingdom, there was a beautiful mist...
Once upon a time, on a faraway place where just king and queen reigned on a peaceful kingdom, there was a beautiful mist-covered little town in a verge of a dense forest. People called this town Everl'ast. This town was surrounded by thick black walls, and was very quiet. The people in the kingdom believed that this town was deserted from years ago. But every month when there was a full moon, people could always hear faint sounds from the town, as if some townspeople made party inside Everl'ast. At this period of time, there was some kind of magic which lured people who unluckily walked past the town. People had been reported missing every month on the full moon. Some living witness said that the missing people walked in to the town and never walked out of it.
This made the just King grew worried of his people's lives. After considering it from some times, he finally gathered his knights to investigate Everl'ast town. Although the quest was really dangerous. the King wanted to do something without risking anyone else in the future. He invited a scholar who mastered in magical things and knowledge compared to his other knights who depended on their strength and power.
This man, Ashley O'Leary was a scholar who attended the Greenwill academy and volunteered himself in the quest given by the King. The day before he and the King had discussed about this and decided to diguise him as one of the thirteen knights commanded to investigate. Although he was a bit scared, his curiousity pushed him to keep joining the almost-impossible quest.
“My devout knights, I hereby command you to investigate, destroy, and do anything you think the best and needed in this mission. Although you should do the best, your safety is also important. General Bahn, you are free to command the troops to withdraw and come back to the castle when you feel you are in a grave danger.”
“I wish the gods and goddesses always take care of you all.”
The knights departed that night. The Generous general didnt want to attract unwanted attention from the townspeople, so they went out to the mission on that night. Everl'ast was one day travel from the kingdom, and Ashley enjoyed riding horse under the full moon. He looked at the clear sky with thousands of stars with amazement, while his knight companions were busy sharpening their swords or just chatting with the other knights. Ashley personally thought that strength and sword had nothing to do with this mission. They might encounter some creatures which used magic rather than psychical strength. But he remained silent, for he didnt want to make his companions used their strength in vain.
In the clear night, Ashley could see the tall manor inside Everl'ast town. The manor looked so creepy, but enticing in the same time. It's as if calling Ashley to explore it, and he wanted the opportunity to do so. The full moon was the background of the manor, giving it the most spectacular sight ever for Ashley. He smiled a bit watching this, wondered if he would see this sight again. Today was the first full moon night, and it would last for three days. Meaning, they should finish the mission in three days.
"Hey," a young knight came over to Ashley, who was busy reading book. "I've never seen you before. Who are you?" he said and sitting next to Ashley.
"Oh, the name's Ashley O'Leary. I'm a new knight."
"A new knight? I thought they only ordered experienced knight... Sorry. No offense. Oh! Pardon my rudeness... I'm Reed Leblanc."
Reed let out his hand to shake Ashley's hand. Both of them talked about a lot of things that night. Ashley felt comfortable talking with Reed because he liked academic things like Ashley did. That night passed by the shouting from General Bahn commanding them to sleep, for they should depart to Everl’ast in the dawn.
Nervous could be smelled from the knights when they finally reached Everl’ast. All of them standing, looking at each other. Of course they heard a lot of bad things from the townspeople, they thought that it would be briskly easy-handled mission. They were pretty much wrong for that, as they felt nervous and unsteady already in front of the town. They said nothing, but Ashley could feel it, even from Reed—whom he talked about a lot of logical theory about this town.
General Bahn raised his sword, commanding the troops to enter the town. It was still dawn, and thick mist covered the whole area. When they stepped unto the brick floor of the town, they could feel cold wind breezed in their back, closing the tall gate behind them.
To their surprise, the townspeople suddenly appearing out of nowhere and welcoming them, as if they had won a war and coming to their homeland. A lot of people with their smiling face surrounded them, bringing them to the tavern, where they were welcomed with a feast and a lot of beer. This welcoming party was beyond the knigts’ imagination. They never thought that the townspeople would be this kind, and they accepted them nicely. And of course they never knew that there were people in this deserted town.
In instant the whole troops were enjoying their feast, drinking their beer, and started their party. Dancing. Singing. They did that as if nothing, not even a mission from the king, was important enough compared to the party. Ashley was happy at the first time, thinking that they were the townspeople who would welcome them before they destroy anything disturbing the town.
One day on the tavern, full of music, dancing, singing, and party. Whenever Ashley looked outside the window, the mist never lift up. It’s as if the town was always inside the mist. He felt tired, but to his wonder, his fellow knights looked as if they were not tired at all. Ashley looked to the townspeople, ‘they sure look pretty energetic like yesterday,’ he thought. He left his bottle of beer in the table and walked outside, trying to look for fresh air. No fresh air outside of course, thick mist all over the town.
“There’s something wrong with this place. What’s with this party? And this decoration all over this place?” Ashley grumbled to himself.
Ashley looked around him. Someone’s calling him. Suddenly he saw a girl wearing maid costume waving her hand to him. Ashley frowned, but he followed her. She directed him to a house, a small house behind the inn. Ashley walked inside the house, and the girl looked outside the house before she closed the door behind her.
“Who are you?”
“I’m the innkeeper’s daughter, Sheena. I have no time for this. You have to help us!” she said worriedly.
“Wait! I don’t understand you. Help you? Help you from what?”
Sheena walked fro and backward nervously. “You see, this place is cursed! A witch cursed this place and the people to be everlasting. We couldn’t die, and we were trapped in this condition forever!”
“What?” Ashley couldn’t think straight. Maybe it’s because of the beer.
“I can see that you sense something weird with this place. If you can kill the witch, we might be free from this curse. And we can go to heaven. I don’t know how long we lived, always having party and did the same thing everyday.”
“Is this some kind of trap? How would you know that you’re cursed, while the others seemed to be very normal?”
“I don’t know why, but I always do. I feel it everyday is the same day like yesterday. Doing the same thing. Except when a day where strangers come to the town, then it’s party.”
Ashley thought for a minute. He sensed something’s wrong with this town already. Something bad happened in here, even from the first time he stepped his foot in this town. But his five senses ignored this.
“Okay. I understand. Now where’s the witch’s lair?”
Sheena walked to the window. “You see that manor? That’s where the witch lives. You have no time instead of today, because when the full moon lift up, you and your friends will be under the witch’s control.”
“You should tell me sooner!” Ashley said and walked fast to the inn.
He tried to make his fellow knights snapped out of the effect from the beer, but no one listened to him. Even General Bahn and Reed were under the drink so much, they couldn’t even lift their head from the beer. Ashley sighed, looks like he should do this alone. He walked to the front gate of the manor.
The manor stood tall in front of him. It looked more enticing with the background of the full moon, than the day before in the plain. But the manor was pitch black, not even one candle lit inside the house. Ashley could feel chill on his neck bone, but he had to do this. Or he would be trapped inside this town forever in his life. When he grabbed the front gate, suddenly Sheena came and grabbed his hand.
“What are you doing?! You can’t do this alone! You should be with your friends!” she whispered.
“None of them listened to me. You should try to make them conscious again.”
“You have no weapon!”
“I can do some magic. Maybe I can buy some time, while you’re trying to make my fellow knights conscious. Please focus on the red-headed knight and the general—he is the biggest knight and wore a general badge on his armor.”
Ashley walked to the manor, although he could feel that some part of him wanted him to stay and just enjoy the everlasting day in the town. Sheena turned and ran to the inn once again, trying to wake the knights up. It wasn’t an easy job, for all of them were already under some spell inside the beer.
When Ashley walked inside the manor, the enticing feeling of the manor disappeared in instant. There was nothing worth seeing inside this manor. All of the furniture was covered in think cobweb, and dust was all over the place. He could even smell the damp and dirty feeling started to get to him. Even the chandelier only hung with one stripe of cable, looking pretty scary. The place was dark, but the full moon was giving enough light for him to see anything. He knew that the witch must be in the highest place inside the manor, so he started to climb the stairs—which were pretty much fell in here and there.
Ashley finally reached the tower of the manor. When he opened the big door in that floor, what he saw surprised him. The big moon could be seen clearly from the big window. And a woman sat in the couch, crossing her legs. He couldn’t see her clearly, but he could sense strong magic from the woman. ‘This must be that witch. She is strong,’ he thought. ‘I couldn’t defeat her.’ Ashley gulped. The witch was way too strong.
“What are you doing standing there?” suddenly the witch said, turning her chair to him.
She was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen on his life. Even the power of life could be sensed from her fingertips and every layer of her black hair.
“What? Never seen someone as beautiful as I am? Tee-hee-hee,” she giggled. “Ahh~ humans will never understand the power of one soul. And I have hundreds of soul in this town.”
The witch stood from her seat, and as if floating towards Ashley. Ashley couldn’t move away.
“Ooh~ you learn magic? Pretty strong for human. You can choose to be my companion, you know.”
The witch floated back to her seat, while giggling.
“You wish,” hissed Ashley. He felt his power came back to him.
The beautiful woman changed into an ugly angry old woman, but she changed back into a beautiful woman again fast. She laughed. “Hahaha. You’re pretty good.”
Ashley moved back a little. He didn’t know what to do, and when he kept busy on thinking of what his next move would be, the witch floated to him and attack him with sort of magic. Ashley could feel his feet float in the air, and he hit the wall pretty strong—aching his back. He couldn’t move away from the wall, it’s as if he was nailed into the wall with invisible nails. The witch laughed frantically, she raised her hand. Ashley closed his eyes, as he knew that another attack would hit him.
Suddenly Reed jumped from behind the witch and stabbed her. The witch, getting too focused in her attack to Ashley, didn’t feel Reed’s presence. The witch’s power weakened, allowing Ashley to free from his invisible nails. Fresh blood came out of the witch, she was angry more than before, and her look was trying to kill both of the man.
Reed ran towards Ashley. “Are you OK?”
Ashley nodded as his answer, he still could feel the pain on his back. The witch’s power was undeniable very strong. But he could sense it in the air that the witch’s power weakened. Maybe it’s because of her stab wound.
“What the hell is that floating in the air?!” suddenly Reed shouted, looking at the window.
Ashley turned his head to watch what Ashley saw. Thousands of light floating in the dark night sky. It’s the human souls. The human’s soul was the witch’s power! If he could attract the soul into his magic, he might be able to use stronger magic to defeat the witch. Ashley glanced Reed’s sword. Maybe he could use…
“Reed! You know how to use magic sword?!”
“What?! That’s forbidden arts!”
“I’m asking you: do you able to use it!?”
Reed paused, he knew the basic thing. But he never had the chance to do it, it’s forbidden in the knighthood, anyway. “I know.”
“Then try focusing your power in your sword! I will try to extract my magic power into your sword. You should be able to hold it for a while and then you should stab the witch on her heart. Listen to me! HEART! NO OTHER PLACE! DO you understand?!”
Reed nodded nervously, he never used it before, but he heard that magic sword was hard to handle. Ashley focused on attracting the humans’ souls into his magic, although he felt sorry for the souls, he still had to do this. The flow of the humans’ soul was choking, if only Ashley attracted way too many souls, he could die. Faint light started emitting from Ashley’s body. He could feel the excessive power on his body, but he focused on the needed power, and started transferring into Reed’s sword. The sword was emitting red bright light. When the sword was giving out even brighter light, Reed could sense Ashley cut his magic from the sword. Reed started running to the witch, who had regained her stance.
But when she attracted the human soul into her, it was all too late. Reed stabbed his sword directly into the witch’s heart, and dodged to the right. Watching light came out from the witch’s heart. They could hear the witch’s scream, and then everything was silent. Reed and Ashley panted, both of them looked around them, scared to the opportunity that the witch only teleported into somewhere else. The humans’ souls still floated outside, making it as the only light. Even light from the full moon seemed to be dim.
Suddenly the manor started shaking, surprising Ashley and Reed. Even without word, Ashley started running for their life. Reed snatched his sword and followed Ashley on his run. When they reached the front gate, the manor trembled and collapsed into a pile of rumbles.
The whole town seemed to be glowing. The townspeople were glowing, all of them walking out of the buildings and they looked at the sky. Happy faces appearing here and there, they knew they were free. Ashley looked around and saw Sheena. She was standing there, looking at the sky with a happy look on her face. She smiled to Ashley, saying Thank You without voice. Ashley smiled back.
The whole town was glowing and the lights float to the sky, where it disappeared. More lights came and float to the sky. Ashley and Reed felt like there were thousand lanterns floated to the sky, around them. This happened for about an hour, when the lights bit by bit disappearing into the night sky. Sheena still stood there, watching to him and Reed.
“Thank you for your help, brave magician and loyal knight,” she whispered.
Pretty blinding light came, making Reed and Ashley automatically closed their eyes. When they opened it again, the whole town disappeared, and they stood in the rumbles. Their other fellow knights were already awake, and seemed to be very flustered when they saw they were holding empty dirty goblet and sat in the middle of what seemed to be the left of the inn.
Ashley and Reed looked at each other and they smiled.
“What an adventure!” said Reed, making Ashley laughed. “Looks like I’m going to retire from the knighthood and join you in the adventures!”
Smile disappeared from Ashley’s face. “Are you serious?!”
Reed laughed as his answer.