Ten years later.
Skyler’s eyes slowly opened. Something important was going to happen today but he couldn’t remember what it was. Swinging his feet over the edge of the bed he rubbed the sleep from his eyes and attempted to clear his mind. As the morning fog cleared from his mind his eyes opened wide showing off his bright blue cat-like eyes.
“Ah, the Dragon Knight is coming today.”
The monsters in the nearby forest had increased tenfold over the past year, causing trouble for the small village. His father the village chief had asked the capital for help and they had agreed to dispatch a Dragon Knight.
Skyler had only seen a dragon once before when he was seven years old as it flew over the village. At that time, he believed it to be the most beautiful creature that he had ever seen. Ever since that day, it had been his dream to join the Knights and get a dragon of his own.
After getting dressed, he looked tried to examine himself using a small piece of polished metal as a mirror. He was short even for his age and his skin was smooth and milk-white. His body was thin and his silver hair hung down to the middle of his back. After being mistaken for a girl by a traveling merchant he had begged his mother to cut his hair but she refused saying, “Sky’s hair is too beautiful to cut.” His father had wanted a son but his mother had wanted a daughter and in the end Skyler was treated as both. His clothes were pants but they were a deep red trimmed in silver giving off a feminine vibe.
“Sky, I need your help,” his father called from outside.
Outside, his father was trying to dig up the stump of a tree that had been broken in a windstorm a few months back. Though the village chief, his father was still in his early forties and had a well-toned body thanks to years of working in the fields.
“See if you can pull this up a little. I have tried digging up the roots but they are too deep and I don’t have a week to spend since your mother wants to turn this into a new flower garden.”
Smiling I walk over to the stump and sit with my back against it. Digging my fingers into the dirt, I try to get a grip on the hard wood. Once I have a good hold I pull up pushing with all the strength in my legs. At first all that happens is that my feet start to sink into the ground, then snapping noise can be heard and the side of the stump tears free of the ground.
My arms are tingling from the strain. Though I have only recently reached my tenth year, there is no one in the village that is as strong as I am. My father takes great pride in this though it doesn’t really seem to fit my small structure. “When will I get bigger?” I ask looking down at my thin arms.
“You’re still a brat,” my father says laughing. “Give it a few more years before you start to worry about that.”
Turning around I see Milisa-chan running toward me. She is the same age as me with long blonde hair and bright blue eyes.
“Sky-kun! Papa is going hunting so that we can welcome the Dragon Knight!”
Milisa’s father was one of the village’s hunters. He had been the first one to notice the rise in the numbers of monsters in the northern forest. With the northern forest off-limits the village had been forced to hunt in the much farther western forest that was more than an hour’s walk from the village.
“Papa wanted Sky-kun to help and said I could come too.”
I wanted to wait until dragon knight arrive but looking at Milisa’s beaming face, I could only reply with a weak “Ok.”
I follow Milisa whose father is waiting for us near the edge of the town. In the past, they had used Skyler’s father’s horse and wagon to carry large game but since the horse died three years ago and no one had the money to buy a new one. Instead, whenever there was heavy pulling to be done, a smaller cart was used and Skyler had been made to pull it.(T.L. LOL!!)
“Sky-kun thank you for coming to help,” Milisa’s father said with a smile.
“It is ok Jea-san, my father would be sad if I didn’t pull my weight as the son of the village chief.”
Jea led the way while I pulled the cart. Milisa walked beside us at first but soon she had jumped into the cart. “Go faster Sky-kun,” she said almost whispering into his ear. Making his face turn slightly red.
“Milisa don’t bother Sky-kun otherwise I will make you pull the cart,” her father said with a sly smile on his face.
“No fun!” Milisa replied with her cheeks puffed out.
Looking over my shoulder, I let out a small gasp. Milisa-chan looks so cute when she pouts. I keep my words to myself. Red-faced I turn back to the front. Jea, seeing my reaction, gives me a smile making me hang my head shyly.
“Are you hot Sky-kun your face is red? I have some water,” Milisa says holding out a small bamboo canteen out toward me. I take it without saying anything and quickly take a drink and hand it back.
When we reach the forest Jea tells us to wait. Even though I am strong because I am still a child, I am still not allowed in the forest since there is a chance of a monsters. It annoys me but my father says that I can’t be treated different and have to wait until my twelfth birthday to enter the forest like the other children.
While Jea hunts, Milisa and I play a stone skipping game. After nearly three hours and two trips into the forest, we are ready to head back to the village. Jea has caught four rabbits, a squirrel, and a deer. The cart is loaded and heavy but I still don’t have any trouble pulling it. With the dead animals in the back, Milisa no longer wants to ride and instead walks beside me.
“Trouble,” Jea says with a worried expression.
Raising my head I look in the direction of the village to see a small line of smoke coiling in the air. “Mother!” I say and without thinking I run as fast as I can back toward my home not even hearing Jea’s worried cries for me to stop.
Author: Aoiki Strass