A Girl of White Gold, Meeting Someone
“Hey, Latina? You feel kinda different, you know?”
Latina twitched in surprise when Silvia spoke to her for the first time in a while. She was hitting too close to home for comfort.
“You think so…?”
“Sorta. You finally got around to asserting yourself, so… I guess you’d change, huh?”
Silvia, wearing an ear-splitting grin, stared unabashedly at the engagement bracelet around her arm. The design, reminiscent of a flower and a fruit beautifully flourishing together, was a rather well-known symbol of engagement in Tislow.
“Kinda sad I didn’t get to see you in a wedding gown…”
“We haven’t really gotten to that point yet…”
The two of them had decided to meet in an open cafe in close proximity to the temple of Akhdar. It was one of the places more popular with the priests of Akhdar, who would come here often after immersing themselves in their work, forgoing food and sleep.
Once she had heard that Latina and Dale had become officially engaged, Silvia had gone out of her way to prepare a small celebration where she could let squeeze as much lovesick banter out the girl as she could.
It wouldn’t be long before Silvia would go on her journey, too.
“Where did you want to go first, Silvia?”
“Oh, I’m just going to follow the more experienced types to a place nearby. Need to get used to the feel of travelling, you know?”
The long years of servitude for Akhdar finally bearing fruit, the day when Silvia could go on her journey was approaching rapidly. Her face was already glowing at that prospect, with the day she had wished for finally around the corner.
“I want to tell you to be careful, but… I know that you’ve been breaking your back for this day. All I can say is, ‘Congratulations’. You have fun out there.”
“Damn straight I will!”
For those in possession of Akhdar’s blessings, there could be nothing more satisfying than travelling to new lands, making new experiences, and fulfilling their long-held desires.
The two of them chatted for a good while, and only once they had finished their tea and went to ask for a refill did they pay attention to their surroundings.
It was only then that they noticed the hatted man wearing foreign clothes, who seemed to carefully observe Latina. At first, Silvia didn’t bother giving him the time of day. The way her close friend’s aura had changed from a beautiful young girl to a more mature one was known to turn a few heads every now and again, after all. And with people of the opposite gender, that was even less uncommon.
Latina, on the other hand, could only tilt her head in confusion. She still wasn’t sure why she was being stared at.
But what happened next really threw both of them for a loop. The man approached, took a knee, and lowered his head.
“What the… Latina, you know this guy?”
“What? No, I don’t!”
So she said, but that didn’t quell her surprise at the man’s next words.
“Lady of White Gold…”
Latina took another look at the man’s face. Her eyes went wide and her face paled. The words he had spoken were in an old, familiar tone.
“Have you remembered me already? I am happy to see that High Priest Smaragdi has protected you for this long. Where might he be now?”
“Lag… Smaragdi, he isn’t, well…”
“I… I see. The Oracle of the Child Goddess was truthful, then…”
Silvia’s voice calls her back to reality, and she looks her friend in the face.
“Silvia… Listen, I…”
“Lady of White Gold…”
Latina, still bewildered, found herself being called upon once again.
“My Sire has decided to move.”
His words made her forget that Silvia was even there. Her gaze fixed to the man, her expression was one of utter shock.
Her voice hoarse, she spoke.
Latina staggered forward slowly. Panicked, Silvia seized her by the shoulder.
“Latina? Do you want me to call someone?”
Silvia looked confused, left completely in the dark. Only then did Latina notice that she been using those old, familiar words that reminded her of home.
Finally recalling who was by her side, Latina turned her gaze to the man as he rose from where he knelt. She turned to have Silvia again, her face aggrieved.
“Sorry, Silvia… I have to get going…”
“Please… Don’t tell anyone about what happened today. Don’t tell anyone that I went with him either.”
Realising that this would include the person Latina loved above all, Silvia couldn’t help but scowl.
Still, she nodded.
“Thank you, Silvia.”
“You’re going to be okay though, right?”
“Yeah… I’m not in any danger, at least.”
Silvia’s eyes followed Latina as she gave an awkward smile before following after the strange man. A soft-spoken question escaped her lips.
“Phryxus… Did she mean ‘gold’…?”
Without making another sound, she rose from her seat.
“What’s Phryxus… What’s the Golden King doing here?”
“My Sire has departed from Vasilio along with High Priest Smaragdi. He has been searching for you for a long time.”
The foreign man turned eastwards. While Latina had paid that region of the lands little heed, she occupied herself with it now to the point she forgot to walk and was forced to run after the man.
“And I am the one to find you.”
Latina shrunk back in surprise. She chewed on her lips and looked up at the man.
“There is no way I would mistake you for someone else. As long as we knew you would be in this town, then finding you and reporting back to my Sire is only a matter of time.”
The man turned to Latina as he spoke.
It was by pure change that he had found her, before he found those fragmented horns among the dwellers of this town. Fragments that showed the same magic as the lady that was supposed to have been in Vasilio. Although the one he was looking for must have been in some great peril, robbed of her horns, the magic clinging to their remnants still gave off a warm radiance.
Then, while the situation remained unclear, the lady must have willingly offered the fragments of her horn. That magic still clung to her strongly, as if barely any time had passed since then.
And while he new few specifics of this town, there had been rumours of his White Gold Lady being seen. Out of all the lands he had come across, this was the town with that held the highest chance of finding her.
From her pale demeanour and shaking body, it wasn’t hard to see that their meeting was no cause for joy. But that was of little consequence, or so the man thought. He had already presumed that she may not have wished to present herself in front of his lord again.
He was also very familiar with High Priest Smaragdi, who had been the guide to many people, himself included. There was no doubt that he would have given his own daughter clear instructions.
His Sire wished for the lady to be brought to him.
The lady and the High Priest, on the other hand, would be against those wishes. Neither of them wished to see her turn into the prophesied princess of calamity that would turn against this country and its king.
Nevertheless, this did not mean that he had no fear of the prophesy of calamity that had been foretold by the Child Goddess. But the wishes of his Sire took precedence to his own.
As long as his King said that the prophesy was nothing to be feared, then going against his words would be to doubt his power.
Vasilio, home to the First Demon King, was guided by the Golden King as he were its own bright sun. All of its inhabitants wished the same. For them, there was no need to go against the words of the being that was like a glorious light to them, one that would lead them to an equally glorious future.
Once he had arrived at his eastward residence, the man stopped.
It was a cold home without a trace of heat, one that Latina would have written off as uninhabited.
But seeing him insert his key into the door like any normal man, she could wager a guess that he had borrowed this home through regular means. That was no inn, but a temporary abode for the man to stay at.
The inside was dead silent. Still, it was devoid of even the smallest speck of dust. While it was hard to believe that anyone would live here, it was just as difficult to assume that this place was utterly desolate
She followed the man as he climbed the stairway. He came to halt in front of another door, opened it, and allowed Latina to pass through.
Beyond the open door, a silhouette stood there with its back to the dazzlingly bright light of the sun that came through the window.
Unable to voice her thoughts, Latina stood frozen.
There was no way she could mistake that figure. The same face that was engraved into her memory since childhood. The same figure she had met in that otherworldly place.
The man spoke her old name with a deep air of dignity that went against his young appearance. In the furthest vestiges of her memory, she could recall that the adults barring her parents had called her by the same name.
The second Latina had awoken from her stupor, she had been smothered in an embrace strong enough to take her breath away. She found herself overcome by a scent that was completely different from what she owned what what she had grown accustomed to. She twisted about, trying to escape the arms that bound her.
“Please… Phryxus, let me go…”
“Why? I finally meet you here… my beloved Platina. I shall never let thee go again. Now that I have been crowned, there are none that may order me. I shall protect thee with every ounce of my power.”
“…! Let go, Phryxus…! I won’t… I’ll never go back to that country. I’ve already found another place I belong to!”
In tandem with her response, even more strength flows into the arms that restrain her. His eyes darken, his emotions clear on display.
“Just how dost thou think I have waited, longed for this moment…?”
Latina couldn’t bring herself to say that she wanted to meet him. Even if that were the case, and if she were to think that with all of her heart, there would still be no way she would return to her homeland with him.