Lisbeth grinned as she watched the demons rush towards the small village of Misty Moor, where she had been staying for the past week. The rumors of an impending attack had drawn the young, reckless, battle-hungry girl to the town, and she was delighted to find that they were true.
She tethered her horse to a tree a safe distance away and put on her armor.
"My first real battle!" Wriggling into her b.reastplate, she patted the cream-colored mare on the nose. "Isn't it exciting, Hyacinth? It's much better than working in the apple orchards all day."
Hyacinth let out a snort, stamping her hooves to let her owner know that she was very opposed to being tied up.
"I know, I know. I'll see you after the big fight!" With a wave, she stuck on her ill-fitting helmet and ran to Misty Moor.
Before she could reach the fray, however, she felt a sharp, excruciating pain in the base of her neck. As she fell to the ground, she heard a demonic laugh and her vision blurred, giving way to a pitch black darkness, like the night sky without stars.
A shroud of sparkling light covered her body, soft and flowing like silk. Not knowing what to think, she tried to speak. Her vocal cords strained, but she could hear nothing but the sound of the wind. She felt alone and frightened, floating in the darkness with no idea what had happened.
Then it dawned on her. The pain. The laugh. Was she...dead? No, that couldn't be. She was too young to die.
"Lisbeth..." A gentle voice came from behind her, and she whipped around, startled.
The being looked around her age, and his deep pink hair fluttered in the soft b.reeze of the void. He wore a cream-colored shirt with mutton sleeves and a purple vest with b.ronze floral decorations at the hemline. His floor-length pink skirt was slightly transparent, revealing simple leggings that matched his shirt. Around his waist was a wide, dark mauve belt with details reminiscent of the ones on his vest.
Lisbeth couldn't help but stare at him as he fixed his b.ronze circlet and straightened his collar.
"Hello. I'm Sylvan, your Guardian." His voice was a nice tone; not too deep, yet not too high. It had an underlaying richness that was comforting, and made everything seem alright. "You might be able to speak now. Go on, try it."
"H-hello there." Lisbeth said with a floating curtsy. "I'm sorry, but what exactly is a Guardian?"
"Oh?" He arched an eyeb.row, letting out a chuckle. "I'm surprised at you. Not many humans don't know about my kind. But since you asked, I'm your protector, the one who watches over you, your...guardian. Even though I can't interfere too frequently, I help you out to the best of my ability. I've wanted to meet you for a very long time."
"It's nice to meet you, then." She beamed. "It's reassuring knowing I have someone to watch over me. Now, what am I doing here?"
"I hate to say it, but you're...dead. This would normally be when I escort you to Auraena...but the Master I serve has allowed me to revive you on one condition."
I knew it. Death would explain the pain still throbbing at the nape of her neck. "What's this condition?"
"You must extinguish the Demon Queen, Xera. She's been causing Arianoch far to much trouble for far too long. However, you need to be less reckless."
"I was too eager, wasn't I?"
"You ask a lot of questions, don't you?" Sylvan grinned. He then produced a small velvet bag with floral accents and a ( )onze stud in the middle. "Here. This pouch has been used by me and my sister to communicate with our various wards for a very long time. I'll send you letters occasionally, and Isolde might as well if the need arises."
Lisbeth took it, feeling its plush fa( )ic on her cold fingers. "Thank you. May I come back to life now?"
He chuckled again. "Yes, of course. Find allies and remember your quest, dear one."
Lisbeth's chest began to rise and fall steadily as she regained her life. But she wasn't in her armor. Instead she was dressed in her usual outfit: a white, lace trimmed, off-shoulder blouse, dark ( )own corset, and simple burnt orange skirt. Her dark, mussed-up ringlets fell messily around her sleeping face, partially obscuring her nose.
She clutched the pouch in one fist, and her mother's golden hair-clip in the other. Mumbling about pink hair, she rolled over...right into a pile of fresh fertilizer.
"Gah!" What an awful way to be ressurected.
"Moo!" A nearby cow toppled over, looking like rigor mortis had just set in.
That's odd. Did I do that? The instant the thought crossed her mind, she chided herself. Lisbeth Cortland, that's the stupidest notion ever. You don't have magic!
An excited neigh silenced her thoughts.
"Hyacinth!" Lisbeth ran to greet the horse. "How did you find me?"
Of course, there was no answer, but one wasn't needed. The reunion was happy nonetheless. The girl laughed as she pinned her bangs back and then tied the pouch around her waist.
"Whoa!" A pink glow emitted from the ( )onze stud, and she could faintly hear Sylvan's voice whisper "I'm counting on you...there's a note in the bag."
Curious, she reached into it and pulled out its contents. There were various seed packets containing different magical crops, other seed packets carrying normal plants, and a crisp sheet of parchment folded into a flower. She unfolded it carefully.
"To remind you of your quest, here's a note. Keep it with you." She read aloud. "Find and defeat Xera. I trust in you. Yours in life and death, Sylvan."
Hyacinth whinnied and tossed her blonde mane.
"I will, Sylvan. I promise." Lisbeth hid a smile, even though there was no reason for doing so. The last two words sounded nice to say, so she repeated them. "I promise."
Sylan let out a sigh of relief as he watched his young ward. Nearby, his sister paced, long icy blue hair pulled up into a ponytail, as per usual.
"You think she's going to be alright, Sylvan?"
"I know she will be, Isolde. I just know it."