Back to home page

Back to "The Blue Sky" contents page

Back to previous chapter





Captain Blax led the party, with the soldiers marching behind them. They went down a second passage that led into the cavern. This passage was very straight, and had a uniform shape. The Captain explained, “The Emperor had us build this tunnel. He knew that the Crystal was in here, and wanted to reach it as soon as possible.”

The passage wasn’t particularly long, and they were soon outside again. The dark clouds were still overhead, but they could see some green returning to the land – already the restored Earth Crystal was having an effect. However, there was still a biting wind in the air.

The Captain said, “Cid’s cavern is on the coast. He was one of our top engineers before he retired. The Emperor brought him out of retirement, against his will, to work on the airship project. As soon as the work was completed he returned to his cabin. On our way to the Earth Crystal I sent a party out to check on him, and they reported that he had survived the catastrophe. If anyone can find a way to get you back to the island, it will be Cid.”

They didn’t say anything more as they marched towards the coast. It was only about an hour or so before they could see the sea. It appeared to be black, and the winds were making the waters choppy.

They marched up the coast and saw a forest up ahead that bordered on the sea. The Captain ordered most of the soldiers to wait outside of the forest, and he took a few of them with him along with the party into the forest.

The forest had somehow managed to survive the disaster, although it was an extremely gloomy place. The canopy of the trees were such that even before the catastrophe very little sunlight would have made it through. Now, even though it was the middle of the day, the black clouds overhead made it feel like it was the middle of the night.

Before long they reached a clearing. By the side of it was a cottage, which had some smoke coming out of its chimney. There were piles of chopped wood outside, and the stump of a tree that was used as a chopping block. If it weren’t for the black sky overhead it would have been an extremely peaceful scene.

The Captain went up to the door of the cottage and knocked. Shortly afterwards a man who appeared to be in his fifties answered it. He said, “A Captain of the Imperial Guard. To what do I deserve such a pleasure?”

“Cid, I bring with me some powerful warriors from the Republic.” Cid looked at him suspiciously. “Do not worry, they are friends. They say that this catastrophe has destroyed the Republic as well, and that they have been sent on a quest by a higher being to restore the Crystals.”

“I see, and do you believe them?”

“I do. I saw them defeat the rhino with my own eyes. They were able to restore balance to the Earth Crystal, and already the grass has started growing again. They’ve already restored the Fire and Water Crystals, and so if they can restore the Wind Crystal as well they may be able to restore some peace to this world.”

“Well, that won’t be easy. You have no idea where it is, do you?”

Bevern spoke up, “Actually, we do. We were captured in the Republic and taken on board the airship. We saw that it was being used to power it. We were able to escape with the help of the King of Dragons, Bahamut, and in doing so the airship crashed onto an island. We have to get back there to restore the Crystal, but Bahamut says he is unable to take us.”

“You’ve met Bahamut? Well, yes, in these dark times he is very busy. It will not be long now before the Emperor launches his new army to take over what’s left of this world. Bahamut’s struggling to try and regain control of the other dragons that have entered our world. Well, if you are friends of Bahamut I guess you’d better come in.” He stood aside to allow everyone in. Captain Blax was the only soldier that went in – he told the others to stand guard outside.

Inside, the cottage was rather cosy, and there was a roaring fire. “Do make yourselves at home. I’ll put the kettle on, and then we’ll see what we can do to get you to your island.”

They all sat down whilst Cid went into another room. As they did so, Gaian said, “You’re very lucky to have survived the catastrophe. These are the first trees we’ve seen since the disaster struck.”

Cid answered from the other room, “Luck had nothing to do with it, my dear boy. I knew of the airship project long before I was called upon to work on it. I feared that just such a catastrophe would happen, and so I made preparations. Over the years I’ve developed skills in various magics, and I was also able to speak to the dragons, as well as others on the various planes of existence. I was therefore able to erect a field of energy that helps to protect this cottage and the forest around it. Alas, I didn’t have enough time to find a way to amplify its power so that it could protect more of the world, and the power that it does have is starting to wane. If the world’s balance is not restored soon then this place may well succumb to the decay that is now destroying the world. But you’ve restored three Crystals already? Well, that’s very good news, very good news indeed.” He walked back into the main room carrying a tray with several mugs of hot tea on it.

They each took a mug, and the party felt that they could almost relax in this oasis of calm. If was a relief after everything that they had been through so far.

Tyght spoke, and got straight to the point, “Cid, Captain Blax thinks that you might be able to get us back to the island somehow. We need to get there quickly. When Bevern restored the Earth Crystal he saw the Imperial Guards building rafts to sail back to the Empire. We have to get to them before they set sail so that we can restore the final Crystal.”

“Yes, your quest is urgent indeed! But don’t fear, you should relax a little and enjoy your tea. I have just the thing that can take you to the island. It’s a fairly short distance from here, but you’ll need to get your strength back before we head out. But once we get there, what I have waiting will get you to where you need to go in time. Now, I think I can spare you some of my food. Who’s hungry?”

They suddenly found that they all were, and they all nodded. Cid got up and went back into the other room. “That’s strange,” said Bevern. “Ever since the disaster I haven’t felt hungry at all, and that was days ago!”

“Same here,” said Gaian. “Maybe the catastrophe affected more than just the world itself, maybe it also affected us, changed us in some way. Maybe that’s why we haven’t felt the need to eat before now.”

“Still, you have to admit, it is very odd.”

They were all silent, contemplating this last point, whilst they waited for Cid to return. When he did so he had a large plate full of sandwiches, and they all got stuck in hungrily.

About an hour later they were ready to set off. Cid locked up the door of his cottage, and assumed the lead of the party with his walking stick. He led them down a path that went through the forest, and it only took them about half an hour before they were outside it again.

Here the ground was full of grass, and showed no signs of the catastrophe at all. A short distance away there was a tall hill, and the path led them up it. It was a fairly gentle walk. Rather than going straight up the path zigzagged its way up the hill.

It took them about an hour to reach the top. From up here they could get a good view of the surrounding area. They could see that this hill and the forest appeared to be the only areas not affected by the catastrophe. The rest of the world looked ruined and broken.

At the top of the hill there was something covered by a large white sheet. Cid said to Captain Blax, “I don’t suppose you could give me a hand with this, could you?”

“Of course.”

They removed the sheet and underneath was what looked like a metal bird, with seats for people to sit in. Underneath it were a couple of metal rails forming a track.

“Gentlemen – and lady – I present to you one of my finest inventions. Say hello to the glider.”

Forward to next chapter

Back to "The Blue Sky" contents page

Back to home page