33 33.Simon of the Lake


The morning sun glimpsed over the horizon. It´s rays painted beautiful moving patterns on the cobblestone streets of Starta as it fell through the water. The water level had suddenly fallen a lot faster than Simon had anticipated and the dome above the city was peeking through the water surface.

The few villagers that had stayed during this rainy season could see an underwater world outside the bubble that covered the city. All kinds of fascinating a weird fish flying over their heads like birds. Some even visited Starta for this view, others had returned to the empire for the time being, as they could not do their jobs.

The old priest was checking and adjusting the barrier. With this much water pressure gone this fast, the barrier might have blown up, if he had not kept an eye on the magics output.

Simon actually enjoyed this season. The blurry sun shining through the water was something quite extraordinary and sweetened the boring work of barrier maintenance.

But on this great morning a big piece of driftwood blocked the light of the morning sun.

Seth´s rinky-dink little nutshell was floating above the village and had lodged onto the dome.

The fairies, even Fin, had finally fallen asleep and he was barely able to stay awake. When the map told him that they had reached their destination, Seth could only see a shallow platform breaking the water surface.

Looking over the edge of the raft he understood that it was the tip of a giant hemisphere, that covered the village below them. He could see the streets and houses from above like a bird. A medieval town existing on the bottom of a lake was something different from seeing a modern city flooded by water. It was a lot more...magical?

"Hah! I was right!", Seth celebrated in a tired voiced. That Santa clause-priest DID have a way to counter this disaster. "But how do we get in?", this was the big question.

Seth was perplexed as the raft went aground on the dome with a "thunk" and lodged itself there.

Well, at least they did not have to worry about drifting away now that they were stuck.

It was as Seth thought about a way to get into the barrier or get someone's attention, that he followed an age-old human instinct. Knock on the glass of an aquarium. He was startled when he almost lost balance and fell off the raft. His knuckle passed the energy membrane like a soap bubble!

The situation had instantly changed. Seth´s raft was not stuck on solid ground. It was a platform reaching over the precipice of a more than 10m deep cavern!

You could tell him whatever you wanted about attributes and supernatural systems; he did not want to take such a fall. Heights were just not his thing. It's not about the danger, it is a matter of principle!

Seth looked back and forth between the limp fairies and the "abyss" in front of him. They were not fit to fly down there with their own power. He frowned hard, but sighed in the end. The young man saw only one option, he had to climb down there and get help.

Poking the little Fin with his finger, he woke her up.

"Fin we are here. Can you look after your friends? I will climb down there and ask for help."

Seth had told Fin about Starta during the night. She was happy that they were traveling to a village of the Chrona Empire. She had told him a lot about the Pathworks and as followers of the Church of the System, Fin described the empires people as one of the friendly factions that used the Pathworks. As such they had friendly relationships with most races, the fairies being one of them.

Seth took out two ropes. He would use one to climb down and prepared the other so he could tie a basket to it and pull it up like an elevator for the fairies. Even if the church did not help him, he could just buy a basket with the stuff in his inventory.

Simon stood flabbergasted on the control panel of the barrier and stared to the top of the dome. From the driftwood that had blocked his sun, a rope fell to the ground. And another? Following the ropes was the lean figure of a wild looking man peeking over the edge of the driftwood. His scraggly beard looked unkempt and the mix of dark cloth and plates he wore looked scratched up and a little dirty.

The priest rushed to the town square below it. The guy clumsily and slowly climbed down one of the ropes. Simon felt a slight discomfort when he reached the mostly empty square. Had the man just used <Observation> on him?

With pain and misery Seth climbed down the rope. It was one thing to climb up, it was another when he had to go down! He used <Observation> to remember the priests name and felt it used on himself soon after.

"Hey! ...Simon! I´m back...?", the youth greeted Simon awkwardly. Simon was not polite and also used <Observation> on the man in front of him. Seth? He could see nothing but general things like Name, Level, and age, even so he was several tens of levels higher than the young man.

"What? This is supposed to be that boy?", Simon thought, astounded about the changes. Seth had been tall to begin with, but the last time he saw him he looked pale and thin, almost sickly. He was still pale, with a light sunburn maybe? The biggest change was his build. His shoulder seemed wider and he looked quite muscular under the armor. What did he do in those weeks?

"Simon? Hey priest!", Seth waved his hand in front of the old man's face to wake him from his stupor.

"Oh! A, yes. Seth! Hello!", the priest reacted awkwardly. Seth did not mind their weird greeting and started to explain the situation to the rotund priest then and there.

Simon proved once again that he was a really friendly old man and immediately agreed to help and take care of the fairies. He would make sure to help them return home as soon as possible.

When Seth explained to Simon how he wanted to get the fairies down, the other shook his head with a smile and stopped Seth. He called two priest who started chanting and gesturing. The next thing he saw was the raft gently entering the bubble and floating to the ground.

Simons and the other priests face fell when they saw the condition the fairies were in. Unconscious, hypothermic, some with bleeding injuries, broken wings, and limbs. In daylight they looked even worse than during the night. Seth felt depressed upon witnessing their suffering.

A warm hand landed on Seth´s shoulder. Simon gave him a kind smile.

"You look like you had some rough time. My people will take care of them for now. How about you come with me to the church? The world changes after a warm bath. What do you think about a set of clean clothes and a healthy meal? After that we can talk. I have a nice tea and fresh cookies in my office."


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