I didn’t return to the forest I first arrived at in this world. My body’s physical sensations were eventually restored. I smelt the unique natural smell of wood. A sensation from my lower body reassured me. It was a totally different feeling to the waves. On the back of my head was a soft cloth material that emitted a fragrant scent. I seemed to be lying on flowers. I heard gurgling sounds by my ear; I thought something was boiling.
I slowly opened my eyes. Overhead was a red wooden roof. I turned over to look in the direction of the wind blowing. What I saw was a large window… Actually, it resembled an open folding door. Outside the building was a gradient red and orange sunset. A bright flame accompanied the clouds in the sky. The lantern hanging on the door gently swayed in the wind. At the centre of the courtyard was a huge tree. An overwhelming number of pink flower petals reflected the setting sun, generating a fiery scene.
I heard the sound of porcelain clink next to me. I immediately turned over to see a white soft yarn. A soft and slender pair of hands picked up a clay pot on the small flame. The heat inside the pot cheerfully burst forth. The soft pair of hands gently poured the brown liquid inside of the pot out into the porcelain bowl in front.
I turned my head again. Her long black hair resembled a black waterfall. From the side, her face was radiant white. Her eyes weren’t on me. Kneeling next to me, she gently picked up a tray with a bowl containing several things inside. She then picked up a grind stone. She slowly ground and stirred away.
I wanted to speak, but I decided it was better not to when I went to speak. I didn’t want to disturb the breathtaking beauty. I saw the sunset, ancient tree, bright flowers, steam that whisked up from the pot, soft and slender hands of the beauty, and gentle eyes of the beauty.
She turned to face me, allowing me to see the front of her face for the first time. Underneath her long black hair was a stunning indifferent face. Her appearance differed to Nier and Lucia; her face was the type I often saw when I was still alive. She had the small and delicate face of an individual of Asian heritage, and it certainly gave off that vibe. Her eyes were the same type of red as Ling Yue’s. They were a darker shade compared to Ling Yue’s bright red eyes, though.
As if she was a statue, she didn’t wear a smile, concern or any emotion on her face. She looked at the world indifferently and silently as though she didn’t care about anything in the world.
We looked at each other. She didn’t say anything. She reached her hand out to help me up. She carried a familiar scent on her. I thought I smelt her scent somewhere before. It wasn’t the scent of flowers, and, if I was correct, it was a scent I often smelt when I was still alive.
I felt her warm hand on the nape of my neck. I felt a painful sensation when I sat up despite going sitting up slowly. I was fine when I was still; however, my entire body hurt when I moved. It was as though I didn’t come back to life from the ocean but rolled down a mountain. I groaned. Her hand stopped for a moment, but she still didn’t show any emotion. I shook my head, and then she let go before handing the porcelain bowl to me.
The brown liquid inside the bowl exuded soothing warmth that also reminded one of bitter memories. It resembled the medicine from home that one missed, yet could put one at ease. Sometimes western medicines’ capsules and sugar-coated tablets felt excessively awkward to consume. Eastern medicine that had been passed down for millenniums, on the other hand, carried the care and gentleness of those from millenniums ago to the present.
I slowly drank the contents. The medicine was seriously very bitter. Still, I bit the bullet and finished it. All she did was watch me in silence the entire time. She wasn’t happy, consoled or worried. She didn’t show any emotions; it was as though she didn’t belong to this world, and my life and death was none of her concern. Indeed, my life and death had nothing to do with her.
I placed the bowl down. She placed it on the tray. She then tidied up the pot above the flame and stood up. Her bare feet beneath her white and pink robe were partially revealed. Her robe had to be a kimono. It was the exact same design as a Japanese kimono.
“Could it be that this island’s culture developed the same way? Will she understand what I say, then?” I wondered.
I tried to speak by calling out to her. She stopped in her tracks at the door. She didn’t look back, or wait for me, nevertheless. I tried to say, “Umm… Hello… Umm… I want to ask who you are and where I am… Please tell me…”
She simply stood at the door without looking back or answering, maintaining her posture. I, too, just looked at her back despite feeling awkward. I thought she didn’t understand my question.
I heard a familiar, yet unfamiliar, tone. I seemed to hear a dialect I didn’t understand. Thankfully, I could understand her, albeit barely. She turned around to look at me upon hearing my response. In a serious tone, she repeated herself, “Ying.”
“Wow, that’s too simple for an Asian name, right? It seems overwhelmingly simple, doesn’t it? It’s as simple as the name Wang Jianguo, which means, king building the nation,” I thought.
Tone calm, she elaborated, “This is Yabuki. I found you by the shore and brought you back. You’ve been unconscious for an entire day. You’ve just come to, so don’t be emotional.”
“Ah, mm… Thank you,” I replied with a blank look.
Ying then added, “You’ve suffered very grave injuries and been exposed to the cold. Have a good rest for some time, and then you can slowly ease back into moving around.”
“Want something to eat?”
Ying nodded, and then turned around. She shut the door gently behind her after exiting. I turned around and sighed. I slowly attempted to try and mobilise my stiff limbs. Unfortunately, it felt as if I was a robot that hadn’t been lubricated in a long time. I felt as though I had adhesions in my joints as well as waves of painful sensations. My chest and back were wrapped in thick bandages. I also had the scent of herbal medicine on me. I stretched my arm out to find them covered in bruises, too. I considered myself lucky to not have been eaten up by a fish of some sort. Lying down was the only way to feel relatively comfortable.
I didn’t know how much longer I needed to rest for, but I felt I had a lot of injuries. Most worrisome was my injuries didn’t heal. Under normal circumstances, I recovered from wounds at a rapid rate as long as it wasn’t inflicted with the mana dissolvent. However, my body didn’t recover when I was in the desert, the North or here. In other words, there was a lack of mana here. Put another way, this place, wherever it was, was a long distance away from our continent.
I didn’t know how Lucia, Nier or my fleets were doing. I just hoped that those around me were safe and sound, particularly Lucia, as she couldn’t move last night. I didn’t know if Nier saved her. I wanted to know when they’d be able to locate me.
My necklace was missing. I placed my necklace on the bedside when I slept. It dropped into the water when the ship capsized. That meant I had no means of calling Mommy Vyvyan, either. I needed to stay here for some time to recuperate. Then, I needed to search for them on my own. Perhaps I couldn’t enjoy the sunset because I was worried about Lucia and Nier.