- Free Form:
- Job Title: C-Rank Free-form
Job Location: Talonia
Solo Word Count: 1,500 words
Group Word Count: 3,000 words
Additional Requirements: N/A
Job Description: As Lance was making his way to Talonia he runs into a deathly woman asking for candy. He decides to help the woman and ends up learning a lesson in humanity. Thus, starting an even bigger adventure for the mage.
Reward: 10,000 jewels
The sun was beginning to set on the busy road to Talonia, the place where Lance decided to take a weekend of rest after he had fought the battle in the jungle where he made his home. It had been about a month or so since he had joined the dark guild, Rakshasa, and three months since he was reborn as a forest spirit. Ever since that day he had vowed to protect nature no matter what the cost. As a younger spirit, he still had a lot to grow mentally as he was still a child. Pranking people and causing disruption was one of his favorite past times and he was even more excited to get the chance to spend the weekend here in a place where it was busy, and he could let his playful side out fully.
He did not have a very bright view on humans as they were the reason why the balance of nature was being thrown about in many ways. The building of new cities in order to expand human territory was a huge problem to him but what made it worse is that, when the animals would fight back or cause danger to humans, they would often fight or even kill the creatures with no remorse. At the end of the day, it was not the creature’s fault but the humans for invading into their territory. They were an invasive species that did not care about life’s other than their own so why should Lance care about them?
The only person he really trusted was his partner Feng, who he honestly did not know much about as the tiny pig wouldn’t reveal anything about himself. He was able to shape shift into a humanoid figure to fit in more to the crowds but right now he was perched on top of Lance’s head sleeping. The two got along well as they were both tricksters who liked to mess with people. What Lance lacked, Feng made up for in terms of combat as well. Lance’s only form of combat was his magic that was not very strong now, but Feng had a sword that could cut through the enemies that Lance couldn’t get to.
As he neared the town, he heard the soft voice of a woman behind him “Do you have any candy?” she said in a feint, raspy voice. Lance turned his head to see who was speaking and his eyes met a ghastly pale woman who was wearing all white with a coat. Her hair was long and black and looked like it hadn’t been washed in a while. The sight of her almost made Lance feels sorry for her as she looked unhealthy.
The mage shook his head “No, but there’s a town right up there.” he said with briefly before turning on his heels and beginning to walk again. He was stopped by the voice again “Can you take me?” the woman asked, a sad expression on her face. Lance grumbled and turned around again sharply “It’s literally just right up-“ he stopped as he saw the woman’s sad expression and groaned “Augh… fine. But I expect a form of payment.” He said whirling around again “I’m not going to slow down for you so keep up lady.” He marched onward, not turning to look to see if the lady was following him.
Once they reached the town, he brought the lady to a small shop that was still open at the late hours of the night. While Lance was looking at the various wares, getting food for the night and such, he saw the woman approach the merchant out of the corner of his eye. “One candy please.” She simply stated in her raspy tone. The merchant placed a single candy on the counter and when asked for payment the woman reached out, hand full of leaves. “Miss, I can’t accept leaves.” The merchant scoffed. To Lance, this woman seemed too poor to be able to afford anything and it triggered a rather sympathetic side in him. He slapped down the jewel on the counter “I’ll pay for her.” He said quietly, not making eye contact with either the woman or the merchant.
His head hurt. He did not like helping humans but for some reason he couldn’t turn away this woman. There was something about her that struck a chord in Lance’s heart.
The merchant gave the woman her candy and Lance started to walk away before he heard the woman again “Here.” She said, offering him the leaves. Lance was speechless for a second before sighing with a chuckle “It’s okay. I have no need for those.” He said, running his hands through the back of his head. The woman paused for a second before taking her coat off “Then take this.” She said, handing Lance without warning. He was tempted to decline it but when he saw the woman’s sad expression he nodded and put the jacket on, smiling at the woman sympathetically. “Don’t know why you wanted the candy so badly but” he gestured to the wrapped up sweet in her hand “Have a good night I guess.” He would shrug before heading off to a nearby hotel so that he could rest up for the night.
In the morning, Lance and Feng would decide to go for a walk around the city and it was cold, so Lance was wearing the coat he got the previous night. Feng fluttered by Lance cheerfully “So what exactly happened with that woman last night?” the pig asked, doing a swirl in the air before landing on Lance’s head. Lance would shrug and shake his head “I honestly couldn’t tell you. She was weird I know that.” Feng laughed at Lance’s remark. “She gave me this coat and we went our separate-“ the pair’s conversation was stopped by a tired looking man running over to them.
The man was middle aged and looked like he hadn’t slept in a few days, his eyes tired from crying. He pointed to the coat he was wearing “Where did you get that?” he muttered, out of breath from a mixture of fatigue and running. Lance explained and told the story of the lady who gave him the coat. The man seemed like his heart was about to burst open. Between staggered breathes he told Lance the truth about the woman.
“That woman… was my wife. We were trying to have a kid, but she died during birth. That was about a week ago.” He collapsed to his knees and started to bawl. Lance and Feng didn’t exactly know how to react. Lance was a bit confused and he didn’t necessarily believe the man. “I don’t believe that. Ghosts can’t be physical beings.” Feng said, breaking through the awkwardness. The crying man looked up at the pair helplessly and nodded, getting up to dust himself off before staring at the pair with a serious expression “Come with me.” He said and led the pair to a cemetery.
Inside of the graveyard, there were many gravestones lined up one after another. Burying loved ones was unique to humans and something that Lance did not fully understand but appreciated as it gave nutrients back to the earth. When the pair reached the grave that they were being led to, Lance saw it was an actual tomb and not a grave like the others. “We are a wealthy family. I wanted to give her a proper burial.” He said, opening the door to the crypt. Inside was a single coffin which the man lifted the case, not only revealing a woman exactly like the one Lance ran into last night, but there was also a newborn, healthy baby that started to cry as the lid was opened. In the baby’s hand was a single candy.
Lance and Feng were speechless, they didn’t know how to react. It was obvious to Lance now why he felt sorry for the woman, she was a spirit like him, a soul that shouldn’t be there. The man picked up the baby and started to cry again.
Family was also something that both Lance had no recollection of from his past life. He crossed his arms, looking down at the dead woman thoughtfully before taking off the coat and placing it in the tomb. When he did, he noticed that the sadness that had once filled the ladies face was replace with a serene smile. The sight made Lance smile warmly as he looked down at her “Rest easily…” he whispered to her. Feng looked at Lance a bit confused as he was not awake last night to fully understand what Lance meant.
That night, Lance decided to take some time to himself to think about the day. “A mother… Family…” he muttered to himself as he walked through the dimly lit streets. A Family, or at least how he understood it from human standards, was something you were born into and people that took care of each other. He also knew that there was love in these groups but that was something he didn’t really think was important as he didn’t understand what exactly love felt like.
He eyes caught the sight of a path of floating, glowing fire-like balls that seemed to make a path through the park. “This day just keeps getting weirder and weirder.” Lance chuckled and shook his head, curiosity getting the best of him as he followed the path before him.
At the end of the path was a giant tree with floating lights around it. In front of this tree was a beautiful lady in all white, her hair tied up in a traditional Japanese bun. Her features however were very fox like, having tails, feet, and paws like a fox. Surrounding her were many other types of foxes, some normal, some more humanoid in their features.
The fox lady nodded and greeted Lance with a warm and welcoming smile. “Welcome Lance. I’ve been watching you for a while.” She said, her voice was warm and almost like a goddess. Lance stood in awe of her beauty, his eyes glimmering in the light from the tree. The woman chuckled “It’s okay. You don’t have to say anything. I saw the way you cared for the spirit of that woman last night, you felt true sympathy for her.”
Lance nodded “So she was a spirit after all… How do you tie into all of this though?” Lance questioned her, there was so many weird things going on these past few days that his brain couldn’t process it all that well. The fox lady nodded understandingly and proceeded to explain her situation. “First, you may refer to me as a Tenko, the highest-ranking form of a fox spirit. We are known as Kitsune, but some refer to us as Spirits or Yokai. I believe you are a spirit as well?”
Lance simply nodded, listening as the woman continued “See, we Yokai are not normally supposed to be seen by people but some spirits… let’s just say they like to cause trouble for humans and when they get caught it could harm the balance of the spirit realm, the place we live and thrive. Think of it as the same as this realm but full of spirits instead of humans! We are fragile creatures that need to be protected because I fear that the spirit realm could be in danger.” She handed the mage a silver ring “This ring will help you get into the spirit realm whenever you desire. Please, take our request into consideration.”
With the ring in hand the whole scene that had been before him disappeared, leaving him in an empty park in the middle of the night. Lance was clueless as to the request he had gotten from the Tenko Spirit and even less knowledgeable as to what it meant. He had a lot to think about and so, the forest spirit, filled with confusion, went back to the hotel to get a nice sleep.