Four knocks on the door brought Luce out from her afternoon nap. It was rare for her to have time to sleep since her patrols usually took up the better part of the day. For the few seconds she laid unmoving in the shadows with her bedside curtains drawn to keep out the light, she contemplated on the age old technique of 'pretending to not be home until they go away'.
Another set of knocks and she thought of how rare it was for her to get visitors. Her small hut on the side of the cliff-face of a mountain ridge was not exactly the easiest place to get to.
Knocks continued to echo through her room, until finally, she swung her leg off her bed. "I'm coming," she groaned in defeat.
She pulled her red scarf off the rack and wrapped it around her shoulders to hide her modest chest. The hems of the cloth had frayed quite a bit in the six years since The Walking Path, but otherwise kept its shape and rose red sheen.
She considered taking her rifle. That was until her impatient guest called out, "Lucinda? It's me, Misti!"
Luce called back, "Well, why didn't you say so in the first place?" She crossed the small room in four steps, unlatching the wooden door and glinting as the light outside blinded her.
"Were you sleeping?"
"I was," Luce replied. Josh had told her she had gotten more snappy recently. She was starting to see what he meant. "What are you doing all the way out here?"
Luce's sight adjusted, and the young teenage girl came into view. Just a head shorter and a decade younger, Misti was a tomboyish hume – a half-elf – girl with short brown hair and green eyes. Though she was a head shorter than Luce, Misti walked with a confident gait that almost seemed to boost her physical height as much as it did her ego. She wore a grey long-sleeved shirt to help against the frigid high altitude temperature but contradictorily chose a pair of shorts for her bottom, always claiming that her legs never got cold and never will. Luce was starting to believe that claim. On Misti's back was a pack almost twice her size. The girl always had the habit of over packing, but that day, she had a crate taller than her person strapped to the back of her bag.
Misti sighed, "Trust me, I didn't want to come here. Do you know how far this place is? But dad insisted that I get this to you as soon as possible." The girl stepped past Luce unceremoniously and entered her home.
Luce scratched her head in defeat. Four years later and the girl had yet to learn any manners. She stepped back inside and closed the door behind her. "So, what is this thing that I have to have? Is it a mission."
"Nope." Misti set her bag down on the one chair in the room and unclipped the crate from it. She then set the crate on the table. She took out a convenient hammer from her stash and began using the claw to pull out the nails from the box. "Seriously, I don't know what that old man is thinking," she berated Josh.
Luce stepped around the table and asked, "What's in the crate?"
"Something that was floating offshore from The Holdings. Old man threw a fit when he saw it. Swam out himself to get it. Nearly drowned."
Luce's heart skipped a beat at the news. "Is he okay?"
"He's fine. We got a boat out and brought him and the stuff back." She took out the last nail and the cover popped opened. "He spent half a season restoring this."
Leaning over the table, Luce took a look inside and immediately, she could feel her eyes tearing up. Her heart jumped and sank at the same time. Hands trembling, she picked up Jacque's spear-cannon. The weight was just as she remembered it, and everything about its physical appearance was as it were six years ago.
"How?" Luce found the strength to say, though Misti had already answered that question. Josh had found it in the water. Instead, she asked, "How did Josh find the parts?"
"He didn't," Misti answered. "He made everything from scratch."
Luce could not hold it in anymore. She placed the spear-cannon down, circled the table, and embraced Misti. Partly doing so as thanks, but also to hide the tears that streamed from her face.
Through soft sobs, Luce said, "Thank you."
Misti stammered out a correction, "I-I didn't do much. The old man did."
"Well, hug and thank him for me," Luce replied.
It was twilight by the time Misti had left. During then, Luce had quickly found a spot on the wall for the spear-cannon. Once settled, she stood back to take in the item. As the years went by, she started to lose fragments of memories of Jacques. Her looks. Her voice. Her scent. It was hard to fight the encroaching waves of time. But at the very least, with the spear as a memento, she would never forget that Jacqueline Fertilans existed, and that they loved each other with their lives.
Another set of knocks came from the door. Two visitors in one day? That's rare. She grabbed her rifle from its rest against the wall and went to the entrance.
She called out, "Who's there?"
A woman's voice whispered, "Don't say anything stupid!"
"Don't worry," A male voice followed, "I got this." The man cleared his throat and said through the door, "Hi! Have you heard about our lord and saviour, the Flying Spaghetti Monster?"
Lucinda Baerrinska will return in...
The Chronicles of Tearha: The Number 139
Author's Note: Hi everyone. Thank you for reading Tearha: Keep Walking. This story is a novella prequel to Tearha: The Number 139 and Tearha: Titan War. If you like what you've read so far, and would like to support my writing, you can buy one of my books at my website. Or you could check out my Patreon to help out for the long run. Of course, just sharing, commenting, and reviewing helps a bunch as well!
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