The lilting singing of birds carried by a warm breeze awoke Albert. The ground was beneath him was hard and he twisted in place to try and get a better position, sending a sharp spasm through his shoulder. The jolt of pain reminded him of his situation and he bolted upright, ready to begin dashing away again if there was any evidence of monsters nearby.
"Xýpnioi tóra, étsi?"
Sitting across from him was a bear of a man, wearing overalls and a simple white undershirt that struggled to hold in the bulk chest and arms. He had light brown hair and a long braided beard that reminded Albert of vikings he had seen in old movies. The man was leaning against one of the weathered tan stones that looked to be from a ruin of some sort. Albert looked around cautiously, unsure of where he was or what was going on. All around the outcroppings of of carved tan stone, long dry grass waved in the occasional dusty breeze. Other than the weathered bricks of the ruins, there didn't seem to be much of note that he could see.
"W-what?" Al stammered, thinking he may have misheard the man.
"He said, 'Awake now, right?'," Myrin's voice chipped in brightly, causing Albert to jump in his seat. He had forgotten about Myrin.
The man across from them tilted his head, running a hand down one of his braids.
"American, yes? I am no good at English, but I fix your injury for you. Stay still, your move make blood again."
The man gestured at Albert's shoulder, which was covered in a roll of gauze and bandages that was beginning to soak through with dark red.
"Kύριος," a youthful female voice called out from over one of the walls around them. "Είναι ξύπνιος;"
"Ναι, μόλις ξύπνησα. Είναι Αμερικανός. Φαίνεται μπερδεμένος," The bearded man called back to the girl, apparently a companion of some sort.
Albert sat there confused for a moment, before whispering to Myrin, "What are they saying?"
"The female was asking her master, this man obviously, if you were awake. He responded that you were and that you were American and seemed confused. I must say, the Mycenaean language has not changed much at all in all these years!"
"Where-what is Mycenaean?" Albert hissed back, the name tickling somewhere in the back of his mind. He had heard of it somewhere before. Before Myrin could answer, the bearded man spoke to Albert again.
"My...," He frowned, searching for a word. "My...student, Calandra, speak good English. Wait here."
"Where is...here?" Al asked, eager to get any answers he could.
The man frowned again, scratching a raised brow.
"You not know?"
Albert shook his head and said nothing.
"You're in Greece, how do you not know where you are? How'd you get here?" The female voice that Albert had heard before said, belonging to a petit blonde haired girl.
Her bright blue eyes were narrowed in suspicion, marring a face that was as beautiful as any he had seen on the covers of fashion magazines. She wore clothes suitable for roughing it. She wore a button-up plaid shirt, popped open at the front so that Albert could see a shining silver chain hanging from her neck garnished with a charm that was tucked into an ample bosom. A pair of skin-tight jeans were tucked into a heavy pair of boots. The strangest addition to this ensemble, however, was tucked into her belt. The girl rested her palm casually on the pommel of a sword, its sheathe balanced outstretched behind her.
"Ah, Calandra," the bearded man said, his shoulders relaxing and sighing in visible relief. "Páno stin óra."
Calandra nodded to her master, not tacking her gaze off of Albert, her stance telling him that she knew how to use that sword on her side and her eyes suggesting that she was daring him to give her a reason to do so. Her master merely gazed at Albert in calm curiosity, waiting for him to explain himself.
"Greece?" Albert repeated, finally making the connection with Mycenaea, the ancient Greek kingdom. He stared around the ruins around them with renewed interest.
"So these are Mycenaean ruins?" he wondered aloud, his gaze traveling up the carved tail of a lion that was wrapped around one of the pillars that still stood.
"You seem awfully familiar with them considering you didn't know where you were," Calandra said, drawing her sword and holding the tip to Albert's throat.
"These ruins aren't exactly a tourist attraction, understand? Who sent you?"
Albert's face flushed, eyes focused on the blurry point of a blade in front of him.
"I just barely escaped a den of monsters to some unknown place, and now this crazy bitch is waving a sword in my face and acting like I'm some spy?" He thought, heat rushing to his head. The injustice of it all rankled him and his body shook with rage. Or was it power? He couldn't tell but he felt wave after wave of energy flow from somewhere deep in his core and through his body. Time around him seemed to slow, the swaying of the grasses in the wind almost holding still, he could even see the body of a fly several feet away in crystal-clear clarity, its wings moving slowly. He reached in front of him, grasping the blade of the sword in his face. With a loud "CRACK" the blade snapped in half under his grip and time flipped back to reality.
Calandra took a shaky step backwards, staring at the bent edges and blunt end of where the tip of her sword used to be. Her master, the bearded man, was staring at Albert with a curious expression, like he had unexpectedly found a diamond ring by stepping on it barefoot. Albert himself stared at the tip of the blade he still clenched in his fist, a trickle of blood dripping down the grooves his fingers had molded into the cold metal and into the dirt beneath him.
"I-I...," Albert stammered, dropping the blade into the dirt as if it had burnt him. "What was that?"
"Well, well, it seems that my new host is quite talented," Myrin said quietly. His voice sounded as if he were speaking through a smile.
"What do you mean?" Albert thought back at him.
"Through pure instinct, and perhaps a considerable amount of natural talent, you managed to utilize my breath, my Numen, and channeled it."
"What? What does any of that mean?" Albert asked, getting angry again, a mood that was not made better by the fact that the cuts on his hand were stinging in the dusty air. Before Myrin could answer, however, the world around Albert spun 360 degrees and the wind was knocked out of him as he landed hard on his back. Calandra had thrown him onto the ground and was now holding him down with her foot. One of her hands was outstretched before her and engulfed in purple flames.
"I knew it," Calandra growled, the flames on her hand growing larger. "So you are a Wielder, spy. Who sent you? Was it the Hand's of Kronos?"
"W-what?" Albert coughed, his chest seizing up for breath. "I-I don't *cough* I don't know know what you're talking about!"
Calandra spat into the dirt next to Albert.
"Do you think I'm stupid, spy? No matter, your masters should have known better than to send a mere Adept here. They won't be getting any information out of you."
The fire in her hand blazed up into a roaring bonfire. So strong that Albert felt the heat of it burning his face. Calandra raised her hand, preparing to cast a powerful strike to finish him off when her master barked something at her in Greek.
This will be explained in more detail later, but, Numen is basically Ki. A Wielder is one who wields it. That's how Calandra here was able to summon fire.
As I'm not good at sticking to a schedule, I can't promise anything, but I plan on releasing the next chapter later this week.
If you want to help ensure a more consistent release, feel free to leave a comment, add BSS to your library or, if you're feeling really generous, vote BSS a power stone. Anything helps!
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