Aetheria – Chapter 7

Chapter 7 – Dandciel Daf

“This place is amazing! It is totally different from what I’ve experienced elsewhere,” Setsura gasped and was held spellbound by the breathtaking sight around her as she walked down the pavement with Lucianus.

Setsura’s huge reaction was expected by Lucianus since they have just arrived at the biggest marine city-state in the world, in which also happened to be the first time for Setsura to ever step foot on the mainland.

Unlike all previous towns that Setsura have went, Dandciel Daf, or better known as the gate to the world, was definitely at a whole new level by itself in all aspect, be it the architecture or people in it.

Governed by a talented circle of merchants and an executive leader, Dandciel Daf had lived up to its reputation as a traditional thalassocracy, having its economy mainly driven by trading tax collected from the myriad of different cultures that sold wares within its territory. Alternatively, it was also firmly supported by its strong and lucrative shipping industry.

Built to withstand the relentless onslaught of the Eastern Vigiga Sea, the whole city was seen to be a heavily fortified fortress constructed with Aether augmented stones and iron, leaving only limited arched tunnels around its border wall to allow ship access to its port.

Like every other cities located in the mainland, Dandciel Daf was sustained by its rich natural resources of Aether, notably the human sized Aether installed at the top of Dileta Tower, in which it also served as a navigation lighthouse for incoming ships.

“Luci! That huge tower up there, do you think we can visit it too?” Setsura pointed at the Dilete Tower in great enthusiasm and continued to zoom around the local market store like a child.

“Sure, but they only allow access until certain floors,” Lucianus remained his role as a tour guide since he seemed to know every area like the back of his hand.

“Still, why are you here?” As usual, his attitude changed when he faced another individual that was following them throughout their visits to the city sites.

“Mhmm, I thought someone said the city does not allow unauthorised weapons to be carried around?” Zakura smiled and tilted her body to the side as she held both of her hands at the back while walking.

“You could’ve just hide in the luggage,” Lucianus frowned but continued his pace on following Setsura from behind.

“As if am interested in sniffing your odour,” Zakura rolled her eyes.

“Plus, a guy like you would never how to dress up a girl,” Zakura nodded in satisfaction as she observed Setsura and her new outfit.

With natural straight, silky long black hair and obsidian black eyes contrasting her snow white skin, Setsura had definitely grown to hold close resemblance to her name origin, which interpreted as ‘from snow’.

Ironically, her looks were completely opposed by her feline charm and bright personality. Widening the differences would be the new one-piece handpicked by Zakura herself.

It was a light beige summer dress designed to enhance a woman’s curve which Setsura seemed to missing with her child-like body, decorated with Victorian lace trims around the top and bottom of the dress.

“If only you picked something that’s more suitable for travelling,” Sighing, Lucianus rubbed his forehead and unwilling to comment further. Still, he had to agree that Setsura looked really beautiful, as if the dress was designed solely for her.

The trio continued their walk in the market, with Setsura taking the lead while the duo followed behind, remaining their silent argument towards each other.

However, their tour on Dandciel Daf did not last long when it was disrupted by the sudden downpour. The abrupt change in weather did not give time for people to react and everyone started to run helter-skelter to their domains for shelter while shopkeepers panicked in attempt to salvage their goods.

Not for long, the once crowded street had turned desert, leaving only unremitting raindrops rattling as they pounded the pavement like hammers in miniature.

“Why, tell me why it must rain now?!” Setsura whined in despair as she scratched the window glass with her nails, leaving a high pitched screech in the room.

“Calm down,” Zakura sipped a cup of tea while her body returned to its levitating state.

“Since we’re free now, why not use the chance to get to know each other better?” Zakura pointed her finger out and grinned, clearly up to no good.

“Ohh, that’s a good idea! Tell me about your past, Zakura,” Setsura changed her expression immediately and pounded on Zakura’s thigh like a cat.

“Eh? No, I don’t mean that….” Zakura was actually planning to put her nose into Lucianus’s background but she never knew her own suggestion would backfire herself – She always thought Setsura would be more interested in Lucianus.

Understanding that there was absolutely nowhere to run from Setsura’s persistence, especially under Lucianus’s close surveillance, Zakura grieved for her current situation.

“… Well, it was probably around a few hundred years ago…” Unwillingly, Zakura finally opened her mouth to brief through her past.

Few hundred years ago, Zakura was not yet a demon, but a katana which had continuously served under a well-honoured swordsman household for generations.

What made her different from every other katana would be the fact that she was forged by one of the legendary bladesmith of that timeline, who was believed to breathe life to every blades that were born under him. And that alone had made Zakura one of most highly sought katana in the world.

Ironically, Zakura’s existence did not bring much boon to the family who wielded her. The household was constantly attacked by envious eyes, many of whom had no hesitancy to kill any innocent lives.

Her accursed nature was not favoured by the family and eventually, she was shunned away, except for one person, the young master of that household who treasured her more than anything else in the world.

Despite the constant protest coming from the family members, the young master continued to wield her and treated her as if she was a living object. His gesture, his voice, everything about that person was still vivid in Zakura’s mind, especially his affinity on cherry blossom flowers.

Sadly, as though life despised Zakura’s existence, the young master was eventually killed through coordinated attacks of the bandits, having his heart impaled by none other but his beloved katana.

With herself shrouded in the scent of her owner’s blood, Zakura was unable to accept the tragedy befell on her. Ultimately, the shock drove Zakura over the edge and she transformed into a demon.

“… And then, I was passed around by different people and ended up here, telling story about myself,” Zakura purposely omitted the part where she turned everyone into some mad lunatics.

She gulped down the remaining tea to clear her thirst and stared at the window where the rain continued to pour endlessly.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Three days had passed and the downpour showed no sign of mercy but carried on its relentless attacks to the city, evolving itself into a wet cacophony. The sea waves gushed in different directions in the howling wind and ships flopped up and down, bumping to the sturdy wharf.

“It seems like the rain will go on forever,” Zakura sighed and sipped a cup of green tea at the inn’s cafeteria but her random statement seemed to upset another individual.

“Don’t jinx it!” Setsura patted the table with both of her hands and lifted her voice. The sudden movement alerted the surrounding customers and they shifted their attention to Setsura.

“Ah, sorry…” Realising the scene she caused, Setsura blushed and tried to hide into Lucianus’s arm.

“Hey, I’ve been thinking about your past… What made you join us?” After confirming everyone has removed their attention towards her, Setsura popped out and asked Zakura since no one had ever mentioned to her about the conversation the duo had last time.

“Secret,” Zakura winked, showing no intention of revealing anything more about her.

“Guys, you should evacuate! A group of monsters have crawled up the port and they are invading the city!” Out of the blue, a man, probably citizen of Danciel, knocked open the inn’s door and started shouted.

His warning was immediately responded by an uproar and everyone started to panic. Some ran upstairs to pack their luggage and the rest just rushed towards the Dandciel Gate without much cogitation while a few minorities moved towards the port, probably the ones who attained special abilities through Aether exposure.

“So, what should we do?” Zakura turned her head to Lucianus, waiting for his final decision. “Take the chance to observe the situation,” Lucianus stood up and patted Setsura‘s head for encouragement since it might be a good chance for her to brush up her combat ability.

“Her safety still comes first,” Lucianus reminded Zakura before the trio left the building for the port.

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