• Chapter 3: Festival of Eternal Moonlight

    "Hey Deckard! Estellise!" a young man's voice is suddenly heard nearby. Estellise and Deckard both quickly turn around to locate the voice. It was Tarin, one of the local villagers who was the same age as both of they were. "I heard you two were wearing somewhat matching outfits, but geez, did you have to wear something so... matching?" Tarin begins to laugh as he looks at the two of them together. "Gee, thanks." Estellise mumbles in response. ""What? What's wrong?" Tarin asks, looking at her in confusion.

    Tarin had always had a habit of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. Due to that habit of his, he didn't have many friends in the village, and there weren’t many people who could tolerate him. "You make it sound like Estelle and I were trying to be twins." Deckard says bluntly. "Ohh... I guess I did, didn't I? Sorry, both of you look wonderful. But it's strange seeing-" Deckard suddenly interrupts. "I can see where that statement is going, and I think you'd be wise to not finish it." Tarin suddenly realizes the effect what he was about to say might've had. "Aha... anyway, I need to meet up with someone so you two have fun, okay?" Tarin waves and sprints off down the road towards the center of the village where the festival was at.

    "What was he going to say?" Estellise asks as she looks at Deckard, completely puzzled about the situation. "He was going to comment on your hair being down." Estellise suddenly frowns and forms a fist. "Ugh, why does everyone around here treat me like I'm not supposed to wear my hair down? Even someone like me has moments when I want to just let my hair all fall down instead of putting it up! It's easier that way." Deckard scratches his cheek for a moment as he thinks about a response. "Uhh... Anyway, we should get going." Estellise looks at him and slowly nods.

    Most of the festival was still being set up in the center of the village, but there were a few events that were already ready to begin. "So, you're both entering the archery contest hmm?" an old man asks the two of them. "Normally, girls don't participate in an event such as this, so this should be pretty interesting." Estellise glares at the old man. "I said sign me up! I'm completely serious here!" The old man writes her name down and as well as Deckard's. "All right then, you'll need to head over to where the bows and arrows are kept and grab yourself 4 arrows and a bow each." he speaks slowly and clearly as he points in the direction they needed to go.

    After the maximum number of participants was signed up, a horn was blown in order to signal the beginning of the Archery Contest. There were 20 contestants participating in the event and at the sound of the horn, each of them raised their bows and notched an arrow. They each take a moment to aim, before pulling the arrows back and letting them loose. "Number 5, Number 9, Number 10, Number 14, Number 17 and Number 20, you may all stay. As for the rest of you, I’m sorry but you were unable to qualify for the next round. We will begin the next round in a moment so please wait for the signal." At the sound of the announcer's voice, 14 of the contestants leave the archery ground, a bit disappointed for not qualifying. The rules of the archery contest stated that if any one person hit a bull’s eye, then all other contestants must also hit a bull’s eye in order to qualify to the next round. After each round, the range of the targets was increased by 25 feet.

    The horn is blown once again to signal the start of the second round. After each contestant fires an arrow, the announcer begins to speak once more. "Number 9 and Number 10, you may stay, please wait a short moment and we will begin the third round." Estellise sighs for a moment, and then looks beside her at Deckard. "Oh? You're still here huh?" Deckard snickers to her. She glares at him for a moment. "And I'll continue to be here after you miss this next shot." Deckard grins for a moment. "Yeah, we'll see." The horn is blown once more to signal the start of the third round and the two of them take their shots after aiming carefully. One of them hit the bull’s eye; the other barely missed it by a small margin.

    After the contest is over with, Estellise is the first one seen coming out of the preparation room. She had a very large smile on her face and she was carrying the prize from the contest, an ornamental dagger laden with an emerald on the sheath. Although the dagger wasn’t very expensive itself since the emerald was small, it was still something she considered valuable because it was proof that she beat Deckard. "I told you I'd win." she smirks at Deckard, showing him the fancy dagger and its sheath. "The sun got in my eye at the last moment." Estellise starts laughing uncontrollably. "That’s a pretty likely excuse! Hahahaha! You hate losing, I wish you could see the look on your face right now!" she teases him a bit more until finally stopping. The two of them then head off to the next event of the festival, the Scavenger hunt. The scavenger hunt was usually the longest event and sometimes it even took most of the festival to complete.

    "All right, here's your list. Good luck you two." The young woman who was managing the participants of the event smiles at the couple as they depart on their way to look for the items. "Hm... Let's see, we need to find a trinket hidden in a small chest locked with a key located in a building. Then we need to find a golden ball that is in some place up high, a rusty sword hidden in a sheath. And the last one is to find a silver feather somewhere in town." Estellise listens carefully as Deckard speaks. "The blacksmith's workshop might be where the sword is. But as for the others, I'm not sure about any of them." Deckard nods at her, "Then to the blacksmith it is."

    The two of them rummage through the blacksmith's workshop for a while before finally finding the rusty sword. "So, we've got one, now there's just three to go." Estellise smiles brightly. Deckard thinks for a moment before blurting out his thoughts out loud. "Up high... up high... A tree! A bird's nest! That's got to be it, c'mon I think I know where it is!" he takes her hand and starts running down the road quickly. "H-hey! I can run on my own you know!" she shouts at him as he pulls her along. After a short while, they finally come to a large tree outside of town. "Here, I'll get this one." Deckard says as he begins to climb up the tree. "Be careful..." Estellise says to him, more worried about his clothing than about him. "Found it!" he shouts as he climbs down. "Two down, two to go! Now, we have the two hardest ones left." Estellise looks back at the village. "Ballard wears a feather in his hat sometimes... I wonder if that's it." Deckard thinks about what she had just said. "Ballard huh? That's not very good news. That guy is a complete drunk. Well, at least we know where to find him."

    After sneaking into the village tavern through the back, the two of them locate Ballard. "Yeah, he's got it all right." Estellise whispers to Deckard. "I think I can get it if you help lower me down from the second floor." she points to a spot on the second floor that was almost directly above where Ballard was sitting at. Deckard nods at her and they make their way across the room to the spot where she pointed was at. "Deckard! What are you doing in here, son?" Ganon puts his hand firmly on Deckard's shoulder from behind. Realizing they had been caught, the two of them turn around very slowly. "Aha... um, we were just..." Deckard begins to speak silently as if waiting for the words to come to him. "We were just looking at the inside of the tavern, you know, since we're both 18 now and all." Estellise says confidently.

    Ganon chuckles at her response. "Well, don't stay in here too long, the festival is still going on outside." Ganon turns and makes his way back across the room where he was at. "Phew... that was close. Good thinking Estelle!" Estellise punches Deckard lightly. "Don't dawdle, we have to get that feather and get out of here. Now lower me down, and watch my dress." Deckard does what she said and slowly lowers her down. Estellise reaches her arms and hands out as far as she can, trying to snatch the feather without too much trouble and without alerting anyone what she was up to. Ballard, however, was moving around quite a bit which was making her task quite difficult. After about 5 minutes of trying, she finally is able to get the feather wrenched out from his hat. Making sure to not to tear her dress, Deckard slowly lifts her back up and she hugs him when she is able to. "Thanks!" she whispers excitedly. "Let's get out of here."

    "I think the bakery has a chest inside of it, if I remember correctly." Estellise says as they leave the tavern. "But as for-" Deckard suddenly interrupts her. "You mean that key?" he points as he starts running after a dog that had a key around its neck. "Err, yea I suppose." she hesitates for a moment before following after him. "Don't hurt the dog, even if there's no other way!" she shouts at him. Deckard sprints to catch up with the dog, and then leaps in front of it. The dog starts growling at him when he does. "Hey there boy... I got something for you." he says slowly as he grabs a loaf of bread from nearby and holds it out. The dog stops barking and slowly walks towards him. In a quick exchange, the dog grabs the bread with its mouth just as Deckard snatches the key. "Gotcha!" he holds the key up with a look of victory on his face. Estellise smacks him. "You stole bread from the bakery you dimwit!" Deckard reactively begins to rub the spot on his arm where she smacked her at. If Estellise were any normal girl, it might not have hurt as badly as it did, but since she was a pretty strong girl the spot was already throbbing a bit in pain. She grabs the key from his hand. "I'll be right back." she states as she walks into the bakery, giving him no time to react. A short moment later she then comes. "Well, that's everything. So shall we turn them in then?" Deckard slowly nods at her as they make their way back to the lady running the event.

    "Here you go." the lady holds out their prizes. It was a pair of necklaces made from Alexandrite. They weren't considered very expensive, since the nearby mines in the mountain was abundant in Alexandrite, but they were still gifts worthy of being treasured to the both of them. After putting on the necklaces, they look at each other with a smile. "So which event are we off to now?" Deckard asks her, since he chose the first two. "I need to rest, my feet are killing me." She sighs for a moment as she thinks about the shoes she was wearing. He leads her over the large fountain in the center of the village and takes his coat off and lays it on the side of the fountain. "Here, something softer to sit on." She sits down on his coat and he sits almost right next to her. "Thanks." She says as she looks up at the sky. "I don't think we have enough time left before the end of the festival to do anything else." she says with a sigh. "Well, we'll do what we can; this festival is way too big for us to do everything."

    The two of them sit there silently for awhile as the sun begins to set in the sky. Suddenly feeling a bit colder without the warmth of the sun, Estellise slowly moves closer to Deckard and rests her head on his shoulder. In response, Deckard puts an arm around her to try and give away some of his warmth. As the night finally comes around, the loud music of the festival is finally heard nearby. "Hey, Estelle. Let's go over to where the music is being played. I know it wasn't on your list of things to do at the festival, but-" She looks up at him for a moment before she interrupts him. "Yeah, all right. Let's do that then." She stands up slowly with him and hands him his jacket back, also helping him to put it back on. After making sure the jacket is on correctly the two of them head towards the area that the music is playing.

    There was a mass of people gathered around the musicians playing and many of them were even dancing to the music. Deckard slowly takes her hand and looks at her for a moment. "Care to dance?" She tilts her head and looks at him as if he'd said something strange. "I thought you couldn't dance. You always told me that you were horrible at it and you could never get the hang of it." He laughs for a brief moment and shakes his head. "I might have indeed said all of that, but it was a lie in order to get you to think otherwise." he grins. She frowns at him for a moment and then takes his hand. The two of them begin to dance to the music for several hours, until finally stopping at around midnight.

    "Wow... my feet hurt so badly!" she laughs as she leans on him. "I don't think I can bear to stand much longer." Deckard smiles at her and kneels down. "Here, climb on my back and I'll carry you." She hesitates for a moment before doing what he asked and then he stands up to begin walking towards the forest. "Hey... where are we going?" she says, sounding a bit confused. "I'm going to show you a place I found a while back. You'll love it; it's so peaceful and serene." After carrying her on his back for almost thirty minutes, he finally stops walking and lets her down in a soft spot of grass. She looks around for a moment, taking in all of the scenery that was around her now.

    He had brought her to a small lake in the middle of the forest that they played around in all the time. Although it was in a different area and much further away, it was still part of the same forest. The area surrounding the lake was by far the greenest area of all of the forest, as well as the most beautiful and serene. There was a faint sound of the small waterfall that was constantly refilling the lake up. Inside the lake, there were several large crystals of different shapes, sizes and colors. "The refraction of the light only happens at night, but it's still beautiful." Deckard says calmly and softly. The light coming from the moon was not only being refracted by the surface of the lake, but it was also being refracted into different colors because of the various crystals in the bed of the lake. At night, the surrounding area of the lake was fully lit up in the forest and you could see all the small dust particles in the air. There were yellow, purple, blue, and green particles in the air that were, in the own way, capturing the colors coming from the crystals. It was almost was if each little particles of dust was a small fairy, or a will-o-wisp that was floating in the air.

    "Why didn't you show me something like this before?" she says quietly, still taken completely by surprise from all that she was seeing. "Because I thought you'd already knew about it. It was only recently that I realized that you didn't know a single thing about it." He takes his coat off and puts it around her to warm her up as he sits next to her in the soft bed of grass. "I come here pretty often sometimes, when I feel down." Deckard slowly relaxes and lies back in the grass, looking up at the stars in the night sky. Estellise soon follows his example and lies down in the grass, also staring up at the stars. "Thank you." she whispers. Deckard slowly closes his eyes and smiles briefly. "You're welcome. I had a lot of fun today, I hope you did also." She looks over at him for a moment with a smile of her own and nods to herself. "Yeah, I had fun too."

    Deckard slowly finds himself drifting off into a sleep, as does Estellise. The two of them stay like that for awhile before finally the sun begins to rise. Deckard slowly begins to opens his eyes, but the only thing he is able to see is a bright, white light that prevents him from fully making any images out. He begins to hear someone saying something repeatedly, but he is unable to comprehend the words. He slowly lifts his hand up into the air to feel around, and the person speaking takes it and says something else in a more relieved tone of voice. A small droplet of water suddenly falls onto his face as he once again drifts off into a deep slumber...