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Kingdom of Spirits</u>
By/(c) Rosanna P. Brost


Chapter 6


Flat.

That is the world. Flatter than flat. Like a pancake. In all directions is grassland, grass that threatens to grow higher than my waist when I’m a human. Coincidentally I do not become one very often. Trying to keep up with Wolf as a human is exhausting, so I stay a ki-rin. Phirun doesn’t have the same luxury. As a dragon he’s kind of ungainly on the ground, so rather than tucker himself out he mostly jogs along beside me as a human. Phirun holds onto my shoulder with one hand, which I allow because I reckon it helps him keep up.

In every direction there is waves of grass and we run across a green sea. The sky’s weather changes day by day and we haven’t seen anyone for days. It’s kind of fun to be on a journey. I’ve never been on a family vacation, nor a road trip, so I’m having a grand old time. The other day we saw a big boulder, just sitting there in the middle of nowhere. Wolf circled it a few times, widdled on it, then we were off again, Phirun wrinkling his nose. Occasionally Wolf starts loping, so I have to gallop to keep up and Phirun has to fly. Sometimes Phirun catches a rabbit or a deer, then him and Wolf both fight over it and Wolf usually wins. I just stare at them when they do this, because it’s really quite ridiculous in my opinion. Then I do my best to show that I, at least, am above fighting for food by chomping on grass, which really does taste disgusting.

At night Wolf curls up beside me and passes out, while Phirun sits grumpily twenty paces off, playing sentry and looking lonely. Once or twice I tried to join him, just for the record that I’m nice unlike Wolf, but the foul canine nipped me hard. Apparently there’s a difference between the way I sleep and the way Wolf does, because I swear he can wake up nearly instantly. At sunrise Wolf likes to howl, probably so he can make us mythical critters leap out of our skins. He’s very good at choosing the moments when we’re least expecting it, like when I’m having a perfectly decent dream about bagels with cream cheese on top.

I’m pretty sure I know what Wolf dreams about, but sometimes I wake up and poor lonely Phirun’s tail is twitching, though he’s completely passed out.

Today we’re having a rather dull day, because the prairie is really only interesting for maybe the first day or so and it gets to that eventually if you see a stray pebble here you get extremely excited, because you haven’t seen anything as fascinating as that for ages. We’ve all kind of stopped to admire this one lone tree and Wolf is marking it with some piddle when I hear hooves. We all turn around, Wolf kicking up some dirt with some hindquarters to mark it with the scent glands that are on the bottom of his paws and Phirun draws his sword. A horse is galloping hard towards us, a black horse who is ridden by a man in black.

I’m having trouble comprehending how anyone could of found us in the middle of this surreal nowhere as the horse canters to a stop and then puts its head down to graze.

“Hail ki-rin!” says its rider, leaping off the horse and instantly becoming a creature exactly like myself, except he’s bigger and scruffier. I step backwards, glad that I’m not a human, because as a ki-rin maybe I have a chance of staying free. The ki-rin completely ignores Phirun and Wolf, trotting past them as if they’re just more grass to sniff noses with me in a very horse-ish manner.

“Uh. Hi.” I say.

“Hello!” says the ki-rin cheerfully. “What’re you doing way out here? My horse sniffed you and thought we should take a look-see. Are you okay?”

“I’m travelling.” I say, dumb with amazement. “Trying to get to someplace - where were we going again Wolf?”

“The edge of the grasslands.” supplies Wolf, who is cautiously sniffing the horse and probably wondering whether or not he can make Phirun kill it for him.

“Ah! Well you’re heading in the right direction.” says the rider, sitting on his scaly haunches like a dog. “So you’re okay right? Don’t need no help?”

“I think I’m good.” I say weakly. Phirun is scowling at the strange ki-rin, who starts scratching an ear contentedly with a hind foot. The ki-rin lifts his head and snuffs at Phirun, then stands up and switches his tail in a deciding sort of way. Then he looks back at me.

“What’re you doing with a dragon?” asks the ki-rin.

“He’s my friend.” I say and this makes Phirun grin.

The ki-rin doesn’t seem to think much of this. He trots a circle around Phirun, snorts, then comes back over to me. Apparently a talking wolf and a dragon just aren’t recommended company for a young female ki-rin. He looks at Phirun, tosses his head, then looks at me again.

“Say, what’s your name?” he asks.

“That’s none of your business.” says Phirun protectively, coming and putting an arm around my neck.

“Watch it. I’m not afraid of ripping you open drake.” says the ki-rin warningly, pawing the ground expressively with a dainty fore hoof.

“And I’m not afraid of biting your head off.” growls Phirun.

This doesn’t impress the ki-rin at all.

“You know, a female ki-rin is missing from the home province.” says the ki-rin conversationally to me. “Princess Jane, in fact.”

“Do I look like a stupid noble to you?” I demand haughtily.

“Yes.” says the ki-rin. “I’ve met King Ashirokatoralem personally. Except for being a different colour and smaller, you do, in fact, look just like him.”

This is perhaps the first time that I’m actually wishing that I did know what my father looks like as a ki-rin.

The ki-rin seems to see that his speculation is right about my parentage, because he looks back at the black horse, which stops grazing and pricks up its ears at me.

“Flash of night! We’ve found her!”

Damn.

“You’re mistaken, I’m not -

“If you aren’t our princess, I’ll bring you back here.” promises the ki-rin as the horse comes trotting over.

“I’ve got a very busy schedule -” I try.

“Out here in the middle of nowhere land? Doubtful.” says the ki-rin. “Now, if you’ll kindly transform and get on my horse -”

“Over my dead body.” snarls Phirun, becoming a dragon in a flicker of blue and silver scales. “Leave or die deer!”

“Oh, I was so hoping it wouldn’t come to this.” says the ki-rin, shaking his head.

Wolf comes and stands between us and the ki-rin, his ears all flat against his skull with the points of his canine teeth just showing.

“I’d be going if I were you.” says Wolf.

“Run Jane.” hisses Phirun, but not quietly enough because I see the ki-rin’s ears twitch. I bolt anyway, sprinting off like I’m in a race, my tail streaming like a flag behind me. I glance back to see the ki-rin transforming and leaping onto the horse, which somehow dodges my valiant protectors, then like a black heat seeking missile it comes after me. Phirun takes to the air while Wolf takes chase and all I can do is run as fast as I can, because already the horse is gaining on me. Just as it’s coming up alongside me, I feel Phirun’s nose brush my ear, so I transform and fall in a heap in the grass. I have time enough to grab Phirun’s neck and Wolf at the same time as he barrels over, then the horse is nearly on us again and Phirun leaps high up.

Wolf is whimpering, because wolves were never meant to fly and I hold onto him and Phirun with all my might. Arrows come flinging up at us from the ki-rin, but Phirun is too high for them to reach. In relief I watch as the horse becomes a speck, then Phirun flows towards the horizon and doesn’t seem intent on making landfall anytime soon.

*

“Saaailing, sailing, over the land and er… grass…” I sing as in my arms, Wolf whimpers plaintively. It’s the next day and unsurprisingly, we’re still flying. Jeez, Phirun is paranoid.

“I need to pee!” squeaks Wolf, writhing and holding his tail between his legs, likely in an attempt to stay his full bladder. “Let me down damnit!”

I want down too, seeing as I also feel a need to release the ol’ bladder too and my thighs have pretty much gone senseless with pain from holding onto Phirun. Not to mention how fatigued I feel all over. I need to sleep. Badly.

“But if we land, that rider might catch up!” says Phirun.

“I don’t give a damn; if you don’t land now then I’m gonna piss all over you, you cowardly sky-snake!” snaps Wolf desperately.

“Hey look up ahead.” I say, noticing something on the edge of the landscape.

“What?” asks Wolf. “Unless it’s a tree or a bush, I don’t care!”

Trees and bushes are, of course, Wolf’s preferred type of objects to lift his leg against.

“A town!” I squeal with glee, the very word translating in my head to hot bath, hot food, clothes, water, at least an outhouse, perhaps some sort of market where we could shop…

But Phirun of course, sees the town as more stress on his dwindling royal allowance. He immediately veers off course to avoid it and realizing this, me and Wolf unite to turn him around. That is, by Wolf biting him as hard as he can and by me giving Phirun a good swift kick. He growls rebelliously, but scoots towards the sweet dirt, where he sets down grumpily, rumbling resentment. Me and Wolf abandon him, yelping with glee. I transform and we race towards the town at full speed, but as we come closer, we both sort of come to the realization that this town isn’t actually a town, nor is it a village. No, this is more like a Vancouver-kind-of-place, though there’s no ocean in sight. Putting it simply, this little inhabited spot of prairie ain’t so little and that it is, of course, a rather large city.

“Is that a city?!” says Phirun, staggering up behind us in human form.

“Ohhhh yes.” I say in awe, because cities to me mean salvation; no more hillbilly land! “I can’t believe it, a real city!”

“Good gods.” says Phirun in horror.

“First one there gets to widdle first!” cries Wolf and we leave Phirun quite in the dust again. We practically skip up to the city gates before we realize just what is standing on either side of them.

Male ki-rin. They look at us all curiously with their ears pricked up, and I gulp nervously.

“Well, yeh going through or not?” asks one kindly. He swishes his tail and looks towards Phirun. “Is Needs-More-Exercise there with you and your dog?”

Wolf flicks back his ears in outrage at being called a dog, but he makes no other move.

“Yeah he is.” I say. “Don’t worry, he’s harmless. Kind of a loser actually.”

“Alright, but if he causes trouble we’ll stick ‘im in jail.” promises the guard. “Go on. Visiting relatives?”

“Yeah.” I say.

“Well have fun.” says the guard and the first thing Wolf does when we’ve cleared the gates is pee on a street sign.

“Ahhhhh.” says Wolf in bliss, then he sniffs the post, does the scratchy-kicking thing with his back paws, then sits down beside me.

“Wolf, how come you only talk to us?” I ask.

“Heh. It’s easier pretending to not be able to. Then you aren’t reacquired to reply to stupid people.” says Wolf, looking back at Phirun as he comes level with us. “Hey loser, you finally caught up.”

“Yeah, why do you guys run so fast?” demands Phirun.

“Come on, isn’t it obvious?” says Wolf. “This is a city! In cities there’s shopping!

As I’m trying to contemplate what the heck a wolf needs to shop for, Phirun is looking as though it’s his worst nightmare realized.

“No! No, we don’t need anything!” cries Phirun.

“Tch. What about Jane’s clothes? They make her stand out Phirun, they really do. And those sandals of hers are completely falling apart -”

“Oh fine.” snaps Phirun. “What’s the name of this place anyway?”

“Umm I’m really not quite sure.” says Wolf, looking around.

“What?!” demands Phirun.

“Well, the cities in this place change you know.” says Wolf.

“What do you mean change? Where are we?!

“Uhhh well, you’re not going to like this but you should of already known that seeing as it’s kind of obvious…” mutters Wolf.

“How can it be bloody obvious? I’ve never been outside of my home province before! How am I supposed to know -?!” says Phirun in irritation, but he stops as Wolf lifts a paw, pointing it back towards the gates where the two ki-rin stand and where above them flies a black and silver flag depicting a ki-rin. “Oh no. You didn’t!”

“Wait, this is the province of ki-rin?” I ask, all nervous yet excited.

“Of course.” says Wolf. “Now, this is why Jane needs clothes Phirun. We can’t have her species recognising her.”

“Some guide you are!” snaps Phirun.

“Oh shut up.” says Wolf. “I wouldn’t of taken you both through here if we didn’t really have to. Besides, we should get a cinderblock.”

“A cinderblock?” asks Phirun. “For what possible purpose?”

“An anchor.” says Wolf simply. “Stop whining; we get to shop!”

“Goodie.” says Phirun sarcastically.

I look around and immediately, I see more ki-rin than ever before. Horses too. I gleefully trot into the crowd, joyful to finally meet some of my own kind that don’t want to return me to my parents or marry me off to Phirun. The streets in the city are dirt of course, because cobbles would just hurt the hooves. But it’s really pretty, prettier than that town in zodiac province at least. People keep window boxes full of flowers and all the houses are terra cotta coloured and are made of mud, with bright red wooden trim.

The thought of passing through this province without getting caught, right under the noses of my parents is irresistible. I make sure to trot straight past several guards, keeping as close as I dare. The older ones turn doleful eyes on me, while some of the younger ones prick up their ears and watch me, as if I’m the prettiest damn thing they’ve ever seen. I pretend not to notice them checking me out, ignoring Wolf’s glanced warning and frisk right under the nose of one of the black horses that my father has his agents riding -

A very loud whinny rips the lovely friendly feel of the city as the horse makes its noise of alarm, signalling its rider, who is the same horrible rider guy from the grasslands, who thought I looked like my dad, which I of course have no idea if I actually do. He turns around in amazement at my utter stupidity, his mouth half full of what appears to be a giant perogy, then he tries to yell something, but it just sounds rather like “hsfnifkp!” which I suppose might translate directly into “halt!” or “hey you!” Anyway, it doesn’t matter what he said, because instantly I’m running, leaping through the market and dashing down an ally way, then onto the next street where I keep running.

“Slow down you moron, you have to look inconspicuous!” growls Wolf. “You’ve already blown your cover, but you can preserve it if you try to look calm like the rest of the crowd.”

“I’m sorry I didn’t listen to you!” I cry as I careen into an ally way. “I won’t do it again, I promise-”

“Keep your promises.” snorts Wolf and I know he thinks I’ll screw up again. I slow to a walk, catch my breath, then step out onto a new road, where I commence striding along all calmly. Wolf sticks close, but he looks nervous.

“What’s up?” I ask.

“Where’s that idiot?” growls Wolf.

Uh oh. He means Phirun.

“Umm he sort of just disappeared -” I mutter.

“It’s her!

Double uh oh. It’s that rider bloke. I look around and there he is, stomping up the street on foot, because he’s got Phirun tied up in the horse’s saddle. Phirun is looking fit to kill and somehow, I get this feeling that those ropes tying him ain’t gonna hold. The rider comes charging towards me, this crazed look on his face, like he’s starving and wants a biscuit or something. His horse trots after him dutifully, Phirun writhing in the saddle. Phirun’s eyes meet mine, then he looks at the ropes and suddenly the horse is rearing, because light bursting out from Phirun is cutting through the ropes, then Phirun is snatching the horse’s reins. It bucks furiously as its rider stops a few feet away from me to look around at Phirun runs him down with his own horse, then clobbers him upside the skull with a telescope that materializes in Phirun’s hand as he does so.

The rider falls to the ground with a stupid expression and Phirun’s telescope vanishes. Then he kicks the horse past us, galloping off through the crowd. As we watch him go, people shouting at him as he pulls a true grand-theft-equine, me and Wolf come to the unified conclusion that we should use this distraction of Phirun’s to make ourselves vamoose. We sidle into an ally, following it for a bit before coming out on a nice busy, grand cobblestone avenue, which we move onto. Here all kinds of creatures I’ve never seen walk about and in the sky there are various fantastic flying beasts.

I stop to look at a shop, which has real glass window, though they look old fashioned and single paned. Me and Wolf move closer and we realize it’s a kind of general store. With no money (and I wouldn’t dream of asking Wolf to give up any of his pay) we just note the location of the place, then keep walking. I discover that one side of the city isn’t flat, that it’s terraced and seems to fall towards a massive river valley that’s full of waterfalls. I stand at the edge of a lookout, utterly amazed at the scope of the place. On the far side of the valley I can see a sort of common, where hundreds of horses graze in paradise. This is the most amazing city I’ve ever seen, more magnificent than Vancouver by one hundred times at least. Here, the streets are all stone, mostly because of the spray that comes up from various waterfalls. Mist fills the valley and past my nose flutters a monarch butterfly. I can see a road on the far side, which follows the coarse of the river and is cut into the side of the cliff itself.

“Look over there.” says Wolf, nodding his head to something made of white marble that stands on the edge of the opposite cliff, looking out over this entire valley and city. The view must be absolutely spectacular from there, though it’s already amazing here. I wonder what the building is; it looks like some sort of massive mansion or palace. There are several towers rising high up from it, towers that must command the vista. Black and silver flags fly from them.

“Whoever lives there must be rich.” I say.

“You could say that.” says Wolf. He sighs and trots on down the road. We get down to the waterfront and we both walk out onto a deserted pier that just out onto the river. I look up to the palace place again and I figure some lord or something lives there. Just then something shoots up from the water, a massive creature that makes both me and Wolf dash closer to shore in shock. I didn’t just see a sea serpent did I? Then it crests the water again and apparently it is a sea serpent, or perhaps more correctly a river serpent. It lifts a dinosaur-ish head and roars, then it slinks back under the waves, pulling all its scaly lengths after it, its fins flicking up spray.

“Wow! A serpent!” I cry and I accidentally transform.

“He’s just showing off.” says Phirun, putting arms around me from behind and tying what looks exactly like a perfectly ordinary sarong around my middle. Then he backs off and looks all shocked at his own nerve while Wolf rolls his eyes.

“You took long enough.” says Wolf.

“It has become quite clear people don’t like Chinese dragons here much. Nor horse thieves.” says Phirun and I notice that he’s changed his appearance.
“Apparently Jane, you’ve been kidnapped by me.”

“What-?! But that so stupid!” I cry and I start laughing. “The authorities here are weird!”

“You’re not kidding.” says Phirun, who glances up at the palace, then pulls out a sort of short trench coat that’s dark blue out of the air as well as some wool lined riding boots, then gives them to me. “You can have that. It used to be one of mine. We need to find a place to stay, then I’ll give you the shirt I found and you can get rid of that kimono.”

“Oh thank you Phirun! You’re so sweet!” I squeak with joy, because it’s been ages since I’ve had clothes and I hug him hard around the neck, which of course makes him go all shy and confused.

Wolf coughs.

“I seem to recall that you wanted to break off this engagement.” says the wolf.

“It’s just a hug!” I retort. Phirun doesn’t move, except to smile a bit, maybe hopefully. Wolf sighs and walks past us.

“Nice choice of colours Phirun.” says Wolf. “In any case, you are right boy. We need to get off these streets for a while.”

I look up over Phirun‘s shoulder, following Wolf’s eyes. Above, on a terrace, is two riders.

“Say, what did you do with that horse Phirun?” I ask, breaking away.

“I blindfolded it, led it in a few circles, then spooked it. It has no idea where it is likely.” says Phirun. “Don’t worry, it should be okay.”

We walk along the waterfront, then up back onto the terraces, glorying in the cooling air as evening comes on. We manage to find an inn that’s not too stressing on Phirun’s purse, then we sit about on the lovely covered veranda that looks onto the busy street and the river. The innkeeper is a friendly old female griffin who has about a dozen sons that work as river guides for people. Griffins are really nice, much better looking than most people portray them. They’re fierce of course, but in a friendly, courageous sort of way. Their front paws, which I’ve always heard to be like eagle talons, don’t look very birdish; they look more like Phirun’s forepaws. They have very long claws on them, but they’re more dragony than anything else.

The mom griffin bustles out, looking out at the street. Her head is very ferocious looking, what with the eagle beak and all, but she’s got lovely feathery pointed ears that she generally holds laid back, but which now she pricks up. Her feathers look almost like an osprey’s in colour, all black, white and grey. Her cattish hindquarters are very light grey and instead of a lion tail tip, she has a sort of fan of feathers. She’s got really icy looking blue eyes and her forepaws and beak are yellowish. A silver necklace with a sapphire drop encircles her neck and a matching earring dangles from the tip of one ear.

One of her kittens, a pure black little female with green eyes, peeks at us from around her mother’s hindquarters. Her momma is about the size of a ki-rin like me, while the kitten herself is Labrador puppy sized. The baby griffin chirps, then  another kitten appears beside it. They’re both bundles of fluff, as neither have working wings, but the second little griffin is brown with gold eyes.

The focus of the innkeeper’s attention comes apparent immediately as a large male griffin with the feather markings of a red tailed hawk lands spectacularly in front of the inn. He comes padding onto the veranda, greets his wife, then lowers his head to say hello to his infant offspring as they rush to climb onto him. The two adult griffins nod to us as they pad inside the inn.

Pst!” says a voice urgently. We all look and standing barely visible in the shadow of the veranda is another griffin. She looks like the dad griffin, only she’s got blue eyes and looks like she’s in deep trouble with her parents.

“Oh, hello there.” I say. She rears on her hindquarters and puts her front paws on the veranda’s railing to keep herself up. She’s very lanky and thin.

“Hi! Did my dad go in yet?”

“Yes, why?” asks Phirun.

“Oh good.” says the griffin. “I’m supposed to be working on my flying skills. If he knew I was trying to sneak home he’d pluck me!”

“Well, can you fly?” asks Phirun.

“Of course I can! But he doesn’t know that; if he knew that I’ve been flying since I was like eight, he’d get pissed off for sure. Especially since he thinks he’s been teaching me how for like two years.” says the griffin. “I’m Topaz by the way. My parents like dumb gem names.”

“So what are you going to do now Topaz?” I ask, thinking her name is a lot better than ‘Jane.’

“Um. Not sure.” says Topaz, twitching her beautiful tail. “What’re you guys doing?”

“Sitting. Isn’t it obvious?” says Phirun snobbishly.

“Well duh, but what are you doing here in this city?” asks Topaz, frowning. “You look foreign.”

“Well obviously we’re foreign, why else would we be staying in an inn?” demands Phirun. I kick him under the table we’re sitting at, reminding him to be nice. He becomes instantaneously nervous, probably wondering if I’m mad at him or something.

“Well most people who come here are from in the province. You look like you’re from out.” explains Topaz. She grins at us cheerfully. “Hey, want me to show you the city? I know it better than anyone! I’ve explored like everything.”

“I dunno, it’s getting late; doesn’t it get dangerous here at night?” I ask.

“What are you talking about? Monarch Springs is the safest city in the world!” says the griffin. “We’ve got a great police force. My dad is a sky cop! There’s no crime at all here, King Ashirakatoralem only welcomes peaceful people here. Everyone else gets banished.”

“Do you know what the king’s name means?” I ask, mildly hopeful that it means something that’s as stupid as it sounds.

“Uhhh no. I’m pretty sure it’s just random jibberish.” says Topaz dryly. “The ki-rin royal family tends to name their kids stuff that sound good in their heads and they don’t really think about meaning. That’s what my dad says anyway.”

It kind of figures that Attila would have a nonsense name.

I walk off the veranda to meet her proper. She sits down on her haunches and grins at me, while Phirun rolls his eyes. Wolf snickers real quietly and comes down to stand behind him as he follows me down onto the street.

“So you want a tour?” asks Topaz hopefully.

“Sure.” I say and Topaz makes a happy kind of squeak. She gets up, then looks at Phirun.

“You coming?” she asks.

“Fine, but I don’t have any money.”

“It’s free dunderhead.” says Topaz and Wolf sniggers softly. Phirun reluctantly comes and we start walking, Topaz leading the way and looking back at us over her shoulder as she chatters about stuff. Actually, she’s an excellent tour guide and we learn quite a lot of nifty things from her. She leads us onto the top tier of terraces, towards the palace and I walk beside her, eager to see the place.

“So who lives there?” I ask as the palace comes into sight.

“You don’t know? But you’re ki-rin!” yelps Topaz. “That’s the royal palace; King Ashirakatoralem and his wife Queen Amelia live there.”

“What a mouthful.” mutters Wolf and I choke with laughter. Phirun looks kind of confused, like he agrees but he doesn’t want to show it because it would be unmannerly for a prince to do so.

“I guess it is.” says Topaz and she giggles too. “Now, you’ll notice as we get closer that the palace has both Chinese and Japanese details, because ki-rin traditionally come from those areas of the mortal world. In Japan, ki-rin are considered the most powerful of mythical creatures, which is why the females of the royal family here wear kimonos when they are in human form. Kimonos, are, of course, Japanese. Ki-rin in the mortal realm have been found throughout eastern Asia, though I believe the first ones were in China. Thus, in human form ki-rin always appear asian.”

“I don’t look very asian.” I point out.

“Maybe you have some other blood.” shrugs Topaz as we stop at a distance from the palace, where it’s fully in view. Up close it’s even more splendid and I can see guards patrolling all over the place. They’re dressed like samurai rather than like the riders and they have two swords. Because I used to really like samurai (thinking that they had nothing to do with me) I know that the swords are a long sword called a katana and a shorter one called a wakizashi. They also normally carry daggers known as tanto.

I have no idea if these guys are as dangerous as the ancient honour bound samurai of Japan, but I don’t really want to find out.

We stand for a bit, admiring the palace, then we go back to the inn. We’re going to stay for a couple of days, then we’ll move on. The next day we go shopping for a cinderblock, which is proving very difficult to find as we sidle along the road, feeling kind of defeated. Topaz has conned her way into being our official city guide, somehow making her father think it was his idea for her to show us around while we’re here. She really does know her way extremely well, but she doesn’t have a clue where we might find a cinderblock. I suppose griffins aren’t really interested in cement like we are, or more correctly, Wolf is.

Wolf still doesn’t really talk openly around her, but I think he’s trying to decide whether or not she’s an idiot first who’d ask a lot of dumb questions that he hates. Phirun ignores her, preferring to stick close to me. I hold onto his arm and for some reason this makes him happy. I don’t think he likes it when females do things he doesn’t understand. He’s been brought up to think he has to do all these gentlemanly things, most of which I’ve never heard of but kind of amuse me. Like the letting him escort me thing. It seems so old fashioned, but I suppose it’s nice.

It’s market day. Lots of farmers have come in and there are craftspeople everywhere, selling everything from clothes, leather goods and horse shoes to random stuff like tweezers, earplugs and various souvineers such as postcards that proclaim ‘I visited the capital of Ki-rin Province!’ rather than ‘I visited Monarch Springs!’ because according to Topaz the capital gets a new name like every two years, or basically whenever my crazy father gets bored of the old one. It’s very confusing, so a lot of towns in the province have nicknames that the people use instead, because it’s the official practice of my father and his ancestors to change the names a lot. Mostly, maps just have numbers for each town, or the nicknames. The name of the province is the only thing that doesn’t change.

Despite being mainly a place for ki-rin, lots of mythical beings come to make their home here, because of how peaceful and well policed it is. Topaz’s family immigrated from a far northern province named after Ireland several generations ago. They came because of the nice weather mainly, but also because of how kind and benevolent my family apparently is.

They must only be nice to unrelated people.

We’re debating on getting some bricks instead of a cinderblock, when we hear horses. I look up and I see samurai dudes on horses trotting towards us. They’re escorting a young guy who wears black, who is riding a bay horse. A guy about my age, who has very dark brown hair, blue eyes and looks like a younger, slightly caucasion Attila.

*******************************************************************
This whole chapter is mega lol. Phirun is amusing. :heart:
Okay guys, no more for a bit, as I need to write some more (though I'm up to chapter 9) and work on my entries for :iconsilverglass19:'s contest. I wanna win!! :D

To find all chapters of 'Kingdom of Spirits' refer to the archive gallery at ---> [link]

Chapter 5: [link]
Chapter 7:

(c) Rosanna P. Brost DO NOT COPY, REDISTRIBUTE OR USE IN ANY WAY WITHOUT PERMISSION
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:iconfox7xd:
Fox7XD Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2008  Professional Artisan Crafter
yours writing and story telling is amazing Falcolf! >w< and im really loving this story :heart: i cant wait to read the next chapter! 8D
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:iconhorsehuggingdragon:
Horsehuggingdragon Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2008
I love this story :love: I bet you could make it into a novel! I know I would buy it =D
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:iconmemack:
Memack Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2008
Wow! I love your story. It has me totally hooked.
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:iconhelaris:
Helaris Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2008
I'm really enjoying this and by gum, you're working at quite the pace :O It must be a really inspired story. I could use some of your energy.

Grand-theft-equine? *Snerks* Genius. I was sniggering and laughing all the way through. Wolf is so awesome :heart:

Mystery guy! Now you're gonna make us wait more to find out who it is ;) Pure torture.
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:iconaleriacarventus:
AleriaCarventus Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2008  Student Artisan Crafter
Then you aren’t reacquired to reply to stupid people.”
Shouldn't that be 'required' ?
Anyway, besides that, great part!
I'm really starting to like Phirun, and I see you decided to introduce your 'mysterious dream guy person'.
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