Chapter Thirty: The Harvest Festival III

“Good evening. My name is Mana. For those of you who I haven’t met yet, I’m the new hero summoned by the Blueyerd Kingdom. I came here with my companions, Cobal Blueyerd, Cassandra and Kimi’thania. I did not consent to being summoned to a foreign world, nor did I consent to being called a hero. But here I am anyway. I come from a world that’s very different from yours. We don’t have magic. We don’t have elves and forest villages. We don’t have unexplored wildlands like the Feral Wildlands. Instead we have modern technology like trains, planes and computers. We can talk to people on the other side of the world yet we often forget those around us. The way that our society has grown throughout the past few hundred years has often been detrimental to the mental health of our people. Living in this forest with Dionil, who so kindly welcomed us into his home, has been a healing experience for me. I came to this world filled with anxiety and fear. Some of those I experienced in my old world but a lot of those came from the change in environment. As I traveled through Blueyerd and eventually the Liriath forest I met people. I met good people, friendly people on my way here and over time I changed. There was still a worry in the back of my head though, even when we arrived here in Milinia. I mentioned earlier that I came here with Cobal, who I now consider a good friend. He’s the third prince of the Blueyerd Kingdom and for all I knew one of the people responsible for ripping me from my home and throwing me into the deep. We came here and learned a lot from Dionil about my predecessor, Might, which a lot of you are likely familiar with. We learned about his plight and the things that got the better of him. I started to better understand the complicated situation surrounding my companions. And now, on this evening of the harvest festival, I can truly say that for the first time since coming here I feel at ease. I’m sure my anxiety will end up returning, as it always does, but in this moment I feel truly happy. And I owe it all to the people gathered here tonight.” She paused for a moment, looking through the crowd at several familiar faces. “I’ve been made an honorary member of your council, which means a lot to me. I am still unsure what the future brings and on a level that definitely frightens me. I’m still supposed to be a hero and at some point the Blueyerd Kingdom will come calling for me to fulfill that task, whether I like it or not. I’m not a hero. I’m a young woman in a foreign land that’s trying her best.” Another pause followed and Cobal could see on Mana’s face that she struggled to find the right words. Their eyes met for a moment and he smiled at her. She smiled back at him. “But contrary to when I first got here, I now feel like I have things I value in this world. All of you, my companions and this village. There are things I would be willing to fight for. I’m no hero, and I will never be a hero, but I will defend those I care about. This festival has been wonderful and I’m forever grateful that you all have welcomed us so.” She paused once more and walked to a nearby table where she picked up her glass. “So let’s spend tonight celebrating the finer things in life. As they say where I’m from: cheers!” She raised her glass and everyone in the crowd did the same. 

After Mana left the stage and sat down near some of the other council members, Karnisal took the stage. “I would like to thank Mana for giving this speech. I know it’s not your favorite thing to do, and we appreciate you all the more for it.” They smiled and nodded at Mana. “As you all have probably noticed,” they continued, “we’ve had a security issue. That’s why there are more guards stationed around the village and I am pleased to say that we have everything under control. With that out of the way, let’s get to what today is all about. We are thankful for the harvest for blessing us with good food and prosperity. As a thanks to the gods, we celebrate by living our best life, as has been our tradition for a very long time. They’ve supported us for a long time and will hopefully continue to do so far into the future. They’ve brought us many friends this year from all walks of life. We’re grateful for their company and the wisdom they bring. With that said, I would like to ask Kimi’thania, spirit of music, to come up here to the stage and perform for us.” They smiled and bowed, before walking off of the stage. Kimi came up onto the stage. “Hello, my name is Kimi. I’ve been working on some new music and I want to show you all my latest song if that’s okay.”
A cheer erupted from the crowd followed by silence as everyone awaited what was about to come. She then began to sing.

From the shores to the shade,
From a prison to a glade.
From life on my own,
To call some place home.

Deep in the calm forest,
Hidden away.
Lays a village I love,
Where I want to always stay.

Let there be light,
Be peace, and be quiet.
Let there be laughter,
Joy and merriness.

Let there be people,
From young to old,
Let them all listen
To the story being told.

When the hero came,
To our world on that day.
So quiet and timid,
But she’s here to stay.

For her heart is brave,
Her eyes are so kind,
In the entire world,
A more worthy hero you won’t find.

Quiet once again filled the entire village. Not a single person made a noise, all were in awe of Kimi’s song, none more than Mana, who realized halfway through what the song was about. Slowly people started to clap. Cobal caught Kimi’s eye who smiled at him. He smiled back. The crowd erupted into cheer and asked for an encore.
Kimi’s smile grew even wider. “Now watch this,” she yelled out, with a smooth motion turning the harp that had accompanied her song into a drum set. Three elves jumped onto the stage to join her and they quickly formed a band. Music now filled the forest and everyone danced and laughed until deep into the night.

Cobal found Mana sitting on the edge of the crowd, talking with Mirock, the baker. Upon Cobal arriving the baker nodded and walked off to go talk to someone else.
“It’s all too much for me,” Mana said.
“The praise?” He asked.
She nodded. “I know you know this, but I’m just a girl. I’m not a hero, I don’t inspire people.”
Cobal laughed. “Well, these people sure look inspired to me. And if you don’t believe that, let it be known that you inspire me as well. You inspire me to become a better person, to learn more about the people living in my country. You inspire me to serve as opposed to ruling. You’re stronger than you admit, Mana.”
She smiled. “I’ll take your word for it then.”
“And mine,” Cassandra said from behind her.
Mana laughed.
“Did I say something funny?” Cassandra sat down next to them.
“You reminded me of a funny scene from one of my favorite stories growing up.”
“What’s it about?”
“It’s about a guy who just wants to live a quiet life but gets pulled into being a hero for his world.”
“Sounds like a good story.”
“It’s considered one of the best where I’m from. They even made very successful movies, games and many other things.”
“You’re going to have to explain what a movie is,” Cobal said, laughing.
“I’d love to learn about those too,” Kimi said. Apparently other people had taken over the music giving the young spirit time to enjoy the festivities as well.”
“Imagine a painting but it moves and it lasts several hours. Enough to fill an entire day, if you watch the extended editions.”
“Sounds like magic.”
“In a sense it is.” She let out a deep sigh. “I remember watching it with my friends. It would take so long that by the end of it we were barely paying attention to it. Of course, we’d all seen it so many times already that we knew what happened in the story.” Her eyes seemed to almost glaze over as she reminisced.
Cobal couldn’t help but smile. “Maybe one day you can tell me that story.”
“I wonder if it would be considered plagiarism if I wrote the story down in this world. That’s a complicated set of morals I never thought I needed to think about.” She laughed. “Not that I could write it half as eloquently as the person who wrote it in the first place, but it might be a good idea to do one day. For now, we have other things to worry about.”
Cobal interjected. “That’s a problem for tomorrow though, today we drink.” He walked over to a nearby table and grabbed all of them a glass. “To the harvest.”
They all clinked their glasses together and drank the rest of the evening away.

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