Previously: • Esme became a witch, isolated herself from her family, was foul to Edward and left for university. • Edward encountered her again as a young adult magically attacking Dorian • Dorian escaped unharmed but only Dorfl’s insistence stopped Edward leaving university immediately to search for Esme. • Edward discovered that Esme had still been interested in supernatural occurrences, and decided to try and find her by following her research. • Edward accepted Dorfl’s offer of heirship and Dorian’s proposal. • Edward and Dorian graduated and headed into the world to search for Esme.
The taxi left Edward and Dorian standing outside the hotel. It was nothing special but it was cheap;Edward had no idea how long it would take him to find Esme, the last thing he wanted was to have toreturn home before he was finished because hed run out of money.
It was late when they arrived, and it had been a long trip, so they decided to head straight for theirroom and leave the search until the morning.
Edwards last conscious thought as he fell asleep was how glad he was to have Dorian there with him. ...
Starting his search the following morning, Edward first questioned the hotel staff.
They werent much help - too many people came through the hotel for them to have any recollectionof a specific person three years previously.
Giving up on the hotel staff the boys headed into Takemizu Village hoping that one of the locals wouldhave a better memory.
After spending the morning questioning many Takemizu locals it became obvious that Esmes mostdistinguishing feature wasnt going to be much help.
Edward had hoped that Esmes green skin would mean that she had stood out enough for people toremember her even after a few years, but it wasnt to be.
Takemizu Village, and, he suspected, the other places he would be searching,played host to a constant stream of visitors from all around the world.
Alien abductions may have been unusual but with the sheer volume of people passingthrough there were plenty of sims with green skin amongst the more normal looking visitors.
Therefore, one part alien didnt stand out amongst the others in anyones mind.
As the day wore on Edward grew more and more disheartened. He had no way of knowing whetherEsme had ever been here and he couldnt think of how to work out if he was wasting his time or not.By late afternoon hed grown so frustrated with the lack of success that he couldnt face asking asingle question more and seeing yet another blank look that day.
Dorian suggested that they stop and visit the local hot springs. Maybe after a relaxing soak theydhave some new ideas and would have something to try the next day.
It was Dorian who came up with their plan for the next day. He pointed out that if Esme was acting asshe had been when he first encountered her then she would hardly fade into the background.Perhaps some of the locals would remember odd occurrences in the last three years, even if theydidnt remember any specific sim associated with them.
With a firm plan in place Edward allowed the warmth of the hot spring to wash over him. He feltsome of the tension leave his muscles and he actually managed to enjoy the rest of the day. ...
Edward had been hopeful about this new approach but he hadnt expected the response he got fromthe very first local he talked to.He had started by asking about Esme is the same way he had been the day before, when this got ablank look he changed tactics.
"I was wondering if you knew about anything strange that had happened here."
"Strange? Nothing strange happens here. This place is protected.""Protected? Protected by what?"
The woman smiled, "Takemizu Village has been watched over for centuries. If you sister would causetrouble her then she would have been seen. Ask the ninjas."
The next day, just as Dorian suggested, Edward did his best to put Esme and his search out of his mindand just enjoy being in Takemizu.They visited the local market and picked out some souvenirs for everyone back home.
"Hmm, if your sister is as you say then she will have come to our attention when she arrived."Edward looked hopeful
"But it is not my place to say."Edwards heart sank.
"You must find the Pagoda of the Shadows; maybe there you will find the answers you seek." Withthose words the ninja vanished.
Dorian turned to Edward, he was stumped, this time he had no bright ideas for their next step.Edward, however, looked thoughtful."Pagoda of Shadows? I know Ive seen that mentioned somewhere." He led the way back to thehotel.
It didnt take long before the contents of their suitcases lay strewn across the room and Edward wasscanning the pages of one of the books he had packed.
"I knew it! Listen The Pagoda of Shadows... ancient temple... held by legend be somewhere in theregion of Takemizu. "
"Does it say where it might be?""Lets see Many travellers have claimed to have found it... none have been able to locate it for asecond time. Theres a map here, apparently it was dug up in Takemizu a hundred or so years ago, itsays that some people report that it leads nowhere and others say it leads to the pagoda."
"Guess thats what well be doing tomorrow then.“ ...
Following the map took them most of the morning and they came close to turning back more thanonce. However, they eventually arrived at something that could only be the mythical Pagoda ofShadows.
Inside the pagoda they could see an old man seemingly deep in meditation. As they climbed thestairs he made no move to indicate that he was aware of their presence.
Edward approached him slowly, expecting his presence to be acknowledged and challenged at anymoment. Edward came to a stop directly in front of the old man and cleared his throat hoping thatthis would attract his attention.
Still getting no response Edward cleared his throat again and tentatively spoke, “Excuse me, I waswondering... You see I spoke to a ninja in town who said you might know something about my sister.”
When there was still no sign that the old man was aware of their presence Edward looked to Dorianfor guidance.Dorian simply shrugged, he had no better ideas than Edward of how to proceed.
Edward, however, had spotted the tea-table. They had learned much about the Takemizu teaceremony the previous day and he thought that perhaps the old man would join them in one.
Sure enough as Edward began pouring the tea into three cups the man ended his meditations androse to join them.
He sipped his tea in silence. Once the cup was empty he turned to Edward and finally spoke, “So, yousearch for your sister. What makes you think I might be able to help you?”Edward recounted his tale. Despite his original intentions he found himself telling the entire story, hewas speaking of things he had never voiced to his parents, or even to Dorian.
The old man said nothing, he stared intensely at Edward for what felt like an eternity. It felt to Edwardlike his innermost thoughts and feeling were being examined and judged.
Eventually the old man stood; he gestured to Edward and Dorian to take a seat on the floor, “Sit.There is a story I must tell you."
"There was once a great city. It was known far and wide for its wealth and for the wisdom, strengthand compassion of its rulers.
"When the old King, much beloved by his people, died his beautiful daughter took his place on thethrone. The Princess shared the kind-heart of her father but was still young and a little too naive, herfather had not expected to die so soon and had yet to teach her all she needed to rule.
"Over the centuries the city had been threatened by invaders many times but had always managed tohold them off. They came again during the first years of the Princesss rule. However, they did notpresent themselves as aggressors. Instead they arrived as travellers, asking only to stay for a fewdays, the princess did not see the threat and happily granted them access to the city.
"By the time their true nature reveal itself it was too late. Those who had tricked their way into thecity took the gate in the night and the rest of the barbarian horde was quickly inside the city. Theyrampaged through the streets; burning and looting as they went. The royal palace didnt stand longagainst the horde, the Princess only escaped because of a loyal guard and a network of secretpassages.
"The Princess wandered for a while, lost and alone, until she came upon an ancient shrine. Althoughshe had never seen anything like it before she felt oddly comforted by it and knew that here wassomething that might help her."She knelt before the shrine and made a desperate plea for aid.
"In answer to her words a great dragon broke forth from the shrine and swore to aid the princess insaving her people from the invaders.
"The Dragon carried the Princess back towards the city; leaving her on a nearby hill so that she couldwatch as the Dragon acted. With a great roar the Dragon took flight again and drove the barbariansfrom the city with his flame.
"The city was left broken and burning, but this too the Dragon was able to fix. He surrounded it withhis magic; when it cleared the city and its people were restored to their previous health.
"The people of the city came to the Princess and fell before her, thanking her for saving them. But shetold them to stand: it had been her mistake that had threatened the city, it had only been right thatshe act to save them.
"She made a promise then that she would never again put the city in such danger.
"The Dragon promised to stay with the Princess for as long as she needed him; to act as her advisorand the citys protector."Over the years the Dragon slowly faded and eventually disappeared altogether. The Princess was sadat the loss of her friend but knew that she was able to guide and protect her people without him."
Edward and Dorian shared a look of confusion, "What has that got to do with my sister?"
The old man sighed, subtlety and mysticism was lost on all too many of his visitors. Esme hadunderstood, she had listened; she had learned. Now it was time to give her brother some facts (notas many as Edward would like though) and send him off on the next stage of his journey.
"Your sister was here." Edward felt a rush of relief hearing these words - finally he had confirmationthat he was on the right track.
"My ninjas found her wandering in the village; they have dedicated their lives to protecting this placeand keep watch for anyone who might threaten it. Your sisters power made her stand out like aflame in the darkness.
"They brought her to me: I am the guardian of this place. I had to decide whether your sister was athreat to be destroyed or an innocent to be saved." Edwards heart sank: although she was his sisterhe couldnt pretend shed never hurt anyone and he feared the worst.
The old man noted Edwards distress, "Your sister posed no threat to the village, not at that time. Shewas lost and confused; her mind was not quite her own.
"While no threat to the village, I couldnt let her leave here in that state.""Does that mean shes still here?" Edward asked hopefully.
"No, she stayed here for a time but left some years ago.
"While she stayed her I helped her to calm her mind, to strengthen her will and control and to finallycast out the remains of whatever malignant presence had infested her for so long.
"Why?“"My knowledge of your sisters powers is limited and her own knowledge was no better. In this place Ican dull that power; make it so she cannot use it intentionally or unintentionally. But that effect doesnot extend beyond the bounds of the village, I could not send her back into the world with that lack ofcontrol.
"I sent her to a friend: someone who would be able to teach her how to use her own powers. Or, ifshe chose, how not to use them.""Where did she go?”"That I cannot tell you. I gave her my word - she was not ready to be found. However, on a tropicalisland there is a ghostly pirate, he might have the information you need to find her next destination."
Edward was disappointed at the cryptic nature of the Wise mans answer but he recognised that itwas as good an answer as he was going to get. "Thank you.“ ...
Edward prepared to leave Takemizu in a much better mood than he had arrived in. He may not havefound Esme yet but he knew now that he was on the right track and he had a definite destination inmind for his next stop. He had encountered tales of a ghost pirate and, while he hadnt thought muchof them at the time, he had noted where the spectre was said to reside – a shipwreck on TwikkiiIsland.
A few days and a cheap flight later Edward and Dorian were checked into a basic hotel on TwikkiiIsland ready to start ghost hunting. ...
The ghost pirate, or the ship he was said to haunt at least, was surprisingly easy to find - the wreck ofhis old ship was a major tourist attraction on the island
When they arrived the wreck was crawling with tourists. "This isnt exactly the atmosphere Id expecta ghost to appear in."
"What did that book say? There might be a clue in that.""Not much really, he was just a brief aside in the history of this place. Maybe one of the locals wouldhave a better idea though.“Edward and Dorian split up to find a local who might be able to tell them more about the shipssupposed ghostly inhabitant.
When they regrouped a little later they had both had some success.
Dorian had met a man who knew the old story, “The ghost is said to be the captain of one of the mostfeared pirate crews that ever roamed these waters. He took a fortune in treasure over his career buthis most prized possession was said to be his ship – The Wandering Turtle. One night the ship waswrecked in a great storm and the wreckage washed up on Twikkii Island. Somehow, everyonesurvived and most of the crew managed to make their way back to the mainland eventually, but thecaptain refused to leave his ship and was never seen again.“
The woman Edward met knew less of the original story but had heard the reports of a number oftourists over the years who had encountered something strange, "Its something to do with theCaptains cabin - everything goes back to that."
Their next step was obvious and they soon found themselves standing outside the captain’s cabin.After sharing a nervous glance they headed inside.As soon as they set foot inside the cabin they could feel the chill in the air and strange feeling thatsomeone was watching them.
When Edward picked up a leather bound book lying on the desk there was a sudden rush of wind andboth men found themselves forced out of the cabin.
The mysterious force seemed to want to eject them from the ship as well but Edward managed toresist and turned in time to see a ghostly figure emerge. He knew this had to be the ghost pirate thatthe Wise Old Man had referred to.
Doing his best to ignore his fear, Edward approached the spectre, “Were you the captain of this ship?”The ghost seemed surprised that anyone would speak to him, “Arr, that I was. What is it you bewanting?”
“My sister, I heard you might have some information about her.”“I’ve seen many a young woman in my afterlife. You’re going to have to be more specific than that,matey.”
“She’s got green skin, brown eyes, brown hair. She’s a witch, would have come here looking forguidance. Does that ring any bells?""Green skin, brown hair, brown eyes?""Yes!"
"No, never laid me eyes on her. But I do know the Witch Doctor had a guest, bout two years ago.Stayed for quite a time too. That might be your girl."
"So how can I find the Witch Doctor?""No idea. Look lad, I dont exactly get out much anymore. This," he gestured at the ship, "is theextent of me world now."
"Lot of use you are then." Edward was getting increasingly frustrated.
"Alright, alright. Theres a map in me cabin - one of me men dug it up, back when we was alive. Itlooks to be a map of the Island, its got what might be the Witch Doctors hut marked on it. Yourewelcome to it."
Just as the captain had said there was a map of Twikkii Island in the cabin and a spot in the middle ofnowhere was circled.The map led them to an old hut.
Inside the hut was a strangely dressed man who could be no one other than the Witch Doctor theghost pirate had talked of.
Edward opened his mouth to speak but the Witch Doctor dismissed anything he might have to saywith a wave of his hand.
“You want to talk? First you fix stuff,” ending his sentence with an emphatic nod the Witch Doctor leftthe hut for his hammock where he seemed to fall into a deep sleep.
Edward and Dorian shared a look. Frustrating as it was it was clear that the he would say nothingmore until everything in his hut was in full working condition.
Fortunately, they were both well versed in basic plumbing and electrical repair (four years of sharinguniversity accommodation with dormies or younger siblings will do that) so the work, while tedious,was easily done.
After a couple of hours everything was once again working as it should. Just as Edward was replacingthe last screw in the TV the Witch Doctor appeared in the doorway.
“Ah yes, very good. So, what was it you wanted to talk about?”
Once again Edward told his story, this time with the addition of what the Wise Old Man of Takemizuhad said to them.
When he had finished the witch doctor nodded, “Yes, your sister came to me and I was her teacherfor a time.
“My friend had put your sister back in control of her mind but control of her magic was beyond hisknowledge. Your sister is a very powerful witch, but she knew nothing of her powers when shearrived. I offered her training; to teach her proper mastery of her power.
“She refused that. All she wanted was control enough not to use her magic.
“So that is what I taught her.” The Witch Doctor shook his head, “a shame really, she could have beenan excellent pupil.”
“Is she still here?”“No, you have missed her once again. I sent her onwards some time ago.”“Where to?”
“To a land of snow to seek someone who would help her with her greatest desire.”Edward tried to hide his frustration at yet another cryptic answer but the Witch Doctor must havesensed it anyway.
His face broke into a broad grin and he said, “You would like me to be more clear yes? Very well. Shehas left to find the fabled Bigfoot who inhabits the forests around Three Lakes. She wants to learn tohide.”
The Witch Doctor gave detailed directions and some helpful advice for finding and speaking to Bigfootand then bid them goodbye, wishing them luck in their search.
Edward left Twikkii Island feeling more hope than he had when he arrived. Talking to the WitchDoctor had not only given him a new direction to explore but had also left him feeling that perhapsthe sister he had once known was not completely gone after all. ...
After arriving in Three Lakes they decided to hire a tent and stay in one of the many camping groundsthat littered the area. Their reserve of money was getting low (not that Dorfl would have hesitated insending more if Edward had asked) and Edward wanted to be sure they would be able to stay for aslong as they needed to.
As Edward looked out over the forest that surrounded the camp site he felt something calling to him:he wanted to head into that forest and just walk until he found something. He shook his head, thiswould never do, he was here to find Esme not go on a nature walk.
For the first time in his search Edward had precise directions to the next lead in Esme’s trail. However,it still took them most of the day to find the secluded hut that was Bigfoot’s home.
When they arrived it was late afternoon and Bigfoot was fishing in a small pond near his hut.Remembering what he had been told by the Witch Doctor Edward pulled out the fishing pole he hadhired back at the camp site and joined Bigfoot.
They fished in silence for a time and then Bigfoot spoke, “Why you visit Bigfoot?”“I am looking for my sister. In Takemizu I spoke to the Wise Old Man and he told me that my sisterstayed with him and learnt from him but had already sent her to Twikkii before I arrived. On Twikkii Italked to the Witch Doctor; he said that he had taught my sister but she was no longer there. He saidthat he had sent her to you.”
“So, Wise Old Man send you to Witch Doctor and Witch Doctor send you to me. Then I will tell yousomething. Sister came to see Bigfoot, stayed with Bigfoot then left.”“Where did she go?”
“Went into the forest. You won’t find sister, Bigfoot taught her to hide. No one find sister unlesssister want to be found.”
“Even you couldn’t find her?”“Maybe, but won’t. Gave word.”
“But...”“No! Sister not want to be found. Now leave!” It was all too clear that he was going to receive nomore from Bigfoot so, reluctantly, Edward left. ...
Edward went to bed frustrated. He’d run out of ideas, he knew now that Esme was here, but herewas a big place. Bigfoot had refused to tell them anything specific and he was certain that the localswould be no help either.He was so close and yet so far.
His mood was no better in the morning. They ate their breakfast in silence, Dorian knew that therewas nothing he could say that could cheer Edward up at this point, so he stayed quiet and waited.
“I’m going for a walk.” Edward stood up from the table, “I need to think.”
“Ok,” Dorian could tell that Edward wanted some time alone, “I’ll head to the market, pick up somesouvenirs.”Edward smiled at Dorian and pulled him close for a hug before heading for the campground gate.
Dorian watched after him for a bit before returning to their tent to sort out their suitcases.
Edward started walking without really having any idea of where he was going. He just needed somefresh air and some time to clear his head. Maybe, just maybe, he’d get some new idea about wherenext to look while he was out here.
His walk took away from the town and into the local woods. It was nice to get away from everyone, tobe surrounded by silence and stillness. While his thoughts were still with Esme and the dead-endhe’d reached he had begun to enjoy himself.
After some time he came across a clear pool, he stopped to take a drink and check his watch. He’donly been walking for about an hour; it was ages before Dorian would expect him back.
As he circled the pool he came upon a faint track that led deeper into the forest. For want of somebetter idea he decided to follow it, to see where it might lead.
After a few more minutes of walking he came to a clearing. The clearing contained a small hut, a fireand a woman.
His breath caught in his throat. Could it be?
Her back was to him but he could clearly see that her skin was the same green as his father’s.
Treading lightly he moved closer. He was almost prepared to believe that this wasn’t happening.After all this, to just stumble upon her, it couldn’t be true.
It was almost a whisper, but the woman heard him. He saw her stiffen and begin to turn.
When she faced him his uncertainty fled. That was his sister!
She was different from when he’d last seen her. Different clothes, different hair, but most of all adifferent look in her eyes – sadder, softer, more like the sister he thought he’d lost. Hope rose in hisheart.
“Esme.” He said again, louder this time and more confident. He crossed the ground between them,“can we talk?”
The aliens I used in this chapter I borrowed from a number of fantasticlegacies:• Venus and Star Walton from The Pseudo Legacy by Orikes• Lorne, Glory and Kennedy Whedon from A Buffyverse Apocalypse byRoseFyre• Riku Fox from A Villianous Apocalypse by smoothiequeen87• Cory, Brenna, Billy, Damien and Jason Morgan from The MorganLegacy by fireflower314• Celestia Harrison from A Victorian Legacy by Dicreasy• Anna Xenobia from Legacy of Jubilee by LauriEmpress• Egeus and Emilia Summerdream from Familiar Faces by Ndainye• Molly, Lucan and Ainsley Doran from the Boolpropian Round RobinLegacy, RegacyLady’s turn• Bones Bored from I.M. Bored: A Legacy in 10 Generations byladylarkrune• George and Spacely GoodytwoShoes from The Penguino Legacy bypenguingirl0384• Vauxia, Myotis and Pipistrelle Tegenaria from The Science of a Legacyby GintasticNecat• Viola Discworld is mine but I didn’t want her to feel left out.