23 What Was Left of Cacophony and What Not Epilogue
The songs of birds chirping and the sound of the carriage shrieking would often get blended together, thus she would lose track of what sound represented what.
The story of Parch continues. After the morning sun escaped its grave, Parch had found shelter in an old lady's carriage that transported fruit, vegetables and a couple of chicken.
Her main objective was to escape the district and settle down somewhere safe, so she could calculate and plan out what to do next.
She couldn't rely on the authorities, neither on family, since she had none. All she had was an aunt and uncle who were too far away to grasp. She also couldn't reach not one member from the seven or even someone who was involved with them, since most of them were either missing or dead.
Masuda, the first escorting man had died a little bit over a week ago.
Rö left her on her own and wandered off. Finding him would be the most difficult thing to do now.
Eivör, Abel and Kollie went missing in the white explosion and their whereabouts were not known to anyone.
Ester, the second escorting man supposedly disappeared in the white explosion as well. She wanted to see him the most out of them all.
Maurice is the traitor, and wherever he is now, counting on him was crossed out of the list once and forever.
The Shrike left and disappeared a long time ago — before she even knew her.
Out of all these people, she was the last one involved with the seven (excluding the seventh magic user that was nonexistent in her eyes). There was no one else to count on, meaning she was left to figure out things all on her own.
Chicken feathers completely started occupying Parch's fuzzy hair. Not to mention, the stink inside of the carriage was only getting worse as the chickens wouldn't stop leaving feces behind them.
Parch was in no position to move around as it was her duty to be silent as the night. The old lady whom was the owner of the carriage accepted Parch as a traveling buddy, but instructed her on keeping quiet since hiding a human in the back of a food delivering carriage was illegal.
Therefore, violence was no option, so she endured the feathers, the stink and the bumpy ride. The carriage itself wasn't big to start with either, so she was fairly limited.
On the bright side, she had free food. She was no thief, but even she couldn't resist a few bites of a shiny red apple.
After some time, the carriage had stopped. Parch heard an old and rusty voice coming from out of the carriage.
"This is as long as I can take you, girl."
Parch moved the pale curtains of the carriage and got out. Sunlight started attacking her vigorously. She started swirling around her and saw nothing but endless marches of dense trees beside the yellowish gravel road.
She glanced over to the old lady and handed in a peculiar look. The lady returned it back and spoke out.
"I'm near where I need to be. Inspection is ruthless, girl."
"U-Um… Where are we?"
"We're near Pomoma village; a small village with a population of roughly ninety people. The closest district is still Einstudht. But if you take a look to your right, you can see the beautiful Azura Mountain gazing over Pomoma."
This is when it hit her.
The carriage was disappearing in the heat of the sunny day, following the gravel road ahead. Parch thanked the lady and started heading towards the small village which she just found out about. By now, she had fully calculated her next move.
Parch's main objective was to return to the crime scene, in other words, to the ruins of what was once a safe spot. What better place to find some leads than the crime scene itself?
In the end, it was dangerous. She could've fled somewhere. Far relatives were also a possibility in her case. But she chose to return to the place where Death was near her. What an absurdly ridiculous decision.
Curiosity can sometimes kill a person if they get too invested in it. It is somewhat represented as an addiction for information — a population striving for self knowledge.
This particular event that had severely traumatized her and introduced her to the cellars of the military held her in the palms of its hands. Not to doubt, the event had definitely to do something with both her and her loved ones. Even her fiancée was involved in it and retrieving him was the main mission now.
After a thirty minute walk, Parch finally reached the infamous Pomoma village. The shapes of Azura Mountain were perfectly vivid even from the very entrance.
Pomoma was fairly small, consisting of a couple of wooden houses, gardens of flowers, wooden statues and a small well right in the heart of it.
Parch roamed the village for awhile until she decided to settle down until she gathered both her energy and her senses.
She managed to exchange an old bracelet she always carried on her hand for bread, water, bandages and a warm bath.
She took a break in one of the peasants' houses where the family kindly greeted her in. After she finished her bowl of water and ate every last crumb of the freshly baked bread, she went up the wooden stairs to take a shower.
The family extracted water from the village well in buckets and warmed it up afterwards. Parch took all of her clothes off and gently sat down on the tiled floor. She was slowly pouring the steaming water on her body, where timid drips of it softly rolled down her legs, breasts and hair.
The whole room was foggy from the warmth of the pure water. Parch placed the bandages she got in exchange next to her and nervously stared at them.
She mostly taught about Ester, but everyone else came to mind as well. She recalled of the times that she met him in that one book club years ago.
She was an active book reader. She would precisely read four books per week and this was the rule that followed her throughout her days. She would punish herself if she read less than the given number by not eating for two days straight. She would also punish herself if she read more than four books by not drinking any liquid for one whole day, be it something natural as water or something fierce as alcohol.
She remembered the time when she wanted to grab one book and finish it as it was the last one for the week, but before she could get a hold of it, another man by the name of Ester took it for his own interest.
They just couldn't negotiate, so they decided that they would read it together. They finished a three-hundred paged book in just over a day. She could clearly recall the emotions she felt in the nights spent with him.
With her wet and silky fingers, she grabbed the bandages and gently started applying and wrapping them around her now almost dried, naked body.
She didn't stop until she had covered all the cuts and smaller wounds. The bruises she left as they were. She put on the dusty clothes she wore before and got out of the steam-filled bathroom.
When she got down the shrieking, wooden stairs, Parch heard the joyful laughter of the family members. Truth be told, envy ate her up for dinner.
She longed for a family of her own, but if life kept taking the people she loved away from her, that desire of hers will sunder and fade away with the wind.
Parch thanked the happy family for their hospitality and for accepting the exchange and went her own way, making Pomoma village appear behind her back. Her next destination was the ruins of Azura Mountain.
It was clearly the right time to commit and make a revolt.
Stars were making a valiant appearance.
After a couple of hours of restless hiking, Parch managed to climb a greater part of Azura with the help of only one water bottle that she had emptied out by now.
She was face to face with the terrifying disaster that almost ended her life.
In the end, the special units and military as a whole weren't deceiving the masses. The explosion really did cause the cave to crush into big boulders and ruins of decay.
The whole imagery represented itself as the peak of hell. There were a couple of moments where Parch would show bitter anticipation and fear of finding something she would never want to see, but the voice in her head would consistently mimic the ethereally sounds of various orchestral instruments, encouraging her to fight off her demons and embark into investigating.
The moon was at its brightest, but it was nowhere near the cacophonic white light that blinded them all that fateful day. However, it emitted enough light for her to search through the rubble.
She kept lifting up rocks and tiny boulders, but only the ones she could physically manage to move without snapping her spine.
She considered the logical way — if all of them vanished without a trace, surely the objects that were in the cave survived under the rubble. Paperwork, candles, even tables; something must be under all of it.
But after almost an hour of restless searching, Parch fell victim to disappointment and found absolutely nothing that could reveal even the slightest clue.
She was getting tired and the night was getting darker. She came to the conclusion that she couldn't stay for long, but she didn't want to accept it.
After sullen routines of digging nothing up and losing energy in return, Parch glanced at the far end of all the rocky ruins and noticed a soft orange light acting as a guide in the shadows.
With skipping steps and cautious jumps, Parch followed the light and eventually came close to it. She hid behind one boulder and decided to observe the surroundings.
The dim orange light revealed itself as a small campfire. This alerted Parch as she thought that a couple of officers might've been put on lookout duty.
As her pupils moved a bit to the side, she saw the backs of two figures standing next to what seemed to be a freshly dug grave.
However, there was a suspicious characteristic to the second figure — it blended in with the darkness perfectly well. As she squint her eyes, she realized that it was no human, but a small animal of some sort.
Seeing as animals were prohibited in the military, she was convinced that the possibility of the figure being an officer was crossed out of the list, but that still didn't mean that it wasn't a potential threat lurking around. She tried figuring out what to do next, but she knew for certain that she had nowhere else to go.
With clenched fists and gripped teeth, Parch backed off the boulder and gently started approaching the figure and what seemed to be his animal.
They were staring at the grave in great tranquil, but as soon as Parch made a noise with her feet on purpose, the figure turned around.
Weirdly enough, it was a boy dressed in a hospital robe. His eyes looked numb and dead as a dried out flower and his soul seemed drained of life. He had curly hair, which was fairly similar to hers, but the curls looked untreated and abandoned, just like the rest of the boy.
When she glanced down to the other figure, she realized that it was a pitch black cat. It was calmly standing next to the numbed body of the boy.
They exchanged various types of looks and breathed huskily through their mouths, all while the weak cracking of the campfire roamed through the atmosphere.
At one moment, Parch gently started raising her hand and forming a question, but it was quickly suppressed.
"U-Um, are" —
"Do you know where she is?"
"I-I'm sorry, what" —
"Do you know… Where Eivör is?"
Parch's pupils widened when she heard that cold name.
After barely letting these words out into the calm air that fused with the dim smoke of the campfire, the boy exhaustedly fell down to the ashy ground. Parch stared for a couple of seconds until she ran to him.
Oh, it was a truly cold name.
<End of Songbird: Part One (Volumes 1-6), thank you for hanging on this far.>