Crystal of the Woods

Chapter I: Time
Chapter II: Place
Chapter III: Taste
Chapter IV: Change
Chapter V: Hole
Chapter VI: Noble
Chapter VII: Squire

Two years later

I’m in the kitchen, trying to figure out dinner.

“You want corn or peas for the veggie?” I ask towards the kitchen.

“Corn, please,” Emilia says. “And I would also like for this ice golem to react properly to my attacks. I have damaged its core; it ought to be disabled!”

“I’m guessing the people that made the game never dealt with a real golem,” I say, tossing the ground beef into the skillet to brown.

“Well, they ought to have asked me,” Emilia says. “Ah! I defeated it anyway.”

“Way to go,” I say.

My phone starts ringing. “Is that Becky?” Emilia asks, coming into the kitchen.

I pull out my phone. “As a matter of fact, it is,” I say. I take the video call.

“Hey,” I say, holding up the phone so she can see me and Emilia.

“Hi, you two!” Becky says, waving. Looks like she’s at work.

“How’re things in Seattle?” I ask.

“Meh. Amazing as usual,” she says. “Looks like you two are doing well.”

“Roger is cooking dinner,” Emilia says. “And I defeated an ice golem!”

“Awesome,” Becky says. “No problems with Emilia’s documents, right?”

“None so far,” I say. “Thanks for hooking us up with those.”

“I wish I could’ve gotten them from the US, but I guess we’ll never get to see President Emilia,” Becky says. “How’s the job hunt, Em?”

“I am still studying for my GED,” Emilia says. “There is a great deal of information to absorb, but I think I will be able to take it in a few months. Until then, I am helping Roger by designing some of his presentations. I have become quite proficient with PowerPoint!”

“Way to go,” Becky says. “You still teaching Roger some magic?”

“Yes, of course,” Emilia says. “Roger, do you have the energy to do it now?”

“Yeah, I can try,” I say, handing her the phone. I hold my hands a foot apart and, after focusing for a moment, say “Light.”

An acorn-sized ball of green light appears between my hands.

“Wow!” Becky says.

The light puffs out.

“Sorry, that’s all I can do for now,” I say.

“No, that was great!” Becky says. “Wish I could’ve stayed in town to learn, but… Well, Shawn got a sweet offer out here, and…”

“Yes, we understand,” Emilia says. “I am glad we have stayed in touch.”

“Me too,” Becky says, smiling. “Oh, right! I wanted to tell you, I’ll be in town next weekend! Are you going to be around?”

Emilia looks to me. “Yeah, we should be,” I say. “Work’s pretty chill right now.”

“Cool,” Becky says. “We’ll have to make plans to meet up, yeah?”

“Absolutely,” Emilia says. “We shall hang out together, and it will be epic.”

“Look at you, picking up the lingo!” Becky says.

“She’s a champ,” I say.

“Hey, I have to go, but I’ll text you about next weekend, yeah?”

“Yeah,” I say.

“OK! Bye! See you soon!” Becky says, waving.

The call ends.

“What is that smell?” Emilia asks.

“Ah, crap,” I say, turning to the stove to see black smoke rising off the stove. I run over to cut the heat, but the damage is done.

“You don’t happen to know an unburning spell, do you?” I ask.

“Regrettably, no,” Emilia says.

“Yeah, I didn’t think so,” I say, dumping the burnt beef in the trash. “C’mon, let’s go out to eat instead.”

“Truly?”

“If you’re up for it, yeah,” I say. “Let’s make a date of it.”

“And a movie afterwards, maybe?”

“Ooh, yeah, there’s supposed to be some good stuff this week. But maybe we’ll find something else to do.”

“As long as we do it together, I will be happy,” Emilia says, planting a kiss on my cheek.

I shift the ring box in my pocket to make sure she doesn’t bump into it.

Hopefully she’ll be OK that I picked an emerald instead of a diamond. Seemed like a better fit.

“Are you ready to go now?” Emilia asks.

“Definitely,” I say. “You?”

“Definitely indeed,” Emilia says. “Lead the way, my squire.”

“Aye, my lady,” I say.

The woods are a nice place to get away from your problems until they give you a whole new set of issues to handle.

But you’re probably not going to meet an amazing girl and fall in love like I did. Don’t want to get your hopes up too high.

On the other hand, who am I to say it won’t happen?

The End