Placeholder Layouuut


and stuff

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and whatnot

Full Name Allamyi Concertia
Nickname(s) Al, Allam
Title Child of the Gods
Age 15 (mortal)
Kingdom Technically none, but Al considers himself a member of the White Kingdom, as that is where he spent most of his life [ About the Kingdoms ]
Class Priest [ About the Classes ]
Occupation Currently a drifter, used to be a monk
Abilities / Powers He has the odd ability to speak the Language of the Gods, an ancient tongue so complex, not even the most learned scholars can master it. Somehow, Allamyi has the ability to understand this language, and he uses it to communicate directly with the gods. He also has the ability to manipulate gods; he can harness the powers and talents of any god and grant them to himself for a brief period of time. Super strength... the ability to shape mountains... he can do it all. But, because he's so ridiculously overpowered, Allamyi is banned from most parts of the world and doesn't have much freedom on Unity Island. His powers also make him a primary target for demons, or anyone else who wants to harness his abilities.
Approach Allamyi is generally social and likes to begin conversations. He's polite enough, but his undying optimism and awkwardness can put people off. He's easily pushed around and manipulated by others; he's never had much control over his own life. Al is like a carpet: soft, and easily trampled on. Even so, he's got a bright outlook on life. He tends to get himself wrapped up into bad situations and causes trouble.
Quirks Doesn't know much about the surface world (lived underground for most of his life), talks/mumbles to himself (sometimes he's communicating with the gods, but regardless, everyone thinks he's weird when they catch him doing this), animals don't like him much, meditates at the same hour every day regardless of the situation or location
Good traits Optimistic, polite, compassionate, friendly, merciful
Bad traits Obnoxious, meek, cowardly, airheaded, easily duped
Strengths Light magic, fighting from a distance, summoning, defence
Weaknesses Dark magic, physical combat, offence
About I will write this later grr.
Special notes Most mortals living in the Light World have bodies with 5% - 30% of light magic naturally flowing through it. Al's body is 98% light magic. He's practically a god... but in a mortal's body (gods are 100% light magic). You'd think this was a good thing, but it really isn't. When most mortals get hit by dark magic, they can withstand it. Since Al's body is mostly made up of Light, one pinch of dark magic can easily take him down in battle. In fact, dark magic is his kryptonite; it's fatal and one hit could potentially k1ll him. Most gods can withstand dark magic because they are immortal. Allamyi is not a god... just godlike in a mortal's body. He's like delicate glass. For this reason, Al is both the strongest and weakest mortal in existence.


goes here

WARNING You are about to read... basically a novel. I'm sorry. I tried to shorten it out as much as I could, but in the end, it still managed to come out this long. And... this isn't how I usually write. Normally, I'm far more descriptive than I was here. This is just the first part of Al's story. It was supposed to be the shortest chapter, but what do you know, it isn't. I appreciate it if you read the first part the whole way through.

The other parts of Al's story will be coming out shortly. Thanks for looking!

Part I ~ Allamyi ~ Why I Like Strawberries

Before I went undercover, before I lived underground, before coming to Unity Island, I lived in a relatively normal part of the world where nothing exciting ever happened. In fact, life there was so ordinary, we never had to pick up the newspaper, because the only articles that were good enough for the front page were about trees being planted in the park, and the neighbor's cat eventually getting caught in one of those trees several issues later. Yup. It was quiet and peaceful. Boring, even.

My life was pretty exciting because I did all I could to *make* it exciting. In other words, I was a troublemaker. I would rip the pages out of my classmates' library books and throw their art projects in the trash just to spite them. Why? I don't remember why. Looking back on those days, I still can't believe that that troublesome kid could be me. I can't change the past. It makes me wonder what those grade school teachers thought of me. They probably guessed I wouldn't make it past Jr. High. True enough. I didn't even make it to Middle School.

That's because I had to Disappear.

I don't remember what grade level I was in; probably 2nd or 3rd grade, one of those. My parents brought me home early because I'd gotten into a physical brawl at school. Long story short, at the end of the fight, one of us was missing a tooth, and it definitely wasn't me. Of course, I got a real scolding from my parents.

They sat me down on my bed, and my father asked, "Why did you punch that boy?"

."Because he kicked me."

."Any why did he kick you?"

I tried to recall. "Because I kicked him in the knee...? Wait, no, that was earlier. I think he kicked me because I pushed him against the wall."

My mother put her hand on my shoulder. "No need to recall the entire fight. What we're asking is, why were the two of you fighting in the first place?"

."I said he wasn't tough enough to fight me."

."Oh? And why would you say something like that? You know you're not supposed to be getting in trouble, Allamyi."

I scoffed and murmured something too quiet for them to understand.

."Could you repeat that?" My father forced my chin up.

."…He called me a demon child…"

They looked at each other.

."I was just minding my own business when that jerk said, 'My parents say Allamyi's a demon child. It's because he's so troublesome.' So that's why we fought." I crossed my arms. "People call me a lot of things in school, but that… that was unforgivable.".

My mother sat on the bed next to me. "Well, if you don't want the other children's parents to think that of you, you need to set a good example by behaving yourself in school.".

."And not just school, everywhere you go." My father said sternly. "You need to shape up and be a good boy by staying in school and going to the temple."

I groaned. "But school and church are so boring… I only go because I'm forced to."

."It may be boring, but it'll help you in the future. Learning and discipline will take you far." My father patted my head. "Tomorrow night, we will go to the temple, and you will tell the priest what you have done. Then he will tell you what you can do to atone for your sins.".

I groaned, not liking the idea one bit. But then… "Don't we usually go to the temple in the morning? Why are we going at night all of a sudden?"

My mother got up from the bed and started for the door. "There is a god visiting the temple tomorrow, and based on how you've been behaving so far, I don't think you deserve to be in his righteous presence."

I lowered my head, but my father chuckled. "None of us are perfect. I don't believe any mortal is righteous enough to stand before a god." He smiled. "But someday, you will be wise enough to stand before many gods.".


."Of course, Allamyi." He ruffled my hair. "But for now, you're grounded."

Great…" They closed the door on me and I sprawled out on my messy bed. Many gods, huh? Sounds tiresome. I'd be lucky to come within earshot of just one god. I curled up upon the covers. But, that's for goody-two-shoes. People who stand before gods have been good all their lives, and I've been grounded all of my life. I won't change that. I yawned. Life is too fun this way…

."Hmm~? Is that the case now?"

I opened my eyes and immediately noticed I was no longer in my bedroom. I was in an empty void, filled with billowing grey mists and an endless white horizon. "Huh. Guess I'm dreaming."

."You are asleep, yes, but certainly not dreaming." I noticed the dark figure standing in the distance. It was shaped like a woman, long locks of hair flowing gracefully, as if she stood underwater.

."Ah. And who are you? My worst nightmare?"

."I am Lily, Goddess of Light and Maker of All Gods."

."Haha, that's funny." I began to climb up from the floor. "But seriously, who are you?"

Do you not believe my words?" The thin clouds of mist parted, and from behind them stood a beautiful woman with a docile face and rivers of flowing white hair. Her robes were golden and intricate, a glow emitting from her entire body. She looked like something out of a stained glass window… a stained glass window that I'd absentmindedly stared at in the middle of a boring sermon.

At the sight of her, I immediately fell back onto my tush. "Ow! Wait, you can't be serious?"

."I am dead serious, my child."

."What kind of a dream is this…"

."I told you, this is not a dream. Your body slumbers soundly, but your consciousness has drifted over here into the Realm of the Gods."

."And how the heck did I manage to do that? …Oh." Up until that point, I was confident that I was dreaming, but the longer I stayed there, the more I started to realize that everything this goddess said was the truth. So, if I was really in the presence of Lily herself…

I awkwardly fell onto both knees. "U-um… Your Highness? Wait, no, that's what you say to royalty. Err, My Lady?" I bit my lip. Ten minutes ago, I laughed about never being able to meet a god. Now the head honcho of ALL THE GODS is standing before me, and I'm BLOWING IT!

When I raised my head, she was standing over me, a warm smile on her face. She gripped my forearms (her hands were so warm, like tiny furnaces), and pulled me up to my feet. "You can stand before me with confidence, Allamyi. I'm not one for formalities."

She let go of my arms, and I stumbled awkwardly before her. These are the types of situations that most people don't think too hard about… because who in their right mind would ever wind up in a situation like this!? There was a silence between us, and I felt like I was the only one who was feeling awkward and incredibly out of place. "S-So if it's really YOU… what am I doing here?"

She smiled, her billowing hair bobbing about. "I summoned you, of course!"

."Why would you summon me? I-I'm just some kid. A troublemaker, at that!" I lowered my gaze in shame. "I'm not righteous enough to stand before you… especially not today."

."I know. I've been watching over you carefully, Allamyi. It's true that I am capable of watching over every single person in the world simultaneously, but you are special…"

I gazed up at her. "Wh-what does 'simultaneously' mean?" I stuttered on the word and recalled what my father had said about being wise enough to stand before gods. Boy, was I blowing it.

She reached over and patted me on the head. I suddenly didn't feel so nervous. "It means 'all at once,' my child. The wisest of men ask me questions too complex for mortals to be asking, and yet, you ask me such simple questions."

."I'm sorry…"

."Don't be. The innocence and honesty you've displayed show me that you are ready."

."Ready for what?"

."To awaken."

."Ah. So I'm leaving already…"

."No, no, you're not just waking up from your nap, my child. Right now, you are going to awaken to your fullest potential!" She grabbed my face, her two palms warming my cheeks. "You, Allamyi, are very important to me. You've had wondrous powers locked up within you, and I have begun to unleash them. With these powers at your disposal, you will help the world, and me as well."

My eyes widened. "I… You want me to help you?"

."It is your destiny, yes. I feel it is time for you to begin your journey of personal growth. And now I'll set you loose on the world—"

."Wait, wait! Um, can't I at least know something?"

."Ask away."

."What kind of powers are you giving me? Like, will I be able to fly or anything?"

There was silence. Then, Lily began laughing. It was a soft, echoing laugh that bounced all about the dream world. "Such innocence, such lightheartedness! It is such a joy to see!" Her face suddenly grew grim, and she gripped my shoulders firmly. "Very soon, your innocence will be destroyed. Not just because you are special to me… this sort of thing needs to happen to everyone. You will need to grow up very fast, very soon. But… hold onto your lightheartedness. Really do hold onto it. It is something that will get you through life, even in the darkest hour."


She sighed. "I am not very good with children, am I? I've frightened you, yes? I apologize. The only people who ever speak to me directly are the crusty old priests, and they've such negative things to say about the world. Centuries of putting up with those guys, and that negativity will rub off on you, you know? What I ought to say is… From now on, and forever onward_ I will always be by your side, Allamyi. Never be afraid, not even in your darkest hours. Know that the Goddess of Light will tirelessly watch over and protect you. You will always be able to ask for my help."

I blinked. "Always?"

."Always, no matter what."

."But… why me? Why are you choosing me to be important and to give all these powers to?"

."I did not choose you. It just has to be you." She reached up and twiddled with one of her flowing locks. "You know, a parent never chooses their child. In this case, I didn't choose to give you the power to communicate with gods. This is just how and who you are, and regardless, I will always be by your side."

."I can… communicate with gods…?"

."There you go, you've answered your own question! What your father said about wisdom and gods is true. In my opinion, a truly wise person can answer their own questions, wouldn't you agree? That said, I think you're ready enough to fully awaken, my child!"

."I'm not so sure about… that?" My eyes fluttered open and I was once again in my messy bedroom. The way I felt, the stillness in the air… somehow, I knew that I hadn't been dreaming. Had I really just spoken with the Goddess of Light? I sat upright, not quite feeling any different. I glanced over at my digital clock: 8:21 AM. A whole day had passed. My stomach rumbled because I hadn't had dinner the night before. Today already felt like a lazy day.

Would it be? I looked down at the palms of my two hands. Communicate… with the gods? What kind of a weird power is that? More importantly, how would I even test that out? I gazed about my room, my eyes resting on my bedroom door. Mom said there would be a god visiting the temple today. But… she also said I wasn't well-behaved enough to even think about going. I breathed out. Then, an idea brewed. I wonder if it's okay to just stand outside the temple? I don't see why not. It's not like a troublemaker like me is doing anything bad inside the temple…

I didn't peek into my parents' room, because I wasn't supposed to go, and I was used to sneaking out anyway. We lived very close to the temple, so close that we usually walked to the sermons. I didn't like being inside the temple, but I did like going there. No two trips were exactly alike, and as the year rolled by, I liked to take in the sights and scents of the seasons. It was cold on that morning. Fall had ended, and now I could see my foggy breaths puff out before me. I remember it vividly.

It's funny how you can remember such simple things from the most important days in your past.

Our temple was a tiny one, but very pretty nonetheless. Intricate cherubs had been carved into its walls, steeples tolling high above our heads so that the whole town knew the sermon had started. On this day, however, the people had gathered off to the side, at the temple's pavilion. Great white pillars fenced in the wave of people, as they all gathered around a single individual who was probably the god my parents had been talking about. I wanted to get closer, stopping only at the stone steps leading up to the hilltop pavilion. There was no way I was worthy enough to take a single step closer.

I listened to the peoples' chattering, their words of appraisal, their confusing questions. They spoke with such enthusiasm and respect, something I hadn't been able to do in front of Lily herself. The mingling was interrupted as a sudden silence broke through the crowd. "Excuse me… it seems as though I have a visitor. A god approaches." There was muttering amongst the people as they shuffled and stepped aside. Emerging from the crowd was a single individual with tan skin and dark hair. As soon as I laid eyes on him, I knew he was a god. I got a warm feeling in my heart… the kind of feeling you get when you see an old friend after many years.

The young-looking man glanced around, making his way briskly down the stairs. I hastily stepped aside as he approached me. The god stared off into the right, then to the left. "There is a god nearby. He was standing here just now. Where did he go off to?" He looked down at me. "Young one! Did you see anybody standing here just now?"

(I-I only just arrived. I didn't see anything!)

The god's eyes widened and he took a step back. (What in the--? Who are YOU?)

(My name is Allamyi, sir. I'm sorry, I know I shouldn't be here--)

(You… are mortal?)

(Yes, sir.)

(Alright. And who, may I ask, taught you how to do THAT?)

(…Do what?)

(You do realize you are talking in the Language of the Gods, right?)

(Language of the…?) I brought a hand up to my throat. I understood what I was saying, but as I listened to the words tumbling out of my mouth, I realized that whatever language I was speaking, it certainly wasn't English. (I… guess I am talking in the Language of the Gods.) It was a surreal feeling, thinking the words, and yet, having a slew of unfamiliar new words fall out of my mouth.

The god fell onto one knee so that he could look me in the eye. He wasn't upset… but he did look cautious. (Let me ask you again: Are you mortal?)

(Yes, sir.)

(Do you realize that the only ones capable of speaking the Language of the Gods are the gods themselves?)


(Yes. This is a language that is so confusing, so complex, so inhumanly divine, not even the most learned scholars who spend all of their mortal lives trying to decode the language are able to learn it. This tongue is exclusive to the light gods, and the light gods only. And now, all of a sudden, I have before me a small mortal child, speaking this very language so fluidly and with grace. Tell me, how is this possible?)

I gulped. He sounded like he was angry with me. By now, a crowd of people from the pavilion had descended. They stood upon the stone steps, staring down at the scene with wide eyes, unable to understand a word we said. (I guess… it's my special ability, sir.)

(Special… ability?)

(Yes, the Goddess of Light said so herself! Lily told me I can communicate with the gods. At first, I didn't know what she meant, but now…)

(Young man… who are you? Who are you, really? I am a god who has existed for six centuries, and I've only spoken to the Goddess of Light herself once. Only once in my six hundred years of existence was I graced by her presence. You… you're acting as if she's a casual playmate of yours… I've existed for six centuries, and you look like you don't even have a decade under your belt! Tell me, who… WHAT are you?) His eyes widened. (The godly presence I sensed earlier. It's not…? It couldn't be…)

(My dear friend,) A voice suddenly echoed inside my head. It sounded so warm and familiar. At first, I mistook it for my mother's voice, but I quickly realized it was Lily. (do not give this child such a hard time. This boy speaks the truth, and he's to be an important servant of mine. He is under my care and protection, so you needn't fear him. I hope that you and the other gods will be able to guide him through life.)

The god before me looked shaken. (Lady Lily? What is the meaning of this? A mortal capable of godly speech? He's even giving off a holy vibe. Why does such a person exist?)

("Why" doesn't matter. What does matter is that this child is very dear and important to me, and he needs our guidance and protection. That is all.)

There was stillness in the air between us. Finally, the god rose to his feet. "I acknowledge your power." He spoke English, loud enough for the onlookers to hear. "Though I don't quite understand who or what you are, I can at least say this: you are my equal and you have my respect." He put his palm into the air, like a motionless wave, and began his climb back up to the pavilion. The townspeople looked on, gawking at me and firing a myriad of questions at the passing god. He didn't answer them and instead began to quote old scriptures. "'You are limited only by your own willingness.' That's what my friend, the God of Mountains said to you once. What exactly does that mean? Let me tell you an old story from 4 centuries ago…"

A middle-aged woman strolled up to me, two children gripping onto either of her legs. "Young man, what did you do to gain that god's respect? And what were you two talking about?"

."I just…" There was a small pang of relief. I was still capable of speaking English. "I've really got to go. Sorry for causing a scene!" I bolted off in the direction of my house. Now, at that point, I was used to making a scene and drawing a crowd with my shenanigans. This, however, was on a much larger scale.

And thus, I became one with the gods.


I think of that day as the Day My Life Changed. But, it doesn't end there.

I ran back home just in time to crawl back beneath the covers so that my father could barge in and "wake me up". The day carried on normally, same as any other weekend. At some point, my mother and father wanted to go to the store to pick up some groceries, but I intervened by saying, "What about the macaroni? There's some reallllly good macaroni in the fridge!" No, day-old macaroni is not particularly tasty, but I didn't want them to go out in public just yet. By now, I was the talk of the town. If news of my conversation with the god at the temple didn't make the front page of the newspaper, then the townsfolk would forget about the whole thing eventually. For now, I had to keep it a secret from my parents, and the only way to do that was to keep them at home.

So we had the gross day-old macaroni, and I went about the household, causing enough trouble to keep my mother and father tied to the house. Night fell eventually, and I felt like my endeavors had been a success.

I sat on my bed, reading comics about my favorite superheroes, wondering if things would be any different if I had their superpowers, as opposed to my god-speaking talent. There was a light rapping on the door, and knowing who it was, I shouted, "What do you waaaant?"

My mother opened the door just a bit and peeked in. "Allamyi? I need you to lock the door and bolt your windows. Right now."

I glanced up from my comic. "Huh?"

."Draw the curtains, and if you can, push your drawer in front of the door. Hide underneath the bed."

My heart began to race. "Ma, what's wrong?"

."Nothing we can't handle. We'll be fine. Just promise me that no matter what, you will not come out of this room, and you will not open the door to anyone you don't know."


She closed the door, and I heard her footsteps briskly making their way down the hallway. I was scared for her, but of all the times I chose to misbehave, I knew that now was the time to listen. I bolted the windows and threw the curtains together, too frightened to look out into the night and try to figure out what's going on. With a heavy heart, I locked the door, pushed my dresser drawer in front of it, and hid under the bed, taking a pile of blankets with me and burying myself beneath them. At first, there was silence, nothing but my own heart beating. Then, I heard glass shattering, a loud BOOM!, and my father's angry yelling. I could hear shrieks, both from my parents and from voices I didn't recognize. There had to have been some brawl going on, because I heard thumping, crashes, fumbling, and even a firearm going off. I closed my eyes, trying to mute the noises with my thick blankets. My worst fear was that these were the noises of my parents dying. I didn't want those sounds to be engraved into my memory. They'd haunt me for countless years. I heard some rapid footsteps coming down the hallway, stopping before my door, and jiggling the knob. There was a knocking, and then vigorous pushing against the wood. I shook in fear as I heard loud bangs going against my door, practically on the verge of knocking it down. The loud bangs were cut off by somebody's shouting, grunting, and a body hitting the floor. Immediately after that, there was silence.

."Allamyi? It's okay, you're safe now. It's me, Levvo."

I peeked up from underneath the covers. There was now a gaping hole in my door, probably made by an axe. Glancing down at me through the hole in the wall was the priest from the local temple, Levvo. He'd scolded me on several occasions in the past, so that's how I knew he was a good person. I crawled out from my hiding space and, after pushing the dresser to the side, opened the door to him. "Levvo, what… happened?"

."I can't say right now. Your parents called me, and it looks like I showed up in the nick of time. I'll take you to them, come on."

."They're okay!?"

."Of course, those two are more resilient than a cactus in the desert." He held his arms out to me. "I'll carry you. Just promise me this: don't open your eyes."

."Why not?"

."You don't want to see the… mess… we've made."

That said, Levvo scooped me up, and out of fear, I clenched my eyes shut. Of course, when you close your eyes so tightly, you become both tired and curious. I opened my eyes just a bit. I remember seeing something dark sprawled out on the floor in my living room. There was also something red on the carpet. That enough sent chills down my spine, and I clenched my eyes shut again. "What did I just say?" Levvo scolded, to which I gave a small whimper.

I eventually felt a cold winter breeze against my back, and Levvo set me down. "Alright, Allamyi, the coast's clear. You can open your eyes now."

When I opened them, my parents were already bounding towards me, pulling my body into an air-tight squeeze. "Mama… Papa…" I sobbed. No words could describe sheer amount of relief I felt at that instant. I thought for sure I'd lost them, but seeing their faces, feeling their embrace, even smelling their bread-like scents filled me with joy. Even on that cold winter night, I felt warm. I'll never forget that feeling.

."You cry so easily, Al." my father teased. "Such tenderness can't be good for you."

."You, *sniff*, can't expect me to NOT cry!"

."Did you think you'd lose us so easily?" my mother chuckled. "Nothing will stop a mother from protecting her child."

."So… what happened?" They freed me from the embrace and I studied all their faces.

."Well," Levvo said, "it seems as though a gang of demons planned an attack on your house. Fortunately, we caught wind of the situation before they could do whatever dastardly deed they had planned." They nodded amongst themselves and I bit my lower lip. "I… have something to confess. I know you guys aren't going to believe me, but…"

My father shook his head. "No need to explain, Allamyi. Levvo here explained the whole situation with us. Apparently, you had a run-in with the God of Travel?"

."God of…? Oh, you mean the guy with the rough accent? Yeah, he sounded like he was upset with me."

Levvo snorted. "You act as if he was just an ordinary guy! Yes, that was Yoru, the God of Travel you encountered. He and I planned his visit to the temple, but neither one of us expected you to show up and make a scene. Yoru filled me in on the details about your… conversation. He's also the one who alerted me about the impending demons. They were after you, you know."

I blinked. "Me?"

."Yes. You have quite the special ability. It's not just the townsfolk who are talking about you now. Apparently, the demons heard about you, and they wanted to pay you a surprise visit to harness your powers."

."B-but… why's everybody so riled up about me anyway? I mean, so what? I know a new language. What's the big deal? Why do demons care if I can talk to gods?"

Levvo crossed his arms. "All we know is that there is a mortal amongst us who has god-like components and apparently has the guardianship of Lady Lily herself. You must be important to her Divine Plan in some way, and the demons are always trying to hinder her will. That's why something like this inevitably happened to you… and they will continue to happen to you as long as the demons know you're here." He began to pace. "Tonight, we were lucky, because the God of Travel happened to be in town, and powerful gods like him can sense demons from miles away. But next time, you might not be so lucky. If you remain here, the demons may strike again at any time." He tapped his belt, and I realized that an array of daggers were clinking against his hip. "We were able to prepare for battle because of the warning we received, but next time, there may not be a warning. Next time, we may be taken off guard. Next time, a life may be lost."

I hugged my mother's leg. "I… I don't want anybody to die because of me…"

My mother fell to a knee and put a finger beneath my chin. "Allamyi, listen here… I want you to go with Levvo."

I blinked up at her. "H-huh? Go with Levvo? Just me? You'll follow, won't you?"

Levvo stepped forward. "Allamyi, I know you're not going to like this, but we need you to come with me. Your parents can't follow. I've made arrangements—"

."Why can't they come!?"

."Your life is precious, Allamyi, and for that reason, you must go into hiding—"

."I don't care where I have to hide, or for how long, so long as my mom and dad are with me… They can hide too, can't they?" I stared wildly around. The looks on their faces… were so bleak. "Can't you!?"

My father kneeled down and joined my mother's side. "Allamyi, it's very important that you go alone. Your mother and I will be fine. What we're most worried about right now is you and your safety. The two of us are barely strong enough to hold back a small gang of demons. If you stay here any longer, more and more armies of demons will come to try to take you with us. And, wherever it is that you may travel, the people there will do a much better job at protecting you."

I shook my head in disbelief. "So… not even you guys know where they're taking me?"

."If we knew where they were taking you, it would only put you in more danger. Nobody should know where you are, Allamyi. Not even your own mother and father."

."B-but that still doesn't mean you can't come with me!"

Levvo strode over to us. I gripped my mother's arm, afraid that he would pry me away. "Allamyi, I'm going to be very frank with you: where you go, danger will follow. We managed to slay most of the demons that showed up today, but that doesn't mean that word about you isn't still spreading in the dark world. They'll try to hunt you down. They will search the whole world. Eventually, they may find you again, and that is why no place is safe for you. If your parents came with you, you would continue to put them in danger. Their lives are just as at risk as yours is, so long as you're with them. The only way to assure their safety is to live far, far away from them. Do you understand what I am saying?"

I understood exactly what he was saying, and I knew he was right. Tears welled up in my eyes. "But, how long will it be before I can come back home?"

."I don't know, Allamyi. It may be months, it may be years…"

I turned to my parents. "Won't I ever get to see you guys?"

My mother gave me a weak smile. "We… we will write to you. Levvo says we can do that much. But other than that…"

I threw myself into their arms. "Does it really have to be like this? What can I do to change this? I just want to live with you guys." I began to cry. "I know I've been bad, and I wish I could have changed that! When this happened, I thought I'd almost lost you! I was going to change! I was going to do all my chores without moping about it, a-and bring home the best grades ever from school! I was going to be on the honor roll! I was going to graduate, just for you! But now I won't ever be able to do that, and I'm sorry!" I buried my face into my mother's chest until my nose burned. "I've been so terrible, everything I ever did to you! I could have been good, I could have! But when I decided to change that… it was too late… So now… so now it's like I didn't love you… You never gave up on me, and I never had the chance to show you how much I appreciated it…!"

My mother peeled me off of her and looked into my eyes. "We've always been able to see how much you do care for us, Allamyi. A careless child wouldn't pick me wildflowers, nor would a careless child say 'yum!' at the dinner table. It's the little things you do that show us that you really care. We know you Allamyi. You are a good child. There are things that you do wrong, but all people have flaws. You are not the perfect child, and, we are not perfect parents, either. Wouldn't you agree that we are perfect for each other?"

I could feel my lower lip quivering. "I… I don't want to leave you guys. But… if it means you will be safe…"

."We understand that." My father said. "That's why we would like for you to go with Levvo." He smiled. ."Wherever it is you may go, I know you'll do us proud." He patted my head. "You don't have to mail us a straight-A report card to show us you care. Just take care of yourself, make the right choices, and show the world the boy we raised."

I jumped into his arms, squeezing my father tighter than ever before. By the time I pulled away, I realized, "It's… snowing…"

."The seasons are changing, and it's time to prepare for the many days ahead. That's especially true for you, Allamyi." Levvo said.

My mother pushed a small box into my hands. "Here, this is for you."

I gasped. "Strawberries, my favorite!" I struggled to get the box open before stopping. This… was going to be my final memory of my parents.

They both squeezed my shoulders. "Happy early birthday, Allamyi." My mother said. "We got these yesterday. I was going to put them on your cake in a couple more days, but it looks like I won't get the opportunity. Next year, your birthday present will be a hundred times better!"

."Somehow, I doubt that." I embraced the two of them one last time.

Parked outside my house was a dark, sleek vehicle which belonged to Levvo. He opened the back door for me, and I regretfully stepped in.

."Remember, Al… behave yourself, and make us proud."

."I will, I promise!"

I looked out the window for a long time, watching my waving parents sink further and further into the night.

."Strawberries, huh?" Levvo asked me.

I hugged the plastic box to my chest. "They're my favorite."

."You know, in some parts of the world, strawberries are said to look like hearts. For that reason, they represent love and compassion." He nodded to himself. "How appropriate."

I managed to pry the box open. I will eat them slowly… I promised myself. I didn't want to let them spoil, but I also didn't want to just gobble them all down. I wanted to appreciate the strawberries… make them last for as long as possible.

They didn't last long.

They didn't spoil, either.

Part II ~ Yoru ~ The World Isn't So Big

The snow from last night stretch on until noon of the next day. My feet were firmly planted on the dock, arms crossed, gazing out into the sea like a proud gull. To be perfectly honest, I was shivering like a sprinkler on the inside.

."So. Where is Yoru going today?" asked the man in the ticket booth. He was dressed as a sailor, but he and I both knew that 1.) He couldn't steer a vessel, and 2.) He was prone to seasickness.

I glanced over at him. "Ah. Long time no see, Luis. Today, I travel to Unity Island."

."What business do you have on Unity? Sightseeing? War-brewing?"

."…I am escorting somebody there."

."Oh? Yoru is going to be traveling with somebody today? Guess it's going to rain tonight; you never travel with anybody."

."It's not by my own choice, really." I muttered. I thought about what the goddess Lily had told me: (The child you met yesterday must flee to Unity Island. You will escort him.)

(Why? Can't you get somebody else to do it?)

(I'm afraid I cannot. After all, you are one of the few gods who knows where the Sanctuary is.)

(You… You want me to take him to the Sanctuary? Why?)

(You can take a wild guess, Yoru. It is the only place suitable for Allamyi.)

I imagined that troublesome kid wreaking havoc in the Sanctuary. It was the last place in Siyel I could ever picture that kid going. And yet… it was also the perfect place for him.

I caught sight of a dark vehicle off the corner of my eye, and moments later, Levvo and Allamyi were making their way towards me. The boy was wearing the same exact clothes from yesterday: light t-shirt and jeans. I strode over to him, intrigued by the one box of strawberries he'd brought with him. "Kid, where we're going, you might want to bundle up just a tiny bit more." I turned to Levvo. "You DID think to bring him with a sweater, right?"

Levvo sighed. "There was no time, my dear friend. We were taken completely off-guard, and I thought it wise for the boy to leave absolutely every one of his possessions behind. We could not bring a sweater."

."Let me guess… you completely forgot to tell him to bring a sweater?"

."…It may have slipped my mind…"

I smiled and patted the priest on the shoulder. "I will make a pit stop before we reach our destination. Next time, try to think ahead, Levvo."

."Oh, hush! I'd like to see you remember such simple things at a time like this!"

."I'm the God of Travel. Do I strike you as the type of person who forgets to use the bathroom before heading out?" I tapped my noggin. "This god goes prepared."

."Well, I hope you're prepared to take care of your escort, because he's already about to plummet into the ocean."

I spun around and caught sight of Allamyi climbing on the ropes of the boardwalk. He leaned over the roped railing, gazing into the green sea below. I strode over and plucked him up by the back of his shirt. "Go easy on me, kid. I'm not a trained babysitting professional, so if you're about to do something that could possibly break a bone, chances are, you will."

He gazed up at me with those obnoxiously sparkly green eyes of his. "Where are you taking me? When can I come back home?"

I grumbled, knowing the answers to both questions. "I can't answer those questions right now." I hoisted him over my shoulder, as if the child were a sack of sugary potatoes. "Thanks for bringing him, Levvo. Tell his parents he's in good hands."

."Is a god really asking me to lie?"

I kicked playfully in his direction. "See you next year, you crazy priest. Next time, maybe things won't be so hectic and you can finally lose to me at chess."

."Keep dreaming, Yoru." He waved and began the trek back to his car.

As I marched down the dock towards the awaiting vessel, Allamyi said, "You and Levvo seem to be good friends."

I shrugged, which caused the child to bounce about my shoulder. "He's one of the few priests who can keep up with me. Most temple leaders are so quiet and boring, but that guy… that guy knows a thing or two about tabletop games. And tea. He brews some good tea. Visiting his temple is like a breath of fresh air; even gods get tired of being stiff all the time."

."Lily said something like that." He fidgeted. "She said she's not one for formalities."

I grew frustrated just then. Again, this child carried himself as though he and the Goddess of Light were mere playmates. It was admirable, but also very irritating. "I'm still amazed that somebody like you actually exists. Goes to show that even the God of Traveling has much to learn about this world."

As we stepped onto the small ferry, I set Allamyi on his feet. Before he could scramble off in some hazardous direction, I gripped the shoulder of his shirt and began to steer him into the cabin rooms. "What does the God of Traveling do, anyway?"

."I am capable of traveling to all corners of the world in the blink of an eye. For centuries, I've walked Siyel, and yet, I am still making curious discoveries every day. You're one of them."

."In the blink of an eye? Then why do we have to go by boat? Can't we just… you know… teleport to where we need to be?"

."That would be much easier, yes." I kicked open the door to an unoccupied cabin and pushed Allamyi towards one of the cots. "But, because you are with me, and because of the secrets surrounding the place I'm taking you to, we need to keep a low profile. Warping from one place to another is too careless and risky. Who's to say we won't magically appear before a legion of demons?" I plopped down onto the cot on the opposite side of the room, causing the cheap thing to shriek and wheeze beneath my weight. "As far as anybody knows, I'm mortal. And you? You're… you're my nephew, perhaps. Nobody can know who we really are, what either one of us is capable of, or where we're headed. That's why we need to travel as slowly and naturally as possible."

."Sounds boring."

."Don't you sound grateful?"

The boy gazed about the cheap, yellow room. Yellow is a pretty cheap color, isn't it? The walls were plastered raincoat yellow. Bit and parts were peeling off the walls, probably because a bored passenger had absentmindedly clawed at the walls beforehand. There was a single desk, and upon it, faux sunflowers that were more annoying to the touch than double-sided tape. Allamyi peeked out the porthole that hung glumly over his bed, staring into the equally glum grey seas. "How far am I going?"

."How big is the world? Half of that."

."…That's not so far."

."Kid, when was the last time you left your hometown?"


."Then how can you say the world isn't so big? I've seen the world. I've been seeing it for centuries. Take the word of the God of Travel: the world is massive."

."Distance-wise, it's probably big, but people-wise, it's quite small." He turned to me. "I think we're all the same. So, if we're all the same, we're not that far apart from one another, right?"

I sat upright. "You say all people are the same? Kid, the only two people in this cabin room couldn't be any more different. There's more distance between us than like-charged magnets. If I was a city, you'd be a village. That's how far apart we are."

He plopped back down onto his cot. "Lily doesn't think so."

I narrowed my eyes. "So, what? You can just talk to the God of All Gods at will? Do you have her on speed dial or something?"

."Sort of. Last night, she spoke to me, and earlier this morning, we talked again. We're always talking. It makes me feel a little less lonely in this world."

I grumbled. "I find everything you're capable of doing incredibly hard to believe."

."You don't need to be important to talk to Lily." He said. "She told me so herself. Anybody can do it. You just have to open your heart and she will hear you."

I curled up on the cot and turned my back to him. "You're already starting to sound like a book of scriptures. Are you sure you aren't a god?"

There was silence. Neither one of us could answer that question.


As soon as I could see Unity Island in the distance, I sighed to myself and made my way back into the cabin. I hadn't allowed Allamyi to venture anywhere outside of the cabin. The whole time, I'd been delivering food from the kitchen directly to his bedside. He called it room service, I called it a burden.

That evening, I returned to our cabin, ensuring that no other passengers were within earshot to hear our conversation through the paper-thin walls. "Alright, kiddo. We should be landing sometime before dawn. Now, it's very important that nobody know where you're headed. Not even you can know where you are. For that reason, you'll have to be blindfolded from here on out. But don't worry, I'm not going to spitefully drop you down a canyon or anything. I am doing this under Lily's orders after all. If anybody asks, tell them… We will tell them that you are blind."


."Or rather, you just had surgery on your eyes. Something like that. And, if somebody asks you to take your blindfold off, tell them you can't, because your eyes shoot deadly lasers."


."Yes, lasers. Unless you're into basilisks, in which case, you can just say that they'll probably die if you look at them."

."Who would believe s-something ridiculous like that?"

."Allamyi, where we're going, things like this happen all the time. Everybody can shoot lasers out of their eyes. Presumably."

I heard a sniffle, and I realized that Allamyi had been whimpering the whole time. He had his back to me, curled up into a little ball on the cot. I immediately pulled him towards me. His face was flushed with tears, and he hugged that plastic box of berries against his chest.

I sighed. "Don't just cry like that! Geez, you had me thinking you were dying of some kind of mortal illness. I was about to summon the God of Medicine… if such a thing exists. You're not hurt, are you?"

."N-no…" He sniffled and turned away from me.

."Ah. Good." I sprawled onto my cot, but after several seconds of listening to his whimpering, I sat back up. "Alright, what's eating you? Are you homesick?"

He turned back to face me and held up the box of strawberries. It was almost completely empty, except for one small berry that sat glumly in the corner. "I almost finished them, b-but I don't want to finish them!"

I groaned. "Is that all this is about? You're crying over snacks?"

He hugged the box to his chest. "S-strawberries symbolize love and compassion. My parents gave this to me. I wanted to make it last, but…"

."Ah. So you really are homesick. That explains it." I took the box from him and studied the small, shriveled berry that remained. "So you're feeling guilty about eating all of them?"


."Then I'll just chuck this last one off the ship."

."No, wait!" He hopped up and snatched the box away. "You can't just throw it away!"

."Well, what happens to food you don't eat? It gets thrown out. The same goes for gifts, compassion, and just about anything else you can receive from somebody else. If the gift never gets used, then it goes to waste, and you will have trampled upon the thoughts and generosity of the person who gave it to you. Strawberries were made to be eaten. If that's what your parents wanted you to do with them, then by George, that's what you should do. It's as simple as that."

He must have realized the truth behind my words. Allamyi pried open the plastic box… and pushed the berry towards me. "You eat it."

."Me? Why me?"

."Because I can't."

."Pfft, well, neither can I. I really think you should be the one eating it. I don't have any ties with your parents…"

He eyed the berry with hungry eyes… before tearing it in half and handing me part of it. "Then we'll share."

I rolled my eyes and took the berry. "If it'll make you feel better, kiddo." The strawberry was sweet and tender, a rare delicacy that I hadn't had in decades. I'd almost forgotten how good they tasted.

."Strawberries represent love and compassion." Allamyi grinned up at me. "You're very compassionate, Yoru."

."Me? Compassionate?" I suddenly grew angry. "I-I… Tch, that's a load of bologna. What have I ever done that was remotely good?" I turned on my heel and started for the door. "Be ready to leave by dawn. No moping if I have to shake you awake."

I stormed out of the room and down the cabin halls. This child… was even more impressive than I thought. He… was more of a god than I could ever hope to be. I couldn't figure out what made me angrier: his brilliance, or my shortcomings?

You're very compassionate, Yoru…

I blocked out the memories from my past. If there was anything that kid couldn't be more wrong about… If there was something I would change about myself… It'd be that…


by me and others

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