Road to Florin – Present Day
It’s a bright sunny day with some clouds here and there.
The calm countryside. For someone that has spent most of their lives within the city walls, by just being there smelling the clean cool breeze of the open country air, it’s nothing quite like it. None of that big city noise. Just the calm scenery of the countryside.
The clean river waters. Unlike the canals and the river that goes through Calpheon City, this one is clean and clear. One can even see fishes living there, thriving.
Don’t Hold It In
By the road to Florin just up North of Calpheon’s Northern Wheat Plantation, we see Lorrelle Ibarra lying down on Vallet’s back, humming, while Vallet casually walks. Lorrelle looked forward to this moment in her life, without the supervision of her father that is.
“Vallet, look!” Lorrelle cried, “that cloud looks like a cake!”
As if Vallet understands what Lorrelle said, she looks up to see the clouds and brays.
“I love cake, Aunt Victorina bakes the most delicious cakes in all of Calpheon!” Lorrelle said playfully as she extends her arms sideward, “let’s try cake sometimes!”
Vallet brays again.
“You like that? It’s a promise then!”
Lorrelle then roles over to hug Vallet, making Vallet brays another time.
Lorrelle then sits up, facing backwards. She realizes how far away from home she is now.
She then looks to her left, seeing the clear river flowing gently. There are butterflies hovering over the wild tulips at the side of the river.
“Wow! Butterflies! If only mom and dad are here to see these…” Lorrelle’s smile slowly fades as she looks down at her hands that are placed on Vallet’s back. Her vision slowly starts to get watery.
As she blinks, tears start to fall on her glasses.
“What?” Lorrelle said as she snuffles.
She then removes her glasses and wipes her tears, “No, mom and dad said I have to be strong…”
But her tears keep on flowing.
By the distance, a horse can be heard getting nearer to Lorrelle. But because of Lorrelle’s current state of mind, she doesn’t realize it.
The galloping of the horse draws nearer and nearer.
Then the horse stops near Lorrelle. She then heard a female voice speaks in a sweet and calm manner, “Are you… alright?”
This voice that Lorrelle heard is calming as it is with authority, but respectful still. It’s almost divine, in a sense that it is out of this world, rather, in an elegant fashion more so than how a Calpheon Nobility would speak that Lorrelle is accustomed in hearing.
Lorrelle, still crying, tries to pull herself together.
As she slowly opens her eyes, her vision slowly focuses on the lady in front of her riding a black horse in steel-plated armour.
This lady has a rather light complexion and white hair, wearing a thin black dress complete with gold and silver plating on her right shoulder, arm bracers, and necklace; something only worn by maidens found in temples and shrines dedicated to the divine. What caught Lorrelle’s attention are the lady’s heterochromatic eyes, her right eye is a shade of red with an iris that of a cat’s, while her left eye is pure white with no iris. The left side of her face also has a large black marking, does that have something to do with her white left eye?
But most of all is the black wings with golden chains that this lady has, “An… angel?” Lorrelle said, not believing what she is seeing right in front of her eyes.
And just like that, Lorrelle stops crying because she’s in awe by the angel she’s facing. Now speechless, she looks at the angel in front of her with her eyes wide open.
Nice To Meet You
The angel tilts her head a little to the right, not knowing what is happening.
“Wow, I’ve never seen an angel before,” Lorrelle finally manages to speak, “You’re so beautiful, lady!”
The angel then smiles, “Are you alright, dear? You were crying earlier.”
Her smile gave Lorrelle warmth and tranquillity.
“I’m alright now!” Lorrelle said as she extends her arms upward.
“What’s your name, dear?”
“My name is Lorrelle.”
“Nice to meet you, Lorrelle, I’m Arabellah. Call me ‘Ara’ for short.”
Arabellah then made her horse get closer to Lorrelle and extends her hand for a handshake.
“Where are you from?”
“I’m from Calpheon!”
Ara is impressed, “You’re far away from home, where are you going?”
“I’m going to Florin, then to Olvia, then to Velia.”
“And only on your own? You’re quite brave. Do your parents know you’re out here?”
“Yes, Father and my other relatives are too busy with work, so he allows me to go on my own, but I have to stay on the safe roads. But it’s alright, I know mom and dad are watching over me.”
“Wait… Father… and mom and dad… watching over you?”
“Yeah, I’m adopted… my real mom and dad are gone… a long time ago.”
“I’m… I’m sorry…”
“Why are you sorry? You didn’t do anything bad and I know for a fact that angels are the kindest!”
Ara felt a small prick in her chest.
How is it possible for someone to be so innocent, sweet, and straightforward? Ara thought, She’s too cute!
Ara then clears her throat and shook her head.
“You’re going to Florin, you say?”
Lorrelle extends her arms upwards, “Yes!”
“How about we go there together? I’m meeting a friend there.”
“Alright!” Lorrelle turns around and pats Vallet, “To Florin!”
They are now both on their way to Florin, side by side.
A few minutes later, Lorrelle’s stomach growls.
“You hungry? I surely am.” Lorrelle said then reaches for her pouch while humming along.
She brought out a small jar full of cookies and opens the lid to pick up a cookie.
Lorrelle then extends her right arm to Ara with a cookie at hand.
“Cookie? Aunt Victorina baked them.”
Ara nods and reaches for the cookie, “Thank you.”
Ara looks composed and smiling on the outside but deep in her mind, she’s bursting out with joy, barely containing herself deep inside.
She’s too cute! Ara thought.
Suddenly, Ara glares on her right side, by the large boulder.
Lorrelle looks at Ara, worried, “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing… it’s just… it feels like someone’s watching…”
“Probably just a squirrel,” Lorrelle said then continues humming.
An hour later, they’ve finally arrived in Florin, the home of the Shais.
There’s a Shai by the stables with green eyes and a combination of blue and violet hair, wearing a white shirt and dark blue skirt, and a brown hat.
This Shai is busy tending her things at the stables when she heard a horse neighs and a donkey bray. She then looks behind her and saw Lorrelle and Ara dismounting, she then quickly makes her way to the two.
“Finally, you’re here, Ara!” the Shai said as she waves.
Ara waves as well, “Yep, we’re here, Cheimon.”
Cheimon frowns and crosses her arms, “What took you so long? You’re late!”
Ara crosses her arms as well, “A witch is never late, Cheimon Calista, nor is she early, she arrives precisely when she means to, Cheimon.”
The two then stares at each other for a short while. Ara began to smile and so does Cheimon, then they both laugh. Cheimon then dashes towards Ara.
“It’s wonderful to see you, Ara!”
Ara chuckles, “You didn’t think I’d miss swimming by Olvia Coast?”
“Well, it seems you’re already in your swimsuit so…” Cheimon then looks at Lorrelle, “Who is she?”
“Hello! My name is Lorrelle!”
“Lorrelle?!” Cheimon quickly walks towards Lorrelle.
Cheimon shows a big smile as she grabs Lorrelle’s hands, “It’s great to meet you! Hey, want to come with as at Olvia Coast? We’ll be having a picnic there then go swimming by the beach!”
“Really? I can come with you guys?”
Ara smiles, “Why not? The more the merrier.”
Good job Cheimon! Ara thought as she closes her eyes and nods, I need to bask on her cuteness more!
“Alright, I’ll join!” Lorrelle said while her eyes sparkle with joy, “But I must talk to uncle Valentine first.”
“Valentine is your uncle!?” Ara and Cheimon both shouted.
“Technically no, but he took care of me most of the time when I was still a baby, also Father and Uncle Valentine are old friends.”
“You’ve mentioned him before when we talked earlier,” Ara said, “who is your Father?”
“Um, my Father is Crisostomo Ibarra.”
Ara and Cheimon are in shock again and both shouted, “Crisostomo Ibarra!?”
“You’re an Ibarra!?” Ara cried.
“Yes, wait, did I forgot to mention that? I’m sorry, hehe, I forgot.”
Lorrelle then looks behind her, “Oh, wait, I think I saw Uncle Valentine. I’ll talk to him first!”
“Alright…” Ara and Cheimon said in unison.
As Ara and Cheimon watch as Lorrelle ran uphill, Cheimon tugs Ara’s dress, making her lean.
“How did you not know she’s an Ibarra until now?” Cheimon whispers.
Ara whispers back, “I don’t know… she was too cute, and she was crying!”
“Hey! I’m cute too!”
“Don’t get me wrong, you both are cute.”
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Andrei Jarell Vedad is a passionate financial literacy advocate from the Philippines. With a background in Information Technology and currently pursuing a law degree, Andrei combines his knowledge and expertise to empower individuals in managing their personal finances. Through his blog and extensive research, he shares practical tips, strategies, and thought-provoking articles to help readers make informed financial decisions and achieve their financial goals. With a global perspective, Andrei aims to inspire positive change and foster financial well-being, not only in the Philippines but also worldwide.