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Chapter 1

In the world of Arcane Realm

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Chapter 1

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Take a moment to imagine a world where fantastical creatures of myth and legend not only live but meet and greet one other daily. Now there is a mermaid with a lovely tan bartering a conch shell for 2 coconuts from an elemental spirit composed entirely of air with a sea-green hue.  In the mountains of this curious land, where the evergreen and bamboo trees grow as far as the eye can see, was a small log cabin. Chopping up lumber was a short elderly fellow wearing a dark blue kimono and covered in brown fur and a big fluffy tail. A tanuki or raccoon dog what his kind are called, and he has worked the area to provide for his wife for about maybe 300 years or so. However, throughout all this time, they, unfortunately, couldn’t rear any pups to raise a family.

On a typical day, the husband would spend the early morning chopping wood then carrying a load of cut timber with him on his back. He would walk down to the valley to a place with merchants of various races from all the corners of the world who came together in one great outdoor bazaar to trade their goods. From carts with fruits, shacks with pottery and hanging jewelry, even traveling caravans filled with folk clothing and other knickknacks. For his space, however, the tanuki only set up a simple carpet for him and his timber to rest on as he sold it.

Today in the marketplace he was able to acquire fish, silk, clay, and a crate of peaches. Since he had to carry it all by himself, by the time he brought it all back home, he was out of breath and rested on his hammock. His wife took out the peaches to wash them in a nearby stream. On one of the peaches, however, she found something that she thought was simply a bug until she had a closer look.

It was a creature that was a pale shade of beige, with a small head, and an even tinier human-like body and four rolled up wings on its back. It was a baby airy, a pixie, clinging to the fuzz of the peach with its stubby arms and legs as it rested with its eyes closed. She picked up the tiny thing on her finger and showed the sleeping pixie to her husband. The husband had seen fairies often in the marketplace, but he never knew they could have started out this puny. The adults resembled people who sported brilliant wings that mirrored butterflies or dragonflies, and though they rarely grew past four feet, it was amazing that one could be smaller than their thumbs. He decided that they should quickly get to the market to find who lost the child, as it was already evening time, and everyone would be clearing out soon.

No matter how many fairies they talked to that were still there, none claimed the child as their own. One of the fairies they talked to mentioned that their women, the nymphs, would often birth multiple children and that the poor ones would sometimes abandon them in crowded places. He also gave them a jar of baby formula so that they could feed the child in the meantime.

The couple returned to their woodland cabin with the abandoned fairy in their hands. The elderly tanuki woman fed the child with the formula through a dew leaf while stroking her head of blond curls. She convinced her husband that they should raise the fairy girl as their own, for they had no other children. The elderly husband called her Faylinn, for he heard of the name in the marketplace while being told a tale with a legendary warrior woman in the distant past. The couple wondered if the fairy would take to their appearance, but they had a little trick up their sleeve. For you see, tanukis are well known for the ability to change their appearance into various things or other creatures. In this case, the pair altered their look into two adult fairies to look more like their new daughter.

A week later, Faylinn was able to open her eyes when she was awake, and her new parents saw her blue-green eyes for the first time. She also unfurled her four brilliantly scaled green and orange butterfly-like wings. The one-inch baby enjoyed crawling around their home as she learned how to flutter around with wings larger than she was. Although the tanuki couple was old, they came to care for and love their adopted fairy daughter. The old man would sculpt very small toys of timber and bamboo for her to play and chew on. The old woman would feed her and make her tunics and dresses out of bamboo fibers and silk when her husband was able to bring some home.

By the time she was learning how to talk, her blond curly hair had become much more reddish over time, along with her complexion taking on a more tanned hue. She still had most of her baby fat, but she was at least half an inch taller. From then on, her mother taught her how to sow her clothing together and help to cook meals with the family.

The old tanuki feared for his tiny daughter's safety and thus started her on the physical training he took long ago in his youth. First, he taught Faylinn about her chi, the vital life-force that rests inside her and other living things to survive and the two practiced meditation every night to build and contain it. He then added daily exercises involving miniature tools to teach her the art of woodcutting and carpentry so that she could help him at the market.

Next came using her developing chi to strengthen her body as she copied her adoptive father's forms and stances when performing martial art moves, both simple and complex. Before she knew it, her father constructed a full-size wooden training dummy that spun to practice her fighting techniques on opponents. First, he built one her size and gradually built ones larger and larger until she was practicing with training dummies the size of a full-grown adult. A year of her father's training, she was able to carry a long branch to give to her father when he went down to the valley, and another year later she could carry an entire log with merely her strength alone to be cut by him.

 

In the spring and summertime, the strawberry blonde pixie would often help her old father gather millet grains and bamboo near the valley. Back home she would help him craft the bamboo into furniture and help her mother make dumplings for supper. On one such evening, they heard loud barking from outside. Faylinn went outside to locate the noise and found it coming from a dog nearby. She took a defensive stance until she noticed that the dog was drooling. She gave it one of her dumplings and it thanked her for the food by letting her stroke its head. With a better look, she saw with its white and reddish fur, along with a curled tail that it was an Akita Inu breed, like the sled dogs she saw near the peak of the mountains. From there, Faylinn decided to bring the large, powerful dog home as the family pet and guard dog.

 

 

However, her good intentions led to a disastrous result when the dog she brought home began barking at her parents scaring them. She tried to get the canine to calm down, but he ended up getting loose and chasing her parents through their home. After a lot of chasing around for hours, Faylinn was able to put the dog on a makeshift leash and keep him outside. Back at her house, she looked for her parents but unexpected to her found two raccoon dogs instead. Ashamed, the two animals explained that they were her parent's true forms and they only looked like fairies to make Faylinn feel accepted even though she was adopted.

 

After some time to think about the truth of her parents, Faylinn came to the decision to forgive them and decided that she still loved them no matter how they looked. The issue was then what to do with the dog when she came with an idea. For one whole week, she had her parents give some meat-stuffed dumplings to the dog outside so it could get used to them. Just as she thought, the canine came to accept the tanuki just like it did Faylinn. Better yet, her father decided to finally allow her to join him on his trips to the bazaar.

 

On one occasion at the bazaar with her father, Faylinn heard tales of bandits from various merchants and she asked around to find out where it was happening. Soon she found someone on the east side of the market, a full-grown fairy woman with a story to tell. She told everyone of a gang of giant people called "Oni" were stealing from everyone on an island called Megi-Jima off the coast, ever since they defeated and stole from the giants who lived there. A rice farmer surprised by her story asked her, "They stole from other giants too?" She replied, "Yes, they are that big a group and terrifying." After hearing the story Faylinn went over to her father and said, “Papa! I want to stop those bandits on Megi-Jima Island. They're ruining lives and spreading fear to everyone there.” The old tanuki was surprised by his daughter's remarks but convinced her to wait until they talk it over with her mother. Back home she shared her story with the old woman and begged them both to let her punish the bandits on the island. "Mother, you always say I should be kind and help out others. And Father, you said I should use the martial arts to defend myself and those who can't do so!" the pixie told her parents.

 

Of course, the tanuki couple was seriously worried about their tiny daughter but Faylinn insisted so earnestly that they finally gave in to her plea. Her father crafted her a wooden staff and fashioned a small steel shaving blade for her to tie on to make a great spear. Her mother used hemp fibers to weave her an orange martial gi, like the one her husband wore when he used to be at the monastery. "Well, I didn't need a lot of material" she laughed with her daughter as they finished it together. Together they both prepared some millet dumplings and smoked dried salmon for Faylinn to eat on her journey and saw their five-inch tall daughter off.

 

As she left the house, their dog quietly walked behind her until Faylinn spotted him following her. "Boy, you shouldn't be here, go back home where it's safe", she told her pet. But once her canine started to whimper and give her the sad eyes, there was not a chance that Faylinn could say no to that. She gave her doggy the biggest hug she could give, along with a dumpling and some of her fish as a treat. In return, the dog let the pixie ride on his back, showing that he agreed to be her faithful companion to fend off the ogres. Near the coastline, they met someone kneeling and staring off to the island in the distance. She was a pretty brunette woman with a sandy brown cloth around her chest and a matching wrap skirt around her waist but instead of arms and legs, she had the golden-brown wings and sharp talons of an eagle.

 

The two met the woman and Faylinn started, "Hey! You're a harpy, right? How come you are staring at the island over there instead of flying? The winged women looked at the pixie atop the dog and sighed before saying, "Well I had a guy I fancied. I think he might have even been thinking of making us a couple. But when I left to get some food, I heard from friends that some oni bandits were in our area. When I went back to his log cabin, I found all his things gone... including his life. I finally found them but...seeing all of them made me realize I can't beat them."

 

After the winged lady finished her story, Faylinn wiped a few tears from her eyes. With her destination insight and a fire inside lit by the harpy's tragic plight Faylinn told him that if she joined them, they would defeat all the oni bandits. The harpy didn't believe her at first but was surprised to find Faylinn lifting her up from her bottom as a show of strength. Once Faylinn let her down and the harpy gained her senses back, she decided that maybe she would join the strange pixie after all.

 

With the harpy joining their quest, Faylinn gave her new companion one of her dumplings and in return, she carried her dog as they flew over to the island. Megi-Jima was covered in palm trees are far as the eye could see. Passing through, they met a monkey climbing through the trees. The curious simian followed them until the harpy told Faylinn that it was probably looking for the food they had. Faylinn told the monkey that she would give him something if he helped them on the mission, which he gladly accepted when she offered a dumpling.

 

When Faylinn's party finally reached the oni's hideout, they found a large gate blocking their way. The harpy flew over it and unlocked it from inside. The group passed through and were met by a strange spectacle. The ogres were merrymaking, dancing with fine jewelry and partaking of alcoholic drinks like sake. "We've come to punish you for plaguing your own countrymen!" shouted the fairy and she charged towards the drunken ogres with her three friends.

 

Faylinn lunged toward one of the oni with a dive kick toward his head with both of her legs. The attacked ogre grabbed his head as he yelled to the others, "Ah! She kicks like a wild donkey!" Three of the oni circled around the tiny girl and they told her that she couldn't take them all at once. Just then the harpy pounced and scratched the oni all over, the dog bit their arms and legs, and the monkey threw rocks and their own metal coins at them. Faylinn took out her homemade spear as she flew to the ground and bounced off it towards the various oni to land key slashes and kicks to their bellies and faces. Thanks to having eaten the best millet dumplings in the mainland, Faylinn's party had more than enough strength to send the ogres running for their lives.

 

Hearing the commotion, what came towards them was a large blue oni almost the size of the giants they pillaged. "Are you lot getting trounced by wild vermin and a bug smaller than my pinkie toe?" The leader bellowed. "Time to remind everyone why confronting the Oni bandits will only lead to a foolish death." With this the leader clapped his hands, causing a shockwave that caused everyone in Faylinn's group to fall to the ground. Then he grabbed the harpy by the neck in the air and drove his fist toward the harpy's face at full speed until it suddenly stopped before hitting her. "Let me ask you, sir, what is it like to be weaker than a bug?"

 

Both the boss leader and the harpy were shocked to see a tiny fairy holding back his fist while Faylinn simply smiled. "Why you little pest!" He shouted but before he could act, the fairy slipped down to his belly and landed a flurry of punches that stunned him in his tracks and released his grip on the harpy. She then followed up a literal flying roundhouse kick under his chin to knock him flat on his back and finished by landing on one of his legs with great force. His scream of pain rang throughout the island until he clutched his shin in agony. Faylinn simply crossed her arms, "Let that limp be a lesson from those who you stole from and killed to get where you are."

 

With the defeat of their leader, the other oni begged to be speared of the same fate. Bowing down on one knee and tears streaming down his face a green one said, "I promise we will never trouble the beings of the island again, and we will return all the treasures we have ever taken from the villages. But please spare our lives! I beseech you!" Faylinn responded with hands on her hips and a stern pout, "Make a decent living somewhere else. And if I hear any more trouble from you all, I'll break more than a leg. Now scram!" With that, all the bandits grabbed what they could and paddled on some canoes as fast as they could. Faylinn gave a sigh of relief and found herself gripped by a bunch of feathers and her harpy friend's cheeks rubbed against her own as thanks.

 

So Faylinn spent the rest of the day giving back the stolen loot to the villages on the Island that the oni had taken from. Surprised by their savior, they were extremely grateful and rewarded her with exotic foods, clothing, materials, and precious metals. Thereupon, Faylinn loaded the treasures onto a boat and joined by her small yet larger than her party, headed back home in triumph.


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