"Oh, Look. It's that creepy Alice girl who nearly drowned a few days ago." Ivor loudly whispers to Hugo as they walk up to her.
They have no way of telling if she's even awake or not, the girl always has her eyes closed. She's really tiny, and they had to bandage up her head and hands. She seemed to have been badly burned, but she's able to walk around just fine.
Ivor shakes her shoulder. "Wakey wakey! Stop spacing out! What are you staring at?"
Alice is unable to tell them that she was trying to communicate with her fellow Celestrians. Secretly, if a Celestrian touches the forehead of the statue, a beacon is sent up towards the communications room.
Not getting an answer, Ivor sighs, and shakes his head. "I don't know what Erinn thinks is so special about this girl, she won't tell us anything about her, and her clothes are made from some material I've never seen before... I don't trust her at all."
Hugo laughs,"It's probably her name, it is the same as our village Guardian's."
Ivor snorts,"I doubt that's even her real name. She's probably just wandering around, taking on Guardian's names to get free stuff."
Ivor gets closer to Alice, who has been smiling at him this entire time."Just you watch yourself! I won't let you get away with whatever it is you're planning!"
"Yeah! Ivor doesn't like Erinn only paying attention to you!" Ivor whips around and smacks Hugo.
"Shut up! Oh my god! Why would you even say that?!" He looks around, and jumps when he sees Erinn approaching.
Erinn instantly accuses them of bullying the small girl. "What are you bothering Alice for?"
Ivor turns oddly humble,"Oh, hi Erinn! We're just telling Alice here a few stories about the village."
"Oh, really? Is that true, Alice?" The three of them turn to the girl in question, but are surprised to see that she's just staring up at the sky.
"...Alice? What are you doing?" Erinn touches Alice on the shoulder, and Alice looks up at her with her radiant smile.
"Oh! I was just staring at some birds. They're really pretty~" Alice giggles, and Ivor and Hugo use that instance to back away slowly.
Erinn sighs,"I don't know what's got into Ivor these days, he used to be a lot better. Anyway, you must be feeling better if you can walk around, Alice." Alice nods.
Erinn smiles at the girl, and looks at the waterfall to her left. "Coming up here reminds me how I found you. That was a surprise! You must have been surprised from the earthquake and fell from the top of the waterfall. You are really lucky to be alive, with your size."
Erinn hasn't asked why Alice was supposedly at the top of the waterfall, or why her parents haven't come looking for her, but that's more convenient for Alice.
"Anyhow, I'm heading home now, there's nothing more to be done at the inn for now. Enjoy the rest of your walk, but don't hurt yourself, okay? Come back to the house when you're done." Erinn turns around and walks back inside her house, only a few steps away from the statue.
Alice, deciding that she should make the best of things, walks over to the stables to see Old Man Howard tending to his new horse.
He was talking to himself, old age clearly getting to him. "I worked for so long, and I finally got the money to buy myself another horse! Shame that she went and got herself hurt in that damn earthquake, though. Man, and I had Alice on my side and everything..."
The old man turned around, noticing little Alice.
"Oh, hello Alice. I didn't mean you, so don't get the wrong idea. What are you up to?"
Alice smiles at the old man. Even though she's clearly suspicious, the old people of the village have been really nice to her. It's probably because of her size, though.
"I wanted to check on the horsey! Is she okay?" Alice tilts her head.
"Oh, don't worry dear. She'll be alright, she just needs time." The old man pats Alice's head, and shoos her outside.
"Now go play, you're still young!"
The moment the door closes on her, Alice scampers over to the mayor's house, intent on bothering Ivor. Luckily, every citizen leaves their doors unlocked, because the village has nobody that's suspicious. Well, except for Alice now, but she's too small and adorable to really make anybody but Ivor suspicious of her.
Alice peeks over the edge of the door frame to the living room, and listens in on the mayor scolding Ivor.
Blah blah blah, Ivor needs to get a job, blah blah blah, Ivor doesn't care.
Alice lets out a small giggle, and hawk-ears Ivor whips his head in her direction. Ivor excuses himself, and grabs Alice's arm, dragging her outside.
"What are you doing?! You don't just go inside other people's houses!...Don't tell Erinn about what you just saw...please?"
Alice nods, and Ivor takes her back to Erinn's the way, they run into the village dog, who lopes up to them. Ivor takes a step back, because the dog is known to be hostile towards everyone but the clergy, but is shocked when it comes up to Alice, and rolls over; a sign of submission.
"Oh, it's you! Thanks for the other day, I'm surprised you still recognize me, though~" Alice rubs the dog's belly, and Ivor stands there, amazed.
Oh yeah, that dog is the one who barked up a storm until an adult came to help Erinn take her out of the water. Ivor watches the two play, and eventually evening rolls around.
Erinn opens the door and leans out of the doorway,"Alice! It's time for dinner!"
Alice looks up, and gives the dog a final petting, before skipping towards Erinn.
Erinn stares at the adorable, yet peculiar sight before her.
Alice is curled into a ball, sucking her thumb. The odd thing is that she took all the covers and blankets off the bed, and hasn't eaten anything since she got here, and it's starting to worry Erinn. What if the girl is emotionally scarred by being in an unfamiliar place, surrounded by strangers?
But that's impossible, because Alice is friendly with everyone. Erinn shakes her head, and gets back to the task at hand. She shakes Alice to wake her up.
"Alice, get up! You have a visitor, Ivor's here, and he's got something he wants to talk to you about. I can't tell him to leave, because he knows you're here. Just give him a few minutes, ok?"
Alice gets up, and rubs her eyes. Erinn almost "awwww's" at how adorable she is, wearing the old pajamas Erinn wore as a child, although they're still slightly oversized.
"A-Anyway, if Ivor gives you any trouble, you teach him a lesson, ok? He needs to be taken down a few pegs sometimes." With that, Erinn walks out of the room, and goes downstairs.
Alice changes clothes, and carefully makes her way down the stairs, because her balance is off now that she doesn't have wings, tiny though they were. When she gets to the bottom of the stairs, she sees Ivor staring at her, and gesturing for her to come over.
"Don't look so surprised, there's just something I want to talk to you about." He looks at Erinn and her grandfather, who are listening intently. "We can't talk about it here, come outside with me for a moment."
The two walk around to the side of the house, and Ivor speaks quietly to Alice.
"Here's the thing: You know about the earthquake, right? Well, it triggered a landslide that blocked the pass from Stornway to here. That pass is vital for Angel Falls, we're screwed if we can't use it anymore. It's a real problem for Erin- I mean everyone. So, I was thinking that maybe I could go clear the landslide and save the day! It'd get my old man off my back, and Erinn would be pleased as well...but, there's just one thing stopping me."
"What?" Alice was loving listening to the ramblings of Ivor, the love-struck boy.
"Since the earthquake, there have been monsters everywhere, so it's pretty dangerous. That's where you come in. I was thinking that you could tag along, maybe." He gestures towards the shiny sword on Alice's back.
"You look like you know how to use a sword, so you could be pretty handy in a fight. What do you say? Gonna help me out?"
Alice nods,"Yeah~ I'd love to help Erinn out~"
Ivor laughs,"Somehow, I knew you'd say that! Alright, just follow me."
The two of them make their way towards the gate that leads outside, but they get stopped at the gate by Hugo. Hugo places his hand on Alice's head, keeping her from moving forward. Somehow he didn't seem to notice Ivor standing right beside her.
"Hey there, little girl! You can't go out there, there are too many monsters." Ivor smacks Hugo on the head.
"Stop trying to scare her! We're leaving the village and there's nothing you can do about it!" Hugo starts, shocked to see the two of them together.
"W-What do you mean? Since when were you two all buddy-buddy?"
Ivor groans,"You're such a pain in my neck! We're just going to go clear the landslide."
Hugo looks at Alice. "So you recruited Alice? She's so tiny, she'll be dead in a minute. There's no way she'll be useful at all."
Alice, meanwhile, is just watching the show, grinning at how stupid they are. Oh, if only they knew how handy she was with a sword.
"We'll see about that. Now, move your ass! Hold us up any longer and we'll be found out!" Hugo hurries aside, and the two walk out of the village (actually, Alice is skipping).
. . . . . .
Ivor had said that Alice would be useful, but he hadn't expected her to slaughter every monster in their path. Eventually the other monsters got the picture, and steered clear of the pair.
When they finally arrived at the mountain pass, Alice is surprised by the sight of the Starflight Express, crashed into the ground.
Ivor looks at her, suspiciously,"What are you looking at? Have you never seen a fallen tree before? You're so weird sometimes, you know that?"
He shook his head, and walked on ahead of her. Alice watched it for a while longer, and then noticed a ring lying on the ground. She picked it up and put it on her finger, but it's too big.
As she skipped away to catch up with Ivor, a pink ball of light flew down from nowhere.
"What the... that girl acted as though she could see the Starflight Express..."
Alice finally catches up with Ivor, who is staring at the landslide, blocking her view.
"What's wrong, Ivor?" Alice leans over the side of him, taking a peek at the sight, and stops cold.
Under some of the rocks is a girl with pitch-black hair, and tan-ish skin. Alice rushes over to her, and starts to try and remove the rocks from on top of her. Ivor, realizing what she's doing, helps her out, and they drag the girl out from under the landslide. As Alice pets the girl, trying to wake her up, Ivor kicks a rock.
"This is worse than I thought! How are we supposed to move all these rocks? Damned landslide!" Ivor sniffs,"Man, I thought I was going to do something that'd make my dad proud of me!"
He kicks another rock, and they hear a voice from the other side of the landslide.
"Hello? Hello? If anybody's there, say something!"
Ivor stands up straight,"Hello! It's me, Ivor of Angel Falls!"
"Holy shit! Somebody from Angel Falls! We're soldiers from Stornway, ordered to clear this landslide by King Schott.
Ivor turns back to Alice, speaking quietly. "Blimey! The King of Stornway must think pretty highly of Angel Falls to bother helping us out!...I suppose we're no longer needed here. Let's return to the falls."
"WAIT! Have you seen lady named Patty? She works in the inn in Stornway, but she disappeared a few days ago, saying she had to go to Angel Falls. Nobody's heard of her since."
"Nope! What would she come to Angel Falls for, anyway?...Oh well, we'll check and see if anyone's seen her."
Alice fishes into her pouch, and pulls out a chimaera wing, before grabbing Ivor's and the girl's hands and tossing the wing, teleporting them instantly back to the falls.
"You idiot! You went through all that trouble to clear the landslide?! You even endangered this young girl!" The mayor yelled at Ivor.
"Alice is actually a lot tougher than she looks! And anyway, we helped a girl stuck in the rocks!"
"...You're right. That girl was very lucky that I have such an idiotic son."
"...Gee, thanks. Anyway, I heard something from the soldiers before we left. They want to know if anybody named 'Patty' came through here, she reportedly went missing a few days ago."
Erinn comes crashing through the doorway,"Wait! Is that true?"
Ivor jumps in surprise,"Wha-Erinn! What are you doing here?"
Erinn turns to him, visibly angered. "What do you think?! I came here because I heard you whisked Alice off on a dangerous adventure! Anyway, is it true that Patty from Stornway has gone missing?"
The mayor nods,"Ah, yes. You're originally from Stornway, aren't you? Did you know the woman?"
Erinn looks down,"I remember my dad used to talk about somebody named Patty sometimes from his days in Stornway...Oh no! What if she didn't know he died, and she came to visit him?"
The mayor sighs, and pats her shoulder. "I understand your concern, but we can't very well send a search party in these times. We don't even know where she went through."
Ivor stays quiet for a moment, before adding his two cents. "What if she went through the Hexagon? It is how we used to get to Stornway, but we built that pass so that we wouldn't have to go through all the danger that the Hexagon gave us."
"Hmmm... well, we still can't be of any help. The Hexagon is far too dangerous nowadays. Erinn, why don't you go get Alice and go home? She's upstairs with the lady they rescued. I have to talk some sense into my son."
Erinn turns around, and hurries up the stairs, expecting the worst.
"Alice? Alice, are you all right?!" Erinn slams the door open, and is amazed to see Alice sitting on a tiny stool in front of one of the beds, unharmed. Erinn puts her hand on Alice's shoulder, and Alice turns her head to the left.
"Oh, thank the Almighty!" Erinn hugs Alice tightly, before noticing the black-haired beauty lying on the bed.
"Shh, she's sleeping! We found her in the landslide, stuck under the rocks." Erinn helped Alice carry the girl back over to Erinn's house, and they placed her gently in Erinn's bed.
Erinn puts a nice cold washcloth on the girl's forehead, before squeezing Alice in another tight hug.
"I was so worried when I heard you'd left the village! Thank goodness you're alright, though. You might be a whole lot tougher than I thought." Alice pats the girl on her arm, listening to Erinn as she speaks.
"It's terrible that Patty's gone missing, though... If only somebody could go look in the Hexagon for her." Erinn sighs, before turning to the window. Alice quietly walks out of the room.
Saving her friend is the least I can do, she's helped me out quite a bit since I came here. Alice wraps a bandana that Erinn gave her around her head, trying to seem stealthy as she sneaks out of the village.
It's just her luck that the village dog starts following her, trying to get more belly rubs. Alice shushes him.
"Not now, doggy! I'm trying to do my Guardian Duty!" She quietly scolds him, hoping that nobody hears her. The dog whines, and nuzzles his body against her. Alice sighs, and scratches his ear.
"You just want to help, don't you boy? All right, you can come with." The dog barks gleefully.
"...But, I can't just keep calling you 'boy' or 'doggy'. I'll name you... George! C'mon George, we got work to do~" Alice hops on his back, and George takes off out of the village, rushing towards the Hexagon.