Grammatical errors with the fluctuating past and present is still there; I can't really pay razor-sharp attention to those types of errors... they pass by extremely fast... [He fixes (present) his hair and said (past)]
Chapter One, posting this before bed... Early to sleep, late to rise... it's my motto XD
A New Journey
Ten years after the tragic attack on the Guardian's Castle, Cindy began her journey at the great archipelago of Dairu. She stands up off the bench and goes straight to the mirror to do her 'signature braids' to her hair. She takes out her finest pieces of clothing, a soft cloth top, her signature leather pants and her favorite necklace, the very same her mother gave to her when she was a child. She closes her closet and smiled, seeing her one and only picture of her family, taped on the closet door.
"Mom... Dad... I hope you're doing fine," said Cindy as she gently touches the photo. She walks downstairs and sees Kason, fixing up a meal for them. Kason wipes off his sweat with his favorite blue towel but it accidentally gets dipped into the sauce, staining it with the red soup.
"Not again... I just had this cleaned!" shouted Kason while he puts aside the towel. Amused, Cindy chuckles at him and catches Kason's attention. "So you've come down now, huh? Would you like some soup?" he asked.
Cindy shakes her head in reply and smiled. She gets to the door and stated, "I'm headed to the town center now, see you soon!"
Kason realizes the occasion and stops her. He turns off the cooker and asked, "Are you really going to join the Adulthood Pilgrimage, just because Maryse is also coming?"
Cindy smiled and nods in reply. "Of course I will. It will be fun!"
Kason smiled and gave her a pendant with a bead in the center."Rylee made this when I was teaching her how to make bracelets. You should wear it, I know she'd love that."
Cindy smiled and thanked him as she walked outside, seeing the bright and sunny day. The town plaza is crowded with teenagers, all eager to join the prophetic pilgrimage. She approaches the scene when her best friend, Maryse, comes in and calls her.
"Cindy! I knew that you'd come!" Maryse said as she shook her hand. She smiles at Cindy with her golden locks and her favorite polka-dot bow. Cindy smiled at her cute attire and nods in reply.
"Let's go. The ceremony could start in any minute,"Cindy stated as she covers her eyes from the gleam of the sun's rays. The two girls got into the crowd and saw the emcee readying his microphone to begin the speech.
"No time to waste, give us the money we deserve!" a thug told a man, who looked innocent and young. The man looks around and sees a garbage can filled with trash. He takes off the lid and slammed it onto the thug's face, staggering him temporarily. The man runs away and evades him, escaping the alleyway. The thug grunts and calls for his other gang members. The chase begins for the pursuit of the young man.
"Welcome, young adults. We all know this time of year, when teenagers grow into responsible, civilized adults. This is the time when young prodigies like you go on and travel around the country, growing and coming closer to the gods, and especially Rione. We wish you good luck, on the fifth annual Adulthood Pilgrimage in Heathon City!" the emcee announces as the participants cheer and shout. Four authorities began to take the applicants' names one by one, and who their partner will be.
"Hey! Let's take this line! It's the shortest out of all " Maryse said. Cindy smiled and they got into the long line, but honestly, shorter compared to the other lines. Minutes have passed and finally, the two girls get their chances at signing up.
"You go first," Cindy said. Maryse smiled and signs her name onto the paper, Maryse Clera. The prophet blesses Maryse with Rione's blessings and finishes her registration. "It wasn't hard, wasn't it?"
Maryse nods to the question and fixes her hair. She smiled as she said "It's your turn now, good luck." Cindy nods and got to the registration. She puts in her name, Cindy Aces, and was given the same blessing. She is now authorized of entry to the event. The two girls high fived and went back to the plaza to prepare for the partner assignment.
"So, who do you think your partner will be?" Maryse asked. Cindy's eyes suddenly dilate and she was shocked.
"You mean, we don't get to choose!?" she shouted loudly. Maryse smiled and laughed loudly. She finishes and breathed in, nearly losing her breath as she laughed.
"No, you cannot choose your partner. It's part of the Pilgrimage where you must be with a stranger to get more experiences and bond with each other."
Cindy pouts and twirls a part of her hair around her finger."I don't know... whoever gets to be my partner, I hope that he, or she's responsible..."
The long wait is finally over, when the assigning has been completed All applicants grouped to the center and the partners were announced, one by one. "This is it! Can you feel the excitement!?" Maryse said as she shakes and pats Cindy's shoulder. Cindy smiled at her and waited for their names to be called.
"Maryse Clera and Evan Stronghold. Please come up the stage " the emcee said as he claps for the duo. Maryse smiled and lets go of Cindy's shoulder. She gets on stage with her partner, a reasonable boy with his hair pointed forwards. The two shook hands and they were bonded with an emblem, the main symbol of the pilgrimage. Each duo is given a pendant which is blessed under Rione. They must travel around Dairu to collect blessings for them nine shrines, one for each of the nine gods that Rione made friends with.
Cindy smiled and clapped for her best friend as the duo went offstage. Maryse and Evan come to Cindy and they began to introduce themselves. "I'm Evan Stronghold, I am nineteen and I like to surf," he said as he offers a handshake to Maryse. Maryse gladly accepts it and introduced herself.
"I am Maryse Clera, I am eighteen and I like to keep things simple but fun. This is Cindy, my best friend. She is also in the pilgrimage," Maryse said. Evan nods and looks at Cindy, who was still anxious of who her partner was.
Minutes and minutes have passed. The long wait continues, and only three people remain. Cindy keeps on being nervous and sees the remaining eligible partners. "Daphne Swan and Leon Griffin. Congratulations and enjoy your pilgrimage under the name of Rione!" the emcee said, leaving Cindy as the only person left without a partner. The emcee sees her and said, "Miss, please get on stage."
Cindy does as asked and looks at the crowd, anxious and shaking."Is there still anyone without a partner? This young lady here requires one!" the emcee stated. The crowd remains silent and Maryse looks at Cindy, who looks very scared. Cindy closes her eyes and thought to herself, could I be removed from the pilgrimage? I waited by whole life for this; I don't want to wait another year!
Suddenly, a man stumbles onto the stage. He stops and sees the crowd all staring at him with their confused eyes. "Excuse me, sir... what is your name?" the emcee asked. Puzzled, the man looks at the emcee.
"I am Lars Bridgewater. Why?" he replied. The prophet stood up and blessed him, with the exact blessing given to the previous participants. "Cindy Aces and Lars Bridgewater! Let's give them a round of applause!" the emcee said. The two look at each other with very confused faces. Suddenly, the thugs appear and shouted, "Lars! We aren't done with you!"
Lars sees the three and jumped off, diving with his hands both on fire and on ice. He knocks the two grunts out and the leader is left, shaking with fear. "Alright... you can go now... forget about how much you owe me... just please don't do it!" he said as he cringes. Lars lets him go and the thug ran away, crying like a baby.
"Wow... I'm paired up with that!?" Cindy said to herself as she stares at Lars, who was breathing heavily. The emcee was amazed and said, "Well, that is all for this year's pilgrimage! You are all blessed by the spirit of Rione, and we hope that you accomplish your mission to find all of the shrines and get closer to him!" The crowd cheers and claps, for both Lars's performance and the pilgrimage's closure.
"What did I get into now?" Lars asked Cindy, who was tightening her bracelet. Cindy smiled at him and replied, "You joined me on a pilgrimage for Rione. You have to come with me." Lars gets shocked and sighed.
"Whatever... just don't expect me to be all serious about it .. I'm not really into religious things," Lars replied. Cindy smiled at him and the pair of Maryse came close to them.
"Good luck! Let's just talk on the phone, okay?" Maryse said. Evan joins in and suggested, "Why split? All four of us could do the mission together, am I right?" Maryse nods and approves the idea. Cindy smiled and soon, Kason also came, ready with a farewell.
"Good luck on your journey. I hope you guys have fun and get closer to Rione!" Kason said to the four. They thanked him and they waved goodbye. Maryse opens her map, looking for their destinations.
"The first shrine is at Wayward Shore. It's fairly near, so let's go!" Maryse said. Cindy smiled and she was ready and hyped to go, while Lars is still lax, but he has to embark on the big journey.
1,621 in this, it's apparently 400 words short from the average 2000+ word count of the prequel :/
I know, it's not really hooking... not yet... the adventure and the fun begins sooner