Umi Siskin of Lumis leads the mischievous Prince Tatsuya of Planet Cygnet across the Plutonian Sea to the land of alchemists and rebirth.
Greetings! Would you be Prince Tatsuya? It is my honor to…
Oh. You are quite friendly. I should have expected that, from your letters. It is good to finally meet you in person. My name is Umi Siskin, though you probably haven’t forgotten.
Come aboard! Watch for uneven wood, that’s it. Our ship may be small, and the paint may be old–doesn’t even look red anymore, does it?–but it will still take us where we need to go. This crew’s been with me a long while. Orestes, Ewart, Kailash, Kishore…
Ah. I’m getting carried away. We’ll set off now. Travel between worlds is…well, it’s not something I’m supposed to talk much about, but it took quite some time to find a priestess who would share the secret.
Here, hold to the ship’s railing. Keep away from the patch of splinters, there you go. Now close your eyes and stay steady with me. Do you feel it? The change coming? The boundary between worlds, passing like a shiver?
Listen: Now there is silence. The water barely moves. There is no wind. Now, you can open your eyes.
Welcome to Lumis! This is the Plutonian. See how it reflects the stars so brightly? This is going to require your attention, too. Watch the sky, Tatsuya of Cygnet, you’re keener than most. I’m sure you will be able to follow the stars. First we sail for the territory of Saikasu.
Saikasu is the land where I was taught to fight. No one would take me in my homeland, but a man here owed my mother a debt. So I grew up in my mother’s homeland most of my life.
See! Those stars getting closer are the Threecorn, the three points–there, there and there. There are two hundred and nineteen different constellations in Lumis, but most people like me only ever memorize sailing routes. The brightest group of stars past it are the constellation Uzume, which is what we’re rowing towards now. There’s the sash and the headdress, see, she dances above us. Sometimes she leads us astray, to make sailors dance, too.
But if we can just find the trail of…
Right, you’ve spotted it. The Orchid Mantis, the biggest constellation above Saikasu. No, don’t look down yet. Trust me, the Plutonian likes to play tricks just as much as Uzume. If you let your instincts rule your senses it you will be punished by wicked games. Who knows what illusion the sea might show you. Some sailors may blink and find they’ve swung right back to the harbor they departed from, and that the stars are all in different plces than they were before.
Listen again with me, now. What do you hear?
Exactly. The wind in the trees, and the tune of a flute. We’ve arrived in Saikasu. You may look now. It’s a beautiful place, I know, but very different from the rest of Lumis. Careful! Don’t rush to the edge like that.
Those trees? Yes, the flowering trees you see on the shore are plum blossoms. The priestesses grow them to obscure their windows–outsiders cannot see their communion inside, and the priestesses devoted to the cosmos cannot see the world outside. I imagine you would feel very caged in a life like that. Just like you, I could never stay in one place for so long.
Hmm? What are you up to now? Don’t lean too far out of the–oh!
I see. You’re right. The plum blossoms are shedding this time of the lunar month, and the petals are beautiful on the water. Just warn me the next time you scoop them out like that. I thought you’d go right into the Plutonian!
By the stars, you’re as energetic as my apprentice. I don’t know what I”m going to do if the pair of you ever meet.
Men, can we pull in closer to shore? Come here, Tatsuya, the famous Glass Gardens of Saikasu will show up any minute. You see, Saikasu is the only territory where alchemy is not outlawed. The walls of the Twin Kings’ palace were turned to gold after they were built by ambitious alchemists who wanted to prove their skill. The sculptures you see, between the fountains on the port, were all made by skillful alchemists turning water into glass. Remarkable, isn’t it?
I’m afraid I can’t take you any closer to the priestess’s estate, but the main port is just past the garden. Some of the most unique architecture in Lumis is in Saikasu–shall we step ashore?
Here’s a tale that’s been brewing for a while. You may remember from the way back when that the highly-imaginative Dragon Warrior and I launched an experimental collaboration inviting our characters to meet each other and visit new worlds. The Den of Dreams may be silent these days, but magic still lives there…
I’ve recently taken on a time-consuming new outside project you’ll all be hearing about soon, so my schedule is basically shambles, but expect daily posting to return soon.