Jax and Leo continued to protect Kai’s expedition group from petty thieves along the way, with Leo displaying some of his powers for the disbelief of the other trip members. Even Turk was surprised for such young Essentia talented user to be with them. He inquired about him to Kai, but his lips were sealed, as the brothers ask him. Soon they would reach Swallow’s Nest and the first step of Kai’s trip would be concluded. Kai left his party (with exception of himself and the brothers) in the town trading their stock as planned, while the others start preparing to leave as soon as the arrangements were ready.
-Kai, do you really trust these two to protect you? You really mean to leave me in Swallow’s Nest?
-Turk, I trust those two and you didn’t even see their true strength, even I’m not sure what it is their limits. -assures Kai, while placing a hand on Turk’s shoulder – and I cannot trust anyone but you to protect Chu and Yu and ensure that the stock is safe. Can you do that for me?
Turk sighs, knowing that Kai usually didn’t change his mind when he was set on it.
– Ok Kai, I will follow your instructions. I can see that you trust the blondie and I’ve seen what he can do, but what about the quiet kid? He didn’t do anything.
-Trust me Turk, they are valuable assets. Now let’s get some sleep, tomorrow we’ll arrive to Swallow’s Nest.
The little demon reappears, drowsy and tired.
-I guess it’s time for class huh? They get to sleep, but not me. This is so unfair, I have to talk to someone about this, I’m not getting paid enough. Well, I think that it’s time for “Did you know about this city?” – a neon advertise appears with the title.
The demon come out from behind the neon board with a tuxedo and sits down on a table like a tv announcer, with glasses and a ridiculous mustache. Then he proceeds to read the news.
- “Swallow’s Nest: This town is known for being the start of swallows’ migratory route in this time of the year, which is considered a sign of good fortune. Thousands of people gather every year on this city to witness this event, where it is believed that brings luck. As such, merchants also make use of this season to conduct their business, taking advantage of this abnormal people concentration. The town itself doesn’t have any attraction point, but as many other Nation towns it has the typical facilities; A more rural zone where there are Swallow Nest habitants houses and farms that are the main town’s food resource, a restaurant district, an industrial zone that includes warehouses and little individual rent rooms; at the town’s center are located some motels for travelers, and the most notorious buildings: the Nation’s Manor and the cathedral.
The Nation’s Manor is where the city’s nobles and the Nation top representatives reside. It is the place that grants auditions to the town’s habitant requests or even of some travelers, and where is organized several important events and feasts. It is also a place where the Nobles and youthful Essentia talents are instructed, whether in history and other school studies, or even in essentia control. The Manor also include the city’s library.
The cathedral has a gargantuan size, where it’s divided in several portions; it is also known as the “neutral gap”, as it is decreed as a space where Nation’s authority has no reach; as such, usually the Guilds rent cathedral’s rooms to make its headquarters. The cathedral is the bridge between the Nation and other powerhouses, a place where unbiased meetings take place, presided by a neutral party. It is also the place where new guilds can be created and get a license.”
-Breaking news! The top guys are calling me for an emergency meeting, so this broadcast is going to end now. The emission will go back to that moustache guy’s party after arriving Swallow’s Nest. Goodbye everybody!
After arriving to Swallow’s Nest, Kai’s merchant group headed for a motel to rest. Kai gave everyone two days off after a tribulated journey. Chu and Yu decided to take a look at Swallow’s library; Buck and Keith, even though they don’t seem to be in good terms with each other, chose to look for some adult entertainment; Kai and Turk set out to the Nation’s Manor, to get the merchant license and stock checked; the brothers Leo and Jax didn’t have any doubts: they immediately aimed for the restaurant district.
-Ahh! I thought I was never going to eat meat again! I will have nightmares with that so called curry! – declares Leo while taking a big chunk of a turkey’s leg, almost choking on it.
-Leo, slow down. You seem like a pig eating. I feel the eyes of everyone on us – states Jax, as everyone looks horrified to Leo, as he was a barbarian.
-I don’t care about that! If you care more about what the others think than what you like to do, you never will live a fulfilling life. – retorts a happy Leo finishing his meal – Miss, can I get a another one? My kudos to the chef.
-It’s already your 4th leg Leo. You are going to get fat, and this will not be cheap if you continue to eat like that.
-Happy belly, happy life. Enjoy life like you want Jax, ‘cuz I’ll do the same. -Leo looks at the neighbor table and puts an arm around a large man -this guy, gets it right? Eating is one of the best things in the world, am I right?
The large man was eating a big ramen plate, slurping the pasta. As he finished, he looked at Leo and Jax fiercely.
The room got silenced. Jax was nervous and ready to get up, however for his surprise the man smiled and hugged back Leo.
-You know it! Everyone these days are all worried about how skinny they look; they can’t eat the best things. There are so many delicious dishes: fried chicken, pizza, chips, ice cream. -Leo and the man start drooling and daydreaming about that food -You sure are a fine man, boy! And thank you.
-For the kudos – says the man while finishing his drink, cleaning up his mouth with his forearm – Jamie Sullivan, proud honor of this establishment and my very own round belly. Trish, get a special menu to this boy, he is growing up.
-Thank you, mister. – says Leo grinning.
The waiter smiles and brings with difficulty a big dish with a large steak and lots of side dishes. As she is close to the table, she slips and right before falling down, Leo reacts. He gets up and channel Essentia to his feet and hands, pressing one of his palms on the ground.
“Ice Burst: Erupt”
Blocks of ice erupt from the ground, picking all the plates, preventing them from breaking. At the same time Leo slides and catches Trish before she falls. She blushes as Leo smiles back at her.
– Are you okay, did you get hurt?
-Huh, no, no. Thank you. – says Trish standing up.
Sullivan runs to her, clearly concern about Trish.
-Honey, are you really alright? I can’t believe that I wasn’t there for you, I would be heartbroken if anything happened to you.
-I’m okay honey, I would never hurt you. I love you so much. -declares Trish holding Jamie’s hands.
-I love you too. -says Jamie as he hugs Trish passionately.
Jamie and Trish Sullivan turn out to be the owners of the Dear Nest, the restaurant where Jax and Leo chose. They are known throughout the town by their spontaneous display of love whatever the situation. The brothers were really surprised as the married couple continues to cuddle right in front of them and try avoiding look at them, feeling embarrassed. Jamie eventually gets back to the present day, thanking endlessly for what Leo done.
-Thank you, my boy, you saved my precious Trish.
-No need to mention it. Anyone would do the same thing if it were in my place.
-You’re being too modest son. You know what? Your meal is on the house.
-Thank you, mister. I guess that solves your problem, huh Jax?
Leo smiles back at Jax, who looks annoyed and happy for Leo’s troubles solve themselves. The restaurant owners leave the brothers and the other costumers on the room, as they get to the kitchen.
Leo finally finishes his meal and is completely full. As the two brothers prepare to depart, Jamie reappears, sitting across the boys and keeping his voice down.
-Boys, can I have a minute?
-For you, we sure have, Jamie.
-Well boys, tomorrow Trish and I celebrate 15 years together, and I want to get her something special. And maybe you boys can help me with that, especially with your powers, little Leo.
Jax and Leo looked to each other and decide to go along with it, as Sullivan was kind to them earlier.
-What do you have in mind?
-Not here, it’s a surprise for Trish, I don’t wanna her hear about this. – says Sullivan while taking the boys to the restaurant back.
-Every year in this season, the swallows initiate their migratory route in this city. But not every swallow is the same; among them there are some rare swallow types, the cobalt emperor swallows. They are a symbol of good fortune and love, and every year people from everywhere try to capture them in vain. These birds can read Essentia trails and escape every trap laid on them. It doesn’t matter if you have an Essentia ability or not.
-Mister, if it’s like that how can we help you? – inquires Jax.
-Even though they have this type of power, they only gain it when they achieve adulthood. This process takes a year after they hatch, and the hatching takes 2 years since it’s laid. That is why everyone tries to discover where their nest is to get one. The problem is that no one knows where the adult cobalt emperors keep their eggs.
-Then what do expect us to do? Track a swallow based on sight as they fly over?
-No- explains Jamie, as he reaches for his pocket and keeps looking for Trish – this is a cobalt emperor swallow feather, it’s very rare and it was difficult to get my hands on this.
Leo picks the feather and examines it, scratching his chin
– What’s so special about it?
– This feather came from a cobalt emperor swallow fully grown.
-I told you that these birds can read Essentia trails, but it’s more like they feel it. Do you understand what I mean?
Leo crosses his arms and looks pouting.
– Not really.
Jax takes the feather from Leo’s hand.
-Mr. Sullivan means that the cobalt emperor senses Essentia by its feathers.
-Yes, you are right.
-However, I don’t know how that helps locating them?
Jamie smiles and gives the feather back to Leo, holding his hands together.
-Try to channel your Essentia through this feather, kid.
Leo does as it was told. The blue feather, surrounded by Essentia, start levitating and its color was getting lighter. As it turned white, the feather pointed to the northwest.
-Yeah!!! My friend was not lying to me! – exclaimed Jamie -Channeling special Essentia to this feather turns it into a sort of a compass capable of tracing the owner of it.
Leo stop channeling Essentia to the feather, returning it to its original color and the feather stops levitating.
-If you cut the Essentia supply to the feather, it returns to the original state of course.
-But if its just channeling Essentia to do this feather, why do you need me?
– Well observed my boy. I’ll show ya now.
Jamie exerted Essentia to the feather, but it didn’t budge even a millimeter, neither change its color.
-As I said before, it takes special Essentia, element Essentia to be exact, to activate this feather track trait. And as an incentive bonus we can treat this as a special quest for you, I can reward you with free meals for as long as you are in town!
-Alright, it’s a deal! We will get this done Jamie.
-Is there anything that can get the situation tricky?
-I don’t think so. The only thing that can be tricky is that are lots of people looking for it, so you have to be discreet.
-No worries about that, we are smooth as ice.
-Yeah, especially you Leo – jokes Jax – you are so smooth as bull in a china shop.
The brothers start fighting, and Jamie hoots watching them.
-We don’t have time to be playing like this, we have things to do -says Leo panting -Damn Jax, your punches are not getting light.
-Yes, we have to get going. We have a swallow to catch.
Leo and Jax leave the restaurant after saying goodbye to Jamie and Trish. As soon as they left the district, Leo use essentia again on the feather, making it pointing to Swallow’s Nest natural reserve.
-Looks like our destination is the mountains huh? – says Leo, while the Essentia embedded feather points out to the Swallow’s nest city outskirts mountain.