The Silver Saviors stayed vigilant throughout the rest of the night and no more bandits managed to escape. As Adam tried to sleep, the scene where the bandit attacked him kept replaying itself over and over in his head. No matter how he tried, he couldn’t still his mind and fall asleep.
Early in the morning, the Silver Saviors departed to finally arrive at Hessler around noon. Adam walked into the city, groggy from his lack of sleep. Isley showed him a concerned look as he spoke to them all: “It’ll take a while for the military to help us process the bandits. Why don’t you all drop off your packs at a wagon so you can go home? Feel free to take the leather armor, though. Those were ordered specifically for you lot.”
Nobody argued as they quickly dropped their packs off and headed to Madame’s to get some proper rest. When they finally arrived, there was no fanfare welcome back party since no one knew when they were going to be back from their trip. Adam went to his room to drop off the rest of his gear and try to relax.
As Adam was stripping off his leather armor, Vivienne came in: “Adam, someone told me they saw you come back! How are you? You… don’t look that good. Are you okay?”
Vivienne became quite concerned with how haggard Adam looked. Adam sighed as he said: “I’m fine mom. It’s just that I was attacked last night and-”
Vivienne stopped him right there: “What, you were attacked!?”
Adam realized he had just said the wrong thing. He was too tired to tactfully talk about the previous night without setting Vivienne off. With concern and rage fueling her, she made Adam tell her all the details of what happened. She seethed with anger as she shouted: “I thought that man said he was going to protect you all!”
She gave Adam a fierce protective hug as she continued spewing a variety of curses at Hansen in her mind. She then began to carefully examine Adam, to make sure he wasn’t hurt.
Adam tried to stop her: “I’m fine mom, really. I just… I just need to relax and forget about everything for a bit.”
Vivienne was a little taken aback. She then nodded and said: “Okay. You’re right. Just let me know if you feel like talking.”
Adam nodded: “I think… I’m going to head to the Hill Garden and play some music.”
“Take a bath first, you kinda stink!”
Washing off the grime of his long journey felt rather nice to Adam. Freshly bathed and clothed, Adam felt his spirit starting to rise. His steps lighter than when he arrived, Adam left Madame’s for the Hill Garden.
Compared to when he had left… the Hill Garden hadn’t changed at all! Even as the rest of the world changed and experienced life-altering events, the Hill Garden would always be the same. Thinking of this, Adam smiled a little as he sat down: ‘This will always be a place of peace for me.”
Adam began to play a few songs. None of them had any meaning, he just played what came to mind. Somewhere along the way, Adam fell asleep while playing a song.
Sometime later, Adam began to stir. As he woke, he heard the sound of humming. Opening up his Spirit Sight, he saw Helen sitting next to him. Noticing that he was stirring, Helen flashed him a smile: “Morning sleepy head. Are you hungry? I brought some berries and an apple if you want some.”
Adam’s stomach rumbled at the thought of food: “Yes, please!”
After Adam had eaten a little, Helen said: “I heard what happened. Are you okay?”
Adam stopped eating for a moment before responding: “Yeah, it’s just… scary Thinking about. I could have died! And… I killed a person. I never knew how easy it actually is to kill someone…”
As Adam seemed to sink into darker thoughts, Helen tapped him on the head: “I told you not to do anything stupid, didn’t I? And would you look at what you did? You’ve made us all worry!”
Pulled out if his thoughts, Adam flustered: “Wha- it’s not like I meant to or anything!”
Helen gave him a gentle smile: “Well, I’m glad your safe. I’m not entirely sure what you’re going through after that, but try not to dwell on it too much okay?”
Adam nodded: “I know.”
Adam sighed as he continued to eat: ‘But it’s hard not to when everyone keeps bringing it up!’
There was one thing Adam lingered on. Those motes of light he had seen.
‘I’ll have to ask Catherine about them.’
When Adam and Helen finally got back to Madame’s, word had already spread about how Adam was attacked by a bandit! Harassed by a series of curious and concerned questions, Adam escaped to his room. Vivienne was no longer there. With a quick look from his Spirit Sight, Adam found his mother in Janette’s office. Hansen was there with the two of them and it looked like Vivienne was giving Hansen a stern talking to. Hansen was agreeing with everything she was saying, making Vivienne even angrier!
Adam sighed as he laid down on his bed. He had managed to forget everything for a while in the Hill Garden, but everyone kept making him remember it! Thinking back on his trip again, he wondered aloud: “So is that what it means to be a mercenary?”
Adam didn’t think he could handle all the death and killing. However, he liked the feeling when he managed to help those villagers with the fire. He didn’t have to take bandit subjugation missions. Maybe there were more missions out there to help others. The first thing he needed to do, though: sort out his abilities as a Spiritualist!
The next day, Adam made a run over to SIH. Meeting up with Catherine in her office, he talked to her about what he had managed to accomplish and about the motes of light he had seen. Catherine was positively thrilled in his ability to manipulate Fire Essence at the village. Even though other Spiritualists would have been more efficient at the task, he had still managed to accomplish something marvelous. As for the motes of light… they left Catherine stumped!
She excitedly spoke: “I’ve never heard of this before! Based on what you’ve said, it’s obviously something to do with the soul! There have been more than a few debates on what happens to a soul after someone dies. There are two prevailing theories that oppose one another. It is believed that either the soul completely disperses back into Spirit Essence and nothing remains of who you once were, or some part of your soul that houses your memories passes on to some afterlife. No one has ever been able to actually see the process of someone’s death before, so no one knows for sure what exactly happens!”
Her excitement bubbled over to Adam. He said: “What do you think this means then?”
Catherine’s excitement started to die as she shook her head: “I’m not sure and I’m honestly not certain we should continue investigating this.”
Adam was shocked: “Why!?”
Catherine sighed: “The Church of Spirits is rather partial to the theory where some part of the soul passes on to the afterlife. The Church can be rather… fanatical when it comes to their beliefs. If these motes of light somehow oppose what their belief… they may try to silence you!”
That startled Adam: “You’re not serious, are you?”
Catherine shook her head: “I’m afraid not. It is rare for someone to evoke the wrath of the Church, but it has happened before. Those people tend to simply disappear. While there is no evidence that the Church was involved… It’s best not to agitate them regardless.”
Adam ended up leaving with more questions than answers. With Catherine stressing the need for secrecy on the matter, Adam even began to feel scared.
Despite her Adamant assertions, Adam desperately thought: ‘She’s surely overreacting.’
Still, he wouldn’t tempt fate and start blabbing to everyone about these motes of light he had seen. All he could do was continue pushing forward, hoping that answers would come.