It was a beautiful morning in Geomus, in Anarria's home town. Anarria was going about her day, as normal. She was on her way to the market, carrying a small basket.
Blending with the crowd was a burly man carrying a wooden barrel with his right hand. He went over to a strange intricate dark blue tent.
Anarria took a breath of the fresh air, looking around for a place selling fruits. She passed by the dark blue tent on her way.
Just in time when she passed by, the man exited after he made his purchase. He was heading over to the other side earlier than the maiden. He passed toward her without even noticing the latter. It might result to Anarria bumping along the man.
And Anarria did bump into him, as she wasn't quite looking where she was going. "Oh! Sorry sir..." She quickly apologized.
"See the road, will ya?" the man said as he walked to the other line of shops.
"O-okay, my bad." Anarria answered, before continuing on her way.
He stopped near the well and glanced over to Anarria. "Was that...?"
Anarria also glanced back over at him, wondering who he was. She walked towards the fruit stand she was looking for, which also happened to be close to the man.
Lady Anarria!" the shopkeeper exclaimed. "What will it be?"
Anarria looked around. "Ooh, these apples look delicious. I'll have a bag of them, please." She replied, cheerily.
"Gladly, ma'am," the shopkeeper spoke in enthusiasm. He placed an optimum amount of red apples that can fit in her basket. "It's just 20 denarium for a bag, my lady."
Anarria handed the shopkeeper the correct amount. "Thank you, sir!"
"Always a pleasure! Tell your parents I got something for them!"
"Okay! I will!" Anarria waved goodbye. She then started to wander the market, seeing what the other shopkeepers had to offer. She was hoping for pastries.
The man from before observed her carefully and went to the other side to blend with the crowd. There was a small bakery facing the fruit shop from afar.
Anarria noticed the bakery, and happily proceeded on her way there. She had almost completely forgotten about the man at this point, thanks to her cheery disposition.
"She's from the wealthy Calxes clan... Hmm, why not guve this a test?" he thought, looking at a vial with a liquid ochre reagent in it which may mistaken it as tea.
"Lady Anarria, feel free to choose from a wide array from my goods!" the baker told her.
"Oh, thank you!" Anarria smiled, looking over the goods. She was hoping for dinner rolls, perhaps some scones or turnovers too....
There were baskets of them on the wooden table.
"Wow, these look great!" Anarria answered, picking out about 6 of the dinner rolls. She also grabbed 3 turnovers, one for herself and the others for her parents. She started counting her money, making sure she had the right amount.
"Excellent choice, milady. That would be 12 denaria."
Anarria handed the baker the money, with a beaming smile on her face.
"Good to be of service, Lady Anarria! I wish you well."
"Thank you! Have a good day!" Anarria waved goodbye. She got everything she needed, so now she just wanted to look around a bit before heading home.
The burly man waited behind the tent. If she were to fetch a jar of water, he would mix the water with his reagent.
Anarria then remembered she had to get some water from the well. She made her way over to the well.
Anarria got her water, and headed home. When she got home, she opened the door. "I'm home!" She called out.
It seemed that no one is home. It might be that her parents have gone to their errands out of the house.
"Hello?" Anarria called out again, still to get no answer. She had set her water on the front step so that she could get the door earlier. She set down her basket, forgetting about the pail for a moment, and filled a little fruit bowl on the table with the apples she had bought.
The burly man scuttled towards the house. While Anarria was inside, setting up the fruits, he reached for the jar and poured the clear liquid yellow reagent on it. When mixed with water, it would seem that there is no change in its color because of the natural 10% golden-brownish color of hard water (fresh from the well), due to the presence of magnesium and calcium.
Anarria had no idea this was going on. She put the rolls and turnovers in the bread-box, and then headed back out to get her jar of water.
By the time she went to get it, the man was already gone.
Not suspecting anything, Anarria brought the water inside, before pouring herself a glass of it. She took a small sip of the water.
Few moments later, the reagent was taking effect. Anarria was seemingly shrinking into the average size of a pebble.
Anarria had sat down just before it had taken effect, since she didn't feel well. Once she started to shrink, however, she started to panic. "What's going on?" She mumbled to herself, confused.
The sizes of the objects around her was virtually enlarged. It was a big world for a "pebble" like her.
Once she was done shrinking, Anarria tried to reorient herself. She felt sick, which wasn't helping her at all. She stood up, wobbling slightly. She was amazed by how big everything was.
Anarria then realized what a humiliating situation she was in. Fortunately, her old clothes were nearby, and she wrapped up in the now much too large fabric. Her mind was reeling with questions. What happened? How could she fix it? What would her parents think? She was starting to curl up in a little ball, afraid.
Meanwhile, a young brunette was walking along the public pavement. She headed towards Anarria's house for a visit. As she went near the doorstep, she wondered what happened as the door was open. Her curiosity was further piqued when she saw clothes of a woman lying on a chair. "S-Sister Ana! Cheiris here!" she exclaimed.
They were definitely Anarria's clothes; it was one of her favorite outfits. Then, the young girl might notice an unmistakable bit of ginger brown hair.
All Anarria could manage was a little squeak; being small had messed up her voice a bit.
"Hmm?" the maiden noticed. As she walked towards the pile of clothing, she peeked what was underneath, mistaking it for a pile of trimmed hair.
The girl might have seen... A bit too much. "Eep!" Anarria desperately tried to cover herself up again.
As she observed more carefully, she gasped, blushing hard as she saw a small head with the awfully familiar ginger brown hair! After she was shocked for a long while, she began to exclaim, "S-S-Sister...?!"
Anarria nodded, not even knowing how to explain. The words just would not come to her.
"W-W-W-Why are you...?!" Cheiris blurted out. She couldn't calm herself after seeing her cousin in such a humiliating situation.
"I-I don't e-even know!" Anarria stammered.
"U-umm," she muttered. "I-I will get you some cloth!" She said as she ran into Anarria's room.
As if by sheer luck, there was a handkerchief on her nightstand. It would do the trick.
Cheiris hurriedly grabbed it and proceeded to the foyer. She closed the door and gave the handkerchief to Anarria. "H-Here!"
"T-thank you... Anarria answered, taking the handkerchief and wrapping up in it like a towel.
Cheiris sighed. "That was so embarrassing even for me..."
"I-It's fine. I'm actually quite grateful you found me before my parents did." Anarria joked.
"But I feel kind of lucky," Cheiris said. "I have more curves than I thought..." It went awkward as she was fidgeting.
Anarria actually laughed a bit, mostly out of awkwardness.
Cheiris carried Anarria with her left palm and placed her gently on the desk.
"Now that I see you in that small a size, I think you are cuter.."
Anarria blushed. "T-thanks?" Honestly, she was finding it rather strange to be picked up and moved around like a doll; it reminded her of being a mere toddler.
Cheiris smiled. "Anyway, Sis, do you remember how you got into that predicament?"
"I don't know for sure... I just got back from the market, and I had a sip of my water... The next thing I knew I was shrinking like this." Anarria explained.
"Hm..." Cheiris began to analyze the situation. "Water..."
"Yeah, it did taste a little strange..." Anarria noted.
"I-I think I know!"
Anarria seemed eager to listen, though she was starting to put it together herself.
"Maybe that water you drank has something to do with it. Since it tastes strange.."
"Yeah, maybe something got into the water. I don't know how though, I just got it from the well..."
"Should we check the well later?" Cheiris asked for her preference. "I need to sew you some clothes first though."
"That would be nice, thank you..." Anarria said, gratefully. She smiled.
"Same outfit?" she asked as she looked for her other set of sewing tools in Anarria's drawer. It seemed that Cheiris kept a box exclusively for Anarria's outfits when she takes a visit in her house.
"That would be great!" Anarria clapped her hands together excitedly.
"Okay, Sis!" Cheiris said as he found her sewing box.
Anarria fidgeted with the handkerchief around her, trying to keep it in a good position.
As she was sewing, she heard a knock on the door just near Anarria's room. She then gulped.
Anarria looked frightened. "My parents! They're going to freak out!"
Cheiris left her work and hurriedly opened the drawer. She placed her right palm for Anarria to go to. "Quickly, Sis!"
Anarria crawled onto Cheiris's hand, almost losing her handkerchief in the process. Luckily, she caught it and re-wrapped it.
She then placed her gently inside the drawer. "Hold on to something inside, tight!" Inside the drawer was some few objects Anarria needs for personal use.
Anarria tried to grab on to something, and ended up grabbing her own hairbrush.
As she shut the drawer quickly, she rushed to the foyer and relayed, "A minute, Uncle, Aunt!"
Cheiris then grabbed Anarria's clothes and placed them inside the latter's room. When she was done, she opened the door. "I am sorry for the wait!"
"Cheiris? My, what a surprise." Anarria's mother doted slightly.
"Cheiris!" Anarria's father spoke. "It has been a while, my child."
Cheiris chuckled slightly.
"What brings you here? Did Anarria invite you?"
"No, Aunt, I-I came to pay a visit. I wanted to sew her a new piece of clothing."
"That's Cheiris for you, dear," the father said as he entered the foyer.
Anarria's mother chuckled slightly. "That's so sweet of you."
"W-Well, it's a habit of mine but she is happy for me..." Cheiris set the chairs for Anarria's parents to sit on.
- Anarria's mother sat down, relaxing slightly. "Thank you, dear." She said, gratefully.
The father sat down as well, sighing in relief. "S'been a while since I sat after a long time of standing around those booths..." He looked at Cheiris. "Have you and Anarria eaten yet?" "Um, y-yes! I ate a while ago before going here and Anarria told me she did..."
"Oh, she did buy turnovers for today," the father remembered as he saw a brown paper bag on the table. It contained the goods Anarria bought when she went to the town market.
There were 3 turnovers; one for her and two for them.
"That's odd. Anarria would have eaten hers already... Where is she, anyways?" Anarria's mother asked.
"Oh! Um..." Cheiris almost stuttered. "She's in her room, waiting for me. Oh, I need to continue my sewing though!"
"Cheiris, don't forget your turnover," the father said as he gave her a turnover.
"Ah, no no, I have eaten already at home, Uncle."
"You need to eat when you are hungry later. Don't worry, we have our share."
"Um, thank you so much, Uncle, Aunt!"
"No problem, kiddo."
Cheiris received the turnover from her uncle and walked toward Anarria's room as her uncle and aunt conversed about what to cook for evening. Cheiris opened the door discreetly and entered slowly as she gently closed the door. She let out a deep sigh. "Thank the heavens..."
She locked the door and sauntered towards the drawer. She opened it gently.
Anarria was still inside. She waved shyly to Cheiris, still shaking kind of nervously. The time alone had given her time to think about what being small was going to mean for her.
"Sis, are you okay?"
"I-I'm fine..." Anarria stuttered.
Cheiris continued sewing those cute clothes for her. Since it was small, it was a lot easier.
From the looks of it, her own clothes look like they were sewn by the wearer itself. That was why Cheiris was so well-known in town- she was outright adorable and gorgeous in her outfits.
Anarria looked on, mesmerized. She loved how the outfit was coming together. It made her forget her troubles for a moment.
After few minutes of finding cloth, needle, and thread and sewing them, an endearing outfit was made. It was a two-tone top-bottom dress. What is more endearing with it was its design that was awfully similar to Cheiris' current clothes. Except it was green and yellow.
"It's beautiful!" Anarria cheered.
Cheiris winked with her left eye. "No problem, Sis!"
Anarria took the dress in hand, wanting to try it on.
Cheiris took the time to think of what to do with her current state.
Anarria ducked behind something, which turned out to be a jewelry box, and quickly tried on her dress. It fit perfectly. Once she had it on, Anarria walked back out and showed it to Cheiris.
Cheiris glanced at Anarria and then back to empty space. However, her attention was eventually caught by Anarria's outfit. "Wow!"
"It looks great! Thank you!" Anarria wanted to hug her little cousin, but she couldn't find any good way of doing so.
"No problem," Cheiris replied. She then got quiet for a while. "Um, Sis...?"
"W-what is it?" Anarria asked.
"Do you know what to do now?"
"I think we don't have much of a choice... We tell my parents." Anarria said, sounding guilty.
Cheiris was worried for her cousin. "Sis, are you okay? You sound like you are blaming yourself..."
Anarria sighed. "Why did this have to happen? Honestly, it just feels like a bad dream." She moped.
"Don't worry, Sis. I-I think if we can ask for help, we will surely find out why you shrunk."
"Alright then." Anarria calmed down somewhat. "Well, might as well go see what mom and dad think."
In the foyer...
"What. Anarria was shrunk?!" the father exclaimed, surprised.
"Y-Yes, Uncle, but we don't know why," Cheiris explained. "Actually, when I went in, she was in that poor, humiliating state."
"Aww, come here darling..." Anarria's mother said, pitying her unfortunate daughter. She took the tiny maiden from Cheiris's hands, cradling her.
"Our dear Anarria is very endearing in that state..." excused the father. "But the bad thing is that her height is just like a large pebble."
Anarria looked up at her parents, seeming rather sad.
"I hate to break the new fun but it is needed for us to have an investigation as to what happened." The father stood up. "We need the law enforcement."
Anarria's mother seemed to agree. "Surely someone must have been behind this." She assumed.
"An audience with the king?" one of the castle guards asked.
"Yes.. My cousin Anarria has been shrunk and we don't know who caused this," Cheiris explained. "Someone must have barged in their house."
"If it is an investigation you are referring to, you may discuss it with His Majesty."
"T-Thank you sir."
When Anarria arrived, she looked around in amazement. She had never been in the palace before, and being miniscule seemed to make everything much more grand and and royal... It was fascinating.
They were seated in the lobby. A brown-haired man with a monocle on his left eye was walking toward them.
Anarria's father and Cheiris rose up and bowed slightly. Strangely enough, Cheiris was a bit tense.
Anarria's mother did the same, holding Anarria in her hands. Anarria tried to stand, but couldn't get her balance, so she kneeled and bowed instead.
"Greetings," the man said. "Please sit down."
Anarria's mother did as she was told.
As well as the father and Cheiris.
That was when the man would likely see Anarria, sitting cross-legged in her mother's hands.
"I see," the man named Raymond observed. As he sat down, he looked at Anarria. "What is her name?"
"Anarria, m-milord," Cheiris immediately answered.
Anarria waved, somewhat shyly. "H-hello." She said, meekly.
"The user of the famed Graviton Magic...! This is all but a dream!" Cheiris thought.
"So she is the one who was shrunken..." Raymond said. "It must have been no other than alchemy."
Anarria thought about it for a moment. "That seems right." She then nodded.
"Alchemy shops are uncommon in the city.... Does your town have one?"
"Well, I have seen some alchemists sell their goods in the marketplace, but that was only once or twice..." Anarria's mother said, thinking aloud.
"I see," Raymond said. "Alchemists are only allowed to sell in the city. This must have been a clandestine act."
"Hm. But I haven't seen any as of late..." Anarria added.
"Exactly, Miss Anarria," Raymond said. "They are hiding from plain sight."
"Hmm... That makes sense." Anarria answered.
"We will send a law enforcement patrol to your residence while I lead it myself."
"Oh? Thank you so much!" Anarria's mother answered, gratefully. She smiled, bowing her head slightly and looking at her shrunken child.
Cheiris was joyed of Raymond's deed. Anarria's father was entirely grateful as well. "Thank you, Your Majesty! We are in debt to you."
"It's all right, no debts given," Raymond reassured. "It is my obligation and vocation to help my people, after all."
"Thank you!" Anarria smiled and waved her little arms, showing her thanks to the king as best she could.
Back at the house, there were the usual city patrols that were wearing long clothing.
Anarria was still in her mother's hands, trying to stay calm. The thought of being shrunken forever was giving her waves of anxiety.
One of the patrols noticed a jar of water on the table.
"T-that water tasted strange... That might be a good thing to investigate." Anarria suggested, though her voice squeaked slightly and she might be hard to hear from a distance.
Cheiris was beside Anarria's mother. She then relayed the details to the patrol.
"I see. We shall take this as an investigatory material, then."
"Thank you!" Anarria cheered up a little bit.
The other patrols were still in search. One of them found a vial by the doorstep. It was not readily visible because of the plants that concealed it.
Anarria's mother was trying to comfort her dear daughter, gently stroking Anarria's head with her thumb. It was actually quite cute.
TO BE CONTINUED....