Follow the Sign
Adair travels across multiple dimensions to find the Twelve Holy Knights.
Part 1: Assist
“Adair… no, K-Knight-Captain S-Sun, what should we do now?”
The question comes haltingly.
Adair stands in the middle of their destroyed city, face grim, surrounded by rubble. The vice-captains — no, none of them are vice-captains anymore — all look toward him, some with lost faces, some with despair, all with grief…
All waiting for his command.
The sight sends a pang through his heart.
He has never wanted to be the Sun Knight. He has never wanted to see such a sight before him, his fellow vice-captains all bereft of a leader. Tyler has only just taken up his vice-captain duties. He shouldn’t have to be the Hell Knight again, perhaps for good this time. Vidar shouldn’t have to school his expression into a thundering one, a poor imitation of the Judgment Knight’s. None of them should have to do this.
This isn’t right.
How could things end up like this? Never, in all the years since the Church of the God of Light’s establishment, has a disaster like this happened. Never before have all twelve of the knight-captains “perished” in duty, necessitating having every single vice-captain take over. Even more unheard of is having the Sun Knight replaced. Never has a Sun Knight ever been unable to continue his duty.
Adair doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry. His captain had always been exceptional. Of course something like this would happen during his captain’s time in office. Adair wouldn’t have wanted his captain to be any different. Really, he wouldn’t…
But he still finds it hard to believe that it has come to this.
Adair knows that he should take command now. They all need someone to tell them what to do, and they expect him to be that someone. It is what his captain commanded him to do. If the Twelve Holy Knights were to perish, Adair will take command of the Holy Temple, and all of the vice-captains will immediately take over the knight-captains’ positions, ensuring that things will return to normal as soon as possible, and the public will not have to feel any unease.
Adair knows this. He does. He knows that the new “Twelve Holy Knights” before him need to be told what to do. He knows that the public wants to hear that everything is well in hand. He knows everyone wants reassurance.
He tightens his grip on the paper in his hand, the document that details that he is now the Sun Knight.
Who, in turn, will tell him what to do?
Adair tries. He smiles. He directs. He answers to “Sun.” He helps rebuild Leaf Bud City. But he can’t help feeling that something is fundamentally wrong.
Being the leader of the Holy Temple isn’t his calling.
He lives to assist.
He wants his captain back.
When Adair makes his announcement, they all look at him like he has gone crazy. Maybe he has. But he finds that he is fine about being thought of as crazy, and hasn’t he already stuck around long enough? He has done his duty.
If insanity is what it takes, then so be it. Adair will do anything for his captain.
Even if it means disobeying his captain’s final wishes.
Adair hands over hair dye to a wide-eyed Ed. Ed, whose hair is brown. Far from golden. He’ll need the hair dye.
“I abdicate my position to Ed. I declare him to be the next Sun Knight,” Adair says.
Ed’s jaw drops wide open.
“Careful,” Adair admonishes. “Don’t forget you need to be graceful from now on.”
Adair stands above a cliff and stares down into the endless chasm. He wonders how far down the bottom is. Try as he might, he can’t see it.
When he jumps, will he die? This time, there is no Grisia Sun around to heal his injuries. There are no sun knights around to support him either. He made sure he wasn’t followed.
But, Adair doesn’t hesitate. He doesn’t close his eyes. One of the first things he learned after assuming the position of Grisia Sun’s vice-captain was having faith. For his captain, he could jump off a cliff one hundred times even if he doesn’t know what the outcome will be or why he’s doing it.
Blind faith, huh? He needs that now.
Adair takes a deep breath.
He is as ready as he can be.
He spreads his arm out.
Without any further thought, he jumps, taking the leap of his life.
The wind rushes up around him. His hair flaps, whipping him in the face. It’s growing a little long.
As he hoped, darkness spreads around him, and he continues to fall.
He falls and falls. He never reaches the bottom. How long has he been falling? How long will he continue to fall? How long…
With a gasp, the darkness around him bursts into sharp light before fading into a subdued evening glow, and Adair finds himself underneath a table in the middle of what seems to be a market of some sort.
His head hurts. He must have hit it. Maybe on the table.
The place smells like vegetables and meat.
The Pope and Aldrizzt were correct.
The cliff was a dimensional rift. The darkness that swallowed the knight-captains must have had the same effect as one.
Adair pats himself, making sure he has everything. Rose bracelet from the Pope, check. Leaf bracelet from Aldrizzt, check. Teleportation scrolls from Princess Alice, check. Divine Sun Sword hanging by his waist, check. Roland’s sword hanging by the other side of his waist, check. Eternal Tranquility tucked behind his tunic, check.
He breathes in deeply, the smell of onions almost making his eyes water. There’s a stray onion underneath the table.
He’s here. Perhaps he’s on a wild goose chase. Perhaps he will never be able to return home. But, he’s here. There’s hope. He’ll find them all. All twelve of them.
Just as he’s thinking this, dark boots stop by Adair’s face. Adair freezes.
A soft voice sounds. A man’s voice. Most likely talking to the merchant. “Thank you for the meat. My family really appreciates your generosity.”
Adair tries to relax. He hasn’t been discovered.
But the soft voice continues. “By the way, do you know that there is a man underneath your table?”