Unknown - Chapter 7
The sky was dark. Night had fallen and the streets were empty save for the lamp posts illuminating the stone roads. Three shadows ran passed the civilian district heading towards the market district. They passed the archway and stood in front of the fountain, taking a rest. The market district was closed and the Trade Festivity was put on hold until the safety of the merchants and the civilians in the colony was secured.
“Wow, it felt harder running during the night”, Enil pants. His hands held to his knees as he bends forward. Alen stood with his hand holding the fountain wall. Carvas looked to the stone road that will lead them to the entrance. His breathing was calm, unlike the two teenagers behind him.
Carvas nods and turned around to face Alen and Enil.
He saw the killer.
The world slowed down. Carvas moved forward, shouting to the two teenagers who was about to turn their heads. The killer jumped, claws extended and shining in the dark night. The azure flame in its eyes shot to the air, trailing the killer’s movements.
Alen glanced behind him and saw the creature jumped to the sky, vaulting higher than the three storeys houses that encircle the open area.
Enil lunged towards Carvas, already figuring out what was behind him. He rolled into a ball and landed on the farther side of the open area, behind Carvas.
Alen kicked the wall and dived forward as the claw slashed the air where his neck once was. He caught a glimpse of his uncle moving towards the creature before the world around him tumbled.
“Gauntlet…” the creature snarled. Its hand extends towards Alen. The silver gauntlet on his arm glowed, forcing the creature to take a step backward and shield his face with his arm.
“Hah! Don’t think you can take them on my guard!”, Carvas lunged forward with his sword drawn. The creature moved backwards at a blistering pace and flew to the sky. It was magical at it was terrifying for the two teenagers as they watch the creature flew with two great wings spanned behind it. Carvas’ sword slashed through air but he managed to maintain his attacking pose.
“Holy shit…” Enil was the first to speak when he saw the creature. Alen agreed. Both took a step backwards. Their eyes fixed to the creature flying above them and their jaws dropped.
Carvas shot a glance to the two boys behind him. “Run!”, he shouts and the two teenagers was brought back to life. They startled and saw the danger watching them at face distant.
Alen was the first to drag his heavy feet away from the fountain and towards the streets behind it. He grabbed hold of Enil’s arm and dragged his friend with him. Enil could not feel his legs. His knees were shaking but he felt no fear, he was more mesmerized than he was terrified.
“Enil! Come on!” Alen tugged his friend’s arm and it shook him back to life the second time. Enil shook his head and his eyes fired with determination. He turned towards the empty street. “Let’s go!” and the two teenagers ran for their life with the yellow light from the lamp posts guiding their way.
Carvas looked to the creature. The footsteps behind him faded and disappeared in the distance. He smiled. He held his sword above his head pointing it towards the creature. His other hand slid out a smaller sword from his hips and held it horizontally across his chest.
“Let see how good you really are, Unknown…”. The creature looked at the fleeting shadows of the two teenagers and darts his sight back to the old man standing beneath him with his swords pointing at him. He chuckled and flew down, landing without a sound.
“Human… boring…” the creature laughed. Its humane chest and body jumped with each laugh. Carvas winced. “A bear, huh?”, he smiled and gripped his blades tight. “Let’s see how high you can roar” and he lunged at the Unknown.
The lamp posts and the row of houses blurred. The stone road felt soft with each steps they took. Alen and Enil looked back at the empty street behind them. The lights around them flickered. They gulped and continued running, pushing their already tired legs more than it could take. The huge archway dividing the entertainment district and the market district loomed over them and they passed it without even looking.
A roar erupted behind them and the two spun. Clashes of swords rang the air followed by a scream. Alen clenched his fists. His feet stopped on their tracks. He grits his teeth but Enil was already pulling his arm. “Come on, we can’t stop running!”, his voice muffled in Alen’s ears. He screamed and ran towards the entrance with Enil following behind him.
Bara stood up, drips of blood drops down his claws. His eyes looked down at the unconscious old man underneath his feet. “Stupid human”, he looked to the street where the two teenagers had disappeared. The lights around him flickered and died one at a time. He clicked his tongue and heard a scream from farther down the road. “Seal bearer, I got you”, he smiled and spread his wings.
The entrance to the colony loomed in front of them. The lights illuminating the various parlor houses and gambling dens in the entertainment district had gone out, leaving the two teenagers in the mercy of the darkness of night. Alen pants, his legs burning and his lungs heavy. He knelt to the ground, taking Enil who shot past him by a surprise.
“Come on, Alen, we can’t stop!”, Enil was already pulling Alen’s arm up. Alen looked at him. His eyes were red. “I can’t, I’m too tired”, he looked down again, panting for air. He held his chest and punched it. The pain forced him to cough. Enil dragged his arm up and shouldered Alen. “You’re such a drag, you know that, running away master”, Enil smiled without looking at his friend. He dragged Alen passed the archway and hid behind a tree stump. Enil pulled a couple of handful of mud around him and covered Alen who was still panting for air in mud. He smeared his face and waited.
Alen looked at himself. “What the hell are you doing?”, smell of fresh earth and vomit ran up his nostrils. “Yuck!”, he complained. Enil looked at him, eyes cocked at one side. “Stop complaining, okay!. I’m trying to cover our heat and smell from that creature!”, he whispered. Alen wanted to push the mud away but fatigue has robbed him of his strength. He lied still and waited in silence.
The sound of wings flapping thundered the plains that stretched into the horizon in front of the colony. It swooped down then flapped back up, circling the roads then back to the entrance before doing another circle. The creature roared.
Alen and Enil looked at each other, eyes terrified, hoping for the creature to give up and go away. They both closed their eyes and hold their breath. The lights in the entrance to the colony died and the cut-off hours started, veiling the colony and its surroundings in the darkest of night.
Alen walked down the plain, jumping over stones and huge slabs of boulders mounted on the ground. Enil trailed behind his friend, watching his back every so often. His eyes squint with each glance to the back he took. The colony had disappeared from their view. The two had been walking for more than an hour in silence. Alen’s face was grim, his eyes red and his footsteps a stomp on the ground.
The sun was above them when they reached a stream hidden amongst the low undergrowth weirdly growing along it. Alen took off his clothes and sling bag and drowned himself in the water, washing the mud off his body. Enil dived straight into the stream and broke the water heaving for air. The two smiled and broke into a laugh.
“What do we do now?” Alen slipped a slice of bread into his mouth. Enil looked to the horizon. “I don’t know, keep running I guess”. Alen looked down and snorted. “Yeah, that’s I think as as well”. Enil took another slice from the loaf of bread sat next to him and popped it into his mouth. “Think we’ll live to tell this tale?” he looked to Alen. Alen smiled and his shoulder jumped. “I don’t know, it hasn’t even started yet”.
The two boys walked past the plains heading south following the muddy trail into the forest that separates Naresh and the port town of Humi. “The problem is how to find that port town of Kliph” Alen shot the question as they passed huge trees and branches that claws out to them. Enil looked to the canopy covered sky. The light was dimmed underneath the trees, only enough for them to follow the trails merchants from Humi used when they travel to Naresh. “I don’t know.”
The sun had waned to the west. The trees loomed over the exhausted boys like a huge giant looking down over an ant. Their branches stretched, extended towards them. The boys looked around. “Oh man… I think we lost” Alen was the first to speak of the obvious. Enil looked above for any signs to help guide their way. “The trees all look the same…”. The searched for the trail and found it. Enil pushed a boulder he found stuck on the ground towards the trail and blocks it.
“Okay, let see if we are really walking in circles” the two shot each other a glance and walked down the opposite path.
Tinges of purple brushed the sky above them. The sun had sat itself a little over the horizon and its maroon claws scratched the sky. “Seriously, we are walking in circles” Alen slumped to the ground next to the boulder in front of him. Enil knelt, his legs trembled and he sprawled, lying down on his back to the muddy trail. “And here I thought following a trail is easy enough” he pants.