Sanctuary

by

Norlum

Chapter 12 – A New Encounter and a New Trouble

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Ben got up, hurried to the glass window, opened it and almost rammed his face against the iron bars, all to get a better look. It was starting to get darker outside, but he could still see it clearly.

In the street, a young woman and a young man with a serpent-like creature flying between them were looking at him.

[Holy shit, it is an eastern dragon! He is so small though.]

“Holy shit, it is an eastern dragon! He is so small though.”

Outside his room, the guard that was on duty shook his head.

[He is shouting again, tsc, tsc. The young miss said he might be mad, so I shouldn’t bother him. But dragon? He is clearly delusional, if a mighty dragon was nearby, the whole city would be in chaos.]

-

On the backstreet, Liza, Eliot and Boro had stopped walking and were looking up. On the third floor of the lord’s mansion, in one of the barred windows, a blond youth was looking at them, his eyes filled with fervor. The smell of good food was drifting from the open window, something that Liza didn’t pay any heed to, but Eliot and Boro did.

[Damn, he seems to have recognized Boro! And is someone from the lord’s mansion, such bad luck! He called Boro an eastern dragon, huh? But a dragon? The shape is all wrong and where are the wings?]

While Liza was lost in thought, Boro began flying towards the window on the third floor. Ben quickly got out of his daze and backed away, hiding behind the enormous bed in a fit of panic.

[What was I thinking! I saw a dragon, a freaking dragon, and screamed at it! Oh my god, please let me survive, please let me survive. Should I call the guard outside? But what could he do against a dragon?]

Boro finally arrived before the window. He had the thickness of an arm, so he easily made his way past the iron bars and into the room. He looked at the cowering Ben and huffed through his nose. It felt like he was laughing at the frightened human.

He then focused his attention to what really drove him to this room, the table filled with a wide variety of foods. Boro had never smelled such diverse range of heavenly dishes before.

There were three types of soup, white bread, different kinds of meats (pork, bovine, chicken and fish), custard and pies. The number of dishes were enough to feed a few people, but they were all prepared for Ben alone, as a show of consideration from the Hampshires and as proof of their influence and power.

Boro knew some of these scents, they smelled like some foods made by Paul before, but there were many new ones. He flew to the table with excitement and started to eat.

-

Outside, Liza was in a frenzy.

“For Mifros’ sake, he just went in! What should we do? Eliot can you call Boro back? What if they capture him? They could try using magic to enslave him or worse!”

Eliot was still looking at that window on the third floor. He drew a deep breath and ran towards the mansion. He jumped, easily clearing 2m in height, his hands latching on an uneven surface on the wall. He then found a footing in a small crevice and started climbing up.

Liza was flabbergasted. She wanted to shout, but knowing that would be stupid, she hissed in a low volume instead.

“Eliot, what are you doing?! Call Boro and let’s get out of here!”

-

Inside the room someone else was also astonished. Ben looked at the small dragon eating a huge slab of pork sirloin, chewing happily.

[What? He came here just to eat? He ate the desserts first, now he is almost finishing the meats… weren’t dragons supposed to be majestic creatures, with high intelligence, knowledge of many languages and able to cast spells? And here he is, just stuffing his mouth?]

*gulp*

Boro finished chewing and ingesting the pork. He turned to the remaining dishes, the soups and a basket of white bread, when he heard a crisp sound behind him. It was a new sound, one he never heard before. He was having fun. Ever since he left the forest he was discovering new and exciting things all the time.

He turned around. That coward that smelled of fear was opening a bright colored package. From inside he removed a small rectangular brown bar of unknown substance. He held it forward, offering it to him. Boro eyed him suspiciously and sniffed it a few times.

[I am crazy, this is crazy. I am offering mint chocolate to a dragon. A small chocolate bar that was supposed to be my 10 AM snack at the office today, back on Earth where dragons are only a figment of our imagination.]

Ben was trembling slightly. Boro approached the chocolate bar and sniffed it again. He gave it a tentatively lick, then another, before eating the whole bar.

The taste was divine. It was a thousand times sweeter than all the pies and custard he had just eaten and with a slight dash of mint that gave the perfect contrast to all the sweetness. Boro flew around the room in joy.

[Oh, he liked! He liked, thank god! Hahaha, I should have known! Who doesn’t like chocolate?] thought Ben as he clenched his fist tightly in a victory pose, like he was commemorating a grand achievement.

Boro then glided before Ben and nodded his head approvingly. He moved his small limbs, shaking his claws vigorously.

“What, you want more? Sorry I don’t have any, that was the only one I had,” the ethereal voice of Ben replied.

The dragon seemed to understand his words, or at least what he was getting at, because it looked disappointed. Ben started to sweat from nervousness again. He was trying to figure out how to appease the mythical creature when he saw something that wasn’t possible.

There was a youth outside his window, his long, wild hair swaying in the breeze. His hands were grabbing the iron bars while he looked inside the room with an angry look.

[How is that possible?! We are on the third floor! Is he using magic?] exclaimed Ben in his mind. The ethereal version of his voice soon followed, revealing his thoughts to the world.

-

Outside the room, the guard on duty was scowling.

[Ok, now that is too abnormal, maybe I should have a look…]

*clank* *clank*

There was the sound of something heavy and metallic being dislodged, then being dropped to the ground.

“Not good!” said the guard instinctively.

He opened the door and rushed inside. He saw the “guest” falling to the ground on his ass, astonishment and fear fighting for space on his face. He saw a green, serpent-like creature eating from a basket that was, previously, full of white bread. And he saw a young man dressed in baggy peasant clothes coming into the room from the window. The iron bars that once prevented such unlikely possibility were laying on the floor, bent out of shape.

An ethereal voice was rambling from time to time in the background, saying things like “this is the third floor!” and “those are iron bars, I am sure!”

The guard was stunned. It was a bizarre occurrence that left him without knowing how to react for a moment.

Eliot was finally inside the room and his face was grave. He ignored everyone else and went straight to Boro. He grabbed the dragon by the tail and spun him around a few times before releasing him. Boro collided at high speed into the stone wall with an audible thud.

An ethereal voice in the background said “Wow, a Mario throw.”

Eliot grabbed the last piece of white bread from the basket and stuffed into his mouth. He chewed extremely fast and swallowed. Then he drank the three soups, one by one, by turning the bowl to his mouth, not caring about the mess he was making.

“What?! He too only came to eat?” Ben’s voice continued.

After finishing all the remaining food on the table, his expression became a little better, but it was not by much. Boro, who had slid down the wall after the impact, flew to his side and rubbed his face against Eliot’s cheek. It looked like an apology.

The guard finally recovered from the outlandish scene and yelled.

“Intruders!”

He firmed his stance and made a straight jab with his spear, trying to pierce Eliot’s abdomen. His speed was faster than any regular soldier and a nice swooshing sound followed. Still, Eliot easily dodged to the side and frowned. Ben quickly dragged his ass across the floor to a safer place.

“Oh no, they are fighting, they are fighting!”

The guard readjusted his position again and made another strike. This time Eliot closed in, reducing the distance between them by letting the short spear pass by his side. He swung his hand in a claw shape which soon connected to the soldier’s helmet, leaving a large indentation. The guard collapsed on the floor, blood slowly flowing from his head to the ground.

“Oh my god! He died! You killed him!”

-

Outside, in the streets, Liza could hear the commotion coming from inside the mansion. She was feeling nervous, anxious and angry. Really angry.

[Now is not the time to be cautious, everything has gone to shit! Argh, why?! Why did it have to be the lord’s mansion?!]

She took a deep breath.

“ELIOT! BORO!”

It was a loud shout, so loud people would be surprised it came from such a thin and delicate looking young lady.

-

Inside the room, Eliot shook. He made his way to the window, with Boro in tow, and looked outside. Liza was stomping her foot, making frantic gestures with her arms for them to return.

“Come back down here, right now!” she hissed in low tones.

Eliot, very carefully and slowly, started to make his climb back down, like a kid trying to delay his punishment for the longest time possible, even though he knew there was no avoiding it.

The shout also shook Ben Pryce out of his daze.

[*[email protected]*&@##*, that guy died. That is messed up! And what the hell was that shout just now, it made my spine shiver!]

It hadn’t been long since the turmoil started. The remaining guards were still making their way towards Ben’s room on the third floor. He could hear the shouting and clanking of metal coming from the other parts of the mansion. Ben hit his legs with his fists to make them stop trembling and got up.

[$#&#%&! I need to get out of here, this will probably be my one and only chance to escape captivity.]

Ben ran to the window and looked outside. The young man was climbing down the wall at a snail’s pace while the girl was walking in circles, fuming. He judged the distance.

[I am ok at climbing, but not this wall and not on these circumstances. Jumping is out of the question, unless I want to be recaptured with two broken legs. Damn, think faster, think faster!]

He turned around, looking desperately at the room, before stopping with a jolt. His expression finally cleared.

[Of course, the cartoon escape! It’s a classic.]

Ben grabbed the six pillows that were on the humongous bed, the ones he had been punching earlier, and dropped them out of the window.

Eliot saw the pillows pass by and tilted his head sideways. Liza was also befuddled and stopped walking in circles, her agitation briefly forgotten.

Ben went to the big wardrobe in the corner and opened it. Inside there was a neat pile of clothes, four more pillows and a few sets of bedsheets. He grinned.

He shoved the pile of clothes inside an empty pillowcase and set them aside, he would probably need them later. He then tied three bedsheets together with haste and expertise, creating a makeshift rope, which was secured in on one of the bed’s legs.

He was feeling increasingly nervous as the noise from the guards was getting closer. He slammed the door shut and jammed it at the bottom with cutlery and wooden plates to the best of his ability.

He threw the last four pillows and his makeshift rope out of the window, grabbed the pillowcase full of clothes he had set aside earlier and started his climb down. There was now shouting and banging sounds coming from just outside the bedroom door.

Liza, who was still waiting for Eliot to come down, was intrigued by that weird figure, with his strange garments, rappelling down a bunch of bedsheets tied together.

When he was close enough to the ground (or more importantly, when he heard the door he jammed being opened with a crash), Ben let himself go, falling on the small pile of pillows. It didn’t hurt too much.

[I did it! Hahahaha, I escaped!]

“I did it! Hahahaha, I escaped!” Ben’s ethereal voice went on. The magically produced version of his laughter was a bit disconcerting, since it was monotone and with no emotion in it.

Liza, Eliot and Boro (who were now finally back on the ground) were looking at him with strange faces. On the window of the third floor a bunch of guards appeared, their heads looking outside.

“He escaped! Quickly we need to get him back!” said one of the guards.

[Shit!] thought both Liza and Ben as they looked up. They then turned to face at each other. Ben made an apologetic face. Liza felt a bad premonition.

[Thank you, my saviors!]

“Thank you, my saviors!” Ben’s ethereal voice rang out.

“It is those two, they helped him escape! Capture them!”

“You!” lashed out Liza, her eyes ablaze.

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A note from Norlum

In this chapter, perspective shifts a few times between the backstreet, Ben’s room and the corridor outside Ben’s room. I gave an extra line break in places I thought were needed, but how was it? Was it too confusing? I would like to hear your thoughts on the matter.


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Norlum

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