The moment Fedrin charged out of the asylum, Aleran and Zarasen quickly went to the front door. They knew it would not be totally unguarded but the number of enemies would be extremely low for sure.
When they reached the front door, the place was empty and dark, there was not a single soul, at least that was on the inside. On the outside, and thanks to the light from the moons, Zarasen noticed a shadow resting in the crack between the door and the floor.
Meanwhile, Aleran was searching for the front door key in the reception desk. The unconscious guard, who they stole the keyring from, didn't have it on him. No matter how lazy the security of this place was, it would be a security risk to allow every guard to have their own front door key.
After searching a few drawers he found two long keys, that he remembered as the same the thin guard used to open the door on the outer wall and the front door of the building back then.
‘They had left someone watching over the front door from the outside.' Zarasen whispered while pointing at the shadow.
“Yes, I will try and knock him out, let's hope he is not too strong.” Aleran whispered back. Sadly sensing someone's power through walls and doors was still beyond his abilities.
“Don't worry, he isn't” Zarasen nodded with a strange glow in his eyes, reassuring him.
Aleran got closer to the door and spied through the door lock. On the other side, and almost five meters away, was a guard that was facing the door. But he seemed more worried by the sounds coming from the escaped prisoners. He was constantly looking left and right. It seemed he had been tasked to guard the door but was also afraid of being jumped at the back by one of the lunatics that had already escaped.
‘It's a miracle this guy hasn't turned his back to the door.' Thinking along those lines Aleran prepared himself.
He slowly put the key into the lock turning it with the less amount of sound possible, trying to not attract the guards' attention. Once the door was unlocked he waited to see if the shadow moved, but it didn't. He put his hand on the doorknob and waited. Knowing Fedrin's strength, what he was waiting had to come any time soon.
“Boom!” An especially loud sound with a tinge of a metallic ring was heard coming from the battlefield, making the shadow flinch. That loud sound was enough to make the guard turn around from the door, reconsidering his priorities, and forgetting his duty for a second.
In a single movement, Aleran opened the door and launched himself towards the guard. That previous caution and stillness disappeared in an explosion of movement and force.
Aleran took the chance to block his mouth with his left hand and put his right arm around his neck. He was trying to do the same thing Corif did to him, to choke the guard and knock him out. Though Aleran was not a fighter he roughly knew the principle of the move. It was to stop the blood flow to the brain for a few seconds forcing the guard unconscious.
The guard instinctively went for something that Corif lacked back in the cell, his blade. Aleran reacted grabbing the guard's hand when it was touching the hilt, he could not ignore the blade like Fedrin. With his strength, it wasn't a problem to hold the guard's hand in place. With one arm into the guard's mouth and the other in his hand, Aleran discarded his previous idea and launched a knee to the guard's back.
“Crack” The back of the guard made a cracking noise and his legs instantly stopped moving. Aleran didn't expect it, he had forgotten that the guard was much weaker than himself, he was probably in the second phase. He didn't just hear the sound, he also felt the vibrations of the guard's spine breaking and his organs moving.
“Mmmmmm!” The scream was muffled by Aleran's hand.
The heat of the guard's breath and the tears coming from the pain. He could feel it all with extreme detail and for a second he froze. But quickly he regained his awareness and with a hand still covering the guard's mouth he knocked him out against the floor, this time with less force.
‘I had forgotten that Corif was at the third phase like me, and most guards were in the second phase.' The difference in strength between the second and the third phase was like that of a bodybuilder against a regular person. Aleran looked at his trembling hands, he was really nervous.
“ I know that you forgot almost everything and it feels like the first time you even fight but pull yourself together." I already reminded you before and we don't have time to do this again.” Zarasen patted his shoulder and pushed him to continue.
They went towards the outer wall, not following the narrow pathway, but through the bushes in the garden, trying to hide as best as they could.
When the big metallic door of the wall was in sight they noticed there was no guard looking over it. So, they creeped out of the bushes and with slow steps, Aleran and Zarasen got closer.
“Shwing” The sound of a sword being unsheathed reached their ears and force them to turn their heads. Coming from the left was a guard that was previously hiding near the metallic door. “Tch” Zarasen clicked his tongue while thinking. ‘This guy was probably hiding to avoid danger but must be confident in his ability to kill us and decided to gain some merit.’
The reason why Zarasen was so irritated was that the guard seemed to notice Aleran's strength and went for Zarasen first. He was trying to kill the weakest of the two in a single blow and then deal with Aleran. The guard had a condescending smile plastered on his face when he jumped and slashed with the blade vertically at the old man.
Aleran who was about to react caught sight of Zarasen's face and stopped himself. The old man still showed no energy, nor any other sign of power. But there was such calm in the old man's gaze. Such certainty. Everything the guard could do was meaningless in front of that calm expression.
Even after Fedrin broke his collars off, Zarasen hadn't even tried to gather energy. This made Aleran believe that he had his spirit veins broken. Though for some reason Aleran found that hard to believe, he could not bring himself to ask such a question in this situation. He had decided to help the old man if he was in danger, but now something in his gut told him that Zarasen would not die so easily.
Without a change in his expression, the old man raised his right hand. It was facing the edge of the blade like it was trying to use it as a shield. The guard's smile became even more pronounced and full of malice. But his smile was soon wiped by the odd feeling he got when the blade made contact with the decrepit hand. He felt a soft sensation like hitting a pillow.
Meanwhile, Aleran saw the blade made contact with the hand and the old man's arm started to flex going together with the motion of the blade as if absorbing the impact. The hand seemed to be glued to the blade but at the same time not making real contact. Then, when his arm was almost completely flexed and the blade was almost touching his nose, the old man pushed.
To Aleran it felt almost unnatural. He could not tell if it was the old man pushing the blade or if the blade was dragging the old man's hand. But what he knew was that it felt like a powerful mighty wind blew and the guard suddenly lost his grip on the sword. With an abnormal movement, the sword flew straight from the guard's hands to his head, piercing right through his forehead.
‘plop’ The body dropped, the face was frozen in an eternal gesture of mild surprise that failed to realize the magnitude of his last mistake.
“These idiots are all brawn and no brain.” Zarasen was as relaxed as always.
“That was a neat trick, old man. How the hell did you do that?”. Aleran was almost sure the old man had not used any qi whatsoever. He was so impressed that he wasn't bothered by the third death of the night and of his twenty-four years of life.
“They have strength and speed but they don't know how to use it, how to distribute their strength in their bodies. This guy could not even hold a blade properly. So its no wonder they can't take even the most basic of martial forms.” Zarasen said while pulling out the blade from the dead body. “ Though when one grows more powerful these forms become useless, their concepts can still be used, refined and improved.”
‘Martial forms.' Aleran took mental note of the comment while opening the door that, even though it was huge, it only required a slight push from his part to open. On the other side, there was no guard. Only the night with the screaming and chaos that Fedrin and the prisoners made.
“The outside, finally.” Even though he said that Aleran was still scared. Not only because they were not safe yet, but because he was about to jump headfirst into a strange world he knew nothing about. It was like waking in the middle of an unknown country without money, nor cultural references. Only that he knew there was no map, no embassy, nor an airport or place he could go to return home. ‘At least I know the language now.’ Aleran thought, trying to blow away the anxiety.
He took a deep breath and looked at the three moons of this alien sky. One in the right was silvery white and the other two were brown, one almost reddish and the other had a tinge of yellow with it. He almost started to loss himself guessing their composition could be. But without saying why, Zarasen chose a random direction and started jogging. Aleran followed without saying much, though he sent him some questioning glances from time to time.
“We are going east, that is where the border with the Sidrin empire is.” Zarasen was speaking while jogging. “We will go till the entrance of the forest of eternal… hmm.. dreams, there we will split. The best place for you to go is the Sidrin empire so if you go into the forest and in the direction, I will point you to, you will find a river. If you follow it, it will take you to the other side of the forest and to the Sidrin empire's territory.”
“Can't I go with you? I really don't know my way around, I had forgotten everything.” Aleran knew the answer, but he had to try.
“No way kid, you are the son of a noble family, you will be a high priority catch. While I am just an old nobody, they won't give a crap where I go. Do you understand boy? I will head to the mountains alone.” Zarasen shook his head with a fake look of fear.
‘Sigh’ Aleran could tell there was something more the old man was not saying, but he left it like that. The important thing was that he was out. Ever since he arrived at this world he had only been reacting to what this place threw at him. His fate was never in his own hands, something that was unacceptable to him. It was time to take control of his own destiny.
“Shit!” Zarasen stopped in his tracks looked to his left. Aleran stopped too and when he followed Zarasen line of sight he was able to see a group of people on top of a hill. Though they were far for Aleran to see their faces clearly, they were close enough to notice their uniforms that revealed them as guards. They were five of them and had the company of two things that, from afar, looked like dogs. Thanks to the shine of the three moons the night, though by no way bright, was clearer than a night on earth. That coupled with his enhanced senses allowed him to see farther and better.
The silhouettes on top of the hill also notice them, they stopped for a moment and the one in the center patted one of the dog-like creatures and pointed at their direction. That's when the resemblance of these creatures to dogs vanished. The four-legged creature unfolded some kind of hood around its neck, like a cobra, but it looked like a satellite antenna to Aleran.
“GggggraaaaaaaaAAAaaaAAAaa.”The creatures started to make a rhythmic sound. The sound started low but soon became loud filling the area, even with a great distance between them it was able to stun Aleran.
Without waiting a second longer Aleran and Zarasen started to run while the group of five men and two beasts started to go down the hill chasing after them.
"Wow, nice little things they got there. Hahaha! Those are domesticated beasts, they are sound seekers. They can't see well, but they have a great sense of smell and hearing. The weirdest thing about these creatures is those huge crystal-like things on their foreheads. It is what uses to locate enemies through the sound you are now hearing. It also stuns their prey if they get too close." Zarasen enthusiastically explained the animal to Aleran.
Aleran though terrified by the beasts was also fascinated. Sadly he was too busy running, so he just nodded at Zarasen description and answered shortly. " Got it. We are the prey. Don't let them get close."
The leader of the five men, Varig, was the same man that had first introduced Aleran to the asylum with a mocking face. He was currently very excited, he had orders to bring reinforcements and the two beasts to help the supervisor fight the body cultivator and the prisoners. But he had other plans. ‘You think I will go and put my life at risk against a man even Gudrak isn't sure he can take? Dream on! This is the perfect excuse. A chance sent from the heavens so I don't put myself in danger.’
He didn't know how powerful a body cultivator was, but he had the chance to see the supervisor power once. It was thanks to a mistake he made a few years ago at work. That day the supervisor instilled the fear of God in him through a devastating beating. That moment, in front of the supervisor, he felt like a little child facing a lion, utterly powerless.
‘If I say we were ambushed by these two while we were on our way he may be pissed but the excuse is still believable.' While thinking this, he made a hand signal and the men started to fire arrows even as they ran.
“Hahaha! Quite clever coming for the old man and the young child instead of facing the real threat.” Zarasen laughed as if he didn't understand the situation they were in. But with his words, he remarked exactly what those guys were thinking.
Aleran started to accelerate, though his energy reserve was halfway depleted, he still had his remnant energy. So, without caring for his energy consumption, he started to gain speed. He was probably running faster than was humanly possible. But it seemed the beasts and three of the five men could keep up with this speed, the distance was not shortening but it wasn't increasing either.
At his right, Zarasen was keeping up without a problem. He was running beside him while laughing like a maniac. Apparently, he was thrilled by the chase. And for the first time, he showed signs of using qi.
“swoosh swoosh swoosh… clank clank clank “ The same sounds were repeated a few times. It happened every time the guards fired arrows and Zarasen blocked them with his stolen sword. Every time, he parried the arrows with seemingly careless movements of the blade. He didn't even look back to parry, it was as like he had eyes on his back. All the while he was laughing and chatting.
“clank, clank, clank” “ Hey, what the hell! That last one was aimed at my balls! You people are sick!.”
The chase continued for almost a minute. With Aleran and Zarasen jumping over rocks, fallen trees and dodging all kind obstacles appearing in front. While Zarasen also handled the arrows coming from behind.
‘The situation cannot keep going like this. Thanks to my remnant energy I am sure I can endure more than those guys, but I'm not so sure about those two beasts.' Aleran thought, looking behind and focusing especially on the beats open maws filled with razor-sharp teeth. ‘They look really dangerous and even bigger now. I can't bet on outrunning those things. If this goes on, the beats will catch up first and will soon be followed by the guards, at that point we will be defeated if not dead.’
Following that train of thought, Aleran suddenly stopped, faced his charging opponents and closed his eyes. “Boy! what are you doing?” He filtered out the sound of Zarasen voice together with all the other sounds. The guards were roughly 500 meters away, so he had around 20 seconds or a little more to focus.
He was going to use all his remnant energy in a single attack. He closed his eyes and breathed in, focusing on his image. This attack was his last resort, this was currently his only hidden card.