“Arslan,” said a voice as soft as silk. He stirred in the darkness that enveloped him. “Arslaaaaan,” The voice sang again.
“Mmm,” Arslan grumbled and stirred, but still he didn’t wake up.
“Arslan!” The voice roared violently, losing all of its silkiness and gaining several more voices, each one sounding with a different pitch and gender. The sudden violent spurt was more than enough to shock Arslan awake, he immediately shuffled around going into a kneeling position and coughing. All around him everything felt like it was made out of gelatin, the air especially. The slightest movement was more than enough to send ripples through everything.
“Arslan,” the voice cried out in the same silken voice.
Arslan regained himself and managed to shamble to a somewhat stable standing position despite the current situation. The distorted air and environment felt every bit unnatural and frankly, was hard to move and breath in. Stumbling to even stand on the flat ground, he rubbed his eyes to make sure he was seeing clearly.
Yet, once he was able to see, nothing here made any kind of sense. Arslan was not standing normally, everything was upside down, or rather, he was upside down while everything else was right side up. The ground had somehow a reversed orientation. Black grass and wilted flowers seemed to be sprouting from the ground and grew to full maturity. Oddly enough, this patch of dirt seemed to be the only thing in the world that existed. He knelt down towards one of the plants and watched its entire life cycle happen right before his own two eyes. “Where the hell am I?” he asked no one in particular.
That's when the orbs began to fly from the void from beneath him. Each orb was just an eye instead of having a mouth, they didn’t seem like the ones before. These seemed much more automated than before. They flew around the realm without any kind of restrictions while having no wings. One decided to stop right in front of Arslan and stared at him. Curiously he extended a hand to touch the creature. Before he was even able to reach it, the creature flew off a few feet forward and stopped, still staring at him.
“Huh? Do you want me to follow you?” Arslan asked the creature but received no response. The orb creature continued to float in the same space. He sighed and assumed his answer was yes, thus he began following the creature.
In this illogical world, the ground he wasn’t stepping on would disappear and reappear seemingly from nowhere creating a path for him. It had felt like hours he had been traveling in one direction. Everything in the scenery was still void of anything, light, noise, stars. Just a blank canvas of nothing that expanded forever. The unblinking eye orb continued to stare him down, flying backward. Despite walking for some time, he couldn’t feel any kind of fatigue, perhaps it was the distortions causing his brain to push past any sort of loss in stamina.
“Hey!” Arslan called out to the orb. Even if he didn’t get a response this distorted world was quiet and frankly nerve-wracking, at least previously the howls and cries of monsters would provide something as opposed to the mind-numbing silence.
“Where are you taking me?!” The orb stopped moving and allowed him to actually catch up to it. Slowly it turned around to look in the distance of the void, staring at absolutely nothing. “What? I’d like some answers.” He stepped in front of the eye and stared. It was unmoving, unbreathing. It was like a toy with just how blank and empty it felt. Then he saw it, a glint of something in the reflection in the eye, it was a small wooden house floating upside down in the distance, or rather right-side up. He turned around to see now see it floating in the void. Arslan looking back into the eye seeing it was still there.
Arslan put his hand over his mouth and quietly he muttered to himself, “What is this place?”
“Get up!” Frantically yelled a soldier, sweat was pouring from the holes in his helmet. He panicked in trying to get his comrade up, but a bloody ankle signified the damage they suffered, a compound fracture from a fall. “C’mon they’re getting closer!” He tried to pull his injured comrade’s arm over his shoulder, but was rejected.
“Get out, I’m already dead here,” His comrade said calmly. “If one of us has to make it out I’d rather it be my subordinate. Besides I’ve lost too much blood.” He removed his helmet, revealing a bald head, blue eyes, and shaved face. From his position sitting on the ground, he smiled and gave the soldier a hard push. “Go, get out.”
The soldier nodded and started to run through the corridor, except he didn’t make it very far. In a flash of light, Mandilyn’s glaive pierced through the soldier’s chest. The spear’s weight focused in the back caused him to fall backward forcing the spear deeper, skewering his heart outside of his body.
“No!” The wounded soldier yelled.
Further down the hall, Mandilyn and Avelyn were walking at a casual pace, the lizard girl covered in blood and surprisingly a few wounds of her own. Most of it being grazes from a few bullets hitting her. Mandilyn was almost pristine in comparison, a true testament to the different fighting styles the two girls possessed.
The wounded soldier pulled out a silver weapon that was on his waist, a pistol. However, it was useless. Before he could even take aim and fire at the girls Mandilyn was already kneeling down beside him, wagging her finger saying, “Let’s be smart for a second.”
The soldier growled, “You bitch.”
Mandilyn shrugged, “Call me what you want, but I want you to tell me some stuff.”
He leaned forward and grumbled, “I won't tell you shit.” He started the motion to put the gun to his head, but due to his blood loss, it only took Mandilyn a swift kick to knock it out of his hands.
“Listen, you’re not my target, never was. I can tell you care for your friends, so make this easier on us tell us what we want, and we’ll leave everyone else alone.”
The soldier caught a glimpse of what was behind her, Avelyn was ripping the spear from his comrade’s chest. He turned back to Mandilyn, “You promise, to leave everyone alone?”
Mandilyn nodded, “I just want to know the location of someone, that’s all.”
The man was hesitant but agreed to her terms. “…Who?”
“Arden,” She spat his name.
He looked down towards the ground and said his words of betrayal. “With any luck, the other side of this building on the roof. Most of the teams called mission complete meaning that the Alcyon will be landing and picking the survivors.”
Mandilyn smiled and stroked his bald head. “That wasn’t so hard, now was it?” She got up and started for the location he told her.
The man yelled, “Don’t forget your promise!”
“I won’t,” She started but was interrupted by the sudden impacting sound of an axe. Avelyn one-handedly decapitated the soldier. “But, she didn’t promise.”
Arslan panted and collapsed onto the ground and in between breaths he yelled, “Is this some kind of sick joke?” When he saw the house he decided to run in the direction, however, it proved to be utterly useless no matter how long he ran or how much distance he covered he never reached it. It was almost like the house was traveling away at the same speed that he was moving. With a final exhale he regained his breath and looked at the eye. “You’re an asshole,” he insulted.
The eye orb did not react to the insult, instead, it continued to hover in the same spot staring at the unreachable house. Arslan got up and grabbed both sides of the eye orb before it managed to retreat, “What the hell do you want!” He shouted and then noticed something special, the action he committed, bringing the eye closer also made the house smaller in the reflection. Looking over his shoulder he found that the house did, in fact, get a little further. “I earnestly hate this place and everything in here,” he groaned. “But, at least I can do this now.” He gripped the eye in one hand, pulling his arm back, and threw it with as much force as he could muster. The eye was launched at great speed in the frictionless void. Turning around showed the house increasing in size. “Finally!” he cheered. But then he noticed the house was getting bigger very fast, by the time Arslan realized just how fast it was approaching he could only cover his body to brace for an impact.
The sound of glass breaking echoed all around him as he flew through a window and landed on a carpeted floor.
“…Ow,” Arslan said in pain as he laid in a pile of smashed glass. Opening his eyes he spotted a pair of high heels.
“I knew you were worthy,” Chuckled a female voice.