A Conqueror's Tale

by

mccringleberry3

Chapter 23 - Missing was a sign which read "Welcome to hell"

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Chapter 23

North of Rose Kingdom

Three Years Ago,

Barreling down an open road, with little scenery to accompany the journey besides fields of grass, wheat or some other type of crop, a large transport truck was en route to Harrelson’s territory. The contents of the truck were nothing else except human lives. They were the slaves bought at the recent market in Rose Kingdom by the Harrelson territory.

The slaves were tethered by chains to metal hooks that were connected to the interior wall. With their hands chained, the slaves sat on the metal container floor, all possessing hollow, empty eyes that had either accepted their fate or were desperately trying to escape reality.

One particular part of the truck’s container was sectioned off. Furthest from the back doors, this 3 x 3 area of the container was built entirely using nigh indestructible Batrock metal, and it was used to transport powerful slaves that would ordinarily be unrestrainable.

Within this space, a young man was excessively chained as per the drivers request. He was nervous that the young man would be able to break free otherwise.

During the past seven hours of transport, he has tried, with all his might, to break free using his Awakened strength, but to no success.

“RAAAAAAAAAAA!” he screamed as he pulled with every bit of strength he had in him. However, the chains didn’t so much as budge. Still, he managed to rock the container carrying the prisoners, which caused the truck to swerve ever so slightly. This fact gave him hope that he might escape, though he knew he was probably deluding himself.

“RAAA!” he tried once again but to the same result. The only difference this time was a voice which called out to him from the other side of the Batrock door which sectioned him off from the other slaves.

“Hey! Can you please stop!” Her voice screeched as she screamed at him, a scream which contained a variety of emotions. Her wish to shut him up was shared amongst the other slaves being transported, as at that point, they had had to listen to him yell for hours.

“Stop?” Ethan asked. “Stop what? Do you want me to struggle in silence or do you want me to stop struggling all together? Neither is a very realistic request.”

“Just fucking stop!” she screamed back. “All you're doing is making this harder for the rest of us.”

Ethan couldn’t see who he was talking to on the other side of the door, but he already knew he didn’t like her. “Why should I give a damn what you want? I don’t know what kind of spoiled bitch you are, but if you can’t handle a little screaming, you better bite your tongue and end your life now because you’ll never survive slavery.”

Upon hearing this, some of the other slaves started backing her up, insulting Ethan and claiming that they would make his life more miserable once they got there. Ethan knew that they were just stressed and had found a target to vent their anger on, but he wasn’t about to take it.

“Your all damn pussies! Make my life harder?! How much fucking harder can it get?! Bring it on! You’re all just scared and my screams are bringing you back to fucking reality! Well, too bad! You better take your pampered lips off your mothers tit and buckle the fuck up for the hell you’ll experince once we get there.”

Ethan's past personality was quite crude and unsympathetic. At only sixteen years old, he had experienced hell far worse than his current situation and was frustrated that others couldn’t operate with the same level of mental toughness as him. (Or, at least, what he considered mental toughness)

“Then just be quiet until we get there!” one of them yelled. “If we’re all going to suffer, then just let us have this time to …

“To … what?!” Ethan barked back. “To sit there like sheep to the slaughter?! What good will that do?! I, for one, will not let them force me into servitude without a fight! If you are content with being a slave, then I won’t stop you from doing nothing, but don’t you dare force that weak ass mentality on me!”

He then took in a large breath and … “RAAAAA!” let out another mighty roar as he pulled on his chains, causing the truck to swerve and almost run off the road. He could hear the driver up front curse as he complained about his rowdyness.

Unbeknownst to him, because of his screams constantly forcing them to face reality, some had started crying while others covered their ears and cringed. The one girl who had initially screamed at him, with a shrill that had contained all of her anger and frustration, glared at the Batrock door with a vexed expression, trying to imagine what this uncooperative man looked like.

After another thirty minutes or so of struggling, he took a break, much to the delight of the others. As he sat there, strapped to the middle of the Batrock metal floor, he began thinking back on his kidnapping. More specifically, on his self sacrificing actions.

It should be known that his philosophy is, “if you do not possess the strength to fight for others, then you must fight for yourself. If you do not have the strength to do that, then obtain it. Lastly, under no circumstances should anyone play a martre for someone else.” He lived by this selfish philosophy at every turn. Going by his own rules, he shouldn’t have sacrificed himself for Michelle and should have capitalized on her torture to escape, as he had only the strength to protect himself and not them both. For him to do the absurd action of relinquishing his freedom for her safety flew in the face everything he believed in.

But yet, he did it. He did it for someone he didn’t even trust, and that ate at him tremendously. After being used and sacrificed by others many times in the past, he vowed to never let it happen again. But this time, the opposite happened and he, of all people, played the hero.

***

His point of view

I should have just let her die. Why the hell didn’t I? It should have been easy. People have no problem stepping over someone for their own gain, let alone their own survival. I should have been able to do the same.

But when I saw her face, looking at me with such an innocent and content expression as I was planning on using her torture as a distraction for my escape, I just …

Dumbass! That shouldn't have mattered. She shouldn't have mattered.

But … she did. In that moment, if she had looked at me with any hate or resentment, I would’ve sacrificed her, but she didn’t. All I saw was fear, sadness and kindness. Kindness, a look I hadn’t seen in a long time.

Thinking back, she always looked at me like that. She saw me as a person and not a tool. That was the difference between her and the others. Her eyes weren’t … cold.

I almost sacrificed someone like that for me. For my meaningless life. When I realised that at that moment, I just … gave up.

So no … I shouldn’t have sacrificed her. I made the right choice. Even if it flies in the face of everything I believe, I made the right choice. And I would make it again.

***

Snapping out of his thoughts, although he just disagreed with his own philosophy, that didn’t mean he would abandon it in the future..

If my escape can be quickened by any of these people’s deaths, I’ll throw them to the wolves in a heartbeat.

A once sweet and wholesome train of thought had been soiled by his cold, calculating selfishness which had kept him alive for so many years.

Another two hours passed before they reached Harrelson’s territory. Upon arrival, the truck came to a rather quick halt, which startled the slaves inside. The sound of incomprehensible commands leaked through the container’s metal walls and to their ears, alerting them that there were multiple people outside.

They had arrived.

A moment later, the back doors of the container swung open, revealing seven disheveled figures chained to the wall. The sudden inpour of sunlight into the container made those inside squint their eyes.

Without a moment to rest, men started loading into the container. They began unchaining the slaves from the metal walls and aggressively pulling them outside onto the ground, where they forced them to line up.

With their eyes now adjusted to the sunlight, they finally took a glance at their surroundings. A group of intimidating men carrying weapons surrounded them, presumably to squash any attempts of escape. Although they didn’t know this, these men were called Leashers and were in charge of keeping slaves in check.

Their eyes were then drawn to the 10 meter tall wall that loomed over them with an oppressive atmosphere. Their gazes followed the wall and noticed that it surrounded the entire city, which they were outside of.

Off in the distance, in any direction they turned their heads, large, expansive fields of various kinds covered the surrounding land. However, what they particularly took note of was the sheer amount of slaves working in them, and they understood instantly that they were witnessing their imminent future playing out in front of them. This fact created horrible dred, anxiety, and depression on each of their faces.

But then, a sudden command from a man who appeared to be the ‘Head Leasher’ pulled their attention back to the truck’s container.

“Lastly, the Awakened. Be careful. The driver said this one is a fucking animal.”

His words reminded the other slaves that there was still one more of them to be unloaded. The girl who initially yelled at him, and who showed a curiosity as to what he looked like, now stood attentive, waiting for his figure to be revealed.

She watched as four Leashers loaded into the container once more while thinking that she was glad that it wasn’t her that was given the job of unloading him.

“RAAA!”

This belief was immediately justified as, not 20 seconds after they entered, one of the Leashers flew out of the container at an incredible speed following a roar which she had become familiar with. As the man landed on the ground, everyone present was privy to the sight of his dead body with his face caved into his skull. He had died instantly.

Not a moment after that, one of the other Leashers within the container yelled, “Help! We need heAAAAAH!” but his words were cut off by his own scream, startling everyone listening from the outside.

Two of the four Leasher ran out of the container with pale expression, stumbling over their own feat while pointing their rifles in the direction from which they came. Unfortunately for them, the Awakened slave had cost Harrelson a pretty penny and they knew it would mean their deaths if they shot him.

Ethan emerged not a second after them, acting more like a rabid beast than a human. He stared at his surroundings with wide, craze filled eyes and an absurd amount of chains still dangling off his person.

The girl who had been curious about his appearance was not let down. The crazy beast-like persona was exactly like how she imagined him. The only deviation from her imagination was his age. During transport, she thought he sounded young but for him to have been a kid came as a shock to her and to the rest of her fellow slaves that were already ‘acquainted’ with him.

It was then that she noticed blood around his mouth. She assumed it was from receiving a punch to the mouth or something, until she spotted human skin dangling from his teeth.

She clenched her jaw tight to avoid puking. Hanging from his mouth was the ripped off nose of the man who had requested help. She guessed that, while the three men were trying to restrain Ethan, he had retaliated by biting it off. This only cemented the wild beast image of him within her mind.

Wasting little time, he spat the nose onto the ground and charged at the nearest guard with an intensity that would scare anyone shitless. Because of this, out of fear, the unfortunately targeted guard hesitated to run away, which proved to be a fatal mistake as it allowed Ethan to grab him and snap his neck. His body fell limp to the ground.

With the deaths of three of his men, the head leasher stepped in to handle the situation. He slipped behind Ethan, grabbed hold of the chains which dangled off of him, and using his own Awakened strength, violently yanked him backwards onto the ground.

However, Ethan wasn't phased in the slightest. Although startled, upon being pulled off his feet and landing high on his back, he put his hands to the ground and used his momentum to launch himself over his own head towards the head leasher. Twisting himself around in the air, he sent a flying kick at the man’s heads.

Unfortunately, before it could connect, in one swift motion, the head leasher ducked the kick and grabbed the chain hanging off Ethan’s neck, which he then used to pull his face into the ground. A small crater was formed in the dirt due to the impact. Ethan, disoriented and feeling intense whiplash from being whipped into the ground, could not react before a secondary metal collar was clamped around his neck.

Panicking, he tried to pull the collar off but before he could, a massive shock of electricity ran through his entire body.

“GAAAH!”

He almost bit his tongue as his body stiffened. He found himself losing consciousness but managed to stay awake through sheer willpower.

“Well, aren’t you a tough son of a bitch?” the head leash said, genuinely impressed that he managed to stay conscious. “That’s a special collar just for you, boy. If I hit any other slave with that amount of electricity, they would have croaked.”

The collar in question was specifically designed to inhibit the Awakened. Since it used the excess Geinta flowing off an Awakened at all times to produce the electricity, it had bypassed the need to use a battery, as no small battery could produce enough power to incapacitate someone with Ethan’s strength.

Ethan attempted to stand once again, but the head leasher rammed his knee into his back, pinning him to the ground. The downward force produced by his knee was enough to further crack the hard soil under Ethan’s body, as such force was necessary in order to restrain him.

“Keep still, boy,” the head leasher said as he activated Ethan’s collar to produce another electric shock. His body stiffened as electricity ran throughout his insides, causing him to finally black out.

The head leasher stood up and wiped the sweat off of his head, letting out a long sigh. “What a pain in the ass,” he said, turning to the other slaves. “Y’all will be getting a similar collar to his. If you don’t want to end up like that, don’t try anything stupid.”

Following his words, a regular shock collar was roughly placed on each of their necks, which effectively sealed their grim fates. Their realization of this was plainly seen on all of their faces as they stared at Ethan’s unmoving body and the two corpses that were laid out in plain sight.

The only thing missing from this scene was a sign which said “Welcome to hell.”

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mccringleberry3

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