The feeling of being thrown through the very fabric that composed reality itself and then having your face smacked hard into a layer of dirt that may or may not have found it's way into your mouth was sadly something Chris was far too used to for his own comfort and whatever remained of his dignity.
After all it's how he got to earth. Through taking in that good old British isles beach sand and spending an entire day cleaning his tongue and the rest of mouth.
His body stung from the agony inflicted upon it by his unfortunately trip across the vast sea of reality before being unceremoniously spat out as well as the open wounds Juno's spikes created. He was forced to cough out violently from the burning feeling in his chest that felt like Morigan had stomped it in.... again.
"Is this a stream?" He thought as his hearing began to filter past the the endless static that temporarily made him deaf to the world around him.
The sound of water flowed into his ears finally and fully clear as day, the aquatic melody allowed him to relax and he opened his eyes to meet the warm welcoming rays of sunlight, rather than the grey gloom caused by the worm hole.
His recently opened eyes could only view a foggy blurred vision of a small stream that sparkled from the reflective sunlight to his left.
To his right slightly further he saw the two bodies of Mulengu and Ursa just as flat upon the ground as he was. His vision cleared up more and more returning to what it once was.
Mulengu and Ursa appeared to be waking up from the groans of pain and the sudden movement's they showed in the twitching of their fingers, the shifting of their bodies and finally the slight raising of their head's.
"I need to get up" Chris knew that he couldn't stay here resting on the ground with possible threats that could sneak upon them in this state.
So he gathered his resolve and after a few deep breaths that helped him calm himself, he began to push himself off the ground even though his muscles burned and his hands felt irritation from the dump riverbank soil that he was resting on, making this entire effort feel more like a trail of Hercules, someone Chris was most obvious not in any sense.
But finally his hard work paid off and he managed to support himself upon his two leg's even though they were a bit wobbly as he walked towards Ursa and Mulengu, who unlike him had decided that they preferred the earth they were laying upon to standing up and walking around like you had something running down you're pants.
"Guys get up" he tried to get them on their feet by lifting them off the ground and onto their feet.
Unfortunately it took a few minutes of them tumbling over before they finally couldn't tumble down again like dominoes though their legs were trembling slightly.
"Where are we?" Ursa looked around as confused as he was. She rubbed her eyes clearly her vision like his own had been was slightly affected as well.
"I don't know... if we are lucky, we are just in some other part of the planet probably far from home and if not we are in some other part of the greater Multiverse" he preferred to be truthful right now than lie about such a dire situation.
"Great, just great" Mulengu kicked a rock across the stream in frustration " Just what we need after a couple of months of dodging a literal apocalypse this happens".
"You know rather than complaining you can try helping us out Mulengu, how about that" Okay maybe it was uncalled for but Chris was miffed to be back on this old hell scenario again, plus the wound in his shoulder blade was worse than any headache and Mulengu's flavour of usually passive complaining wasn't doing him any favours Right now.
"You know what Ddraig..." Mulengu's eyes were now turning into glowing bright red orbs that appeared similar to miniature red suns as waves of chaos energy emanated along his body.
This was something that happened whenever he got very angry, like the warning sign a cobra gave before it struck. And try as he might to refuse it, Chris found a person enveloped in unstable energy ready to fight you slightly intimidating, especially if one of your arms was practically useless from pain.
"Enough!" Ursa slammed her fist into the earth and courtesy of her earth magic shook the entire forest in a earthquake that scared off any wildlife in the area out.
" Look, i know that we are all pissed and tensions are running high, but turning on each other is going to end with all of us dead, understand!".
The sight of her taller and more intimidating look teammates on their knees hugging each other in fear of the shorter Ursa while trembling like reeds before the storm that was Ursa Falcon was truly something to behold.
"Yes ma'am" they both said while bowing their head's in perfect union "we are good boy's, we are good boy's, please don't hurt us".
"Good, now is there anyway for us to contact the rest of Avalon?" She asked as she walked around a bit of a swagger in her steps.
That's when Chris remembered his echo was still in his pocket. He nearly thumped himself in the head for having not thought about that " Thank Deus that... well what's left of my armour protected it ".
After a few seconds of trying to get past his plate to reach the echo he managed to pull it out. As it turned on he could feel his throat tighten and the irritation in his hair from the sand that had rested upon his scalp become more noticeable. This feeling increased more and more from the shear anticipation of what information his echo could hold.
The feeling of Mulengu and Ursa's breathing hard behind him became more noticeable as they all awaited the white screen to finally turn on.... and the meter that indicated a connection to the Avalonian network was empty.
The feeling of being crushed underneath a building had nothing on the soul crushing, body numbing terror that gripped him like a vice.
"This can't be right, this can't be" Mulengu said his voice giving away it's panic as he stumbled backwards his eyes slightly watered as his breathing became erratic " We must be on the other side of Jord, right?".
"Even if we were on the other side of Jord the connection to the network should be showing a connection. So either we are in another part of the planet with insane protection wards that i envious about or...".
"We are on another world..." Mulengu just sat down digesting everything he heard "But that doesn't make any sense. Didn't the big cosmic woman, Sophia say that many universe's were destroyed in the same Dark cataclysm and that jumping across those that remained is now near impossible?".
"I know, I... I don't know" Chris said as he sat down on a near by rock as his head began to spin from all of the information he was processing "I've only been through this once and you guys know were i ended up".
" I need us to move, we can't just sit here and be sad " he thought as he was pondering ways to move the topic from this grim one to something less likely to cause them to nearly off themselves until it hit him "Though we have other pressing concerns".
Chris directed them to their armor's that unlike them and their inner fabrics had been torn to shreds or unnaturally eroded by the worm hole that bathed them through a sea of things Chris could not even begin to describe.
"What the heck?" Ursa began poking the tattered remains of her once glorious armour that had suffered a similar fate as Chris's and Mulengu's "How are we still alive when our armor is like... well this!".
"Mana fields" Chris answered nonchalantly and he was hoping that they at least remembered their basic lesson's in knighthood under Morigan, the same basics that were part of their written knight exams, but the blank faces said otherwise and Chris felt like chocking on his saliva as Ursa the walking wiki falcon couldn't understand this " With Mulengu it made sense, but you too Ursa".
"What?" Ursa looking just as confused as Mulengu wasn't a good sign.
"You know, Mana fields... those things that Morigan explained in her many lesson's?" the silent response was enough for him to face palm so hard that a bruise handprint formed upon his forehead "Oh, come on guys".
"No need to be mad, i mean you can just explain it to us right" Mulengu said his face dead panned "we may have forgotten some of things Morigan said as she was gleefully beating us to a pulp".
"Oh right, i am sorry..." He took a deep breath before vomited out the lecture Morigan had beat into his head with her damn spear "Mana fields are a special layer of extremely dense multi-dimensional magical energy that surrounds everyone of us and grants us resistance to magical affects like how my mana field grants me greater resistance to ice aligned elemental magic. We knights have a greater output of these fields because of the Coros blessings granted to us as knights".
"Wait a damn minute, if we have freaking magic force fields then why the hell are using this junk" Mulengu slapped his scrappy breast plate that instantly fell off his chest, just to prove his point.
"Because armor is enchanted to add extra defense against the things that can penetrate our mana fields and also our Mana fields are more specialized against exotic effects than simple brute force" in truth he never fully understood it.
"That's lines up with theory, interesting" Ursa said as she finally joined in after having been silent for so long and she was looking at her hands as if hoping to see her mana fields.
Chris could tell that she interested in the topic of mana fields and he felt his spine tingle in fear at the guaranteed future tests she had for them in future "We have to move from here now. If this is another universe then we could most likely find civilisation and that means food, shelter and a match better understanding of where we actually are".
"Hey ahh... not to sound too stupid but our armor is wrecked and am not sure that its worth keeping around at this point" Mulengu had a point and Chris could acknowledge that.
Their armor had more holes in it than cheese and the shredded edges looked like they would most likely cut them by accident than protect them.
"We should probably leave them" Ursa answered as she began to strip her armour off.
So they stripped off their armor slowly to avoid accidentally getting cut by the armors sharp edges leaving them only in their civilian clothing. The only thing that they kept were their gauntlets, and leg guards that were still in relatively good shape with the exception of a few dents and scratches in some areas.
"Guys, our weapons" Mulengu said as he pointed at the stream.
Chris didn't know what compelled him to rush into the waters and soaking himself from the knee down to find the weapons before he could see them.
Inside the glistering waters lay their weapons though the closer Chris got the more he felt that something was off with their weapons.
But it didn't matter now. He picked up the weapons carefully in his arms like one would something very precious to them before wadding back to the riverbank smile sheepishly while Ursa with her scowling face and folded arms looked ready to chew him for his decision to jump into the river without any caution.
"I don't remember having a crystal hilt" Mulengu said as he drew harbinger from Chris's hands and inspecting it.
"What?" Chris looked at Harbinger's red hilt that had a clear crystal embedded into the hilt that strangely seemed to perfectly fit like it had been placed their during the swords creation.
His eyes soon fell upon his own sword that mirrored a similar crystal hilt to Mulengu's Harbinger "you know it actually looks pretty good".
"Well good for you" Ursa had a crystal strip running along the full length of her bow " I can tell that they most likely got the crystal job through whatever force got us here but should we, you... know keep them. I mean they have been bathed in Deus knows what?".
"Not sure" Chris wanted to discard them just in case they had been exposed to some dark energy, but he could feel a great swell of mana inside of the crystals as a matter of fact he practically taste the metallic slash electric sent realised from the crystals, plus ripping them out of the metals and minerals used to create their weapons would probably be extremely difficult and time consuming as the fact they faced the possibility that the crystals would react and explode unleashing enough energy to possibly kill them.
"They hold extremely amounts of mana and we might need that in future".
"So which way, north or south or maybe east or you know west?" Mulengu asked as he placed Harbinger upon his shoulders as one would a staff "Rock ,paper and scissors or do we just role a dice because i think i have one in my pocket somewhere?".
" Actually i can help with that" Ursa said as she knelt upon the ground.
"What are you doing?" Chris asked, unable to recognize the action that she was doing.
"Creating a tracking spell. I saw the magical code in a Grimoire in the royal library. As long as there is a collection of lifeforms within a two hundred kilometer radius touching the ground, i can track it" she explained as she placed her palm upon the ground and underneath it Chris could see a purple glow.
"A tracking spell of that caliber must have an extremely complex magical code to remember without a Grimoire in hand" Chris told her, he had met enough wizards and he knew that spells were more complex than simply crudely bending the element as knights did.
From the earth beneath her palm began to glow deep purple before becoming a long extended purple line that ahead of them until it was a road for them to follow.
"Gentlemen, shall we" she said with a proud smile and they followed her.
The walk was uneventful and boring until Chris and Mulengu began talking about video games out loud as they argued over all sort of petty issue's Ursa scolded them for this, before she joined too because if Chris was being honest she had nothing else to do.
"....and that is why Kings Decree is a thousand times better than King's imperium" " Ursa had finally finished her long rant on the greatness of the first installment of their favorite game series.
"I call nonsense to your theory and propound that maybe your wrong in every regard my lady" Mulengu was using the most faux Shakespearian form of speech that was intentionally thick and silly " We all know that Kings imperium changed the face of gaming, just because Kings Decree is odd doesn't make it rare".
"It's heavily overrated" she replied trying to get reaction out of Mulengu.
"You shut your lying mouth woman!" Mulengu pointed at her accusingly in fake outrage while Ursa mocked him with a Cheshire cat like grin as he spewed out a rant that if written would last eight pages at a bare minimum.
"Yeah i am not touching this conversation with a thousand meter long stick" Chris an avid fan of the King's series and the cosmic war between Kings Decree and King's imperium was not one he had interest in joining. Even though he thought Kings heresy was the best, but it was best that he didn't say that.
After a rather long time of exhausting their bodies from hundreds of meters of walking they finally decided to stop and catch their breaths for now.
"You okay?" Ursa finally asked him as she sat down upon the grassy earth.
"Not really... My shoulder still hurts" he sat down and began to breath's before he massaged his shoulder where the wound Juno inflicted on him was " it's beginning to heal, not as deep as it was before ".
"I think we shall rest for a while, whatever life this road is leading us to won't go anywhere" Mulengu said as he laid down his breath haggard and Chris felt it, the strain of their previous battle was kicking in with the lose of adrenaline.
He whimpered in pain before he sat down with his chest feeling heavier than it ever should, his legs felt heavier, like he was thigh deep in mud. Rest would have come to them as sound of rustling bushes, trampled crash, twigs and leaves reach their ears.
"What the heck is that?" Ursa asked her hand solidly upon her bow and Chris also reached for Lucius-aurora.
"I don't..." Mulengu looked forward confused as he drew Harbinger" Are those foot prints creating themselves?".
As soon as those words existed his mouth Ursa instinctively drew her bow and shot two arrows in the direction of the foot prints that were all knocked aside by some invisible force but it was enough to grant Chris and Mulengu a location of their target.
They both charged forward with their free hands aimed wildly to catch this invisible force.
Chris felt a strong blow driving into his shoulder with enough force to agitate his shoulder blade wound. He couldn't help but scream was he fell back with his entire arm trembling in pain. Mulengu seemed to have also been struck again by the invisible force as he was sent sailing over Chris.
"Get down, i got this!!" Ursa called to them as she once again pulled her bowstring.
Arrow after arrow shot towards the area the invisible force was. The arrows were knocked aside but rather than look upset Ursa simply smirked, confusing Chris.
She pulled her bowstring again and the arrow that was formed wasn't made of purple energy, but rather it was a deep purple crystal and Chris recognized the magical code rippling upon it as a spell.
This arrow as well cut through the air with a sonic boom and the force proved itself fast enough to stop the arrow. But upon contact the arrow exploded into a wave of purple crystal dust.
As the dust rolled through the area, a image began to flicker continuously like an old static tape, until finally the flickers formed into the form a man.
He was tall and strong in stature. His face was that of young man clearly in his mid twenties with a pale complexion, his hair was black, silky and flowing to his shoulders. He had a full stubble that was close to a full scale beard.
He wore a red and bronze armour with a fire breathing dragon upon it's chest. His helmet was bronze with red feathers upon the top.
In the both of his hands were resting two blades. The first in his left hand was a ten inch long dagger with a hound for a hilt.
In this right was an Abingdon sword that was of blackened steel, it's bronze hilt was decoration with many dragon and rune engravings upon it while it.
"Who are you?!" Chris demanded as he studied the stranger carefully though the pain in his shoulder made gripping Lucius-aurora harder as his arm trembled in pain.
"I would ask you the same thing trespassers" the man said as he watched them with the expert eyes of veteran fighter. Chris could see the man slowly etching backwards in order to put distance between them.
"Trespassers on what?" Ursa demanded with her bowstring draw again and aimed for the knights face.
"Do you dare mock these lands after your violations against us" his face was now a snarl as his body language turned from annoyed to absolutely incensed " Hear me fools, my name is Artorias, king of these lands and all foolish invaders who dare believe themselves future oppressors of my people are to fall to my blade".
"A king, wait..." Chris tried to speak to the man to have a better understanding of this man's claim to kingship but he pounced towards them.
The self proclaimed king was as fast as he was graceful, he dodged and ducked and danced around Ursa's many arrows that shot at him as he charged.
Chris readied himself with a powerful sideswipe for this Artorias breastplate. He hoped that he could knock him down and both him and Mulengu could pin him down to find answers, but his swing was slowed down as his right arm flared in pain from the shoulder blade wound.
Lucius-aurora was stopped by the mans longer blade before he flicked his dagger at Chris with frightening pinpoint accuracy and speed for his eye.
Time seemed to slow down as the blade flew for his eye to what was most certainly going to be a death strike but inches away and the dagger was knocked away by a familiar red and black sword.
"Hey, nobody murders my friend!" Mulengu roared as he began to attack with Harbinger but from here chris could see that his friend was out matched by the knight whose skills allowed him to parry any blow and those that were luck enough to connect bounced off of the knights armour while Mulengu's unarmored body parts were sporting some thankfully shallow cut's.
Mulengu was finally pushed aside by the knights powerful left swing aimed for his belly but thankfully Mulengu was able to bring down his gauntlet and that shielded him though the force of the impact shot him through a near by tree.
More arrows flew towards the man but he deflected them away, Chris jumped forward with a powerful downwards swing that knocked the mans sword downwards that it stuck the earth before Chris slammed his elbow into the exposed section of mans face, forcing him backwards and dazed.
This advantage was not kept as the pain in his back left him trembling in pain. Artorias recovered quickly and he returned Chris's elbow with one of his own that knocked him to the ground.
Chris as well extremely exhausted and his muscles were sore while his entire body felt even heavier. Artorias would have struck him down had Ursa's arrows not come to his aid.
"We have to get him before we lose all steam" Mulengu's voice was strained and as he helped Chris off the ground Chris could see the exhaustion upon his face"I don't know if my adrenaline can carry me further".
"Fine, you guys keep him busy while i prepare my Starlight Alpha-spell, before it hits, you create LockShift and protect yourselves" Ursa ordered them.
"Can your Starlight work?" Chris asked her.
"I honestly don't know" Ursa drew her bowstring once more " Its still a prototype... i mean my magical code could be rewritten by this mode of desperation so i don't know".
"Well, i know one thing" Mulengu gave a painful grant as his eyes began to glow red and an aura of chaos energy encompassed his body " I know that we shall win this and i am going to deck this guy down hard now Chris cover me".
Mulengu's determination was enough to return some strength to them. The two swords men charged the knight who was now visible from the clearing dust cloud.
Chris and Mulengu abandoned all sorts of skills or technique and were throwing full swiping swings while keeping Artorias solidly on the defensive in order to save himself from being cut into pieces from the two who attacked him simultaneously from both side's.
In the back Chris caught a glimpse of Ursa pulling her bowstring and poured litters of her magical energy into an arrow that was now a glowing bright orange before she let it fly all of her force as the last ounce of strength left her and she collapsed to the ground.
This arrow increased its speed from a supersonic object to a hypersonic in a single second.
Chris could feel the intense magical energy like it was a fire to his back that was getting ever closer. He jumped to Mulengu's side while he sent energy coursing through his veins and " Lock-Shift" formed encasing the two in dimensional shields as the arrow passed them by and struck Artorias.
The collision between the two of them resulted in a explosion so powerful it could be considered an equal to a nuclear warhead.
The area in which they had stood was now blackened, burnt, torn apart from the effect of the Starlight blast.
"Thank Deus that's over" Mulengu lay down and began to breath as lock shift dissipated.
"I should go and check on her" Chris left Mulengu and began to jog towards Ursa's unconscious body " Ursa, hey, Ursa".
He knelt besides her whilst checking her vitals to make sure that she wasn't dead " still kicking go...".
A sharp pain in his back stopped his words and turned them to screaming as his felt his blood soaking his back as a paralysing pain spread across his back.
Chris desperately jumped back to his feet but his knees were a little wobbly and he found himself looking straight into the eyes of Artorias he had been fighting covered in ash and with heavily dented armour.
Chris raised his sword but it was knocked out of his flimsy grip and then Artorias swung a great right hook into the prince's jaw dropping him hard as all of his strength had left his legs. Chris could have intercepted the punch had his entire arm not been rendered worthless from the pain.
"Why must i always be stabbed" he thought as he tried to get up but Artorias stomped upon his chest knocking the air out of his lungs and Chris cried out tears as more and more pain tore through his nervous system.
"Before you die, let me remind you of who i am scum" the man raised his sword for a death strike " my name is Artorias Pendragon king of Britannia, tell that to the accuser when he asks who sent you to the great pit".
Chris could feel his eyes go heavy unwillingly from the drain he felt and the last thing he saw was Artorias sword descending before he was in total blackness and then he heard the words " welcome Guardian...
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I am a 21 year old law school student at the National Institute of Public Administration. My dream is to one day publish my story phantom ddriag and hopefully get a show made from it.
I also have a youtube account that hundels web fiction content, here is the link https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCFz-mHywXBJnLF8uyofcLAw/videos