The large stone doors flew open and a squad of large figures, obscured by the sudden brightness of light walked into the room. Kazu’s eyes soon adjusted to the light and he saw the monsters that flowed in through the giant doors. There were 8 in total, appearing to be less human, more like what he imagined ogres to look like. They were all over 2 meters tall, muscular build, dark brown skin, and no hair. All of them, except one, held a club whose width could be considered the size of a small tree trunk. The last one, wearing more armour than the rest, held an oblong lump of metal, a crude weapon that seemed to embody its wielder in both length and width.
The ogres looked around the room, searching high and low for something. It almost seemed like they were securing the perimeter. One of the monsters came close to Kazu, enough so that the smell of the monster made him gag inwardly, but the monster didn’t seem to see him.
Is it because of this ‘Hide’ ability? Kazu looked at his hands and his body, both appeared to be translucent. This can’t be real right?…?
He turned his head to peek around the corner of the pillar he hid behind. The ogres looked more relaxed and now turned their heads towards each other, nodding in unison. They finished securing the perimeter and now they turned their head towards the machinery in the middle of the room.
It was in the middle of the complex runic patterns that seemed to glow a light blue under the dark. The monster wearing the most armour went ahead and examined the machinery. He pushed all the buttons, key noises even made Kazu believe that the monster had broken the majority of them. The medical equipment were already derelict so of course it didn’t give any response.
The monster examining it shook his head soon enough and examined the bed. He lifted the blankets up and an envelope fell from the sheets.
Kazu stepped back in recoil, his actions sending a loose rock skittering across the floor. The noise echoed across the large room, drawing attention from all eight monsters. The leader, the one wearing the most armour, made a grunt and pointed in Kazu’s direction.
Shit, what do I do?!
The ogre walked his way comically slow. Each step made Kazu’s heart skip a beat; until finally, the ogre’s breath could be smelled. The ogre looked in the corners of the pillar where Kazu hid, staring at each corner longer than before when they did the perimeter check.
Kazu held his nose and mouth together to try and deafen the noise of his breath—also to avoid the smell. Soon, the ogre got tired at looking at the empty space and took a deep sigh. Kazu almost hurled and his eyes watered as soon as the toxic breath hit him.
Notice: The ogre’s low intelligence couldn’t detect you. Hide level up!
Hide Lv. 2 - You will be harder to see.
The ogre walked back to the group. His steps were faster than before as he gave their leader a deep groan.
Kazu shifted his attention to the door for a way out. Inch by inch, he moved his feet as to not make a sound. Beads of sweat dropped down across his cheeks, but Kazu didn’t let them drip to the floor to prevent the noise. As soon as he got close to the door, the smell of metal came from outside the door. Kazu took a peek outside the door.
Dozens of corpses lay outside the door. The corpses looked like medieval soldiers. Some were flattened to the ground and some were splattered on the wall. All had one thing in common, a disgusting amount of blood around them like a squashed mosquito after its meal.
Kazu sneaked across the blood bathed hallway trying not to vomit. Along the hallway, an open door led to a room—a room with windows, yet there was no sunlight. The room reminded Kazu of the old victorian homes he read of in magazines. Even with vines and dust everywhere, the interior of the room amazed him. He strolled along the room in awe until he reached the window. Kazu looked through the window examining the outside scenery. It was a pitch black scenery, nothing could be seen.
Suddenly, large thumping steps came from outside the room. Kazu hid behind the door until the sound of the steps became weaker and weaker until it disappeared.
Update: Sneak ability learned, sub-skill of Hide. You can now walk normally while in hide mode.
Let’s see if this really works…
Kazu walked at a normal pace. He looked at his hands and they were still translucent signifying that the ability did work. Walking along the hallway, he came up into another room. A burning cooking smell with fire crackling aroused Kazu’s nose.
Dammit, if my stomach grumbles right now, I’d die immediately!
Kazu sneaked away, managing to escape into an empty room. The empty room had a different look than the other rooms. This one was empty and a circular platform sat in the middle of the room. The runic inscriptions on the circular platform glowed in an ominous fashion. It pulsed in a beat like it was alive.
What’s this? Kazu touched the mud on the floor originating from the platform. Mud…? They look like footprints
Kazu hopped on the platform and stood in the middle. He planted his feet where the 2 mud footprints were. The beating glow stopped and grew a monotone glow. A screeching noise filled the room. Then all of a sudden, loud thumping steps came from outside the door.
An ogre appeared at the door, growling at the top of its lungs. As the ogre ran to kill Kazu, the runic inscriptions spun and it lit up brighter than before. It was like the scene in the hospital room—the last thing he remembered before he fell unconscious.
The ogre swung his large tree at Kazu, but it was stopped by an invisible field. The ogre’s tree disintegrated. It flew away in rebound slamming and cracking the wall from the impact.
Soon, more ogres arrived at the door. Dozens of gaze pierced Kazu, all with the intent to kill. However, none moved in to kill. Instead, they just watched as the screeching and the light grew louder and brighter.
Until finally, Kazu’s vision of the dark room disappeared and replaced with a dripping wet cave. Large holes on the ceiling of the caves let light in allowing Kazu to see. Footprints on the ground were still fresh. They were of normal size so following the footprints might be a good idea Kazu thought.
He dragged his feet along the path of the footprints tired from the stressing adventure he just had. On the way, Kazu saw some cooking equipment, but there were nothing in them even though the fire underneath the pots were still warm.
Walking along the path, his stomach growled even louder for attention. Then, a brick wall of 5 meters tall blocked his path. Some bricks were missing on the wall, but they weren’t enough to climb it.
In a strife of luck, the sounds of metal clashing against each other echoed along the walls of the cave.
Kazu went into a corner and huddled himself up to make himself look the smallest. The noise of metal came closer and closer until it stopped just above the wall.
“There’s nothing here.” A man in full metal plate armour appeared above. He had luxurious ornaments embedded into his armour, each one seeming to radiate a dim light. The crest on the top left chest part of his armour symbolized a lion.
Update: Observe skill learned
“Shh, quiet. I sense something watching us.” The woman next to him wore a robe that covered her entire body. Although it covered her entire body, it failed to hide her curves.
She took off the hood of her robes to reveal her bright flowing crimson hair and a face that could only be called wild. However, she didn’t open her eyes. She had a large scar running along both of her eyes which could only mean one thing.
“You over there in the corner. Is there a purpose for you to be here?” The crimson haired woman yelled.
“Oh, now that you pointed him out, I can see him.” the man in a lion crest armour gave out a coy chuckle.
“I’m not dangerous. Please help me!” Kazu stood up with both hands up and deactivated hide making him visible and opaque to the man and woman above the wall.
“Hurry up and throw a rope down.” Ordered the red woman.
The man grumbled in rebellion. He turned his head and waved his hand behind. A soldier came from behind and handed him the rope he was carrying. He tied it to a rock and threw down the rope.
Kazu grabbed it and started climbing it. His hands shivered as he held on to the rope causing him to fall. Once again, he held onto the rope determined to climb. But again, his shivering hand could only yield out a fruitless attempt.
“Pick him up.” Ordered the red woman once again.
“Guuh!” The man turned his head towards her asking with his eyes if he really has to. The red woman didn’t look at him. Instead, she looked on to Kazu with piqued interest.
“Don’t make me say it again.”
The man immediately jumped down the 5 meter drop with his heavy armour causing the mud below to splash on Kazu.
Kazu bewildered at the sudden drop, swung his hands around like someone not wanting to be touched. It was a futile attempt as the man in armour picked him up in a swift and efficient fashion in a princess carry.
In a sudden twist, the man jumped with extreme strength, causing Kazu to lose consciousness from the g-force, and landing on top of the wall with the red woman. They examined at Kazu with curiosity
“This guy… is he a demon?” The man commented. “He has pure black hair. That’s something that doesn’t exist right?”
“We’ll head back.” The red woman started walking away from the scene. “Throw him in the prison for now. He might not be the one we’re looking for.”
Kazu woke up to the smell of human waste. There was no toilet; the stench came from the corner of the cell. The loose droppings and puddle of piss gave a gagging response to Kazu. His empty stomach only regurgitated stomach bile. Above the cell he sat in was a stone hanging from the ceiling. Its weak glow lit up the room albeit still being dark.
Outside the cell, a hallway full of bars littered the scene. From each cell, moans of pain echoed in the empty hallway. A scream would pop up every now and then alarming Kazu. And sometimes, an inmate would shake the bars that imprisons him.
At the end of the hallway, the door opened with a creak. A guard wearing leather armour with important parts of the armour covered in metal, headed straight to Kazu’s cell. He held a sword on his waist, and his dagger already drawn incase of close combat. The guard clanged his dagger along the bars that restricted Kazu.
“Wake up!” The guard opened the door. “Move!”
Although reluctant to move, Kazu got up from the bed he sat in, stumbling to keep balance, and left through the tight door that could only fit one person.
“Hurry up! We don’t have all day!” The guard pushed him forward tripping him in the process.
They moved through the cells of the prison. Each cell were filled with either 2 or 3 inmates. They stared at Kazu with their hollow eyes.
“You gotta help me man. I’ve been here forever. I’m innocent!” An inmate grabbed Kazu’s legs through the bars. He wore nothing and the lining of his bones could be seen through his skin.
“Get back in your cell!” The guard stomped on the man’s foot. The stomp forced out a loud crack from the man’s bones. The old man screeched back into his own cell’s corner. “You dirty shit.”
The guard once again pushed Kazu. Walking once again, Kazu didn’t realize how long the hallway really was. The steps they took felt like forever and the growing anxiety stored inside of Kazu built up.
Upon contacting the large door, the guard pushes Kazu aside. The door let out a thump followed by a creaking noise with its slow opening.
The room they entered was lit with a few candles and brightly glowing stones planted in the ceiling. There was a crude table with a few chairs in the middle of the room. It was a typical guard room where they stayed in case someone gets passed the bars holding them.
A door opened coming from the stairs opposite of the door Kazu entered in. The stairs led up and soon, the red woman and the knight descended it.
The scar crossing both of her eyes made Kazu’s eyes widen. She moved onto the chair as the man beside her pulled it backwards. As soon as she sat, the man pushed it just enough for her to sit comfortably in.
The guard pushed Kazu. He turned his head towards the guard seeing him in a straight posture unlike before. The guard moved his eyes back and forth from the chair and Kazu.
Kazu took this cue to sit down.
“You may call me Sage.” Sage pointed at the man beside her and said, “The man beside me is Philip Nemean.”
“Hey no fair! How come he gets to know my name but not yours?!” Philip retorted.
“Quiet.” Sage laid down both her hands on the table folding them together. “And your name is?”
“K-kazu... My name is, uh, Kazu Tomoe.”
“Kazu Tomoe... “ Sage leaned forward as if inspecting him with her non-existent eyes. “What a strange name. Are you from this land?”
“What? This land is… I don’t know.” Kazu stumbled on his words not knowing how to answer her question. If I tell them I’m not from here, they might kill me or lock me up like those guys!
“I see.” An arrogant grin escaped Sage’s face. “Have the guard fed you yet?”
Kazu’s stomach growled. He put his hands on his stomach to try and lessen the noise. Sage’s gaze turned towards the guard with an unsatisfied look.
“I can afford to have a few heads roll if you do not do your job properly again.” Sage giggled.
“Oh, buddy, she literally means your head will roll if you know what I mean.” Philip ran his fingers horizontally from one side of his neck to the other.
The guard gulped and his face turned sour unable to utter anything.
“Well that’s enough for now.” Sage stood up from her seat, then snapping her finger at Philip. “You’re free to go.”
“Wait, that’s it?!” Philip blurted.
She didn’t give a response as she kept walking up the stairs into the central hall of the prison. Dozens of guards patrolled along the stone paved hallways each one carrying both a dagger and a sword. They all moved out of the way while bowing as Sage and Philip walked along the corridors.
“Hey, what’s with that earlier. You’re usually not that rough.” Philip pulled her hand forcing both of them to stop. “You know something don’t you?”
“The legends and the future.” Sage put her hand on top of where Philip’s hand gripped her arm. “My eyes told me of a great being coming into our kingdom that will slay the Demon King. Right now, we can only hope that it’s him.”
“So that’s it?” Philip let go of Sage’s arm. “If that’s it then shouldn’t I give him exclusive training?”
“No!” Sage turned back and continued her walk to exit the building. “The legends state that he must overcome his own ordeals. We cannot interfere with his life.”
Philip sighed and shrugged as they walk along the corridors filled with guards.