I felt a little pissed off by that, seeing I didn’t know who this “Us” was. “And who exactly are you?” I asked with more hostility than I wanted to. “Calm yourself boy, or you and I are gonna have a real problem. You ain’t gonna like that much boy.” The two-legged muscle huffed, his voice deep and rough.
I tried to look as tough as I could as I glared back as my hand tapped the safety latch on the holster. “Awe, the little pretty boy is mad.” The man said with a grin while the Healer and Mage glared at him as well. The man behind the desk only sat back in his chair with his eyebrows, interested. Agitated, I ran my left hand through my messed up hair only for some dirt to come out. “Nothing, just like you,” I said that after I noticed the deskman’s watching attitude and went off that.
I guessed right. He looked like he wanted to throw me out the window, but he only looked at the man behind the desk before huffing without a reply. “You two done?” I only nodded while ignoring the big man’s glares. “I am Arnold, the Branch Leader here.” he said with a smile before obviously waiting for my introduction that never came. “This is usually the part where you introduce yourself.” He said with slight forcefulness. As much as I would have liked to be courteous – they still were detaining me.
“You never explained who you guys were,” I said. Father had plenty of political enemies and I’ve been detained a few times by people who weren’t “Legal” authorities to do such. The biggest giveaway for this was that there were uniformed guards outside by the gates and patrolling. All of them in plated steel armor with spears. They had an emblem of a perched bird that was similar to an eagle but more vicious looking. “Do you not know what the Guild is?” He said.
[New Mission – Escape New Heaven Branch of the Guild.
Objective – Escape peacefully or by fighting your way out.
Bonus for Peaceful EVAC. ]
I stayed silent as I listened to Lily’s voice. “We are an organization that handles requests from the people, other organizations, and the government.” He said with a sigh. “So you’re not the government here?” I said while trying to keep my cool. Bingo – Bad feeling maxing out. “No, but -” I cut him off. “Then on whose authority did you detain me on?” I asked forcibly. I was preparing to bail from the room. My voice wasn’t as rough and authoritative like my brother or dad’s voice. I probably looked like a small puppy trying to puff up.
“We are just trying – ” I cut him off again. “Since it looks like you actually didn’t have the power to do so, I’m leaving.” Just to test the waters, I got off the ledge and strode a few paces towards the door were the walking embodiment of muscles posted himself up at. “We aren’t done with -” I clicked the latch on the hostler and draw the pistol while backing up towards the window which set off a cascade of shit.
The big man pulled his weapon while the mage sprung to her feet as the healer jumped in between all of us. “Woah! Woah! Can we just talk this out?” the Healer pleaded out while the man behind the desk was just pulling out a wand. “No. You obviously have no right to keep me here and I intend to leave. By talking or fighting. Pick one.” I said, trying to contain my jitters as the adrenaline began pumping.
“Yes, why don’t we all calm down and have a nice chat?” Arnold said as he slowly put his wand down on his desk, careful to keep the pointy end towards me. “I’d like that, but not when I’m being detained by a group that does not hold the right to do so.” I said, “You know he’s right, Arnold.” Healer finally said as he whirled around. “I don’t know why you’re trying to flex your muscles, but you know you can’t be doing this.” He said angrily at Arnold. Being admonished, he glared daggers at Healer before nodding at the muscle man. “You be, very, careful around town boy.”
Man, if looks could kill. I kept my head high, but I wasn’t going to lie – I felt scared. Arnold conveyed his thinly veiled threat before the meat-head moved out of the way and healer escorted me out by the arm nicely. I followed him since he seemed to be more on my side than theirs.
We stepped out into a fancy room where a few beautiful women in their mid-twenties were filing paperwork. Each one of them looked up in surprise when I stepped out, but all looked away quickly when Mr. T stepped out of the office behind us “Better stay out of my way, kid.” He snarled as he watched us descend down the stairs. “Wait till we get outside, then we’ll talk.” Healer whispered into my ear as he smiled and greeted a few people on the way down to the first floor before we walked through a single large room that was filled with people in armor and sheathed weapons.
I didn’t get a good chance to actually take a good look before Healer brought me out the double doors we entered earlier. “Where do you live?” He whispered as before looking up to the 3rd story window I was perched on early only to find Arnold glaring at us while saying something to the mage woman who also was looking out the window. “Just take me back to the Blackhawk.” I whispered back as I looked up to Arnold and returned his glare. “The what?” Healer turned back to me confused. “Whats a Blac-hauc?”.
I kept my mouth shut. Given my surroundings, I wasn’t too keen on trying to explain my civilization “Just take me back to where you first found me.” Healer still looked confused but agreed nonetheless. “Second mission completed. You have rewards waiting for you in the shop. Bonus reward – 1 loot crate.” Lily chirped into my headset. When we stepped through the gate, Healer nodded to the guards on duty while gesturing with his head towards me. Their sudden frowns didn’t escape me.
I waited a few minutes before I decided to get to the bottom of what that was about. “So what was with the gestures?” I asked while slowly separating myself from him. “Sorry, it’s just you’re not the first one.” He said with a helpless shrug before pointing towards the mountainside. “This way.” I fell into step behind him. “Not the first what?” I asked. “The first one that Arnold tried to take advantage of. Most newcomers that have any sort of fighting ability, he tries to force under his wing for his own political purposes.” He looked back at me.”
“You seem like a good kid. I’ve patched up plenty of people and you can normally tell what kind of person someone is by their body. You’re not a fighter and I don’t know how you survived last night, but if I were you, I’d skip town. ” He said before turning forward. “Why would I do that?” I asked. While I appreciated the comment, but the more he spoke, the more curious I became. “Arnold and the mayor are in a power struggle at the moment. This little frontier town has the potential to earn millions of gold since they recently found some precious metals further into the Wildlands.”
Ah, that definitely would bring in bad people, but I didn’t broach on the subject any longer and silence filled the space between us as we kept our focus on our footing through the myriad of roots and brush. After half an hour of walking, according to the Tact-link clock, we broke through the treeline. We popped out into a small flat grassy area with a few trees dotting the landscape before it slowly slopped upwards, forming the mountainside that looked like one of those vacation photos of Scandinavian mountains.
Healer led me to a small Shepard’s path that snaked up the grassy hillside and the sparse rock outcrops until it forked. We took the right path and hiked towards the cliff where the rock outcrops became plentiful. After nearly an hour of walking, we finally reached the first area where the Blackhawk crashed. I hadn’t noticed when I was fighting for dear life the other night, but the spot where the adventurers jumped in it was actually the edge of the crash site. A river of dried blood ran up the hillside into a large group of jutting rocks where the skirmish ended
I was amazed how much I had missed during the fight, but what felt like fighting across the entire mountainside was actually kept within a 200 feet of where the bird came to its final rest by the edge of the mountain. Turning back to the crash site, I followed the large depression where I assumed the bird first made contact with the mountain. There wasn’t any other damage to the dirt within 20 feet until it came to a large gutting rock with glaringly obvious scrapes and black-paint transfer with a few pieces of the tail blades scattered around it.
So the bird hit then turned sideways hitting the tail on the rock.
Afterward, I walked past it where the earth was scarred from the tail dragged across before being completely ripped from the main body and lay on its side bent. From there, the scars in the earth became sporadic where I assumed the made body began to roll away at least 40 feet before it rested on its right side, cockpit facing the summit. Overall, the entire scene stretched nearly 130 feet across the mountainside with my only saving grace being that the bird landed on a rather flat part of the slope.
During the whole time, I kept swiveling my head – keeping an eye out for my family or their soldiers. I didn’t spot any of them.
I felt something mulling in the pit of my stomach. Maybe it was grief or sadness, maybe a little of both. Whatever it was, I could feel it weighing down on me. The tension built up from being awakened amidst an invasion of the mainland to watching those monsters pull everyone out of the cabin. Then having to fight all by myself with those strange little fucking imps Lily called goblins.
“Hey… Did… Did you ever find anyone else out here dressed like me?” I asked, straining to keep my emotions in check, but I probably failed miserably at it as Healer looked at me like I was a lost puppy with a shake of his head. “No, did you need a moment to yourself…?” I could feel there was some confusion to why I was feeling this way, why this thing was here and how I got here. At least, that’s what I assumed he was thinking. I know I would have if a strange person showed up looking at this metal object while getting emotional…
I wasn’t going to question why I was here, or how I got here. All I knew was I was here. I was alone, but I was going to survive.
I had to – Just to spite whoever the fuck caused this.
. . . .
After my emotional breakdown, Healer wandered around for a little bit to make sure I was okay. I wasn’t sure of his intentions, but he seemed like a decent person, at least, for now. “So what’re you going to do?” He leaned against the beat up underbelly of the Blackhawk. I was sitting with my back against it, my eyes slightly red. My hair was a mess and I was wearing some stranger’s clothes. They didn’t even smell nice. “I don’t know. Try to find my family if they’re somewhere in the area, maybe the others I was with.” I said as I pulled the headset off and tried to untangle my tangled bed-hair.
It might have been greasy and oily if not for all the dust in it. “I should probably take a bath.” I chuckled half-hardheartedly feeling disgusted with my personal hygiene at the moment. I hadn’t noticed how much tension was built up until I got here. The only thing comforting was this wreck of a bird, albeit bloody and messed up, it was the only other thing that attested I wasn’t some crazy dude in this medieval fantasy place. “Baths? You’re a noble?” Healer said, his face scrunching up slightly.
“No?” I answered. He stared at me before eyeing me. “Baths are for nobles…” He said. If I had to take a gander, I figured he was finally piecing together I probably wasn’t from around here – anywhere. “A shower, or anything really, will do,” I said as I heaved myself up from the floor and putting my headset back on. “Well, I would say the inn could help you out, but I don’t suggest you go back to the town. Arnold probably got a few of his adventurers on the prowl for you. He doesn’t like being ‘disrespected’.” Healer’s expression turned menacing. “He’s worse than the damn nobles.”
I wasn’t going to ask why he had a problem with aristocrats, so I didn’t ask. At the current moment, I was in my own dilemma with Healer reminding me I also had a target on my back now in town. “Well, I don’t have anywhere to go… so… I guess I’ll have to camp out here for a while till I figure out my next move…” I said with a few strains of determination. I never camped in my life, even when big bro forced me on one of his camping trips. I always ended up with the nice amenities of the sweet hotel chains nearby with enough nagging.
Thinking back, I should have probably taken a few things more seriously. Pulling my mind back to the current moment, Healer only nodded. “Well don’t say I didn’t try and help you.” He pushed off the bird before stretching out his arms. “I’m heading back into town, but I’ll come to check on you later today. Why don’t you try your hand at hunting in the forest till then?”