The Arcane Order

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We Hunt for Dead Cows

“M-Master Zane?” I asked in confusion.
One kid smirked at me, and Melodie laughed. No one said anything, but only turned around, and started into the cave. I hesitated to follow for two reason. The poor farm child still stood at the left door and looked at me with what I thought of to be puppy eyes. Also, I had no desire to follow a crowd of strangers, further into a cave.

I walked up to the little boy, and crouched down. “Hey, you want to come with me into the cave? With our luck, that giant will probably reconstruct, and trust me, you do not wanna fight that guy!”

If we wasn’t convinced before, he sure was now. His eyes widened, and he hugged my lugs as if he were toddler. He was pretty short for his age, about four feet, and as skinny as a er, a starved child. He looked like he hadn’t eaten in weeks, and I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him, despite the obvious reasons.

I told him, “We’ll get you some food, first chance, ok? What about a big, juicy burger?”

He replied, “B-Burger?” He had trouble pronouncing it. “What’s a burger?"

At this point, I didn’t know if I wanted to laugh or cry. I felt even more guilt, as well as stupidity. Whatever the case, it was now my duty to get this kid a great big, juicy hamburger. I hoped he wasn’t vegetarian.

I stuttered, “You’ll- Er, you’ll find out, I promise. Now, what do you say we follow those strangers further into this dark, scary cave?”

I took a second to think about what I had just said. I almost felt like a bully, but I didn’t mean to one bit. I was terrible with children, and just people in general. I often wanted to put my own foot in my mouth, which I’m usually too late to do. To my surprise, the kid laughed.

“Okay.” was all he said.

He reached for my hand, which I thought was kind of sweet. In a way, I had just made a new friend, and we were gonna hunt ourselves some burgers!

“By the way, I’m Zane. What’s yours?”

“Bongani.” he mumbled.

“Nice to meet you, Bongani.”

“You too.” He tugged on my shirt sleeve, nearly tearing it off, as it was already ripped. “How will we acquire this Burger?”

I laughed. “You saw what I did to The Gate Lord. I think they’ll be willing to give away some meat.”

We headed into the cave, where one of the armed men were waiting. He looked down at me and bowed. Ironic, eh?

“Right this way, Master Zane.” he looked at Bongani with... annoyance? “And who are you, young one?”

The boy seemed to cower. “Bon- Gan...” he trailed off.

Maybe the man saw a look in my eye, hopefully one that said you’re next’ because he suddenly looked startled, as if someone was about to sheathe a knife in him cough cough.

“Bongani.” I said.

“Of course, Master Zane.” He stood against the wall, directing us towards the cave. “Right this way, Master, and er, Bongani.”

At this point, I was sure I had some type of power over these men. They spoke to me as if I were some sort of king, and shoot, even bowed at the sight of me but they treated Bongani like a sack of chopped liver, and I definitely couldn’t put up with that!

“You.”

“Yes Master Zane?”

“What am I to you? Why are you treating me like this? What did I do that was so special, that you talk to me like I’m your master?”

“Why, you should be honored sir-”

I cut him off and began taking advantage of my power. “Is that what I asked you? Did I ask you what I should feel? Answer the question, and answer it now!”

We stopped walking and faced each other. The man looked so shocked that I almost laughed. “Master, I- I’m sorry-”

“I don’t want to hear it!”

“O-of course! See Master.. It is a very long and complicated story-”

“Oh my, I surely don’t have anytime to listen to extremely long stories, that would take from the enjoyment of walking through a dark cave, hundreds of feet underground, wouldn’t it?”

“Er, yes Master, exactly.”

“No, not exactly! And Melodie said I had a thick skull!”

“Are you portraying that I have a thick skull?”

“Hm, maybe not as thick as I imagined.”

“Master, as nerve racking as it might seem, my orders command that I do not answer to anyone. Doing so could result in great punishment, er, punishment even greater than of which, you could assign yourself...” He was so nervous, his knees almost knocked together.

“Well, if you will not answer to me, you can at least correct yourself!”

“Um, of course Master.” Sounding unsure of himself, he continued, “Correct myself how, Master Zane?”

“Well, you can start by treating Bongani as an equal! And as soon as possible, he needs a burger! A hamburger, I’m talking Carls Jr. quality! You personally, are to treat him as a king, or I’ll make sure your punishment is twice as worse, than what it would have been if you gave me answers!” To be honest, I felt like a Karen, but to be twice as honest, it felt great. I’ve been bullied more times than I could count, and although Bongani wasn’t exactly being bullied, he still deserved to be treated as an equal, especially compared to the way they treated me, besides, it felt good to stand up for someone.

“Yes, of course sir. A five star, Carls Junior hamburger, as soon as possible. How does Master Bongani sound?”

“Much better. One last thing.”

“Yes, Master?”

“When exactly will I get answers?”

“Why, as soon as we reach the order.”

“Good.” I began to wonder where the others had gone, so of course, that’s what I asked. “Where has the crowd gone?”

“I believe they have already reached the bridge. It will only be a moment before we catch up.”

“What bridge?”

“Oh, The Arcane Bridge, of course. It is the bridge that attaches our island to the world. With luck, they should be waiting for us at the beginning of it.”

“Right,” I said sarcastically, “That makes total sense!”

“I am glad you understand. Most of our recruits can barely process this information at first, but you seem to be handling it well, Master.”

“First of all,” you’re an idiot, is what I wanted to say, but I made a last second decision, “that’s Masters"

“Of course, please excuse my foolishness.” He said this genuinely, and I was barely able to tell if this was out of respect, or if he didn’t want to get in trouble. I’ll let you decide what it was.

We continued walking for what seemed like miles, until the tunnel began to expand. I heard water roaring, as if we were by the ocean. At last, we made a right hand turn, and what was beyond that, put me into shock. about half a mile in front of us, lie a city that could have been as big as New York City! Around it was a large moat. When I say moat, I don’t mean one that you might see around a well guarded castle, I mean this city was located Smack dab in the middle of a lake, and by lake, I mean Victoria Lake, big, not an oversized pond where you can soak your feet. We were still underground, which made me a little confined, but at the moment, I was barely able to notice that. Crystals hung from the top of the cavern, and stuck out of the walls. At the end of the cave, was a cliff, that stuck out at least thirty feet above the water, and standing on top of the cliff, was the crowd we had seen earlier. They faced toward us and bowed as we entered the room.

"It took you long enough! Now, shall we cross into the city?"

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