Exiled West

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Taken Prisoner

Chapter 5: Taken Prisoner

After only spending one day in Ardien Town we had to get back on the road to continue heading for Delidaware first thing in the morning. Only having an hour to do everything from using the bathroom and eating breakfast which wasn’t enough when everyone from the group had to do their duties at the same time. I had spent the little free time I had in Ardien asking around about Logan Campbell but there was no luck as I only received either uncertain answers or none. Marcus had told me there would be a high chance someone would know about him in Delidaware but I didn’t have my hopes up too much. Velorian was a big cursed land where Logan could have not encountered either of the three towns or Delidaware at all.

“Hurry it up, rich bastard! No one’s doing crap for you around here!” Eric shouted at me as we loaded some resources given to us for the next twenty-four-hour journey.

Eric kept trying to get under my skin just to have the perfect excuse to shoot me in the head and not have John kill him for it. But no matter how hard he tried I didn’t take the bait and just ignored him like his words were mere wind blowing through my ears. Once we finished getting everything ready Marcus came around to give us a warning before we left.

“Hey! Careful out there, the Dead Realm seems off for some reason. I took a stroll out town early in the morning and there seemed to be more hungry souls than normal.” Marcus told Eric loudly to make sure everyone else also heard it. “I’ll have a few of my men escort y’all some distance.”

“Thank you for the warning, Marcus,” Eric said while giving a short bow and hopped on his wagon.

Marcus saw us off and I sat at the edge of the entrance in the wagon I rode on where I saw Marcus standing around and slightly tilts his hat as a form of farewell to me.

“OOUUWWAAH! I’m already missing the bed.” Someone from my wagon said after yawning still having sleepy eyes.

“It’s only for one day, we’ll have another bed in no time,” Billy told him.

“So? How are you liking your new life so far?” Another asked me.

“… Well, I expected things to be miserable but… it’s not enough to make me regret my decision.” I answered.

“Miserable? Bahaha!” Everyone laughed when they heard what I said.

“What’s so funny?”

“This is nothing compared to busting your ass off working for some stuck-up rich asshole. And then worrying if you made enough money to live for the next day.”

“Yeah, at least here we can work knowing we will get plenty of food, water, and a roof over our heads.”

“And there’s plenty of land. We had to live so cramped up in those damn streets sniffing up everyone’s shit.”

“You’re all making it sound like this is paradise. I thought this was a cursed land?”

“Ha! That’s just what the government tells ya but after years living here, it’s not so bad. It’s all just propaganda to make people afraid so they don’t leave.”

“Yeah, they don’t want poor folk like us to get better lives for ourselves. Greedy rich bastards want to stay special and powerful.”

“… You all blame the rich for terrible lives yet I’m surprised you never once considered that you make up the majority of the population.”

“Huh? What are you talking about?”

“You said we rich people want to stay powerful but in reality, you guys are the ones who have the power. But because of your ignorance, you don’t know how to use it.”

“Make fucking sense! I don’t know what you talking about!”

I lifted my index finger where they could all see to give them a very simple and basic understanding of what I was talking about.

“This finger, this is us rich and powerful folk you hate. Consider this as a one to ten percent, which for you all to understand that means there aren’t a lot of us rich and powerful people.” I said while moving my finger around to make sure they understood. “Now, this is all the poor folk that lived back in our home country.” I then raised nine fingers. “You guys are the majority; you make up about ninety percent of our country. Which means, there’s a whole bunch of poor people and very little of rich folk.” I explained hoping they would understand the concept and difference between one finger against nine fingers.

“… I still don’t understand. What are you getting at?”

“Is it still that hard to understand for you? What I’m saying is if all the poor people banded together you could have overthrown the government and force them to get their act together. But you all never did. Do you know why?”

No one answered my question and still looked at me like I was just speaking rich gibberish.

“Because you’re too ignorant, and if you don’t know what that word means then what I’m saying is you’re all stupid.”

“The fuck did you call us!?”

They all got upset that I called them stupid but Billy raised his right arm to calm them down.

“Now hold on, hear him out. He’s not exactly wrong, is he? The rich always looked down on us because we didn’t know any better.” Billy said standing up for me making sure things wouldn’t escalate.

“If all the poor banded together you could have overthrown the government. However, it’s not that simple. You’d need leaders that know how to lead millions of people that will be willing to sacrifice their lives for a better future. And that’s only the beginning, once you take over you will need to solve the problems of our country and be able to find solutions for every group of people. There’s no guarantee the future you all wish for is the future you will get as it could quickly become tyrannical or end up the same as before but with new rich people and new poor people.”

“Ah! Enough, we get it! We poor people are too stupid to know what to do! Are you trying to say it was a mistake to move here?” One of them had enough of my complicated talk.

“No, what I’m trying to say is to not make the same mistakes here. Educate yourselves, become smarter and civilized. Otherwise, for the next ten, twenty, or more years to come Vornil, Ardien, and Delidaware will just end up the same as our home country. Where those who are ignorant will live a miserable poor life and those who read a book will be ahead living the rich life.”

It all goes silent for a moment as everyone in the wagon thinks over what I just said trying to figure out what I was telling them.

“Books… I do remember seeing one of my bosses reading books.” One of them says as he starts making sense of it. And never understood why people with money would read books and thought it was just a rich people thing.

“Are books that important to become rich?”

“No way! It’s just paper full of gibberish.”

“Don’t misunderstand, there’s no guarantee it will make you rich. However, it will increase your chances greatly and you will no longer be looking like a fool in front of wealthy people.” I told them.

“Say, Levi. In Delidaware they have books. Would you mind picking some out for us?” Billy asked me.

“You believing this nonsense, Billy?”

“I do and you should all believe it as well. After all, this is coming from a former rich man who threw it all away just to come here and find the murderer of his family. What does Levi Carter stand to gain by telling us lies? He is no longer able to return to our country and so far, he hasn’t regretted coming along to this journey despite the risks of getting killed.”

Everyone looked among themselves agreeing that what Billy said made sense that I had nothing to gain by telling them lies or making stuff.

“I guess we could… read sometime…”

“Won’t hurt to see what books can help us with.”

They all began coming around and started to openly listen to my suggestion and although I only intended to say my piece. I didn’t expect they would continue to seek out my advice and I began to teach them about the basics of living and managing a small town that would end up needing a proper government so it would not collapse into tyranny or destroy itself. I didn’t mind giving them some knowledge since it was a good way to pass the time but when we neared eight hours of moving along the road about to take a break. Everything that went smoothly for the past days turned into chaos.

“Hm? Why did we stop?” Billy wondered as our wagon came to a sudden halt.

“What happened?”

“Let’s check it out- “One of the guys in the wagon I rode on suddenly got shot on the head.

It was instant as blood splattered around us and soon after the sound of multiple gunfire is heard and a barrage of bullets hit our wagon. Everyone was getting bombarded with bullets into their bodies and since I was at the edge, I leaped out along with the other who sat on the opposite side but he still got hit on the side of his left gut.

“AAAGHHH! AAAAAHHH!” He screamed in pain until the horses that carried the wagon behind us began freaking out and started to run off on their own. One of them stomped his head knocking him out cold and opening a deep wound.

“Dammit!” I quickly crawled underneath the wagon and looked at the surrounding.

We were in a small forest area with trees and the enemy had planned an ambush having hidden on both sides surrounding us and using the trees as cover. I spotted one of them some distance away with a rifle wearing very old, ripped, and dirtied clothing. And from their black skin color, I was able to tell that they were the Negros. I found it strange since I was told you wouldn’t normally find Negros around here and are mostly located far southwest from Vornil and they never encountered any for years. Anyways, I didn’t have time to think much about it and aimed my pistol to get a good shot at an enemy I spotted. But before I could fire I heard running footsteps closing in on me and I turned around seeing one of the Negros having rushed in and was about to fire a clear shot at me.

My heart felt like it stopped as I saw my life almost come to an end but thankfully Billy managed to survive the initial barrage and shot the Negro on the hand.

“AAAHHH- “The Negro screamed for a moment until Billy finished him with a headshot.

Billy jumped out of the wagon covered in blood from the others holding his left ear which got utterly destroyed by a bullet he barely dodged to avoid getting hit on the head.

“URRRGHH! FUCK!” Billy was hurting but does his best to pull himself through in the dire situation.

“Billy!” I rushed out underneath the wagon to help him take cover alongside me.

’Shit! Why are these damn Negros here!? AAGH!”

“Anyone else survived!?” I asked him through his right ear.

“No… they’re all dead. URGH!”

“… dead…”

When Billy told me the others in our wagon were dead, I couldn’t help but feel angered since they were people who were willing to change for the better. At first, I didn’t care much about them if they were killed or not but after those last hours talking and teaching them. I was feeling supportive towards their future and some of their kid’s future. There would no longer be anything waiting for those kids other than a body that used to smile and bring joy to their life. At that moment, I crawled out underneath the wagon with a sole intention and it was to kill.

“Hey! Where are you going!?” Billy yelled out to me who tried stopping me but I didn’t listen to him.

I ran towards the enemy I spotted who was reloading and the moment he spotted me I aimed and fired. I barely missed a lethal shot only a portion of his throat but it was still a serious wound that stopped the Negro from countering. As I got close, I saw him bleed out from the throat desperately trying to breathe. There was no mercy in my heart for him as his life was in my hands and all he could do is try speaking something I couldn’t understand.

“Po…ba… wa…” The Negro uttered with determination in his eyes like his actions of killing those men in the wagon I rode on was justified.

“Shut up,” I told him and simply kicked away straight at the wound on his throat until I killed him.

The moment I killed him and my foot was quite deep inside his throat, I heard footsteps behind me a second time but because my foot was inside one of the Negro’s throat that I just killed. I was a step behind and got struck on the head making my vision completely turn black and my mind went unconscious. Only for a few times, my brain tried to stay conscious as I was getting dragged by the leg and faintly saw Billy get forcefully beaten and tied up by some Negros. There were a few others from our group that was also being taken prisoner badly beaten and begging for their lives. I couldn’t hear much of what was happening in that barely conscious state but I knew for sure things were not going to end up well for us.

I couldn’t stay conscious for long, only knowing that the Negros were taking us somewhere and they took some of the wagons with horses that didn’t get shot or run away. Not knowing how long I was out for I was forced awake by a splash of water thrown to my face by someone. The sudden alertness into consciousness was painful due to the wound on my head that was done by one of the Negros who caught me with my guard down. It was dreadful and felt like my entire brain was going to explode and it took me some time to start paying attention to the surrounding situation.

It was mostly dark and at first, I couldn’t tell if we were still outside or not until I noticed torches and fires burning above which made it clear that we were inside some cave. There were many Negros present running around doing some tribal-like dancing and chanting. Some wore clothing similar to those living in Vornil and Ardien while others barely wore much looking like they came from a time where clothing didn’t exist.

“Please! I have a family!”

“I don’t want to die! AAHHH! PLEASE!”

“Fucking Negros! I’ll kill all of ya!”

To the left and right side of me, I saw the others from my group tied and lined up begging for their lives but are completely ignored by the Negros who just dance around chanting some ominous song of some sort that I had no clue what it meant because they were talking in their language.

“URGH! AAAHH!” I went back to feeling the unbearable pain in my head and began wondering if I had a serious concussion.

“Levi, are you okay?” A familiar voice asked me which was Billy.

I turned to my right seeing Billy who still had his left ear blown to bits with lots of the blood dried up. Poor guy also had other bruises after getting beaten up including a serious black eye.

“N-No… urgh! My… head!”

“… I couldn’t hear but from what I could tell of your lips and face. Guess you’re also having bad luck. These black fuckers… they intend to eat us.” Billy told me.

I do my best to withstand the pain and saw more clearer what Billy meant as I see two of our guys impaled with long sticks from the bottom. They hang sideways with a fire underneath burning and cooking them. After some time the Negros took the two off the fire after they were cooked and chopped them up like animals and passing around chunks and pieces of their body parts to others who munch on it like food. Never did I ever imagine that I’d see people eat other people and it made me sick to my stomach that I felt like vomiting.

“Fucking animals! Disgusting fucks!” Billy screamed out in anger unable to bear seeing the Negros doing such inhumane acts.

Since Billy was loud some Negros heard him and looked over at him with unpleasant expressions.

“What!? You fucking animals! Why don’t you just kill us! Get it over with!” Billy angrily yelled preferring to get killed normally instead of getting eaten.

The Negros who stared at Billy suddenly began screaming something and ran towards him. They forcefully grab Billy and take him away from the line of prisoners.

“Fuck off me! Fucking animals! Get your disgusting hands off me!” Billy continued to curse the Negros as they force him onto the ground.

One of the Negros then walks over with two long sticks with one side having a sharp tip for impaling like a spear.

“N-No! NNNOOO! STOOOPPP!” Billy at that moment realized what was going to happen and his anger quickly turned into fear.

“Hey! Stop!” I also screamed out hoping they would listen but was completely ignored. “STOP! Don’t do it!” I kept yelling but there was no stopping Billy’s doom.

Once the Negro with the stick got behind Billy and others started spreading his legs open. At that moment, no matter how much Billy struggled or how much I tried telling them to stop. It didn’t matter, without any hesitation the Negro stabs away right between Billy’s privates.

“AAAAAHHHH! AAAAAAHHH!” Billy screamed in agonizing pain as I looked away unable to bear watching such cruelty.

Only seconds passed and Billy’s screams stopped and the only thing I heard was the chanting of the Negros dancing and singing around like lunatics. After some seconds had passed, I looked over and saw them continue to stab away until the stick would puncture fully through the body to the top of Billy’s head. The others from my group also watched in horror as they witnessed the other two that were already cooked get killed the same way and kept begging for their lives. But I knew begging wasn’t going to do anything against those savages.

“Sorry, Billy.” I felt bad for Billy since he was truly a man with good intentions but I didn’t have time to feel remorseful. “I’ll kill them… I’ll kill these bastards for you, Billy,” I said making a promise to avenge Billy.

I had no intention of getting myself killed in that cave and be eaten by savages especially when I haven’t truly begun my search for Logan Campbell. No matter how gruesome the path was I would keep pushing since that was what I had originally signed up for from the start. And the reason why Velorian is a dangerous cursed land began to reveal itself. It was at that moment, where my real journey for vengeance started.

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