Exiled West

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Entering the New World

Chapter 7: Entering the New World

I walked through the tunnels where the Nahr’Shak gang used as a base on my own and I noticed many of the drawings on the walls were not normal. I took a moment to take a closer look at them among torch light seeing the lines faintly move and were somewhat in the shape of a human that splattered themselves in the wall covered in black and white paint. However, I later come to learn that it wasn’t painted but actual souls in the Dark Realm leaning towards the wall trying to find the little glimpse of darkness in the tunnel to avoid the torchlight that suffocated them. For the dead, the light and heat burn away at their soul since they aren’t meant to be staying close to the living realm.

Didn’t look into it thoroughly as I had other things to worry about and eventually came across room entrances in the tunnel and the noise of movement was heard throughout all of them. I knew for certain some of the Nahr’Shak were within those rooms so I double-checked on my ammo only having four bullets. Knowing I couldn’t afford to right away use my pistol I silently walked towards one of the rooms and peeked to see what was in the one on the left side.

“The fuck!?” I thought to myself as I saw a Nahr’Shak slicing off the skin of a woman who finished the upper body.

The bastard hanged it around a stick like he was drying clothing which made me sick to my stomach just having to witness such a thing. I nearly felt nauseous almost throwing up but luckily, I was too angry to think about vomiting and my only intent was to kill that scum. I walked behind the Nahr’Shak member without making a single sound and once I got close enough, I swopped my left hand around his mouth and stabbed him on the neck with a knife.

“HHRRGGGMMM! HHRRMMMM!” The Negro screamed as I removed the knife and kept stabbing at his neck. It wasn’t an unscathed kill with the Negro who used the knife to slice the skin of the woman stabbed my left leg.

“RGH!” I suppressed my scream as much as I could withstanding the pain.

That’s all the Negro managed to do and died after getting stabbed in the neck multiple times. I let his body drop on the floor and forcefully removed the knife from my left leg.

“ARGH! Damn!” I got upset as the pain in my left leg was making it difficult to walk properly.

I wrapped the wound on my left leg with a piece of cloth nearby and saw a much bigger knife on a table which I replaced with the little one I had. Before I left that room, I didn’t want to leave that skinned woman in such an unsightly laying on the table. I did my best not to look at the skinned body and simply ripped off the clothing from the dead Negro and used it to cover the dead woman.

“EURRMM! AAHMM!” I wanted to throw up but withstood the urge no matter how disgusting it smelled and looked when I did see the skinned woman. “Sorry, I hope you find peace,” I said and began rushing out of the room.

As I was about to step out of the room, I suddenly heard voices and footsteps walking through the tunnel heading in my direction.

“Fuck!” I stopped myself and quickly tried thinking of a plan not knowing where they were headed.

Not having much time, I immediately went over to the dead Negro and dragged him near the wall out of sight from the entrance. When I reached the wall, the other Nahr’Shak walked by the room and didn’t pay any mind to it and kept moving. Having stressed myself in pulling the other dead one away made it annoying but as long as I didn’t get caught, I didn’t care or things would have ended badly for me. However, I then came to realize they were headed to the area where I killed the ones who were guarding the cells.

“Goddammit!” I stood up quickly for it would have only been a matter of time they would arrive in the next room and find one of their dead.

I moved to the next room fast hoping I would have enough time to at least save one person from those cannibals and found one with a naked woman bloodied and beaten hanging from a chain on her two hands and a Nahr’Shak was in the middle of getting dressed. From what I could assume he raped the beaten woman and had just finished. He was my next target as I silently approached behind him until the sound of gunfire echoed throughout the cave alerting everyone. Because of that the Nahr’Shak whom I attempted to swiftly kill turned around which made me also immediately act to kill before he could react.

“RAA- “The Negro barely uttered a scream as I only managed to slice the sides of his mouth since he pulled his head back to try dodging.

Since I lunged at him, I end up falling towards him causing us both to fall to the ground and it became a struggle with us two holding each other’s hands to prevent one another to use a weapon. Meanwhile, every other Negro who heard the continuous gunfire happening somewhere in the cave ran towards it yelling in their language. At first, I panicked thinking they would enter that room where I was fighting one of their own but they all passed by heading towards the direction of the gunfire and fighting screams.

“Mtapeli- “The Negro who I was in a scuffle with tried yelling for help but because I had sliced the sides of his mouth it pained him a lot to open it.

“RRGGH!” I tried my best to free my right hand but he was persistent in not letting go fighting for his life.

I forcefully moved our arms to the right and swiftly moved my left leg over near the left side and placed my knee right on top of his mouth.

“Let go! Fucking bastard!” I applied as much pressure as possible around his mouth to force him to loosen his grip.

Eventually, the Negro’s grip weakened and I slipped my right hand free and stabbed the knife onto his stomach and soon after removed it before he could react and impaled it underneath his chin. From there the Negro was a dead man with mere seconds left to live after two lethal stabs and I got off him breathing heavily and holding my left leg in pain from the wound earlier. I didn’t have much time to catch a break as there was still fighting happening somewhere else and thought it was the guys from my group who got caught and were fighting their way out.

“I have to hurry!” I said to myself and stood up limping towards the naked beaten woman. “Hey, wake up,” I whispered out to her but got no response. “Hey, I’m here to- “

As I was in the middle of trying to free the woman from her shackles I stopped because I noticed lots of dry blood on her front body that came from her neck. I leaned down and lifted her head to see she was already dead with her neck having been sliced open.

“Fuck!” I turned away quickly feeling utterly disgusted thinking she was already long dead by that Negro who most likely sliced her throat to silence her.

About to leave the room in disgust I heard chain noises and I quickly turned around on guard wondering what it was. The noise came from a dark corner in the room that didn’t have much light and as I squinted my eyes, I could faintly notice something moving. I grabbed a torchlight nearby and directed it to that dark corner finding a little girl at the age of around eleven or twelve years old. The poor girl hanged in chains like the dead woman having a mere rag as clothing with many bruises around her body.

“These heartless bastards! Not even showing mercy to kids!?” I clenched my fists tightly enraged and walked over to the girl. “Don’t worry, I’ll get you out of here,” I told the girl and began trying to find a way to free her from the chains. “Dammit!” I attempted to use the knife to cut the chains but instantly realized such a thing was stupid trying to cut through metal.

I didn’t want to stick around long trying to find a key and saw the chains that were wrapped around the wall seemed weak. I held onto one of the chains with both hands and with my right leg pushing away from the wall. I tried breaking it off.

“HHRRGGGG!” I used my entire strength to rip the chunk off the wall and despite feeling immense pain from the wound on my left leg I didn’t stop until I succeeded. “AAAAAHHH!” I screamed loudly and broke the wall.

The noise from my scream and breaking the chains made lots of noise and I equipped my pistol aiming towards the door waiting to see if someone was nearby to check. Nobody came and I slowly stood up from the ground keeping my guard up just in case and walked towards the girl.

“Don’t worry, I’ll save you,” I told the little girl and realized she was very dry having little to no water or food for a long time.

I picked her up from the ground and carried her out of that room moving away from the direction of where the fighting was taking place. There were many other rooms with other captives but unfortunately, my hands were already full with the girl, and had no choice but to come back later and pray they would still be alive.

“I’m too weak!” I thought to myself feeling bad leaving behind so many but my body was reaching its limit.

I limped through the long tunnel not knowing where to go as there were many different paths but only headed straight avoiding the rooms. Luckily, I guessed right as the path seemed to lead upwards which was a good indication that it was heading outside since the cave was underground. I eventually arrived in a wide room with only two torch lights being present on each side. I didn’t risk running through the darkness in case there were souls from the Dead Realm lingering within it and grabbed one of the torches nearby from the tunnel. Having hoped I would not encounter a single enemy as I made my escape, I come across the worst one as waiting beyond the exit of that room was Uisai.

“Oh no…” I dropped the torch on the ground and pulled out my pistol aiming it at Uisai who was barely visible in the darkness.

“To think I would meet you again, Levi Carter. I expected to meet the enemy who attacked my hideout. Guess it doesn’t matter, I was going to kill you anyway.” Uisai said and slowly walked to me.

Not intending to give him any chances I fired a shot but Uisia dodged it. Despite having known beforehand that High Rollers were capable of dodging bullets I still didn’t expect to see such a fast reaction. High Rollers could sense strong emotions from living things and the intent to kill is one of them. Due to that intent, a High Roller can know when a trigger would be pulled with the intention to kill and thus allowing them to dodge. However, it wasn’t a reaction to a moving bullet after being shot but before it does. Meaning a High Roller can only know when a shot will be fired at them from which direction but not where the bullet is aimed nor where it will hit and it’s all dependent on how well a High Roller can predict.

“Hahaha! What makes you think you can kill me?” Uisai asked as he stayed within the darkness to make it difficult for me to aim at a certain part of his body.

I then realized because of the torchlight he could see where I was aiming to put me at a disadvantage. Uisai tried to discourage me to make a dumb decision knowing I haven’t had anything to eat or drink since I was caught and knew I was wounded and had exerted lots of energy killing four Nahr’Shak along the way while also carrying a girl. But I didn’t lose my composure and thought of a plan quickly. I placed my foot over the fire to put it out resulting in me also entering darkness and from where I had seen Uisia last in the faint light I fired the two remaining bullets.

Not knowing if I hit Uisia after the last bullet I get struck on the back of my head a few seconds later on the same spot from when I got hit in the morning. I dropped to the floor along with the girl as my mind felt like it was going to burst. My consciousness barely stayed active as I saw a light approaching and saw Uisai walking close to my head.

“Fool, did you truly think you had a chance?” Uisai asked me finding it insulting I thought I could kill him with that move.

At that time, I did think I had a chance but later find out Uisai could have easily killed me from the start and only toyed with me. More frustration clouded my mind on how powerless I was against a High Roller as Uisai reached for his gun with his left hand to finish me off. But I refused to give in and intended to keep fighting despite my mind and body unable to function.

“Uuuhhnn…uuuurrrhgg!” I uttered and tried to move but doing so with a concussion was near impossible.

“Pointless struggling,” Uisai said and aimed his gun straight at my head.

About to finish me Uisai didn’t pull the trigger and instead moved away as I heard a very loud noise which was a gunshot that didn’t come from Uisai. I couldn’t understand what was going on at that moment due to the concussion but I knew someone had arrived to fight Uisai. Several shots were fired while I was unable to do much but groan and see nothing but a blur. After ten seconds my mind slowly started to become stable and the ability to properly move my body returned.

“Wha… happened?” I wondered as I struggled to get up and still felt dizzy.

“Don’t move.” A voice told me that wasn’t Uisai but a different one.

It didn’t sound native English and from the accent, I knew they weren’t a Cracker nor a Negro. Not knowing who it was I still tried to fight thinking it would still be an enemy.

“Why do you fight?” The man asked and walked over to where I could see him.

There stood a big tall guy wearing a long black coat and hat with a wrapped belt around his body with bullets that weren’t meant for a pistol nor a magnum. Yet, that man reached his left hand out to grab one of those bullets that were fifty caliber and reloaded it onto a massive double-barreled magnum-like gun in which he held with one hand. It was hard to believe someone was capable of holding such a weapon as a pistol nor such a gun existed. As I got a better look, I noticed his skin was on the brown side and I later find out he was a Native, one of the people who were the first occupiers of Velorian. He is considered as the Dark Rider, a bounty hunter and guard working to protect Delidaware and other towns from outside threats specifically against other High Rollers. Because of the Dark Rider along with others, Delidaware and the towns being built under Delidaware haven’t been overrun by gangs.

“Seems like you don’t intend on dying here. I don’t have time to help you or that dying girl who doesn’t have much time. So, once you recover enough to move get out of here and end the girl’s suffering with a proper burial.” The Dark Rider told me and walked off to enter the cave leaving a pouch of water and lantern beside me to make sure my soul wouldn’t get devoured.

Although I didn’t know who he was at the time I at the very least could tell the Dark Rider wasn’t an enemy. But I couldn’t properly think about the situation much due to the concussion that lasted for five minutes. There was still ringing in my head and slight blurriness but I forced myself to stand and carry the girl out of that hell hole. I limped my way to the exit carrying the girl and felt the cold wind giving me an indication that I was outside at a dark hour and there was still fighting happening outside with the hideout of the Nahr’Shak having multiple entrances that were being infiltrated. I saw a few dead Negros that were lookouts who got killed by the Dark Rider with big gunshot wounds.

I didn’t know where to exactly run off to being in the middle of open grassland with a few trees but thanks to the moonlight I saw a forest close by. Since shots were being fired from multiple directions it was best to head there for better cover. Only having a lantern on hand, I could feel some of the dead souls clinging to my back devouring my soul. It was difficult trying to run through the dark constantly turning to prevent the dead souls from eating mine.

“AAHHH! HAAA!” I eventually stopped after ten minutes of running as my heart felt like it was going to explode.

I checked the pulse of the girl hoping she would still be alive and it was faint but she was in a terrible condition. As I got a much better look it was clear she was not only physically mistreated but was barely fed any food or water. Before I could even think about resting or tend to the girl, I had to do something about the Dead Realm souls around the area trying to kill us. I moved around slowly carrying the girl since the only light and heat source I had was from a lantern doing my best to find enough sticks to start a fire.

“There we go, that should keep them away from us,” I said having finished starting a small fire that gave us more cover from the dead souls than the lantern.

I put aside the extra sticks to save and keep the fire lit for as long as possible and grabbed the pouch of water. Although I was very thirsty myself, I didn’t drink any of it and gave it to the girl first. She didn’t have the strength to drink it herself so I lifted her head slowly so she could take small sips. Her eyes were half open and she was barely conscious looking at me in the eyes.

“Drink, I know you’re hungry too but… this is all I can do for now,” I told the girl as I held the pouch near her mouth.

Her eyes then looked down at the pouch and she slightly opened her mouth to drink. I gave her water little by little and after she drank half I took the pouch away giving her some time to rest. As I was about to lay her head back on the ground, I felt a watery sensation touch my hands and realized the girl was crying. I thought she cried because she had a decent amount of water for the first time in a while but as I looked at those eyes. It was pure sadness and although I wasn’t a High Roller, I could tell it was sadness for someone else she cared about because it looked similar to my sorrow when I lost Isabella.

“…Dammit! She won’t make it.” I thought to myself as I took a closer look at the girl’s body noticing certain wounds have seemed to be bleeding internally over time as the Dark Rider was right about her slowly dying. And from the expression of the girl, she seemed to be aware that her life was going to end before she could receive any kind of emergency treatment from a doctor. But before she could pass away, she tried conveying something to me like a final message to someone.

At that moment, I began to think back on that entire day and realized how much of a struggle I went through just by escaping that cave. And most of it wasn’t even done on my own since if it wasn’t for the Dark Rider then Uisai would have killed me and the girl. I felt powerless as it became more apparent that for me to continue living among the shadow of death, I needed to become a High Roller and surpass my human limits. I came up with a plan and used the remaining sticks to burn and make a circle of fire and in the middle of that fire was me and the girl. Doing so prevented any souls from entering that circle and I made sure to clean it out of any others that remained inside the circle of fire.

“This should be good enough,” I said as I finished taking laps around the small circle hoping that would have cleared away any unwanted souls.

I sat down next to the girl and leaned down towards her ear to talk to her about what I intended to do.

“I know you don’t have much time left to live and I’m aware you have one last wish. Whatever it is I’ll help you with it. So… when you… pass on. Take half of my soul and help me find Logan Campbell and in exchange, I’ll help you with whatever it is you wish for me to do.” I explained to the girl and although I wasn’t sure if she understood me or if she could hear me at all. I was still willing to go through the risky decision of having half of my soul eaten.

I took out the knife stained in blood from the Nahr’shak hideout and prepared myself mentally to impale the girl with it. I had to end her life quickly before the circle of fire diminished and other souls arrived that would potentially take my soul. My plan was to only have her soul eat mine after death and not the hostile ones who have no intention of only taking half. Despite knowing the girl was already dying hesitation clouded my mind as my right hand stayed frozen unable to move until I saw the girl’s expression. She put me at ease with a smile to express that she would not fault me for what I was going to do. If possible, I had wished to wait until she would die naturally but I didn’t know when that would happen and the risk of having another soul potentially take half or worse was too dangerous. And the circle of fire that temporarily prevented other souls from interfering was going out leaving me no choice.

“AAAAHHHH!” I lifted my right arm screaming and gripping the knife tightly and slammed it down onto the girl’s heart. The last second before I impaled it, I closed my eyes and refused to open them to see what I have done.

I kept them closed being afraid of witnessing my hand that killed a child. But as a few moments passed I felt a strange sensation all over inside my body like insects were crawling and eating away at my organs.

“Urgh…uuughhhnnn!” The sensation was unbearable and I was unable to properly breathe for a whole minute and I didn’t resist until it all came to a sudden stop. “Ugghh…w-what… was that? Agh.” I wondered with my eyes still closed shut.

Seconds passed and something warm touched my skin that felt like a hand and a small one at that and the warmness coming from it made my heart and mind go calm. For a moment, I forgot everything that happened with my life including my thirst for revenge, and was at utter peace with myself. I then felt those small hands move over to my closed eyes and they slowly opened them. At that moment, it was the first time I witnessed this different world John and Marcus had told me about. The life of a High Roller who lives with a beating heart in the realm of living while half of their soul resides within the Dead Realm.

“This is… the Dead Realm…” I said as everything around me had a faint darkish gray mist flowing throughout the land.

The souls I once couldn’t see were now visible in the same color as the mist but clearer as many of them were all around me outside the fire waiting anxiously to devour my soul.

“Bastard! Kill that fucker!”

“NNOO! Spare me! Please!”

“Help me! AAAHHH!”

“I’ll kill everyone! DIE!”

“Wwwhhyy!? I want to live!”

The echoing voices of the dead were extremely loud as every soul died in such misery as I could also sense their pure anger and sorrow like it was my own. Those emotions were indeed strong making them linger near the realm of living wishing they could return to fulfill desires of revenge, lust, or injustice. Even though the souls were no longer able to come back to life they still refused to move on and because of those strong emotions blinding them from the harsh reality they stay in the living as ghost-like entities who could only look in envy towards the living.

I looked down to where I killed the girl and see a unique soul that stood out from the countless that surrounded me. The soul shined brighter and had more white than darkish gray and it was small curiously looking at the dead girl which was her. The moment I saw my hand that stabbed the girl’s heart I couldn’t bear it and quickly moved away to throw up.

“AAUUGHH! OOUGHK!” I vomited away unable to handle the guilt of what I had done until memories begin to surface within my mind that wasn’t mine. “What? Who is?” I couldn’t understand as I saw a woman wearing an old worn-out dress.

The memories belonged to the girl named Grace Ford and although those memories weren’t clear it was enough for me to understand what she had gone through. Grace didn’t live in Vornil or any of the other towns run by Delidaware. She lived further deep in Velorian on a smaller town hidden in a mountain area. Grace lived in a home with a mother, father, and little brother at the age of six named Sam Ford. The family lived peacefully within their hidden town but unfortunately, they were found out by the Nahr’Shak gang. They showed no mercy invading the town and the townspeople did their best to fight back but were utterly overwhelmed.

The youngest child Sam was quickly hidden underneath a small secret storage just big enough for him to fit. However, Grace had no time to find herself a hiding spot and instead used herself as bait to make the Nahr’Shak gang go after her and ignore checking the house thoroughly. Because of that Grace managed to fool them but at the cost of getting captured herself and from then on, the nine-year-old girl witnessed hell seeing her father get killed and mother abused. Grace wasn’t spared of the abuse her mother went through and eventually mother was also killed. Being held as a captive and forced to satisfy those disgusting animals was horrible that would make anyone wish to die yet Grace withstood it all surviving for five months to return to Sam with the hopes that he would still be alive.

“I see… you want me to find your little brother,” I said trying to speak to Grace who was now a part of my soul and body.

Although Grace couldn’t speak back with words, I could sense her emotions which made communication possible. Grace was in a hurry and wanted me to right away start heading out to find Sam no matter what.

“Calm down, I’m still beaten up and starving. I don’t think I’ll even make it to Ardien Town.” I told Grace who floated in front of my face and I could sense her frustration. “I understand, Grace. But if I start heading out now, I’ll just end up getting killed and you’ll never be able to see Sam again. Do you want that?” I asked Grace feeling a bit annoyed by her persistence but she slowly started to be understanding. “Don’t worry, I promised to help you find Sam as long as you also help me find Logan Campbell. There will be lots of tough enemies ahead and if we intend to find the people we’re looking for then we must cooperate. Okay?”

Grace looked around at the surrounding of all the ominous souls wanting nothing but to eat the remainder of my soul. Since Grace’s soul was connected to mine, she was also able to see my memories, and given some of my knowledge understanding we aren’t the only ones out there who are High Rollers. Grace then looked back to look at me and although she was merely a white ghost-like entity with no face. She gave a nod intending to fully cooperate with me in surviving the wildland of Velorian.

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