The wizard that contacted Roen scrutinizes him with a grimacing face as he crosses his arms above his chest. As always, all of his contractors doubted his skills and Roen was used to it. However, it annoys him when they express such mistrust so openly.
"Yes sir," he answers quietly, taking some black paint and a brush to write with out of his bag. "I just have to open a portal and wait until you and your crew have dispose of the beast. Got it."
"Don't screw up," says the man, walking away from him.
Again, Roen sighs.
He moves his stuff to an empty space of the house they were in; no one had explained to him the real situation, but of what he had heard, they were disposing of a nightcrawler. He dips the brush in the black paint and starts drawing a circle, filling it with a few runes that would help his magic and make everything easier.
"Well, look who we've got here," says a voice so annoying that makes Roen's writing slip. He curses and sighs exasperately, turning around to roam through his bag for a towel. He then takes his time to roll his eyes at the tall figure that stands freely against a wall. "Oh, come on. Don't be rude. We get to work together this time!" says Daz with a dazzling smile.
Of all the people, Roen is supposed to work with this guy? The boy who flirts with anyone, no matter if it's men or women? The boy whose smile made Roen's skin crawl? The boy that was too carefree to actually worry about what he was doing? The person he hated the most?
Roen starts scrubbing in order to write again.
He hates this job so much. He doesn't want to have to rely on this guy, not even if his life depends on it. He hates everything about him! His humor, his messy, but somewhat perfect red hair, his freckles, his intense hazel eyes, his grin, his well built body, or his thighs, damn those thighs...
"What are you doing here Daz?" he asks, tossing the towel in his bag, giving him an excuse to turn and hide his flushed face. It is annoying how someone can make you feel things that you didn't ask for; he is so perfect that it's irritating.
"Well, you need someone to take care of the manpower, right?" Daz answers, grinning widely.
"Then do your thing and I will do mine, no need to bother each other," Roen mutters. He finishes writing the last runes for his spell. Taking a deep breath, he gets up after taking his bag.
Soft hands grab his shoulders and push him against the wall, startling him. One of those hands move to the wall while the other one takes his chin.
"What's wrong, wizard boy? Afraid I might mess with your work?" Daz whispers in his ears, running chills down Roen's spine. He gulps.
"Exactly that," he says, trying to push Daz away. Of course, it was useless.
"Why?" he asks, this time getting his face close to Roen's, lips just inches away from each other's. "Are you going to screw up like you did with your teacher?"
And that was the last straw. Roen kicks Daz's shin and uses his bag to slam it against his face; Daz takes his wrist and pushes him to the floor, lifting his foot to stomp Roen when the wizard from before pushed him away.
"What is going on?! Get yourselves together, we have work to do!" he orders.
Daz takes a deep breath and smiles at Roen, an inciting and mischevous smile that makes Roen grit his teeth. He gets up, fixes his pointy, black hat and huffs, taking his side on the circle.
After a couple of minutes, the people inside the house start to tense and get in position for the upcoming nightcrawler. Roen takes a deep breath and when he hears the screams of the corridor, he concentrates all his energy in the tip of his fingers, making his portal light up. A small, rippling circle appears in front of him and he closes his eyes.
More screaming comes and he hears the beast run forward. He opens his eyes just in time to see that the portal has a weird green color around itself, and that its shape has started shifting from a circle to something different. He panicks. Pushing more magic to the circle, he tries to gain strength and force it to change, but a breeze starts blowing directly into the portal. Something is wrong.
He looks worriedly around, but it doesn't seem like anyone has noticed the greenish hue or the change in shape. Roen tries to calm himself down; it's not like he was going to screw up again. He couldn't afford to. What happened with Nork had been a mistake and he has been paying for that ever since. This time he would make things correctly.
However, his thoughts keep him from realizing that the breeze has become stronger, and it is too late when he starts being sucked into the portal. It just takes a few seconds for him to realize that he has nothing to grab on to except for his bag and he sees everything turn around him (or was it him?). He lets out a small squeak before being completely swallowed up by his own portal.
Falling felt like an eternity in the pitch black space, and Roen felt that he was not alone. Nevertheless, talking wasn't an option either. Everytime he opened his mouth to scream, he felt like his breath was pushed out of his lungs. So when he actually hit something after falling for so long and having the air leave his lungs, he wasn't startled at all.
What did startle him was another body falling over him. Oh, and also the squeal of someone next to them.
Roen pushes away whoever had fallen over him and sits, trying to get his breath back. Meanwhile, he looks trhough the corner of his eyes and finds that he is on a shed. Great. Teletransportation at its finest.
"Oh no," the voice of a girl says and he turns quickly. He sees a small girl with short, brown hair, blue, big eyes, and weird marks around her arms and neck. Her dress is light green, contrasting against her caramel skin. Her eyes are fierce, and instead of fear, Roen sees excitment and determination.
"Where are we?" Daz, who is rubbing his eyes, asks.
"What? You are here too?" Roen asks in return, exasperated. Why was he here?!
"Of course I am after your failed attempt! Can't you do things right?"
"Okay, listen here you little-"
"Actually, I was the one who called you," the girl says, looking at them with eyes as big as they could get.
"What? No. It wasn't your fault; it was this failure's," Daz points at Roen, "magic."
"You have magic?" the girl's eyes shine brighter. "No man has ever had magic before!" She shakes her head. "But that doesn't matter now. I was the one who called you for help."
"Um, what for?" Daz asks, getting up.
Suddenly, the roof of the shed rips apart by two claws and the face of a red dragon appears.
"That," the girl says.
Roen didn't have time enough to scream while running away from the shed and holding his hat in place. The deserted village was pretty much destroyed and the barren land was marked by the claws of the dragon; some houses were also on fire.
"Seriously dude! Leave that thing and pick up the pace or you are going to be left behind!" Daz screams a couple of steps forward, where he and the girl are running.
"What is that hat for?" the girls asks amused despite running for their lives.
"LEAVE MY HAT ALONE!" Roen screams when a claw grips his shoulder, pulling him back. He falls and rolls on the ground; he then looks up and sees that the dragon is launching for him. Panicking, he inspects his sorroundings and catches sight of a well.
Without thinking, he jumps inside the well.
Great Roen, he thought to himself, now you are stuck in a well and that dragon could perfectly roast you inside.
By the time he hits the bottom (which is not that deep), he is panting. His heads spin with all the alternate conclusions that his life could have in this exact moment.
"Well, at least I won't have to worry about cremation," he mutters to himself, putting one foot on the side of the well and the other one using it to push himself upward. Of course, it was futile; the well was approximately two and a half meters tall. He was one sixty nine.
A loud shriek comes from above and despite being so unmanly, Roen is pretty sure that it is Daz's. And he is close. Roen stretches his arm as far as he can upward and jumps, placing both feet on the walls of the well. He stands and recovers for a moment until he is sure he is stable. He takes a deep breath and tries to use his feet to move upward, although it proves to be a little more difficult than he thought.
He hears confused bickering and keeps trying until the girl from before appears on the top of the well. She stretches one hand toward Roen and uses the other to support herself with the edge.
"Your friend told me to come and get you," she says with a smile.
Roen huffs and takes her hand, muttering a small he's not my friend while pushing himself with his feet. However, the girl's miscalculation on her supportive hand makes her slip and fall. It would have been the end of them if Daz hadn't come and taken the girl's legs before falling.
"I leave for two minutes! Two minutes! And you two decide that the well is comfy?" he yells, puling the girl back. Roen decides to let go of her hand and starts over. This time, the one who stretches his hands is not her but Daz.
"Hello pretty boy," he says, wiggling his brows.
Roen rolls his eyes and takes his hand, being pulled by Daz's sheer force. Once outside, he sees that the girl has her hands extended in front of her, brow wrinkled and small beads of sweat on her temple. She was holding the dragon, like if time had stopped, Roen realizes.
"Is he out?" she asks, panting.
"Yes! Let's go!" Daz says. He then notices a bucket next to the well and throws it directly to the dragon's face. "Come on!"
The girl stops and they all start running toward the closest forest as fast as they can. Roen doesn't know where they are running to; heck, he didn't even know where they were!
After a few minutes (that felt like hours to Roen's physical condition) of running for their lives, they stop, mainly to see if the dragon kept following them. Apparently not, because Daz sits on the floor and the girl leans on a tree. It seems like they are in a bizarre forest (because the vegetation was not green but pinkish), in a foreign place that Roen had somehow managed to send Daz and himself into. Also, there is this strange girl that luckily had helped them out. But that still didn't answer much of Roen's questions.
Where were they? Why were they here? Who was this girl? Why did she claim that it was her fault? Why did his magic fail? Why was Daz staring at his nonexisting ass...?
"All right," he says after catching his breath. "Who are you?" he points at the girl; "And where are we?"
She pushes her hair out of her face and clears her throat. Her hands starts wriggling against each other and she bites her lip, looking anywhere but them.
"Well," she says in a small voice but then shakes her head; "my name is Syd. I am..." she considers her words carefully. "an important proxy of the crown." Syd recovers her confidence and looks at them. "I called you two through the connection of your portal," she explains, pointing at Roen. "I was trying to contact the immortal spirits, but it seems that my magic is not that strong."
Daz chokes. Roen and Syd look at him with a confused look.
"Ah sorry, do go on," he says.
"Why did you want to call this immortal spirits," Roen inquires.
"Lately, my-" she frowns,"our kingdom has been target of a series of mysterious events; that thing that attacked us? I have never seen it before," she clarifies. "Ever since a group of hooded people barged into our castle looking for the Crystal of Life,-"
"Oh no, this totally sounds like a quest," Daz mumbles, hiding his face in his hands. Syd glares at him, but continues.
"weird things have happened and we are looking for solutions; they are destroying villages. I was trying to contact the higher beings to get help and what I got was two males," she says, unfazed by the fact that those two males were in front of he. It seems that honesty was a daily thing by her disappointed tone.
"Yeah, well, wrong guys!" Daz laughs awkwardly. "Now if you excuse us, Roen will take us back to our home. Do you have any idea where-"
"Daz," Roen says softly. It didn't take long for him to realize that this place wasn't the normal settings he was used to. If this girl was part of a kingdom, and they had been in a village... "I think this isn't the human realm..." He hears Daz make an odd sound and meets the Syd's eyes. "Do you have any way to send us back?"
"You are from another realm?" she asks in return.
Roen rolls his eyes for the bazillionth time today. He was now stuck with the guy he hates the most and a clueless girl in a foreign realm where a group of weird people were trying to destroy the kingdom and they were supposed to help. He wants to go back to his comfortable bed with Angelo at his side and just sleep until he dies.
"How do we help?"