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Astral Realm

By William Bond All Rights Reserved ©

Adventure / Fantasy

Chapter 1

In the curb of the mountain base, there is a small glade. It sits quietly within the tranquil activities of the nearby wildlife. A river lies in the glade flowing through the tree’s weaving in and out, the amphibious creatures swimming through the river quickly too fast for a person to get a look at the pretty little creatures that glowed within the water. The breeze gently blows creating a quiet whistling sound and blowing the circle of tree’s leaves about and causing them to fall, gently to the ground. The green grass housing the small insects scurrying about was peaceful and calming for the nearby villagers and the bugs buzzing about created a beautiful environment for anyone with an affinity for nature.

A young man sits with his back on one of the many trees’ not moving an inch in case he makes too much noise to attract unwanted attention, he stares at the sky with a lonely expression wondering about how the next week will fold out. A fly buzz past him but he is too deep in thought to care about the fly and instead just ignores it. A variety of loud noises can be heard in the distance causing the man to look distressed and irritated, he sits up and gets ready to move away when he sees a small brown and blue animal looking at him, the animal holds the same expression as he does and they both go in the opposite direction. The man having just run for a few minutes was tired and had to sit down for a few minutes, he mistakenly closed his eyes and allowed himself to fall asleep and welcomed the blanket of darkness.

The noises had caught up to the man and they were in fact members of his village, the three closest members of the village picked him up and took him back to his father, who he had been trying to escape from. His father looked strong and charismatic. He had short hair which was mostly grey due to old age and his eyes had a stern look to them that showed years of misery and pain. The young man and his father sat in opposite sides of a large brown table, both giving each other uncomfortable looks. The table was an exquisite table that looked mostly ceremonial and used for political reasons within their small village. Behind the table was a large double door made from thick strong wood and guarded by two men that looked almost inhumanly strong.

The quiet driving the young man insane had caused him to sigh heavily and start the conversation.

“Did you really need to go through all that effort just to find me? I’m not that important you know. And on top of that, you know I don’t want to become the next elder and grow old and do whatever it is you elders do nowadays.”

“No matter what you think, or what you believe. You will become the next elder. That is not a question nor is it something you decide. It will happen whether you like it or not. Nothing will change it.” The father replied

The atmosphere tensed up after the short conversation had finished as abruptly as it had started, they both glared at each other with a deep anger until the young man got up and went to leave the room. Lancelot hesitated to leave the room and slightly turned his head to reply to his father again but he decided not to. He of all people knew that talking back to him would only end up badly, he was a kind man but depending on the sort of person you are, not the kind of man you’d want as an enemy. Lancelot walked outside of the building he had been forcefully taken too and noticed the small brown and blue animal again, realising this wasn’t an animal but one of his friends using their magic to conceal her form, and he picked the animal up and went to hit the animal very hard. The animal turned into a cloud of smoke and caused Lancelot to cough letting go of the animal and allowing the animal to form itself back into its own original body. Lancelot fell backwards onto the floor, letting out an angry sigh and began to speak to the girl.

“What is it you want now?”

“I saw you were in trouble, I thought I’d have a peak to see if it was anything interesting. Just the usual arguments between you and your dad though huh? Bit boring to be honest”

“Well excuse me for having a bad relationship with my father who wants me to be something I don’t want to be and it not being fun and enjoyable for you!” Lancelot replied angrily as he stood back up and brushed the dust of his old clothes.

“Whoa, I was just joking around you know.”

Lancelot looked at her with a face showing hostility and walked off to find some quiet again. Lancelot could hear her quietly moaning about him almost hitting her but as of this moment he was not bothered by anything. As long as he and everyone else existed he didn’t care, as long as they didn’t bother him of course.

Lancelot walked aimlessly around his village listening to the chirping of the birds and the wind whistling in and out of the tree’s wishing he could stay in this moment for ever but he knew that his happy days would come to an end soon, being elder meant a lot to his people and it also means he’d never get any peace and quiet nor would he be able to relax at the glade at all, not even for five minutes. He sat on the base of the tree and closed his eyes for a few seconds and everything suddenly became quiet, his body slipping into what seemed to be peace and tranquillity. It wasn’t long however that this was interrupted by something he struggled to see clearly. It looked like a beam of pure energy and a small army of robed men armed with magic never seen before to the people of this land, even the rich folk up north couldn’t wield this power, it seemed inhuman to even be able to see the power. The robed men turned towards Lancelot point of view and all at once fired off a great power of destruction at him and he suddenly awoke in a flash. Lancelot sighed heavily again and thought nothing of what he had just seen, it was only a dream after all most likely caused by the stress of the menace also known as Lancelot father. He sat up and had noticed it was already night time and so he got up and headed home to get some food and rest as tomorrow was bound to be another tiring day full of hardships for Lancelot.

The next day started as the previous day had which only made Lancelot feel even more irritated, as he would have to likely deal with his father once again, thankfully he had no jobs to do for the entire day so it could be spent practising on his magic or just lazing around like usual. He got out of bed slowly and headed to his kitchen and made himself some breakfast to start the day off. Not knowing what horrors would accompany him this very day.

As Lancelot left the house, he felt a distinct feeling of dread surround his body and instantly realised what that feeling was, his gut told him to run quick and so he did. He ran for as long he possibly could know that just one misstep could very well cause him inconsiderable pain. But he was not fast enough. The girl who had used magic the previous day to conceal her true form was too fast for him and caught up easily, she pounced on him and knocked him over.

“You again Ethyl? Oh look you brought your brother here too, going to beat me up for yesterday?” Lancelot said half-jokingly

“What? I’m not that rude you know; what kind of person do you think I am!” she replied while laughing

“So, what do you want then?”

“My brother needs your help with his magic again, I’d do it but I’m only good with concealing and supporting, exploding and imploding is your speciality, so help him please! OK thanks bye!” Ethyl said while quickly dumping her brother onto Lancelot

Lancelot sighed heavily and Ethyl’s brother Revel apologized and said how it wasn’t necessary but Lancelot had to do some magic training anyway, so for now they helped each other out a bit.

Revel often needed help from Lancelot but that’s understandable given his young age of only 12. Revel was a very tidy person, making sure his hair and clothes were acceptable to be seen to the elder even if he were just seeing his family in the morning, for his age he was quite tall, he usually wore the traditional village garments like mostly everyone here in the village but his were a different colour for some reason. Instead of being the usual grey and green, his was an odd combination of yellow and blue. He had dark black short hair going down to his ears and wasn’t too thin or too fat, though his face did look a bit disproportioned. Ethyl was pretty much the same except she was 17, taller, much more arrogant and had bright red long hair. Lancelot and Ethyl had known each other since childhood so they would often appear to be very close but Lancelot didn’t really like that, seeing as he preferred to be away from people as much as possible rather than with them. Short times with people didn’t seem to be too much bother to him though.

Lancelot was explaining the laws of magic to Revel and how using multiple elements could create a better spell, this meant that if you combined fire and earth you could create a rock of fire that shoots at your enemy and if you mastered it correctly, explodes on contact.

“If you were to combine two elements Revel, you could create a better, cooler spell and not just a stream or a flicker of fire.” Lancelot said

“Oh, how do I do that then?” Revel questioned with a puzzled look on his face

“You have to figure it out yourself, everyone’s got their own unique way of combining spells. Some just cast them at the same time and make sure their spells hit each other but that’s not too effective so I don’t recommend doing that.”

“Oh OK, how’d you figure it out then?”

“Well I just got bored and started pushing two spells into one hand, that’s a bit of a complicated task for someone your age though. It did take a full two years to properly master it of course.”

Revel and Lancelot practised their spell casting together until the sun started to drop below the mountains above them, the birds were beginning to quiet down. So Lancelot decided to find Ethyl so he could give Revel back to her and he could finally rest in peace while knowing he won’t be needed for the rest of the evening. He and Revel went looking for her but she couldn’t be found anywhere so Lancelot decided to just get Revel to guide him back to Ethyl’s house, Lancelot knew that she’d most likely be in her house right now, probably resting while completely ignoring her own work to do. Lancelot sighed and hurried back to Ethyl’s house in desperate need of some time alone in the glade, Lancelot’s only sanctuary. They both walked at a slow pace due to their fatigue from all the magic usage that day, however it didn’t take long until they reached her house and sure enough there was Ethel sitting in front of her house smiling devilishly, she suddenly stood up and ran up to them, hugging her younger brother she began to speak to both of them.

“How did it go then?” she said enthusiastically

“It went fine, he learnt my way of combining spells and that’s about it I guess”

“That’s it? I thought you were supposed to be the best caster here, surely you could’ve taught him something?”

The way she spoke irritated Lancelot and he gritted his teeth to prevent himself from getting too angry, he looked away from them both and sighed heavily.

“I can’t teach him well because he’s too young, and I am not a teacher you idiot. Just because I’m good at casting doesn’t mean I can easily teach.”

Revel looked uncomfortable and attempted to back away but Ethyl had already grabbed his hand when he moved to her side, Ethyl started to get irritated by Lancelot’s lack of kindness to others and let go of Revel’s hand and had told him to go inside to see their parents. After Revel had gone inside Ethyl’s smile had disappeared and instead an angry face was staring at Lancelot.

“What?” Lancelot said

“What do you mean what? Why are you always like this! Do you have to be so rude all the time? Can’t you for once just drop this tough guy act and be at least a little nicer to people. All this avoiding people business you’re doing and trying to get yourself hated by your father to avoid being the next Elder, it’s pathetic!” Ethyl said bitterly

Lancelot didn’t know how to reply, he just stood there with a blank look on his face as the wind blew about their clothes and hair and the few remaining birds were chirping quietly. Ethyl’s face stopped looking angry and slowly turned to a face of sadness knowing her friend from such a young age had turned into something she couldn’t bare to look at, she turned around and headed back into her house but before opening her door she quietly whispered

“You know, I used to like you, and used to trust you. I don’t think I can do either now. Why can’t you just go back to how you used to be.” she whispered with a strong hint of sadness in her voice

Lancelot had been looking at the ground for a while and didn’t look up, knowing his actions had been affecting others around him, he slowly walked away from Ethyl’s house back to his own house. The night seemed a lot darker for some reason, Lancelot was struggling to see through his hatred and despair for what he let himself become. He slowly opened the door to his quiet house and walked over to his small empty room and fell into his bed not bothering to get comfortable but just to sleep all while knowing what it was he had lost.

Following the recent events, Lancelot was having nightmares and waking up every half an hour until he fell asleep again for the sixth time, but this time the nightmares seemed a bit too real, it showed him walking out of his house past everyone’s houses and the night seemed to be unrealistically dark as he could barely see past his own hands, until he came to the entrance to the village which is when everything became completely black and he suddenly woke up but not in a familiar place.

The sky was a dark grey and the ground was as black as tar, the creatures roaming around seemed to have an aura of evil to them and in the distance a castle that looked as it if could cover up three times the area of the village loomed in the distance. It was spewing out a dangerous looking black smoke from the biggest building and the walls were dripping red with blood. Lancelot’s legs were automatically carrying him to the castle but the closer he got, the worse he felt. It was as if the castle itself was a disease and it was spreading to him.

By the time he had reached the gates of the castle Lancelot’s body felt frail and weak, as if just blowing the tiniest amount of wind on him could knock him over, but this wasn’t the worst part of the castle’s evil. The worst part was the spikes all over the castle, spikes with people’s heads as if it were mere decoration, the blood slowly dripping from each head lying around the gate entrance, the gate wasn’t even made out of metal or wood. It was made from the guts of a human. Lancelot turned back and ran as far he could but he realised that nowhere could hide him from the castle as it had already seen him and was moving towards him at an insane speed, Lancelot screamed as the castle created spears and impaled him and chucked him to the side as he slowly died among the demonic creatures and the black tar grass, his life slowly seeping into the ground, his eyes slowly closed and darkness enveloped him completely into a deep dark abyss.

Lancelot woke up screaming and covered in buckets worth of sweat, he couldn’t calm his breathing and recalled the dream ever so vividly. He quickly got up and ran to his toilet to throw up. After throwing up he had calmed down slightly, and headed to his kitchen to make some breakfast with shaking hands.

After he had eaten he left his house still a bit shaken up after the events of his dream, he walked around the village for a little while watching the small birds and the other animals flying and scuttling about until a small group of worried looking people came up to him, Ethyl included. Lancelot looked at them confused until one of them came up and explained that he and the rest of the village that had political importance had to head to the village elder immediately. Lancelot sighed and followed them to his father, Ethyl carefully avoiding eye contact walked ahead of Lancelot.

Lancelot and the rest of the governors had arrived to see a very pale and worried looking elder, the room he sat in was difficult to breathe in and the atmosphere felt very worrying. The others also had begun to look increasingly worried after seeing the fearless elder looking so ill.

“We have a very dangerous issue” Began the elder

“Those rich are in belief that we are holding a large amount of tax behind their backs, and I fear they may try to take it forcefully.” The elder said while a small tremor was going through his bones

The small room’s atmosphere instantly darkened and it became almost impossible to breathe in, Lancelot understood that the Rich didn’t stop at anything to achieve and take what they wanted. Even if it meant wiping out half of his village.

“I’ve been trying to get them to understand that we had been sending them the correct amount but they just won’t listen, so our dilemma is whether we continue to send more of our food or to stop, however if we continue we will starve. If we don’t send the taxes, then they may attack us.”

The entire room gasped in horror knowing that either way, they were likely to starve or be killed. The elder had his head in his hands covering his face, their issue kept getting worse with each word. The entire room was shaking with fear realising that their families and loved ones could be dead by next week.

“I however will be speaking with the leader of those damn filthy rich to sort this issue out, but knowing them. They won’t listen to reason, they never do.”

Lancelot felt like the nightmare he had last night was something to do with this current predicament and raised his hand.

“Father, I would like to assist!” Lancelot shouted

“You? I thought you wanted nothing to do with all of this business” The elder questioned

“I had a change of heart.” Lancelot said quietly

The elder reluctantly agreed and the room’s atmosphere lightened up a little bit, Lancelot could see Ethyl grinning slightly and the room except from Lancelot and his father has dispersed to their own duties. Lancelot and his father looked at each other for a small while both a little confused over what had happened and both chuckled to each other. After the others had all left they both devised up a plan in order to get the rich to understand, which involved showing how much they produce and how much they consume and finally what they can send away. After hours of careful thinking they both finished their plan and prepared for their trip to the Rich people’s land.

The morning was a hot one, the birds were once again chirping loudly and the wind gently blowing the trees around. Lancelot and his father had finished preparing and were about to leave their village to go to the big city, however the governors were waiting for them at the gate to the village. As they came closer the governors gave them lucky charms and trinkets as they knew they’d need them if they were to deal with the rich. The governors waved good bye to the Lancelot and the elder and prayed for their safe return.

It took two days to reach the Rich people’s city, however this two day trip was more than worth it to save their village, and even Lancelot didn’t want his village to be crushed. The city was much different than the village, the quiet land and the birds were replaced entirely with the noises of the city, machines powered by magic and the bustling nature of the rich people was overwhelming for those used to a quiet country side area. Lancelot and his father walked up to the biggest building and asked to see the king. They were sat down in the waiting area and patiently waited for their turn to be answered.

Thirty minutes past and finally their meeting with the king had been answered, they both walked into a room that was bigger than most houses in their own village, the walls lined with stone and had beautiful red decorations all over the walls, and large paintings were also placed along the walls and a huge sculpture was on the ceiling showing a man and woman carrying a baby and alongside them were three men, beside them was the inscription “Three men and the three sigils carve our future”

“I can only assume you’re here over your blunder, yes?” The king said in a threatening voice

“Our blunder?” they both replied

“Please, sit down.” The king pointed to the two stone chairs

They both sat down and looked intently at the king and their fears just kept increasing.

“Yes, your blunder. We asked kindly for food and for your food. We promise not to massacre you. That’s a fair deal is it not?” the king replied coldly

“Well, yeah. But we sent you the correct amount of food…” The elder said quietly

“Oh really, where is it then? Because it is not in my stores.” The king said calmly

The elder and Lancelot were confused as to why he was so calm when he was talking about something that had clearly made him furious but they tried to explain their side anyway.

“W-w-we” Lancelot attempted to talk

“Stop stuttering you blithering fool” the king said with a vicious intent in his voice

With a bit of hope in their eyes, they both handed him the plans that they had spent a few hours on and they felt that this would save them.

“Oh what’s this? The plans that showed we did receive your tax?” An evil glint in the king’s eye had appeared and he raised his hand and smashed it into the plans and a small shockwave and smoke rose from them. After he raised his hand, it was clear he had burnt them and they were no longer readable.

“You have no business here, so leave.” The king laughed manically as they both left speechless and angry but they knew they stood no chance against them, they were too strong.

“What do we do now?” Lancelot asked

“I don’t know…” The elder said softly

“We should hurry back to the village; they may have attacked already”

“They probably knew we were coming” Lancelot said

For the next three hours of their walk home they didn’t say a thing to each other, they were too dumbstruck with what had happened to them and what will happen to their village. The sun was hidden by the dark clouds and rain was pouring heavily on them, the wind was blowing unnaturally fast and made a loud howling noise every now and again. Thoughts of what could happen to their village kept running through Lancelot’s mind and it horrified him, but somewhere inside of him, he was a little excited as it meant he could finally let out his anger and kill the ones who were essentially holding them captive. They kept trudging along until it the sun had fully set and they set up camp for the night.

“Do you think we’ll get back in time, if they do attack?” Lancelot

“I don’t know. They may have already attacked...” His father replied

Lancelot didn’t reply he was too anxious about the future, knowing everyone you’ve ever known could be dead by the time they get back was a horrifying thought for Lancelot, his Father included.

They started a fire and used magic to repel some of the wind and rain of them for the night. The fire was glowing brightly within the darkness of the night that looked more like a void and the rain was hitting heavily upon the magic sphere above them making a quiet fizzing noise with each rain drop, the wind was even louder and with each howl, it only got louder and louder. Lancelot closed his eyes and tried to sleep but the noises of the night kept him up for a long time until finally, his mind shut off and he fell asleep.

Lancelot woke up due to a loud bang and horrific screaming. It was the screaming of his village, he was in his own village for some reason. As he moved further ahead it was clear that the rich had attacked, blood was everywhere, on the floor, on the walls, on the trees. The screaming only grew louder as he moved further into the darkness of his village eventually he ended up in front of his own house; seeing his door opened up a little he slowly opened it and spoke in a quiet and barely audible voice.

“Hello?”

No voices were heard throughout his house, he searched his house looking for clues as to what happened but found nothing. He went to the kitchen and noticed a few knives were missing, part of his wall was scratched, feeling depressed, confused and lost, he continued looking for anyone, he went to his room and found nothing, just his normal room but a little bit burnt up, he went downstairs again and saw an open hatch. Slowly he walked towards it, and prepared to go down. He could smell something fowl, he gagged and hurried down, he slipped on the last few steps and his head had hit the ground, looking up he saw his worst nightmare. Ethyl and Revel were lying on top of each other dead. Their heads had been torn off and burnt to a crisp; blood was everywhere, on the floor, the roof, and the walls. Lancelot screamed and screamed until he couldn’t make a single noise and slowly climbed back out and then out of the house, deep in despair he realised what was around him as the light slowly rose onto his village. Every villager was dead. Blood had been thrown everywhere. Even the children had their lives taken. Lancelot collapsed as he saw the hell that had once been his home. He looked up and saw a man in a black robe and next to him the king holding a golden decorated sword, the black robed man lifted his arm to Lancelot arm and said something quietly. His arm imploded resulting in an extreme amount of pain. He collapsed to a foetal position and screamed the king raised his sword and cut his legs open, resulting in more and more pain. And once again the robed man took his hand to Lancelot’s crying face and shouted something he couldn’t understand. His neck had been sliced clean off and it slowly slipped off its natural place and fell to the ground with a thud.

A loud clap of thunder awoke Lancelot, and hearing that he screamed and screamed in agony but slowly realised that it was another awful nightmare that seemed far too realistic. Lancelot’s father awoke suddenly due to his screaming and began to question him about it.

“What the hell are you doing?” His father shouted

“Huh?” Lancelot replied

“Why are you screaming?”

Lancelot’s face turned from pain to pure hatred as he recalled the ‘dream’, avoiding the question completely, knowing what the so called dream meant. He told his father to get up and start moving again. His father complied as he thought Lancelot wouldn’t listen with reason in his current mood.

The day began as a dark and cloudy one, the rain still pouring down, and the wind still howling ever so loudly. They walked for another few hours until finally they saw the village, they instantly sped up running full speed towards the village and hoped they hadn’t already been attacked.

They both ran through the entrance faster than lightning bolts collapsed to the ground seeing everyone ok, but confused at them. They were both shaking and sweating a lot, so many of the nearby villagers came up to them confused asking what had happened. They both stood up straight and smiled, told them to get everyone to meet up at the Elder’s square, which is a big square for minor political discussions however recent predicaments made it necessary. They quickly complied and headed off to tell everyone. Lancelot’s father had stopped shaking and tried to look as proud, and fearless as possible for everyone. They both went their separate ways for a bit until Lancelot had calmed himself down from the nightmare he had last night, as he was still shaken up.

Lancelot went back to his house, just to make sure this still wasn’t a dream. He opened his door quickly and looked around for that hatch, but couldn’t find it anywhere.

“Did I not have a basement?” he pondered and then walked over to his kitchen to make some food and then head to the square, he noticed an odd smell in the air. Something that wasn’t a bad smell but it to him it was quite odd. He noticed that the smell was one of the popular flowers used to make nice fragrances. Lancelot didn’t bother investigating it and began to eat the food he had prepared which was just bread and a variety of small meats, a delicacy in their small village.

Lancelot finished off his meal and headed off to go to the Elder’s square, but before that Ethyl was standing before his door questioning to knock or not, as Lancelot opened the door they both made a small gasping sound. Lancelot instantly recognized the smell of the popular flower on Ethyl, and realised that she must’ve been snooping around his house while he was away. Lancelot remembered his nightmare but tried to keep as composed as possible even with an extremely happy face on him.

“I heard we had to go the Elder’s square so I came to get you...” Ethyl said quietly

“I know, I was about to leave to go there now.” Lancelot said

“Oh, right we should probably go together then,” Ethyl giggled slightly

Lancelot nodded his head and they both started to walk to the Elder’s Square.

“Were you in my house the past few days?” Lancelot questioned

“....” Ethyl didn’t reply and walked beside him blushing a little

“I’ll take that as a yes then, who knew that’s how you felt about me.” Lancelot joked while laughing

“I’ll make sure you to hit you next time you’re unaware of me.” Ethyl said

“That’s a bit rude you know. What’d I ever do to you?” Lancelot said

Ethyl sighed as they both arrived at the Elder’s square they both looked at each other and smiled a little as they went to their respective areas on the square.

Lancelot’s father stood at the front of the Elders Square and with a strong and grim face began to explain the meeting between him and the King. As he explained the events that Lancelot and his Father had seen the crowd stopped looking excited to hear what their leader had to say and instead stood there each with an increasingly horrified look on their faces. The wind picked up and the clouds drew closer, the sun slowly got covered within the clouds. The Elder kept speaking and with each word you could feel the Villages fear grow further and further.

“And so we’ll be forced to evacuate the women and children who aren’t able to fight, as I won’t stand for anyone of my members of this small society die for the rich folk.” the elder stopped speaking for about 30 seconds until one of his advisors comes up to the stand and explained the evacuation plans to the villagers while the Elder spoke to the guards and quickly briefed them on what he wanted them to do. The villagers began to head back home to get their most valuable possessions and prepare for evacuation in front of the Village entrance. The soldiers were positioned in mass in front of the entrance and on a few towers positioned to give them an early warning of any enemy soldiers heading their way.

Lancelot hurried to find Ethyl amongst the population of the entire village and scuttled around unable to find her, he started to panic a little, he sat on the grass just behind the crowd and looked to the darkening sky “I’d at least like to say bye before inevitably dying you know.” He sighed and laid back on the grass listening to the voices of everyone, he could hear the fear in their voices, it wasn’t something he recognized and it made him uncomfortable but before he knew it the voices stopped and everything seemed to slow down before it stopped to a halt.

He got up suddenly and started to panic “What? What’s happening?!” Lancelot started to walk around on shaky legs noticed that even the grass didn’t move when stepping on it. Nothing did, it was as if everything he touched was an extremely hard rock, he decided to walk back round to the evacuee’s. As he thought that something might explain his situation there. But as he went to turn the corner he heard a few voices speaking, they weren’t loud enough for him to hear but he could make out a few words.

“They...because...time” Lancelot’s body automatically moved towards them while staying behind the small walls. Lancelot tried to get a good look at them but he wasn’t able to concentrate on them for some reason. The more he looked at them the more he looked away from them “What’s happening? Why can’t I see them? Just let me see them for one second, come on what’s wr-” Lancelot’s foot hit something on the ground and the object made a loud ringing noise, Lancelot’s ears rang and due to the pain he panicked and started to run from them as fast as possible. He ignored the ringing pain and started to use his magic to boost his speed and he ran towards the glade. The voices kept following him getting louder with each second, their footsteps getting progressively louder too, the voices shouted some incomprehensible words and with that a flash of white light appeared and hit Lancelot’s arm, the light burned away at his skin leaving a ugly looking black mark, more flashes of light hit the tree’s around him. Lancelot knew he couldn’t escape the voices so he just ran to the glade as fast as possible weaving in and out of the tree’s, hoping that would raise his chances of surviving the encounter. Lancelot could see the glade, it looked even more beautiful than usual, the colours seemed more vibrant he ran even faster than before while breathing rapidly, feeling light headed from the sudden running and lack of proper breathing he started to cough and fell over, overwhelmed with the fear he sat up and stared at the Glade. Remembering how easy his life had been up until, never really living or having any desire to so until the time for his death came. Lancelot’s head dropped to the ground to the ground seeing a small animal at his feet. “Ah, that’s where you were. You weren’t going to leave at all were you?” he said sadly as he collapsed to the ground. Lying there as he saw the animal whose fur began to shake slightly, he closed his eyes and heard the grass around him move slowly and the voices began to get louder, the incomprehensible words that he heard them speak before were spoken again and the flash of light proceeded.

“What? What’s happening? I enjoy surprises but this is a bit much isn’t it?”

Lancelot’s eyes slowly opened after to see the robed men gone but their clothes were still there torn up quite a bit though. Lancelot suddenly remembered what had happened and stood up. Suddenly a noise from behind him, he began to run when ethyl suddenly appeared in front of him. Lancelot’s mind went blank when he saw her, he felt tired and remembered how came so close to dying, Lancelot’s shutdown and he collapsed to the ground. He couldn’t comprehend anything currently, and they both sat there looking confused at each other. Lancelot came back to his senses after a few minutes and ethyl wanted to know why he was being odd so he had explained what he had seen.

“That was a dream!” Ethyl replied quickly and happily

“What, a dream? It felt pretty real to be honest...”

“Well yeah of course, dreams do. Anyway look at your arm. No burn mark or weird scar there hmm?”

“I guess you’re right there then.” Lancelot touched his arm and felt no pain confused. He took a few minutes to calm himself down from the dream and sat with Ethyl and listened to the Glade and its inhabitants. After his fear and anxiety had calmed down a bit he stood up and offered his hand to help Ethyl stand up too.

“You’re gonna miss your ticket out of here if you don’t hurry you know.” Lancelot said

Ethyl stared at Lancelot in disbelief “You honestly think I’ll just leave you here? Who knows what weird things you’ll be doing if I don’t stay here. Probably be going through all the girls’ houses knowing you!” Ethyl joked while giggling

“What? You don’t really know me well do you?” Lancelot said arrogantly

“Well enough!” Ethyl replied proudly.

They both stood there laughing happily at each other trying to make the most out of what is sure to become something much more horrifying than just a vivid dream. Ethyl sighed “We should get going now, don’t want to cause trouble for your old man eh?”

“Wait a minute. The clothes that had been torn up aren’t there?”

“What?” Ethyl said confused

“There were torn clothes from the voices I heard in that ‘dream’ I had.” Lancelot turned his head and saw the torn up clothes were gone, as if they vanished from thin air.

“Nothing there Lancey” Ethyl said

“Guess so... Wait, what was that you just called me?!” Lancelot said feeling a little disturbed by his new nickname.

“How’d she even know about my arm, I never said anything about that? That’s weird, really weird.” Lancelot thought to himself.

She giggled quietly and they both walked off from the glade back to the village as the sun had finally set below the mountains that surrounded them.

Lancelot found the evacuee’s once again, Ethyl and her brother waved at Lancelot from within the group and he waved back. Lancelot remembered how Ethyl said she was going to stay, while he thought it’d be better for her to leave, he still felt a little sad at how he could die without being around his closest friend. One of the Elders advisors stood in front of the evacuation group explaining how they would be going to a nearby forest and how it wasn’t the safest place for them to be during winter or rainy days so they’d have to be careful as it was easily flooded, but the villagers weren’t at all bothered, they were too scared about their home being destroyed by the King and his men.

Lancelot saw the soldiers spreading out, heading towards the newly created towers. Which were easily made by magic, however the magic corrodes after five days so it isn’t the best thing to use, unless you need quick and easy structures built immediately. Each soldier possessed a wide variety of magic, including far sight which allowed them to see through the eyes of each person within a 200 metre radius, this means that they’d have a better chance at seeing the enemy approaching if they all see the same thing each soldier can see. Lancelot’s father approached him “Lancelot, you’re needed.” he said

“Needed for what?” Lancelot replied

“Well you’ve got the highest ability here so you’re the centre of our plan.”

“Ah.”

Lancelot and his father walked together to the Elders house to discuss their plan with the rest of the leaders.

“So what exactly do you want me to do?” Lancelot asked as he walked through the door to his father’s house

“We need you to pour magic energy into this little ball just in case we fail at keeping them at bay.” His father said hiding his anger

“That’s it? What’s this little ball going to do?” Lancelot went to touch the ball but his father grabbed his arm and pushed it away.

“A lot more than you think, it generates a magic pulse killing all organic life within a kilometre radius.” his father said calmly

“WHAT?!” Lancelot shouted, his father sighed and got him to sit down on the chair beside him.

“It is fine, we’re going to be in a protected room and the rest of the villagers are too far away. However it takes a lot of magic energy. It’ll take you about five days to fill it up, so you should just start now and try not to use too much magic. I’m sure you know what happens when you use too much of your magic don’t you.”

“Yeah, you can die. I’m aware.” Lancelot replied

The elder and the rest of the room awaited Lancelot’s answer but the room stayed in complete silence for what seemed to be an eternity, finally after the room itself felt like it was staring at him, he agreed.

“It’s a stupid idea given the risk, but fine. I’ll do it. We’re dead either way aren’t we?!”

“It is the only way we can ensure our survival!” said one of the soldiers in the room

The rest of the soldiers agreed and Lancelot gave up and left the room in anger.

“Where did you get the ball anyway?” A soldier questioned

“We found it in the ruins of an ancient civilisation, and we couldn’t let the rich find it and then make replicas could we?” The Elder responded

“Are we sure it’ll actually explode though?” Another soldier asked

“It had instructions with it, in the form of some strange carvings on a wall, though the last part had corroded off.” The elder said

The room went quiet again.

“Everyone should head back to their posts in case we’re attacked.” The elder said and everyone agreed with him. The room glowed blue from the ball in the middle of the room and a quiet subtle humming noise came from within it. The elder sighed and put his head into his hands.

A day had passed since the the Elder told everyone about the situation and the village was quiet apart from the soldiers speaking to each other on top of their towers. Lancelot had been putting his magical energy into it for most of the day.

“Should we really trust this, stupid little ball? Bet it doesn’t even work.” Lancelot sighed and continued putting his magical energy into it by placing his hands and concentrating his magic onto his palms and passing it through into the ball.

Days had past and the remaining villagers discussed ways of protecting their village but plan after plan failed, they couldn’t think of a way to win due to the King’s Army being so powerful compared to the villagers. Lancelot had filled up what looked like seventy percent of the glowing ball and was taking a break until he heard the Elder and his men planning again Lancelot decided to help out.

“Why don’t you just trap them with something hard they can’t break or put them in a maze and lead them to a trap?” Lancelot said jokingly

They all looked at him and then at each other and nodded

“That’s the best plan so far to be honest.” A soldier said

“Yeah, all the plans we came up with weren’t good at all” another soldier added

“Well what can we use for the trap then?” The Elder replied

“We could combine a few spells and make a trap out of magic; it’d deteriorate after a while though so it might not work...” Lancelot said

The soldiers began discussing the matter

“Hmm. Yes that would work if we’re lucky. ”

“How do we lead them in though?”

“We could have a few of us attract their attention and get them to follow us in?”

“An entire army won’t fall for that though!”

Lancelot interrupted them and began to explain his newly thought up plan to everyone in the room.

The soldiers and Lancelot began their work on the maze to trap them, one group fired off one spell and another group fired off another spell in order to create concrete and then the final group fortified the concrete walls with magic to make in indestructible so the army wouldn’t just blow it up completely. After an entire day the soldiers had finished the maze and the flashing spells had stopped, the final group began their work on the walls and lit up the night sky with their spells. Lancelot noticed his father walking towards him

“You really think this will work” The elder said

“Not sure, but it’s better than killing everyone, right?” Lancelot said

“Maybe it is.” The elder replied

They both stood in silence for what seemed like hours until a soldier walked to them and told them that the final maze job had been finished.

“Ah, that’s good. With this, surely we can win!” Lancelot shouted

The soldiers gathered around Lancelot and the Elder took a step back and started speaking to his soldiers.

“I understand that many of you are scared, however now is not the time for such emotions! We will be wiped out unless we make use of this maze! Think of your families, your children, your brothers and sisters! Will you die and cause great grieving for them? NO!”

The soldiers shouted and shouted until they couldn’t shout anymore, they all fell to the ground exhausted. As they fell they noticed Lancelot and a few other soldiers bringing food and drink.

“For now, WE FEAST!” The elder shouted

Everyone still remaining in the village ate and ate till they couldn’t eat anymore. The moon was shining brightly and Lancelot remembered how he and Ethyl were talking a few days ago and that she said she would stay.

“Guess she wasn’t going to stay after all then” Lancelot said while looking at the moonlit sky.

Lancelot was woken suddenly by multiple soldiers, all looking horrified. Lancelot knew exactly what this meant.

“Are they here!?” Lancelot said

The soldiers looked at him scared and they all ran to his father. Lancelot while running saw many of the places in which he spent his childhood with Ethyl. Lancelot felt a pain in his chest however he didn’t have time for emotions and instead looked forward and ran faster.

“Where are they?!” Lancelot said

“Heading towards us, we’ve got one hour before they reach us.”

“Get everyone into position we can’t lose here!” The Elder shouted

All the soldiers in the village immediately headed towards the areas they had to be in. They all rushed in a panic knowing they could all be dead within the next few hours, but following their leader, they could surely survive.

They waited for seemed like years until finally.

They arrived.

The enemy soldiers arrived at the Village. They all were wearing dark steel armour designed to absorb low rank magical spells, their helmets were also made out of the same material. Dark black steel that looks menacing when crafted into armour due to its colour and evil aura it gives off. The sun hid behind the clouds and the village seemed to lose almost all natural light. A loud bang came from the sky and a large black cloud covered the sky, making it impossible for sunlight to come through. The soldiers destroyed the gate to the village and marched in.

Silence, silence was all they heard. The enemy soldiers lead by an unknown man signalled his men to spread out and find them. They rampaged through the village, through each house smashing everything in their path. After an hour they still could find them, however they did find one thing. A mysterious area of the village, that seemed to glow in the darkness.

“Sir, we found a... strange ruin?” The enemy soldier stuttered

“A ruin? In their village? Where’s your brain you moron. I find it unlikely it’s a ruin” the unknown man said

The enemy soldiers lead him through the dark empty village to the ‘ruin’.

The unknown man sighed and told his soldiers to check it out. Five soldiers went into the ruin after five minutes they came back.

“There’s not much in there apart from a weird thing, it’s really weird. We should all check it out!” The enemy soldier said

“All of us?” the unknown man said

“Yes. everyone. It’s very strange, we might want to take it back but to take it back we need a lot of people. It glows blue too, it’s very strange.

“It’s very strange.” all five soldiers said

“Fine, let’s go.”

The enemy army moved into the ruin and went to find the strange thing the soldiers were talking about. They all moved cautiously as they moved into the ruin.

“If this place collapses I’m killing all of you idiots.” The unknown man said

The enemy army flinched a little after hearing that, and at the same time a loud bang was heard from behind them. The entrance collapsed and began to glow blue.

The unknown man sighed in anger and walked over to one of his soldiers.

“I said I would kill you if we got trapped in here. Looks like your luck is up.” The man said

The soldier looked horrified and the man grabbed his head and angrily shouted. He then punched him in the chest and he fell to the ground, with his face burnt off. Smoke rose and the man smirked and turned around to walk away.

“Every 20 minutes I will kill one person. Hurry up you miserable fools.” the man shouted

The soldiers scurried and tried to find a way to open the entrance up but their magic didn’t work, the walls seemed to absorb the magic. They started firing off many spells at once in fear for their lives, while a few other soldiers went deeper into the ruins to find this strange thing.

The unknown man started to doubt that the strange thing ever existed and that this was all a trap, he walked up to one of his soldiers and hit him in anger. The soldier fell to the ground holding his stomach while enduring the pain.

The other soldiers started to fear even more for their lives after seeing their awful leader hit his own soldier who he had recently killed. However as they began to calm down a little the walls started to close on them pushing them backwards, deeper into the ruins.

“I knew this was a god damn trap.” the unknown man said

“Oh did you now?” A voice echoed throughout the dark halls

“WHO IS THAT?! I’LL KILL YOU!” The unknown man screamed

“My name is Lancelot and this is my maze. Welcome I guess.” He said laughing

The soldier frantically ran forward to escape the walls.

“Keep moving. Come on, little sheep. Keep going.” Lancelot said while laughing

The unknown man ran forward in anger determined to find the voice tormenting him.

“YOU WILL BE NOTHING, WHEN I FIND YOU!” the unknown man screamed

“Who are you anyway?” Lancelot questioned

“THE KINGS SON!” He shouted

“Really? That’s cool I guess. Thought Princes were supposed to be composed?”

The prince grit his teeth and calmed himself down and looked towards his men.

“You soldiers there” The prince pointed at the group of soldiers that were standing around waiting for orders. “Go find the exit, you rest of you. Find the voice and kill it.” The soldiers looked at each other questioning the prince, looking confused they left.

“Oh? You’re trying to actually do things now?” Lancelot said

The prince didn’t reply, trying to keep his composure he paced back and forth.

Hours had past and still, they were all trapped within the maze. The princes soldiers searching for the exit had come back looking grim.

“Sir! Still no exit found. We may have to just keep moving forward.”

The prince sighed and grinned.

Guess we’ll just have to find the voice and ask him then won’t we?

“The voice? For all we know he’s not even in here.”

The prince looked at them menacingly and they instantly left to do what he ordered.

“The prince sure is losing it.” One soldier whispered

“Don’t let him hear you say that!” The other soldier whispered. The prince sighed and sat down, thinking about the situation.

“This is getting a little boring now to be honest, you cant even find me.” Lancelot said

The Prince didn’t reply again but instead grinned and began to laugh.

“Eh? Has he gone insane?” Lancelot asked

The Prince only started to laugh louder, even his soldiers started to wonder if he was going crazy from the situation.

“Ok, I’ll tell you what. I’ll give you a clue as to where I am.” Lancelot said

“Don’t need it” The prince said still laughing

“You sure about that?”

A loud explosion ran through the corridors of the maze and the Prince’s laughter only got louder.

“Did he find out where I am?” Lancelot wondered only for his thought to be interrupted by multiple soldiers and the Prince behind the smoke the explosion had created.

“How did you get through? You shouldn’t be able to use magic to destroy those walls!” Lancelot shouted in fear

The prince’s laughter only got louder when he saw Lancelot’s face “You honestly think your puny magic could protect yourself from my magic? I’m a Prince you fool” The Prince stopped laughing and looked at the shaking Lancelot with a serious face.

“If you’re this scared, why even fight? You’re pathetic” The prince leaped at Lancelot with incredible speeds and grabbed Lancelot’s head.

“You’re weak!” The prince shouted

“Weak! Weak! Weak! Weak! Weak! Weak!” the prince began screaming while smashing Lancelot’s face against the maze wall. The prince stopped, and let go off Lancelot’s bruised, bleeding face. The wall was covered in his blood.

“Disgusting, It’s on my hand too” The prince wiped the blood on his hand onto Lancelot’s clothes.

Lancelot struggled to breathe but was still grinning.

“Why are you grinning? You’re half dead!” The prince said quietly

Lancelot lifted his body and rested his back against the wall.

“Omb”

“What?” the prince said

“I said It’s a tomb.” Lancelot said as he pointed to the roof

“A tomb? Right. ” The prince replied

Lancelot chuckled and cast a small spell to the ceiling of the room hitting the weak point in the ceiling. It collapsed, the blue orb also fell with it letting out a huge ray of blue light.

The Prince turned and saw the ball of blue light increasing slowly in size until it exploded.

Lancelot opened his eyes and saw nothing had changed, he felt like his heart had just been crushed.

“Really? That was your big plan?” A big flash! Oh how scary.” The Prince said while laughing

“No? It couldn’t have been. Was it fake? Did I not fill it enough?” Unanswerable questions filled Lancelot’s head and his body collapsed to the ground.

The Prince saw Lancelot on the ground and kicked Lancelot’s stomach repeatedly.

“I think the Prince has gone insane!” A soldier muttered behind him

The other soldiers looked at him in fear and and didn’t say anything but stood there in fear of what could happen to them.

“Ah, this is boring now.” The prince said

“You’re done so you won’t be needed now. Good bye” The prince raised his hand and attempted to cast a spell.

“It wasn’t a bomb. It’s a prison also a device used to impair magic.” A voice said while chuckling

“Who said th-“ The prince began

“Stop speaking imbecile” A group of cloaked figures raised their hands and destroyed the maze with just a small amount of magic.

“Such power, who are you?! Speak!” The Prince shouted, annoyed at their insult he began walking closer to them.

“One more step and you’re dead too, much like your soldiers there.” The cloaked figures said while giggling

“What? How? What are you?” The prince said while backing away

Lancelot opened his eyes to see daylight, confused he attempted to stand but failed and collapsed again.

“Why are there tree’s and daylight? We should be in the maze?” Lancelot questioned

“Well anyway, we need someone to take our place, in case they find out. And no one wants that!” The cloaked figures giggled again

“They? What are you on? Also take your place?” The prince asked

“Yes, take our place. In the prison. You can’t use magic now, so you’re useless anyway.”

The prince raised his hand and cast a spell and fired it at the cloaked figures, but the spell failed and the Princes hand had an extreme amount of pain course through it, due to the pain he collapsed.

“Ok, we said you couldn’t use magic because of the prison and you use it anyway? Strange man. Anyway get into the damn prison already.” The figures shouted

The prince looked at them in fear knowing for the first time in his life, what fear really was.

A loud bang and a bright glow exploded into the sky leaving the prince trapped in the ball.

“What about the other guy?” One figure asked

“Hmm, heal him and leave him. He might have some use for us in the future.” The other replied

“Hm hm.” Lancelot was healed by the cloaked figures and then left where he lay unconscious while the figures flee from the scene.

Lancelot woke up, and in a flash, stood up and prepared to use his spells against the Prince, but he wasn’t there.

“Huh? What? What happened?” As Lancelot went to release his spell he felt a strange burning on his hand where the spell was being cast, quickly he assumed it was bad and stopped the spell.

Lancelot was walking around the village for what seemed like hours but he couldn’t find anyone, not even the animals or the sun were present, it was as if he had been put into a different plane of existence.

Lancelot looked at the night sky and wondered what had really happened and where everything was.

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Chapters
1. Chapter 1
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