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PostPosted: Fri Jul 9, '10, 7:20 pm
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Chapter 6

Corg sat on the edge of the well and waited as Mieu pulled a bucket of water out and poured it over him. He had commented that due to his being in hiding for the last two weeks, he had not had much opportunity for personal hygiene. Seeing it as an opportunity for her to do a bit human caretaking, Mieu offered to bathe him. The others stood round about and questioned him.

“So dawg, how is it that you’ve been here for two weeks whereas we arrived on the Alisa III only a few days ago?” Piotr asked.

“I’m not sure on all the particulars. I think the passage from Earth to this dimension goes beyond the limits of space-time. I think when we crossed those barriers, I somehow ended up in this place—“ He paused as Mieu doused him again with water.

“Hey Mieu,” Jack called out, giggling. “See what you can about that scruffy face of his.”

“Will do,” Mieu beamed. She extended a single blade on one of the claws she wore and started moving it skillfully across Corg’s face, slicing off pieces of his facial hair.

“Anyways,” Corg started again, trying to stay still. “I think it interesting that, in spite of the difference of arrival times and destinations in this dimension, we still were able to come into contact with each other.”

“Yeah, that is pretty darn weird,” Jack said more seriously.

“What’s up with that?” Piotr asked.

“Makes me wonder if it wasn’t intentional, if we weren’t brought here on purpose,” Corg mused.

Laya and Sari looked at each other confused. The whole situation had completely bewildered them. The arrival of Piotr and Jack in Landen, their arrival on a planet inhabited by a person who not only was coincidentally a friend of the two, but knew an alarming amount of their own lives, both made them wonder in awe and shudder in fear at the same time.

“So…Corg,” Laya said. “What do you know about this place?”

Corg waited a moment for Mieu to finish slicing off his mustache. “Our present location is Duke Barrik’s castle. As you’ve probably figured out now, we’re in the middle of a large basin.”

“Are there any ways out of here?” Sari asked authoritatively.

“Yup. There are a number of caves to be found along the sides of cliffs, many of which lead to other lands. I’ll show you something in a moment. Wait a sec—“

The others turned away as Mieu helped Corg remove his wait tunic and change into some cleaner clothes that Wren had brought from the ship.

“Come with me,” Corg bekconed.

“Wow, this friend of yours is pretty cute, now,” Laya whispered to Jack.

“Yeah, and smells a lot better, too,” Jack chuckled. “But hands off, he’s married.”

The party followed Corg down the main road of the kingdom to an area separated from the other shops and houses by a tall gate. As they entered, they saw that it was cemetery with decent-sized chapel in the corner. Corg led them alongside the outside of the chapel. In one of its corners, there was a square stone with a plaque on it.

“May Ka Save All of Us” read the plaque.

Corg knelt down and, with a little effort, lifted up the stone, revealing a narrow stairway.

“Wow, how did you about this?” Laya asked.

Corg paused as if to look for a good response. “Dumb luck, I guess. Found it by accident while hiding from the beast men hunting parties.”

“And you’ve spent the last two weeks hiding out here?” Sari asked, surprised.

They all started descending the stairs. It was a narrow passage made of stone, with some wooden planks scattered about for extra support.

“Basically. I’d come up every now and then to forage for food and to look for equipment. I’ve come to know this town pretty well.”

“My bio-sensors show that you are heavily undernourished,” Mieu commented.

“Yeah, I’m not all that good at hunting. There was a stockpile of healing potions down here so I subsisted mainly on those.”

Having said that, the party reached the bottom of the stairs, which opened into a large stone chamber. There were pieces of armor, empty bottles, and some weapons scattered about.

“Wow, what’s that awful smell?” Laya exclaimed.

“Corg,” Jack said holding his nose. “Have you hecka been doing your business down here?”

“Heck nah. What happened was that I got discovered one day by a beast man. Had to kill the little sucker. I kept the body in here so that it wouldn’t be discovered by the others—“ Corg paused and remembered how the beast man had descended the stairs was about to run right back up when it saw him. He had had to tackle the creature and beat its head against the edge of the stairs to kill it. Corg shuddered.

As they looked around, they all noticed a large picture carved into the wall. Everyone walked up to it to see what exactly it was.

“Oh,” Corg said. “That’s a map I made of this land. What do you think?”

“I think it’s pretty impressive for someone who’s been in hiding for two weeks,” Sari said sarcastically.

“Boy I’ll say,” was all that Jack could muster as a response.

“Corg, please tell us the truth,” Laya said sincerely. “Are you from here? Are Jack and Piotr from here, too?”

“Nah,” Corg mumbled.

“Have you been here before?” Sari continued.

“Jack and Piotr haven’t, to my knowledge,” Corg responded.

Mieu spoke up,“He’s telling the truth, Sari. My bio-sensors report no abnormal heart activity in his responses.”

Sari threw her hands up into the air in desperation. “Can someone please tell me what is going on here?”

“Your highness,” Corg muttered. “I really don’t know myself. The best I can do is give you some half-baked theory.” He paused for a few moments while everybody looked at him. Looking thoughtfully at them, Corg went on, “Let’s discuss our own plans for the future for the time being.”

Wren, who had not spoken a word since their descent into the hidden chamber, agreed. “I think the answers as to their origins can wait. We need to figure what our status is in this new land.”

“Fine,” Sari shrugged. “Go on, then.”

“Okay, this is the situation. We’re here in the middle of a valley surrounded by some high cliffs. We’re all aware of that—that’s pretty obvious.”

Everyone nodded.

Corg continued. “What’s also obvious is that this castle was once inhabited by Duke Barrik and his people. However, they were apparently wiped out by the beast men, as you all can see.”

“Do you have any records of this?” Laya asked.

“Only a few parchments that weren’t carried away or burnt when the place was sacked. There were also a few carvings in stone in some of the other passageways and dungeons beneath the castle.” Corg then pointed at a large “X” in the middle of the map. “Anyways, we’re here, right smack dab in the middle of the valley. The beast men had a camp here to the north, near the banks of the river. I think they’ve since consolidated their forces with the rest of their tribes, which are concentrated in a series of caves in the northwest corner of the valley.”

“Are the beast men the only other humanoid inhabitants of this land?” Mieu inquired.

“Fortunately, no. In one of these caves—“ Corg paused and pointed to the northwest corner of the map. “—There’s a passage to a great swamp. The passage itself is inhabited by the troglodytes, a race of reptilian men. The passage leads to a large swamp, which is where the Lizard Men live.”

“Dang dawg,” Jack began. “You really know your stuff.”

“I know,” Piotr said curiously. “You’re hecka bustin’ out the knowledge.”

“That’s not the half of it,” Corg chuckled. “Here in the northwest there’s another waterfall and a bridge connecting the two sides. If you go into the northeastern corner, you’ll find another cave, which is a passageway leading to the Azcan jungle.”

“These Azcans you mention,” Laya said. “Are they humans?”

“Yes they are,” Corg affirmed. “Unfortunately, they’re hostile," he said matter-of-factly. He went back to explaining the map. Now, from where you landed, you might’ve seen what appeared to be a large swamp to the south.”

Everyone nodded.

“That’s only part of a larger swamp, separated by another river. This swamp is probably the most dangerous area in the valley, as its inhabited by dragons, hydras, and large alligators. However, there is a point of interest there because there’s a cave down there which leads into the city of the Dark Elves.”

“Those hostile, too?” Sari asked, rolling her eyes.

“Yes.”

“Is there anything here that doesn’t want to kill us?” Sari replied sarcastically.

“Thankfully, there is. Here on the western end of the valley, before the beast men caves, is low plateau. The plateau itself is heated continually by magma, making it almost impossible to traverse. However, there’s a cave that leads to the land of the Oltecs, a peaceful race of traders. And that, my friends, is where we find ourselves.”

Everyone stayed silent for a few moments. They had obviously found a wonderful place to live and stay, however establishing themselves was obviously going to be no easy task. They all knew it. While their curiosity over Corg’s seemingly vast knowledge of their location was great, the importance of their own survival easily overpowered that.

Finally, Sari spoke up. “I suggest we settle down here in the city for now. We’re all tired, except for Mieu and Wren, and we have a lot to discuss. I don’t like the idea of eradicating any race that lived here before us, so let’s set out in two days to explore land and try to establish some sort of treaty with the beast men.” She looked at Corg, who just shrugged. “Mieu! Wren! Laya! Come with me and help unload the ship. I think our three new friends have some catching up to do.”

The four got up and went upstairs and to the ship.

Corg walked over to the stairway and sat down on one of the steps. The other two followed in suit. Corg took a deep breath.

“Wow, things have been phatty crazy since I arrived here,” he said calmly.

“Dude, heck yeah,” Jack said, nodding his head. “Hecka phatty had to live in hiding and with no one to talk to.”

“The loneliness I can kinda handle. Having had two parents that both worked, I’m used to being alone. But it was pretty suck, especially without Cristina here. I’ve been worrying myself sick about that. I barely know what’s going on, where she is, what’s become of us there. Only my attempts to survive have been able to keep my mind occupied.”

“Now that we’re alone, do you mind explaining to us why we’re in a video game?” Piotr asked, both worried and nervous.

“You know, I first thought we were in a video game when I arrived here,” Corg began.

“Uh, where is here?” Piotr asked.

“Oh, this place? This is the world from the game Dungeons and Dragons: Warriors of the Eternal Sun. I used to play this game when I was a teenager. Fun game.”

Piotr nodded his head. “Well, that explains why you know so much. But tell me, do you think this is actually a video game?”

“As I was saying, I thought it was. I mean, I was like, ‘Cool. I’m in a game that I knew and had busted out as a kid. I can get along quite well.’ Almost died when fighting my first round of beast men. I had forgotten that in the game, you have four people to your party and not just one.”

“Nice work, ya’ stupid,” Jack quipped.

“Screw you, dawg,” Corg chuckled. “So, I thought this was a game, until I had to phatty murder the beast man that had discovered this place. If this was a game, you know, a game world, they would follow the exact rules of the game. So, if I killed the sorry sucker, he’d just disappear immediately. I mean, that’s how things were in the game. But he didn’t. He just hecka sat here moldering and rotting.”

“Yeah, it’s still stinkin’ pretty bad,” Jack quipped again.

“Man, hecka worse than some the ones you lay,” Piotr said.

They all laughed.

“So as I sat here, watching it decay, I began to think that this wasn’t the game. Or was it? I mean, if it were the actual game, we wouldn’t actually have any real agency. We’d simply do and say whatever the game told us to.”

The other two nodded in agreement.

“I figured that we weren’t in the game. Then I wondered if this was a video game world not unlike the old cartoon Captain N: The Game Master. Any of you watch that?”

“I think I did,” Jack said, furrowing his brow.

“Nah, don’t remember it,” Piotr said.

“Yeah, used to watch that baby every Saturday. But that place also functioned a lot like the games. Although you could jump from one game to another, it still followed the general rules of disappearing bad guys and guys that inexplicably leave money and items around, even though there was no physically way they could actually carry the item.”

“You know, Corg, you gotta point. Kind like those bad guys that’d leave behind entire treasure chests and suits of armor after beating them, even though they were birds or something,” Jack observed in a state of epiphany.

“Exactly. That led me to create the Peter Pan-hypothesis.”

Piotr lifted an eyebrow. “Intriguing, please explain.”

“Well, basically, the worlds we know from video games really do exist, but in some strange parallel universe. Basically, whoever the architect of it is made the gateway to these worlds a psychic one. Therefore, only people who…well…believed could get here. My theory is that there are an infinite number of these worlds and basically the Japanese people, who have some of the strangest imaginations ever, were able to access this place and designed their games based on the things they saw and learned here.” Corg shrugged. “So we live in a real place that has been the basis for a lot of games and movies and gosh-knows-what-else what. But like I said, it’s my theory.”

“Well, that sounds, kind of logical…I guess,” Piotr shrugged. “Better than anything I can come up with. I guess the question would be how we could get out of here.”

“Dude,” Jack started to lament. “Kinda makes me feel bad for all those people and soldiers I beat down back in Landen. Piotr and I thought that this was all a game.”

“I understand,” said Corg in consolation, patting Jack on the back. “We gotta be careful here. There are no hit points or magic points or energy bars or lives or anything. Every fight is real and deadly.”

“Wow, that’s pretty crazy,” Jack said. “Hey, did you happen to get any strange abilities?”

“Well, I can whirl a chain around my body with the best of’em. I don’t know how that one came about. But then, the characters learned to fly when they went to Neverland, so who knows. And you guys?”

“I can boot with the likes of Donnie and Hwang*,” Jack answered, stifling a laugh.

“I’ve developed some abnormal dexterity with these here clubs,” Piotr said.

“Well, whoever brought us knew that we couldn’t survive on our own. Probably programmed or quickened some fighting abilities into us to help us out a little. I imagine that these abilities are some reflection of a subconscious decision on our parts. In any case, let’s do the following: let’s help them get established here and see what becomes of us.”

“Whatever you say, dawg,” Jack responded.

Piotr said nothing. He just sat on the step and looked thoughtfully at the clubs in his hands.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

* - Donnie Yen and Hwang Jang Lee - Two martial arts actors known among fans for being able to perform impressive aerial kicks without the help of wires and special effects.

Last edited by H-Man on Thu Nov 4, '10, 9:57 am, edited 4 times in total.

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