Chapter 3

A whole new world ready to explore

Now they’re both really done for

    The gate warped us to a snow covered forest, just north of the Kouteli mountains. It was pitch black, making it nearly impossible to see what was in front of me and it took a few minutes of digging through the snow to find Silas; who was unconscious. The icy wind was unforgiving and blew right through my clothes, making my body constantly shiver. Placing my hands on my abdomen, I called out to my grandfather and hoped I wasn’t too far away. I let out a sigh of relief, when I felt the familiar tug in my gut. I picked up Silas bridal style to get him out of the snow and follow the tug. The tug would lead me to my grandfather’s house, and hopefully there we would find shelter from the bitter cold. A powerful spell laid on his house, making it virtually impossible to find, unless you knew where to look.

    The trek took much longer because of Silas and by the time I caught sight of the house, my whole body was numb. It was a small cabin, hidden by the dense group of trees and the safe house for any Destin that seeks refuge. I saw one of the lights turn on and picked up the pace, nearly hoping through the heavy snow to plow through it. The door opened and I was greeted by my grandfather, the warmth from inside of the house bringing some feeling back to my body.

    “Bunic,” I breathed, but he quickly shushed me and beckoned me to follow him inside.

    I followed him to one of the bedrooms and changed Silas into a pair of pyjamas we had, before placing him in the bed. We silently exited the room and upon arriving to the kitchen, my grandfather slapped the back of my head hard, muttering some curses.

    “Ow! What did I do?” I hissed, rubbing the back of my head.

    “You know what you did,” he grumbled. “You were supposed to come here by yourself, but you bring someone with you; the son of a gatekeeper no less!”

    I bowed my head in shame. “I didn’t mean to, bunic. He had the compass and the Black Aliquid were going after him too! I didn’t know what they were going to do to him if they found out he had a compass in his possession.”

    He sighs in frustration. “Why don’t you explain everything from the beginning?”

*************************************************

    I felt really warm, as I slowly began waking up. I almost wanted to go back to sleep and burrow myself deeper into my bed, but the unfamiliar scent of pine and crackling of a fireplace told me I wasn’t in my bedroom. I lazily opened my eyes and looked around the room to see that I was definitely not in my bedroom. The room had rustic cypress walls and floorboards that were in desperate need of polishing. There was a fireplace across from the bed that kept the room warm and gave it a homey feeling. The bed I was lying down on had a rustic wooden bed frame and I was bundled up in a heavy quilted blanket.

    I had to force myself to get out of the unnaturally comfortable bed and find out where I was. Everything that had been in my pocket was sitting on the nightstand next to the bed and was shocked to find that I was in someone else’s pyjamas, while my clothes hung on the back of a chair by the fireplace. I quickly changed back into my own clothes and grabbed my phone to call Fernando, the only contact I had besides Adelina and my dad. When nothing but static played, I began to panic and wondered where the hell I could be if I didn’t get any reception.

    I looked outside of the window that was on the wall left to the bed to get a sense of where I was, but it was impossible to see because of how incredibly dark it was. I opened the window, thinking that maybe I could climb out of it and I immediately shut it when snow was blown into the room. I was running out of options and wondered if there was anyone home to stop me if I tried to escape.

    Suddenly, I heard the sound of fast approaching footsteps and ran to where the door was. Someone swung the door open and before I could see who it was, I knocked them to the ground. I winced at the loud thud his head made when he hit the floor and as he cursed loudly, clutched his head.

    “This is the thanks I get for saving you?” a familiar voice groaned in pain.

    “Sebastian?”

    All of a sudden, the events of yesterday flooded back to me. I extended a hand out to help him up, but he brushed it aside and stood up by himself. I let him get away with punching me in the arm, because I had just knocked the wind out of him pretty hard.

    “The one and only! How are you feeling because I’m feeling fabulous,” he said, his voice dripping with sarcasm.

    “What the hell happened after I blacked out? Where are we?” I demanded, getting a bit frustrated with Sebastian and the situation itself.

    Sebastian patted my back. “Don’t get your boxers in a bunch.”

    “Too late,” I huffed in annoyance, slapping his hand away.

    “You’re in my world now,” he explained, with a little too much enthusiasm.

    “What do you mean by your world? We’re on Earth, aren’t we?” I corrected.

    “Not anymore! You’re in the Prison now.”

    I sighed in frustration. “You better start speaking English before I thunder punch you in the face for kidnapping me.”

    Sebastian had the right sense to take a step back. “Just follow me, bunic can explain it to you better than I can.”

    I followed Sebastian as he lead me down a hallway. “What’s a bunic?”

    He chuckled. “It’s not an it, it’s a he. Bunic is my grandfather; bunic is Romanian for grandfather.”

    We entered a room that was a living room and kitchen connected. The small kitchen on our left had an old, country style to it, while the living room had the same rustic cypress walls and floorboards that the bedroom had, with a tall, austere stone fireplace that had a light fire going. The living room had dark green leather sofas that surrounded a coffee table. As we got closer to the sofas, I noticed that a frail framed man was hunched over, his head buried in his hands. He didn’t seem to notice us and jumped when Sebastian placed a hand on his shoulder.

    “Bunic?” Sebastian called softly.

    The man stared at us with a startled expression. “Don’t sneak up on me like that, copil!”

    “I didn’t mean to, I just wanted to let you know that Silas had woken up,” he clarified, gesturing to me.

    The man regarded me with tired eyes and a small smile, before standing up from the sofa to give me a firm handshake with both of his hands. His back was slightly hunched when he stood up and was practically skin and bones. It amazed me that he didn’t fall apart.

    “It’s very nice to meet you, Silas. We have very much to discuss and it’s a shame that our time together is limited.” He turned to face Sebastian and slapped his arm hard. “That’s for getting this nice, young man wrapped up in this mess! Now, go make us some tea while I chat with our guest?”

    I stifled a laugh, as Sebastian reluctantly went to the kitchen and Sebastian’s grandfather gestured for me to sit with him on the sofa. I could hear the faint clinking of cups being moved about from the kitchen and the crackling that came from the fireplace. It calmed me from my earlier anxieties and allowed my mind to think about nothing in particular.

    “You may call me Alin, but bunic works if you’d like,” he suggested, as he stared at the fireplace.

    I suddenly noticed that he had silver eyes. “Your eyes!” I blurted out, forgetting about something called manners. “Oh, I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to-”

  “It’s alright,” he chuckled and gave me a sad look. “ You see, I’m Sebastian last remaining family, but from my appearance you can see that my time is coming to an end. I’m tired, tired of losing those close to me. It was only a few hours ago that I received word that my son, his wife and two of my grandchildren had died,” he explained, ignoring my statement on his eyes.

    “Yeah, I know how that feels,” I said, thinking of my own messed up family life.

    My only real family was my dad, who was barely around anyway and my mom who had died so long ago that I couldn’t even remember what she looked like. Still, I don’t think that quite measures up to having your family killed in cold blood.

    He sighed. “Although I’m glad that Sebastian had survived, I fear that his vengeance for his family may consume him and he may need someone to keep him balanced.” Alin’s voice was just below a whisper, as he leaned closer to me. “Micuțo, I believe that you are that someone. I have feeling that this meeting was not just chance, but fate and that you were meant to come here today. I need you to look after him when I am long gone. I need you to knock some sense into him, so that he may stay grounded. Could you do this for me?”

    I was a bit taken aback by Alin’s request and not entirely sure on how to answer. I looked over at Sebastian whose back was facing away from us and frowned. I had just met Sebastian just over a day ago and barely knew anything about him. He seemed a little too cocky for my taste, but looking at his grandfather and how sad he looked, it felt hard for me to say no. I mean what did I have to lose?

    “I’m not making any promises, but I’ll try keeping an eye out for him. I just want to know what is going on, because nothing is really making sense at the moment.”

    Alin’s eyes were watering, as he clasped his hands together with mine. “Thank you, micuțo. I have a feeling that you’ll watch each other’s backs—I just know it!”

    Just then, Sebastian came back from the kitchen, a tray with three tea cups and a pot in hand. He poured the freshly made tea into the cups and handed me one of them, before giving one to Alin. I noticed that Sebastian eyes were silver now, and not the unnatural blue they’d been before.

    “What were you guys talking about?” Sebastian asked, taking a seat next to me.

    “Just explaining that I’m your grandfather is all,” Alin replied, with a strained smile.

    Sebastian smiled back and sipped his tea unknowingly, as Alin turned his attention back towards me. “By now, I assume that you know that we aren’t humans. We are called Protadons, the Creator’s first creations and your predecessors.”

    “The Creator?” I asked. “You mean like the guy upstairs? The deity that created everything?”

    Alin nodded his head. “Yes, I guess that is one way of putting it. He is our father and chose to call us Protadons. Before the Creator had formed man or animals, he created us and magical creatures that have passed into legend in your world. You’ll also notice that our appearance is very similar to yours mostly because your design was taken from ours, but there were obviously some changes.”

    I quirked an eyebrow. “Changes?”

    “For example, we can live for thousands of years, while you will live for barely a hundred years,” Sebastian added. “We also have a direct connection with our Inua, that for some reason makes our eyes silver. The brighter they are, the stronger our connection is.”

    “What’s an Inua?” I asked, my eyes lighting up with amazement.

    All this new information made my head spin, as I tried to make sense of it all. Every word they said just seemed to fill my head with more questions and I tried not to start blurting all of them out at once.

    “The Inua,” Alin started, “is the soul that resonates within all of us; human, Protadon and creature. Because we are more in tune with our Inua, we are able to perform what you humans would see as magic, but this world it limits us and we are only able to execute a small fraction of what we would be capable of on Earth.”

    I stared at my hands, like they would suddenly start glowing. “So, I’m capable of using my Inua?”

    Alin nodded. “Yes, because of your parentage you’ll be able to strengthening your Inua, but you will have a bit more of a struggle when learning how to use it.”

    “What do you mean by my parentage?”

    Alin turned his head towards Sebastian. “Is he aware?”

    Sebastian shook his head no. “As far as I can tell, he hasn’t been told yet.”

    “Alright. Silas, I’m afraid that I can’t answer your question because the time isn’t right, but I assure you that you’ll understand soon.”

    My eyes narrowed in suspicion. “I don’t particularly know what you’re talking about, but okay then?” I decided to put my question away for another time.

    “Trust me, it doesn’t matter,” Sebastian assured, as he waved his hands in dismissal. “What matters is that we get Silas back to Earth.”

    “You’re right. The gate that you came from is most likely extremely guarded and it will be impossible for you to go back there now. The next closest gate is somewhere on Bal, but no one knows of any of the gates locations; on top of that you would need to find the compasses that activates each gate,” Alin explained, his face grim.

  I didn’t understand what they were saying and struggled to keep up with the conversation. “You mean that we’re not on Earth anymore?”

    Instead of answering my question, they both stood up from the sofa and I followed them to the kitchen, where I sat next to Sebastian on one of the kitchen stools. Alin pulled out a map from one of the kitchen drawers and spread it out onto the tiled counter. The map showed a huge part of land that was completely surrounded by water and on the corner of it was scribbled the word Bal.

    “I regret to inform you Silas, that you are no longer on Earth, but rather in the world that we live in—the Prison. It is a world that interrelates with Earth and is connected by gates that are scattered all across both Earth and the Prison. It is our cage that suppresses our power and limits our life.” Alin pointed to a big x that was just above a big mountain chain that went from the east side of the land to the west. “This is where we are and you need to go to Skala; which is here,” he explained, as he pointed to a town that was in the northeastern corner of Bal.

    “Why? What’s in Skala?” Sebastian squinted his eyes, as he examined the map.

    “I have a friend in Skala who could be more of service to you. Despite my old age, my knowledge is quite limited I’m afraid,” he sighed. He handed Sebastian the map and his face seemed to light up in recognition. “Although, I think I may still be of use. Your clothes will make you stick out like a sore thumb, and I have some that you could look through that I used to wear in my earlier days. Sebastian, why don’t you take Silas to the closet in the guest room and find something that might suit your needs?”

    Sebastian nodded his head and without another word, he got up from his chair and left the kitchen. I followed close behind him to the room I’d woken up in, and he opened up the closet that was full of boxes, covered in a very thick layer of dust. The boxes were full of clothes, old pictures and mementos—I watched out of the corner of my eye as Sebastian stared at the photos with a fond smile.

    After a few minutes of rifling through the boxes, I managed to find some clothes that seemed fitting. A white button up hugged my torso, with a dark blue waistcoat that had yellow edges and buttons. I kept the buttons done up and tucked in the white scarf that puffed out a bit. I pulled on a pair of black pants and a pair of hiker boots. Overtop, I wore a bomber jacket that had fur on the lapels.

    I whipped my head around to face Sebastian when I heard him trying to muffle a laugh. “What’s so funny?”

    “What’s with the getup?” he said, cocking an eyebrow.

    “It’s called having a sense of style,” I bit back, trying to will away the heat that rose to my cheeks.

    Sebastian had decided to wear a dark brown, leather rider jacket with the collar done up, over top of a white t-shirt and black cargo pants, with matching combat boots. “At least you look somewhat like a respectable Protadon, but your eyes are a dead giveaway.”

    I tugged at my waistcoat self-consciously. “What’s wrong with my eyes?”

    He tapped his temple. “Relax, bright eyes. I meant you’ve got green eyes, while the rest of us have silver. We need a way to disguise those things if we’re going to have to ride through towns.”

    We went back into the kitchen where Alin waited for us with two belt pouches, with leg holsters that contained weapons, and two black backpacks filled with supplies.

    “In each belt, there are two blasters,” he said, as he pulled one out.

    The bronze coloured blaster had an oval barrel, with gears and cogs sticking out on the back of it. The long muzzle and the grip had an unknown white metal that spiraled around both of them. When Alin gripped it, the metal lit up with a blue light and the gears inside it began to whir and spin.

    “The blaster is made with Augre, but is traced with a metal called Moonfite. It conducts the power of our Inua and turns it into a powerful surge of energy, that can cut through almost any being or surface on the face of the Prison.”

    He put the blaster back in its holster and pulled out a dagger. It had a hooked handle that was made of the same metal as the blaster, with a gear attached to the curve. The silver blade itself had jagged edges, with a strip of Moonfite strip that ran down it and onto the handle.

    Alin spun the gear on the handle and the Moonfite glowed blue—just like the blaster. “These daggers were made by a friend of mine, he likes making machines and such with Augre. It’s a commonly used metal that’s found in most weapons and machines in the Prison. Anyway, by spinning the gear, you can add a bit of bite to your dagger, but using it often can drain you quite quickly. Only use your blaster and activate your daggers when you need to.”

    We equipped the the belt pouches and leg holsters, before Alin gave us the map and showed us the two backpacks that he had filled with provisions and a tent. Sebastian regarded Alin with a tearful smile, before giving him a hug.

    “Thank you, bunic. You’ve helped us so much and I don’t know how I could repay you,” he choked.

    “Oh, copin there’s no need for that! I’m just glad that I could be of help,” he expressed, with a pleasant smile and let go of Sebastian. “Now, you must head towards the Happy Dart, which is an inn in Skala. Skala is directly east of here and once you make it there, you are to find a man by the name of Levi. He should be able to further assist you in finding the other gates.”

   Suddenly, a loud bang was heard against the front door and men shouting in a language I didn’t understand.

    “Damn! They’ve already found us,” Alin growled through gritted teeth.

  “Who, who’s found us?” I asked, scrambling to grab the pack that Alin was hastily handing to us.

    Sebastian began to take out his blaster. “We can take them on, bunic,” he said, but Alin put a hand on the holster.

     “Can’t you sense how many are out there?” Alin hissed. “This isn’t just two or three Black Aliquid members, there are dozens upon dozens out there!”

    “But I don’t want to leave you,” he whimpered, his eyes welling up with tears.

    Alin couldn’t help but smile with sympathy and pull his grandson into one last hug. “If all goes well, then I shall see you soon. Now quick, you must hide!”

   Sebastian rubbed his eyes, before nodding his head in understanding and walked deeper into the house. I thanked Alin one last time and went to catch up with Sebastian. He opened a cupboard and tossed our packs up on the top shelf and pulled me inside, as he shut the door. Sebastian began to trace symbols on the door with his finger, and the strange inscriptions flashed blue before disappearing.

    “What did you do?” I whispered.

    “I hid the door so they won’t see it, but they’ll still be able to sense me” he explained. “You need to use your powers again to hide me, just like you did in your garage on the night we met.”

    “What makes you think I can do it again?”

    “Well you did it before!” Sebastian nearly shouted.

    “I didn’t mean to do it, it was more of an accident. I didn’t even know I had powers until just about twenty minutes ago and besides I don’t know how I would do it in the first place. I was scared at the time an-”

    Sebastian covered my mouth with his hand. “Will you shut up? They’re in the house and if you don’t hide me soon, then they’re going to find us!” he harshly whispered. “Let me try to put this into perspective, if they find us, then they’ll kill us without question and it’ll be like we never even existed.”

    I could feel my stomach drop at the thought and took deep breaths to calm myself. Sebastian also seemed to be getting nervous, if his clammy hands and constantly shifting eyes were anything to go by. Not long after, we heard pairs of footsteps begin to slowly walk down the hallway and Sebastian gave me a pleading look. This was it and I was about to be killed in a closet with some guy I’d met yesterday, yet as I began to accept my fate, my body began to move on its own accord. My index and middle finger touched the middle of Sebastian’s back and words I could give no meaning to left my lips. When I’d opened my eyes—which I didn’t even remember closing in the first place, Sebastian was staring at me in awe and removed his hand from my mouth.

    “How did you do that?” he whispered, when he was sure that no one was in the hallway.

    I shrugged to show that I was just as clueless as he was and stopped talking when footsteps stopped directly in front of the cupboard. They spoke words I couldn’t understand, but it looked as if Sebastian could understand them perfectly, seeing that he seemed to be seething with anger and clenched his fists tightly. The people walked back up the hallway and I heard the door slam shut. Sebastian immediately placed his hands on his abdomen and didn’t move for a good five minutes or so. I tapped his shoulder after a while, and that looked like it had pull him out of some sort of trance. He opened the door.

    “I’ll kill ‘em! I’ll kill them all!” Sebastian shouted, slamming his fist against the wall.

    I kept my distance from Sebastian, as I took our packs out of the cupboard. “What are you talking about?” I squeaked, afraid that I would become his punching bag if I spoke any louder.

    He slid down the wall and brought his knees up to his chest. He mumbled something I couldn’t understand, because he had his face covered by his hands and I sighed, before walking over to crouch in front of him. Not sure on how to comfort him, I placed a hand on his shoulder and his whole body began to shake, as he sobbed into his hands. Eventually, his crying had died down to shaky breathing, and he slowly raised his head to reveal puffy eyes and tear stained cheeks.

    “They, they took him. They took bunic,” Sebastian hiccuped, as he rubbed at his runny nose.

    “We’ll get him back,” I assured, the promise sounding empty even in my own ears.

    He drew in a shaky breath. “I’m fine, I-I just need a moment.

   I nodded and took our packs into the kitchen. I cringed at the state of the room and wondered if they’d done this to all of the room in the house. The fire had been snuffed out, parts of the couch had been torn to shreds, the doors on the cabinet had been taken right off their hinges, and photo frames along with plates and other things had been shattered on the floor. Sebastian came into the kitchen a few minutes later and looked like he was ready to burst into tears again. He picked up a broken picture frame and stared at it with a blank look, before taking the photo and tucking it into his pocket.

    “Come on,” he said, grabbing his pack off of the counter and making his way to the back of the house. “We need to get out of here in case they come back, or bunic’s sacrifice will mean nothing.”

    I followed Sebastian into a room I’d never been in before, that looked like another guest bedroom. He placed his hand on the wall that the bed’s headboard was against and a pair of symbols flashed on it. A portion of the wall rumbled, before opening to reveal a set of stairs. We followed the stairs that lead into a dimly lit room, with an earthy smell to it. Inside of the room, there was two objects that were covered by a grey sheet. Sebastian removed the sheet to reveal two what one would call hoverbikes.

    They were made of Augre and traces of Moonfite that ran all along the bike, just like the blaster and the dagger. The front and the back of the bike had a propulsion engine, instead of wheels. It had four headlights, footrests and two hand clutches traced with Moonfite as well, that had a control panel between them.

    “They may only go forty miles per hour, but they’re faster than walking and bunic kept them in good condition,” Sebastian explained, as he patted the seat of a hoverbike. “Come, I’ll show you how to work them. They may be old models, but they work like most hoverbikes.”

    I leaned forward, listening carefully to Sebastian’s instructions. The control panel had a dial to show the speed of the hoverbike, while there was a gear stick that controlled how much power was used in the propulsion engine, along with three small, red switches. The first red switch and the closest to the rider’s left would shut off the entire hoverbike if needed, the second switch would activate the radio that would be used to communicate with the other hoverbike, and the last switch would send out a distress signal if any of them would be in danger.

    “These are really cool,” I gushed, as I sat down on the seat of one of the hoverbikes and put on the pair of Augre goggles.

    “I’m glad you think so, since hoverbikes are really expensive to buy and build,” he disclosed, as he got on his own hoverbike and put on his own pair of Augre goggles. The engine roared to life and the Moonfite turned blue with Sebastian’s Inua.

    I stared at Sebastian’s hoverbike with a childlike fascination. “How did you do that? Mine didn’t start up like that when I got on.”

    Sebastian rolled his eyes, as he placed the goggles on the top of his head. “You have to channel your Inua’s power into the hoverbike. Imagine that all of your energy is being transmitted into your hands; the handle bars will conduct the energy and transfer it into your bike.”

    “Easier said than done,” I grumbled, before doing what he told me to do.

    I thought of my Inua’s power as energy that flowed through my veins, which I guess is actually what it was and tried to imagine it moving into my hands. It took a couple of minutes, but the hoverbike eventually roared to life just like Sebastian’s.

    “This is so fu-”

    “Language!” Sebastian chided.

    “Well I’m sorry,” I said sarcastically. “This is so freaking cool.”

    Sebastian went over to a lever on the wall and pulled it. It opened a hatch that lead to an underground tunnel. He hopped back onto his bike and put his goggles on.

    “Let’s see how well you can ride that thing,” Sebastian chirped, before taking off down the tunnel

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