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The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) - Literature (11) - Nairaland

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Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Botaflica(m): 5:43am On Jul 17
I am taking it all in..... and really something big is about to happen. Wow Obehid as always I duff my hat
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by popeshemoo(m): 7:15am On Jul 17
So Xavier vs Musa
I think both imps are matched in skill, grace , command of pansopy and strategy ,
I'll pick musa as my advisor because I feel he is more enlightened and Xavier as the commander of by battle imps (he has that street nigga thingy going on for him).
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Fazemood(m): 11:40am On Jul 17
If these imps were to rebel against their masters and oppressors, it would be a full fledged war. Imps are more in number and they don't die but Uspecs are the opposite. I will so like it to happen as it will be like the days of the Israelites in Egypt.


One thing I need to ask is, can there be imps without Uspecs?
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by phoenixchap: 7:28pm On Jul 17
Well-done ObehiD,
But it's obvious Xavier is up to no good and I think the imp isn't really straight forward, it's deception still make me feel like there's an undertone of some kind to the imp, Musa needs to watch his master more closely and do well to lead Nevus aright.

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Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 4:33am On Jul 19
@Botaflica Thank you grin I agree something big is about to happen

@popeshemoo I like that, Xavier is more like a thug. Xavier vs Musa...should I say who I'll pick? No, I'll keep it to myself so that I don't spoil anything wink

@Fazemood Hahaha, it could definitely be interesting if the imps decided to rise up against the uspecs. I don't know how that will go though. The imps may be more, but uspecs have spectra which imps have to siphon. And spectra is not a contact magic so they can attack the imps before the imps could even use pansophy on them. But imps could make themselves invisible (the ones with pansophy at least)...yeah, that would be interesting lol. So, yes, it is possible for imps to exist without uspecs. They just won't have a very good quality of life, without spectra.

@phoenixchap thank you. I agree that there are secrets that Xavier is keeping, hopefully Nebud learns to protect itself and not rely so much on Musa...
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by phoenixchap: 3:18pm On Jul 19
ObehiD we are waiting on you.
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 4:50am On Jul 20
phoenixchap:
ObehiD we are waiting on you.

I'm here, come and read!
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 4:50am On Jul 20
Part 7
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We veered off the straight path, taking a left onto a side trail. Unlike the path we had just been on, the one we detoured into was empty. Our newly purchased coffer moved beside us, chained by thought to the tag hanging off a string on Musa’s neck. The key to the coffer was also attached to that string.

I glanced at the coffer, noting the smooth black finish of the sides. This coffer had cost a fortune, five hundred pieces of merit – half a piece of worth – to be exact. There had been other ones of similar sizes. The cheapest ones were made out of wood, and had wheels attached to the bottom with a handle which had to be pulled. Those ran for a few hundred pieces of value. But this one, was a rare beauty. It was made completely of fog. Like all coffers, the top of the box was made of opaque fog which could only be removed with the key. Unlike those though, the rest of the box was made of solid fog, fog which had been given form. Motion and thought had also been added to the solid fog, so that the coffer moved on its own, following the tag which Musa wore. It was the most secure of all coffers, because solid fog was the only material which could not be broken, and the lid, well the lid was my favorite part. Like every other door, the lid had life and thought, which ensured that any part of the body which went into it without a key, would lose the ability to sustain life. So, if a hand went into the lid without a key, that hand would return lifeless to the owner. At that point, the hand would be just as useful if it was cut off.

I was really starting to like pansophy. While it was a form of magic which I could not possess, it was one that I had dedicated a lot of time to studying. We had spent fifteen months on the trail, three months longer than was necessary, because I found out that there was a rare pansophy tome available in only one market on the trail. It had taken us a month and half to reach that market, and the same amount of time to get back on the right trail. After reading through the tome twice, I could say with certainty that the detour was worth it.

I stopped, gesturing with a jerk of my head to the wall which we’d come onto this path in search of. After walking a few steps closer to the red wall, I scoured the surface searching for the slightly darker patch of red which I expected to see there. From the thought drop, I knew that the patch was the exit key which led to Katsoaru. After fifteen long months, we had finally reached our destination.

The patch of dark red was made in the shape of a handprint. I wondered, as I placed my left hand flat against the print, if it had actually been made from an uspec’s hand. From the way the outline far exceeded mine, I knew that if that was the case, it would have to have come from a large uspec.

A wall of dark grey fog, similar to the one in the room which had led us to the inter-port trail, appeared in the middle of the path, a few paces in front of me.

“This is the exit.” I said unnecessarily, fully aware that Musa would already know this.

“Yes master.” Musa replied with a smile on its face.

It remained as it had been, standing in front of the wall of fog, which completely took up the path, blocking off view of the rest of the walkway behind it. It watched me, the smile still on its face.

“Are we leaving master?” Musa prompted, its voice sounding a little more mocking than I would like.

I shook my head and chuckled. “I am suddenly feeling…”

“Sentimental?” Musa provided when I trailed off, suddenly finding myself short of words.

I turned to smile at the imp. “Foolish right?”

“Not at all master. The months we spent walking this trail were months of firsts for you. You learnt to read here, learnt fluency in one foreign tongue and competency in the others. Your first discovery of the pleasure of tomes was uncovered here. I think this was like a hiatus, a break from the real world. Now we must return. I feel sentimental too.”

I nodded. Taking a deep breath, I brought my hand down from the handprint in the wall, and walked towards the wall of fog. I paused, just a step away from it, and turned my back on it, to stare down the path of red. It was the middle of the day, so orange light streamed in, mixing its hue with that of the red from the clouds. I knew that down, back on the tropospheric region, the lighting would not be so pure, and the ground not so soft. Discounting the experiences in the inn, and the night when Xavier had broken into our dwelling, the journey on the trail had been peaceful. Musa and I had lived in our own world. We had gone from speaking soaru on the trail, to boga, then mejo and then hooni. Soaru and hooni were the foreign tongues I spoke best, but I could pass muster with the other two. Our sword-spars had morphed into dagger throwing exercises, and then finally to pugilism, when Musa had decided there was nothing more it could teach me about fighting with the cutlass. My own readings had revealed much about the world which I had not known before. I could pass as a noble now, I was certain of it. Yet, there was hesitation, the voices in my head whispering for me to take more time. A few more months, there were still tomes for me to read, lessons to absorb.

With a shake of my head, I pushed those thoughts away. Perfection was unattainable without practice. I had to live the lie before I could become it. Reading about it was not enough.

“You know what I’m looking forward to most?”

Chuckling, Musa replied. “A real okun, probably a canal with raining liquid, like the one in the resort.”

I frowned, wondering how the imp had known exactly what I was thinking.

Musa scoffed. “You are kute master, it is not so hard to guess.”

I walked into the wall of fog with a smile on my face.

The room we were taken to was one with sludge walls and the foam floor. We arrived at the back of the filled room. With the exception of the wall in the front of the room, which was broken into several narrow slots of fog, it was just as the room which had led us into the inter-port trail. I knew now that the rooms were called hangars. They were the only places linked to the inter-port trail; there was only one in every port.

In front of us, several lines formed, leading to a table manned by uspecs. Unlike the last time, I knew better than to stand at the back of a line, waiting my turn.

“Out of my way.” I ordered.

The commoner standing in front of me turned to regard me. As soon as its single center eye took in the silver on my body, it bowed slightly, stepped out of the way, and poked the uspec standing in front of it. One uspec at a time, a path was cleared from where I had been standing at the back of the room, to the front, with the table.

There was an uspec being attended to at the front of the line. As a noble, I had the right to cut the uspec off, and step in to take its place. But I decided against it.

“Salutations banneret.” A voice called from beside me, speaking in the soaru tongue.

I turned to my right to find an uspec with a silver headband on its head, and silver sleeves covering each of the tentacles springing out of its waist. From the headband, I knew that the uspec was an adherent, a made noble who received its position by serving as an advisor to the Kaiser. The sigil on the noble’s headband was that of the Kaiser of Katsoaru. This was no visiting uspec then.

“Salutations adherent.” I greeted in reply.

The uspec nodded at me, before walking around the table, into one of the slots of grey fog at the head of the room. Unlike me, the noble one would not need a visitors tag to move freely through the streets of Katsoaru, in fact, no soaru uspec would. Those tags were only required for uspecs of the other spectrums.

The commoner in front of me finished speaking to the uspec standing behind the table. It left, and I walked up to take its place.

“Salutations noble one.” The uspec behind the table bowed in greeting.
I nodded in response.

The uspec rose its head. “Where do you hale from noble one, and what is your business in this port?”

I knew that the questions were required, but I could not stifle my irritation. I glared at the uspec. It had one outer eye on its face, and all the other sockets formed. This uspec had the bulk of a fighter. A guard I decided, when I saw the sword hanging from a belt on its waist.

“Hakute.” I replied simply. “I am here to visit Katsoaru.”

The uspec nodded, accepting my lie.

“The visitors tag for a noble costs a piece of merit.” It stated.

I nodded. “And the imp?” I tipped my head back towards Musa.

The uspec did not even look at it. “Nobles can bring in up to five imps for free.”

Reaching downward, I slipped my hand into the satchel bag. More than a year of shopping at markets had taught me the difference in the feel of the different types of currency. I knew by touch that the piece I now felt was merit. I pulled it out of my bag, wondering for the hundredth time since I’d spent a fortune on the coffer, why I didn’t just put my wealth in there.

Once I began buying tomes, I realized that it was impractical to expect Musa to take on all the weight. We’d bought another sack bag for the tomes, but they soon became heavy enough that even I did not want the burden of carrying them as we walked each day. Musa had suggested an obvious solution, which was trading in the tomes which I had already read for new ones. But I found myself unwilling to part with any of them. Each tome told a different story which I found much to learn from, and I decided, each one would make a good reference in the future. I would not have wasted my money or my time reading it, if it was not in some way relevant. The other alternative was to let Musa take some form away from the tomes. Apparently, they could be lightened by removing some of the form. But as pansophy was a transfer magic, the form had to go somewhere. A single day of trying to walk and talk to a Musa with more form, showed that was also not a long-term solution.

And thus, the coffer was bought. It was large enough to take all of my tomes and all of our bags. Of course Musa had gasped at the price I was willing to pay, but then I considered it worth it. Perhaps, at the time, I had thought the coffer would carry my wealth. In that case, I wanted the best that existed. So then why was the satchel bag still hanging from my shoulders?

With a sigh, I pulled the piece of merit out of my bag and placed it on the table. The uspec picked up the piece and bent down to a compartment hidden on the other side of the table. When it rose to its full height, it placed two small slips of paper on the table. Those papers had markings on them, the marks of a Katsoaru visitor I guessed.

I picked up both slips, passed one back to Musa, and placed the other on my chest. I knew that the moment the thought in the slip of paper sensed the life in me, the appearance of the marking would be transferred from the slip, to my skin. It would stay on my skin until I left Katsoaru.

Done with transferring the markings, Musa and I placed the blank slips of paper on the table.

The uspec scooped them up into its hand.

With a bow, and a gesture towards the side of the long table, it said, “Welcome to Katsoaru, noble one. I hope you enjoy your stay.”

With a nod, I dismissed the uspec’s greetings. We walked around the table, to the open space between the end of the table and the sludge wall. As I stepped into the grey fog, the uspec’s words echoed through my head,

‘Welcome to Katsoaru.’

At long last, I was finally here. The words in my mind seemed to prompt another response.

‘Marcinus’s eye.’

The voice in my head said as the fog swallowed me up, reminding me of my true purpose for coming to this port.

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Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 4:52am On Jul 20
==============
VOLUME FIVE
==============

~~~
SOARU
(A Spectral existence word which represents one of the five spectrums in the spectral existence. This word refers to the people of this spectrum, that is the uspecs of the Soaru spectrum who have tentacles as their distinctive feature. The uspecs in the Soaru spectrum are sometimes called cloud people as they are so tightly bound to the clouds in the spectral existence. As such, soaru eyes give an uspec the magic of the clouds, which allows them to use the clouds to change the form of a person, turning them into a different creature. The uspecs in the Soaru spectrum are bound to the sorrow emotion.)
~~~

Part 1
-------

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The First Metropolis of Katsoaru (the spectral port which coincides with Katsina State, Nigeria)
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There were certain things which my recent education had taught me, knowledge of aspects of life in a soaru port which I had gleamed from the tomes. However, nothing could have prepared me for the feel of the air which surrounded us. As kute uspecs are drawn to okuns, soarus are drawn to the clouds. This was a fact which I’d known even before I began reading the tomes. Still, it was one thing to know it, and another entirely to feel it.

Somehow, the soaru uspecs had found a way to lower the clouds. I shook my head, reminding myself of the extent of my own knowledge. Location was one of the lifeforces. It was the lifeforce which was manipulated by quicksand whenever a thing was teleported. It was a magic of the uspecs eyes, a lifeforce controlled by spectra and not pansophy. So, then, spectra must have been used to change the location of the clouds bringing them closer to the ground.

And thus, the air appeared to be a mix of patches of stationary red clouds and lightly drifting fog.

Luckily, the entire lower area was not fully covered by the red clouds. I noticed that light, a pansophic lifeforce, had been taken from the patches of clouds which filled the air, so that the clouds were not luminescent, like the ones above. The strangeness of the patches of clouds spotting the area quickly faded as we made our way down the windy streets. The feeling of them however, was a whole different matter.

The clouds filled the air with a term which Musa had helpfully described as ‘humidity’. It seemed impervious to the stickiness of the drops of pink liquid visibly floating in the air. I, however, could not stand them. I hated the way the liquid clung to my skin as I walked about, giving the feeling of wetness without the pleasure of immersion in okun. It was a feeling made even more disconcerting by the addition of the drying heat provided by the drifting fogs. I would take a step and find my green skin suddenly spotted with pink liquid, and in another step find myself partially dried, only to be dotted by the drops allover again.

We were in the Acropolis, the capital burg of the port of Katsoaru. I could not say with any certainty why I had chosen this burg over the others, save that I had been drawn to it in an inexplicable manner. Like Lastmain, this place was also clearly secluded. Unlike the walls which charted off the different areas of the burg, the parts of this city were cordoned off by hardened ‘chilled cloud’, the soaru equivalent to the lit okun.

Walking down the streets of the area filled by commoner’s dwellings, I was made aware of the stark differences between this burg and Lastmain. There was more of a structure to the array of dwellings. Though they were made of the same common materials of baked sludge and wood, the dwellings were arranged in pleasing rows with clusters of varyingly colored vegetation decorating the sides of the streets.

A cluster of uspecs passed by me. They bowed in greeting as they walked the faint greetings of ‘salutations noble one’ going unanswered as I plunged ahead on my path. I noticed that these commoners appeared much different from most that I had seen. In this burg, the commoners without eyes were few, far outnumbered by the vast majority having two eyes. There was something unique about the eyes they bore.

The purpose of collecting eyes was to gain spectra. To this end, imp eyes had to be collected first. However, of all the uspecs I saw, none of them had imp eyes. Their filled outer eye-sockets contained uspec eyes. Which meant that despite the eyes they had gained, they had no spectra, no magic. I wondered at this awing sight as I turned my attention to the second most distinguishing attribute of these uspecs.

They wore clothes.

I had seen uspecs were clothes in Hakute. Those uspecs had been few, restricted to the nobles, like Fajahromo and the members of the plenum. But here, in this Acropolis, the majority of the commoners and imps were clothed. The uspecs wore clothes, seemingly made of leather. The majority wore black leather trousers like the ones I had only seen imps wear, and leather shirts with holes cut out for their ailerons. So the only parts of their bodies visible, were their cyan tentacles, the soaru feature, which extended from their waists, the green ailerons which sprouted from their backs, and their heads and necks.

Upon entering this port and seeing the strangely garbed uspecs, Musa had suggested that I purchase leather clothes like they ones they wore. It explained that it helped to ease the discomfort of the humidity. My answering glare was so severe, it refrained from any further deliberations on the issue.

“How much further?”

Musa turned, “only a few more minutes till we reach a reputable portal, master.” I nodded, my gaze darting back to the street where two uspecs lumbered towards us. “If you are weary, master, perhaps you can heed my suggestion and place your satchel bag into the coffer.”

I cuffed the imp on the back of its head. “I told you not to bring that up again.” I chided, my lips quivering as I struggled to contain the laugh bubbling up in me at the affronted look on Musa’s face.

Rubbing the back of its head, it muttered, “it was only a suggestion.”

An uspec walking by the imp swayed heavily. It moved abruptly to the left, with so much force that Musa was knocked to the floor. Our moving coffer trailed Musa so closely that the imp’s side scraped against the corner of the object.

I lashed out with my right hand, pulling the imp to its feet. I made sure Musa was okay, before releasing it. I turned my fury on a much more deserving target, the uspec that had lumbered into us.

The uspec had almost walked past us. I struck out with my right hand, grateful in that moment for its length, and wrapped my fingers around the uspec’s throat. I squeezed with so much effort, I knew it would only be seconds before the uspec died.

“Master!” Musa cried out, the alarm in its voice palpable enough to make me lessen my grip on the uspec.

I turned to the imp, the eyebrow above my center eye rising in question.

With its left arm outstretched, it pointed at a spot behind me. “Your bag master!” Musa cried. “That uspec stole your bag!”

It wasn’t till Musa mentioned it, that I became aware of the loss of weight on my left shoulder. I stared dumbly at my left shoulder, my eyes widened in shock as I watched the offending appendage, waiting to see the strap which I had tasked its bearing to. When the satchel bag did not miraculously appear on my shoulder, my shock turned into fury.

Immediately, I turned to stare at the area which Musa had pointed at. If there had been an uspec standing there before, the uspec was gone.

With the entirety of my fortune.

All of the money was in that satchel bag. I had not had the foresight to divide it, perhaps put some in the coffer which I had spent a fortune on. What would become of my mission? I had no money, not even a single piece of value on me. Perhaps I could sell the coffer and the tomes which I had accumulated over the course of our trip on the inter-port trail. If I was able to sell them at the value which I had purchased them, I would be left with little over half a piece of worth.

That was simply inconceivable. I had to get my fortune back.

A slight pull on my right fingers told me that the uspec which I had captured for carelessly running into Musa was trying to extricate itself from my grasp. I turned the full strength of my wrath on that uspec. I squeezed, the anger I felt at the loss of my bag making me delirious. It was all this uspec’s fault. If it had not distracted me by bumping into my imp, I would not have been distracted enough to let another uspec steal my fortune.

The uspec’s fingers rose to its neck. It tried without success to pull my hand off it. It was so short, shorter even than Musa was, that when I grabbed it, its legs had lifted off the ground. Now those legs swung in the air as it struggled, fighting off its inevitable asphyxiation.

The uspec’s moving legs begun to slow and its fingers start to slip as it made the plunge towards the abyss. Its struggling stopped and its hands fell back to its sides, its head no longer thrashing from left to right.

I frowned, my eyes narrowing at its face. There was something slightly familiar about this uspec.

My hand jerked off the uspec’s neck once I realized why it appeared familiar. It was the uspec I had seen walking towards me with another, swaying as they walked, as if they were inebriated. The uspec fell from my hand and landed on the foam floor.

Its lips parted as it struggled to breathe. Its weakened state gave me time to think. Both uspecs had been walking towards us. I remembered them, because they happened to be part of the minority of uspecs with only a single center eye on their face. There had also been something strange about their dressing. Unlike the other uspecs who wore sleeves to cover their arms, the uspecs had worn shirts which stopped at the shoulders.

As soon as the uspec gathered enough strength to rise, it pushed itself up by its elbows, and tried to drag itself away. I kicked the uspec in its stomach, knocking the breath out of it, then I stepped on the uspec’s back, putting enough force in my leg to ensure that the uspec stayed down.

Then I turned to Musa. Musa’s head dropped immediately. “Forgive me master, by the time I noticed the bag was gone, the uspec was already running away. I didn’t know what to do.”

“You could have run after it.” I stated drily, somehow managing to keep the anger out of my voice.

“What could I have done when I found it?” it demanded. “Am I to attack an uspec?”

“In the protection of my possessions?” I asked, my voice raising to a yell as my barely restrained anger came frothing out of my mouth. “Of course!” I spat out.

“But master…”

“Shut up!” I cut the imp off as I noticed the uspec beginning to wiggle underneath me. I rose the leg on the uspec’s back off and brought it down with more force. The uspec let out a loud cry of pain. The tentacles around its waist lifted then, rising to grab onto my foot.

How had I not noticed that this uspec’s tentacles were not fully grown? It had only three outer eye sockets formed, and partially grown tentacles. A young then, I thought, as I bent, lowering myself to the uspec’s level. I pulled out my dagger from my belt, and cut off each of the tentacles which the uspec had wrapped around my ankle in its attempt to pry my foot off.

The uspec’s cry of pain grew even louder then.

“Please!” It begged, its shrieking voice pulling even more attention to us.

“Stay put!” I snapped at the uspec, stressing my point by driving the heel of my foot into its side with more force. When the uspec made another pathetic cry of pain, I put even more force on my foot. The uspec quickly got the message. It reduced its cries to sobs which were easier to tone out.

I stood back to my full height, wiping the blood off my dagger as I stared at the uspecs who had now stopped to watch us. With raised eyebrows, I dared the uspecs to interfere. None of them did. They simply cast pitying glances at the uspec beneath my foot and continued on their way.

I turned back to face Musa. “While you were watching a thief steal my bag, did you manage to see the clothes it wore?” I asked drily, my scathing tone extracting a shocked gasp from the imp.

I did not understand this imp. It could fight. A year spent fighting for three hours everyday told me this. Sure, in pugilism it could not match the strength of my blows, but what it lacked in brute strength, it made up for with cunning and quick movement. I had learned to move better from training with this imp, it had kept me, the greatest fighter in the pits of Hakute, on my toes. What chance then would a tiny drunk uspec have against it? None! And Musa knew that. It had probably chosen to stay by my side and point foolishly at the thief running away with my fortune, simply to prove its point about me carrying my satchel bag, as opposed to heeding its suggestions and placing it in the coffer. I had never been more angry with, or disappointed in, this imp.

“Answer my question Musa.”

“Yes master.” Its voice shook. It did not bow its head though, it looked me in the eye when it nodded with its response.

“What did the shirt it wore look like?”

“It looked normal.” The imp replied. “It was made of light brown leather. Perhaps slightly stained, like clothes would be if lain in sludge without properly washing.”

“Was the shirt sleeveless?” I asked. “Perhaps like the one this fool is wearing.” I gestured with a jerk of my head to the uspec laying on the floor underneath my foot. I felt the uspec shake lightly and so I put a bit more pressure on it.

The corners of Musa’s lips crept up, its mouth forming into what looked like the beginning of a smile.

“Don’t you dare smile!” I snapped, cutting that foolishness off before it could take root. I was just angry enough to truly hurt it. My previous inattention to the purchase of a master’s whip, suddenly seemed like folly. I would correct that as soon as I retrieved my wealth, I decided. The dark thought lessened some of the anger I felt.

Musa’s face returned to its previous solemnity. “Yes master,” the imp said, “the uspec’s shirt was without a sleeve. Just like that one.”

I nodded, turning around to face the uspec lying underneath my foot. Reaching down, I grabbed onto the uspec’s shoulders and flipped it so that it lay with its head up, its tear-filled eyes staring beseechingly at me.

With my body still bent, I lowered so that my right knee was on the uspec’s stomach. It cringed from the added weight, but from the way it pulled in its lips, I could tell that it was fighting to keep from crying out.

Staring into the uspec’s eyes, I contemplated all the ways that I could extract the knowledge I needed. There was the easiest of course, pansophy. Musa could go into the uspec’s head and pull out its memory. From that the imp would know where its friend had taking my fortune. For some reason, I found that option unpalatable. I was angry, and I was not yet willing to take that anger out on the imp who had simply watched my bag get stolen. Why not take the anger out on the uspec instead? The one who had set me up for the mugging. Yes, I thought, a malicious grin forming on my face, I would love to take my anger out on this uspec.

Without uttering a word, I punched the uspec once in its face. The sound of its nose breaking had the potency of a cooling ointment applied to my boiling anger. Blood seeped out of the uspec’s nose. Before it could part its lips to cry out in pain, I followed the first blow with another to its throat.

While the uspec was still gasping for air, I spoke. “I am only going to ask this once, so think carefully before you answer.” I paused to give my words time to sink in. “Where is my bag?”

A part of me hoped that the uspec would lie.

4 Likes

Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by dragonstar14: 5:26am On Jul 20
obehid is that all it's short oo
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by cassbeat(m): 9:23am On Jul 20
Obehid u did not allow him to lie before cutting the episode!!!! Na wa o
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Fazemood(m): 10:52am On Jul 20
If it were me, I will spill everything this very minute even add extra details just to save me from this grip and punch. Ah! I hope the uspec lie too, can't wait to have an uspec suffer.

I just don't know why I dislike this creatures.

Obehid thank you for this update.
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by tunjilomo(m): 12:41pm On Jul 20
Hahaha, Nebud is making waves.
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by ayshow6102(m): 1:22pm On Jul 20
Obehid thanks for the update jare u too much
I am through reading the Crimson night and I must confess it's one of the best stories I have ever read please how can I get more of your delicious works
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by phoenixchap: 8:25pm On Jul 20
@ObehiD dear, you should try proof reading after updating us, there are little correction in the words like were for wear and there for their. You really will go places, your work is masterpiece wink
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Botaflica(m): 1:30am On Jul 21
Oh wow this is another side of you that we’re reading about now. Yeah he fought in the pits but now why am I feeling like he wants to stamp in some type of authority..... something hot is definitely cooking
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by enamored1: 3:37am On Jul 21
It's been sometime I've been here. obehiD, you are doing a wonderful job.
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by popeshemoo(m): 12:54pm On Jul 21
Common musa, Xavier would have done more
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 5:47pm On Jul 22
@dragonstar14 short shocked I posted two whole parts instead of just one, lol, but I'm happy you're enjoying it enough to want more

@cassbeat Ah ah, I had to have suspense na, now you have something to look forward to for Wednesday wink

@Fazemood Lol, yeah, Nebud is harsh. Why do you dislike the uspecs? Maybe it's because we haven't seen a nice one yet...

@tunjilomo As in ehn, Nebud is feeling itself oh lol

@ayshow6102 Thank you! Wow, I'm soo happy you enjoyed Crimson Night that much, it really means a lot to me to hear you say that (more like see you type that grin) So, all my other stuff (that's everything else in the Marked series) are actually unavailable now. Hopefully, the next Marked book will be officially published and released next year, so you should be able to read it then. I'll keep you informed. Till then, please just manage this story cheesy

@phoenixhcap Thank you! You're sooo right, I definitely need to proofread again. Believe it or not, I actually proofread about three times before I post, but there are still some things I miss, so thank you for pointing this out grin

@Botaflica Yeah, this is definitely another side of Nebud. Nebud is now literate, it now knows things and it's trying to pass off as the banneret it's claiming to be

@enamored1 Thank you, it's so great to have you back!

@popeshemoo lol! As in ehn, what Xavier would have done to that uspec, smh @Musa hahaha
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by dragonstar14: 6:33pm On Jul 22
obehiD:
@dragonstar14 short shocked I posted two whole parts instead of just one, lol, but I'm happy you're enjoying it enough to want more

@cassbeat Ah ah, I had to have suspense na, now you have something to look forward to for Wednesday wink

@Fazemood Lol, yeah, Nebud is harsh. Why do you dislike the uspecs? Maybe it's because we haven't seen a nice one yet...

@tunjilomo As in ehn, Nebud is feeling itself oh lol

@ayshow6102 Thank you! Wow, I'm soo happy you enjoyed Crimson Night that much, it really means a lot to me to hear you say that (more like see you type that grin) So, all my other stuff (that's everything else in the Marked series) are actually unavailable now. Hopefully, the next Marked book will be officially published and released next year, so you should be able to read it then. I'll keep you informed. Till then, please just manage this story cheesy

@phoenixhcap Thank you! You're sooo right, I definitely need to proofread again. Believe it or not, I actually proofread about three times before I post, but there are still some things I miss, so thank you for pointing this out grin

@Botaflica Yeah, this is definitely another side of Nebud. Nebud is now literate, it now knows things and it's trying to pass off as the banneret it's claiming to be

@enamored1 Thank you, it's so great to have you back!

@popeshemoo lol! As in ehn, what Xavier would have done to that uspec, smh @Musa hahaha
I know it's not that that short but itz intriguing I can't wait for Wednesday
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Fazemood(m): 9:55pm On Jul 22
dragonstar14:
I know it's not that that short but itz intriguing I can't wait for Saturday
Saturday? What happened to Wednesday?
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by dragonstar14: 5:31am On Jul 23
Fazemood:
Saturday? What happened to Wednesday?
oh it was. a typo I'll edit it
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Madosky112(m): 9:58am On Jul 23
I love your works ObehiD,,,but what gift did MAXAD really give Nebud ,,"I have given you a gift return the favour, put me out of my misery"......hope is what am thinking.
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 4:11am On Jul 24
Madosky112:
I love your works ObehiD,,,but what gift did MAXAD really give Nebud ,,"I have given you a gift return the favour, put me out of my misery"......hope is what am thinking.

Thank you...well, it depends on what you're thinking...I'll just let you keep thinking it wink
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 4:11am On Jul 24
Part 2
--------

With blood dripping from the cuts on its face and its broken nose, the uspec pointed at a curtained entrance to a secluded hovel at the edge of the commoner’s portion of the burg. Wrapping my fingers around the back of the uspec’s neck, I grabbed it, and pushed it headfirst into the curtain. I had told the uspec that if it led us to wherever the thief had taken my bag, I would not kill it. After a few well-placed blows the uspec was ready to confess, but I found that my anger still needed a great deal of assuaging, and so I took it out on the uspec’s face. By its confession it had earned the right to live, but if it did anything else to get in my way, I would cut its head off its body, I swore.

The uspec fell with a loud thud on the floor of the wooden room exposed by the curtain which was now parted by its sprawled body. With a jerk of my head, I ordered Musa to proceed me. I watched as it cautiously walked to the other side of the lying uspec, the side with the curtain still drawn. The coffer followed the imp. Unlike Musa, I took advantage of the uspec’s body, graciously holding the curtain open. I stepped over it, and walked into the room.

There was nothing particularly spectacular about the layout of this room. It was a small open area with three circular tables marking the perimeter of the room, and a leather tarp in the middle. I counted five uspecs seated in the room. None of those uspecs were the ones who had stolen my bag. These uspecs all had some bulk to them. From the swords hanging from the leather belts they wore, I could tell that they were fighters.

I felt my heart pound in anticipation as three of the five stood to their feet and placed their hands on the hilt of their swords. They each had two outer eyes, but none of those eyes were imp eyes, which meant that none of them had spectra. They were dressed in the two-piece leather costume I was coming to think of as indicative of the uspecs in this port. Each of the uspecs now standing, turned to stare at the young one now struggling to get to its feet at the entrance. With furrowed brows, they turned perplexed gazes from the young uspec to me, and then back to the uspec.

Following their lead, I placed my hand on the hilt of my cyan cutlass, just praying that they would give me a reason to use it. I had not had a good fight since I left the pits of Hakute. True, the fights with Musa had been more than adequate, but there was something so thrillingly different about the excitement which accompanied a fight to the death.

“Do you see it?” I asked, my anger now curbed by the promise of a battle.

With my side eye I could clearly see Musa nod. It gestured, its chin jutting out in the direction of a stool which my first cursory glance about the room had missed. It stood at the side of the room, beside a set of thick red curtains, different from the ones which we had walked into the room through.

I cleared my throat then, my attention turning to the uspecs standing as if poised for combat. “I came for my bag.” I stated, cursing the voice in my head which pleaded for diplomacy. I just wanted to kill them and get the bag myself. What was wrong with that? “Give it to me, and I will leave. Resist and…” I let the statement hang, my gaze darting to the bruised uspec who had led us to the hovel. The uspec was now standing, bent over so that it leaned on an unoccupied table.

“No place for noble.” One of the standing uspecs stated, its kute strained by the heavy soaru dialect. After it spoke, the uspecs who had been sitting stood, also placing their hands on the hilt of their swords.

I smiled, my heart racing. I took a step towards the bag. Three of the five uspecs rushed to block my path. The two standing closest to the stool, remained where they were. “Perhaps you didn’t hear me, do you not speak the soaru tongue?” I asked, continuing in the soaru tongue which I had been speaking with since I entered this port. From the tentacles which fell from their waists I could tell that they were all of the soaru spectrum.

“Of course I speak soaru.” The uspec replied, its tone sharp as if the uspec had been insulted by my words. “Go away noble, this is no place for your kind.”

Satisfied that the uspec had understood my initial demand, I pulled out my cutlass, the sound of the sharp blade drawing against the sheath adding to my excitement.

“Get the bag.” I ordered Musa right as the first uspec advanced towards me.

It thrust out with its sword, aiming the pointed end at my neck. I swerved, lunging my body to the left, as I lashed out with the cutlass in my right hand. Unceremoniously, I pushed the sharp rounded edge of the cutlass into the uspec’s chest. Blood filled the uspec’s mouth as its fingers unwrapped, releasing the sword in its hand. It spat the blood out, sputtering the crimson liquid onto my face as it reached for the blade of my cutlass, trying to pull the offending weapon out. I pulled the cutlass out myself, swiping the blade through the uspec’s neck as it fell to the ground. The head rolled to a stop at the foot of the uspec standing to the left of where the dead one had previously stood.

With the back of my right hand, I wiped at the blood which had been sprayed on my face. The uspecs left standing cast shocked gazes to the one that now lay dead on the floor, its headless neck spilling blood onto the wooden floor. For a second, I feared that the uspecs would relent and grant me access to the bag. Before that thought could completely form in my head, the two uspecs standing in front of me sprung forward, their swords outstretched.

My cutlass knocked away the sword of the uspec to the right, as I swept my left foot forward, tripping the one approaching from the left. That one struggled to rise to its feet as I faced off against the one to the right. This one was a slightly better fighter then the first. As our swords clashed, the sound of the collisions ringing through the air, I watched its tentacles rise from around its waist, and swipe at me. With my right hand engaged in combat with its sword, I pulled out the dagger from my belt with my left, and cut off each of the tentacles raised in the air.

The pain of the cut wrought a sharp cry from the uspec. It was a cry which was closely followed by another much different one. I turned, my head snapping to the side of the room, where Musa stood, blood dripping from its neck, as an uspec’s sword cut through it. The anger I felt at the sight of the imp just standing there, allowing the uspec to attack it, blinded me. My cutlass met the uspec’s sword with renewed vigor, the strength in my blow knocking the sword out of the uspec’s hand. I sliced through its abdomen, almost completely severing one half of its body from the other. Blood came gushing out of the wound, right as the uspec fell to the ground.

I noticed the uspec to my left advancing right as the uspec by the wall continued its actions of beheading my imp. I threw the dagger in my left hand at the uspec holding the sword to Musa’s neck. The dagger went straight into the uspec’s neck, forcing it to release its hold of the sword in Musa. Musa pulled the sword out, right as I caught sight of the tentacles reaching for me. With my attention focused on the imp, I had allowed the uspec’s tentacles to wrap around my legs. Though the uspec was relatively tall and had somewhat of a bulk to it, it did not have nearly enough strength to restrain me with its tentacles.

It had made a mistake grabbing onto me. Its eyes widened as it realized the extent of its error. It tried to release me, but I pulled my leg backward before it could, pulling the uspec towards me. I knocked the sword it aimed at me away with my cutlass, and wrapped my arm around its neck when it came close enough. I pushed my cutlass into its back, and then pulled it out. Its blood stained my abdomen before its tentacles came off from around my legs and it fell to the ground.

I bent to pick up its sword as I marched towards Musa. Again, the imp had refused to defend itself. The last uspec left standing had thrust its sword into Musa’s chest. I was somewhat startled to see that its cut neck had been repaired. Then I remembered it had pansophy and could internally manipulate its lifeforces. It had probably just moved some of its growth to its neck to re-grow the cut portions. Now it stood, its arms hanging uselessly from its side, as it stared down at the sword poking out through its front.

Upon noting my arrival, the uspec struggled to pull its sword free from Musa’s stomach. Before it could dislodge the weapon, I walked up behind it and swiped the sharp end of my cutlass against its neck, tearing through the veins in its neck. Its blood sprayed onto the back of Musa’s head, and then the uspec dropped, falling to the wooden ground with a thud. I bent to pull my dagger out of the neck of the dead uspec who I’d thrown it at. When I rose, Musa had turned so that it stood with the tip of the uspec’s sword, still in its abdomen, facing me. Its face and the top of its shirt were stained with blood.

With my dagger and cutlass in my right hand, I threw the sword in my left at the imp’s feet. “Next time you defend yourself!” I snapped. The heat of the anger I’d felt had now cooled with the battle I’d won. None of the uspec’s had been particularly great fighters, but there was something thrilling about killing all of them.

Musa’s lips parted as if it meant to respond. Then, its brows furrowed.
It placed both of its hands on the tip of the sword sticking out of its body, and pulled the rest of the weapon out, through it. It all happened so fast I found my brain playing catch up. I watched with shocked eyes as the center of the imp’s body turned to goo, allowing the sword to be pulled out. I realized then that the imp had transferred the form in its body around the area the sword had been lodged in, to another part, just long enough to pull out the sword.

Then, with its bleeding right hand holding the sharp end of the sword, it flung the lengthy blade in the air. It was as if I was reacting in slow motion. The sword breezed by me, circulating in the air so close to me that I could hear it tear through the humid foggy air beside me. I turned in shock, following the circling sword until it hit its target.

There was an uspec standing behind me, the sword in its hand stretched out, barely inches from the back of my neck. Musa’s thrown sword landed in the uspec’s head. It had dug into the uspec’s head and lodged itself in its nose, dividing the upper part of its head into two. The uspec’s sword dropped, and then it fell on its back. A glance at the wound in its side told me that it was the last uspec I had fought before moving towards Musa. It was an uspec I had left for dead. Apparently, it had more life in it than I’d thought.

I turned back to face Musa and arched an eyebrow at the imp. “You would fight to defend me but not yourself?” I asked, my voice laden with shock, but also gratitude.

The imp shrugged. “I cannot die.” It replied with a smirk.

I chuckled. I was just about to respond to the imp when I saw the young uspec who had led us to the hovel, grab onto the bag still perched on the stool, and run in through the curtains behind the imp.

I was going to kill that uspec, I swore as I took a step towards the curtain.

A parade of armed uspecs walked out through those curtains before I could follow the foolish young uspec in.

“Master?” Musa asked, its voice breathy as it frowned in confusion at me. Noting the direction of my gaze, the imp turned around, and then lunged backwards when it saw the uspecs filing into the room through the curtains.

We inched backwards, both of us staring warily at the uspecs. We were standing in the center of the room when the flood of uspecs stopped. I counted eleven. The uspecs only had to take one look at the blood and gore littering the floor, to pull out their swords and attack.

“Musa…” I began.

The imp was way ahead of me. It bent to grab onto a discarded sword in the center of the room, and stood to its full height with its hand holding tightly to the hilt. We stood with our backs to each other, watching as the eleven uspecs moved around us, encircling the both of us.

Eleven against two, those were better odds than I had faced in some battles in the pits. I didn’t even bother reaching in for my emotions. It would have been easy to befuddle these uspecs by playing with their anger and pain as I had done countless times in the pits, but I found myself craving the joy of a simple battle. The emotions would always be there as a last resort if needed.

At once, the uspecs lurched towards us.

Musa and I fought as one. We fought with our backs to each other, fighting off five uspecs at a time. Soon, it all became a maze of thrusting metal and flying tentacles. Once they saw that fighting one-on-one against us wouldn’t work, a fact that was made clear by the three uspecs we’d killed, they tried to team up on us. Four of them went in on Musa, one of them approaching from its back. It did not have the field of view I did and so it could not see that uspec. I threw my dagger at the uspec instead, killing it with a well-aimed blow to its neck. Musa was left with more even odds of fighting the three in front of it.

I had allowed myself to get distracted with throwing the dagger at Musa’s assailant, and so I did not notice the tentacles in time. Three uspecs worked together, lashing out with their tentacles, to restrain my motion. Two of them I could have taken, but I found out that three was just enough to sufficiently restrain me. Another uspec ran towards me, its sword stretched out. Through my corner eye, I watched Musa’s face widen with shock as it noticed my plight. I shook my head, trying to tell it not to worry about me, but it did not seem to get the message, because it threw its weapon down, instead choosing to lay its hand flat against two of the uspec closest to it. One of those uspecs immediately turned to a mixture of green and black goo on the floor, while the other straightened immediately, its eyes moving, but the rest of its body stiff as a board. Musa turned to face the last uspec, just as I turned my attention to the uspec about to spear me with its sword.

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Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 4:12am On Jul 24
As I had done so long ago, I reached for the uspec’s anger, yanked it all, and transferred the anger to the uspec-statue which Musa had just created. The uspec’s arm dropped, the tip of its sword grazing the floor as it gawked at me. With all of its anger gone, it was left stunned, wondering why it had sought to attack me in the first place.

Then I reached for all the pain I could feel in the room, and found a lot of it in the uspec which Musa had just struck a death blow to. Before the pain expired with the dying uspec, I yanked it, and sent it to the uspec whose tentacles were wrapped around my arms. That uspec wailed with polluted pain. Immediately, its tentacles fell away and it staggered backwards.

I pulled at the uspec to my right, swiping my cutlass through its neck as it came unbidden towards me. Its head fell off its body as I turned to my left to repeat the same action. Unfortunately, Musa had beaten me to it. Its sword had already lanced through the uspec’s heart. Its tentacles fell from around me and I was free.

Just at that moment, the uspec whose anger I had transferred out was beginning to return to consciousness of its surroundings, its previous stun gone. I did not give it the chance to realize how much danger it was in. I beheaded the uspec before it could gather enough motivation to attack.

With a smile on my face, I turned, my gaze taking note of the wreckage. There was now more red than black or brown on the floor. The only uspecs left were the ones whose form Musa had transferred, taking all of it from the goo to the statue, and the one who I had given artificial pain to. That one moaned, its loud wailing cries so shrilling I decided to put it out of its misery. I found my dagger and freed it from a lifeless green neck. Then I cut through the veins of the screaming uspec. It twitched as the life drained from it, its lips pulling together as its cries finally came to an end.

I turned back around.

Musa was standing by me, its gaze locked on the uspecs whose form it had manipulated. “What do I do master?” it asked. I heard the fear in its voice and understood the cause. Still, I was slightly offended that it would think so little of me, that it would think that I could let anyone have any reason to cause it harm.

“Return them to their normal states.” I ordered.

Musa’s shoulders hunched over, but it nodded. I knew that it feared the repercussions of its actions. If word got out that an imp with pansophy had attacked uspecs, the pious ones would not rest until the imp was gone.

It was a good thing that I had absolutely no intention of letting word get out.

Musa touched the both of them. They returned to their normal states, as the excess form was taking from the statue and returned to the goo. I tore through the one who had been goo first. As soon as it was standing, its sword held tightly in its hand, I drew the sharp end of my blade over the uspec’s neck.

The one that had been a statue made to run. I threw my dagger at its chest. My aim was to graze its heart, far enough that it would die, but not so deeply that its death would be instantaneous. I walked over to the uspec, pulled my dagger out of its back, and flipped it, so that it lay on its back.

“How many exits are there?” I asked.

The uspec coughed blood. It turned its head so that its gaze pointed to the curtains that we had walked in through. Then its forefinger twitched, just before it succumbed to its wounds and died. I nodded at the corpse, not exactly sure what its last signs had meant, but choosing to take my own meaning from them.

Standing to my full height, I turned to look at Musa, before gesturing to the set of thick red curtains which the young uspec had run through. Musa nodded, following behind me wordlessly as I made my way towards it.

As soon as we emerged through the curtains, the uspec gasped.

“Please!” It begged, immediately throwing the satchel bag onto the floor, and kicking it towards me. I kicked the bag away, shifting it towards Musa as I continued my advance on the uspec.

“Please!” It cried out, inching backwards, away from me. It tried to run, but I reached out with the dagger in my left hand before it could run by me. I stabbed the dagger into the uspec’s heart and watched it fall to the ground. I did not even wait to see if it was dead, before turning to pick up my bag.

That was when I saw the fog door. Unlike the last room, this room had a single wooden table with three wooden stools positioned in front of a wall of grey fog. That fog was hardened. It had tiny droplets suspended in it, just like the door to the resort in Lastmain.

I turned my attention back to my bag. The strap had been torn. That was most likely how it had been stolen. The uspec had probably cut off the strap to take it off me. I opened the bag and heaved a sigh of relief when I found it intact. I reached for a pouch of worth and opened the sachet. I pulled out several pieces just to ensure that the real thing hadn’t been swapped for fake, then I put the pieces back in, and returned the pouch.

It was with a wide smile on my face that I handed the bag to Musa. “Put it in the coffer.” I commanded.

Musa’s face had an answering smile. Then its smile turned into a smirk as it took the bag from me. “Now you want me to put it in the coffer.” It muttered. It said the words under its breath, but its tone was not so low that I could not hear every single word.

“What did you say?” I asked with feigned anger.

“Oh, nothing master. I was just talking to myself.” It replied, before letting the bag drop into the fog covering the coffer. There was enough space in the large box, that we both knew it wasn’t necessary to open the coffer and rearrange it to find space for the bag.

“What do you think is in there?” I asked, my curiosity piqued by the expensive hard fog entrance in this seemingly low-class hovel. “Considering the number of armed uspecs that were in this room, I’d say it is important, wouldn’t you?”

“I say it is none of our business. We have what we came here for master, we should go.”

“We should.” I agreed. Then I stretched out my blood-stained weapons. “Wipe these down for me.” I said, “I think I’ll take a peek.”

“Master…”

“Quiet. Just do as I say.”

“Master. Do you remember when I told you it was a bad idea to stay in the inn in Lastmain and you ignored me? What of when I said to stay out of the inn on the inter-port trail? Or perhaps more recently, when I advised you, repeatedly, to place your satchel bag in the coffer? Should I tell you what all these times have in common?”

I turned to frown at the imp. “You know, if I were you, I would not bring up this latest debacle. You were the one who allowed a thief to steal my fortune.”

“After you decided not to place your fortune in a secured coffer, which you spent an insane amount of money to get.”

I glared at the imp. After the successful fight which we’d just had, I could not summon the desire to be angry. Still, Musa did not have to know that. “You know,” I began, “I was just remembering how much I wanted to own a slave when I was younger. You know what I admired most about imp-owners?”

Musa frowned. “What?” it asked suspiciously.

“Their whips.” I stated.

Musa cringed. Heaving a sigh, it reached to take the weapons from me. “As you wish master.” It replied, once the cutlass and dagger where in its hands.

I chuckled, the smile returning to my face as I turned to approach the wall of fog. I walked up to it and then I placed my hand on the hard fog, remembering that this had been the key to gaining access in the Lastmain resort. As soon as my hand touched the wall, the fog softened, turning transparent, and revealing the room on the other side.

The noise was the last thing to register. First, I saw the cages. The wall to the furthest side of the room was lined with cages, each cage filled with a different type of creature. The lower cages were blocked by the uspecs yelling out bets at the top of their voices. Some uspecs moved, giving me just enough time to glimpse the fight taking place in the center of the room. Two kares – hounds with a head filled with horns – fought against each other. Also in the center of the room, I glimpsed another cage. It was only brief, but the sight of the pool of pink liquid and flashes of pure white skin spurred me on.

I pushed my way past a throng of commoners screaming in encouragement of the fighting hounds. I found it all distasteful. It reminded me a little too much of the pits and the uspecs who had derived pleasure from watching me fight. The sight of these uspecs doing the same to kares troubled me, but I had no right to interfere, and so I did not stop the hounds fighting.

I walked over to the center of the room, disrupting the spar. One of the hounds had stuck its horn into the others belly. It was an attack that had greatly wounded the hound and had led to an eruption of cheers. Those cheers quickly died down as I stood in the middle of both fighting kares, right next to the cage, the real reason why I had interrupted the fight.

The kare that was wounded hobbled away, whimpering, while the one that had attacked barked at me. Though the hound barked, it made no move to pounce, and so I ignored it.

“Who is in charge?” I asked, my bellow filling the room. When no answer came, I repeated the question. I found that my anger had returned at the sight of the caged creature.

A group of uspecs pushed their way to the front of the room. These uspecs were dressed in fine leather and had four of their outer eyes filled. These were not mere commoners. But, by the lack of golden bands on their arms, or silver sleeves on their features, I could tell that they also weren’t noble.

The uspec in front bowed to me. “Forgive me noble one,” it greeted, its soaru tongue sounding polished. “Are you here to watch the fight?”

I pointed at the cage and the creature within it. “Who would dare imprison a frosted beast? How dare you? By caging a swan, you are insulting every kute uspec in this existence. What do you have to say for yourself?” I demanded.

The uspec frowned in puzzlement. It turned to stare at the swan and then turned back to me. “You are mistaken noble one, it is not really a frosted beast. I would never dare to insult such a noble creature by confining it.”

I almost struck the uspec. “Do I look blind?” I asked.

“No, noble one,” it laughed. “Forgive me. You see, it only appears to look like a frosted beast because its identity has been changed. Really, it is just a kare.”

I couldn’t help wondering if the uspec was lying or if it truly believed its own words. The soaru eyes gave an uspec the power to change any creature’s identity. It could turn a jeja into a kare and a sea serpent into a sky fowl. But this was not the case with this creature. “Are you truly as unenlightened as you appear to be?” I asked, my voice dripping with condescension. “A swan produces okun. A creature made to appear like a swan would not produce an okun. Do you see?” I asked, pointing at the pool of pink liquid which had formed underneath the white creature.

Suddenly, I saw members of the uspec’s group reach for their swords. I wondered if these uspecs were crazy enough to take me on. I would relish the chance to make them pay for their insult to a sacred emblem of my spectrum. The uspec in front shook its head. It bent instead, to the level of the cage, and opened the lock. As soon as the cage was open, the swan flew out and perched itself on my right shoulder. There was something pleasingly familiar about the way the noble creature’s legs scraped against my body. It wrapped its long neck around mine, and I luxuriated in the beauty of its pain.

“Forgive us noble one. It was an honest mistake. We would never have taken the creature if we thought it was truly a frosted beast.” The uspec apologized.

I knew it was lying, so it was a struggle to resist the urge to beat it to a pulp and then throw it into one of its cages. I could sense the swan’s eagerness to leave this place, and so I acceded to the prodding I felt in its pain.

I walked out of that room, then out of the next and finally, out of the hovel as a whole.

Musa sighed in relief once we were out in the humid fog, gazing at patches of red cloud. The swan flew off my shoulder then. Its four legs dangled underneath it as it flew so high in the sky I did not know if it would return. It was a frosted beast, I had no right to detain it. If it left, it would return to its home, as it was supposed to. I was just happy that I had set it free. “We should go to the portals. I can’t wait to have a nice meal and take a nice long swim in an okun.”

Musa chuckled. “Perhaps we should find a common cleaning area first.” It suggested, beginning to walk. “It might be unusual if we show up to a reputable rental, stained with blood.”

“Oh.” I looked down at myself, realizing then that I truly was stained with blood. A sudden pang of fear crept up my spine at the thought of the bodies we had left in the hovel. Then I remembered that they had stolen my bag. Thieves probably would not report to the pious or the Kaiser. I was sure they would take care of the bodies.

We had just walked back into a maze of dwellings when the flapping of wings heralded the swan’s return. The swan landed on Musa’s shoulder. Musa jumped so forcefully that the swan was knocked off. Its flapping wings stabilized it in the air, and then it flew over to me. I ran my hand over the creature’s neck as I glared at Musa.

“What is wrong with you?” I scolded. “This is a noble creature, a sacred one. It is an honor for it to approach you.”

With a wary glance, Musa skirted around me, moving to stand on my other side, further away from the swan. “Frosted beasts make me…” it paused as if searching for the right word, “skittish.” It concluded. “I do not like them.”

I shook my head at the foolish imp. “Ignore it.” I said to the beautiful creature.

“I concur.” Musa mumbled.

2 Likes

Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by cassbeat(m): 9:40am On Jul 24
Musa concur like timaya and don jazzy together�
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Fazemood(m): 9:49am On Jul 24
Hahahahaha "I concur" Muss is funny indeed.

Ah! Finally we got the fight I have been craving for, Musa/Nebud team up a formidable side to recon with. I am satisfied Obehid. Nice warm up for the real battle ahead cheesy
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Ultimategeneral: 11:45am On Jul 24
@ObehiD Nebud Has Never Used Spectra or does it mean he doesn't know how to use it. would be nice to know how spectra works.
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by dragonstar14: 2:49am On Jul 25
nice update why has nebud never used spectra
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Dranoid: 11:38am On Jul 25
ObehiD!!! cry
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 4:15am On Jul 26
@cassbeat that's too funny, lol! So you remember that song? You have officially earned the name 'cassbeat'. Btw, every time I see your username my mind just starts singing that old song 'whine for me'. I don't know if you know it, but it starts with "Cassbeats!" hahaha.

@Fazemood Thank you for seeing Musa's comedic side grin Lol, what real battle are you talking about wink

@Ultimategeneral You're mind is in the right place. So, no, Nebud has never used spectra, and yes it does have it. Does it mean it doesn't know how to use it...I won't spoil it. Let me just say that your question will be answered to. And also, soon, we'll definitely see spectra in action

@dragonstar14 thank you! That's a good question, and the answer will be shown soon in the story... cheesy

@Dranoid cry cry cry Are you back?! Where have you been? I've missed seeing your comments for so looooooooong. Please tell me you're back grin

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