The Tyrant’s Cherished Flower
08: Feral Sanctum Village
The two were startled when they heard a deep voice.
”Whose there? Show yourself! ” In a blink of an eye, Kalliste was already in front of Rowan. Her arms stretched sideways in a protective stance.
Rowan, on the other hand, was speechless. Everything happened too fast. He only stared at the back of Kallistes head, as his brain tried catch up on how she got in front of him.
”What are you kids doing here at this hour? Are the two of you lost? This place is dangerous! ”
Instead of answering, Kalliste narrowed her eyes. She was ready for any attack. From where they stood, she saw two older men came out of the thick bushes.
The one on the left had a straw hat while holding a small basket, while the other one only had a sword strapped around his waist. They looked like village farmers, however, Kalliste knew any better. She had her guard up as she stayed silent.
She carefully observed the two. The one with the weapon had his hands on the hilt of his sword.
Kalliste narrowed her eyes at this. From his mascular and lean body, to how he carried himself, down to his calloused hands, she immediately recognised a warrior, ready to kill his prey on the battlefield. However, his long, orange tail that swayed freely behind him got her off guard. Not only that, but even his ears were like that of a cat. Albeit, a little bigger.
”Do not be afraid, please. We would not hurt you. ”
Kallistes attention jumped on the other guy. Her eyes even widened even more as soon as she saw the long, bunny like ears that he had. On his right hand was a small basket that was full of herbs.
What in the world? Are they wearing costumes? But it looked too real to be fake.
”Stay right where you are! ” Her eyes suddenly snapped towards the man with Bunny ears when she saw him took a step forward.
Meanwhile, Varroc and Mazzak was taken aback at the harsh tone of the little girl. Just looking at the murderous glint in her eyes, they knew that she was not a notmal child.
”Pardon our rudeness, little lady. But we really meant no harm. ”
It took awhile before Kalliste answered. ”How do I know that you are not one of them? ” She quickly gathered her thoughts. Now was not the time to be dazed. They are in the presence of unknown species with the probability of being dangerous.
She watched how the two tilted their heads quizzically, and a look of puzzlement instantly crossed their faces.
”I apologise, my lady. It seemed that you misunderstood us. I understand your suspicions, however, please rest assured that we would not bring any harm upon the two of you. ”
Hearing this, Kalliste somehow relaxed for a bit, but her guard was still up. She remained silent, waiting for their next move.
The man with the sword slowly stepped forward. He had his fist over his chest as he slightly nodded.
”I would like to introduce myself first if it would help lessen your doubts. I am called Mazzak. A warrior Leopard Beastman from the Feral Sanctum Village. ”
”And I am Varroc. A Bunny Beastman, and a doctor from the same village. Nice to meet you, kids. ”
”Beastmen? Feral Sanctum Village? ” As soon as the words escaped their lips, Kallistes jaws comically dropped to the ground. She almost lost her composure.
Wait a minute. I knew that place! her mind screamed, but somehow, no voice came out.
In one of the pages of her book, The Tyrants Beloved, spoke of a village that was magical and untouched by civilisations. A place that used to be part of a forgotten era. It was said that it suddenly vanished during the first great war. The home of Beastmen. Feral Sanctum Village.
How could I forgot such important piece of information?
Her gaze snapped back and forth at the two beastmen. She still could not believe her eyes. Who would have thought that I would witness real Beastmen in this life!
According to the book, despite their powerful race, Beastmen were known to be gentle, and loving in nature.
If they are from that race, then this would be a perfect opportunity for me! They would surely protect Rowan in my stead. Once I secured the boys safety, then I would also be free from this responsibility. Kalliste subtly smiled like a lotus bud on the verge of blossoming.
From the corner of her eyes, she stole a glance on the boy.
This would be the least I could do for stealing your spotlight, child. But for now, I would have to go with the flow. With that in mind, she quickly bowed slightly towards the two.
”I apologise for my behaviour just now, sir Mazzak, sir Varroc. Please do understand that we are just trying to survive in this harsh reality. If one could not see others while looking down, one just needs to look up. Everyone should take a step back and notice the high sky and vast the oceanwas, ” Kalliste paused for a moment. She then turned towards Rowan and grabbed his hands.
”Indeed. It had been exactly two days since my brother and I got lost in this mountain. As to how we got here, I must apologise, but I wished to keep it private at the moment. ”
Rowans eyes widened as soon as he heard what she said, but before he could say anything, Kalliste suddenly tightened her grip over his hand.
He almost yelped at the sudden pain that entered his system. It felt like his wrist would snap at any moment, but he held himself.
”Ah, yes! My sister and I were indeed lost. ” He had no choice, but to go with the flow. Though he doubted the two men, he still wanted to see what Kalliste had in store for them.
”Is that so? Then why don you come back home with us? That is, if you don mind? ” Mazzaks gaze landed on the girl. The way she spoke as well as her words had deep meanings that only the elders of their race could understand.
Meanwhile, Rowan sneaked a peek on Kalliste and saw the smile on her face. Good thing that the freckles were still on her face or it would attract too much attention.
”Sure, sir. We would love to. ” Kalliste now had a big smile on her face. She could already imagine all of the things that she would do, or experience once all of this was over. How she would finally live her life the way she wanted without worrying about something, or rather, someone.
”Then we should use the long way. It would take a few more minutes of walk, but it should be safer. ”
This got their attention. Rowan immediately inquired. ”Safer? What do you mean? ”
Varroc and Mazzak glanced at each other. Both wondering if they should reveal what they saw.
In the end, Mazzak sighed deeply as he eyed the children.
”As you have known, this whole mountain had the highest inhabitants of all kinds of monsters and demons, making this place a forbidden area. The monsters here was divided according to their strengths and numbers. The deeper the area meant that the monsters were much more powerful and intelligent. The rulers of the deepest part of this mountain were the Gargoyles. Though they were only a few in numbers, one Gargoyle was enough to kill a group of adult dragons. However, the most frightening about them was not their strength, but their intelligence and cunning minds. For almost a thousand years, they ruled this mountain. Even the dragon race dared not to go against even one of them, however… ”
Mazzak suddenly stopped. His body slightly trembled as the terrifying scene replayed in his mind once more. He was only back to his senses when Varroc nudged him slightly.
”I apologise, but I do not think that it was appropriate for me to divulge such horrible information as the two of you were still too young. ” Though he tried to stay calm, his voice betrayed him.
”What is it? Do tell us, ” Rowan pleaded. Like usual, his curiosity got the better of him.
Mazzak and Varroc glanced at each other once more.
”If you insist. However, not here. There were too many ears in this place. Follow us for now. ” Mazzaks face became serious as he scanned the area. Darkness already engulfed the whole forest. The black branches writhed like the tendrils of a monstrous, invisible beast.
Up above the horizon, Mazzak saw a group of crows that gathered above them. Their wings formed truncated crosses against the leaden sky in which the dark and ominous clouds gathered, promising of something terrifying and fierce.
”We have to move. It is not safe here anymore. ” Mazzak immediately sharpened his senses as he signalled to the children. He wanted nothing more than to get out of the mountain.
”What really happened back there? Could you tell us now? ” They were already a distance away when Rowan asked again, shattering the pregnant silence that surrounded them as they walked out of the mountain.
At his question, Mazzak and Varroc suddenly stopped. Their body once again trembled upon the horrible scene that somehow carved itself within their minds.
”Whats wrong? ” Seeing their reactions, Rowan suddenly felt that he asked something that he should not have.
”You don have to… ”
”Alright. However, do not blame me if the young girl beside you had nightmares for what I was about to tell you. ” Mazzak eyed the boy, then the girl.
She was silent. Unlike any other children her age, she really seemed matured enough to understand. He sighed.
”What do you mean? ” Rowan suddenly felt a cold chill ran down his spine. The way they reacted meant that this topic was something serious.
”Almost a kilometre away from where we saw you, we found corpses of monster and demons piled up like a mountain. There was also so much blood in the area that it now looked like an endless ocean of blood. Even the huge waterfall was torn asunder, and the area surrounding it became a baren wasteland. However, it was not what gave us chills. It was the none other than the butchered body of a huge, adult Gargoyle. ”
Rowans eyes widened upon hearing this. Fear immediately clutched his heart. He felt the blood drained from his body. Though he did not see with his own eyes, just imagining it left his legs weak.
”A Gargoyle. Impossible! Who would be strong enough to kill a gargoyle? ” Rowan could only ask himself. His mind could not accept the fact.
Meanwhile, Kalliste stayed silent. She had no idea that the largest monster she killed was something like a celebrity in this world. She only hoped that she had not left any mark on its body. If not, then she would be a target for their revenge.
A pregnant silence once again surrounded the group as they continued their journey towards the village. No one spoke as their minds were occupied with different thoughts.
It was already past midnight when they finally reached their destination.
Kalliste gasped and her eyes widened as soon as she set her gaze upon the large, blue barrier. It spanned as far as her eyes could see. It was fascinating. It had a luminous glow under the abnormally large moon. She had never seen anything like this in her entire life.
”What is that? ” She could not help, but ask.
Seeing her reaction, Mazzak chuckled.
”As I have told you, this whole mountain was the demons territory. That blue thing was a barrier set up by our ancestors when they founded this village in order to keep us safe. However, it only revealed itself during full moon, or when there was a threat to the village, ” Mazzak said with a proud smile, revealing his pearly white teeth that was a bit longer than normal.
Kalliste and Rowan just stared at it, especially Kalliste. Barrier? But it was not mentioned in the book? Did something happened that caused this barrier to disappear in the future? she thought.
”Come. We would now enter. ” With the two men in front, Rowan and Kalliste followed suit.
As soon as they set foot inside, a wintry wind swept across the place with its bold honesty. A rawness that almost brought Kallistes soul into the gentle, cloud-filtered rays.
Nothing prepared the two of them for what they saw.
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