It's been two weeks since that weird nightmare, nothing unusual has been happening lately. In total, I've been around 3 weeks in this dungeon cell without ever going out once. The little princess always come everyday and stays for a few hours to chat and bring variety of foods. She has been trying to ask her father, the king, and also the country's council or senates to forgive my crime and set me free already. I could force my way out of here but if I do that now, it will only hurt the little princess' reputation and trust among those higher-ups of this country. Thus I patiently put my hope of getting out from this prison on her, it would be a rare thing for me to get out of detention legally.
Today, as always, she comes to visit me. She has been pretty cheerful lately and looks like enjoying our chats despite the location being in a humid and dark dungeon.
"Yo little princess, what do you want to hear today, the story about how humanity fought again invading alien life-form or the story about 300 half-naked soldiers repelling a million enemies with just spears and shields?"
The topic of our conversation has very much dwells beyond everyday things and common knowledge of Earth, I began to tell her the story from some popular movies which my master recommended to me before. She is really interested, that's why she has been staying for several hours every time she visited me, even the guards secretly stand closer to be able to hear the stories too. Although they can't 100% understand the stories due to differences in culture and technology, she and the guards are still really fascinated, their reaction were very amusing every time a plot twist or the climax of the story arrived.
I've asked her about how the world here, especially about the country I'm in right now. But she kept saying "Just look at it yourself" while mischievously grinning and saying that I might be released soon. I positively take that statement to mean that I will be released soon and there will be something awesome to be seen.
"Mr. Criminal, what do you think about being a hero is?" She said while leaning on the nice chair that has been prepared for her to use. There are a small round table and a standing lamp being brought for her use too.
That was very much out of topic. We were just taking a short break during my story telling of how a giant stone falling from the sky and messes up the planet. I was taking a sip of a hot rum-flavored drink she brought.
"You know, the kind of ideal hero, if there is any. You seem to know a lot, what do you have in mind?"
"Ideal hero? Well missy, aren't you too farsighted? You are looking at one right now hahaha. Any hero that's similar to me is an ideal hero!" I answered semi-jokingly then take a sip of the hot rum again. This drink taste better and better every time I take a sip!
"Geez, it was mistake asking you serious stuff." The little princess knitted her eyebrows, making a slight frowning expression. Nonetheless, that was still cute. It's fun teasing this little princess.
She also takes a sip on the hot drink. Apparently this rum-like drink is non-alcoholic. She has been bringing a lot more lately, even the guards have been getting foods and drinks too, they are very delighted every time the little princess come because of that. I bet she's a popular princess among the people, or at least among the castle staffs.
I don't know whether most royalties in this world are down-to-earth like her or it's only her alone who's treating everyone without looking down on them. It would be really nice if everyone can be like her, right?
I then continue and finish today's storytelling. Usually it's time for her to go back, but this time she stays a little bit longer for some more chatting. She seems a little bit down for some reason, is she having some kind of problem?
I take the initiative and ask her what's wrong.
"So then little missy, something bothering you? You've been looking down for a while now."
She looks at me then looks down again while leaning on the comfortable chair. After a few seconds, she answers me with a low and dispirited tone.
"You see, it's about the matter like my sisters'. It's my turn soon, I'll be going too in just a few days."
She put her feet on the chair and hides her face behind her knees.
"I see." I just give a short reply. She seems afraid of that matter, not like I can't understand why. Being sent to faraway places to keep family tradition or honor must be a scary thing to do, she's still a kid after all.
She doesn't say anything anymore and keep that sitting position where she hides her face while hugging her legs. For her to share her worry with me like this, she must have seen me as a dependable personage. I guess after her sisters left her, she might not has many people to depend on. I guess that's why she has been coming everyday for the last few weeks. Really what's that Azeez look alike thinking, forcing such a young child a heavy burden like this. I know that our culture might be different and that being someone of special position, they would have special obligations and responsibilities too, but from my point of view, having this child comply with such responsibility from such a young age is too much. Later on I'll need to interfere with this situation, as for now...
"I will not urge you to run away or defy your responsibility, I'm an outsider after all and I don't know the whole situation on the matter"
She is silently listening to me without looking at me at all.
"But let me tell you this."
I stand up from the bed and walk closer to the cell bars. There, I reach out my hand outside and gently pat her head. She makes no reaction and still hides her face.
"No matter what the circumstances are, you should know best of what you really want and what you feel you need to do, so just do whatever you believe is right in your heart, don't let others influence and take command of your future. Because everyone is, after all, the master of their own fate."
She's still silent. Is it not effective? I thought I said something good just now. Not everyday I can say something that cool.
The guards who stand some distance away have been getting more wary since I pat the little princess just now, but they relax a little after I do nothing more than patting her.
After a few seconds still being like that, I suddenly changed my gentle patting to a rough patting, making her previously neat silky hair disheveled and messed up. With a "Kyaa" sound she retaliate and brush of my hand off her head then raise her head to look at me.
"What do you think you are doing?! Touching a girl's head without permission and even worse, make a delicate girl's hair disheveled!" Says her while frowning a little. There she is, in her usual self. I can see transparent wet streaks on her face, so she really did cry just now.
"Ha! there you are, I thought I lost you there for a second." I give a teasing remark with the usual joking tone.
"Sheeesh!" She wipes her tears and is smiling a little.
She gently wipes the trails of tears on her face and says to me, "The master of our own fate... That sounds really wonderful." She then looks at me straight on the eyes, "I'll put my believe in you, so you better make it true, we as the master of our own fate."
She then stands up and prepares to leave. After a few steps walking away, she turn back and says, "Axl, you know, like you said, it might be not so bad if all heroes are like you."
She has an unexpectedly wonderful happy smile right now, "If there is a chance, I hope that together with my sisters, I can meet with you again next time."
I smile and reply to her, "You will, princess. By then, I'll be the one with a smug face while showing off all kinds of amazing dishes you have never tasted before."
I say that while proudly standing straight, folding my hand on my chest and grinning at her. I can't wait to see her reaction when I managed to create and let her taste carbonated drinks later on.
"And it's Maxwell, Ryan Maxwell. That's my real name." I decide to tell her my real name, not my code name from the past.
"Ryan Maxwell is it?" She makes a wonderful smile upon learning my real name, "Hehe, alright then Ryan, I'll be waiting for that time." She left while smiling and looking happy. Just like that, she never come again for the next few days, I take it that even preparing for the duty is a major work. Only then I realized, I haven't even known her name yet.
It's been a little bit over a week now, I haven't heard anything about her since then. I wonder when will I be allowed to go out. I don't want to cause the little princess trouble when she's already facing a tough problem of her own, let's just lay low for a few more days then I'll figure out something else for that time.
Just a day after I thought of that, a number of guards in different attire than the one that guards the dungeon come to my cell. From the looks of it, the are ranked higher than the usual guards I normally see here.
"His majesty the King has given the decree to summon you. You shall come before his majesty and apologize by kneeling and beg for forgiveness!" One of the guards coming here says so.
The new guard, or should I say, the envoy, is stating so with a prideful tone. These bunch of new faces really are thinking highly of themselves. Thankfully I'm not easily offended now, if it was me from long ago, I'd break out of this cell right away and these people will see a very realistic nightmare.
But that doesn't mean I'm easy to look down to. So I make a wide grin and reply to the envoy.
"Well, it's about time I'm getting out of here." I give out a sinister smile with a piercing gaze. To spook him further, I say, "Tell the old geezer I'm coming for him."
The envoy is startled with my insidious reply. He seems to be taken aback a bit. This guy is easy unlike the little princess, I wonder who's the more matured one.
"A-, alright come with me now. We're going right away." Says the man as he gather his composure again.
He and the whole envoy took me out of the cell. They put a special handcuff on my hand again, it's been a while since I last wear one. The little princess allowed me to be released from handcuffs while in the dungeon cell some weeks ago.
I'm walking with four men on both behind and in front of me. Why would you use so many guards now when you just use a couple of guards when I go to the toilet everyday? Nevermind that, unlike when I was brought here back then, this time I walked along the stone corridor without my eyes and ears being covered, allowing me to see the places I'm passing by.
I soon walk past the door to the latrine room, now I've officially ventured beyond the furthest area I've gone to since I'm stuck in this dungeon cell. So far I can see that there is nobody else here beside me and that my cell is maybe the furthest cell in this dungeon.
I continued on to several more corridors before finally arriving to a circular stone stairs going up. This is it, I'm going out of this damp place. It should be daytime right now since it has only just been a few hour since breakfast time. It's been so long since I last see sunlight!
I climb up the stone stair which is barely two meters wide. Soon, we reach a corridor again. It's still the same style corridor as down below but this one is shorter and wider, I can see a big wooden door just ahead.
We arrive at the three meters high and three meters wide solid wooden door that's reinforced with iron bars and nails, it looks really sturdy. We go through it and what's beyond is a big rectangular hall which looks much better than the dungeon area. It's big and spacious, the height must be at least five meters high, and most importantly, the air feels much better than down there in the dungeon. It's been a long time since I feel this refreshed.
The room is lighten up by a several small circular holes or windows way up on the walls on my left and right. I can see a person standing behind a counter near us, it appears that this is a checkpoint room before people enter the dungeon. They actually have a receptionist for an empty dungeon, or maybe that guy is specially assigned because I was in the dungeon, I feel weirdly honored.
The group of envoys unlit the lamp-like thing they have been holding as a lighting measure in the dim dungeon. I don't know what kind of thing they use as the lighting material in it, it doesn't look like a candle or an electric lamp, it might be one of those glowing stones I've been seeing in the dungeon.
The envoy that talked to me before grabs a piece of clothing that has been prepared on the receptionist table and hand it to me, "Change your clothing to these, we can't have you face his majesty while looking like a bump."
He has an arrogant way of speaking but he actually still pass the set of clothing to me by hand without arrogantly throwing them to me. I can tell that normally he's a nice guy, but because of my action last time, my image must be pretty bad among them until now.
I then change the simple shirt that I borrowed from one of the dungeon guards when I lost my fancy shirt after the weird event back then. I remember that the little princess was unhappy when I said I lost the shirt she gave to me, she angrily said "How do you lose a shirt in place like this?" I've got nothing to say on that matter.
The new clothing have the same taste of fashion with the one the princess gave me back then, it's beautifully adorned with extravagant color of glossy velvet and amazing embroidery. Now that I see it, the attire of these envoys also looks really fantasy-like cool. Such type of clothing fashion is definitely not a normal sight on Earth.
We then walk past the receptionist and onto a slimmer and nicer looking corridor but still with no window on eye level. The stone floor changes into decorated stone tiles somewhere along the way.
Oh, I can see that the corridor ahead is brighter than here, it might be an open corridor. As I get nearer to that corridor I can see railings instead of walls on both side of the corridor, it must be bridge-like corridor that connect buildings.
I soon arrive at the bridge corridor and is stunned. My eyes almost fall off from bulging out looking at the scene outside. Let me fix one thing, it's not a bridge-like corridor, it's a sky bridge! There is literally nothing below this corridor! It's all clouds as far as I can see. In fact, I notice that the whole building is actually above the clouds. I can see the that there is nothing below the building, no mountains, no pillars, nothing! There is no structure supporting the building to be high up in the sky like this. Only a pile of rocks that looks attached to the bottom part of the building.
They pull me who was standing still from being stunned by the view. They brought me up over the short stair just ahead onto a small platform. There, with a gentle breeze of wind constantly hitting my face, I can see everything. All this time, all along, the whole place, the entire city, no, probably the entire country is actually a floating group of islands! It's an archipelago of floating islands! The country that summoned me, the first place I arrived to in this foreign world is actually a city in the sky!
Woooah! I rarely ever have goosebumps but I'm definitely having one right now. The view is so stunning that my mouth is gap open.
It looks like the dungeon island is one of the higher located islands among the archipelago, it's around a few hundred meters or maybe nearing a kilometer above the biggest island which is already higher than the mountain peaks on the real surface way below there, a good choice for keeping prisoner out of reach from others and still keeping it visible to be watched from afar. Thanks to that, I get a clear view of nearly everything on the entire islands. The whole place is a group of floating islands with different sizes and are located in similar or different heights. The biggest island or should I say, the main island where the biggest city located at has a size of nearly twice of Manhattan and is shaped in a more oval shape. I can see a really huge set of buildings near the edge of one side of the main island, that must be the royal palace since it's the biggest building among the city. It's pretty far away from here, did the little princess come here from there everyday?
Aside the royal palace, there are also many other pretty tall and wide buildings in the city, probably between three to five stories high, some might be up to ten stories high. Other than the distinct tall buildings, I can see many kite-like things floating high above the city, they look like one of those advertising kite in Earth but these ones are beautifully decorated, so I don't think they are meant for advertising something, probably one of the city decorations, they unexpectedly really suit the image of floating islands theme.
Outside the city, there are hills and small mountains on my view, green forest and golden-ish farming field which are similar to paddy field can also be seen not only in the main island but also on the smaller islands floating around the main island which are either located lower or higher than the main island.
When I look closer, there are actually a waterfalls which make a lake in the outer area of the city, the unique thing is, the water is coming from a river on the smaller islands that float above the main island. There is a chain of short and long waterfalls among a series of islands with different heights. It chained up to many more islands way above the island I'm standing on right now that I can't see the end of it.
Since we are high above the clouds, the wind can blow pretty strong from time to time so some of those waterfalls have the water blown upwards instead of downwards, spreading and creating many layers of spectacular circular rainbows. The scenery is totally out of the world, it's so magical that I stare at it for a long time.
When I realize that I've been staring at the scenery for a long time, I can see a smug face on the envoy that brought me here. He must be feeling proud about the whole place being a beautiful floating island country. This must be why the little princess said to take a look at it by myself. She was right, words alone can't describe how incredible the scenery are. One would find it really hard to believe if they only heard about it, especially if they are coming from Earth like me. Even I find it hard to believe after seeing it myself.
I avert my eyes from his smug face and look around. When I turn around and look at the scene behind me, I'm once again shocked from the things that I'm currently seeing.
"Holy mother of chessus!"
I unintentionally let out a word of awe, I mean, how can I not?! There is big circular something popping out far on the horizon. It's a planet! There is another planet beside the one I'm in right now and it's located like, wooah, really really close! That brownish green planet with some traces of blue I'm looking at right now is covering nearly half of the the entire sky behind me. Around half of its surface is visible while the other half is still hiding below the horizon.
Not only that the first city I'm in right now is a mind-blowing floating city, the planet I arrived at is a twin planet which maybe orbiting each other! What a great new world I'm brought to. I was prepared to see some real magic in this world but what I'm seeing right now totally overshadow my expectation by an astronomical margin.
"Astonished by the splendid beauty of our great country, eh?" The envoy is pridefully grinning while saying that. Maybe having a city floating in the sky is still pretty rare and unique in this world.
With the seemingly blue sky, and some clouds below and and above me, I take a look around once more before replying him. "Indeed, your country is truly mesmerizing. I'm utterly fascinated to the bone upon seeing all these magnificent views."
I say so while making a hand gesture and looking around. The envoy looks surprised on my modest admiration, he probably didn't expect me to actually agree with his prideful statement just now. Even if I want to deny it, I can't find myself able to do so with all this mind blowing scenery appearing right before me.
The envoy gently laugh a little, "Okay, that's enough sight-seeing. Let's move on to our destination."
The envoy bring me along towards our next destination. Along the way, I can see other building that probably serve as another entrance to different dungeons, that's probably why mine is empty, normal criminals might be placed on those other dungeons and I was placed in a special dungeon. I did, after all, assaulted the King of the country.
We then walk pass a place where there are several guards like people being stationed, this place must be where the guards mainly gathers and work at. After confirming some document like stuffs, we finally exit the building. Mind you, the whole building is a stone building similar to the kind of building you see in ancient Greeks but with several iron-made stuffs supporting the foundation. I wonder how do they build it, is there a convenient magic in constructing buildings? I keep that question to myself for now.
We walk along a short stone-paved road on a meadow area before arriving at a smaller building by the edge of the island. There is no doors or actual walls, it's just a small post with pillars and a roof on top of it.
We go inside and approach the edge, then I can see what's the function of this small building is. This post is like a ski lift thing that transport people up and down a hill except this one is for slightly bigger use. There is a cable connecting this building to a building on the main island below us. and there is a box like room hanging onto the cable. That must be where people get in and get transported between the posts. The shape of the box is like a city tram, it's not entirely like a box, the edges are rounded and there are doors and windows too, making it look closer to an actual tram being attached to a cable. The size is around 4 by 8 meters and it seems to be made from metal but the flooring inside seems to be coated with wooden plates. The seats are not positioned side by side like a bus, they are positioned around the perimeter of the tram so that the center area is empty. They probably use it to transport stuffs other than people too so this shape is the best for an all purpose transport.
We get inside the pseudo-tram lift. One of the envoy guards touches a panel-like board on the front side of the tram with some scribble on it.
Oh, it glows and the tram lift starts moving. Was that magic? Does the tram lift powered by magic? It was very subtle I barely notice it.
The tram lift moves with a speed similar to how a casual bicycle ride is. Some wind also blew inside through a number of small ventilation holes above the viewing windows.making the ride feels like an enjoyable pleasure cruise. As the tram moves not too fast, I enjoy the view through the clear windows of the tram. Upon closer look while still on some heights above the main island, I can see that not only the rooftops but the walls of the many buildings in the city are pretty colorful. They are dyed with various bright colors. This is like one of those tourism cities I have seen on Earth, they have colorful walls too. But unlike the fantasy-like city I'm seeing right now, most of the ones on Earth still use the classic red tile for the roofs while in here, the roofs are colored with many colors.
It's a fantastic scene no matter how you look at it. Many of those roof tiles are glossy thus reflecting the bright sunlight, which can make anyone seeing the scene to be more spirited in doing their daily activities.
I also notice that the buildings are not made from stone slab like the prison building. Some look like a common house in countryside, a colored brick walls with thick wooden beams supporting the structure while some are made from smooth concrete-like materials. They seem to have some kind of cement material to build the common houses with bricks but concrete is probably still uncommon or probably more expensive because I can see that only big mansions and important looking buildings are being made with concrete-like materials. I also wonder what kind of material they use as a paint here.
The post the tram is heading to is located next to an important looking huge majestic building with a number of people training on an open field. From how they dressed, being all uniform and armed, that building is probably a military base. The military base looks like a wide university or school building, almost like a fort if it's made from a stone slab instead of sky blue concrete-like walls. The building is only 3 stories high but it covers a wide area and the entire building is beautifully engraved with many artistic decorations, making it looks even more majestic.
Similar to the Pentagon in USA, a number of rectangular shaped buildings make a rough circular shape. The difference is, there is an epic-looking tower standing firmly in the center. It has a statue of a man holding a sword and a shield on both hands being put on top of the tower's roof. The statue hold the sword down with the tip of the sword touching the floor like how a someone would hold a cane while the shield is being held firmly in front of the statue's chest. The statue shows an expression of dignity and pride, it's a really cool looking statue not only from how it looks but also from where it's being positioned.
The envoy man notice that I'm staring at the statue. He begin explaining about the statue and the place to me without being asked.
"That statue you are looking at is the symbol of our military principle! The sword being held leisurely while the shield being held firmly means that we have a non-aggressive principle. But don't mistake our pacifist attitude as being weak, that sword means we have strength and are not to be looked down to. Our military purpose is to defense and protect, and this place is our country's main military base where many of our talented individuals are trained to take on the important mission of protecting the peace and safety of the people of our great Kingdom of Gloumell Altaire!"
Wow, there is so many 'of's there I lose track of it somewhere along the way. But it reminds me one thing though, the name of this country, or to be precise, the kingdom, is Gloumell Altaire. That name sound really thick with fantasy sense.
"We have thousands of soldiers! Elite knights, wizards, and riders are gathered here and are ready for battle on slight notice."
That's cool with elite knights and wizards things, but what's a rider? Do they ride something while fighting? A horse cavalry? No, this is a fantasy world, it should be more than horse.
As I think of that, a shadowy figure fly past our tram lift in high speed, blowing wind onto the tram lift making it shake a little. What was that!?
I stand up and take a look at the direction where the shadowy figure flew to. There I see it, a giant azure colored lizard with a pair of wings is soaring through the sky. I soon notice that there is someone riding on its back.
"Good timing, take a look at that. That's one of our kingdom pride, the elite Wyvern riders!"
Oh, I see. So the rider he's talking about is a dragon rider huh? Oh wait, was it a Wyvern? I think I've heard that term before. Well, let's just call it dragon riders for now, don't sweat on the trivial stuffs. Then again, that's the first fantasy beast I've seen till now.
Not long after, we arrive at the main island. We exit the tram lift and walk toward the military building. Since there are many soldiers training around the open field that we're passing by, we can't help to draw their attention toward us.
I can see that they talk with each other from afar while looking at me. Most of them have a look of disgust or contempt on their face. That's to be expected, I assaulted their King in public after all. Especially after that King showed good hospitality towards me.
"You ungrateful savage! I hope you face execution soon!" Oh, there it is. I was expecting for something like this to happen soon. The atmosphere has been pretty bad since we arrive here after all.
One teenager-looking soldier exclaimed that to me, a hot-headed one, eh? That's not good, kid. You need to learn how to determine who you are allowed to provoke. Thick muscle can't help you defend against bullet after all.
"Stop it, Azgoff!"
One of the youth standing next to the hot-headed youth tries to stop him. So his name is Azgoff, huh? Let's teach him something quick that will remind him to control his attitude better. It's good that I'm not a psychopath murderer (anymore), or else he might have put his life in real danger already.
I stop my feet and turn only my face towards him.
"You there... Azgoff." I put a very intimidating look on my face as if I'm about to butcher the one I'm looking at right now. The hot-headed youth flinched when I call his name. The surrounding onlookers' attention are all on us now.
"Be prepared, kid." I let out a very sinister grin that can silence even crying babies then make them cry again in fear.
"You're next after I'm done with the King." I calmly exclaimed so while pointing my index finger on him. I make my voice extra hoarse and sinister while saying that.
It appears to be very effective. The kid along with his friend immediately goes away, he has a slightly scared and upset look before leaving. This trick has always been effective with such a hot-tempered kid. I remember that I tried something similar before. Back then I tried an online first person shooter video game that Jimmy, my coworker in Boss Ben's pizzeria, lent to me. I was totally pawned and lose all the time in that game, then some kid yelled some crap to me in an open mic chat where everybody can hear. I taught him the same lesson like just now. I hacked into the game server and gather the addresses of all the players in that game session. Then in an open voice chat too, I read all their home address with a heavy and sinister voice. Lastly, I said that I will be visiting that yelling kid soon. Everybody immediately disconnected from the game session right after I said that. That was the first and probably will be the last time I ever played a first person shooter video game. I much more prefer the real one after all, it's more... natural.
"Alright, that's enough!" A man with big build and tough appearance in his thirties or forties come in front of the onlookers. He yelled at the surrounding onlookers and they all dispersed in an instant. This man is probably someone with authority around here.
The man makes a slight nod to the envoy, he has a very grim looking face right now, I don't know whether this is his usual expression or not. The envoy reply with a slight nod too and immediately order me to keep on moving.
We continue walking toward a certain place. It's not the military base but to a cathedral-looking building on a separated small floating island near the base. We ride another tram-lift and arrive on said island. I can see that there is only a single big and wide building which occupy this small island.
The entire building seems to be really similar to how the old cathedrals look like in European countries. Except that the one in front of me right now is not a plain grey color cathedral but a rather unique one with sky blue-colored walls, white glossy roof, and colorful stained glass.The envoy tells me that the cathedral-looking building is the place where they hold the summoning ritual. That was the building where I was summoned around a month ago. He said that I'm meeting the King, right? I thought we're going to the royal palace, but when I ask the envoy, he told me that I'll be meeting him before the King conduct another summoning ritual. Apparently there will be another poor guy that get dragged to this world.
Now that I think about it, isn't what they are doing can be called as kidnapping? I mean, aside from my case who is being saved by the nicely timed summoning, if they drag, no, I mean summon someone here without asking for the other party's approval first, isn't that no difference than plain act of kidnapping? They'd even place a heavy burden of slaying some demon or monster after that. I wonder whether I should consider that King and his bunch as a group of villain based on this logic.
As I thought of that, our group arrive at the summoning cathedral. The front door is huge! It's a five meters tall solid marble double door. The top part is rounded and the surface has some kind of art and scribbles engraved on it, making the massive door looks even more impressive.
The envoy tells the guards in front of the building to inform the King that we have arrived. The guard immediately do as he told and enter the building. In just a minute the guard come back and tells us that we can enter now, so we enter without delay.
The inside of the building is similar to what I remember, only slightly looks bigger because I'm clear headed now and I can observe the surrounding clearly. It has a wide round hall or chamber at the end of a smaller square hall where we are right now. As seen from outside, the ceiling is nearly ten meters above us and is highly decorated with painted arts and ornaments. The square hall is maybe 10 meters wide and 15 meters long and the round chamber over there is around twenty meters wide in diameter. There is a smaller round-shaped flat stage or altar made from probably a mix of marble and crystal in the middle of the area.
I can see the King and his retainers standing by the side of the round marble stage. They are all looking at our group who is walking towards them. We soon arrive just a few meters from the King. The guards who have been walking alongside me stand closer to me, they seem to be in alert since I've assaulted the King before.
Before anyone managed to open their mouth, "Yo Azeez! Finally decide to let me out? I told you through the little princess that it was only an accident."
I casually start the conversation. I don't want to act submissive or beg for mercy towards him, I might have done wrongly by hitting him when he was being hospitable, but he in no way has a right to control me. Let's test him a little, if he really is a wise and generous King, he should be able to overlook minor mockery like this.
"You insolent savage! Who told you to speak!? You are in the presence of his majesty King Ramsarast Imbeculle The Fifth! You have no right to sa--"
"PFFT!! Bwahahaha!" I couldn't resist! I burst out laughing upon hearing the King's name, cutting the the King's retainer in the middle of his speech.
"YOU!!" The retainer and several others' face turned red in anger after they hear me laugh so suddenly.
"Sorry, I couldn't.. I couldn't resist! Imbecile really suit his face, it's really similar to someone I know!" I'm not wrong on that, he looks really similar to Azeez after all. The King's retainers all look even angrier after I said that. That was really bad of me, right after I taught a kid to watch their attitude, I myself breach the teaching right away. But still, I didn't see that coming. Imbeculle... Pfft!
When the knights that stand guard by the King almost move to bind me, the King raised his hand to stop the commotion. He looks only a little bit irritated, only one of his eyebrows is raising, not to the point where he succumb to anger. He's a rather calm and collected King huh? No wonder he can take my first slap positively, he might be a decent ruler if he has that character. I really should start looking at him with a better image already.
"Enough, Let the small matters over already. You, the one who goes by the name of Axl, from what I've heard, you received no divine blessing from the Goddess upon being summoned to our world, is that true?" Old man Imbecile, I mean King Ramsarast, calmly says that while looking at me. He has quite a sophisticated image despite that face of his, I feel even worse for laughing at him.
"That's correct, I didn't receive any power whatsoever, at least I can't feel anything special happening to me."
"No greater strength, flight ability, or something similar? Even feeling healthier can be considered a blessing." He continue to ask me for other possibilities of a divine blessing.
"Well, I haven't felt any sickness so far, can that be considered a divine blessing?"
"No, forget it. I was hoping in meaningless thing, you are a failure after all." He says so and turns away. I take it back, he's King Imbecile after all.
"We will commence the summoning ritual, prepare the Supreme Trixium Crystal." The King gives an order and the people around begin to do the preparation for summoning. Some people check on a magical looking scribbles written circularly on the marble-crystal altar and some others bring in a box shaped something that's being covered by a curtain. It's pretty big, around twice the size of a public phone booth.
The people managing the box carefully pull down the curtain, revealing a transparent box made out of glass that's being used to contain a big crystal inside it. The crystal is truly beautiful! I'm again stunned by how wondrous the things this world has to offer. The overall shape is like a reversed tear drop and it has three small beams intertwined together with the top and bottom spreading out. It's semi transparent, meaning that you can see through it to some point. It has three colors in it, not one for each beam but is mix colored with a prominent color between the top, middle, and bottom which are sky blue, milky pink, and mild yellow respectively. The surface of the crystal also gives out a brilliant luster upon being showered by sunlight which is coming from the circular glass roof of this chamber. It's becoming more mesmerizing the more I look at it. I can even see the King not taking his sight away from the crystal, this must be a rare and important type of crystal, probably one of a kind which is also needed in this summoning ritual.
"Hey King, what will happen to me after this?" I shouldn't forget to ask this, it's the real reason I'm meeting him in the first place after all.
After a few seconds, he slowly shift his gaze from the crystal and look at me, "I've promised my daughter before she left, you will be a released and become a free man. But we won't give you any support on how you start living from now on, we'll cut all ties you have with us. Mind you, we can't spare the effort to send you back to your world."
"I'll be a free man after this? That's good enough. I don't need any support from you and it's not like I'm desperate to go back anyway. It's all good, I take it that you don't need a 'fail' hero after all."
"That's right, a fail hero is just a liability to us." We finish our short conversation and he look at the crystal as if appraising it.
The little princess keeps her promise, she helped me being released from the prison. Also as expected, they won't bother to send me back home. It's all okay, in fact, I would refuse if I'm given the choice to return to Earth, that would be a total waste after the miracle of being transported to this incredible world. I want to explore this world as I please. Let's shove the absurd responsibility of slaying demons or monster to the incoming summoned hero. I pray to whoever Goddess there is so she'd give good blessings on that guy to lessen his burden.
In just a few minutes, the people in charge are finished with the preparation and have brought the transparent box to the side of the marble stage.
"Your majesty, it is ready." One of the gaudy priest-like looking person around come to the King and says so. The King slightly waved his hand and the priest move away to stand in his position. The King then move toward the box alone.
He places his hand on the glass box. Dim light can be seen coming out on the parts where he touch. A flash of glowing ripples appear from where his hand is touching and then the glass box slowly fade away like a fleeting light, vanishing into thin air. That's some real magic right there. After that I realize that the crystal is floating all along since the beginning.
After the glass box is gone, the King slowly places both his hand onto the crystal as he look at it for quite some time. I can see that he's mumbling something quietly but because I'm some distance away, I can't hear what's he mumbling about, most likely a spell for the summoning ritual. The people here in the round chamber are all circling the marble stage, waiting the ritual to begin any moment now.
After just a couple minute, it seems the King finished chanting the magic spell for the ceremony, he then let go of the crystal and it slowly floats toward the middle of the marble stage. The King then walks back and stand on his position beside several guard knights. Gusts of invisible wind begin to blow in the chamber, circling the entire area. Our hair and clothing are flapping vigorously.
"Watch it well, failure hero!" Amidst the strong gust, King Ramsarast strongly exclaimed so towards me with a serious face, "This is the divine hero summoning ritual. Soon a real hero will appear, one with heroic demeanor and divine power, one who will defeat the demon lord and bring salvation to our kin!"
That annoying statement makes him looks closer and closer to the actual Azeez. I just ignore him and stay focused on the summoning altar.
The magic scribbles on the altar's surface begin to glow in white color but as it glow brighter, the room seems to appear darker. It's a very weird scene. Soon the crystal begin to glow out a radiant light too, not losing to the glowing altar. In fact, it seems the crystal is empowering the altar light. The gust of wind lessened a little then trails of colorful light seep out from the crystal and circle around the chamber. They look like fleeting mini comets that're slow and colorful. They emit whistling kind of sound, pleasant to the ears. Some of them even circles around me, I can feel a warm and comfortable feeling coming from them.
After around half a minute of circling around the crystal and the chamber, the mini comet gather and intertwined with each other, making a compilation of many smaller comets into one trail of light. It then fly up above the crystal which is floating above the middle of the altar. Then the lump of mini comets suddenly drop down into the crystal and is converted into many beams of colorful light from the crystal. At first the beams spread randomly across the round chamber but then they gather on one spot, making one big beam of light, and that one spot is on my direction. The concentrated beam of light penetrated through me. Just from being pointed by one of the smaller beam before is enough to make me feel blinded from the dazzling light, now the entire thing combined is actually directed towards me. What's happening? Don't tell me, this was a set up, could it be that I was called here to be part of the ritual material? Do they need the previous summoned person as a summoning material? Damn! I didn't think of such possibility, this could be really bad. As I was thinking like that, the concentrated beam of light suddenly dissipate in just a few seconds. I take a look at my body, it looks like to be still in one piece, then I let out a sigh of relieve. I glared at the King as if asking what was that about. He also look toward my direction with a confused expression. I look around and notice that all the people around have a confused face and are looking toward me.
The ritual is still going on. After the concentrated beam of light dissipate, a ray of light, or perhaps, another beam of light is now gushing out from the bottom of the crystal towards the surface of the altar. The magic scribbles glow as intense as it can be then suddenly a huge pillar of light rise up high towards the glass ceiling of the round chamber which is made of dome-shaped stained glass. The intense pillar of light probably soared sky-high where anyone can see it. There are several comets swirling up around the pillar of light as it continue to rise like that for several seconds.
The pillar of light then slowly vanishes, thinning out and leaving dense mist in the room as an after effect.
I can see a silhouette of a person within the dense mist. The knights are firmly standing guard in front of the King and other important looking people. So this is how it looks from the side when I was summoned before. I felt numbness all over my senses after being summoned, not knowing what's going on and with unknown people surrounding me. Definitely a suspicious situation for anyone being summoned, I hope the new hero doesn't act rashly like I did.
I can hear panting, groan, and coughing sound from within the dense mist surrounding the marble altar. So he does experience the same thing as me.
Huh? Wait, did I just hear three different kind of voices?
The mist gradually dissipate, the first one visible is a kneeling young man in an expensive-looking very dark blue business suit. From a glance, he appears to be Asian and is around his early twenties. With neatly styled black hair that looks solid from being handled with pomade and a clever looking glasses, he looks like a normal young executive in prominent companies if not for two things, he's holding a handgun in his right hand and there are bloodstain all over his expensive suit and clever looking face, making him looks like a murderer who has just shot someone. He's coughing up badly right now and has a agonized expression on his face.
Not long after, the the second silhouette reveal himself. Oh wait, it's a 'her'. A very beautiful and mesmerizing 'her' to be precise. There, sitting in a [W] position, a very enchanting woman who looks to be in mid twenties and is wearing a very sexy near see-through negligee meant for adult's night life. She looks like a Latina type of woman, with a lightly tanned glossy skin, long and silky wavy black hair down to below the shoulder blades, a well-proportioned body with plump twin peaks poking the thin negligee, and a face so beautiful it can charm every man who looks at her, she could win any world class beauty pageant competition. Right now she can be described as a dream woman of any men if not for the following things. She's holding a bloody knife in her hand and there are blood splatters all over her clothes. She looks like someone who has just slice a throat of a man, turning the lewd vibe she has into a dangerous devilish woman image. She is groaning while hugging her body with both hands, with the knife still being held in her hand, as if her entire body is in pain.
The last one to appear from the mist looks like able to stand straight, he's..... a straight up disaster waiting to happen. I'm not joking, the guy is being hold tightly in a multi layered grey colored straitjacket and his body is being strapped to a human trolley that looks especially made to transport him, there are even a number of belts and locks tightly sealing his straitjacket. His body is pretty huge, at least reaching two meters in height. I can't exactly tell how old he is because his face is covered by an iron mask that looks like meant to prevent him from making damage to anyone or anything near his head but his long and untidy dark grey hair which have some strands of white hair among them show that he's at least over fifty years old. His four limbs looks very thick as if they belong to a wrestler or bodybuilder, making him look even scarier. Being put in such condition can only mean that he has done some real nasty shits. He looks like the very embodiment of the word 'psychopath' right now. Although he looks so scary already, his piercing blue eyes, which are the only visible part from his covered face, are glaring left and right at the moment make him look even scarier. He's not groaning, coughing, or looks to be in agony, only some sound of irregular panting can be heard from behind his iron mask.
So much for expecting a heroic appearance, their appearance right now is screaming the very word 'criminal' loudly.
After I thought that all the summoned heroes have appeared, from the furthest mist, appear another one. I didn't hear any sound of coughing, groaning, or panting from there so I didn't realize there is still somebody within the dissipating mist.
What appeared this time is... another beautiful woman. Wait, that would be an understatement, the term beautiful like a goddess would suit her exquisite beauty more. She is standing there elegantly, I was a little bit taken aback by how beautiful she is but then I realized something. Her long hair which is straight and silky has a wondrous orange-golden color, to the point of sparkling and glistering. That's not the kind of color people on Earth have. Her hair is so beautifully enchanting that it looks like it's almost glowing too. Oh wait, it is glowing faintly! She has a heavenly pearl white skin that looks so smooth. Her face which could make any normal man drop dead from admiration looks like a sculptured masterpiece of the most beautiful woman in existence. She's wearing a magnificent bluish-white dress, the contrast with her hair color makes it even more mesmerizing. This is a fantastic combination of exquisitely magnificent dress and a supremely beautiful woman, people would undeniably agree if she is called as a real goddess herself. Such an appearance would throw the mind of any man to chaos. If I were a normal man, I would be mentally melting already.
The last one doesn't have a red flag yet, but she definitely doesn't look like a fighter material to me, at least not the type that looks like will go and fight a monster. Then again, as a summoned hero, she can still have some uses, say, to raise people's morale or other non-physical related works.
I glance at the King who looks dumbfounded like all the other people in here. He noticed that I'm currently looking at him. Then I say it to him, "It's buy one get four today, huh? Let me congratulate you on getting four heroes, your majesty!"
"Four?" The King immediately look toward the altar again and appears to observing keenly before finally turning toward my direction again and with intrigued expression says, "What do you mean four? No matter how you look at it, there are only three people there!"
"Excuse me?" What's wrong with his sighting, has he become instantly senile from the shock? "One, two, three..., four." I count again, there is definitely four people on the alter.
"Again, are you toying with me?! No matter how you see it, there are only three people, no wait, having three people summoned in a single ritual is unheard of, but still, these three people! They reek of being criminal themselves!" The King says so with looks of being enraged, frustrated, and disappointed.
It seems he's frustrated from having summoned a possibly failure hero again. But more importantly, he can't see the goddess-like beautiful woman?
... As I think about it a little more, I then realize the biggest anomaly about her yet, she doesn't appear to be in pain or suppressed by the burden of being summoned.
I look toward her direction again. Over all the people in the chamber to look at, she actually focuses her gaze at me and with her eyebrows slightly frowning. Our eyes are locked toward each other's.
The mist is almost completely gone from the altar. Then I see it, she's.... floating...
There you have it, chapter 3, 9500 words which should have been separated into two chapters but I decide to just keep it as one chapter. I'd recommend to prepare a snack or a drink before you start reading because it will take some time read this one.
I have yet to write chapter 4 but the ideas for the few chapters ahead area already prepared, then again, I'm a slow writer and editor, it could take me a week or maybe two weeks to finish a chapter, depending on the chapter (You saw how long this chapter 3 is, it's twice the length of other previous chapter).
Lastly, if you like the series, please comment and give high ratings~
I also put this series in Wattpad Link to Wattpad page, please visit to give comment and likes over there too~
Oh look, I found an artwork that could illustrate some part of the summoning ritual scene. This is the closest I can get in regards to the situation of darkened hall and fleeting mini comets/orbs which are circulating the character.
Credit: All rights of the image above belong to the original creator,”Sakimori”, 防人, Pixiv ID 211515.
Image taken from e-shuushuu.net
If anyone found other images that suit the scene in this chapter, please feel free to post it here. And please don't forget to make proper citation/credit on said images.
I'll look around for more suitable images myself after a good nap and breakfast (yep, I did this chapter till dawn hahaha, so much fun).