For You I Call – Episode 1: Arachnids Part 1(4)

“Lady Vert.”

Vert sighs at the interruption. “What is it, Rosalys?”

“There are patrols on the hall. They are checking each room.”

“Tch. How sharp,” Vert grumbles. “Do as we discussed before. Oh, and clean up this room, please.”

“Understood.”

“Come on, brother. We need to make ourselves scarce,” Vert says, pulling my hand, but stops right away. “Can you walk or do I need to carry you?”

I take inventory of my own condition. My body feels weird, but, “I can walk. Are we running away?”

“Not now, but eventually we will need to. For now hiding is sufficient,” Vert says as she guides me to the opposite direction of the door, where Rosalys enters to clean up the room. There’s a sound of another door opening and a breeze comes through. Vert grabs my hand and pulls me towards the breeze.

Oh shoot. We are going out.

“Wait, wait!” I hiss, planting my feet firmly on the floor to stop Vert. But she’s surprisingly stronger and she successfully drags me through the door. I grow panicked upon realizing I’m outside. My heart starts to beat fast and there’s a pressure in my chest—like stage fright, but worse. “Won’t they expect people to escape from the back door?” I quickly ask, hoping to stall some time so I can prepare myself. It seems like being blind doesn’t automatically make me courageous to go outdoors.

To my relief, Vert finally stops and speaks the words I didn’t expect to hear.

“What back door? We are on the third floor.”

“Huh? Then how do we—mmrrrpphh!”

Without any warning, Vert grabs my waist, holds me like I’m a battering ram with one hand, and jumps. The only thing that keeps me moderately silent over the fall is her hand over my mouth.

Vert lands soundlessly on the ground and puts me down. I stand dazed in shock and disbelief. Three stories high fall and she manages to land without any sound while carrying me; what strong legs.

“Come on,” Vert says with a low voice and tugs me forward. She pulls me close to the wall and wait there. Ten beats later, the veranda door is once again opened.

The air stills around us while we hear people search above. I know they can’t see us because of the veranda getting in the way, but I try to be as still and silent as possible—so silent that I can hear my own heartbeat.

“Third floor clear,” a man says finally.

“Roof is also clear,” says another voice higher above.

Footsteps retreat from the veranda and the door is closed once again.

Vert sighs beside me.

“Are we safe now?” I ask in a low voice.

“Not yet. They have people watching the perimeter. We need to go back inside.”

Vert works to open the window behind us. I quickly stop her.

“Wait, there might be other people there!”

“No, there aren’t,” she says, and the door is opened. I don’t have another chance to protest, as we hear footsteps approaching. “Come inside, quick!”

I do as told. Vert closes the window as silently as she can and push me into hiding beside the window. Not a moment too soon, as we can hear the patrol’s footsteps very close to the spot we had been.

The footsteps stop. I sense slight movement outside the window. The patrol is looking into the room.

Vert’s hand, still on my forearm, tightens. Her message is clear:

Don’t you dare make a noise.

No worries, Vert. I don’t even dare to breathe.

The footsteps resume. Then disappears.

I let out the breath I didn’t know I held. Vert too.

“Phew. Good thing I reserved the room below beforehand.”

“Won’t anyone come and check here?”

“Most likely not. Their number is small, so they’d have to do systematic search from the first floor. They don’t have time to check twice too.”

True to her words, no one comes even close to the door for what seems like a long time.

“They’re leaving,” Vert informs me. “They’re searching the next door. Not on our side, but we should stay out of the window just in case.”

I slump in relief. It has been a while since I experience that kind of fear and they’re not nice to my heart. “Why do we need to hide? Did we do something bad?” I ask.

“Something like that. Don’t worry. You’re the guiltless one here,” Vert assures. Not effective, but now that the situation has calmed down, a more important question surfaces.

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For You I Call – Episode 1: Arachnids Part 1(3)

“Uuuuh…”

I groan as I regain my consciousness. My body feels heavy and sore, like that time I was training for the inter-school sprint match. How did I get so tired? I’m pretty sure I didn’t do anything strenuous this past few months. I don’t even remember going to sleep.

Then more recent memories trickle out. Ah yes, I was in the kitchen with mom and Vert, and then…what? I know something important happened, but I can’t remember.

I open my eyes and see darkness. Either it’s night or it’s night and the lamp is turned off.

Grumbling, I get up from the soft bed I’m laying on to search for the light switch. But since it’s so dark I didn’t see the obstacles before me until I trip myself over it and fall face first. Again.

“Oowww…” I groan and shut my mouth immediately. That doesn’t sound like me.

Let’s try again.

“A-aaah.”

Yep, not my old voice. It’s thicker and heavier, just like dad’s. My body doesn’t feel right too. Did I get a cold or flu? But I feel healthy. Fresh even.

A door opens in front of me. I look up, hoping for some light to come through the darkness, and find none. There’s a sound of glass breaking and a woman’s scream instead.

“A-a-a-AAAAAAAAAH!”

The scream jolts my heart so much that I’m convinced it’ll change its position permanently once it settles down. Then she’s gone—the footsteps rapidly fading away tells me.

“…”

How rude. When you see someone on the floor, shouldn’t you help him?

I pick myself up from the ground and the footsteps come back with another set. Did she call for help?

“Brother!”

Brother? Who is your bro— “Ack!”

I gasp as I get pulled into a chocking hug. Man, what is this strength? The arms are small, but they’re like metal clamps!

“L-lady Vert. You’re strangling master Argent,” the first voice comes to my rescue. I can breath easy again. Thank you, miss!

Wait.

Did you just say, Vert?

A series of images flashes through my mind. The stairs. Vert. Hospital. Mom and dad crying. Cemetery.

Funeral.

The hugger—Vert—loosens her arms, but not letting me go completely.

“Ah, so sorry about that, brother. But I’m so happy to see you awake!”

Vert’s voice brings me back to reality. She sounds a bit different, more adult-like, but still recognizable. What’s going on here? Am I dreaming? How did I fall asleep anyway? I was looking at Vert, in her casket, saying my last words to her—

“Sleep well.”

—and then what?

“Brother? Are you alright? Are you hurt somewhere?”

Damn it, this is just too much. I never imagined it, but I’m sure that’s how Vert is going to sound like if she lived long enough to grow up. If this is a dream, then it’s a cruel one.

“Are you… really Ver?” I ask, sounding calmer than I actually am.

Vert huffed. “Of course I am! Did you forget your sister’s face already? Well, my looks did change a lot, but I should look familiar at least!”

“How should I know that? It’s dark in here!”

“Dark?” The jovial mood turns into confusion in a flash. “But it’s quite bright here. Unless—“ Vert grabs my face and tilts it down so she can look at it. “Your eyes… something is wrong with it. Let me call—”

“Wait! Rather than that, why and how are you still alive?”

Vert’s hands freeze in place.

“Pardon me?” she asks, either not understanding the question or thinks that she hears it wrong.

“Master Argent, I think you remember it wrong. Nothing happened to lady Vert. It’s you who—“

“Stop it, Rosalys. It’s a good thing that brother doesn’t remember.”

“But I remember!”

“What do you remember?”

“You fell from the stairs—” the memory replays in vivid images, as if they’re happening right now “—snapped your neck. We held a funeral for you—” I put one white flower and thought of what to say, just like now “—so how are you still alive?”

The whole room grows quiet. There’s an uncomfortable atmosphere around us, like everyone waiting for someone to say the bad news for them, until Vert breaks the silence.

“Rosalys, can you leave us?”

“Certainly, my lady,” Rosalys responds and promptly leaves the room. Vert waits until her footsteps disappear before addressing me.

“Brother, can you tell me the last thing you remembered? Slowly, please.”

“Like I said, I was in your funeral—“ I cringe at the memory rather than my own bluntness. ”—saying my last words to you—“ more memories come back “—then deliver the eulogy—” which I don’t remember what I said, “—and then—”

I stop right there, waiting for more memories to come back. But it doesn’t. My mind draws a blank. Something big happened right after that. I know it, but I can’t remember it!

“And then what?” Vert prompts patiently.

“I can’t remember,” I answer. But right after I say that another memory resurfaces, “Hold on, there’s something else. I think I heard your voice.”

“My voice?”

“Yes, you were talking to someone else. A male. You didn’t want him to come closer for some reason.”

“…”

I sense Vert’s discomfort. Funny how you can still tell things like this even when you can’t see.

“What’s wrong? Did I remember it wrong?”

“Not exactly,” Vert answers vaguely. “Anything else?”

I try to remember again, but the result is negative. “No. That is all. What about you?”

“Me?”

“Yes. Your neck was snapped. How did you recover?” It feels weird to ask this, but I need to know.

“Hold on. I never broke my neck. I have suffered some injuries in the past, but never on the neck or anything equally life threatening,” Vert answers.

“Really? Then my memory is mistaken?” I ask. Maybe that lady called Rosalys is right. I am remembering it wrong. It’s just a bad dream I haven’t completely awakened from.

There’s an awkward pause before Vert replies.

“No.”

“What do you mean by no?” I find myself asking despite the dread creeping into my heart like cold water seeping through the fabric.

“I mean I’m not sure if your memory is wrong. It could be, because you looked like you’ve been unconscious for a long time when I found you, but it could also mean that you’re—”

For You I Call: Prologue

NOTE: I’m changing the premise, so here is the new Prologue.

Summary (temporary): Argent Cross wakes up to find himself ten years older and without any memory of what led him to his coma. But the world he has woken up to is not the world he knows—and he is its enemy. Continue reading →

For You I Call – Episode 1: Arachnid Part 1 (2)

The next thing I hear is another explosion. This one sounds distant. I force my eyes open and bright turquoise light immediately assaults them. I shout in surprise, but what comes out of my mouth are bubbles. Continue reading →

For You I Call – Episode 1: Arachnid Part 1 (1)

Weightlessness and warmth. Those are the first sensations I notice beside the noises around me. I don’t know how I ended up like this. I can’t remember anything, not even who I am or what I am.

Muffled noises reverberate around me, as if they’re traveling in a wide space and then going through water. I strain to identify the sounds. Screeches. Booms. Shouts. Slashes. So many of them. So many things happening at once, just like a war. But one sound stands out above the rest. Continue reading →

Kratos Counseling Reports – CLASS 1-A

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Kratos Rozenrio was convinced long ago he was the most hated man in the world—second only to his late boss, the world-conqueror Alfonso Marsh. Therefore he raised his eyebrows real high when the door opened to reveal his next patient.

“My oh my, they must be really desperate to send you here,” Kratos said, finding the whole situation amusing after the shock wore off. Here they were, a 2 meters giant dressed in lab coat and 150 cm pretty boy facing each other again as doctor and patient. If a fortune teller told Kratos of this development, he’d kill the poor fellow on the basis of bullshitting with him, the world-conqueror’s right hand man.

Commander Lionell Ashrain cooly shrugs the taunt off and went to sit on the chair reserved for Kratos’ most difficult patient before explaining himself.

“They think I will go back to my usual self if you aggravate me enough.”

“While I won’t deny that familiar situations can bring patients back to their old rhythm, I think something is very wrong if the savior of the world has to come to his arch-nemesis for counseling,” Kratos said gleefully. If there was one thing that didn’t change after his defeat, it was finding pleasure in taunting and jabbing Lionell. He felt some kind of achievement whenever the smaller man glared at him with those icy blue eyes like now.

“Thank you for your unneeded professional view. Can we just and get over this already?”

“Oh, but I already started. Did I aggravate you enough?”

Lionel’s eyes narrowed. He was probably thinking of some ways to put Kratos in his place without violating the standard POW treatment. Normal people would start to run away ASAP when Lionell got that look, but Kratos just grinned wider.

“That’s more like it. Now can you tell me what’s bothering you?”

Kratos sounded like a professional counselor just now, but Lionell was not fooled. He still answered Kratos though.

“Nothing. I’m just tired.”

“I can see that. Tell me something not obvious,” Kratos said, playing the strict, concerned doctor. Lionell sighed and decided to humor him.

“I don’t feel like doing anything.”

“Not even fucking your girlfriend?”

“Leave Natascha out of this, Rozenrio.”

“Sorry, but I need to know if your depression is so bad that you’re not willing to procreate anymore.”

“…”

“What? Do you prefer me going by the standard list of questions that do nothing but randomly poking patient’s heart with a heated pitchfork?”

Kratos could see two mini Lionells battling for the options behind the commander’s eyes.

“…No. You can continue.”

“Yes, sir,” Kratos said and mock saluted Lionell, earning a ‘what were they thinking when they decided to do this to me’ sigh from the black haired commander. Kratos took that as a sign of victory and went easy on him. The next questions were normal counseling questions he actually didn’t need to ask, but had to since he had to create the illusion of doing it the proper way to the people watching this session. Oh yes, nothing was private in Valkarazan Academy, especially if you were a POW counseling the savior of the world.

“Can we stop wasting time already?” Lionell asked, refusing to answer if he considered joining the dark side to burn the world. “You know what’s wrong with me. Just say it already.”

Kratos was disappointed to have his playtime cut short (he still hadn’t ask if Lionell thought Natascha was cheating!), but he didn’t show it.

“Yes, I know, but I don’t think it’s wise to tell you that. Your friends and subordinates won’t approve.”

Lionell’s eyes narrowed again and the corner of his mouth twitched a little. Kratos recognize those signs as Lionell entering commander mode.

“You giving diagnosis of my mental health is not going to cause you any harm,” Lionell said, more to the people watching behind the camera.

Kratos shrugged. “If you say so.” Bullshit time was over then. “Let me be frank, commander Lionell. There’s nothing wrong with you, you’re just tired like you claimed before.”

“Then—“

“So I’m wondering why your friends sent you here to fix your head instead of sending you to a much needed vacation,” Kratos interrupted, eyes locked on Lionell.

Lionell opened his mouth, trying to find an excuse, and then closed it when he realized he had none. Kratos fought the urge to glare at the camera at the upper corner of his office. So that’s how it was. Lionell’s friends actually understood about the commander’s condition and sent him here to have Kratos convince him. After all, what else could tear the desk-hugger commander off his beloved paperwork if not his arch-enemy telling him to take vacation?

A knock on the door stopped Kratos from his imaginary victory dance. The door opened slightly and the head of Lionell’s cousin, Valgan Ashrain, appeared. The handsome and incredibly popular guy was the infirmary’s only nurse as well as the pacifier for any battle brewing inside or outside Kratos’ office. Hence why he was here at this timing.

“Commander, your counseling time is up,” Valgan said.

There was still thirty minutes left, but both Kratos and Lionell pretended to not notice it. Better end it early before their exchange grew into something that needed an extraction team to solve.

“Make sure to take a long vacation, at least a week. If you can’t do that, go and slay some monsters for 24 hours per week to release pent up frustrations,” Kratos said before sending Lionell out.

Lionell nodded. “Thank you for the advice,” he said sincerely. Because their battles as arch-nemesis, they came to know the extent of each other’s skills and respect each other for it. Only in this aspect they agree with each other.

Kratos waited until the door close before stretching his body on his chair. He lifted up his left hand to stare at the leather wristband watch wrapped around it. It was the magical device that locked his combative ability. Very effective, for locking his ability that they knew of. As for the ones they didn’t know of…

“Huhuhu. He’s the savior of the world, and yet I’m happier than him,” he remarked loudly, just to piss the people behind the camera.

There was no change on the camera located on the upper corner of his office, but Kratos could imagine their expressions just fine.

Aah, the perks of being a villain. You could be an ass without raising any eyebrows.

FUN FACT:

Kratos never read his counseling request forms.