Chapter 102

The dark humanoid figure sighed as it wandered down the streets of the human capital. It dragged its feet as it walked, leaving behind two parallel lines of dust in the road. It shuddered and shook its head as it recalled the zombies chasing after it in the mausoleum.

“Maybe it’s just an isolated incident,” it said and nodded as it raised its head to look at the sun. “It must be. The town’s still in pristine condition. I really do wonder where that self-proclaimed god went. You hear me, you imposters?”

Its question was answered with silence as a tumbleweed blew past its feet. It hung its head and sighed again. “I guess I’ll just have to go to the temple and break a few of your crystals. I’ll make you show yourselves and explain everything to me.” It kicked a rock in front of its feet, reducing the stone to a pile of dust.

It headed back towards the temple it was sealed in, drawing funny faces on all the buildings along the way. It entered the temple doors and rubbed its chin. “I’ve already wandered around the first floor and haven’t found any crystals,” it said and tilted its head. “I guess they’re held upstairs then.” It nodded and pumped its fist as it headed towards the stairwell.

“So what do you think happened?” it asked out loud while walking.

“A zombie outbreak is the most likely scenario. The humans lost the war and their dead was converted into minions for that necromancer.”

“Please don’t say such ominous things to scare me like that.”

“But I’m you. Ignoring that, what do you think happened?”

“I’d like to believe that they found a way to cleanse Fuselage and everyone returned peacefully.”

“I didn’t realize I was such a pansy. Those centuries of isolation really took a toll on me, huh?”

“Nah. It couldn’t have. I’m still perfectly sane.”

“Sane people talk to themselves?”

“It’s fine as long as no one responds.”

“…”

“See. Perfectly sane. Of cou—“

A snore interrupted the figure’s conversation with itself. It froze mid-step and held its breath. A few seconds later, another snore resounded through the stairwell. The figure let out a gasp and a few shadowy tears dripped from its eyes. “I’m not alone!”

It sprinted up the rest of the stairs and ran towards the source of the snoring. It stopped in front of a pair of double doors and placed its ear flat against the wooden surface. Snores, interrupted by whimpers, reverberated through the wood. The figure pressed its hand through the door and eroded the lock.

The door swung open without a sound and the figure stepped inside. Gale lay on the floor with his body covered in his own vomit. The figure frowned and pinched its nose as it approached the sleeping pope. “Psst,” the figure whispered and nudged Gale’s shoulder. “Hey.”

Gale whimpered. “Stop. You damned skeletons,” he said and turned over. “Leave me alone!”

The figure froze. “Skeletons?” it asked and held its breath. It fell backwards, landing on its butt. It crossed its arms as its brows furrowed. “Could he be a survivor? Was there really a zombie outbreak?” It raised its head to stare at the naked man covered in his own vomit.

“If I possess him, then I’ll really be all alone,” the figure said and shook its head. “I can’t let that happen. I can’t just rudely wake him up either; I need to make a good impression.” The figure snapped its fingers as a lightbulb shone over its head. “I’ll sing a song for him to wake up to!”

It cleared its throat and sucked in a deep breath. It closed its eyes, opened its mouth and started to sing a dirge in a low tenor. Gale stopped snoring as his body stiffened. His eyes shot open and he screamed like a little girl. “Never again!” he yelled and threw a ball of white light at the black figure.

The black figure opened its eyes in time to see an expanding ball of holy energy fly towards its face. The energy smacked it in the forehead and slid downwards, like a snowball. The figure spluttered as Gale began chanting. “Wait, wait,” it said and waved its arms in front of its body. “I’m not going to hurt you; I swear. And that exorcising spell won’t work on me; I’m not an undead.”

Gale stopped chanting and rubbed his bleary eyes. He blinked a few times and stared at the humanoid figure. “You’re trying to trick me again!” he said and gnashed his teeth. “I saw what you did to Opfern! Don’t think I’m so easily fooled. What do you want from me this time, you undead rascal?” He stood up and edged towards his staff, located next to his broken bed.

“So it’s true then,” the figure said and sighed as it wiped the holy energy off of its face. “The undead really have taken over.”

Gale froze and tilted his head. “Huh?”

“Where did all the humans go?” the figure asked. “The capital’s empty. You’re the first person I’ve found.”

“The skeletons took them all away,” Gale said and moaned. He placed his hands on his temple. “I feel sick.”

“The skeletons? What do you mean?”

“You don’t know about the skeletons? They were everywhere,” Gale said with his eyes shut tight. “Where’ve you been? Wait, no. Who are you?”

“I’m, uh, just a normal person,” the figure said and nodded its head. “Yeah. Perfectly normal. Can you tell me more about these skeletons?”

Gale furrowed his eyebrows and frowned. He looked down and his nose wrinkled. “I smell terrible. I need to take a bath to clean myself and clear my head,” he said and gathered his robes and towel. He walked towards the door and stepped past the sitting figure. He glanced at the smoky fellow that suspiciously looked like an evil version of his god and froze. “Are you…”

“Yes?” the figure asked and raised its head. “Coming with you? If you don’t mind, sure.”

Gale broke out into a cold sweat as his face turned pale. “Yeah,” he said and nodded. The hands holding his robes trembled. “Feel free.”

“Tell me more about the undead,” the figure said as he walked behind Gale towards the bathroom. “Why did they round up all the humans?”

“They were kidnapping people to force them to attend a wedding.”

“Forcing people to attend a wedding?” The figure’s brow furrowed. “Don’t tell me they’re going to be used as a blood offering. I think we should get out of here before they discover us.”

“What?” Gale asked and almost dropped his towel. “What do you mean?”

“Undead are scary. Who knows what they plan on doing,” the figure said and shook its head. “Chances are, we’re going to be the only ones left once they’re through with their barbaric ritual. Don’t you think we should escape together, before they discover us?”

Gale fell silent. “Are you afraid of the undead?” he asked after taking a few steps.

“Me? Afraid? No way,” the figure said and raised its chin. “I would never be afraid of something as lame as a zombie.”

“There’s a ghost behind you,” Gale said and pointed over the figure’s shoulder.

“WHERE!?”

The figure shouted and leapt behind Gale while glancing backwards. “You tricked me,” it said and glared at Gale.

Gale shrugged. “I could’ve sworn I saw one. What were you saying about the undead? They weren’t scary?”

The figure frowned and crossed his arms. “Don’t give me that,” it said. “I know you’re frightened of skeletons. You almost pissed yourself in your sleep while screaming about them.”

Gale shuddered. The figure nodded. “Just as I thought,” it said. “We should get out of here as soon as you finish your bath. We’ll go to Fuselage and look for survivors there. There must be some people who survived that didn’t escape to this continent.”

“I’m not sure that’s a good idea…”

“Nonsense. I’ll take parasitic worms over an undead apocalypse any day. Trust me,” the figure said and thumped its chest with its fist. “You and I. We’ll be friends forever.”

 

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