Chapter 36 ∞ Forbidden Weapons
A void appeared and space itself seemed to give way to us as we went. Instead of moonless night, on the other side, there was the scorching midday sun. The light passed through me and seemed to sear me a little. It probably might’ve been warm if the whole me was standing under it, but with just my vulnerable soul, I felt it to the degree that I would’ve gotten a sunburn if I could.
“Ah. I forgot the other side of this planet is actually sunrise,” he muttered. “I should’ve remembered and pulled you away during the day. Then again, my power would be much weaker then back there, so it doesn’t make a difference. It’s really hard when you’re so weak.”
I wanted to berate him but held back in the end. “Is this Vertvalden?” I asked, looking around.
“It is. We can’t last long, though. Only a few minutes tops,” Amber told me.
A part of me expected this place to be in ruins. After all, Amber had reiterated how serious the issue was. Not to mention with all those refugees leaving their homes for a foreign continent, I expected it to be…much, much worse. What exactly was something so unbearable that could uproot a person from the place they had known for their whole life?
We continued navigating the crowded streets, taking in all it could offer. This wasn’t a city. It was a small, secluded town at best. It had tall walls around the periphery with a watchtower on the side. The structures were small with slated, brick roofs and wide windows. People walked down dirt paths in a brocade of patterned weaves and colorful beads, tattoos dotting their arms and wrist.
I tried recalling how I saw my biological father of this life when he appeared last time, however, I don’t remember him sporting this manner of dressing. Neither did my mother. I was hoping we would teleport to the place where I was born to see them, but it seemed I was hoping for a little too much.
I was disappointed, but this was better than nothing.
Nevertheless, it was clear to me that the situation wasn’t as bleak as it was supposed to be—or maybe we were just in those parts where the struggle wasn’t as obvious. People were just resilient that way. They had a way of living through hell.
Especially these guys.
He spun around to look and nodded. His lips curved and his brows lifted ever so slightly. He seemed impressed. “This place is in a much better shape than I thought it would be, actually. I was expecting it to be devoured completely.”
“No,” I said. “If anything, it’s a good thing this didn’t happen to Erindal instead.”
“Ho,” a huff escaped his mouth as he looked over to me with a questioning smile. “What got you to say that?”
I shrugged. “People of Vertvalden are simply made for war. Their principles, culture, and discipline make them well-equipped and capable of holding down the fort. They’re basically creatures of war,” I told him. “In fact, why do you think they’ve managed to hold on for so long?”
“I guess I did underestimate them,” he remarked, amused.
Having read up a bit on their culture and mannerisms, it wasn’t at all that surprising to me. I didn’t know a lot about Vertvalden and how their political sails were faring, but if the winds of turmoil were to hit Erindal now, it would be utter chaos. The struggles in that place was insane. Looking at how my mistresses were now even though they had only prodded a bit into the web, they were all already in such a dilemma.
I sensed a heavy air, and a familiar coldness blanketed the horizon. This coldness helped me draw in some energy to combat the scorching sun, made the heat a little more bearable. And while it was an advantage somewhat, I knew that didn’t sound good. The balance of energies were definitely whacked up along these parts. Death was heavy. Its body coiled where it shouldn’t be.
I swam along and looked around the city before me. Floating or flying wasn’t accurate. It was more of diving. Much like so, the feeling was very familiar to seeing life under the waves. The sights and sceneries existed through a medium different from both air and water. Was this…the domains? Those energies that could not normally be seen? I was relying on the currents of these…paranormal energy to move along. It was strange, yet very eye-opening at the same time.
No wonder those weird spirits seemed to have really voluminous hair—to souls, the outside world was like a thick ocean!
Amber followed after me, ranting about whatever. I ignored him and satisfied my curiosity by tiding along the currents. The circulation of energy was different everywhere. Some people were like gravity and blackholes, sucking in and spurting it out at the same time—the area around them fluttered like gills.
The men wore thick armors and sported weird weapons on their waists—weird in a sense that they exhibited strange, chaotic pulses to the point that the imbalance caused the natural energies to avoid them.
“Forbidden weapons,” Amber muttered, seeing the blades on their waists and back. His forehead wrinkled and his brows crept together. “No wonder. To think they would go to the extent of using forbidden weapons…and such a lot of it too.”
“What are forbidden weapons?” I asked.
We swam back, avoiding the burly men as they walked past.
“Forbidden weapons…like the one under your bed,” he said.
I frowned. “How do you know about that?”
“I don’t have the power to materialize and talk to you all the time, but I’m always watching you.” He forked his two fingers before his eyes and pointed them at me—almost threateningly.
“Great,” I sarcastically muttered.
“You bet. I know every little sin in your body,” he told me, eyes squinting as he stared into my eyes. “All those acts of cuteness and innocence before that cunning smile of a snake when you were little…ha!”
“You make me sound evil,” I said, brows raised as I regarded his indignance.
“Aren’t you?! You actually enjoyed playing the role of a kid, knowing all those women would be at your beck and call!”
I smirked. “Why wouldn’t I?”
“You—” he paused, looking at me as though I had grown horns, “whatever, you aberration.”
“Can we go back to the previous topic?” I asked. “What are forbidden weapons?”
“They harness energies like death to accomplish the job. It’s a genius idea, really. These people caught on to the fact that they can’t see their enemies and their ordinary weapons can’t touch them either. I wonder what they sacrificed in order to be able to harvest that type of thing…”
“What of the one in the bow?” I inquired. “How does this even work against the Veils?”
“It works in the same principle as not being able to touch something if you’re in a different dimension. The mind is of the mind, the body of the body, the soul of the soul. Using these things will spell your doom, however. You’re essentially taking poison to combat poison. It’s like a disease that will eat its way through you until you are turned to nothing. It destroys you. In every way possible. I don’t even know how they got their hands on it.”
“No wonder the bow was cursed. Am I going to die too, then?”
“No, that’s…” He sighed. “This is hard to explain. You are of death, though. Rest assured you won’t die.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Yes, clearly, you don’t understand. It’s more complicated than that.” He pursed his lips.
“You’re an aberration among the aberrations,” he said. “You have a foot in each domain of two worlds.”
“And what does that make you?”
“I’m not like you,” he said. “I’ve long since stepped past the boundary. You, on the other hand, are different.”
“I’m basically Hannah Montana.”
Confusion spread across his face. “The—what does that have to do with any of this?”
“You haven’t heard the song Best of Both Worlds?”
He deadpanned at me. “Are you serious?”
“Obviously, I’m joking,” I replied. “You’re just too serious.”
“How can I not be? If it hasn’t already occurred to you, this is very serious. If we don’t stop the bleeding of energies together, this world may end being swallowed.”
“What does it mean to be of both worlds, then?” I asked, floating along. I eyed a stall of weird-looking fruits. If I could, I would’ve tried tasting some of them. They looked very tempting. Peachy, velvety skin bordering orange and plum.
What was this fruit called?
“It’s an advantage more than a disadvantage,” I heard Amber speak. I was quickly pulled back to the conversation, my attention leaving the fruit before me. “I suspect it’s also the way of this place to fight back. You have the capability that those men who walked past us don’t. That’s all you need to understand.”
“Thanks. Very educational.” I turned back to the fruits on the stall. “So you want me to what? Basically save the universe?” I tried touching the fruit, but only got to caress the energies surrounding it. However, if I concentrated enough, I could actually touch it.
It was brimming with the domain of life and fire—quite warm and peachy. However, as I continued prodding it out of curiosity, it seemed to wilt a little. The firm skin turned a little wrinkly. “What the heck? Dammit.”
He watched me exasperatedly. I saw him shake his head, a heavy sigh leaving his lungs. “Of all souls—why you?”
At the moment, I was more concerned with why the peachy fruit turned wrinkly from my prodding. I looked up at the old lady attending the stall guiltily, hoping she didn’t see what I had done. Why would she, anyway? It wasn’t like she could.
“Stop that, now. What are you doing?” Amber floated over to my side and began towing me away. “You aren’t supposed to—”
He was cut off midsentence by a yell behind us. Swiftly turning, I saw a kid in rags plowing through the street, the classic loaf of bread in his arms as he madly worked his legs. I wasn’t given enough time to evade him, not to mention it felt like it didn’t matter anyway because I was currently just a soul.
He passed right through me like I was the finish line of mad race. I felt the flurry of his personal energy flare up against me, slicing me apart. From my state, I easily gravitated together once more…like slime, and while it was an uncomfortable sensation, there was no pain. The boy stuttered in his steps, however. I saw his shoulders and arms tremble, the dirty hair flashing under the midday sun as he turned to look over to where I was standing.
Sanguine eyes met mine, stunned. His breathing came with a small fog.
I was stunned too. Was he looking at me?But how?
“Hey—” Amber beside me began.
He was interrupted by the boy spearing forward once more as some men arrived in pursuit.
“It’s time we leave.” Amber dragged me away. The same void appeared and we were swallowed back.
“Wait! What just happened?”