Chapter 4:

Chapter Four — Real Life Consequences

Serving the Dark Lord? I Didn’t Sign up for This!

We should have asked for a horse. Does this world even have horses? Well, we should have asked for something. We’ve been walking for days already. My feet are sore, my back is aching from carrying these supplies, and I have to deal with Azazel. I thought I was struggling, but this guy is really out of shape.Bookmark here

“How much… further…?” he gasped for breath.Bookmark here

“I don’t know any more than you,” I reminded him.Bookmark here

We kept on walking down the road we were pointed to. All we were told was to “go west” and seek the moth man. We didn’t even think to ask questions. I’m never making that mistake again. On the bright side, I never really ran out of energy, considering that I was slowing myself down to match Azazel’s snail pace. Bookmark here

When we first set out, he was extremely excited to go. Shortly after we left the castle, he raised both his fists towards the sky and shouted out “Finally, our grand adventure is about to begin!” and started running off into the distance without me. I didn’t chase after him and walked at my own pace. It wasn’t long before he ran out of breath and I caught up. Again, it's been days now. At this point, he was hunched over, his smile and optimism had faded from his face, and he was walking slower than an old man.Bookmark here

“Can we take… a break?” he pleaded.Bookmark here

“Already? It hasn’t been that long since the last one.”Bookmark here

He looked at me like he was about to cry. It was a pitiful look, almost resembling puppy dog eyes, but without the cuteness.Bookmark here

“Fine,” I groaned. It’s not like I could blame him for anything. I’m the one who got us into this mess in the first place. We both sat down by the side of the road. The grass was a strange purple, and the dirt was black. I mean, I get that this is the realm of darkness and all, but this is a bit ridiculous. It’s stereotypically ominous looking. I almost couldn’t blame the hero for thinking he was in the right, and yet here we were to take him down. Or, well, at least just to get back the dark lord’s powers. Speaking of which, we weren't told how to do that. Haha.
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“How do you feel about all this?” I asked Azazel.Bookmark here

“I, for one, feel like this road is hard on the feet.”Bookmark here

“No, not that, you dummy. The mission.”Bookmark here

“Oh, the mission. Well excuse me for misunderstanding, little miss vague.”Bookmark here

I couldn’t help but facepalm at his sass.Bookmark here

“I’m excited. I mean, who hasn’t ever wished to come to a fantasy world filled with magic and mysterious creatures?” Azazel continued.Bookmark here

He was right, but I didn’t feel the same way.Bookmark here

“Maybe when I was a child, sure. Now, I can’t help but think about the consequences. Think about it. Our families must be worried that we’ve disappeared, and when we get back, we’ll have to spend all the time we missed catching up,” I explained myself.Bookmark here

Azazel thought to himself for a second, before opening his mouth again.Bookmark here

“It’s not like we can help it, right? Sure they may be worried, and sure it may not be easy when we return, but what good is worrying going to do?”Bookmark here

He might have been right normally, but this isn’t a normal situation.Bookmark here

“The only reason we’re in this mess is because I drew that magic circle. If I hadn’t done that, we wouldn’t be here right now,” I confessed.Bookmark here

“Well, I’m glad to be here at least,” Azazel reassured me. Actually, now that I think about it, he knew I drew that thing from the moment we were summoned here.Bookmark here

“How did you know I drew it anyway?” I had to ask, to which he looked at me with an incredulous look.
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“Really? You went through right after me. If it was a fellow physics comrade or a professor, it would be one thing, but you? What normal reason would you have to even enter the lab?”Bookmark here

“You don't know for sure. Maybe I needed to talk to the instructor. You're going to need more evidence than that.”Bookmark here

Azazel inhaled deeply.Bookmark here

“I was trying not to embarrass you, but I saw you waiting outside the lab all the time.”Bookmark here

“It was my new favourite study spot!”Bookmark here

“Was that your new favourite book that you were reading too? I didn’t see you making much progress through it.”Bookmark here

Drat. He got me. There was no way I could deny this much circumstantial evidence against me. Why was he paying that close attention anyway? Oh well, I can think about that later. Quick, change the subject.Bookmark here

“Look, it doesn’t matter if you enjoy being here or not. The fact is I shouldn’t have forced this upon you.” Smooth transition.Bookmark here

“I might know what you did, and maybe even how, but I don’t know why you did it. That said, it sounds like you didn’t intend for this to happen. Or rather, you couldn’t have known this would happen. So don’t be so hard on yourself. Relax, and take it easy,” Azazel shrugged.Bookmark here

I hated to admit it, but he had a point. Maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on myself.Bookmark here

“Even if I stop worrying so much about it, that doesn’t mean I have to spend my time dawdling around in this world any longer than necessary,” I stood back up, “Let’s hit the road.”Bookmark here

Azazel sighed before getting up himself. As we kept travelling, we didn’t see anyone else coming down the road. I suppose it makes sense, though. Daytime to us was like night to the races of darkness. Boy, am I getting tired of saying darkness. Could they not come up with a more unique name? And what was up with that ‘dark lord’ anyway? He doesn’t even have any powers! Who does he think he is, acting so high and mighty? Then we have Azazel here, who’s actually making sense for once. Everything’s backwards.Bookmark here

“Hey, slow down a little bit!” Azazel called out to me. Oops. Bookmark here

“Sorry!”Bookmark here

I had apparently gotten a little too caught up in my thoughts and accidentally started walking faster. My fault or not, we need to get out of here and get back on with our lives. I was really looking forward to graduating from university, and getting to live my own life.Bookmark here

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The sun was starting to go down, so we called it a day and set up camp. At least this world still had campfires. It was the little things that still grounded me in reality, as opposed to the rations. What even were these things? I held what looked like a beet, except it tasted like meat. Azazel didn’t seem too concerned though. He’s been using so much energy and getting so hungry that he didn’t care what he ate. As the campfire began to die down, we unrolled our bedrolls, but just when we were about to try sleeping, Azazel heard something.Bookmark here

“Wolves,” he whispered.Bookmark here

Oh no. Fantasy world or not, I kind of forgot that there were real threats. This wasn’t like taking the camper out to a safe campground. We were out in the wilderness. I froze in place, but Azazel had the completely opposite demeanour. He pulled out his shadow blade and held it in front of him with both of his hands.Bookmark here

“A low level mob like this shouldn’t be much of an issue for us,” he smirked.Bookmark here

Low level mob? What does that even mean? Is he seriously going to try to be some kind of hero right now? He’s full of himself!Bookmark here

A lone wolf exited the shadows and approached us. It was jet black, as you could probably guess. In this case, I can understand why, since it would be an evolutionary advantage to help it blend in. It wasn’t that far away from Azazel at this point, but he didn’t back down. Instead, he began.Bookmark here

“Once I draw this blade… it cannot be sheathed until it tastes blood.”Bookmark here

He then ran straight at the wolf, arms raised, and dropped his sword on the wolf’s head. You would expect the blade to slice right through, but it didn’t. On the contrary, it seemed to do nothing at all.Bookmark here

“Huh?” Azazel tried swinging his sword up and down repeatedly, bashing it against the wolf’s head. It started growling extremely loudly.
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Don’t tell me. There’s no way. These aren’t one sided swords, are they? I quickly, and carefully touched my own. They were. This sword, darker than the night sky, was only sharp on one side. How are you supposed to tell!? It looks the same from both sides! It’s actually just too dark to properly tell what side you’re supposed to slash with! Aaghghh! I complained to myself in my head, but I had no time to get angry. Azazel was running helplessly towards me with a wolf right behind him.Bookmark here

“Keep running!” I quickly rummaged through my supplies.Bookmark here

“Why would I stop?” Azazel called back. This was the fastest I had ever seen him move.Bookmark here

It wasn’t long before I found what I was looking for—a torch—and it was only another moment until I lit it with my tinderbox.Bookmark here

“Get back!” I threatened the wolf. It seemed vaguely threatened, but not quite like I expected it to be. Rather than a primal fear of fire, it felt more like a dog being weirded out by a regular household object that was out of place. Bookmark here

The wolf backed up a little bit, before it howled in front of us. Huh? Isn’t that something they’re supposed to do when they see the moon? Wait a second. Everything’s backwards here in the land of darkness. These are nocturnal wolves. The sun to them is like the moon to regular wolves, and my torch probably reminds them of it.Bookmark here

The wolf stayed in place, glaring at us, and before long the rest of the pack showed up. When they saw my torch, they also howled.Bookmark here

We’re dead.Bookmark here

Me and Azazel both backed up slowly.Bookmark here

We’re dead. We’re dead. We’re dead.Bookmark here

I tripped up on a vine, or a root, or maybe it was even just a stone, as I was backing up. I hit my head a little hard, and felt myself losing consciousness. The last words I heard were from Azazel.Bookmark here

“Dark Art ~ Apocalypsis Arrow!”Bookmark here

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When I woke up, I found myself in what seemed to be a stone basement, lit by a single torch on the wall. At the end of the room was a staircase going up. But rather than focusing on what I could see, I was more interested in what sounded like talking coming from above the ceiling. I strained my ears to hear what was going on.Bookmark here

“Please, father, allow us to dine already!” a young girl’s voice sounded.Bookmark here

“Just a moment,” I heard the voice of a mature man, followed by footsteps. The door to the basement swung open.Bookmark here

“Ah, you’re awake! Just in time for dinner,” the man smiled.Bookmark here

He looked like a regular human, except he could have been a figurehead of the goths. He wore a rather dashing black suit, with a white dress shirt underneath. On his chest rested a blood red gem on the end of his gold necklace. He wore a long, black cape over top his suit, and his hair was slicked back. And, in his smile, I could see inhumanly sharp canine teeth.Bookmark here

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