Chapter 17:



Teph leaned against the balcony railing. Incredible, he thought. He was surprised to see a fully functioning city hidden from the eyes of the Pure Bloods. Mort had done a commendable job from the meager resources he had.

He would need to ask him how he did it. How could one man practically raise a whole city without being found out?

He looked at the people who walked on the roads under him. They weren’t as crowded as Morsh – Morshina’s capital city – but, there was still a decent amount of people going about their day. The past few hours were the weirdest he’d ever experienced and he was in the army. He still couldn’t get his thoughts right. On that day when he sneaked in to take revenge on Tor, he vividly remembered seeing Entz’s corpse. Helet had explained that they found him dead alongside his father. But, why then, why was he standing right before his eyes fighting for his country just like his father did?

On that day, he lost everything. The man he respected most, the boy he taught the art of the sword to, and the woman he loved most; who died protecting him. After that, he thought of taking his life on multiple occurrences, and every single time he remembered Beth’s last wish for him to live no matter what. If he was captured and imprisoned, he must find a way to escape. If he was buried alive, he must dig his way out of his hole and crawl into freedom. But, how? How is he supposed to fight a whole country by himself and a group of friends?

You must find a way, said a voice in his head, always find the sweet in the bitter, never bend down against your oppressors, and unite your people against those who have long lived upon your misery. The voice belonged to one man and one man only, the General was speaking to him. Teph looked around him to see if he could spot him, and at the door to the balcony, he saw his reflection. However, it was replaced by another figure wearing a large blue coat that he just left hanging on his shoulders. His face was covered in dark-silvery hair that revealed his age. The man that rescued Teph and the man he could not protect, General Khol stood proud and tall smiling at Teph. Believe in yourself, he spoke, be the man I could have never been, Teph, I trust you more than I ever trusted myself. Make the right choice, I know you will. With that, the General disappeared and was replaced by Teph’s reflection instead.

Teph closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and held it. He stretched his body and let his fatigue consume him, then, he exhaled letting his stress escape. He walked over to the glass door and opened it. There he saw Korn and Jack lounging on the couch, while, Entz and Trent sat quietly on the eating table near the end of the room.

He smiled, it was striking to see how much had they grown through the years. At thirty-four, Teph was practically at the age of a General, a feat he concurred 14 years ago. His body was getting heavier and he yawned.

“Korn, Jack, and Trent, why don’t you,” he mumbled through his yawn “Show Entz around the city, I am going to get some sleep. Wake me up when you get back.”
“Aye.” Replied Korn as he tapped Jack’s shoulders and exited the unit.

He then made his way towards his bed and threw himself onto it.


Korn walked outside with a giant, a stick, and a boy who didn’t trust them until an hour ago. He was baffled by such audacity, the kid didn’t even say thank you, must be a pampered and spoilt little brat then. If it was up to Korn he would discipline Entz in a way that will make him think twice before saying a word. But, for some reason, Teph cared for the kid more than he should and that was enough for Korn to brush off all of his irritation out of the window.

“Where are we going?” Asked Entz softly. They walked down the stairs before leaving the inn.
“Showing you around this place, don’t worry it’s not that big, so we won’t take a long time. After that, we’ll eat some food, kid, you probably haven’t eaten anything in the last 24 hours or so.”
“Yeah, it's been a long time since I have last eaten.” The environment around them was all artificial, from the times Korn has visited this place knew of such fact, Mort explained that the area was carefully cut into Mt. Morshal and was lit by green lights that lit the whole Middle city.

Many of the Morshan thought that it was dangerous to mine inside the mountain but Mort proved otherwise.

“I am sorry for causing all of this,” said Entz, finally with some level of respect, “I really don’t know how to thank you guys, you risked your lives for me and I don’t know how to repay you.”
“Don’t worry kid, your father would have done the same to any of us, matter of fact, he would have done this to any Morshan citizen. So, it’s alright, we are trying to follow an example here.” The kid seemed content with Korn’s reply and didn’t say anything more.

They continued walking for a while; visiting the most important places around this small; one of them was Mort’s office. Korn was the most familiar with the roads and so he led the group. Most buildings here were one story tall save for Halfway inn. The Middle City was certainly an upgrade from the Under City but the difference wasn’t in its architecture. It was the people.

It was mostly crowded with men, but a few women could be seen passing by, this was because Mort had smuggled some of the men banished from the army into here. Some were able to bring back their families and move them here, but others were either not fully trusting of this place and its stability for the future, and the rest weren’t married yet. Slowly, but surely, they were building a self-sustaining civilization.

They passed into an open market, which meant the tour had ended and entered a restaurant Korn usually visits when he is in town.

He ordered four rice plates with curry and cups of water, the owner quickly recognized who Korn was; he didn’t have to pay as he was friends with the founder of the city; Mort, on the other hand, would be sent the receipt later. After a few minutes, a serving lady passed them their order and the group began munching on their food like savages.

“You know, I only just realized,” said Entz as he got a spoonful of curry to mix it with his rice “You guys are legends. I mean, I am sitting next to the Great Jack” Jack shrugged on the remark “Arguably the most talented strategist Morshina has ever seen, Trent.”
“It’s not that big of a deal.” Said Trent struggling to get words through his mouth as chewed on his food.
“And finally,” Entz continued “The general who is able to learn any weapon art within just a few months-,”
“Weeks.” Korn corrected smiling.
“Sorry I mean weeks. I’ve read about many of your battles and father always spoke highly of you.”
“You’ve read about us?” Asked Trent surprised.
“Yeah, although, it was all through father’s secret log pad.”
“That explains it,” Jack noted. It was still odd to see Jack at such height. Even though Korn had known the man for years, he still never seemed to surprise you when you least expected it. He was quite literally a giant.

Something caused the chair Korn was sitting on to faintly vibrate, he looked around to check what it was and Trent – who was sitting next to him – answered him.

“It’s my communicator.” He wiped his hands and took the device out, checked what he was sent, and said

“Mort asked us to visit him after we are done.”

“I’ll call Teph and meet you guys there.” Jack got up from his seat, he seemed to have finished with his meal. Korn nodded and Jack made his way back.