Chapter 5:

Chapter Five: There’s No Goddesses in Hell

Beyond the Borders Volume 1

“If the goddesses were real than there would be no war.”Bookmark here

—Melissa RialBookmark here

What happened, Aryia wondered. She recalled that they had been captured by the enemy, but could not remember anything past that point. She noticed that she was stripped down to her black colored underwear. Fear began to plague her mind has she started to have Post‑Traumatic‑Stress flashbacks from when she was held in a cell.
This time she was not alone, while she curled up into a ball and sat in the corner Melissa, Deadeye and Ryliah were all stripped to their underwear. Unlike Aryia though all of them were calm.
“Aryia you need to remain calm,” Melissa said.
“Easy for you to say. I still have nightmares about what you did.”
“I put you through all that in hopes that when a day like this happened you would be ready.”
“Well, I’m not, okay…”
Melissa just sighed.
“Aryia, you are a Black Knight, start acting like one. Fear can only hurt you if you let it.”
Deep down Aryia knew she was right. She had survived the hell Melissa had put her through but she was still afraid. In the back of her mind she feared the pain of being tortured in any kind of brutal way.
“You are right Melissa.”
The silence in the air gave Aryia a moment to think about things. Anything was better then thinking about what torture devices they might use on her. Who was that girl that looked just like the Major? Where are we?
“Why are we in our underwear anyway?” Aryia asked.
“It is a humiliation tactic,” Melissa said.
“And who was that girl?”
Before anyone could answer the sound of a metal door swinging open interrupted them. The footsteps of three guards could be heard in the distance. Two guards dragged Lylianna to the holding cell while the third guard opened the cell door. Like a piece of trash the two guards threw Lylianna into the cell without a care in the world. After locking the cell door they left without saying a word.
Aryia was shocked by what she saw. Lylianna laid there on the concrete floor looking half dead. Melissa gently grabbed her head and placed it in her lap. Lylianna’s body was covered in deep cuts and burn marks. Blood continued to pour out of some of her wounds and from her mouth where a back tooth was ripped clean out at the root.
“It looks as if the Major has been through hell.”
No one said anything as Melissa tried to nurse Lylianna with what she could. Aryia was quite impressed with what Melissa could do with her magic. A few hours passed until Melissa had finished patching up Lylianna the best she could. All of them sat in silence as Aryia’s fear continued to grow.
“Are we going to die here?”
“Would someone just answer—”
“Stop talking Aryia.”
She was surprised Lylianna could even speak after everything that she had been through.
“We are soldiers, we live and die in war. You signed up for it. Now start acting like a soldier.”
“I know but—”
“If you continue to show weakness then I will kill you myself. I will not have a pussy in my squad.”
Aryia didn’t say another word. After hearing that, she was too afraid to even open her mouth. However, there were still questions that she wanted to know. A few more hours passed until Aryia finally decided to ask.
“Who was that girl? She sort of looked like you but…”
Lylianna didn’t speak for a minute.
“Her name is Layla… my older sister.”
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Layla and Lylianna Veltress were born from two non‑magic users, Adam and Eve. As non‑magic users they dreamed of being able to harness the power of magic and use it to allow people born with no magic to be able to cast magic. Being scientist they studied the works of Damarius — his greatest of books being Evolution of Magika — that purposed the theory of genetically altering a non‑magic user to give them the ability to use magic.
The older child, Layla — born 342 a.z.e — was the first ever non‑magic user to be genetically modified to use magic. However, it was odd to them that the child that once had brown hair now showed signs of having white hair. Along with her white hair, her left eye was red with an odd symbol imprinted in her iris.
As the couple experimented on their child they soon realized that she could not cast magic. The two of them moved on and had another child. The younger child, Lylianna — born 347 a.z.e — was the second non‑magic user to be genetically modified. Like her older sister, she too ended up with white hair but instead of her left eye being odd, her right eye was red with the imprint of a roman numeral clock circling around her iris.
At first it seemed as if both children could not cast any of the four basic elements. This lead to Adam and Eve to believe they had failed… until one day they realized both kids held magic that was beyond the standard four elements. Unlike the standard elements however, these new types of magic were limited in their use. The range of the magic was only good for three meters and would take quite a toll on their human bodies if they tried to force the magic to last longer then the ten seconds that it allowed for.
Adam and Eve knew that the two children they had were special, so too did the Emperor of Sylveria. Under his order he demanded that Adam and Eve create more of these white haired magic‑users. However, the two of them refused and burned down their lab, killing themselves in the process. Layla and Lylianna watched as their parents and home died in front of them. They were the first and last of their kind.
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No one spoke a word. Aryia now understood just how Lylianna was able to move so fast and why it felt as if she couldn’t use her powers around Layla.
“In the end, we both became rare magic‑users.”
Hard to believe she can stop time, Aryia thought.
In the moment of silence the sound of the door opening could be heard. The sound of boots against the concrete gave Aryia a traumatic shock. Standing before the cell was Layla and a few guards. With an evil smile she looked to her sister.
“It is so nice to see you all again,” she said with a cutesy tone.
This threw Aryia off guard for a second. Layla turned to Aryia, pointing her finger at her.
“I don’t recall seeing you before though.”
With a simple snap of her fingers the guards opened the cell door and grabbed Aryia. Part of her was scared but she tried to hide it as best she could. The guards dragged Aryia into a decently sized room. She was horrified by what she saw.
The room had splatters of blood on the floor centered around the chair in the middle of the room. There was a wooden desk a few centimeters away. As the guards continued to walk her over to the chair she felt something lodge into the sole of her foot. It hurt her, yet, she tried not to show any expression of pain.
After forcing her to sit in the chair the guards tied her hands behind her back. Layla sat down on top of the table in front of her and crossed her legs as she looked into Aryia’s face.
“You are quite pretty.”
Aryia didn’t speak.
“Sorry about the mess, my little sister was always the messy one,” Layla said with a giggle.
Aryia knew not to say a word to her. There were only three pieces of information that she could give out according to the Military Code of Law.
“I noticed you stepped on my little sister’s tooth. Hand me your foot and I can get that out for you.”
What kind of game is she playing, Aryia thought.
Layla grabbed Aryia’s foot and slowly pulled the tooth out.
“You have pretty feet, you know?”
She put her foot down and continued to remain silent. Layla sighed.
“You are starting to act like my sister. Name, rank, and number.”
“Private Kozyki, number two four nine nine eight six zero nine.”
Layla giggled as she stood up from the desk.
“My sister must have trained you to handle intense pain and torture.”
Aryia continued not to speak a word as she recalled what Lylianna told her. She remembered the first day she joined the Black Knights and how Melissa trained her to handle all forms of torture. Still, it was scary for her. The fear of pain and death…
“You know, I think my little sister likes you.”
With a simple wink Aryia was thrown for a loop. What does she mean by that? She stared at the ground hoping to focus better. I need to stay on my guard, she thought.
“Do you want to know why I did what I did to my sister?”
Looking up from the floor Aryia admittedly was curious to know why Layla did all this. Layla smiled gently, taking note of Aryia’s curiosity.
“Have you heard of Colonel Cortez?”
“I know of the name. He was in a court session that I managed to sneak into.”
“Oh, naughty girl. I like it.”
Layla paced back and forth in front of Aryia as she spoke.
“He and I were planing to over throw the Emperor of Sylveria. That is all.”
Layla noticed the shock on Aryia’s face.
“I don’t know if you noticed this but the Kingdom of Sylveria is nothing more then an oppressed kingdom controlled by a mad king. To put it in a more simple phrase, you work for a dictator.”
“You’re wrong. He cares about his people and he cares about us. We won’t be here forever, just watch.”
With a smile on her face Layla straddled her lap. This completely took Aryia by surprise. Gently brushing Aryia’s bangs to the side, Layla whispered into her ear.
“I would hate to torture such a beautiful girl like you, but if you keep talking like that…”
Like a coiled viper Layla grabbed her dagger holstered near the back of her hip and stuck it into Aryia’s mouth.
“I might just have to cut out that tongue of yours.”
Aryia was unable to speak.
“Your Emperor doesn’t care about you. Just give it time to sink in.”
Layla stood up and snapped her fingers as the guards hulled Aryia back to the holding cell, throwing her in just as they did Lylianna. Melissa was a bit surprised that Aryia didn’t have hardly any wounds to speak of. She sat up against the cold brick wall trying to process everything that just happened. For a moment everyone was silent until Lylianna finally spoke.
“What did you tell her?”
“She told me her plan and about the Emperor being nothing more then a dictator.”
“I see.”
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One week had passed as the Knights remained in the holding cell, living off of a limited supply of food and water. Day and night all of them were sadistically tortured to almost no end by Layla. As luck would have it, Aryia had it the easiest of all the other members. Layla never brutally tortured her like she did the others. All she did was try to sexually tease her and talk to her.
In a way, Aryia felt bad that she had it easier then the others. I wonder if this is some type of interrogation tactic, she thought as she laid her head down in Lylianna’s lap. Normally, Aryia would sleep in the corner but she was just too tired at this point to even move. Lylianna did not mind it though as she leaned back into the comfort of the cold brick wall.
After a few more weeks of torture Layla realized she would not get anything more out of the Knights and headed out for the City of Versyi. Aryia began to fear the worse as three weeks turned into four weeks. They should know we are in trouble, so why hasn’t anyone come to our rescue, Aryia wondered.
Aryia started to doubt the Emperor. Maybe he truly doesn’t care.
“Okay, is everyone ready?” Lylianna asked.
Everyone but Aryia nodded.
“Ready for what?” Aryia asked.
“To get out of here of course.”
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Three guards unlocked the cell door as one guard entered the cell to take Lylianna. Uncovering the bangs from her right eye time froze around her. Ten seconds is all I need, she thought as she kept track of how many seconds had passed. With time frozen around her she rapidly grabbed a dagger from one of the guards and killed all three of them silently and quickly. With haste she threw down the two guards as her magic ended. Deadeye grabbed the other guard in the cell and covered his mouth to keep him from screaming out as he collapsed.
Aryia was amazed at what just happened. To her — an everyone else but Lylianna — everything appeared as one fluid motion, happening at the blink of an eye.
“Lets go,” Lylianna said grabbing the Versyian rifle off of the now dead soldier.
Deadeye and Ryliah grabbed the rifles from the other two soldiers while Melissa took one of the daggers and handed a pistol to Aryia. Checking the magazine, Aryia estimated that it held eight bullets.
Melissa took point as Lylianna followed close behind her, her weapon in a low‑ready position. Following behind Lylianna was Deadeye and Ryliah while Aryia guarded the rear. Moving silently and swiftly the Knights made their way down one of the hallways.
Coming to a door, Melissa held out her hand signaling for everyone to hold their position. She placed her ear to the door and listened carefully. After a few minutes she held up three fingers, signaling that she could hear three soldiers beyond the door. Melissa dropped to one knee and drew out a model of the room beyond to the best of her ability. She plotted out where the guards were based on her best understanding. Aryia held up her hand and made her way quietly to the door. Putting her ear to the door she could hear exactly three guards and could imagine in her mind exactly where they were at. She pointed out where the guards were at, noting that Melissa was off a bit.
Deadeye confirmed where each of the soldiers were, noting that one of the guards was now heading through a door to the South. Once the guard was gone Deadeye pointed out that there were two guards and they were not facing the door.
Lylianna ordered Melissa to sneak in and kill them both. With a simple nod Melissa opened the door and silently rushed into the room and killed the closer of the two guards, slitting his throat. Melissa threw the dagger as the other guard turned to the sound of his dying friend. The last thing he saw was a dagger flying at his face before the world around him turned black.
With a simple hand signal Melissa let the others know it was clear. They continued through the complex until they came to a room that looked like a place to store weapons and ammo.
“Grab what you can, clothes and gear then move out. Two minutes,” Lylianna said watching the door.
Aryia went first putting on a uniform and grabbing a fully automatic weapon. With time to spare she grabbed a few magazines that already had clips in them. After she was finished gathering what she could she headed to the door and stood ready as Ryliah, Melissa and Deadeye changed into Versyian uniforms as well and grabbed what weapons an ammo they could. Lylianna was last person to put on a uniform and gear up.
Once everyone was ready they slowly moved down the hallway. Even if they had gear and weapons they still would be no match for a base of fully armed soldiers. Heading down another hallway Deadeye mapped out the complex as the Knights continued to look for an exit.
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Hiking for eighty kilometers in the dead of night through the woods would kill a normal soldier but for the Knights this was just like training. Unlike training however, they had the whole republic to worry about so they had to move fast before the whole country side was alerted to their break out.
After hiking East for some time they came to a river. The water was quite calm as everyone set up defensive positions around the area.
“Five minutes for food and water and then we continue on,” Lylianna said.
Aryia was a bit surprised that they couldn’t stop for at least a bit of sleep. Melissa and Lylianna ate quickly as everyone else continued to defend their fire sectors. Once they finished the rest of the Knights rotated out until everyone had eaten in less then five minutes.
Everyone crossed the river quickly and continued on for another ten kilometers. Aryia felt her feet aching but she continued to tell herself that it would be over if they got caught. They continued on until they came to a coast line. With the moon still out Lylianna knew what direction they would need to head in order to enter Sylveria waters.
Swimming across a vast sea was out of the question.
“Team, we have two options. Swim five‑hundred kilometers or try to build a raft and hope it holds.”
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Working until daybreak the Knights managed to build a raft and cross the large ocean. They soon found themselves in Sylverian waters and quickly captured by the Sylverian Seamen Guard. A few days passed as they were kept in a holding cell on a ship bound for the a coast town. Once they had hit land they were quickly moved to a prison. Aryia felt as if she had been through hell but at least being in a Sylverian prison was better than the torture that everyone went through.
A few hours passed and everything was soon straighten out as soldiers apologized for treating the Knights like enemies. Lylianna told them not to worry about it as the Knights headed out to see the Emperor. However, before they hopped on a helicopter to the capital they ate a meal fit for a king.
Aryia was more then overjoyed to have a decent warm meal as she downed her food quickly.
“You should pace yourself,” Melissa said eating rather slowly.
Disregarding her advice, Aryia continued to eat as fast as she could and drank water until she found herself starting to choke on her own food. After a few seconds of pounding her chest she managed to get the food and drink down the right pipe.
“I told you to slow down,” Melissa said with a smile.
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Once they had arrived at the capital the Knights headed for their barrack to change into more suitable clothes. Aryia began to miss her weapon she had made, however, she knew that she could just make a new one, although it would not be as great. I wonder if we will ever get our weapons back.
Inside the throne room they knelt before the Emperor and awaited what was to come. Lylianna felt this would be the end of Black Knights. As the Emperor stared at his Knights he questioned just what he should do.
“Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t have all of you executed where you kneel?”
Princess Amalthea seemed shocked by the question her father had asked. More surprised then her was Aryia, the others however seemed quite calm. Aryia stood up.
“Wait, your grace we—”
Before Aryia could finish Lylianna slammed her elbow into Aryia’s ribs forcing her back down to one knee as she held her stomach.
“Forgive her, your grace, she did not mean to speak out in your presence.”
Princess Amalthea felt sad for what the Knights were going through. She had heard rumors that they were captured by the enemy, and if that was true then it was uncalled for to be treating them as if they had failed.
“We were set up by someone from within the Sylverian Kingdom.”
The Emperor had an angry look about his face.
“And just what are you implying? That I set you up?!”
“No your grace, I merely meant that it was someone else, possibly within the Eastern Line HQ.”
“I see, is that all?”
“Layla Veltress had planned to over throw you with the help of Colonel Cortez.”
“Very well, if that is all…”
“That is all, your grace.”
“I now sentence you all to death.”
The room was silent as the words that came from the Emperor’s mouth slowly sank into Aryia’s brain. Did he just sentence us to death, she thought. The horror on Princess Amalthea’s face showed as the rest of the Knights pulled out their pistols. All of them held the guns to their head in unison, ready to die on command of the Emperor. Aryia was the only one who had yet to do as ordered. Lylianna quickly pinned Aryia down and held her pistol to her head. She tried to pull out her pistol, however, Lylianna quickly disarmed her in a flash. As Aryia’s pistol slid a few meters across the chamber floor Princess Amalthea sprang up from her throne.
“Stop this! I order you Knights not to do it!”
“I am sorry my lady but your father’s orders overrule your own.”
Tears began to form in Amalthea’s eyes. She did not want to lose her Knights. Without warning she ran for Aryia’s pistol on the floor and picked it up. Like the Knights she held the pistol to her head and looked to father.
“Father, stop this or I will kill myself as well. If you kill them, then you kill your own daughter.”
Everyone in the room was shocked by what came out of the Amalthea’s mouth. Lylianna didn’t get shocked by many things but this managed to take her by surprise. Aryia was more confused then surprised by what was going on while the Emperor seemed more annoyed then anything. A few seconds passed until the Emperor finally let out a deep sigh.
“Very well, Knights I retract that order. It seems my daughter holds some empathy for failures. Now, leave us.”
“Yes, your grace.”
Lylianna holstered her pistol as she got off of Aryia and picked her up by the shirt collar. The rest of the Knights holstered their pistols as well. Amalthea handed the pistol back to Aryia and smiled a weak, but happy tear‑filled smile. Without speaking another word they left, heading back to their Headquarters.
“What the hell was that?” Aryia asked as they entered their Headquarters.
“If the Emperor tells us to kill ourselves then we do it,” Lylianna said as she grabbed a book from the bookshelf.
“But that is stupid!”
“I recall you are the one that signed up for this team. I did not force you.”
“Yeah, but you—”
“Enough. This conversation is over.”
Lylianna laid back on her bed and opened up a book entitled A Soldier’s Will. Aryia decided to try and get some much needed rest as she laid her head down.
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Melissa looked over all the medication and medical supplies in the medical room. I need a drink, she thought. Entering the mess hall she noticed that they were out of alcohol. As Melissa headed out the front door she noticed Princess Amalthea walking up.
“My lady.”
Melissa dropped to one knee.
“Please stand up Melissa, treat me as if I was a normal person.”
“As you wish, my lady.”
“Now, tell me what happened with your mission, everything please.”
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Princess Amalthea entered the Black Knight’s bedroom without warning.
“Sulł! Melissa told me everything all of you went through. So, don’t bother standing up just rest.”
Lylianna felt a bit conflicted but she obeyed and sat up in her bed. Aryia was happy and laid back down closing her eyes, still alert to what was going on around her. Amalthea sat down next to Lylianna and looked into her eyes.
“Remove your shirt for me Lydia.”
She quickly removed her shirt baring her cicatrix infested body before the princess. As soon as she saw her body Princess Amalthea soon wished she could have retracted her statement. Seeing all the cuts and burns over weeks… months, made the princess uneasy.
“By the goddesses…”
Princess Amalthea hugged Lylianna gently. She wished she could have taken away the pain that Lylianna went through.
“It is fine, my lady.”
As Amalthea got up from the bed she turned to Aryia.
Aryia quickly opened her eyes and looked to the girl who now had a smile on her face to hide the pain of what she saw.
“Yes Princess?”
“Make sure you take care of Lylianna. Sometimes she gets so involved with her duty to the royal family that she forgets she is human too.”
Lylianna blushed slightly — avoiding eye contact — trying not to show it as the princess left. Wow, the Major is cute when she blushes, Aryia thought. Closing her eyes she drifted off into a deep and pleasant sleep.
Aryia awoke to the sound of Lylianna’s voice. She only managed to get a good four hours of sleep. Even if it wasn’t the standard eight hours that one would normally get she was still glad that she could sleep in a nice soft bed.
The Knights gathered in the mess hall. As they sat around the table, Lylianna stood up.
“So, we know that Layla was conspiring with Colonel Cortez to overthrow the Emperor. The question is, what is her next move?”
As Aryia pondered the question she ate a nice warm meal made by Ryliah. It was hard to believe she was a talented cook. While she continued to eat Aryia recalled what happened in the throne room and then what Layla said to her. Maybe Layla was right, she thought.
“What if Layla was right?”
Everyone looked to Aryia.
“Right about what?” Ryliah asked.
“About the Emperor being—”
Lylianna held her pistol to Aryia’s head.
“Do not finish that sentence or I will kill you myself.”
Aryia’s body froze in fear.
“As a Knight you live and die by the Emperor’s orders. No matter how crazy they are. Do I make myself clear?”
Aryia could only nod. No one said a word after Lylianna holstered her pistol. The rest of the Knights knew deep down that the Emperor was truly an oppressive dictator, however, they had to follow his orders until his death.
“We will continue to piece together this assassination plot later, that is all.”
Once Lylianna was finished with her food she got up from the table and headed to the library.
“Is she always like that?” Aryia asked.
“The Major just wants you to be in the right frame of mind,” Melissa said as she left the room.
“As Knights we cannot let emotions, feelings or beliefs get in the way of orders,” Deadeye said getting up as well and leaving.
“This is the life we live until we die Aryia,” Ryliah said leaving Aryia alone in the mess hall.
She thought about what the others had said. This is the life I chose but that doesn’t mean I have to like it, she thought. As Aryia finished her food she got up from the table to clean her plate. I wonder how Mari is doing. After cleaning her plate Aryia headed to the bedroom to apologize to Lylianna for what she said. Lylianna simply told her it was fine and went back to reading her book.
“There is something on your mind?” Lylianna asked looking up from her book.
“Oh, uh… I was just wondering if I could go see how my friend Mari is doing.”
“Be back by 1800 hours.”
Aryia was happy on the inside as she headed out. Before she could step out the front door she ran into Ryliah.
“Where are you off to?”
“I was going to see Mari.”
“Would you mind if I tagged along?”
“I don’t mind but we have to be back by 1800.”
“All right.”
Ryliah went to her room and grabbed her beret along with Aryia’s. After putting on her beret she thanked Ryliah for grabbing it for her. Once the two of them were ready they headed out for the barracks.
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Lylianna continued to read her book until there was a knock at the door. With a sigh she placed a bookmark on the page she was at and headed for the door. Standing at the door was Princess Amalthea’s butler.
“I am deeply sorry to disturb you Major Veltress, however, the Emperor wishes to speak with you.”
“Only me?”
“I see.”
Grabbing her beret Lylianna headed for the castle as Greg stopped for a second to chat.
“Welcome back Major, heard you had a shitty week.”
“That is the life of a soldier Greg.”
Not wanting to waste anymore time with talking, Lylianna headed for the entrance as quickly as she could. Once she was in presence of the Emperor she dropped to one knee as always. The Emperor sat there on his throne as Amalthea sat on her throne with a large smile on her face.
“It seems that the Black Knights are still useful Major.”
Lylianna did not speak.
“For whatever reason my daughter wanted the Black Knights to be by her side for this.”
“I see. Thank you my lady.”Bookmark here

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