The first thing I saw when I stepped out the cell room into the hallways was my scar-faced torturer from before. She was leaning against the wall with both her arms folded and her eyes closed. Realizing that I was standing before her, she opened her eyes staring at me briefly before silently walking away. As much I would've probably joked out anything she threw at me, the truth was that I was terrified of her. Even though by the blessings of the Gods my junk suffered no serious damages and the conversation with my savior helped me forget the pain, the mental scars remained.
When she left, bringing all her tension with her, the design of the hallway; mainly the wall she leaned on popped out at me. The again wooden walls had wooden lanterns with lighted candles for every three steps made. Under these lanterns were doors presumably leading to other cell rooms. There was a double door in the center of the room with weird scribbles on it that had lanterns right beside it to the left and the right. When I began to walk up to it to get a closer look again, I felt the clawed hands of a knight's rusty armor on my body, this time on my shoulders.
"It's best if you didn't give that room too much of your attention."
I didn't allow my curiosity to have me go against her advice.
On the walls there was a drawing of a faceless mother in a red and white nun's attire who was seemingly pregnant with thick arrows extending from her back going in sixteen different directions. This drawing was also repeated for every three steps: even being on the middle of the double door. It had a feeling and look of grace to it.
The hallway had two paths that were seemingly the same length. The torturer went left. We took the right until we came upon a series of steps with another double door at the top. This door had another drawing of the pregnant arrow nun on it.
My savior had been silently leading the way up until this point. When we had reached the door, she turned to face me inviting me to take her hand with a subtitle smile on her face as she opened the door. I had accepted her invitation following her into the light behind her.
In that moment, I had been re-introduced to the area I was in.
My feet went from wooden floors to a dirt road on the outside of the jail. As I looked around, I again saw wooden buildings of all different sizes. Some of them had stalls and sheds beneath them. When I looked left, I saw the gigantic fouwer in the far outskirts. I also saw that wooden steps led to higher levels in the wooden community/shack town. I couldn't see the other levels from where I was though. Only a fog. The place really was structured like a colosseum.
The streets were full of hooded individuals roaming about. Somewhere even selling and buying from stalls, playing, conversing; helping to create the town picture. They were clothed in rags identical to my own with theirs only appearing more layered from what I saw.
Across the street, one of these figures were using something looking like paintbrush to rub a colorless liquid over one of the wooden structures.
"What's she doing?"
"Coating the building."
"The same thing the knights drugged you with."
"It's called whalerum. It's both a powerful alcoholic beverage that can numb the body or even the brain if taken in large amounts and a coating that's used to hold our buildings together. These buildings are as good as relics of the past that can't stand up straight without it."
"So that's why the building fell apart earlier!"
"Oh....that." she said while holding her head down smiling slightly. I didn't pry any deeper into the matter.
She then wrapped her hand around my own like the knight she was. I felt like a princess she was escorting.
"Put that hood over your head and walk with me. You can look all you want but don't say a word until we've arrived at our destination and some business is taken care of. We'll discuss what you've seen then." Again, I did as she said. She must have her reasons.
As we walked through the town, several of the hooded figures hailed my savior. She responded by smiling and waving. She must've been a celebrity around these parts I thought. This happened until we had arrived at our destination.
It was the structure I crashed into earlier. There were hooded figures around piles of old wood making repairs to the building. She then proceeded to remove her hands from around mine to push me slightly on the back saying:
"Here. I brought another pair of hands to speed up the process."
"Wha-What's the meaning of this?" I responded to being pushed.
"So, you think you could destroy MY house in an act of childish stupidity and not lift a hand in repairs?! Not on the rotting dead! What're you doing? GET TO WORK!" she replied in a face red in wrath.
"Ye-yes Mam!" I didn't want her to bite my head off.
The hooded figures worked me like a mule. It was as if they reserved the heaviest piles of wood for me to lift. I hadn't worked so hard my entire life. I only lifted though since it seemed to have required a higher level of skill to help put the place back together.
It was nearing the end of construction when an accident happened. One of the hooded figures carrying wood like myself caused the accident when the rope holding the wood being carried popped causing the wood to fall apart hitting a ladder resulting in another hooded figure sitting on top of this ladder to come crashing down. I dropped all the wood I was carrying running to the rescue by grabbing and caressing the figure cushioning the impact.
When I had checked to see if the figure was okay, my eyes had their fourth meeting. These two had a fierce but oddly timid way of greeting my own. They were yellow and black belonging to a woman that had ears, fangs and whiskers like a wolf. She looked frightened and it seemed as if she had held her breath in her fright. She was okay though.
After I had let go of her, she turned to face my savior. My savior, who stood in the image of a true knight with her left arm holding her right wrist nodded her head at her. She then turned to bow her head to me saying timidly:
"T-Thank you for saving me!"
"Your welc-" she ran off before fully hearing me out.
"He's with me!" my savior then gallantly announced.
That was when I realized how many onlookers my little scene attracted. I was being stared at -after further inspection- by women who some of which had features like animals. They looked with different expressions on their faces in silence for an awkward minute. After they had stared their fill, repairs resumed with the hooded women being slightly cautious when interacting with me.
When repairs had ended, I crashed into the ground. I was exhausted.
My savior then walked over to me and threw me over her shoulders bringing into her newly refigured cottage like I was some beast she just slew. I was too tired to fully express my shock.
She had half the face of a revered beauty and half that would cause her to be fit to be poster girl of a slasher flick in the eyes of some, the build of a busty third year high school girl not that much taller than me; even though her armor expressed this poorly and now she surprises me with the strength of a wild bear!
The interior of the cottage nullified my shock with its simplistic design. It was only composed of a single room. The room had only a small wooden bed and a small wooden table with a lamp and a window above the bed. Nothing else. This place looked more like a prison cell.
My savior then placed me beside the only door in the room at the entrance finally commenting after overlooking the room:
"Well, this came out nicely."
" I'm sorry. It was my idiocy that caused all this."
" You've already worked out your apologies. Would tell you don't sweat it, but you already did."
" If you say so I guess."
"So how do you like it?"
"It's underwhelming to say the least, but I could see myself falling asleep in here pretty easily."
"I hear ya on that one."
"If you agree with me, why don't you crank things up in here?"
"Not my responsibility."
"Huh? Isn't this your house? How on earth could something like amping the place up not be your responsibility?"
"Every building in this city belongs to me. My only responsibility is to ensure that they aren't destroyed. Anything besides that is the responsibility of the occupant. It just so happens that this is your responsibility as of now."
"So, you're trying to tell me that you don't live here?"
"Essentially. I'm also letting you know that you live here as of now. This house has been with ghosts for way too long. I'm finally putting some life in here."
Before she finished her sentence, she reopened the door and put a foot back outside before I interrupted her loudly:
"Where are you going?"
"Huuuuuh?! Didn't you say I'd get to ask questions after I saw about what I saw after business was taken care of?" I inquired in my annoyance.
"I'll have you know that walking from here to my quarters, removing my armor, washing myself and finally laying myself to rest after a warm meal is serious business!" she said raising her tone back at me.
" Why you!" I was becoming infuriated with her.
"Tomorrow's task without a doubt. *Places hand on shoulder* You've worked yourself tired. Get some rest because your mind has to be healthy during our discussion. *Yawns and looks up at sky* The hollow moon demands our slumber. It would be wise not to disobey it."
I sighed in response and looked up at the sky illuminated by the full moon. I didn't realize it had been so late.
"Fine you win. I'll get some sleep and we'll finish this in the morning. Don't pull anymore bullshit. It's aggravating."
"Hehe. Your wrath commands submission my princess."
"Hey! Who are you calling your princess?! Hey! I'm talking to you!"
"Till we meet again!" she exclaimed as she walked off waving her armored hand at me. I clicked my teeth and closed the door.
Who does she think she is? I murmured to myself as I walked across the tiny room to go sit on the bed to the left of the door. I eventually went to lie on it. It was as comfortable as my bed back home.
After laying there for a few minutes, I remembered that I had worked my sweat pores to the limit today and my scent had to have evolved because of this. I needed a bath. I also more importantly needed answers, but I was about to go to sleep without them as well. A bath and answers. I'll sleep just as good with or without them I thought under the influence of my exhaustion as I closed my eyes allowing myself to dose off.
She stood in the city square beside the lengthy stone tower as she observed her surroundings for the final time. It had been her fifth time doing this as she patrolled the town during the three hours since she had left the strange, shaved hair, soft faced boy in his new home.
Before her were the six different roads leading into the city from the foot of the gigantic tower. Within the circular open space, the size of a playing field where the tower existed was exactly where the savior stood as she observed these six paths.
"What where the chances of him choosing the path that would lead him to both cross my eyes and crash into that house. The peculiarity of faith."
Turning her back to the six paths before shortly after murmuring this to herself, she began to walk towards the tower. The moment she came face to face with the skyscraper like monument, she moved in to press her iron claws against the cold stone walls chanting in her smooth voiced toned down into a quiet whisper: "My sins will not pollute the waters."
In response to this, the two blocks of stone she pressed her claws against snuck into the tower bringing her hands in with them. The moment the blocks stopped sinking; the savior's hands became drenched in water. This was because water had been flowing inside the stone walls of the tower.
Before the savior's feet, the ground caved in revealing a spiral, stone stairway that was still dripping due to it just being drained of water. The savior descended the stairs slowly while freely dragging her claws across the wet stone wall to the left of her as her iron boots clashed with the puddles of water sitting on the steps.
She had finally arrived at destination which had her standing facing a stone door this time.
"Even the hidden gate is sealed. Whew! He really was telling the truth." she said before exhaling a sigh of relief as she placed of her hands on the thick, grey door. She then held her head down narrowing her eyes creating a face of sincerity that emitted the warmth she felt after this realization.
The candlelight from the lamp that illuminated the room dimmed with every passing of the wind as I laid there. I noticed because though my eyes were shut, I was wide awake.
The dose off only lasted so long. After it wore off, I honestly couldn't sleep. This was probably because in spite of the cruising wind I opened the windows to allow in, the room was still violently hot.
I stripped slightly removing the torso of my rags resting it on the table beside me. The relief I felt from this again, only lasted so long.
I couldn't bring myself to fully strip as I'd feel extremely uncomfortable sleeping naked. Even though this would've been a good time to organize my thoughts, I was too irritated to meditate. I just laid there twisting and turning hoping I'd accidentally find a sweet spot.
This rustling did eventually get me something though. A hard bump on the head after I rolled myself off the bed headfirst crashing into the wooden floors.
I tried to get up while rubbing the spot that was most irritated by my fall. That was when I noticed it. There was a book etched in-between the mattress and the skeleton of the bed. My curiosity didn't leave me with a moment to spare the second after I saw it causing me to pull out the book almost instantly.
It was a slim, pink book that was bow-tied with hair ribbons. It's aura oozed "girly".
"Every building in this city belongs to her, she says? What a load a bullshit." I confirmed to myself as I untied the ribbons on the book. This house was definitely my savior's and this book confirmed it.
With the ribbons undone, the book's cover art became visible. It was a Chibi drawing of a knight folding his arm and tilting his head in disagreement with a sword by his side. The book was entitled "Scabbard and Stubborn." Jeez how old does she think she is?
The story was centered around a knight accompanied by his princess that refused to draw his sword regardless of the situation whether it was one of life or death or a test of his pride regardless of how much the princess pressured him to do so. In the end, he eventually drew his sword to cut out a bouquet of flowers to give to his promised bride, the crowded princess.
A dumb book it was. Dumb enough to distract me from the fact that I was setting in an inferno. It also gave possible insight on how my savior might've liked to spend her spare time.
I decided to put it back where I found it before she returned in the morning but after I had tied it similar to how I found it, it was difficult to squeeze it in-between the mattress like before. I decided to slightly lift the mattress in order to make the process less stressful and this caused my eyes to stretch in shock.
I fully raised the mattress to confirm what I saw.
There were nine other books resembling the one I had just read of different colors all tied with a matching bow tie. An odd sight I thought it out to be. Nonetheless curiosity again struck causing me to act.