A Tour of the World Between Worlds
It was frustrating to see the grey cabin walls once again. I felt unexpectedly tense as I realized I was back in the world between worlds. I took a couple of deep breaths in an effort to make the feeling go away.
I could hardly understand what was going on. Why was I feeling this way? A dream shouldn’t have so much effect on me. As I took deep breaths, I silently mouthed, ‘just a dream’ over and over again.
It took a while before I even realized that Azul was trying to speak to me.
“Kiko. Kiko,” he said in a soft voice.
“It seems you had an interesting dream; would you like to talk about it?”
I stood up and pushed my way outside the door without a second thought. The day was already underway, and the others were out and about.
“Hey, Kiko!” Orrin cried in a cheery voice. For some reason, it annoyed me very much today—much more than usual. I probably owed my frustration to the dream, which made it all the more aggravating. I don’t think I hid my emotions very well; I could feel tension on my face, but that did not stop Orrin from making his way over happily. “We’re about to head out and see what we can get done before everything goes down! You’re welcome to do whatever you need to prep!”
He seemed to count me as a member of this group. If he knew more about me, he would likely keep away. My hand tightened into a fist before I could instinctually grab my dagger. The dream was too vivid; I couldn’t get anything out of my head. Did I kill him? I was cold in the dream. I’m not sure I wasn’t any colder now.
“That’s fine,” I said to Orrin as soon as I realized he was still standing there. He seemed satisfied, so I excused myself and walked away. It took all I had to not dash out of the camp; I suspect the green man behind me might have shouted something along the lines of ‘where’s the fire?’ if I did.
Upon exiting and entering the grey woods, I considered letting out a frustrated cry. I settled for stabbing a blade into a grey tree. All my might went into the motion as its golden tip easily pierced the grey wood.
“Hey now, the tree didn’t do anything to you!” a voice shouted from a branch above. Azul hissed as I looked up. The glowing frog was sitting up top and looking down at us. He seemed to shake his head in disappointment.
“Kiko, best to ignore this one,” Azul warned.
“No need to worry,” I replied. My dagger came out with a yank, and I, with a quick spin on a heel, made my way into the dense woods.
“Wait!” the frog shouted. “This is why I hate humans….”
I quickly broke into a sprint and dashed through the grey foliage. It felt good to burn some energy, at least.
I’m unsure how long it took, but I slowed down as the forest began to thin. I broke from the trees to a section of tree stumps. The sight might have been something to take in, but my attention was immediately turned to the stump right in front of me. The frog sat in the middle, tapping his back foot impatiently.
“How can a frog move so fast?” I asked as my hands wrapped around my dagger’s hilts like arms around old friends.
“You don’t think I’m really– I need to speak with you concerning the discussion you lot had last night.”
“What discussion?” I stepped back. I suspect the creature spoke of the battle the others were expecting, but we were well inside the wall when we talked about it.
“The monster coming. Are you too low of intellect to realize!”
“Kiko, it is best not to listen to things that insult you this way,” Azul hissed. The blue dragon bared his fangs at the frog.
“What is your concern?”
“You will not fare well in this upcoming battle.”
The frog sighed.
“I came to offer some help if you are willing to accept,” the frog held out a green leg to me like the small animal was trying to offer a handshake.
“Kiko, this thing is a trickster by nature,” Azul cautioned.
Clearly, he didn’t like the glowing frog creature, but given that I didn’t know much, some caution was justified. Still, if I was going to get wrapped up in this coming fight, I didn’t want to add another enemy to the mix.
“I won’t interfere with your help, but I won’t do anything more than that,” I replied. The frog shook his head.
“Fair enough, but loathe it as I may, I have been tasked with sticking close to you.” The glow on the frog suddenly shone so brightly that I had to cover my eyes. When my vision cleared up, he was gone. I looked around the space, but he was nowhere to be seen.
“Up top, Kiko,” Azul grumbled.
I instinctively reached for my head, but there was no sensation of anything on me. I turned my eyes upward and saw what Azul spoke about. A ball of green light floated out of arms reach above me. Whenever I took a step, it followed after.
I sprinted back into the woods—leaping over bushes and sliding under branches. He could follow if he wanted, but I was free to test how well the odd creature could keep up. I didn’t stop until I broke free into a familiar clearing. Lerato’s training equipment was littered about, with the hero repetitively moving some heavy weights up and down.
My gaze turned up once again. The ball of green light continued to float above me. The frog was tenacious; I’ll give him that.
“You can’t get away that easily, for better or worse; I am in charge of watching you,” the weird voice rang out from the orb.
“Best to ignore him, Kiko; I will stay on guard just in case,” Azul said.
“Thanks,” I quietly replied as I turned back to the training spot.
A little past where Lerato was lifting, as the hero had told me it was called, Enas stood as stiff as a statue. I made my way over to the bald man.
“Hey, Kiko, want to give something a try?” Lerato asked as I walked past.
“No, thank you.” He laughed at my reply, which was impressive considering the heavy mass of metal held right above his head.
I silently approached Enas and stopped at his side. His gun was trained to some round targets placed on trees. Three blue bursts fired from the weapon in quick succession before he addressed me.
I jumped. I had thought he was too focused to notice me, but I guess it was best not to assume. Perhaps I took him less seriously due to the nature of everyone else. Given all in the grey world, he was the best candidate for someone who had killed in the past.
It bothered me how confident I was in that assessment—as if I was well-equipped to identify a killer. My odd dreams were starting to get to me. I needed to push them away from the forefront of my mind.
The targets became my focus. The centers of three had been burned away.
“I think you are a good enough shot. Is this training worth it?”
“I am hardly a good shot. Those holes are barely concentric to the rest of the circle. If I cannot hit something still with precision, what good will it be when it moves?”
His words made little sense, both in the fact I didn’t quite follow what he meant and that I didn’t see why he felt he was lackluster. Either way, there wasn’t use in the target practice, to begin with. It was essential to keep a regiment so skills wouldn’t get rusty, but as far as I could tell, Enas was only improving his aim—a skill I would say he was proficient in already.
“Don’t you both feel that this training is a bit lacking for the battle ahead?” I was surprised I said it, but the words were out now.
“Hardly!” Lerato piped in from his machine. He didn’t offer anything else to reply to, but I couldn’t help wondering if it would be better to train with his supernatural abilities over the weird metal contraption. I turned to Enas, but his expression told me we didn’t see eye to eye in this matter.
I sighed and began to walk away. The others continued their ‘training’ as I slipped back into the woods.