Chapter 0:

Prologue

The Aliens They Summoned


He panted as he ran through the cave. His steps echoed from the walls, a clear indicator of his position. His pursuers would hear him breathe in here.Bookmark here

There was no escape.Bookmark here

It was unfair.Bookmark here

The nobles had everything, what did they care if he shot a boar in their private forests? It's not like one would make a difference!Bookmark here

The moon was up, but as he went further from the entrance, his vision gave in.Bookmark here

He hadn't had the time to light a torch, and the guards had dogs, so they'd find him anyway. He didn't stand a chance-Bookmark here

"Huh?"Bookmark here

His pained cry bounced from the walls, an ear-shattering sound which caused the dogs behind him to bark even louder.Bookmark here

"Calm down, you stupid animal!" he heard one of the noble's guards yell.Bookmark here

"Did he do that on purpose?" another, definitively more gruff-sounding guard cursed, presumably kicking a dog as a sharp wincing reached his ears shortly after.Bookmark here

He held his breath.Bookmark here

There was one chance...Bookmark here

One little chance.Bookmark here

The man reached for his belt, desperately searching for his knife. Thank God, he thought. I didn't lose it!Bookmark here

Mumbling the incantation under his breath, he slit the symbol of a wolf in his palm, hoping that this half-assed incantation would work.Bookmark here

"Summon!"Bookmark here

A sharp light made him close his eyes. Did it work?Bookmark here

His silent question was answered when his hand rose all alone... but he wasn't feeling fur, but skin... human skin.Bookmark here

Did he... summon a human?Bookmark here

He couldn't believe it, but neither did he have the time to consider his options.Bookmark here

"Where... am I?" the summoned person said. It was definitely a human. "Where-"Bookmark here

"There he is!" The guards had caught up with him. He clicked his tongue, attempting to run away, but stumbled over the person. "He isn't alone!" the guard warned, holding him down.Bookmark here

Another walked up to him, raising his hand, lighting it up with his torch.Bookmark here

He scowled.Bookmark here

"He tried to summon something!"Bookmark here

"Didn't work out, did it?" the gruff-sounding guard mocked, smirking down at him. He glared back. "He's a feisty one. Did your partner give in?" Even while asking this, the guard scowled. He was the most well-dressed guard of them all, probably the leader of this group. "Hey," he called back, "you didn't tell us that there were two!"Bookmark here

"There weren't when I saw him," a shivering youth stammered, walking forward. He wore a leather jacket and a short sword. He was an apprentice guard. "I swear on our lord and on God!"Bookmark here

He was bowing low, pleading with the leader.Bookmark here

"Hmm..." The gruff guard considered his pleading. When he continued, he sounded kinder. "Don't worry. You did well in spotting him at all. It's his fault for haunting in our lord's forest, anyway... and coming too close to the wall."Bookmark here

His tone gave off 'What an idiot!' vibes.Bookmark here

"Thanks, Sire!"Bookmark here

"What shall we do with the second one?" the guard who held him pinned to the ground asked. It was starting to hurt. "Take him with us. Maybe we'll get something useful out of him."Bookmark here

"But-" the summoned man started.Bookmark here

"We don't want to hear it!" the leader commanded, silencing the man. "Bring them to the castle. A few nights in the dungeons never hurt anybody," he jested, and uneasy chuckles broke out among his squad. "Let's go!"Bookmark here

The way back was painful.Bookmark here

His hands were tied together tightly with a rope, and he was being pulled along by a guard who enjoyed it when he stumbled over roots and stones.Bookmark here

At least he knew to keep quiet.Bookmark here

The man he summoned tried to speak up multiple times, but he received severe whip-lashing as an answer.Bookmark here

After a while, he fell silent, too.Bookmark here

The dungeons were dirty, wet, and dark.Bookmark here

An hour could pass in a day, or a year could pass in a week. Time seemed to flow differently, or at least it felt like that.Bookmark here

The man cursed his bad luck.Bookmark here

"Dumb boar!" he cursed later. "What can I do when it runs too close to the castle!"Bookmark here

The man he summoned only winced, hiding his head.Bookmark here

It wasn't his first day in the dungeons.Bookmark here

He had a family to feed, and no money to do so. He had to hunt and scavenge, but the commoners' woods were dry and few animals lived there.Bookmark here

It wouldn't have been enough...Bookmark here

He sighed.Bookmark here

This was the final time, he suspected.Bookmark here

He had never been caught stealing from a noble before.Bookmark here

They would starve him for a few days, if not longer... what a pitiful way to die.Bookmark here

Only a small window close to the ceiling told them how late it was. It was too small for even a mouse to walk through, but they didn't want prisoners to lose their sense of time completely... The man knew that they loved to cover it up during the daytime, though, so it wasn't a reliable way to tell the time.Bookmark here

For the guards, it was a joke.Bookmark here

The summoned man was in the same cell as he was, wincing at every sound. It took a few nights for him to calm down.Bookmark here

His gaze was locked on the small window above for some reason as if the small glimpse of freedom he got from there was all he needed.Bookmark here

He had so many questions, but he held them all back.Bookmark here

He knew how terrifying the first stay in a dungeon could be.Bookmark here

Contrary to his expectations, they were being fed. They got food and water, and the room was lit brighter and brighter every day.Bookmark here

We must be approaching the full moon, he thought absentmindedly, chewing on a hard slice of bread.Bookmark here

He heard his fellow inmate swallow hard before turning to him.Bookmark here

The man's eyes widened.Bookmark here

This would be the first time his summon spoke voluntarily.Bookmark here

"Where am I?"Bookmark here

"Where... in Nosra, in the dungeons of noble Viktor."Bookmark here

For now, he decided to answer all of his questions.Bookmark here

"And..." the other man stammered, still glancing at the window. Judging by the current state of the darkness, the only illumination being a torch some ways down the corridor of their cell, he couldn't see the sky today. As predicted, they covered daytime up with a stone. He could tell from the way the summoned man spoke that this wasn't actually what he was worried about. "Who are you?"Bookmark here

"Carl, a hunter."Bookmark here

"Ah... I'm Marion, by the way..."Bookmark here

"I see..."Bookmark here

He went back to chewing on his bread.Bookmark here

There was some noise above them.Bookmark here

The stone would be moved, soon.Bookmark here

"Say. What kind of moon will we have tonight?"Bookmark here

"Hm?" The shiver was gone from Marion's voice. He was fearful but expectant... "Judging by how bright it has become, it should be a full moon, no?" Carl shrugged. "They make hunting at night easier, so I quite like them."Bookmark here

Marion sunk his head.Bookmark here

"I see..."Bookmark here

The stone was pushed aside, and a single ray of light lit up the cell. Marion twitched, holding his head as if he was in pain.Bookmark here

He heard two chuckling voices from above, walking away.Bookmark here

"You ok?" Carl asked. Marion didn't look good at all. He looked like he was in serious pain. "... Marion?"Bookmark here

"I'm sorry for ruining your favorite moon," Marion stammered, biting his lips, screaming in agony. "I'm sorry for what's about to happen... AGH!"Bookmark here

"Hey, you're making me quite uncomfortable, here!"Bookmark here

Carl stood up and distanced himself.Bookmark here

Marion honestly scared him right now.Bookmark here

"Run... AWAY!"Bookmark here

"And where should I run to, exactly?"Bookmark here

Something bad was about to happen. Carl felt it. His hair stood on edge, and he instinctively reached for his knife... which he hadn't with him!Bookmark here

"GRARGH!"Bookmark here

Marion's voice lost its tired tone.Bookmark here

It was deep, growling... dangerous.Bookmark here

He was changing.Bookmark here

First, it was just his hair... then his eyebrows, the hint of chest hair on his breast, but soon hair grew from every part of him. He stood up, and Carl had to look up at his towering stature. His nails got longer, sharper, like knives. The joints in his feet bent strangely, and he buffed up until he looked like a bear on two legs.Bookmark here

He was muscular, with long nails.Bookmark here

His clothes laid on the ground, ripped into pieces.Bookmark here

With a wolf-like growl, he lowered his hands... no, his paws from his face. Marion's eyes were red slits of murderous intent, narrowing in apparent displeasure.Bookmark here

"Marion?"Bookmark here

At the sound of Carl's voice, the figure which was Marion and wasn't Marion punched angrily at the bars separating him from the corridor, ripping them out of the stone walls.Bookmark here

They were made of solid steel, and they reached deep into the solid stone.Bookmark here

No man could rip them out like that...Bookmark here

"Grrrrr...."Bookmark here

Then, Marion found Carl.Bookmark here

He knew that look.Bookmark here

He had seen it all the time when he summoned his trusty wolves to help him slay wild game. It was the look of a predator who found his prey...Bookmark here

Finally, Carl knew what went wrong with his summon.Bookmark here

"You are a wolf, aren't you?"Bookmark here

The words fell on deaf ears as Marion jumped on him, biting deep into the arms Carl threw in front of him, attempting to defend his face.Bookmark here

Both were ripped off before Carl even felt the pain.Bookmark here

The claws of the beast in front of him dug deep into his torso, and he spit out blood as Marion bit into his throat, cleanly separating his head from his body.Bookmark here

The last thing he saw was Marion licking his lips and letting out a howl, before indulging int he meat to his feet.Bookmark here

"Sonja... I'm sorry..."Bookmark here

As such, Carl's last moment passed.Bookmark here

Bookmarked
You can resume reading from this paragraph.