Chapter 11:

Zombie I

The Aliens They Summoned

His body halted. He couldn't change anything about it, the voice just had too much power. Dead meat was fearless, lawless, limitless... and yet, this voice had him tremble, it had him listen, and it stopped his every muscle from so much as twitching.Bookmark here

He only knew one being that could accomplish a feat like that, and that being always showed itself in the disguise of a woman.Bookmark here

This wasn't a woman's voice, he knew that.Bookmark here

It was a boy's.Bookmark here

The furred beast in front of him didn't move, either.Bookmark here

This creature, who wouldn't drop dead and was strong enough to fight with him one-on-one didn't dare to move, either.Bookmark here

So it wasn't just him...Bookmark here

The furball felt it, too.Bookmark here

Cedric turned his head.Bookmark here

The swarm of the undead parted, and a small boy came forth. At least he assumed it was a small boy, for his face was covered with a strange metal mask separated into four ripples.Bookmark here

His eyes glowed in bright yellow.Bookmark here

He also wore a black tunic that extended to the ground like a long, black skirt.Bookmark here

Was he a monk?Bookmark here

He looked like one.Bookmark here

When he spoke again, Cedric knew that this was the boy who had stopped their fight.Bookmark here

"You don't even realize the position you're in, do you?"Bookmark here

He exchanged a glance with the beast, wondering what he meant. From the questioning look of his enemy, he deducted that it, too, didn't know what the boy was talking about.Bookmark here

Cedric relaxed his stance.Bookmark here

The beast did the same.Bookmark here

"I have acquired freedom. Is that not enough?"Bookmark here

He searched for an opening in the boy's stance. There were many... too many. His aura alone, as untrained as it was, was enough to stop Cedric from trying.Bookmark here

He was like an untrained, but a more formidable version of the woman he met before he had been locked behind the wall.Bookmark here

"From what I've heard, you confronted the human races of this world once already. Why don't you remember what happened to you, then?"Bookmark here

"History won't repeat itself," Cedric confidently stated, unconsciously bowing his head.Bookmark here

What was wrong with him?Bookmark here

The boy was untouchable!Bookmark here

"If that's what you want to believe, sure." The boy glanced around, noticing the new acquisitions of his army. He scowled until it rested on the beast. "All the humans need to do is repeat what they did to you a thousand years ago. Lock you in, and the feat is done. These things," he pointed at the beast, "won't happen again. She made sure of that."Bookmark here

"So you know her?"Bookmark here

Was he her son?Bookmark here

To think that she was still around...Bookmark here

Cedric knew something was off about her when he first met that woman. She didn't even flinch in confronting him, and she didn't allow him to touch her once.Bookmark here

Once she unleashed her aura, he couldn't move, anyway.Bookmark here

She toyed with him.Bookmark here

"I know her rather well," the boy said, nodding. "All I wanted to tell you was that humans aren't as dumb as you want them to be. Warring among yourselves... it really won't help you. In a way, you are really similar. All of you. After all, you weren't meant to be here."Bookmark here

"What do you-?"Bookmark here

But he silenced the beast with a single glare.Bookmark here

His eyes rested on it, followed the outlines of his body to his wings, his claws, and the look in his eyes.Bookmark here

"Interesting," he mumbled, turning around.Bookmark here

The way he so openly showed them his back... he really was the same as her.Bookmark here

Cedric wouldn't have guessed that she could even get a kid.Bookmark here

Few men wanted a woman that was stronger than them...Bookmark here

Wait, does that mean she found a man as powerful as her?Bookmark here

He shuddered at the thought.Bookmark here

The swarm didn't close in after the boy passed through. Their mindless gazes lingered on his back until he was gone and long after.Bookmark here

At that moment, they weren't mindless.Bookmark here

The beast was like them, unable to separate his gaze. It most likely feared for its life if it looked away. Cedric knew the feeling.Bookmark here

Something about the way he talked with them worried him, though.Bookmark here

Humans aren't as dumb as you want them to be.Bookmark here

Does that mean they know that I am free?Bookmark here

Would they come to get him again? To imprison him and his kind behind a wall so that they couldn't bother the realms of men again?Bookmark here

It took him centuries to build up this army behind the wall.Bookmark here

He wouldn't be imprisoned in there again!Bookmark here

Never!Bookmark here

Cedric turned to the beast, raising his voice.Bookmark here

"I never heard of a creature like you," he said, trying to sound as normal as possible. It wasn't easy with a body as old as his. "How did you come here?"Bookmark here

"I... just arrived," the beast said, turning away from the boy. The swarm seemed to remember its lack of intelligence, too, as if closed the circle once more. They waited for their orders. "I woke up in a cave. I was in one before, but that one was different. I was imprisoned in a castle, but come full moon..."Bookmark here

He trailed off.Bookmark here

"What about the others?" Cedric inquired.Bookmark here

"Once I bite someone, they will become the same as me. A werewolf. A beast that lusts for flesh and transforms once every lunar cycle, during the night of the full moon. It only works on humans, though."Bookmark here

"Then we really are the same," Cedric said, smiling in exasperation. He went on with his explanation when he noticed the wondrous expression on the werewolf's face. "If a zombie kills any living thing through a bite, scratch, or with a bone - as unlikely as that sounds, - they won't ever find true rest and join my army." Cedric thought back on his fight with the beast... the beast? "Say, what's your name?"Bookmark here

"Marion," he answered warily. "You?"Bookmark here

"Cedric. Well, that was my name before I was bitten. These guys don't have the brains to remember names anymore."Bookmark here

"... How come you can talk, then?"Bookmark here

Cedric sighed.Bookmark here

"That's a long story. I'll tell you if you explain that black mist and the wings. You're the only one I saw with those... or did they die before they could use this ability?"Bookmark here

Moving through shadows in the blink of an eye, possibly flying and attacks aided by darkness?Bookmark here

It was like magic, and Cedric had to wary of that.Bookmark here

Not only that, but Marion managed to hold his own against him, which was unprecedented in terms of raw strength.Bookmark here

Cedric had believed that only weapons could harm him.Bookmark here

Marion shook his head.Bookmark here

"It just came to me. I don't know why, but I just warped into the darkness... I didn't control it. I don't know what it is... All I did was fight against some shadows... maybe the black mist was contagious and I got it, too. They stabbed me with swords clad in darkness repeatedly, those bastards..."Bookmark here

The difference between him now and during the fight was staggering.Bookmark here

The raging beast he described during the full moon was nowhere to be found. If anything, he was rational. Calm. Human.Bookmark here

It actually felt good to talk like a man for once.Bookmark here

"The boy said that cases like us won't happen again. I believe these shadows are like us in that they can multiply by some means. If it's stabbing or being bitten, I don't know. That might explain why my bite didn't work on you. Frankly speaking, you should be dead by now, but here you are, talking like a sane being. You probably turned into a shadow-werewolf hybrid, and now my zombie virus isn't strong enough to take you down, anymore. That's impressive."Bookmark here

"It definitely worked," Marion admitted. "I felt weak for a second, then very strong in the next."Bookmark here

"Whatever it may be, let's hope those shadows decide to join us."Bookmark here

Marion shivered.Bookmark here

"I don't want to fight them ever again!"Bookmark here

"They won't be fighting us. What do you think I've built this huge army for? That boy was right. I forgot what it meant to be free. We must fortify the wall! It will give us an advantage."Bookmark here

"Fortify... what do you mean?"Bookmark here

Marion followed Cedric through the swarm, which parted for them.Bookmark here

"It will give us some safety from humans and their attacks. They have magic, weaponry beyond measure, and there are many of them. Even together, it will be a hard fight. EVERYONE! HACK DOWN WOOD AND BUILD A STAIR ON OUR SIDE OF THE WALL! WE MUST ENSURE THAT WE CAN SCALE IT ALL THE TIME! FORTIFY THE CITY WITH WHATEVER MATERIAL WE HAVE AT OUR DISPOSAL! THEY WILL COME AND THEY WILL BEAT US IF WE DON'T ACT SWIFTLY!"Bookmark here

The zombies roared in approval, swarming out.Bookmark here

Being the general was the fate of the sane man in the group. The werewolf-zombies hesitated as if their bodies struggled against the order.Bookmark here

Even in death, they were tough bastards!Bookmark here

"How about digging tunnels behind the enemy lines? I'm sure having to deal with zombies suddenly appearing out of the earth would shake them up," Marion suggested.Bookmark here

"That's actually not a bad idea," Cedric admitted. "Where should they lead to?"Bookmark here

"We can make them from the city outwards, and from behind the walls to the outside. If the wall gets sealed again, we would have a way out, too."Bookmark here

Cedric snickered.Bookmark here

The undead werewolves darted away as if they knew where to dig the tunnels. Cedric always knew what a zombie would do.Bookmark here

"Being not the only one with a brain does make me happy. It has been too long."Bookmark here

Together, they made their plans.Bookmark here

Marion didn't change form that day.Bookmark here

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