Chapter 08: Arrival At The Fort (Perspective: Claude)
I'm currently walking amongst the crowd of recruited S.H.s on our way to Fort Selston. I notice a man gazing at a picture he's carrying of a woman and child. I recognise them, it's the mother and son who we met at Selston.
"Family?" I ask.
The Wolfman S.H. pockets the photo, "Yes."
"Did you enlist for their sakes?"
"Me and my wife grew up living with the discrimination that's why I hope I can give my son a future. One where he can grow up smiling. I will do anything for that, including sacrificing myself for the people who made our lives hell to begin with."
I see, to give a future for the next generation. "In that case make sure you come out of this alive. People should live to see their dreams, not dying prematurely. I'm sure your kid would feel the same way."
"Yeah, I know," The Wolfman smiles, "I'm Trey," he holds out his hand, I shake it.
"I'm Claude." I highly doubt anyone here would be able to piece together who I am, so there's no need to give an alias.
"I see. I feel bad that a kid as young as you has got himself drafted into this. Someone of your age shouldn't have to fight." Trey says with a sad expression. Well I'm far from your average kid. "But then again, no one should. People losing their lives like flies for the benefit of those that sit comfortably at the top." His voice is filled with disdain.
As we continue onwards Fort Selston soon comes into view. The fort is built within the ravine that is the only land route that connects the Alpha Kingdom with the Ichi Empire. Due to the landscape there is a limit to how many soldiers the Ichi Empire can deploy, for that reason Fort Selston is thought to be impenetrable. But Fort Selston is really the only line of defence we have against the Empire's cavalry.
The big fort doors open in a slow motion and we file within the huge walls. "Thank you all for coming." Announces a well built S.H. with black wings sprouting out his back. "I'm the man in charge of this fort, Militia General Callas Nato. As I'm sure you are all aware the Empire persistently tries to cross our borders and it's our job to stop them."
Whilst the Militia General continues his speech I gaze around at all the soldiers manning the walls, those sharpening weapons, all those swinging their swords at the drill sergeant's call. Every single person here is an S.H. So they're bringing S.H.s here then leaving them to protect the border. Fort Selston is closer to an asylum of the unwanted. But if Diskard doesn't have any sentries here it makes my life a lot easier.
After the long almost pointless speech we were divided and assigned to separate divisions. Trey and I have been assigned to the Byako Division. Well not that it really matters, I didn't come here to enlist.
As soon as we arrive at the barracks Trey falls face down onto the nearest bed. "So tired," He weakly remarks. "How can you take all that training, Claude?"
I walk over and sit on another bed, "I've had various experience from travelling alone." I give a vague answer. Holding back my power is extremely difficult. I don't want to draw attention to myself.
*Snore!* Trey has suddenly fallen asleep. Well that's only to be expected. There's no way a regular civilian could turn into a soldier overnight.
"But now is my chance." I whisper to myself as I close the door behind me. I silently walk down the deserted hallway that is illuminated by flame torches. I've lost count just how many rooms I've walked past. I eventually exit the hallway and move into the open fort interior. The only people around are those manning the walls and their attention is focused outside the fort.
*Flap flap!* I notice a small creature descending towards me. A Mail-Bat? I hold my arm out to the small creature that neatly lands on it. I hide silently behind a wall and detach the letter on the Mail-Bat's leg and open it.
My King, I hope this letter finds you well. I'm writing this letter to inform you of what transpired recently. The Sechs Kingdom has tried to initiate an alliance with us but Meritz refused. In regards to you, Meritz is currently of the opinion that we don't need to take action against you. Finally we're having trouble at the borders with both the Ichi Empire and the Three Kingdom Alliance. Diskard and Taras are both busy defending the outside threats. My King, if you wish to take the throne now would be the time, whilst two of the Knights of Honour are out of the picture.
Always remember that I'm at your service.
I close up the letter. Unfortunately I'm guessing I'm still going to have to deal with Diskard but the fact that Taras is preoccupied is a good chance. Meritz has no shortage of enemies, if I were to announce my desire to take the throne I'm sure I could rally some lords to my side. But that would leave me indebted to them, I need to create an army that's only desire is to better the country rather than personal gain. If I make one mistake everything will collapse under me.
I write a quick message to my informant and send the Mail-Bat off again. I return to sneaking around the fort. I run to the south end of the fort and walk down the arc stone stair case, I arrive at what appears to be the dungeon.
The prisoners of war are all fast asleep within their cells I continue onwards and turn around the corner. They built the structure of this dungeon underground this is the only area where they could keep her. A huge steel door stands in my way, I take out a couple of pieces of wire from my Dimensional Bag and twist them inside the lock when I hear a satisfying click. "This area is different." I remark as I walk into a large open space that has a large door at the opposite end. "URGHH!" I suddenly yelp in pain as my Alpha Gene instinctively kicks in and my vision turns green. Superhuman strength isn't the only thing it grants me. I stare at the ground. A hidden magical symbol, and it's huge. If I wasn't an Alpha I would never have noticed it. I gaze at all the different formulas. "Oh god, just what are they doing?" My hands shake in anger, "Only Kryst would ever be screwed up and capable enough to create such a thing." Just how much are they planning on torturing the S.H. I grind my teeth in frustration. A circle that captures the souls of the deceased and sends them somewhere else. They can't even let them rest in peace. No, maybe this circle is the real reason for sending the S.H. here.
I force myself back together and go investigate the huge door. I can't pick this lock. Magic circuits are flowing through it. The key is absolutely necessary for this door, the ultimate defence. The best place to keep someone who should be dead would be here. I'm sure of it, Aqua's on the other side.
With my objective complete I turn around and retrace my steps. Just wait, I'll definitely free you.
Well it has been a while with this story but a chapter that needs a lot of improving complete. When I fall back into the swing of this I'll come back and edit this but right now I need to continue onwards. I've also edited all the previous chapters so they should read a little better now. And I need a better cover image for this story.