The Moving Kingdom
The Alpha Guardian Chronicles
Chapter 1: Scribe
The teenager landed on his knees in the new world. The cold marble floors of the empty temple felt rather strange. It was something he had not set foot on before. The temple was large with Corinth pillars and arches of both Greek and Roman. Everything was white except the floors that colored a vast picture which one could only see from a bird's eye view.
Scribe stood up and looked around for his friends but found he was alone. They were all separated once again. At least the jump to earth was easier than the one getting to the Crossing Forest.
"Always an abandoned temple," Scribe said to himself while noticing his beautiful and detailed surroundings. It looked brand new and almost futuristic. It was open and tranquil, but still vacant and sad.
He grabbed his bag of belongings and threw it over his shoulder. He headed over to the only door, hoping it was a way out. What was to be expected outside of the building, he did not know.
He walked out the stone doorways and gazed down the endless corridors that stretched in both directions, both with more doors on all sides. He tapped his finger on the wall, trying to decide which direction to take.
"We don't normally get visitors here," someone said behind and Scribe looked back. It was a man in heavy robes and thick leather. His skin was pure white as if it were all painted with two black stripes running down his face. His eyes were a light blue, full of calmness, peace, strength, and knowledge. His hair was short and snowy like his skin.
Scribe found it weird to see another being with the rounded ears of a human.
"Especially not the… elf type," the man added on.
Scribe shook his head not knowing a word the man just said to him. "I don't speak English."
"That's quite alright, my young friend. I'm very familiar with the Rozen elf language. My name is Sifa. I am a monk here. Who might you be?"
Scribe sighed in relief that he didn't have to try and communicate with someone he couldn't understand. "I'm Scribe. I'm looking for a few people. Have you seen anyone of the abnormal type pass by here lately?"
"I'm afraid no one comes by here, Scribe. This place was deserted quite a long time ago. What brings you here to look for them? This temple is out in the wilderness and few venture these lands."
"I got a little lost on my way. Hey, do all humans speak the Rozen language?"
Sifa laughed a little while walking over to the boy. "No, no they don't. It's a rare thing to run into someone who knows languages not of this world. No worries, I know who you are and what your quest is. Perhaps I can help."
"Perhaps not. Just show me the way out and I'll be on my way, old man."
"Alright. Do you know where you're going once you leave?"
Scribe simply stared at the monk with a hint of a smirk. He never trusted anyone when first meeting. Though he sensed no evil in Sifa, he still didn't want to talk with him about where he came from, where he was going, and what he was going to do.
"If you don't know where you're going, you will die going outside. Perhaps it would be wise staying here a while longer."
"Just show me the way out and I'll be on my way," Scribe repeated himself.
Sifa let out a sigh and dropped his innocent tone when he spoke again. "I'm not sending you out there when you've never been to this world before. You also don't know the language, Scribe. I know you're a Transcribe Guardian of Zekk. Only the Guardian of Ceng has the gift of speech. At least let me give you my gift in English."
"I think I can manage," he responded, ignoring the fact that the foreign human knew a whole lot about him that most should not.
"Do you think I'm a demon or monster working for Deagon or Morose?"
"I don't really care if you're a demon or saint, monk, but you are pulling threads of my thin string of patience. If you stand in my way, I will strike you down."
"I'm sorry, Scribe, but your tainted fingers can't harm me. I'm too holy for any creation of Zekk to touch me in antagonism."
Scribe stared at him, waiting for something to happen, but nothing did. Sifa did not attack him or say anything more, only waited for Scribe's response. "Right… See ya around." Scribe turned and started down the hall.
Sifa gave him a quick tap on the shoulder and the elf spun around ready to take out his sword. Sifa was gone.
His eyes darted around but the monk did not reappear.
He wondered around the sanctuary keeping his guard up. He didn't come into contact with anyone else on his way towards the exit. He came to the end of the hall where two giant doors stood before him. Before he could figure out how to get through them, they opened up for him.
He felt the heat wave wash over him like a high tide of water. He squinted, the sun glaring off the tall sand dunes stretching out to the horizon. In every direction was wasteland. No wonder no one came to the temple. It was in the middle of absolutely nowhere.
Scribe walked out and turned around to get a good look of the building from the outside, but widened his eyes when the doors and temple were gone.
He turned around and round again. He was stuck in the desert without a destination to head towards.
He shielded his face with his arm when sand blew on him like hail.
"Well, shit…" He coughed, the air hard to breathe.
He landed painfully on his back in a narrow hall inside a building. The walls were dark red with voluminous ancient writings and symbols carved and painted on to create both a picture and story. The only lights were lit torches on the walls. The style was ancient but newly built.
A grown cat jumped up on Enk's chest and meowed with liking. Its fur was ebony and its stature and posture were megestic. Its greens eyes peered down at Enk with a sparkle saying it was so much more than just a normal cat. Its ears were pierced with gold earrings and it also had three long tails instead of one.
Enk looked up at the cat sitting on him as it started to purr. He let out a sigh and petted the fuzzy feline.
The cat licked his face and meowed again. It jumped off his chest and waited.
Enk sat up and looked to see what it would do. He groaned when he saw that it wanted him to follow. He jumped to his feet and the cat took off down the hall. The bobcat had no trouble keeping up but the cat was fast. Faster than any other cat.
They came to a metal door and the cat jumped up onto Enk's shoulder, perching itself contently by his face.
"Is there something behind this door?" the god spoke to it, not expecting an answer. It was curious though. Where on Earth had he landed?
The cat swung one tail around his head, dangling a key from a small string attached to it.
He hesitated but gently took the key. He eyed the cat. Animals on Earth were not advanced, but this one seemed to have a bright mind of its own.
He put the key in the lock and turned it.
The door slid open automatically, revealing an uninhibited laboratory inside.
"Welcome, ne-eee-ew coo-ooooo-mer," a computerized female voice said to him from broken speakers. "As-ssssk a qu-uuuu-estion and I will search fo-ooor answers for you."
He felt like he was in some sci-fi movie. He decided to play along. "What planet is this?" he asked, searching through scattered papers and computer monitors throughout the room.
"This i-iiiiis planet Earth."
"What year is it?"
"It is currently year 2233."
Large time gap since the last time he was on Earth. Zannor was from year 2133 and the last time he stepped foot on Earth was 2020. It had been well over 200 years for him and 100 for Zannor.
"Where is everyone?"
"Human s-ssssstatus in building is deceased. Picking up t-tttwooo unknown life forms-." The voice was attempting to speak more, but it's voice faded in and out like a radio with a dying battery. It was done answering questions.
Enk tried all the computers but none of them turned on for him. The papers were formulas and a bunch of equations written tightly together. He didn't have all the information so none of it made sense to him. The vials and flasks were empty, no experiments started for him to observe.
He placed the papers neatly back on the table and left the room. "Should have asked what this place was." He found stairs leading down and used them. He came to a window and looked out. It wasn't what he expected. There was no suburban area, town, farm, city, sidewalks, roads, or people. It was nothing but desert outside. He must have landed in some top secret facility placed where no civilians would travel to.
It was certain that he was on Earth and that the place was empty. Not just empty, but the people were dead. That meant that there were bodies and something killed them.
"Did you kill the people here?" Enk asked the cat and it just rubbed its face against his. "Nah, it was something else."
The wall close to his side exploded, a cannonball the size of his head zooming past him smashing through the rest of the building in a straight path.
He heard another cannonball shoot through in different room not far away from him. He wasn't sure if he was to duck or run like hell.
The cat jumped down and meowed at him to follow before it started to run away.
He followed just as another ball soared by him. Where was the attack coming from? He didn't see anything before. He leaped down a staircase and through a few halls before they reached the exit door that swung open on its own for them.
The cat jumped back up on his shoulder when he came out into the boiling sand.
Enk stopped and stared at the five-pillared black castle in the far distance. It looked to be the size of city with towers higher than the clouds. A wall circled around the five pillars sitting on mechanical legs.
He looked back and the building was gone. Had Earth been cursed with the same sickness that the Crossing Forest suffered from? The realm of delusions should have been under control now that Sin was its ruler.
He looked over and saw Scribe running at him down a steep dune. He never thought he'd feel some sort of relief from seeing someone he knew.
"Run! We have to get out of here now!" Scribe yelled while racing past.
Enk had no trouble keeping up to join him. "You're speaking English," he said with a little emotion to show his surprise.
"And you have a cat riding on your shoulder! It's a funny story. Remind me to tell it to you later."
"What are you running from and do you have a destination?"
"I'm running from that monster back there! It's the biggest thing I've ever seen move in my life! It's like an entire nation got legs and started on its jolly good way!" Scribe yelled when he almost got hit by a fired cannonball, getting thrown off his feet from the blast.
Enk grabbed his hand and yanked him back up, forcing him along with little time to breathe. "Are any of the others with you?"
"No. I'm just happy I was lucky enough to run into you and not Mecondra or any of the other insane people we travel with!"
"Right. Hold on."
Scribe almost ran right into Enk when the bobcat stopped and turned around. The black cat jumped off his shoulder and onto Scribe's head.
Enk leaped into the air like a weightless bird. He punched the next incoming cannon ball and it exploded, doing no damage to him.
"Get off my head, you weird animal!" Scribe forced the feline off his head. He saw another cannon ball coming straight for him and quickly made a shield. The explosion sent the elf flying back, hitting the ground rolling and tumbling over himself.
Enk landed next to Scribe. "You okay?"
"I twisted my freaking ankle!"
The cat started towards the attacking kingdom and waited for them to follow.
"It wants us to follow."
"You speak to cats now? You're such a…" Scribe's words trailed off as he held his foot.
"Come on." Enk lifted the kid up and went with the cat leading them to their attacker.
"Are we seriously going closer to that thing? Are you insane? You're a god, but that thing is ginormous!"
"Where else are we going to go? There's nothing but miles and miles of sand that could go on forever for all we know."
"Earth sucks! It's hot, it's humid, it's lifeless, and the air is terrible!" Scribe coughed into his fist, leaving behind a few drops of blood. "Oh, crap, I think I'm sick."
A dune buggy pulled in front of them with a human wearing a gas mask in the driver's seat. "Need a lift? I'm heading over to the Asylum now. Is that where you're going?"
The cat hopped onto the buggy and Enk decided to do the same.
The driver pushed a button and the vehicle was enclosed with glass as it dove under the sand surface. It swam through like a submarine in water.
The guy took off his mask and glanced back at the two. "Looks like you two have been exposed to the outside a long time. You've already got mutations. Where you coming from?"
"I wish I had an answer for you."
"That's alright. Glad I found you two. Looks like you were having a hard time against the Asylum's defense systems."
The buggy resurfaced after a few minutes and the glass uncovered them after the guy put his mask back on. It was dark and the bottom of the castle was right above their heads, a few feet left between the ground and metal.
The man pulled open a latched revealing a ladder leading up into further darkness. He turned to his companions before he went in. "Is the girl hurt?"
Enk looked to see who he was referring to and saw it was Scribe. "Boy."
"He's a boy. I've got him, don't worry. Thanks for getting us here."
"Wait, did he just mistake me for a chick?" Scribe asked just realizing what the conversation meant.
"Come on, get on my back. I'll carry you up."
"Avoiding my questions," Scribe mumbled and got on Enk's back before he climbed up the lengthy ladder with the man behind him.
The guy shut the door and the sides of the vertical tunnel glowed with faint lights.
Scribe blew on the cat when its tail accidentally brushed against his face.
The feline looked at him with its green eyes and licked his face.
"Did we seriously let a cat lead us into this thing with a person we've never met before?"
"We'll discuss it later, Scribe."
They came to an end and the man instructed them to simply lift the tile.
Enk slid the title above him and stepped onto the solid charred floor.
The man came out as well and put the tile back in place, closing the passage. "Welcome back to the Asylum, gentlemen. I'll see you later." He walked off into a crowd and disappeared into the population.
The heat paralleled with the outside, but was cooler due to being in the shade. There were dusty dirt roads over the plated floors. Lit barrels were the light source, the walls of small dwellings scorched and black. Stores and homes were nothing more than metal rods, string, and tents put together to mark some sort of territory of ownership and privacy. The sky was black as a moonless night, no telling how high it went. Strong metal support beams were places all throughout the wide tunnel, reaching beyond the darkness above them.
"It's like a third world country was all shoved in to an old boiler room," Scribe observed when Enk slowly set him down.
Children ran around him playing a game of tag, laughing and screaming. Adults walked around as if they didn't have a place to be or a destination to go in. There were people with off-color skin and misconstrued faces. Some had extra limbs or other unworldly mutations.
Scribe was about ready to hit the kids playing around him, but they ran off just before he had the chance. "I somehow pictured Earth… differently."
"Who gave you the tongue of the English language?" Enk asked as Scribe sat down.
Scribe tried to think back. "I met this weirdo monk guy. He seemed to know all about who we are and what we're doing though I said nothing about it to him. He even spoke Rozen to me. I didn't really trust him, but right before I ran out, he grabbed me. And in a flash, I suddenly knew different Earth languages. Hey, I'm not complaining."
"Where did you meet this monk?"
"No, how about you tell me what's going on in this demented world."
Enk sat as well and rested his chin in his hands in pondering boredom. "It's complicated. I'm not sure I know myself actually."
"Dude, how can you not know? You never everything about all the worlds."
"Earth was nothing like this when I came here last. Sure, it was hundreds of years ago, but I didn't expect something like this. It's just not human. Something is setting this race back and I don't know for how long it's been active. When I was last here, they showed signs of advancement."
"It's obviously a Captain."
"No, it's obvious that Earth has been in this dystopian state for a long time. The time gaps were fixed the moment Sin became the delusion realm king. All three Captains were in the Crossing Forest at that time. Any of them who went to Earth, we're only a few days behind them if even that."
"A Captain came here prier to the fixing of the time gap?"
"That's possible. What kind of damage was done then? And how do we repair it?"
"Brainstorming time." Scribe made himself comfortable on the floor.