"No?" K.O asked, astonished at Belle's blunt protest, yet he slightly wanted to agree with her. This place was already giving him the chills and they hadn't even crossed yet.
"No, we're not going in there. We can't go." Belle said almost pleadingly as her pupils jumped from K.O to Maya and back again.
"Well we can't just let him die in there," K.O argued, peering at the water mage.
"And what's good going in there to die with him, huh?" Belle argued back with her tone dropping low as she asked, all seriousness in her voice. "I'm not going in there. I am going back to get King."
"Are you crazy?" K.O snapped, hunching up his shoulders. "Any other time I would agree with you, but getting King at this moment will affect us too."
"How sway? All of this is on Rockie."
"So you just gonna throw him under the bridge?" K.O shouted angrily, silencing the area around them. No matter how pissed off Rockie had made him, he was still their little brother and snitching wasn't going to do any of them no good. "Now, instead of standing here wasting time, I'm about to go in and get that wack job before he get in trouble." The blonde stated.
Belle did a sharp inhale then turned to the red head. "Maya?"
Maya just stared at Belle with a look caught between guilt, confusion, and confliction.
K.O scoffed, "Whatever, I'm out." The blonde squatted before the hole in the wall and after taking a deep breath, crawled inside of it.
Maya and Belle continued to look at each other with nature quietly giving them background. Maya then shook her head lightly as she bit her lip breaking eye contact. "I'm sorry, Belle, but he's right. We can't let him go out like that." Without looking up, Maya crouched low and hesitantly crawled inside herself.
Belle stood completely still, not even seemingly breathing, as she stared at the hole. Phantom voices and horrible memories bombarded reality around her and she took a few spooked steps back before turning around.
The inside of the tunnel was uneven with jagged and sharp edges jutting out. It was almost like it wasn't meant for human passage, being so small a full size adult wouldn't be able to pass through. Maya carefully crawled through, peering at K.O's paused frame at the other end. When she reached him, she stopped.
"Scared to go in?" She asked, startling the blonde a little as she tried to come off as joking.
"Honestly, a little." K.O said with a dry chuckle while he looked over his shoulder at Maya. "She went back?"
"I don't know, but I know she's not coming in. She was really freaked out back there," Maya stated, scrunching her brows in as she thought more about the water magic's behavior. Then she gulped as her eyes peered out ahead. "No point in us bitching out now."
The two focused on the outside and saw nothing but trees matted with dried, dead leaves. Creepy. The two gave each other another glance, then crawled out, one behind the other. Once feet touched the ground, a chilling shiver ran up their spines.
They definitely weren't in Mid-Holiday anymore.
The night sky over here wasn't purple like back home. Instead, it was damn near black with smug clouds rolling by. The clouds look more like smoke filling the sky. That was the only thing up there, because the two couldn't spot any stars nor neither of the moons up there. A light line of fog glazed the ground up to their ankles.
The entire scenery and atmosphere was muddy and frightened the teens for reasons unbeknown to themselves. Just breathing in the air made their anxiety spike.
"So where do we go from here." Maya nervously asked, looking to the blonde for guidance.
"I guess this way," K.O said, pointing over to their left.
Every turn looked like a wrong turn, so the teens just went along with it and started walking stealthily behind a few naked trees. The dead grass crunched lowly beneath their feet. Soon, they spotted a row of dried out shrubs. They got low and crouch-walked along the side of them.
Continuing to walk, while searching around cautiously, they noticed that they were approaching old, wooden houses. The shrubs continued behind them, so the teens keep slowly walking.
K.O peeked over the shrubs to observe the first house. The wood, more like log exterior was damaged, cracked, and filled with holes in places. No lights were on through the dirty, chipped window. Good thing it wasn't freezing out, but it was still cool enough to keep a draft pulling in. All of them were like that. K.O shivered then brought his head back down. However, something else felt off.
"Do these houses seem abandoned to you?" K.O lowly asked over to Maya.
"Yeah, it's so quiet it's scary." Maya said with a squeak. She was trying to act brave, but sooner or later that mask was going to fall. "But it's late and everyone's sleeping."
"Yeah, but no late night wonderers or snackers? Not anything, but silence." K.O stated, then stopped his walking to glance over to Maya. "Or maybe those stories aren't so fake."
K.O and Maya jolted at the sudden sound, then stepped away from the shrubs and remained low.
Crunch. Crunch. Step. Step.
The leaves crunching turned into feet stomping as whatever neared on the front side of the houses.
The teens turned to each other and then nodded. They quietly crawled back to the shrubs. When they reached it, they tried to peer through the branches and leaves. They could only see the area between two houses. Although they could hear the stomping, neither saw anything.
"I can't see anything," Maya growled under her breath as she jerked her head from spot to spot trying to get a clear view. Finally getting fed up, she parted the leaves just a bit and peeked through. A small light ray grew until a lantern followed by a huge olive green arm appeared from around the house. Maya frowned before her eyes widen when she saw the rest to them. An orc, standing as tall as nine feet, with large saber-teeth strolled by.
Squeaking, Maya brought her hands to her cover mouth. The leaves rustled loudly as they shook back in place.
The orc stopped, then turned and looked towards the shrubs.
"What's wrong?" K.O whispered to the red head.
"It's an orc. It just surprised me." Maya whispered back to him then chuckled nervously.
K.O shook his head, then looked back through the shrubs. He saw the orc slowly edging their way. K.O placed a finger over his lips for Maya to be silent, then continued eying the orc readying himself in case he had to fight. It curiously tilted it's head from side to side, lifting up the lantern and trekking on until it was right...
The sound of wood croaking caused the orc to perk up and turned around. The lantern casted light along the side of the house. The orc noticed a barrel in front of the house to the right.
The orc marched over towards the barrel, and it's upper body disappeared from the teens view behind the wood as it lent forward and came back up tossing a person to the ground with a grunt. The teens hurried back to peek back through the shrubs and were relieved to see it wasn't Rockie. The person looked like a young man with dusty skin.
'Whew, it ain't him', Maya thought and then frowned deeply. 'So where in the hell is he?'
"UhhRaa," the orc roared then huffed as it stomped towards the man who was back-pedaling away in fear. His eyes were bucked out like he was looking up at death.
"Peasant," the orc growled out, stomping up to the man and kicked-slammed his head back to the floor. It twisted its foot on the mans' face like it was getting something off of its hoof.
"Hold still brother," a groggily, creature like voice said and then two other orcs walked into the teens peripheral. One of them was the smallest of the three and stocky. It was clutching a giant wood club in its palm.
The other one was obviously the leader. It was the tallest with dark armor over its shoulders and chest with battle scars marring it's body. It also carried a lantern which shined on its face. A long scar ran across his cheek from ear to ear.
Once hearing the order, the orc assaulting the young man had stopped squishing his head and looked to the tallest with a huff. Fog was blowing from its nostrils on each huff.
The tallest stepped up to the cowering man who was now holding his face.
"Speak," it growled threatening.
The man continued shivering on his back and sniffling.
Anger quickly took over the orc's visage as it growled then kicked the man hard in his side, releasing a cry from him. The man curled into himself.
"Speak now, or we spite on sight." It growled loud.
"F..F... For..gi.. give me," the man croaked out in pain as tears streaked his cheeks. "I had to h-h.. Help my s-s-sister. I had to." Slob poured from his mouth as he cried, trying to explain to them.
"Raaa," the middle orc roared out then started to kick at the man, but halted when the tallest raised a hand with a growl.
"This late?" the orc asked eyeing the man. "Give me reason why we should not smash your head."
The man looked up at the orc with wide, fearful eyes. "Please... forgive me. She f-fell I-ill."
"This isn't right," Maya whispered to the blonde as they both watched the scene. Though they knew they shouldn't, they couldn't help that roaring anger starting to grow in the pit of their stomachs. Maybe it was just the good magic in them.
K.O nibbled on his lips as he observed the orcs. Of course this wasn't right. None of this was, but it wasn't their place. Wasn't their home. All he wanted to do was find Rockie and go home. The faster they did that, the quicker his nerves could go off edge. He could feel Maya anxiously bouncing beside him.
"This isn't right," Maya murmured again and went to go through the shrubs, only managing to get her palms through before K.O yanked her back.
"Wait," he whispered, but the leaves rustling had already caught the orcs attention.
The orcs looked to the shrubs and then the tallest nodded to the middle and it stomped over to the shrubs.
Watching the orc, Maya and K.O stayed low and tightened their fist as it approached.
"Get ready." K.O ordered to the red head.
Before the two knew it, something warm wrapped over their mouths and then they were pulled back into a soft body.
"Shh," the voice whispered into their ears. A small bubble formed around them, then water rippled up their limbs, starting from their fingertips on up. Maya and K.O lifted an eyebrow in confusion and turned to look at Belle, who only keep her eyes forward.
The orc stomped up to them, and towered over the kids as it searched around behind the shrubs but obviously couldn't find nothing from how deep it was frowning. When it made eye contact with them, the kids froze up only to sigh when the orc turned around and shook its head to the others.
The tallest orc squinted its eyes at the bloodied man who was still quietly crying on the ground. It stood over the man menacingly for a few seconds before it huffed. "Honor me." It ordered with a growl and the beaten man hurried to bow before the orc.
He positioned himself with his forehead pressed onto the dirt and his hands stretched straight out. The tips of his fingers literally brushed the orcs foot.
The orc huffed, then stepped a foot on the back of his head. "Leave before I change my mind." It lifted its foot off.
"Bless you," the man gratefully stuttered out, then jumped up and hobbled off.
The tallest orc stood there for a second and then about-faced signaling for the other two to follow. They marched out of the teens view.
Silence rung out for a few seconds.
"I'm going to kill you," Belle gritted out as she lowered her palms from their mouths. "I really should for bringing me back here."
K.O gulped, "Is it anything like the stories?"
"No. Worse." Belle said. The bubble around them popped.
"That was really cool," Maya said in amazement at Belle's trick.
"First time doing that." Belle said. She then slowly looked around at everything. This place was the start of her nightmares. The sole factor of it actually. She started fidgeting on her knees uncomfortable as her heart gradually sped it's beating. "I'm not suppose to be here. Was never coming back."
Maya and K.O shared stricken looks as they stared at Belle. They really were at a loss for words.
"I'm sorry, Belle." Maya apologized. "I didn't know."
"Yeah, you clearly couldn't read the signs." Belle said rolling her eyes. Her body slowly started shaking as her anxiety had final reached its peak. K.O took notice of that.
"Let's hurry up and find Rockie." He said, and the girls agreed. They continued on walking, staying low behind the shrubs before the plants cut short to some of the houses.
The teens stayed to the shadows, running behind the houses until they came to a small open space that branched off into two separate roads. One of them was still lined with houses. The other one was so foggy, they couldn't see anything.
"Sweet Miss Lenie used to own a candy home down there," Belle said, looking woefully towards the road covered in thick fog. "And my school was also on this road. Everyday after lesson, Miss Lenie would hand out a treat to all the kids as we went home. I wonder what happened."
The air and wood magic could see the pain in the water magics barely contained face expression as they listened to her.
They heard a rustling sound come from behind them and turned to see two orcs stacked on top of one another knocked out behind a pile of hay.
"He's not far," K.O growled, then thumbed to the road with the houses. "Let's go this way."
They started walking and just two houses down, Belle froze. Maya and K.O looked at her confused then decided to follow her gaze.
It was only a small house, in no different shape from the others, only the front door was light blue. The house was worn out.
Belle paused, her face expression dancing between a lot of emotions before she started taking steps towards the house with K.O and Maya following. When they made it to the door they stopped. Belle glanced around the place in disbelief.
Suddenly the door flung opened with a loud creak, scaring the shit out of them, then orange appeared before their vision.
Rockie stood in the door, looking at them with a big smile on his face. Beside him stood a boy almost his height with brown eyes and shaggy black hair.
"Hey guys," Rockie greeted them with a big smile. "This is Drew."
outro: Never scared, K. Michelle
Dove Clan family
weight: 100 lbs
height: 5'11", 180.34 cm
eye color: green
hair color: blonde
magic type: air
likes: blow pops
dislikes: bugs and Rockie
guild sign color: maroon
K.O likes spending his days chilling, fighting Rockie, and enjoying the taste of a delectable sucker. He is rarely seen without one in his mouth and values them more than earnings, which he spend majority of it on. Originally born Keith Oreo, K.O grew up in Azura, a small town in north Jasmine. His parents were huge anti-magic, so he was mistreated and later sent away to Dove Clan at the age of four for being a "demon child". Despite his troublesome background, K.O is cool to be around and keep everyone smiling.