Boom! The sounds were going on and off. Light woke up with a start. The world seemed to be falling apart around him. He was disorientated and couldn’t make where he was or what he was doing there. One thing was clear, though, things were not OK. He opened his eyes fully and the bright light caught him off guard. He could hear the sound of running feet, gunshots and screams of terror.
He roused himself from the floor. The ground was dishevelled, the sky blue, red and grey. It was chaotic. As he got up, someone bumped him and he fell. There were bodies of flesh coming towards him in all directions and he couldn’t make sense of it. He got up quickly, look and saw people fighting monsters. The monsters were gruesome beings to behold. Some were green, with scales, yellow eyes and razor sharp teeth. Others were red, with slimy skin and glowing blue eyes. Others ranged from the colours of the rainbow and their skin types were mouldy, colourful, creepy crawly and some even seemed to move when you looked closely. The monsters were of superhuman strength. They picked up people and threw them like a piece of paper. The people were no match for these extra-terrestrial beings.
As he ran out of what he realized was a dingy dungeon, he bumped into an elf girl. She was beautiful, as beautiful as elf girls can be. She had long, flowy white hair, as white as snow, and luminous and mesmerising eyes the colour of the green, green grass. Her little nose was pointy and she had the resemblance of someone of royal status. Her lips were red and rosy, full and seemed to give promises of rich words. She had the physique of a goddess, perfect arms, tiny waist flowing into well-proportioned hips and what looked like a marking on her ankle. Come to think of it, she had peculiar markings on her hands and neck. But there was no time to appreciate her beauty as they seemed to be in the middle of a war. “There are monsters,” he told her in a panic, “And people are fighting them. You need to get to safety.” In all the confusion, he failed to notice that the girl was different from a human female. The girl was confused at first. She didn’t know what the strange looking man was saying to her. To her, monsters and people fighting them were just a normal part of her daily life. As a resident of this world, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. He tried again to pull her to safety but her grip was something out of the norm. She didn’t have the strength of a normal female. That is when he noticed that she was in fact different. It was her ears that gave her away.
As she walked away and he called out to her, she turned around swiftly and her long hair was blown by the wind, revealing the nature of her being. He was taken aback. He stopped and was caught up in her mesmerizing presence. There was something about her he couldn’t quite put his finger on. “What are you?” he asked her. She looked at him strangely and even cocked her head to the side. “What am I?” she repeated. “You’re not human,” he said. She seemed to think him very strange and ended up laughing. The way she laughed was a bit unnerving. It sounded like the sound of thunder clapping. He looked at her, not knowing whether that was a good or bad thing. Just then, a loud shout rang through the area. People were making loud, shrilly war cries while the monsters grunted, shoving, pushing and spearing people who were in their way. “Your head,” she said, reaching out to touch his forehead. He winced as she touched a sensitive part of his head. “It seems like you got hit by a coal ball.” He looked at her in confusion. “The Koda blast happened not too long ago. Don’t you remember?” she said, looking at him in surprise. “The Koda blast?” he said again. “Yes, when Zigo and Flem had their altercation?” she explained. Light looked at her blankly. The elf lady took this to mean that he did not recall. “You’ve lost your memory,” she concluded. Light didn’t refute or agree with her theory. “Come with me. I know just what you need,” she said, taking him by the hand firmly. He was led, before he knew it, to a place he hadn’t noticed. This lady seemed to know her way around this strange land he still was not familiar with. ‘She thinks I’ve lost my memory,’ Light thought to himself. The situation seemed to be working to his advantage. He would play along with it and hopefully she would help him figure out where he was and how he could get back to his world.
This was indeed a strange world he had chanced upon. Everything he knew was not the way he knew it. The sky was grey but bright, and the ground was blue and firm. It felt like a foam mattress but sturdier. The places of dwelling were peculiar in size, color and structure. The insides were lined with what looked like animal fur, the ground was made of a substance that mimicked grass but wasn’t quite. The furniture was made of wood, which was normal but on closer observance, it wasn’t actually wood. He came to find out that this type of material had been constructed with the use of mortar, silkworms and some blue magic. It was called “phylax.” It was very strong and resistant to just about any element and animal. Insects had nothing on it, not even the dreaded Savage Ants which grew to the size of a man’s hand and could eat a man alive in less than 30 minutes. The homes had tables, chairs, lamps, counter tops and all the amenities a home should have. Outside the homes, all the homes seemed to have a peculiar flower called an Orix. The plant had healing powers and was said to protect the household it presided over. The thing with it was that it had to choose you as the homeowner. Hence, each household had a unique Orix. The forest he now found himself immersed him was a wonder. It had the normal green shrubbery, decked with trees with wooden and not so wooden bark, animals that looked man-made and flowers that bloomed according to the weather. A strange call was heard and he looked around in surprise. It sounded like a woman calling for help. Thus, it was called “The Lady Bird.” He looked at it closely. It was tall, had long black legs with claws the size of a man’s head, pink and green feathers and had a gold beak and yet from such beauty came such a cacophonous sound. The elf girl laughed, almost as if reading his mind. “The most beautiful things can produce the most terrible sounds,” she noted. He nodded slowly, and after giving it one last long look, resumed walking.
As he followed her lead, he noticed that her pointy elf ears made her look foreign, enchanting and beautiful. It surprised him that he could use that word. Beautiful. He was not one to use poetic words to describe anything, much less a female. He caught himself in his thoughts when he bumped into her and noticed her watching him. ‘We’re here. Stay close,’ she said. He closed his eyes and opened them again and she was still looking at him. But she hadn’t opened her mouth. ‘Had she just spoken to him using her mind?’ he thought in shock. He blinked and they were in a room illuminated by candles burning from wax of an unknown nature. There was a small figure just in front of him, moving from one side to another, throwing potions, leaves and other goodies into a bowl that looked too small to hold all its contents. From the corner of his eye, Light saw a black figure moving. He slowly and stealthily reached for his girdle only to realize that he was not armed. The figure got him from behind and he couldn’t make a sound. The small figure in front of him simply raised its hand and the perpetrator let go of him. He turned around quickly to see what had got him in its grip. It was a Contar. He thought they were extinct! It was black, as black as the night, had glowing blue eyes, teeth the size of claws, skin that was scaly and yet smooth to the touch, four powerful legs and a tongue that was rough to the touch. When it was mad, its eyes lighted up white and it would emit a white light or burst of energy from its mouth. Fireworks. Its master said something he could not make out in hushed tones and after looking at him for a bit, it backed down, and nestled itself on the rooftop, watching him furtively.
“Arolla,” the small figure said in a willowy voice. “Green leaf syrup.” ‘So that was her name,’ Light thought to himself. Somehow in all the chaos and running, he had failed to ask her what her name was. Arolla seemed familiar with the place. She walked to a corner of the room Light had not noticed till now, opened a drawer and from where he stood, he could see an array of potions in all the colors of the rainbow, jars with parts of creatures that he was very sure were not human, scrolls, utensils and other paraphernalia related to the realm. She reached for a gold-looking jar in the shape of a moon crescent, something that looked like a fork and some green leaves that looked like they belonged to a very poisonous plant. She took them to the small figure, which thanked her. Light moved closer to see what was going on. In a cauldron, there was a red-colored light emitting from it and with it were lots of purple-colored bubbles and foreign objects Light did not want to know about. On closer observation, it appeared as if the sky had fallen into the massive bowl of liquid. There were constellations, stars and bursts of light. It almost blinded him. The small figure carefully dropped in the ingredients brought to him by Arolla one at a time and seemed to be humming some sort of chant to himself. Arolla stood by quietly, drinking in what was happening in the pot. Without realizing it, Light was in between them, seeing what they were seeing. The ugly monsters he had witnessed earlier on were fighting a galaxy of human beings and this time, it appeared the humans were winning. That was until a fearsome monster in purple and black came and stood in front of the monster army. Then it was carnage. People were running away, women, men, children, some getting struck down and others trying to defend themselves. Then he saw himself. He was trying to free Arolla from a burning cage of make-believe wood when the purple monster turned its attention to him and opened its mouth.
Light could feel himself being roused from sleep. He woke up with a start and was ready to battle but Arolla was right there beside him to reassure him. She made him sit up and drink some foul-smelling liquid she said would make him feel better. Although hesitant, he listened to her and surprisingly, it did make him feel better. When she was sure he was better and more clear-headed, she began talking quickly. “Iytis is about to get embroiled in an intergalactic war it is not ready for. There are sure to be many casualties and probably hardly any survivors. The Meghas are looking to rule the entire galaxy and it is up to us to stop them. Without us, the planet will not survive,” she ended grimly. Iytis? Intergalactic war? The Meghas? It’s up to us? Light had never been more confused in his life. Arolla seemed to read this because she promptly took a piece of papyrus paper and a pen, using ink taken from a special tree. “To get to them,” she explained, “You’re going to need to get a job. Blacksmith, alchemist, adventurer, inscriptionist and so on. However, you are going to need to be at the heart of it. This means you’re going to become a Clearer.” Light looked at her in confusion. “It’s your responsibility to clear the dungeons and hunt monsters. Once you do that, you’ll be close to the Meghas and know what their plan is,” she said. “Ï have to work?” he said. She nodded. “It’s the only way you can survive in this world. But remember, we are doing this to save the planet. It’s merely a means to an end,” she said. Light thought about that and watched her as she continued to explain how the money system worked. He would be dealing with gold, silver and copper coins as well as mystic crystals which were purple in color and of the highest value. He would have to capture monsters for a living, in a bid to help the people beat the powerful force that was the Meghas. “Polinus will guide you,” she said, looking at the small figure. In the light, he had the skin of an aging man, white hair and grey eyes that told stories of times past. Light nodded the old man’s way and the old man reciprocated. Light then realized he was a long way from getting home.
His suit of armor was a sight to behold. It gleamed in the fluorescent light. It weighed about 90 pounds as he was a bit beefier than other men. The armor was made of an almost indestructible material that sent sparks of fire flying in the air when it came into contact with metal. His breastplate had the sign of the Weeping Willow, a sign that he was a Clearer. His helmet was shaped like a sea shell and protected his head from harm. He was fully clothed in this armor, with no part of him exposed as this would be fatal. There were metal sheets underneath the armor should the weapons manage to pierce through the material. On a flap near his hands, he had compartments where he could hide little poisonous pellets and blades. On his shoulder pads, he could easily reach for arrows that were secured to his armor and ready to be used at any given moment. A little flap by his knees gave way to a potion compartment where he could get out potions that made the monsters dizzy, less aggressive or in extreme cases, paralyzed them so he could get a hold of them and their potent venom. His outfit looked like that of a transformer, one of jaw-dropping proportions and a force to be reckoned with. His outfit was completed by a long sword the length of a pole, with a spear that had many sharp, protruding needles coming out from it. It could turn into any weapon he desired at the flick of a wrist. His was so powerful it made funny, electric sounds when it was near anything made of resources that were not normally found on the ground.
He hated this. Having to survive by clearing out the dungeons and hunting monsters. So far, he had only managed to get one, and it was a baby at that. The other Clearers had scoffed at him because due to his size, what he had caught was really small fry. They expected better from him. It didn’t even matter that he was the new guy. He either stepped up or stepped out. This hunting monsters’ business was becoming dangerous. There were times he became so discombobulated that he didn’t know which monster he was fighting. He would use an arrow when he was supposed to use a potion and use his spear when he was supposed to use his arrow. Many of the creatures kept to themselves and shook their heads in pity for him but none did a thing to help him.
This all changed with the occurrence of an incident. The royals had been taking their normal stroll down the roads of the land when one of them dropped a mystic crystal. That was worth 10 years wage for a commoner and even more for a slave. A young commoner took a chance, thinking no one would notice his good fortune. He did not get far before he was captured, grasping the crystal like his life depended on it. His punishment? Loss of his hands. The fear in the young man’s eyes was all too much for Light. No one was doing a thing. Everyone just stood around quietly, some not even looking at the man, almost as if this was a normal occurrence. One of the guards took out his long axe and was about to chop off the young man’s hand when Light spoke up. “I’ll repay his thievery,” he said. Everyone stopped and stared at him. Perhaps he should not have said a thing. The royal from whom the crystal had been taken, stopped and looked at Light in a menacing and yet disturbing manner. He walked up to Light, walked around him, examining his armor, even playing with it and pushing against it, until he faced him again. Light stood stock still. The royal smirked, lifted a hand and the commoner was released. He looked at Light with so much gratitude Light was glad he had done it. ‘What was going to happen to him, though?’ he wondered. He didn’t have to wait long to find out.
Arolla was a bit apprehensive and excited at the same time. She was surprised at how quickly the new guy had managed to get into the Royal Towers. She had not imagined he would do so by pledging his life in place of the perpetrator of the crime. He was brave. An admirable quality for one so confused and yet, so in charge of his life at the same time. It brought a smile to her face and she had to remove it quickly from her face as she approached the Gates. It was quarter past midnight. The men she was part of the revolt with had sent two men ahead of her to make sure her path was clear. All she had to do when she got to the gates was to use her womanly wiles to make the men oblivious to what was happening around them, then promptly go to the dungeon that held Light. All worked according to plan.
She found him deep in discussion with a dwarf by the name of Koltry. He had blonde hair, a walk in his step and was dressed in blue and orange. The two men were going over the hierarchical system Light had found himself in. King – Royalty – Dukes and Nobles – Merchants – Commoners – Slaves. He repeated it over and over again. Light learnt that commoners and slaves only had one name, dukes, nobles and wealthy merchants had two names and the king and the royalty had three names. He didn’t quite fit into the social ranking but that didn’t matter as he was keen on returning home as soon as possible. But only after he had helped Arolla and her people. The men greeted Arolla in surprise as she sat beside them quietly. She spoke quietly to Koltry who listened intently. Light was in the dark. Arolla stood up and led the way. Koltry motioned for Light to follow and they disappeared through a secret passageway in the wall, right next to the window. Ingenious. “Zigo and Flem have involved other noblemen in their altercation. War is brimming on the horizon,” she informed them as they hurried down the stairway using the beetle bug as light. “How much longer?” Koltry asked. “Less than 24 hours,” she told him grimly. The war was about to start and Light was far from ready for it.
The nobles were in conflict over some land. It was a trivial matter at first, a case of one noble overstepping another’s boundaries, but it had escalated rather quickly to something of enormous and uncontainable proportions. The hunting of monsters had now turned into the hunting of land and people, if need be. The nobles were becoming more and more ruthless about their possessions and this was causing civil unrest and chaos. It all came to a dramatic climax when one noble, a presumptuous young man by the name of John Flumma, took it upon himself to reclaim land he was certain was his great, great, great grandfather’s. This was just the type of action that was needed to bring about a civil war. All along, the Meghas had been watching and waiting for these very events to unfold. If man was divided and at war, it would be easier to take the planet and all its subjects with minimal effort. The nobles had just made an intergalactic takeover a piece of cake.
Fortunately for Iytis, though, Arolla, Polinus, Zed, the commoner who Light saved, Koltry, and other freedom fighters were on hand to keep the situation under control. The war that seemed to be about land now became about freedom and fighting for one’s right to govern oneself. People were used to seeing monsters being captured or else fighting people but now the tables had turned. The Meghas had a formidable army headed by an, as yet, undefeated leader. The inhabitants of the world of Iytis were now forced to make a decision: fight each other or to fight together with a common enemy and goal in mind. The decision was theirs to make and not as easy as it appeared on the surface. There were nobles who were still strung out on the fact that they felt they had been wronged when it came to land allocation. They refused to see the bigger picture and rather unite with their people so as to defeat the enemy. This stubbornness would lead to their ultimate demise in the long run.
The freedom fighters were decked in armor made from rhodium. It was strong and inexpensive, but able to withstand great pressures, on and off land. It was light and malleable making it easier for not so strong soldiers to be able to battle while still being protected. The fighting had been going on for six days strong, the freedom fighters against the Meghas, the nobles against the commoners and everyone else in between picking and choosing a side. It was an intergalactic mess of note. That was until the Alpha, otherwise known as Buzak, made his presence known. Light remembered him the instant he saw him. That was the monster he had seen in the cauldron with Arolla and Polinus. It was him or it. He wasn’t sure what it was. It was a scary creature to behold. It must have been at least 20 feet. It was ugly, had rows of eyes and teeth and walked like a man. That was the creepiest thing about it. The moment it arrived on the scene, everything changed. The monsters stopped fighting, the men, elves, dwarves and all the other creatures stopped fighting. The world came to a standstill. Literally. For all those who had denied the coming of something fearsome, this was all the evidence they needed that it did indeed exist and it was here to claim what it rightfully thought was its possession. Its purple and black slimy skin moved with each step the creature took. All that saw it were awestruck, even the freedom fighters. It made a loud, screechy sound that almost burst the ear drums of those around. It was calling for backup. This was evident when the winds started blowing more vigorously than before. What a sight. The trees, plants, buildings and all that was on the surface of the ground, swayed with the blowing with the wind, almost as if under a spell. Suddenly, great wings could be seen coming from the sky, huge dragon-like beasts were descending from the sky like dragonflies and they came in their numbers. The noise they made was enough to make even the bravest man shudder. The commotion that ensued afterwards was noteworthy. When all the beasts finally descended, the earth was silent, so silent you could hear the wind blowing through the scale of the deadly beats. The leader, Buzak, walked from one end of the field to another, admiring his cavalry. Then the weirdest thing happened. It laughed. A crazy unnerving laugh that made one think of their last moments before the final blow is given. Just as suddenly, it stopped and it let out a cry of pain, anger and destruction. The war had officially begun.
Just like the vision he had seen in the cauldron, the world around him was in dire distress. People, man-like and otherwise, men, women, and children were running hither and thither, trying to escape the cruelty that would be bestowed upon them by the creatures under Buzak’s commands. All it did was command. It would raise its hand here, raise its staff there, walk here a bit and assess the situation and keep making that annoying and chilling cry they were all becoming so accustomed to. The armies never seemed to end. The freedom fighters managed to mix up a concoction that was similar to the Koda blast. It was like a jelly substance, yellow in color and when thrown on the creatures, would melt them. It happened by mistake actually. The concoction that is. One of the older magi had come across a half-melted potion mixed with a gooseberry and flung it in fright at a beast that had frightened him. He was amazed at the results. The creature screamed in pain as the solution dissolved and burned at its skin. He hurried to an underground lab and made gallons more of the potion. This the fighters used to ward off the bows of the creatures. Unfortunately though, the creatures could also shoot venomous liquids from not only their mouths but their skins, too. It was imperative for all the fighters to stay out of harm’s way as the venom was fatal.
As they fought off the beats, Arolla and Light had come into contact with a sensei who knew exactly what was needed in order to stop the evil, formidable force. It was to be administered by Light, for he was the Chosen One. By this time everyone had come to realize that he was not of their world and that did not bother them. All they were bothered by was restoring their home to its former glory and destroying the wicked forces for once and for all time. The solution was simple. Light needed to inject the tip of the arrow that was filled with aloe, honey and phylax. The chemical combination of the three elements was potent enough to destroy Buzak from the inside out. Once he was no more, the beats would disappear and be no more to for they were in existence due to him. Something along the lines of it created them in its mind and it had made them come to life. So with its death, would come theirs. It made logical sense. Now the plan was to get Light as close as possible to Buzak so he could execute the plan.
This happened by mistake. There was fire, havoc and smoke everywhere. Screaming voices and sounds of terror filled the air. Arolla was behind Light s they fired shots at beats trying to corner them. All of a sudden, a tree branch fell and it was almost instantly engulfed in fire. Arolla was stuck in between the fire was threatening to consume her and she screamed to Light for help. Light ferociously tried his best to get her away from harm’s way by the flames were just too powerful. To make matters worse, the beasts were making the flames more and more dangerous, meaning she was that much closer to death and he was getting more and more severe burns that he was unlikely to recover from. His armor had chinks from all the battering he had experienced but he didn’t let that deter him from saving Arolla. He was trying to free Arolla from a burning cage of make-believe wood when the purple monster turned its attention to him and opened its mouth.
He actually liked it here on this peculiar planet. He still didn’t know how he had gotten here but he was glad he was here. Whatever detour his space journey had taken him, he was glad for it. He had met some amazing beings, in elfish, dwarfish and human form, lowly and mighty. Just as the blast had come his way, Light had managed to throw the poisoned arrow Buzak’s way and it had caught it right in the middle of the two rows of eyes. Everything had changed instantly. It was like the big bang, with showers of light exploding everywhere, bodies bursting and the land being covered in putrid-smelling stuff. Now he had bought a house with Arolla. The nobles who were fighting ended up in the very same dungeon he had woken up in. for all their goodness and bravery, Light and Arolla were given a pardon by the king and allowed to go wherever they wished. The couple had stumbled upon the nobles’ loot, pearls, title deeds and other riches, kept quiet about it and made off with it to start a new life together. As he looked at the horizon, Light knew this was only the beginning.