Chapter 52: Descent
The surging tsunami of souls felt nothing but a bad dream. My teeth involuntarily clattered when I heard the wails of the evil spirits as they begged not to be taken to the hellish place. Wherever Sheol was. I’m sure that it’s not a fun place for aunts.
The [Soul Wind] rushed into the tiny black hole and soon disappeared from the face of the universe.
Alistair peeked, assuring that Maggie’s mom was no more. He then sneaked out from my pocket, and he was back to his old cynical self.
“Your back?” I teased the posturing blob. I’m sure that little Maggie’s family had a long history with the tempest blob, especially with the owner of the [Soul Wind]. Though we’d only spent a few days together, I felt Alistair’s deep-seated dread when he heard the voice from the black hole echoing. I even heard his nippy yelp in the spiritual line before he turned mute.
“I just felt sleepy. Hm, not bad little brat,” he said, ignoring me, chest puffed, acting akin to some bigshot. But too bad. He lost a chunk of credibility in my eyes.
“Yeah,” A yawn slipped out of little Maggie as she drifted snail-paced towards me. She pushed the tempest spirit for space before taking a pew on my right shoulder. “I’m sleepy too, Victoria. Can I rest?”
I shifted a gaze at the tempest blob and asked his help for the heavy lady on arms. Soon, the village head’s wife floated on my side, supported by the wind. I donated a thank you note for Alistair on my mind.
“Sure.” A smile slipped as I nestled Little Maggie with my fingers. With another yawn, the tiny one snuggled her way into my pocket. A few light snores soon echoed from within. She had fallen asleep in a jiffy.
“She expanded too much mana.” The tempest wind said, peeking at the snoozing little blob. “Let her get some rest.”
Of course, that’s what I ought to do.
I stared at the unconscious village head’s wife, wondering if she’s already awake. I poked her cheeks but found that she was still in deep sleep. Several floating debris filled my eyes, and I remembered the house that little Maggie had shredded to smithereens. There was nothing I could offer to the village head except for the words: acts of gods.
The heavenly bodies recovered to glimmer. The cosmos’ twinkling lights crafting a gorgeous spectacle, capturing my eyes and thoughts. The verdant mist weaved by the little blob created a beautiful flickering trail as they faded little by little. If only I had a camera so that I could take some memorabilia. But oh well, this was lovely too.
A few more minutes passed.
I drifted freely in the spirit realm, taking my sweet time to engrave the sight on my memories. Now I wonder why I didn’t add outer space to my bucket list. No wonder those astronomer geeks loved to huddle together on those gigantic telescopes. If only I had taken that few more projects from my old boss, I could have saved my bonuses for the expense. Why did I not think of that?
A few more hours passed.
The verdant trails of mist had already vanished. A creeping sensation of isolation crawled within me. The vast expanse started affecting my emotions. A bugging feeling of loneliness crawled into my head.
"How do we get back?" I asked the silent tempest blob.
"I don't know." He shrugged.
"Huh?" My head churned. "I thought you knew how, I mean you're a spirit like little Maggie, right?
"I have no power to pull anyone in the spirit realm aside for myself." The tempest blob said. "Don't count on me on weird stuff. That's not what I'm good at. I'm onl… I'm very good with destructive things."
The side of my lips twitched. "Then how about Maggie?"
“Do I look like the brat to you? The proud blob asked, irritated. He said with a spice of bitterness. “Go ahead, wake her up.”
I raised an eyebrow but left the temperamental tempest blob alone. Alistair seemed to have a lot on his head right now.
“Maggie, wake up,” I whispered, shaking the blob with a finger nuzzle. “Maggie, tell us how to return.”
“I’m still sleepy, uh, Victoria. I’m… tired. Let me sleep more.” The little blob whined and yawned. “A few hours, no, a few days. Ah, one month. That’ll be quick.”
Days? M-Months? Quick? I stared at the open universe, as I floated like some space debris at some unknown space coordinates. And I knew it would be a horrible idea.
‘That can’t be.’ I paled as I pat the beast. The growls of the fiend slumbering in my stomach showed how dangerous my situation was.
I shook the little blob harder. “Come on, Maggie. Just send us back and we’ll be fine. You can sleep after that. I’ll give you extra sips of mana when I recover. I promise.”
My words reached the sleepy blob as I heard her groan.
“A-Alright.” The little blob said. She wobbled out of my pocket, staggering as if she had drunk some space-proofed liquor unsuitable for the underage.
The little blob shone, and I heard her light whisper. “Done.”
A red notification suddenly popped out, blocking my sight. The little blob drizzled straight into my pocket. She continued snoring, starting where she had left it off.
[Returning to Original World. Void Cracking. Now churning. Brace for impact. Triggering realm crossing in five, four, three, two…]
Heh, I had nothing to fear. I already experienced it once. Not a big deal…
The crackling exploded, and I immediately fell into my butt. The beautiful stars hid, the entire universe whirled before my eyes. The space in front of me churned, twisting, followed by loud thundering booms. Cracks slithered, appearing in the surrounding space. Like watching a breaking plate, the fissures zigzagged, sprawling akin to giant cobwebs.
“Alistair!? What’s happening?” I asked, my throat parched.
“We're going back.” The fist-sized blob said. “I thought you wanted to go back. Oh, oh, this is going to be exciting!”
Then another explosion rang. A bright light burst forth and blinded me. I raised my arms and covered my eyes. With no warning, a sucking force dragged me to the unknown along with the village head’s wife, the tempest, and little Maggie.
When I was still an Earthling, I had this idea that skydiving would be fun. It was one of the last things I had written on the old little green notebook as part of my bucket list. The mere thought of skydiving thrilled my tired bones, and after watching a few videos on the net, I ended up dead set on it. No one’s going to stop me till I’m sixty!
I even saved big bucks so that I could try it on various locations per continent. It’s one of my next plans after I completed my journey in Antarctica. But my unexpected death ended that dream at Antarctica. I never thought fate still had some big surprises for me.
The raging wind thrashed me in mid-flight. My face crumpled as the little blob suddenly thrust us into my first ever skydiving experience. For free! The space cracks broke like brittle glass, extracting us back into the world of the living.
Adrenaline rushed into my head and felt like a daredevil as I cruise the sky with no parachute or glider. No goggles or any other equipment to plow me through this ordeal. Truthfully, I could already see myself turning into a dead meat paste if I strike the land like a human meteor.
I couldn’t even open my eyes. My gums flapped gums as the wind pressure tried to tear my entire mouth open. I gritted my teeth and held the rest of my scream. And as for the Sakkat, I did my best to put it on my chest, preventing it from getting ripped.
Alistair! I roared through the link. “Help me!”
Soon, the wind swooshed, slowly forming a spherical barrier around me. My descent slowed down a little. Though Alistair was already nowhere to be seen, I could sense the tempest blob swaggering through the sky, enjoying the feeling of freedom. It might because we’re already not in the spirit realm.
As for the village head’s wife, she also had herself covered by a wind barrier. A sigh of relief flowed along with my gasp, holding my chest. I wore the Sakkat back to my head and cackled until I was dead tired.
“Skydiving! Oh, skydiving!” I bellowed. “I was wrong to write you down on that notebook!”
Soon, my galloping heartbeat subsided. My aching eyelids flipped open, gazing at the land before me.
“So this is the Madlands?” I whispered, still reeling after the brief brush with death. I peered. Tongue-tied by the massive skull-shaped landmass below my feet. No wonder it’s the land of the crazed rats. The shape of the continent itself reeks of madness.
Flames and smoke rose into the skies. As we descended from the sky, I glimpsed of a small patch of land filled with rushing, eh, cavalry?
“I-Is that the village? Ah, no it’s not.” I squinted, making sense of the small dot. The view soon became clearer the longer I focus. I felt like an eagle watching its prey. A massive stone wall akin to the Great Wall of China uncoiled itself before my eyes. “A fortress?”
Then I saw them. My mortal enemies. My senses tingled as I caught sight of the walking turds. The hairless tails, and the ugly but almost the same faces beings turned me into a fuming kettle. It was the ratkins. The cause of the bubonic plagues, but this time, they’re man-size. It was one massive rat army at the top of that. There were also catapults behind their lines and battling rams in front, and clearly, they were besieging the fortress.
“This fucking plagues!” The creepers’ presence had rekindled the rage that I hid in the depth of my heart. The memories of my midnight toils in the outhouse and their attempt to catnapped the kittens flashed before my eyes like it was only a few days ago. Wait, it’s indeed only a few days ago. But whatever!
Alistair, you still have some gas?’ I asked through the spiritual chat. I glared at the ratkin army while acting like those edgy Mafioso I watched in those mafia movies.
I immediately got a weird reply from Alistair. ‘What are you saying, Victoria? Did you inhale too much air?”
‘What the hell is he trying to point out?’ I raised an eyebrow midair.
‘I’m a wind spirit!’ the tempest blob added. “A living ball of hot gas!”
Oh, I made a mistake. My old world’s metaphors were something like a cultural rift in this world. Well, gotta’ make it clearer next time. I asked for the tempest help through the line, washing away all the misunderstanding with some mana bribes.
I wanted to destroy the mucks out of the face of Madlands so badly that I started an impromptu trade with the tempest. And like a greedy blob that he was, Alistair agreed straightaway, babbling that he would prove his worth. He was easy. It seemed like he still had a lot within his sleeves. I wonder how much mana did he suck from my ocean-like mana tank?
Though I made a mistake last time, this time, it’s on purpose. I scowled at the rats that were prancing below. They must experience this aunt’s wrath. Gritting my teeth, I stared at the tempest, “Fuc-, I mean, blow them up!”