45 – A World or Hell?
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We broke from the sensation of entering the world, not on land but free falling in the sky. I stabbed both of my blades where I could as the giant crashed through a mountain. The stones gave way easily, causing a rather large rockslide to assist in felling a forest of dead trees.

When everything finally stopped, I pulled my blades out and prepared to jump off the beast. A snag around my throat stopped me. A familiar-looking vine had stretched out from my opponent. I slashed at the appendage, but it bent out of the way just enough for the blade's tip to narrowly pass it by.

“Kiko, run,” Azul shouted before biting into the flesh. The creature let out a howl as it loosened its grip. I didn’t wait another moment before dashing from the giant beast we stood on.

As my feet landed hard on stony ground, the mother of hunger began to stand back up. It looked down at me and let out a cry. Several of it’s smaller minions burst from the mouth.

I didn’t waste another moment and fled through the dead forest. Loud footsteps echoed behind me as the beast gave chase. Looking back, I saw the clay-like monster had chosen to stay on, now using the beast to quickly close the gap between us. My footing gave way as I burst from the forest into an ample space of sand. I tumbled down in the dune, helpless to defend myself as the giant approached.

It never got the chance to approach.

As I turned to look up at my killer face-to-face, something burst from the ground. Describing it was difficult. The new beast was long, with what must have been millions of sharp knife-like legs. A hard red shell covered it’s back, and a black belly wrapped around my pursuer. The head of the new beast split into four parts and bit the head of its prey off in one motion. I could only assume the fleshy creature was consumed along with it.

I would have liked to run, but my legs instantly felt numb. My whole body was like a statue as I watched the new beast finish its meal; not one bit was left behind.

The smaller scions which had been belted out began to slow and freeze. Without the command of their mother, they had little purpose in being.

The new monster turned to me and screeched. It was clear what it had in mind. I was dessert. The threat gave me the strength I needed to stand up, but there was no cover to run to.

Fortunately, at least, I hoped that was the case; the beast was only a tiny predator. Just before it could skewer me on one of its sharp legs, a large reptilian bird swooped down and caught the long creature in its talons.

It was lifted to the sky, where the red creature struggled to escape. I could not tell the outcome, as the dueling pair soon became nothing more than a dot in a crimson sky.

I fell to my knees.

“The monster world.”

My words came out as almost a whisper. What had all that struggle been for if I was going to fall into this mad place?

“Kiko, we best get out of the open,” Azul warned.

I suppose he was drug along with me. In a way, that serves him right for binding onto my shoulders.

“I’m sorry, it’s over.”

The blue dragon groaned.

“It’s not over until I say so, dear Kiko. You need to get somewhere safe and then get some rest. We can discuss how we will escape once you are well.”

“We can’t escape, not without Orrin, and he wouldn’t risk coming here.”

“You are right that he wouldn’t risk it, but that does not mean we cannot escape! I do not wish to be eaten, so let us find somewhere safe, and I can elaborate further.”

He seemed confident in his words, and for better or worse, I had no choice but to go along with his plan. I stood up and brushed the sand off my black armor.

The pink kimono was now long gone; I had left it in the world between worlds. I would be dead before I could ever see it again. My fists clenched at the thought, though I had no idea why I was so frustrated. Taking a deep breath, I loosened my hands as I exhaled.

“I’m sorry, I let myself get caught in despair for a moment.”

“Despairing is just fine, but it is best to do it somewhere isolated.”

“Where should we go?” I asked as I looked around the sandy desert. The suns of this world, five in total, were beginning to drop down below a mountain range.

“I suspect there will be good places to hide in the valleys,” Azul said as I fixed my sight on them.

The walk through the loose sand was challenging, but my feet began to march toward the mountains. There was no telling what would come afterward.