Chapter 1: Klaunaliorilatica
On the side of a large cliff was a young girl with black hair just staring out into the ocean. Her eyes like a dead fish as she just stared at the setting sun without any meaning to it. Directly in front of her was a man. A man who was lying peacefully inside a large hole. His body mangled and torn apart but nonetheless a smile on his face. A satisfied one, the one of a person who had no regrets.
Young Klauna didn’t understand why. Why her father had such a smile despite dying a terrible death? A painful and a horrible one. Why her father had such a smile despite leaving his only daughter alone? Why her father had such a smile despite achieving nothing too important in his life?
Klauna thought hard for an answer. She thought and thought, as she dug the hole of what would be the future grave of the human that she called her father. Eventually, she stopped thinking. Soon after, she stopped moving. Now, she’s just staring into the ocean.
She could no longer care about anything. Her heart was still.
'What does finding the answers to these questions even matter now?' she thought to herself.
It would be better to not think at all. That way, she won’t feel the searing pain within her heart.
She looked at her father who was just lying in the hole that she dug. She didn’t even have the will to finish the job. Twice now has she’s been abandoned. What is the purpose of even moving forward? She might as well stay still just like her father right now. And so she tried. She slowly crept forward and lay beside her father in the self-dug grave before closing her eyes.
“That’s a cheap way to go ya know.” A woman’s voice called out to Klauna as she tried to enter her eternal sleep.
The woman then pulled her out of the grave before flicking her finger. The earth then slowly closed the hole where the man lied in. Klauna just watched helplessly as the most important person in her life gets eaten by the earth.
“I’m sorry, I couldn’t do anything for him. I’m even more sorry that I can’t do anything else to help you. I need to be elsewhere.” The woman with the ponytail said to Klauna.
“Senior Shia...?” Klauna spoke softly to the woman who was holding her hands tightly. Her voice was just as cold as her eyes that were staring at nothing.
“I’m going to do bad things to a bad person. End this nonsense bloodshed. There is a high chance that I won’t come back,” She answered.
“Um,” Klauna answered. Dread in her voice as she realised that the second most important person to her was going to abandon her as well.
Shia crouched down and met Klauna right in the eye. Shia’s azure blue eyes met with Klauna’s red crimson eyes. “Promise me that you won’t do that again.”
Klauna tilted her head as she did not understand the meaning of her words.
“Promise me that you won’t die for no reason like that. That you won’t end it that way. That you will live till the day comes for you. If you are going to die, then I want you to die just like how your father did. Proud and satisfied with the things that he’s done. I want you to live a meaningful life, Ticah.”
Klauna only stared in confusion. No emotion on her face nor her eyes. Her mind was blank; it was too troublesome and too painful for her to even think. So she didn't, only staring at Shia.
Shia then brought out her pinky finger to Klauna. “Pinky promise.”
Klauna subconsciously brought her pinky finger to Shia’s “Um...Pinky promise." Klauna didn't know why she did it. She wasn't really thinking.
Shia who was satisfied then gave Klauna a hug. A long and smothering embrace. “Don’t break your promise now. Ak’hims never break their promise.”
Shia then let go of Klauna and ran off. Her figure slowly disappearing from Klauna’s sight. It was at this moment that Klauna’s life started to crumble.
Everything around her crumbled with her. With a violent shake, the ground, the ocean and the skies crumbled into nothingness as Klauna fell into the abyss.
“Shia….” Was the last words she said as she fell further into the abyss.
* * * * *
“WAKE UP!” Harbin shook Klauna so hard till the point that Klauna was seeing stars and doppelgangers of the purple hair twin-tailed girl.
Or could it be that she was seeing stars because of the hangover? She couldn’t tell. She didn’t care anyway. It was too much of a pain to think about it— much like the painful throbbing that she was feeling in her head right now.
“Don’t go back to sleep! Come on!” Harbin pulled Klauna upright onto a chair.
Klauna could only groan as she sat down upright. Her clothes were soggy from sleeping on the wet floor. Her hands clutching her head as Harbin pours a cup of water to pass to Klauna.
Klauna didn't accept the cup. Instead, she went to take a bottle from the table nearby— a bottle of liquor.
Harbin saw this and forcefully grabbed the bottle from her hands and placed the cup of water there instead. Harbin then put the bottle in her bag, confiscating it from Klauna.
Harbin gave Klauna a deep angry glare. "I can't believe you actually went and get wasted and even slept on the job. You are a captain of the Imperial Seventh Army for gosh sake, you gotta pull yourself together Captain Klauna!" Harbin scolded her captain.
Klauna gulped the cup in fell swoop, ignoring her words of complaint. "How many hours have I been asleep?"
"Hours? It's already dawn on the following day, Captain Klauna," Harbin let out a pout.
Klauna nodded before taking another sip. Not from the cup but from a bottle that Harbin was sure she had confiscated from Klauna. Harbin checked her bag and confirmed that it was indeed a different bottle.
'Where did she get the other one from?' Harbin thought as Klauna drank the liquor from the bottle, much to Harbin's annoyance. Once again Harbin forcefully grabbed the bottle away from Klauna.
Klauna couldn't care less about the bottle at this point, she had already drunk from it. Klauna then stood up slowly and walked out of her tent. Her movement wobbly and every step she took was as if she was going to fall down. Harbin followed her out of the tent, ready to catch Klauna if she did indeed fall.
Too bad she didn’t though.
Even outside, Klauna never stopped walking. She walked and found a suitable watchtower before climbing the ladder to it. Harbin didn’t question anything and just followed her actions and climbed the watchtower as well. At the top of the watchtower was a soldier with horns just looking out towards the fields beyond the camp. He realised that people had come up the tower and was about to berate them. His actions stopped when he saw the uniform that Klauna was wearing.
He only clicked his tongue before ignoring them and went back to doing his job. Despite being an Analyst, Klauna was still a captain of the Seventh Army. The analyst was well known to do whatever she wants. The soldier knew that it was a waste of time to talk to her.
Likewise, just like how the soldier ignored Klauna, Klauna ignored the soldier as well. Klauna then took a good look from the edge of the watchtower towards an open field, and at the end of the field were rows of trenches. She couldn’t see that well because of the distance, but she could tell that the trenches were heavily fortified and each stretch had various men and equipment. Klauna then looked over on this side; the Seventh Army was ready for any assault that the enemy may try to make.
Despite the two factions, the humans and the demons, being at war, things were rather peaceful. It was a wide and quiet battlefield.
“Too quiet,” Klauna muttered.
Harbin only tilted her head in response. “I’m sorry?”
“Something isn’t right. I need a status report now.”
“Eh? Ah! Nothing is really going on right now. Lord General Lionel told the men to rest and prepare ourselves for the upcoming engagement. He plans to strike the enemy from the flanks.”
'It’s a trench as wide as this field. There are no flanks. What is she talking about?' Klauna wondered as she listened to Harbin
Klauna took another look at the trenches, her eyes squinting hard. Her focus was the ends of the trenches. What came into her sight was a bunch of trench lines ending at a forest all the way west of their position.
“Where is Lionel now?” Klauna asked.
The soldier lets out a scoff when he heard the way that Klauna addressed the general without any formalities. “No respect.” He muttered under his breath.
Harbin could only give a wry smile before continuing her report: “Lord General Lionel said that he was going to scout ahead with a group of elites. To find a way to flank the enemy or even breach the enemies defences.” Harbin then let out a soft sigh, “What kind of general goes out to scout anyways? He could have sent the ‘Saboteurs’ or the ‘Cunnings’ to do it.“
Harbin immediately closed her mouth when she realised what she had done. She then took a look at the Soldier. The ‘Warrior’ that was with them on the watchtower. Safe, it looked like he didn’t hear her comment on the general.
Instead, it was Klauna who spoke to Harbin, “The kind of general that leads by example. It’s not necessarily a bad thing for a commander to be out in the middle of things rather than at the back and at the safety of his men. It speaks of his integrity and his character.”
Klauna spoke with a clear voice. Her words carry a lot of weight, one of the rare moments where Klauna spoke with such wisdom and charisma. Harbin only listened in earnestly as she reflected on her comment on the Lord General. How could she doubt the actions of her commander? The general of the Seventh Army? How foolish of her.
“But I agree it was a stupid thing for him to do. Lionel is ill-suited for scouting. How long has he left the camp?”
'Ahh, there it is, Lord Klauna’s signature sharp tongue.' Harbin thought as she replied to Klauna’s question with another wry smile. “He has left since the night I believe.”
“I see… Harbin, I need to ask a favour of you.” Klauna said as she started to climb down the watchtower.
“What is it, Captain Klauna?” Harbin stiffens up as she went into an alert stance.
“I want you to mobilize all the Analyst in the camp.”
“Ah! Yes Ma’am!” Harbin saluted before jolting off to execute her orders. Unlike Klauna who was climbing down the stairs slowly, Harbin just jumped off the tower and landed on the ground softly.
“Haaaaahhhh.” The soldier who was on the watchtower could only let out a big sigh.