Arc 5 Chapter 61: Lost in a desert

Tibia stood in the dark hallway inside of one of the many secret meeting places.

She had been called along with her mentor to appear before the heads of the secret organization.

She was only a little nervous since this would be her first time meeting any of the leaders.

One of the large black stone doors was pushed opened revealing a dark robed figure with the number 6 on their robe. They walked over to Tibia and started to inspect her while ignoring the existence of Bonestringer who was standing only a few feet away.

When the robed figure was satisfied she finally glanced over to Bonestringer for a second and spoke with a feminine voice.

“Give us some room I need to talk to her privately.”

A weird expression appeared on Bonestringer’s face from being dismissed so rudely. It only lasted for a moment before he silently left the hallway leaving the two alone.

“I’m not going to waste any time so I’ll tell you I’m Number six. You are now my new student. We have called you here to do a quick interview before I start your training,” said number Six.

“Training for what?” asked Tibia her voice muffled by the silk veil she wore over her face.

“You’ll find out soon enough, let’s not keep the others waiting,” said number six with a laugh while motioning for Tibia to enter the room first.

The meeting room was only slightly brighter than the dark hallway allowing Tibia to see five other human figures all seated around a large black stone table with the logo of the secret organization carved into the middle of it.

Number six left her side and sat down in a chair that was marked with the number six. Tibia counted only six people in the room, not including herself. That left one chair at the table empty.

Her thoughts were interrupted when number one stood up and said, “Tibia you have shown yourself to be a talented and skillful officer completing every mission given to you. We have called you here for this meeting for you to begin your training under number six. You will be replacing the recently deceased head #6. From this moment you are no longer Tibia, you are deputy number 7. If you have any questions now is the time to ask them.”

“This is a little too sudden for me. What about my mentor Bonestringer? He has been working for the cause for many years.” asked deputy number 7.

“What about him? He is just one of many members,” said Number 2 in a childlike voice.

“Don’t worry about him. Right now you need to worry about not disappointing us and focus on your training with number six. That goes for you too number six no messing around,” said number 3 seriously.

“You still got that stick up your butt?” asked number six whose anger was triggered.

“Knock it off you two. Deputy number 7 you will be traveling with number 6 until your training is complete. If you have no other questions then go wait for number six outside and send Bonestringer in,” said number 1.

Deputy number 7 left the room with the eyes of all six heads of the organization watching her back.

“I think she will do well,” said number 5 emotionlessly after the door closed.

“Don’t worry I can handle this,” said number 6 sending an angry glare at number 3.

“We need to talk later about the missing ring on our agent that was killed in Vania. If someone that is not part of the organization has it and uses it they could cause trouble for us,” said number 3.

“We can and will discuss that later,” said Number 1.

The stone door opened once again when Bonestringer walked into the room and walked up to the long table.

This was his third time meeting the heads of the organization seeing that there was a seat empty his heart was filled with hope that he had been called to take over the position of his deceased mentor.

“Bonestringer you have done well in training your student. We thank you for helping strengthen our organization, But….” said Number 1 pausing for a few seconds causing Bonestringer to get a bad feeling.

“We have chosen your student to become the next person to replace the recently deceased number 6,” said number 1 in his calm husky voice.

That hope Bonestringer had been clinging to was dashed into pieces. His mouth gaped open like a fish trying to breathe on land.

A glowing written message appeared in the darkness as number 4 shoved it towards Bonestringer.

‘How much longer until the task we gave you is finished?’

“I’m going as fast as I can you should already know that you can’t create them without the proper material. I have been trying to get more but the supply is not as good as I hoped for.”

“So you’re saying it won’t be done any time soon?” asked the childlike voice of number 2.

“If I had more supplies I could finish faster,” said Bonestringer.

“Useless,” said number 6.

“Just make sure you have them completed and ready for when we need them. You do not want to be the one that causes our plan to fail due to your ineptitude,” said number 3.

“You may leave now,” said Number 1.

Bonestringer was full of emotions all boiling up inside of him as he exited the room and walked past his student that he had mentored for many years. He didn’t even give her a single glance or word of goodbye before departing.

***

The heat of the morning desert sun beat down on Akira and Varbu as they walked up, down, and sometimes around the deserts sandy dunes.

Varbu and Akira had been walking around the desert searching for a road, caravan or a city since they entered the desert. But unfortunately, after a week of searching, they were still unsure where they were.

Their supplies were nearly gone and they were now in another type of trouble different than what they had endured before escaping into the desert.

For a short time, their mood improved as they were able to sleep and recover from the fatigue they had endured for several weeks. But now, Instead of being agitated from lack of sleep they were now agitated by the sun’s intense heat all throughout the day, and the chilling cold of the desert night.

They had been fooled too many times by mirages and hallucinations thinking they were getting closer to an oasis only to find out that it was nothing but more sand as far as the eye could see.

They were completely and utterly lost. Akira guessed that even with a map they would still be lost.

The two were currently taking a short rest in the shade that was given by a large pyramid-like structure they had seen many times already while walking through the desert. Each one seemed different, most made of cheap materials while other rare large pyramids used expensive stone. The shade was still hot but it was still more bearable than the full glare of the desert sun.

“Ah, I hate this place. It’s too hot and it’s still morning,” complained Akira. He had already removed all his armor and was wearing light clothing so he wouldn’t die from heat stroke.

“At least you haven’t gotten a bad tan like me,” said Varbu.

Akira looked over at Varbu and had to stifle a laugh due to how he looked. Varbu’s skin had become an even deeper red due to his mixture of sunburn/Tan.

Varbu noticing this gave a grunt and then ignored him as they drank a few sips of water while sitting in the hot shade.

They had not seen any other humans, animals, or monsters while they were walking through the desert they didn’t know whether they were lucky or unlucky.

“If we keep going this way we should be able to find a road, city, or something. If we try to walk in every direction we will get nowhere,” said Akira.

Varbu was quiet and did not reply as he stood up ready to continue their walk south.

They continued to walk with few stops for over three hours seeing nothing but sand.

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“I hate sand,” said Akira as the two walked over to a mud-brick pyramid to rest in the shade.

Akira sat down and took his shoes off and dumped a large amount of sand out of them before putting them back on.

Akira’s ears which were now more sensitive since he had awakened into a werewolf picked up movement and a conversation a short distance away. He could hear three voices whispering behind a sand dune.

The voices reminded him of someone he had met before but could not recall who it was.

He motioned to Varbu warning him to be on guard pointing towards a dune where he could hear three people arguing with each other as if they did not understand the concept of being quiet.

“See! I told you we this was a perfect place to set up our trap.”

“Yep, that’s right you sure did. You’re so smart. Were lucky the local bandits don’t know about this place.”

“You idiots, we’ve been waiting here for over a month and we’ve only seen one other person this entire time.”

“We’re not idiots! You were the one who kept on saying we should stay just a few more days because someone might come.”

“You’re a bunch of idiots! Only an idiot would suggest we go this far out into the desert. The only other people that would be out here so far away from the main road and cities are also idiots.”

“Then what do you call those people over there…Huh, where’d they go?”

“Look at that! You were to busy arguing that they were able to leave without us being able doing anything. They were easy prey without any armor or weapons.”

“Hey, you were the one who started it!”

“Well, at least we have enough supplies for another month back at camp.”

Crack, Crack!

The sound of knuckles being popped startled the three bandits who whirled around to see who had snuck up behind them.

Varbu and Akira were standing behind the three looking menacing while Varbu cracked his knuckles and rotated his shoulders warming up for a fight.

“Ah it’s him!” said one of the bandits while pointing at Akira.

“Do I know you guys?” asked Akira confused.

“Don’t just go and forget us like we’re nobodies!”

“We will make you remember us with our new powerful attack!”

“Ah! Now I remember who you guys are!” said Akira.

“See even he couldn’t forget how great we are!”

“You’re the three idiots that I meet while traveling to Fregoldawe,” said Akira.

The three bandits fell on their faces after hearing such an unexpected answer.

“Don’t make fun of us! Because of you, we had a hard time escaping that jail and now we can’t even stay in Freeopia because we are wanted criminals with bounties on our heads!”

“That’s right! We endured such hardships because of you!”

“Brothers no need for any more talk let’s use the new ‘YOU WILL DIE’ formation!”

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The three bandits surrounded Akira and Varbu while posing in such awkward and comical postures that it made Akira embarrassed for them.

“Thank goodness we ran into some bandits who know the way around here. They even have extra food. That takes care of all of our problems,” said Varbu cracking his knuckles again with a menacing smile.

***

“We’re sorry,” said the eldest bandit his face swollen from receiving many punches.

The two other bandits were just as badly beaten up by Akira and Varbu who had treated them nicely and not killed them. They didn’t need to use and special skills on them as they were able to easily subdue them.

“You three will take us to your camp and share your food and water with us. Then you will take us to the nearest city. If you try anything funny we won’t be so nice or gentle next time we’re forced to fight,” said Akira with a serious look on his face.

“Certainly how could we possibly refuse such a reasonable request,” said the youngest bandit.

“Honestly you three should quit being bandits. You suck at it, you could probably find something else to do that would be more worth your time,” said Akira.

“Yeah you guys could be comedians or something with all the funny poses and arguing you do,” said Varbu.

The bandits felt a little of both anger and pain after hearing the new formation they had worked so hard on being compared to a comedy act.

“Lead the way,” said Akira motioning for the bandits to get up and walk in front of Akira and Varbu.

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