While most of the village was still in one piece after what had appeared to have been a massive, midnight explosion, the church in the centre of the village had essentially ceased to exist and was currently nothing more than a smoldering pile of rubble. In fact, the explosion had been so loud that most of the Banikans in the village had fled, having been terrified of being caught in the spreading fire.
Thankfully, a storm had helped put out the flames, but the remaining Banikans were not at all amused. That was why Retvik and Rethais were being held in front of the large, still warm hole, being forced to see what had caused this horrible scenario.
“Why are you making us do this again?” Retvik asked, trying to keep his balance as the Banikans nudged him forward.
“BECAUSE YOU CAUSED THIS!”
“But we were asleep in bed when this happened. Sleeping, like you suggested us to.”
The Banikans were not amused by Retvik’s words and nudged him further forward. Retvik’s talons helped him keep his grip on the rubble, but he knew these Banikans were not joking around. The massive hole that had replaced their sacred church had made them believe the site was now haunted, and none of them wanted to see what was down this deep, potentially unending tunnel.
“Nothing has bothered us in decades! And then you Rethavok come along and everything gets noticeably worse!”
“That is just coincidence…”
“Ho do you know?”
“Well, it might be?”
“Go down there and see what it IS!” one of the larger Banikans roared.
They were all suddenly very sick and tired of the Rethans’ presence. One Banikan forced a spear into Retvik’s hand, another offered a sword to Rethais. The larger Banikan pushed them both forward, causing Rethais to tumble and grab Retvik, who also lost his balance and began to fall.
Luckily, there wasn’t far to fall. Sure, it was a good 15m drop, but the hole was mostly just a steep slope and the landing was weirdly soft, as if stumbling on jelly. Small piles of flaming rubble, having not been hit by the rain outside, illuminated deeper into the cave. And, right at the bottom of it, there was clearly something moving around, something that wasn’t rubble.
“I will be honest, this is rather worrying…” Rethais muttered, holding tightly onto Retvik’s arm, having dropped his sword somewhere on the way down.
Retvik grunted, edging closer to whatever this living being was. It suddenly sat up, staring directly at the two Rethavok, having been woken up by Retvik’s footsteps.
“WHERE AM I?”
The two Rethavok leaped back in shock. The being glanced around, then brushed itself off, revealing yellow skin and black armour.
“Oh. Hello, Retvik. Hello, Rethais… I take it I fucked up. Again.”
The Thantophor sighed, picking himself up off the ground. Arkadin was currently in the form of something a bit larger than a Skyavok but also not as big as a Rethavok.
“What do you mean?”
Arkadin sighed again, grunting and glancing up and down at the two Rethans. “I tried to speak to Kenon. It didn’t go well. I got knocked out. I… uh… how long have I been drifting?”
Retvik and Rethais blinked.
“Drifting… ser?” Rethais asked.
“Yes. Drifting through space. Kenon fucking drugged me…” Arkadin stopped staring at the Rethans and looked up out of the large hole that he was just realising he had made. “I made the mistake of holding back. Got tranqed because of it. I guess Kenon just left me to drift through space… Do either of you two know what day it is?”
Retvik shrugged. “By our calculations, it is the 12th of Genar.”
“Maybe the 11th, we are not certain.”
Arkadin closed his eyes, taking a deep breath. He then took both Retvik and Rethais by the hands.
“I am sorry I let you both get like this. Where do you both want to go?”
“What do you mean?”
“Tell me a location and we’ll go there. Right now.”
Rethais grunted. “I suppose asking to be teleported into Kenon’s living quarters so I can personally stab him is out of the question?”
“I already tried that!” Arkadin snarled. “It got me knocked out for two weeks and caused the collapse of Rethan society.”
“Thought as much…” Rethais shrugged. “Just take us to wherever the most non-mind-controlled Rethans are…”