Chapter 4 | Newcomer

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GRETA

I can feel the animal's heart against my legs. My fingers curl into its hair as it races in a beeline toward a destination unknown. I doubt it knows where it's going. We're not going anywhere I know, that is for certain.

The dark sand below looks the same as it did miles ago from where we abandoned my cave. This weapon is heavy to carry and there is nowhere for me to store it while on the creature.

We've been traveling for over an hour. I crane my neck up seeing the clouds have yet to move.

The beast slows down in its rampage. It walks for some time as I squint against the sand blowing around and against us. Then I press my face back into the animal's neck again when the wind gets stronger. 

I don't know how much time has passed, but the animal comes to a stop. 

When I look up, I see a large mass standing in front of us. It is solid black, telling me it is not alive. Two silver shapes, humans, walk out in front of me pointing the same type of weapon in my hand at the creature and I. One of them uses the sharp edge of the weapon to cut into my arm.

I cry out in pain watching as my newly claimed weapon clatters to the floor of the desert by the feet of the beast.

One of the humans holds their torch up to my face while I clutch my newly wounded arm. My collarbone still aches too. The other human tears me off the back of the creature and throws me onto the ground violently. The creature makes a loud noise as the other human holding the torch takes hold of the rope and pulls it away from me.

One of the men kneels down beside me. "Who are you? State your purpose for trespassing on the empirical lands of the Ashtium empire."

The tip of his sharp weapon rests against my chin and for the first time in years I speak.

"Greta," I bite back and take hold of his sharp weapon.

It cuts into my hand and I kick at his torch. It lands on the ground and I remove my hand from the hilt of his weapon feeling blood spill from my palm. I am safe now in the darkness. The two men make angry noises and pull a lever behind them while barking out orders as more guards spill out into the desert.

"A spy! May even be a Krexbin!"

"Did you see her teeth?"

"No! Too dark out!"

"Where is she?"

My eyes bulge seeing the lively place behind them. Giant fancy caves made of sculpted stone make a mockery of my small, unruly cave home. There are so many people! There must be hundreds maybe even thousands of them. Smells wash over me, ones I'm unable to identify as flying silver creatures with wings flutter by the guards pouring out of the gate.

Could this be...

It's only natural they are disgusted by me and wish to keep me out, but I can't fight off the feeling this is the home of the god of the sun. There's so much life inside. Life I've never seen before and so much of it all in one place too.

I still can't see in color though. It's a disappointment, but I think this may be the place my parents sought to find. I just have to be sure. I use the dark to my advantage and sneak around the guards into the big enclosed space behind them.

When I look up though, fear consumes me. The sky is blocked out by a similar dark grey stone that composes the walls I stepped through to enter the large building. I've never seen so much grey though, there must be light in here, but unlike outside, it is not coming from the moon.

How can there be so much light? I do not see the sun. Yet, things are so much less dim in here than out in the desert.

A man pulling a cart nearby me crashes into a building and a bunch of angry people storm out of it yelling. People point at me and I bite my lip, covering my ears to block out their overwhelming voices.

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