Chapter 3: Powerless in Every Stature, To Resounding Escape and Departure

Pain, first sign of me still alive. I could at least feel that I was alive. Where was I? Would I dare to open my eyes to see the terrors that were in store? Would there be another nightmarish drop into an infernal grave? ...

... There was no choice. I opened my eyes, to find that the peculiar sensations I've had were not tricks of my mind. My glasses were gone! Crap, now I couldn't see to even save my own life! So used to having an extra set of eyes to help me along.

Rough protrusions seemed to have frozen my arms in place... cuffs? Wait... I woke up in a prison cell, in a cage?

I tried to move my legs. Stuck... chained as well? What the hell... this was... not good. Something was solid and backing up against me from the back, so I knew it must be a wall. Turning my head slowly, I felt intense pain as my shoulders shuffled, and my arms tried to budge. More intense pain, clearing my head fast as my weak vision caught the sight of two moving figures moving toward me.

What was this, some sort of nightmare? Probably... something akin to horror movies: Restrained, sight impaired, and blurry figures swim in the vision near you. Surrounded by darkness, the place reek of mold and decay, and you could only shudder at the true image.

"Hehe, looks like our prisoner has awoken."

Crap, gotta pretend I was still out of it. Pretend... hope they don't notice that I was just twisting and turning, going back to sleep now.

"Garhg, nozzz grr ahduk!"
"Yea, well, you'll just have to hold your tendencies back. We are not allowed to touch him until the mayor finishes with him, of course, if there's anything left of him to begin with, HAHAAAAAAA"
"Gar... ahhhhar NUUUu"

... what the hell was this, some sort of alien planet? Well, it should be... I meant, I did jump realms... and I was hanging onto the dark prison walls by my arms and legs... the weight and gravity pulled on them, and slowly that subtle pain began to get to me.

"Ow ow ow...shsshh"

The pain worsened, the two figures had left me to my own devices laughing at their own conjectures. One might have been human, speaking English as if it were as natural and fluent as my own, while the other grunted more, like an ogre, or a troll... or both...

Bearing with the pain a little more, trying hard to force myself flat against the wall to decrease the burden of my weight, I panted. This was a lot harder than I thought... if I let too much go, the pain would paralyze me, and I'd be left dangle here to rot. Ugh... straining, I lift my head, and attempted hard to keep consciousness.

At least I still have the clothing I wore before coming here... my stomach growled.

Shaking my head a little, I've become fully awake. Yes, I fell unconscious before for the first time, I was so hungry I fainted. Well… that wasn't enjoyable, but at least that tiny amount of rest allowed me to recall all the way from Earth back to this nut head place called the city of insanity, Sinnssykdom. All in all, I was quite discontent. I was dragged across worlds, I almost died, and now I was going like an exhibition of potential torture victims.

Now that the initial shock was over, beside the thoughts of inevitable death here and there, I began to gather known information about me. I was no longer at... whatever that old man was. All I could recall was him inviting me to drink tea, and I drank some... tasted horrible, that I remembered too.

It slowly dawned to me that again, I was being stupid enough to fall for a trap right there. So, it was just to drug me so I'd be taken away by guards and locked up... wonderful. It seemed that my short life span had just decreased once more...

And where the hell was that stupid voice in my head - that black mist or whatever?! Yeah, he must have been a traitor too... set me up... drag me half way across some worlds and then have his friend toss me to the guards to be executed.

Remembering what the first guard said about the ogre-like guard's tendencies, I involuntarily shivered at what he'll do to me... torture? Cut me off to pieces slowly? ... ARGH!

"I Don't want to die! Let me go! Someone!"
"Quiet boy, you want those guards to have an excuse to set you on the dining table?"

"Good, now back to whisperin' because whatever you thought of my actions, you were half-correct... or is it half-wrong. Bah, whatever! Now keep quiet."
"Very nice, the little voice in my head returns as I hang about like some dried piece of meat ready to be diced up and packaged."

His voice seemed more tense than usual... then again, just how long did I spent with this guy anyway? The point was of my immense relief that at least someone came for me, though I could not trust him yet.

"Let me explain the reasons behind your imprisonment."
"Spam away, I got.. all the time in my short life left."
"Damn it boy, stop thinking like you really were going to die. Besides, that troll guard prefers his meat deep fried, not raw."

"Oh, sorry, just to let you know that you at least won't be eaten alive. Listen - the reason people are after you, and the reason behind why this city is called Sinnssykdom in the first place is because, they consume travelers, and they want everything the travelers before they eat them, thus they kept you locked up."
"So I AM a package of meat to them then. Oh, how WONDERFUL. I feel so much better now, thanks for turning me over."

At this, silence came, perhaps he was trying to find better words to explain it, but I've had enough. I struggled. The cuffs were still grinding my flesh, and as pain soared into me, I felt like, should I just give up, or... something... Anything, to get me out damn it!

My body screamed as I lurched forward, trying to squeeze my hands through the cuffs, or at least lift my feet high enough... no use... sweating beads off my forehead, with the pain of struggling almost sending me reeling with screams, I set there, dangled, helpless.

"Look boy, I intend to get you out safely, but that man was unavoidable. He could detect your presence, and mine, no matter where we go in this world. It's best to let him do what he wanted with you first. Besides, what he did was understandably right choice."
"WHAT?!"
"Hey you, dinner, keep quiet in there!"
"Keep your voice down boy!"
"Oh, sorry... he just called me FRICKING DINNER! Oh, and setting that aside, I am just in dire pain, and I really, really, would like to be let down... some point of this stupid conversation."
"Sigh, look here, boy, let me tell you the real reason. See, if he didn't drug you, and gave you to the guards under a strict deal he struck with the mayor because of their acquaintance, you'll already be on the dinner table by now. Hell, you'd wake up screaming as you were eaten alive."
"Wait what? That didn't make any sense. He had to drug me to save me, and THIS is called saving me?!"
"I'll explain later, just know this, what we did was a setup to ensure your highest chance of survival until we make it to the Rendezvous point."
"You are telling me you are going to put trust in that talking tree who drinks a disgusting kind of tea?"
"Just do what I say, if you want to live. Listen, we are never given easy choices, and this is a choice you have to make yourself. Do not say that I didn't warn you for the consequences."

Ugh, why must he do this to me? This is the second time he's been offering me only one option. Was I really going to be forced along, all the way through my life, by individuals that wanted to control me? Right now, I was powerless, forced to obey to whatever glimmer of hope for survival. Fine, if this had to be the way, then I'll endure it, as I had endured many things in life... for the sake of survival, I'll lay my life and trust on him. Because I had to, not because I wanted to.

"Fine, tell me what to do, to get out of here alive."
"That's what I want to hear. I suppose also, that this is the chance for you to work the power laying within you. Remember, if you wield your imagination, and force it with will, and if you really have the potential, you can unlock the cuffs around you. I'll be watching."
"Great, how did I NOT see that coming. sigh Fine... damn cuffs... going to leave some crazy scars."
"Just do your best, like your life depends on it. Actually, your life does depend on it. Hope that's good enough of a motivation."

Damn it... I was already placed under a life-or-death situation, and whatever I tried to do failed miserably... now, as I dangled on the cuffs attached to the wall, with my jacket and sweatshirt possibly covered in filth and sweat, sticking to my back, and my hair a mess, I seek for anything that could get me out of this hellhole. This was fricking worse than any jail they got back home, I was sure, at least they had TV and three square meals... at least according to Simpsons.

What I could use... ... nothing would be better than to get some dude pop out from some portal, kick the guards' asses, crack open the gate with bare fist, and nimbly open the cuffs and set me down, all in around one or two minutes.

Of course, that would only happen in a movie or book, where you had allies to begin with, not that-

BAM
"HEY what are you doing here! Visitors are not allowed!"
"ARgg, Na Zuu-"

Thwack What the hell. Suddenly, a shadowy figure seemed to fly across my vision, and then went from the left to the right, before disappearing from view, with a giant crashing sound.

"STOP, you realize that you are committing capitol offense, right?!"

Hi, I am here to rescue my little friend trapped in your cage. A very familiar dialect sparked my waking moments as soon as I heard it.

"I am not going to move an inch until you leave. Leave now before I call reinforcements!"

I don't care if you bring them all, the result will still be the same: your deaths. Once again the voice came confidently.

"I see, so you are prepared to die for your treasonous acts, fine, GUARDS!"

Then, more shouts, sounds of weapons clashing, and breaking, more figures flying across from left to right. A few minutes later, as I lay there wondering just what kind of person, in quite a shocker of language, managed to come to my rescue... as bodies continued to tumble across my vision. Wait, this couldn't be right. I meant, I didn't exactly wish or imagine for a guy to bust me out, but... here it was... nah, a coincidence, absolutely.

"Stay focused. You still need to get out of the cuffs before there is no more hope of saving your hands and ankles."
"Ah..."

He meant that the circulation was gone for so long it might beyond the ability to recover... considering the cuffs, and their relative strength. It was definitely metal, yet... most likely rusty due to the rough surface... if I were to increase... rusting... like imagining the metal fading away with time, or under constant submergence of water. Maybe...

Rust... come on, rust, anything will do, soften the damn cuffs so i can break them off without breaking my hands and feet in the process! I thought hard, as more shouts and swears came, with more people flying about and crashing.

Sweat dripped down across my cheeks, I could feel my grip to consciousness slowly fading, and the voice keep telling to hold on, that I was nearing there... rusting... come on, rust you damn fricking cuffs!

Normally, if a hero imagined it, it would magically happen, but as violence continued to occur outside my visual range, and the lack of any source of light, nothing was in room of improvement. The cuffs still held, and I was still dangled up and about. Perhaps now was close to the time to give the Mayor whatever I possess, and then let me be cooked... ugh, and my hunger was already eating me alive.

"CONCENTRATE! Do not give up, not even for one second. If you can live up to even one of the prophecies, then you will survive this chaos, and we shall get you out safely."
"Oh, then why can't you help me like last time? A...gah... damn no use, still can't budge a damn inch."
"That place is sealed, I could not reveal my presence to these people, and otherwise I would be in danger as well. That's why I am waiting out at a safe exit, and shall direct you there after you escape the cell. Please, make it happen!"

Easy for him to say, he's got all the powers he needed, while here I was, a college student with one shoe missing and held up tight to the damp walls. Clothes dirty, arms hanged like crucifixion, and feet bounded, with enough chaos happening right outside the cell.

Damn it, why won't it budge.. come on, think, rust, think that the ionic bonds loosen, as the hydrogen acid melts away the bonding of the iron sulfide molecules... think of how that would slowly dissolve through the metal, larger and larger in radius... anything to get me out!

KLANK the door ahead of me opened. A person stepped inside, and placed something on my head.

"OW, you poked me with that." I winced.

Oh, I apologize, this must be yours right? He replied.

"Oh this... ah, my glasses, thanks- I mean, thanks "

You are welcome. Here let me remove those from you. He chuckled a bit.

" Gee thanks, I almost died there- Hah… I don't even need to speak in your language for you to understand me, how nice."

Yeah, the feeling of relief, of being able to see again, though not really better off because of the darkness, was still quite overwhelming. However, what was even more surprising was the fact that this savior removed the cuffs in like no times flat.

Crazy, he's that strong? I meant, over here was a guy who spoke in mandarin, my birth language, and pretty much entered with only a few bleeding areas after finishing off the guards? And he went about, breaking the cuffs that I had been trying to pry open or escape from for ages? ... That's some way to make me feel pathetic; a weak human.

"Damn you are strong."

I whispered, mostly to myself, only to hear him respond likewise.

Actually, it's already at a weakened state before I even touched it. Strange isn't it?

"Not only could you understand English in the first place, you sure about what you saw?"

He nodded in confirmation. I stood there in awe, and confusion. Did he just hand me my missing shoe? Its contents no doubt were searched for any useful stuff (no way) and the shoelace was loose.

"Well, you wished for it to be weakened, rusted even. Although it didn't completely succeed, and you had to be helped in the end, it did rust, right? It was much weaker was it not?"
"No way, there is no way I could have done that. I mean... yeah I wanted to escape, so bad, if only to weaken the cuffs and let them rust away, and barring the fact that when I had wished for a guy to save me, it came, it's just... overall... unbelievable. No, it has to be a coincidence."
"Coincidence, was it? Well, keep thinking that way and denying you of perhaps a clearer truth. Remember the prophecy: He who-"
"Yeah yeah, enough of that already damn it. Stupid prophecy, it's because of this damn prophecy I am stuck here in the first place. Come on, lets go tough guy who saved me. I refuse to believe anymore of the bullshit you are coming up with around this whole 'prophecy' and potential to power business. Like I am going to believe that my imagination and my will were at work to dissolve the cuffs."

With my savior closely behind me, and glad that I won't have to speak in mandarin again because it barred me from properly expressing myself, I stepped out carefully of the cell. According to the exact same person who helped me up when I first landed on this city of lunacy - I mean come on, who in their right mind would drag off travelers and eat them off like light snacks, monsters - exactly the same guy, from his language to the green hair, he knew that I was dragged off by the guards.

In fact, the entire city knew of it, and the mayor had promised them portions of my living flesh as delicacy... wonderful. I was already implemented into their menu as we speak. Even though I was reminded to leave immediately as we stepped carefully past guards, or the corpses that used to be guards, I couldn't resist staring at their faces.

I kind of regretted doing that. Most of the guards were in blood. Red blood streamed down various holes through their bodies, as if they were broken up so much the blood vessels burst. They were done by this guy, who seemed perfectly friendly and polite... even his language was polite... and this...

Here and there, I saw guards whose skulls were flattened. The rest were knocked out flat. Half were humanoid, while the others were an assortment of animal heads... and discolored ogres and such...

From the stench, I could sort of tell what they had for lunch. On that single plate which the previous two guards were dining on, laid the chopped up portions of a human leg, and beside it was a liquor bottle with what looked ... like...

Nauseous feelings came over as I quickly turned away. Whether from my complete exhaustion, the overwhelming hunger, or the fact that my stomach doubled over in churning from the site of my surroundings, I lost all my strength and will to move on.

Falling on all fours, I stared at the floor, not knowing what to do as my head spun. Someone took the spur of the moment to lift me right back up and supported me by my shoulders. Must be that 'Rambo-esque guy'. Who'd have thought, a green hair Rambo (replacing Sylvester Stallone), natural, clean-cut hair style, barely any visible trace of muscle, went in this long corridor, didn't alert the enemies until at my cell, and still had the strength to half-carry me?

For the moment, I tried to do the most logical thing: rest as much as I could, conserve my remaining energy, and trying to stay conscious. Easier said than done, especially since my mind fazed and stopped working every now and then. There were more shouts in the distance, echoing off the highway, and then, footsteps came from ahead, stopped. We stopped it seemed, as well.

"Not good. Apparently we are having a run in with the mayor himself."

Mayor? Maybe we could talk sense into him, maybe let him allow me to live long enough to escape, provided that I had the information or whatever he wanted... as long as he didn't procure a feast on my head before I could escape...

"Ah good, I see you've brought my prey, my... informant. Guards, step aside. I'd like a better look at this... human boy."

A hand full of scales forcibly lifted my chin upwards until we met eye to eye. Of course it's fricking painful, since I found my head etched upwards, almost about to snap off at the ridiculous angle... couldn't even breathe, not that I wanted to, seeing how... terrifying the mayor actually looked like.

He looked like a spider. A giant tarantula; a giant, upright tarantula that stood taller than six feet at least, his legs placed in such a way to increase mobility while not extending to all sides. The eight crimson eyes stared at me hard, and though I was unsure, within those eyes were more intelligence than even some professors in school.

The scaled hand was not even a hand. It was a claw, one he must be using to grasp prey close enough to suck their fluids. I shivered uncontrollably as I stared, his cavernous mouth and the mandibles constantly twitching, as if daring me to be close enough and eaten.

Savoring my visible fear, the mayor then slowly turned over to green-haired Rambo (as I called him now, except he looked nowhere near Stallone) and spoke.

Hey, you better get out of here while you can and leave the boy. I can guarantee your safe passage if you do so, but he's mine. Now that alien was speaking in my dialect… wtf

Too bad, I am his friend, and it's my duty to see him to safety, so no deal. That was the green-haired crazy maniac's reply.

"Are you that defiant as to oppose my command, when I am this city's mayor, YOUR mayor?" The monster of a mayor spit out in anger.

Green-hair Rambo nodded. Uh oh, not good... did he just issue a challenge to the death against this... giant tarantula boss?! We all knew that in RPGs that what his doing was meant to let me escape and use him as a shield. Right, well I didn't feel like having 'rambo' dying. This was not Total Recall where not even Mars could kill the main guy, this was real life.

Start running, I'll slow them down and catch up with you. My rescuer told me.

"No no, I am not going to leave you here. We escape... together… right?" I said, didn't want any sacrifices or whatnot.

I cannot abide to your words, because this is my duty.

"Responsibility or no responsibility, you gotta think of your life first damnit!"

Thinking back to my own selfish thoughts to live and survive no matter what, to when I could only dream of escaping this place alive, here was green-hair rambo, wanting to save my ass even though it weren't worth saving, and he was going to open up a path for me... no, I didn't ask for this! I never wanted to see anyone die for my sake... no...

"Kill him, bring the boy to me. I want him fresh and clean."

The tarantula mayor smiled wickedly, clicking his mandibles like mad, as if anticipating what my insides tasted like. Quite hard to believe that I was this fast in imagining my own death, or these horrid thoughts, I could only look to the guy next to me, praying that some sort of miracle would happen... any!

"Duck, he's going to blow a way through!"
'Duck? Wha-"
Take this and go to hell!

A giant torrent of wind erupted as more guards converged to apprehend us, and all I could remember seeing was the green-hair rambo, clenching his fists, did some motion similar to Bruce Lee, and then threw a single punch forward, toward the tarantula boss and his cronies.

His fist moved four inches, a seismic shockwave of pressurized wind slammed into everyone else in the vicinity, knocking them flat. Only the tarantula Mayor stood where he was, unmoving.

Was he... smiling?

"Not bad, traitor, but you are no match for the mayor that runs this place with an iron fist."

I was sure he meant claw, but didn't hesitate to correct him. However, Rambo was smiling. He placed his right hand on the wall that covered our side, and with a light tap, the wall cracked. An exit was made... a clean cut oval-shaped hole, and he immediately dragged me along with him.

Behind us, I could hear the maddening howl of the Mayor, as if it's even possible. Adrenaline now fueling my remaining energy, I ran as fast and long as I could with green-hair rambo, stopping only as short as saying:

"You know, I never got your name..."
Undefeated of the East He replied as-a-matter-of-factly

I stared.

"Undefeated of the East? Did you get that off some crazy Chinese novel or- oh, never mind."

He smiled, again, one of those broad polite smiles that rub away all your sense of suspicion at this guy. He was leading me alright.

"Good, you two made it outside."
"Yeah, but where the hell are you?!"
"Where you are, boy. Don't stop or look back, just keep running. Those guys are hot off your trail."
"Tell me, why is Sinnssykdom called the city of insanity?"
This is a corrupted place taken over by monsters and demons, and the previous residents are all driven to insanity, corrupted by this darkness

That explained it much. Inhabited by monsters of all kinds, it's a place where people seeped in paranoia, corrupted into darkness. No wonder no one was on the streets right now. Everyone sane was paranoid enough to shut themselves off... and the result was a monster-ruling bureaucracy that controlled everything.

We ran through a lone street. No one. Not a single soul except us and the mad guards behind us. Could rambo do that aura-wave-like shockwave again? I just hoped that whatever happened, we'll live.

"Where are everyone else"
Preparing for dinner
"... Yeah, that makes a lot of sense."
"The Rendezvous point is at the south gate of this city; just keep following him."
"So you are saying that the 'Undefeated of the East' is one of our allies?"
"Yes, an insider apparently. I didn't know it was him when we first landed because I've never seen him before, but he and that other guy were working together, making sure you get through to the next world."

Just when I thought I could finally go off to some hotel or whatever, order some hot, cooked food and drinks, and then return back home - through bargaining of course - the talk of my next... whatever I'll be doing, going to another world for that matter shattered that fervent desire to pieces.

My pace also slowed. Besides, it was mostly the other guy carrying me anyway, and the black mist was still around, I was sure.

Everyone else stopped as well. At least it seemed that no one was chasing us so far.

What's wrong? We cannot stop here. Undefeated of the East looked at the distance gauging our time remaining.

"I know we can't stop, but... it's just, I don't have any decisions made in the matter. I can't decide where to go, I can't decide when I can eat, or whatever. Right now I am just lost, unable to do anything, can't even save myself, and now you have to drag me off to somewhere else? What will I do? I am a fricking normal guy!" Call it denial if you will, but all the things that's been going on's only made me more creep out.

"Listen, boy, I know what you are feeling: the fear, the uncertainty, and the fact that you will be thrown into the next world. However, stop doubting yourself. I know the evidences of the prophecy are just mere guesswork, but you carry the potential within you. This much I saw, and what you did back at the cell was no coincidence, because you will it be. I can see it, that the powers within you will grow, and you will fulfill the prophecy, thus, it is my duty to see you all the way through."

Although his words somehow reassured me amidst all the confusion and indecision, my head was still clouded with the fear for the unknown. Could I handle what was to come? What would this new world be like... sure, I was still alive right now, but that's because of allies.

"Why can't you help me directly."
"Who, me? MY dear boy, of course I cannot. I offer advices; I watch over you, I ensure that you make it. However, if it were only a life-threatening situation where you have no other options, then I will come to save you. It is the set of rules that the Prophet placed upon me for this assignment."

Though that made sense, somehow... it couldn't have been the full truth. Still, it seemed that he was reluctant to bring it up. So, I guess I'll just have to place all the blames on this 'Prophet' woman then. Gah...

We began to run once more. I felt better now, though still tired as hell. So out of shape I was... I just didn't know how crazy the athletes would have to go through to keep themselves in top shape. Though, that didn't really bother me since rambo here was going a mile in a few minutes.

Slowly, voices came to our direction, and that's when we knew, that the whole town seemed to be after us. Ah crap... I didn't feel like seeing the entire town rushing like a stampede just because the dinner bell had been rung. Couldn't feed an entire town, no way, not with my dead body, or even alive.

We ran harder, like the Olympics, except without cannibalistic creatures behind us.

"Up ahead, on top of that guard tower. Do you see it?"

What was he talking about? I didn't see anything of the sort- oh wait, THAT?!

What he meant was something akin to a sky scraper, with a long smooth spike rising up to the sky. There were many gaping holes in the guard tower, but all of them seemed to be loaded with firearms of the sort. The smooth wall gave a sense of giant immobility, and there were no signs of any door at all.

Here, let me do it

Undefeated of the East stepped forward, and I crossed my fingers praying he knew what he was doing. He seemed to be scanning the wall for any crevice. Found one somehow, and then tapped on the way with his fingers... in a very odd fashion.

ZZZZZZZZMMM the wall slid away, only to reveal a darkness inside. Rambo entered, so I had no choice but to follow. The door slammed shut as soon as I walked through, and the lights came on in a split second.

What came next, I couldn't help but to give the reaction. The entire place looked as if trees and roots of fungus and vegetation crept up through the place, cracking through walls and winding up the building. As rambo stepped up a spiral staircase without even bothering to look around, I wondered, where could the guards be? I was sure that if this was a guard tower than it must be on duty constantly.

As I walked up the stairs, I found that out as well. Here and there, were distinct bulges in the structures of the plants that resembled human shape, and sometimes, screaming faces of sheer horror would be poking out of the bark, stopping only to make a rising indention of their last moments.

... The plants and fungi ate them all. I shivered again; this was certainly driving me crazy. I mean, sure, death around and blood oozing out of body parts? I could sort of handle since that's like haunted houses, horror movies, and scary anime. I thought I was ready for blood and gore through all those games and things I've played and experienced, but nothing prepared for me to constantly see death around me.

It gave me a queasy feeling that I stopped short as soon as I ascended the third level.

"This is only the beginning. You MUST overcome the negative traits within you, or else you shall be tested again and again, until your life withers away due to the lack of inner strength."

About now, I really could use the strength to say, "SHUT UP, stop reminding me of this damn fricking prophecy of yours already!" That's what I wanted to say, but I couldn't.

Again, I had to trust him to see myself through everything, for the sake of survival, for the sake of holding on to my life, and perhaps finally finding my answers, I had to keep on living, didn't I. No matter how weak I was, no matter how much I asked for normalcy, I had to do this... hah... hahaha... this truly was fate, damn it all.

Bitterly laughing to myself, I finally made it to the apex of the tower. Ignoring more shapes of guards consumed by plants, I saw a familiar figure standing there, smiling. It was the same man who gave me the fungal tea, and set me up for this mess.

"Why hello there, young one. How was the party?"

He winked, as if mocking me, but what could I do? If he did all of that to the soldiers, I'd rather preserve my life and stay silent.

"Good, you are learning to hide your emotions. That is what you must do, my friend, if you ever wish to make it through alive and reaching the place of your desires. Now, I am removing all of us from this world, because it is no longer our concern." The part tree alien gave out a sigh.

"That is correct. This was the nearest unpatrolled autonomous world for my transporting you. A way point, if you will, the two here were set here in case the first of the transition phase could not work out for you, and I am eternally thankful for them."
You are welcome, as usual.
"Uh yeah... I guess I should be thanking you for getting us out... this far."

Thats all I could say, given the physical and mental condition I was in. No point to argue, just agree to whatever they say... and thus the bark man continued to talk (because I didn't feel like asking him for a name)

"Usually, travelers who came here by any means would have been hunted down within the first hour. We were quite lucky that through our network the delays for his execution were pushed to five hours after. If Undefeated of the East didn't go to save you - contrary to what your friend's belief that you could utilize your power - it might have been too late."

The tone he said it was not offending, yet it still drilled hot into my skull. I was still mocked at for being useless. There was no real denial that he wasn't correct, because he was, but still... it didn't make me feel comfortable inside... perhaps, I wanted to take on his challenge?

"That I will not argue with you, he is still in transition from the world he lives in where his powers were dormant. However, he is progressing, be it a coincidence or whatever, because of the unpredictability of the source of which his powers can take form, I can only believe in the Prophet that she was right, and he was the one."

Less talk. They are here.

Ah crap, not well. Now the guard tower was being invaded, and random objects were being thrown through the opening portholes - things of various value, and danger. Getting to the floor as low as I could, I could see that the other two who stood still go about nonchalantly, but the conversation was definitely discontinued.

Undefeated of the East - I still had trouble thinking of him as that - calmly tossed a device of some sort to the ground, and with a flash of light, an oval... space seemed to distort itself into visibility where the device was thrown.

"Well, better get going. Take care of the boy from here on, because we will not be around to help. Have him come visit us sometimes; I'll make more fungal tea."

With that, the old man with tree written all over him winked at me, and jumped through the distortion, to disappear a moment later.

"Whoa..."

I blinked. Now only the two of us left. Undefeated of the East was smiling kindly, here was a man, that I could expect to be as crazy as his hair color, and still walk around with girls flocking to him. He tossed another device onto the floor, this time, the distortion in space looked like something excessively brilliantly green. Maybe I was going off to his home place?

He then directed me toward the distortion, while smoothly slamming the few cutlery and pans back with his single free hand. He nodded at the portal, telling me that this was my next destination. After showing me my next big leap, he walked to the distortion where the old man vanished into, and spoke.

I'll be seeing you again, if fate grants us that opportunity. Until then, have a safe trip.
"... Thank you... I'll be seeing you again, then."

With that, he jumped through the space, and disappeared as well, before the device seemed to disintegrate before my eyes.

"We better go. I will debrief you of the next world we are going through."
"Yeah yeah... I could use some food..."
"Are you ready? I am pretty sure they have what you called, 'food' in the next world we are heading."

Taking a deep breath, I once again thought back of the suffering, the exhilaration, the utter confusion since arriving at the world of Sinnssykdom. As many books and movies had said before, taking the first step was always the hardest... now that the next path had been shown, there really was no going back, only to march, bravely forward.

What would a hero in a book say? What would a guy possibly say, as he was about to step into the unknown? Got any good quote, battle cries, whatever?

I guess I'll make that up as I go along, if I survive. Have some courage, I said to myself. This was something of a lifetime...

Perhaps because of the sheer fear or excitement of what was to come next, I couldn't help shivering. This was not reality at all, this did not classify as any sort of realistic grounds, nor would it equate to fantasy novels, but there was something inside me that kept on driving me. Up to now, I still didn't know for sure.

"Ready when you are."

Author's Notes: So the hero escapes with the help of very strange individuals. Well, the trouble never ends does it? Where will he be heading off next? What's this uncertainty growing inside him? Can it really be just a coincidence that when he wanted the cuffs to weaken, they really did? Or was the Green-hair 'Rambo' just pulling his leg?

Regardless, a man's journey continues, so the only way to know what other chaotic world his sorry self gets dragged into is to keep reading (laugh)