13 Second Shard Pt. 1
Bai Qi felt himself fall into a deeper and deeper sleep, until something shifted. In this moment of being unconscious and conscious, Bai Qi felt himself waking up, though his body felt rubbery, as if he had lost control of it. He was once again entering that dreamscape. As he fell into the dream, his chest felt constricted.
Someone was holding Bai Qi down. Hands pressed firmly against chest, arms restrained and tied. He tried to move his legs, but those were tied down by something as well. As he tried to groggily get up, someone roughly pushed him down. As his eyes got used to the darkness, he saw three figures draped in cloaks, hidden in the shadows of the dark room surrounding his bed.Realizing something was wrong, he started to yell, calling for help. Biting down hard on the hand covering his mouth, he drew blood, resulting in a yelp from one of the dark figures. "Someone help, intruders! Help me," he screamed.
"Shut yer trap", a low voice said, as a dark figure suddenly punched him in the throat.
A sudden wave of pain woke him up completely, though the jab at his throat left Bai Qi gasping for air. Suddenly, a cold blade was placed on his throat. "Inside voices only," the voice rasped. "If you can't behave, we might need to rethink being so courteous to you."
"Don't worry," another voice sniggered. "If he wanted you to die, you'd be long gone. No, we just want to talk."
Staying silent, Bai took in a long breath of air, before suddenly yelling "HELP, INTRU-"
The second punch wasn't as light as the first, leaving him gasping for air once again. Once again one of the dark figures put the blade to his throat, but this time the cold blade dug into his skin, drawing blood.
"That's gonna leave a mark. I thought we agreed not to harm him," a different voice said off to the side. While the shadows of the dark room made it too difficult to make out anything, the voice was ever so familiar.
"Father?" he tentatively asked, "Father, what's happening?"
"The figure at the end of the room turned, facing away.
"Father answer me," he said raising his voice. "Father, what's the meaning of this?"
One of the figures near his bed punched out again, punching him straight into his stomach. "Inside voices only, little boy. We didn't come to play around with you. Now are you gonna stay silent, or shall we gag you?"
Realizing the gravity of the situation, he nodded, though glancing around, with panicked eyes.
A third figure by his bed spoke for the first time. "Now let's get down to business." Scraping a chair across the floor, the figure sat down. "We have been watching you for awhile now, and we have to say, your talent astounds us. First minor circle of a warrior at the age of 5, second by the age of 6, all the way to now, 9th minor circle before the age of 18."
Bai Qi wanted to ask questions, but his body remained silent, his eyes staring daggers at the cloaked man. He was slowly getting used to the dark, but was still unable to make out the face of the cloaked figures, as their cowl covered most of their face.
The man continued speaking. "You don't know me yet, but you will soon. Quite stubborn, aren't you? Pushing yourself to train everyday, nonstop in the hopes of shining in the yearly competition. As dedicated as you are, the Wang family figured that you wouldn't comply. We need you to throw the competition, and all of this," the man said, waving his arms, "will go away. The head of the Wang family has already spent too many resources behind his son, to have a rare talent like you just pop up and overshadow him."
Bai Qi felt the the side of the knife sticking deeper into his neck.
"Now, we did ask you nicely to throw the competition, but on second thought, we really can't take the chance. Important people will be there, the future of the Wang family may as well be determined by who wins tomorrow. You just are too stubborn, aren't you."
The cloaked man laughed to himself. "I like that but - " as he suddenly punched Bai QI in the face, "we really can't take chances. No hard feelings, alright?"
The man waved his hand, and a blue flame bust out, floating in the air. Out of the flame came a parchment of paper, materializing from the flame itself. "A soul contract, I'm sure you're well aware what that is. Just a drop of your blood, with the promise to lose, and we'll let you sleep on soundly. Work for us, and we'll completely drop the matter. Absolute loyalty guaranteed, and you even get rewarded at the end. " The cloaked man grinned. "How about it?"
Bai Qi felt his dream body thrashing, fear in his eyes, with hatred that could kill.
The cloaked man sighed. "I guess not. I hoped that it wouldn't have come down to this. The soul contract isn't binding if you're not willing to sign." He waved his arm again and used the blue fire to burn out the parchment. He turned around to look at the other cloaked man.
"Do it," he said, looking at the man with the raspy voice.
"No hard feelings," the raspy voice said with a smile. His held up his hand, and and on his fingertips, five pitch black seals sprung into existence. Each seal was exquisite, Bai Qi could make out the runic writing, rotation in the air. The seals released an aura of death and torment, as Bai Qi felt a tug in his soul, as if the seals wanted to devour his mind.
Bai Qi felt his mouth move, as he yelled out for him to stop, only to see the grin on the cloaked mans face. He yelled, " What are you doi-" as the raspy voice man pressed down on his abdomen.
A wave of nausea and pain arched out from his stomach, as Bai Qi felt all of his muscles starting to spasm, seeking to escape from the pain he was going through.He almost passed out, the pain was that extreme, yet couldn't because each wave of the muscle spasms brought him back. He tried to yell, but couldn't make any sounds from the intensity of the pain.
It was as if lightning was coursing through his body, every movement was met with pain, every instance of pain led to involuntary movement, each movement led to more pain, a vicious cycle.
"Father," Bai Qi felt himself plead, "help me." Each word came at a price, croaked out with difficulty.
The raspy voice laughed. "Seal of torment. A special gift from me. It should ensure that you're unable to participate tomorrow. After all we can't exactly kill you, what would others say. Appearances matter."
Those were the last words Bai Qi heard as everything faded away.
The next thing he saw was a dark stage, elevated about a foot off the ground. Low clouds covered the sky, as if the heavens were ready to start weeping. Across from him was a smug youth, who held a sword in one hand. Bai Qi couldn't make out the youth's face, but he could see the grin.
The stage was surrounded by a seating area, and directly behind the youth was the main seat, which was surrounded by 5 other seats. Each was occupied by a man, all who exudes an aura of importance. Behind them was a giant floating ship, partially hidden in overcast. Those were the visitors, they had come to asses the youths and hopefully take back a talented youth.
Bai Qi felt his body turn around and he looked at the people behind him, where there was a similar arrangement of seats, only to see a group of people, most likely the head of each family. He saw the man he called father there as well, sitting in the last and smallest seat of that section. Hundreds of people littered the stadium, all of them silent and releasing a gloomy feeling.
"Let the match begin." The person at the head of the seats said, indifferently, as if without a care in the world.
"You still have a chance to drop out, you know."
Bai Qi stared daggers at the youth. Croaking out words with difficulty, "Worthless scum, cheating is the only way you could win." Every movement was once again met with pain, as Bai Qi could feel his muscles spasm. Each word was uttered with great difficulty.
"Guess not. At least my father cares about me enough to make sure I'll win. Yours sold you out to get a better position in the alliance."
Bai Qi felt himself laugh. "I've truly been blind."
The youth raised his blade and slowly walked toward Bai Qi. "I'll make it quick, I promise."
Bai Qi laughed. He felt his body going into a fighting stance, one foot forward, arms raised. His body screamed in protest, each arm felt like they were weighed down, and covered in magma.
The youth lunged forward with his sword, and Bai Qi felt his body shift to the right. Unfortunately he wasn't quick enough, and the sword just barely grazed him. The side of the sword cut a thin red line alongside Bai Qi's arm. The cut was like adding salt to a wound, it's just magnified the pain even further, and Bai Qi's vision nearly turned dark. Gritting his teeth, Bai Qi swung his arm out to punch the youth,.which the youth blocked with the side of his sword. The force of the punch left the sword ringing, forcing the youth to move back a few steps.
Bai Qi laughed. "Scared?"
The youth scowled. "This could have been over if you just gave up. Now you're asking to die."
"And who's kill me? You, or your dad pulling the strings behind the scene?"
The youth's eyes narrowed, and he came back swinging the sword. He jabbed out sharply, which Bai Qi jumped back to avoid, but the second jab caught him, leaving behind a cut on the side of his body.
Continuing to swing the sword, the youth kept on advancing, jabbing here and there, following up with slashes from every angle, getting faster each second. On the other hand Bai Qi received shallow cuts after cuts on his body, dying his clothes red, as each movement pushed his body to the limits, slowing down with each passing moment.
"And this is the end," the youth said, as they approached the corner of the platform. "Good bye"
Grabbing the sword with both hands, the youth leaned forward and delivered a strong horizontal sweep, angling slightly up, leaving Bai Qi with no room to escape.
Bai Qi's mouth curved into a smile, as he lunged forward, towards the sword's momentum.
The youth saw his smile too late, and tried to twist his body, but the momentum of the sword carried him to continue that strike.
With one arm to block the sword, Bai Qi sacrifice that hand to gain an advantage. The sword cut deeply into his shoulder, rendering it useless, but this movement gave him enough space to come very close to the youth. He used his other arm to grab hold of the youth's neck, and gripped tightly, raising the youth into the air.
"Goodbye indeed," as his powerful arm crushed the youths neck.
Bai Qi saw the youth's eyes for the first time, piercing blue, filled with confusion, of hate, denial about the moment that had just past, unable to register that he had been attacked with a lethal move, that he was dying. "No, it can't be. I refuse," he gurgled out, blood dripping down from his mouth, his voice getting weaker with every second. As Bai Qi held him up in the air, the blood fell on his arm, dripping down onto the ground. His opponent's, still in denial, took one last look at Bai Qi's unwavering face, before his eyes glazed over, and he took his final breath.
The whole stadium turned quiet, as people just registered what had happened. Before anybody could react, Bai Qi had killed the first son of the Wang family.
Bai Qi felt his body turn around and look at the group of people behind him. The patriarch of the Wang family had stood up, fury in his eyes, the same piercing blue, imbued with hatred this time. He yelling something that Bai Qi couldn't make out over the ringing in his ears. Bai Qi looked at him, and the shocked faces of all the people besides him, before his eyes landed on the last seat.
He felt himself laughing, a low laugh, at the absurdity of the situation, before dropping the youths body from his hands, which landed on the stage with a thud. "Here you go Father. How much I'm worth to you." Continuing to laugh eerily, Bai Qi turned around to grab the youths sword. Keeping eye contact with the Wang family patriarch, Bai Qi drove the sword through the youths heart, and took it out. The tip of the sword was covered in blood now, dark red, dripping onto the ground. Bai Qi felt himself laughing again, as he raised the sword to eye level with the patriarch, the tip pointed at him. "Your son is truly useless."
Slow claps begin from behind him. The head of the visitors stood up and started to clap slowly.
"Excellent," the old man said. "It seems as if my visit today was not a complete waste."
Bai Qi turned around to face him, tightly gripping the sword with his hand. His other hand was drenched with blood, hanging uselessly at his side.
"Your eyes," the man continued. "Defiance. I like that. How would you like to be a disciple of my sect."
"Will I get to leave this place behind."
"That completely depends on you." The old man walked up the the platform, looked at the steps, and frowned. The section of the platform in from of him turned red, before melting down to make a ramp, which the man walked up to come face to face with Bai Qi. "If you don't disappoint me, your attitude alone could take you quite far."
Bai Qi laughed. "I've already tried my best and it disappointed who I thought was my family."
"People standing next to you aren't always on your side."
"Will you be any different?"
"I can't guarantee anything. I will warn you that the sect I'm part isn't the best towards it's members, but I will guarantee that you won't be betrayed."
"That's more than I can say for the dogs behind me. I accept." With those words Bai Qi felt his body get heavy, as he slowly started to blank out, the darkness overtaking him. Falling forward, Bai Qi blacked out on the platform, his thoughts fading away from the pain his body screamed at him, amidst the pool of dark blood, never letting go of the sword.
I have a feeling a lot of people dropped this because of the rate at which I write. To which I say, fair enough, I'm kinda a bit lazy ( 3 weeks, 1 chapter ), and life is a bit busy. I present to you this long chapter ( almost twice my normal word count ), and to those of you who don't like blood, please turn away, the next chapter is going to be worse.
Silverbro still with the lead. SkylarWolfe managed to catch up and pass me smh :-: . @Silverbro, watch out, she seems to be catching up to you next.
I don't think there's any new readers I'm aware of, so yeah. If you do want to pop by, my discord is Paradoxicality#1088, a few people have already hit me up.
Comment down below what you think, leave some stones. If we can hit 120 stones by next sunday, I'll drop another extra chapter.
And yeah. Uh, good luck with the next chapter, should be out soon.