Author’s Note: Finally… a new chapter of TOG is complete. And yes, there will be a new LSPL within the hour. Trust me, this was the reason why I was holding out on the LSPL update.
The Oracle and the Gunslinger Chapter 04 – Into the Darkness?
Edited by Dark Jackel
Just as the Oracle suggested, we started running. We were running through the most deserted parts of town, and that alien-lizard-man was following us with some kind of space pistol in hand, barely missing us. I’m just glad that it wasn’t that fast. I decided to ask why we were running while… well, while we were running.
“Okay, why ain’t we fighting that lizard?”
“Because it would only drag on. If you were to shoot those crystal rings, it would have difficulties. However, we don’t want it to think that we’re enough of a threat to call for backup.” (Oracle)
“But what about yer magic? Can’t we use it to fight or teleport outta here?”
“The Melcine may be arrogant, but they are not to be underestimated. There is a reason that they are one of the fifteen upstarts. If I were to transfer, they would figure out how to jam it. And that information would cause us a lot of problems if we were to accidentally end up in a Melcine territory. As for fighting… I could only win if I didn’t hold back.” (Oracle)
“You mean to tell me that ya held back with Igor?”
“I had to, or else you would had been in danger as well.” (Oracle)
“Do I even wanna know?”
“Trust me, now is not the time. But if I were to fight that Melcine, they would have the advantage as time dragged on. Though I am versed in many forms of magic, there’s no telling which ones they know how to block. Besides, I’d rather most of my abilities to be unknown to their race.” (Oracle)
Great… we literally have our hands tied right now.
“Then where should we go?”
“We might be able to lose it in the Dead City.” (Oracle)
“Wait… ain’t that the place where that Zedda guy’s resting?”
I was told by her that we shouldn’t meddle with timelines too much. And from what I heard, Zedda’s supposed to be resting for a decade or something. At least until that girl finds Metria.
“As long as we don’t disturb him, it will be fine.” (Oracle)
I was interrupted by and explosion.
“It seems to have shot an abandoned car?” (Oracle)
“How can ya tell!?”
We weren’t even looking back. Does she really know everything?
“I don’t know everything, just most of everything.” (Oracle)
“Stop reading my mind! Ya know what? Now ain’t the time for that. What’s the plan to lose that thing when we get to the dead city?”
“Simple, we’ll leave that to the ghouls.” (Oracle)
Just what is she thinking!?
“Trust me…. we’re already here.” (Oracle)
I then noticed the surroundings, everything seemed… well, dead. The buildings looked like they would fall apart if someone were to sneeze in their direction.
“What happened here?”
“That will be explained later. As for now, duck into that store.” (Oracle)
As the window was long gone, it wasn’t that hard. But when we landed, I was thankful that I wear that bandana on my face. Dust was flying all over the place, causing the Oracle to cough.
“Okay, where to now?”
“We’re taking the back exit to the alleyway. That Melcine’s too close, so we’re not transporting. But first… I must do something.” (Oracle)
I saw her tap her own forehead before she glowed in a red hue for a second.
“What was that?”
“I just cast a spell so the ghouls wouldn’t notice me even if I were in their faces.” (Oracle)
That’s amazing. I should probably ask her to do it to me as well?
“Don’t bother asking, you don’t need it.” (Oracle)
“Trust me, your current condition makes it hard for the ghouls to notice you. They detect life. But as you’re missing your heart, it’s harder for them to detect yours.” (Oracle)
“Wait… why does sound like it makes me an undead?”
“As I’ve said earlier, you’re not an undead. Look, we can get into this later. For now, we need to get going.” (Oracle)
All I could do was nod as she took the lead. We rushed down a back alley and managed to reach… a mall?
“Why are we at a mall?”
“It’s a classical situation to be in a mall around the undead. When that Melcine gets here, it will be an ambush.” (Oracle)
Before she answered me, she led me over to a nearby ghoul. I had been seeing them for a while now, since we entered the Dead City actually, and they were creepy things. Like someone took an ordinary human, stretched out all the limbs, replaced the fingers and toes with sharp claws, and splashed them with various shades of purple and green paint. Even creepier, most of them had wide wounds on various parts of their body that didn’t bleed and didn’t seem to bother them. They shuffled back and forth, and didn’t seem too interested in us.
The worst part was the eyes, though. Most of them were actually missing one or both eyes, but the ones that still had them were worse than the ones that did. Something about the featureless off-white orbs caused me both disgust, and a crawling uneasiness. I almost capped the one in front of us just on general principle, but the Oracle shook her head and stopped me.
She reached out her hand to the ghoul, and a faint green mist shot out of her hand and hit the ghoul. I was surprised that it didn’t react.
“Alright, now is the best time to explain. If you’re wondering why the Melcine hasn’t caught up with us yet, because I was doing this. What I just did was cast a little bit of my magic onto that ghoul, giving it my magical signature. I’ve done something similar to a few birds on the way here, so that Melcine was going after them.” (Oracle)
“Wait… ya don’t mean?”
“Yes, the reason that car exploded was because there was a bird that I imprinted my magical signature onto resting on it. The Melcine shot at it thinking it was me.” (Oracle)
“Just… why was it going after yer magic signature?”
“As far as the Melcine are concerned, it’s easier to target things by signatures than looks. I was able to fool it into thinking those birds were myself because they had beating hearts. So I confused it’s sensors. It didn’t track you for the same reason that the ghouls cannot notice your presence. Due to your missing heart, you’re not considered a form of life. Remember, it considered you a construct when it revealed itself. Meaning that it thinks of you as some machine made of flesh and blood.” (Oracle)
Great… being a literal heartless bastard ain’t all that I thought it would be.
“But… do ghouls even have beating hearts?”
“Nope, but by now that Melcine is probably tracking my magical signature rather than my life signature. Don’t forget that I just cast that spell on myself a bit ago, so it’s going to have to change what it’s tracking. And now if I remember this place correctly… there should be a gun store on the third floor. As it’s not stealing as this place has no owner, now is the best time to stock up on ammo. Well… if the ammunition is still any good.” (Oracle)
She had a point, it’s not stealing in this situation. So we walked up the broken escalators until we reached the third floor. There were ghouls all around, but they ignored us. Even the ones in the gun store didn’t react. I decided to take everything as it was still good. Trust me, you can never have enough bullets. Besides, I might be able to barter the ammo I can’t use in some other world?
After a bit of waiting, the Melcine came blasting into the mall. It was a mistake, as ghouls immediately started swarming it. I couldn’t understand what it was saying, but it had to be cursing.
“So… how long do you think it will be kept busy?”
“Just long enough for us to escape. Even with it’s force field, it is not invincible.” (Oracle)
All I could do was agree and followed her out of the building. However… we weren’t even a block away before a rumbling happened. I looked back to see the whole mall collapse, like it was imploding instead of exploding. However… we saw the Melcine hover out of the rubble, completely unharmed. For a moment, I saw a strange grey globe wobbling above its head, but it disappeared immediately, probably to wherever it had been hiding that space pistol. Just…
“What the hell does it take to kill these things!?”
“You insects! You dare give me this much trouble instead of being eliminated!?” (Melcine)
“That’s the thing about humans, we are not that easy to get rid of.” (Oracle)
“Ludicrous. But you have scuttled around enough. I need no sensors, I will just eliminate what’s in front of my eyes.” (Melcine)
I honestly thought we were done for. I mean, there’s no escaping it. It let a freaking mall go down on itself to get rid of a horde of angry ghouls.
But… something was off. The sun was to our right, yet we were in the shade. And no, there was nothing blocking the sun. This wasn’t making any sense. And then…
“Are the shadows moving?”
“What nonsense. Be gone.” (Melcine)
The Oracle then smirked.
“Looks like our luck has not run out.” (Oracle)
Before I could say my catch phrase, the shadow started literally swallowing us.
“What is this!?” (Melcine)
Before I knew it, I saw nothing but black. But that didn’t last for long. When I could see again… I was confused. We were just in a part of town that belonged in a zombie flick. But right now… we were in an unfamiliar valley. The grass, it was a greenish purple. The same for the leaves on the trees. The sky… it was dark. Yet, I could clearly see. At a distance…
“Is that a pyramid?”
It looked like a pyramid, but not the smooth kind. This looked like they didn’t care about the sides, it looked like stairs on all four of them. But I didn’t have much time to get an answer, the Melcine started talking.
“Where are we? This sphere-plain is not registered.” (Melcine)
“The worst place for your kind.” (Oracle)
Before I could open my own mouth… creatures started flying our way. I couldn’t believe it, these were men. But they had black wings on their backs. They were dressed like… Native Libertonians* (AN: Remember people, Lost is from a world that’s only similar from our own). Some of them wore feathered headdresses while others wear head wear that made them look like some kid of bird-men. But what caught my attention were the fact they all had talons. Some of them had talons instead hands or feet. Some of them had only foot talons while others had only one talon instead of a hand. Just… what are they?
“…What are these life forms? They look human, but the contents are too irregular. There’s no data!” (Melcine)
“Pitiful lizard, know your place.” (??)
One of them answered the Melcine as if looking down on it.
“You insect… you dare!?” (Melcine)
The Melcine tried to fire it’s space pistol at the bird-man, but the bird-man just swiped it’s talon at the shot. I was confused, that gun is like the laser guns from Old World Libertonia. Yet, the bird-man’s talon cut through it’s shot as if it were butter.
“IMPOSSIBLE! How can they divide the dimension without emitting energy patterns!?” (Melcine)
Apparently, shooting at the bird-man was a mistake, others tried to rush it. Even though the Melcine had its force field up, they cut through it with their talons. And with one strike each, they destroyed its rings. Just… what are these guys!?
“Pitiful lizard, you are not worthy to become one of us. Perish.” (??)
The bird-man from before shredded the Melcine with one swipe of its talons. I could see the look of fear on its face, it made me almost pity it. The reason I said almost was due to the fact it was trying to kill us. Besides, I was also distracted when a bunch of stuff started flying around. But fear itself returned to me when the bird-man looked our way.
“Children of the gods, we mean no harm.” (??)
“Just… what’s going on?”
“I will answer you. These are the Kr-oh, a race older than time itself. They were around before creation, so they are older than both the gods and the Reaper Lords.” (Oracle)
“It’s not often that a child of the gods knows of us?” (??)
“I’m a messenger of many different gods, so I know about the Kr-oh. But I have never met one before.” (Oracle)
“I see. I am sorry that we dragged you here. We thought that lizard might be worthy, but it was pitiful instead.” (??)
“I might want to explain that right now. The Kr-oh have the ability to transform other races into one of their own as they don’t breed. But they only transform those that they think are worthy enough.” (Oracle)
Damn… being transformed into another race seems scary.
“You, human without a heartbeat.” (??)
Why do I feel like running. All kinds of flags are going off right now!
“You are worthy.” (??)
A few Kr-oh started to encircle us. Sadly, I know that fighting them is not an option. If those talons can cut through lasers and force fields, then they must be able to cut through bullets.
“I’m afraid that I cannot let you have this one.” (Oracle)
“Messenger of the gods, what are you saying?” (??)
“This one belongs to me. If you take him, I will tell the Symphony that you’re still alive.” (Oracle)
The Kr-oh then stopped. Are they afraid of the Symphony or something?
“We cannot have that. As you have protection of many gods, they will not be silent if we silence you. So we will give up on this one.” (??)
“Thank you. However, you did abduct us.” (Oracle)
“In that case, we will give gifts. We don’t like getting the non-involved involved with us.” (??)
“In that case, thank you yet again.” (Oracle)
A couple of them flew away and then flew back. They stood in front of us, kneeling with items in hand. For the Oracle, it was some wooden charm. For me… I couldn’t believe it. It was a stiletto knife. The kind that had a spring-lock so the blade came out of the handle. I remembered that greasers would have them on hand, but they also kept combs with a similar shape and function. But when I brought out the blade, it was obsidian black.
“I’ll explain it later.” (Oracle)
“Right. Well… thanks for the knife.”
“Now messenger of the gods and child of the gods, we will send you on your way.” (??)
“Wait a moment. What about the Melcine’s belongings?” (Oracle)
“Those will be disposed.” (??)
Before anything else could happen, a shadow formed under the stuff fallen by the Melcine’s corpse. It absorbed it all and the spot of ground had looked like it has never been disturbed. But… I didn’t like the look on the Oracle’s face.
“Where exactly did you send it?” (Oracle)
“Then… could you please bring us there? That world will be in danger if the Melcine find out that some of their technology is there.” (Oracle)
“If that is your wish, we will grant it.” (??)
The shadows then swallowed us again. When I could see again, we were in a forest full of greenery. I felt relieved until the Oracle spoke.
“Lost, we must find that Melcine tech and fast.” (Oracle)
“Wait… first explain it to me.”
“That will be–” (Oracle)
“No, it won’t be explained later! You’re gonna explain it right now.”
I had to interrupt her, I’m already sick and tired of that excuse.
“Fine… I’ll explain it now. If the Melcine find out that their technology is this far into human territory, they will invade. Not just this world, but every world between here and the one we met that Melcine in is in danger.” (Oracle)
“Is that all?”
“Figures that it wasn’t a short enough explanation, even if I over exaggerated it. This world is too primeval for Melcine tech. If anyone here discovers it and figures out how to use it, it will affect this world’s fate.” (Oracle)
“Okay, but what about the Kr-oh?”
“I explained them to you… oh, that. During the war of existence, they tried to keep out of the Symphony’s eyes… or whatever the Symphony sees through. The Kr-oh are actually friendly with the gods, they welcomed them with open arms as neighbors. They see all sentient life created by the gods as the neighbor’s children. You know the Native Libertonians of your world? On Earth there was the Native Americans as well as the Mayans. The Kr-oh appeared to all of those peoples as well as similar ones in other worlds and taught them how to hunt and fight. Most of those civilizations actually wore feathers because of the Kr-oh’s influence. But the Kr-oh liked the humans due to the fact they were the weakest yet the easiest to adapt to their surroundings. Thus they didn’t want to fight humans. However, it would be inevitable as it was a war for existence. So they faked their extinction in a fight against the one race whose flesh could not even be damaged by their talons. That realm we were just in, it’s a place that no one but the Kr-oh can enter unless invited. We ended up there because they had mistaken that Melcine as worthy.” (Oracle)
Talk about a mouth full.
“So despite being so powerful, they choose to hide?”
“They do not like to fight. Many of the races that didn’t survive the war of existence were either converted or secretly destroyed by the Kr-oh. As far as the Kr-oh were concerned, it was mercy.” (Oracle)
“So the reason why they let me off other than the fact they are hiding from the Symphony, is because they don’t want to fight?”
“They would annihilate the gods if they were forced to fight them. As they consider the gods their friends, it would be painful to slaughter them.” (Oracle)
That makes sense. Scary as hell, but it makes sense.
“I don’t think I wanna get further involved with them.”
“I don’t blame you. However, be wary of the shadows. The Kr-oh can see through many worlds through them.” (Oracle)
“Great… now I’m gonna have to spend the rest of my life secretly afraid of my own shadow.”
“Not really. When they give up on someone worthy, they don’t bother with them.” (Oracle)
“Whatever, do ya know where we are?”
“In a forest… south of the village of Evergreen.” (Oracle)
“Lost Justice, we’re in the Kingdom of Wintergreen. Also, my homeland. This is my world.” (Oracle)
“No need to shout it. Anyway, let me converse with the Spirits.” (Oracle)
I just let her go do her thing. The air… was very fresh. It started to make me homesick for the Yottsu territory in Ritme. I REALLY miss my wife.
The moment of peace I had was interrupted by a panicky Oracle.
“Lost, we need to move!” (Oracle)
“Other than you trying not to use your catch phrase, the spirits told me. It turns out that the Melcine’s tech was found by goblins.” (Oracle)
“Wait… the same kind of goblins I’m familiar with?”
“That’s right. Though most of it is useless… we need to hurry!” (Oracle)
I was able to keep up with the Oracle. But is it me… or have we been doing a lot of running lately? Still, it was a small ruin of a village that goblins had taken over. Deciding to do something different, I used Diplomacy; the ax I got from Igor. The Oracle took just showed some electricity from her hands.
“You know it.” (Oracle)
It took us a half of an hour to clear out the goblin nest. The thing about goblins, is that ya have to kill all of them. This includes the children. What wasn’t chopped up by Diplomacy was fried by the Oracle’s lightning magic. The smell of blood and burnt goblin was not pleasant. I was just glad that we didn’t find any captives. But when we were done, we found the stuff. Apparently the goblins kept it with their other treasures because it was all shiny? Who knows.
“Okay that’s… wait, it’s not here.” (Oracle)
“Wait… what’s not here?”
“The bracelet.” (Oracle)
“Wait… ya mean that thing that the Melcine was using to look human?”
“Yes, I can’t find it anywhere. Lost, we cannot leave anything behind!” (Oracle)
“Hey, calm down! Why don’t you ask the Spirits?”
She looked dumbfounded for a minute.
“You’re right, they might know. But… it would be easier for me to contact them if we leave here first. This smell makes it difficult to concentrate.” (Oracle)
We pretty much back tracked to where we started after taking the Melcine technology as well as what actual loot the goblins left behind. It took a bit… but she managed to get the info we needed.
“Apparently we were six months late on arriving here. The bracelet was taken by the worst person possible.” (Oracle)
“Really? A demon?”
I asked that a little jokingly.
“No, worse. Tobias Gray.” (Oracle)
“Wait… who’s Tobias Gray?”
“A rogue mage who caused a commotion here years ago. He sacrificed a whole village in a summoning ritual.” (Oracle)
He sounds like a big bastard.
“That’s not even the half of it. The one he summoned was…” (Oracle)
She whispered the rest of it into my ear. My blood boiled like it had never done before.
“Wait… WHAT!? He’s dead, dead ya hear me!? Not even a bullet between his eyes will be enough!”
Tobias Gray… you’re a dead man. Ya went too far. And now… it’s time for some Old World justice.
After Note: And that was the long awaited fourth chapter. It would had been done sooner… if I had just asked for the info from Dark Jackel in the first place. So it was my fault on why this was so late. But this has a connection to the chapter of LSPL that I’m posting within the hour.
Before anyone asks, Lost Justice was the worthy one. The Kr-oh had mistaken the Melchine due to the fact that LJ and the Oracle were running from it. I had to explain this to Dark Jackel already, he technically asked first.
Anywho, I hope you guys enjoyed the chapter. I’ll try to not make you wait so many months for the next one.