• Chonky ChonkTranslator

The Orc's Awakening c42

Updated: Sep 27, 2021

Chapter 42: Oct Meets Act 2


Layla: “A man….I’m nothing but a filthy, rotten, sickening man….”


Layla was mumbling murderously under her breath while she sat down on a chair, and stared at the ground.


I always wondered if actors in movies enjoyed playing villains. There were definitely several actors who ONLY seemed to play villains, and I wonder if they ever found it to be......I don’t know.........painful?


I guess there are other actors who never make it into the spotlight and that must be a different kind of pain to watch others take the main roles. I wouldn't know. I just watched them from across a computer screen.


Back in the early days of school, I was cast as a “rock” or a “stump” in those school plays and people used to laugh and sit on me. I knocked one boy off-stage ー by accident, really ー but no one believed me. He had it coming though, and it’s not like he got hurt. My mom had her face buried in her hands, but I think she was trying to act embarrassed and was actually doing everything she could to burst out from laughing. She hated that kid too.


Anyways, at least here, everyone has a significant role in this play.


Noir is setting up the battlefield and there are tens of thousands of figures. Mano, my Earth Sprite has cloned himself to thousands of workers, so they are all hard at work.


Shana’s going over to Layla to speak about battle tactics to make this as convincing as possible.


I personally like war movies, and watching all the clay characters take position was really intriguing. Honestly, this would have been every kid's dream toy. Whether it was CGI films, board games, or just playing with action figures, it was so hard to bring things to life. In most cases, you had to really dive into your imagination just to make it feel real.


…..and it was another experience altogether when you came back from imagination land only to find your mother watching you play the whole time ー I was much older then and well past the age to play with toys. As I turned into a steaming tomato, she just chuckled and told me, "It's okay. Grown men play with toys all the time. It’s just a matter of whether they want to call it that to protect their pride.”


Things were shaping up, and the gloomy cloud over Layla’s head was thickening. Act 2 will be rough on her.


Orukus: “(snort) Hey Gramps.”


Gramps: “What is it, boy?”


Orukus: “(snort) Got a favor to ask of you.”


<<<<>>>>


It was raining during the final battle. Wano, the [Water Sprite], was making a fine mist pour down on the board, and Gano, the [Wind Sprite], was making a light breeze blow across that made the small trees whip around.


I stood on a high ledge overlooking the battlefield.


STANDING inside and on top of the board, even though I knew it was artificial, was better than any VRMMO I’ve ever experienced. I mean, all 5 of my senses were fully intact. My armor, my body felt real. I felt alive inside the body of that clay figure.


Before me was a Kingdom under siege. The White Marble Castle stood pristinely in the background as a backdrop where the princess would be.


Outside the Castle walls, the Water and Earth armies literally built deep trenches on the edges of fields.


The Duke (Layla) sat on a horse in the far back with the hooded Hero (Ayse) riding next to him. Though you couldn't see their faces, they were clearly commanding the defense against the Wind and Fire Empire's final assault.


Queen Noir: “How goes the preparations?”


The Queen walked up to me. Our horses were sheltering under a tree nearby. The rain poured down lightly now but it still soaked through our clothes.


General Orukus: “Just as planned, My Liege. We are low on food supplies, but if we win this battle, we can take the Water and Earth lands to survive the winter.”


Noir places a hand on my shoulder gently.


Queen Noir: “Thank you. Are you certain that you do not want to lead this charge yourself?”


General Orukus: “And forsake my duties to be at your side to protect you? You jest my liege. No matter how many soldiers die, you must survive this battle. Without you, there is no Wind and Fire Empire.”


Queen Noir: “........I wonder if we made the right choice placing all the power upon me.”


General: “It was division and internal politics that ruined the Water and Earth governments. It was too easy finding brittle weaknesses and exploiting them. Against absolute power and authority, all they can do is tremble at your feet.”


Noir looks soberly for a moment as she places her veil over her face.


She spoke to me in an almost hushed whisper.


Queen: “You know that that’s not what I meant….in times of war, a tyrant may be able to accomplish more to bring down their enemies...but building a new, united country will be a different matter…...I have seen famine ravage our lands. I have seen our children suffer. And it was no better in the Water and Earth Kingdom. People will fight no matter what path we choose…...Is there an answer, General? A true answer other than to turn a blind eye to the plight of all those around you….?”


She shook and trembled as she fought the tears back.


The throne was a mantle she never wanted to carry.


It was a pain she never wanted to experience.


I kneel down before her and look up into her eyes beneath the veil.


General Orukus: “I do not know, Noir. I cannot answer a question meant for your heart. But what I can tell you is……”


<GULP>


Shana: (You can do this, Mr. Orukus!!)


Ayse had both cheeks full of popcorn now like a squirrel as she was on standby for her scene.


I felt the rush of excitement and heard the pounding of Noir's heart.


Orukus: (It’s just make believe. It’s just make believe. We’re just acting…)


I try to calm myself, but my hands tremble as I reach inside my pouch. I take out a small circularly woven cloth.


General Orukus: “WーWーWhere I come from, we couldn’t afford rings...so we would tear pieces of our clothes and weave it into the shape of a ring. It was…..to show that though we had nothing except the clothes on our backs, we were willing to share what little we did have…..if it meant…..<GULP>....”


Shana and Ayse were jumping up and down together holding each other's hands, and Layla looked up from where she was sitting with anticipation in her wide eyes.


General Orukus: “....if...it meant that you’ll stay by my side. (cough) I mean...I can stay by yours...in this case…but it’s not like we can really be married because of our situation…..but still, I thought…..”


The script said, “mumble incoherently and bumble the proposal.”


……….Shana…….really?


Queen Noir: “Yes.”


I look back up into Noir’s face and draw in a sharp breath.


She took the small piece of cloth around her finger, and wrapped her arms around me.


She kissed me.


ーーSHE KISSED ME.


( ゜◇ ゜).......


Not like a fake kiss missing my lips, but I felt our lips touch.


A sudden jolt of shivering sensation went from my head down to my toes.


I wish I could say I kissed her back, but I stood completely still as a rock as my mind went completely blank.


Orukus: “(snort) (cough) ーーuhーummーoh right.”


I was supposed to read the narrator’s lines like an internal monologue.


Orukus: “(snort) Shouts of War sprang up from every division as the assault began. The ground trembled with the screams and shouts of warriors as the deadly fights began. But though the world was about to burn as death and destruction surrounded us, none of that mattered to me. All I could feel was (cough) thーthーthe soft sensation of her lips oーon mine…”


Shana: “AAAAAAND SCENE! Good work everyone!”


We were now going to switch to the actual fight on the field, but before we did, I saw Noir touching her lips as she reached down to pick up the two embracing figures on the board


Looking closely at the Queen’s hand, with a quick motion, she weaved from the grass below an identical ring from the scene that was her size. She placed it onto her finger and smiled as she stared at it..


Our eyes met. She blushed and quickly turned and walked away.


Not sure what that was about….


To me, it was like when you purchase something you saw in a movie. It would be some sort of replica of a prop. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about. My room was full of posters and….similar kinds of things.


I can’t. I can’t even think about what happened moments ago.


Does it even count? We were inside clay figures. We were role-playing….playing make believe.


She only did it because it was in the script right? She was just acting, right?


……….….right?


I touch my lips briefly.


It was my first kiss......ever.


<<<<>>>>


The battle was intense.


Large numbers of Wind and Fire charged recklessly towards the Water and Earth trenches.


To combat the fire and smoke typically used by the Wind and Fire forces, the Water and Earth army dug trenches and canals and fired cross bolts mercilessly from the openings and thrust out spears against the oncoming horde of desperate warriors.


Men gasped and fell as the bolts struck, and some soldiers reached the edge of the underground bunkers and began hacking at the structures to tear out the warriors inside.


But something was off.


The warriors found themselves dodging holes in the ground large enough to swallow a man whole.


There were dozens, no HUNDREDS of holes.


Normally, after 5 or 6 men fall in, the holes would fill up quickly and become an inconvenience.


But these were much deeper.


Below the Water and Earth Kingdom is a giant aquifer. With the blessings of the Goddess, the Royal families can call upon the Spirits of the Earth to create structures in exchange for pieces of their lifespan. Small structures would take weeks off your life. Larger ones could take months.


But the narrow, deep catacombs that stretched hundreds of feet down and connected directly with the aquifer took decades off the princesses lifespan. She could not expect to live past 40 now, but it had to be done.


Hundreds of soldiers fell through the holes and dropped directly into the aquifer to drown. More soldiers followed behind them.


The aquifer is one of the lifelines to the Water and Earth Kingdom. By dumping thousands and thousands of corpses into it, they were essentially killing it, making it unusable for drinking for decades, if not centuries to come.


But it had to be done. The 20,000 soldiers who defended the trenches were outnumbered 10 to 1. Tens of thousands of casualties would put a dent in the Wind and Fire Empire's army, but it was only that - a small dent against a raging war machine.


It would slow them down. It would lessen the stress against the defenders. And it would buy them the precious time they needed.


The overrun trenches had oil dumped inside and lit ablaze. Scores of defenders were burned by the heat of the flames or suffocated from the smoke.


In response to the bolts, the Wind and Fire Empire launched rocks in slings with deadly accuracy. If there is something that can be abundantly found on the earth, it is rocks. It was the perfect ammunition for such a large army.


Defeat was only a matter of time. The tide of warriors pressed against the last line of defense.


Something had to be done.


<<<<>>>>


Duke: “And that’s why we’re here.”


The Duke, Layla, and the Hero, Ayse, stood looking up at the ledge where the Queen and her General stood.


The Queen looks across the field towards the Castle at the figures still standing in the back of the Water and Earth Armies still shouting out commands and keeping the morale of the troops high. One careful observation and you would notice that none of their faces were visible. A decorative helmet adorned the Duke, and the “Hero” still kept on the hood and wore a mask covering her face.


Queen: “A decoy….how clever of you, Duke…still, I can't fathom how you identified our positions so quickly.”


Duke: “I’m certain that not knowing the cause of your demise would be most pitiable for a Queen of your caliber, but let’s just say your power structure played a part.”


The Queen also deployed several decoys as well, around the field, but there was only one position where she would be able to deliver messages to all her commanders. She was the only one sending out commands. She held absolute power, and even the commanding officers were abiding by her every command. But by doing so, she had to be always be in a position where she could deliver those commands. Her decoys would pass along the messages she transmitted by the wind, but the Duke must have deduced her position by looking at the overall battlefield.


She looks up at the sky.


Queen: “This storm is your doing?”


If it wasn't for this, she could have hid her position much more easily.


Duke: “Not mine. But from the dear princess herself.”


Queen: “How heartless and cruel of you. You live up well to your sorrowful reputation.”


Dispensing Royal workings with the Goddess Spirits is a double-edged sword. Depleting powers meant depleting the life of the Royal bloodline. But the Duke was dispensing it like bath water with little care or concern at his liege’s expense.


But it was well-played. The winds of the storm made communication very difficult, and in order to minimize the amount of power she would have to use to keep communication lines alive, she was not left with many options.


Was it overconfidence that made her fall into such a silly trap? Or was it…..


Queen: “Is it just you and the Barbarian?”


Duke: “Unfortunately. Your guards put up a good fight, and we lost many good men.”


General: “.......he discarded the lives of his guards. He’s up to something…”


Water and Earth troops were known for their quality, not quantity. The very opposite of the Wind and Fire army.


A snarling growl came out of the Wind and Fire General. The Duke could have made it here with more men, but he opted for the least amount of force. A risky, unnecessary gamble unless….unless the Duke wanted the least amount of witnesses to be around.


A chill ran down his spine at the pure, fanatic lunacy that poured outward from the Duke.


He was not concerned with lives or the state of this world. He only sought one thing ーpower. And he had one nasty trick up his sleeves.


General: “My Liege, please take your leave. I will hold them off long enough to let you escape.”


But the Queen stepped forward past her General placing her hand on his axe.


On her left hand was the ring he just gave her, and she held her hand out long enough so he would see it before letting it go.


Queen: “General of the Water and Earth Army! Enough of the games! If you want my life, you’ll find it much more difficult than these childish ploys!”


Duke: "We shall see about that!"


Wind roared and pushed the Queen towards the Duke.


Both drew swords in an instant and the metals flash with each impact.


Swords move much quickly if the air around it moves out of the way and propels you forth.


The Duke's eyes widened at the merciless slashes that quickly rattled his armor in several sections. Blood was not drawn but the muscles underneath bruised with every strike. The chain mail links broke in multiple sections, and the armor was beaten out of shape.


The Hero attempts to intervene when she halts and jumps back quickly to avoid a large axe.


General: “My apologies, Last Warrior of the Wildlands. I cannot let you interrupt my liege’s fight.”


Although he wanted to join the Queen’s fight, interjecting himself in a fight between two Royal Bloodlines is nothing less than suicide. He would be more in the way than helping the Queen.


For now, he will have to hold off the Hero until the Queen finishes her fight. The Duke may hold some power and blessings from the Goddesses, but faced with the true blood of the crown, he would be no match for the Queen of Wind and Fire.


Fire is adept at destruction and Wind can support and accelerate it.


Earth holds strength and Water is adept at nurturing life, so you can say that it is more defensive by nature.


The Duke is sustaining damages and wounds, but you can also see that he is also surviving the onslaught with unbelievable endurance and healing the wounds as he fights.


But even so…...no life can endure relentless hardship.


Before long, a battered Duke fell to one knee, his elegant armor in tatters, and light cuts criss cross across his face. With a swing of the Queen’s sword, his sword clanged away.


Queen: “How disappointing. I thought a man such as yourself would pose more of a challenge than this.”


Duke: “...and you aren’t so bad yourself…….if only your father had half your strength…….maybe I wouldn’t have had to have him killed…...."


Queen: “........you!!”


Duke: “My Queen…I assure you though. As with all things related to the crown…..not everything is as it seems.”


A chilling smile crept over the Duke’s face as he raised his hand slightly and clenched his fist.


With the blessing of Wind, the Queen had much faster reflexes and saw the ground open underneath her General, and a gaping jaw with hundreds of spikes enclosed upon him.


Queen: “NO!!!”


A furious gale hit the General and pushed him out of the mouth of the earth as the jaws snapped close right before the General’s eyes an instant later.


He hit the ground and rolled several times before he was able to stop.


Other than losing his shield and axe, he was unharmed.


General: “My lady, thankーー”


The world stopped for an instant.


A knife handle protruded from the Queen’s heart. The Duke must have had one hidden in his sleeves.


The Queen drops her sword, and the Duke picks it up.


Duke: “You had me, Queen. All you had to do was let that trash die, and you would have won this war…but no…….all you nobles…….cling to trash just like the rest….”


General: “NOOOOOOOO!!” Barehanded, the General charged at the Duke, but a spear from the Hero knocked into his back and ran through his heart. It’s a fatal wound……..but it didn’t matter…..the General let the momentum of the spear throw propel him farther forward.


General: “RAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!”

Duke: “OOF!!”

With the last of his breath, he shoved the Duke aside as the Duke tried to swing down the Queen’s sword upon her neck.


The General stumbles upon the Queen’s dying body. He curls his body over hers to protect her.


Duke: “YOU WORTHLESS COMMONER!!”


The Duke thrashes at the General’s back furiously with the sword but the large body remains unmoved.


The Duke was about to stab through the body when a hand grabbed his arms tightly.


It’s the Hero.


Hero: “Enough…...they…….are…...dying………….we…...won…..”


With heavy labored breathing, the Duke stares both at the Hero and the two bodies below.


Queen: “....(cough)......Orukus…………..Orーー(COUGH COUGH)”


General: “(wheeze) (cough) I’m here my lady……..I’m right here……”


Queen: “........cold……...I…..feel…..so cold…..”

Tears well up in Orukus’ eyes as he cradles the Queen’s head into his chest….


General: “.......it’s okay…...my lady……...I……...I’m here…”


Queen: “.......don’t……….don’t…..let…..go…….of ……...me…..”


General: “.......I won’t…………..I……..”


Ayse looks upon the scene only to find a strange peace to see two people die in each other’s arms.


The Queen is dead.


The battle will be over when the news spreads.


The Duke, still furious, tries to move forward, but the Hero steps into his path.


Hero: “Stop….” Duke: “Move. I’ll take her head back and this battle is over.”

Ayse turns around once again to see the Queen and her General laying on the ground together.

Hero: “No...”


Duke: “What did you say to me?!”


Hero: “No…that's.............not.....necessary…..it’s…...over…….”


She grips the Duke’s shoulder tightly and shoves him away from the dead bodies.


For a moment, their eyes meet, but not being able to match her gaze, the Duke looks away.


Duke: “Fine.” The Hero lets out a slight exhale of relief, pats the Duke on the shoulder and turns to walk away.


It was only by primal instinct that made her jerk to one side.


Her eyes widened to see the Queen’s blade protruded from her side.


The Duke laughs as he kicks her body and pulls the blade out.


Blood begins to taint the Hero’s leather armor into a dark crimson as it covers her side and lower half.


The wound is serious.


She was fortunate that she was not dealt an immediate fatal blow, but now, it’s only a matter of time.


Hero: “Why……..?”


The war was over. They have won. So why……? The Hero looked at the blood spilling from the wound and back to the Duke. Duke: “Because if you return, the Princess’ infatuation of you will only get in the way. You have died here, Miss Hero. You have died as a Hero should in battle, but it will be ME who returns to rule this Kingdom….”


The taste of blood fills Ayse’ mouth as she coughs and spits out blood.


Hero: “..........you……..”


Duke: “Do not worry yourself with matters of this world. You are dying, ‘Hero.’ Leave your precious princess to me. I’ll make sure to have my fun with her before I kill her too.”


Hero: “..........no…….!”


Images of the princess flash before the Hero’s thoughts… She doesn’t have much strength left in her. If she cannot kill the Duke in the next strike, then she will most likely be struck down.


Hero: (I have to get back! I promised!!)


Hero: “AAAAAAAGGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!”


With a bestial <ROAR!>, the Hero pulls out a small knife and lunges at the Duke.


Duke: “HA HA HA!! GOOD BYE, YOU…….WHAT?!”


As the Duke tries to step forward, his foot only finds the air.


A strong gale spiraled and lifted the Duke’s body just enough where his feet missed the floor.


Duke: “WHY?!” Falling forward, he sees for a brief moment, the Queen and her hand from underneath the General’s body as it fell to the floor lifeless.


Duke: “YOU!!”


Ayse: “AAAAAAAAAGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!” Duke: “!! WAIT!!” Being off balance, the Queen’s sword awkwardly struck the Hero’s shoulder, but it wasn’t enough.


The final moments of the Duke saw the fiery eyes of an enraged animal as the knife struck through his neck.


Duke: “.............(cough)...........no…………….it can’t………………”


The Duke falls to his knees and falls forward onto the Earth.


Hero: (gasp…………..gasp………..UGH!!)


The Hero also takes a knee from the wounds.


Hero: (I……….I have to……..get back……..)


In her hand was a small sunflower...a gift for the princess when she returns.


<<<<>>>>


Meanwhile, the battlefield devolved into chaos as the Queen’s communication went silent. Officers panicked, and the confusion spread across the horde.


The storm picked up as lightning began to strike the ground. The soldiers in the trenches and bunkers were spared from the blasts, but the soaking wet soldiers of the Wind and Fire suffered a tremendous blow.


Recovering from the blasts, it was the commanders that were the first to abandon their posts. Being abandoned by their Queen, they screamed in terror and ran. Fear spread like wildfire across the entire army and soon, a full-scale retreat ensued.


Princess Shana: (gasp……..gasp!!)


“My Lady?! Princess Shana!!” Her officials saw the princess drenched on the balcony of the castle as she fell to the floor.


“My Lady…….that storm……….the lightning………..was that……….?” Princess Shana: “(gasp……….gasp……..!)”


Breathless, the princess nodded ever so slightly in acknowledgment.


In her hand was the sunflower that Ayse gave her last.


The last thunderstorm cost everything she had left. It was her very last resort, but it worked. The Wind and Fire armies were retreating. She did all she could.


If there was one regret, it would be that she would not be here to welcome the Hero when she returns.


Princess Shana: “(gasp………..gasp).........I’m………..sorry, Ayse……..I’m………..sorry……...my……..Hero……..”


The wind picked up the flower from her hand as the princess breathed her last.


Across the battlefield, at the far edges, Ayse also lay on her back.


Ayse: (.........may…………..it…………..reach her……….)


With the last bit of strength, Ayse lifted the flower into the air.


As her arm dropped, the wind caressed the small flower and gently lifted it into the sky.


That day, two flowers were brought together in the skies above. Petals fell and rained from the sky as people held out their hands to receive them. That day, all four Goddesses sang a song of healing and rebirth that remained in the hearts of the people who heard it.


The sunflower. It became a symbol of the new country that was born.


Stretching forth from the [Earth], drinking the [Water] from the skies, looking towards the [Fires] of the sun, and dancing in the [Wind], it was said that on the day when the [Water], [Earth], [Wind], and [Fire] Kingdoms fell, what remained was a country of citizens who embraced all four elements and united as one people.


<<<<>>>>


Shana: “ANNNNNNNNNND SCENE!! Was that okay?! Was the ending too rushed?!”


Orukus: “(sob)..........it was good………”


Tears poured from my eyes as I gave the thumbs up. I was still recovering from Noir’s death scene, and Ayse and Noir were wiping tears from their eyes as they hugged Shana.


Truthfully, I think the epic could have been stretched out in more detail, and it felt like one of those movies that squished too many things together in too little time….but…….overall……..


I liked it. For a play that we just did amongst……..friends? Family? Acquaintances? Whatever, I enjoyed it. Shana looks really happy too from being able to see one of her plays come to life.


I didn’t miss Layla curled up in a ball on the ground. Her “cool” character façade was nowhere to be seen as she sulked gloomily on the ground.


Layla: “I think Shana secretly hates me……..” She’s mumbling to herself, and I admit, she got the short end of the stick out of this whole ordeal.


Gramps: “Boy, here you go. I made it as you told me. A very interesting idea.”


Orukus: “(snort) Thanks, Gramps. I owe you one.” Gramps: “You owe me far more than that. Never worry. I will always remember that.”


And he laughs a cheerful, merry laugh, but……….somehow, I’m not reassured.


Anyways…


I took the package from Gramps and set a large cup next to Layla with a spoon.


Layla: “...........................what’s this?” Orukus: “(snort) Here, just try it. It’ll make you feel better.”


I take a spoonful and offer it to her.


She suspiciously takes a nibble, but after that…


Her eyes open wide.


She took the spoon and got another scoop.


I asked Gramps for cow’s milk. We have honey, and Wano, my [Water Sprite], can freeze things. Ice cream isn’t that hard to make if you can overcome the freezing process. Throw in some vanilla extract and strawberries, and you have a decent product. It would have been difficult communicating the ingredients by words, but Gramps and I have a connection that allows us to transmit ideas more quickly. I guess it’s telepathy, but I sent him my images and memories of how I used to make ice cream in an ice cream maker with my mom. He took it and ran with it.


Orukus: “(snort) Hey, don’t eat it so faー”


Layla was hitting her head from the brain freeze.


Orukus: "(snort) Put your tongue to the roof of your mouth to warm it up. It'll go away after that."


I gave her a pint. On a rainy day, on a bad day, a pint always made me feel better.


Shana: “Mr. Orukus? What’s that?”

Noir: “Wait…….is that?!”


Ayse: “(sniff sniff).......food?”

Orukus: “(snort) Oh here, I got Gramps to make some for everyone.”


Apparently, only the wealthiest citizens in the Cities get to eat ice cream, but a shrill of screams and excitement fill the air as I pass the smaller cups to the others.


<poke>


Orukus: “Hm?” Layla: “.............more.”


Still curled up on the ground, Layla didn’t look me in the eyes, and looked a little embarrassed as she poked my legs with the empty cup in her hands.

She finished the entire pint……


Still, as much as she hates guys, I found her quite adorable right then. Granted, I would never tell her that if I want to keep my head on my shoulders, so I sigh and go make more for her.


It was that kind of day for her.


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