The Orc's Awakening c43
Updated: Sep 27, 2021
Chapter 43: Future-Telling Dreams
<From a Nameless Girl’s Perspective>
It was dark there.
I do not know where I was.
There are times when I dream of things that I know are just dreams. Events would spin out of control or the dream just felt different.
I’m sorry. I know I'm not describing this well. Words were never my forté. But when I have dreams, and it’s just a product of my imagination, I have no problems with that.
But it becomes a problem when the dreams come true.
Some call it a [premonition]. I heard someone describe it as [Déjà vu] - when you feel like you’ve already been there - like you [knew] what just happened was meant to happen or maybe you saw it happen before in a dream? Still, it’s nothing useful. [Seeing] a scene in the future is like being given a small piece out of a very large puzzle. You don’t know when or where the piece fits, and you forget about it until it happens. In fact, it’s useless without more context or info. But as for the dreams you do remember, you just know that it’s going to happen some time in the future.
I was holding onto something cold and heavy. Was it a knife? I couldn’t tell. I just held it close to my body.
When the darkness unraveled and the light shone through, what greeted me wasn’t human.
I saw the face of a Giant Spider.
I woke up with a start. It was that nightmare again - that same dream.
My future...or I guess my end….?
Was that….my death...?
I wasn’t sure. I just knew that it was going to happen during my lifetime.
I would get these sensations as I worked in the Forge, ate my meals outside, or worked at my desk. It would be faint whispers, brief moments of knowing that I’ve seen myself here before. To me, it felt like everything that would happen was already planned out - just like the drawings and outlines on my desk. I don’t know if it’s God, destiny, or fate, but it was my dreams that emphasized those feelings and told me that my fate was sealed.
I will meet that creature in the future.
I probably won’t survive the encounter.
I guess that's how my life will end.....
“BOSS! YOU GOT A GUEST!!” I heard one of the Forge workers yell across the noisy factory. Multiple giant furnaces burned red hot and hammers struck away at the anvils like clockwork - the sound was the heartbeat of the Forge - it was the music and rhythm of my home.
I don’t know why I was drawn away from my desk at that moment. I was supposed to finish my outline by today. The Boss is going to yell at me if I didn't finish.
Still, I was curious, but it was more than curiosity. Something [pushed] me in that direction.
If the Boss found out, I would get whipped, so I climbed up the chains and carefully snuck onto and around the beams of the ceiling, sticking close to the shadows so I wouldn't get caught.
I’ve always been short, skinny, and small in stature, and if I lay flat on the beams, no one would be able to see.
I carefully inched my way towards the corner of the Forge where the Boss was speaking with a man in a fancy attire.
Was it a City Noble? A Midland Official? He had an object folded inside a cloth that he showed the Boss. Something black and shiny gleamed and caught my attention.
My heart pounded as something restless stirred inside of me.
The Boss looked surprised, but quickly looked around to see if anyone was watching. I had to sneak back inside the shadows before he caught a glimpse of me.
He spoke a few words to the Noble-looking gentleman, and the gentleman left. The Boss headed inside his office - probably to store the object for safe-keeping.
My heart beat against my chest and my mind raced as I thought about what I saw.
It looked familiar.
The sensation was so nostalgic.
It was nightfall when I snuck into the Boss’ office after everyone went to sleep. Unlike most workers, I slept inside the forge under my desk.
If anyone found out that I snuck into the Boss’ office, I could be beaten for this. Or worse, thrown out of the Forge.
I know nothing else outside of this Forge. I wouldn’t last a day if they kick me out of here.
But something nagged at the back of my head and was driving me crazy.
That [object] was calling out to me.
I had to see what it was.
Fortunately, I’ve been here long enough to know where the Boss kept his valuables.
Everyone actually knows about it. But no one wants to be thrown out of the Forge, so we all keep our mouths shut.
At his large desk, there is a hidden gimmick that opens a concealed drawer. He keeps mostly money in here, but tonight, the object wrapped in the cloth was neatly placed in the corner of the small drawer. Another [Déjà vu] hit me. It was such an odd feeling as though this moment was unavoidable.
As I lifted it out of the drawer, I noticed that it was slightly as long as one adult hand and was three fingers wide. It wasn’t a large object, but it was heavy. Heavier than what I would have expected. I think a solid lead ball would weigh as much as this thing did.
My heart pounded with excitement.
But it wasn’t up until the point I unraveled it that my heart completely skipped a few beats as I forgot to breathe.
It was gorgeous....
It was probably a throwing knife. An elongated diamond shaped blade with a simple handle and a ring at the bottom. But the metal was black - darker than the blackest soot and deeper than the night sky. As I lifted it and held it in my hand, it throbbed.
At first I thought that it was just my hand pulsing, but no, it throbbed on its own.
I’ve heard of [cursed] weapons, but I felt no malice from this. It didn’t have the bloodlust or insanity aura that marks a [cursed] blade. The metal was simply [alive]. It was somehow a [living] weapon that was calling out for its master.
It’s edges were sharper than any sword we ever crafted here. If I dropped it, I wondered if it would go all the way through the ground and never stop.
It was beautiful - more beautiful than anything I’ve ever forged or seen forged.
The Boss has crafted some legendary blades here, but it just didn’t compare. It would be like comparing a candle flame to the sun.
I held the blade against my chest when that feeling dawned again.
I’ve felt this blade before.
I’ve held this blade before...
Some time…..a long time ago……..
I was here in this office…..no. I [saw] myself in this office tonight in a dream long ago holding this blade. Another [Déjà vu].
As I held the blade close, I could sense it. I could [feel] it. The throwing knife was pushing and pulling me outside. It was asking to be carried outside of the Forge.
When I stepped outside, I was hit with another sense of [Déjà vu]. I’ve never had so many in one day.
Was I meant to do this?
I’m crazy. I look at the object held tightly against my chest.
I just stole from the Boss.
I just stole from the Forge.
There’s no way I can ever return here.
This must be a [cursed] weapon.
I must have lost my mind. I run across the plains sticking near the roads but never on them.
Though my muscles ache and my lungs burned, I kept running. Working inside a Forge doesn’t help you build running muscles. I shouldn’t have been able to run more than a few miles. But somehow...the knife held against my body gave me just enough strength to keep taking one more step….and then one more…..every time I was just about to give up, I would be able to take one more step. Soon, I thought nothing of my legs, as they seemed to move on their own. And that process continued for miles on end.
What am I doing?
Why am I running?
Why am I doing this?
I hold the knife tighter.
I don’t know.
But I just need to know. I just need to know who made this - who this knife calls out to.
As I reached the edge of the Forest, the rumored Man-Eating Forest, I was hit with another [Déjà vu]. I chuckle at the absurdity of the night.
Is this God telling me that I am on the right track? Or is this cruel fate laughing at my misfortune before I step into the gaping maws of death?
I can’t turn back now. I’ve been running all night and morning was coming quickly. They’ll search for me when the Boss awakens, and I’m dozens of miles away from the Forge. I’ve already abandoned my life there and forfeited my life to what? A silly dream?
I have no food, no water, no equipment, and no idea what I am doing or why I am doing this.
…..I don’t even have a [name].
And here I am, throwing everything I had for……..I look at the knife once more.
I stand there in long silence gazing at the beautiful weapon.
……….if I could make one thing that is remotely close to this quality of forging…...then maybe…….just maybe……...I would make something worth remembering me by. Even without a name, they would still remember me by what I made….
With that thought, I step into the Forest - guided by the knife held to my chest.
Layla was sparring with giant clay golems that I made.
They were modeled after real Monsters that loitered around the girls all day. Seriously, it’s like a zoo inside my hideout now.
I made a replica of Shana’s Wolf, Ayse’ Bear, and Noir’s Giant Hawk.
When I made the Giant Cat, she hissed, swatted, stomped, and crushed my sculpture in utter displeasure. Her hisses sounded something like, [Do you think I look like that?!], and I couldn’t really understand her words, but I got the gist. Pets tend to carry similar personalities after their owners…and here’s proof of it. Not that I would ever say anything to Layla.
I remember being bored and drawing the cute girls in class in my notebook, but some of them turned out….not so well. One girl looked more like a man at the end…..so I know my skills are...somewhat below average. Most of it was hitting a wall with my skills and overcoming it just took too much time and effort. I just didn’t see the point of climbing up a ladder only to find another one and other people climbing it ahead of you. I envied my classmates who kept trying even if they were worse than me...
Anyways, the Cat would growl from atop the tree branches if I attempted it again, so that project was quickly abandoned.
I was trying to build life-sized humanoid figures, as Layla beat, dashed, and weaved between the 3 clay creatures. She held a single wooden blade, and that was it.
Sweat glistened off her face as she danced deadly, swift steps that immobilized the creatures one by one.
Mano, my [Earth Sprite], was hard at work rebuilding and sending the golems back into action, but quickly found himself rebuilding one fallen golem after another.
The 3 types of Golems didn’t stand a chance.
The Clay Bear would play the shield tank, the Wolf would dance about and look for an opening from Layla’s blindside, and the Hawk sent rounded, hardened pebbles of clay to simulate the hailstorm they would send down upon their prey, but Layla would weave and knock down the pebbles, dodge and parry the claws of the bear and take it down with 2 or 3 fatal, critical strikes, and then strike down the Wolf as it lunged towards her. Once the two were down, the Clay Hawk squawked and panicked as Layla launched herself up through the tree branches to knock it down from the sky.
Orukus: (.....Holy Mother of God…..)
She was strong. She was UNBELIEVABLY strong.
If Ayse is the type that can crush me head on, then Layla is the kind that can disarm me and finish me within seconds. Her movements were efficient, precise, and what made them absolutely frightening was her ability to read and predict her opponent’s movements.
Orukus: (.......how did these guys lose to the Spiders?)
As the 3 Golems go down one last time, she places the sword at her waist to pause. Mano seemed to have gotten the cue and stopped….or more likely fell to the ground in exhaustion. He’s dizzily lying in the ground breathing hard. The other Sprites are fanning him with a towel like he just finished a marathon.
This was Layla’s idea and suggestion after a few board game matches.
It’s unfair really. Some people just have too much talent. I had to rake and wrack my brains with bloodshot eyes to match her skills, and I still got owned.
The Sprites handed me a larger towel with a pitcher of water and a cup. They gestured for me to go hand it to Layla.
What am I? The starry eyed baseball club manager going up to the star athlete I have a crush on? Talk about ruining the trope with an armored Pig. I would crucify the author for making that kind of scene.
I really felt out of place, but I hurried to get her the towel and drink.
Layla: “.......thank you.”
She looked a little annoyed, but she stopped throwing daggers my way with her eyes. Maybe it was the ice cream? Or was it because we were game board buddies?
…..pffffft. Yeah right.
But as contentious as the start of our relationship was, it’s gotten civil. I won’t dare say friendly, but...
I mean...I knew she hated men, but...I’m a Pig. A male Pig for sure, but it was hard to take it personally now. It’s funny how easy it is to take another side once you're off the team.
And it was...nice having someone to hang out with. Maybe I wasn’t wanted or necessarily needed here, but...I was accepted. As strange as that may sound, as she dried her sweat and drank the water, she didn't mind me being there.
Buuuuuuut staring at her pretty face was a different matter. Her shirt was drenched and clung to her body too.
She doesn't have much, but she's still a girl.
Thank you. I will preserve that image in my mind for the rest of my life.
I come back to my senses only to see Layla still staring at me.
Orukus: “(snort) SーSorry…it’s nothing…”
I could feel my face flush red as Layla continued to stare my way. My porky senses picked up the scent of her sweat. She smelled….nice…
She also looked annoyed at my stares but nothing more.
It was then that a small, almost transparent spider landed on my shoulder.
[Urgent Message for the Boss] it said.
[Presence required at Spider Lair].
Strange. The Spiders I raised should be able to handle almost anything unless it’s an Ayse or Layla class. Is this world just chock full of Level 9999 heroes?
Gramps would be in trouble if that was true. This forest should have been burned down long ago if that was indeed the case.
Layla: “? What is it?”
Layla noticed my change in expression.
Orukus: “(snort) Something came up. I need to go check it out.”
Layla: “?? Can I come too?”
I felt my body petrify in that instant..
Large beads of nervous sweat trickled down my face.
I hadn’t really thought about this until now but...I saved the Giant Spiders that tried to kill the girls….How am I supposed to explain that? Plus I.........
Layla peers through my mask into my eyes.
Her eyes narrowed suspiciously.
Layla: “......what are you hiding?”
Her voice reminded me of my elementary school principal. That woman was an ancient dinosaur but held the school together with an iron fist. When she spoke, it didn't have to be menacing. Every word she spoke was just….heavy and hardened with decades of authority. Why did I feel the same pressure from Layla?
Orukus: “(snort) meeeep…”
Something indecipherable escaped my throat.
“What’s going on?”
Noir descended from the sky and landed on the ground.
Now my internal voice cried out as if squeezed by the throat.
She goes out flying after breakfast now and usually doesn't come back till lunch…
Why is she back now?
I saw Ayse rise up from her post-breakfast morning nap with her Bear and rub at her eyes...
Seriously! WHY NOW?!?!
She looked towards our group in confusion.
Ayse: “Round One? Layla...Noir…?”
She stretched. Her long muscular limbs flexed as she lumbered over. The Bear was still sleeping from a breakfast food coma.
She points at the 3 of us.
Noir: “I don’t know. I just got here, and Layla was cornering Fatty.”
Layla: “He’s hiding something, and I was just about to find out what.”
Noir: “Hiding? Really?”
Noir peers into my face.
Noir: “Wow〜 his eyes are swimming everywhere.”
As our eyes meet, I feel something wash over me. Noir sensed my embarrassment, but seeing her this close reminded me of that scene in Shana’s play. She blushed and quickly turned around as if reading my mind. She started to fidget with her cloth ring on her left hand as she walked a few paces away.
Layla: “What?” Noir: “It’s nothing. I don’t know what he’s hiding.”
Ayse: “Round One.”
I felt a strong arm wrap around my shoulders. Ayse came around to my side, smiled, and pulled me closer.
Ayse: “Speak. Us. Bond Mates. No secrets.”
No threats. No glares. Just trust.
I felt my heart melt.
Ah, if Layla is the northern wind, Ayse must be the sun. Or is it good cop, bad cop thing? Regardless, it’s super effective.
I started walking with the 3 towards the Arachnid’s Lair as I recounted my last visit.