Dantega:Volume 1 Chapter 5
Chapter 5: The map to the Gates
“Gehhh! It’s so damn hot!!!” shouts an irritated Daey.
The entire group is feeling the same heat as well, though Ubica looks much more energetic than usual. Hs comfortably wearing his hoodie and long sleeved v-neck shirt that makes the others hot just by looking at him. Not to be outdone, Rage, who is walking in the front of the group is still clad in his heavy black coat that nearly drags to the floor. These two are so oblivious to heat one can’t help but be envious in this situation.
Daey is progressively becoming more frustrated with each passing step in this and expresses her discomfort. “Hey Rage, can’t we just fly around on your cloud thing? Why do we have to walk all the time!?”
It has been four days since they left the large Italian like city. Heading north, along their walking trail they have passed through a small village or town each day. It is quite convenient that they find these so close together, but the catch is that each of the stops are at least four to five hours of walking distance away.
“I can’t do that, my cloud is where I store the souls of people before I send them off to their rightful destination. If a normal human stood on it for too long your soul would be sucked in as well.” Rage replies. Daey didn’t look too convinced until he finished his statement off with, “That means you’ll die.”
The group was a little creeped out by this, they remember riding that cloud for a decent amount of time when this whole thing started. The majority of souls that leave people’s bodies when they die are not taken personally by Rage himself, unless it’s a soul like Ubica’s, or someone like a pope or saint are usually the only times he uses his scythe to obtain individual souls. In mass numbers they automatically gather directly into the cloud, and while there, they are in an open view of the beings that control the judgment branch of Heaven, and the Demons that work the salvage area in Hell who pick and choose who they want and where they rightfully belong. In a basic form, you can say that the cloud is somewhat of a flask, and its contents are drunk by both sides of the afterlife.
“Why are you giving me that, ‘I wanna ride on your back again’ look??” asked Ubica, who is being glared at by the wide wanting eyes of Tsubiri.
“Oooohhh! How did you read my mind!? A-Anyways please!!! Just once more! I’m dying here!” replies Tsubiri as she starts clinging to Ubica in a desperate fashion.
“Uaah why didn’t I think of that??” Daey asks as though a bolt of lightning made her just realize that she missed a golden opportunity. She knows that Ubica would be kind enough that it would be an impossibility for him to say no to such a request.
All that was needed was a few moments of 'convincing', and with that, Tsubiri is now resting on Ubica’s back with a content look on her face. Ubica on the other hand is wearing a strained smile, a little disappointed in his inability to say no.
Those thoughts are quickly forgotten once he feels something soft pressing on his neck, causing his body to tense up.
“You know, you’re riding awfully high on me this time around. I can feel your chest on my neck.”
“Huh? What’s the difference between your neck and your back? It shouldn’t matter where I put them! Besides I can’t see if I’m too low."
“Fine fine.” Ubica sighs and relents.
Daey is looking in Ubica's direction while walking beside her little sister Niera. “Hmmmm,” she says, her hand on her chin as though she is pondering something, “that Ubica guy really catches my interest.”
“Really? Well, he is pretty cute.” shyly replies Niera.
Daey looks very surprised upon hearing that. “Huh?? I didn’t know that you even thought of things like that!”
“W-Well I’m not a child.” said Niera while twiddling her thumbs in an adorable way.
Daey grabs her, “Awww you’re such a cute little sister! I really just wanna steal him away to get back at Trojia, but if it's you I’d be fine with that too!”
“Steal him away?”
“Can’t you tell that she likes him? Oooh the look on her face would be so funny when one of us got to him first!” Daey exclaimed with a large smile on her face.
In an instant, a shadow is cast over the heads of the two sister princesses.
Their conversation halts and their faces turn cold, a frightening voice sends shivers down their spines.
“Did I just catch wind of you two conspiring against me?.”
“Aah, Trojia!? That evil aura is coming from you!? Niera run!”
“Hey! Running off like this makes you look even more guilty!”
The three princesses are running around and sharing a laugh like lighthearted school children, somewhat reminiscing on past events when they were younger. After a few minutes of chasing Daey and Niera in the intense heat, Trojia is worn out and gives up.
Breathing rather hard she says to herself, “Damn they’re fast!”
Trojia regains her breath and is about to continue the chase when she feels a hand grab her shoulder, she turns around and sees the concerned face of her precious bodyguard Niomyo.
“You don’t need to be so worked up over a monster like Ubica.”
Trojia frowns and replies, “What is that supposed to mean?”
“Don’t you get it? That man is the Anti-Christ! You can’t possibly be dumb enough to get involved with him.”
Trojia slaps Niomyo’s hand off her shoulder. “That’s not the person I know!”
Niomyo, taken aback by the sudden surge of emotion begins to explain, “You… you didn’t see what I saw. You didn’t hear what I heard… please princess, if you have any kind of trust in me you will listen. Unless you distance yourself from him while you have the chance… he will be the death of you.”
A silence falls over the two, Trojia is agitated, but is speechless while looking at the dead serious face of Niomyo.
Trojia’s frown shifts into a gentle smile as she says, “I trust him with my life, he’s already proved to me that I can. I won’t turn my back on him now.”
Trojia walks away toward the rest of the group, Daey and Niera are still hiding somewhere around the rocky desert area so Niomyo is left standing alone in silence.
Niomyo clenches her fist and grits her teeth, “It looks like I don’t have a choice… I’m sorry princess, but in order to protect you, I must kill that monster myself.”
“C-C-C-COLD!!!! It’s so cold!” shouts Ubica.
The energy that the heat had given him is gone, the cold weather instantly sapped it away when the temperature dropped suddenly. Within a few seconds, the weather shifted from the hundred degree heat of the desert to the freezing bitter cold of a tundra.
“Woah! It was just hot a second ago.” said Tsubiri who is still riding on Ubica’s back.
She can feel that her weight is now affecting Ubica, whereas before it seemed he didn't even feel her.
“Hey.. are you okay?” she asked with a tilt of her head.
The two of them are lagging fairly far behind the rest of the group.
Ubica is shivering quite a bit, his whole body has somewhat of a comical expression. “I’m not good with the cold.”
Before Tsubiri can find the words to make fun of him with, Ubica stepped in a rut and fell awkwardly to the ground with Tsubiri in tow.
“Ouch! Sorry about tha- eeehhhh!?” shouts Ubica when he feels his hands are touching something incredibly soft.
Ubica is on the ground flat on his back with a stunned and blushing red Tsubiri on top of him. His right hand is pressed firmly onto her chest, and his left hand is grabbing the right side of her butt.
“Kyaaaaa! So it’s true what the princess said, you really are a pervert!!” she screams as her face is becoming more flustered.
Ubica tries to calm the situation. “N-No I’m not! This is an accident!!!”
Tsubiri puffs and sends him a suspicious glare as though she doesn’t believe him.
Ubica begins to panic, and with a nervous smile he continues, “And besides, didn’t you say it doesn’t matter where your chest is? There is no difference whether it's my neck or my hand!”
By all means this method in calming her down is an utter failure on Ubica’s part.
Tsubiri is so hot headed it's as if steam is coming out of her ears like a train.
“There is a huge difference you idiot!!!” with those words come a thunderous slap noise.
The cold air makes a sting that sends shockwaves into his left cheek.
Ubica and Tubiri are now walking side by side, the hand print on Ubica’s face is more outlined due to the cold weather. He looks absolutely miserable as they walk and Tsubiri begins to feel a little bad about the situation.
Trying to put on a cute face she says with a smile, “I’m sorry about that Ubica, I know it was an accident but I’m just not used to being groped ya know?”
After being patted on the back rather hard, Ubica slowly turns his head to her and gives her a bitter glare.
"You make it sound like I'm the bad guy here.”
“Well, you are a pervert.”
“That again? Gimme a break!”
Tsubiri giggles and latches on to his forearm, sticking it right in the center of her chest. Thinking that he is being teased, Ubica freezes as if expecting another slap.
But to his surprise, Tsubiri rests her head on his shoulder and says, “Being touched... only If it’s you... I don’t mind.”
Oblivious to this sudden sexual advancement, Ubica thinks she must still be teasing him.
The two share a few minutes in silence as they continue their walk. The temperature is seemingly dropping with each second, and with it lowers Ubica’s health.
“Hey… you’re seriously starting to look bad.” Tsubiri points out her concern.
Ubica is rather pale and his eyes are half shut. He looks her way as if he is trying to say something but no words come out, he moves his head closer to hers, so much so that the warm stream from his breath softly beats on her face.
“U-Um, you're getting awfully close...”
Her words fall on deaf ears, Ubica and Tsubiri’s foreheads are now touching, Tsubiri is completely flustered by this and her mind is floating around blankly until she grabs a random thought from her brain.
She grabs Ubica’s face and gives him a long kiss on his lips, when she finishes, her blank thought process returns.
(Eh!? When did I become so bold!?)
Ubica’s head slides from her face down her neck and her shoulder.
“D-Don’t get cocky just because I kissed you! T-That was just a waaaaaaa!!!!”
The entire weight of Ubica presses against her body and forces her to the ground.
This time there is no reaction to her words from Ubica, she was expecting him to say this was some kind of joke but judging by his silence she believes he is truly serious.
“That was my first kiss... I-I don’t know if my heart is ready for something like this so suddenly.”
Still no reply, she is fully expecting things to really advance from there and her face is bright red, but much to her surprise he remains completely still; moreso then that, his body is completely limp.
She shakes him, but to no avail; it is obvious that he is unconscious. Tsubiri struggles to get out from under him and puts him on his back, she shakes him repeatedly and begins to frantically shout.
“Are you alright? Wake up, Ubica!!!”
“This sure is some kind of drastic change in climate.” says Napoleon.
To which Rage replies, “You’ll find that this will happen a lot in the near future. There isn’t a set weather environment like on Earth where there are four different seasons.”
“It's because the sun and the three moons, and everything else in the space above us are all artificial.”
Napoleon looks somewhat confused as to how or why that is and is about to ask Rage when the scream of Tsubiri is heard about a hundred yards back.
“Help!! There’s something wrong with Ubica!!”
The group rushes to his aid and once there they see an unconscious Ubica.
“What happened to him, Tsubiri!?” shouts Trojia as she grabs Tsubiri’s shoulders.
“I don’t know! He just collapsed all the sudden!”
“Calm down you two.” says Rage, unworried about Ubica’s condition, “This is simply his body's natural reaction to the cold.”
Trojia grabs his ice cold face to try to keep him warm, his breathing is spotty and slow. She knows that he is cold blooded and is in danger of freezing to death.
She looks at Rage with a look of concern and asks, “What can we do to help him?”
Rage stays silent as he ponders her question. The surroundings are spotted with bits of snow, the foliage that lay around the tundra like area seem flammable but are most certainly too wet to set ablaze.
“It seems like it is the beginning of summer here. The plants around here can’t be burned because of the permafrost, so we’ll have to somehow get out of here quickly.” he says as he clicks his tongue.
The temperature is around 40 to 45 degrees, not enough to harm a regular unprepared human, but for something that is cold blooded this kind of weather can kill. The tundra is a bleak and treeless place. It is cold through all months of the year and summer is a brief period of milder climates when the sun shines almost twenty four hours a day, thus the reason it is called ‘Land of the Midnight Sun’. But even the sun can’t warm the tundra much, the short summer lasts only six to ten weeks back on Earth. It never gets any warmer than fifty degrees. The warmer weather causes a layer of permafrost, ice that never goes away in the ground to melt, creating bogs and shallow lakes that don’t drain.
Since it is so early in the summer in this particular part of Purgatory, the permafrost has not completely melted yet, so the breeding of dozens of species of stinging bugs have not yet arrived. The winter climate on the other hand has a temperature averaging between negative twenty and negative thirty degrees. If the group was unlucky enough to randomly stumble across this tundra during a random winter season, Ubica would not have made it even ten seconds without freezing to death; hypothermia would come to the rest of the group shortly thereafter.
Napoleon is carrying Ubica on his back and is running as fast as possible to escape through the tundra.
Rage would have carried him away on his cloud if it weren’t for two problems; the first is that it would be far too dangerous to leave the rest of the royals alone without the strength of he or Ubica. And the second is that Ubica’s soul would quickly be sucked into his cloud since Ubica is unconscious and weakened, while in such a state he has no control over his body or soul.
Napoleon begins his trek, he recalls doing this kind of thing numerous times before, albeit through training when he was a teenager or helping injured comrades in one of the countless battles in which he fought.
But no fewer than a thousand yards away from the rest,
An explosion rips through the ground only a few feet in front of him.
Napoleon flies back by the force of the blast knocking both he and Ubica to the ground.
“What the hell was that!?” Napoleon exclaims to himself as he removes the shards of ice permafrost sharply sticking out of his legs.
He unsheathes the sword that he carries on his back and is waiting for an enemy to appear out of the hazy aftermath of the blast when the unfamiliar voice of a man and woman is heard.
“Geez Aria! What’s the point of planting these mines if they just blow the people we are supposed to rob into bits!?”
“Oh shut up! It works doesn’t it?”
“No it doesn’t, your stupid mine blew up five feet before the guy even got there!”
“Whatever Strauph... lets just rob the guy like we planned and get the hell out of here.”
Napoleon was always trained to take the incentive in ambush situations where cover can not be attained, so he charges toward the sound of the voices.
He wildly swings his long sword through the dust cloud, and the girl's voice is heard again.
“Woah! Looks like we got a feisty one on our hands!”
Napoleon points his sword and thrusts violently at the mocking sound of the woman’s voice.
“Haha no kidding! Well its not like it’s gonna matter anyways.”
This sound comes from the man; now focused intently on the sound of the man’s voice, he senses something and moves towards it. Out of the corner of Napoleon’s right eye he sees the flow of the dust cloud change slightly.
With it comes a blade closing in fast on his face, Napoleon quickly ducks underneath the attack and reaches out his right arm as if to grab whatever is behind the sword.
He feels a soft object and instantly recognizes this as a human arm, from here his natural battle instincts take over and he throws whoever he is holding downwards into the ground, and with a large ‘thud’ noise the man's voice is heard.
He knows for sure that he has taken the advantage of this situation and twists the enemy’s arm violently while he slams his knee into the back of the enemy’s neck.
On a normal day, Napoleon would have stabbed his sword into the back of the man's neck and killed him without a second thought, but he stopped himself once he remembered that his comrade was lying defenseless on the cold tundra floor.
By now the dust has cleared, Napoleon can clearly see the man who he is on top of; the man looks like he is in his early twenties and has odd colored light turquoise hair and orange eyes. He is dressed warmly in a purple coat above black pants and black boots, along with a thick black scarf and headband.
“Uh-oh, I sure have got myself in quite the pinch here.” said the man with a carefree smile.
“Wow! This is a good looking fellow I got here!”
Napoleon shifts his attention to the woman’s voice and sees a girl with apple red hair with the same colored orange eyes standing over Ubica while pinching his cheeks.
She on the other hand looks like she is in her late teens and is dressed rather skimpy, especially considering the cold weather. She is wearing white skirt, with golden circular designs over black leggings that stretch from her waist down to her brown and gold boots. The skin of her belly is seen as there is a gap between her skirt and her white long sleeved crop top.
Napoleon clicks his tongue as though confirming the fact that he knew this would happen.
It is essentially a stalemate between the two because both can instantly kill the hostages they hold if needed.
With a sharp voice, Napoleon looks to the apple haired girl holding a large broadsword to Ubica’s neck and says,
“How this is going to end will depend on what you choose to do next.”
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