Chronicles of Hyperion
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What secrets lie within the Hyperion game? Jakes and I are war-weary soldiers seeking refuge from the horrors of battle in the virtual world of SpectraLink's Hyperion. But as we delve deeper into the game, we realize it is more than just a simple escape. There's an air of mystery and danger that surrounds us, and we can't shake the feeling that we've stumbled upon something incredible. As the lines between reality and fantasy begin to blur, we realize that our journey through the Hyperion game is more than just a game. It's a journey that will test our strength, our courage, and our very sanity. Will we emerge from the game unscathed, or will we be forever lost in this magical realm?
Naïve. Cold. Vexed. That's how I felt. It was crazy to be left alone in a vast place as Dammcellot to wander in the midst of ugly furious monsters. Getting the magic bottle that brought the Genie of the Lamp Master was a hell of a stress and she made it as clear as the blinding magic glow that perched on the orb of her trident that I'd—I mean, we'd never see her again. Perhaps, either luck or Hyperion itself wasn't on our side.
A metallic clang by my far left jolted my attention. Squinting in the direction of the sound, I saw an average height ebony-skinned man. He wore a green robe with rippy helms; looking like a circus clown, and kept murmuring strange phrases while staggering back and forth like the drunk old witch at the magic tavern up the hill.
I know him. He's Jake Middley, my brother. He's a wizard, a choice I think wasn't only ill-thought but also crazy. Dammcellot being the home of sorcery, had sorcerers about half the headcount of sand on the bank of a river. Weird. Sneaky. Irritating. I never liked him joining their league. He was a stark dummy and had no idea what exactly wizards do to fetch themselves points and progress to more levels. Maybe, he fell into the wrong ditch. The wrong court. The wrong hands.
“Hey Jeru. I can see you like it!” I teased, trudging closer. “It looks good on you, you know!" I added.
I was the one who found the magic bottle of the Genie of the Lamp Master—whoever finds it stands a chance to make a wish; maybe a wild or mild wish…just wish for anything— and I got rewarded with two wishes. Getting the magic sword I had always yearned for, I surrendered to Jeru a wish. I wanted him to go for something rather more tangible—something that'd boost his chances of giving other sorcerers a run for their points—but he flunked.
Off a wild and weird guess, he forced the forlorn looking Genie back into her bottle by wishing for the “Magical Sword of the Ah Shit.”
Such a sword never existed and the way the Genie's bulky eyes darted outward was indeed proof that she had no idea what he meant by the “Magical Sword of the Ah Shit”. Out of sympathy not to leave him on the fence, she gave him what was available for his kind; wizards' favorite asset—the wooden staff.
As she shapeshifted into her bottle and faded into thin air, Jeru's wish crashed to the floor. It was a weird looking wooden staff whose head was split into two; each with a black metallic band wrapped around it. Apart from not having a broom attached to either the base or tip of the wooden staff like those of most aged Dammcellotian wizards, the sordid staff wasn't different from those possessed by most of the sorcerers and wizards we met while ebbed in our search for the Genie's bottle.
“Chris, do you think this is ever going to take me far?” he asked, tossing the staff into the air as if for me to admire.
My answer was a “no” as large as the mammoth oak tree ahead of him, but I wouldn't dare say that. “Of course! Maybe, you'd like it when you finally get used to its abilities,” I said instead. Perhaps, those affected words could brighten his mood. Besides, what is the need of having a brother if he's not supportive?
He lowered the staff and adjusted his robe. Sweeping his sweaty face with the back of his gloved right hand, he gave me a rueful look. Overtime, I grew to easily decrypt the meaning of that particular look of his, but who knows? The new staff might give it a new meaning—that's the nature of sorcerers and wizards; so unpredictable and random. This minute you spot them with a touch of normalcy, the next minute they come off weirder than aliens from faraway Mars.
“Why gimme that look Jeru?” I asked, my eyes rolled and my hands splayed, signifying innocence.
“You know, you are always the lucky guy. Aren't you?” he queried, his voice dwindling into a tone I'd never heard him use before
“Luck, you say?” I quizzed, pretending not to understand his question. He nodded in the affirmative, giving me an “I'm-still-waiting-for-a-response" look.
I shrugged. “I wouldn't know. How about we consider the fact that all of these could be because we're levels apart?”
His face suddenly got lit up. “No way! You're only a level ahead and you know that down here, that could mean nothing but a mere adornment to your arsenal. And, so you know little brother, we wizards are the real deal here and not some weak barbarians with simpler missions and sickened knowledge.”
He was right. I'm barbarian and not a wizard like him, but he had no idea that with magic, they had an upper hand to shoo off their enemies than we barbarians who solely depend on our swordsmanship and archery skills. They needed less energy to record victories, but we needed to do more. They have less battles to fight, but we have more. I wished I could tell him all these. But, his tone breathed insecurity and some shards of frustration.
“You know, just like Professor Dupont said, things are different down here. Dammcellot is a crappy place with crappy survivors doing crappy things to stay alive. I strongly believe that there'd be a difference between levels in Hyperion no matter how close they seem. Maybe in Hyperion, we just need to learn how to accept our fate and follow its trails as much as we can…”
“Uhm…but luck keeps tilting toward your court. Huh? You exceeded your first level faster than I did. You got a kill before I did. You found the bottle of the Genie of the Lamp Master and now, it seems you're the only Barbarian in Dammcellot with some amazing magic sword,” he defended soberly.
I halted on my tracks, my eyes piercing his dejected perimeter. He had stopped sounding like he'd whack my head with the ball-like rock seated on the ground a few meters by his left, but began sounding sympathetic. He knew I hated seeing him in that mood. I wanted him to remain a happy dude. I turned toward the sword buried in my tiger skin pouch and glared in his direction swiftly.
“You wanna have it?” I asked him, my eyeballs avoiding him.
Confused. “What are you talking about?” he quizzed, his brown eyeballs dilated in awe.
“I mean the sword. I won't mind giving it to you. Besides, you're the wizard and perhaps need it more than I do,” I landed, feeling a ghost of fury brimming within me as I spoke. But, I struggled to have it caged in there, never to be spotted on my face.
He was closer now. “I-I-I didn't mean to…”
“Really?” I snapped him in because I couldn't wait for him to finish. Those milliseconds he'd have used in wrapping up his speech seemed like forever to me. “I have no idea why you've created a clasping bond between luck and my efforts neither do I know why you feel all of these are my fault…but I…”
“Come on, Chris. You're getting it all wrong man! No pointing of fingers. Okay? I mean, I-I uhm …”
I stamped my shaky right foot on the floor in a loud stud, “go ahead. Say it!” I hollered, staring right into the vastness of his brown eyes. The fury in his eyes? It was gone. He reeked of confusion as he stepped further, his lips too dumbstruck to part ways.
I remained still as his robust palm docked my shoulder. Dammcellot was a damn hot place, but his hand felt warm as it journeyed further on my frame. From my shoulder, it voyaged upward and halted on my face. The other hand followed, making him have my entire head in his palms.
“Chris. Maybe I was only swallowed by frustration. I-I must have overstepped my boundaries in the quest for better positioning in Dammcellot, thus getting pushed to the wall; almost to the extent of ignoring what we share as the Middley Brothers.”
He couldn't tame his teargland as the salty liquid journeyed down his bony cheeks in streams. I saw the actual frustration he was fighting to explain buried in the meat of his eyes. Frustration played him for a sucker and convincingly, that's what Dammcellot was designed to do to whoever steps into it. To frustrate. To enervate. To unleash their caged inner demons.
Stroking my receding hairline, he looked right into my glassy eyeballs and continued. “I might seem like a miserable old boy, but I don't think I'd ever forget that we vowed to watch each other's back no matter how rocky the journey gets!” He paused, nudged my head upward and blinked repeatedly; a move aimed at being sure that I was with him.
“Chris, we did vow to watch our backs. Right?”
That was a question I would never have attempted a few minutes ago. But, the silence that snaked between us seemed to have sucked my fury away. I felt a groin on the walls of my throat, larrupping me to swing to his script. To see past his words, but glare deep into his reddened eyes instead. To kowtow to his verbal push. I nodded in the affirmative, for the words I fought to compile upstairs couldn't go beyond my lips.
He picked up the magic sword of which I had surrendered on the floor and rifled it in my direction.
“Come on, take it. You deserve it,” he insisted.
Slower than I wanted them to, my hands went for the sword.
“Take it,” he stressed, perhaps growing cold with the sluggish pace of my hands.
“Whatever comes out of this would have to face us both. Never again will I watch us embrace disunity.”
“Never again,” I murmured as he slumped into my open arms.
Bliss. I felt it within me. Feeling insecure around Jeru came off as the craziest thing that's ever come my way. But, that went beyond the verge of becoming history. I saw it; beyond his words but clearly impressed on his glassy red eyes. The remorse must have crept out of the most pained chamber of his pondering soul.
Human Barbarian Level 9
3800 Out Of 8000 Points To Next Level
Mission 5 is 10 Seconds Away
The familiar electronic voice snapped our embrace, swinging our attention to the mammoth magic watch round my shaky wrist. That was the source of the command. We both were used to it. Jeru drifted backward and grabbed his wooden staff, clenching his teeth and tightening his grip on the staff. He suddenly appeared edgy and restless, lashing me with silent stares like a puppy begging for bones.
“Uhm. It's about time, man. I've got to finish this. I can't wait to see what's more to Dammcellot,” I said to him, my brows furrowed and my forehead contorted into a weak frown.
…Eight…Seven …Six …Five…Four …
It was the watch again. It gave off the clue that time was ticking—perhaps, faster than the magical speed trains at the train stations downtown. Jeru behind me, I stepped forward with a courage as huge as fallen stars. To face my incoming enemy with my newest weapon.
“Chris, we can do this,” he announced.
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