Chapter 72: Breathe

Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

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Lance started down the hall, hair a little damp from the shower he had just taken. The bathroom was the most recently-made room in Yittek's home, having been carved into existence out of a necessity. As embarrassing as it was to have it made, Lance was grateful he didn't have to say anything; Zidane simply picked up on the thought and transferred it to Yittek.

Now what to do... Lance wondered, stopping to look around the doorways surrounding him. Nothing he hadn't already explored before, as crazy as that was to admit.

"Hello." Yittek appeared, the portal behind him vanishing in wisps of smoke. The Razalek stopped walking, smiling at Lance. "Have all the rooms exhausted your interest?"

"Uh, yeah." Lance grinned back, hand rising to scratch at the back of his hair. "Guess I kind of explored everything."

"Have you visited the garden?"

Surprise overtook Lance's face, and he shook his head. "No, I don't think I have."

"Then come with me."

They walked for a few moments in silence before Lance looked up to the ceiling, craning his neck. "This place must be pretty big from the outside... How many rooms are there?"

"Around four-hundred-and-nine," Yittek answered.

Lance's stare shot to the Razalek. "Damn. And here I was thinking I'd gone through them all."

Yittek smiled. He turned back ahead of himself, the two rounding a corner. "About your comment of the outside; I forgot that you were simply teleported here, and didn't come in through one of the entranceways. This home is underground."

"You mean like... Underground what's already underground?"

Yittek laughed lightly, the sound bringing a smile to Lance's face. The Razalek nodded. "Yes, precisely."


"Protection," Yittek answered. "Security. But mostly an unlimited expansion."

Lance gave a small hum, rubbing a knuckle against a closed eye. He hadn't been sleeping well lately, and maybe it was a side effect of the medication he had been given. That, or the fear of failing this search they were on. Dead before eighteen.

He swallowed, and that was around the time he heard the music.

It came into his field of hearing as they approached the end of the hall. Lance looked to his left, trying to identify the sound. It seemed familiar.

The Ekelno. He remembered the large, double-necked guitar Zidane had played during their first morning together, before the crossbreed opened up about his past. Yeah; that was right. He couldn't forget something as cool as that.

Lance noticed Yittek turn away from the music's direction, giving him a soft smile as he slowed to a stop.

"I believe you've found your unexplored room," the Razalek said. "It's only a few halls down."

"Alright." Lance nodded and continued down, only taking a few steps before Yittek's voice stopped him.

"And if you do find Zidane asleep, it would be best not to wake him."

Questions swarmed Lance's thoughts, but he picked one, perching a brow. "He sleeps while playing that thing?"

A brief chuckle answered him. "I don't quite understand it myself. Though, if he is sleeping, take much caution if you do plan to wake him."

Lance paused. "What happens if I do?"

"He may see your hand as a stranger's, to put it painlessly," Yittek replied, another, smaller smile coming to him. His expression faded to one of solemnness, his head subtly tilting in thought. "Though I would greatly prefer you not to disturb him, if he is indeed not awake. Zidane doesn't get much sleep as it is."

Lance nodded. "I'll keep that in mind."

Yittek dismissed himself soon after, saying he had to meet with a patient. In a flurry of wind, he disappeared, leaving Lance to turn and follow the music down the wide hallway. The sounds led him to a room, but all he could see was a stone wall lightly covered in moss.

"To your left." Yittek's voice.

Lance smiled, heading in the direction he was told. Thanks. How's your patient?

"A tad cranky," came the smiled response. "Sometimes it's as if I'm caring for toddlers."

Lance laughed, turning another corner and stepping out into a small clearing. To his surprise, the music didn't stop from his amused outburst. It continued on without pause, quick notes sending waves of peacefulness to Lance.

The sounds matched the environment. He walked along flat stones, passing by rose bushes and closed flower buds, short Spiro trees and distant redwoods. Even further on, he spotted the tall Razalek trees with trunks made of entwined roots. Something about it made sense, them all being in the same area. The three races as one.

The sounds of the Ekelno grew louder as Lance stepped out into a large clearing, spotting Zidane on the other side. Sitting against a tree, eyes closed and hand switching to precise, clawed chords. Lance smiled, and continued forward.

Hearing the Ekelno again, nostalgia flashed into Lance. It was strange, how much closer they were now compared to when they'd first met. Lance could only feel grateful for the companionship. Someone looking for the same thing as him, albeit different reasons, took the weight off his shoulders. Let him know he wasn't alone.

His focus went to the crossbreed, seeing how his leg was out and bent, allowing the scythe-like body to swoop underneath. He found himself studying the instrument, once again fascinated.

Lance took a seat close by as Zidane's eyes opened.


"Hey," Lance returned, giving a reverse-nod to the Ekelno as he grinned. "You know you could probably kill someone with that."

Zidane laughed. "Yeah, that's the whole point to it. These were made as protest weapons. Peaceful sit-ins"—a few notes were played, giving that exact emotion to Lance—"and then when they inevitably turned violent, the weapon part was used."

Lance's brows jumped. "Whoa. That's actually kind of awesome."

Zidane nodded, looking to the instrument. "They were popular when Spiros and Razaleks lived together. But just before the war began, some Spiros tried to protest. Didn't go over so well."

Lance nodded. He cleared his throat, searched the ground.

"Hey, Zidane?" His stare rose.

Light eyes looked to him, waiting in patience, in silent curiosity.

"Thanks," Lance said, stare dropping to the earth beneath them. "For... Just searching for the same thing as me."

After a pause, Zidane gave a deep nod.

"You're welcome."

Birds chirped, prompting Lance's focus away. Towards the tops of trees, through the empty leaves and the branches. "There's animals here?"

"A few endangered ones," Zidane answered, plucking a few notes. The sound was freeing, like being at the ocean and hearing the waves, feeling the salty breeze. "Yittek breeds them back into the wild."

"Oh. Is that a Razalek thing?"

Zidane gave a small smile.


The crossbreed's stare suddenly turned to Lance's left, and following his gaze, Lance saw Yittek appear in a burst of fire. Except his sight was down, one hand holding a bleeding arm.

The Ekelno crashed to the ground as Zidane stood. "Yittek!"

"I'm alright," Yittek said, nearly panting the words. His hand let go of his arm, hovering above and sealing the wound shut. The blood disappeared as well, the glistening of Yittek's skin fading as he spoke.

"What matters most is the news I have for you. It seems there is a weapon of war being crafted."

Submitted: December 04, 2019

© Copyright 2023 Meaghan Kalena. All rights reserved.


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