Wuxiaworld > Rise of the Godking > 66 Escape
Wheezing and gasping all the way, the brave rebels of the town of Graiton beat a hasty retreat, even though their sorry state made it so that they looked anything but.

After the steward's message, Daneel had soon begun running, too, on recalling the blinding speed of the crimson man, in front of which he stood no chance. The dwarf king led them directly to the large crystal outcropping on the border of the town, into which Daneel had stepped on that first fateful day to get to the Pit. On the way, the steward took out a bugle from his baggy robes and blew two shrill blasts that resulted in a moment of silence, and then the pitter-patter of many dwarves rushing to the extraction point.

All of this had clearly been planned out, but that didn't mean that they were happy to see it unfold. The steward constantly turned back to the spot of the exchange, face scrunched up into disappointment and hopelessness, and from that, Daneel could tell that all of the rebels had definitely placed the lot of faith on his plan that could have resulted in the end of the master if not for the sudden appearance of those three experts.

There was no doubt as to their strength even before the steward had told him about it. He could now estimate the speed that one needed to exhibit if they wanted to be called a member of a particular rank, and to make sure, he even asked the system about it on the way, along with a query about the items that had been used to grant them those incredible powers.

Sadly, because of the distance, it hadn't been able to collect enough data to give him a satisfactory answer. It did confirm his estimation, though, but with the query answered, Daneel had no option but to turn back to the startling truth that had presented itself before the fight. 

Due to the frenzied fight that had followed the revelation, he hadn't had the time to study what the steward had told him. Now that he had nothing to do except keep running, he couldn't turn away from it, and as soon as he began to pick it apart, he found a few glaring loopholes that had to be answered.

If these rebels were really capable of so much in all the layers of the town, then why had Sebastian had to die? Couldn't they have estimated the power of the butler beforehand, and sent enough reinforcements to back him up? He had even been called a valuable Expert… if so, why hadn't he been conserved instead of being thrown away in that manner?

If they had been stealing food to obtain weapons to fight a war on the Surface, had they willingly let slaves and residents of the Refinery starve to death? He knew multiple instances of this happening, where lives could have been saved if proper nutrition had been available for the men, women and children of these two layers.

Had the dwarf king been faking that 'brother' thing all along, or had the man really held at least a shred of affection for him under that fleshless visage?

Finally… if he hadn't shown up as a perfect scapegoat, what would they have done? How could things have changed if Daneel had not stepped forward with his plans that had seemed perfect, but had actually been nothing compared to everything going on in the background?

The first three questions pulled at his mind, while the last did the same to his heart. He saw that it was vital for him to know whether his meddling had caused more deaths than if he had never been a part of this, in the first place, and for once, he did not think about what this indicated about how he had been in his past life.

He had no option but to put everything aside when they reached the crystals, and found a few dwarves already waiting there. They looked normal, at first… but when Daneel and the steward neared them, in the light of the second moon, he saw that they were all gravely injured, leaking blood from multiple cuts all over their bodies or even missing limbs, in a few cases.

A few lay unmoving on the ground, forgotten by the healers among them who were fussing over others who still drew breath. Daneel had known, in essence, that this was what war was like… but looking at it up close made his blood go cold in his veins.

After all, even though the strongest bond he had created was with the children, he had started to think of these disciplined members of the underground city as part of his family, too. It hurt to see them in this manner, and even though he was able to put away these emotions with some effort, they stung in the back of his mind, insistently poking at him, reminding him of his weakness that had given him no option but to sit on that hill and watch on while the truly powerful had fought, and failed.

He saw the king's frown when he spotted his soldiers, but without slowing down, he took out a red crystal and touched it to the ones in front of them, making the spiky matrix glow once, then quiet down.

He stepped into it, and without thinking, Daneel followed, the steward fast on his heels. They emerged directly in the throne room where a crystal formation that hadn't been there before had been set up, and as soon as his vision cleared, he saw a gigantic body on the ground, breathless, with the contents of his hands spilled onto the rocky floor in front of him.

The dwarf king had clearly collapsed due to the strain, and the same seemed like it would soon happen to Daneel, too. They had had to run quite a long distance to get to the exit on the surface which had been on the other side of the town, and as the steward also fell to the floor beside him, he marvelled at the strength of the man who seemed ancient.

But then… that wonder leached out of him in an instant, replaced by those throbbing questions that all spilled out of his mouth in one go.

The steward listened, resting on his back, while the broken army of dwarves filtered into the city behind them. When Daneel was done, he bent on to his knees and had to draw in air in great gasps once more, and in the silence, the steward growled, "How…does all of that even matter, anymore? If you must know, then listen. If we had committed anyone else to that mission on the surface, there would have been no way for it to be carried out. Sebastian was the one who said he would be fine, thinking that he could handle the butler…but he underestimated that man. Jezara could have backed him up as there would have been no witnesses, but you incapacitated him, somehow. Yes, a few in both those layers had to die… but if they didn't, the master would have gotten suspicious! You don't know how that bastard grins whenever he hears news of those dying from starvation! He gets those bodies sent up to the surface… where some of his eccentric protectors research the human physiology! Our dear king really did think of you as a brother, and so did Lord Burrow, because your story is so similar to both of theirs… and if we had succeeded, we could have rejoiced as a family! But he failed! As for your final question… I have no god damn idea!"

The blunt answers made Daneel squirm, as they made him feel like a toddler whose parents had made a plan for him about which he was throwing a fit, as he had just found it out. He powered through the sensation, though, and found that there was one last question that he hadn't asked.

"What now?"

This one finally elicited a visceral response from the steward. He shook his head, his eyes fluttering as they battled the tears that threatened to flow out, and in a weak voice, he answered, "What now? We hide, again. They can't find this place… so we burrow into the ground, while the rampage above, and make the streets flow with blood. I really wished that things would be different, this time… but it seems almost as if we are fated to—"


A loud sound interrupted him, making all those in the cave look up while the ground shook, and dust fell from the ceiling.

Then…seemingly from far away, a voice echoed into the cavern, making the hearts of all those present collectively stop, then beat thunderously.

"I've found yoooouuuuuu, you little ants! Did you think you would be able to hide, this time? Ha! You're all done for! Heeerreeeee I come!"