Sir was currently accompanying Chance, Loki and Rykar towards the deepest region of the camp.
Despite these three being only moments away from making off with hundreds of Essence plants and multiple times more essence fruit, Sir was currently humming merrily while nearly skipping through the wide earthen paths of the camp.
The people in the surroundings watched wide eyed as this feared individual had an unprecedented smile plastered on his face. Little did they understand the level of mental and physical pain he had gone through while they had been enjoying their holiday to the full. The only people who had 'maybe' suffered more than him, were Elizabeth and her group of tag-alongs.
"So, what is outside actually like?" Rykar asked while turning towards Chance.
"It's a sh*t hole. In the city, you're either rich or poor, there's almost no in-between. Despite that, it's a hundred times better than in here. At least out there, there's a chance." He replied with a carefree smile. Despite him trying to act natural, the twins were easily able to pick up on his excitement from his fidgeting hands.
"Hmm, is that where your name came from or do your parents just have bad taste?" Rykar jested.
"Believe it or not, you're bang on haha!" Chance erupted in laughter after hearing the remark. "No matter how bad the situation is, there's always a chance. If there is none, then make one. If you can't make one, then I guess you're f*cked."
"Even after living with Rykar, that's the stupidest thing I've heard in my life." Loki added on the side as he carried on walking straight faced. Suddenly he turned his head towards Sir as though struck by a sudden inspiration. "Where are we, and what is outside? Explain properly or I'll punch myself in the face."
"F*ck." Sir swore as his good mood was ruined. "This is a fragment owned by the Grace company. Outside is simply one of the planets attached to one of the worlds Grace owns. In here might even be better than out there. You have food, water, beds and clothes. Out there, you'll might end up with nothing."
Hearing Sir's explanation, the twins were even more confused. They looked towards Chance, waiting for him to correct what they had heard but he had slight confliction on his face.
"If we were to go out there like normal people, then maybe. However, don't forget that were rich right now! Not only that, but my brothers are still on the outside." He comforted the twins with an awkward smile.
Hearing this, Sir also revealed a smile but the insidious light in his eyes shined brightly. Of course, there was no way he would continue speaking in case of tempting these demons to stay even longer.
With Sir increasing the pace of the group, it was only a few minutes before they came to an open square which held a large wagon. The entire area was buzzing with activity as people filled the wagon to the brim with containers similar to the ones which the workers used on the fields.
The difference between them was that they were more than three times at large. If every slot within them was filled, they were most likely holding between thirty and forty essence fruit each. All of the workers here were bigger than the guards in size, easily lugging these 350kg containers between two of them without breaking a sweat. The wagon was nearly full as the trio had arrived, so it wasn't long before the carriage was filled to the brim with over a hundred of said crates.
Just in front of the wagon was a simple looking arched stone gate standing straight from the ground with no other supports around it besides its own frame. Although it had a simple appearance, the gate was huge, standing over ten metres tall and six metres wide. Inspecting the interior of the gate was like staring into grey and muddy water. It was as though there was a thin film in place which wriggled and squirmed as it obstructed their view to the other side.
Watching the warped and murky entrance, neither Rykar nor Loki couldn't hold back their curiosity as they began walking around the stone gate. As they circled around, they confirmed that the rear end was exactly the same as the front. Aside from the dull film in the centre of the gateway, the gate stood completely solitary, like someone had constructed a door frame in the middle of a field.
Excitement was written on the faces of both boys as they completely ignored the strange looks they were receiving from the workers which avoided them while inspecting the goods on and around the wagon. Chance and Sir were expecting the twins to drown them in questions after seeing the gateway, but they were surprised as the twins simply looked on appreciatingly.
After having lived in the tree house for an extended period of time, they hadn't really though that it was so strange to be able to enter unknown spaces by walking through doors any more. They were more thrilled at its design than its function. Compared to the simple and hidden entrance to the tree, this looked like a portal had sprouted from the ground!
"How long before we can go?" Rykar ran back over and asked while Sir was in the middle of talking to one of the brawny members of staff.
After taking a piece of paper and a coal pencil, he turned to the three. "The carriage is ready to depart immediately. After exiting the tear, you'll be in close proximity to the main road. I've already advised these men to allow you to take your leave. Anything else?"
"Tear?" Loki asked while looking toward the gateway.
"Access to this fragment is due to a tear in space. This gateway serves to stabilise it, allowing constant access to and from the planet on the other side." Sir explained anxiously. Even while talking, he only gave them half of his attention as he scribbled on a clean sheet of paper rapidly.
"What are you writing?" Loki asked suspiciously while looking at the paper in his hands.
For a second, sir stopped while looking over with a shrug, "Every export is worth tens of thousands of gold coins. Do you think I would allow anything of my merchandise to slip out of here without my written approval?"
Loki and Rykar shrugged it off however Chance didn't seem to take the bait. He walked over to Sir's side while glancing at the sheet he had been scribbling on. It only took a cursory glance before he walked back over to the side of the twins with an uncaring expression of approval.
"You can read?" Loki asked with a raised eyebrow.
"Did I ever tell you I couldn't read? Do you naturally assume I'm brain dead or something?" Chance countered with another question.
"Why didn't you teach us?"
"Why didn't you ask?"
"Why didn't you tell us you could read?"
"Did you ask if I could read?"
"I assumed you couldn't, you didn't bring it up."
"Who told you to assume? I didn't. Do you see words posted anywhere around the camp for me to read? I don't. Just because I didn't ask if you have teeth, doesn't mean that I assumed that you didn't."
"That makes no sense. This kind of conversation is exactly why I assumed you can't read."
"What's that meant to mean?"
"Read into it." Loki ended the conversation as he hoisted himself onto the ledge at the back of the carriage before taking a seat. Seeing Loki take the space with the most room, Rykar quickly jumped up too, leaving Chance on the edge with the least space.
Sir had long since zoned out as soon as the battle of words started. It had only been twenty-seven hours, yet he lost count of how many verbal battles Rykar and Loki had destroyed Chance in. By the time Chance had jumped onto the wagon, the guards at the entrance of the gate had shifted out of the way and the horses had begun to move.
Watching the carriage begin to enter the tear, it was as though the horses entered water. Their bodies disappeared bit by bit before being fully enveloped. It didn't take long at all for the rest of the carriage to make its way through, with Chance, Loki and Rykar waving merrily at the pointed eyes of Sir. His return smile was even warmer than any of them could have expected.
Just before they crossed over to the other side of the tear, they saw Sir pulling a torn sheet of paper out from the underside of the file he had been authorising. Giving the sheet a quick glance over, he pocketed the information with a sigh and began turning around.
The world in front of their eyes began to swim for a moment, as though they were looking through a glass of water. Colours swam while the images distorted, twisting and forming wild and crazy shapes before seeming to evaporate into nothingness entirely. As the twins looked around, the world seemed to have totally transformed. The wooden houses and grey clouds had entirely been left behind, becoming a field of darkness and lights. Looking up, speckles of light mottled the entire sky as the nightscape stretched as far as their eyes could see.
"Aaah, its been so long since I saw the sea of stars!" Chance exclaimed as an inconspicuous tear fell from his eye.
As difficult as it may be to imagine, the twins were completely and utterly lost for words as they followed Chance's line of sight, raising their heads up to look at the night sky.
The sight had set waves off in their minds. Despite the visions they had witnessed, they came nowhere close to observing the beauty of the night sky. The unfathomable depth and silence they felt from the world around them had caused them to feel utterly insignificant for the first time.
The clouds which dominated the skies of the fragment they had been residing in up until now had unknowingly made them perceive the world as a large yet small place. A place where anything was possible, and they were the centre of everything.
The beautiful yet oppressive feeling caused tears to streak from their eyes, travelling down their faces and dampening their clothing.
These tears weren't the same as Chance, who felt the view was beautiful and familiar. Returning to this place brought hope and excitement to the young man, who had found his way home.
Instead, they were tears of reflection. They had once again lost a sense of belonging they had never had. The peaceful moments leading up to their escape from the camp had been shattered in a moment. There was no particular reason, nothing that hadn't already expected. It was simply that the gravity of the reality had caught up to them.
Once again, they had found themselves more lost than ever before.
More powerless than ever before.
More insignificant than ever before.
Pulling up their hoods, both Rykar and Loki hid their faces as they stifled their sobs, afraid of ruining Chances moment of peace.
Unknown of when, Rykar and Loki's hands found each other and clasped together as the carriage slowly rumbled on in silence.
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