The Ancient 2.2

“Damn it!” Edward yelled again, he sprawled on his back and kicked his feet at Pe-bo, trying to keep him and his medical equipment away, but the tall man brushed his legs away effortlessly and rolled his eyes.

“Knock it off,” Pe-bo commanded as he took the loose end of the rope off the ground and stood. “Come on. It’ll stop hurting in a few seconds. At least you’re not bleeding now, right?”

Edward groaned on the floor for the few seconds it took for the numbing agent applied to his wounds to take effect. Once it had faded, he rolled on his knees and glared up at Pe-bo. The tall man grinned at him foolishly, before giving the rope a light tug to suggest he stand.

“Come on,” Pe-bo repeated. “We need to catch up to the group. My people aren’t known for their patience and I don’t feel like hiking home with you in tow.” He tugged the rope again, just as gently, when Edward refused to budge. “I could just drag you, you know. You weigh nothing to me.” With a disapproving grunt, Edward rose to his feet. Pe-bo turned and started toward the door and Edward followed.

Edward followed Pe-bo through a series of winding halls and tunnels, through vast empty rooms and narrow corridors. They walked for ten minutes before Pe-bo stopped in the middle of a four-way corner. He looked down one hall, then another.

“Hmm,” Pe-bo said. “I was pretty sure this was the way.”

Edward stared up at the man.

“Are you lost?” Edward growled.

“Of course not. I am just,” Pe-bo frowned as he looked back down the hall they had just come from. “I am just enjoying the adventure,” he said as he turned around and backtracked. “It’s pretty easy to find your way out of here. The closer you get to the exit, the stronger the breeze. Since the doors are open, it makes quite a wind tunnel.”

Edward only grunted in response as he followed. Another few minutes passed before they turned a corner and Pe-bo pointed ahead.

“See? Right there,” Pe-bo said. He raised his arm and extended a thin finger toward a ring of light at the end of a long hallway. As Pe-bo had suggested, the final stretch of hallway acted as a wind tunnel, sending a strong breeze rushing into Edward’s face.

Despite the situation, Edward found himself excited about the prospect of stepping out into the daylight. He took a deep breath of the fresh air and only just realized how stale the air had been deeper inside. Before being packed into the ship and put on ice, Edward and the other chosen survivors had been put into a month-long quarantine in an underground bunker to ensure they were clean of the strange disease. While it seemed like it was just yesterday that he stepped into the chamber and went to sleep, he hadn’t seen the sun, felt its warmth, or breathed fresh air in over a month; and that’s not considering the time spent in prison. Technically, he hadn’t been outside in a few dozen years; a few hundred years, maybe. He wasn’t really sure.

Pe-bo grinned as Edward took the lead. He happily allowed Edward to hurry the pace against the uphill slope of the exit ramp. As they grew nearer, figures began to form against the bright light. Pe-bo was happy to see that the group did not immediately make for the ship, but actually gave him a few extra minutes to catch up. He was thankful he wouldn’t have to make a long journey home with only the assistance of a little human. They came close enough for Pe-bo to recognize the man waiting; it was Itpi-pe.

No sooner had Pe-bo raised his hand to wave at the man, then Itpi-pe’s head exploded with a sudden thunderous crack that shattered the near silence.

The first gun shot brought Edward and Pe-bo to a dead stop in their path. The second sent them scurrying back down the tunnel in the direction they came, ducking through the first door where Pe-bo slid behind a toppled security locker. Edward followed him without question.

Author: CJ Stark

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