The 24 summoned ones were each escorted to their own rooms. Outside, 2 guards were stationed at each door just in case. Inside, Ryuta casually glanced over his surroundings with barely any care.
A large full body mirror, embedded in a silver frame, hung sturdily on the wall. A large bed sat directly in the middle of the room. With soft sheets made from a fabric similar to satin and pillows softer than clouds, this bed was fit for a king.
One side of the room was completely lined with shelf after shelf of thick books and besides that, there was a small but artfully crafted and hand-carved wooden desk made from dense oak. With a golden quill pen to boot, this was a fine piece. A large wardrobe, also hand-carved, was large enough and spacious enough to fit 10 people inside.
There was even a fully equipped bathroom attached to the room. Hell, even the candles within the room were different from the ones in the infirmary. The candles in the infirmary were just plain old candles but the ones in this room all sat in a silver candle holder and each one was suspended in mid-air. Looking closely, you would find a magic inscription carved into the bottom of each holder allowing them to continuously float in place.
This room was similar to a 4-star hotel room back on Earth, maybe just slightly worse but still, the two could easily be compared in the same vein.
The interior was quite decorated, to show just how important the summoned ones were. Either that or it was just to show how wealthy the kingdom of Treia is.
(So that was the famous Mage, Garn. He looked younger than what I expected. I wonder if he suspects anything. For now, they believe it was an accident caused by their end but who knows what their thoughts really are. Hmph, he couldn’t possibly imagine that someone would or could remove a summoned one from the circle just before the spell was complete and at the same time also take their place. Hell, even I’m having trouble believing that it happened and I’m the one who pulled it off.)
Ryuta looked at his hands and noticed they were trembling a bit. The mix of emotions he felt at the moment was intense, to say the least.
(I’m back. I’m actually back. Once I’ve gathered my strength, I will have my revenge.)
Ryuta stood silent in thought before he regathered a sense of calm. Pulling his golden compass out from beneath his shirt, he flipped it open and watched as a blue arrow glowed and began to point in a certain direction.
(Once I gather what’s needed, I’ll be able to reforge my core and then…)
*Knock knock knock*
A sudden knock threw Ryuta from his thoughts and he couldn’t help but furrow his brows in displeasure.
(Who? Aren’t there guards outside my door?)
Ryuta cautiously walked over towards the door. Stopping only a foot away from it, he sent a bit of magic into his throat and mimicked the real Ryuta’s voice.
“Who is it?”
“It’s me, open the door.”
The voice beyond the door was soft yet filled with indignance. Ryuta had easily recognized it and opened the door. Cracking it at first but as soon as he confirmed that it truly was her, Ryuta opened it all the way and invited Asuna in, as well as the aloof Sam standing behind her.
Sam immediately pushed pass Asuna and sat on the bed. Pulling something from his pocket, he turned it on.
*Da da ding*
Surprisingly Sam still had his small gaming device from Earth, and without even looking at the others, he started gaming without concern.
Asuna rubbed her head in frustration, messing up her own fiery red hair in the process.
“Ryuta what are we gonna do? We’re actually stuck here. I don’t know what’s going on and no one’s really saying anything. Fighting shapeshifters, dealing with monsters and magic, this can’t be happening, it just can’t be.”
Asuna’s blue eyes began to tear up just a bit, causing Sam to momentarily look up from his game.
“Eh, Asuna, what’s wrong? Oh, Ryuta, it must have been you, right? What did you do this time to piss her off again? Just when will the two of you…”
Asuna ran up and punched Sam on the top of his head, causing him to bite his tongue in the process. Sam jumped from the bed and gripped his mouth in pain while making an agonizing moan. This time it was his turn to shed a few tears. Asuna, on the other hand, yelled at the absentminded punching bag.
“Dammit, Sam, can you get your head out of your video games ass and recognize the situation we’re in. Just look around, you idiot. We’re clearly in trouble here and all you’re worried about is the next level. How can you be so oblivious?”
Asuna struggled to sit down, it was as though all of her energy suddenly left her as she felt hopelessness fill her heart. Looking down at the ground she squeezed her knees with all of her strength trying to come to terms with her new reality.
“How can the two of you be so calm in this situation? Isn’t it weird, it is, isn’t it? What’s wrong with you two? Mom, dad, big sis, I don’t want this. I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to fight.”
Tears began to stream down Asuna’s face as she sobbed with heartache.
“I…I just want to go home. I just want to go back to where we all belong.”
Sam saw the desperate worry in Asuna’s eyes and he could feel his stomach twisting in bitterness. He had been trying to ignore the reality of the situation and the only way he knew how to do that was to immerse himself in his video game.
He may have come off as ignorant but even he was not so foolish. Of course he knew he had been transported to a new world and of course he understood what was in front of him but with all of his mind, body, and soul, he didn’t wish to recognize it. For once he did, he knew he would truly realize how terrifying this all was and just that thought alone was paralyzing to the core.
However, in avoiding the problems around him and shutting himself off, he also ignored his friend. Asuna always appeared strong on the surface but growing up with her from the age of 4, Sam knew how fragile she really was. Even though he and Ryuta were right there with her, because of their calmness, it was Asuna who felt isolated, who felt alone.
Even though he knew that this would all be terrifying, his friend was more important than his fears.
Sam turned off his game and sat down right next to Asuna. He gently placed an arm around her and allowed her to cry into his chest. He wanted to say something but Sam was never good at showing or expressing his emotions. Just sitting next to Asuna and holding her was about as much as he could do and that’s why he looked over at Ryuta with pleading eyes.
(Haaaa. Looks like I’m up. In this situation the real Ryuta would…)
Ryuta walked over and picked up Sam’s video game and to Sam’s indignation, Ryuta actually switched it back on and started playing it. Soon the sounds of boops and beeps filled the room, causing Sam who normally can rarely ever show emotion, to now stare at Ryuta with the eyes of a venomous snake.
Asuna’s sobbing became softer and softer until finally, her tears dried up like water evaporating in a desert. Looking over at Ryuta her eye began to twitch with both anger and annoyance. Calmly she leaned away from Sam and spoke through gritted teeth.
Asuna leaped at Ryuta like a wild tiger at its prey. With a swing of her fist, she threw a solid punch directly at his face. Ryuta looked at her with surprise and put his hands up to block. In doing so the game in his hand took most of the blow and flew out of his hand and onto the ground, crushing it into pieces.
Sam screamed as though a life had just been taken.
Collapsing to his knees he tried desperately to put his handheld back together but it only made it worse.
Asuna, on the other hand, was now rubbing her aching knuckles that felt like she had just punched a tree.
Before Asuna could shout at Ryuta for blocking her blow with the game, the door was suddenly thrown open and the two guards who were on duty rushed in with weapons drawn while yelling.
“Who is it? Where is the enemy, I’ll cut em down.”
A moment or so later…
Asuna’s face blushed red as she embarrassingly told the guards what had happened. After telling the guards the story a few times, they looked at each other in confusion. Giving the room a thorough search anyway just in case, the two guards finally relented and one of them even gave the three a stern warning. After that, they left the room with slightly irked expressions and shut the door, guarding it on the other side.
Asuna looked at Ryuta with anger.
“Why did you do that?”
Ryuta smiled mischievously.
“Do what? Defend my life. Wouldn’t anyone do the same when a wild animal attacks them?”
Asuna’s fury grew and she was about to shout but Ryuta quickly raised a finger over his lips.
“Shhh. If we cry wolf too many times, even if we are heroes, surely they’ll get pissed at us.”
Asuna’s body trembled with rage but she couldn’t refute what he said. Swallowing down the hateful words that almost left her, she crossed her arms and looked away. Instead, she looked at the distraught Sam and felt a ton of guilt. This time she put her arm around Sam half expecting him to cry but to no one’s surprise, he just swallowed all of his emotions, which in turn made Asuna feel even more guilty.
“Sam, I…I’m so sorry. How about this, when we get back to earth I’ll buy you the latest handheld and 2 new games. Well, how does that sound?”
Sam was quiet for a moment and Asuna figured he was still mad until a small whisper slipped past his lips.
Asuna leaned in.
“What, what did you say?”
Sam spoke up a bit.
“5 games, get me 5 new games and I’ll forgive you.”
Asuna smiled and softly chuckled for a bit before slapping Sam hard on the back.
“Hahaha, 5 new games it is.”
The edge of Sam’s mouth slightly bent upward. Could it be considered a smile, no one really knew.
Ryuta laid on the bed with his hands behind his head and laughed lightly
Asuna and Sam stood up and loomed over Ryuta in both confusion and a bit of anger for the person who they both felt was the most responsible for what had just happened. With her hands on her hips, she leaned over Ryuta.
“What the hell is so amusing, Ryu…TA!?”
“Hehe, oh nothing much, except this was my plan from the beginning. With you so upset and not calming down anytime soon, I knew the only way for you to not have a full-on mental break down would be to release some anger. Not only that, with you breaking Sam’s game, a bit of guilt would be added and your worries would shift to your friends well being instead of your own fears. Hehehe, isn’t friendship great?”
Asuna’s eye began to twitch once more and the trembling again took over.
“Eh, Asuna, what’s wrong, you don’t look thankful. Asuna? Asuna?”
With no control, she unleashed a powerful punch, trying to send her foe to an early grave. Ryuta who had provoked her saw this coming a mile away and caught her hand easily, stunning Asuna momentarily. holding her hand gently, Ryuta sat up until he was only a few inches away from her face. Ryuta’s eyes focused on Asuna’s, causing her cheeks to blush ever so slightly and with the utmost seriousness, Ryuta boldly proclaimed.
“Asuna, don’t worry. As long as I’m here then no matter what I’ll protect you.”
Asuna quickly threw off Ryuta’s grip whilst simultaneously backing away in shock.
“Eh eh eh, wh…what are you saying to me, Ry..ry..ryuta? Eh eh eh.”
The tips of Asuna’s ears were now a crimson red and her words were a stuttering mess but then Ryuta continued.
“Yea, no need to worry, there’s magic in this world, right? So now I can definitely go super Saiyan, hahaha. A kaioken x10 and a Kamehameha, hehehe, who will be able to stand up to me then?”
Asuna was stunned. The blush in her face had drained away in an instant as though a thousand leeches were on her back. All she could do was avoid eye contact with Ryuta and look up at the ceiling in defeat. At this moment a simple thought crossed her mind.
(Idiot…He’s a fucking…Idiot.)
Before she could regather her thoughts, Sam had struck out with a fist of his own, punching Ryuta squarely in the chin and knocking him out cold.
“YOU DUMBASS! DON’T SACRIFICE MY PRECIOUS GAME FOR YOUR FOOLISH PLAN!”
Sam then stormed out of the room giving the guards on the other side half a fright. Asuna was surprised at first but then chuckled lightly.
(He’ll only show emotion when it comes to games.)
Asuna looked at the unconscious Ryuta, at first with a bit of worry but after thinking about the shit that just happened and how embarrassed she was, Asuna too turned and left, closing the door behind her.
(He’s on the bed so he can sleep it off. Hmph, serves him right.)
A minute or so after the two left, the supposed unconscious Ryuta suddenly opened his eyes. Rubbing his chin, Ryuta was slightly surprised.
(Although he didn’t actually knock me out, he’s got one hell of a right.
With them out of my hair, I can finally get back to work.)
Ryuta then pulled out his compass and studied the direction the arrow pointed in before closing it once more and contemplating his next move.