“Well…? Do you like it?” Satoru inquires, frowning. This was the best idea he felt he ever had, and all his higher-ups did was sit there, in complete silence. “Fine. I’ll... try again, then.” They nod, handing the paper back. Satoru gathers them and leaves with a heavy sigh, and heavier eyelids. It was maybe.. 10 at night. He spent the whole day reviewing this new manga idea. Over, and over, and over, and over thrice more. Satoru took all the flaws there could have been, and fixed them. Was it the concept..? The more he thought about it, the more he regretted showing his baby off before it was properly born. I’ll try again in a week.. Or something. He returned home after having such thoughts. Finding comfort in his boxers and a shirt that was a bit too big, he lowered himself onto the tatami on his floor.
Kenya nodded, finishing up his shopping at the store. He headed out to his car, put his groceries in the back, and started heading home. That day was just as boring as every other day, every other night. Kenya was left in fathomless boredom, receding into a much too routine schedule. He headed into his apartment, groceries in hand, slipped off his shoes and locked the door. He put away all of what he bought, yawning deeply. Kenya showered, changed and hopped onto the bed with a soft thud. Yawning yet again, he laid back and left to the world of sleep.
Satoru opened his eyes to a familiar scene. He knew he was dreaming. Not entirely lucid, but somewhere between “AWARE” and “SUPER IN CHARACTER.” In this dream, he plays a knight in shining armor. Well.. not quite shining, per se. Rather, it seems almost burnt. Rusted. He’s riding his horse for quite some time. The breed of horse changes based off the ‘damsel’ he’s saving. He hadn’t had this horse before, though. Satoru’s had three separate horses in this dream. A Gypsy horse, an Andalusian, and a black forest horse. But… never before has he had a grey Noriker. Weird. Maybe this dream is different. Maybe I don’t save her. Satoru kept his eyes on the prize, a castle in the distance, almost up against the broad midday skyline. What awaits him this time? A dragon? Maybe bandits again? A giant? Sirens?
Satoru flicked down his helmet and lightly kicked his horse’s flank, urging him to go faster. They were there in no time, however tired the horse may be. “Easy, Jean… I’ve got a job to do.” Satoru comforted as he hopped off and turned to the large castle entry. There were remnants of a gate, meaning some of the wood and the hinges. The rest were charred ash scattered across the smooth stone. Another dragon, then. Greeeeeeaaaat. Satoru sighed and gathered his courage. “You can do this…” He muttered to himself.
The castle smelled of fire, ash, and rot. Skeletons lay propped against the walls as if they were trophies. Each one seemed to be watching him, but not with their eyes. Their ghostly figures chilled the long hallways, made them seem darker than they were. Satoru was sure this place was once full of life, maybe even love. He shook away the thoughts and focused on the task at hand. Where was the dragon? There’s no sign of it anywhere… Satoru looked from right to left. Focus, damnit... With a quickened pace and an observant gaze, he came upon a narrow hallway that veered to the right.
This is so weird, Kenya thought to himself, Why am I here? He was fully aware of the fact he was dreaming, and that none of this was real. Nothing was really happening. He observed his surroundings. The smooth grey stone, beautiful tapestries and flowers. The whole essence of this room screamed, “I’m royal and slightly snobby.” Even the bed was like something out of a fairytale. A four poster bed, complete with curtains and vines. The pillows were recently fluffed, and everything appeared to be made of silk. What the hell…?
Satoru neared the end of the hallway. At the end, he was greeted by an unfamiliar figure. One that held the aura of mystery, and magic. Maybe something more familiar. Before Satoru had a chance to ask, the figure removed their hood, revealing… “Mom?!” She gave a strange look, “Listen, kid, I dunno and don’t care who you are. But, I’m the Great Witch Sachiko Fujinuma! Not your mother.”
Satoru quirked a brow and nodded, “So, this is all your work, then?” She hesitated before responding, “Well… my apprentice chipped in. Would you like to meet her?” Sachiko said whilst amusement coiled around her words like vipers.
“No. I’m here to save whatever damsel you have locked in some stupid tower.” Mistake number one. “Stu.. da..” She looked infuriated, eyes almost a shade of red. “KAYOOO!” A small figure turned from the left, expression blank. Brown eyes met blue, and a small smirk curled the left of her lip upwards. “Yes, master?” Great… she even dragged Kayo into this. The scrawny figure wore a red cloak and left the hood up, which left only the mouth and eyes to be visible. Other that, she carried a satchel. “Where is she?? I KNOW you have her!” Satoru demanded, putting one hand on the handle of his sword. "She? Her?" She almost cackles, "Sorry, kid, we got a dude instead. Hmmmm... actually..." She briefly looked over Satoru, up and down, then continued, "We give up. Go save him. If you can find him." Kayo laughs at this, and then they both disappear.
Out of thin air. Like they were never there. Around him, the walls formed and changed to.. to.. the walls of a maze. Holy shit! The hallways changed and redirected themselves. Satoru couldn't believe what he was seeing. Leafy greens burst from the cracks in the stone- enveloping his senses. Which lowered his guard. He realized this and quickly tried to cut himself off from his overwhelmed senses. Quickly standing, he sprinted in whichever direction seemed to call for him. Left.. Left.. Right.. straight.. left.. straight.. right.. straight...
Ow... Yeah.. That's what you get for running headfirst into a door. Pay attention next time.
Kenya jumped as he heard a loud bang sound and resonate from the door. He froze, rightfully terrified.
Satoru calmly stood, staggering slightly. He massaged at his forehead and then opened the door.
Satoru quickly walked up to Kenya, grabbed his hand and intertwined their fingers. "We have to go. It's not safe here." They started to run, Kenya behind in slight. But then... Everything faded. First, the walls. Then the floor. It all went black. They were alone.
Satoru jolted out of his sleep in a haze, alarm clock startling the living daylight out of him. What was that...?