The halls were quiet, not in the sense of lack of noise but instead the sort of quietness like the one that builds up before a storm when the air is full and dryness with a wound up feeling intermingled. This was the sort of thing that Krillin felt and he disliked it intensely considering the possible danger of the situation.
He had found over time when that sort of aura built up there was usually something wrong and unfortunately in the times he had ignored that sensation it had ended in disaster but then he had others to back him up. No nameks, saiyans, or other humans around to heal him or protect him if need be. This time he was all alone.
That word -alone. Overtime it had lost meaning but now it weighed on his shoulders making them sink down with a desperate tiredness. It had been a while since he had to deal with danger without any help.
He shook off those emotions and focused on the situation at hand. The prints were fading as he followed them even father into the temple's depths and it didn't help that the lamps hanging from the walls were dimming as they slowly ran out of oil from a long night's toil.
Finally the footprints stopped before huge wooden door that was a dark drown with a hint of a cherry tinge. The entire thing was polished with the Polinom Circle carved in the middle standing out magnificently. It seemed to be a work of art in itself. Most importantly over everything else was that it was open, not enough that you could notice at first glance but with a little squeezing one might be able to get through it without making too much noise.
The human's warrior instincts flared and he carefully pushed the door just a little more open and slid through with no sound.
There on the floor was four yurari lying unconscious.
Krillin started to rush to the nearest injured Queris but when his warrior instincts flared, he stopped himself and examined his surrounding more closely. The chamber perhaps a bit small with a dull grey concrete floor and walls rising up to a low ceiling with big lanterns hanging from high above lighting the area. In the middle was a table with open chest perched on top with its lid wide open with whatever contents had been inside long gone.
His eyes hovered over a dark part of the chest. A shadow?… but from where? Looking around he spotted a white piece of cloth hovering in a corner of the room and as his gaze fastened on that spot he found that he could make out the dim shape of an arm which the cloth was wrapped around. That one limb went into man-shaped creature that was moving ever so slowly towards the door.
All the while Krillin watched the creature through the corner of his vision making sure he didn't look straight at it so it wouldn't bolt, while acting like he was still scanning the room. The being was perhaps no bigger than the earthling himself but much skinnier with very long arms and legs. There was a slight distortion where the outline of the creature was but other than that it would be almost impossible to spot. The being was like a chameleon in how its skin shifted colour as it moved but more so since it was almost completely transparent. In its left hand it tightly clutched a what looked like a straight bladed sword with a dark animal hide sheath and every few seconds it glanced down at it as if it would run away.
The charmeleon-thing turned what one could assume was its face to look around the room. It noted Krillin showing no reaction other than tensing slightly. Whatever this thing was, it wasn't use to being seen but wasn't a fool enough not to be careful.
It examined the human once more, edged towards the door a little more and suddenly started running at an astonishing rate. Zipping through the door which was open only a crack as if it were ten metres wide, then rushing down the hall and out of sight in less than a second leaving a whirlwind affect behind it.
Krillin just stood there frozen shocked at how quickly the thing had been able to move. He blinked a few times then shaking it off, went to the door, opened it fully and started after the being.
"Intruder!" he shouted as he ran. "INTRUDER!"
He felt the words whip behind him. He was faster than this creature but it had an almost ten second head start and by now it was probably in the woods. It was if a momentary insanity had taken over with the wild hope he might catch this creature and the human ran continuing to call for help.
He found himself dashing the way he had come in minutes before and stopped right before forest. The sun was just starting to come up over the trees and painted the sky the colour of ripe orange.
What's with me and going back and forth? he thought with a great deal of annoyance. It seemed as soon as he was starting to settle down suddenly something would come along and throw everything out of proportion. Why him?
He gritted his teeth and prepared to enter into the trees once more when he heard a high pitch screech.
The human grabbed his ear from pain and moving to right he saw Phaerin, her knives drawn standing over the limp form of the chameleon-like creature. One knife in her right hand was poised ready to finish the being off, and Krillin was surprised he saw no blood on either of the blades.
"Phaerin?" Krillin whispered coming over to the young woman. Her blonde hair was now completely out of the bun and had fallen over shoulders with tons of dreadlocks woven into it. For a moment her eyes burning with hatred stayed focused on her captive ignoring the human, but then with a sigh that shook her entire body her gaze moved onto Krillin.
"Yes?" she said hoarsely.
The human felt uneasy and felt very awkward. It seemed all the sudden that the yellow sash he was wearing over his gi was rubbing into his neck like crazy and he tried not to look at the knives and at the same time not look like he wasn't trying to look at the same time.
"Uh… Thank you for catching that guy," he said.
"Your welcome," she muttered.
Krillin walked to the unconscious form of whatever that creature was. In the dark the transparent ability it didn't seem as strong and though it was still hard to make out. That could probably explain why those kids could have made it out in the dark. A little convenient but luck had helped him so far.
"Do you know what he or she?" Krillin asked indicated to the captive that was bleeding from its shoulder.
Phaerin hardly glanced at the being. "He's a darcen, a mynitordarcen"
Getting down on his knees he looked with some interest at the piece of cloth encircling the darcen's right fore arm. Was this creature injured? He doubted if it hadn't been for that thing he wouldn't have noticed the darcen in the first place so he grabbed the fabric, pulled it off and shrank back.
There was a black band. Melded into its arm as if it was part of it. No wonder this being was wearing that thing. If he hadn't he would have stuck out like a sore thumb. Krillin shivered without understanding why and though he was terrified of the ring and the darkness of it, he reached out and touched the surface.
At first coldness spread up his fingers not a bad coldness. More like when you've been out in the burning heat and then come home and take a cool shower.
Relaxing, soothing, simple.
A feeling that he just wanted to sink into the blissful emptiness… So blissful…
"KRILLIN!" came a shout and he felt his arm roughly grabbed and torn away from that heavenly black band. He faced a frantic looking Phaerin.
"Why'd you do that!" he said angrily.
The Queris woman glared at him and grabbing his arm again, yanked him off the ground, then pushed the human's hand into his face. "Look! Look! See what was happening to you!"
Krillin reluctantly examined his hand. He noticed the last few days that his nails had been getting quite long but they were very short. Much too short.
"They were disappearing, weren't they?" he said feeling glad that she had been there. Carefully he put the white piece of fabric back on the darcen's arm and was glad to know that the band was out of sight. It scared him not because what it had done to his hand but the fact he had liked the feelings it had been giving him.
He felt his hand making sure nothing else was missing. Four fingers with three joints each and a thumb with its two joints was there. Everything was there.
"How did that happen?" he asked.
"Darcens are a type of vevil but usually that don't come this far, so we don't get to see them that often. What I can say is that they are ones to be wary of."
That hadn't answered his question and he started to feel impatient. "What are these vevils anyway?" he said and there was an edge to his voice.
Phaerin shifted her weight from one foot to another and she seemed nervous. "It really isn't my place to say anything."
"If it isn't your place then who's it?"
Krillin growled and the impatience flared through his body and out his mouth. "I first get taken against my will with not even a warning, then I get attacked by you guys and when it was resolved you expect me to go along with whatever you want with not even an explanation. The highlight so far has been that I've had fight these 'vevils' not even knowing why and now when ask for a simple explanation to a simple question you dodge it like it were the plague. I WANT ANSWERS!"
"Let's get this fellow inside first," she said simply.
The human shook his head. "Alright but then I am getting some information."
"I'll see what I can do." Phaerin slung the darcen onto her back and they went into the temple.
Okay, I've decided I am not publishing my next chapter until I get at least four more reviews. If you're on my site go to the review form at the bottom of 'The Grey Keeper' page and fill it in. Sorry I feel like I am bribing you all, but come on this is a harder story to write than 'Kakarot's Revenge' for me and I am very busy so pretty please with sugar on top.