This is a continuation of a story begun in the post “Chapter 1. Part 1.” If you enjoy it, please like and share it with others!
The phrase Don’t worry about it was really starting to get on my nerves, but I held my tongue as I climbed in the boat, and felt it rock back and forth as other invisible Umbili boarded after me. I sat silently as Chak guided the boat down the canal, around countless turns and straightaways, eventually bringing it to a halt near the entrance to the city. We clambered out of the boat and walked down the road only a few paces before I could see the blue goo archway in the wall ahead. As we came to the entryway I stood back as Chak and Brew gushed out of the city and onto the cliff edge that I had been standing on just hours earlier. Dr. Lee followed Brew closely, and then I watched as the still unknown Umbili passed through the archway as well.
First, a huge frame pushed through the blue substance, and I saw the outline of a seven-foot tall behemoth, with arms the size of tree trunks. Next, what looked like a medium sized female form went slowly and cautiously through the blue goo. She seemed to hesitate as the substance enveloped each new body part. Following that I heard two loud splats as two identical beings had evidently charged the archway at full speed. They were short, but I couldn’t see much else about them physically because the outline created by the blue substance was only there for a moment before filling in solidly again.
Finally, a slender but muscular form of the most beautiful woman I have never seen strolled confidently through the mass; never changing its pace. After a long pause I realized that I must be the only one left, so I walked quickly through the goo, anxious to feel the utter joy it had provided me before. Again the warm fuzzy feeling came over my entire body and I felt completely calm, ready to meet this rag tag group of Umbili that Chak had assembled.
The first thing I saw on the other side of the blue archway was Chak smiling at me and Brew’s back as she conversed with a dense fog hovering next to her.
“Would you like to meet the gang?” Chak said.
“Of course!” I said.
“Alright Umbili, line up!” He made two very distinct noises and then said, “Would you please be still for a few minutes so that Nicholas here can see you?”
Chak gestured toward the edge of the cliff saying, “They’re all there, but let’s go one at a time since you’re still new at this. I’ll tell you what to call them along with their actual names because you won’t be able to pronounce them. This dude on the end is,” he made a sound that seemed like a drum roll and a herd of elephants stampeding, the beat quickened then stopped abruptly. “Just call him Thrump.”
I looked at where Chak was pointing and focused on the white sky behind his finger. Instantly, I heard a pop, and my vision was completely obscured by the large frame that had passed through the archway first. He obviously had unlocked my view of him right away because I had no transparent view of him as I had with Brew.
He was a giant by anyone’s standards. He wore armor only on his chest and the bare skin of his arms was jagged like Chak’s. He had a slight green tinge to the light that lived in his skin, but his light was much less striking than any Umbili I had yet met. He was bald on top, which added to the menacing presence provided by his body, but he had a genuine smile that wiped away any fear of him. I could tell that, from a distance, he was quite intimidating, and I was sure he could crush anyone like a bug if he wanted to, but the look on his face gave me the impression that he never wanted to. I smiled back at him and said, “Hello Thrump.”
“Hi,” he replied. His voice was deep and low, but still inviting. From this one word he sounded, and I mean this in the best way possible, slightly stupid. I gave him a quick nod and directed my attention to the next space that Chak was pointing to.
“This dade is Flye. She’s the second one who came through the archway. You saw her putting her pillow case in the laundry earlier?”
Again, the moment I focused on the area, Flye came into view with a pop and I looked her up and down making sure that I could see all of her. Her hair was a striking fiery red and was pulled elegantly into a ponytail with a yellow butterfly clipping it in place. Everything about her conveyed an awkward discomfort. She stood with one arm gripping the elbow of the other, and her head was tilted down in an attempt to avoid eye contact with me. She wore a floor length tunic, and her skin had a slight orange tint to it. It was smooth like Brew’s and she had on clunky boots that were obviously not her usual footwear. Even without hearing a word from her, I knew she was shy. I took note: shy Flye.
“Nice to meet you Flye,” I said.
“Nice to meet you too,” she said meekly. It was almost inaudibly quiet. A small smile curled around the corners of her mouth, but she looked away, almost frightened of eye contact with me. I sensed it wouldn’t be a good idea to pry anything else out of her, so I moved on to the space next to her.
“These two Umbili are,” Chak made the same two distinct sounds as earlier. Hearing them for the third time, their names sounded like the rushing of wind when you swing a bat quickly through the air. Fwik’s had a punctiliar ending added to it. “Call them Fwik and Fwish.”
For a moment before seeing them, I could hear fidgeting and bickering. After a few short moments of hearing this argument and getting a hazy outline of two short Umbili struggling with each other, two loud pops brought Fwik and Fwish into view. They looked like the same person at first glance but on further examination, the one on the left, Fwish, was female, while Fwik was male.
They were both dressed in extravagantly ornate and intense armor from head to foot. The most notable aspects of their armor were the shoulder guards that were large and arced high off the shoulder. Both Fwik and Fwish had a slightly blue tint to their skin and carried long whips. Fwik’s skin was jagged like Chak’s and Thrump’s, but Fwish’s skin was not. I understood then that male Umbili have jagged skin, while females have smooth. Both Fwik and Fwish had the exact same spiked hair that pointed straight into the air and looked almost like a continuation of their skin in terms of color and texture. The only thing that made it clear that it was hair, and not skin, were the few stray locks that hung down from the rest of their uniformly upward facing mop.
“What? Huh? You scared? You intimidated?”
“Look at him Fwish. He’s a fish outta water. He’ll be a fun one to prank.”
“Don’t even think about messing with us.”
“My sister and I will mess you up if you make us. Got it?”
“He’s not kidding. We’ll go crazy on you!”
Fwik and Fwish were talking rapidly and fidgeting quite a bit.
“I wouldn’t dream of messing with either of you. It’s very – er – nice to meet you both.”
“Ok,” said Fwish. “He’s cool.”
“Yeah I guess he’ll do,” said Fwik.
“They’re a bit energetic,” said Chak, referencing my earlier comment about Brew. “Just make sure you don’t get in front of them and you should be alright. If it weren’t for how handy they are with those whips they wouldn’t be here. We’re going to need them if it comes to fighting,” he whispered.
“We heard that!” they said in unison.
“Let’s move on. This last Umbili is the ever stunning Plink,” said Chak.
I directed my attention to the next empty space and heard a pop as Plink appeared. Right away I heard the sound of a perfectly round rock, falling into a perfectly still bucket of water. You know that beautiful, round plopping sound that it makes? Plink had said her name properly.
“I realize you can’t say that, but I find it a much more beautiful name than Plink so I thought I’d share it.”
At just a glance I could tell why Plink was concerned with her name sounding beautiful; she was the most gorgeous creature I had ever laid eyes on. Brew’s petite, precise cuteness paled in comparison to the perfectness of Plink’s flawless face. Her eyes were deeply misty and mesmerizing. Her tightly curled, golden hair hung down just past her shoulders and a few strands sprung spiritedly in front of her face. Her skin was the smoothest of them all, and it looked creamy but hints of a fair pink faded in and out of view. She wore a loose fitting white tank top that hung down over her chest, exposing a sliver of flat stomach muscles that descended into two perfectly symmetrical hips. A fine weave of chainmail pants clung closely to her waist and became steadily looser the further down her lengthy legs they descended. Slung around her waist was an odd sort of sword-like weapon. It had a short cylinder in the middle with two blades extending out on either side of it. Strapped to her back was a crossbow and quiver full of bolts. She had a confidence in herself that needed no explanation, it simply radiated off of her.
“Uh. H- hi… uh… Pl- uh Plink.” My mouth was dry and my powers of speech escaped me.
“Hello Nicholas Alexander. It will be a joy to get to know you on our journey,” Plink said, in her confident silky voice.
I swallowed. “Yeah.”
“Don’t worry,”—there was that phrase again— “she has that effect on most human men,” said Chak.
All of the Umbili had the same golden rope tied around their waist in varying heights and lengths. Chak’s was the shortest and only went around his waist once, while Flye’s rope encircled her ten or fifteen times.
“There’s only one more for you to meet.” He walked over to where Brew was chatting with a dense grey fog. “This is Shishu. He’s an Umbra. Basically an Umbra is what sometimes happens to an Umbili when they die. It’s pretty difficult to kill an Umbili, but every so often when one dies they turn into one of these instead of just dying. It’s complicated. Just think of Umbra as dead Umbili ghosts and you’ll be fine.”
Chak was speaking about this so matter-of-factly that I felt sorry for Shishu, even though I couldn’t see him. Chak seemed to have little regard for Shishu’s feelings and I was unsure of what to do as I stared into his smoke when a faint pop sounded and Shishu’s body appeared before me. He was all white. Not a shinning light kind of white, like Chak, but a thick, pasty, powdery kind of white. He wore a white robe with a hood that obscured much of his face, and his eyes were empty of any emotion. His feet and hands were different as well. They seemed to simply be split off ends of his arms and legs. They looked almost like a fleshy type of straw or hair, and he was perched on the extremely fine tips of his straw-like feet. Imagine the frayed ends of a thick rope and you’ll get the idea. He had a rope around his waist too, but it was silver instead of gold. He stared at me blankly, his mouth straight and emotionless.
“Chak. We need to go,” he said in a monotone, and I looked around at Chak.
“Right you are. Well now that Nicholas can see everyone, we’ll worry about getting to know them along the way. You know what to do Shishu.”
“Yes,” he said. In one motion, he reached forward, grabbed me around the waist, threw me over his shoulder, and dove off the edge of the concrete cliff.
Want to keep reading? Go to the next section! >>> “Chapter 6. Part 1.”