She silently muttered ”Dancing Sonar ”. It appeared to be a password.

”Eh? Wassat? ” Barn muttered in a confused tone.

His queries were answered shortly after with a rumbling sound. While making a deep rumbling noise, the door opened itself, sending up clouds of dust in its wake.

”Ugh… Mguh! Ahem Ahem! Whats happening! ”

After the dust cleared up, Barn finally opened his eyes. He was greeted with a sight which was totally unsuitable for a dark cave. It was a room, a wide living room. The room was so big that he had to crane his neck to look at the ends of the room. The whole room was adorned in the shades of crimson and brown, spread out in a pattern often observed in wood. It looked as if the whole room was made out of rosewood.

Only the ceiling was somewhat different. A lighter shade of brown, much like sienna. A yellowish tinge was blended into it. But the most eye-catching sight was right opposite to him. Just like the door is one side of the room, it was present on the other side, face to face with the door. A large fireplace, quite an ornate one at that. Of course, there was a passage going upwards for the smoke to go out.

Its exterior walls were coloured with the same blend of crimson and brown. The cubical cavity naturally, was open. Framing the rims of the front face of the cavity was a silver coloured square structure, a frame of sorts. Other than that, the walls of the cavity were coloured with the same shade as on the ceiling.

A bright yellow-orange flame was burning inside the cavity, but strangely, it did not make any sound. The fire was occupying the entirety of the cavity of the fireplace. Its rays of light brightly lit the central portion of the room, but the periphery was bathed in a dim light, giving the room a mysterious feel.

*Thum*

As the door forcefully closed right behind him, he was finally brought out of his reverie.

Barn brought his fingers to his forehead to detect a streak of sweat. Of course it was natural! Who wouldn be surprised when presented in front of such a surreal sight?! Just as he was wondering what was happening, he finally heard a voice of a man.

”Barn, come sit over here. ”

Hearing his name suddenly being called out, his shoulders twitched. After turning his face towards the source of the sound, he narrowed his eyes, straining them to look at the person who just called him just now. The voice was a bit dull but not that deep and there was a dissatisfaction contained within it which could not be concealed. ”Barn come here. Lets have a chat. ”

Once again the dull sound entered his ears, causing him to strain his eyes even more to look at dimly lit corner from the direction of the voice.

”Yeah. Im sitting in a table this way. Thanks for catching on quickly. Saves me a lot of trouble. ”

Taking a good look one more time, Barn finally found out what or rather who he was looking for. An outline could be made out in the dim light from his side, nothing else.

”Well, how long do you intend to keep me waiting? ”

The calm yet clearly dissatisfied voice rung again.

”Oh yeah… so…sorry about that. ”

Not knowing exactly who he was talking to, he offered a quick apology. Better to be on the good books of this man.

Even his carefree sister showed a troubled look, then perhaps this person in front of him must be very troublesome. After walking for a small bit, he finally reached the table where that person was sitting. The table was giving off a brown lustre. There was a huge pile of books on one side of the table. That person had his head lowered and was looking at something on the book quite intensely.

”Take a seat Barn. We have something important to discuss. ”

The man spoke in a light and clear voice. The voice sounded pleasing to the ear. Barn gingerly moved and pulled out a chair, a chair giving off the same lustre as the table. [Wow the table and chair look so cool! This black gleam… what paint do they use to give such a beautiful shine!!] He took his seat, and looked straight at the hooded person. The next thing he heard shocked him out of his wits.

”Well I don think its the time for thinking such childish thoughts. ”

[WHAT! Did he just read my mind!]

”Yes I am reading your mind. Your thought process is so easy to predict. Anyways without further ado… ”

Ignoring Barn who was shocked silly, he lifted his face up and opened his hoodie. Barn snapped back into focus and looked at him.

His face was dusky, adorned with smooth skin. A sharp jawline and a sharp chin. There was a mole above his right eye on his forehead. A slender bridge of the nose complementing his face while separating his half-closed eyes with ash grey pupils. Even though his eyes were half-closed, there was a sharpness in them which would only a fool will underestimate.

”Just as I thought. He is not someone I can mess with. ”

Barn muttered to himself under his breath. But apparently that man heard that too. ”Then don dare lie to me okay? Answer everything truthfully and you will be let off the hook. ”

”Umm… excuse me? ” Barn asked while sweat was accumulating oh his broad forehead.

”Yes…? ” Came the reply, but the speakers eyes got narrower.

”Well… can you please introduce yourself sir? I am Barn . A member of the small organization called Allocyst. Pleased

to meet you sir. ” He politely bowed.

”Heh… Yeah I guess I shouldve done that before. Wait, why didn Barnie tell you about me? I knew you were socializing and only a nominal member all this time, but you shouldve known such basic facts. Well, not that I care much. As for me, I am Jeryl. The leader of this branch of Allocyst. ”

”Oh I see sir. Let me say this again its a —– eh? Eeeeeeeeeehhh?! ” Barn felt like his eyes were going to pop out of his sockets. Yes, it was probably natural.

The person sitting right in front of him was one of the masterminds of this whole organization. Beads of sweat accumulating on his forehead finally started rolling down.

”Ah,no need to react in such a manner. ” However, his train of thought was abruptly stopped by the person in question.

”Even if I claim to be one of the leaders, there are just ten of us yknow? Well now can we return back to discussion from before? ” The dull disinterested voice once again turned into one filled with annoyance when he spoke those last words. Barn took a good look at Jeryl. His eyes were like a drill, boring into him even though it felt like he wasn even looking a Barn properly.

”Haaaaahhhh…. W…well s…sorry Leader. Yes, please continue our discussion from earlier. Im sorry to interrupt you in the middle of your words… ”

He tried to make up for the interruption hoping that everything would turn out to be fine.

”Fuh… Anyways… ” Waving his hands in dismissal, Jeryl continued his words in his usual tone, ”Im sure you
e aware of your actions this morning? ”

This was an unexpected question.

Barn froze for a second.

[ ”How did leader know about it? Well if he really knows, then I guess I can do anything other than meekly admit it. This man can kill me a million times over before I can even move my finger… ”] he thought but couldn make heads or tails out of the situation. He tried recalling the events of this morning.

”Oh my, thats quite the face you
e making. ”

A sudden voice brought him back from his thoughts. After paying attention, Barn find out that he really was frowning while looking at the rosewood coloured floor. Closing his eyes and then exhaling an extremely long sigh, he finally opened his mouth.

”Yes, I remember, leader. ”

”Heh! Thats good, at least you didn try to

cover up your deed. ”

A smile could be seen from Jeryls earlier disinterested face. His voice seemed to be a bit more loud too, but it returned back to its normal state so quickly that people would think that the earlier upbeat tone was probably their imagination.

”So, why did you do that? You know of the dire circumstances don you? Then why? Depending on whether you give me a suitable reason or not, I can destroy your . Then try to use conjurations as much as you like. ”

Hearing that cruel announcement, Barns body couldn help but shiver uncontrollably. He took in a deep breath to calm his heart pounding away against his ribs like a mad blacksmith. He had to say it. He knew what he did was not wrong. [ ”Even if I get punished, Ill admit that I did it. ”] With this resolute thought in his mind, he opened his mouth.

”I noticed a boy was lying down, his head was badly wounded, perhaps mortally. I couldn stay a distant observer when I saw his condition. I walked over to him a cast a on him. Of course, I fled after making sure he was fine. ”

Jeryls eyes which were closed slowly opened once again. But the eyelids didn stop halfway. His fully-opened eyes fixed there gaze on Barn.

”…..!….!!!!… ”

Barn couldn even breathe when his eyes met that pair of ash-grey pupils. Sweat was pouring down his back, enough to drench the robe he was wearing.

[ ”F…**… wh..whats with that pressure… I can even move. ”]

The person sitting opposite to him was completely different from the one sitting there a minute before. The threatening aura leaking out from Jeryl was enough to knock a rookie out cold. Fortunately, Barn wasn one. However the quiet voice he heard next sent a chill down his spine.

”Do you know of the consequences of your actions? Huh? U don right? How much of a danger you are putting yourself in by doing this huh? We have those monsters breathing down our necks and here you are, healing complete strangers you don even know?!! ”

They must have gained the knowledge that we have are here and maybe are coming to hunt us down this very moment when Im just lecturing you! ”

It was not like Barn wasn aware of that matter. Even thought were just one-third of their total numbers, they could probably wipe them out. Hence they are dubbed monsters even by someone as strong as Jeryl.

”Im sorry leader, I may have made a blunder, but I don regret doing so. Its not like well be staying here for much longer. And also, I think that they are just pretending they don know anything about our location. ”

Jeryl couldn help but chuckle wryly.

”Hell, I can even deny what you said even I if I wanted to. Ugh goddammit… why are you so damn stubborn? Always wanting to help others. ”

He slumped into his chair, looking upwards tiredly.

”Damn… will we ever be able to get out of this hellhole… even when we know what we are up against…that doesn make anything easier. Well Barn, you
e off. I won deny, I like this attitude of yours… but don go overboard okay? We can afford too… not after we have reached this far. ”

Jeryl felt a hand on his shoulder. Naturally, it was Barns.

”Well leader.. errr… we can do it. But we alone are not enough… ” He didn know when his nervousness disappeared. As if it was natural for him, he declared it in a strong voice, lets try to explain the situation to the inhabitants of this planet. Im sure we will… ”

His words were abruptly stopped by a rumbling noise. Yes, that door was opening again. After it opened, two men could be seen rushing into the room. Turning their heads as if looking for someone, they could finally spot Jeryl and Barn.

”Leader! B…Bad News!! ”

”What happened! You guys are in tatters! Explain the situation right now! ”

Jeryls firm voice echoed through the entire room. He was not panicked in the slightest. Thats a leader for you.

”They….they… ”

”Yes they what? ” Barn passed the newcomers a bottle of water and tried to calm them down. While hoping that nothing seriously bad had happened, he waited for the answer to come.

”They know that we are here… ”

The whole room turned silent.

”Do they know about our hideout yet? ”

”Its a matter of time before they know… ”

”Thats problematic… we have to regroup quickly… dammit! ”

Cursing in an extremely calm voice, Jeryl started to think of ways to reunite their group with the other half of Allocycst.

”A leader sure has it hard… heh, I won let you guys down. Lets go. We have to displace now. ”

Making a fearless smile reminiscent of the crescent moon, Jeryl declared these vague yet reassuring words, and others started collecting all the important items and stuff from the hideout.

A few minutes later they were completely ready. Everyone was nervous, except Jeryl. The door opened, letting them out. They started walking away.

The rumbling of the door as it closed seem to linger in the air as silence ensued once again.

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