ONCE UPON A FUTURE
THE FUTURE TIMELINE
The mud splashes around as the couple was running from a horde of wolf behind them, chasing them without stopping.
The wolf behind them was surrounded by death aura and their eyes were as red as blood, and their breath could be smell a mile away, a smell of death and blood..
Their fangs seem sharper than swords, shining in the night off the reflection of the moon and their steps were like lightning, jumping over obstacles easily.
But the man, even though he was panting like a man trying to find water in the desert and sweating buckets on his back and looks like he will lost his breath, he keep running while holding the girl hands.
He gripped her hand tighter, not letting go. He could not let her go. Because they need each other if they were to survive this.
Then misfortune struck.
One of the wolf lunge forward as their distance grew closer and the man frowning, spread out his hand and metal emerges from the ground and struck the wolf dead.
The wolf instead of spurting blood turns to puff of dark smokes.
But at the same time, the girl beside him was attacked and her skin was clawed a bit before the woman control a sharp stick to drill a hole in the wolf head .
The wolf disappears into dark smoke.
The girl endures it well. She did not scream…but gritted her teeth.
‘Run.’ He said while pushing her forward, and the woman nodded, understanding what he is trying to do.
Her abilities don’t work with creatures like this. She is more of a burden than an asset for now.
The woman keeps her pace, leaving him behind. He needs to delay this horde of wolf or they both going to die.
His eyes focused on the swarming wolf horde in front of him now and he concentrate his energy.
The man then stomp his feet and underneath his feet, golden metal chains suddenly appeared from the ground as they bind the wolf.
Hundreds of wolf was bounded by that chain, making them unable to move from their initial positions.
Seeing that the wolf was bind instead of killing the wolf he keeps running. He runs like there is no tomorrow.
In that moment how he envy the Dark Speedster. He once saw the Dark Speedster race across the world with the Prince. Their race creates what is called the Time Crisis.
At that moment, sweating and tired, he wishes that he too could have such speed. If he has such abilities, he would have left these wolf hordes in the dust.
He knew it was useless to kill those wolves.
They were the denizens of the Underworld. Since they were made in the Underworld, they will return to the Underworld and then they will once again come to hunt them again.
The cycle continues. At least by not killing the wolves, he could at least control some variables here.
And the Underworld belongs to the strongest sovereign…Prince of Darkness. That bastard! He wanted to curse.
Why did he target him and Giselle? He never did anything to offend him and both he and Giselle do not meddle in any Sovereign business.
Why are they targeted? Did they stumble into some large conspiracy? If they did, how come he didn’t know anything about some conspiracy?
If the Prince was offended, how the hell did the Prince get offended because he doesn’t remember seeing the Prince?
Maybe that one time when the Prince was suppressed by the leaders of World Government during his rookie days and getting captured but that was it.
He did not help anyone move against Him before.
Thinking about all possible way, and reason on why the Prince is intending to capture them.
But the more he and Gisele think about it while running, trudging the wet mud, while the wolves behind them, sharpening their fangs, they could not think of any possible reason why the Prince of Darkness would be interested in catching them.
They keep running that night until they found a cave and the woman shielded the cave with light magic.
A barrier to keep out the darkness….for a while. They needed time to think. To think why all this happens to them.
A least for a while, the wolves will not be able to enter.
A translucent blue barrier is in front of the cave entrance as the binding of the chain metals have ben rip apart by the wolf’s horde.
Slowly the wolves’ horde surrounded the cave like an army in a battle formation. And they began to howl….and their howls were like a beating of war drums and the tone was full of savagery.
Hearing it, they both shiver in fear. The psychological pressure is indescribable.
The moment the man enter the cave he lie down onto the soft and damp soil of the cave. He sighed the moment he lies down and his sweat filled his back.
The cool air enters the cave and for a moment, the man could heave a sigh of relief. Only for a moment.
The woman on the other hand was catching her breath.
They both breathe heavily and both of them quickly drink some water from their storage rings.
‘Arno, you’re okay?’ The woman said ,concerned of Arno wellbeing.
‘How about you, Giselle?’
She shows her lacerated arms. Arno nodded and throws her a potion. She quickly gulped the potion and rest on the walls of the cave while hearing the howling of the wolves approaching the cave.
Every second, they feel like they are approaching death. Their heart was beating so fast, that both of them could swear they could hear their own heartbeats.
Then they hear the thumping.
‘They are trying to come in.’ Giselle said with a pale expression on her face, her fingers trembling as she tries to hide her anxiousness.
Arno nodded with bitter expression on his face.
Arno is six feet tall, with curly hair, black skin and well defined muscle. But his face right now which is usually very clean is now haggard and traces of fatigue can be seen.
The same could be said for Giselle. She has long blond hair, a beautiful blue eye and was six feet tall making her look very well defined.
She was lean and has the kind of body that most women would envy.
Add in with the fact that he face is very beautiful; she is an attractive young woman. But right now, all of her splendor could not be seen
There is fear in her eyes, and her anxiety is showing.
Death is approaching them. They both did not say it but they knew the moment the barrier in front of the cave was destroyed; they would be ripped apart by the wolves.
‘Any solutions?’ Giselle asked Arno.
Arno did not say anything. He could only sigh.
‘What did we do to offend him?’ Gisele ask.
Even till now, on the verge of death, on the edge of hopelessness, both of them still does not understand what they do to be taken notice by the Prince.
It was almost unfair.
Everyone knows there are Seven Sovereigns. And the most dangerous and arbitrary of them is the Prince.
Which is why for people of Disk Formation Low Realm like them, they would steer clear of Sovereign business.
But for some reason, the Prince has deigned it by his will to kill them by even sending them the Death Wolves.
It is alright if they die. The world is full of dangers anyway.
But to be killed without even the possibility of a counterattack? To be killed meaninglessly like this? To be killed not knowing the reason?
It is bitter.
And to be killed by the Death Wolves? That, Arno can’t accept. If they were killed by the Death Wolves, then the Furies will come.
And their souls will be brought to the Underworld. Which means they will become a slave of the Sovereign.
The Dominion of the Prince is the Dominion of Death.
The sound grew louder with each passing moment and their hearts constricted even more.
The sound of the barrier handling the attack of the wolves was like thunderclap in their ears.
Each one pushing them to the edge of death. At this point of time, Arno is ready to accept his fate.
Then suddenly Giselle remember something.
‘There is a way.’ Giselle said as she looks at Arno. Arno earing this was suddenly become overjoyed.
‘There is a way?’ Arno could scarcely believe it.
Giselle seem to hesitate to talk but then hearing the howling becoming louder and feeling the barrier is about to break, she said it.
‘The Trickster.’ She answer
Hearing this Arno gulped. Of course….the trickster. But Arno if he could, he does not want to make a deal with the Trickster.
Loki the Trickster.
One of the Seven Sovereign and the last to join the Sovereign. The first to become Sovereign was the Prince.
Then the Earthshaker. Then the Ice Deity.
Then the Time King Jean. Then the Illusion God and Thunder God. And Loki was the last to join but his power and abilities has always remains a secret.
Other Sovereign usually doesn’t meddle in the mortal world and instead wage their own war in the stars.
For example, the Prince once led undead horde to an uninhabited planet far away on the galaxy.
No one knows why he did it but when they returned, the World Government was shocked to find that the planet disappeared.
It only increase the wariness of World Government and Revolutionary Army towards the Prince.
People said it was because the Prince uses his dark magic to destroy it. Some said he seal the planet.
Others said, he refined the planet to become energy.
No one knows for sure. But one thing is true, for such beings like that, their life is not that important.
It is widely regarded that the Prince is considered to be the strongest of the Sovereign and strongest in the world.
Unlike Thunder God and Earthshaker, the Prince sees the matter of political maneuvering and the matters of his nation to be beneath him.
Raymond still maintains loyalty and guarded USA. So does Thunder God who became the very symbol of Japan superiority.
The Prince however maintains a degree of neutrality and indifference towards the matter of the world so much so that when his country was attacked he did not even move.
It wasn’t until the battle become excessive that the Prince send his Furies to extract ten thousand souls from the invading armies of the World Government.
Those ten thousand souls then became Wraith which terrorize the Island of Peace and the World Government even have to send emissaries to the Underworld to ask for a ceasefire.
The funny thing is the ceasefire was signed but the emissary never returned and no one spoke about that event ever again.
However, even for a being such as the Prince there is also some that rivals him. Loki the Trickster.
Even though his strength did not even rival of the Prince, he has some troubling magic that even the Prince with all of his dark powers, could not contend.
Once Loki makes a deal, it will be fulfilled.
The magic itself is a mysterious and Loki using this kind of magic has over time repelled some of the Prince most powerful attack.
But Arno even though, he heard the howling outside, hear the wolves hard breathing like they were smelling their dinner, smell the blood thirst that ooze around them, still he hesitated.
To make a deal with the Trickster? Can he bear it? Magic always has a price. Always. People who don’t understand this word will know the meaning when making a deal with the Trickster.
Magic has a Price. Especially for Dark Magic. Some people call it Equivalent Exchange Concept. But that is not really true.
Dark Magic demands more. IT always has and it always will.
‘There is no other way.’ Giselle urgently said, as her eyes was stuck looking at the entrance of the cave and looking at those ferocious eyes of the wolves trying to destroy her barrier with their claws.
Her forehead was sweating and her voice was trembling.
‘I can’t keep the barrier up for long. Make a choice now, Arno or we’re going to die here.’ Arno gritted his teeth and then said.
‘Trickster, I summon thee.’
Then suddenly someone lightly tap Arno shoulders from behind.
Arno was so shocked he jump on the side and when he finally manage to see who was tapping his shoulder there he is.
A tall, lanky man wearing an attire that has its collar up and a tight leather jeans full with dark glowing ancient writing.
The man itself was not handsome but gaunt and seems to give the feeling of mischievousness and mischief glinted in his eyes.
‘You called?’ The trickster said with his smile curved upwards.
‘I want to make a deal.’ Arno said with his voice trembling.
‘Hehehe. Of course. Why would anybody call me other than making a deal? Not that it is an inconvenience. I like making deals. What would you offer me?’
Loki said as he moves around the cave, looking totally unconcerned of the fact that there is a horde of wolves outside the cave.
‘Hmm’ he said as he examines Arno body.
‘You don’t have anything valuable. Ah, I don’t want to make this deal. But that would be such a waste…hmmm.’
The trickster said to himself like he was contemplating whether he want to take this deal or not.
Giselle and Arno just look at Loki with trepidation. If Loki did not take their deal, then they would surely not live past this day.
It was then that Loki realizes the wolves and then his eyes squinted.
‘Death Wolves? You are being hunted by the Prince?’ He asked in shock.
Loki looks at this couple and he could not understand why the Prince would send his Death Wolves just end the life of some Disk Formation low level realm.
It was then that Loki smile got even more insidious.
‘What is it you want me to help you with?’ Loki said smiling.
‘The horde of Wolves. Made sure we are safe from them.’ Gisele said and Arno nodded.
‘Easy’ the trickster said as he clicked his fingers together and a floating parchment appeared out of nowhere and begin heading to Arno and Gisele.
‘Sign the contract and the deal will be complete.’
Arno looking a t Loki then sighed as he ask.
‘What is the price?’
Loki closes his eyes and then he said with glee.
‘A wish that you can’t disobey.’
‘A wish that I can’t disobey?’
‘A wish that both of you can’t disobey’ Loki said clarifying the terms while smiling like an evil mastermind.
‘What is the wish?’ Arno asks, his face shows that he is uncomfortable with the Price.
‘Uh..uh. Not now. Not now. When the time is right, I’ll tell you. Hehehe. This is fun. Did you finish signing?’ he asks as he keeps chuckling like there is something amusing is going on.
Arno decided he doesn’t like the sound of the Trickster chuckling.
It sounded like he is laughing at him. Probably he is. The feeling of powerlessness. This is how Arno feels when he confronted a Sovereign.
Even though, Loki demeanor was the farthest thing then an image of a Sovereign who could render heaven and earth apart, Arno could feel there is bubbling power inside that playful demeanor of the Trickster.
‘Did you finish?’ The Trickster ask agin.
They both nodded and then with another click of his fingers the contract disappeared.
‘Ok, now it’s my part of the deal right?’ He said while smiling mischievously.
Saying this he clapped his hand three times and then suddenly the howling outside the cave stopped.
Suddenly the place becomes quieter. It was like there was no one there. Like they were the only three people here in this large forest
‘It’s done’ the Trickster said confidently. And then he said.
‘One day, I will ask you to fulfill your part of the deal. Be ready until that time arrives. Don’t die on me, alright? Hehehe’
Saying this he twirled around and fades away in a green smoke.
Arno and Giselle were dumbfounded.
‘What just happened?’ Arno asked
‘l don’t know.’ Gisele summoning her courage slowly went to the entrance of the cave and she let out a shocked exclamation.
Arno also follows behind her but when he sees what is happening in front of him he was shocked beyond belief.
He sees in front of him hundreds of rotten wolf corpse like they dies a hundred years ago. The smell was nauseating but Arno also realizes that none of the wolves survives.
Loki fulfills his part of the deal. And so easily too. Is this the power of the Sovereigns? It is true that every Sovereign is an existence beyond human imagination.
Now, Arno could feel the vast gap between people like him and people like the Seven Sovereigns.
To think that it needs only three claps from the Trickster to dispel a horde of Death Wolves that could tear apart him and Gisele easily.
What kind of monstrous existence Sovereign is?
He shudders to think of the answer.
Gisele seeing the Death Wolves rush towards one of the wolves and kick the wolves until it turns into a meat paste.
‘Idiot wolf. Bastard.’ She keeps spewing curse word while relieving her pent up feeling of frustration by kicking the already dead wolf.
‘That’s enough, Gisele.’ Arno said as his face is pale with fright.
Giselle has also calms herself down.
‘What should we do now?’ Gisele ask.
‘What else? Let’s ask Raymond to shelter us.’ Arno answers
‘You think he will help us?’ Gisele said, not knowing whether to believe Arno words. This time Arno smiles.
‘He owes me something. And he doesn’t like owing anything.’ Then they began leaving the forest and teleport away from the place.
On a tall forest, Loki was sitting on a large branch, his feet was dangling as he look at those people teleporting away.
‘To think that the Prince even seal Teleportation Formation inside the forest to capture those two? What secrets do those two possess that the Prince wanted to catch them? Hmmm’
Loki said to himself as he rub his chin when suddenly the clouds covering the moon suddenly turned darker and then a dark lightning struck the large tree where Loki was sitting.
The moment the thunder struck the tree, the tree dissipates into nothingness. Loki already turns into a puff of smoke by that time and can be seen floating a hundred meter from the tree position.
‘Whoa!’ Loki said as he looks at the sky
‘That is harsh. Hehehe. Did I ruin your plan?’ He said while chuckling.
‘I guess it’s time for me to leave’ Saying this, Loki turns into a green puff of smoke and disappeared.
In the Darkness, there was a pair of eyes looking at the scene and then with a complaining grumbling he returns back to the darkness.
‘Hey Loki, are you listening?’ as a hand slapped him on his back. The woman with the bow looks at Loki and then sighed as she leaves the room.
But before she leaves the room she said
‘Remember, guard him well. He is our prisoner now. Do your magic and make him talk. I want to rest’
‘Uh..yes.’ Loki said as he looks in front of him. There was a prisoner in front of him. Five feet tall, curly hair, black skin and a little chubby.
His face is haggard.
But Loki recognizes him.
Or to be more accurate, he knows the man in front of him in the future.
The man that will one day make a deal with him and also the one who sacrifices his life in the Great Battle.
He is also the one who constructed a Golden Red Chain to bind the Prince.
Loki still remembers the scene. A million men grab the chain to hold the Prince down. What a magnificent sight! What a magnificent battle!
At the time he was famous as the God of Steel, Arno. A half step to Sovereign stage. But now, there is no trace of the man he will one day become.
Loki looks at the prisoner in front of him and for a while he was amused. So, the Prisoner, Sofia capture was Arno. She sure can pick them right!
‘What you are looking at?’ Arno said defiantly as he looks at Loki smiling at him creepily.
‘Nothing’ Loki said as he couldn’t contain his urge to laugh. Who would have thought that he would meet Arno now…at this time….and at this place.
At that time Loki did not know why the Prince was intending to kill Arno and Giselle but when The Great Battle commence, he finally understand.
The Prince sees the future and as such he sees the future where he was brought to his knees by Arno and Giselle.
Of course the Prince vision and the circumstances leading to such events were not something the Prince knew.
If he knew what would happen, truly knows what will happen, he might not stop Arno at that time and even invest in his strength.
Because….Loki knows during that Great Battle, the Prince wishes to be tied down by the chain.
Because only then could he be constrained. Only then, the world has a chance.
That’s the thing about the future. That the thing about the Prince abilities. It was like a puzzle. One wrong piece and the picture will be different.
Loki looking at Arno sighed. But, Arno needs to be released. He needs to do exactly what he did the first time this all happened.
Because if not…..then that event might not happened. And Loki needs it to happen.
Because then…there will be a chance. But…for now…he needs Arno to spill about Sina whereabouts.
Arno, the Arno of this time, is still only a recruit in the World Government and not that stubborn oaf in the future.
Loki then smiles sheepishly while coming closer to Arno, his blue eyes stares at that hazel eyes of Arno and he said.
‘It is better you spill all you know about Sina or I promise you, that your time here inside this place will not be pleasant’ saying this, Loki went to close the door and then the sound of a man screaming can be heard.