The corridor was bleak, and as far as Belial could tell, empty. He studied the hallway's design. Finely-made lanterns mounted the wall on his left, while windows ran down the hallway on his right. The windows however, though their frames were elegantly made, were filthy and thick with grime. Curious to why anyone would such things unclean, he vigilantly moved toward a window and extended a single claw toward it. Then suddenly, a great voice bellowed his ear. Be gone! He recoiled from the window to meet his superior, to apologize for his idiocy, but much to his shock, he was still alone. His scalp tightened.
Belial then heard another voice, one that was somehow familiar yet hard to place. Are you here to deliver my message? Belial's hands unconsciously scrambled to find something, a bag that he didn't even notice on his hip. He guessed he was. Turning his gaze toward the end of the hall, he noticed a pair of elaborate double doors marked with gold. He instinctively began walking towards it, feeling that he was heading in the right direction.
But soon enough, he began to realize that with each lantern he passed, the light they were giving off was starting to grow dim. Then another voice, this time livid and angry, called out. Move it!
Though he was uncertain of who was speaking to him, he did as he was told, just as any good servant would. He turned his light-footed gait into a brisk but still respectable stride, hoping to increase his speed without coming off rude. But as the lights continued to fade, Belial soon found himself picking up his pace. He began jogging towards the doors, then running, then sprinting. But no matter how far he went, his goal seemed as far away.
More voices began speaking.
Wretch... one murmured.
Mongrel... another affirmed.
Slave... another added.
The darker the corridor became, the more voices spoke up, each one more hateful than the last. All of them questioned his existence, made him doubt his own value. He tried to run, to reach the other side, but as soon as he made fifty feet, the lights were finally snuffed out. Darkness filled his vision.
"No, no, no, no!" Belial choked up. "Not the light, not the light!" Completely blind to what was in front of him, he stumbled onward toward the doors, occasionally bumping into the walls. I can't see, Belial said to himself. I can't see! But soon, his fingers felt something different a handle. The voices, Belial then noticed, seemed quiet, except for one.
Belial... it chortled.
Belial... it got louder.
Whoever it was, Belial didn't care. He just wanted to get out of this nightmare.
His fingers wrapped around the handle and gave it a sharp tug. He waited for the light to flood his vision, to reassure him that everything was going to be alright, and that this was all in his head.
Instead, a pair of serrated jaws rushed toward him. It screamed, "BELIAL!"
Belial jerked awake, his hands wrapping themselves around his own neck, trying to wrestle away the pain that surged through him. It was a sharp, jagged feeling, one that felt like a set of jaws clamping around his neck. He struggled to pull it away, to wrench it loose, but the moment his eyes rolled to the wooden ceiling was the moment he noticed it wasn't real. Suddenly, the pain dissipated as if it never existed, as if it was chased off the realization of reality. Belial uncurled his fingers and attempted to breath.
The sudden sound of someone rapping against his door caught his attention.
"Belial? Is everything alright?"
Whoever it was, it was definitely not one of Lord Roneve's soldiers. They would have ripped the door off its hinges if they really wanted to know what was going on, despite the door having no locks. "Yes!" Belial answered hoarsely. "Yes, I am..." he cleared his voice, trying to gather himself. "I'm fine!"
"Could you let me in? I want to talk to you." The person on the other side of the door was either a devilishly cruel warrior or a fellow servant only in those situations would he receive such respect.
"Just a moment!" Belial sprang from his rickety bed, casting aside his almost paper-thin blanket. He darted to his cupboard and began opening drawer after drawer in search of a clean set of clothes —he would even settle for unclean if that meant getting dressed. Upon finding a suitable garment, he dressed himself hastily and began hopping towards his door. With his pants now firmly tied around his waist, he swung open the door, but not forceful enough to potentially injure the person on the other side, with a ready and waiting face.
Several inches below him stood a slender figure, a being whose face lacked a pair of ears, a nose and even a mouth. And yet, she was not alien to him; in fact, she was a welcome sight, for there was a foreign sense of splendor to her, a mysterious feeling that was apparent yet unfathomable. "Belial," she abruptly said, casting her azure gaze upon him. "Are you okay?"
Belial shook his head briefly to shake off the feeling of wonder. "I'm fine, Allu," he assured. "I'm just... fine."
Allu's eyes widened in suspension, making Belial feel like he was being stared down by a pair of stars. "Are you sure?" she asked with a hint on curiosity. "I heard noises..."
"Yes! I'm fine, Allu. Honest. It was a bad dream I had, nothing more."
Allu blinked, then focused on Belial's chest. "Well... good," she immediately grabbed Belial's vest and began tightening its strings. Though unexpected, Belial remained indifferent, knowing that moving would only throw her aim off and make things worse. As her hands worked away, Allu's voice took an informative tone. "You slept in," she remarked.
Belial felt a twinge of fear in his heart, then wondered why there was no haste in Allu's movement. "For how long?" he asked before Allu forcibly straightened his back as she worked.
"For at least an hour," she tied the second knot neatly.
"And Lord Roneve hasn't noticed this?"
"Lord Roneve isn't here to notice, Belial. He left for the city this very morning —Lady Abyzou too."
Belial searched through his mind trying to remember who was to be left in command of the house when both Lord Roneve and Lady Abyzou were away. "That would mean Ser Allocer is in charge then, am I right?"
"Yep." As Allu began tying the final knot, Belial's hands overlapped hers, moving them aside, and took hold of the knot before tying it. Deprived of their task, Allu's hands quickly returned to her sides, eagerly waiting for their next task. It was an odd thing, habit.
"Do you know why they left? Lord Roneve and Lady Abyzou, I mean."