Five||Hellish Nightmare

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Succulent is a word I could describe the slab of steak sitting in front of me. I had finished over half of the meat that leaked its bloody flavour onto my plate. It was my second night living in the tavern, and as I regained my land legs, I could explore the island's contents. I knew that Wintercrest had beautiful sightlines, but I didn't think they would be this breathtaking.

The first place I had accidentally explored was the sheer, unsteady cliffs that hung over the whitecap-churning waters. The sea was still recovering from the night's storm that drifted violently away only hours ago. With a suddenness emphasized by the silence that followed, I felt at peace watching everything unfold before me. The sky cleared, and the waves seemed to flee with the clouds. Damp air shimmered into a rainbow, enhanced by the sun's rays gleaming off the magnificent colours.

A dark shape rose over the water's surface—a shadow cast by a giant golden dragon whose scales rippled from the sun. On Wintercrest, it was not uncommon to see a rider and his dragon fly over the island. I was mesmerized. The absolute beauty of this situation left me oozing with awe.

Unintentionally, my emotions turned bitter, and my mood was soon foul. I was plagued with the overwhelming feeling of jealousy. The feeling of tight coils wrapped around my torso, leaving me incapable of feeling anything else except for hatred. My own emotions incarcerated me.

As I watched the beast fly off into the distance, I couldn't help but wonder what my life would have been like if I had been accepted into the academy. What new skills and abilities would I have acquired being trained to my full potential. I certainly wouldn't have minded if I got newfound respect. It would be nice for a change, wouldn't it?

Deciding to head back to my room in hopes of getting a few hours of sleep before I depart from this island was the best idea I have had in a long while.

My room, as I left it, was a complete mess. My clothes were thrown in a messy pile, and alongside the wall lay my open pack with other items toppling over the sides. My map was lying flat on my bed, along with a few daggers set on each side of the map to hold it open.

During the countless days of my journey, I mapped out my trails of where I had previously gone and where I would now go. Clearing a space within the scattered mess, I lay my body down, thinking how a few good hours of rest will do me good.

Though I awoke in what seemed to be the room I fell asleep in, by the colours and the feeling I got from looking around, I concluded that this was not the room I knew it to be. A light filtering in from behind the curtains was a swampy greenish-black as if I were at the bottom of a polluted ocean, and the sun could barely filter through the thick mess in the water.

I hadn't slept that long, had I? The world didn't come to an end, I hoped.

The entire building structure seemed to sway, pushing and pulling against the murky waves. I was immediately nauseous. Sensing my perturbation, a dark feeling was comfortably settling in the pit of my stomach, further tainting the awareness I barely held of my surroundings.

A lullaby. The dark smoke sang. It was beautiful yet haunting. I couldn't distinguish between what was real and not, but I had the faintest idea that my legs were moving against my will. I was being controlled. My oncoming panic stirred against the smoke, but it pushed it away and weaved itself into a pleasant manner around my dishevelled perceptions, and soon, I lost total control.

It had been a long time coming since I've experienced this feeling. I enjoyed this moment; I wouldn't lie.

I was mildly aware that my body was walking down the stairs and through the tavern's doors. What I didn't seem to care for was the bodies lying about. Don't get me wrong; I'm not blind. I did see them, but with my mind warped into a drugged state that had me thinking my food was tainted with ginger weed, I didn't seem to have a care in the world.

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