Covering your mouth, you held your scream back, heart starting to thump harder and harder until it was painful in your chest.
As Tamajiki clambered towards you, from the mist behind him, two large wings slowly became visible as the swirling clouds parted to let the pterodactyl through.
“Jiki… JIKI!” you shrieked from under your hand, using his real name as you clutched your mouth harder while the pterosaur approached from behind, its mouth opening wide as she aimed for your man, “no! Stop it, you giant—,”
Before you realized it, you had started to run onto the other end of the bridge, aiming to get to Tamajiki.
You didn’t have a plan in mind, you just wanted to be with him.
Your hand had only just grabbed his as the pterodactyl flew overhead, it’s mouth missing the two of you by mere inches and finally you let that scream go, your body shaking with the sound.
“We need to go! We need to go!” you hollered.
Scrambling like mad, you and Tamajiki quickly made your way back to the island then ran to the house, getting inside and collapsing just seconds before the pterodactyl flew past again.
“We cheated death, we cheated death,” you panted, “we almost died, but we didn’t. I honestly thought I was going to soil my pants…”
“I… think I may have,” Tamajiki replied softly, “that was…” He grabbed onto you, clinging to you with his head pressed into your chest, “that was terrifying.”
“We’re ok. We did it,” you panted, clutching him closer to you as the pterodactyl passed again, “honestly, I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t shit their pants when that thing is about to eat you whole.”
You sat there for a bit, waiting for the pterodactyl to leave, but it kept coming back to check if you were still outside and available to be eaten… but then, when it couldn’t see you, it left.
“The ‘shit your pants’ terror birdo has gone,” you whispered to Tamajiki, peeking out the window.
You both listened to its distant screeches and got up.
“Let’s go,” he said, taking your hand.
You were both on edge as you made your way back to the teleport pad on level 44 but thankfully you didn’t have any hiccups and before you knew it you were back on the level Praetorian lived on and were on his doorstep.
“I’m back, sir,” Tamajiki called out, pulling you inside behind him.
“You took a little longer than expected,” Praetorian said as he entered the room.
“Yes, we… had a little trouble but it’s ok,” Tamajiki replied, “this is my girlfriend, Praetorian, the one my, uh, friends rescued yesterday…”
“I’m sorry for the experience you had with your previous contractor,” Praetorian said to you.
“It’s ok, my boyfriend and his friends showed master no mercy. It was a pleasure to watch to be honest,” you said with a smile.
Praetorian nodded. “Glad to hear it.”
“I’m still looking to gain experience though…” you added, keeping to the original story that you and Tamajiki had spoken about.
“Well… I don’t usually take on contractee’s but I’ve made a contract with your boyfriend here because I can see him becoming a good guard. But… I know people in an establishment near here that will be able to help level you up but it would mean working in a kitchen and… would that suffice?”
“That’s something,” you replied, “I’ll take it…”
He nodded and looked at Tamajiki.
“Ok. We’ll head off there soon. I just need to do a few more things here and then we’ll go. Once we have dropped your girlfriend off, Tamajiki, we’ll be going to the slither trees again.”
Tamajiki grimaced but nodded anyway.
In a few more minutes you were both on your way, following Praetorian to the other end of town to a building there.
He pushed the door open and you both entered, following him down a hall that had rooms with door numbers either side of it.
“What is this place?” you thought.
Praetorian got to the door with the number 11 on it and pushed it open.
You walked into a dark hall, very similar to the one you had walked in when you and Tamajiki had been separated into rooms before you had been purchased by master.
“Wait is this?… are these secret level connectors??”
You squeezed Tamajiki’s hand to get his attention and he looked back at you and nodded- he had figured it out as well.
“So that’s why level 11 was so dead, everyone gets bought up to the level through these secret doorways… do they only connect levels 11, 13, and 14?? I saw more doors… maybe there’s a whole labyrinth!”
Praetorian pushed the door open at the other end and you blinked as the bright light shone boldly through the door.
“Ok,” he said, “here we are…”
He led the way out the other side and you recognized the room that you had originally been bought to when you first came to this level.
You continued to follow Praetorian as he walked out of the room and walked to the back of the building to where there were a number of woman and men, busying themselves making stuff in the kitchen there.
“Delilah,” Praetorian called to a young chef there.
She looked up and smiled when she saw him.
“Hey!” She greeted brightly, “come in. I wasn’t sure when I was going to see you again but I made these for you…”
She grabbed a small travel basket off the bench and walked over, holding it out shyly to him.
“Oh, thank you,” he said as he took them and opened the top to look in.
You saw they were heart shaped biscuits and you smirked at her while she blushed shyly and waited for his response.
“I… I’m looking forward to trying these,” he said, clearing his throat and giving her a small smile as well.
“Ooooo, I can smell freshly baked FEELINGS,” you thought to yourself.
After the pair had awkwardly spoken for a bit, Praetorian turned and gestured to you.
“Delilah, do you think you could spare room for one more worker, she is looking to level up.”
“Oh!” It was as if she only noticed you there for the first time and you held back your giggle.
“Eyes only for Praetorian, I see,” you thought to yourself. “Umm, I… pleased to meet you,” you said politely to her.
“Oh, yes, same here,” she said back with a smile, then looked back to Praetorian, “yes I can take her… will you be dropping in from time to time?”
“He will,” you said quickly, “because my boyfriend is training with him and I want to see my boyfriend so that means you’ll be here too right, Praetorian? Because you’re both contracted together?”