*wet, sloppy sound*
[Music in background]
This is Nadec, my adventure. Written down in a better way than I can tell it.
[Music louder and solo]
Nadec, chapter 6, Blackie
The abandoned house looked more like a shack than the rich mansion it used to be. Nadec was at the edge of the walled domain, where the gate had long since rusted out of its hinges.
Wood creaked underneath her boots as she walked in through the servants’ entrance. The steady beating of her heart sounded loud and faster than usually.
Voices stopped when she barged into a room, halberd ready. She didn’t want to use it. In the empty fireplace sat a bound figure on a chair.
A man held his hands up in surrender as she stood before him. A coward. She liked that. The other person backed away from Nadec, towards the fireplace. ‘No matter what, keep your subject safe.’ The most important instruction.
Hesitation froze her halberd in mid-air. The fear in her opponent’s face chilled the air between them. Despite the woman’s terror, she swung her knife towards the captive.
‘I can’t do it. I can’t do it.’
Nadec still mumbled while the nightmare was fading. It had been a while since she’d had one, she’d thought them gone for good. This specific one was already vague, but she knew well enough what it had been. Her first retrieval mission after being recruited by her employers.
Nadec’s throbbing temple sped up the process into the waking world. Soon the last traces of the dream and the memories disappeared. She stirred, trying to sit up. She couldn’t. Her hands and feet were bound together behind her back. I’m glad I started doing yoga last year, she thought as she considered her awkward position. Though it will still hurt when I get free. She could feel her limbs cramping up already.
Opening her eyes was more difficult than it should’ve been. Something sticky prevented them from doing so. Blood. Of course. Stupid… whoever did this. Or whatever did this, remembering what had happened. Something Wyny had said, triggering her enough to walk away. His words were lost to her now, knocked out by that massive blackness.
The ones who hit people on the head to knock them out, never seemed to realise how dangerous it was. It was all good in movies and the like, but in real life a head injury is more likely to cause death instead of only unconsciousness. Although this time she got lucky; she was still alive. Hopefully no concu—nausea assaulted her. In a burst of panic, she lifted her head—as much as she could, which wasn’t much—and moved it to the side before violently throwing up.
Her nose and throat stung from the vomit’s acidity. She blew the stuff out of her nose as well as she could before shuffling backwards, away from the reeking spot. She cursed inwardly at the near certainty of having a concussion. That wasn’t the most important issue though. Where was she, and why was she bound? She grunted. Those should’ve been the first things I questioned, something’s wrong with my head alright. Despite the pain, she lifted her head and tried to move into a sitting position.
‘Let me help you with that, love,’ an amused, gravelly, and inhumanely deep voice growled. Her heart jumped in her throat while she was lifted by the waist. Her body protested—the way she was tied up did not make it a pleasant experience. Thank you, gravity. At least this realm had less of a downward pull than Earth. It was fun to use it to her advantage while fighting. A powerful jump could take her places. Her mind drifted, day-dreaming about jumping up and staying in the air, flying, soaring above the trees.
‘Here boy!’ the voice called out, pulling her back to the present with difficulties. Nadec’s half open eyes were too bleary to see more than vague blots of grouped colours—purple, pink, orange, black, green. A wet rag slapped in her face. It moved upwards. It wasn’t smooth, not like what a rag should be. In fact, it felt like… A tongue. It was a tongue! A massive tongue, so much larger than Kitty’s, but with the same coarseness.
Kitty! All worries about being licked by a creature with a tongue larger than her head evaporated to a growing concern for her feline buddy. He’d been on her shoulders when she lost consciousness. Nadec hoped with a passion that he’d managed to escape. All of a sudden she also remembered her other travel partner. Wyny. Did he know she was captured? Was Kitty with him? Was he going to try and free her? A daydream of a nude prince on a white horse, galloping towards her, filled her vision. No, he wasn’t on a white horse, he was running. Running. Naked! That certainly changed the fairy tale-feel of the daydream.
‘Oi! Oi, princess!’
Large, purple, hairy fingers snapped in front of her eyes. She blinked several times in a row. Daydreaming about a prince—no, a king—saving her? Her head must really be bad. Most of the dried blood was gone from her face, licked off with the spew. Her sight had improved visibly. She snorted at that pun and immediately regretted it. Snorting after a puking session, and with a split head, was not a good idea! Working hard to focus her eyes, she looked at what was holding her.
The orange hairs only covered the back of the hands and fingers, but further up the arm and body, it grew pretty much everywhere. Almost like an extremely hairy man. Except twice as large and proportionally wide. And deep purple—a gorgeous, saturated colour. Too bad everything else about the creature was hideous. She wasn’t sure what it was, even though she should know all of the creatures from The Other Realm. Her first thought was a xlurp, but even her addled brain knew the colours were in reverse. She groaned at seeing that this one had no covering strip of cloth. Franking great.
‘Princess? Xlurp?’ She didn’t realise she’d spoken—muttered—out loud until the harumph of the creature exploded in her head. It must’ve seen her wince, because to her large surprise, it apologised for the sound. Though she doubted it was sincere.
‘So sorry princess, Blackie gets too wild some time. She didn’t mean to knock you over. She didn’t mean to head butt you so hard.’
The creature let one hand go from her waist, holding her up as easily with one as with two, and turned her head to the side. A dragon. There was a dragon. After all she’d seen in this realm in the past years, she shouldn’t be surprised. Yet she was. None of the creatures here matched up with any of the myths and legends of Earth. None! There weren’t any orcs nor trolls, no unicorns nor merman, no elves nor dwarfs, none of that. Yet there it was. It was real. Dragons were real!
The blackness of the scales sucked in the light. The darkness it caused made the vibrantly coloured eyes appear to glow. It wasn’t as large as she’d expected a dragon to be, but she still felt her eyes open wide.
‘Did he eat my cat?’
Thank you for listening to Nadec, chapter [x], [title]. Narrated by myself, Nadec. Adventure by and lived through by Nadec. Written in a better way than I can tell it, by Astrid Jef.
Don’t go just yet, we’ve got bloopers coming up. Before we get to those, [music on background] we just want to say that if you head over to astridjef.com, you can find transcripts and full chapters of this podcast. Even more, you can find the unedited draft of Nadec at least up to 15 chapters further than the podcast goes. So if you’re keen to know how the story continues, you have the option to go and read. Find us on Twitter @astridjef and @nadecandkitty
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