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A Frog in the Well

Glancing at the sky Moss knew it was going to get darker soon. Looking towards the village he saw a strange scene, smoke that was like black clouds slowly drifted in the air above the village.

'What's happening?' Moss had an ominous feeling inside, a strange thought started to play in his head. Without caring too much, he ran as fast as he could towards his house.

Struggling to breath, cold air gasping into short sharp shots of sounds around him, it took some time before he hurriedly arrived at his house. He couldn't see anything different,'but why was there smoke above the village?'

"Moss is that you? Are you back?" A voice came from the darkness, scaring him before he realised who it was.

"Huojin? What's happening?"

"I'm not sure but there was a huge commotion earlier, your mum was looking for you. There seems to be something big happening in the village, she was worried you went there so she left to look for you. We should leave here for now and come back when the situation calms down."

Despite what other people thought of him, that he was crazy or strange, Moss knew Huojin was one of the most clear headed people that he had ever met so he wasn't surprised when he heard his reply.

"But what about mum?"

"You should leave a note for now at home, but we need to go now!"

"But…" Glancing at his friend, Moss's ability was warning him right now, only he could see it but the shadow of Huojin's body seemed to be turning away as if he was hiding something.

"NO, I need to look for mum!" Turning around, he quickly made to go towards the village however not sooner had he turned around when a hard knock on his neck turned him unconscious.

"I'm sorry Moss, this is for your own good, we can come back here when things settle down…"

Huojin was worried, he knew something dangerous had happened at the village. The best thing he could do now was to make sure his young friend was safe and sound, that would be what his mum wanted too.

Though life hadn't treated him very well, the only consolation was making a friend like Moss who he could talk to despite their age difference. There was a secret that nobody knew, in fact, he wasn't from this world, for some reason more than a year ago he had found himself teleported to this strange world.

The last thing he remembered was being stranded due to a shipwreck at sea. A sudden storm had arrived and he had barely managed to weather through it before a bright light had descended which had thrown him into this strange place.

It was funny, before he left he had been successful and in the prime of his life. On a whimsy he had decided to go travelling on a discovery cruise trip but the ship had met unfortunate troubles during the journey. Though he was sure there were others that had survived, by the time he was able to think properly, he was the only one that was left. Flashes of the strange events that had happened still plagued him to this day.

He had laughed at first, growing up reading stories of people in those novels transmigrating or being sent to a strange world slowly growing, becoming stronger with each unfortunate encounter hade made him think this was a gift that he received. Putting his dreams of settling into this new world on a pedestal. It was unfortunate that reality was never the same as he dreamed, and he realised that it wasn't as simple as it was in the stories he had read growing up. His first encounter with a native after being sent to this new world was a close escape from a monster which almost got him killed.

Over time he realised how to blend in as well as more about this world. Like how it was divided into two distinct regions.

Some of the things he learned through others, and the ones he didn't, he learned through hard experience. This was already the fifth year that he had been stranded in this world.

From what he knew, this world was clearly divided into a strange boundary between two major groups. Demonised people like his friend who resembled monsters with human bodies and another class altogether made up of strange spiritual entities like ghosts and elemental creatures.

It was clear that the two groups were distinct from each other in more than one way. For example, between the two, 'people' like Moss's family was clearly led in a traditional feudal system similar to Japan whereas his experience of the other side was more like that of the West, where society was organised like a selective representative committee.

However waking up from his thoughts, Huojin knew this was neither the time nor the place. Checking around him he quickly dragged Moss with him deeper into the woods. They needed to hide and see what would happen next. He knew the signs of smoke was not a good omen and it was likely trouble was close at their back.

As they were moving deeper into the woods, Huojin couldn't help but to laugh, he wondered why he was doing this. However the earnest smile of his small friend that had treated him like another person soon surfaced in his mind or how the boy's mother had occasionally provided him with food. It was difficult to understand that monsters could have feelings too but they did.

Looking down at the unconscious figure at his feet, he was struggling trying to carry him one handed, growing tired he had no other choice but to dump him carefully on the floor. Without exception, Moss, was a young boy, save for his strange facial features that were like that of a frog and a human.

Picking him up again Huojin quickly ran towards the riverstream that he remembered passing when he first arrived to this place. It was by chance that he found this village, in fact at the time he was being chased by a monster and on his last legs. Thinking back, he wondered why he had been sent to this strange world. But he knew there would be no one to answer his question.

Finally arriving to the stream, Huojin could see that Moss was still carrying his gift at his belt. Untangling it from his body, he quickly used it to make a steadfast rope to anchor him to his body. It wasn't without reason that he was able to survive a storm on Earth, he was a good swimmer, even without an arm. The reason he chose this way to travel was because it made moving Moss a lot easier and would also help to erase any scents or traces of their bodies.

Carefully lowering himself in, he silently towed Moss next to his body. Fortunately he was still unconscious, it made drifting him across the water easier. Especially considering he had also paid attention to raise a small log tied underneath both his arms to keep him afloat.

Night silently approached as the two travelled further and further away from the village.

Unconscious, Moss could feel an uncomfortable sensation around his body like he was being pressed in. In his dream he saw himself surrounded in a forest, dark overlying shrubs and trees blocked his vision, making the scene dark and gloomy. However instead of making him afraid he was relaxed, after all he had seen this place many times before, it was one of the places he often went when he was younger when wanted to escape. Somehow, he was back here again.

A low growling sound greeted him from the side, however he couldn't move his head. His eyes were fixed to the front. Startled, he wanted to turn his head but it was like his whole body was locked in place.

Slowing his breathing in and out, he tried to make a sound. "Who's there?" But there was no reply. Time seemed to pass slowly, a sudden movement in the corner of his eyes caught his attention. Inch by inch he gradually came face to face with the voice he had heard the other night. He knew it was him. The creature that had hatched from his egg, without a doubt. A strange feeling was stirred inside him.

Finally face to face, he saw the creature that had hatched from his egg for the first time. A darkly contoured shape that was sinewly like a piece of overextended muscle with two pin prick eyes stared back at him. The creature that he saw looking back at him with eyes full of vivid intelligence could only be described with two words, cold and commanding. It had a presence as if it was used to being in control.

knew that this was impossible but somehow it fluid movements seemed to cast a spell on him almost hypnotising. Putting it simply it looked very strange, it wouldn't be far off to mock it as looking like dark fleshly shaped tongue: a leech like body.

Everything was silent. Trying to break the sudden stillness Moss tried once more, "what's your name?". A tentative whisper seemed to project into his mind, though there was no sound.