"NO!" I heard my screams cannon off the rock cavern walls when I returned to consciousness. It was followed with a rap on my head. I realized I was staring at the unmasked henchman. His light brown eyes were glaring down on me. I frowned when a corner of his full lips was curled up with a smirk.
I groggily moved to sit up and was surprised by his assistance. My eyes blinked with more surprise when the other henchman removed his helmet to reveal his face to us.
The henchman helping me up was probably not much older than myself, guessing just past twenty summers. He was almost after the body length taller than myself (maybe 6 foot), his brown eyes were large and round, lending a softness to his split chin and heart-shaped face. His dark brown hair was cropped low with a wisp of fringe dangling over his forehead for a personal touch. His neck was completely covered with the black collar of his uniform.
With assistance, I inadvertently came face to face with the other henchman who seemed to be the same age as his colleague and half a head shorter. I groaned when I realized he was also another pretty-boy with hair as black as mine that was also cropped low, so it made his oval face and soft features more obvious. His green eyes were expressionless when a gloved finger touched his lips to indicate a ssh.
I nodded with understanding and saw the blond girl looking scared. I grabbed her hand as the men helped us out of the cart we were still in and gestured for us to take a short rest near the far corner of the platform's cool rock wall.
My stomach groaned miserably with hunger for real food. I figured it was the cause for my mixed up dream.
Both henchmen made us feel unwary when they sat down before us and began offering bread from ration packs they pulled out of their belt pouches.
I peered at the offering, wondering the payback price. If I didn't accept it, the consequence would probably be a lot more severe and sudden. I gulped and gingerly accepted the bread, carefully watching for the men's reactions as I ate. From the corner of my eye, I saw the girl's cool blue eyes was doing the same.
The brown haired man moved his fingers in a sign gesture I didn't understand. Working out that I didn't have the foggiest what his hand gestures meant, he mouthed the question about our names.
The question made me frown. What good came out of knowing our names when we were going to be surrendered slaves anyway?
I shook my head with a 'no' and balked when the blond girl broke our silence with her own.
"Kalia de Bono Arlingdon." She bravely introduced herself with a strong voice.
Both men flashed us cocky smiles, but there wasn't any malice behind them. It was almost as if they were trying to flirt with us.
"Corin." Kalia rephrased the name the brown haired man had mouthed.
"Joel." She did the same for the other, assuming voice for both of us.
The three of them looked to me for my name, but I shrugged my shoulders and shook my head.
"I don't have memory of one." I answered.
"What do you mean you don't have a name?" Kalia blurted.
I frowned, throwing her a look of warning. It was a bad idea to be too complacent around these men. They were still henchmen after all.
"I was removed from a river almost dead. When I came around, I had no name." I carefully answered, that made the men frown with concern.
Both of them came at me with a mad flurry of hand gestures. Of course, I couldn't answer on any of them.
"It's the truth. I was surrendered and I don't know why." I gulped, my nerves churning my stomach.
"Then you are a Neven," Kalia gave me a name. "That's it. Your name is Neven until you remember."
Gah, was I some lost puppy to her?!
"Fine. I'm Neven then." I sighed, dropping my frustration about the newly given name. At least it was better than Kurokami Girl.
Joel turned his head to the sounds of howling winds. He pocketed his rations and picked up his helmet. Corin followed his lead, retrieving his own helmet from the ground.
Both of them resumed their bull heads again. I sighed realizing the moment of respite was over.
We stood to leave.
Joel pulled out a small rectangular clear crystal and silver ball. The ball hovered in the air around his head when he threw it in the air. He pressed the crystal to the wall, causing the ball to move in the crystal's direction.
The ball's silver changed to black when the crystal had landed on a spot between a set of burning white-flame sconces.
I yelped when the black solid wall between the scones instantly vanished to reveal a vast rock corridor.
Joel grabbed the ball and pocketed both. Corin ushered us into the corridor. A wall was in place between the corridor and platform again when we resumed our journey further into The Zone.