Only Half Monster

A deadly war ravishes a kingdom, led by a powerful man with cruel ideals.

A young man known only as Z, has had his life turned upside down since the day he realised he was not as human as he thought. He must stay hidden in the shadows and never let his secret get out, or there could be disastrous consequences.

However, when the lives of everyone he knows are in danger, he must decide whether to keep his secret hidden and stay out of the battle or accept the power of the monster he detests and fight in an unwinnable war.

Though accepting who he is might lead him down an even darker path.

Note: I've currently drafted 30,000 words of this story, but needs significant editing before uploading. Names of characters will change at some point, and chapters will soon be changed to delete plot holes and remove pointless ramblings.

If you're enjoying the story, please leave a like or favourite, and feedback is greatly appreciated :)

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8. The First Encounter

Chapter 8

 

'The First Encounter'

 

Z’s eyes shot open and he abruptly sat up, clutching his chest as he struggled to breathe in the sudden thin air around him. He was sweating immensely, and he felt hot despite the cold breeze. Where was he? His blurry vision eventually focused on the pile of ash and rubble in front of him, and as he remembered, his body began to relax. Another nightmare. The same one he had been having for months. He thought burning the house down would free him of his nightmares, but it seemed his efforts were futile, and he was starting to think that no matter what he did, he would always be anchored to his past, and that it would ultimately lead to everyone around him dying, including his own demise. Z clenched his fists and brushed off the thought. He would not let that happen.

 

Z stood up and brushed down himself down from the bits of grass and ash that had tarnished his cloak. As he flipped his hood up, he noticed a rather unmissable large crowd of people gathered up ahead.

“What’s going on?” he thought to himself. Confused, he headed towards the crowd to take a look, when suddenly, he heard a loud cry. His face turned white as panic set in, and without a second thought he ran towards the gathering. He would not let another person from this town be harmed again. As he arrived, he could see now that there was a huge amount of people here, probably the whole towns’ population. He gently placed his hand on the shoulder of a young man at the back of the crowd.

“What’s going on here?” Z asked, a hint of urgency in his voice.

“Maaan, I don’t know! I can’t see!” he huffed disappointingly, jumping slightly to try and see over the crowd. “Something about Vasco causing a scene,” he added. That was enough for Z, and anger engulfed him as he pushed his way through the crowd. He apologised to those he accidentally barged, but there was no time for gentleness. He recognised a lot of the faces, which eased some of his anger knowing that not everyone he knew and loved had died.

“Watch it!” a few people yelled as he made his way to the front of the crowd, where he could finally see what was going on.

 

There were two male Vasco there, one was rather large and well-built, whilst the other was tall and slender. Both were older men and looked rather drunk. Just by looking at them, he could tell their bark was bigger than their bite and they were just drunk cowards trying to make themselves look better by picking on the weak. The weak... There was a girl, not much older than about 7 years, her blonde pigtails being gripped harshly by the slender Vasco. And looking over he saw old man Calridge on all fours in front of the larger Vasco, begging, no doubt. Z clenched his fists.

“They just waltzed in acting like they owned the place,” an elder woman beside him said suddenly. “That’s when they kicked that poor girl’s puppy, and not knowing any better, she started throwing punches at them, bless her poor soul.”

“How sickening,” Z hissed, his fists still in a tight clench.

“Indeed. The large one went to hit her, but then our mayor stepped in, and he’s been pleading with them ever since. That’s all we can do,” she added, frowning.

“Get your hands off me!” the young girl suddenly shouted, landing a kick to the Vasco’s shin. Despite his anger, Z admired the girl’s braveness, as it was rare to see anyone fight back these days, let alone a young girl.

“Oh, I’m going to enjoy crushing you,” he smirked, and gripped the girl’s pigtails tighter, making her let out another loud cry.

“Stop! Please-” old man Calridge suddenly shouted, and Z had almost forgotten he was there.

“What was that idiot thinking,” Z said under his breath. He needed to do something quick, before this ended in more bloodshed, but he needed to be careful not to reveal himself.

“What’s wrong? Don’t you like seeing us hurt this pipsqueak? The large Vasco asked as the slender one shook the girl quite violently. Old man Calridge winced as he watched. “Alright then, I’ll tell you what,” he began saying, before suddenly lunging down and gripping the mayor around the neck, yanking him up above the ground. “I’ll kill you first so you don’t have to watch her die!” The mayor clung onto the Vasco’s hands struggling to breathe as he dangled a foot above the ground like he weighed nothing to the Vasco. Z gritted his teeth.

“Ngh-no-!” the mayor choked as the Vasco extended his fist back ready to attack, but Z wasn't going to hold back any longer. Suddenly, he moved at the speed of light, appearing in front of the mayor instantaneously. He seized the Vasco’s wrist tightly, crushing his bones with his hand. The Vasco screamed in agony and reluctantly released his grip on the mayor, who fell onto the ground, landing in a heap.

“A level one, huh?” Z said under his breath as he noticed the silver wristlet identical to Abby’s on the Vasco’s wrist that he still held on to.

“What did you say?” the Vasco hissed, furious at being mocked by a ‘mere human’ for only being the weakest kind of Vasco.

“What do you think you’re doing!” the other Vasco interrupted, his face red with rage. “Who do you think you are retaliating against a Vasco, you pathetic human!” he raged, letting go of the girl and shoving her onto the floor before storming towards Z. Z didn’t move an inch. He simply stood there, head turned facing the ground, with no part of him visible under the long cloak. He tightened his grip on the larger Vasco who cried out again, whilst the slender Vasco stormed towards him.

“Why you-!” the slender Vasco yelled angrily, and he swung his fist towards Z’s head. There was a loud ‘smack’, followed by gasps from the crowd. The slender Vasco’s smile disappeared when he realised Z had stopped his punch simply with the palm of his hand. There was complete silence as everyone watched in awe, witnessing the Vasco being overpowered by someone for the first time in decades.

“Is that all you got?” Z asked nonchalantly, adding to the Vasco’s rage. Z closed his large hand around his fist and crushed his knuckles with his iron grip, and the Vasco shrieked in agony. He stepped in closer towards the two Vasco, of which he now had both of them trapped within his grasp, and whispered into their ears in an unwavering tone. “If you ever come back to this town again, you’ll have more than just broken hands.” Z forcefully let go of the Vasco, pushing them backwards and onto the floor. He could see the look of fear in their eyes as they scrambled to get up, before speeding off down the street, tripping over themselves as they ran.

“You haven’t seen the last of us!” one of them yelled quickly as they disappeared around the corner.

 

The town was left in a deafening silence as everyone tried to process what had just happened. But within a split second, there were cheers all around as everyone began rejoicing. People were bombarding Z with questions, but he wasn’t in the mood to spill his secrets, so he politely dismissed the questions and headed over to the young girl who was sat on the floor in tears. It seemed her mother had now finished scolding her for running off and was now comforting her, reassuring her that her puppy was going to be fine. The girl’s mother stood up abruptly and grabbed Z’s hand.

“Thank you so much for saving my daughter!” she smiled, shaking Z’s hand happily. “I don’t know what I would have done if you hadn’t have shown up, so thank you.”

“Anyone would have done the same,” he said charismatically, although he knew that was not the case. Suddenly, the mother was approached by three women who began showering her with hugs and showing concern. Z smiled and turned his attention towards the young girl.

“Hey there,” he said softly as he crouched down and gently patted the girl on the head. “You were very brave out there today.” The girl smiled brightly with the puppy in her arms.

“Thank you, mister,” she said happily, and suddenly she was reaching towards him. Z was not good with children; did she want a hug? He backed away slightly, but the girl quickly pulled his hood down before he realised what she was trying to do. He let out a small gasp and waited for the girl to scream out that he was a Vasco. But the cry never came. Instead, the girl smiled even brighter than before. “You have a pretty face,” she smiled. For a moment, Z was completely taken aback. He had never once thought of his marks as being ‘pretty’, so this reaction was completely unexpected. Had all his hiding been unnecessary? No, she was only a child, she wouldn’t understand, the adults would think of him a lot differently, he was a monster, this he was sure of.

“Come on missy,” called a voice from behind him, and in a panic, Z quickly threw his hood on and stood up abruptly.

“Please excuse me,” he said politely as he escaped the crowd, almost bumping into old man Calridge who was now standing up and brushing the dirt off his clothes. Z noticed the bruises on his neck and on his face and it looked as though he had taken a bit of a beating before Z had even turned up. Although he still despised him, he admired his slight courage. He may only have pleaded to the Vasco, but that’s more than what anyone else did for the young girl.

“Z…” he said softly, “I know you didn’t do it for me, but nevertheless, I thank you, and I hope that someday you will find it in your heart to forgive me for my past mistakes,” he added softly, looking up at Z, probably expecting them to suddenly have a heart to heart conversation, with Z offering him forgiveness and peace of mind, but Z just couldn’t bring himself to forgive him yet, he was not ready. Z was angry, and he knew Calridge could see that, because his face suddenly dropped, and he looked truly devastated. Images from Z's nightmare flashed before his eyes and suddenly he felt sick. If he claimed he was not going to let his past define him then he should not be dwelling on it so much and he needed to change things now, before it becomes too late. He sighed and looked at the old man still staring at the ground.

“I could kill for some pancakes,” Z said softly, and watched as Calridge raised his head to look at him, a broad smile appearing on his face.

“I know just the place!”

 

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