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Rated: ASR · Novel · Contest · #2101499
Work for the NaNoWriMo of 2016 (Temporary title.)
Act I: A new world within sight

A young man, twenty-three years old, six feet tall, short brown hair loosely kept and black eyes. He sighs as he grabs the spare key of an appartment, of an old man he knew about before he passed away at the age of seventy-nine years, that he has on himself. The old man was known to be excentric, mostly because of his love of insects. And while he wasn't overly asociable, discussions with him often drifted toward his studies of bugs, whenever with and whoever was with him, regardless of if they liked it or not. Nevertheless, the old man was going to be missed, and his appartment, probably sold. He hadn't much family left that cared for him, aside from a grandchild. Thankfully for the young man, he managed to come onto an agreement with the grandchild, a fine young woman of 26 years old: Thanks to the terms of a testament, he got the works of the old man as an heritage, and had a whole month to organize and move up his work. The time for her to clean and tidy up the rest of the house, before she would eventually put it on sale. The main reason of that being in respect of the old man's doing, respecting his wishes when he was still living.

He unlocks the door and steps in, a bit too hurriedly, given outside was pretty cold. He close the door and looks at the hallway. Memories flows back as he walks in. The place used to be more lively back then, especially when one of the living insectsinsects managed to escape. Thoses were good times.. Now, the only inhabitant left is a stray spider. He tried to shoo it multiple times away, but to no avail, given he didn't wanted to harm him away. As such, he left t here, until he would find a solution. On the sides of the hallway stands doors leading to rooms filled with furnitures covered away with silky blankets.
The building itself is four floors high, and while it was meant for multiple families to live in, only the old man's family was living here, being the owner. But then, the old man's family progressively decided to move out onto new lives, paying visits from time to time, getting rarer as time went, until they decided to stop entierly. The young man never managed to know why, given the old man kept it for himself. All he could gather is that he was called crazy by his family's members, as he implied he had some sort of time machine he, supposedly, used to travel through time to study insects in a human-free environnement.

The young man shrugs off memories of the past, prefering to focus on what he intended to do for the day, going straight for the fourth floor by climbing the stairs away, not wanting to get demoralized, at least, until he would get to accept his death..

The young man steps in the room that the old man used to work. More often than not, he wasn't allowed in it, saying that it would break the "delicate harmony of the chaos of insect steps that his brain would bath in the concentration that would allow him to translate his memory.'. And when he could step in, when he didn't get a hard kick in the backside, it was to grab a document that stood on the top of the mess that made a lifetime supply of drawings, studies, images, naturalized insects, books and a few essays, albeit rare. Sometimes, he even wondered if there wasn't some kind of living tornado in the room that wrecked havoc. Hopefully, the impending doom of paper wasn'twasn't limitless, as he managed to get things slightly more organized, by storing in neat piles of documents away, even then he barely scratched the sheer amount of knowledge, as he was more focusing on keeping of making the room walkable without being inadvertly stomping onto something that isn't the ground. On top of that, knowing that a whole month wouldn't be enough to properly get the grasp of the old man's stash, he grabbed some cardboxes to progressively transport the documents back at his own home.

After the first good clean-up, he started to get a feel of the workshop of the old man: A large wooden desk that was filled with various stuff, covered by a rather absurb amount, aside from a well-used desk lamp and a pair of glasses, ghostly reminder of the severity of the man when he was teaching the young man about the rich world of insects. He even rubs his head, as a ghost pain of a punch on his head wakes up, memory of the sometimes rough part of the teaching, while the young would try to get as much of his free time to learn about the old man's studies.
A leathery couch stands besides, in the middle of the room, in front of a small table. He had found a blanket on the couch and a cup on the table. And seeing that the leather had seen better days, he could only imagine the sheer amount of sleepless nights that have been done.
A closet could also be found, filled with various clothings, ties, hats and costumes. Surprisingly, some of them looked more like they were meant for cosplaying or disguising for parties. Some of them were also made of a great fabric. From Antiquity to the modern age, there is tastes for everyone, and the weirdest among them being futuric costumes, knowing that the old man was certainly no a technology-alcoholic.
A window stands on the back wall of the room, partially jammed and give a great sight outside, onto the town. Wooden shutters stands just outside, liftable to let the sunlight go inside. But given how the inside part of the shutters are in fairly good shape, one could suppose that they were rarely up.
The last thing of interest is covered up by a weird blanket, in a corner of the room, but unlike the furnitures in the rest of the appartment, the fabric of the blanket looked old and quite dusty, implying it was here for quite some time, despite the fact that the young man actually never noticed it beforehand, and couldn't quite remember what stood there. The most plausible would be piles of papers, but he couldn't be entierly sure on that.
He remove the blanket, coughing at the now dancing, forcing him to back up a bit, covering his mouth with his hand. Under it is some kind of odd contraception, made of a large copper tank, topped on the upper half by solar panels. The tank is fused up onto a round platform. A large pillow encased up in a large metallic bowl frame stands onto the middle of the platform, with a computer, accessible from it, seemingly for various stuff. On the side of the seat is, respectively, a long iron lever and another lever, round, with options that represents periods, from prehistory to futuristic times, currently setted onto the medieval period. In order to understand what it's about, he goes sitting onto the seat and browse the computer, without being able to understand the point of solar panels, inside.. The computer mostly contains historical documents and informations about relationships, mostly about insects, nature, animals and humans. There is also some logs, with texts and videos, but before he could check them, the spider that lived in the room decided to use that moment to go down, right in the front of the man's sight. He grits his teeth, trying to not just squash it away. Rather, he tries to shoo it away, only to a poor avail, given the little prankster left some silk on the computer and on the iron lever. Out of anger, the man removes the silk up with wild and wide moves, and inadvertly push the lever up. An omnious sound of vibration comes from the whole machine, followed by progressively more common rushes of light and energy, forcing the man and the spider to remain immobilzed on the pillow, while the former tries to reach the lever, to no avail. A wind suddenly goes through the room, scattering and sending flying the documents away, while the window was closed up. Then, the surroundings started to blur away, twisting into some sort of swirling and luminous vortex, but before he could reach the end of the situation, he faints up.

He wakes up onto a firm ground, dirt topped by layers of dead leaves. He tries to stand up and notices he stands in some kind of forest, next to the weird machine, the same back in the appartment. He holds his head in pain, stumbling around until he holds himself onto a nearby tree, before he bends forward, feeling sickly. He then spots the spider up, crawling toward his shoulder. But, for unknown reasons, he had the feeling that she, because he thought the spider is female at that, was speaking to him. Out of shock, and because that he thought that it was but a dream, and disregarding the sickness feeling as a side effect of a nightmare, he pinches his hand. Hard. And yelps of pain at it. Starting to get scared at the situation, he moves both hands so he could slap his face with both hands. Now feeling somewhat less confused, he takes a breath and, on the advice of the spider, he checks on the computer. Thankfully, it was still working. But it was showing something else completely different altogether.
It implies that the man and the spider actually travelled through time and space, as it says that they are at the year of 1320. The young man tried to get more information, but most of the controls got locked away. All he did to managed is to open an old log that speaks of the machine and the spider.
The machine is, from what the log imply, a time machine, that the old man used to travel to study history and insects in their various environnements and evolutions, getting used and eventually known by some of the local inhabitants, while trying to keep time alterations to a strict minimun. The spider used to travel with the old man through the machine's mean, being bond by an unknown mean after the first successful jump in time, done purely on a random attempt. Acting as a friend and confident, the spider helped and got helped back, living through adventures and researchs. Supposedly, she could speak with the old man, asking other spiders for help, albeit with difficulty, sneaking through tight passages for sight and sensing other insects, and to a lesser extend, humans and animals. Apparently, thoses odd powers got given to the spider when they first travelled, being linked through the sheer energy that the machine generated.
The young man could only suppose that the bond occured again, but with himself, given he could hear her.. Agreeing to her, he decides to move out, to try to gather some food, and to get to know where they were.

Even then the road was fairly flat and even, but nevertheless, given the youg man had to walk for a couple of hours, his feet are hurting him. So, he takes a moment to rest, stepping off the dirt road, standing onto the grass, onto his feet, before, after a moment, he decides to sit down onto the ground and removes his shoes and socks to cool down his feet onto the fresh vegetation. He closes his eyes up and his mind drifts toward his past. And since he was outside, on a green field, he got remindee of the day in whoch he first got interest in insects.. And when he first met the old man.

It was a warm summer day during school vacation, early july. He was out with his "supposed" friends, but due to theit meaness, he runs away, fleeing the brutes, tears flowing down onto his cheeks, and without paying attention to where he was, nor where he'd went, as long as it was far from anyone. He stood there, at the outskirt of a forest, whimpering for a couple of hours, alone, before he stumbles away underneath a tree of the forest. He leans down and sits up, besides the tree, and takes deep breaths, his cheeks still wet from his tears. Eventually, he calms down and notices that he was surrounded by quite the amount of insects, living onto their own lives. Marvelled at the sudden sight, especially when a moth pass by, making him lift his hand. The moth lands on it, making him smile, while the rest of his tears within his body flows down. Suddenly feeling tired, his mind drifts away into a soft slumber, besides the tree.
He dreams of being a bee, flying freely, when the world suddenly shakes up, before a voice could be heard. He wakes up, trying to rub the tiredness away from his eyes and notices the old man. He says, 'Hey, kiddo. Ya alright? Don't dooze off like that!'. The kid blinks multiple times, before he asks, 'Where am i..?'. 'Right here. Right now. On the ground. In two thousand and four.'. 'Hrmf..'. 'Are you alright, kiddo?'. 'No.. I don't know..'. The old man's bends sensibly downward onto the middle of his face, skin being folded, 'What were you doing?'. 'I was running.. Then, i watched the insects and after, i was flying in the sky..'. 'And what were you doing, up in the sky?'. 'Flying as a bee..'. The old man sighs, 'Tell you what, kiddo? There's a few things i'd want to show you. But not today. Getting late.'. The kid blinks, peers at the sky then gasps, 'Oh no! Mom's gonna kill me..'. 'Tommrow early, here. Okay?'. 'Hum.. Sure!'. The kid then scurries off. Back at home, his mom had quite the heated discussion with him. But then, his memories turns into a dream as he suddenly transform into a bee and flees his house. Noticing how unrealistic the situation the young man suddenly wakes up. He rubs the back of his head and glares. After a sigh, he puts his shoes and socks back, and, without much conviction, he goes back onto the road

A rochly decorated carousel pass by. The young man waves to it, hoping that it would stop. But as he gets a sight within, all he saw was a disgusted visage. An order is shouted to the palefrenier which gives an impulsion onto the leashes, causing the horses to accelerate while they complains. The young man kicks some dirt, out of anger, before he clenchs his fist and spit, 'They lose nothing at waiting! Thoses..!'. He's interrupted by the spider. 'Tsk.. Fine, stupid spider!.. But it's your fault if i'm bere!.. You'd better hold your word! Because this situation if gettug on my nerves... .. Myr? What an intriguing name for a spider..'.

Act II: The world as a squire.

Emilio sighs. When 'Sir Richardus' implied that he would train him as a squire, he never thought it would be so.. Degrading. Between the sparring sessions, the mounted trainings, the, albeit rare, tactic teachings and the various cleaning sessions that went with his new rank, days were long and tiring. Especially since the time machine still required quite some time before it would be charged up again, given forests aren't the most luminous places.. At least, Myr was having some fun. And some spider lovers. Emilio sighs. If Myr wasn't actually helping him, he would've assurely stuffed her in a cage so he wouldn't be the only one being suffering here. At least, right now, he had a little hour to breathe and to unstiff his body.

'Pfff.. This squire training is sapping away all my forces away.. I'm surprise that i still able to wear that ridiculously heavy armor and to still move.. It's been two good month since we first came in this period, and a good month since Sir 'Monster' Richardus is trying to transform me into a 'full-fledge' knight. Why would i need to become one anyway.. Hey! Why are you laughing!?'. 'Laughing? My little training is so laughable for my 'great' squire?'. A shiver goes through Emilio's spine, as he scarefully turns his head around to get a sight of who was behind, almost sure that the familiar voice that came from behind was Sir richardus himself. He notices he's right and stutters, 'It's n-not what you were thinking..!'. 'Oh, yes? Do prey tell, then.'. 'Before i answer.. Since when were you hearing me?'. 'If i can reassure you, i only heard that you were laughing, supposedly. Unless you wanted to slack off? Or worst.'. 'I was just thinking too loudly. Your training is anything but a walk in a forest..'. 'Heh. Is that so? We'll speak of that later. Since your little act of courage, bandits had been somewhat less common during the last month, but then.. It seems that the ones you helped to put in prison have friends, given they managed to break with some help. And since recently, they've been getting more agressive. Some of them even have been spotted in the surroundings, attacking and steal, more boldly, the travelling caravans, especially thoses that doesn't abide by their reclamations..'. 'What about me..?'. 'I've been tasked to be part of patrols to find whereabouts of their hideouts, and given the situation, i can't just leave you alone on your own. So, you'll be joining to assist me. If things get wrong, stay with me. And, as lonh as you don't do anything funny, i'll protect you and your little friend.'. Emilio turns on himself, keeping the knight in sight, while taking a step away from him, 'W-what are you talking about..?!'. 'Of your little spider friend. Noticed it a few times already. It keeps me wondering why you have it with you.'. 'Why, then..?'. 'Why what.'. 'Why did you helped up..?'. 'I wasn't sure of what you'd do, nor up to what. So i enrolled you so i could keep an eye on you.'. 'Since when you knew..?'. 'Your farmer friend told me about it. And he wasn't certainly being mute when it came to compliment you. I could've sworn he was even considering you as a savior! Consider what would follow as a test and a good experience. And know i'll be watching!'. 'Yes, sir.'. 'Oh? It's probably the first time i have the feeling that you're honest about respecting your elders. Prepare our affairs and the horses. I'll gather some provisions, then we'll be going. Meet me back in roughly an hour.'. 'Yes, sir..'.

Sir Richardus, Emilio and a couple of soldiers were heading to the last known misfit of the bandits, in a forest. The group steps in said forest, standing and travelling onto horses, tasked to control the path and to meet up with a carousel containing high amounts of gold. But given they had some time left, as they left in advance, Sir Richardus stops the group to the supposed location of where the attack took place. Emilio removes his feet frop the leather straps attached onto the saddle and slides onto the ground. But, after a couple of steps, he inadvertly trips as his legs give away, weakened by hours of horse mounting, causing a loud succession of metallic sounds, causing the soldiers to mock him, and even then he got help to stand back up, he noticed that even Sir Richardus was smirking. He then says, 'Seek a bit if you notice anything that could imply any hints of what occurred, and by who. Meet me back in ten minutes, except you, Emilio.'. 'W-why?'. 'To guard the borses, in case they would get away, or get stolen.'. Sir Richardus gives directives to the soldiers, which then splits up, scattering in the surroudings while the knight follows up the soldiers, in another direction, leaving the young man with the attached up horses. He leans onto a tree and crosses his arms onto his chest, annoyed to be forced to be sitting duck. Myr says that he could forget his squires' responsabilities, snag one of the horses, flee away and rush at the time machine. Emilio shows his disapprobation by waving his left hand toward her, like he tries to shoo her away, without the intention of doing so, and whispers, to not alert anyone. 'No, i'm not going to leave just because you are bored. I can't tell if i would be able to get to the time machine, nor if it would work. .. What if the time machine get stolen? Who would dare. Besides, it's stealthed, no? .. Fine, fine.. I'll check when i can. .. Shhh... They are back, we'll see if it was too heavy, in given time.
Act III: Redemption

They managed to know the whereabouts of the hideout of the bandits, thanks to the heroic action of Emilio, as he saved the child, just before he would have gotten mercilessly murdered. Said kid had followed the bandits up to a cave, previously used as a mine, which had been quickly disregarded, as it yelled no probant results.
A patrol of knights, lead by Sir Richardus, travelled toward the pinpointed location, before they surround the cave's entrance. Mostly to watch for the time being. Emilio also had gotten to know that the time machine had been moved in there, stolen as it was either mistaken for a barrel of beer, or taken to be smelt down away for the metallic parts.
Myr went forward, abusing of her small size and of the obscurity of the cave, to scout ahead and to gather intel of the remaining bandits and to try to know about their actual situation, to know if they could fight, and to which point.

Sir Richardus ordered to merely guard the entrance, making sure that the knights aren't outright visible, not aware of who stands within the mine and not wanting to risk a direct fight in an enclosed space. Sir Richardus tasks Emilio and another knight, holding a long spear, to peek within the cave, just from the entrance and, if possible, to bait the bandits out, or at least, part of them, into an ambush, to progressively thin out their numbers out.
Inside the cave, they spot nothing but a freshly burnt out torch and a faint light glow at some distance. The knight with the spear started to move in, but Emilio stops him with his hand. The young man may still be a squire, but his reputation and Sir Richardus' orders worked in his favor.
The knight says, 'I suppose that the little squire has a better idea, other than entering in and meeting them?'. Emilio doesn't say anything. Rather, he grabs a few rocks and throws them as far as he can, hoping that he would attract some of them with the noises. The knight, understanding what Emilio just did, grabs Emilio's arm and pulls hip away from the entrance, not-so-roughly pushing him onto the rocky wall. As expected, footsteps can be heard, as two of the bandits step off, looking cautious, but not overly so, given the knight and Emilio quickly gets the drop against them, easily knocking them off. With some help, they quickly drag them over, to tie them up, before going back in position. Another two comes off the cave, probably thinking that something is wrong, given two of their men are missing. The bandits are wearing leathery armor, one holding a short sword, and the other, a dirk and a dagger. Emilio and the knight follows the same tactics, but, this time around, the bandits resists, given they were on their guard. Emilio faces up the bandit with the short swort, parrying up a hit, when he spots another man. He yells up, alerting whoses inside, before he rush back inside.

Sir Richardus places a hand onto Emilio's shoulder, Myr moving next to it. Then the knight says, 'Good job, Emilio. The rest of the bandits should fall down rather quickly, now that their leader is now dead. We should be heading back to the castle and report that the roads are safe to travel again. ... Hey. Are you hearing me?'. 'Yeah. It's just that i've found the ticket back to my home.'. 'What are you implying..? I don't see what would.'. Emilio walks up to the machine, and sits onto the seat, putting the computer on, noticing a new option, "Travel". He adds, 'I'm speaking of this..'. 'Just.. What in the world is this thing!?'. 'A time machine.'. 'A what!?'. Emilio sighs, 'If you want answers, stand onto the platform and you'll understand what i mean.'. He then browse through the "Travel" part, setting the time onto his own period, and attempt to launch a time jump from the computer, to no avail, as it then asks for a password that he didn't knew about. Not wanting to strain himself, fault of time, especially since he didn't wanted to tempt his luck with Sir Richardus. He mentally asks Myr, but doesn't answer, implying the doesn't know it. Emilio had the feeling she was lying but wouldn't be able pry it quickly enough.. Sir Richardus, getting impatient, as he taps his foot repeatidly on the ground, inquires, 'It's for today, or not?'. 'Y-you'll get answers! W-when i make the machine work..'. 'If you consider me as a fool, i'll make sure that you'' be back at the barrack, by the skin of your skin of your backside!'. 'O-okay, okay..! Just let me try one more time..'. Sir Richardus sighs, 'You'd better give me proper answers, or else, i'll make sure that you will regret it.' Emilio gulps and thinks, 'I'd better make it work, or else, i'll make sure that Myr will suffer with me!'. In answer, Myr scurries off Emilio's shoulder, going away to conceal herself onto the seat, just besides the young man. He pulls the round lever onto "Present" and, after a deep breath, he pushes the iron lever and warn, 'Brace for impact.'. As expected, the vibrations, followed by the rushes of light and energy, occurs, forcing Sir Richardus to remain immobile, starting ti say, 'What is-..!'. But before he could finish up, his voice get squelched down as the surroundings blurs up, changing into the same vortex Emilio and Myr stepped in.
Forced in his seat, and still not used to the roughness of the travel, he couldn't check if Sir Richardus was still on the platform. And while he had a somewhat easier time resisting the effects that he went through, like last time, he still couldn't manage to remain concious until they would reach the pinpointed location.

Emilio feels poked, suddenly waking up from his unconscious state, without quite moving, as he tried to understand why he felt like a deep slumber plagued with an awkwardly realistic dream with knights, bandits and.. The time machine..? He suddenly stands up, shocking and scaring the young man that stood in the room, seemingly aware of what occurred, before Emilio hears a thud sound: The young man had stumbled backward, and tripped, falling flat onto his backside. He then asks, 'W-what are you doing here!? W-with my machine at that..!?'. Emilio urghs, a hand on his head, trying to sight anything, but notices only blurs, as he stumbles onto a wall, before he faints up again.

Emilio wakes up again. He still had most of his armor on, only missing the boots and helmet. He also had a small and wet towel on his forehead, and spots the couch he's on. Leathery and oddly similar to the one he knew, back in the appartment, except it looked.. In pretty good shape. No traces of reparation were visible either, almost as good as new! Emilio hrmfs as he slowly wakes up, scratching his head after placing the towel aside, and peers around. The time machine is still here, with Sir Richardus on the seat, still unconscious but breathing, meaning he's still alive. Then, a familiar voice greets him, noticing Myr onto his shoulder, then, the young man, as she tells Emilio that he's working onto the desk. The young man places himself onto the chair, his arm over it and his hand on top of it. His expression implies exasperation, further comfirmed by his tone, 'What are you doing with my time machine!?'. '[i]*Your*[/i] time machine!?'. 'Why yes! Of course! It's [i]*me*[/i] that built it from scratch! And.. What kind of trickery is this!? What have you done to it?!'. 'If i knew i wouldn't be here!'
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