|The Ancient Prophecy
Pt. IX: The War, Won, yet Lost...
by Vipers ©
was split into 10 parts. Jump to any of the segments from here:
enslaved them!!" Anna screamed. "I said let them go!!"
"You know too much!" The demon roared. "ATTACK THEM!!!"
More ghouls charged at them and dropped them to their knees one by one. Atrus ignited his inner power and covered his body with the flame aura. The ghouls seemed to hesitate to attack, but he still couldn't hurt them. Maya was the only one that was nimble enough to evade the ghouls' attack thanks to her father's talisman. But the rest of the group were either twitching on the ground or screaming in pain.
Then to his horror, Atrus saw the demon appear before the dazed Anna. The demon raised his hands and they began to shine brightly. He couldn't reach her. He wouldn't reach her in time.
But Maya could. She stepped just before her mistress when the demon launched his attack. Bright light covered her body and a loud, pitiful scream was heard.
"BANISH EVIL!!" Anna launched volleys of green missiles from her hands and disintegrated most of the ghouls. The rest of them disappeared immediately.
"LIGHTNING SLASH!!!" The Rainbow Sword flashed brightly as Atrus swept through the dark shadow, but the demon wasn't there anymore. The ghouls were gone by the magic. Maya stood erect unmoved before Anna. Atrus stood on guard, followed by the rest of the team.
The demon materialized on the air before them, sneering at them. "Foolish soul... You don't know who you're up to..."
"Silence, demon!" Roberto snapped. "You don't scare us!"
"Is that true...? See your friend yourselves!"
Atrus was ready to strike again when Anna grabbed and tugged his shirt. "A... Atr... Atrus... I... Y... you should t... take a l... M... Maya..."
Atrus turned back and was shocked at what he saw. Maya's form was still standing erect, covering her mistress. Her body was as rigid as stone, unable to move. Her face was fixed with dreaded look, facing the empty air. Her lips were trembling uncontrollably, but no voice came out.
"What did you do to her?!!" Roberto demanded.
"I have to admit, she's pretty valiant in protecting her friend... Pretty valiant indeed..."
"WHAT DID YOU DO TO HER?!!" Roberto roared.
"Nothing much... just a little magic here and there..."
Roberto advanced, ready to swing his gigantic sword, but his body was petrified. Anna quickly circled his body with her magical force and pulled him back. "Don't do it, Roberto... It's not worth it." She stared at the demon. "What do you want?"
The demon chuckled. "Now that we can talk, I can speak my mind. Don't worry about her; she's not dead... yet. But I can ensure you that she's in terrible discomfort right now."
Nobody made any further comment, so the demon continued, "I have placed the petrifying magic on the girl, and don't even bother trying to cure it, because you can't. She will basically turn to stone very slowly, tortured by fatigue and discomfort. And it will slowly petrify her from outside, so she will definitely enjoy her slavery for hours before her heart turns to stone, finishing her agony."
There were a series of gasps from the team. Roberto, recovered from Anna's magic, was now laying Maya's rigid body down on the floor to comfort her, although he knew that wouldn't help much. The rest of the team was still standing on their feet, unmoved.
"What do you want?" Anna repeated.
"This..." The demon held a small tube of light blue liquid, "is the antidote. Drinking it will instantly dispel the effect of the spell. Win it from me, and your friend will live, that is of you can do it in time, or else..."
"And I suppose you won't let us get it easily." Hawk muttered.
"I will be waiting in my quarter, in the central gallery in the town center of Salthi. I want you!" The demon pointed directly at Atrus. "Atrus White Lion, Prophet of the Guardian. Bring one friend with you. There you will submit yourself to our custody, and your friend will live."
"You can't do that...!" Anna managed to say.
"Unfortunately, I can." The demon sneered. "I'll see you later, Prophet of the Guardian..."
The demon disappeared from their sight. Everybody quickly scrambled around the rigid form of Maya. Her face clearly showed her silent agony. Anna softly touched her wrist, feeling her weakened life force. She didn't like it.
"It's a strong spell." She concluded. "I won't cure her, for it might endanger her life. She has at least three hours before her life is threatened. I'm afraid we'll have to play his game..."
"I will play his game!" Atrus said quickly. "I won't endanger Maya's life because of me!"
"But you're Lord Guardian's man!" Hawk countered.
"So I have to let Maya go?! After what she has done to all of us?! Now I'm ashamed of you guys!! Maya's life is in danger, and I will help her no matter what. If anybody objects, stop me!!"
The party was silent for a while. Atrus stared sharply at every one of them. "Very well, no complaints here. I'm getting the antidote."
Atrus was about to leave when Anna stopped him. "Wait... I'm going with you!"
"I don't need your help." Atrus said quickly. "I will kill the demon and retrieve the antidote."
"Please, Atrus, let me go with you!" She insisted. "Maya is someone dear to me... If there are people who can save her, I want to be one of them!"
"Anna!!" Atrus hesitated for a second. "Very well... Just don't do anything stupid." He addressed the rest of the party. "The rest of you, wait here. Roberto, I'm depending on you."
"Don't worry, partner." Roberto was still massaging Maya's rigid body. "I will guard her with my life. Go and kill that demon!"
Atrus nodded and quickly ran along the tunnel, Anna following close behind. Then the tunnel was quiet, except the faint sound of the raging storm echoing around the room.
"We can't just stay here!" Aurelia insisted. "We have to help them!"
"I'm sure Atrus won't appreciate it." Hawk grumbled. "Never seen him so angry before."
"We can explore this place!" Holgreb suggested. "There are many interesting things hidden in these ruins! Probably treasures!"
"Or monsters." Hawk added. "We're not here for a treasure hunt."
"I don't know about you guys, but I'm leaving!" The Elf said. "Prince Roberto, I'm leaving you for a while."
"Go, you guys." The prince nodded without even looking at them. "I'll guard her."
"I'm still not sure this is a good idea..." Hawk said as he and the Dwarf followed the Elf along the tunnel. Soon darkness enveloped them, and Roberto was alone with Maya's body in his arms.
"Don't worry, Maya..." The prince soothed her while brushing her hair and hard skin. "I'm not going to leave you. You'll be okay."
He was amazed to see a trickle of tears appearing at the corner of her open-wide eyes. Her lips trembled faster, yet no words came out and her stare was blank. But the sign was more than enough for him. She knew he was there. She knew she was not alone.
Softly he wiped the tears off her cheek. "Just hang on, Maya. I'm here for you..."
The tunnel ended in a cave on one of the walls of the pyramid, at the outskirts of the city. The view great city stretched far beyond the horizon, as if there was no boundaries. The pyramid walls replacing the sky covered the city from any angles. The box-shaped buildings were arranged neatly in rows around the city. And in the center, a large slightly raised building dominated the view of the entire city. It was, presumably, the city center. And it was quite a long journey. They had to go there, defeat the demon, and get back to the cave in three hours.
The thought awakened them from their amazement. Atrus nodded at his companion, then jumped down the sharp slope toward the city. After helping Anna with the journey down, they began their advance through the city. The streets were well paved with fine stone. The houses were mainly made out of fabricated material unknown to them, but the building stood proud despite the age. Perhaps they shouldn't call it ruins. The city was not ruined. It was just completely abandoned... for unknown reasons.
But the ruins were not quiet at all. There were strange noises from within the building walls. Anna tried to detect them, but strange forces prevented her to use her eagle eye spell to the fullest. She could still feel the spirits around them. She just could hope they were on their side.
Then suddenly Anna hit Atrus, who abruptly stopped his advance. "Shh... We're being watched. Keep your eyes open." Atrus whispered.
Anna nodded. Without her magic as her ally, she had to trust Atrus' superior senses. His Ranger training had saved them many times before. Slowly they advanced through the deserted street. She could feel numerous eyes watching them, but she could see nobody around.
She was too dazed to move and was completely taken by surprise when Atrus' body pushed her against the wall. Numerous hissing sounds were heard from the other side. When she recovered, they were standing against an old house, facing a group of beasts she had never seen before. They were shorter than normal Humans, with brown furs covering their bodies. Their arms were longer than their feet and almost touching the ground. Their dark eyes, disfigured face and sharp teeth enhanced their ferocity. But their primary detail was their eight-inch-long fingernails which they seemed to wield as weapons.
"I suppose those nails could hurt a lot." Anna said.
"Nice joke, wrong time."
Atrus charged as the beasts leaped toward him. The Rainbow Sword flashed as it cut through the first beast's body and through its soul. Atrus landed and leaped back, claiming another foul soul. A pair of beasts appeared on his back, but a pair of bright lightning bolts blasted the creatures off his back. Anna chanted more of her brand new spell and knocked two more beasts before they even realized she was there.
And the fight was over. Atrus was sure he'd seen more of the beasts, but there was no one there. They were alone once again. Those creatures could surprise them and disappeared so quickly.
"This is bad... very bad..." Anna mumbled.
"I wish we had more choices." Atrus agreed. "Come on..."
The tactics worked and soon the beasts disappeared beneath the buildings. "What are they?!" The Dwarf complained first.
"Never seen them in Elom before." Aureila answered. "Must be the natives of this area."
"Nope..." Holgreb replied. "Never seen 'em before..."
"I have a bad feeling about this." Hawk muttered. "Do you still want to go on?"
"Yes! I think there's something else beside that damned demon."
The smaller party moved slowly through the buildings. They had decided to walk along the wall of the pyramid, exploring the outskirts of the abandoned city. That way they didn't have to worry about getting lost, because they only needed to retrace their way back to the cave on the wall.
"I really think this is a bad idea." Hawk said again.
"Yeah... for the sixth time in the last twenty minutes. I heard you."
"Atrus is going to kill me for this!"
"He won't." Holgreb answered. "We'll be back before he..."
He was cut off when a strange roar startled them. Before them, gathering around the intersection stood a dozen more beasts. They were definitely hungry, shown by their continuous hissing sound. Their long claws scratched the floor, thirsty for blood.
"Holgreb, protect Princess Aurelia. I'll handle them." Hawk ordered.
Hawk charged them, his spear in his hands. With all his might he swung the spear at the first row of monsters. Slightly wider than the axe, Hawk's spear could draw more blood. The beasts retaliated, but still couldn't match Hawk's ferocity. For the moment the young captain went berserk, killing everything in sight. The length of his spear prevented the beasts from utilizing their claws effectively.
This time no one escaped. The street was littered with the dead bodies of the monsters. Hawk stood alone, still holding his spear and grasping for breath. Sure that he wouldn't go berserk again, his friends approached. Aurelia checked and was pleased to find that he was only lightly injured.
"Not bad... for a Human..." Holgreb commented. "That was awesome, boy..."
"Or stupid." The Elf said. "You could get killed. But you impressed me."
"They're coming from there." Hawk muttered while pointing at a circular hole on the street.
"Sewers?!" Holgreb blurted. "In the middle of the desert?! I haven't heard such technology being applied in desert regions!"
was split into 10 parts. Jump to any of the segments from here:
|Another top quality story by Vipers.|
© Copyright 1999 by literotica.com.