|The Ancient Prophecy Pt.
by Vipers ©
was split into 10 parts. Jump to any of the segments from here:
She smiled. "Don't worry about it. I'm sure we'll have an exciting journey ahead."
"We hope so..." Anna mumbled. "Exciting is always different with safe..."
"Ah, don't worry!" Aurelia cried, then jumped toward Hawk and clasped her hands around his head, pinning his head between her breasts. "I have a personal bodyguard!"
Hawk fought frantically for breath for a while before turning white.
"Aww, don't tell me it's another humans' sickness!" She turned to Anna. "Is it?!"
Anna was taken completely by surprise. "Uh... no... he... he's just excited..."
When she realized her mistake, it was too late. Before Hawk could protest, Aurelia grabbed his neck and planted a forceful kiss on his lips. "I knew it!! You just like me too much! Oh, Humans are simply hard to understand! Come! I'll show you the way, handsome!"
With that she dragged Hawk all the way across the village. Both Atrus and Maya gave Anna a 'look-what-you-have-done!' look before following them, followed by Roberto. This was just one of a few occasions that Anna didn't know what she was doing. Well, Hawk should be able to handle it...
They reached the perimeter of the forest before dark. The view before them was awful. The land east of the forest of Elom was just like a wasteland. The earth was totally barren and rocky. Dead trees stood guard on the dead land; only stink fungus could survive the harsh environment. The air was thick with the smell of dead grass. Light fog already covered the ground. From their place they could see the faint silhouette of a huge mountain at the background... Mount Karigor, the Dark Elves' stronghold.
"Mother Nature can't exist in this place..." Aurelia muttered, a hint of fear was in her voice. "Without Mother Nature as our ally, we Elves are weak. I hope you humans can make a difference."
"Do you know the way to the place?" Atrus asked.
"No... We have to cross the Swamp of Dread. We called it because this place has killed many Elves... We extremely fear this land..."
"A swamp... a perfect place for an ambush..." Hawk mumbled.
"Correct." The Elf nodded. "To make things better, the mountain itself is actually a huge maze. The statue can be anywhere inside that mountain. Getting in is already a trouble, and finding your way out will be twice as hard."
"How strong are these Dark Elves?" Maya asked.
"They're formidable opponents, that's all I can say. I haven't met them myself."
"Can we use the decoy method?" Roberto suddenly spoke up.
"What do you mean?" Atrus asked.
"One of us can do something at the other side of the mountain to distract the enemy while the rest can infiltrate the stronghold and hopefully get what we want undetected."
"It's too risky." Anna pointed out. "This is one of the times when we don't want to get separated."
"You're right, but charging into the place is also suicidal." Roberto countered. "If we want to succeed, we have to..."
His explanation was cut off when Atrus raised his hand. He looked around them and slowly drew his sword. "If anybody wonder how strong the Dark Elves are, we're going to find out really soon."
The group quickly assumed the fighting stance. Atrus stood with his Rainbow sword drawn, flanked by Hawk and Maya on both sides. Hawk wielded his spear and Maya held her silver blade on her hand. Anna stood behind them, her mace ready. Aurelia guarded her back with her bow and arrows, and Roberto took the rear guard with his gigantic Kaiser Sword.
It took a while for them to realize where they were. "Weren't we inside the forest before?" Roberto asked.
He was right. They were no longer inside the forest. In fact, the forest was nowhere to be seen. They were in the middle of the swamp. The mist was growing thicker, preventing clear sight. Mud covered their boots and would surely hamper their movement.
"Oh no... The legend is true..." Aurelia's voice was shaking.
"What legend?" Maya demanded.
"The Swamp of Dread... The survivors from the last battles said that the swamp could magically expand itself toward the forest of Elom... And it just devoured us... I couldn't believe it..."
"Now how can a forest expand itself so quickly?" Hawk asked.
"This land is cursed..." the Elf said slowly. "We're not going to make it, are we?"
"Nonsense!" Atrus said. "Anna?"
Anna, on the other hand, was extremely frustrated. "I can't do it! Something is preventing me from casting the eagle eye spell!"
"Well, I'm not surprised..." Roberto muttered. "Something is out there..."
"Stay close." Atrus ordered while trying to enhance his hearing. Even at this moment his Ranger training helped a little. The swamp seemed to produce eerie sound from somewhere. He couldn't concentrate and therefor couldn't detect the enemy.
"Aurelia, pick a direction. We have to get back to the forest."
The Elf swallowed nervously, then pointed at a random direction. The party slowly made their way toward it. Their boots and shoes made sloshing noise upon contact with the mud below. At this point there was no need to stay undetected. They were already trapped.
A dark figure materialized before Atrus and a short saber appeared from beneath the mist. Atrus was caught completely off guard, but Maya took the blow with her blade. The figure disappeared immediately after his failed attack, but another figure appeared behind her. This time Atrus parried the blow and Anna moved in for a counterattack, but again the enemy disappeared before the mace arrived.
"Who are they?!" Roberto was getting nervous.
"They're the Dark Elves... our counterpart..." Aurelia slowly muttered.
"Atrus..." Anna said slowly. "Give me more time. Something is not right here..."
"Do whatever you want, but do it quick!" Atrus snapped.
Another dark figure appeared beside him but vanished before he could attack. Both Hawk and Roberto attacked their nearest attackers, but failed to score a hit. Aurelia shot her arrows blindly toward the mist. Maya was also attacked, but she just dodged the blow and didn't attack back, fearing of leaving her mistress. Anna, on the other hand, was silent in her meditation.
Despite the noisy environment around her, she was deep in her trance. Her constant training in the art of meditation had finally rewarded her well. She could see the tendrils of dark power around her. The tendrils encircled their heads, injecting evil seeds inside their brains. Something was terribly wrong.
When she realized this, so did the enemy. Three figures appeared before Roberto and attacked simultaneously. Although the plate armor deflected the sabers, it was enough to make him angry. He swung his gigantic sword, and after knowing that he was hitting air he ran after his attackers, opening a gap in their defense. Before the party realized it, two strong arms grabbed Aurelia's shoulders and forcefully dragged her out of the circle. Another pair of arms yanked Anna painfully by her hair.
Atrus heard Anna's shriek, but found the two girls floating in the air, held by invisible arms. Aurelia was held immobile in the air by her shoulders and Anna was hanging on her hair. Hawk leaped and tried to free them, but was pushed back by an invisible force. Maya made the same attempt, but was thrown off the ground as well.
"LEAVE!!!" A deep voice suddenly snarled from nowhere. "Tell the Elves to reject the alliance with Humans... if you survive the Gauntlet of Death!!!"
Suddenly a black swirling hole appeared behind Anna and slowly drew her inside despite her struggle. "Atrus...! It... it's a trick..." was her last word before disappearing into the mist.
A similar black hole appeared behind Aurelia, sucking her in. She struggled, but she knew she was losing. "Believe in Mother Nature...!!!" And she was gone.
Hawk turned to see that only the black holes were left, and the girls were nowhere to be found. Then he saw that the holes were slowly shrinking. Without even thinking anymore, he leaped into one of the bigger hole and disappeared before Atrus even realized it.
Now the party was reduced to a small team with only Atrus, Maya, and Roberto in it. Roberto was quite petrified and Atrus hadn't recovered from his shock, therefor leaving only Maya fighting helplessly for her life. When Atrus returned from his dazed state, Maya was gravely wounded.
Atrus joined the fight, although he could hit nothing with his sword. The mist seemed to offer protection for the Dark Elves. No matter how many times they tried to attack, their blows missed.
"This is no good, Master... We need to retreat!" Maya said with her leftover breath.
Atrus wished he could agree to that, but he had no idea how to do it. Together they could at least keep their enemies from making an attack. Then he realized that the young prince was still paralyzed and therefor vulnerable.
"Roberto, get here now!"
The prince didn't move. Instead, three dark shadows appeared behind him. Atrus dashed toward him with Maya following closely behind him. Suddenly he hit what it seemed to be an invisible wall and fell on the mud. Maya's attention was distracted for a while before finding that the attackers were gone. Atrus was on his feet again and both of them took a defensive position around the prince.
"Roberto, what do you think you're doing?!" Atrus snarled.
"I... I screwed up..." His statement surprised both of them.
"What do you mean?"
"It's all my fault... Anna... the Elf... Hawk... they're gone... because I left my post..."
A shadow materialized behind Atrus, but Maya scared him off. Atrus quickly assumed Maya's emptied position, giving the enemies no chance to strike.
"Get a hold of yourself!" Maya nervously said.
"They're undefeated... They're demons!!"
"They're not undefeated!" Atrus shouted back. "Get a hold of yourself!"
"Master, do you think your new power can guide us out of here?" Maya asked.
Atrus knew she didn't ask for an answer, so he tried it anyway. He let his emotion flow and felt his anger rising from within him. Flame lit in his eyes and bright tendrils of fire enveloped his body. Amazingly, the same flame brightened the surrounding, sending the dark mist away and revealing four figures standing around them. Atrus was shocked at the sight, but Maya leaped on the nearest one and wielded her blade. This time she didn't miss. The blade found the Dark Elf's throat and killed him instantly. She leaped toward the next one and claimed another victim. Atrus recovered immediately and attacked the other two. The Dark Elves were still stunned by their friends' death and therefor fell victim of Atrus' sword.
"Your flame can drive away the mist!" Maya noted. "We have to get back to Elom forest!"
Atrus let more power flow through his body and the flame grew brighter. They soon found themselves standing in the middle of the swamp, surrounded by half-dozen Dark Elves. They could clearly see their enemies now. The Dark Elves were just like normal Elves, except for their darker skin color and longer nails and fangs. They wore casual clothes instead of armors, and wielded long curved swords.
They stared at their dead comrades in horror. They could not believe that Atrus had broken their gauntlet of death. They quickly dropped their swords and abandoned the swamp, disappearing beneath the thick mist.
Atrus stayed alert to make sure nothing threatened them before turning to his friends. Roberto was kneeling on the ground, leaning on his sword, and surprisingly, sobbing. He seemed to take the loss of their friends poorly. Maya was kneeling beside him, trying to comfort him.
"I screwed up! I said I screwed up!"
"Get a hold of yourself!" Maya insisted. "We have to get out of here!"
"Just let me die here!" Roberto screamed. "I have no face to see my father!"
"You will no longer have a face if you stay here!" Atrus snarled.
"You!!" Roberto pointed at Atrus. "You bastard! The moment you demoted me from my royal status, you've dishonored me before my father! You know I want to make my father proud! Now I just screwed up! I hope you're happy with that!"
"Happy with what?!"
"Don't act like an innocent! You've been blaming me for everything I've done wrong! All you have to do is just go back and report everything!" He roared in anger. "I'm a failure!! I'm an unworthy successor of the throne of Aragon!!"
"Of course you are!!" Atrus shot back, surprising both Maya and the prince. "Look at you! You just made one terrible mistake! You're worthless! You should be sorry for yourself!"
Roberto was clearly shocked at Atrus' sarcasm. Maya tried to protest but held herself. Atrus had decided to confront the young prince. She had been in this situation back in Castle Stoke before her old slaver Baron Stoke, and she knew she had to trust him.
"You're a failure and it's good to hear that you know it! You've made one mistake," Atrus put more emphasis at his last sentence, "and now you want to kill yourself because of it! Well, you have two choices! Make your mind!"
Atrus kicked the sword erect, lifted it easily and gave the handle to the young prince. "Here! Use your powerful sword! Go ahead and kill yourself! Make your father proud!"
Roberto stared sadly at the sword. His hand trembled as he grasped the handle. Tears welded in his eyes. His pride had been severely beaten by his failure and regret took control of him. His grip tightened and he lifted the sword.
Then his mind flashed back to King Edward, his father. He could remember his image. He could picture every line and curve in his aged face. He remembered how he loved his father. He remembered how he longed for his father's attention. He remembered how he wanted to make his father proud and would therefor notice him. He stared at his gigantic sword and thrust it into the mud. He couldn't do it. He couldn't make his father proud if he was dead.
He stared at Atrus with determination. "What is the other choice?"
Atrus' face softened. "We'll get out of here and plan our next attempt. We may even free our friends..." his voice halted for a moment, "or avenge their deaths..."
Roberto let the word seep into his mind. Atrus was right. They were wasting time now, and time was very precious at this moment for the their friends' survival... or theirs.
He rose up and nodded. "Very well. Let's move."
Anna woke up with excruciating pain in her head. Her eyes struggled with the darkness around her. Her first instinct was to stir, but her first surprise was that she couldn't do it.
She discovered that her body was encased in a dark green cocoon made of thick and strong jelly-like substance. Her head was the only part that wasn't encased. Her arms were held firmly beside her waist. She knew that her feet were slightly parted, for she could feel that her nether region was sitting on the cool goo. To increase her fear, she knew that she was stark naked, except for her boots, bracelets and collar.
However, Anna was not a meek little girl. Instead of protesting like crazy, she took her time studying her new room. She found herself inside a huge dark cave. The only light inside the room was the flicker of torches coming from beneath. Then she found out that her cocoon was actually hung on the ceiling by a piece of strong rope made of the same substance.
After a while
her eyes grew accustomed to the darkness. She noticed that she was not
the only cocoon inside the cave. There were many similar cocoons scattered
around the air, hanging in the similar manner, except that their heads
were completely sealed inside. She thought they were already suffocating
to death, but she noticed that the cocoons were actually squirming. The
prisoners inside were struggling against their rigid bonds. Soft muffled
moans filled the cave.
was split into 10 parts. Jump to any of the segments from here:
|Another top quality story by Vipers.|
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