|The Ancient Prophecy
Pt. X: Plague and Cure
by Vipers ©
was split into 12 parts. Jump to any of the segments from here:
man stood silently on the ground. The smell of newly burnt grass made him
sick, but behind it was the natural scent of burnt flesh. Burnt rotten flesh...
He didn't mind. For him, the smell cleared his heart and purify his soul.
He smiled as thousands of souls soared through the space around him. Unlike him, however, they were screaming and crying in agony. The curse was upon them, and there was no way of reversing the process. The agony was eternal.
Around him lay a pile of thousands, burnt corpses of the zombies stretching across the forest. The forest, in fact, was no more, replaced by scorched land which, if not treated, would turn into wasteland in a year or so. The thought of total destruction made him flinch, but he had no problem to embrace it. His part of destruction was renewable any time.
"Rise, my legion!" He lifted his cloak-covered hand. "Rise and rule supreme!"
The souls screamed as the curse took effect. The scorched body suddenly rattled on the ground, demanding for hostages. Powerful force sucked the poor souls and bound them to the rotten bodies. They cried as whatever living energy was left in them was sucked dry. The burnt flesh regained small part of their form, keeping the already fragile bodies and their captured souls together.
The man smiled mischievously. The fall of Aragon was at hand.
He stared into the darkness. It was so quiet, so lifeless, just like what his heart was feeling. He had been a loner once, so loneliness was no stranger to him. But he'd never felt such loneliness before. And inside his head, the battle for supremacy raged.
Who do you love?
He just groaned in confusion. He'd been thinking about it for Gods knew how long, yet the argument went forever. Even an experienced, well-trained Ranger and famous Demon Slayer couldn't handle everything. They didn't teach anything about matchmaking in Ranger camp.
He could feel fatigue enveloping him. He didn't know how long he had been inside the void, without any food or sleep. And he knew, back in the realm, his friends were probably fighting for their lives against the undead army. And he couldn't help. Even the Prophet of the Guardian couldn't be in two places at the same time.
Who do you love?
He cringed. He had too much to think about, his brain could explode at any time. He could feel annoying pain at the side of his head already. He moved his hands to massage it and was surprised to feel sharp pain when he did.
"What the...?" He felt his head for a while. He could feel a long strip of cloth wound around his head. "A bandage... why...?"
The memory flowed back to him. He remembered the huge pyramid in the middle of the desert... the Pyramid of Salthi, the remains of an extinct race east of the Land of the Dwarves. He instantly felt the dread once remembering the place. But he chose to struggle with his shadowed memory. He remembered the abandoned city and the faithful yet unfriendly critters. He faintly remembered how Maya had been almost petrified. He wouldn't forget the monster face who had done it. He clearly remembered...
The memory came flowing back to him. He remembered the dreaded moment when the Lich had taken her away from him. He could recall her sad gaze which had probably been her last. He had had the wound on his head, and he had vowed to keep it until now.
He still couldn't believe it. He had been there to save Maya's life. He had been willing to trade his life for her survival. Yet Anna had exchanged her life for both of them. She could have lead the party. She could have achieved victory over the undead. She could have resumed their quest to find the Champion of the Guardian. She could have enjoyed the glory and fame she deserved, instead of staying in the middle of cold, immerse darkness of the Void.
But she had chosen it. Glory and fame meant nothing to her.
Why did she do that?
"Because I love you..." He remembered her saying. "It's a love that will never come true..."
He choked slightly as the words rang in his head. She had loved him from the start. He had left her once, but she'd come and found him. He could recall the loneliness without her. Her kind treatment had indeed incited a warm feeling he'd never felt before. He loved her, but when he realized it, it was too late. She was gone, probably forever.
And now, he had a second chance.
Who do you love?
"A fine girl named Adriana Freesland." He stated firmly to the invisible speaker.
"Because she loves me..." He said slowly. "She loves me so much that she has been willing to give up her life for my life and happiness... I failed to realize it, yet now I've seen the light..." He took a deep breath, "She's the one... she's the one..."
Lynn watched silently as Maya donned her gloves and shoes. She buckled her leather belt and strapped her trusty blade and five throwing knives on their respective slots. Then she took her hair-bow, pony-tailed her hair and tied the bow. She picked her leather pouch and flung it around her shoulder.
"Do you really have to do this, Miss Maya?"
"Yes." She answered hastily.
"But why?" Lynn asked desperately. "You're safe here in Heaven!"
"And watch my friends dying down there?!" Maya shot back. "I'm going to help them!"
"But it's too dangerous!!"
"Well, danger was and still is my best lover!"
"You're mad, aren't you?" Lynn asked carefully. "Because we're not willing to help."
"There's no reason." She answered simply. "Master Atrus didn't blame you. Why should I?"
Lastly she took her father's amulet and put it around her neck. She hummed softly as the magical power entered her body. The amulet had been her father's last gift for her. It seemed to have a magical power of decreasing her body weight, therefor improving her overall speed and agility in battle. She softly squeezed the metal amulet, recounting good memories they'd been through together.
"I still remember the time when we gave him the amulet." Lynn mumbled.
"You gave this to my father?" Maya asked.
The Fairy nodded. "He was a good man. He was willing to endanger himself for the sake of his people. You should be proud of him."
"I am. That's why I'm still fighting in his memory."
"Even if death is the consequences?"
Uneasy silence covered them once again. Maya double-checked her equipment again, making sure that she had everything for the combat. She knew that even though she excelled at light skirmishes, she was going to face a full-scale war, something she knew completely nothing about. But her friends were down there, and she wanted to offer any help she could provide, even as little as morale support.
"What can I do?" Lynn finally asked.
"You heard me, Miss Maya. What can I do to help?"
"I thought Master Atrus had made his point clear."
"But I still feel guilty that our race doesn't offer any help!"
"We... or at least Master Atrus understands you." Maya replied bitterly. "You don't have to do anything if you don't want to."
"It's not that we don't want to!" Lynn insisted. "We can't!"
"Yes, you can!" Maya shot back. "But we've had this discussion before. Now if you really want to help, open a dimension door to Castle Stoke..."
"You don't understand, Miss Maya! We've been defeated!"
"Yes, you have!" Maya cried. "That's very true! You've been completely defeated! Never in my life have I seen souls so desperate before!"
While Maya was enraged, Lynn was completely silent. The Fairy cowered from her anger. She knew she had never been so angry before. She knew she was freaking out, and she knew anger was not the solution. She drew a deep breath and let her anger melt away.
"You know your problem?" Maya asked finally. "You've been defeated not only physically, but also mentally. The demons have extinguished not only the Holy Fire of Love, but also the fire of love inside your heart. Your heart has become numb, unable to feel other people's needs."
"Other people's needs...?" Lynn repeated slowly.
"I know my friends down there need me, so I must go. You know deep inside that we all need your help in the next battle, but you chose to ignore it. I can do nothing to convince you otherwise."
"But you've seen yourself!" Lynn desperately said. "The Holy Fire of Love is the sign from the Gods! Now the fire is gone, so we are powerless to love!"
"Wrong." Maya answered. "The demons may have extinguished the Holy Fire, but they can never extinguish the fire of love inside your heart. In fact, no one can do so." Maya stared at her sternly. "Only you yourself can."
"We... did it...?"
"Yes." Maya nodded. "You've chosen to ignore it, so you therefor just extinguished the fire of love in your heart. And if that's the case, yes, you've been defeated."
Uneasy silence covered them again. Maya seemed to have made her point, as the Fairy was deep in her thought. A slight flush of hope swept over her. Perhaps she could actually convince them.
"W...what can we do, then...?" The Fairy asked slowly.
"Listen to your heart." Maya said slowly. "That's what Master Atrus had said before, right? Now you know why he said that. He knew this all along."
Actually Maya just discovered that as well. Her master knew just what to say. Silently she admired his quick thinking greatly. In fact, he never ceased to impress her. The wisdom of the great Lord Guardian was indeed with him.
"I suppose we're taught to love other race as well..." Lynn said slowly. "Then I suppose we must help..."
"No, you mustn't." Maya said. "It's not what your heart tells you."
"I mustn't... But I really want to help..." Her eyes opened. "That's it! I want to help! I understand now! Love is not an obligation. It's a desire!"
Maya gave her the well-deserved smile. "Indeed."
"Thanks, Miss, Maya!" Lynn hugged the girl tightly, almost cutting air from her. "Now, excuse me, I need to have a word with my sisters!"
Prince Roberto stood uneasily on top of the fortification. Everything was ready, and his army stood firm around the castle courtyard, ready for the battle. The defense was quite simple. Archers would occupy the walls and towers. Once the first defense fell, foot soldiers would take over the wall defense while most soldiers would remain around the courtyard in case the main gate was breached. When the gate was breached and the walls fell, all hell would break loose.
He'd never been in a major battle before, but he could sense the blow to the soldiers' morale already. The odds were astronomical. He was trying to fight a horde of mindless undead with a small group of ill-trained army. All war tacticians for years to come will laugh at his decision.
"You're still freaking out?" Aurelia popped out from behind.
"I can't lie to you, can I?"
"We Elves are gifted with superior sense. We can sense nearly everything, including fear."
"Don't tell the soldiers." Roberto said.
"I won't, but they will notice it." The Elf said. "You must have faith in yourself!"
"I should..." He sighed. "Your report?"
"I've briefed the citizens. They're ready with a bucket of water and a cloth each to put out fire in case the enemy uses it. Food supplies are safe inside underground sheds and dungeon... talking about the castle dungeon, it wasn't a pretty sight..."
"This place held many bad memories, especially for Maya." Roberto said. "I'm sure glad she's quite safe in Heaven right no..."
Suddenly Maya popped out of nowhere, right in front of him. "Hi?!"
The nearest archer could swear the prince jumped almost a half-meter high. His feet failing to obey the command to stand, he fell on his bottom, attracting sufficient attention from other soldiers.
"Wow..." Aurelia commented. "You've got to teach me that trick, girl..."
"How... how did you...?" Roberto said groggily.
"Lynn dropped me off here." Maya said merrily. "Happy to see me...?"
"Yes... I mean... NO!!"
Aurelia circled her arms around Maya. "He is so happy he couldn't express it."
"I am...?!" Roberto imitated, but then noticed the Elf's hard stare. "Uh, right..."
"Anyway, Lynn promised to help us in the battle! I convinced her!" Maya declared.
"Way to go, girl!" Aurelia smiled.
"Finally, that's good news." Roberto said.
Suddenly the sound of the battle trumpet was heard. "They're coming!!" One soldier cried.
"That's bad news..."
As the dawn broke, the morning sky was colored with beautiful orange light. Yet beyond the horizon, a long line of small figures appeared from the forest. Their advance was slow and their movement was sluggish, yet it was enough to strike terror to the heart of their enemy.
"Our nemesis has arrived." Roberto said slowly. "Aurelia, get Hawk here. Maya, you stay here and don't wander around."
The Elf left. Roberto stood silently with Maya on his side, staring at the advancing army. The line seemed unending. Roberto had witnessed their strength. Now he had to witness their wrath.
The second prophecy of the Guardian, the Plague of the Undead, had been fulfilled.
"Archers!!" He commanded. "Aim!!"
was split into 12 parts. Jump to any of the segments from here:
|Another top quality story by Vipers.|
© Copyright 1999 by literotica.com.