Alexandros: Ch. 23byJoeBarnosky©
Alexandros Manuscript Page 96
I slowly crept down the stairs keeping up my guard. With each step I took I felt a stronger pull along with my sense of an evil presence. Both grew more and more intense with each step down. Time slowly drifted by as I went deeper into keep until the stairs finally ended revealing a lustrously lit room. Torches lined the circular room every few feet illuminating a sword displayed in the center. Opposite to where I stood was a walkway similar to my own except I didn't know where it would take me.
I looked around the room searching for signs of traps or anything out of the place. No recognizing anything that may be out of place I took a step into the room.
My feelings screamed danger and before I could react, the doorway I just stepped through slammed shut. It seemed I would find out what lie down the opposite walkway after all.
I walked over to the sword reaching out hesitantly and stopped as I neared the handle. I could almost feel it calling to me. Not a voice per se but a strong pull for me to wield it. I pushed aside the thought and fully reached for it, taking it in my hand.
The handle fit perfectly as if it was designed for my hand. It had elegance and looked like no other sword I had ever seen before. The blade curved as its length progressed and had a blue hue to the metal.
My mind was filled images and noise. The images flashed by too quickly to comprehend and the noises were too convoluted to understand. Only one word seemed to filter through all the noise, Gaijin.
I didn't know what it meant or even what language it was from. I would have to ask Madu about it next time I saw him. If I made it out alive.
I followed the stairs as I did before and was surprised to find the path end quickly. The stairs opened to an enormous cavern. Once again my senses rang loudly. I swung around in a circle a saw a giant boulder coming at me. I jumped just in time to avoid the hit. The boulder crashed into the ground showering me in debris. Before I had a chance to look for my attacker another boulder flew at me. I rolled to avoid it, barely escaping the blow.
I knew now where the attacks were coming from. I rolled to my feet and cast my gaze in the direction the boulders flew from. In the distance, over a small chasm, and on a broad ledge stood a large figure. Its form was hard to distinguish what it was due to the darkness and dust.
I was expecting another attack from it but it seemed to melt into the ground it stood on. Puzzled, I took a fighting stance prepared for the unexpected and it came.
The ground exploded in front of me throwing me backward. I landed hard on my back as the creature lumbered over me. Formed from rock the golem reared up and brought down its fists where I was just laying.
I ground shook threatening to throw me off balance as I attempted to regain my footing. I staggered back as the golem came up swinging its massive fists at me. When the opportunity presented itself I rushed in after it swung. I was only a few steps away from my intended mark before I felt the blunt force of the golem's fist.
The blow caught me by surprise making me realize the creature was more agile than I thought. I managed to remain standing but had the wind knocked from me.
It was time for some aggressive offensive tactics.
I faced the golem taking shallows breaths and trying to control my breathing. My ribs ached and I knew if none of them were broken then they were severely bruised. I pushed past the pain as it would do no good having my mind divided between the golem and my ribs.
The golem rose up into the air and let out a loud bellow that threatened to cause my eardrums to explode. I used the opportunity to make my attack. I ran straight at the creature as fast as my legs and ribs would allow. The golem caught my movement and tried to anticipate my attack but it didn't stand a chance.
I threw my sword up and over its head and threw my body underneath between its legs. My judgment was accurate in that I only slid a couple of feet fast the creature. Springing to my feet I leapt catching Gaijin mid air. I reversed the sword to angle down and as my body dropped I slammed into the back of the golem.
It howled out in what I could only assume was pain as I dragged Gaijin down, slicing the creature open. I pulled out the sword and swung around cutting its legs out from under it. The blow was crippling sending it to the ground.
I stood over the creature looking into it menacing eyes, raised my sword and drove it deep into its head. Gaijin pierced completely through and into the stone floor beneath. I felt ready to succumb to the pain and weariness and would have dropped right there and then had it not been for the immense roar that filled the cavern at that very moment.
Suddenly a giant hand came up from the chasm below onto the ground I stood on followed by another. I backed slowly not knowing how I would be able to face my new foe. Its head came over the rim as it pulled its body up and faced me.
You dare come here to steal from me? You dare try and kill me? Insolent human, you will perish for your indiscretions. I Julunggul will take pleasure in your destruction!
I didn't hear the words through my ears but in my head. I shook the words from my head. I had enough of this place and I was definitely tired of these creatures and their ignorance toward me. I yelled a battle cry as I lifted my sword high and charged. Madu had faith that I'd be able to defeat this Wyrm and I intended to.
Julunggul was better at anticipating my attack or just a better fighter. Before I could take three steps he had already raised back and then forward blowing out an enormity of flames at me. I dropped to the ground avoiding the flames. The heat along my back was intense and in that moment I was thankful to have avoided it. If this Wyrm was as smart as I figured he was, I wouldn't be as lucky the next time. I jumped to my feet and was caught unawares it Julunggul's tail as it swept up from behind me. My feet flew out from beneath me. I went to my back and attempted to roll up when I was slammed back by the Wyrm's tail. It reared up set to spear me. As it came down I swept Gaijin around severing the tip off.
Its tail was pulled back instantly and its voice once again filled my head. You will suffer for that!
I was on my feet again and this time I had a plan. I swung Gaijin with all the strength I had and released it just as the Wyrm reeled back for another burst of fire. The sword flew into the stone hanging above Julunggul's head. I wasn't sure of the sword's strength or what it was capable of but it was as good as any time to find out.
The sword was true to its mark. It sliced through the stone effortlessly. The large, sharp stone fell from the ceiling and just as Julunggul came forward to let out his breath of fire it lodged into his skull. The force of the impact pushed his head down, pinning it to the ground beneath.
The Wyrm let out a snort as it lay there helpless. I approached looking into its great eye wondering what he would have to say but there were no words that filtered into my head. Instead silence was all that surrounded us. Slowly, as I watched, the light faded from his eye.
Then before my very eyes Julunggul began to disappear and within a few moments there was nothing left of him as if he simply never existed. The only thing that remained was the large stone that fell upon his head.
I looked around for Gaijin spotting it lying amongst part of the rubble from the ceiling. I walked over to retrieve it and I caught a glimpse of what appeared to be a doorway. I searched with my eyes, squinting hard to focus through the darkness. To my surprise there was one.
As I started to the exit I heard a soft but audible crunch behind me. I turned cautiously and standing behind me was a creature similar to the ones I faced before. The walls caught my attention a second later. Looking at the wall behind the creature without taking my eyes of it I saw a slew of them slowly creeping down the walls toward me.
The seconds passed as we looked at each other, gauging one another. Then it attacked. I was a step ahead of it, slicing it in half by the time it reached me. The two halves fell to the ground as my back was already turned and I was headed to the doorway I spotted earlier.